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About President Trump’s Tweets

Donald Trump’s tweets have been in the news since long before he ran for the presidency, and they have been a continuing focus of commentary since he was elected. Some of his supporters see them as harmless and amusing—just “Donald being Donald,” as they say. Other supporters believe the tweets are at best a distraction and at worst an obstacle to his agenda. His opponents see them as so outrageous that they constitute evidence of his unfitness for office.… Read More

 

Why I’m Suspicious of Polls

It’s not that pollsters are dishonest, though some may be. Nor is it that the people polled give answers they think the pollsters want or political correctness demands, though many timid folk may do so. No, the reason I am suspicious of polls is that many people don’t have carefully formed opinions of their own—the kind formed by weighing real facts and drawing logical conclusions.… Read More

 

The Alabama Republicans’ Dilemma

The special election in Alabama is over, with Democrat Doug Jones having defeated Republican Roy Moore, but the dilemma faced by Christian Republican voters remains a fascinating case study in ethical decision-making.

The contrast between the candidates’ positions on the issues could not have been sharper:

Jones supports abortion, stating “I fully support a woman’s freedom to choose what happens to her own body. That is an intensely, intensely personal decision that only she, in consultation with her god, her doctor, her partner or family [can make], that’s her choice.” Moore opposes all abortion, as well as any federal funding of its chief provider, Planned Parenthood.… Read More

 

A Teaching Moment Missed, Part II

Part I told the (true) story of Daniel, a high school junior whose correct answer to a test question was marked wrong and whose teacher refused to consider his explanation of the thought process that led to his answer. The teacher thus missed an opportunity to teach her class a valuable lesson about critical thinking.

Sadly, innumerable opportunities for teaching critical thinking are missed, even in schools that claim to be dedicated to such teaching.… Read More

 

A Teaching Moment Missed, Part I

Daniel is an 11th grade student who takes Advanced Placement courses in history, physics, English, calculus, and social studies and earns almost perfect grades. If he gets a single question wrong on a test, he is eager to learn where he went wrong so he can avoid similar errors in the future.

On a recent test in Health class, Daniel encountered this question:

The average life expectancy in the U.S.… Read More

 

An Honest Conversation About Gun Control

I’d love to have an honest conversation with a liberal about gun control, but the truth is, the liberals I know are willing to talk to me, or at me, but not with me, at least not about this subject. So I’ve decided to have an imaginary conversation. The challenge for me is to avoid making my imaginary liberal friend (LF) a straw man, so I’ll do my best to put in my liberal friend’s “mouth” only what I have heard actual liberals say on the subject.… Read More

 

Why Such Divisiveness?

We hear much lamentation about “divisiveness” today and the cause is generally identified as one political party or both. But the main cause is neither political party, though both contribute to the problem. In fact, the cause is not any person or group but instead two intertwined ideas that became embedded in mass culture decades ago. The first is that we all have a right to our opinions.… Read More

 

The Challenge of Being a Priest

Being a priest bestows the incomparable honor of changing bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, as well as the opportunity to help others understand the wisdom of Scripture, solve their spiritual and psychological problems, and find meaning in their lives.

The life of a priest, of course, has never been easy. It has required living as a celibate, foregoing the consolations of marriage and family life, receiving an income far below what one’s level of education would command, and practicing a demanding form of obedience.… Read More

 

When Prayer Becomes Propaganda

At first glance, the prayer that Father James Martin, S.J. recently published in America, the magazine he edits, seems a heartfelt petition. On closer reading, however, it is more a political statement framed as a prayer.

To be sure, it contains elements that qualify as prayer, notably a plea for God to care for the souls of the dead, the injuries of the wounded, the pain of families, and the exhaustion of caregivers, as well as for the soul of the offender.… Read More

 

Taking a Knee . . . for What?

The NFL kneeling syndrome is no longer on the front pages. It has been displaced by the hurricanes and the Las Vegas massacre. But before it is forgotten, we need to examine it closely and identify the lessons it holds for us.

Sparked by Colin Kaepernick’s example a year earlier, the kneeling behavior spread to large numbers of players and some managers and owners. The public was divided over it.… Read More