Tag: Culture

Religious People Should Reject the Use of Preferred Pronouns


A recent story in Axios in June claimed religious adults would be comfortable learning that a friend uses gender-neutral pronouns–such as they or them rather than he or she. Also, in June, Axios reported that Latino Catholics and evangelicals say only two genders exist.

In reality, religious people, generally, and Christians, mainly, should reject the general use of preferred pronouns. Christians must not use pronouns because it furthers the lie that preferred pronouns are acceptable, directly undermining God’s created order and suggesting that people can change genders; people cannot change genders.  Christians must not use pronouns when addressing the transgender community. Doing so encourages them to lead lives not guided by reality. Using their desired pronouns, we encourage them to recreate themselves in their image rather than experiencing the truth that God created them in His image and likeness. As Christians, we should not encourage or lie to them or be rude or condescending when we speak with them. God and the Holy Spirit are still active. However, by telling the truth in love, we may still be able to lead them to Jesus Christ–which means they still have an opportunity to be redeemed and renewed, which means they can lead others in the transgender community to Jesus.

Rejecting Secular Ideologies Helps Black Families


After the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, where the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, it allowed states to decide their respective abortion laws, primarily because the Constitution has no references to abortion.

Many school districts nationwide endorse curricula based on critical race theory and antiracism. These districts’ policies force this race-based ideology into all core subjects. It treats students differently based on race, ethnicity, and religious background. Many of these districts ignore challenges to this ideology by labeling disagreeable opinions “discriminatory.” These policies force children to view everyone through the lens of race and to label white students as “privileged,” “oppressors,” and “victimizers” while labeling all other children as “underprivileged,” “oppressed,” and “victims.” Many parents want these districts to treat each child with basic human dignity, value, and equal treatment–not based on racial discrimination.

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Perennials are flowers that grow back every year. Once planted, the flowers can continue to bloom from one spring to another. The word “perennial” signifies what the flower does, coming back each year. In history the word perennial means “evergreen, continual, or lasting.” I have taken the definition upon myself to identify who I am […]

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If There Is No God, Then Gods Are Everywhere


“Who is the number one god?” There is a scene in the 1996 movie version of The Island of Dr. Moreau that is worth discussion. Based on H. G. Wells’s famous novel, a shipwrecked man is confronted by the mad scientist, Dr. Moreau. The doctor is creating half-man, half-beast people to unite the best of both species. Of course, he utterly fails.

At the end of the movie, the beast people have taken over Moreau’s laboratory. The shipwrecked man is now alone, facing the fury of a hybrid species. Thinking they are now the island’s god, the animal people seek to rid themselves of the last man. It is then he asks the question, “Who is the number one god?” causing the beasts to turn on each other.

Such a scene-summary tells us about the two doctrines that run through every discussion about every subject: (1) Who is our authority? And (2) Who are we as humans?

Quote of the Day: ‘Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart’


This has been a phrase that comes to mind every time I think on the degeneration—oh what’s the best word? Deterioration? Suppression? Subversion?—of Western civilization and its culture. This is especially true when there are inflection points where the culture takes a turn for the worse.

When they instituted gay marriage, and when I realized we had lost that argument, what I muttered was, “Because it is bitter, and because it is my heart.” When schools and universities replace classic Western literature, music, and art in their curriculum with that of feminist or of some alternative culture just to be balanced, and so a student today reads maybe one Shakespeare play instead of a panoply of the greatest writer of the English language, I mutter, “Because it is bitter, and because it is my heart.” When I see society enacting legislation or living by some agnostic understanding of “following the science” devoid of values and foundational principles, I mutter, “Because it is bitter, and because it is my heart.”

