Action Alert!

Links 12/4/2015

By Thomas V. Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Dec 04, 2015

Two Catholic writers comment on the recent Planned Parenthood shooting: In The Week, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry shows how unfair and disingenuous it is for progressives to blame the pro-life movement. Meanwhile, responding to those who say pro-lifers are inconsistent not to support violence against abortionists, Ross Douthat gives a good refresher on the moral calculus involved. (Spoiler: The correct answer is not that "killing in defense of life is a self-contradiction." Instead, it has more to do with the high bar that must be passed to justify insurrection.)

How do we evangelize the second-most atheistic country in the world? With music, perhaps. A friend pointed me to a fascinating First Things article from 2000 which explains how the music of J.S. Bach has been the first encounter with Christianity for many Japanese people, and is giving hope to some in a highly materialistic (and therefore hopeless) society. And interestingly, the reason Bach is so attractive to the Japanese may have something to do with Jesuits who introduced the Japanese to Western music some four centuries ago.

A remarkable archaeological discovery: A tiny royal seal of Hezekiah, a king of Judah who appears in multiple books of the Old Testament, has been found in an ancient garbage dump in Jerusalem. The seal bears Hezekiah's insignia, a winged sun, along with Egyptian ankh hieroglyphs signifying life (perhaps because Hezekiah allied with Egypt).

Now, two non-Catholic links which might nevertheless interest our readers:

The Heterodox Academy, a website devoted to promoting viewpoint diversity and a genuine exchange of ideas in the university, has posted a guide to the most and least politically diverse colleges. The author notes:

While there are many college guides with an eye to politics, they point students to the most liberal campuses, such as Bard, or to the few distinctively conservative places, such as Liberty University or Grove City College. Such guides, therefore, steer students to the most homogenous and sheltered campus communities. But if students want to know whether a university offers enough political diversity among its faculty to ensure a robust exchange of ideas, they will search in vain for a useful college guide.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the guide tells us that the few schools in which conservative and liberal viewpoints coexist to a significant degree tend to be Catholic institutions. (And it should be no surprise at all to learn that most colleges are dominated by liberal viewpoints, with nary a conservative or libertarian to be found.)

Those who wish to learn about the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would do well to listen to a new podcast called MartyrMade. Not only is it quite balanced, it is a true exploration of the human condition; host Daryl Cooper is not interested in letting his listeners get away without asking ourselves what we would do in the same situation. Listen on iTunes or at the MartyrMade website.

Thomas V. Mirus is an administrative assistant and writer at CatholicCulture.org. A jazz pianist with a music degree, he often takes the lead in our commentary on the arts. See full bio.

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