“Why are working mothers so furious all the time?” I was asked recently. An answer, not entirely rational, springs to mind: “Personally, I could use a travel agent.” It’s a joke, sort of. School vacation is coming up. I’m swamped at work, and trip planning has become a time-consuming hell. A simple family vacation requires innumerable visits to destination websites; a suspicious scouring of rankings and reviews; and, at the heart-stopping final moment, a purchase on a site where prices and availability seem to change by the second. In the old days, it was simple. A woman would call a travel agent, and voilà! The trip would be booked. Now agents charge $35 a ticket. Don’t get me started on fees.
As recently as 2004, when evangelicals were credited with reelecting George W. Bush, sexual mores defined the culture wars. But as the economy has become the political priority for liberals and conservatives alike, traditional culture-war issues—abortion, gay marriage—have been blunted as weapons in the political theater.
On Nov. 30, about a dozen moderate Christian leaders gathered for a meeting in Washington, D.C. Their colleagues on the religious right had been delivering a potent new message about God and country, of fear and domination, that was resonating among Christians and conservatives nationwide.
A mystic and the modern woman.
It’s like a Hollywood movie. One spouse goes off to work at the Supreme Court, that most august of institutions, where formality and discretion reign. The other puts on her power suit—and occasionally, a foam Lady Liberty crown—and enters the raucous, chaotic world of Tea Party politics and Fox News pontificating.
What exactly is a "mama grizzly"? If the grizzlies are united by an anti-establishment fury rooted in maternal concern, then it’s fair to ask what their records show they’ve done for kids. Not just for their own kids—which in Palin’s case, especially, is well documented—but for America’s kids, and their families as well. Even some Republicans wonder whether all the fearsome roars are merely election-year antics with little substance.
Conventional wisdom in the last election cycle held that Mitt Romney could never win the hearts of America’s conservative evangelicals—the Republican base—because he’s Mormon, and evangelicals don’t consider Mormons to be properly Christian. “I don’t believe conservative Christians will vote for a Mormon, but that remains to be seen,” James Dobson, then chairman of Focus on the Family, told radio host Laura Ingraham in the run-up to the 2008 contest.
While researching their forthcoming book about American religion, the Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam and his colleagues polled on this hypothetical question: Say a group of Buddhists wanted to build a large temple in your community. How would you feel?
Instead of consoling the victims of priestly sexual abuse or bridging the divide with Anglicans, Pope Benedict is hitting all the wrong notes in his trip to the United Kingdom.