Marvin Olasky from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Thu, 13 May 2021 01:58:51 -0700 Marvin Olasky from Creators Syndicate 55d3833ccf0805f16f14edde0562ce32 We Can Make Room for 02/06/2008 Wed, 06 Feb 2008 21:00:00 -0800 <p>The conservatocracy is up in arms over whether John McCain, purportedly a &quot;liberal,&quot; will be able to hold onto conservative voters concerned about immigration. A less-asked question is how he will fare with those evangelical voters also concerned about immigration, but in a very different way.</p> <p>Evangelicals tend to recognize the need for compassion for the poor, to the unborn, to immigrants. Expansive, non-defensive Christianity has been the outstanding vehicle in human history for increasing the liberty of those seen as subhuman until Christians began viewing them as neighbors: the poor, the sick, the sexually exploited; racial, ethnic, and religious minorities; the not-yet-born and the declining but not-yet-dead.</p> <p>Sure, we should recognize that some claiming the name of Christ have been selfish, but many others have led the way in taking risks and making &quot;We the people&quot; include more and more people viewed not as threats, but as neighbors.<p>Updated: Wed Feb 06, 2008</p> fb15e71ebe80aa93e4a63eeb755645d3 No Separation of Church and Screen for 01/09/2008 Wed, 09 Jan 2008 21:00:00 -0800 <p>New hits in politics and film all tell the same story: America is still a land of religion. The candidates, particularly Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee, are displaying their beliefs. Each of three big new movies &mdash; &quot;I Am Legend,&quot; &quot;There Will Be Blood,&quot; and &quot;National Treasure: Book of Secrets&quot; &mdash; is showcasing its own kind of faith.</p> <p>The action flick &quot;I Am Legend&quot; stars Will Smith as Robert Neville, a scientist who is the only survivor of a virus that either kills humans or turns them into ghouls. He tries to find a cure, and early in the movie it looks like science will be the hero: Although Neville drives past a poster that reads &quot;God still loves us,&quot; he reflects on the physical or spiritual demise of six billion people and declares, &quot;There is no God.&quot;</p> <p>The filmmakers apparently tried several endings and settled on one suggesting that there is a God. That's what a mysterious woman who shows up with her son tells Neville: &quot;He has a plan. He sent me here for a reason.&quot; She even thinks the end of civilization has some benefits: &quot;The world is quieter now. It's easier to hear God.&quot;<p>Updated: Wed Jan 09, 2008</p> 1f42e9148d92052e09e08f8874979d12 Seeing Beyond Politics for 12/19/2007 Wed, 19 Dec 2007 21:00:00 -0800 <p>It's important to care about politics. It's even more important not to care deeply. As Gutenberg College professor Charles Dewberry notes, &quot;If politics can fix a problem, then Christianity is a lie.&quot;</p> <p>Christianity isn't about politics. It's about a miracle. &quot;Rejoice! Rejoice!&quot; the Christmas carol declares. &quot;Emmanuel shall come to thee, O captive Israel.&quot;</p> <p>Hmm ... when do people rejoice? I've been to baseball games where the home team clenched the lead and held on for a slim victory; that brought sighs of relief, but not rejoicing. Rejoicing comes when the home team is behind &mdash; a win seems out of reach &mdash; and then a ninth-inning rally concludes with a walk-off home run and victory. That's rejoicing.<p>Updated: Wed Dec 19, 2007</p> 63a6cfc9c917b4133ce3f8d000cb9a8e Atheists vs. Grace for 12/12/2007 Wed, 12 Dec 2007 21:00:00 -0800 <p>On the roller coaster of history, we're seeing a hands-in-the-air moment as atheistic books soar onto best-seller lists. Some Christians are alarmed at the furious flurry, but there's no need to be: This, too, shall pass.</p> <p>Atheistic authors see themselves as avant-garde, but they merely are echoing the riffs of 19th-century scoffers who predicted the imminent demise of Christianity. Gilded Age orator Robert Ingersoll, for example, said that when Christians dominate schools and media, it is hard to mount an attack on concepts of revelation and miracles, but &quot;now that religion's monopoly has been broken, it is within the compass of any human being to see those evidences and proofs as the feeble-minded inventions that they are.