Biographical Articles from the Touchstone Online Archives
Monday, February 2, 2015, 3:04 PM

Put together for your reading pleasure:

The Business of Spiritual Man
The Role of Christianity in Peter Drucker‘s Early Work
by Hunter Baker

The Medium Is the Mediator
The Christian Humanism of Marshall McLuhan
by James E. Person, Jr.

Detectives of Significance
Sherlock Holmes, Umberto Eco & the Search for Meaning
by Louis Markos

Requiem for a Nixon Man
The Redemption of Charles Colson‘s Loyalty
by Russell D. Moore

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

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

Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee (EO)
Sunday, February 1, 2015, 12:00 PM

Open to me the Doors of Repentance

Open to me the doors of repentance, O Life-giver, for my spirit rises early to pray toward your holy temple, bearing the temple of my body all defiled, but in your compassion, purify me by the loving-kindness of your mercy; lead me on the paths of salvation, O mother of God, for I have profaned my soul with shameful sins and have wasted my life in laziness, but by your intercessions deliver me from all impurity. When I think of the many evil things I have done, wretch that I am, I tremble at the fearful day of judgment, but trusting in your loving kindness like David, I cry out to you: have mercy on me, O God, according to your great mercy.

An excerpt from Great Lent, by Father Alexander Schmemann (Chapter 2: Preparation for Lent)

The Gospel lesson (Luke 18:10-4) pictures a man who is always pleased with himself and who thinks that he complies with all the requirements of religion. He is self-assured and proud of himself. In reality, however, he has falsified the meaning of religion. He has reduced it to external observations and he measures his piety by the amount of money he contributes to the temple. As for the Publican, he humbles himself and his humility justifies him before God. If there is a moral quality almost completely disregarded and even denied today, it is indeed humility. The culture in which we live constantly instills in us the sense of pride, of self-glorification, and of self-righteousness. It is built on the assumption that man can achieve anything by himself and it even pictures God as the one who all the time “gives credit” for man’s achievements and good deeds. Humility– be it individual or corporate, ethnic or national– is viewed as a sign of weakness, as something unbecoming a real man.

Father Thomas Hopko’s remarks on the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee at Ancient Faith Radio.

Touchstone Senior Editor Robert P. George in Chicago January 31
Friday, January 30, 2015, 11:24 AM

Saturday, January 31

Speak Out Illinois 2015–Life: Worth Fighting For

Keynote Speaker
Professor Robert P. George
Princeton University
Bearing Faithful Witness to Life & Facing Persecution

Robert P. George lectures on constitutional law, civil liberties, and philosophy of law at Princeton University, where he is the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence. George also serves as the director of Princeton’s James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. A native of West Virginia, George holds his JD and MTS from Harvard’s Law and Divinity Schools and his DPhil from Oxford University.

In November of 2009, George helped draft the Manhattan Declaration, which urges the church to defend life, marriage, and family and religious freedom. In 2012 Dr. George was appointed to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. In the past, he has served as a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics and as a presidential appointee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

Register online at or fill out this registration form.
Contact Lake County RTL:
or 847-223-7022

$55 prior to January 23, 2015
$65 after January 23, 2015
$25 Student Rate

Read Dr. George’s latest article in Touchstone–From the May/June 2014 issue:

Religious Freedom & Why It Matters
Working in the Spirit of John Leland
by Robert P. George

Mere Links 02.01.15
Friday, January 30, 2015, 9:00 AM

Sociologists: ‘Christianophobia,’ Anti-Christian Hostility Infects Powerful Elite Subculture (Interview)

Another aspect that drove me to work on this project was that while I consistently saw evidence of Christianophobia in other areas of my life and in our society, unlike other types of intolerances, those who exhibited Christianophobia do not tend to think that they are intolerant. Usually those who do not like blacks or Muslims admit that they are intolerant but simply try to justify their intolerance. Those with Christianophobia tend to deny that they are intolerant but rather that they are fairly interpreting social reality. Envisioning themselves as fair and free of intolerance allows them to blame those they detest rather than recognize how their emotions have distorted their intellectual judgments.

How Dark Were the Dark Ages? A video with Anthony Esolen for Prager University

Obama Admin Forced to Pay $570,000 to Company It Tried to Force to Obey HHS Mandate

“The government does a serious disservice to taxpayers when it pursues unjust laws that force many of them to defend their constitutionally protected freedoms,” Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman told “While this case is finally over, many others remain. We hope the administration will stop defending its indefensible abortion-pill mandate and end its waste of taxpayer dollars on a fruitless quest to force people to give up their freedom to live and work according to their beliefs.”

