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Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher

January 1970 Archives

Tactless Erykah Badu gets naked at JFK death site

posted by Rod Dreher

Well, this is probably the most interesting thing to happen at Dealey Plaza since 1963: in her new video (see it here — thanks to the magic of pixilation, it’s safe for work), singer Erykah Badu takes all her clothes […]

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Against politicizing love and relationships

posted by Rod Dreher

Ricky Martin’s self-outing has Megan McArdle thinking: Why do we think that our love lives are such a central part of our existence that we cannot be perfectly whole unless we’ve shared the major details with the world? I’m not […]

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The agony of lung cancer

posted by Rod Dreher

I spoke with my mother this morning on the way to work, and she was telling me in detail how much my sister Ruthie is suffering from the heavy chemotherapy she’s on to fight her lung cancer. It’s absolutely heartbreaking […]

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Stewart Brand: Underpopulation hurts the environment

posted by Rod Dreher

A Chicago area reader passes along a Boston Globe Ideas section Q&A in which Stewart Brand, pioneering environmentalist and author of “The Whole Earth Catalog,” sounds the alarm about the dangers of underpopulation. Excerpt: IDEAS: So as people start to […]

A foodie paradox: It’s expensive to eat poor

posted by Rod Dreher

Lovely story from today’s NYT food section about Darina Allen, an Irish woman who has worked hard to bring back traditional Irish cooking. Excerpt: “Using elements of native cuisine in a white-tablecloth setting was totally new in Ireland at the […]

The healing power of beauty

posted by Rod Dreher

From reader Michael Wenberg in Walla Walla: So much bad news lately, but wanted to share something quite beautiful that happened over the weekend. I’m CEO of a small town symphony orchestra that has been around since 1907 (I also […]

Jordan Brown: Lost boy, lost family

posted by Rod Dreher

A reader writes: Have you heard about the 11 year-old Western Pennsylvania boy, Jordan Brown, who killed his father’s live-in fiancée, who was pregnant with their child, with a shotgun? He is now, at 12 years old, to be tried […]

Passover: No strangers at Sharon’s table

posted by Rod Dreher

On today, the first day of Passover, Sharon Astyk writes about welcoming the stranger. Excerpt: One of the central pieces of the Passover story, then, which is so important we tell it twice, on two separate nights, is this – […]

Leming-Aid on April 10

posted by Rod Dreher

That’s what organizers of the fundraising concert for my sister Ruthie Dreher Leming are calling the event — and Leming-Aid now has a Facebook page. Several of you have kindly asked how you can donate money. Really, my family is […]

Self-esteem not the same as self-respect

posted by Rod Dreher

So says Theodore Dalrymple, whose regular readers know was a prison physician. Excerpt: The problem with low self-esteem is not self-dislike, as is often claimed, but self-absorption. However, it does not follow from this that high self-esteem is not a […]

“Scarface” by second graders

posted by Rod Dreher

Look at this:Could this thing really have happened in a school? Or is this a viral fake? If it was staged in a school, what sort of INSANE teachers and principals let this happen? And if it’s a fake, it […]

The NYT and Pope Benedict

posted by Rod Dreher

By the way, I am persuaded by Father R.J. de Souza’s argument that The New York Times was desperately stretching to connect Benedict with the Father Murphy disaster in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. I always believed this was a problem […]

The lonesome death of Phoebe Prince

posted by Rod Dreher

Prosecutors in Massachusetts have taken the unusual step of filing felony charges against nine teenagers who allegedly bullied 15-year-old Phoebe Prince so badly that she hanged herself. Good on those prosecutors. If these kids are convicted, I hope they all […]

Sister Sue’s credo

posted by Rod Dreher

“To live is Christ; to die is gain.” — St. Paul, martyr, to the Phillippians. “Hold the crucifix up before my eyes so I may see it until I die.” — Joan of Arc, at her martyrdom by fire. “I […]

The foodie who won’t eat anything

posted by Rod Dreher

Or, well, hardly anything. Tonight I pan-fried some scallops in olive oil, sprinkled some sea salt on them, and enjoyed 15 minutes of bliss. And now I see that my pal Amy Sullivan has written a piece implicitly denying the […]

Waterboard the Christian militia loons!

posted by Rod Dreher

Not really. I don’t believe in torture. Still, I wonder how people who do believe in waterboarding terrorism suspects to make ’em tell what they know would feel about applying that technique to the nine members of the fanatical Christian […]

Are you a hegan? Would you date one?

posted by Rod Dreher

Well, if you’re an Orthodox Christian man, you’d better be a hegan (male vegan) now, this last week of Lent. The Boston Globe examines heganism (versus sheganism?) as a masculinist cultural phenomenon. Excerpt: Three years later, sipping a yerba mate […]

Could an abuser pope survive the Internet?

posted by Rod Dreher

Longtime readers know that I have a fascination with the relationship between power and authority in the age of the Internet, with its culture of near-total transparency, and instant global dissemination of information. Writing in one of the comboxes here […]

Jews fleeing European anti-Semitism

posted by Rod Dreher

…but not neo-Nazis this time, but rather Muslim thugs in Sweden. Immigration to Israel by French Jews for similar reasons rose in the last decade, but now seems to be declining.