&quot;</p> <p>So what happened? Why are many churches in the U.S. booming? Why is Christianity expanding so rapidly in Africa and China? To begin to answer that, we should let our imaginations run wild: What if in the 20th century, in the biggest country by land area and also in the biggest country by population, leaders had required the teaching of atheism in all schools? Freed of &quot;feeble-minded inventions,&quot; wouldn't the world be a better place?<p>Updated: Wed Dec 12, 2007</p> dff0ec9d8da6f85895d60730fcad2e5a Thank vs. Thank You for 11/21/2007 Wed, 21 Nov 2007 21:00:00 -0800 <p>Many of us are giving thanks today, but are we thanking God, thanking our friends or throwing into the air an undirected thanks?</p> <p>I thought about the direction of our thankfulness after spending a weekend with a successful writer who is an atheist. (Call him Ahab.) We debated basic theology on Saturday and had a good time. But on Sunday, we had a rancorous time when discussing today's biggest issues: gay marriage and abortion. That got me thinking; why was the first discussion fun and the second painful?</p> <p>My sense is that the rancor of the second discussion grew out of an unresolved matter during the first: whether &quot;thank&quot; requires an object. Ahab mentioned a recent vacation in which he was swimming peacefully in a calm fragment of the Atlantic Ocean. He felt enormously thankful for his opportunity to be in such a beautiful place. I asked him whom he was thanking. Maybe book buyers who had helped him become affluent? (But they didn't make the ocean.) Maybe his parents and wife? (But they didn't make the ocean.)<p>Updated: Wed Nov 21, 2007</p> 16755a59feefe5a2e038fa89eb54278d Democracy Without Liberty Is Not the Answer for 11/14/2007 Wed, 14 Nov 2007 21:00:00 -0800 <p>Pro-American dictator or anti-American democracy? That's the choice in Pakistan now, where President (and top general) Pervez Musharraf has suspended his country's constitution, fired the country's chief justice and shut down nongovernmental television stations. He said had he not acted, Islamist extremists would have taken over the country.</p> <p>U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice continues to urge publicly a return to democracy and the ending of &quot;extraconstitutional measures.&quot; But it didn't take long after Musharraf's move for Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell to say it &quot;does not impact our military support of Pakistan.&quot; You don't need a translator to spot the wink-winking that is going on.</p> <p>The Bush administration has no good choices elsewhere, either. Palestinian democracy has led to Hamas rule. Saudi democracy likely would lead to Wahhabi rule unmitigated by royal family decadence. The State Department pushed publicly for Egyptian elections but wasn't hugely upset when Hosni Mubarak rigged them and jailed his leading opponent.<p>Updated: Wed Nov 14, 2007</p> 5650c82d95b90731ab2d2bc4016e036d Darwinism; Too Old-Fashioned To Be True for 10/24/2007 Wed, 24 Oct 2007 21:00:00 -0700 <p>Updated: Wed Oct 24, 2007</p> e56190db0f818922806925ad4c2894f0 Two Cheers for the Bush Administration and Religious Freedom for 10/03/2007 Wed, 03 Oct 2007 21:00:00 -0700 <p>Reasons to be sad about the Bush administration abound. But here's a happy note: Team Bush has repaired its mistake on religious freedom that I and many others complained about last month.</p> <p>The problem then was the Federal Bureau of Prisons' &quot;Standardized Chapel Library Program,&quot; which created lists averaging 150 allowable items for each of 20 religions or religious categories. By my rough count, six authors had at least five books on the authorized Protestant list: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, John Calvin, Chuck Colson, C.S. Lewis, Max Lucado and &hellip; Stormie Omartian.