Posts by Gary S. Smith

Is heaven for real?

Is heaven for real?

The movie “Heaven Is for Real,” based on The New York Times bestseller of the same name, made an impressive debut last week. The film recounts the near-death experience (NDE) of then 4-year-old Colton Burpo as told by his father, … More>

When Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football

When Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football

For more than a century baseball has been called America’s national pastime, and Major League Baseball is flourishing today. However, in recent decades, football—college and professional—has surpassed baseball in popularity and prominence. For many men and some women, fall weekends … More>

Race, Segregation, and Heaven

Race, Segregation, and Heaven

The new movie, “The Help,” based on Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling book by the same name, continues to lead ticket sales at the box office. Both dramatize the extent and tragedy of segregation and discrimination in the South during the early … More>

Controversy Over Heaven

Controversy Over Heaven

The Red Hook section of Brooklyn recently renamed a street “Seven in Heaven Way” to honor seven firefighters who died trying to rescue victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks at the World Trade Center. The street was given this … More>

Heaven and Hell

Heaven and Hell

Heaven and hell are in the news and on Americans’ minds a lot lately. “Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back” is currently number one on The New York Times Best … More>

The 50th Anniversary of a Historic Speech

The 50th Anniversary of a Historic Speech

This September 12 marks the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s historic speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in which he countered religious objections to his candidacy and promised to honor the separation of church and state. This speech … More>

John Hancock: A Neglected American Hero

John Hancock: A Neglected American Hero

As we celebrate the Fourth of July this year, our attention will once again turn to such luminaries as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Samuel Adams. However, another founder who made substantial contributions to American independence, … More>

How to Help the Poor

How to Help the Poor

Most Christians today acknowledge that caring for the poor is a biblical requisite. The primary debate among them is over how we can best fulfill this mandate, which more than 2,000 verses of Scripture prescribe. For example, a group of … More>

The Character of George Washington

The Character of George Washington

What made George Washington the most remarkable man of an extraordinary generation? He was not an intellectual giant like Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, or James Madison. Compared with most other founders, he was not well educated (he attended … More>

The Church and the Social Gospel

The Church and the Social Gospel

Should churches and individual Christians seek to help people with material problems and social needs, remedy social ills, and improve social institutions’ Throughout history many congregations, Christian organizations, and individual believers have labored to do these things. Today, however, some … More>

The Founders: How Christian Were They?

The Founders: How Christian Were They?

One of today’s most contentious culture wars is over the religious commitments of our nation’s founders. Were most of them orthodox Christians, deists, or agnostics’ Scholarly books, college classes, radio talk shows, and blogs all debate this issue, and the … More>

Barack Obama and Religion

Barack Obama and Religion

Americans have long been fascinated with and sometimes disturbed by the faith of their presidents, and Barack Obama’s faith is no exception. U.S. News and World Report recently claimed that “Obama has embraced faith in a more visible way” than … More>

Slumdogs and Slavery

Slumdogs and Slavery

On the Monday morning following the Oscars, U.S. news websites splashed the announcement that the “little film that could,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” had garnered the Best Picture of 2008 award. Buried on many of the same web sites was the news … More>

The Legacy of Abraham Lincoln

The Legacy of Abraham Lincoln

On Feb. 12 we celebrate the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. The relatively short history of our nation makes this a particularly momentous milestone. Of all of our leaders after the founders, only Franklin Roosevelt approaches Lincoln’s renown and … More>

Revisiting the New Deal

Revisiting the New Deal

As the New Deal celebrates its 75th  birthday, it is a fitting time to reflect on the context in which it occurred, its moral and spiritual underpinnings, and its aims. By significantly increasing the size, spending, and scope of the … More>

Faith & Politics

Faith & Politics

The 12 Virginia Episcopal congregations that voted to leave the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. (ECUSA) and its Virginia Diocese in late 2006 and early 2007 have been successful in the first round of what promises to be a protracted … More>

The Faith of George Washington

The Faith of George Washington

On July 9, 1755, the “most catastrophic” day in Anglo-American history, Colonel George Washington was traveling with General Edward Braddock’s army toward Fort Duquesne when they were ambushed by Indians and French hiding in the woods. In the ensuing massacre, … More>

Lincoln’s Faith and Presidents Today

Lincoln’s Faith and Presidents Today

As we celebrate Presidents’ Day in 2008, we are in the midst of campaigns to select Democratic and Republican nominees for president. Recognizing that George W. Bush’s candid discussion of his faith played a key role in his electoral success … More>

Lessons from Lincoln

Lessons from Lincoln

As we celebrate Presidents’ Day, we can learn much from Abraham Lincoln about how to apply Judeo-Christian values to political life. Governing our nation during its darkest days, Lincoln affirmed God’s sovereignty, sought to discover God’s will, used biblical principles … More>

Sputnik, Eisenhower, and the Cold War

Sputnik, Eisenhower, and the Cold War

October 4 marks the 50th  anniversary of the Soviet launch of Sputnik, an event that caused profound shock and panic verging on hysteria in the United States. Newsweek declared that Sputnik constituted a Soviet victory in three areas: pure science, … More>

Samuel Adams: The Indispensable Man

Samuel Adams: The Indispensable Man

As we celebrate the 4th  of July with fireworks, parades, cookouts, and speeches, we should be grateful to our many forebears who risked their property, reputation, and lives to attain our independence. Some of them are well known and highly … More>

Religion and the 2008 Election

Religion and the 2008 Election

Although the presidential election of 2008 is still 17 months away, it is already very contested as indicated by the 18 announced Republican and Democrat candidates, the huge amount of money raised, and the numerous televised debates and forums of … More>

The Faith of Abraham Lincoln

The Faith of Abraham Lincoln

The celebration of Presidents Day is a good occasion to reconsider a vital aspect of Abraham Lincoln’s life: his faith. Like George Washington’s, Lincoln’s faith has been closely scrutinized, hotly debated and often misunderstood. Both men attributed their success in … More>

The Political Use of Religion

The Political Use of Religion

As the midterm elections heat up, it is a good time to discuss the political use of religion. Many have linked Republicans’ electoral success in 2000 and 2004 to their ability to appeal to the values of religious voters. Exit … More>

Christ and Politics

Christ and Politics

Garry Wills’ claim in a recent op-ed in the New York Times “Christ Among the Partisans” that “there is no such thing as a ‘Christian politics’” is biblically and historically suspect. Wills cites Christ’s statement to Pilate, “My reign is … More>