Garry Wills is the subject of a Festschrift published by Northwestern’s Garret-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Nation and World, Church and God: The Legacy of Garry Wills. His latest book is What the Qur’an Meant: And Why It Matters. (February 2018)
The gun is not a mere tool, a bit of technology, a political issue, a point of debate. It is an object of reverence. Devotion to it precludes interruption with the sacrifices it entails. Like most gods, it does what it will, and cannot be questioned. Its acolytes think it is capable only of good things. It guarantees life and safety and freedom. It even guarantees law. Law grows from it. Then how can law question it?
Donald Trump has threatened “Little Rocket Man” with “fire and fury like the world has never seen”—not even seen, presumably, at Hiroshima or Nagasaki. We possess, after all, many more and much better (that is, much worse) explosives than were used by President Truman in 1945, when he incinerated those cities without Congress or the American people knowing we even had them. The fact that President Trump (“old lunatic”) has a legally absolute power to destroy Kim Jong-un (“short and fat”) over dueling insults is so scary that Senator Edward Markey and Representative Ted Lieu are trying to restrict that absolute power, so that only Congress would have the authority to declare nuclear war. This seems not only reasonable but constitutionally necessary. The Constitution in fact denies the president the power to declare war and reserves it solely to Congress. More than that, the framers clearly opposed the massing of power in the executive—lest it become the monarchy they had opposed with a revolution.
Every few years, it seems, conservative religious groups, quiescent or unnoticed, come blazing back onto the national scene, and the secular press reacts like the bad guy in the 1971 western Big Jake who says to John Wayne, “I thought you were dead.” Wayne drily answers, “Not hardly.” Now, in The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America, Frances FitzGerald answers the recurrent question, “Where did these people come from?” She says there is no mystery involved. They were always here. We were just not looking at them.
The Berrigan Letters: Personal Correspondence Between Daniel and Philip Berrigan
edited by Daniel Cosacchi and Eric Martin
American Jesuits and the World: How an Embattled Religious Order Made Modern Catholicism Global
by John T. McGreevy
Jesuits have never been shy about naming schools and other institutions after “Ours” (as they refer to each other)—Loyola, Xavier, Gonzaga, Canisius, Marquette. I went to Campion High School, where I was on the Bellarmine Debating Society, before entering St. Stanislaus Seminary—all three of them named for Jesuit saints. So …
What would happen to Donald Trump if he lost his hair (or what passes for it)? The first thing is that he would save a great deal of time in the creation and maintenance of such an artifact. It’s amazing what forty minutes here and forty minutes there adds up to, day by day, week by week. He would, furthermore, gain all the time he has to spend finding out what people say about his hair, his wonderful attractiveness, his non-loser look.
In the earliest crèches, the figures were life-size and the scene centered on the Holy Family. But during the Baroque period, the scale was vastly reduced while gaining complexity with the addition of peasants, merchants, dogs, goats, and even water buffalo. The artistry reached a peak in eighteenth-century Naples, when the largest ensembles would often fill several rooms.
I think a deeper crisis underlies Trump’s following: the shuddering distrust of every kind of authority—a contempt for the whole political system, its “establishment,” the Congress, its institutions (like the Fed), its “mainstream” media, the international arrangements it has made (not only the trade deals but the treaty obligations under NATO and other defense agreements). What has caused this bitter disillusion?
The script, written by the film’s director Tom McCarthy and the academic- and-showbiz marvel Josh Singer, is amazing in its mastery of the complex material, since many strands converged for the paper to break the hold of the hierarchy over the city.
Twenty-one Greek museums and four North American museums have cooperated to collect over five hundred artifacts from Ancient Greece in an extraordinary exhibition called ‘The Greeks: Agamemnon to Alexander the Great.’