Forgetting the Christians

This past weekend, the United States began to intervene in the humanitarian crisis unfolding in northern Iraq. The Islamist group ISIS has made a lightning conquest of much of the region, persecuting religious minorities, and even some Sunni Muslims, everywhere it goes. Continue Reading »

The Power of Authenticity

I recently watched my good friend Ralph Nader give a rousing speech before a standing-room only audience at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. The presentation was vintage Nader: He railed against the power of large corporations, used his biting sense of humor to poke the politically powerful, as he stepped on the toes of political friends (liberals foolishly won’t work with conservatives on issues of common interest because of a “yuck factor”) and foes alike, while happily spinning iconoclastic arguments ranging from an unexpected call for strong border enforcement (to protect wage levels) to urging government regulation of the emerging sharing economy such as Airbnb. Continue Reading »

How to Survive Demonization

Whether the issue is abortion or spending, a fraction of African-American, Hispanic, and young voters are on the right when it comes to policy, but voted for President Obama. These voters are immersed in a milieu where they never hear the worst of the left, or the best of the right. But there’s hope. A lifetime of attitudes can change, but not all at once. Though no national candidate will be able to change such attitudes in the few months of a presidential campaign, such change has happened before on a more local level. Continue Reading »

The Evangelical Academy

We were doing an interview on an NPR station, a kind of “point-counterpoint” thing. The other interviewee was a self-identified agnostic , and the topic was the rights of academic institutions to “discriminate” on the basis of religious beliefs. My dialogue partner was not overtly hostile to religion as such. Indeed he said some nice things about the school where I was president at the time. Fuller Seminary produces some excellent scholarship based on our religious convictions, he observed. But why do we hire only folks who subscribe to those convictions? Having religious beliefs is fine, he said. But for institutions to hire only faculty who subscribe to those beliefs is contrary to the principles of academic inquiry. Continue Reading »

A Millennial Column

I’ve been writing op-ed columns for the Catholic press since 1979. In its present form, “The Catholic Difference,” I began this column in 1993 at the invitation of the late Kay Lagreid, then-editor of the now-deceased Catholic Northwest Progress in Seattle; the column went into national syndication shortly thereafter, with the Denver Catholic Register eventually succeeding the Progress as syndicator. This is the one-thousandth column in that series, which prompts some thoughts of a confessional nature. Continue Reading »

The Down Syndrome Community’s Death Debate

Let’s try an experiment: Imagine you are a high school junior just starting to think about college. You have your heart set on The Big Catholic Football School with A Good Academic Reputation. But your mom and dad want you to have options, so they make you go onto the websites of a few other schools and ask them to send you their application materials. When these arrive in the mail, you toss them into a corner where they sit for months and months. After all, your mind’s already mostly made up—there’s really only one school you’re thinking of going to. Continue Reading »

America’s War Against Catholicism

Anti-Catholicism was the driving force behind the Mexican-American War, argues John C. Pinheiro in his gripping new study. The evidence he carefully assembles suggests an even stronger point: that it was the defining attitude undergirding the early Republic and antebellum years. Continue Reading »

The Bolshevik Moment

During commencement season, a number of speakers were deemed politically impure. Earlier in the spring, Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich was outted as a supporter of traditional marriage by gay bloggers and resigned under pressure. More recently, University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock has . . . . Continue Reading »

Learning from Bodies

The baby in my arms lacks the majority of his brain. He was born just fifteen minutes before this moment, and he is likely to die before another fifteen minutes pass. He has taken no first breath and will give no first cry. He cannot see. He cannot hear. He does not feel the warm weight of my hand . . . . Continue Reading »

Libertarian Delusions

Recently I was invited to give a lecture on libertarianism at a prestigious Christian college. The large lecture hall was packed with bright-eyed, wholesome-looking Christian students, a number of whom lingered afterward to press their case for . . . libertarianism.Only ten years ago, this scene . . . . Continue Reading »