Religion and Civic Life

Photo by Michal Czyz

Tribe and Truth

Here we go again, another Ann Coulter media blowup. This time, however, there is a serious point worth drawing from the episode. Coulter’s latest contested comments were delivered on CNBC to Donny Deutsch on his show The Big Idea. She offered the opinion that Jews need to be “perfected” by becoming Christians. Deutsch, who is Jewish, spluttered about “how hateful, Read More ›


James’s Faith

William JamesIn the Maelstrom of American Modernismby Robert D. RichardsonHoughton Mifflin, 622 pp., $30 The series of New Atheist tracts that have shot up the bestseller list seem like distress flares launched from the deck of a foundering ship at sea. Surely the enthusiastic reception bestowed on these books, led by Christopher Hitchens’s God Is Not Great and Richard Dawkins’s Read More ›

Every Good Under the Sun Must Be Paid For

I’m always stirred by the seemingly primitive features of Jewish religious observance. On Yom Kippur, celebrated this Shabbat, we read from the book of Leviticus about the sending away of a sacrificial goat to the Judean wilderness, bearing to its death the combined sins of the people. Judaism’s insistence on animal sacrifice must strike many Jews today as embarrassing. But Read More ›

Oh, the Humanity!

Republicans have been racing to decry Idaho senator Larry Craig as “disgusting,” “disgraceful” — the words chosen respectively by Mitt Romney and John McCain. In the competition to appear utterly pitiless, Romney pulled ahead fast. The Massachusetts Adonis himself seems perfect in every way, inhumanly so — except for precisely this same vaguely inhuman quality that, I predict, will prove Read More ›

Seattle Needs Grace

This article, published by National Review, contains an interview with Discovery Institute Senior Fellow David Klinghoffer: David Klinghoffer is worried about “the atmosphere of secularism” that “rains down like nuclear fallout, spreading contamination” and offers the Ten Commandments as a “desperately needed diagnostic tool” to combat it. The rest of the article can be found here.

New Book, Shattered Tablets, Offers Stinging Critique of Our Secularized Popular Culture

SEATTLE – Is morality based on some essential truth or is it defined by society? In this highly original critique of American social mores and popular culture, Shattered Tablets (Doubleday), author David Klinghoffer argues that the Ten Commandments are essential to maintaining a morally healthy society. “My main point is that the steady evaporation of religious culture will have very Read More ›

The Authority Deficit

You’ve heard of the trade deficit and attention deficit disorder. Well, several strands of discontent in American life can be traced to what I call the “Authority Deficit.” Whether the context is President Bush’s conduct of the Iraq war, cops unable to make city streets safe or parents struggling to rein in unruly children, authority figures seem increasingly unconfident. It’s Read More ›

Hot Lead, Summer In the City

It’s summertime along our city’s top tourist thoroughfare, and you know what that means. The sun is shining and the bullets are flying. The other day at 4:35 p.m., shots rang out from the corner of Third Avenue and Pine Street. My colleagues looked out the windows of our eighth-floor offices to see the sidewalk of the avenue packed with Read More ›

Charity Is an Individual Responsibility

Among Jews and Christians, there is much confusion about the Bible’s preferred course for addressing the needs of poor Americans, the dominant assumption being that support for the impoverished is a public responsibility. Recently, the issue came up in the Seattle suburb where I live. Our local weekly newspaper reported that a tent city for the homeless was to be Read More ›

Christianity’s Fertile Roots

A Review of: The God that Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the West, by Robert Royal (Encounter, 311 pp., $25.95) In The God That Did Not Fail, Robert Royal tells the story of Christianity’s role in world history, a story in which the religion symbolized by the cross acts as a lantern lighting the way as civilization Read More ›