Who Are the Luckiest Jews, Blacks and Latinos?

At The City College of New York in the late 1930s, my father, an Orthodox Jew, wrote his senior class thesis on anti-Semitism in America. He delineated common realities of the era, such as Jews’ admission to law firms, country clubs and colleges being denied or restricted, and various other manifestations of popular and institutional anti-Semitism.

Yet he taught his two sons — my older brother and me — to believe that we, as Americans, were the luckiest Jews in Jewish history.


With the obvious exception of Jews living in Israel, he was right. I can state this with some authority, having written a book on anti-Semitism and taught Jewish history at Brooklyn College. (Read the rest of thiscolumnist.)


Is illegal immigration sowing a split among evangelicals?

A growing rift in the evangelical movement between those who back President Trump and those who don’t is exposing a worldview breach that promises to last well beyond the 45th president.


The divide is felt in many corners of evangelicalism, but in the heat of the battle is an organization called The Gospel Coalition. Among its foundational documents, TGC expresses a desire “to [link] hearts with fellow believers across denominational, ethnic, and class lines” – and “to serve the church we love by inviting all our brothers and sisters to join us ….”

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Illinois well on way to being ‘abortion oasis’

Business is booming for Planned Parenthood in Illinois, where a pro-life leader predicts the state is going to see a major spike in abortions in the wake of the governor signing legislation putting all abortions on the taxpayers’ tab.


In September, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner (R) – in a move that angered his pro-life base of his party – signed House Bill 40, which forces taxpayers to pay for abortion through all nine months of pregnancy through Medicaid. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, more than 4,500 women had crossed into the state in 2016 for an abortion – up from approximately 3,200 such abortions the previous year – even before the new law was enacted.

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BreakPoint: I Have to Talk about Billy Graham We All Have a Story to Tell




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I was out of the country when Billy Graham died, so I did not get to tell you my thoughts about this amazing man of God. But if I keep silent, the stones may cry out.

It was one of the greatest trips of my life. Just last month I visited Jerusalem. I prayed at the wailing wall, I saw the stones that Jesus walked on on his way to the temple.

I also visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre—which is revered as the site where Jesus was crucified, laid in the tomb, and rose from the dead.

And while I was in the church I learned of the death of Billy Graham—who may have directly led more people to faith in the Risen Lord than any man in the history of the world.

It was a solemn, awesome moment for me.

Chances are that the vast majority of you listening to or reading BreakPoint have a Billy Graham story of your own. Here is mine.

I never got to meet Billy Graham in person. But if I hadn’t stepped away from the faith while I was at Yale, I would have met him. At one point I belonged to a Christian group on campus. But my doubts and other interests intervened, and I stopped going the very semester that Billy Graham came to campus to speak at Battel Chapel. Hours before his talk, I was amazed to see Billy Graham walk into the Calhoun Dining Hall where I was eating. He then went into a private dining room to meet with the entire Christian group I’d abandoned!

I was stunned. If I hadn’t left the group, I would have had dinner with Billy Graham! And all these years of not meeting him, I kind of felt like Moses not being allowed into the Promised Land.

But it’s been one way that God showed me that our disobedience has consequences.

While it’s true I never got to meet Billy on this side of the veil, I did hear him speak in Central Park in 1990 and again at his New York City crusade in 2005. For that, I’m m very grateful.

John Stonestreet told you on BreakPoint that we here at the Colson Center consider Billy Graham our spiritual grandfather in a way—because Chuck Colson was led to Christ by Tom Phillips, who in turn was led to Christ by Billy Graham.

Now, besides my own father, no one has had a more godly influence on me than Chuck Colson. And I’m guessing another member of the Colson Center family, board member Ed Simcox, might say the same.

Ed, too, has a Billy Graham story. He shared with me his thoughts on Billy’s memorial service, which he attended.

Ed wrote me, “At the age of 14 my mother and I attended the 1959 crusade at the old Fairgrounds Coliseum in Indianapolis . . . In my mind’s eye I can still see the great preacher delivering his message to an attentive audience.  It was a message that moved me and stirred my heart.  He pointed me toward God and created within me a life-long quest to know God and claim His son as my Lord and Savior.”

