Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My niece, Riley Beckwith, named National Merit Finalist, receives full ride to U. of Dallas, and is Dayton High School valedictorian.

I'm very proud of my niece, Riley Beckwith, who graduates tomorrow from Dayton High School (Nevada) as its valedictorian. Here's an article about her from this morning's Reno Gazette-Journal:
Dayton High School senior Riley Beckwith has been named a National Merit Finalist Scholarship recipient, the most prestigious and highly competitive award given through the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Beckwith, the Dayton High Class of 2013 Valedictorian, has also accepted the school-sponsored National Merit Finalist Scholarship offered by the University of Dallas, where she will attend in the fall. The full tuition scholarship is valued at over $120,000.

Beckwith called the honor “amazing” and said it gives her the opportunity that she otherwise might not have had to attend the University of Dallas. She had originally been considering attending the University of Nevada, Reno, but said when she was announced as a semifinalist, she thought she could potentially go somewhere else.

>>>continue reading

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Imagine No Opposition; It's Easy If You Try

That's the title of my latest entry over at The Catholic Thing. Here's how it begins:

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

--John Lennon, “Imagine” (1971)

The late John Lennon implied in this famous tune that utopia requires the absence of real human differences and firm convictions, as if the communities, beliefs, and civil societies that arise from a free people are the enemy rather than the fruit of peace. Lennon imagined a world in which nothing was worth dying for (and thus not worth living for), that the afterlife offered no hope (“above us only sky”), that a man may not own what is rightly his (“no possessions”), and that life’s meaning is forever severed from a transcendent source (“no religion too”).

Unsurprisingly, Lennon’s cultural children, who now occupy the seats of power in virtually all our public institutions, view any opposition to their flower-child idealism as by its very nature inconsistent with the “good society,” even if such opposition is a consequence of a free people exercising their rightful powers as citizens. Thus, they do not view their visceral hostility to contrary voices as a prologue to tyranny, but rather, as a legitimate reaction to those who propagate “injustice.”  Consequently, given human nature, and the diversity of social, intellectual, and religious paths that arise from a free people committed to ordered liberty, the world of “Imagine” can only be achieved by suppressing the opposition.

As we learned earlier this month, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) admitted that it had over the past few years targeted for “special treatment” Tea Party and conservative groups applying for 501(c) 4 or 501(c) 3 tax-exempt status. For example, according to one report, an Iowa prolife group was asked in 2009 by the IRS to “please explain how all of your activities, including the prayer meetings held outside of Planned Parenthood, are considered educational as defined under 501(c) 3.” They were also asked to “please provide the percentage of time your group spends on prayer groups as compared with other activities of the organization,” as well as “to explain in detail the signs that are being held up outside Planned Parenthood, and explain how they are considered educational.”

>>>continue reading

 

I've Joined the Faculty of the Envoy Institute's Catholic Apologetics Academy

I am pleased to announce that yesterday I accepted an invitation to be on the faculty of the Catholic Apologetics Academy of the Envoy Institute. Included among my colleagues are Patrick Madrid (Envoy's president) and philosophers Edward Feser and Peter Kreeft. You can read more about CAA here.

I anticipate that my lectures will focus on what I've been doing for most of my career as both a Protestant and a Catholic: discussing philosophical, social, and cultural issues in which once widely-held Christian understandings have been challenged and require an intelligent, careful, and winsome response.

 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Giving the Banquet Keynote Address at the 2013 Napa Institute Conference, August 1-4

It is truly an honor to announce that I will be giving the banquet keynote address at the 2013 Napa Institute Conference.  According to the website:
The Third Annual Napa Institute Conference will take place from Thursday, August 1 – Sunday, August 4, 2013 at the Meritage Resort & Spa in Napa, CA.

In 2013, conference themes will include the Sanctity of Work, Building a Catholic Culture, and Reason & Faith. Speakers and Prelates in attendance for 2013 include:

Archbishops José Gomez, Charles Chaput, John Nienstedt, Samuel Aquila, Salvatore Cordileone, and Alexander Brunett; Bishops Robert Vasa, Kevin Vann, and Robert Morlino; Fathers Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., Ronald Tacelli, S.J., and Brian Mullady, OP; along with Tim Gray, Ph.D., Carolyn Woo, Ph.D., Kathryn Jean Lopez, John Garvey, and Dr. Francis Beckwith.

You can read more about it here.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

"Baylor University Scholar Francis Beckwith Will Speak at Vatican Educational Conference"

From Baylor media communications:
WACO, Texas (April 22, 2013) -- Francis J. Beckwith, Ph.D., a professor of philosophy at Baylor University and Resident Scholar in Baylor's Institute for Studies of Religion, will travel to Rome in mid-June to speak at The Celebration of Evangelium Vitae: Faithful to Life conference, sponsored by the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.

Beckwith is one of three speakers invited to speak at the event, to be held June 15-16.

>>>Continue reading

For more on the conference itself, go to the Year of Faith website here. (Note: Sean Cardinal O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston, is no longer giving the keynote address, as indicated in the Baylor press release. However, he has been replaced by His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, former Archbishop of St. Louis and current Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, as noted on the Year of Faith website).