Israel

The New Secular Puritan Covenant

Thanksgiving brings back memories for Americans of the Pilgrims and Puritans, carrying out their “errand into the wilderness” to build a “city on a hill,” surviving that first bleak Massachusetts winter of 1620-21. As a kid, I remember that cutting out Puritan hats from black construction paper and taping them to the school windows was [...]

We are Israel

At a super-secret conservative confab last week a long-time friend and ally said that after 30 years of giving lectures and speeches to conservative groups there was only one event where he could show his true colors, and it wasn’t the one we were attending. I asked him what colors he could not show at [...]

An American Christian

In February 2002, Aaron D. Wolf, the associate editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, and I spent a full day at the local Islamic school and mosque in Rockford, Illinois. After lunch, we had the opportunity to sit down with a group of students, handpicked by the principal, to discuss their experiences at [...]

Romney, Israel, and the Centrality of Culture

Governor Mitt Romney seems to have stirred up some controversy by the remarks he made to a gathering in Jerusalem the other week. Contrasting Israel and the Palestinian territories, he said, "You notice a stark difference in economic vitality. And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments [...]

Why “Invent” the Palestinians?

This month, in Amman, Jordan, Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiators met for their first time in 15 months to try to restart the “peace process.” Meanwhile, the Palestinian group that rules in Gaza, Hamas, has repeated its declaration: "The battle for the liberation of Jerusalem is closer than ever and, God willing, we will win." [...]

Will Congress Vote on War with Iran?

  Returning from Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta dropped some jolting news. Asked by CBS's Scott Pelley if Iran could have a nuclear weapon in 2012, Panetta replied: "It would probably be about a year before they could do it. Perhaps a little less. But one proviso, Scott, is that if they [...]

What’s In a Name?

So it appears that Osama bin Laden, in the weeks before his death, was noodling the possibility of rebranding al-Qaeda, since the old name seems to have attracted a bit of bad publicity. I held a brief contest on my blog inviting readers to help these guys out by coming up with a new name [...]

The Theology of Waiting Around

"Time," the man said, "is God's way of keeping everything from happening at once." Another way of looking at the same thing is Arnold Toynbee's remark that some people think "history is just one damned thing after another." As Christians, we believe that time, history, and the sequence and interplay of events in human affairs [...]

International Criminal Court: Justice or Menace?

War criminal Ratko Mladic, the Serbian general accused of genocide during the 1990s Bosnian war, was arrested last week. This week he will be extradited to The Hague, a decade after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant for his arrest. Despite western media portrayals, many Serbians consider Mladic a hero and defender of [...]

Mary’s Perpetual Virginity: Why Does It Matter?

The first thing to note about the perpetual virginity of Mary is that it's the natural extension of the dogma of the virgin birth. Many modern people assume that, at its core, the virgin birth was basically a stunt. That is, the common modern assumption is that the meaning of Mary's virginity is pretty much [...]

Perpetual Virginity as Prophetic Sign

Last week, we looked at the basic evidence for the perpetual virginity of Mary: the "why the Church thinks that the record shows, as a matter of historical fact, that she remained a virgin" evidence. But, of course, the question remains, "Why does the Church think this is a big deal?" There are, after all, [...]

Chosenness

Some time back, a reader wrote me with an interesting observation: You know, I just thought of something. I used to have a part-time job as a pest caller (phone surveys, mostly) and so I met a lot of Wiccans. (In the 90's they congregated in phone & restaurant work, for some reason; don't know [...]

My New Year’s Wish for President Obama

At a restaurant in Jerusalem last August, I listened incredulously as two prominent Israeli journalists explained to me that President Obama did not care about a second term. Obama, they told me, was going to forge ahead toward an Israeli-Palestinian agreement with total disregard for any political fallout. It was Obama's nature, they each asserted, to put [...]

Questioning God

Most people know there is a rather intimidating portrait in the Old Testament of a stormy Yahweh thundering from Sinai. It is a portrait to give one healthy pause. It reminds us that "our God is a consuming fire" (Heb 12:29), the awful and perfect Judge who can see into the tiniest cranny of conscience [...]

‘The Night Is Advanced, The Day Is at Hand’

Imagine yourself sitting at home watching your favorite evening program on television. Suddenly the screen goes blank. An unseen announcer says: "We interrupt this program for a special announcement. We take you to the White House in Washington." In a moment you are watching the president. Sitting in the Oval Office, he announces an international [...]

America Magazine Editor Touts One-State Solution

Anyone who has read my many posts and columns on the Holy Land and the political struggle between Israel and Palestine knows I have reservations about the Israeli treatment of Palestinian Christians in particular and those who inhabit the West Bank in general. I have consistently argued for the necessity of a two-state solution whereby [...]

Controversial Synod statement on Israel was a “prudential judgment.”

CNA reports that the Synod for the Middle East, a historic gathering of bishops in Rome, ended on October 24 with some criticisms of its concluding statement. The bishops' concluding "Message to the People of God" criticized Israel in detail, but omitted most of the criticisms made against Islamic governments during the synod. Some observers [...]

You can’t be any poorer than dead. UPDATED

Trick-or-treaters might be coming around with UNICEF donation boxes.  Don’t give ‘em a dime — UNICEF pushes for abortion and sterilization as part of its efforts to improve the lives of women and children.  Beyond the immediate irony of that idea, it’s not even good policy.  According to CatholicCulture.org (emphasis mine): Pro-family UN watchers are [...]

Empty Space

I'm sitting here in an airport during one of those countless little bubbles in time where nothing big is going on. I'm between flights, having just arrived in Detroit from Seattle and (soon) heading out for Pellston, Michigan. So I'm taking this time to write a bit -- and reflect on the empty space in [...]

Israel and Palestine Give the Two-State Solution Another Look

Direct peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine will resume on September 2 in Washington, D.C. The announcement of the talks has been greeted with a polite but skeptical nod from the media and a rolling of the eyes from experts in the realpolitik of international affairs. The assumption behind these dismissals is that peace talks [...]

The Last Gasp of the Two State Solution

Danny Seidemann is an Israeli attorney and the region's leading expert on land and property rights. An immigrant to Israel as a young man and a committed Zionist, Seidemann insisted to me today that the only real pro-Israel position is one that fully supports a two-state solution to the conflict with Palestinians. "There is still [...]

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