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Questions From the Headlines

When headline writers use questions, Burt Likko answers them. Briefly, completely, and unabashedly expressing his own opinion. Ten questions about politics, the business of news, news of business, and grizzly bears.

The Development of Sex, Marriage, and Nature in Christian Thought

“To have intercourse without intending children is to violate nature, which we must take as our teacher.”  – Clement of Alexandria Throughout many traditions of Christian thought, theologians have taken nature, by which they’ve generally meant human nature, as an instructor of moral norms.  It would be a mistake to read “nature” here as simply…

A Terrible Starting Point

From today’s Boston Herald (via memeorandum): The Tsarnaev family, including the suspected terrorists and their parents, benefited from more than $100,000 in taxpayer-funded assistance — a bonanza ranging from cash and food stamps to Section 8 housing from 2002 to 2012, the Herald has learned. It’ll be a hard press to find a better example of…

On Ross Douthat, More Children, and Less Decadence

Decadence: “moral or cultural decline as characterized by excessive indulgence in pleasure or luxury”—Oxford English Dictionary Online.  Douthat tries to rebut critics of his Sunday column. The original article is full of dubious claims and ill-considered connections, as is Douthat’s prerogative as a newspaper columnist. But in following up on his earlier meditations on modernity…

Visiting Heaven

Eban Alexander has journeyed to heaven and returned to tell the tale. In addition to writing an upcoming book, he chose to publish his private revelation in the pages of Newsweek. He’s a neurosurgeon, so he’s credible, and we should believe his self-described logical and scientific account of what he experienced. Except he doesn’t proceed…

Human Sexuality and Religious Norms

Decades after the sexual revolution, many religious conservatives remain fiercely committed to preaching, if not always living, an absolute and absolutist understanding of human sexuality. Mainstream biologists, psychologists and sociologists, building on the science of evolution and other modern advancements of understanding, have helped redefine the meaning of normal when it comes to sex, moving…

The Rise of the Wonky Left

~by Conor P. Williams I. What’s wrong? Remember back, if you can, to January 2009. It seemed to be a completely untainted transformational moment. To hear the Beltway chatter, this was the final unraveling of the Reagan Era and the dawning of a new progressive movement that could redeem the Bush Administration’s multifarious failures. Four…

Against Traditional Morality

by James Hanley Guest author: James Hanley. Tom Van Dyke has written a very thoughtful post about the role of traditional morality in law. There are various points at which we could quibble with his argument, but here I offer a direct rebuttal of his support for traditional morality as a basis of law, arguing…