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Letter from the Editor

One of my greatest pleasures, believe it or not, is reading back issues of magazines such as The TLS, The London Review of Books, The New York Review of Books, The Threepenny Review, and so on. When I'm working on a new issue of Books & Culture, I like to go back and look at an issue of the mag that came out at the same time of year at some point in our history—in this case, the May/June 2006 issue, which featured a special section on "The State of the Ministry." As usual, I ended up re-reading a good chunk of the contents, including my own column, titled "American Theocracy." (Remember, this was ten years ago!) Here are some extracts plus commentary from the vantage-point of the present.

A few days ago, Wendy and I were in upstate New York for a literary festival at Houghton College. I shared the program with the poet Julia Kasdorf, author of two excellent collections from University of Pittsburgh Press, Sleeping Preacher and Eve's Striptease; Tim Stafford, who spoke both about journalism and about historical fiction and read from his first-rate novel about the abolitionist movement, Stamp of Glory; Justin Niati, an African journalist who was forced to flee the Congo more than a decade ago after he exposed corruption in his native land and who currently is an assistant professor of French at Houghton; and a number of student writers….

Our genial host at Houghton in 2006 was the poet Jack Leax. Can that really have been ten years ago? It was the first time Wendy and I had a chance to meet Julia, with whom we became friends. Tim has the cover story in the May/June 20016 issue. And I wonder what Justin is up to.

In its issue of April 3, The New Republic featured as its cover story an essay-review by Damon Linker, "Without a Doubt: The Christianizing of America," ostensibly occasioned by Richard John Neuhaus' Catholic Matters: Confusion, Controversy, and the Splendor of Truth (Basic Books). Linker was until recently an editor at First Things, where Neuhaus is ...

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