And then Ed related yet another connection between Billy Graham and Chuck Colson. Billy Graham was buried in a casket made by prisoners from Louisiana’s maximum-security prison at Angola. They also made a casket for Chuck Colson.

I’ll close with Ed’s thoughts on that:

“A ragtag bunch of murderers serving life sentences without the possibility of parole were forgiven and redeemed by [a] carpenter from the backwater town of Nazareth and they constructed a casket for the farm boy with whom they will one day be reunited in the next life.”

As Ed said, “The greatest storyteller in Hollywood could not possibly have written a script to match the actual events.”

I praise God for the life of Billy Graham. And thanks for listening to my stories. Be sure to share yours with those you love.


I Have to Talk About Billy Graham: We All Have a Story to Tell

Whether or not we’ve encountered Billy Graham in person, through one of his crusades, or possibly by reading one of his many books, his life and ministry have had a tremendous influence on believers all over the world. So as Eric suggested, take this opportunity to share your own stories with those around you.


Hear My Heart: What I Would Say to You

  • Billy Graham | Howard Books Publisher | March 2018
The Reason for My Hope: Salvation 

  • Billy Graham | Thomas Nelson Publishers
The Legacy of Billy Graham: A BreakPoint Symposium

  • BreakPoint.org | February 28, 2018
Dr. John Woodbridge and Dr. Timothy George Remember Billy Graham 

  • John Stonestreet | BreakPoint.org | March 2, 2018

BreakPoint: Gun Control Will it be the Conscience or will it be the Constables?




Americans have always had constitutional rights that allow them to exercise certain freedoms. But do we still have the moral ability to maintain those rights?

Mass shootings are now, tragically, a regular feature of our news cycle. Each new attack on innocent children, students, church members, or concertgoers hits us it seems before we’ve recovered from the last one. I hope and pray we never become numb to the horror of these crimes.

In fact, after the recent shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, a shooting that left 17 dead, the fury and passion to do something seems to have reached a critical point. Certainly, those who wish to restrict guns in America are louder than ever.

Now, in full disclosure, I’m a Second Amendment guy. I own guns: I support the right to bear arms. But I’m also a student of history and worldview.  Rights always come with responsibility. And people who are incapable of enjoying freedoms inevitably lose them.

I know I’m going to get angry emails about this, so let me be as clear as possible. I’m not saying here what should happen. I’m not saying that America should ban guns. What I’m saying is what always happens when a culture morally breaks down. Chuck Colson used to say that if a people will not be governed by the conscience, they will be governed by the constable. The loss of conscience always leads to the loss of freedom.

John Adams, our second president, said that our Constitution is meant only for a “moral and religious people,” and “is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” That would include the Second Amendment.

Increasingly, Americans display a shocking lack of conscience. I’m not just talking about mass-shootings by lonely, isolated, disturbed young men. I’m talking about historic levels of suicide, the epidemic of opioid overdoses that have more than doubled since 2010, and the poison we pump into the minds and hearts of our children in the name of entertainment. If we’re not killing each other in this country, we’re killing ourselves! Folks, something is deeply wrong. America is deeply sick.

Liberals who want to ban guns often say we’ve evolved beyond our Constitution. Evolved? No, we’ve devolved below it. We’re no longer a people moral or religious enough to sustain the freedoms of self-government.

Alexis de Tocqueville famously wrote on his visit to America that religion and local voluntary associations serve as glue to hold our democracy together. Almost 200 years later, that’s simply not true about us anymore. We’re now a society of isolated individualists—where drug addicts, the suicidal, and yes, the lonely, disturbed young men—easily slip through the cracks.

Political conservatives, hear me on this: It seems obvious at this point that government and police officials failed the students and teachers of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. And they should be held accountable.

But the deeper sickness eating this country alive will lead to more and more demands for gun control. Freedom is unsustainable without virtue.

Political liberals, hear me on this: The problem isn’t guns. Ban them, without addressing the real problems of our society, and we’ll find the next high school killer using a car or some other weapon of mass destruction. And the rest of us will be unarmed and unable to defend ourselves.

America is in a dark, deeply divided place—a place Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn accurately described in a 1978 speech at Harvard as a place with “little defense against the abyss of human decadence…such as the misuse of liberty for moral violence against young people, such as motion pictures full of pornography, crime, and horror.” Even strict laws, Solzhenitsyn said, are powerless to defend a people against such moral corrosion.

