A Pilgim’s Progress: Corpus Christi 2008

An excited group of girls behind me—ages five to eight, I think, walking with their mothers: some of them dribbling, others flinging, handfuls of rose petals drawn from their little white baskets. Next the censers, wafting smoke, and then the Sacrament itself, in its monstrance: a great golden sun . . . . Continue Reading »

The Myth of the “Evangelical Crackup”

In this hour of “new day” presidential politicking, it is difficult to distinguish prophecy from wishful thinking, especially among those in the electronic and print media. Take, for example, the purported radical shift in alignment among religious conservatives that was reported as a . . . . Continue Reading »

Yellow Science

In the late nineteenth century, William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer developed what would come to be known as yellow journalism. By disregarding what had been standard journalistic methods, particularly in regards to the verifying of sources, these two publishers were able both to push their . . . . Continue Reading »

The War on Abstinence

The Los Angeles Unified School District doesn’t want Karen Kropf talking to its students. District leaders fear that what she says isn’t “balanced” and that she’s not a certified “expert” in the field. Really, though, they just don’t like her message about teenage sexual self-control . . . . Continue Reading »

The Popsicle Index

It’s hot here in Tennessee and I’m thinking about Popsicles. I’ll get back to that.Last weekend, my wife, Janet, and I drove over to Hohenwald, seat of tiny Lewis County, Tennessee (pop. 11,000-plus). Although best known as the place on the Natchez Trace where Meriwether Lewis met his . . . . Continue Reading »

Tim Russert and the Follies of Life

The outpouring of tributes to Tim Russert on his death at age 58 was both surprising and well deserved. There was a palpable sense of guilt in the many descriptions of him by his colleagues in the commentariat. They frequently seemed to be saying that he was such a genuine human being uncompromised . . . . Continue Reading »

The State of Higher Desperation

Is there no hope? The special education section in the May 2008 issue of the New Criterion gave a pretty clear answer. The articles, focusing mostly on the state of higher education, provided something of a (perhaps justified) manifesto for giving up. Sensing this, and having chosen higher education . . . . Continue Reading »

Looking for Mary in Christmas Carols

It’s Christmas, so we’re singing carols. OK, it’s not Christmas, it’s really Advent, and “carol” has a particular set of musicological meanings that don’t have anything to do with Christmas—but we call almost any tune we sing in December a “carol” . . . . Continue Reading »