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.

Memo To The Archbishop Of Canterbury: Mind Your Own Business
December 31, 2008

According to Reuters, the Archbishop on Canterbury, Rowan Williams, once again has ideas on how to stop the bloodshed in the Middle East.  He urged President Bush and president-elect Barack Obama to do it. The cleric has a lot of trouble in his own church which is about to be sundered.  Not his fault, really.  But leadership and respect he does not command.  He has also messed quite frequently with the Israel-Palestinian issue and, as it happens, he has done this ignorantly and with episcopal moral certainty.

Movie Based On Canceled Memoir Will Go Forward (though Script May Change...)
December 27, 2008

Here's a statement from Harris Salomon, the producer of the film adaptation of Herman's memoir. Salomon plans to continue making the film, but noted that he "may rewrite elements of the script to reflect recent revelations about Herman and Roma Rosenblat and why they apparently fabricated elements of their wartime love story." The full release is below: "Like most followers of the deeply moving Holocaust story of Herman and Roma Rosenblat, Atlantic Overseas Pictures is deeply troubled by the allegations that parts of the love story may be fictionalized.

Religious Development Of The Year, 2008
December 23, 2008

On December 3, 2008, a theologically conservative faction of the Episcopal Church announced that it was founding a rival denomination to be called the Anglican Church in North America. Why should anyone besides an Episcopalian care about this event? After all, American Protestants are famous for their entrepreneurial instincts, which often lead them to treat disputes as opportunities to set out in new directions. And then there's the declining importance of the Episcopal Church to the broader culture.

Heaven Sent
December 16, 2008

WASHINGTON--Normally, we might be talking about President-elect Barack Obama's Monday news conference on energy and the environment. But, no. Thanks to the Democratic governor with a wire-brush mop of hair, a crude mouth and what's alleged to be an inclination to put his state government up for sale, the political world's interest has drifted elsewhere. Rod Blagojevich has been a godsend for Republicans who have been looking on helplessly as Obama's approval ratings climb into the stratosphere.

What's Behind The Rise Of Terrorism In India--and Why It Won't End Soon
November 29, 2008

TNR special correspondent Joshua Kurlantzick examines the root causes of the increase of terrorism in India. In the wake of the coordinated terror attacks this week in Mumbai, many Indian and Western observers seemed shocked by the brutality and skill of the attackers. But the terror strikes should not have come as such a surprise. After years of largely avoiding the kind of sophisticated Islamist terror that has been the hallmark of Al Qaeda, in the past year India has become, as much as Europe or the United States, a frontline in the global war on terror.

Can Terrorism Halt India's Global Rise?
November 27, 2008

Nayan Chanda is editor of YaleGlobal Online and author of Bound Together: How Traders, Preachers, Adventurers and Warriors Shaped Globalization.In recent years, terrorist attacks in India have become as much a part of life as the monsoon squalls. The only difference has been their unpredictability, as opposed to the regularity of the monsoons. The well-coordinated and large scale assault on Mumbai this week are not only qualitatively different, but also came with a chillingly new message.

Surrendering Israel To Nato Would Not Mean Peace
November 21, 2008

Today's Washington Post carries an op-ed by Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski. They've written the same article maybe a hundred times? What is it about? Well, it's their usual wrap about bringing everything back to square one in Palestine with Israel surrendering its right of self-defense to NATO. At least, the duo realizes that there would be a continuing problem of defending Israel even after Palestine is established. But this is not peace. Is it? How would this come about? Yes, a special envoy, of course. Why didn't I think of this? Who might that be? The Duke of Edinburgh? Bono?

An Election In Jerusalem
November 17, 2008

The ultra-orthodox had taken over Jerusalem's City Hall in the person of Uri Lupolianski acting for a cadre of rabbis who gave him permission to do "this" or denied him permission to do "that."  This was 2003.  Formally, it was a democratically elected government.  And it's true that there were lots of matters about which the holy men did not care a fig.  Lupolianski succeeded Ehud Olmert, a man who dealt with the religious as any mayor of a demographically intricate modern city has to deal with a big and dug-in minority.  Most Arabs don't vote in Jerusalem municipal elections because they don