- The Washington Times - Friday, May 18, 2007

‘Outstanding gift’

“The key figure in developing a Protestant family ethic was Martin Luther. … The first element in Luther’s Protestant family ethic was a broad celebration not simply of marriage but of procreation.

“For Luther, God’s words in Genesis 1:28, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth,’ were more than a blessing, even more than a command. They were, he declared in his 1521 treatise on ‘The Estate of Marriage,’ ‘a divine ordinance which it is not our prerogative to hinder or ignore.’ …

“Luther saw procreation as the very essence of the human life in Eden before the Fall. As he wrote in his ‘Commentary on Genesis’: ‘[T]ruly in all nature there was no activity more excellent and more admirable than procreation. After the proclamation of the name of God it is the most important activity Adam and Eve in the State of innocence could carry on — as free from sin in doing this as they were in praising God.’ …

“Elsewhere, Luther called procreation ‘a most outstanding gift’ and ‘the greatest work of God.’ ”

— Allan Carlson, writing on “Children of the Reformation,” in the May issue of Touchstone

Campus causes

“Tufts Action for Peace attempted to recapture the idealism and political enthusiasm of their parents’ generation through the Walk Out on War. … [A]pproximately 100 students and several professors chose not to attend classes … instead demonstrating around campus, offering lectures on topics related to the ongoing War in Iraq, and marching to the office of [Rep.] Edward Markey [Massachusetts Democrat]. …

“The day’s organizers … did not intend for the protest to influence anyone in power to shift their policy. … Instead, the groups hoped the event would raise consciousness and enthusiasm in the anti-war movement at Tufts. …

“In college, far too much emphasis is placed on fighting for causes. … irtually everyone wants peace, health, and prosperity — they simply disagree on the best method of achieving these ends. …

“Events such as the Walk Out encourage students to abandon rationality for emotion when forming political views.”

— Michael Nachbar, Tufts University sophomore, writing on “Go Back to Class, Hippies,” in the May 20 issue of the Primary Source

The character

“First in London 30 or more years ago, then in New York and for the last couple of decades in Washington, [Christopher] Hitchens has established himself as a character. … Hitchens is the bohemian and the swell, the dashing foreign correspondent, the painstaking literary critic. … He charms Washington hostesses but will set off a stink bomb in the salon if the opportunity arises. …

“His enemies would like to believe he is a fraud. But he isn’t, as the very existence of his many enemies tends to prove. He is self-styled, to be sure, but no more so than many others in Washington — or even in New York or London — who are not nearly as good at it. He is a principled dissolute, with the courage of his dissolution: he enjoys smoking and drinking, and not just the reputation for smoking and drinking although he enjoys that, too. And through it all he is productive to an extent that seems like cheating: 23 books, pamphlets, collections and collaborations so far; a long and often heavily researched column every month in Vanity Fair; frequent fusillades in Slate and elsewhere; and speeches, debates and other public spectacles whenever offered.”

— Michael Kinsley, writing on “In God, Distrust,” Sunday in the New York Times

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