Quote of the Day: Ramaswamynomics


“During the only stable dollar eras of the last century, annual GDP growth averaged 4.9% in 1922-29, 4% in 1948-71, and 3.7% in 1983-2000. The volatile dollar from 2000 to 2022 saw average growth of a paltry 1.9%. Had the dollar remained stable since 2000, with an enduring 3.7% growth, the economy would be nearly 50% greater than it is today, and we would have avoided multiple financial crises along the way.” – Vivek Ramaswamy, The Wall Street Journal, 05/01/2023

That quote was from an article titled “Prosperity Requires a Stable Dollar,” which should be required reading for all Republican Presidential candidates.

Is it possible a major contributor to the current craziness is 23 years of bad economic policy?  (Policy was better for a brief time during the Trump years, but Trump didn’t have to clear a high bar.)

21 Curious Details I Brought Back from England


We speak the same language, but it’s like we’re separated by geography, history, and even culture. I told the border officer in the US that I had nothing to declare except a few souvenirs, but maybe that wasn’t true. Here’s what I brought back with me:

  1. The English are open to keeping their mayo on diners’ tables, next to the ketchup. No freakout about mayonnaise refrigeration. I had a squeeze or two, and I was fine.
  2. Eggs are sold on the regular store shelves, not refrigerated.
  3. Packaged meats of all varieties, bread, and dairy products were satisfying and delicious.
  4. Most pub food was tasty, hearty, and handsomely plated. The only English food I tried that deserved its reputation for blandness was steak and ale pie. Meat pies were just okay.
  5. Food everywhere is fresh and relatively inexpensive.
  6. Old pubs–hundreds of years old–were everywhere and could come with history, such as being host to some famous writers. I found them to have a bit of an odor, too. I suppose cooking up fish and chips for so many years will do that to an establishment.
  7. Pedestrians and Underground riders aren’t always friendly and don’t seem eager to interact with strangers with even a smile. I was accosted by a woman in Oxford who didn’t appreciate that I smiled at her. And when I struggled for several minutes to get my too-wide suitcase down the long aisle of a train, male riders just watched impassively instead of offering to help like they would in the US (until I got to my seat at the end of the car, where a British man kindly stood up and lifted my suitcase onto the rack).
  8. The population is very diverse, such that most souvenir shops seemed to be run by Middle Easterners. Other populations, including Eastern Europeans who in my limited experience did not speak English, represented a slice of the citizenry. The diversity meant there were interesting restaurants everywhere–Turkish, Greek, Thai, Indian, and a Brazilian/Portuguese/Greek fusion place whose food met with our approval. Everyone seemed to get along and everything ran smoothly. It was a civilized, sophisticated, humane country.
  9. Many processes are automated, so that when you’re about to get on public transportation, or come into the country, or even go into the bathroom at the train station, automation smooths the way. No long lines in customs, unlike in San Diego–just place your passport on the sensor and the gates open for you to walk into the English side. You might be greeted in the bathroom with a readout that says “These stalls are: 20% full.”
  10. Enterprise seems to be thriving, especially the restaurant business. But large chains, small groceries, food trucks, tidy flea markets, tour companies, malls–all are booming.
  11. Restaurant servers aren’t allowed to take your payment card out of your sight. It’s some kind of law. So they bring a little card processing machine to the table, which is convenient and helps with splitting the check.
  12. It took us some time to realize that “Are you okay?” is said everywhere, and means something like, “Can I help you?” when spoken in a store and “You’re distracting me” when uttered by a tour guide to my sister, who was quietly offering me gloves because we were getting chilly standing in old, dark alleyways.
  13. Public transportation–buses and the London underground trains–are prompt and frequent, reasonably clean, and inexpensive. The underground, which we took to Westminster Abbey and the British Museum, was fast and fun to ride. The downside was feeling so rushed to get on and off, since our family liked to walk rapidly to and through the station and those automated train doors were indifferent to riders with slower reflexes like my mom and I. Oxford was full of buses trundling up and down the main roads, and they seemed to represent various companies. We realized toward the end of our stay that riding up front on the upper level afforded a great view. We dominated the solemn architecture and crowded sidewalks and were in no danger of getting lost. Yet from up high, it always looked as if the bus was going to clip pedestrians or run them over. With their ease of use, ubiquity, and affordability, buses ended up being my favorite form of transportation, whether for long or short distances.
