Citizen Leadership

Chapman Center for Citizen Leadership

Civility Lite: Civil — Yet Robust — Discourse

In his Tucson speech at the memorial service for the victims of the horrific shooting attack by a mentally deranged man, President Obama stated that while lack of civility in America’s political discourse did not motivate the shooter, public discourse would be improved were more civility shown by participants in the debate. Liberals instantly blamed the right’s “incivility” for the Read More ›

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Legislating a Second Bill of Rights

If you think the worry about too much power in the federal government is new, then you need to take a quick trip back in history to the original debates surrounding the ratification of the Constitution between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. Read More ›

Could Snowdrifts Bury Prime Minister Brown?

Labour has been running behind the Conservatives in British popularity polls, though lately the Tories have been fading a bit. But that was before a record-breaking and determined blast of cold and snow descended on the Sceptered Isle, and before the taciturn Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, failed to find the weather very invigorating. Mr. Brown’s reported response is a classic: “I think Read More ›

Muddling the Manhattan Declaration

The way the New York Times tells it, the Christian leaders behind the Manhattan Declaration have declared same sex couples un-persons. Laurie Goodstein writes: Citing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s call to civil disobedience, 145 evangelical, Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian leaders have signed a declaration saying they will not cooperate with laws that they say could be used to Read More ›

The Rapture of the Atheists

“This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper.” —T. S. Eliot, The Hollow Men The level of maturity of the New Atheism movement was on florid display at the national convention of the Freedom From Religion Foundation this past weekend Read More ›

While There Are Sister Cities There Will Be No Wars

America celebrated its bicentennial in 1976. We were 200 years old. As a part of our celebration locally, Fort Wayne formed a sister city relationship with the city of Takaoka, Japan. During that summer, a woman named Hisako Tanabe brought 10 Japanese high school girls to Fort Wayne to spend a month with host families, to learn about another culture Read More ›

Palin and the Politics of Familial Destruction

Governor Sarah Palin’s stunning early resignation elicited predictable surprise and sympathy from most of her supporters, and equally predictable surprise and sheer glee from most of her detractors. The question uppermost in the minds of political types was when, if ever, she might run for President. That question, while intriguing, is secondary. Front and center is how much the politics Read More ›

The Death of Dialogue?

Cultural relativists like to talk about dialogue. They tell us that we need to engage in dialogue with people who are different from ourselves so that we can understand their perspective and become more tolerant. They tell us that we must listen to the voices of the marginalized and the excluded so that we can rethink our assumptions about the Read More ›

Good judges overcome personal bias and rule according to the law

Two recent events have exposed a paradox in our attitudes toward our system of justice. On the one hand, President Obama has nominated Sonia Sotomayor to be a judge on the U.S. Supreme Court. He has said that he especially values her because of her “empathy.” Empathy can be loosely defined as a tendency to sympathize with those of a Read More ›