Religion

Tnr Slideshow: Mormonism And The Feds
July 20, 2009

Today, President Obama met with Thomas S. Monson (above), the president of the Church of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). While they're friendly now, the Mormon Church and the federal government have often had a rocky relationship--from founder Joseph Smith's decision to advocate "theodemocracy" in place of the American system of government, to bouts of persecution and open warfare. Click here to read more about the interaction between the U.S. government and the Mormon Church, from Joseph Smith to the present day. --Dylan Matthews Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Richard A. Clarke, Ex-liberal Hero, And The Reality Of Counter-terrorist War
July 18, 2009

Richard A Clarke came from inside--high-inside--American intelligence. And he was against the Iraq war. It was enough to make him a liberal hero. But in his testimony to (and around) the 9/11 commission he was also critical, devastatingly so, about how the White House under both President Clinton and President Bush had been so pre-occupied with other matters that they'd left the war against terrorism which we needed direly more or less neglected. We know that Clinton barely functioned as president in his second term, and we all know why.

Rafsanjani Turns The Tide. What Now?
July 17, 2009

 Abbas Milani is the Moghadam Director of Iranian Studies at Stanford, where he is also a co-director of Iranian studies at Stanford. His last book is Eminent Persians: The Men and Women who Made Modern Iran (Syracuse University Press, 2008). In the most anticipated speech of his storied career, Rafsanjani has finally weighed in on the side of the opposition in Iran's post-election crisis.

The New Democrats
July 15, 2009

What we are witnessing right now in the streets of Tehran is, first and foremost, a political battle for the future of the Iranian state. But closely linked to this political fight is also an old theological dispute about the nature of Shiism--a dispute that has been roiling Iran for more than a century. Shiism, like most religions, is no stranger to heated schisms. Shia and Sunnis split over the question of whether Muhammad had designated his son-in-law, Ali, as his successor (Shia believed he had).

The Bystander
July 15, 2009

In the affairs of states, lessons are often learned too late or too well. Faced with unexpected crises and unwelcome demands for prompt decision-making, governments think by analogy. And they are invariably keen to demonstrate that they have learned from their--or, more conveniently, their predecessors'--mistakes. The last time a Democrat occupied the White House, an inherited humanitarian mission in Somalia turned to disaster in the alleys of Mogadishu.

Hillary The Architect
July 15, 2009

This afternoon, Hillary Clinton gave what I thought was an excellent speech laying out the Obama administration's approach to the world. A sizeable portion of the Washington foreign policy establishment packed the Council on Foreign Relations to hear her remarks, and the secretary was accompanied by a gaggle of lieutenants, including (from my view of the room) special envoys Richard Holbrooke and George Mitchell, Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher, and a number of assistant secretaries, including Rose Gottemoeller, Andrew Shapiro, and P.J. Crowley.

Willa Is My God-daughter
July 09, 2009

I can't remember how many years ago this was, although it's probably at least twenty-odd, I would say. The Rt. Rev. Paul Moore Jr., bishop of the the New York diocese of the Anglican Church, an arch-liberal aristocrat of the Episcopal communion, commended Willa Brown to my care to assure her Christian education. I also can't recall his exact words. But they were stentorian and they echoed off the pillars and nave of the forever unfinished Cathedral of St.

Nyc Schools And Muslim Holidays
July 09, 2009

Last week, the New York City Council passed a resolution to close public schools on two Muslim holidays. The resolution asks that the city's Department of Education recognize the holidays, and that the state government amend education law to do the same.

Was The Obama Campaign A Lie?
June 23, 2009

Harper's publisher John R. MacArthur, writing in the Providence Journal, says that President Obama misled the American people: IT ISN’T QUITE FAIR to call Barack Obama a liar. During the campaign he carefully avoided committing to much of anything important that he might have to take back later. For now, I won’t quibble with The St. Petersburg Times’s Obamameter, which so far has the president keeping 30 promises and breaking only six. And yet, broadly speaking, Obama has been lying on a pretty impressive scale. MacAurthur goes on to list Obama's "lies." He provides four examples.

Kagan: The Reconciliation
June 18, 2009

Robert Kagan emails to contest one element of my critique of his column. I wrote: Kagan begins with the premise that the Bush administration pursued an idealistic policy of supporting the Iranian opposition, which Obama has abandoned in the name of realism: The United States had to provide some guarantee to the regime that it would no longer support opposition forces or in any way seek its removal.

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