Why there is no Christian Tibet

posted by Rod Dreher

Reviewing (highly favorably) a book about a Jesuit missionary to Tibet, David Bentley Hart muses on the obstacles the Christian faith faced (and faces) in that country: Cultural conversion is something that happens under only very particular circumstances. Christianity spread […]

Douthat: Repent, bishops!

posted by Rod Dreher

Ross Douthat, who is Catholic and an admirer of Pope Benedict, makes sense in his clear-eyed column today. The conclusion is a bit puzzling, though: There has been some accountability for the abusers, but not nearly enough for the bishops […]

Broken arm, broken health care system

posted by Rod Dreher

Lucas, my six-year-old, broke his arm running down the sidewalk a couple of weeks back. He had to go get a cast the next day at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, but that afternoon, he was treated by a hospital closer […]

OK, yes, the Times is piling on Benedict

posted by Rod Dreher

This morning’s NYTimes brings us the shocking news that as Archbishop of Munich, Joseph Ratzinger was preoccupied with theological matters. Clutch the pearls! Here’s the story. Excerpt: When Pope Benedict XVI was archbishop of Munich and Freising, he was broadly […]

Saturday afternoon Big Eighties balm

posted by Rod Dreher

Show me show show me how you do that trick, the one that makes me scream, she said…Cooking this afternoon in the kitchen, listening to music from the Eighties, and seized by unexpected delight.Out of all those kinds of people, […]

Getting good, healthy food cheap

posted by Rod Dreher

Andrew Sullivan links to a post in which the writer discloses the secret of eating exotically and well for cheap. Excerpt: People are always railing, of course, about how people on food stamps don’t buy enough healthy food. But heaven […]

Get ready for Ruthie Leming Day

posted by Rod Dreher

Regular readers know that my sister Ruthie Leming is battling stage four lung cancer, and that St. Francisville, our Louisiana hometown, has been rallying strongly to her side, and to the side of her family. Well, on Saturday April 10, […]

A culture that hates asceticism

posted by Rod Dreher

I had a great conversation with a new friend on a train ride today. I don’t think he’s religious at all, but we got to talking about Lent, and asceticism. He said that it’s no surprise to him that American […]

“Neigh” doesn’t always mean no, darling

posted by Rod Dreher

From — believe it or not — Scientific American, research psychologist Jesse Bering’s charming reflections on how science is paving the way for an even wider celebration of diversity. Excerpt: In any event, philosophical questions aside, I simply find it […]

Pope Benedict and the irony of history

posted by Rod Dreher

Having been away from the keys most of the day, I want to post an important update to the commentary on the Catholic sex abuse scandal and Pope Benedict’s response. The journalist John Allen has provided one of his typically […]

Sex abuse scandal: What can the Pope do?

posted by Rod Dreher

Today’s paper brings news that as the Archbishop of Munich, Pope Benedict knew more about the molester priest’s transfer than the Vatican has admitted. This should not be surprising; as the editor who ran the Boston Globe’s coverage of the […]

Economics as if people existed

posted by Rod Dreher

David Brooks writes today about how economists failed to understand the behavior leading up to the crash — and why. Excerpt: In Act IV, in other words, economists are taking baby steps into the world of emotion, social relationships, imagination, […]

Polkinghorne on the nature of religion

posted by Rod Dreher

Here’s a good interview with Sir John Polkinghorne, the Anglican priest and physicist, talking about virtue, science and religion. Excerpts: I call myself a bottom-up thinker. I try to move from experience to understanding, to look at experiences, which may […]

Kombucha: a crunch too far

posted by Rod Dreher

Try as I might — and I have tried, a little — I can’t stomach the idea of drinking the fermented, bacteria-rich tea called kombucha. According to The New York Times, I am well behind the foodie curve. Excerpt: To […]

One more Lenten week to go!

posted by Rod Dreher

I’m so sick of beans. I’m so sick of almond butter. I’m so sick of broccoli and hummus. I’m so sick of tofu. Please, Jesus, come out of that tomb and bring us some dadgum barbecue! UPDATE: A reader informs […]

10 Books that most influenced my worldview

posted by Rod Dreher

Ross Douthat tries his hand at Tyler Cowen’s blogosphere exercise (naming 10 books that most influenced your worldview). Ross mentions the works of G.K. Chesterton on his list, which reminded me that Chesterton is one of those writers I really, […]

Farmers markets should be consumer-friendly

posted by Rod Dreher

So says food guru Joel Salatin, who argues that farmers markets have a lot to learn from supermarkets. Excerpt: The one-stop shop model works. We just need to figure out what a truly transparent, localized one-stop shop looks like. Once […]

Another pogrom against Nigerian Christians

posted by Rod Dreher

More murders of Nigerian Christians this week. Excerpt: LAGOS, Nigeria – Attackers killed 12 people Wednesday morning in a small Christian village in central Nigeria, officials said, cutting out most of the victims’ tongues in the latest violence in a […]

Francisco Ayala wins the Templeton Prize

posted by Rod Dreher

At this moment, I’m at the National Academy of Sciences watching biologist Francisco Ayala named as winner of the 2010 Templeton Prize. Ayala, a former Dominican priest, is being recognized in part for his work in reconciling evolution with Christian […]

Food stamps at … Whole Foods?!

