Capitol Reading Group

“The Dialectic and the Double Helix: How the compatibility of Christianity and democracy in America is confusing to Europeans”

Thomas Albert Howard, First Things

“The Good News About Evangelicalism”

Byron Johnson, First Things

According to Byron Johnson, evangelicalism isn’t shrinking and the young are not becoming liberals: “Leading religious observers claim that evangelicalism is shrinking and the next generation of evangelicals is becoming less religious and more secular, but (as we social scientists like to say) these are empirical questions, and the evidence shows that neither of these claims is true. The number of evangelicals remains high, and their percentage among practicing Christians in America is, if anything, rising. Young evangelicals are not turning to more liberal positions on controversial social issues; in some cases they are becoming more conservative than their parents. Perhaps young evangelicals have become more socially aware and have a longer, broader list of social concerns, but they remain socially conservative”

Truth and Tyranny

Nancy Pearcey, Saving Leonardo

We will be reading Chapter 2 of Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, and Meaning. “…Dr. Nancy Pearcey offers an unflinching analysis of the profound personal and social devastation wreaked by secular worldviews in every area of life. The assault is being launched from the classroom to the courtroom, from the talk shows to the television screen, from the pulpit to politics…Pearcey, a former agnostic, also exposes the stealth secularism that is transmitted through stories and images, where people are often unaware of its insidious impact on their minds, choices, and behaviors.”

An Alternative View of Culture and Cultural Exchange

James Hunter, To Change the World

We will be reading Chapters 2 and 4 of To Change the World. “…The ability to change the world, he suggests, does not come as is often assumed from the conversion of the hearts and minds of people, so they will have the right values and make the right choices and thus change the world. It is this view of changing the world that leads some faith communities to see evangelism as the primary means of culture change…”

Rethinking Power: Theological Reflections

James Hunter, To Change the World

“…The ability to change the world, he suggests, does not come as is often assumed from the conversion of the hearts and minds of people, so they will have the right values and make the right choices and thus change the world. It is this view of changing the world that leads some faith communities to see evangelism as the primary means of culture change…”

Truths Still Held?

George Weigel, First Things

“…My purpose here is not to sort out the arguments over Murray’s analysis of the Founding, and still less to judge the metaphysics and epistemology that buttressed his church–state theory. Rather, I want to review the “American Proposition” he sketched in We Hold These Truths as a template for measuring the health of the American republic and its public culture as we enter the second decade of the twenty-first century…”

Roe, Doe, DOA: How Abortion is Killing the Democratic Party

Joe Carter, First Things

“…Last night 219 members of in the House of Representatives proved what many of us have suspected for decades: Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton are the twin pillars of the Democratic Party. The refusal to prohibit federal funding of abortions in the health care bill shows that the Democratic leadership is either remarkably dedicated to the principle that woman should have the right to use federal funds to kill their unborn children or they are the dumbest politicians in history. However, if they truly support abortion on demand they should stand by that conviction no matter how many elections it will cost them. And as history has shown, it has cost them plenty—and will cost them many more…”

Is Capitalism morally bankrupt? Five moral flaws and their social consequences

Cambridge Papers, Jubilee Centre – Michael Schluter

“…Capitalism sets out a framework within which individuals, and society at large, make decisions governing their business and financial affairs. It will be analysed here in terms of its contemporary manifestations, including the corporation as its main actor and engine, and with national governments and international agencies intervening to set many of the rules in a manner which often promotes scale and ‘leverage’. …”

Parliament’s Equality Bill

First Things – Edward T. Oakes

“…When speaking in terms of employment, what does the word discrimination mean? It is now almost universally admitted in liberal democracies that discrimination according to extraneous categories like skin color is morally wrong, and for that reason in most democracies it is also illegal. But the word is ambiguous…”

Moral Conflict and Liberty: Gay Rights and Religion

Beckett Fund – Chai R. Feldblum

“…Those who advocate for laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation tend to talk simply about “equality.” Those who seek to stop such laws from coming into existence, or who seek religious exemptions from these laws, tend to talk about “morality” and/or “religious freedom.” … My goal in this piece is to surface some of the commonalities between religious belief liberty and sexual orientation identity liberty and to offer some public policy suggestions for what to do when these liberties conflict….”

Cicero Superstar

First Things – Mary Ann Glendon

” More rare than athletes who have played both baseball and football in the major leagues are individuals who have achieved great distinction in both politics and philosophy, the vocations that Aristotle deemed most choiceworthy….”

