John Schwenkler

John Schwenkler is an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy at Florida State University.

By this author

A Tale of Two Churches

Understanding last night's massacre in Charleston, South Carolina, where a young white man entered one of the city's oldest historically black churches and shot to death nine people who were participating in a prayer meeting, requires understanding the intersection of race and religion in the American South, and that is no small matter.

I know this difficulty firsthand: about two years ago I moved with my family to Tallahassee, Florida, and in the past few months we stopped attending the large, predominantly white parish on the north side of town where we enrolled as parishioners when we first moved in, and are now going instead to a small parish on the city's south side where the congregation at the English-language Mass is so predominantly black that ours is often the only white family in attendance.

On "lynch mobs"

In a remarkably intemperate column published earlier this week at First Things, Robert P. George describes the "lynch mob" that he believes to be targeting opponents of same-sex marriage in the United States:

The restorative power of forgiveness

A powerful story in this morning's New York Times Magazine illustrates the value of restorative justice, where the focus of the criminal justice system is put on the victims of crime and the community harmed by it. A young man killed his girlfriend of several years after an extensive dispute, and her parents chose to forgive him:

The democratic beauty of Central Park

In a brief interview, the philosopher Joshua Cohen reflects on the beauty of Central Park, noting how "the park provides an experience of

What rides on the rider

In their statement on the revised version of the HHS regulations, the U.S. bishops write that under the new terms, the mandate "would allow non-profit, religious employers to declare that they do not offer such coverage [of sterilization and contraception]. But the employee and insurer may separately agree to add that coverage.

A Thought Experiment (Updated)

Consider the following story:

Problem solved?

Suppose Grant is right, and the Obama administration's revision to the HHS mandate, whereby religious employers are exempted from having to contribute their own dollars directly to pay for insurance policies that cover contraception, is sufficient to address concerns about religious freedom.

Are child tax deductions a step down the slippery slope to serfdom?

This post, in which First Things contributor Greg Forster makes what he calls "The Moral Case Against Child Tax Deductions", is a strange piece of reasoning. Here is Forster's argument in a nutshell:

Economic Policy Is Social Policy

Via Rod Dreher, here is a terrific column by First Things editor Rusty Reno, taking on a staff editorial from the Wall Street Journal that criticized Rick Santorum's proposal to expand the tax credit for children as "social policy masquerading as economics".