Essay / Misc.

What's In a Name?

In an attempt to clarify the government’s detention authority over some 200+ current Guantanamo Bay detainees, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has distanced itself from the politically loaded term “enemy combatant.” Headlines on Friday (the 13th) trumpeted that the Obama administration had eliminated and

Essay / On This Day

Today the First English Prayerbook Was Mandated (1549)

On January 21, 1549, the House of Commons agreed with the previous decision of the House of Lords in passing an act that declared the brand new Book of Common Prayer to be the only legal form for worship in England. This was the first

Essay / Politics

Liveblog of Inauguration

I love inaugurations, even when my candidate doesn’t win. I still have a marked-up newspaper copy of the first Clinton inaugural address in my files. Inauguration day is a great American event, and the high spirits surrounding the Obama inauguration take it to the next

Essay / Culture

Today Started Prohibition (1919)

It is hard to imagine, but 90 years ago, the Constitution was amended to make liquor illegal: no selling, manufacturing, or transporting beverage alcohol. If you look at all those progressive-era amendments to the Constitution, they’re all pretty interesting: 16th Amendment (1913): Federal Income Tax

Essay / Politics

A Biblical Theology of the Arab Peoples

In these complicated days of geopolitical confusion, here is a straightforward question: What does the Bible say abut the Arab people? It’s a clear enough question, but who do you know who could put together more than a few sentences on the subject? There must

Essay / Culture

The Color Line Through This Century

Even though it’s a big political week and I’ve been consuming much more news and political analysis than is healthy, I happened to be thinking about something else on Monday. I was browsing century-old Los Angeles Times stories for a project, and found this intriguing

Essay / Culture

Vote. A Right…

Citizens of the United States of America are quick to argue that they have constitutional rights – for everything. Citizens defend clearly expressed rights such as the right to free speech, the right to not be searched or seized unreasonably, and the right to peaceably

Essay / Literature

Leave it to a poet…

…to speak sense into politics. ‘There are two kinds of political issues, Party issues and Revolutionary issues. In a party issue, all parties are agreed as to the nature and justice of the social goal to be reached, but differ in their policies for reaching

Essay / Culture

The Long Defeat

This is one of those times when it’s better simply to point you somewhere else – specifically, to this bit about ‘the long defeat’.

Essay / Politics

The Candidate and the President: Rachel Motte Reports from Saddleback

Rachel Motte reporting from Saddleback: I’ve been amused by recent speculations that Barack Obama may be the antichrist. After Saturday’s candidate forum at Saddleback Church, I think we can safely say that he isn’t. That would be too far above his pay grade. Rick Warren

Essay / Politics

Voting as a Spiritual Discipline: Ten Tips

How do you keep a healthy spiritual life during an intensely political time? The political season, after all, is about to begin in earnest: in only one week the Democrats will open their national convention in Denver, and shortly after that the Republicans will convene

Essay / Culture

What, Exactly, Is An Evangelical?

Every election period the media mention, usually in ominous terms, Evangelicals. This year is no exception. And just as frequently, Evangelicals are identified with Fundamentalists and the Religious Right. This identification is false and harmful to the spirit of civil public discourse. Since I am