Think Again: God

Foreign Policy – Karen Armstrong

“…These writers are wrong — not only about religion, but also about politics — because they are wrong about human nature. Homo sapiens is also Homo religiosus. As soon as we became recognizably human, men and women started to create religions. We are meaning-seeking creatures…”

Economic Justice and the Spirit of Innovation

First Things – Edmund Phelps

“When the word morality comes up in connection with economics…”

Can America Fail?

The Wilson Quarterly – Kishore Mahbubani
Capitol Reading Group, June 4, 2009

” In 1981, Singapore’s long-ruling People’s Action Party was shocked when it suffered its first defeat at the polls in many years,.. [Dr. Goh Keng Swee} replied, ‘Kishore, we failed because we did not even conceive of the possibility of failure.’ The siimple thesis of this essay is that American society could also fail if it does not force itself to conceive of failure…”

Last Man Standing

The Wilson Quarterly – Tyler Cowen

” … Amid the flood of alarming commentary, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that the financial crisis has underscored the continuing strength of American global influence. Although the United States has been the epicenter of the economice problem, it has exhibited enviable economic and political stability,…”

President Obama’s Notre Dame Commencement Address

Notre Dame – President Barak Obama

” I want to thank you for this honorary degree. I know it has not been without controversy… Your class has come of age at a moment of great consequence for our nation and the world – a rare inflection point in history where the size and scope of the challenges before us require that we remake our world to renew its promise; that we align our deepest values and commitments to the demands of a new age. It is a privilege and a responsibility afforded a new generation – and a task that you are now called to fulfill…”

Blowing Out Moral Lights Around Us

STAN GUTHRIE BLOG – Rob Schwarzwalder

” President Obama was disarming Sunday at Notre Dame. Yet his winsome candor makes him all the more dangersous, because implicit in it is a wholly, coolly condescending view of the American people…”

Doubt, Dialogue and Demonization


” In his commencement address on Sunday, President Obama, rather than vindicating the university’s decision against its countless critics, reinforced the validity of the critics’ arguments and the wisdom of the U.S. Bishops’ policy. For beneath his ever genial tone, uplifting images and eloquent delivery, President Obama made several major points contrary to the Catholic faith…”

Obama at Notre Dame

FRCBLOG.COM – Chuck Donovan

” As for his speech, it was un-Barakesque in one sense… But he was Barackesque in striving to minimize those differences…”

The End of Christian America

NEWSWEEK – Jon Meacham

” The percentage of self-identified Christians has fallen 10 points in the past two decades. How that statistic explains who we are now–and what, as a nation, we are about to become.”

God Still Isn’t Dead

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL – John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge

” … Has the model really run out of steam? Betting against American religion has always proved to be a fool’s game… Look closer and the new poll numbers are not quite as simple as headlines suggest..”

Mission from Africa


” … Revival is an eternal theme in the history of Christianity… Today the process is reversing itself, as the populatin of churchgoers dwindles in Europe, remains fairly static in the United States and erupts in the ‘global south’… Christianity is practiced differently in the global south, and especially in Africa, where it has been invested with cultural values that long predate the first missinary efforts…”

Red Faith, Blue Faith


” …The religious right, at least in its cruder expressions, is indeed a phenomenon without a future. A younger generation of evangelicals and their leaders, while generally remaining culturally conservative, tends to view the religious right’s model of social engagement as too narrow in focus and too negative in tone..”

Light Out For Christian America?

NPR – Damon Linker

” … Actually, what Meacham’s statistics show is something far less monumental, but far more interesting, than his headline would have us believe. Fights over the role of religion in American public life nearly always concern the question of which theology (and how much) should be incorporated into the country’s civil religion–that is, into the spiritual dimension of its national identity..”

Christians unite to deter Olympics sex traffickers


” … British Columiba already has a problem with sexual exploitation and human trafficking that the influx of upwards of one-million visitors will only exacerbate… Plans by Christians to confront the problem are taking the form of a two-pronged attack: reducing the supply of children and women who can fall prey to traffickers; and lessening..”

NC Senator Introduces Bill for Human Trafficking Commission


” ‘The ordinary person would have no idea that this is going on right under our noses.’ – That’s how N.C. Senator Ellie Kinaird (D-Orange) describes human trafficking, one of the fastest-growing crimes in the world, and the subject of Senate Bill 353, the latest legislation she has introduced to battle this modern day slavery. ”