posted by Rod Dreher

And you thought people on food stamps only bought buckets o’ crap: “I’m sort of a foodie, and I’m not going to do the ‘living off ramen’ thing,” he said, fondly remembering a recent meal he’d prepared of roasted rabbit […]

Social Security going broke faster

posted by Rod Dreher

For the first time ever, Social Security will pay out more in benefits this year than it will have taken in — a threshold on the way to the system’s insolvency that Social Security wasn’t expected to reach till 2016. […]

Father Murphy, molester of deaf children

posted by Rod Dreher

From today’s NYTimes: Top Vatican officials — including the future Pope Benedict XVI — did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on […]

How to govern a church: a case study

posted by Rod Dreher

I want to contrast the way the institutional Catholic Church is struggling to deal with its problem bishops, versus the way the Orthodox Church in America (my church) has done it recently. It shouldn’t be necessary to say this, but […]

Dhimmitude at the drive-thru?

posted by Rod Dreher

A British customer of KFC is irate because his local KFC wouldn’t serve him a sandwich with bacon on it. Excerpt: The company has taken the burger off the menu because Islamic dietary law forbids Muslims to eat anything which […]

If lovin’ Walmart is wrong, he don’t wanna be right

posted by Rod Dreher

Writing in the (liberal) Texas Observer, Joe Lansdale, who lives in a small Texas town, says he used to think badly of Walmart, but now has changed his mind. Excerpt: Why am I defensive about Walmart? Let me tell you […]

Can the Pope get rid of problem bishops?

posted by Rod Dreher

Mark Shea says no, he can’t. Interesting, his explanation for why not: The irony, particularly in Dreher’s case, is that in his frustration and sense of crisis about the Roman Church, he chose to be jump to the ecclesial camp […]

Bring on the married priests

posted by Rod Dreher

A Ukrainian Catholic priest — Eastern Rite Catholics can have married priests — at home with his family. Excerpt: Ukrainian priests, while reluctant to criticize Pope Benedict XVI over his unyielding stance on the celibacy requirement, said permitting them to […]

Templeton Prize winner on Thursday

posted by Rod Dreher

I’m on my way to Washington now to get ready for the 2010 Templeton Prize winner announcement on Thursday. I can’t reveal the name of this year’s winner, but I can tell you the selection will cause a certain amount […]

Manners make the Mom

posted by Rod Dreher

To the young mother sitting across from me on the Acela: Look, I know it’s tough to deal with a screaming toddler. We’ve all been there. Traveling with little ones can be really hard. I am pleased to be patient […]

Two cheers for Red Toryism

posted by Rod Dreher

Phillip Blond played to a packed house at Villanova last night. In the audience was our longtime blog friend Franklin Evans, who turned me into a newt, then joshingly relented. A good time was had by all, I think. Having […]

Posh Tory names in the news

posted by Rod Dreher

From a NYT story about how the Tories are having trouble relating to the common man: Many old-time Tories are leaving Parliament this year, including the unrepentantly first-class-loving Sir Nicholas. But there are more waiting in the wings. Last year, […]

Cancer and enlightenment

posted by Rod Dreher

In “The Quantum and the Lotus,” a book-length dialogue between astrophysicist Trinh Xuan Thuan (born a Buddhist), and former scientist Matthieu Ricard, who left the Pasteur Institute to become a Tibetan Buddhist monk, Ricard writes of why he abandoned his […]

What you lose when you lose faith

posted by Rod Dreher

The final essay in Roger Scruton’s “Gentle Regrets” is a magnificent meditation called “Regaining My Religion.” In it, Scruton talks about why he returned to the faith (he’s an Anglican), and what our secular age means. “The loss of faith […]

The beloved community

posted by Rod Dreher

Here’s a blurry Facebook photo (clearer version here) of my sister Ruthie and her husband Mike at last week’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in St. Francisville. This is the first time I’ve seen her since her hair fell out and […]

The worst are full of passionate intensity

posted by Rod Dreher

This is not (or rather, no longer) a political blog. But what appears in the comboxes on Jim Antle’s AmSpec story about pro-life Democrats and the health care compromise is not about politics at all. It’s about pathology, the decline […]

Is the health care light an oncoming train?

posted by Rod Dreher

I don’t have a strong opinion about the health care debate, which has now been resolved in the Democrats’ favor. Sorry. I think we have a lousy system now, but I have serious doubts about this reform, especially coming as […]

The Pope writes to the Irish church

posted by Rod Dreher

Here is the text of Pope Benedict’s letter to the Catholic Church in Ireland. There are plenty of very strong words in it, and a level of detail and directness that is incomparably better than the vague euphemisms Benedict’s predecessor […]

Not yet, God, I’m reading about you

posted by Rod Dreher

I love the smell of used bookstores. The aroma of yellowing print and flaking glue in the binding is so comforting to me. In the old days, I used to visit them far more frequently, in part because I was […]

Museums as ethnic advertising

posted by Rod Dreher

Writing in Saturday’s Washington Post, Marc Fisher uses his review of the new German-American museum to remark critically on the essential fraudulence of museums of ethnic heritage. Excerpt: But when each ethnic group creates its own museum, visitors are left […]

