This blog is maintained on behalf of the Amy Foundation for the purpose of tracking the best Christian journalism we find on the Web. Our posts regularly identify those news articles or opinions in the mainstream media that represent good faith-based writing and example them for other Christian journalists.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Great Article in the NY Times--
A Qualifying Article

I was pleased to find a qualifying entry for the Amy Writing Awards-- in the New York Times, no less! On April 13 (today), David Brooks wrote a provocative opinion about the historical roots of the conflict in Iraq, juxtaposing past and future perspectives in an opinion titled, "The Past Meets the Future" (TimeSelect subscribers only).

Brooks uses Elie Kedourie's essay on the British occupation of Iraq in the 1920's to bolster the claims of "Mr. Future," who argues against western intervention in Iraq. "Mr. Past" cites social activism, using the Exodus story, as a catalyst for the changes needed to stabilize the Iraqi nation and bring democracy to the region.

It is a powerful dialogue that pits optimist vs. Pessimistic perspectives on a very real, very serious policy tug-of-war over the Middle East policy. Both sides are presented well.

Here is a critical excerpt:
[To Mr. Past:] The central lesson of the past three years is that societies are not that malleable. Evils do not grow out of manageable defects in the environment that can be neatly fixed. We need to change our mentality, scale back to more realistic expectations.

Mr. Future: Actually, I did read Kedourie, but last night I also reread the Exodus story. The Exodus story reminds us that human beings can transform themselves and their situations. It reminds us that people who embark on generational journeys are the realistic ones, because they are the ones who see
all the possibilities the future contains.

The finest things humans have done have been achieved in an Exodus frame of mind. This country was settled and founded by people who adopted the Exodus mentality. The civil rights movement was also led by such people.

Martin Luther King learned from Exodus that it is not enough to sit back and let history slowly evolve. It's sometimes necessary to venture into the hazardous wilderness.

Ultimately, Brooks's writing is an example of how Biblical principles and perspectives can and does inform public policy. His references to Martin Luther King, Moses, and later Tocqueville were masterful. Yet, he balances the article with Mr. Future's well-thought, well-reasoned, well-supported perspective.

He also tactfully uses scripture to reinforce his point that freedom is won through a long, difficult process, sometimes turning brother against brother.

Well done, Mr. Brooks. Keep up the good journalism. I hope to see this as a entry in this year's Amy Writing Awards.

Submitted by
Bruce Umpstead


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