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The New York Times: The arguments on Facebook regarding Hillary Rodham Clinton’s announcement that she was running for president began politely at first but slowly grew more vitriolic with each back and forth.
The New York Times: We all know people who come to politics with some variation on this attitude: I don’t much like the Republicans/Democrats, but I know the other side is flat-out evil. In fact, maybe we’re those people ourselves …
Intermarkets: Earlier this year, Intermarkets teamed up with the data scientists at SimilarWeb to append the Drudge Report’s referral traffic, and its impact on advertising and other publishers. Conclusion: Drudge is a rare, unique premium publisher driving hundreds of millions of external visits each month.
Crux (AP): Cary Gordon isn’t a political operative, a top dollar donor or an elected official. But that hasn’t stopped Jeb Bush’s team from already reaching out as the 2016 Republican presidential campaign revs up in Iowa.
USA Today: Many people in developing countries think the Internet has a positive influence on education and a negative influence on morality, according to a report released Thursday from the Pew Research Center.
The Washington Post: Our culture is risking a new, unrelenting pursuit of justice far more “Puritanical” than the Puritans. The effect of being put in the stocks generally stopped at city limits. Modern public shaming campaigns, however, can take on a global character.
Aleteia: Writing in the English newspaper The Guardian, Lucy Mangan tells of people reacting to her raising money for a home for battered women by demanding, “Why don’t these women just leave?” The obvious answer is that when you’ve been beaten for a long time and psychologically broken down, and have no resources, and are scared for yourself and your children’s safety, and fear you’ll be killed, and most to the point have nowhere to go if you do leave, you can’t.
Public Discourse: Lincoln’s second inaugural address, 150 years old today, is as pertinent as ever. It reminds us that we must resist the poisonous temptation to see those with whom we disagree as bitter enemies even as we vigorously defend the moral truths that ought to guide our public life.
Deseret News: Too often, religion is considered out-of-bounds for journalism, in large part because it is a sensitive subject that can easily be portrayed incorrectly.
The New York Times: To liberals, the claim that same-sex marriage is socially harmful is uninformed at best (granting same-sex rights actually appears to improve a country’s gross domestic product) and shameless fear-mongering at worst. Either way, liberals contend that opponents of same-sex marriage are inventing victims that they don’t actually see. But the truth is more complicated.
The Washington Examiner: Despite a glut of media sites vying for clicks in the Internet marketplace, two religious entrepreneurs believe there is a need for an online news source that provides a place for conservatism’s major factions to come together.
First Things: Newsweek, in an article by Kurt Eichenwald, says that Christians who regard homosexual practice as sin (or who—horror!—favor prayer in public school) “are God’s frauds, cafeteria Christians,” “hypocrites,” “Biblical illiterates,” “fundamentalists and political opportunists,” and “Pharisees.” To support his slurs, Eichenwald first tries to undermine reliance on Scripture as a supreme authority for moral discernment and then to show how Christians, oblivious to the problems with biblical inspiration, ignore its clear teaching.
Pew Research: This year, the “Millennial” generation is projected to surpass the outsized Baby Boom generation as the nation’s largest living generation, according to the population projections released by the U.S. Census Bureau last month. Millennials (whom we define as between ages 18 to 34 in 2015) are projected to number 75.3 million, surpassing the projected 74.9 million Boomers (ages 51 to 69). The Gen X population (ages 35 to 50 in 2015) is projected to outnumber the Boomers by 2028.
Christianity Today: After listening to several dark reviews of 2014—recapped news of the beheadings in Iraq, the Ebola epidemic, racial strife, airplanes crashed or missing, ongoing violence in Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, and several African countries—it’s no wonder we’re glad to put last year behind us. Amid all the fear and anxiety, where can we find some good news?
Cardus: The language of prudence is particularly rare in evangelical discussions about how best to respond to the perceived decline in influence and stature that has determined their public discourse for (at least) the past decade. Evangelicals are, it is now commonly said, in “exile”—or at least we are now aware of the exile that we have always been in.
