Conversation with an Atheist — Michael Harrington on Religion and Socialism

Article by James R. Gorman

I am a pious apostate, an atheist shocked by the faithlessness of the believers, a fellow traveler of moderate Catholicism who has been out of the church for 20 years. [Michael Harrington]. A conversation with democratic socialist Michael Harrington is like an encounter with an atheist Karl Rahner. Harrington was nurtured in pre-Vatican II Roman …

Faith and Aging

Article by Trudy Bush

Book Reviews: Aging Well: Surprising Guideposts to a Happier Life from the Landmark Harvard Study of Adult Development, by George E. Vaillant. Little, Brown, 384 pp., $14.95 paperback. My Time: Making tile Most of the Bonus Decades After 50, by Abigail Trafford. Basic Books, 273 pp., $14.00 paperback. Growing Old in Christ, edited by Stanley …

Food to Die For

Article by Stephen H. Webb

Book Review: Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health. By Marion Nestle. University of California Press, 374 pp. Food kills. Though you can drive safely while eating a hamburger, and nobody has proven that donuts are addictive, the fast food culture is as dangerous as an underage driver with a six-pack or …

Landslide Lyndon

Article by Robert Westbrook

When I was a kid, in the early 1960s, my friends and I took a great deal of interest in presidential election campaigns. We regarded them as something like a third pennant race, overlapping as they did with the baseball season. We picked favorites, exchanged preferences, made wagers and attempted to root our candidate home …

Listening to B F. Skinner

Article by James W. Woefel

Amid the furor periodically aroused by B. F. Skinner’s behaviorism, scant attention has been given to the intriguing relationship between his ideas and Christianity. The shortcomings of Skinner’s theory — that human acts are the product of heredity and environment — are well known; I shall return to one of them later. At the same …

Men Without Women: An African-American Crisis

Article by Matthew Johnson

Blood Rituals: Consequences of Slavery in Two American Centuries By Orlando Patterson. (Civitas/Counterpoint, 330 pp.) The title of Orlando Patterson’s book refers most immediately to the racially motivated lynchings in the old South, which he discusses the second of the three interlocking essays that make up the text. But it also may speak sharply to …

Religious Communities in the Struggle for Human Rights

Article by Robert Traer

Religious support for human rights may seem commonplace today, but this was not always the case. The growing consensus about human rights among religious leaders is a new development that has yet to be widely recognized and understood. This revolution in religious thought is exemplified by religious leaders’ current support for the Universal Declaration of …

Separate and Unequal

Article by Sarah Sentilles

Book Review The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America. By Jonathan Kozol. Three Rivers Press, 432 pp. Tearing Down the Gates: Confronting the Class Divide in American Education. By Peter Sacks. University of California Press, 388 pp. Jonathan Kozol has made a career of documenting in book after heartbreaking book …

The Antimuseum

Article by Philip Jenkins

The new National Museum of the American Indian has become one of Washington, DC’s major tourist attractions. According to its own statements, the museum is “breathtaking . . a truly Native place.” Yet not all observers are impressed. In a devastating review, Edward Rothstein of the New York Times describes the museum’s approach as gratuitous …

The Giving and Taking of Life: New Power at Life’s Thresholds

Article by Kenneth Vaux

As spring breaks across the country and pushes north, two events remind us of humanity’s ascending powers in the realm of nature. Kenneth C. Edelin, M.D., is convicted by a Boston jury of the manslaughter of an anonymous emerging life born to an unknown, unwed black teen-ager — a 24-week fetus. In Princeton a renowned …

The Misuse of Embryos

Article by Amy Laura Hall

A 43-year-old woman rolls slowly out of bed, having dreamt the night before of her fifth-grade classroom — a room she knew well before taking disability leave. She makes her daily plea for a treatment that will allow her to get to the grocery store without tripping over her own feet. Meanwhile, a seven-year-old girl …

The Problem with Government Subsidies

Article by Amy Johnson Frkyholm

A breakfast frequently served at my son’s school–where over half the children receive government-supported meals–consists of commercially produced French toast sticks and syrup. The list of ingredients on the package for this meal is as long as this paragraph. It includes not only partially hydrogenated soybean oil and high fructose corn syrup, but also more …

The Reshaping of Word

Article by Richard W. Gillett

Imperceptibly, but far more rapidly than we might imagine, we are entering a period in American history when the issues of work and organized labor may again become paramount. The historical forces now pushing those issues toward the top of the social agenda — and therefore toward serious consideration by the churches — are different …

Video Shootout

Article by Noreen Herzfeld

My Minnesota hometown is the sort of place where neighbors look in on each other and leave the doors unlocked. As in Lake Woebegon, the children are all above average. In September one of those children brought a .22-caliber Colt semiautomatic to school and shot and killed two of his classmates. As with similar shootings …

What Every Progressive Christian Should Know About the Tobacco Industry

Article by Graham Kelder

The tobacco industry likes to portray itself as just another American business, but the facts point to precisely the opposite conclusion. Evidence uncovered in the recent tobacco litigation demonstrates that the tobacco companies deliberately deceived the public into believing that their products were safe and non-addictive while conspiring to keep the industry’s knowledge to the …

What We Mean by Human Rights, and Why

Article by Richard John Neuhaus

We are deceived if we place our trust in the current enthusiasm for human rights. Serious commitment to human rights will always be a minority obsession. Government policy may at times implement that commitment but cannot sustain it. After Vietnam and Watergate, many Americans are understandably euphoric about the Carter administration’s emphasis on human rights. …