Aleppo and a Layman

Cohen declares, “No outcome in Syria could be worse than the current one.” He seems to have a high degree of confidence that if the United States had bombed the Assad regime, it would have produced a more peaceful Syria. Maybe it would have. Or maybe bombing—or perhaps better to say, merely bombing—the Assad forces would have produced only a different kind of hell. Continue Reading »

Christian Freedom Amidst Persecution

This volume accompanies another substantial collection, Christianity and Freedom: Volume 1, Historical Perspectives, prepared by the same editors. Professor Hertzke is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences as well as the faculty of the University of Oklahoma. Mr. Shah is associate director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and associate professor in the Government Department at Georgetown University.
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The Havana Declaration

For me, the text of the Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill’s joint declaration came as a surprise, as did their meeting and its location in Havana. This document is significantly better in style and content than any earlier official document or statement from the Russian Orthodox Church. Simply . . . . Continue Reading »

Eastern Christmas and Egypt's President

Egypt’s Coptic Christians follow the Julian calendar in celebrating Christmas on January 7th of each year. For the second consecutive year, Egyptian president Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi surprised them with an exceptionally kind gesture, once again personally attending their Coptic Christmas Eve mass and . . . . Continue Reading »

Looking Toward November 8

To redeploy a phrase from President Ford, our “long national nightmare”—in this case, the semi-permanent presidential campaign—will be over in eleven months, or at least suspended for a year or so. It’s not been an altogether edifying show to date; one may hope that, as the fields get . . . . Continue Reading »

Endangered Faiths

Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms: Journeys into the Disappearing Religions of the Middle East by gerard russell basic books, 354 pages, $28.99 We were on Saturday, and you are on Sunday. Now your Sunday has come.” So goes an oft-quoted warning from the Jews of Iraq about the fate of the country’s . . . . Continue Reading »

Equality Across Borders

In what sense are all men created equal? America’s Declaration of Independence calls it a self-evident truth. But to look around the world, nothing could seem to be less the case, empirically speaking. Some of us are born to wealthy parents, others into poverty; some of us with 170 IQs, others a little slow on the uptake. The genetic lottery, as some call it, does not distribute prizes equally. 

Nostra Aetate Fifty Years On

It was, on the face of it, a minor theological gesture, yet it brought about one of the greatest revolutions in religious history. Nostra Aetate, the Catholic Church’s 1965 statement of relationships with non-Christian faiths, declared that “the Jews should not be spoken of as rejected or . . . . Continue Reading »