Public Discourse: Instead of simply reacting to modern liberalism’s advances, it’s time for conservatives to consider what their own fundamental transformation of America would look like.
The Washington Post: As someone who has spent almost the entirety of the last decade writing online, I’ve dedicated vast amounts of time trying to find a way to make the comments section of The Fix the sort of edifying conversation I always imagined it could be. And I am here to report that, at least when it comes to politics, comments section are not now (and likely won’t be any time soon) anywhere close to that ideal. In fact, eliminating comments entirely — a prospect I have always blanched at — may well be the best thing that could happen for the average reader of political news.
The Washington Post: Peggy Young didn’t want to become a national icon for pregnant workers. She never imagined she would be at the center of a Supreme Court case that has united every major women’s rights organization on the left with major anti-abortion rights groups on the right.
The Washington Post: According to pundits, the Democratic Party overplayed the “war on women” narrative in the 2014 midterm election, and this helped the GOP win key Senate and gubernatorial races, including in states carried easily by Obama in 2012. In that election, the birth control mandate in the Affordable Care Act — a crucial aspect of the war on women rhetoric — was hotly debated.
Public Discourse: If we want to be coherent when addressing poverty, our concerns can’t be rooted in emotivist or relativistic accounts of who human beings are. They must be founded on recognition of each person’s freedom, rationality, and dignity.
First Things: I’m never more of a partisan than on election night. All my misgivings about the Republican Party dissolve and I become like a sports fan tabulating my team’s essential statistics. Then Wednesday arrives, and the spasm of partisan enthusiasm fades into a renewed realism.
Reformedish: Republican or Democrat, whoever did or didn’t win in your district, whatever idiotic ballot proposals did or didn’t pass, you as a Christian have at least one clear command about how to respond to the midterm elections: pray for whoever’s coming in.
Wall Street Journal: A West Virginia University freshman who did most of her campaigning out of her dorm room became the youngest state lawmaker in the nation Tuesday.
The Wall Street Journal (Access via Google): President Obama is famous for proclaiming a “pivot” to a new issue—to the economy, to jobs, to Asia. By my count he has announced more than 20 pivots during his presidency, invariably to matters that bring political benefits and away from those that don’t.
The Federalist: My brother-in-law used to have this quote in his email signature: “Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives. William A. Foster – USMC.”
The New York Times: “The thing that really sticks out with me,” Dr. Arsenault said, “is that in the culture wars, the rhetoric is acerbic on both sides. On the humanist side, there’s this tendency to view people of faith as not rational. And David is clearly rational. He’s just looked at the same evidence as me and come to a different conclusion.”
The Federalist: The perverted habit of glorifying people like Mumia Abu-Jamal has been part of tedious campus “radicalism” for the past 45 years. Still, I can’t get too worked up over the fact that a bunch of twits at Goddard College invited a murderer to their school. For one, these sorts of incidents help me compile a list of schools for my kids to avoid.
Christianity Today: Though we love the Bible, we evangelicals in particular have often treated verses as if they stand alone, forgetting that the story in which they appear speaks just as much as the verses themselves. Form speaks, as well as content.
Public Discourse: It is impossible to make a political argument without also making a moral claim. Demanding tolerance often functions as a way to evade robust discourse about the merits of one’s principles.
Ricochet: Persuasion used to matter in politics. A good politician was someone with the inclination — and the skill — to convince people who weren’t among his supporters to endorse his preferred policy or legislation.
The Christian Post: Churches throughout the country saw a significant surge in attendance Sunday, as 27,000 congregations reached out to their communities as part of the National Back to Church Sunday initiative in an effort to draw more people back into the pews.
First Things: “Atheism may have turned a corner,” writes Tom Roston at Quartz. He’s referring to Sam Harris’s latest, Waking Up, subtitled “A Guide to Spirituality without Religion.”
