Migration nation. Where is America headed, and I mean literally? By that I mean what cities are most attractive for Americans, and why? These are two of the questions Michael Barone attempted to answer in his new book Shaping Our Nation. As it turns out, according to Barone, people move only in part for economic reasons, such as to chase jobs. They also move to “pursue dreams or escape nightmares.” The migrations of the future will be from high-tax states to low- or no-tax states. From Cleveland, Detroit, and Buffalo to Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, and “mini-Atlantas” such as Charlotte. Barone says these migrations are occurring in part because people are seeking out others with values similar to their own.
Atheist megachurches. According to the Associated Press, atheist “megachurches” are springing up across the country, and they look a lot like Protestant megachurches: “rousing music, an inspirational talk and some quiet reflection.” But, the article goes on to say, “The only thing missing was God.” About “three dozen” of these congregations have sprung up in the United States and Australia, and a British couple who founded the movement, Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans, are planning many more. Jones and Evans are touring cities in the United States hoping to raise $800,000 that will fund this “church” planting movement. Jones said the idea came to him when he attended an inspiring Christian church service: “There was so much about it that I loved, but it’s a shame because at the heart of it, it’s something I don’t believe in. If you think about church, there’s very little that’s bad. It’s singing awesome songs, hearing interesting talks, thinking about improving yourself and helping other people—and doing that in a community with wonderful relationships. What part of that is not to like?” He’s right, of course, which is why so many Protestant megachurches—such as Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston and Steven Furtick’s Elevation Church in Charlotte—are popular, despite resembling what sociologist Christian Smith calls “therapeutic, moralistic deism.”
Vince Vaughn a conservative? Actor Vince Vaughn—star of Dodgeball, The Internship, and The Wedding Crashers—has recently come out as a “Ron Paul conservative.” He told edgy talk show host Adam Carolla, “I think that what you come, as you get older, you just get less trust in the government running anything. And that you start to realize when you really go back and look at the Constitution and the principles of liberty, the real purpose of government is to protect the individual’s right to pursue what they have interest in.” Uh, well, sort of. That defines libertarianism pretty nicely, but is an inadequate worldview for a Christian who understands that personal liberty is not absolute in part because man is sinful. The Constitution reflects this understanding of mankind’s fallen state by implementing systems of accountability and checks and balances that give us not unbridled liberty but what some have called “ordered liberty.” These are not mere quibbles, but I nonetheless commend Vaughn for having the courage to say he’s a conservative in an environment that is hostile to almost any brand of conservatism. Now, if only he would start making better movies.
Really? The British publication The Telegraph is reporting that Argentina has granted a 6-year-old boy a female identification card and has amended his birth certificate to say he is a girl. Under a new law in Argentina, “Gender identity is understood as the internal and individual way in which gender is perceived by persons, that can correspond or not to the gender assigned at birth, including the personal experience of the body. This can involve modifying bodily appearance or functions through pharmacological, surgical or other means, provided it is freely chosen. It also includes other expressions of gender such as dress, ways of speaking and gestures.”