Secularism

napoleon_and_his_general_staff_1867

Psychological Warfare and Terrorism

In a recent column, I suggested that one of the best ways to fight terrorism is by undermining the terrorist’s ideology. For example, by undercutting the belief that seventy-two virgins await the young martyr in paradise, you simultaneously undermine the will to fight. That’s not to say that the standard method of fighting terrorists—with guns—can [...]

When Textbooks Upheld the Ideals of Our Ancestors

I am musing upon a fine book written by a teacher and prolific author, Leroy Armstrong. He is introducing the reader to the life and the work of John Greenleaf Whittier, the old Quaker poet who was once one of the most beloved writers in America. He directs our attention to “Snow-Bound,” which he says [...]

Who Is the Enemy?

For about forty years, the public high school in my home town did not have a basketball court.  They finally supplied the lack when they and two towns got together into the fourteenth plague of Egypt, the Consolidated School District, and built an enormous complex in no man’s land, inaccessible by foot to all but [...]

Are Church Leaders Unwittingly Promoting a Secularist Agenda?

Recent developments make me wonder if Church leaders and Catholic institutions in the U.S. are not, “on the unawares,” helping to further crucial parts of the secularist-leftist political and cultural narrative. Several months ago, on a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border one high-ranking prelate criticized “the xenophobic ranting of a segment of the population” on [...]

The Illusion of Neutrality

We have all heard what has come to be a liberal dictum, that the State must remain neutral as regards religion or irreligion. One can show fairly easily that the men who wrote our constitution had no such neutrality in mind, given the laws that they and their fellows subsequently passed, their habits of public prayer at [...]

New Study Sees Threat to Religious Liberty

In legal scholarship, as in any literature, style matters as much as content. The subjects authors explore, their manners and patterns of thought, the metaphors and idioms they select, the grace with which they address the audience and carry it along—in sum, the personal qualities that emerge in the telling of the tale—are remembered long [...]

A Tale of Two Churches

Once upon a time there was a church founded on God’s entering into human history in order to give humanity a path to eternal life and happiness with him. The Savior that God sent, his only-begotten Son, did not write a book but founded a community, a church, upon the witness and ministry of twelve [...]

Catholicism: Refuge for Exiles From a Post-Christian Age

It began in Boston. In 2006, the Boston Archdiocese suspended adoption services rather than comply with a new state anti-discrimination law by placing children with gay and lesbian couples. Last year, a mom-and-pop cake shop in Portland, Oregon closed after lesbian brides-to-be sued after being denied service. At least ten other businesses have faced a [...]

The World and the Church

In his speech closing the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI noted that “the trend of modern culture” is “centered on humanity, … the modern mind” is “accustomed to assess everything in terms of usefulness,” “the fundamental act of the human person … tends to pronounce in favor of his own absolute autonomy, … [and] [...]

Hobby Lobby Decision is Also a Mandate

On June 28, 1776, the first draft of our nation’s Declaration of Independence was introduced to the general session of the Second Continental Congress.  The 28th was a Friday, and so the founding fathers tabled the draft until the following Monday, July 1st, when they took it up again for debate.  A resolution for independence [...]

Why We Are Arguing About Religion

Most of us have been told from a young age that religious beliefs cause strife. The early modern “wars of religion” are portrayed as merely the most overt form of what happens when religion is allowed too much influence in public life. Of course, Protestant and Catholic forces fought on both sides of these conflicts. [...]

Is the Left Waging a War on Religion?

Is the left waging a war on religion? Peter Beinart doesn’t think so, and published a piece in The Atlantic explaining how the war on religion is just a silly conservative canard. As obtuse as this argument might seem, his missive is instructive as a tutorial in how egregiously modern progressives fail to understand what [...]

Escape Egalitarian Tyranny with Socratic Questioning

Last month I discussed how the assumptions and language of public life today, which are based on commercial and bureaucratic concerns, are biased against Catholics. To make matters worse, the all-pervasive electronic media, increasing reliance on commerce and bureaucracy in everyday affairs, and changes in the purposes of formal education, along with its radical expansion, [...]

Is Pluralism a Threat to Catholic Survival?

With few exceptions, American Catholics have given up on the dream of a Catholic society. Instead, they have come to aspire to a seat at the table: a respected position in public life that lets them bring their insights and values into public discussion within a pluralistic system. At first glance the aspiration seems sensible. [...]

The Blind Faith Beliefs of Secular Culture

Secularists are known for dismissing religion as merely espousing a set of blind faith beliefs without any evidence to support them. The crudest among them will often do it in a snide and sneering way, holding that religious belief is imagination and fantasy—like a childhood fairy tale—in contrast to the “scientific” view that they espouse. [...]

Rebuilding Catholic Society

The Church is not part of the State. Nor is she simply a part of civil society set up by her members to advance their public and private goals. She is an independent society established by God to be a light to the world. As such, she has her own principles of existence, authority, and [...]

Are Muslims Our Natural Allies?

Conservative Catholics have been faring badly in the fight against militant secularism, so it’s understandable that they would be looking for allies to stand alongside them in the culture wars. Some Catholic intellectuals seem to think that Muslims are our natural allies in this struggle because they supposedly share similar values and because, like Catholics, [...]

Conscience Freedoms Denied by Liberal Courts

Two recent court cases illustrate the incoherence and remarkable intolerance of “liberal” views regarding conscience. One involves the bottomless pockets of the atheist Michael Newdow, who most recently joined several plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the U.S. Treasury Department demanding the words “In God We Trust” be scrubbed from U.S. currency.  Newdow advocates what Richard [...]

Why We Should Respect Someone Else’s Conscience

The scene is from C. S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength.  The callow young sociology professor, Mark Studdock, an atheist and a social climber, has been detained in a cubicle deliberately fashioned with odd annoying angles and not-quite-right pictures on the wall.  His detainers aim to break down in him any last sense of the inner [...]

How Long Will Secular Liberalism Endure?

Secular liberalism is at odds with Catholicism. The point seemed obvious to most people until the postwar period, when the thought took hold that an essentially harmonious relationship could be established that would draw on the American model. America, it seemed, was different from Europe with its long tradition of statism and anti-clericalism. It rejected [...]

The Christian Vestiges of Post-Christianity

It would be a mistake to think that Post-Christianity is a return to paganism, purely and simply. Certainly its environs include numerous strains of paganism—New Ageism, eco-feminism, “new cosmology” mysticism, etc.; and one’s post-Christianity may be amalgamated with such strains. But the post-Christian denizen is marching to a different drummer. He may be unaware of [...]

MENU