Politics & Current Events

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

Dec 3rd, 2016 | By
iipi120316

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
iipi112616

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
iipi111916

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
iipi111216

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:



The ISIS Apocalypse Delayed

Nov 5th, 2016 | By
iipi110516

During the weekend of 8-9 October 2016, ISIS fighters lost control of the village of Dabiq, not far from the city of Aleppo. The village of Dabiq has been central to the identity of ISIS. The group’s online magazine is called Dabiq, and its news agency, Amaq, is named after the surrounding area of Dabiq. Dabiq had been lauded by ISIS as the center of the final apocalyptic battle between the self-styled caliphate of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the Western crusaders. ISIS deduced the importance of Dabiq for its eschatology from an obscure Hadith, or saying of the Prophet Muhammad concerning the end times.



The Curse of Anti-Semitism

Oct 22nd, 2016 | By
iipi102216

In 2005, historian Paul Johnson published an important article on anti-Semitism in the journal Commentary. He defined anti-Semitism as “an intellectual disease, a disease of the mind, extremely infectious and massively destructive. It is a disease to which both human individuals and entire human societies are prone.” After the destruction of the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 BC and the Southern Kingdom of Judah in 586 BC, the Jews were dispersed throughout the eastern Mediterranean. After Rome’s brutal destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, the final, great diaspora unfolded with Diaspora Judaism becoming the norm. Jews were now dispersed on every major continent and yet were able to maintain a distinct social and religious identity. Over the last 2,000 years, anti-Semitism has continually raised its ugly head virtually everywhere.



Limited Government and President Obama’s Health Care Law

Oct 8th, 2016 | By
iipi100816

We live in a world where one of the few constants in life is change. As we contemplate the future for our children and grandchildren, this can trouble us and often cause significant anxiety. The Founders of this nation were very aware of change and perhaps their greatest fear was how government’s power would change over time. They were birthing a republic unlike any that had ever existed. James Madison wrote to Thomas Jefferson that “Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression.” Benjamin Franklin supposedly explained that “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.” They were fearful of the tyranny of the majority and of the power of the central government they were creating.



Russia and Iran: Remaking the Middle East

Sep 3rd, 2016 | By
iipi090316

The civil war in Syria has been raging for over four years and, until Russia intervened last year, it looked as if the Assad regime would fall. Russia under Vladimir Putin has intentionally linked itself with Iran to preserve the Assad regime. The costs of this civil war are absolutely horrific: Nearly 500,000 have been killed in Syria and somewhere close to 2.5 million+ refugees have fled the slaughter. The nation state of Syria really no longer exists. The nation of Syria is now a devastated landmass of competing militias and terrorist groups that are bent on destroying the nation for their own ideological ends.



The Global Economy and the Reorientation of Politics

Aug 20th, 2016 | By
iipi081916

For the advanced nations within this global economy, economic growth has been weaker for longer than it has been in the lifetime of most people alive today. Although the American economy is growing at a faster pace than others, it is still lagging and taking much longer to recover from the 2008 Great Recession than many anticipated. . . These new realities are hitting the citizens of western civilization particularly hard and creating a degree of tension and dissatisfaction not seen for decades. To a degree, these new realities are behind the Trump (and Sanders) phenomenon in America, the Brexit vote in Europe, and the growth of nationalist parties in other nations of Western Europe. Is there a reorientation of politics occurring in western civilization?



Vladimir Putin: A New “Cold War?”

Aug 13th, 2016 | By
iipi081316

An interesting dimension of the current US presidential campaign is Vladimir Putin. The nation he leads is in economic and financial freefall. In many ways it is a third-world nation, with deep problems including significant corruption, pervasive bureaucratic inefficiencies and inept financial managers. Yet, it is an intensely nationalistic nation, with a resurgent Russian Orthodox Church and a determination to be recognized as a world power. Despite its shortcomings, it remains a nuclear power, with a capable military evidencing cutting edge military technology.