How Could Tyranny Destroy Our Democracy?

Political scientists and historians are increasingly expressing profound concerns about the future of democracy in the West. I have been asking, as an amateur historian of America, “How and why do democracies die?” The study of democratic backsliding, though around for a long time, is becoming more urgent as we watch events unfold so rapidly it creates deep concern in … Read More

Michael Novak: On Forming Good Intellectual and Spiritual Habits

Michael Novak, not to be confused with the late conservative journalist Robert Novak, has been (rightly I believe) described as “one of the world’s most influential social philosophers.” He has played a number of prominent roles in American life, ranging from advising candidates and presidents to teaching and writing on the ethics of the free market and welfare reform. He … Read More

Writing from Left to Right: An Engaging Memoir

One of the most fascinating and engaging political stories that I have read in years is the recently published book, Writing from Left to Right: My Journey from Liberal to Conservative (Image: New York, 2013). This unique memoir is written by Roman Catholic scholar Michael Novak. I found Novak’s memoir so deeply interesting, for both Christian and personal reasons, that … Read More

The Sunday Assembly – A Non-Theist Response to Religion

For well more than a century freethinkers, and religious skeptics, have gathered, talked and participated in various forms of social interaction without any expression of formal religion. In 1882 the Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago was founded to provide a meeting and fellowship for just such a gathering. The Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago describes itself as a democratic fellowship … Read More

The Brave New World and the Building of Democracies

Political scientist Francis Fukuyama declared in his 1992 book, The End of History and the Last Man, that “mankind’s ideological evolution” was complete in Western liberal democracy, a form of democracy which is now “the final form of human government.” So much for a theory that lasted for less than a half of one generation. Joshua Kurlantzick, in his book … Read More

Same-Sex Marriage: The Growth of Secularism and Our Christian Response

Yesterday I gave a simple overview of the recent Supreme Court opinions on same-sex marriage. I suggested that from a purely legal standpoint the arguments of the slim majority, in these two 5-4 rulings, were stretched beyond the normal limits of a (historic) legal understanding of marriage. I’m not sure, however, that this response will solve much in the end … Read More

A Mission from God – Inspiration from James Meredith

I remember the fall of 1962 like it was yesterday. John F. Kennedy was president and the South was in deep turmoil over race and white supremacy. The struggle was now centuries old and the race problem still fundamentally unchanged by a Civil War and a Constitutional amendment. I know these truths firsthand. I am a white son of the … Read More

Agape Love and Religious Liberty

St. Augustine’s reasoning, on force and human freedom, demonstrates how essential it is for Christians to balance their desire that all persons know God’s truth as revealed in Jesus Christ with their recognition that the only coercion they should apply is that of reason and love. The essential flaw of Augustine’s argument is the assumption that the end justifies the means. The … Read More

An Evangelical Response to Dignitatis Humanae

After presenting an overview of Vatican II’s discussion and passage of Dignitatis Humanae at Lewis University (last week) I then proceeded to set forth an evangelical view of religious freedom, or at least one that I believe accords well with the view I personally hold as a Christian. I began with 1 John 4:8: “God is love.” This terse statement … Read More

Should We Condemn the Actions of Pastor Terry Jones?

By now you know the story of Florida pastor Terry Jones. Jones is the pastor of a tiny church called Dove World Outreach Center. (Where do people come up with these names?) By all appearances there is not much “outreach” going on in this church and the idea that a “dove” (as the representative sign of of the the Holy … Read More