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Our Most Popular Essays Ever

In celebration of our tenth anniversary, we're revisiting the most popular essays Public Discourse has ever published. Although we publish on a diverse array of topics, our most popular pieces tend to be first-person narratives on hot-button social issues, such as marriage, sexuality, and gender. These essays pair personal experience with philosophical analysis and solid social science.

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Capital Punishment

On August 2, 2018, Pope Francis announced an update to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, making a prohibition on the death penalty official Catholic teaching. Prior to this change, many scholars believed that the historic teaching of the Church did not declare capital punishment intrinsically immoral, even if the practice is, as a matter of prudence, not required in countries with modern prison systems that can safely isolate dangerous criminals. Other scholars argued that the natural law duty to respect all human life does in fact render any intentional taking of human life morally unacceptable, and that this development of doctrine does not contradict any infallible teaching.

The articles below lay out this debate, with clear summaries of the arguments on both sides.

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Editor’s Picks: June 2018

Don't miss Public Discourse Editor Ryan T. Anderson's picks for the best articles we've published this quarter!

Editor’s Picks: March 2018
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Editor’s Picks: March 2018

Don't miss Public Discourse Editor Ryan T. Anderson's picks for the best articles we've published this quarter.

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Islam and Immigration

Agree or disagree with Donald Trump's approach to Islamic immigration, the United States must come to terms with such immigration's cultural and demographic implications.

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Christmas

What, if anything, has Christmas contributed to Western Civilization that could earn the respect even of the secularist?

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Election 2016

The time has come: the American people must choose a new president.

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Down Syndrome and Abortion

October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Although estimates vary, somewhere between 67 and 90 percent of unborn children diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted.

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Advice for Donald Trump

If Donald Trump becomes our president, can he become a truly conservative leader? If so, how?