Of Lawyers and Localism

2015-4-30 Lawyers img01I am currently attending law school. Among the topics of conversation which my friends and I regularly revisit, future plans rank near the top. My peers have come from far and wide, and have many different goals for their careers, but I am struck by the uniformity amongst us in one aspect of our plans: Nearly everyone plans to end up in a large center of power, such as New York or Washington, DC. A few want to go to San Francisco, and a few more to London or Beijing. I virtually never hear a friend say that they plan to live and work in a small town.

According to one of my law professors, this was not always so. Continue reading

Two Sides of the Same Sword

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Since American’s first colonization, a conception of its own phenomenality has been a cornerstone of American ideology. To the Pilgrims and other early British colonists, it was a refuge and a sort of promised land; a haven where they could practice their distinctly non-Anglican religion without the attempted constraints of the Church of England and England’s king, James I. The perpetrators of the American Revolution were convinced of their singular status in governmental experimentation, believing – not incorrectly – that they had been given an unprecedented opportunity to not simply remove a bad government, but to build a new government as best they could in its place. This spirit of unique birth matured quickly into a spirit of unique purpose, as later leaders drove towards a national ideal of political evangelism – that is, a nation that would share the bounty of its own spirit and system of government with the rest of the world. Continue reading

State of the Union

2015-1-22 Union img01After reading Beauty by Roger Scruton, a contemporary British philosopher, I wrote to ask him if politics could be beautiful, given how ugly that art is now, and seems to have always been. Is beauty achievable in politics? Receiving a reply made me beam like a six-year-old with a new Lego set.  He explained, politics might not be the best place to hope for beauty, but that the rudimentary elements necessary for beauty could be conserved in politics, because politics could create the conditions for beauty to flourish: order and liberty.

It is in the light of those ends of politics– order and liberty – that I have since sought to approach the politics of my nation, the United States, and the discourse that defines political study through speech.

In the light of this criterion, the state of the union was bad. Continue reading

The Man Who Would Not Be King

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The Rotunda of the U. S. Capitol houses many grand paintings depicting crucial moments in American history. These works bring American history to life and remind all who stop to look at them of our nation’s rich heritage. As a Congressional intern, I had the enjoyable job of leading Capitol tours and attempting to explain the importance of these historical scenes to visitors. On the northwestern wall hangs my personal favorite among the paintings. It does not feature the Signing of the Declaration, nor the Pilgrims on the Mayflower, nor a military victory in the Revolutionary War, though those are all worthy subjects. Continue reading

American Idol

2014-7-24 Idol img01Do you worship idols? Don’t be shocked—I’m completely serious—do you?

Baal and Ashtoreth are referenced frequently throughout the Bible; I have known their names ever since I can remember. These gods were integral to the Canaanite culture of long ago. Indeed, worship of them and other false deities was certainly a common Old Testament sin. Naturally then, in answer to the question above, my 8 year old self might have answered: “Of course not—that is so BC!” Continue reading

What Does Washington Have to Do with Jerusalem?

I’m afraid I have some bad news. The United States of America was not established by God as a second Israel. The Constitution, as wonderful as (most of) it is, was not written by a divine hand on stone tablets. America is not mentioned in the Bible in any special way, whether by name or implication. I hope that doesn’t put a damper on your Independence Day celebrations. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the issues of America and the struggle for justice or righteousness in our government, and to forget that we who are Christians have another citizenship: the Kingdom of Heaven. Furthermore, our heavenly citizenship takes precedence; the United States will eventually be conquered and fall, either by outside forces or by its own corruption. America is temporary, and the only eternal significance it really has is as one of thousands of the nations that will recognize Christ upon His return and His resurrection. This necessarily informs how those of us who are Christians choose to involve ourselves with the affairs of this nation, including its politics.

So what does it mean to be a Christian who is also a citizen of the United States? Continue reading

Scientist’s Statement

DSC_0359I present for your consideration science in primary and secondary education. Advocates consider funding for this education to be crucial… for America to not fall behind other countries, for us to create new and improved treatments for diseases, for us to find better and cleaner sources of energy, for us to have faster computers, etc. Many of these are relevant and worthwhile considerations, but they are practical aims. In this view, science is merely a means to an end.

 The pragmatic approach often continues when the students, as they often do, demand to know why they should have to learn about science in the first place. The best known response is something like, “Because you’ll need it later.” Children and teenagers are typically unimpressed by this. And for them the argument also has the danger of falling through Continue reading