First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Articles from No. 296, October

Catholicism Made Me Protestant
Like all accounts of God's faithfulness, mine begins with a genealogy. In the late seventeenth century, my mother's Congregationalist ancestors journeyed to the New World to escape what they saw as England's deadly compromise with Romanism. Centuries...
Christian Universalism and the Nation
Proposition #1: The Church is the agent of Christian universalism.Christianity requires no specific political form. It has adapted to kingdoms, empires, and republics. But Christianity opposes any political project that pretends to a universal mission...
Embarrassed by Our Nations
Among conservatives today there is an emerging confidence about the nation. But it remains a timid confidence, expressed among fellow-travelers but not in the broader political culture. Awkwardness still prevails. We are living "after globalism," yet...
Fdr's Faith
FDR'S FAITH A Christian and a Democrat: A Religious Biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt BY JOHN F. WOOLVERTON AND JAMES D. BRATT EERDMANS, 280 PAGES, $32A Christian and a Democrat gets off to an inauspicious start, with a foreword by former FBI director...
Goodbye to "So What?"
The case for American nationalism is clear. The United States is the most diverse nation on earth. If we will not have a nation and its constitution, then we will have anarchy. If we will not have a nation and its constitution, we will have Hobbesian...
Harrowing Hart on Hell
HARROWING HART ON HELL That All Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell, and Universal Salvation BY DAVID BENTLEY HART YALE, 232 PAGES, $26David Bentley Hart, familiar to readers of these pages as an intellectual pugilist who floats like a butterfly and stings...
Letters
JurisprudenceHadley Arkes, echoing themes he has developed for many years in his work, offers a forceful argument ("Backing into Relativism." June/July) that the Supreme Court's aspiration to contentless neutrality in its Speech and Religion Clause doctrine...
Liberalism as Luxury
LIBERALISM AS LUXURY A Thousand Small Sanities: The Moral Adventure of Liberalism BY ADAM GOPNIK BASIC, 272 PAGES, $28Adam Gopnik is the New Yorker columnist notorious for comparing the post-9/11 scent of death in lower Manhattan to that of "smoked mozzarella."...
Mitzvah
A Saturday night, late February. Eileen and mein the back of the cramped car, Julie driving,Bruce riding shotgun. We're heading downto Amherst for an evening of Borscht Belt vaudeville,Fifty Shades of Oy Vey at the local Jewish temple,and Julie's taking...
Nationalism, Conservatism, and the E.U
Whether we really have been observing a resurgence of nationalism in Europe is not at all clear. "Nationalism" is a bad word in Europe, and it has been used-along with "populism," another bad word-to describe the views of critics of the E.U. within the...
Spirituality of the Suburbs
Obituaries for Toni Morrison, who died on August 5, remember her as a Nobel Prize-winning novelist, a black woman novelist, and the last great American novelist-never a Catholic novelist. Morrison converted to Catholicism at age twelve but stood aloof...
Statesmen and Technocrats
Proportional representation used to be blamed for the collapse of the Weimar Republic: Too much fragmentation crippled effective majority government. Israel adopted proportional representation in 1948, but in order to avoid what happened in Germany,...
The New American Right
What, exactly, do you want?" Liberal critics put the question to the post-fusionist American right in various ways. At times they ask it earnestly, at times with a sneer, and not infrequently with undisguised contempt. It seems that no political argument...
The Outsider
I want to read something to you. I want you to really listen to this." Rush Limbaugh opened his radio show on January 20, 2016, in the tone he normally reserves for breaking Clinton scandals. But his topic that afternoon was less sensational, and he...
The Virtue of Prudence
In The Four Cardinal Virtues, Josef Pieper writes, "That is prudent which is in keeping with reality." Moral principles and good intentions amount to little if pursued blindly. Action on behalf of the good requires accurate perception of concrete situations...
This Catholic Moment
The current crisis in the global Church is not the worst crisis in Catholic history, but it is bad enough. Nor is it confined to the scandals of clerical sexual abuse and malfeasant Church leadership, though those scandals crystallize its meaning and...
Two False Newmans
On October 13, Pope Francis will declare John Henry Newman a saint. Catholics from around the world will crowd St. Peter's Square to see the greatest religious thinker of Victorian England raised to the altars. Amid the joy and apparent concord of that...
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