• Politics •
May 24, 2005
A group of 14 senators announced a brokered deal on Monday night, effectively taking the so-called “nuclear option” off the table–at least for now. At this point, it is hard to evaluate the “bipartisan agreement” fully, but it is already apparent that this is not good news for most of President Bush’s judicial nominees, and it spells trouble for any nomination to the Supreme Court. According to the agreement [see text], the 14 senators agreed to bring nominees William Pryor, Janice Rogers Brown, and Priscilla Owen to the floor for a vote.
May 23, 2005
President George W. Bush delivered the commencement address at Calvin College on Saturday, bringing national attention and unprecedented stature to the college’s commencement ceremony. Unfortunately, his presence also brought controversy. Something like a third of Calvin’s faculty signed an open letter protesting the President’s visit to the campus. According to The Grand Rapids Press, the letter, published as an advertisement in the paper, lambasted the President for “neglecting the needy to coddle the rich, desecrating the environment, and misleading the country into war.” These deeds, the statement declared, “do not exemplify the faith we live by.”
May 20, 2005
President George W. Bush warned Congress today that he would veto any bill that would allow federal funding for research that would lead to the destruction of additional human embryos. “I made very clear to Congress that the use of federal money, taxpayer’s money, to promote science which destroys life in order to save life — I’m against that,” the President said. “Therefore, if the bill does that, I would veto it” [see report in USA Today]. President Bush was responding to developments in Congress, where ‘moderate’ Republicans are pushing the “Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005.” Sponsors of the legislation claim to have enough votes to pass the bill. President Bush has yet to veto any piece of legislation. This statement puts Congress on notice that he will veto this dangerous bill.
May 12, 2005
May 12, 2005
The controversy centered in a small Baptist church in North Carolina may well be a sign of things to come. None of us wants to see churches identified as “Republican Baptists” and “Democratic Baptists.” And yet, blithe reassurances that this issue is ridiculously superficial simply will not do.
May 11, 2005
President George W. Bush’s European schedule presented the White House with several difficult and complicated diplomatic questions. After all, the celebration of “V-E Day,” marking the end of World War II in Europe, was complicated by increased tensions with Russia and its neighbors. The president’s May 7 address in Riga, Latvia takes on an entirely new significance when we understand that the American president chose to speak in the capital city of one of the nations that had been enslaved by the Soviet Union for almost half a century.
May 5, 2005
Today’s edition of The Wall Street Journal features a debate over the so-called “Religious Right.” James Taranto, editor of the paper’s excellent Web site, OpinionJournal.com, defends the involvement of conservative Christiansin national debate. Taranto, who identifies himself as a social moderate who is “not a Christian, or even a religious believer,” makes a strong case: “One can disagree with religious conservatives on abortion, gay rights, school prayer, creationism and any number of other issues, and still recognize that they have good reason to feel disfranchised. This isn’t the same as the oft-heard complaint of “anti-Christian bigotry,” which is at best imprecise, since American Christians are all over the map politically. But those who hold traditionalist views have been shut out of the democratic process by a series of court decisions that, based on constitutional reasoning ranging from plausible to ludicrous, declared the preferred policies of the secular left the law of the land.” Journalist Christopher Hitchens–always ready with sarcasm–cites the late Sen. Barry Goldwater as his model of a secular conservative. As his opposing article makes abundantly clear, Hitchens wants nothing to do with the followers of “the possibly mythical Nazarene.” The Right should disavow Christians and Christianity, he urges, and return to the atheistic views of Ayn Rand and Leo Strauss. And as for Christians, “I have never understood why conservative entrepreneurs are so all-fired pious and Bible-thumping, let alone why so many of them claim Jesus as their best friend and personal savior. The Old Testament is bad enough: The commandments forbid us even to envy or covet our neighbor’s goods, and thus condemn the very spirit of emulation and ambition that makes enterprise possible. But the New Testament is worse: It tells us to forget thrift and saving, to take no thought for the morrow, and to throw away our hard-earned wealth on the shiftless and the losers.” Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair magazine. John Bunyan would understand the irony.
April 22, 2005
Senator Ken Salazar [D-Colorado] escalated the controversy over judicial nominations by launching a direct attack on me and Focus on the Family [see entry directly below]. Now, The Rocky Mountain News reports that Salazar has taken his argument even further. In “Salazar Lets Fly,” the paper documents his attack and apparent loss of a grip on reality. David D. Kirkpatrick and Sheryl Gay Stolberg take another look in today’s edition of The New York Times. Dr. Dobson spoke to the controversy on last night’s edition of Hannity and Colmes on Fox News. All this indicates that Sen. Salazar and his allies are feeling the heat. What comes next?
April 21, 2005
The call from a reporter for The New York Times came out of the blue, telling me that U.S. Senator Ken Salazar [D-Colorado] has launched an attack on me by sending a public letter to the press. Here’s the letter, addressed to Focus on the Family chairman Dr. James Dobson:
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.