Last Sunday, in New York City, the Jewish Leadership Conference held its “Inaugural Conference on Jews and Conservatism.” The one-day event attracted some 400 participants from around the country and from Canada, Mexico, and Israel.
Last week in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the Supreme Court threaded the needle. Whether the thread will hold is uncertain. Justice Anthony Kennedy’s narrowly crafted majority opinion protected religious liberty without impairing gay rights.
Masters of the art teach that subtlety, indirection, and on occasion mis-direction are crucial to successful diplomacy...
Among their many aspirations for his presidency, Barack Obama’s admirers nurse a persistent hope that he might be able to end the culture wars...
On the way to the airport in Atlanta last week, I stumbled upon a radio debate between Michael Medved and Christopher Hitchens on the topic of Hitchens’ latest book - namely, whether or not religion poisons everything...
Progressives are fond of saying that they stand for empathy and compromise, and are quick to blame conservatives for polarizing our politics. Their feverish reaction last week to the Supreme Court’s thoughtful 5-4 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. shows that progressives could use more of the virtues they claim as their own.
This week came news that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant burned alive a Jordanian pilot in a metal cage. Thursday morning's National Prayer Breakfast speech represented the first sign that President Obama is prepared to acknowledge a connection between Islam and the violence -- beheadings, mass murders, rape, human slavery, state sponsorship of terrorism, and military conquest -- jihadists are perpetrating in Muhammad’s name.
A few years ago on a lazy Friday afternoon, my friend Ronit Vardi—a veteran journalist and longtime resident of this frenetic city perched between the Mediterranean and the Middle East—looked askance when I told her that I was headed to Jerusalem to teach a seminar on Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.
Many progressives think that independence from religious belief is a crucial source of the power of human rights. According to many conservatives, the spurning of faith reflects a dangerous delusion inscribed in human rights doctrine. Amid the bad blood and casual vituperation that do daily damage to American politics, correcting the error common to the left and right that human rights are one thing and religion entirely another might contribute to rebuilding common ground.
More than 140 years after Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species, his theory of evolution is still generating controversy. Although Darwinism is championed by the majority of the scientific community, some have claimed that Darwin's theory is bad science and have put forward their own, even more controversial theories. What should we make of these arguments? Is one such theory, known as Intelligent Design, merely creationism by another name, or is it a legitimate scientific alternative to Darwinism?
Did life on earth unfold by chance or by design? According to the natural sciences and Darwin's theory of evolution, it was by chance. According to the Judeo-Christian tradition, it was by divine design. On this crucial question, science and religion appear to be irreconcilable. But are they? Does Darwinism encourage atheism? Must Christians be anti-Darwin?
The controversy sparked by the Sept. 15, 2009, publication of the Report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, otherwise known as the Goldstone Report, may appear to exclusively concern the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. . . .
Defeated at nearly every level in the 2008 elections, Republicans were supposed to be using the current four-year stretch in purgatory to rethink the issues, redefine themselves as a party, and (most of all) select a charismatic leader to get them back in the game...
We asked 31 prominent American Jews to respond to this statement: The open conflict between the Obama administration and the government of Benjamin Netanyahu has created tensions between the United States and Israel of a kind not seen since the days of the administration of the first President Bush...
Since last month when government officials at all levels began to direct Americans to practice social distancing, avoid events involving more than 10 people, stay at home, and shelter in place, public gatherings have been discontinued without much fuss or fanfare. Bars and restaurants, theaters and concerts halls, and even professional sports quickly and quietly closed their doors, turned off their lights, and sent employees home for the duration.
Admirers and critics have two diametrically opposed views of President George W. Bush. The admirers see a compassionate conservative at home and defender of the nation against terrorism and rogue states abroad. Critics see a radical conservative at home who led the nation into a destructive and unnecessary war abroad. Why do conservatives and liberals so often seem to be describing two different men when discussing President George W. Bush? Is it possible to find any common ground on which view of President Bush is closer to the truth?
Is Saudi Arabia an ally or an adversary? Saudi Arabia remains an autocratic monarchy, where the rights of women and the press are severely restricted. Saudi money is a principal source of funding for the Wahhabi sect, which promotes a militant form of Islam throughout the Muslim world. Osama bin Laden and fifteen of the nineteen participants in the attacks of September 11 came from Saudi Arabia. And yet, for more than 50 years, the United States has treated Saudi Arabia as an ally. Why? What role have Saudi oil and Saudi oil money played in shaping our relationship? Is it time to recognize that Saudi Arabia may threaten American national interests? If so, what should U.S. policy toward Saudi Arabia be?
The year will be remembered as a difficult one for the Catholic Church in America. Sex abuse scandals and criticism of the church's response to those scandals dominated the headlines for months. Sexual abuse is not the only subject creating controversy within Catholic circles. Other divisive matters include the role of women within the church, gay priests, and the relation of American bishops to the Vatican. Is the Catholic Church in danger of losing its constituency in America? Are substantial reforms in the structure and teachings of the Catholic Church necessary? Or are reforms what got the church in trouble in the first place?
In 1978, the Polish cardinal Karol Wojtyla was elected to the papacy of the Catholic Church, taking the name John Paul II. In the twenty-four years since, Pope John Paul II has traveled more widely and held audiences for more people than any other pope in history. But beyond his long service and high profile, how will John Paul II be remembered? Will he be remembered more for his political impact—many say that he played a crucial role in the fall of communism in Eastern Europe—or for his ecclesiastical work? Just how well has John Paul II prepared the Catholic Church for the twenty-first century?
The First Amendment of the Constitution declares in part that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." What did this amendment mean to the founders who wrote it? Did they intend to establish an inviolate "wall of separation between church and state"? Or was their intent instead to merely preserve religious freedom and prevent the establishment of a national religion?