</p> <p>The approved list included &quot;Praying&quot; by J.I. Packer, but if a library had Packer's &quot;Knowing God,&quot; it would have to be purged. The list included &quot;Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came To Die&quot; by John Piper, but if a library had Piper's &quot;Desiring God,&quot; it would have to go. Chaplains had to purge many great works, but authorized books included Elisabeth Schussler Florenza's &quot;In Memory of Her: A Feminist Theological Reconstruction of Christian Origins&quot; and Elizabeth Johnson's &quot;She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse.&quot;<p>Updated: Wed Oct 03, 2007</p> 2859d4b47bfe5c717dd76d74a888ee5a Tolerate Polygamy, Purge Theology for 09/26/2007 Wed, 26 Sep 2007 21:00:00 -0700 <p>Updated: Wed Sep 26, 2007</p> 813c113f572fe454d93e55e4403d8ac8 Appeasement vs. Firmness for 09/05/2007 Wed, 05 Sep 2007 21:00:00 -0700 <p>Updated: Wed Sep 05, 2007</p> 2fc06d277e31a5df872ac04eb7e75cd2 Fields of Drama: Shakespeare Rules for 08/29/2007 Wed, 29 Aug 2007 21:00:00 -0700 <p>Updated: Wed Aug 29, 2007</p> 81e2e0ba9d2d6634849095fa6a997eae The August Drumbeat for 08/15/2007 Wed, 15 Aug 2007 21:00:00 -0700 <p>Should biblical churches host gay-glorifying funerals? Should evangelical politics move leftward? Many news organs give us one answer: Yes!</p> <p>The lead of an Aug. 11 Associated Press story seemed to expose a clear case of homophobia: &quot;A megachurch canceled a memorial service for a Navy veteran 24 hours before it was to start because the deceased was gay.&quot;</p> <p>The story stated that officials at High Point Church in Arlington, Texas, offered to host the service for a gay janitor who wasn't a church member but had worked there &mdash; only to say no when his obituary listed a life partner. The deceased's sister said, &quot;It's a slap in the face.&quot;<p>Updated: Wed Aug 15, 2007</p> 21d35e82a5c98554a8f5afc37b6d40cd Why the Bush Administration Communicates Poorly for 08/08/2007 Wed, 08 Aug 2007 21:00:00 -0700 <p>Democratic presidential candidates in their Tuesday night debate were ragging, as usual, on &quot;cool hand&quot; George W. Bush's &quot;failure to communicate,&quot; but I don't think they get why the president, an intelligent fellow, does a poor job of explaining his actions.</p> <p>When reporters told me in 2000 they thought Gov. Bush dumb, I told them he was business-management smart rather than graduate-student smart, a la Bill Clinton &mdash; and who needed more Clinton?</p> <p>When I knew &quot;W&quot; during the 1990s, he did not like bull sessions. He wanted practical options laid out without wasted words. He did not want to talk about his decisions. His goal was to make them and let the results do the talking.<p>Updated: Wed Aug 08, 2007</p> a5103ba2adf265252ccbbc8396725bd8 Memo to Politicians and Poets: Fame Is Fleeting for 07/18/2007 Wed, 18 Jul 2007 21:00:00 -0700 <p>If you liked making bets you'd never lose (up to now), try asking the name of the American poet whose statue sits on the &quot;Literary Walk&quot; of New York's Central Park. It's not Longfellow, Whitman or Robert Frost. It's ...</p> <p>&quot;Would you like some information about Fitz-Greene Halleck?&quot; asked Kenan Minkoff of each passerby on the afternoon of July 8, the birthday (in 1790) of the man once dubbed &quot;the American Byron.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;No.&quot;<p>Updated: Wed Jul 18, 2007</p> 6464f626c63c3c7be4a97e711d55970c Gay Pride, Hot Dogs and Government for 07/11/2007 Wed, 11 Jul 2007 21:00:00 -0700 <p>NEW YORK &mdash; Summertime in the city, when activities that would have seemed strange a generation ago (a gay pride parade) take on the appearance of normality, and the normal (eating hot dogs) is taken to amusing extremes.</p> <p>The gay parade late last month followed passage of a same-sex marriage bill by the Democrat-dominated New York Assembly (the lower house of the state legislature). That political victory set the tone for a show of strength: The parade was like the Union Army marching down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington in 1865 following the Civil War's conclusion, a display of overwhelming force and a warning to the recalcitrant that it's time to give in.