When I picked up A Coffin for Dimitrios, I was expecting a light alternative to the nonfiction I had been plodding through.
Having seen the 1940s movie version, and being a fan of between-the-wars detective thrillers, I was all set for author Eric Ambler to sate my palate with an easily consumed tale of trench-coated protagonists tracking down international rogues and bringing them to justice.
Sure it’s crass, ill-timed, and verges on bigotry. But Katherine Stewart’s recent op-ed in the New York Times blaming Christians for the devastating severity of the COVID-19 outbreak doesn’t merit returning rancor for rancor.
For one thing, Christians are used to being scapegoated. They’ve been assailed for allegedly inspiring all sorts of calamities, from the collapse of Rome in the fifth century to the gruesome mass shooting at a Florida nightclub in 2016.
Of all the things one could claim about America’s Founding Fathers, among the least controversial is to assert that their bold experiment in democracy also brought about expanded civil liberties—most notably for religious freedom.
But what inspired this achievement? More to the point, just what sort of personal faith did these men adhere to, and how did it affect them?
In the campaign to ratify the U.S. Constitution, one argument advanced by proponents of the document is that it would create a stronger federal government better equipped to defend the nascent republic from foreign belligerents.
The prescience of this thesis is borne out in Ian W. Toll’s book, Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Foundation of the U.S. Navy.
These are sad days in America. It’s gotten so that I can’t enjoy watching one group of overpaid athletes outplaying, outthinking, and generally pulverizing another group without the whole thing devolving into a political controversy.