That Was The Week That Was

This week I revisited a familiar challenge facing Christian colleges, reflected on a visit to one of the “most cynical examples of Holocaust commemoration I’ve ever seen,” and shared one of the most satisfying reviews of my Lindbergh biography I’ve read yet.


• Fewer than 40% of Americans told Gallup they were “extremely” proud to be Americans.

• But as we enter the 4th of July weekend, it’s a good time to consider how Christians might better practice patriotism.

• Fun historical investigation: did a high school student from Ohio actually design the current 50-star version of the American flag?

This flag — which flew over captured Axis capitols at the end of World War II — only had 48 stars; Alaska and Hawaii didn’t become states until 1959-1960 — Truman Presidential Library

• It’s been a good two weeks if you subscribe to an “originalist” philosophy of how the Supreme Court should interpret the Constitution, but consider one historian’s warning that “The functional problem with originalism is that it requires a very, very firm grasp of history  — a grasp that none of the nine justices, and certainly few of their 20-something law clerks, freshly minted from J.D. programs, possess.”

• Likewise, Robert Jones warned about the danger of a Supreme Court appealing to “history and tradition” as the basis for its rulings.

• If anything, history seems to teach us the value to religion of keeping church and state separate.

• What’s next for the pro-life movement after Dobbs? Dan Darling argued that “conservatives shouldn’t be satisfied with merely passing laws that recognize the dignity of the unborn. We should supplement the growing network of pregnancy resource centers and other compassionate endeavors by championing policies that help sustain a healthy and flourishing family life.”

(For an idea of what that might mean in practice, see these policy recommendations from political scientist Daniel Bennett.)

• And in purple states like Virginia, I wonder if we won’t see compromises on abortion like the one proposed by Republican governor Glenn Youngkin.

• Meanwhile, as I’ve been sorting out my own complicated feelings about abortion, I found Damon Linker’s letter to his daughter to be extremely helpful.

• Changing gears… I thought the recent Obi-Wan Kenobi series was only okay, but perhaps I should have been thinking about it as a Star Wars meditation on monasticism.

• During the COVID pandemic, an average of two newspapers closed each week… and that’s actually good news — in the limited sense that it’s not a worse rate than what happening before 2020. By 2025, the U.S. will have lost a third of its newspapers in just twenty years.

• Of all Christians killed for their faith around the world, about 80% die in Nigeria. So why do we hear so little about such violence in that country?

• One of John Hawthorne’s first Substack newsletters considered the difference between what “fidelity” means for Christian denominations and what it means for their colleges.

• On that topic… check out Emma Green’s profile of a gay Christian college professor who worked at a Presbyterian university that very much embraced that “messy middle” ideal I wrote about earlier this week.