Day: October 21, 2007

Religion and politics in America

Americans are among the most religious people in the wealthy, democratic West. Yet we are not only comfortable, but proud, of the independence of church and state. Are we bound to fumble in our foreign policy if we cannot understand why the politics of equality, liberty, toleration, and democracy fit so uneasily with the explicitly religious politics of the Middle East? Closer to home, evangelical Christians remain one of the most powerful forces in American politics, and perhaps a dominant force in the Republican Party. Will they bring down the “big tent” if the GOP nominates a cosmopolitan pro-choice New Yorker or a Mormon? Is there, perhaps, a place for religious ideas on the American left?

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The new death

Baby boomers are changing everything–including death and funerals, apparently. The Wall Street Journal reports on an emerging trend of designer funerals. A stroll through the exhibit floor of the National Funeral Directors Association convention, in Las Vegas earlier this month, suggests that death options are indeed as plentiful as toothpaste brands.

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Race, environment and genetics

James Watson, who won a Nobel for his work on DNA caused a quite a furor by suggesting that blacks were less intelligent than other races. In response, Steven Levitt presents some data suggesting that Watson’s assumptions about a genetic explanation for disparities in intelligence tests are simply wrong.

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Ripening faith

Again, we pray and pray, and no answer comes. The boon does not arrive. Why? Perhaps we are not spiritually ready for it. It would not be a real blessing. But the persistence, the importunity of faith, is having a great effect on our spiritual nature. It ripens.

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