Featured Issues

The Withdrawal of the United States from the Middle East: The Consequences

Jan 14th, 2017 | By

The post-World War II international order, organized by the United States, is coming apart. There is probably no more poignant example of this truth than the Middle East. The US has been the key to relative stability and order in the notoriously complex Middle East. From the creation of Israel in 1948, through the wars of 1956, 1967 and 1973, the United States brokered the peace that ultimately preserved the existence of Israel and kept the major powers (e.g., the Soviet Union and now Russia, as well as Iran) at bay. Under Presidents Carter, Clinton, Bush and Reagan, the US brokered peace deals between Israel and its neighbors based on the premise of “land for peace.” No longer!

The Need for Educational Reform in America

Jan 7th, 2017 | By

As a reward to the teacher unions of the United States for strongly supporting his run for the presidency, Jimmy Carter created the Department of Education, a Cabinet level Department with a large bureaucracy. Today that Department funnels billions of tax dollars to elementary, secondary and college institutions throughout the United States. Especially for the public elementary and secondary schools, there is a growing body of evidence indicating that this Department and the tax dollars spent since 1979 have not produced a good return on investment. . . Arguably, most intellectually honest educators admit that the American system of public education is in need of thoroughgoing reform. But both Democrats and Republicans have blind spots when it comes to educational reform. . .

The State of Civilization’s Foundation: Marriage and the Family (2016)

Dec 31st, 2016 | By

American civilization and the broader western civilization have embraced a radical re-definition of marriage and family. This is beyond the culture’s accommodation to same-sex marriage. For example, the approval of unwed parenthood is now at 61%; the approval of divorce at 71%; and the approval of premarital sex at 53%. Rather shockingly, support for plural matrimony (i.e., polygamy) has risen from 7% to 16%. The logic of this change is obvious: Given the accommodation to same-sex marriage, on what ethical and legal basis is American civilization going to deny the right of citizens who wish to have multiple partners in a marriage?

The Christmas Story: Belief or Nostalgia?

Dec 24th, 2016 | By

“I believe; I believe. It’s silly, but I believe.” These familiar words were spoken by young Susan Walker in the popular Christmas movie Miracle on 34th Street (1947). Today, her words accurately reflect how faith is commonly portrayed—a blind leap in the dark; believing for no reason at all. The shepherds, the wise men, the Bethlehem star, the babe in the manger make us feel warm, comfortable and happy, but whether it is all true or not is irrelevant. But what if it is true—all of it? What if the angels, the virgin birth, the Incarnation are true? What difference would it make?

“Post-Truth”: The 2016 Word of the Year

Dec 17th, 2016 | By

Oxford Dictionaries has selected “post-truth” as 2016’s international word of the year. The dictionary defines “post-truth” as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Oxford dictionary’s editors noted a roughly 2,000% increase in the usage of “post-truth” over 2015, especially with far more frequency in news articles and on social media in both the United Kingdom and the United States. The choice of “post-truth” is actually rather astonishing as a word choice, but, in light of the 2016 presidential campaign where “truth” was not a term one would use to describe either candidate’s campaign, it makes sense: Intentional lies and misrepresentation of facts were the norm.

Is the Electoral College Still Necessary?

Dec 10th, 2016 | By

The 2016 presidential election is history and the difference between the popular vote, which Hillary Clinton won by over two million votes, and the electoral vote, which Donald Trump won decisively, is disturbing to some. Because this is the second time in recent history where the candidate who won the popular vote did not win the electoral vote, many argue that we should abolish the Electoral College and simply adopt the standard that the one who wins the popular vote (presumably a majority requirement) is the president . . . Should we abolish the Electoral College as an antiquated, 18th century innovation of our Founders?

Metaphors for America’s Cultural Divide: “Hamilton” and the University

Dec 3rd, 2016 | By

The 2016 presidential campaign just does not seem to end. The cultural divide that this campaign accentuated keeps raising its ugly head. Although the voting data now becoming available does not permit quite this simplicity, the national media often painted the recent election as a binary one: rich vs. poor, rural vs. urban, white vs. people of color, and the male working class vs. everyone else. Despite what many evangelicals argued, this election was about far more than abortion, same-sex marriage or transgender bathrooms. This election was about the changing identity of America as a Republic founded on the principles of equality, virtue and community (see the first few paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence).

Reflections on the 2016 Presidential Election

Nov 26th, 2016 | By

The impact and the implications of the 2016 presidential election are coming into focus. The results were surprising and defied all of the conventional wisdom before the election. Every major polling entity got it wrong and every projection I know of was off significantly regarding the Electoral College.

The UN, UNESCO and Temple Mount in Jerusalem

Nov 19th, 2016 | By

During the month of October, UNESCO (the cultural organization of the United Nations) has been dealing with the state of Temple Mount in Jerusalem as a historic site. In a recent resolution, by secret ballot, UNESCO approved a resolution that denied any Jewish connection to Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The document refers to the Jerusalem site that Jews call Temple Mount only by its Arab name—a significant semantic decision also adopted by UNESCO’s Executive Board that triggered condemnation from Israel and its allies. The resolution was passed by the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, which consists of 21 member countries: Ten countries voted for, two against, eight abstained and one was absent. (Neither Israel, the U.S. nor Palestine is on the World Heritage Committee.)

A Call for Compassion, Empathy and Forgiveness in America

Nov 12th, 2016 | By

Most Americans are rejoicing that the presidential election is finally over. America has endured eighteen months of innuendo, vindictiveness, conspiracy theories, and the abandonment of reason, mixed with racial and ethnic discord. Tragically, there was little, substantive discussion about the significant issues facing the nation over the next four years. However, as a Christian, I can affirm several bedrock truths: