• History •
April 27, 2005
The Associated Press reports that the ongoing effort by the forces of political correctness to remove the terms ‘B.C.’ and ‘A.D.’ has run into complications. For some years, secularists and advocates of cultural inclusivism have argued for the exclsuion of the terms ‘B.C.’ [for 'before Christ] and A.D. [Latin, anno Domini, or 'year of our Lord']because these are offensive to non-Christians. For over a hundred years, some Jewish scholars have substituted ‘B.C.E.’ [before common era] and ‘C.E.’ [common era] in an effort to avoid reference to Jesus Christ. This has posed a dilemma for publishers of textbooks and historians, who must decide how to reference specific years. Steven Brown, dean of the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, explained, “When Jews or Muslims have to put Christ in the middle of our calendar . . . that’s difficult for us.” In his article, reporter Michael Gormley also cited Gary B. Nash of the National Center for History in the Schools, who remarked, “I think it’s pretty common now. Once you take a global approach, it makes sense not to make a dating system applicable only to a relative few.” A relative few? Candace de Russy, a trustee for the State University of New York, nailed the real issue. “The use of B.C.E. and C.E. is not mere verbal tweaking; rather it is integral to the leftist language police–a concerted attack on the religious foundation of our social and political order.” She’s absolutely right, of course. Beyond this, who do they think they are fooling? You can rewrite the initials and revise the textbooks, but you can’t get around the fact that the incarnation of Jesus Christ was recognized in the development of our calendar as a signal event that required a new starting point for history. Ignoring the obvious is not a winning strategy.
April 25, 2005
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.
April 4, 2005
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.
March 22, 2005
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.
March 4, 2005
Martin Peretz is worried that liberalism has no future in America. Editor-in-Chief of The New Republic, Peretz writes of his concern in a major article published in the 90th anniversary issue of his magazine. “Not Much Left,” is a cry from the heart, offered by Peretz to what remains of a liberal movement in America. Peretz begins by arguing that, in the 1960s, it was conservatism that was devoid of ideas and facing a dismal political future. In the words of economist John Kenneth Galbraith, conservatism was “bookless” and intellectually bankrupt. Now, Peretz argues it is liberalism “that is now bookless and dying.” Peretz has good reason for alarm. He–and the magazine for which he writes–represent a form of liberalism that is now largely without constituency in the Democratic Party and the political left. Peretz longs for the day when the progressivism of Theodore Roosevelt and the liberalism of Franklin Delano Roosevelt ruled the left and served as a fertile greenhouse for the incubation of potent political ideas.
February 28, 2005
The fear of infectious diseases is, for the most part, a relic of times past. In the great age of antibiotics, we fear few diseases, and Americans are more likely to suffer death by accident than death by infectious disease. We can all too easily forget that such diseases have been some of history’s great killers–and can be again.
February 18, 2005
“Howard Dean’s energy and passion will add to the political discourse in this country, and he will be a strong leader for his party.” That comment came from Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee, in a statement congratulating former Vermont governor Howard Dean on his unanimous election as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. What Mr. Mehlman could not say is that his party is relishing the opportunity to watch the Democrats self-destruct under their hyperventilating new chairman.
February 1, 2005
“Do you hear that, do you hear the bombs?” asked Hassan Jawad, a 33-year-old election worker at Lebanon High School in Baghdad. As the shells exploded in the neighborhood, fired by insurgents trying to intimidate Iraqis from voting, Jawad made clear that Iraq would not be intimidated. “We don’t care. Do you understand? We don’t care. We all have to die. To die for this, well, at least I will be dying for something.” As The New York Times then reported, Mr. Jawad then went back to his task, helping an Iraqi woman to cast her ballot.
January 21, 2005
“On this day, prescribed by law and marked by ceremony, we celebrate the durable wisdom of our Constitution, and recall the deep commitments that unite our country. I am grateful for the honor of this hour, mindful of the consequential times in which we live, and determined to fulfill the oath that I have sworn and you have witnessed.” With those words President George W. Bush accepted the nation’s trust and began his second inaugural address.
January 20, 2005
The District of Columbia just can’t help admitting a sense of excitement this week–but it’s sure not about the weather. For some reason known only to God, the weather for presidential inaugurations seems to turn extraordinarily nasty. Washington enjoyed unseasonably warm weather last week, but what is known here as an “Arctic Clipper” has the nation’s capital in a cold grip. Thousands of travelers to the city–including the Mohler family–waited in distant airports for the weather to clear sufficiently for landings at Reagan Washington National Airport to resume.
January 18, 2005
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.
August 26, 2004
The recent death of poet Czeslaw Milosz robs the world of one of its most prophetic and powerful voices. As one of the world’s most famous and celebrated men of literature, Milosz was a titan of poetry and prose. Nevertheless, his moral vision and prophetic insights should be of great interest even to those who are not readers of contemporary poetry, for Czeslaw Milosz was one of the most honest men of our times.