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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Terri Schiavo–The Bell Tolls for Humanity

America has been transfixed by a constant flow of media attention to the issues swirling about the case of Terri Schiavo. Meanwhile, Terri is starving to death in a Pinellas Park, Florida hospice–her imminent death demanded by her husband and enforced by the courts. This tragedy has become far more than a media phenomenon–it is an alarming barometer of America’s moral conscience and view of human life.

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No Neutrality–Gilbert Meilaender on Bioethics

Gilbert Meilaender is one of the most intelligent and influential bioethicists of our age, and it is reassuring to know that he is a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics. Meilaender holds the Richard and Phyllis Duesenberg Chair in Theological Ethics at Valparaiso University, and his numerous writings in philosophy and bioethics are must-reads for intelligent Christians.

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George F. Kennan–Architect of Containment

George F. Kennan, who died last week at age 101, was not a household name to most Americans. As a matter of fact, he may be almost completely unknown to most American evangelicals, most of whom were born long after Kennan had made his major impact on American foreign policy. Nevertheless, Kennan’s thought–and the approach to foreign policy that flowed from his arguments–framed American policy during most of the Cold War. His death provides an opportunity to review the impact of his ideas and the worldview he expressed.

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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 new 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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