Aleteia: OMG! A series of studies has concluded that texting isn’t 2 blame for poor spelling or grammar skills. Is this gr8 news for teens and teachers alike, or does it still fly in the face of conventional wisdom?
Public Discourse: I have never eaten at Chick-fil-A, nor do I plan to. I keep kosher, and as far as I know, there are still no kosher Chick-fil-As—but with a kosher Dunkin’ Donuts in Teaneck, NJ, and a kosher McDonald’s in Jerusalem, perhaps a kosher Chick-fil-A in the Upper West Side may not be too far off. Still, when I heard about Mr. Cathy’s death, my attention was piqued by one piece of news: all of Chick-fil-A’s locations are closed on Sundays.
The Christian Post: Contrary to popular opinion and previous research, the Christian Right was not responsible for people leaving their church, a new study finds.
The Federalist: As kids head back to school this fall, parents in Arizona and Florida are able to customize their experience thanks to an innovative tool: education savings accounts. After decades of government centralization of education, parent-controlled ESAs are ushering in a new era of choice and accountability in education.
The Gospel Coalition: In the midst of the high-octane cultural wars of the last several years—particularly the debate over homosexual marriage—evangelical Christians have been slapped with all sorts of pejorative labels. Words such as bigoted, arrogant, exclusive, dogmatic, and homophobic are just a few.
The New York Times: We all know what makes for good character in soldiers. We’ve seen the movies about heroes who display courage, loyalty and coolness under fire. But what about somebody who sits in front of a keyboard all day? Is it possible to display and cultivate character if you are just an information age office jockey, alone with a memo or your computer?
Christianity Today: Hospitality is a command and practice throughout Scripture, it’s a tool Jesus used and a ministry he received. As coffee shop employees create hospitable spaces, they live out part of their calling as image bearers.
The Federalist: That is, in a sea of social liberalism dripping off televisions screens into Americans’ homes, how can Americans reclaim a strong sense of faith, fidelity, and family in pop culture? Where can we locate socially conservative principles—which used to be American principles, supported across ideological lines—in a deluge of cultural relativism?
The Federalist: This year’s young adult summer blockbuster opens onto a community disturbingly similar to our own—at first glance, it appears the whole town has merely moved onto the local college campus.
The Federalist: St. Augustine called it cruel optimism: our desire to comfort ourselves with silver-lined happy thoughts about life. Francis Spufford had an excellent description of it in his book, “Unapologetic.” A few years ago, atheist organizations in the United Kingdom ran a bus advertisement campaign. The atheist bus read: “There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”
The Washington Post: Last week I blogged about the case of Steven Salaita, an academic who was offered a lateral position at the University of Illinois only to have the offer rescinded, apparently due to Salaita’s penchant for vitriolic tweets about Israel. The University’s action have prompted a debate over academic freedom, and whether it is ever appropriate for universities to consider a professor’s comments outside of class.
The Washington Post: How should faculty hiring committees or university administration view Twitter? Should a professor’s intemperate tweets affect his or her job security? Is tweeting only safe for those of us with tenure? These questions are raised by the decision of the University of Illinois to rescind a job offer to a lateral faculty candidate, Steven Salaita.
The Christian Post: Others have noted the “Jesus-is-your-boyfriend” style worship songs clogging the airwaves of contemporary Christian radio and Sunday morning worship sets lack depth and reverence to the Almighty. They’re right. But there’s an even bigger problem when contemporary Christian songs downplay, even scold Christian’s public witness for the sake of couch-potato Christianity.
Public Discourse: It’s in seeking Jesus Christ with all our hearts that culture is built and society is renewed. It’s in prayer, the sacraments, changing diapers, balancing budgets, preaching homilies, loving a spouse, forgiving and seeking forgiveness—all in the spirit of charity—that, brick by brick, we bring about the kingdom of God. Adapted from an address delivered August 6th at the Archdiocese of Toronto’s “Faith in the Public Square” symposium.
