First They Came for Kim Davis

2015-11-2 Davis img01When Kim Davis served jail time for refusing to sign gay marriage licenses, it boded ill for religious liberty in America.

One of GoodTrueBeautiful’s authors analyzes the legal implications of Kim Davis’s plight in an article published by The Harvard Law Record:

As Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito correctly predicted in their dissents, the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges has not, in fact, brought closure to questions regarding marriage in the United States. That case has instead opened up a Pandora’s box of new controversies as the newly-articulated right to same-sex marriage comes into conflict with the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion.

Read more: Same-Sex Marriage, Religious Freedom & Kim Davis

Claiming History for Obergefell

Ideas like this have been current on the Interwebs ever since the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision:

2015-9-3 Marriage img01

(This is a mildly edited comic from this site.)

I suppose that the first thing to observe is that a very complicated issue, with relevance in a lot of different respects (legal, social, moral, &c.), has been collapsed into a single “issue.” Continue reading

Judging Nuns’ Faith

What happens when courts practice theology?  Last week, one of GoodTrueBeautiful’s authors highlighted the danger to religious freedom in an article published by The Baltimore Sun:

A group of appellate judges recently decided to take up theology while writing a legal opinion. As might be expected, they got into trouble.

Read more: Judging nuns’ faith – Baltimore Sun

Of Deserts and Bureaucracies

2015-7-30 Bureaucracy img01I was in the desert waiting, watching, praying, hoping for a miracle to come. Yes, a few months ago I was celebrating the liturgical season of Lent and looking forward to the miracle of Easter, just as were most other Christians around the world at that time. However, that is not the waiting nor the watching, praying, and hoping to which I am referring in this specific instance. No. I was simply doing all of the above in response to bureaucratic ineptitude. Continue reading

What’s Wrong with Obamacare?

2015-5-28 Obamacare img01G.K. Chesterton was once asked to write a series of essays entitled “What’s Wrong with the World.” He readily admitted the hubris attendant in agreeing to such an assignment but rose to the task with his usual wit and energy. His observations pierce the fog of oft-heard arguments with Chesterton’s unusual vision. Though he never addressed the question of public healthcare specifically, his comments on the political issues of his day can shed a fresh light on the question of Obamacare Continue reading

The Virtue of Shame

2015-3-23 shame img01“…Loss of virtue in a female is irretrievable; that one false step involves her in endless ruin; that her reputation is no less brittle than it is beautiful; and that she cannot be too much guarded in her behavior towards the undeserving of the other sex.” This comes from Mary, the homely, pietistic Bennett daughter in Pride and Prejudice. In the context of the novel’s events, her comment is somewhat less than helpful, but it also rings true. In many ways, all a woman has ever had is her reputation. Continue reading

Two Sides of the Same Sword

2015-2-19 America img01

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

Reflections on the National Prayer Breakfast

One week ago President Obama spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. His speech has already occasioned many responses. Presuming to add to the heap, I hope that I can analyze his remarks in light of general principles, elucidating precisely what made his expressions so ill-advised.

Before anything else, we must establish how we are to evaluate his speech. Mere truth is not a sufficient a criterion, however necessary it is: His taking the stage and outlining geometric proofs, however timeless, certain, and precisely true, would have been a bad move. For considering his words, we need to consider the circumstances: Who our speaker was, the occasion of the speech, his audience, and anything else immediately relevant. For now, let us focus on the occasion. 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

Leaving the Party

2014-12-11 fraternities img01I don’t go on Facebook much these days, but every so often I pop on to check for one thing or another and happen to see the first few posts on my feed.  Right before Thanksgiving, a number of those posts were from current or former UVA students expressing their outrage at the situation described in the recent Rolling Stone article on a rape. Continue reading