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For the Sake of Civil Argument

Talk about "criminalizing political differences" is again rife in the wake of the conviction of Scooter Libby. I very much wish it were not so, but the phrase is all too accurate. Prosecutors bring one set of charges and, when they don’t hold up, then actually prosecute . . . . Continue Reading »

Varieties of Religious Certitude

In a recent essay in the Times Literary Supplement , Steven Weinberg suggested that the reason the West has so far outstripped the Islamic world in scientific knowledge is "religious certitude." In the West, the decline of religion has freed science to move forward at an astonishing pace. . . . . Continue Reading »

Humanism and Health Care

I got a letter, a signed letter, from Senator Barack Obama the other day¯me and several million other Americans. He’s running for president, you see, and he wants my support in helping him change the political landscape. What concerns people, it seems, is not the "magnitude of our . . . . Continue Reading »

Harvey Cox’s Secular City

In the next few days (March 19), Harvard theologian Harvey Cox will be celebrating his seventy-eighth birthday. Since I’m pressing right behind him, this seemed like a good time to express my gratitude for many kindnesses of his so many years ago—for so many stimulating conversations and . . . . Continue Reading »

A River Runs Through It

David Brooks once offered an explanation for an editorial job he held¯one of those jobs where you arrive in the morning to find twenty faxes, fifty phone messages, and a hundred emails already waiting for you. It was, he said, like camping beside a raging river. Every morning you pack up your . . . . Continue Reading »

William & Mary’s Chapel at a Crossroad

In October of 2006, William & Mary’s new college president, Gene R. Nichol, ordered the altar cross removed from the university’s colonial-era Wren Chapel. His goal was to make the chapel "less of a faith-specific space, and to make it more welcoming to . . . visitors of all . . . . Continue Reading »

The Closing of the American Mind Revisited

The most recent number of The Intercollegiate Review, published by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, features a symposium marking the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind. Has it really been that long?Bloom’s book was a real sensation . . . . Continue Reading »



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