Princeton professor volunteers to take 100 lashes for Saudi blogger
Wednesday, January 28, 2015, 12:32 PM

From the Washington Times:

A Princeton professor has volunteered to take 100 lashes of a 1,000-lash punishment imposed on a Saudi blogger convicted of insulting Islam.

Robert P. George, a Princeton professor and vice chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, sent his request to the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. on behalf of Raif Badawi. Five other religious freedom advocates also signed the letter.

“If your government will not remit the punishment of Raif Badawi, we respectfully ask that you permit each of us to take 100 of the lashes that would be given to him. We would rather share in his victimization than stand by and watch him being cruelly tortured. If your government does not see fit to stop this from happening, we are prepared to present ourselves to receive our share of Mr. Badawi’s unjust punishment,” the letter, signed Jan. 20, said.

Mr. Badawi’s first 50 lashes were given on Jan. 9, but additional punishment was postponed so that his wounds could heal, Fox News reported Thursday. He was arrested in 2012 while blogging for the the now-defunct Liberal Saudi Network. Although he was cleared of apostasy charges, which would have resulted in a death sentence, he could not escape a cybercrime conviction on insulting Islam.

In addition to the 1,000 lashings, Mr. Badawi has been ordered to pay a fine of roughly $266,000.

Amnesty International has called his punishment, which was partially carried out in the city of Jeddah, “a vicious act of cruelty which is prohibited under international law.”

Righteous Indignation
Wednesday, January 28, 2015, 10:08 AM

GoDaddy has decided to pull their ad from the Super Bowl and remove it from YouTube after causing an uproar on social media.

The company released their Super Bowl ad early, and it certainly has people talking–but they’re probably not saying things the company wants to hear. Thousands took to Twitter and Facebook to let the company know they’re outraged.

635579860727181369 635579747638784827 godaddypuppy 150x150 Righteous IndignationThe commercial, titled “Journey Home,” features a cute puppy that’s been separated from its family on its journey home, but the ending is what’s causing the uproar, when you find out the owners are happy to see the puppy because they just sold it on a website built using GoDaddy.

What else is there to say about this latest “outrage” other than to quote Touchstone senior editor Anthony Esolen in his most recent article:

We are now among people who are better and worse than savages. They are, in most places, and for the time being, less likely to break the crockery, as Chesterton put it, than were the savages of old. They will cut babies to pieces in the womb, more than a million a year, but only rarely out of it; and they will be roused to the height of righteous wrath should they see someone leave a dog in a hot car in the summer.

Because they have no sense of sin, they have no mercy. They speak of tolerance, yet they are the touchiest sensitive-plants ever to sprout upon earth. There are no sins; and every sinner deserves to be destroyed.

Men and Church
Tuesday, January 27, 2015, 1:27 PM

Here is something of interest to Touchstone readers, posted on a website called Christ & Pop Culture–Baptizing “Masculinity”: The Real Reason Men are Leaving the Church. From the article:

The dominant narrative at the moment is that, while church attendance is down across the board, men in particular are staying home on Sunday mornings (some stats here). And while there has been much hand-wringing over this reality, there has, to my knowledge, been very little serious introspection over it.

This is a very important topic, but one that has received serious introspection in the pages of Touchstone since its inception. I commend the article above to you for a young man’s musings on what’s going on with this trend, but I would also like to point to some of the articles that have been in Touchstone over the years.

The Truth About Men & Church: Robbie Low on the Importance of Fathers to Churchgoing, from 2003. (This article remains one of the top reads on the Touchstone website.)

