Gambling With Abortion: America’s Seared Conscience (Part 1)

Americans who care deeply about the protection of human life must face one monumental question: How can the American conscience be so apparently untroubled by the reality of abortion? That is the central question raised in an important article published in the November 2004 edition of Harper’s Magazine. In “Gambling With Abortion,” author Cynthia Gorney looks closely at the controversy over the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 and its aftermath, and her article is a wrenching and insightful look at the current status of the abortion issue.

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The Post-Truth Era–Welcome to the Age of Dishonesty

Have we now reached a stage of social evolution that is “beyond honesty?” That fascinating question is raised by author Ralph Keyes in his book, The Post-Truth Era: Dishonesty and Deception in Contemporary Life. “I think it’s fair to say that honesty is on the ropes,” Keyes observes. “Deception has become commonplace at all levels of contemporary life.”

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Two Competing Religions–The Legacy of the 1960s

Today’s culture wars can be directly traced to the cultural transformations of the 1960’s. As a matter of fact, that critical decade represented nothing less than a cultural revolution of sorts–a revolution Stanley Kurtz describes as “both a fulfillment and a repudiation of the vision of America’s founders.”

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Another Look at Lust: A Christian View

Joshua Harris takes lust very seriously–so seriously in fact that he has written a book that takes the issue head-on. In Not Even A Hint: Guarding Your Heart Against Lust, Harris provides a candid appraisal of lust as a challenge for the Christian believer. According to Harris, lust is wrongly directed desire. “To lust is to want what you don’t have and weren’t meant to have,” he explains. “Lust goes beyond attraction, and appreciation of beauty, or even a healthy desire for sex–it makes these desires more important than God. Lust wants to go outside God’s guidelines to find satisfaction.”

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A New Look at Lust: The Secular View

Philosopher Simon Blackburn argues that lust “gets a bad press.” His project, based on a lecture sponsored by the New York Public Library and Oxford University Press, is to rescue lust from misunderstandings and historical abuse. In his book, Lust, Blackburn presents an updated vision of lust as sexual desire for its own sake. If lust now has a bad press, Blackburn wants to be its public relations agent.

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Engaging the City of Man: Christian Faith and Politics

Over the last 20 years, evangelical Christians have been politically mobilized in an outpouring of moral concern and political engagement unprecedented since the crusade against slavery in the 19th century. Is this a good development? With at least one Supreme Court nomination now on the horizon, the issue of political involvement emerges anew with urgency. To what extent should Christians be involved in the political process?

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A Call for Theological Triage and Christian Maturity

In every generation, the church is commanded to “contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.” That is no easy task, and it is complicated by the multiple attacks upon Christian truth that mark our contemporary age. Assaults upon the Christian faith are no longer directed only at isolated doctrines. The entire structure of Christian truth is now under attack by those who would subvert Christianity’s theological integrity.

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The Sexual Clash of Civilizations

In his seminal 1996 book, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, Samuel Huntingdon argued that a clash between civilizations is the primary cause of conflict on the global scene today. However, in a fascinating article published in the journal Foreign Policy, researchers Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris argue that the real clash between civilizations is not about democracy–but sex.

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The Supremacists–A Judiciary Out of Control

Phyllis Schlafly put herself through college working the night shift at the St. Louis Ordnance Plant, firing rifles and machine guns in order to test ammunition for troops during World War II. Sixty years later, she has lost none of her nerve, none of her energy, and none of her aim. Now, she has leveled her powerful intellectual guns at an out-of-control judiciary, and her book The Supremacists is a powerful manifesto for our times.

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But What Does Europe Say?–On Citing Foreign Court Decisions

Observers of the U.S. Supreme Court have noted a disturbing pattern in recent court decisions: Some justices are citing foreign court decisions in framing their own interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. This amounts to an internationalizing of the United States Constitution and raises disturbing and difficult questions about the future of the U.S. Supreme Court and its stewardship of our nation’s most fundamental document. Writing just last year, former judge Robert H. Bork issued an eloquent warning that America’s rule of law was being subverted by a rule of judges. Furthermore, those judges are increasingly looking to foreign court decisions as grounds for pushing what amounts to a cultural revolution at the expense of the U.S. Constitution.

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Barbarians and Wimps: America’s Boy Problem

Writing in the very first year of the twentieth century, William Byron Forbush warned America that it faced a crisis he called “the boy problem.” Forbush warned that a generation of young males, then still in boyhood, would soon enter the life of the nation without the necessary civilizing influences, discipline, and character. He called for immediate action and directed national attention to the problem.

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Natan Sharansky Makes the Case for Democracy

President George W. Bush is recommending a book these days, and the President’s new literary interest has caught the attention of the world press. President Bush is recommending Natan Sharansky’s book, The Case for Democracy, and he has made frequent references to Sharansky and his book, telling audiences that Sharansky’s argument represents “how I feel” and how he thinks.

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Compromise and Confusion in the Churches

The church today finds itself assaulted without–and even within–by a culture and worldview of untruth, anti-truth, and postmodern irrationality. In fact, researchers increasingly report that a majority of evangelicals themselves reject the notion of absolute or objective truth. The seductive lure of postmodern relativism has pervaded many evangelical pulpits and countless evangelical pews, often couched as humility, sensitivity, or sophistication. The culture has us in its grip, and many feel no discomfort.

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What Should We Think of the Emerging Church? Part Two

The Emerging Church Movement includes an expanding number of leaders and a diversity of representations. For some, the movement appears to be something of a generational phenomenon–a way for younger evangelicals to reshape evangelical identity and relate to their own culture. For others, the connection with the Emerging Church Movement seems to be a matter of mood rather than methodology or theory. Nevertheless, for most Emerging Church leaders, the movement appears to be an avenue for reshaping Christianity in a new mold.

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What Should We Think of the Emerging Church? Part One

The “Emerging Church” has become a focus of intense evangelical interest, as the nascent movement has grown in both size and influence. While its eventual shape is not yet clear, we now know enough to draw some preliminary conclusions about the movement, its leaders, and its influence.

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Two Decisions, Two Worldviews–The Ten Commandments Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court handed down its long-expected decisions on the public display of the Ten Commandments on Monday, producing more confusion than clarification in the process. Before the day was out, the nation’s High Court had handed down two decisions, represented by eight separate opinions from nine justices. At the end of the day, the real winners were the lawyers, who can look forward to a tidal wave of litigation in the aftermath of these confusing decisions.

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“The New Virgin Army”–Rolling Stone Meets Sexual Abstinence

In a world increasingly given to unrestrained sexual activity and a cornucopia of sensuality, voluntary sexual abstinence appears radical, suspicious, and downright odd. This certainly seems to be the case as Rolling Stone magazine reported on what it called “The New Virgin Army” in its June 30-July 14, 2005 issue. The article, written by reporter Jeff Sharlet, identifies this new “army” of sexually abstinent Christian young people as, “the young and the sexless.”

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What’s the Battle Over Gay Marriage Really About?

The June 19, 2005 cover story of The New York Times Magazine is entitled, “What’s the Movement to Outlaw Gay Marriage Really About?” The article deserves significant attention. Interest is likely to be sparked by a line printed on the cover just under the article’s title. That line suggests that the battle to outlaw gay marriage is “not just about marriage.” Of course, that statement is profoundly true–and that’s what makes the article interesting.

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