It appears that I was not the only one who took issue with Ross Douthat's characterization of the role of religion in the American South. Professor David Chappell (no relation!), whose work Douthat cited, has penned a comment correcting the record and explaining how Douthat completely misunderstood the points Chappell was making. Here is the link.
Forget about the future of the Catholic academy! The really great news is that Maryland's blue crab population is rebounding. Yummy!!!
According to a report in The Hill, President Obama recently said that the controversy surrounding the HHS mandates was like being in a "time machine."
He went on: "Republicans in Congress were going so far as to say an employer should be able to have a say in the health care decisions of its female employees. You know, for a party that prides itself on being rabidly anti-regulations of almost any kind, for folks who claim to believe in freedom from government interference and meddling, it doesn’t seem to bother them when it comes to a woman’s health."
Commenting on the General Election campaign of 1935, Churchill wrote: "Neither side usually has much to be proud of at election times."
I think we can call use some good news about the Church, after a rough couple of weeks from the assessment of the LCWR to Bishop Jenky’s histrionic comparisons to the dark canonical warnings coming from Madison. Well, it is not really “news” but it is very good. I want to take a moment to look at the state of Catholic higher education at this moment in our history.
At Politico's "Arena," they are discussing whether Richard Grennell's resignation from the Romney campaign will "bite" the Romney campaign.
As you probably know by now, Romney hired Grennell to be his foreign policy spokesman. As you also know, conservative religious right figures like Tony Perkins objected: Grennell is not only openly gay, but when serving at the UN during the Bush Administration, he tried to have his partner listed in the UN staff directory as a spouse. Although he was given a brief that had nothing to do with same-sex marriage - he was not appointed to be spokesman for HHS-related issues or for the DOJ - such heresy was enough to raise the ire of the religious right.
Those who traffic in the politics of fear, always need to create a sense of crisis, either impending or already begun, to justify harsh measures. Over at the New Republic this morning, Timothy Noah explodes the myth that our nation faces an immigration crisis.
Stop what you are doing. Tell your boss you must, absolutely must, run to your local, independent bookstore and buy Brad Gregory’s “The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society.” This is the best and most important book I have read in a decade, apart from those by Mark, Matthew, Luke & John, of course.
I know, you're probably thinking - dog bites man. But even I was shocked to find Sean Hannity hosting Geert Wilders - and promoting his book - on his Fox News show last night. Wilders is the Dutch nativist who believes Islam is at war with the West - not, some Islamicists, mind you, but Islam per se.
This man is beneath contempt, a bigot pure and simple. Why anyone would want to highlight his work or his person is beyond me. But, then, I am not a Fox News programmer.
Over at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Steve Schneck, director of Catholic University's Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies, looks at the how the Ryan budget, and some of the defenses of it, misconstrue the Church's teaching not only on subsidiarity but on distributive justice, and how the two are necessarily related. Good stuff.
Over at The New Republic, John Gray looks at the problem of scientism as it relates to finding some basis for generating a public morality, in his review of a new book by Jonathan Haidt. This review touches on something I have discussed before, the danger that while we can all take some measure of joy at the advances and achievements of science, we cannot, and ought not, assume that it can provide us with a metaphysics or a morality, both of which require moving beyond the scientific method. Gray;s essay is well worth a read.