Here are some more:

Men & Religion: An Unhappy Marriage by Leon J. Podles

Men at Worship: S. M. Hutchens reviews Why Men Hate Going To Church by David Murrow

What Sports Illustrate: Anthony Esolen on the Obvious Truth About Young Men & Religion

The Austere Offices of Manhood: Louis R. Tarsitano on the Labors of Christian Fathers

From the Touchstone Archives
Monday, January 26, 2015, 2:15 PM

Now up online, a remembrance of the late Stratford Caldecott:

“With his increasing understanding of science, Strat was able to see that there must be an entity, a dimension, beyond space and time, which was also a unity or unified being. This, as Aquinas tells us in his Quinque Viae or “Five Ways,” is what men call God. Simple, real, true. Thus, Strat, brought up without a scrap of religious faith, had, through the mysterious inter-weavings of nature, the human mind and spirit, and grace, arrived at God, at once rationally and yet also mystically.”

Read the article here — The Constant Convert: James Bogle on the Life & Witness of the Late Stratford Caldecott from the November / December 2014 issue of Touchstone.

The Most Viewed Online Articles from Touchstone, 2014
Wednesday, January 14, 2015, 3:13 PM

ts 2014 covers The Most Viewed Online Articles from Touchstone, 2014

The Gospel Truth Of Jesus
What Happens to Apologetics If We Add “Legend” to the Trilemma “Liar, Lunatic, or Lord”? by Tom Gilson


The Rights of Aphrodite
W. E. Knickerbocker on C. S. Lewis & the New State Paganism

Stand Firm
Or End Up on the Wrong Side of Eschatology
by Anthony Esolen

Thou Shalt Now Covet
Robert Hart on Spiritual Evolution & the Myth of Equal Rights

Lemuel’s Manhood
by S. M. Hutchens

Food for Thought
Rachel Lu on Growing Vegetables as a Primer in Moral Philosophy

Worthy of Life
Gregory K. Laughlin on the Wrong Choices Given to Parents of Disabled Children

The School of Athens by Raphael
Mary Elizabeth Podles on Christian Art

The New Martyrs
Witnesses to the Conversion of a Culture
by James Hitchcock

Heaven, Hell & Christ On Ice
What I Encountered During a Geological Expedition in Greenland
by Allan Carlson

Touchstone Online – January/February 2015
Tuesday, December 30, 2014, 11:25 AM

With the arrival of the new issue of Touchstone (Jan/Feb 2015) also comes some added content on the Touchstone website. The Jan/Feb 2013 issue is now posted online and is available in its entirety. Take a look. There is much there we hope that you will find enlightening, edifying, and encouraging.

bigcover 26 01 228x300 Touchstone Online   January/February 2015An Engaging Proposal
Lessons on Courtship & Covenantal Marriage from Ancient Israel
by Ryan Messmore

Lost & Found in the Cosmos
The Alternate & Alternative Worlds of H. P. Lovecraft & C. S. Lewis
by C. R. Wiley

Sexual Iconoclasm
Russell D. Moore on Christian Honesty About the Harm of Fornication

Matter & Humanity
The Mind and the Machine: What It Means to Be Human and Why It Matters
by Matthew Dickerson
reviewed by J. Daryl Charles


The January/February issue of Touchstone
Monday, December 29, 2014, 11:04 AM

A selection of articles from the January / February 2015 Touchstone are now available online. Here is Senior Editor Anthony Esolen’s feature from the issue.

bigcover 28 01 227x300 The January/February issue of TouchstoneMission Nary Impossible
The Unevangelized May Be Better & Worse than Savages
by Anthony Esolen

. . . We Christians now must be missionaries to people who are better than the nihilism they do not know they profess. The old, sturdy Christian virtues remain in the wisps of etiquette, detached from one another and from the grace and example of Christ. An echo, a fragrance, a half-forgotten memory remain, and make it harder for us to persuade our well-fed and much-distracted fellows of the real moral vacuity.

We do not dwell in the City of God. We do not even dwell in the City of Man. We dwell in the Suburb of Man, beside and beneath civilization. We have neither the purity of the saint nor the gritty material squalor of London in the time of Dickens. We have hygiene and proper diet. We follow something cleaner and sillier than superstitions. We follow the news.

So the evangelist has his work cut out for him. . . .

Read the entire article here.