Roger Scruton: Stealing from churches

posted by Rod Dreher

I’ve been thinking today about the things I heard at the Phillip Blond event, and hope to post a response sometime tomorrow. I want to say, though, that while in Washington, I bought a (startlingly expensive paperback) book of Roger […]

Cancer never sleeps

posted by Rod Dreher

Today at Georgetown, a perfect stranger came up to me and told me he offered his rosary every day for my sister Ruthie, and prays too that God will give him the grace to offer the same kind of witness […]

Truth and advertising

posted by Rod Dreher

“If we don’t believe that truth exists, and is knowable to us, then it’s nothing but advertising.” — Phillip Blond, at Georgetown this afternoon. David Rieff: Here is the management guru Tom Peters writing in Fast Company in early 2009: […]

The holiness of Down syndrome kids

posted by Rod Dreher

A Philadelphia reader passes along this deeply moving essay by a Catholic mother of a Down syndrome child, responding to some vandals who stole photos of Down children from a website, and reposted them making fun of the kids and […]

This suburban century

posted by Rod Dreher

Joel Kotkin says the 21st century will continue to be a suburban one for America, but that we’ll see a different kind of suburb. Excerpt: Over the next few decades, however, suburban communities will evolve beyond the conventional 1950s-style “production […]

Deneen does Dallas

posted by Rod Dreher

He ain’t quite the famous Debbie, but I’d sure pay cash money to go hear Prof. Patrick Deneen speak on Saturday at the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas. Ah, but the speech will be free and open to the public, as […]

Red Toryism lands in America

posted by Rod Dreher

Greetings from Georgetown, where we heard tonight the English public intellectual Philip Blond introduce Red Toryism to an American audience. Blond is an engaging speaker and and real optimist about the possibility of positive political change (at dinner tonight after […]

On sex abuse, Benedict now vs. then

posted by Rod Dreher

This story on Pope Benedict and the current sex abuse crisis reminds me once again why John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter is an invaluable source in helping us understand what’s happening and why. It’s a long story, but […]

A final word on obesity

posted by Rod Dreher

I’m not going to be able to blog much today, because I’ll be busy in Washington, but I wanted to say a final word on the obesity thread. First, I want to thank you who have shared your painful personal […]

USA: Broke and in dangerous decline

posted by Rod Dreher

So foresees the Joint Operating Environment 2010 report released this week by the U.S. military, at least absent urgent and massive change. The JOE sees American government indebtedness, which is going to get far worse with the entitlements crisis on […]

Bring me the cheese head of Steve Jobs!

posted by Rod Dreher

What do you get when you combine a Mac nerd with a foodie? A guy who creates a cheese head of Steve Jobs for his upcoming iPad launch party. Genius. Recipe here.

Social structures that promote obesity

posted by Rod Dreher

Sorry to keep up with the obesity blogging, but I’ve been running across science-based articles today that shed some light, possibly, on the psychology, both social and individual, of obesity. New and occasional readers should know that I place my […]

Red Tory Philip Blond at Georgetown

posted by Rod Dreher

Longtime readers may recall my blogging last year about the work of Philip Blond, the English theologian and political economist who advocates “Red Toryism,” a conservative middle way advocating for a strong civil society to mediate between the excesses of […]

Ruthie Leming: “Look at all I have!”

posted by Rod Dreher

Spoke last night to my sister Ruthie Leming, who, as most of you know, is battling stage four lung cancer. As ever, she is a marvel to me. I was just telling a colleague in the hallway here at work […]

What’s your food and weight story?

posted by Rod Dreher

As a way to think and talk around the controversy over obesity and weight control in earlier threads, I’m thinking it might be good to start a thread in which people who have struggled with food and weight issues — […]

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, you faker

posted by Rod Dreher

Matthew Schmitz, who’s half-Irish, has a bone to pick with St. Patrick’s Day: Many white Americans really are Irish, of course, but the reason so many white people of all ethnic backgrounds celebrate this one ethnic holiday rather than, say, […]

The hard road fat people walk

posted by Rod Dreher

Ta-Nehisi Coates: I’m not clear on precisely how much shame can actually help. It’s shame that’s created our absurd McWeightLoss culture where Octomom takes to the cover of celebrity magazines to show off her new bikini body, and retired athletes […]

Freedom and the fat of the land

posted by Rod Dreher

This revolting Donna Simpson person weighs 602 pounds, and is trying to get to 1,000 pounds. Why? She makes her money with a website in which pervs (like her kinky boyfriend) pay to watch her shove food in her mouth […]

Ophelia’s sassy gay friend

posted by Rod Dreher

A counterfactual:

The Koran — the critical edition

posted by Rod Dreher

Somebody’s asking for trouble: This is a serious business. A team of researchers at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences is preparing to bring out the first installment of Corpus Coranicum – which purports to be nothing less than the first […]

John Paul II and the mall girls

posted by Rod Dreher

Journalist Sandro Magister: In June 1991 John Paul II returned to his native Poland for the fourth time. The Wall had fallen, the soviet empire was in pieces. But the pope refused to celebrate. On the contrary, he had never […]

Advice for Rapture-ready frequent flyers

posted by Rod Dreher

From the website of Bible Believers Evangelical Association, the Dallas-area ministry run by Ruth and Leon Bates, the couple responsible for this famous folk art image of the Rapture: NOTICE the airplane crashing into the skyscraper. Leon had this painting […]

