When newspaper circulation in the U.S. peaked in the 1970s
and '80s, large news outlets could afford to have specialists covering such
fields as science, medicine, legal affairs, environment and religion. At the Los Angeles Times, where I worked for
three decades through 1998, there were always at least two or three of us on
the religion beat.
I'll be giving Christianity and Contemporary Politics to my graduate students and others seeking to become authors and academics. It is a model of the kind of book a scholar should be looking to write.
It's useful to meet the argument that torture works with the facts: actually, there is not much evidence
that it does. In the end, however, the question is not whether torture is ever useful but whether it is morally permissible.
Theories of change vary widely. Does progress arise from
countless participants, working in countless places and ways? Does it require
an organized movement? How critical are public, influential leaders? At what
point is there a need for precedent to be set from the top down?
Alex, a six-year-old boy from Scarsdale, New York, wrote to President Obama, asking him to send a Syrian refugee to live with his family. “We will give him a family, and he will be our brother,” Alex wrote. He told the president that he has a friend at school from Syria. In his request Alex was referring to five-year-old Omran Daqneesh, whose picture was widely circulated after he was rescued from his bombed-out house in Aleppo. The White House published Alex’s letter, and the president read it at a UN Summit on Refugees (Independent, September 22).