If the devolution of our collective conscience continues, the replacement of constitutional rights with constables might be inevitable. But even constables won’t be able to govern, or protect, a people without a conscience.


Gun Control: Will it be the Conscience or will it be the Constables?

As John has highlighted, rights come with responsibility. Without a moral or religious foundation to sustain the freedoms of self-government, we are left to deal with the consequences but not the root of the problems in our society. For further discussion, check out the resources listed below.



A World Split Apart

  • Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn | Harvard University | June 8, 1978
The Conscience of Society: The Role of the Church in a Democracy

  • Chuck Colson | BreakPoint.org | July 4, 2005

Sunday marks seven years since Japan’s Triple Disaster

Here is the  story.


Broken Boys




Are boys in America broken? Many certainly are. We see them in our prisons, on the streets, and in news stories about domestic abuse or even school shootings. That is why Michael Ian Black wrote an op-ed with the title, “The Boys Are Not All Right.” His commentary surfaced lots of emotions, criticisms, and profanity from people who read what he had to say.

At the outset, let me say that though I agree with much of his diagnosis, I disagree with his prescription. I don’t think men need to learn from women how feminism empowered them. But let’s focus first on his diagnosis.

He rightly says that “America’s boys are broken.” And that brokenness stands in contrast to its girls who are outperforming boys in school and in so many areas of our society. He believes that too many boys “are trapped in the same suffocating, outdated model of masculinity.”


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Talkin’ Aramaic in New Jersey The Strength of an Ancient Faith




To catch a glimpse of just how ancient—and strong–our Christian faith truly is, take a drive up the Jersey turnpike. Say what?

How cool would it be to walk into a church filled with worshipers all speaking the same language that Jesus and his apostles spoke? You might think that you need a time machine. You don’t. You don’t even need to go to the Middle East. New Jersey will do.

recent article in America magazine told the story of an Aramaic-speaking Christian community fifteen minutes west of Manhattan in Paramus, New Jersey. They are known variously as Chaldeans, Assyrians, and Syriac Christians (Syriac being a dialect of Aramaic).

You may be thinking “Aramaic?” Well, Aramaic, not Hebrew, was the language of everyday life in first-century Palestine. We see evidence of this in the Bible. Parts of the Old Testament, most notably the book of Daniel, are written in Aramaic. When Mary Magdalene encounters the risen Jesus, she calls him “rabboni.” And on the cross, Jesus recited Psalm 22 in Aramaic.

As the names “Chaldean” and “Assyrian” suggest, they are an ancient people from what the Bible calls “Assyria” and “Babylon,” the part of Iraq known as the “Nineveh Plain,” as well as southern Turkey and Syria.

Their ancestors lived in the area long before the Arab invasions and the coming of Islam. They are probably our closest living link to the patriarchs of the Old Testament. In Genesis 12, we are told that Abraham, on his way to the promised land, settled for a time in Haran, which became a “centre of Assyrian Christianity” before the fourth century.

Deuteronomy 26 instructs the Israelites to say, “A wandering Aramean was my father,” when offering their first fruits.

To quote the psalmist, these Christians have a “goodly heritage.” But it’s one that has been passed down at a very high cost. The Islamic conquest in the seventh and eighth centuries reduced them to second-class status.

But despite hardships, they made enormous contributions to what is called “Islamic civilization” in the fields of philosophy, science and medicine. The works of Greek philosophers that Arab Muslims are credited with preserving were first translated into Syriac and then into Arabic by Syriac-speaking Christians.

If life under Islamic rule was hard from the seventh through nineteenth centuries, it turned lethal in the early twentieth, in what came to be known as the Sayfo—the Syriac for “sword.” Between 1914 and 1920, some 150 to 300 thousand Syriac Christians were murdered by the Turks.

Most recently, there was the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.  As Lawrence Kaplan wrote in the New Republic at the time, “Sunni, Shia, and Kurd may agree on little else, but all have made sport of brutalizing their Christian neighbors.”

Then, of course, there was ISIS. Two years ago, when then-Secretary of State Kerry said that ISIS was guilty of genocide against Christians, he was talking about Syriac Christians. The “infidels” in Mindy Belz’s book “They Say We are Infidels,” are mostly Syriac Christians.

