Monday, December 24, 2012

President Reagan's Address to the Nation About Christmas and the Situation in Poland, December 23, 1981

[youtube][/youtube].  Here is the text of the address:

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sandy Hook, Huckabee, and the Inscrutability of Evil

That's the title of my recent entry over at The Catholic Thing. Here's how it begins:
“How could God let this happen?” That was the question asked of the former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee, by Fox News host Neil Cavuto in an interview following the horrific slaughter of innocent school children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister, replied:

"We ask why there’s violence in the schools, but we’ve systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage? Because we’ve made it a place where we do not want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability. That we’re not going to have to be accountable to the police, if they catch us, but we stand one day before a holy God in judgment."

The governor is no doubt correct that transgressions against justice do not occur in a vacuum. For what a person is taught about the good, the true, and the beautiful – which depends on the health of the cultural institutions committed to transmitting those beliefs – often strongly influences the development of a person’s character and virtue.

It is, of course, far from a sure thing. After all, Judas Iscariot was tutored by the finest teacher the world has ever known, and yet he committed the most infamous act of betrayal in human history. Bad character remains a mystery even in the most idyllic of circumstances.

The question that Huckabee was asked, however, was about the absence of divine action in an event in which everyone wishes that God had intervened. For that reason, his answer was not to the point.

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Friday, December 7, 2012

J. R. R. Thomas Chesterton of Hippo?: Moody Publishers and Its Safely Dead Catholic Authors

That's the title of a piece I just published over at Catholic World Report. Here's how it begins:
Several months ago I was invited to contribute to a festschrift in honor of a dear friend of mine, a well-known Christian philosopher who is a professor at a well-known Evangelical university. I was, of course, eager to contribute to this volume, to honor a man who I have known, as both friend and collaborator, for over a quarter of a century. The editors, I am pleased to announce, were able to secure a publisher, which is difficult to do, given the book's genre. In fact, I was present, on the evening of November 14 at a reception sponsored by the Evangelical Philosophical Society, when a representative of Moody Publishers revealed that his press had offered the editors a contract for this tome. I was delighted to hear the news.

Several days later, however, the editors informed me that the publisher had forced them to disinvite me. Why? Because the members of Moody's board, as the editors put it, "are not ready as an institution to allow Catholic contributors for their books," even though in my prospective chapter--"The Reclamation of First Philosophy"--I had planned to do nothing distinctly Catholic.  I had intended to defend the honoree's understanding of philosophy and its relation to other disciplines. (To get a sense of what I mean by "first philosophy," see my essay, "In Defense of First Philosophy," published last June at The Catholic Thing).

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