Politics & Current Events

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. . .



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:



The ISIS Apocalypse Delayed

Nov 5th, 2016 | By

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

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

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.