  14. London was big, but felt dense. That is, everything seemed crowded together, a contracted version of a US city. Old row houses were everywhere, and there were freeway entrances that looked, not exactly miniature, but scaled-down compared to what I’m used to.
  15. The city’s economizing on space confirmed my idea of England feeling small, even though there was so much city. But then I was surprised by vast swaths of countryside. You see miles of it from the windows of buses or trains. Then you get on freeways where verdant views continue to separate you from your destination. I started to suspect that England wasn’t that small. The Internet says that its size and population density are comparable to that of New York state.
  16. The size of the cities border on intimidating. My first impression of Bath was around the train station where we were picked up–there were some charming old buildings and inviting new restaurants. When we visited a few days later, we drove over an Old-Europe-style bridge, with looming antique buildings crowded on a hill across the water. Oxford was not just a compound of old brick institutions for students and a few gawking tourists, as I had imagined. It was huge, dense, mostly very old, and jammed with visitors. We did find a large, bright shopping mall and a decent Thai “street food” restaurant.
  17. Paper goods were in short supply. Maybe the English don’t believe in generating all this extra waste, or maybe with their population, they just can’t afford to. Or possibly it’s against the law for bathrooms to provide anything other than hand dryers or for restaurant servers to be liberal with their napkins. Whatever it was, I was often in search of something with which to wipe my fingertips. Homes and apartments we rented didn’t offer tissues, and we even had to stock paper towels ourselves in one instance. It made me think about how attached I was to paper plates and other disposable products back home and feel slightly ashamed, even though I tend toward frugality with them.
  18. There were trash bags along the roads in London, and the refuse made a poor impression, especially when bags were broken open and spilled on the sidewalk. I finally realized that the trash was put out on the walkways for pickup, and refuse collection seemed to present opportunity for even more private enterprise. At one bus stop in the countryside, I saw garbage concentrated all around the bus stop. It looked bad. My guess was that this was another instance of trash bags breaking open, except breakage had happened several times in the area and hadn’t been picked up.
  19. Ancient artifacts and old architecture abound in England. I was ready to see a few pieces from the 16th and 17th centuries, maybe. But not relics from the 1300s and even before. At Westminster Abbey our first full day in London, I gaped and was overawed. But I didn’t realize my enthusiasm was like that of a visitor who came for Old Faithful in a park pulsing with other natural wonders.  n England, evidences of Roman civilization are still around. Medieval-era churches abounded, each with their stained glass windows and respected dead memorialized and buried indoors. Doors everywhere were unique, nothing one could buy at the local building supply store. Doorknobs might be in the middle of the door, and those were newer models.
  20. I noticed a few homeless people sleeping on the street, but not very many. The parks didn’t seem to draw any homeless. I do seem to remember a panhandler asking me if I could spare change in a very British way.
  21. There are so many things to see and do, that even with our busy schedule, we only experienced a small fraction of what was out there. We visited Westminster Abbey, went on two London walking tours (Jack the Ripper–I sat that one out–and Dickens/Shakespeare), saw the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum, strolled in the parks near Buckingham Palace, walked around Bath, stayed in an old village in the countryside, toured C.S. Lewis’s home, dined in a dozen pubs, and walked frenetically around Oxford. I appreciated the grassy parks full of trees and bursting with daffodils in every city we visited, and refreshed myself walking in them.

England felt like a rich, deep, old place. If I had to do it again, honestly I would skip the London tour and walk the city looking for plaques. I hope there are plenty commemorating, for instance, the tree that our tour guide said such distinguished fellows as Wordsworth knew and referenced. There certainly was one at the square where William Wallace met his end, and surely the house from the Tudor period indicated by the tour guide had its marker. At the end of our visit, I felt deeper and older, but not so much richer. I was definitely tired, and upon arrival in San Diego, felt like kissing the soil. England had been an adventure, but it was sweet to be back in my home country.

