Culture & Wordview

Caitlyn Jenner, Feminism and Sexual Confusion in American Culture

Jun 20th, 2015 | By
Bruce Jenner

The cover of the July issue of Vanity Fair displays Caitlyn Jenner (the new transgender identity of 1976 Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner). Caitlyn is the new “poster girl” of the transgender movement in western civilization … There is obvious tension between the transgender movement and modern feminism.

“Speak the Truth in Love”— to a Postmodern, Postchristian Culture

Jun 6th, 2015 | By

The assumption of personal faith, which used to be a staple of American culture, is no longer valid. Postmodern pluralism and relativism define our culture and personal autonomy drives individual ambition and meaning. For those of us who love Christ and see our identity as being in Christ, it is easy to become defensive and imagine ourselves as “an aggrieved and repressed remnant.” But the New Testament offers another approach: Believers in Christ are to speak the truth in love. Jim Daly, President of Focus on the Family, argues that Christians should be a “joyful minority. [But] we are no longer effective at persuasion because we lack humility. Some in the faith community are losing legitimacy among younger people because many Christians only speak truth and fail to do truth.”

Christianity in America: Evangelical Stability amid Widespread Decline

May 23rd, 2015 | By

The Pew Research Center recently released its US Religious Landscape Study, which summarizes the conclusions from a monumental study of how American religion has changed between 2007 and 2014. Conducted among 35,000 adults in English and Spanish, the study fills in the gaps left by the data released by the US Census Bureau. This is necessary because the Bureau does not ask Americans about their religion. What follows is a salient summary of this important survey. It enables us to understand what is happening across the American religious landscape.

The Ethics of Gene Editing

May 16th, 2015 | By

A group of scientists in China has crossed an ethical line in their use of a relatively new genetic technology called gene editing. Seeking to cure a disease called beta thalassemia, an inherited blood disease, they sought to abolish the broken gene that causes it. The technique seeks to modify genetically the stem cells that
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The New Intolerance and Religious Liberty

Apr 18th, 2015 | By

In 1993, the US Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Since the Supreme Court ruled in 1997 that the RFRA applied only to the federal government, some 20 states since then have passed their own RFRAs. Another dozen states have adopted RFRA-style protections in other ways. Probably the most important invocation of an RFRA, in a federal case, was Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which reached the Supreme Court last year. Recently Indiana passed its own RFRA, which has created a firestorm. The law establishes that the state “may not substantially burden” a person’s free exercise of religion unless “it is essential to further a compelling governmental interest” and “the least restrictive means” of doing so.

Why the Definition of Marriage Matters

Apr 4th, 2015 | By

On 17 March 2015, the Presbyterian Church (USA) [PCUSA] voted to change the definition of marriage within the PCUSA constitution to include same-sex marriage. The language of the constitution was changed from “a man and a woman” to “two people, traditionally a man and a woman.” The PCUSA thus joins other denominations/religious associations that permit their clergy to perform same-sex marriages: the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, the Quakers, and the Unitarian Universalist Association of Churches, and both Reform and Conservative Judaism.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan: A Prophet about the Family

Mar 28th, 2015 | By

Fifty years ago (1965), Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a sociologist, Assistant Secretary of Labor, and later one of the most important U.S. Senators of the 20th century, wrote a controversial but prescient report on the importance of the family for African-American children: The Negro Family: The Case For National Action (aka the Moynihan Report). It focused on the deep roots of black poverty in America and concluded controversially that the relative absence of nuclear families would greatly hinder further progress toward economic and political equality.

Fifty Shades of Grey: Legitimizing Perversion

Feb 28th, 2015 | By

In 2011, British author E.L. James self-published Fifty Shades of Grey. Vintage Books acquired the publishing rights of the book and Hollywood released a movie adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey this Valentine’s Day. The book and movie chart the fictional romance of a recent college graduate, Anastasia Steele, and billionaire businessman, Christian Grey. In both the book and the movie are explicitly erotic scenes, which also feature sexual practices of BDSM (bondage/discipline, dominance/submission and sado/masochism).

Teens and Birth Control

Jan 12th, 2015 | By

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof recently reported that about one-third of American girls become pregnant as teenagers. He further summarizes some other staggering statistics:

Jerusalem: The World’s Most Controversial City

Jan 3rd, 2015 | By
Old City from the Mount of the Olives

With the controversy between Jews and Muslims over the 37-acre compound called Temple Mount brewing these last few months, the Palestinian Liberation Organization made an extraordinary decision that defies all logic and history: The name used by Jews for this site—Temple Mount—the PLO declared to be “null and void.” They stipulated that the site can only be called Al Aqsa Mosque or the Noble Sanctuary. [A lesser known Arabic name for the site is Bait al-Maqdis, “house of the holy.”] For Islam, this is where the Prophet Muhammad is said to have ascended to heaven, where his role as Allah’s Prophet was affirmed. The controversy over the site the Jews call Temple Mount is over more than sovereignty or the title of the site.