Talking about the "things that matter most" on Apr. 15
4:00 – What the New Nuke Treaty Really Means
Laying out a nuclear weapons strategy for the decade ahead, President Obama this week struck bold notes on rhetoric and promises in the Nuclear Posture Review report issued Tuesday. The document is filled with laudable goals that mark a change from the past and may help advance his dream of a world without nukes. But flying at high altitude also has certain advantages; you can avoid the rough terrain below. And down on the ground, the president stopped short of changing the status quo on critical issues that have lingered since the Cold War, such as tactical nuclear weapons and keeping missiles on alert. All in all, says David Hoffman, the words of Obama's nuclear strategy bore the marks of his avowed goal to reduce the nuclear danger, but he eschewed taking more dramatic steps away from the legacy of the Cold War arms race. He is here to make his case.
4:20 – Young Souls: The Religious and Spiritual Lives Youth and Emerging Adults
How important is religion for young people in America today? What are the major influences on their developing spiritual lives? How do their religious beliefs and practices change as young people enter into adulthood? Christian Smith's research explores these questions and many others as it tells the definitive story of the religious and spiritual lives of youth and emerging adults, up to age 24, in the U.S. today. Some of Smith's findings are surprising. Parents turn out to be the single most important influence on the religious outcomes in the lives of young adults. On the other hand, teenage participation in evangelization missions and youth groups does not predict a high level of religiosity just a few years later. Moreover, the common wisdom that religiosity declines sharply during the young adult years is shown to be greatly exaggerated. Painstakingly researched and filled with remarkable findings, Dr. Smith’s work is essential reading for youth ministers, pastors, parents, teachers and students at church-related schools, and anyone who wishes to know how religious practice is affected by the transition into adulthood in America today.
5:00 – Abe Lincoln: The Father of Big Government?
There is a persistent rumor in the ether of talking heads that runs something like this: If we want to know who the “father” of big government in the United States is, point the finger at . . . Abraham Lincoln. Of course, it has been a long time since Abraham Lincoln was headline news, and most Americans will meet this with little more than a shrug of the shoulders. But there is a certain strain of conservative thinking today that gets its jollies from wailing that big government has been a slow-growing cancer in American life, so slow in fact that its origins need to be traced back to the 16th president. Whatever the motivation, they’ve got the wrong man in Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln scholar Alan Guelzo is here to make his case.
5:20 – Medjugorje: Why did the Vatican take the unprecedented step of creating a commission to study the alleged apparitions?
The Vatican commission studying the alleged Marian apparitions at Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina held its first meeting in late March. While the Vatican press office provided no details about the meeting, it published the names of the commission members this week. The Vatican had announced March 17 that at the request of the bishops of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had established an international commission to investigate the claims of six young people who said Mary appeared to them daily beginning in 1981. Although the apparitions apparently are continuing and thousands of people travel to the small town each month to meet the alleged seers and to pray, the Catholic Church has never made a formal declaration about the authenticity of the apparitions. The doctrinal congregation appointed retired Cardinal Camillo Ruini, former papal vicar of Rome, to head the commission. We look at why the Vatican took the unprecedented step of creating a commission to study the alleged apparitions?