On the Ground in Wheaton

The following remarks were among several friendly responses to Professor Miroslav Volf’s presentation, “Do Christians & Muslims Worship the Same God?” delivered at the Islamic Foundation of Villa Park, IL on Feb. 27, 2016. Caught up in national headlines about our presumed Islamophobia, we . . . . Continue Reading »

Statting While Catholic

As a Catholic statistician, I tend to read any story headlined with “Surveys say Catholics . . .” ready to flinch. Robert Wuthnow and Emma Green have both raised serious questions about how much religion polls can tell us, and how easy they are to misinterpret.Since I work as a data journalist . . . . Continue Reading »

The New York Times's Misanthropy

The mainstream media are misanthropic. Article after column after editorial published in our most prominent news outlets promote the view that human exceptionalism is hubristic and arrogant. If we would just rank ourselves alongside the other animals in the forest, we are told repeatedly, we would . . . . Continue Reading »

We Need Institutions and Trust

Imagine you are part of that growing majority of Americans who do not watch Fox News, do not listen to conservative talk radio, and do not frequent conservative websites. You have heard about the Confederate flag controversy. You have heard all about Donald Trump's various idiocies. What have you heard about the horrors emanating from Planned Parenthood? There is a chance you have heard nothing. Perhaps you read a story that was a barely comprehensible jumble of competing allegations. Perhaps you heard about how some extremists are viciously attacking a respected provider of women's health services. If we can't reach such people, we cannot win lasting victories. Continue Reading »

Not Just Another Culture War Story

The recent exposure of the trafficking in body parts removed from aborted fetal children has opened many eyes to the inhuman practices of Planned Parenthood. It shows the callousness of the abortion industry and the heart-rending nature in which many women are subject not only to a difficult . . . . Continue Reading »

Ryan Anderson Drives People Crazy

Those of us who know Ryan Anderson have certain adjectives that come naturally to mind when we think of the country's most visible and effective under-40 defender of the truth about marriage. (And if I thought about it, I might drop the “under-40” qualifier.) Fearless, composed, tenacious, . . . . Continue Reading »

Our Homophobic Pope

The media make a big deal of Pope Francis when this or that utterance seems to signal that the Great Capitulation is imminent. Liberals have long hoped for the moment when the Catholic Church stops being “anti-modern,” which doesn't mean engaged with science, philosophically sophisticated, and . . . . Continue Reading »

Celebrity and the Absence of Faith

In Christopher Beha’s excellent debut novel, What Happened to Sophie Wilder?, writer Charlie Blakeman nearly laughs when Sophie, his ex-girlfriend and a Catholic convert, says she plans to save the soul of her dying father-in-law, an atheist: “I don’t think I knew a single person who would have spoken in that way about saving someone’s soul,” ­Charlie observes. “The religious people I knew talked about their faith apologetically. It was an embarrassment to their own reason and intelligence, but somehow a necessary one.” 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 »