Michael Gerson

Stories by Michael Gerson

  • No Cause for Hypercaution

    In a new book, former Bush speechwriter and NEWSWEEK contributor Michael J. Gerson warns against learning the wrong lessons from Iraq.
  • A New Social Gospel

    During my time in the White House, the most intense and urgent evangelical activism I saw did not come on the expected values issues--though abortion and the traditional family weren't ignored--but on genocide, global AIDS and human trafficking. The most common request I received was, "We need to meet with the president on Sudan"--not on gay marriage. This reflects a head-snapping generational change among evangelicals, from leaders like Falwell and Robertson to Rick Warren, focused on fighting poverty and AIDS in Africa, and Gary Haugen, confronting rape and sexual slavery in the developing world. Since leaving government, I've asked young evangelicals on campuses from Wheaton to Harvard who they view as their model of Christian activism. Their answer is nearly unanimous: Bono.Many evangelicals have begun elbowing against the narrowness of the religious right, becoming more globally focused and more likely to consider themselves "pro-life and pro-poor." Depending on your...
  • A Delicate Balance

    The issue of stem cells was the first test of the infant Bush administration, pitting the promise of medical discovery against the protection of developing life and prompting the president's first speech to the nation. His solution--funding research on existing stem-cell lines, but not the destruction of embryos to create new ones--was seen as a smart political compromise. In fact, the president was drawing a bright ethical line. He argued that no human life should be risked or destroyed for the medical benefit of another. This was an intentional rejection of the chilly creed of utilitarianism--the greatest good for the greatest number--because the greatest number would gain the unrestricted right to extend their lives by ending or exploiting the lives of the weak.Now the suggestion that science may be able to extract usable stem cells from early embryos without destroying them offers a technological answer to this ethical puzzle, and exposes some tensions within the pro-life...
  • The View From The Top

    Five Washington Augusts ago, for me, is not just a different time; it is a distant country. At the White House, we debated the nuances of stem-cell research. The president delivered a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars without the need to mention any foreign wars. Americans obsessed on the mysterious affair of Chandra Levy. A spate of shark attacks was headline news.Everything we saw took us further from the reality we could not see. Five Augusts ago, hijackers in Florida trained in gyms, bought small knives and practiced flying in rented aircraft. In Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden and Taliban leaders argued about targets and strategy,until bin Laden gave his final orders. Nineteen tickets were booked and purchased, and leftover funds were wired frugally back to Al Qaeda. "And then," as President Bush said, "there came a day of fire."On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, while the president was on the road in Florida, I was working at home on a never-delivered speech announcing a long...