Month: March 2015

Religious Liberty – Why you should care about Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act

The New York Times’ David Brooks, Religious Liberty and Equality.

The American Conservative’s Patrick Buchanan, Stand Up for Indiana!

The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway, The Rise of the Same-Sex Marriage Dissidents and 10 Americans Helped by Religious Freedom Bills like Indiana’s.

The American Conservative‘s Rod Dreher, Indiana: The Holy War of the Left, The Last Liberal for Religious Freedom, and The Hypocrisy of Marc Benioff and Co.

and Governor Mike Pence in The Wall Street Journal, Ensuring Religious Freedom in Indiana.

 

Rex Murphy: The modern university risks becoming a cocoon of self-indulgence and anti-intellectualism

Rex Murphy on the state of the modern university (HT Eye on a Crazy Planet)

National Post

Lighthouses of reason, or beacons of  folly? Which more readily applies to some modern universities? If you have been happy enough to read a New Statesman piece recently, there would be little hesitation in opting for the latter. The column discussed that only-in-a-university puffball of a controversy over The Vagina Monologues. The VM, for those fortunate enough not to have heard of it, is an Eve Ensler opus/art project that offers soliloquizing genitals as an avenue to feminist empowerment, a concept kitten-cute in all its daring and originality. Not surprisingly, it’s been a huge hit on all sorts of enlightened campuses, its combination of vulgarity and Spice Girls feminism being a sure winner with those wishing to storm the barricades of privilege from a front-row seat.

The New Statesman piece contained this jewel of progressive reporting: “A U.S. women’s college recently announced it would be discontinuing its annual…

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Why Should a Jew Care Whether Christianity Lives or Dies?

David Gelernter at First Things explains why every human being should care about the fate of Christianity.

I argued last month that Pope Francis ought to see the reconversion of Europe as his most important task. Surely he agrees that European Christianity is in deep trouble. Surely he does not believe that Christianity no longer matters to Europe, or can no longer be compelling to Europeans. How can he ignore a catastrophe on his doorstep?

Some people asked in response: Why should a Jew care whether Europe is Christian? Rod Dreher in the American Conservative: “I am grateful for Gelernter’s encouragement, but would love to know why it matters so much to a believing Jew that Europe should be re-Christianized.” Good question, but one that is easy for me to answer. The key goes far beyond the opinions of one Jewish writer in Connecticut. It touches the heart of a fundamental change in relations between Judaism and Christianity.

My mother’s father was born near Kiev in 1899 and came to New York as a small child. When he was young, he thought of Christianity as a world of drunken mobs looking for Jews to murder with axes, especially at Easter. Of course, he changed—somewhat—as an adult. Having been reared strictly orthodox, he became a rabbi in the liberal wing of Judaism, and he admired the preaching of the eminent protestant ministers of the middle third of the last century. His synagogue in Brooklyn was across the street from a church, and he was a friend with the minister—who used to have his bells toll the theme of Kol Nidrei as Jews assembled on the evening of Yom Kippur. But despite these admirations and friendships, the church as an institution angered him his whole century-long life. The twentieth was a century that centered, after all, on the murder of Jews. His best friends among non-Jews were not ministers but pre-Cultural Revolution liberals and progressives who hated anti-Semitism—and tended to dislike and distrust Christianity, too.

Read the whole essay here and do yourself a favour and take some time to read other essays at First Things.

Barbara Kay: Universities are teaching students what to think, not how to think

National Post

Every year at this time I am privileged to appear as a guest lecturer for my friend Adam Daifallah’s course on the history of conservative thought at McGill University. Below are lightly edited excerpts from tonight’s lecture.


In his essay, “What are universities for?” philosopher Leszek Kolakowski writes: “The greatest danger is the invasion of an intellectual fashion which wants to abolish cognitive criteria of knowledge and truth itself. The humanities and social sciences have always succumbed to various fashions, and this seems inevitable. But this is probably the first time that we are dealing with a fashion, or rather fashions, according to which there are no generally valid intellectual criteria.”

The counter-culture of the 1960s drew a bright line between all past and present understanding of what universities were for. Standing on one leg, one might say that in the past universities felt it was their mission to teach students…

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