Winning the Long Defeat

By |2018-11-28T21:55:23-05:00November 28th, 2018|

Actually I am a Christian, and indeed a Roman Catholic, so that I do not expect “history” to be anything but a “long defeat”—though it contains… some samples or glimpses of final victory. – J.R.R. Tolkien Together through ages of the world we have fought the long defeat. – Galadriel My kingdom is not of this [...]

Madison’s “Memorial and Remonstrance”: A Jewel of Republican Rhetoric

By |2019-02-25T14:35:16-05:00October 29th, 2018|

The document entitled “To the Honorable the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia, A Memorial and Remonstrance” is a jewel of republican rhetoric.[1] Nor has this choice example of American eloquence gone without notice. And yet, compared to the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address, it has remained obscure—more often quarried for stately [...]

The “Masterpiece” Decision: Half a Cake Is Better Than None

By |2018-06-08T22:53:34-05:00June 6th, 2018|

Though Masterpiece is a decision upholding religious liberty, the Supreme Court’s ruling makes it clear that free speech about homosexuality does not enjoy broad protections… In the first of two momentous cases on its docket as to whether some Americans can be left alone as dissenters from the punishing orthodoxies of the progressive society and [...]

Not One of Us: Immigration, Equality, & the Common Good

By |2019-04-16T16:28:18-05:00January 16th, 2018|

God unequally bestows gifts to us that are to be used for the common good. The wise can guide others; the well-organized can administer businesses that provide employment; the strong can protect the weak. With such an understanding, equality and a hierarchical social structure are not incompatible, but complement each other… My three children [...]

Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom

By |2019-03-26T14:35:46-05:00January 16th, 2018|

Editor’s Note: Thomas Jefferson considered his authorship of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom one of his three greatest accomplishments; he dictated that his gravestone should acknowledge this fact next to his authorship of the Declaration of Independence and his founding of the University of Virginia. Drafted in 1777, the statute was  first introduced into [...]

The Reformation & the Secularization of America

By |2018-12-21T14:56:40-05:00November 18th, 2017|

The “separation of church and state” was intended in part to prevent the sorts of religious conflicts that had racked Europe in previous centuries. Nevertheless, it was only a matter of time before the ambiguity of this figure of speech would be exploited… During her confirmation hearing last September, Notre Dame law professor, Amy Coney [...]

Should Religious Symbols Be Banned on Public Lands?

By |2018-06-21T20:37:27-05:00November 7th, 2017|

The Supreme Court’s decisions on “public displays” of religion have not been as categorical as its decisions on, for instance, school prayer… Is a long-standing commemorative cross on public land socially divisive and a governmental endorsement of religion? Or, to the contrary, is a constitutional challenge to that cross an act of gratuitous social divisiveness? Recently, [...]

Religious Liberty Wins Again in the Supreme Court

By |2018-01-22T09:41:28-05:00July 4th, 2017|

In favor of Trinity Lutheran, the Supreme Court ruled that a government program cannot require a church “to renounce its religious character in order to participate in an otherwise generally available public benefit program for which it is fully qualified…” In its decision in Trinity Lutheran v. Comer this week, the Supreme Court took [...]

The Son Also Rises in the East: Faith & Freedom in China

By |2019-01-07T14:12:12-05:00April 29th, 2017|

President Xi has initiated a campaign of national renewal based on a return to China’s traditional values. But at the same time, an astonishingly large number of ordinary Chinese people are turning to Christianity… In a recent essay for the Catholic Thing, Mary Eberstadt focuses on reasons for hope and cheerfulness in the midst of [...]

Religious Persecution in the West: How Bad Will it Get?

By |2016-09-22T22:20:07-05:00September 22nd, 2016|

A poignant passage in Immaculée Ilibagiza’s book Left to Tell recounts how her father, a proud and prominent Tutsi in their village, resisted leaving Rwanda in the spring of 1994, shortly before the genocide. The signs of brewing violence were becoming increasingly obvious, but Ilibagiza’s father was determined to be a sign of hope [...]

Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments

By |2016-07-15T23:11:41-05:00June 24th, 2016|

Editor’s Note: On June 20, 1785, as a member of the Virginia legislature, James Madison authored the following essay. It was meant to serve as a petition expressing opposition to the idea that Virginia’s citizens should be taxed to support the state’s clergymen—a proposal that Patrick Henry had put forward. The success of Madison’s petition, which [...]

Naked in the Public Square

By |2016-06-20T21:14:35-05:00June 20th, 2016|

The “Naked Public Square” is Clothed—with Intolerance When Richard John Neuhaus published The Naked Public Square in 1988, his book captured the imagination of a generation of religious conservatives. Neuhaus expressed the concerns of millions of Christians in particular, who saw public life being stripped of religious symbols and content. He went on to [...]

Madison’s “Memorial and Remonstrance”: A Jewel of Republican Rhetoric

By |2019-03-16T10:12:54-05:00June 7th, 2013|

The document entitled “To the Honorable the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia, A Memorial and Remonstrance” is a jewel of republican rhetoric.[1] Nor has this choice example of American eloquence gone without notice. And yet, compared to the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address, it has remained obscure—more often quarried for [...]