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Students in my classes, to their credit, write about change that they would like to see. Inspired by their youthful zeal to transform their world, I offer my own, biblical vision of change. The Hebraic-Christian community must demonstrate to any culture, its counter-cultural approach to living. “Doing good” according to Titus (3:1, 8, 14), is […]

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Manhattan Institute senior fellow Christopher F. Rufo and journalist Abigail Shrier join Brian C. Anderson to discuss their stories in City Journal’s new California special issue and the long-term trajectory of the Golden State.

Find the transcript of this conversation and more at City Journal.

Israeli political philosopher Yoram Hazony (’86) discusses the Enlightenment, the American Founding, his latest book: Conservatism: A Rediscovery, and Conservatism’s past and future.

Dr. Hazony is the the President of the Herzl Institute, based in Jerusalem, and the chairman of the Edmund Burke Foundation, a public affairs institute based in Washington D.C., which recently hosted the popular National Conservatism Conference in Miami, FL.

Disney Does a 180-degree Turn on Satan. Stop Feeding the Mouse


On my first trip to Washington, DC as a Civil Air Patrol cadet making my way to Canada in 1974, one of the first places I visited was the infamous “Exorcist steps” near the Francis Scott Key Bridge that connects Georgetown to Rosslyn in Northern Virginia. It was an easy walk from the Key Bridge Marriott where I was staying.

I would not see the movie until years later, but those who remember the harrowing 1973 movie will know. The website theculturetrip.com explains:

Located in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. is a set of stairs known as The Exorcist steps, which are famous for being featured in the 1973 film The Exorcist. In the movie, actor Jason Miller plays the role of a priest, Father Karras, who falls down the stairs head first and tumbles to his death during an attempt to try and rid a little girl of her evil spirits. . .

Eric July’s ‘Rippaverse’ Shows Progress of Conservative Media


I’m guessing most of you have seen some version of a meme regarding the call for conservatives to create their own media and free-speech spaces; it has the response from the left being a horrified “not like that!!” when someone actually succeeds. Well, we can observe that happening in real-time in the world of comics.

I haven’t been into comics since [checks for a publishing date] 1991. Not that I necessarily outgrew them, but other things took over. I’ve intended to check out some of the more well-regarded graphic novels for a long time but did so only recently, triggered in part by my oldest two sons’ interests in graphic novels.

As the United States celebrates 246 years since we declared our independence, Jim and Greg each list three things they love about America.


Clarity From a Hollywood Leader


Deadline has a great interview with Tom Rothman, Motion Picture Chairman at Sony Pictures.  He explains why the theatrical model for movies is far from dead, how streaming will help movies, and doesn’t pull any punches.  The best quote is on the Academy:

You mentioned the Academy. That was never particularly relevant to young people, but it was much more relevant culturally. Failings of the show aside, and we could talk about that forever, the Academy itself, and the pictures that it picks, has lost complete touch with the large audience. It’s become a self-defining elitist redoubt, and you’re just not going to be relevant if you’re that.

Fading Wanderlust


Without a doubt, the “travel bug” bit me in my teenage years; the first infection might have been my first flight at 15 years old from California to Massachusetts to visit family. But then I had the opportunity to study at Tel Aviv University in Israel for a year (1969-1970), and my fate was sealed.

Fortunately, I married a man who not only loved to travel, too, but also enjoyed going to the same countries I wanted to see. When he was in the Navy (before we’d met) and in his work as a consulting engineer, he saw a number of countries that I’ve never seen. Then again, on my return trip from Israel I had six weeks to see parts of Europe that he has never seen. Everywhere we’ve been together, we’ve been fascinated by the various cultures; both of us loved to learn and have new experiences. I would study up on each country’s culture before we left and share with him those parts I thought he would enjoy. It has been a great partnership.