And that brings me to New Jersey. The group profiled in America magazine is part of the Syriac diaspora created by the persecutions of the past century. More Syriac Christians live outside their ancestral homelands than in them. It’s possible that if present trends hold, there will be more Syriac Christians in the United States and Mexico than in Iraq.

These are the people we have been praying for when we pray for the persecuted—and they have a lot to teach us, not the least of which is how to remain faithful in the face of unimaginable oppression and persecution.

It’s a lesson that might even be worth a trip to New Jersey.


Talkin’ Aramaic in New Jersey: The Strength of an Ancient Faith

Click here to read more about the Aramaic-speaking Christian community whose language and heritage point back to the early days of the faith. You’ll find it has a fascinating historical significance for all Christians.


Aramaic, the language of Jesus, comes to New Jersey

  • Matthew Petti | Americanmagazine.org | January 26, 2018
The plight of Iraq Christians

  • Lawrence F. Kaplan | Catholic Education Resource Center | 2006
Where Do Languages Go to Die?

  • John McWhorter | The Atlantic | September 10, 2015 

Choosing Life Over the Olympics The Miki Ando Story




What would you have given to become an Olympic athlete? One famous Japanese figure skater knows what she wouldn’t give.

The skater is gliding gracefully across the ice in a bright red costume, holding her arms aloft. Skating backwards now, Miki Ando of Japan is preparing for a huge jump: A quadruple Salchow.

And she lands it!

The audience explodes with delight. But a few years later, the applause went silent when the two-time Olympian became pregnant—and refused to have an abortion.

Miki Ando landed that quadruple Salchow—the only female skater ever to do so in competition—at the Junior Grand Prix figure skating finals at The Hague in 2002. She took part in the Olympic Games in both Turin  and in Vancouver, representing Japan—a country where figure skating is insanely popular. and she’s a two-time World Champion.

Four years ago, Ando was preparing for a spot on the Olympic team for the Sochi Games when she made a shocking discovery: She was pregnant. And now she had a hard decision to make. She considered having an abortion. Competitive skating was her life; having a baby meant missing months of practice. And in Japan it’s considered shameful to have a baby out of wedlock.

As Ando later recalled, “I could not make up my mind all the way, but I hate[d] to make a decision to say goodbye to the baby.”

In the end, she announced: “I have chosen the baby’s life over skating.”

When news broke of Miki’s pregnancy—and of her decision to give birth—the Japanese public was furious. Their quad-jumping champion was now told she was setting a bad example.

“Honestly,” Miki told Kristi Burton Brown at LiveAction.org, “98 percent of the people said I was so bad.”

But her critics were forgotten when, in April of 2013, Miki gave birth to a little girl she named Himawari, now an adorable almost-five-year-old in pigtails. Her mother takes her with her to skating events, and when she cannot, Himawari’s grandmother cares for her.

Would Miki have won a spot on the Japanese Olympic team four years ago if she had aborted her baby? It’s hard to tell; many factors are involved. In any case, she has no regrets. Miki is now a professional figure skater, coach, and television personality. And as she told a Japanese website, the sight of her daughter’s face makes her want to do her best.

Miki is sending a vital message to women of the Western world: that babies and careers are not mutually exclusive. Sadly, women are often told from early childhood how important it is to have a career—that they should put off childbearing until they have finished college and gotten a good start on their careers.  Men, also, are told to put off marriage and fatherhood and focus on making money. But babies tend to show up when they want to, regardless of our plans, and couples are often put under pressure to abort.

Miki’s story is proof that life doesn’t end with the birth of a baby—and that their appearance, even if seemingly ill-timed, can become a great joy. And as Kristi Burton Brown pointed out at LiveAction.org, the message that women must choose between career and motherhood “is harmful.”

And as for the Olympic medal Miki might have won, she notes that “No one is guaranteed the successes they most covet—no matter how much or who they sacrifice in the name of the success they crave.”

More than three quarters of a century ago, an Olympic runner named Eric Liddell taught us that there are more important things in life than winning Olympic medals. Miki Ando has taught us the same lesson today.


Choosing Life over the Olympics: The Miki Ando Story

Miki Ando’s story highlights the true value of life, a value worth much more than Olympic gold. For more on her story, check out the links in our Resources section.




For Christian parents of high school and college student