The Emotional State Of American Civilization

May 27th, 2023 | By

The conservative communist David Brooks recently made a series of poignant observations about the emotional state of America at this point in the 21st century: “One well-established finding of social science research is that conservatives report being happier than liberals. Over the years, researchers have come up with a bunch of theories to explain this phenomenon. The first explanation is that conservatives are more likely to take part in the activities that are linked to personal happiness—like being married and actively participating in a religious community. The second explanation is that of course conservatives are happier; they are by definition more satisfied with the established order of things. The third explanation, related to the second, is that on personality tests liberals tend to score higher on openness to experience but also higher on neuroticism.

How Same-Sex Marriage Has Changed America

May 20th, 2023 | By

On 26 June 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that the 14th Amendment requires that all states license marriages between same-sex couples and recognize all marriages that were lawfully performed out of state. We have the ability to now evaluate the effects of this decision over the last eight years. Indeed, Matthew Schmitz, editor of Compact, has done just that. In an important article in First Things, Schmitz itemizes several ways that this decision has changed America.

The Cost Of The Decline Of Institutions And Character

May 13th, 2023 | By

As I have argued many times in Issues in Perspective, God has created three primary institutions, each with clear stewardship responsibilities: The family, the state and the church. Our God is a God of order and structure. Disorder, chaos and dysfunction result from not following His moral law and His revelation to us in His Word. God created humanity to live in community submitting to Him and to the institutions He has created. With the accommodation to postmodern autonomy, commitment to God and to His institutions is in serious decline. Disorder, dysfunction and chaos are the rule. In this edition of Issues, I want to focus on four consequences of this disorder.

“Woke” Intolerance At Stanford Law School

May 6th, 2023 | By

We have all heard the term “woke.” It is part of our cultural dialogue. With an obvious difference in emphasis, both the left and the right along the political spectrum use the term. But, what exactly does “woke” mean in American civilization? Ross Douthat has perhaps given the best summary of the power and appeal of “wokeness.” All Americans treasure equality and liberty; we seek to transform these ideals into living reality within our culture. But there remain limits, disappointments and defeats—and terrible disparities persist.

American Education And The Family

Apr 15th, 2023 | By

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 stipulates the vital importance of parents in educating children: There is to be a formal structure where children are taught facts, ethical standards and doctrinal truth. They are also to model these virtues, values and standards before their children. Parents are thus central in the moral and spiritual formation of their children. In America, parents, the church and the school should be cooperative and supportive in accomplishing this goal of education. But moral and spiritual formation has been replaced by indoctrination and the pursuit of personal autonomy. It is difficult to be optimistic about the future of public education in the US. Christian parents need to take seriously their responsibility before God in educating their children.

Teenage Girls And Men In Crisis

Apr 1st, 2023 | By

In 1963 Betty Friedan published her bombshell, The Feminine Mystique, which argued, among other things, that traditional gender roles had compartmentalized women as homemakers—to their detriment. Arguably, Friedan’s book was the manifesto of the feminist revolution. Laws and cultural norms changed as equal treatment of and more professional opportunities for women increased—many changes which were welcomed and long overdue. But what has been the effect of all of this on men and women? Has it all been positive?

The American Panacea Of Sports Betting

Mar 25th, 2023 | By

Sports’ betting, illegal outside Nevada for decades, is all the rage now. The sports gambling industry’s explosion is the outcome of a Supreme Court decision in 2018, Murphy v. NCAA. In that decision a 7-to-2 majority ruled that a law passed by Congress and signed by George H.W. Bush in 1992, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, violated the 10th Amendment’s anti-commandeering principle. The law barred sports gambling in states that did not already allow it.

The Webb Telescope And The Grandeur Of God’s Universe

Mar 18th, 2023 | By

For most of human history, the universe was considered timeless and unchanging; no longer. At the Space Telescope Science Institute, on the Johns Hopkins University campus, a constant torrent of data pours in from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. Launched 13 months ago, Webb is orbiting 940,000 miles above the earth.

Social Media, Branding And Prince Harry

Mar 11th, 2023 | By

The Social Media phenomenon is staggering in its cultural impact. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and other media forums dominate the time, the energy and the psychology of so many! For many teens, life without social media is unimaginable. When this phenomenon began, only a few years ago, no one envisioned how powerful it would become. Social media is not evil, per se, but it can be both enslaving and harmful. I am reminded of the Apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 6:12: “’All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful’ for me, but I will not be dominated by anything.” [ESV]

Roe v. Wade 50 Years Later: A Few Reflections

Feb 18th, 2023 | By

The 1973 Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, was a watershed in judicial history. The 7-2 decision established the right of a woman to abort her baby up to the point of viability, usually understood to be during the first trimester of the pregnancy. The Court also permitted other situations where an abortion could occur within the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. The result was that America had one of the most liberal abortion standards in the world. Abortion therefore has been at the center of the culture war battles since 1973.