</p> <p>The first marchers in the parade were contingents from assorted denominations, followed by a whole slew of Episcopalians from churches named after probably discomforted saints: Clement, George, Mark, Bart, Michael, Luke. Signs sought religious respectability: &quot;God made us Queer,&quot; &quot;Deacons in Drag,&quot; &quot;Dykes for Christ,&quot; &quot;Gay by the grace of God,&quot; &quot;Called out,&quot; etc.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 11, 2007</p> a950ec01c097f117ca776b46d2edc43a Independence Day: George Washington vs. Current Washington for 06/27/2007 Wed, 27 Jun 2007 21:00:00 -0700 <p>When the Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the Bush administration did not act unconstitutionally by sponsoring conferences largely designed to teach faith-based groups about federal grant applications, hard-core secularists were aghast: Here comes theocracy! And yet, the Supreme Court &mdash; led by its two George W. Bush appointees &mdash; was merely taking one small step toward returning Washington to the principles enunciated by George Washington.</p> <p>That earlier George had two bedrock principles regarding religion and public policy, and as we head toward the Fourth of July, they are especially worth remembering. First, as Washington wrote in 1789, &quot;Every man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience.&quot; Second, if Americans stopped believing in God, the nation was in big trouble.</p> <p>Here's Washington's bell-ringing affirmation in his 1796 farewell address: &quot;Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them.&quot;<p>Updated: Wed Jun 27, 2007</p> a8a12a71805851cf6052a8eaa344dbff Status Symbol Vacations for 06/20/2007 Wed, 20 Jun 2007 21:00:00 -0700 <p>Why take a small child to France when his main interest is French fries?</p> <p>The Wall Street Journal's Saturday section, called Pursuits, instructs business readers on what to do with money made Monday through Friday. One section this spring, typical in its ads for very expensive houses and cars, led off with a lengthy article on &quot;Power Trips for Tots&quot; that showed how &quot;extreme family vacations are becoming a status symbol for parents seeking an edge for their kids.&quot;</p> <p>The lead depicted a Tennessee mom receiving a Christmas card last year showing a friend's two girls, ages 4 and 6, playing with Indian children in the Brazilian rain forest. The card receiver suddenly felt shaky about taking her kids only to Florida or Canada, so this year her family is keeping up by heading to Brazil.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 20, 2007</p> 1e33d42f52a9ebdd703844cffcf6601c Flag Day Principles of State Constitutions for 06/06/2007 Wed, 06 Jun 2007 21:00:00 -0700 <p>When Stanley Hauerwas, the Duke University professor dubbed by Time magazine as &quot;America's best theologian,&quot; gave a commencement speech at a Mennonite college a while back, he said he was glad that no American flag was in evidence, for &quot;the power of the flag is, by necessity, violent.&quot;</p> <p>Hauerwas added, &quot;Because there is no flag here, Goshen College is potentially a more truthful, and thus academically interesting, educational institution than those that serve such flags.&quot; But here's a question to ask next week on June 14, Flag Day: Is a flagless institution likely to be more academically interesting than one that displays a flag?</p> <p>I don't doubt that Goshen is a fine college, and that its reasons for not showing a flag, couched as they are in Mennonite tradition, are far deeper than the anti-flag sentiments of the secular campus left. But even though flags may be on display in front of college administration buildings and at football stadiums, most major American universities these days are essentially flagless.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 06, 2007</p> 34e0ace0f37f8857eba8e3531c96fa06 No Student is an Island for 05/30/2007 Wed, 30 May 2007 21:00:00 -0700 <p>Updated: Wed May 30, 2007</p> 004083e4d334ba508ba2c419fa300fd7 The Major Religious Alternatives for 05/09/2007 Wed, 09 May 2007 21:00:00 -0700 <p>Updated: Wed May 09, 2007</p>