UK economy to hit bottom, dig

posted by Rod Dreher

So says John Lanchester in this compulsively readable London Review of Books piece, which you might not be able to put down (so to speak) even if you know diddly-squat about the British economy. The passage about the coming cuts […]

America’s missing tragic sense

posted by Rod Dreher

I basically agree with Ross Douthat that one problem with American life, especially American political life, is that in this country, we don’t know how to handle tragedy. We like our narratives simple and clear. Writes Ross: But the idea […]

The Decline and Fall of Basicland

posted by Rod Dreher

In a brief about the religion of capitalism, David Rieff points us to this parable from Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s longtime investment partner, who imagines Basicland, a spendthrift nation that ignored the wisdom of self-discipline and thus could not arrest […]

Mexican stoicism, American optimism

posted by Rod Dreher

In a melancholy meditation on the deeply flawed character of Cesar Chavez, Richard Rodriguez offers this: The speech Chavez had written during his hunger strike of 1968, wherein he compared the UFW to David fighting Goliath, announced the Mexican ­theme: […]

We don’t know how to fix bad schools

posted by Rod Dreher

From Slate’s review of Dianne Ravitch’s new book, in which the former advocate of No Child Left Behind and charter schools admits they’ve failed. Excerpt: The data, as Ravitch says, disappoints on other fronts, too–not least in failing to confirm […]

The troll in the closet

posted by Rod Dreher

An old friend and fellow Louisiana expat passes this story along to me this morning: My aunt has a social worker friend. This friend was checking on one of her clients who is developmentally disabled and lives by himself. While […]

The real Rielle Hunter

posted by Rod Dreher

When I posted a few weeks ago this link to a Newsweek piece in praise of Rielle Hunter’s silence, I speculated timidly but hopefully (along with the author) that her silence in the sordid John Edwards matter perhaps indicated that […]

Rod Dreher in USA Today

posted by Rod Dreher

My USA Today guest column argues that the news media are failing to treat religion with the seriousness it deserves when journalists approach minority religions with kid gloves. Excerpt: A culture’s metaphysical dream tells us a lot about its strengths […]

Return to America’s Ugliest Churches

posted by Rod Dreher

Andrew Sullivan kindly linked to last week’s Ugly Churches post here, which has brought in a new group of commentators. You might want to revisit the post to read the new stuff in the comboxes. I had a good laugh […]

The unsentimental Bill Gross

posted by Rod Dreher

Pimco founder Bill Gross, king of the bond traders, talks tough about economic reality. Excerpt: Markets will be downsized by regulation [he says], even if governments are slow in applying new laws. “The sun is not setting on Wall Street […]

Run! It’s Zombie James Brown!

posted by Rod Dreher

Daughter says James Brown’s body is missing from its crypt! Oh dear, oh dear. Do not, repeat, do not stay on the scene.

Free speech vs. gay rights

posted by Rod Dreher

On The Atlantic’s site, Wendy Kaminer writes: An openly gay student seeking a graduate degree in counseling at a state university is expelled for refusing to agree that homosexuality is immoral and declining to enter an anti-gay indoctrination program. An […]

Chicken keeping as a feminist act

posted by Rod Dreher

Attention Julie Dreher! Attention Leonore Owsley! Attention Jacqueline Hill! Attention all hen-keeping women of the blogosphere! Did you know that keeping chickens is a feminist act? The New York Times Magazine says so. Excerpt: All of these gals — these […]

Suburban sprawl: a statist invention

posted by Rod Dreher

Austin Bramwell cannot figure out why libertarians and conservatives like suburban sprawl. Excerpt: It’s odd that self-described libertarians such as Stossel are so slow to grasp that government planning makes sprawl ubiquitous. You would think that libertarians would instinctively grasp […]

Black Diamonds of West Virginia

posted by Rod Dreher

I spoke to my sister Ruthie tonight, who sounded strong and upbeat, despite a new chemo blast yesterday. She mentioned that she and Mike had received in the mail a card from the Black Diamonds, the nickname of the West […]

A pagan, an undercover atheist, and common ground

posted by Rod Dreher

Franklin Evans passes along this post by Gus diZerega, who writes the Pagan blog on Beliefnet, in which Gus talks about how Pagans find themselves pulled in both directions in the culture war, between the forces of mainstream conservative religion […]

A philosopher battles scientism

posted by Rod Dreher

Philosopher Edward Feser, on why scientism — the view that science is the only valid way of knowing — is philosophically incoherent: Part I here, part II here. Excerpt: Why would anyone be attracted to such a bizarre and muddleheaded […]

The real Snafu from “The Pacific”

posted by Rod Dreher

One thing I regret about not having cable TV is that I don’t get to see programs like HBO’s “The Pacific,” which debuts on Sunday. It’s a World War II Marine Corps series based in part on E.B. Sledge’s classic […]

The Great Deconstruction

posted by Rod Dreher

Don’t feel too sorry for Greece in its financial agony. Get a load of this: ATHENS — Vasia Veremi may be only 28, but as a hairdresser in Athens, she is keenly aware that, under a current law that treats […]

Why did Kansas City’s public schools fail?

posted by Rod Dreher

The Kansas City school board finally got around to doing what ought to have been done years ago: close about half of the city’s public schools. It’s quite a shock to the city, and understandably so; to lose half your […]

The Franco-Celtic Vishten

posted by Rod Dreher

Naturally, I get all my advice about Celtic music I should try from a Texas Jew, the irrepressible Chuck Bloom of Plano. Chuck sent me last week a couple of discs, which I’ve been trying to get burned to my […]

The plastic surgery plague

posted by Rod Dreher

“Plastic surgery has everything to do with how a person feels about him or herself. There’s no such thing as too much.” — Joan Rivers. Gawker is right: How come people still keep getting plastic surgery? Excerpt: Call me naive, […]

How might the world end? Scientists guess.

posted by Rod Dreher

Big Think asked scientists and scientific types for their best guesses as to how the world might end. A cheerful video series!

