Evidence Of Cultural Decadence: The Case Against Cultural Accommodation

Sep 23rd, 2023 | By

One of my favorite columnists is Ross Douthat, who writes for the New York Times. Douthat is a devout Roman Catholic and has written extensively on his faith and the Church. I do not always agree with some of his theological conclusions, but I am usually challenged by his insights. Recently, he wrote on the theological and cultural divisions within his Church—between the “liberal Catholic” and the more conservative Catholic on certain cultural issues. The typical “liberal Catholic” is pushing for greater accommodation of the Church to the broader culture. Among other things, they argue, this is a necessary step for the Church to remain relevant in this postmodern world.

The National Debt And The Imminent Fiscal Crisis

Sep 16th, 2023 | By

As columnist George Will so eloquently puts it: “This nation is slouching into the most predictable fiscal crisis in its history.” On 1 August 2023, Fitch Ratings lowered the credit rating of the United States one notch to AA+ from a perfect AAA. The firm, citing a “deterioration in governance” along with America’s mounting debt load, suggested that “it could be a long time before that decision [i]s reversed.” This credit rating change is similar to the drop to AA+ in 2011 by S&P Global, which has kept its rating there. There is a profound lack of willingness to compromise and reasonably discuss the national debt on the part of both political parties.

Rule Of Law And An Independent Judiciary

Sep 9th, 2023 | By

When our Founders wrote the Constitution in the summer of 1787, they structured this democratic-republic around a three-part federal government—an executive, a legislature and an independent judiciary. This separation of powers was to provide a built-in set of checks and balances to guarantee that no one individual or group of individuals would amass too much power. From the Marbury v. Madison opinion in 1803 by Chief Justice John Marshal, the judiciary has the authority of judicial review. It is the role of the judiciary to interpret the Constitution of the United States. To that end, the judiciary has the authority to review executive and legislative actions to determine whether those actions are constitutional or not.

Israel And The West Bank: A Biblical And Historical Perspective

Sep 2nd, 2023 | By

The state of Israel captured the West Bank of the Jordan River from Jordan during the 1967 Six-Day War. Historically and biblically in terms of Israel’s history, this area is known as Judea and Samaria. It is part of the land God promised to Abraham by covenant (Genesis 12:1-7; 15:18, etc.). Since 1967, Israel has been slowly planting Jewish settlements on the West Bank, but this has accelerated and intensified under the current government of Benjamin Netanyahu. The expansion of these settlements runs counter to the so-called “two-state” solution, which refers to the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.

The Quest For Power In Evangelical Politics

Aug 26th, 2023 | By

If you ask the typical evangelical Christian in America the question, “do you believe that humans are basically good or bad,” most would affirm that humans are basically bad or what Scripture calls sinners. We are born sinners and that is why we need the salvation that Jesus offers. He died a substitutionary death and was resurrected, conquering sin, Satan and death. He is our only hope and our only deliverance from the ravages of sin. It is difficult to trust humans as a result.

The Rise Of Artificial Superintelligence: The Need To Defend Humanity

Aug 19th, 2023 | By

In a recent essay in The Atlantic, executive editor Adrienne LaFrance wrote: Imagine an internet infrastructure “with programs that communicate with a veneer of authority on any subject, with the ability to generate sophisticated, original text, audio, and video, and the power to mimic individuals in a manner so convincing that people will not know what is real. These self-teaching AI models are being designed to become better at what they do with every single interaction.”

The National Report Card On Public Education

Aug 12th, 2023 | By

As a reward to the teacher unions of the United States, who strongly supporting his run for the presidency, Jimmy Carter created the Department of Education, a Cabinet level Department with a large bureaucracy, in 1979. Today that Department funnels billions of tax dollars to elementary, secondary and college institutions throughout the United States. Especially for the public elementary and secondary schools, there is a growing body of evidence indicating that this Department and the tax dollars spent have not produced a good return on investment. Arguably, most intellectually honest educators admit that the American system of public education is in need of thoroughgoing reform. But both Democrats and Republicans have blind spots when it comes to educational reform: Those on the left generally ignore bad public schools, pander to unions and protect underperforming teachers. Those on the right tend to stress private schools over public, ignoring the plight of children caught in public schools with no other option.

The 2023 Supreme Court And Pluralism: Religious Liberty And Freedom Of Speech

Aug 5th, 2023 | By

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution, ratified in 1791, begins: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech . . . .” In other words, there will be no state (i.e., “established”) religion in the US, while the United States will protect and guard the “free exercise of religion.” Even a cursory reading of this Amendment indicates tension and the need to balance prohibiting the Congress from establishing a specific religion with the protection of individual citizens’ free exercise of religious beliefs.

Who Controls Our Institutions?

Jul 29th, 2023 | By

As I have summarized many times on Issues in Perspective, God has created three primary institutions—the family, the state and the church. Each has stewardship responsibilities before Him and the functioning of each according to His standards provides stability and order. To reject these standards is to foster disorder and dysfunction. American society today is experiencing growing disorder and dysfunction. It is therefore wise to investigate who controls and sets the respective agendas for these institutions.

“Shiny Happy People”: Authority, Control And The Absence Of Grace

Jul 22nd, 2023 | By

I grew up in the late 1950s and was in high school in the early 1960s. I was immersed in the culture of Protestant fundamentalism. My parents loved the Lord but were also immersed in that culture. In my family, Christianity was defined by a series of rigid rules. Behavior, dress and entertainment were all regulated by our church. I heard little about an intimate, personal walk with Jesus Christ. Instead, our youth group leader directed us to destroy any rock and roll records, burn all playing cards in the house and never go to a Hollywood movie, to a dance or to plays in a theater. We were taught not to even hold hands with members of the opposite sex. As I progressed in high school I became more and more uncomfortable with my parent’s faith. In college, I rebelled against it, rejecting their faith and their church.