New York Times Columnist Ross Douthat to Speak at Benedictine College

Lecture Set for February 16

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Ross DouthatThe Center for Constitutional Liberty at Benedictine College is proud to announce that Ross Douthat, author and New York Times columnist, will be on campus to discuss “Hard Choices: Christian Politics in a De-Christianizing Society.” His presentation will take place on Thursday, February 16, at 5:00 p.m. in the McAllister Board Room, located on the fourth floor of the Ferrell Academic Center. Thanks to funding from the Jack Miller Center, the event is free and open to the public.

Douthat, an opinion columnist since 2009 for the New York Times, has a column that appears every Tuesday and Sunday. Writing on politics, religion, moral issues, and higher education, he has also authored several books, including The Deep Places: A Memoir of Illness and Discovery (2021), The Decadent Society (2020), and To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism (2018). Currently, Douthat is also the film critic for National Review and lives with his wife and four children in New Haven.

Dr. Kevin Vance, Director of the Center for Constitutional Liberty, said, “Ross Douthat’s presentation will inspire our Constitutional Fellows and the whole Raven community to consider current political events in light of the Church’s teachings. Since the Center’s mission is to renew and advance the understanding of the founding principles of the United States of America so that our nation’s unique experiment in self-government will inspire, inform and direct new generations of Americans, the unique privilege of hosting a world-class published author and columnist is a brilliant learning opportunity that amplifies our educational goals for Benedictine students.”

Douthat recently expressed political observations that provide historical context from our Founding Fathers in a June 2022 article published in First Things.

“Whatever the founding generation consciously intended, whatever their ideas arguably implied, 1776 and 1789 created a political order that has been compatible with multiple different forms of soft religious hegemony, depending on how you subdivide our history—for instance, a brief ­Unitarian era, a long Protestant ascendancy, a shorter Protestant-­Catholic and then “­Judeo-Christian” era, and finally our own period of gnostic power.

“Each form of hegemony has been potent and influential, each has also been contested—and contingent—and there is no reason to assume that the story is now simply over today, that the liberal-­democratic order has assumed its predestined and final form. To claim that religious liberty or pluralism or church-state separation leads inexorably and permanently to gnostic hegemony ignores the fact that the conflict between ­Christianity and Gnosticism is as old as ­Christianity itself, emerging under imperial Roman and feudal conditions as often as in American modernity.”

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas.  The school is honored to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide.  It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging.  Benedictine College has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.