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.

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From Boy to Man–the Marks of Manhood, Part Two

When does a boy become a man? This is not just a hypothetical question, for an incredibly large number of boys and young men are struggling to answer this question, and many are without fathers who are faithful to guide them, or other male role models who offer inspiration and instruction. Furthermore, our society is so confused on these issues that boys are understandably puzzled. Tragically, far too many churches never even address this question, and thus sow the seeds of a greater and even more culpable confusion.

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From Boy to Man–the Marks of Manhood, Part One

When does a boy become a man? That interesting question was recently posed to me, and it raises some of the most important issues facing Christians today. While the world seems increasingly confused about matters as basic as what it means to be male and female, Christians are called to frame our arguments in distinctively biblical terms.

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Pope Benedict XVI–What Should We Think?

The appearance of white smoke from the stack atop the Sistine Chapel signaled the election of a new pope after only four ballots–a fact that presumably indicated the election of one of the anticipated four frontrunners. Within the hour, the tolling of the Vatican’s bells gave way to the announcement and presentation of the new pope–Pope Benedict XVI, formerly Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Cardinal Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. What does this mean for evangelicals?

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The Generation That Won’t Grow Up

For several years, I have been warning audiences that America now faces a generation of young people unwilling to grow up, assume adult responsibility, marry, and start raising families. I have addressed this issue in various articles, public lectures, and church settings. My observations have been drawn from constant contact with young adults, including college students, and are backed up by a wealth of demographic and statistical information. Nevertheless, my warnings have often been met with incredulity, suspicion, and even outrage.

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Radical Sex Education–Is Your School Next?

Parents in Montgomery County, Maryland are upset–and they should be. The Montgomery County public school system is adopting a new health education curriculum that includes some of the most radical sex education material ever included in a public school curriculum for adolescents.

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A Libertarian Case for Marriage?

The conservative movement in America–the movement that elected President George W. Bush and continues to change the political landscape–is actually a coalition of different movements joined together by a common rejection of liberalism. The movement includes identifiable groups such as moral conservatives, social traditionalists, neo-conservative transformationists, and libertarians. Together, all reject the expansive power of the state and the idea that government should serve as the centralizing principle within the culture.

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Targeting the Schools–Gay Activists and the Day of Silence

Thousands of schools all over America observed the “Day of Silence” yesterday, an event sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network [GLSEN]. The program, now in its tenth year, represents an effort by gay activists to push their agenda in the schools and to argue that homosexuals, lesbians, and transgendered persons have been “silenced” in the educational curriculum.

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A Conflict of Conscience–The Culture War Hits the Pharmacy

Should pharmacists be required to dispense so-called “emergency contraceptives” even if it violates their deepest convictions? That is no longer a hypothetical question, as Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich recently issued an executive rule requiring all pharmacies in his state to fill a woman’s prescription for the “morning-after pill.” The governor’s “emergency order” comes with the force of law, and means that pharmacists who refuse to fill these prescriptions can face sanctions and could lose their jobs and professional status.

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The Lutheran Sexuality Report–Denominational Disaster

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America [ELCA] Church Council released its recommendations to the denomination’s Churchwide Assembly on issues related to sexuality on April 11, 2005, setting the stage for what promises to be one of the most acrimonious debates ever conducted by a denominational organization.

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Moralistic Therapeutic Deism–the New American Religion

When Christian Smith and his fellow researchers with the National Study of Youth and Religion at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill took a close look at the religious beliefs held by American teenagers, they found that the faith held and described by most adolescents came down to something the researchers identified as “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.”

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The Spiritual Life of American Teenagers–A New Study

“American teenagers can embody adults’ highest hopes and most gripping fears.” That statement introduces an important new study on the religious and spiritual lives of American teenagers. Led by principal investigator Christian Smith, a group of researchers has conducted a massive study of American adolescents and their religious beliefs.

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In Defense of the Natural Family

The last two centuries have witnessed a massive transformation in the way human beings live, think, work, and arrange their lives. At the same time, the institution of the family has been under sustained attack, in turns dismembered and disabled by cultural trends, direct attacks, and subtle cultural shifts. Now, barely into the 21st century, we face the reality that the institution of the family is facing an even more fundamental challenge–the challenge to maintain a coherent definition of realities as basic as marriage, kinship, and the natural family.

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Demography and the Culture War–A Rightward Shift?

Those who think demographic statistics should be of interest only to social scientists and policy wonks should pay close attention to Stanley Kurtz’s recent article, “Demographics and the Culture War,” published in the current edition of Policy Review. A Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, Kurtz is one of the most thoughtful observers of social trends on today’s scene.

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John Paul II–The Man and His Legacy

The death of Pope John Paul II brings one of the Roman Catholic Church’s longest papal reigns to an end and closes the last chapter on one of the most significant lives of our times. By any measure, John Paul II was one of the most influential figures on the world scene, leading over a billion Roman Catholics worldwide and exercising a significant influence on world affairs during some of the most tumultuous decades of the 20th century.

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America’s Second Civil War?

Our nation’s political rhetoric is filled with references to unity and national cohesiveness. Nevertheless, this unity is often more superficial than substantial, and talk of national unity wears thin when the culture appears to be ripping apart at the seams.

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Terri Schiavo–Enduring Questions, Part Three

The sad case of Terri Schiavo has been a wake-up call for many Americans, and has brought to public attention the complex of medical realities and moral decisions that characterize our postmodern age. Medicine has made remarkable advances in recent decades, but cases like that of Terri Schiavo remind us all that medical technologies and medical knowledge have limits, even in this age of modern marvels and life-saving treatments. Beyond all this, the case of Terri Schiavo underlines the inescapably moral character of medical treatment and decision-making. Once again, enduring questions remain.

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Terri Schiavo–Enduring Questions, Part Two

The feminist movement championed the motto, “The personal is the political.” This is certainly true in the tragic case of Terri Schiavo, whose personal reality–having her life terminated by a judicial decree–has become one of the nation’s hottest political issues. The issues swirling about this debate are both urgent and enduring. How society answers these questions will frame, not only this nation’s approach to matters of life and death, but the moral character of this civilization. Yesterday, we considered the questions, “What does this mean for the culture?” and “What does this mean for the future?” Today, we turn to consider even more enduring questions brought to light by Terri Schiavo’s case.

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Terri Schiavo–Enduring Questions, Part One

Even as Terri Schiavo edges closer and closer to death, the questions posed by this tragedy represent long-term challenges for this culture and its moral conscience.

These questions will not go away, even as the headlines and media attention inevitably subside. Issues of life and death confront us all, and the court-mandated death of Terri Schiavo will, I believe, go down as a landmark on America’s moral landscape. Her death will either lead to a recovery of moral sanity or a further slide into a moral abyss. Several vexing questions frame where this culture is headed.

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