Conservatism, Evangelii Gaudium, and the Social Market

Liberal commentators, both religious and secular, have cheered what they take as the recent comeuppance Catholic and other religious conservatives received in the sections of Evangelii Gaudium, the Pope’s recent apostolic exhortation, that touch on market economics. While the cackling is partly unjustified, it is also partly justified. . . . Continue Reading »

Truncating the Politics of Jesus

John Howard Yoder’s now-classic The Politics of Jesus sparked a revolution. For centuries, Jesus’ lordship had been foundational to Western political thought. By the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Jesus had become irrelevant. Locke doesn’t use the name “Jesus” in either of his two treatises on government. Adam Smith mentions Jesus only once in Wealth of Nations, in a footnote reference to the “compagnie de Jesus.” There isn’t even a footnote reference to Jesus in Theory of Moral Sentiments. . . . Continue Reading »

Marriage Is a Matter of Definition

November 18 marked the 10th anniversary of the landmark decision by the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) of Massachusetts which resulted in that state becoming the first to issue civil marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall’s ruling for the Court got just about everything wrong . . . Continue Reading »

Impeach Obama 2014

I cannot think of anything more disastrous for the Republican Party than an attempt to impeach the president. Yet there are scenarios being put forth, along with what I regard as a lot of irresponsibly loose talk, some of it getting ginned up by Democrats. . . . Continue Reading »

The Drama of Ukraine

My fascination with Ukraine began in 1984, during a sabbatical year at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. There, one of the first friends I made among my fellow Fellows was Dr. Bohdan Bociurkiw, a Ukrainian-Canadian professor at Carleton University in Ottawa. We first connected through a mutual interest in religious freedom behind the iron curtain; within a few weeks, Bohdan was giving me private tutorials in the history and culture of his native land, including an in-depth introduction to the story of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC). . . . Continue Reading »


PhariseesIn “Marriage Matters” (“Public Square,” November), R. R. Reno wondered how such a display of “public” immorality—same-sex marriage—could be greeted without comment. He worried that, in the presence of a gay married couple, acting as if . . . . Continue Reading »


ENDAWhen I was a grade-school student in Baltimore, young men with black skin were chased out of white neighborhoods with baseball bats. I went to an elementary school integrated barely a decade earlier. The folding chairs I set up in my middle school gym were still marked “George Washington . . . . Continue Reading »

Harvard and the Humanities

Harvard professors do a bad job of holding on to freshmen. In the last eleven incoming classes, the percentage of aspiring humanists has dropped from 27 to 18 percent, and more than half of that 18 percent who began with the humanities ended up in a different division, mostly social science. Why do . . . . Continue Reading »

While We’re At It - Pt. XVII

• In France, lawyers defending twenty-­seven Roma, or Gypsies, charged with selling child brides and teaching children to steal added to the usual mitigating circumstances argument—they’re poor, so they have to steal, and so would you—the claim that France couldn’t apply its laws . . . . Continue Reading »

2013 in Review

As 2013 draws to a close I’d like to look back at the past year for First Things magazine. We published some winners, to be sure, but also some losers. And so, with Lot’s wife as a warning against dwelling on the past, here are some observations. . . . Continue Reading »