Religion

Abbas Flails Out At His Only Possible Partner For Peace
February 12, 2009

As you know very well, I don't hold out much hope for the Middle East peace process. At the State Department and almost all the ostensibly important--but truly irrelevant--European foreign ministries however, officials are insisting that peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians is at the top of their agenda. Sanctimonious, yes; realistic, no. Why? One reason is that there are more important hot spots in the world, more important especially for the United States. But not only.

Forget Health Care Reform--we Have Prayer
February 12, 2009

Time magazine's cover story this week, 'The Biology of Belief: How Faith Can Heal,' is almost too silly for words. Here is a flavor of the article's thesis: Here's what's surprising: a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that faith may indeed bring us health. People who attend religious services do have a lower risk of dying in any one year than people who don't attend.

Who's Left To Vote For In Israel?
February 09, 2009

Tuesday is when Israelis, both Jewish and Arab, will go to the polls to elect their next Knesset. There are 33 parties in the contest of which the weirdest is the Holocaust Survivors and Grown-Up Green Leaf Party. This, then, is a vital democracy but more than a bit on the wild side.

What Conservatism Should Look Like
February 09, 2009

Andrew J. Bacevich is professor of history and international relations at Boston University. He is the author of The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism. "There remains in our politics a place for an authentic conservatism," writes Sam Tanenhaus, "a conservatism that seeks not to destroy but to conserve." Which begs the question: Given our current predicament, what exactly should principled conservatives view as worth conserving? Let's take a quick inventory. The Left has won the culture war, and, at least in the near-term, its victory is irreversible.

Possible But Improbable
January 28, 2009

I've kept silent so far about Pope Benedict's decision to de-excommunicate four Lefebvrist bishops of the Society of Saint Pius X, at least one of whom is a virulently anti-Semitic Holocaust-denier. My silence is a product of uncertainty about what I might add to the discussion. I agree with Andrew that the pope's action demonstrates very clearly that the pope is far more interested in reaching an understanding with ultra-traditionalist dissenters than he is with feminist or homosexual Catholics.

More On Criticism Of Israel
January 26, 2009

My current TRB column is about the eerie intellectual parallels between J Street (and its followers) and the right-wing Israel hawks they so virulently oppose.

The End Of Israeli Democracy?
January 13, 2009

More than a few bloggers have jumped on the news that the Israeli Knesset's Central Elections Committee voted overwhelmingly to ban Arab parties from running in the upcoming parliamentary elections, with some of these bloggers using the vote to question Israel's status as a democracy. Allegations of racism surrounding the vote demonstrate a lack of knowledge about Israeli history and society. This is not the first time that Israel has banned an extremist political party. In 1988, the Central Election Commission banned Rabbi Meir Kahane's Kach party for its racist and undemocratic platform.

The Two Richard John Neuhauses
January 08, 2009

In the three-and-a-half years I worked at First Things magazine, I came to know two Richard John Neuhauses. The first is the one I worked with in the journal's offices every day: personally generous and jovial, intellectually and theologically curious, alert to political and cultural complications, overflowing with energy and ideas. This is the Neuhaus readers encountered in his lengthy, erudite essays on philosophy, theology, and history, which frequently graced the pages of the magazine.

The Two Richard John Neuhauses
January 08, 2009

The following reflection on the passing of Richard John Neuhaus (1936-2009) is cross-posted at the National Catholic Reporter. Additional thoughts on Neuhaus' life and legacy will appear in this space over the coming days. In the three-and-a-half years I worked at First Things magazine, I came to know two Richard John Neuhauses. The first is the one I worked with in the journal's offices every day: personally generous and jovial, intellectually and theologically curious, alert to political and cultural complications, overflowing with energy and ideas.

News From Gaza
January 08, 2009

This is not me reporting. I have not been in Gaza. Like other journalists I am not allowed. Some reporters are having hissy-fits because of the Israeli prohibition to go beyond the frontier. Tough darts. No embedding. They could, of course, try going in through Egypt which also has a border with the Strip, and a border that fronts on areas of much activity by the Israeli military. Like destroying the tunnels that have been Hamas' lifeline for other people's death.    I suppose that these regulations may violate an exaggerated principle or two of freedom of the press.

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