CÚCUTA, Colombia -- The walkers come in a steady flow, individually and in small groups, through most of the day. The serpentine mountain road they take often has little room at the sides, leaving refugees in the path of traffic. The 350-mile journey to Bogota is part forced march and part pilgrimage -- impelled by hunger and desperation in ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- One measure of the seriousness of a Democratic candidate for president is his or her understanding of the importance of religion in our common life. I am not talking here of the perfunctory bow toward personal, sectarian belief, which is neither qualifying nor disqualifying in a prospective president. I refer instead to a candidate...Read more
WASHINGTON -- One of the largest obstacles to the defeat of Donald Trump in the 2020 election is the radicalism of the Democratic Party on the issue of abortion. By forcing Joe Biden to abandon his support for the Hyde Amendment -- which currently prevents the funding of abortions through Medicare -- the abortion lobby and activist liberals have...Read more
WASHINGTON -- In his influential 1984 book, "The Naked Public Square," Richard John Neuhaus recalled attending an event featuring the late Jerry Falwell Sr., who delivered an angry excoriation of liberals and other supposed enemies of freedom. Seated next to Neuhaus was a clean-cut, nicely dressed, well-spoken young man. Following the speech, ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- I pray for President Trump at least once a week. "Grant to the President of the United States," says the Book of Common Prayer, "and to all in authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do thy will."
This is, or at least should be, noncontroversial for a Christian. The Apostle Paul urged Timothy to pray "for kings and all those...Read more
WASHINGTON -- When Donald Trump invites historical comparisons, it is usually to his detriment. This is the risk of being even more corrupt than Warren Harding and even less articulate than, well, Warren Harding (whose rhetoric reminded H.L. Mencken of "a string of wet sponges" and "stale bean soup").
Even so, the Trump administration's recent ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- American politics has become a case study of the type that college professors employ in Ethics 101. If the economy is good, does presidential corruption actually matter?
That Donald Trump and members of his circle are corrupt has been established beyond doubt. There is the financial corruption of using the presidency as a ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- In a country that spans a continent, in a party that produced Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan, there is still no serious political challenge to the ideological supremacy of a corrupt, deeply prejudiced conman who cares nothing for democratic traditions, constitutional limits and moral norms. Donald Trump's reelection would ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Every so often, America's party of the left is seized by the fear that its platform of anti-militarism, sweet reason and communal progress just can't compete with the right's more emotional appeal to national pride, tradition and identity.
It was William James -- psychologist, philosopher and brother of novelist Henry James -- who...Read more
WASHINGTON -- With the passing of Jean Vanier on May 7, the sum of the world's welcoming kindness diminished appreciably.
More than 50 years ago, Vanier sparked an unlikely movement of conscience. Shocked by the despair and loneliness he found at a psychiatric hospital outside Paris, Vanier did not merely adopt the cause of the ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Conservatives sometimes accuse the academic left of ignoring the good in American history and emphasizing the horrors. But in some respects, the typical telling of the American story does not focus enough on the horrors.
As I recall from my distant youth, American history texts dealt with the run up to the Civil War, then the war ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- In the normal course of events, the successful demagogue demands and receives cringing deference. But how about a little empathy now and then?
Everyone loves heroic dissidents like Sir Thomas More, at least when canonizing them has no cost. They get all the best press and plays about them. Yet who stops to consider the predicament...Read more
WASHINGTON -- For a conservative idea, there are few things more dangerous and discrediting than the full-on, smothering embrace of Donald Trump. When he forces himself upon an issue -- grabbing it, as it were, by the policy prescription -- his approach is familiar. He seizes on a half-heard contention, simplifies it beyond recognition and ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- This is the period when members of the herd of Democratic presidential candidates are testing various appeals to the party faithful. But the more serious contenders are also considering what attacks they might eventually employ against President Trump. The problem will come not in producing the list of potential vulnerabilities, ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Politics is an odd profession. Usually it involves the posturing inherent to partisanship and the self-abasement of endless fundraising. But occasionally it entails the most solemn duties of self-government -- decisions that echo across the decades.
Members of the House of Representatives now face this kind of resonant choice.
WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump's claim of vindication by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report depends on some creative thinking. The president, it seems, is not guilty of conspiracy with the Russians to influence the 2016 election. He is only guilty of wishing really, really hard for Russian help and having his fondest desire miraculously granted...Read more
WASHINGTON -- So another norm of public decency falls, like a historical building demolished to make way for one of Donald Trump's tasteless towers.
When the president of the United States goes after an American Muslim -- in this case Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who came to the U.S. as a Somali refugee -- using images of the 9/11 attacks, it is ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- There not being nearly enough discussion of chariot racing in American politics, it is worth recalling the story of the Greens and the Blues. These were the two main racing teams of the Byzantine Empire, and they generated considerable sporting enthusiasm. A clash of their fans in the riots of the year 501 took perhaps 3,000 lives...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The ouster of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen -- the implementer of some of the most unjust immigration policies since the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II -- is another proof of Donald Trump's ratchet-wrench theory of loyalty. It goes only in his direction.
In the end, the burnt ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The national debate on race -- which the president has made more angry and urgent with his racial demagoguery -- is hindered by imprecise language.
Most whites do not feel personally guilty for America's long history of imposed white supremacy. A white man who has lost his job at the coal mine, or the daughter of a recent ...Read more