South Carolina

The Liberal Religion

Some time ago I argued in a magazine column that liberalism has developed in recent decades from a rigidly secular political philosophy into a this-worldly religion with its own more or less developed though unsystematic dogma based on faith and a reciprocal concept of heresy, its own unwritten creed and sacramental system, a loose rhetorical [...]

GOP Must Convince Young People It’s the Party of Options

The Republican presidential candidates, except for Ron Paul, haven't been paying much attention to young voters in the primaries and caucuses so far. But any Republican nominee — which is to say probably Mitt Romney, or maybe Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum — had better be paying attention to them in the summer and fall. [...]

The 2012 Race Takes Shape

  We got mixed signals from a turbulent political week. Barack Obama seems to be enjoying an uptick in polls up toward, but not quite at, 50 percent approval. It's a reminder that he can expect to benefit from Americans' desire to think well of their presidents and from the reluctance of many voters to [...]

Mitt vs. Newt: the Gloves Come Off

  Newt Gingrich's surge to success in South Carolina has surely brought joy to the Obama White House. For his 12-point victory ensures the fight for the GOP nomination will not end soon and will get nastier. Indeed, it already has. Whether Newt or Mitt Romney emerges victorious, the candidate who comes out of the [...]

South Carolina Message

  Just days before the South Carolina primary, polls showed Mitt Romney leading Newt Gingrich. Then came the debates and the question about Gingrich's private life, which brought a devastating response from the former Speaker of the House — and a standing ovation from the audience. Apparently the television audience felt the same way, judging [...]

A Few Words in Defense of Negative Campaigning

  Those who take a certain pleasure in denouncing the evils of negative political advertising should have spent the last week in South Carolina. They could have plunked down in front of TV sets, especially during morning, early evening and late evening news programs, and by adroit use of the remote control seen one negative [...]

South Carolina Hoping to Pick Next President

  MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — The crowd at the Fox News/Wall Street Journal debate in Myrtle Beach was feisty, with whoops and cheers for Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry, though not so much for Ron Paul. But it wasn't nearly as feisty as the crowd that forced the shutdown of the [...]

The Republicans’ Cow Pie Bingo

  The Republican presidential race now moves from New Hampshire to South Carolina, but it's really taking place in an upside-down Lake Wobegon — where all the men are homely, all the women are weak and all the candidates are below average. We are often told that modern campaigns generate rivers of pointless trivia and [...]

The Weakness That Saps the Strength of GOP Candidates

  A presidential campaign exposes candidates' strengths and weaknesses. The strengths they're eager to tell you about. So let's look at the weaknesses. Start with Rick Santorum, whose poll numbers in New Hampshire and South Carolina have been surging since (by last count) he lost the Iowa caucuses by the Chinese lucky number of 8 [...]

Romney’s watchwords in Iowa: Divide and Conquer

  Elections are contests held during a moment in time between candidates who have records stretching back, often far back, into the past. So there is always a tension between the man (or woman) who is running and the moment. That tension is greater than usual when the contest is for the nomination of a [...]

Steady in Iowa, Romney Counts on New Hampshire, Florida

  Election year has finally arrived, well after the beginning of a turbulent and unpredictable elections season, and voting begins on Tuesday in the Iowa Republicans caucuses. The few days of post-Christmas polling have shown the numbers oscillating and opinion changing in ways it hadn't been earlier in the campaign. Pre-Christmas, Barack Obama's job rating [...]

Einstein, Imagination and the New Translation

I’m always wary of using an Albert Einstein quotation because it seems somehow sort of well, sophomoric. There’s always that poster of the German genius with the googly eyes and goofy hair sticking out his tongue. Nevertheless, Einstein came up with some good ones about God not playing dice, and science being lame without religion [...]

The Long and Whining Road

My husband and I were recently inspired to pack ourselves, our eight kids, and 13,000 Capri Sun juice boxes into our twelve-passenger van and drive more than 1,500 miles to spend Christmas in south Florida. It was epic -- if by epic you mean a wildly memorable trip that was "so perfectly worth doing" but also [...]

A New Approach to the Social Concerns Ministry

As I make my weekly trek to Tampa International Airport, I merge onto I-275N in St. Petersburg and pass one of the largest homeless shelters in the area. Actually, "shelter" is overstated; it's really an underpass supported by Catholic Charities, several community and church organizations, and individual volunteers. Because it gets a lot of traffic [...]

Laughing with Chesterton

    It could be said that the pun is mightier than the sword. If this is true, then wordplay may be as important as swordplay in the never ending wars between the dark powers of the underworld and the light of Christ.   So this essay on the brilliantly annoying style of G. K. [...]

The Inheritance of Loss

No one is ever really ready for the death of a loved one, whether it's an aging parent or a sibling whose life is cut short prematurely. This reality was brought home to me when two of my aunts (Fredrena and Loupenn), my mother's sisters, both died within a few months of each other. While [...]

Heretical Times

Meat-and-potatoes history fans, take note: The Great Medieval Heretics is good, solid, reliable history written in a no-nonsense style. Michael Frassetto teaches history at the University of Delaware and is an expert in medieval religion, heresy, and politics. His book delivers a detailed account of the heretics of the medieval period, starting with the false [...]

Newman in the Lion’s Den

  Last week, we at St. Mary's Church in Greenville, South Carolina, found ourselves in the midst of a perfect media storm. The Sunday after the election, Rev. Jay Scott Newman, the parish rector (I serve as a weekend assistant), published his usual column for the parish bulletin, in which he commented on the election [...]

Jigsaw Puzzle Ecumenism

    As worldwide Anglicanism implodes, Catholics may remember the heady days of Anglican-Catholic ecumenical relations. In 1966, the last great archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey, met with Pope Paul VI in the Sistine Chapel. The archbishop and the pope embraced and signed agreements to begin the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission. The pope gave [...]

Tolkien’s ‘No’ to Narnia

If I had a time machine that could set me down in any place and time, I'd choose the Eagle and Child pub in Oxford on a Tuesday night in 1950, when C. S. Lewis was reading selections from his Chronicles of Narnia. He'd be there before a roaring fire with J. R. R. Tolkien [...]

What in the Liturgy Is Going On?

  Vatican watchers have noticed that Pope Benedict XVI is wearing fancier vestments than his predecessor. When he came out to bless the crowds after Christmas, he was wearing an ornate cope embroidered with gold and silver thread. On his head was an old-fashioned miter encrusted with gold and jewels. For Christmas vespers, and again [...]

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