Politics & Current Events

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.



Russia and Iran: Remaking the Middle East

Sep 3rd, 2016 | By

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

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

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.



First Amendment Freedoms under Stress

Jul 30th, 2016 | By

Perhaps the most important rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights (the Constitution’s first Ten Amendments) are two of the four listed in the First Amendment—the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion (“the free exercise” of religious beliefs and conscience). Both of these precious freedoms are under significant stress today and in fact are threatened by the realities of this Postmodern, post-Christian era in which we live. Both need rigorous defense and protection, and, according to the Constitution, it is the state that is to offer the foremost protection of these two rights. Let’s examine the nature of this stress.



The Strategy of the Pro-Life Movement

Jul 23rd, 2016 | By

This June, the US Supreme Court ended its year with a series of important decisions. Perhaps most important was the Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision (handed down on 27 June 2016) which tested the state of Texas’s attempt to further regulate abortion clinic requirements. The Court ruled 5-3 that Texas cannot place restrictions on the delivery of abortion services that create an undue burden for women seeking an abortion. The Texas law required abortion providers to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers and to upgrade their building, safety, parking, and staffing to meet the standards of a hospital room. The Court’s decision deemed these requirements unnecessary and expensive as well as an attempt to limit abortion access rather than provide safety to women.



A World in Crisis and World Leadership in Crisis

Jul 16th, 2016 | By

As mentioned in a previous Issues (2 July 2016), the world order set in place after World War II is coming apart. In the Middle East, nation states are disappearing, replaced by ancient tribalism and clan loyalties rooted deep in the region’s history. The benefits of open borders with lower tariffs and growing international trade are being challenged by a narrow nationalism, a dangerous isolationism and a short-sighted introversion. Islamic terrorism is fostering bloody rivalries between Sunnis and Shiites, rendering the nation states created after World War I irrelevant and dangerous. All aspects of the old order. . .are under siege with little or no public trust in that order.