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On Denigrating America

OBAMA (123RF), 6886949_sConservative media regularly criticize President Obama for denying American exceptionalism, for claiming the country needs to be “transformed,” and for apologizing for America. They also continue to probe why he feels as he does about this country. Yet they ignore a question that is in some ways even more interesting—Why does his denigration of America resonate with so many Americans?

There is nothing wrong with asking whether the President’s perspective derives from his exposure to socialist theory, his association with Leftists, the influence of his father’s anti-colonialism, or some combination of these.… Read More


Don’t Raise The Debt Ceiling- LOWER It!

FranklinDoes the debt ceiling debate seem familiar? It should. From the Carter administration to the Obama administration the debt ceiling has been raised 39 times. Each time the increase was opposed but then passed by the opposition party.

It’s like a political variation on the silent movie drama in which the poor damsel says, “I can’t pay the rent,” the villainous landlord demands, “You must pay the rent,” and the young hero declares, “I’ll pay the rent.” In the political version, the parties take turns playing the villain.… Read More


Have You Forgiven Yourself Lately?

forgive-yo-selfI don’t know about you, but I’m uncomfortable with the modern perspective on forgiveness. Part of the problem is that I am from a different age, but I don’t offer that as an excuse. It could simply mean that I am rooted in the past and fearful of progress.

Before addressing that possibility, let me explain what I mean by the modern perspective on forgiveness. These quotations will serve that purpose:

If you decide there is nothing to forgive yourself for, you are free to put away shame and guilt and move forward.… Read More


The Race Conversation

Stereotype-mePresident Obama’s speech following the Zimmerman verdict has received considerable criticism. Many say he should have refrained from commenting on the matter—both in 2012 when he said “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin” and in his 2013 updating of the remark, “Trayvon could have been me 35 years ago.” On the other hand, Governor Mike Huckabee found no fault with the President addressing the issue, but argued that he failed to offer leadership.… Read More


Lessons From The Zimmerman Case

zimmermanIt seems that everyone with a computer or a cell phone is weighing in on the George Zimmerman verdict. The number of themes is quite limited, however. Justice was done, justice was not done; Zimmerman simply defended himself, Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin; racism was a factor, racism was not a factor.

The focus of this essay is very different and, I hope, more useful. It is on what those of us who were not involved in the case can learn from it.… Read More


Beware Of Positive Stereotypes Too

All stereotypes are based on the false notion that every member of a group necessarily shares the characteristics of all the others in that group. The most familiar stereotypes are the negative ones that plagued earlier generations: for example, “Italians are violent,” Blacks are lazy,” “Jews are greedy,” and “Poles are stupid.” Such negative stereotypes deny human individuality and malign whole groups of people for no good reason.… Read More


How Times Have Changed

waltonsA recently passed bill prohibits the distribution of pro-homosexuality information to minors. More specifically, it bans

“the dissemination of information that aims to induce minors to develop non-traditional sexual attitudes, to see non-traditional sexual relationships as attractive, to develop the distorted notion that traditional and non-traditional sexual relationships possess the same value, or the dissemination of information on non-traditional sexual relationships that arouses interest in such relationships.”

Which of our fifty states would you guess took this action?… Read More


American Catholics And Social Justice

Leo-XIII“Social justice” is at the center of most political activism in contemporary America. It has provided arguments for the expansion of entitlement programs, for making the affluent “pay their fair share,” and more generally for “redistributing wealth.” It has also become the rallying cry for demonstrations and encampments such as Occupy Wall Street. Liberals tend to see social justice as an affirmation of human rights and the biblical command to love one’s neighbor; conservatives tend to regard it as a Marxist notion that is inimical both to Christian values and the democratic tradition.… Read More


The Catholic Church And Same-Sex Marriage

ssmAs of January 2013, same-sex marriage was legal in nine states and the District of Columbia, as well as in two sovereign Native American tribes. Moreover, President Obama and Vice President Biden have declared their support for such marriages, as have two former presidents and two former vice presidents.

Many other high-ranking government officials reportedly share their view. The count so far is 51 governors and former governors, 29 current and former attorneys general, 60 current and former U.S.… Read More


The Key To Cutting Government Spending

United_States_CapitolIf a rowboat springs a leak and is fast filling with water, the first step is to stop the leak. Then the water can be baled out. A similar approach is necessary with America’s economy. For a very long time, excessive spending (the leak) has caused mounting national debt (the rising water that threatens to sink us). The first step in recovery is therefore to curtail government spending.… Read More