Christmas Articles from the Touchstone Archives
Tuesday, December 23, 2014, 11:39 AM

By far the most read Touchstone Christmas article is “Calculating Christmas: The Story Behind December 25” by William J. Tighe from the December 2003 issue.

Many Christians think that Christians celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25th because the church fathers appropriated the date of a pagan festival. Almost no one minds, except for a few groups on the fringes of American Evangelicalism, who seem to think that this makes Christmas itself a pagan festival. But it is perhaps interesting to know that the choice of December 25th is the result of attempts among the earliest Christians to figure out the date of Jesus’ birth based on calendrical calculations that had nothing to do with pagan festivals.

Rather, the pagan festival of the “Birth of the Unconquered Sun” instituted by the Roman Emperor Aurelian on 25 December 274, was almost certainly an attempt to create a pagan alternative to a date that was already of some significance to Roman Christians. Thus the “pagan origins of Christmas” is a myth without historical substance. (continue reading)

Here are some other Christmas articles from the Touchstone archives, for your reading pleasure.

bigcover 27 06 226x300 Christmas Articles from the Touchstone ArchivesLove Came Down (from the current issue)
Anthony Esolen on the Carol “Love Came Down at Christmas” by Christina Rossetti

God Rest Ye Merry
On Celebrating the Darker Meaning of Christmas by Wilfred M. McClay

Child Everlasting
On the Omnipotent Humility That Saves an Old & Infantile World

Savior in a Manger
Early Christian Teaching on the Incarnation & Redemption by Patrick Henry Reardon

Yes, Aquinas, There Is a Santa Claus
Nathan Schlueter on a Disputation in the Scholastic Tradition

Please consider subscribing to Touchstone if you don’t already–or give it as a gift!

touchstone 2014 covers Christmas Articles from the Touchstone Archives

Touchstone. 2014


Jane Austen in the pages of Touchstone
Tuesday, December 16, 2014, 12:15 PM

Today is Jane Austen’s birthday. You will not be surprised to learn that there have been a number of articles about her in Touchstone over the years. A few of those articles even made the cover! Here they are, for your edification and reading pleasure.

touchstone jane austen covers 300x192 Jane Austen in the pages of Touchstone

The Christian Novelty

What Homer Could Not See, & Jane Austen Could 
by Peter J. Leithart

No Ado About Something

The Loss of a Christian Understanding of Virginity Is Pure Tragedy by Eleanor Bourg Donlon

Austen’s Powers

Jennifer Farrara on the Truths That Mr. Darcy Taught Me About Marital Love

No Plain Jane

Eleanor Bourg Donlon on Hollywood’s Disgrace & Jane Austen’s Wisdom

It’s also Beethoven’s birthday. Here is an interesting piece on the man from The Weekly Standard. Hello, Beethoven: A look at the life behind the music. The article is a review of the book Beethoven: The Man Revealed by John Suchet.

From the New Issue of Touchstone–Nov/Dec 2014
Friday, October 17, 2014, 12:33 PM

The next issue of Touchstone is back from the printer and will be mailing out soon. One of the editorials from this issue is a follow-up to a piece from last year. This–as well as some other articles from the new issue–is now available to read online.

Screen Shot 2014 10 17 at 12.29.29 PM 222x300 From the New Issue of Touchstone  Nov/Dec 2014Identity Thievery

In Christ All Sinners Are Truly Made New
by S. M. Hutchens & Anthony Esolen

In the July/August 2013 issue of Touchstone, the editors rejected the idea that one could be both “gay” and Christian. The basis of that belief, we said, is exemplified in St. Paul’s assurance to the Corinthian church that what some of its believers used to be—and here he recited a catalog of sins that included arsenokoitai (“sexual perverts”)—they no longer were, because they had been washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God. (There is no creditable reason to believe that St. Paul’s reference here was so narrow that it only applied to those who frequented cult prostitutes in pagan temples, as if homosexual relations occurring in any other venue (cf. Rom. 1) were in his mind categorically different.)

Continue reading. . . .


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