Can Christians Question?

Catherine M Wallace

Evangelical pastor Timothy Keller told New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof that he's probably damned for questioning the literal historicity of the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, and the miracles, and so forth. That's nonsense. Here's why.

Tell the Catholic Hardliners: Safe Sex Is Moral

Catherine M Wallace

There's another, richer ethical reason to practice safe sex: conceiving a child is a morally serious act. Even potentially conceiving a child is morally serious act. Hardliners in the Catholic hierarchy don't see that, although reasonable priests and bishops always have.

(This essay is also available on Huff Post )

Gay Marriage and Anglican Anxieties

Catherine M Wallace

Major regional bishops ("Primates") of the Anglican Communion have lobbed a bomb in the American culture wars over gay marriage: the Episcopal Church USA has been censured for blessing marriages between men or between women. For the next three years, Episcopalians will not be appointed to internal committees in the Communion, nor allowed to vote on policy.

The Refugee Crisis and the Moral Imagination of Democracy: How to Confront Xenophobic Fundamentalists

Catherine M Wallace

Secular and religious humanists welcome diversity as a source of flexible strength, economic innovation, and cultural vitality. We have dramatically different reasons for advocating inclusivity, but that's okay. Our conceptual differences must not blind us to the bottom line that we share: we do not condemn the dissimilar as a disaster waiting to happen.

Confronting Fundamentalism, Reclaiming "Humanism"

Catherine M Wallace

We need a name for ourselves. We need a label for the common ground shared by reasonable people if we are going to confront fundamentalism effectively. And I have a nominee, reclaimed from the fourteenth century: humanist. Humanist, like the parallel term scientist, refers primarily to a method of scholarly inquiry: first, the rigorous, transparent analyses of texts; second, an nuanced sensitivity to cultural history. These skills characterize any serious work in "the humanities," from which the first generation of humanists took their name.

Ross Douthat's Three Mistakes

Catherine M Wallace

Compassion and critical thinking are values we share with morally-sensitive secular humanists and with good people in every religious tradition globally. These values are equally central to the very best of Catholic tradition, not a threat to its survival.

Urban anonymity: we can't name the taste of what's missing.

Catherine M Wallace

I have tasted the salt on another man's bread. The professor made much of the image, which was Dante's lament for his exile from Florence. I pictured a medieval Italian, salt shaker in one hand, a slice of bread in another. What? My small flicker of confusion was enough to lodge the line in my memory. There it waited until something in my own life evoked it.