The dark side of minority religions

posted by Rod Dreher

Over on the Big Journalism site, Bruce Carroll highlights a YouTube clip in which a Muslim adjunct faculty member at Vanderbilt University agreed under questioning in a public forum that Islam requires the death penalty for homosexuals. The Muslim, a […]

Your TV is better off dead

posted by Rod Dreher

At least for news, says Matt Steinglass. Excerpt: Kevin Drum reminds us that the outsized influence of cable TV news is bizarre, since its ratings are abysmal. Average Americans simply don’t watch it. They watch “American Idol”. As Matthew Yglesias […]

How rock killed the Soviet Union

posted by Rod Dreher

A Soviet dissident tells it: I was 18, and not entirely pop-illiterate: the “Beatli,” the “Rollingi” and the Monkees were always seeping out of friends’ tape recorders, opening up new, unknown sounds and spaces. But all that was anticipation; it […]

The Brothers Hitchens make peace

posted by Rod Dreher

A friend passes along this lovely essay by the British journalist Peter Hitchens, a political conservative and a mid-life convert to Christianity, in which Hitchens writes at length (and with gratitude) about how he and his famously atheistic brother finally […]

Doubts about Darwin

posted by Rod Dreher

Writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Michael Ruse, the historian and philosopher of science, considers recent skepticism about Charles Darwin voiced not by creationists, but by eminent philosophers. Excerpt: Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini were an isolated case, one could dismiss […]

Eyes (and brains) worn out from modernity

posted by Rod Dreher

The NYT Magazine examines the controversial field of behavioral optometry, which holds that many kids diagnosed with ADHD and other modern maladies are actually suffering from neurological problems that can be cured or at least ameliorated with eye therapy. Though […]

What do Americans worship?

posted by Rod Dreher

David Rieff asks: As a thought experiment, pretend you are a complete innocent, knowing nothing about this society (I am talking here about the developed world as a whole–not just the Golden Calf that conservatives and liberals alike have made […]

Why is a Big Mac cheaper than a salad?

posted by Rod Dreher

It has a lot to do with the federal government badly skewing the market with subsidies. Look: If the government is going to game the system via subsidies, why not subsidize the production of fresh fruits and vegetables, to make […]

The architecture of nihilism

posted by Rod Dreher

I’d said in the Ugly Churches post that calling a particular church “regrettable” isn’t meant as a judgment on the religion itself or the parishioners who worship there, but only on the architecture itself. But it’s true that architecture, especially […]

Ugly churches of our time

posted by Rod Dreher

An image of this monstrous French church, L’Eglise Ste-Bernadette du Banlay, assaulted me as I read the NYT Arts section today. Reviewing architect Claude Parent’s work, the Times critic says: Mr. Parent’s building — massive concrete walls with rounded corners […]

Chinese man bites dog, swallows

posted by Rod Dreher

Yuck:

White Barbie, black Barbie, blue Walmart

posted by Rod Dreher

Poor Walmart. Yes, you read that right: the Crunchy Con officially feels sorry for Walmart this afternoon. Why? This nonsense: Walmart is raising eyebrows after cutting the price of a black Barbie doll to nearly half of that of the […]

You can’t beat a good wine shop

posted by Rod Dreher

It occurs to me that I should update you on my alleged experience with the Moore Bros. wine shop, where in my anti-Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board fantasy, I “visited” this past weekend to pick up a mixed case I had, […]

Against religious blackmail, nitwittery

posted by Rod Dreher

Christopher Hitchens: This has to stop, and it has to stop right now. All democratic countries and assemblies should be readying legislation along the lines of the First Amendment, guaranteeing the right of open debate on matters of religion and […]

The Cloud of Knowing

posted by Rod Dreher

The visionary David Gelernter, one of the smartest people on the planet re: the Internet, says “it’s time to start taking the Internet seriously.” These excerpts can’t begin to do justice to the ideas in his short essay, but they’ll […]

Perfect love casts out fear

posted by Rod Dreher

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18, NKJV) — “I was surprised to realize,” said the man […]

Your living will may be invalid

posted by Rod Dreher

Reader Helen writes: I thought of your blog when I saw this post at the NY Times’s New Old Age blog. Apparently a new directive from Catholic bishops requires assisted nutrition and hydration in all Catholic hospitals and nursing homes, […]

The free market vs. moral character

posted by Rod Dreher

Jonah Goldberg doesn’t like the way we at Templeton framed our recent symposium discussion, “Does the free market erode moral character?” Excerpt: I love the Templeton Foundation and I think they do fantastic work. But questions like “Does the Free […]

