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Vaccines, HEK293 Cells, and Cooperation with Evil: A Response to Michael Pakaluk

Neither Michael Pakaluk’s criticisms of a statement by pro-life scholars on COVID-19 vaccines nor his positive arguments against those vaccines hit their mark. The purchase and use of HEK293 and similar cell-lines are not intrinsically impermissible. Well-formed people of good faith may be moved by the very strong reasons that exist to take the vaccine to do so.

Congress Plays at Anti-Civics

The Civics Secures Democracy Act will give the federal bureaucracy tremendous leverage to influence state and local decisions about civics education content and administration, thus making them less responsive to the people. This is an anti-civics civics bill that will stoke the fires of discord and alienation.

Government Handouts Won’t Reverse the Baby Bust: Three Responses to Gladden Pappin

Should social conservatives embrace large-scale economic programs aimed at subsidizing family formation and childbearing? Is it more effective to focus on long-term economic growth? Are our declining birth rates really cause for concern, anyway? If they are, to what extent can the problem be solved by governmental family subsidies?

It’s Time for Social Conservatives to Stop Fawning Over Hungary

Gladden Pappin, like many other social conservatives, has been too swayed by the experiences of one country: Hungary. His credulity with regards to the Orban government’s family policy claims has led him, and many other conservatives, to a consequential misunderstanding of what has actually happened in Hungary—and what it implies for conservative policy in the United States.

The Family Policy Imperative

Conservatives need to start thinking of children as an investment in our economic future. Families, too, need to start thinking of children as an investment and not a cost—as they did in the past, when children were employed in farm work. The only way to do this in the modern economy—an economy that has severed the age-old link between children and additional labor—is by ensuring that economic resources are directed toward families by the state.

America, Liberalism, and Catholicism

Resist the temptation to outsource your thinking to a team or a party. Rooting for a team is appropriate in sports, and partisan politics may be a necessity of a political system like ours, but both are detrimental to the intellectual process. Catholics should not think of discussions about the Church’s relationship to American liberalism as a Battle Royal between competing camps—but as a conversation among friends seeking the truth in community. Adapted from the introductory remarks delivered on April 15, 2021 at the University of Dallas’s conference on America, Liberalism, and Catholicism.

Ramona’s World: The Quiet Christianity of Beverly Cleary’s Beloved Books

Beverly Cleary did not make Ramona a specimen of moral improvement, or a Christian evangelist. She made her a Christian child. Unlike Christian families today, however, Ramona’s family lives a world in which traditional morality is the cultural default. Going to church makes you normal, and practicing Christianity garners social rewards. Christian life simply means living.

Abortion, Vaccines, and Moral Imagination

Scholars who advocate receiving the vaccinations for COVID-19 should not minimize or brush aside concerns that those vaccines were produced with the help of abortion. Facing the problem more fully should not rule out vaccination, but it will help us better understand the depths of our entanglement in this late-modern culture of death.