Jone Kia

Tearing down the wall before it gets built

AMERICAN Catholic voters may have opted, by a small margin, for Donald Trump. But leaders of the Catholic church, whether in Rome, the United States or Latin America, are gearing up to resist some important parts of the president-elect's declared agenda. One bone of contention is global warming. While Mr Trump has threatened to pull […]

League of nationalists

AFTER the sans culottes rose up against Louis XVI in 1789 they drew up a declaration of the universal rights of man and of the citizen. Napoleon’s Grande Armée marched not just for the glory of France but for liberty, equality and fraternity. By contrast, the nationalism born with the unification of Germany decades later […]

The union flag, waved by brexiteers, could lose its saintly rationale

WITH Britain's political and constitutional future beholden to venerable judges in London, Europhile protests in Scotland and Irish grumbles about a hardening border, lots of hitherto settled questions seem wider open. Only a brave person would bet serious money on the United Kingdom in its existing form surviving long into the 21st century. And if […]

Lost in the splinternet

FREE-SPEECH advocates were aghast—and data-privacy campaigners were delighted—when the European Court of Justice (ECJ) embraced the idea of a digital “right to be forgotten” in May 2014. It ruled that search engines such as Google must not display links to “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” information about people if they request that they be […]

Lutherans and Catholics play down their 500-year-old differences

LUTHERANS and Catholics of any previous generation would have been utterly astonished by the emollient character of the commemorations of the Protestant Reformation that began this week and will continue for a year. It is 500 years exactly since Martin Luther, an intensely pious German monk, issued his “95 Theses” of protest against the practices […]

Give me a child

THERE are no nurseries in Bulakabya, a hamlet hacked out of sugar-cane fields in eastern Uganda. That is not for a lack of children: most women will have at least eight and, since polygamy is widespread, some fathers have more. Until recently these children had few chances to learn. Parents often left them to their […]

Gay cakes and religious discrimination

A BAKERY in Northern Ireland run by an evangelical Christian couple (pictured) has suffered a second defeat in an emotionally charged legal battle. At stake is the legitimacy or otherwise of their refusal to take a customer’s order for a cake with a message of backing for gay marriage. In the latest twist of an […]

Why Donald Trump personifies what Mormons don’t believe in

YOU can’t always draw a straight line between people’s declared spiritual beliefs and their electoral behaviour. In the current American election campaign, this disconnect seems to have widened. According to a poll published this week, some 61% of Americans now believe that elected officials can perform their public duties well even if their personal behaviour […]

Travelling in hope

BEFORE dawn the Dignity 1 has completed her first rescue, scooping 114 migrants without lifejackets from a rubber dinghy adrift in the Mediterranean. The crew, who include a doctor and two nurses from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the charity that operates the boat, check the arrivals to see who needs immediate care. No sooner have […]

As Britain and Russia spar, their spiritual leaders confer

IN CERTAIN ways, relations between Russia and Britain are as bad as they have been since the darker days of the cold war. Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, has called for demonstrations outside the Russian embassy to protest against Russia’s actions in Syria. Veterans of Britain’s military establishment have been warning of a palpable strategic […]

On both the left and right, religious rage in the presidential race is more political than spiritual

FACED with what she described as "breath-taking insults" to Catholicism, contained in a leaked exchange of emails among people close to Hillary Clinton, a prominent Catholic academic has loudly lamented the cynical and over-politicised mindset which these messages apparently reflect. Helen Alvaré, a professor of law at George Mason University, observed that such conversations "reveal […]

Bringing light to the grey economy

IT IS not what Kavita Ahuja, a tutor in Mumbai, does at her job that marks her out from around nine in ten of her fellow Indian workers, but what she does afterwards. As one of her private economics lessons ends, she does not ask her pupil for cash. Rather, her fee of 400 rupees […]

Can the next man do better?

SIX months ago the cognoscenti of Turtle Bay, the UN’s location on the east side of Manhattan, were pretty sure that the next head of the nearest thing to a world government would—for the first time on two counts—be an east European and a woman, quite likely the one who runs UNESCO, the UN’s education […]

Terry Eagleton presents an unusual challenge to the new atheism

AMONG the public intellectuals of the Western world, a significant camp believes that only one really important battle of ideas is now in progress: between liberal, rational, law-bound modernity and the dark forces of Islamic jihadism. Most of the so-called "new atheists" have espoused that view in one form or another. Some, like the late […]