National Review / Digital
The Week
(Roman Genn)


“They had come by the hundreds,” writes Samuel Freedman in a recent New York Times article characterizing an event as an “invasion.” He wasn’t describing a swarm of locusts, but rather a group of Evangelical Christians in Portland, Ore. For the past four summers, they have volunteered to clean, weed, paint, and repair the public Roosevelt High School. Freedman writes in disbelief that the Evangelicals were only there to help. This is the usual attitude of the Times toward Christians. In 2011, Nicholas Kristof wrote a backhanded-complimentary article that was headlined “Evangelicals without Blowhards.” That same year saw an op-ed titled “The Evangelical Rejection of Reason,” which said that “when the faith of so many Americans [meaning Evangelicals] becomes an occasion to embrace discredited, ridiculous and even dangerous ideas, we must not be afraid to speak out.” And a recent Times article by scholar/author T. M. Luhrmann worries about the danger that people could become “addicted to prayer.” The Times examines Evangelicals like an anthropologist studying a newly discovered culture.

A Kenyan lawyer has asked the International Court of Justice to overturn Jesus Christ’s death sentence. This effort seems nearly as unnecessary as the ICJ itself. To begin with, there is the question of standing: Since Christ’s death enabled the salvation of all mankind, it is unclear who was harmed by his conviction, however unjust it may have been. Moreover, the Gospels agree that Pontius Pilate thought Christ was innocent, and only reluctantly delivered him up to the mob. If God’s revealed truth says Christ was railroaded, not even Harold Koh could think an ICJ decision will make it any truer. So it seems unlikely that the ICJ will find this case within its jurisdiction — although, since doing so would provide another chance to blame the Jewish state for a human-rights violation, you never know.

September 2, 2013    |     Volume LXV, No. 16

  • Conservatives got Eisenhower wrong the first time around.
  • The frontier and its absence have both shaped the American imagination.
  • Economic growth won’t guarantee it.
Books, Arts & Manners
  • John Farrell reviews Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design, by Stephen C. Meyer.
  • David Pryce-Jones reviews Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, by Scott Anderson.
  • Sarah Ruden reviews The Last Train to Zona Verde: My Ultimate African Safari, by Paul Theroux.
  • Randy Boyagoda reviews The Dark Road, by Ma Jian.
  • Ross Douthat reviews Elysium.
The Long View  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Athwart  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Poetry  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Happy Warrior  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .