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Month: October 2021

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A Church Without Walls, Behind Walls: How Evangelicals Are Transforming American Prisons

Correctional facilities must grapple with unprecedented levels of overcrowding, violence, and suicide, as well as rampant mental illness among inmates. The tightening of budgets and the resulting loss of vocational, educational, and treatment programs pose additional difficulties. In the midst of these struggles, faith-based approaches, led by faith-motivated volunteers and prisoners, are providing the most innovative, holistic, and effective programs available in correctional facilities today.

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Charting Public Discourse’s Past and Future: A Conversation between Serena Sigillito and Elayne Allen

Our hope is that, by reading PD regularly, our readers will be formed in such a way that they have not only knowledge on particular topics, but also virtuous habits of mind. By illustrating the capacity to earnestly and carefully think through what’s good and what's bad about both conservative and liberal positions, we show that sobriety and careful, detached thinking is still possible—that we really can have knowledge about the truths that give order to our being.

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Worth the Price: Colonial Catholics, Religious Tolerance, and the Post-Liberal Right

Catholics in colonial America pioneered a vision of liberty of conscience grounded in human dignity that would eventually be affirmed as doctrine by the second Vatican Council. A new book by Michael Breidenbach illustrates how unsettled the issue of papal temporal authority was in the founding era, and how damaging papal insistence on it was to the survival of Catholic minorities in English and colonial life.

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There’s More to Graduate School Than Careerism: A Response to Phillip Dolitsky

My story sounds like failure, but I don’t consider myself one. The academy was never about a job or even a career. It was about the opportunity to spend time asking questions I wanted to answer. It was about having the leisure to think, talk, teach, learn, and interact with people who were as interested in a subject as I was.

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Reclaiming the Judging in Judgment: A Response to Christopher Wolfe

To say that the Supreme Court exercises “mere judgment” belies the gravity of its power and the weight of its opinions. Judgment requires more than a mechanical application of the law. It requires, as Sherbert recognized but Smithignored, that judges determine whether a state’s particular interest is more or less compelling than an individual’s particular right.

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The Contradictions of Absolute Academic Freedom

The official moral relativism of absolute academic freedom makes universities self-negating institutions. No wonder many student activists are eager to fashion and enforce new norms and taboos: they realize, however inchoately, that a community of inquiry and instruction must also be one of practice, and that the liberal university fails to integrate these elements.

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Old Atheists and New Theists

If the New Atheists were able to convince people to leave, then we too might be able to convince some to come back. Ideas and writing can change lives. If the New Atheists did it, then we Christian writers can be a saving remnant and help write people back into the faith.

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When Conscience Is Attacked, the Ground Beneath Us Shakes

Moral and ethical reflection, making normative sense of the world and striving to live accordingly, is an essential part of being human. Public leaders need to better grasp the role that conscience rights play in a free and democratic society. If they do not, freedom of conscience and the kind of society we cherish will eventually disappear.

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The Texas Heartbeat Law and the Pro-Life Movement after Roe

Texas’s refusal to choose between the mother and her prenatal child, despite some important questions about the method used to achieve their goals, constitutes a blueprint for the pro-life movement. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, many more vulnerable women across the country will be without the access to abortion our throwaway culture has diabolically forced them to rely on. Pro-lifers must follow Texas’s lead and be at the ready to assist these women. We must make good on our claims that their legal and social equality does not require redistributing oppression to another vulnerable population.

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Lockdowns, Mandates, and Conservatives: Remembering the Good of Government

Given the overreach of government, and perhaps especially given the failure of so many elected officials to remember that they do not rule us, it’s all too easy to slip into libertarianism by default. But government is not alien or unnatural to our condition and needs. It emerges from the community’s associations, affections, bonds, and mutual sense of self-responsibility.

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The Therapeutic Evangelism of Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson’s project is not, at root, about biblical interpretation, metaphysics, theology, or even free speech. It is therapy for people bereft of meaning and purpose. Peterson may not be a prophet, but he is something just as rare: a bloody good clinical psychologist grounded in Christian archetypes and values and focused on treating the existential despair in our society.

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Miscarriage in the Shadow of Abortion

The most foundational evidence for the value of the human person is the child in the womb, whose life creates beauty and obligations, possessing all the hope of humanity. When life in the womb has an ambiguous civil, social, and legal status, how can the fabric of our civilization hold together? The unborn child is the most singular affirmation we possess that our existence is not pointless.

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The Bookshelf: Who Is in the American Canon?

Moving books home has turned my mind toward publishers that seem to be of high value because of the enduring importance of their books. One such is Liberty Fund, which specializes in classic conservative and libertarian texts in politics and economics. Another is the Library of America, which has a broad mission to publish (in its own words) “America’s greatest writing.”

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