John Schwenkler

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

By this author

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".

"Buying the Body of Christ"

Here is an absolutely fascinating, and for me very saddening, article on the economics of the production of altar bread. At stake is the struggle taking place between a Rhode Island company that produces 80% of the communion wafers consumed in the U.S., and a dwindling number of religious communities that still attempt to compete with them. An excerpt:

Michael Dummett, 1925-2011

I have been traveling for the past few days, and am sorry to be slow in noting the death of Michael Dummett, Wykeham Professor of Logic at Oxford from 1979-1992 and undeniably one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century. Dummett was also a faithful Catholic, something I noted back in 2009 when I quoted an excerpt from his conversion story.

Hitchens on Religion: "Somehow if I could drive it out of the world, I wouldn't."

Matthew Boudway points me to a clip from the documentary film Collision, where Christopher Hitchens debates the Presbyterian pastor Douglas Wilson. In it, Hitchens acknowledges the difficulty of the so-called "fine-tuning argument" from the atheist perspective, and then notes an important point of disagreement between himself and Richard Dawkins: if Hitchens were able to rid the world of belief in God entirely, he says, he wouldn't want to do it. He can't really say why, though.

Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011

The public square has a gaping hole this morning, as the brilliant Christopher Hitchens has died.