Our favorite part of the world was Southeast Asia. For me, I appreciated the connection to my Buddhist practice (at that time). I think that Jerry enjoyed how exotic these countries were compared to the Western countries. The beauty, color, and extravagance of traditional costumes and temples compared to Western mores were captivating. And often the people were charming, too. By the time we went to Australia, Jerry was a bit put off by how “ordinary” it was (except for the indigenous community); I needed to remind him that there was much to see and enjoy, in spite of the many similarities to our own country.

On this episode of “The Federalist Radio Hour,” Inez Stepman, a senior policy analyst at the Independent Women’s Forum and host of the “High Noon” podcast, joins Federalist Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky to analyze why the Super Bowl halftime show sparked a generational war.

Who’s Winning? Who’s Losing?


For those people who thought there’d be no civil war in this country, I think they’ve been proven wrong. We aren’t fighting with arms, but the discourse is as brutal and vicious as I’ve ever seen. Every day there is a new report of the skirmishes that have taken place, of the people whose lives are being destroyed, or of the reputations that have been wounded. It’s difficult to describe this time in our country as anything but a war.

As we watch new battles erupt, I find myself trying to assess the status of the two sides. When I look at the Left, I see our schools being captured by an insidious curriculum. The project is spearheaded primarily in private schools by NAIS. This WSJ article reveals the true nature of NAIS indoctrination that is embedded in every school subject.

This organization is operating with impunity and threatens our public sector schools by trying to bring this dogma to all schools.

On this episode of “The Federalist Radio Hour,” Ryan T. Anderson, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and Alexandra DeSanctis, a staff writer for National Review and visiting fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, join Federalist Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky to discuss their book “Tearing Us Apart: How Abortion Harms Everything and Solves Nothing.”

On this episode of “The Federalist Radio Hour,” Federalist Publisher Ben Domenech joins Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky to discuss their favorite and least favorite films of 2021 and evaluate whether movies finally made a comeback from a pandemic-induced cinema drought.

Everyone Worships Something: 7 Steps Down the Aisle of Toleration’s Church


“Tolerance” is a doctrine. In theology or education or everyday life, “doctrine” is ever present. Everyone has doctrine since everyone has beliefs. We subscribe to a teaching, dogma, or creed to explain what we believe. Our commitment to that set of teachings limits our acceptance of contrary or adversarial claims. It does not matter if you are a feminist, committed to LGBTQ+, a Baptist preacher, or a conservative talk show host; you have doctrine. Everyone everywhere has doctrine. But in our current cultural moment, identity, ethnic, sexual, and gender politics demand our belief in the doctrine of tolerance.

I will use the metaphors of religious ideas and icons to communicate the cultural doctrine of “tolerance.” First, toleration demands “understanding,” then “acceptance,” then “allegiance,” then “obeisance,” then “conformity,” and ultimately “evangelism.” The ordered steps down the cathedral aisle do not matter as much as the baptismal outcome. Hollywood’s hymnal sings both obvious and subtle references to accepted and rejected points of view. Celebrities must bow before the altar of imposed speech codes. News outlets preach from their pulpits against the latest outrage. The plight of those suffering worldwide is reported only if their deaths reinforce the common book of party prayer. Catechismal teaching reinforces the moment-by-moment commitment to membership in the church of toleration. Excommunication is swift for any who would sin against accepted authority. Reputational ruin comes to anyone daring to cross the received cultural commandments. Toleration’s heaven accepts the culturally righteous who are the tolerant saints wearing white robes of social purity. Toleration’s hell awaits anyone who has rejected salvation offered by the cultural gods of the day.

Let me be perfectly clear. I am tolerant, kind, generous, respectful, and gracious to people, no matter who they are or what they believe. But I will always speak out against ideas — the doctrine of tolerance included — that stand against the doctrines of God’s word.