Obama’s Casual Musings in India on Life and Religious Liberty
Thursday, January 29, 2015, 9:20 AM

RT india protest barack obama jt 150124 16x9 992 300x169 Obama’s Casual Musings in India on Life and Religious LibertyPresident Obama was in New Delhi, India, last week to celebrate India’s Republic Day. During his visit, he spoke to an audience of mostly younger people, and said the following in his remarks, “I realize that the sight of an American president as your chief guest on Republic Day would have once seemed unimaginable.  But my visit reflects the possibilities of a new moment.” He then observed that he was the first American president to participate in India’s Republic Day, and then boasted, “And I’m the first American president to come to your country twice!”

The president went on to speak about injustice in the United States and how he has been the victim of injustice in his own personal life. According to media reports, in his short address, he referred to himself only 118 times. He declared that while he and Mrs. Obama have been strengthened by their Christian faith, he also observed, “But there have been times where my faith has been questioned — by people who don’t know me — or they’ve said that I adhere to a different religion, as if that were somehow a bad thing.” (Mangling Hamlet only a bit, I say, “Alas, poor Barack, I knew him well!) Mr. Obama then added that “too often religion has been used to tap into those darker impulses as opposed to the light of God,” and cited the lone-wolf attack several years ago on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. He declared to his audience that “every person has the right to practice their faith how they choose, or to practice no faith at all, and to do so free of persecution and fear and discrimination.” There is, of course, a deeply perverse irony in that it is his Administration that is suing Roman Catholic nuns to force them to comply with Obamacare’s birth control mandate.

Mr. Obama also talked about inequality in both India and the United States. I have visited India, but economic inequality between the two nations is hardly comparable. In India, three of five people live on less than $2 per day. Tens of millions never go into any building for any reason; they are born, live, and die on the streets. According to a recent report by the World Health Organization and UNICEF, India accounts for approximately 60 percent of the world’s residents without toilets. India’s 50 percent open-defecation rate is more than twice the rate of Pakistan, and is much greater than the 3 percent and 1 percent rates in Bangladesh and China, respectively.

During his speech, Mr. Obama complained, “Even as America has blessed us with extraordinary opportunities, there were moments in my life where I’ve been treated differently because of the color of my skin.” I don’t know whether many so-called Dalits were present to hear Mr. Obama’s speech. Under the Hindu caste system, Dalits are regarded as “untouchable,” and are fit only for the most menial work. However, missiologists estimate that 70 to 80 percent of the millions of Christians in India are Dalits. But if they did hear Mr. Obama’s speech, I am sure that they could relate totally to being treated differently because of the color of their skin and the condition of their birth. It is only sad to me that Mr. Obama did not say one word about the plight of our Christian brothers and sisters in India, Dalit or not, who suffer great persecution. Although Mr. and Mrs. Obama have, he said, been strengthened by their Christian faith, a word of encouragement to Christians in India could have been a blessing to them.

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.

Mere Links 01.28.15
Wednesday, January 28, 2015, 10:00 AM

The Strange Notion of “Gay Celibacy”
Daniel Mattson, Crisis Magazine

Of late, much attention has been given in both the secular media and Christian media to those who call themselves “gay celibate Christians.” As a man attracted to men yet committed to traditional Catholic teaching on human sexuality, I find the notion both of being “gay” or “celibate” strange.

Church of England consecrates first female bishop
Danica Kirka, Associated Press

Male domination in the leadership of the Church of England ended Monday, as the 500-year-old institution consecrated its first female bishop.

Resist or Accommodate Evil: There is No “Third Way”
Jeffery J. Ventrella, Public Discourse

When conscience flirts with the idea of accommodating an unjust law, it must politely, yet firmly, reject the sirens of seduction

State high court’s vote affecting Scout affiliation stirs debate anew
Thomas Curwen, LA Times

High court voted to bar judges from belonging to nonprofit youth organizations that practice discrimination.

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

Mere Links 01.27.15
Tuesday, January 27, 2015, 10:00 AM

Angelic Dialogue According to the Church Fathers
Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, Preachers Institute

As we considered recently, the Church Fathers placed Psalm 23 (Hebrew 24) in the scene of the Lord’s Ascension. The dialogue in this psalm (“Who is this King of glory?), they believed, involved the angels who guarded the gates of heaven.

Southern Baptist leaders call for integrated churches
Travis Loller, Associated Press

Leaders in nation’s largest Protestant denomination are preaching that integrated churches can be a key driver of racial justice in society. But that could be a hard sell to those sitting in Southern Baptist Convention congregations.

Princeton professor and others offer to take 1,000 lashes for Saudi blogger Raif Badawi

A Princeton University professor and a prominent Muslim American figure, as well as five other religious freedom advocates, are offering to take 100 lashes each for imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi who was sentenced by Saudi Arabia to 1,000 lashes for insulting his country’s clerics.

3 Types Of Fundamentalists And Evangelicals After 1956
Justin Taylor, The Gospel Coalition

Fundamentalism is a fascinating subject of study, still under-explored when it comes to its relationship to evangelicalism. But hopefully the introductory analysis above helps us begin to avoid the reflex to assume we are only talking about one unitary thing when we employ these labels.

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