Skip to main content

Featured

The Golden Verses Of The Stoic

Seneca and Epictetus refer to the Golden Verses of Pythagoras , which happens to provide a good framework for developing a daily routine, bookended by morning and evening contemplative practices. Zeno of Citium , who founded Stoicism in 301 BC, expressed his doctrines in notoriously terse arguments and concise maxims.  However, Chrysippus, the third head of the Stoic school, wrote over 700 books fleshing these ideas out and adding complex arguments to support them. 

Are Christians Learning Yet?


In the 1980s and '90s, the power of the religious right was a defining feature of American politics. Ronald Reagan, a Republican, famously told a group of conservative Christians that "you can't endorse me, but I endorse you," the type of flattery that nearly gave his audience the vapors. Bill Clinton, a Democrat, ran for president making rhetorical concessions on the issue of abortion (it should be "safe, legal, and rare"), and while in office he signed the Defense of Marriage Act and made school uniforms a cause célèbre. 
But although Pat Buchanan and Pat Robertson influenced Republican presidential primaries as favorite candidates of the religious right, it was George W. Bush who finally cracked the glass ceiling and was elected as the first president leaders of the Religious Right could claim as "one of us."


But conservative Christians learned that the political power to elect a candidate is different than the political power to govern. Sure, the White House hosted James Dobson each year for what amounted to a "kissing of the ring" session to mark the National Day of Prayer that Dobson's wife Shirley established a non-profit to support. Bush called for a "culture of life" at major public forums, and made a push for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage during his second term. Yet the substantive, lasting policy victories conservative Christians hoped for were not achieved: Abortion remained legal, no federal amendment to ban gay marriage passed, and school-sanctioned prayer time remained unconstitutional. Moreover, as the original leaders of the religious right moved out of leadership, the next generation of pro-GOP voices for conservative morality were not religious leaders, but political advocates: Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Ralph Reed, Tony Perkins (a former Louisiana state senator).

As George W. Bush's approval ratings plummeted during his second term, many Christians who had been invested in the Religious Right movement began to reconsider their partisan posture in politics. In my conversations with Christian leaders and voters, I've found that there are two common motivating factors for this change. First, the political issues that draw Christian concern go beyond what the political system has suggested. Christian organizations have supported issues like prisoner rehabilitation, international development, immigrant services, and healthcare for literally centuries in this country. The legacy of Christian political activism in America spans not just the culture wars, but America's founding, the abolition of slavery, and the advancement of civil rights. To Christian leaders, and many Christians themselves, it was incomprehensible that they came to occupy such a small space of our political discourse. How could it be that they could elect a nation's president, but lose its politics?


But Christians also faced a similar and still more pressing question: How could it be that they could elect a nation's president, but lose its people?
the Changing Face of Christian Politics
Catch Glenn on Twitter Noir Writer

And Check out the new site for Noir Stories -- Noir Street -- Tales of Shadow and Lust