Politico: You might think that America would be fertile ground for the rise of atheism. After all, the United States is the most scientifically advanced society in human existence, and as far as atheism has a history—and it is an oddly uncharted one—it is popularly believed to be of slow, steady scientific advance.
The Federalist: Churchgoing kids thought the “religious” (Biblical) stories sounded realistic, while secular kids called them fiction. Perhaps most interesting were the reactions to “fantastical” stories. The secular kids roundly rejected these as fiction, while religious kids were less sure. Is magic possible? How about talking animals? Religious kids were divided on those points.
The Christian Post: It’s something most Christian parents worry about: You send your kids off to college and when they come back, you find they’ve lost their faith. The prospect of this happening is why many parents nudge their kids towards Christian colleges, or at least schools with a strong Christian presence on campus.
The Christian Post: Touting a new study, some reporters and bloggers claimed that children raised in religious homes have difficulty telling the difference between fact and fiction. The study, however, does not justify these claims.
Christian News Network: In the past, World Vision has requested that it be known as a Christian humanitarian organization, not necessarily an evangelical one, because many on staff are not from an evangelical background. But now, in the wake of the controversy, the board of the $1 billion relief group appears to be showing signs of wanting to reform.
The Federalist: Last night Dana Milbank published a piece covering another panel at Heritage. It’s headlined “Heritage’s ugly Benghazi panel,” and it’s all about how a peaceful Muslim woman named Saba Ahmed was horribly victimized by bigoted anti-terrorism extremists. Dana Milbank serially exaggerates or distorts what he writes about.
The Christian Post: But fear not, dear Christian. Like an athlete out of shape in the off-season layoff, it may take awhile for American Christians to awaken from our ‘most-favored-religion-status’ we have come to assume in this great country of ours, but I believe we’re up to the task. We’re not the first Christians to live ‘behind enemy lines’ nor will we be the last.
CNN: Internet use among adults was essentially at zero in 1990; 20 years later, it jumped to 80%, he said. In that same two-decade period, we saw a 25 million-person spike in those who are religiously unaffiliated.
National Review Online: The U.S. State Department has many tools at its disposal for confronting the expansionist tendencies of Vladimir Putin.
Students Merritt Burch and Anthony Vizzone, members of the Young Americans for Liberty chapter at UH-Hilo, were prevented from handing out copies of the Constitution at a recruitment event in January.
Yet another Pledge of Allegiance lawsuit has been filed, this time with New Jersey humanists challenging the requirement that each school day begin with recitation of the pledge describing the United States as one nation, “under God.”
The Federalist: “Last month a small controversy erupted when Kickstarter, the crowdsourcing site popular with upstart projects, blocked an effort to have a dramatic film about the Kermit Gosnell abortion court case funded on its site. News has come out that this …
Whither evangelicalism? These days, the cleverest answer on the inside comes from Russell Moore, the theologian who’s approaching his first anniversary as president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
In the past, Americans overwhelmingly saw the images of our Founders as pictures of greatness. Increasingly, only conservatives do. More and more Americans — the entire Left and many of those who attended universities and were indoctrinated by left-wing professors — now see rich, white, self-interested males.
Rhode Island will host a “Day of Reason” on May 1st. Governor Lincoln Chafee declared that the “Day of Reason” will happen on the same day as the Day of Prayer, thanks to lobbying from unnamed atheist groups.
AL.com: “It’s a long hashtag, but both sides of the political spectrum are hashing it out (you know you love puns) on Twitter with “say something liberal in four words” as their challenge.
M.G. Oprea at The Federalist: “Unfortunately, this is already a reality in most universities across America, where academics and university administrators alike are trying, often successfully, to discredit and prohibit certain ideas and ways of thinking. Particularly in the humanities, many ideas are no longer considered legitimate, and debate over them is de facto non-existent. In order to delegitimize researchers who are out of line, academics brand them with one of several terms that have emerged from social science theory.”