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Queen Latifah’s Grammy Mass Wedding

From First Thoughts

At the Grammys last night Queen Latifah officiated a mass wedding ceremony—with some couples heterosexual, some gay—followed by a surprise song from Madonna. Was it satire? I am a big fan of satirical mockery, even satirical mockery of important things such as marriage. Such satire . . . . Continue Reading »

Dylan Thomas and Giving Death Its Due

From First Thoughts

Many will already be aware that 2014 is the centenary of the start of the Great War of 1914-18. Fewer may have realized that this year contains another centenary of significance: That of the birth of the self-destructive Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas. Thomas died at only 39—-older, it is true, than . . . . Continue Reading »

Newman Family Values

From First Thoughts

For the biographer, friends and family of the chosen biographical subject present perennial problems. The subject was almost certainly a public figure; the major elements of the biography will thus address public actions; but it would have been that private world of friends and family which occupied . . . . Continue Reading »

Nothing New Under the Sun

From First Thoughts

I am currently enjoying Edward Short’s delightful and learned Newman and His Family , a study of John Henry Newman’s relationships with his parents and siblings, and a sequel to Short’s equally fascinating Newman and His Contemporaries . Protestant to the core of my being, I . . . . Continue Reading »

A Significant Opinion

From First Thoughts

Earlier this year, I accepted an invitation to respond in a public forum to Kyle Duncan, a Becket Fund lawyer involved in the religious liberty cases currently addressing the provisions of the ACA. That experience turned me into something of a keen amateur legal eagle on this particular issue and, . . . . Continue Reading »

The Bad and the Beautiful

From First Thoughts

Re-reading War and Peace in recent weeks, I have been reminded of one of the most monumental pieces of miscasting in the history of the motion picture industry. For those who have never read the novel, a central part of the drama depends upon the fact that one of the major characters, Pierre . . . . Continue Reading »

I Just Ran Out of Presence

From First Thoughts

That the language of love has become utterly sentimentalized in our society is a commonplace. Once it was a hardheaded, self-sacrificial, outward looking concept which looked to the well-being and needs of others. Now it often means little more than that which makes me feel good or brings personal . . . . Continue Reading »

Areopagitica

From First Thoughts

A couple of recent events have highlighted one or two of the peculiarities of the subculture of American Christianity, specifically evangelical Christianity. First, Ergun Caner is suing a couple of pastors in an attempt to keep some material pertaining to his life from being published on the . . . . Continue Reading »