Journalists don’t get religion, Ex. 95,244

posted by Rod Dreher

Leading the New York Times site right this moment: Ethnic Violence in Nigeria Has Killed 500, Officials Say By ADAM NOSSITER DAKAR, Senegal — Officials and human rights groups in Nigeria said Monday that about 500 people had died in […]

What will we say to the aliens?

posted by Rod Dreher

Here’s a Guardian journalist’s pleasant lunchtime excursion with the superbrilliant cosmologist Paul Davies, who is in charge of the group of eminent scientists in charge of coming up with something non-stupid to say to aliens if ever they make contact. […]

PA’s crazypants liquor police strike again

posted by Rod Dreher

Having solved the problem of violent crime in the Keystone State, the Pennsylvania liquor police swung into action this weekend. Get a load of this: More than a dozen armed State Police officers conducted simultaneous raids last week on three […]

Mysticism at the mall

posted by Rod Dreher

Ross Douthat’s wonderful column yesterday explores the cheapening of mysticism via the mass market. Excerpt: Mysticism is dying, and taking true religion with it. Monasteries have dwindled. Contemplative orders have declined. Our religious leaders no longer preach the renunciation of […]

A problem with missionaries

posted by Rod Dreher

We heard from an Orthodox missionary at church yesterday, as I wrote in last night’s post. In his talk, he lamented that there is only a relative handful of Orthodox missionaries in the world. He mentioned that American Protestants are […]

Healing, hope and the Cross

posted by Rod Dreher

Today is the Sunday of the Cross for Orthodox Christians, the Sunday of Lent in which we are supposed to consider the full gravity of what it meant when Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny […]

Can Scientology be reformed?

posted by Rod Dreher

Laurie Goodstein at the NYT breaks a story about more and more people leaving Scientology telling scandalous stories about what life is allegedly like within the church. Excerpt: Raised as Scientologists, Christie King Collbran and her husband, Chris, were recruited […]

Scientific knowing, religious knowing

posted by Rod Dreher

Gary Zukav, who wrote “The Dancing Wu Li Masters,” has this famous aphorism: Acceptance without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western religion, rejection without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western science. I thought of it when I read […]

Obsolete occupations

posted by Rod Dreher

NPR has a nice photo essay documenting occupations that are now obsolete (e.g., typist, lamplighter, copy boy). Anybody care to speculate about the occupations in our day that will likely be obsolete fifty years from now? It’s a tricky thing […]

Let’s say I went to a wine store today

posted by Rod Dreher

For the sake of argument, let’s say that this morning I broke the ridiculous Pennsylvania law intended to force the state’s residents to buy wine at our state stores, and went out of state to buy a case of wine. […]

Go, Iceland, go!

posted by Rod Dreher

So, let me get this straight. Icelandic bankers behaved very badly, collapsing their country’s banking system, and losing the money of scores of British and Dutch overseas depositors. The British and Dutch governments could have said to their unlucky citizens, […]

New Right, New Left, Old Utopia

posted by Rod Dreher

I’ve been thinking off and on all day about what to say about David Brooks’ provocative column today, in which he compares the Tea Party Right of today with the New Left of the 1960s. Here’s an excerpt: But the […]

What a bad teacher can do

posted by Rod Dreher

We are accustomed to narratives praising good teachers and the difference they’ve made in the lives of their students. But I don’t think I’ve ever read one about what a bad teacher has wrought in a student’s life — until […]

Rosaries for Ruthie

posted by Rod Dreher

Well, how about this: our old friend Erin Manning is organizing a campaign to pray the rosary for my cancer-stricken sister Ruthie Leming during Lent. (More about Ruthie’s situation and the amazing way she’s handling it at this link.) So […]

What’s your biggest mesofact?

posted by Rod Dreher

Samuel Arbesman writes: When people think of knowledge, they generally think of two sorts of facts: facts that don’t change, like the height of Mount Everest or the capital of the United States, and facts that fluctuate constantly, like the […]

Look out, Heidi, here comes Der Hotshot

posted by Rod Dreher

When you have enough 12 year old boys sexually active in your society that you can economically justify the manufacture of training-wheel condoms for li’l playas, you have problems far deeper than can be solved by contraceptive technology. But it’s […]

Ideology 1, science 0

posted by Rod Dreher

Oh brother: Critics of the teaching of evolution in the nation’s classrooms are gaining ground in some states by linking the issue to global warming, arguing that dissenting views on both scientific subjects should be taught in public schools. More: […]

The glorious Sandpit

posted by Rod Dreher

Wow. A day in the life of New York City, filmed in a way that makes it look like a toybox. The Sandpit from Sam O'Hare on Vimeo.

