Opportunity and Incentives

President Obama’s recent actions to effectively exempt millions of unauthorized immigrants from deportation and to issue them work permits has caused frustration among many who believe that neither the precedents nor the law support the his actions. The president’s opponents have focused on what can done in the short-term to reverse his executive orders, or at least make him pay a political price. But rather than simply reacting, conservatives should learn from their experiences with Obamacare. In the short-term,, the ability of the Republican Congress to reverse the president’s executive orders or repeal Obamacare is very limited. It matters much more what President Obama’s opponents are prepared to do the next time they wield greater policymaking power. Continue Reading »

Books for Christmas

That “there is no end to the making of books” is attested by both revelation (see Ecclesiastes 12:12) and a browse through your local bookstore—which, if well-stocked, will help you get the following to deserving readers on your Christmas list. Continue Reading »

What Clericalism Looks Like

For the past three months, parishioners and friends of the Church of Our Saviour on Park Avenue in midtown Manhattan have been wondering what happened to the fourteen icons that were removed from two pilasters in the sanctuary on the evening of August 22. They have also been wondering why the artwork was removed in the first place. It was integral to the church’s wall-to-wall iconography, which had been commissioned by the previous pastor and funded in part by the Vatican. Other icons in the sanctuary remain. Those that are now missing were integral to the “sacred geometry of the whole sanctuary,” as their artist, Ken Woo, describes them. Their sudden disappearance has been as conspicuous as their presence was. Continue Reading »

Atticus Finch in a Skirt

Harper Lee, now age eighty-eight and long out of the public eye, is the legendarily mysterious author of the iconic 1961 novel of southern racial injustice, To Kill a Mockingbird. It inspired an equally beloved film with Gregory Peck as heroic small town lawyer Atticus Finch, who defends an innocent black man accused of raping a white woman. Continue Reading »

Ecumenism After 50 Years

On 21 November 1964, the Decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio, was approved by the Second Vatican Council. Although this document had been much debated and revised through several drafts, the final vote by the Council fathers was overwhelming: 2,137 in support and only eleven in opposition. This confirmed what everyone knew as the Council approached the close of its third session, namely, that one of the principal concerns of only the second ecumenical council convened since the Protestant Reformation was “the restoration (or reintegration) of unity among all Christians.” Continue Reading »