Category History

An Excerpt That Says Most Everything About Putin’s War Against Ukraine


“Yahidne was captured by Russian troops in the early days of the war and badly damaged in the fighting with Ukrainian forces that followed. After killing a number of men in cold blood, the invaders herded the remaining population of the village, 367 people (including 70 children, the youngest a 21-day-old baby), into the basement of the local school. They were kept there for 26 days and nights, with less than half a square metre of space per person, four buckets for toilets and barely enough air. Ten people died of suffocation, untreated medical conditions and neglect. As the bodies piled up, the Russians allowed a burial party, but opened fire on it in the cemetery. The villagers carried the wounded back to the basement in the wheelbarrows they’d used to carry out the dead. At the end of the month the Russians retreated.

“Anna Zvyagintseva’s photograph The Same Hair shows a young child sitting on...

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Freedom, Fanaticism, Retrenchment: John Brown and the Southern Baptist Convention

Two events drew my attention and stood in severe contrast last week. One was coming across the 2020 Showtime mini-series, “The Good Lord Bird,” about pre-Civil War abolitionist John Brown and his star-crossed effort in 1859 to spark a slave revolt that he convinced himself would spread from Harpers Ferry, Virginia throughout the Southern states and effectively bring an end to slavery in America.

The second was news out of the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) annual meeting last week in New Orleans, at which delegates voted on an amendment to the organization’s constitution that would bring it in line with the tradition’s “statement of faith” that specifically says, “the office of pastor is limited to men.”

What brings these two occurrences together is the radical disparity in the main protagonists’ views on faith and freedom, unbound.

On the surface, Brown would seem to have much in common with the ...

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Notes on “The Most Pro-Life President in Modern American History”

History just keeps confounding us—both as we look back upon it with modern sensibilities (“How could they have???”) and how it unfolds in front of us in real time. (“Could this really be happening?”)

But there’s also an in-between take on history that is the recent past. Viewed more from the vantage point of years rather than decades or centuries, it follows upon daily journalism’s “first draft of history” with enough data and perspective to weave together a more complete picture of issues that have vexed or misled us in the whirlwind of everyday life.

Early this past week, “New York Times” columnist David French, a conservative  evangelical Christian, anti-abortion advocate and former attorney who specialized in cases defending religious liberty, did something unusual in the largely partisan world of opinion-mongering. He examined actual data about abortion trends since Roe v...

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