Why no Jewish fantasy novels?

posted by Rod Dreher

Ross Douthat investigates via an essay by Michael Weingrad, who takes up the question, “Why are there no Jewish Narnias?” Douthat, who links to the Weingrad essay from his blog entry (which I’m trying to get you to visit), writes: […]

“There’s Never Enough Morphine”

posted by Rod Dreher

My dad, I’m pleased to say, has quit smoking. After seeing what his daughter is going through with her lung cancer, he stopped cold turkey, after a lifetime of the habit. Talking to him on the phone driving into work […]

Finding humanity amid pornography’s evil

posted by Rod Dreher

I believe pornography is evil, without qualification. The human degradation it exemplifies nauseates me, and I am firmly convinced that people who expose themselves to it harden their hearts, especially toward women, and steadily lose their own sense of human […]

Does the Internet undermine our democracy?

posted by Rod Dreher

Reader Indy raises an interesting question: Have you ever considered the impact of Internet discourse on potential loss of trust in Americans in each other? Until I started reading messages boards ten years ago, I didn’t realize how readily some […]

Roger Ebert gets his voice back, kind of

posted by Rod Dreher

Beautiful. If you haven’t already, read the amazing Esquire profile of Ebert and his life with cancer, and without his speaking voice. He’s something else. UPDATE: Wow! A reader in Washington e-mailed a link to Will Leitch’s moving piece about […]

‘A New Age of Wonder.’ Really?

posted by Rod Dreher

The big science and tech thinkers in the orbit of Edge.org recently held a grand dinner in California, on the theme of “A New Age of Wonder.” The title was taken from a Freeman Dyson essay reflecting on how the […]

Resolved: Never, ever buy food from China

posted by Rod Dreher

What is wrong with that country? Excerpt: Since late February, batches of cowpeas from the lush Sanya area of the island of Hainan have tested positive for a highly toxic pesticide, isocarbophos, that is banned from use on fruits and […]

The crisis next time

posted by Rod Dreher

Panel of top economists, financiers and former regulators warns that the financial meltdown of 2008 may have been just the beginning. Excerpt: In the report, the panel, that includes Rob Johnson of the United Nations Commission of Experts on Finance […]

Does moral action require rational thought?

posted by Rod Dreher

What do you think? My answer is, “Mostly, no.” I believe virtue is mostly a matter of habit. This is not to say that reason has nothing to do with morality; obviously there are many dilemmas that require serious moral […]

Fewer jobs, fewer baby boys

posted by Rod Dreher

A new University of California study finds a rise in miscarriages of frail male children. Why? Look: The researchers, led by Ralph Catalano and Claire Margerison Zilko, write that the previously reported health effects of economic insecurity may “represent only […]

Father Rick and the countersign

posted by Rod Dreher

Here is a riveting account by the great Matt Labash of Father Rick Frechette, a Catholic priest from Connecticut, and his ministry among the people of Haiti, a country that is the closest thing to hell on Earth. He really […]

The Little Way of Ruthie Leming

posted by Rod Dreher

This morning we at Templeton launched a new online version of our magazine In Character, which ceases print publication with its current issue. IC is going to be a web-only publication now, and will be updated frequently. Check it out […]

All hail crop mobbing!

posted by Rod Dreher

Hey you young agrarian punks, get offa into my field! Excerpt: The Crop Mob, a monthly word-of-mouth (and -Web) event in which landless farmers and the agricurious descend on a farm for an afternoon, has taken its traveling work party […]

Bad news for fat people

posted by Rod Dreher

Well, this stinks. Excerpt: But bodies don’t gain or lose weight indefinitely. Eventually, a cascade of biological changes kicks in to help the body maintain a new weight. As the JAMA article explains, a person who eats an extra cookie […]

Is America going to fall?

posted by Rod Dreher

Was having lunch with a friend today, who mentioned a couple of “declinist” commentators, who are exceptionally gloomy and doomy. I raised my hand and said that I’m in the strange position of being a declinist, but one who is […]

Does Templeton “buy off” journalists?

posted by Rod Dreher

The John Templeton Foundation — for which I now work, please note — has announced winners of its 2010 Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellowships in Science & Religion. They are: Qanta Ahmed, Contributor, Huffington Post, and Broadcast Commentator John Farrell, Freelance Journalist […]

Joy in the strange land of cancer

posted by Rod Dreher

Over the weekend, I was praying the Psalms, and a line in Psalm 136 — the well-known lament of the Jewish exiles held captive “by the waters of Babylon” — made me pause in my prayers: How shall we sing […]

Previous Posts

Another blog to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Rod Dreher. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here is another blog you may also enjoy: Most Recent Scientology Story on Beliefnet! Happy Reading!!! ...

posted 3:25:02pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Mommy explains her plastic surgery
In Dallas (naturally), a parenting magazine discusses how easy it is for mommies who don't like their post-child bodies to get surgery -- and to have it financed! -- to reverse the effects of time and childbirth. Don't like what nursing has done ...

posted 10:00:56pm Jul. 21, 2010 | read full post »

Why I became Orthodox
Wrapping up my four Beliefnet years, I was thinking about the posts that attracted the most attention and comment in that time. Without a doubt the most popular (in terms of attracting attention, not all of it admiring, to be sure) was the ...

posted 9:46:58pm Jul. 21, 2010 | read full post »

Modern Calvinists
Wow, they don't make Presbyterians like they used to! ...

posted 8:47:01pm Jul. 21, 2010 | read full post »

'Rape by deception'? Huh?
The BBC this morning reported on a bizarre case in Israel of an Arab man convicted of "rape by deception," because he'd led the Jewish woman with whom he'd had consensual sex to believe he was Jewish. Ha'aretz has the story here. Plainly it's a ...

posted 7:51:28pm Jul. 21, 2010 | read full post »

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