. Research Essay: 7-10 pages.
Minimum five sources for research paper; two of which must be print sources. You may have as many Internet sources as you like.
Essays must have point size no larger than 12 and no smaller than 10. Essays must also have standard margins. This course uses MLA Style. MLA Style in documenting your papers.
The instructor counts of one point each for every grammatical mistake, spelling mistake, or punctuation error.
Topic choices are as follows:
Choose from any of these topics
1. The media in America are largely biased against liberals/conservatives and in favor of liberals/conservatives. Do you agree or disagree that the media are biased in any way or do you think coverage of issues in the media are largely fair and balanced? Research both conservative and liberal and moderate commentators to support your views.
2. Some time ago, Stratton, Ohio, had an ordinance requiring all solicitors who went from door to door to get a permit from the mayor. The intent was to protect elderly citizens from unscrupulous criminals who might try to gain entry by pretending to ask survey questions and then accost them or harm them. The Jehovah’s Witnesses thought that the ordinance violated their rights under the First Amendment free speech clause. The Supreme Court sided with the Jehovah’s Witnesses and declared the ordinance unconstitutional in 2002. Do you think the Supreme Court was right? Defend your position.
3. The Constitution of the United States of America has been described as a morally neutral document. In other words, a law that is thought to be moral may be unconstitutional and a law that is thought to be immoral may be constitutional. Nevertheless, the Constitution is the supreme law of the land in America, and, ultimately, laws are judged on the basis of their conformity to the Constitution and not on their morality. Research laws that have been declared either constitutional or unconstitutional and state whether you agree with the court’s decision to uphold or overthrow laws on the basis of their constitutionality. Do you think that the courts should be allowed to take a law’s morality into account when rendering a decision and not just its constitutionality?
4. Some religious groups maintain that public schools should be required to teach “scientific creationism,” which asserts that the universe was divinely created, or “intelligent design theory,” which asserts that the universe was intelligently designed by an intelligent designer whom some regard as divine. Some scientists assert that the theory of evolution contradicts the literal view that God created the world in six days (against the scientific creationists) and some scientists assert that the nature of the universe can be explained in natural ways without the necessity of a designer of the laws of physics (against the intelligent designers). Scientific creationists and intelligent design theorists assert that valid scientific reasons exist for the theory that the universe was intelligently designed and divinely created, and evolutionists assert that valid scientific reasons exist for the theory that the earth is billions of years old and that animals (including human beings) evolved from lower forms of life over the millennia. Research articles both in favor of and against scientific creationism and intelligent design theory in comparison to the theory of evolution. Does either group have logical reasons for its claims? Defend your arguments.
5. In the move Priest, a man admits to a priest in the confessional that he is molesting his daughter, and makes it clear that he has no remorse and will continue to abuse the girl. The Catholic Church asserts that the seal of the confessional is absolute, meaning that there are no exceptions. If the priest informs the authorities of the crime, he violates the seal of the confessional and risks the damnation of his soul, according to Catholic teachings. However, if he fails to inform the authorities, an innocent child will continue to be seriously harmed by this sexual abuser. What do you think the priest should do?
Research the subject of the seal of the confessional as well as laws, past or present, which require or required priests to violate the seal of the confessional for the purpose of turning in serious criminals before they harm someone again. Do laws requiring priests to violate the seal of the confessional in certain circumstances violate the Constitution’s First Amendment free exercise clause? That is, the priest is denied his rights under the free exercise clause to obey the teachings of the Catholic Church against violating the seal of the confessional, and the penitent (however guilty he is of serious crimes) is denied his rights under the free exercise clause to be free to confess his sins to his priest without fear of being arrested by secular authorities. Defend your position. You may want to consider that laws protect attorney-client privilege and doctor-patient privilege and that laws denying priest-penitent privilege may be construed as a double-standard.
6. In a pamphlet by G.E.M. Anscombe, she lists the conditions under which a war may be considered just:
1. There must be a just occasion: that is, there must be violation of, or attack upon, strict rights.
2. The war must be made by a lawful authority: that is, when there is no higher authority, a sovereign state.
3. The warring state must have an upright intention in making war: it must not declare war in order to obtain, or inflict anything unjust.
4. Only right means must be used in the conduct of war.
5. War must be the only possible means of righting the wrong done.
6. There must be a reasonable hope of victory.
7. The probable good must outweigh the probable evil effects of the war.
Anscombe believes that the second world war, using these criteria, was unjust. Do you agree or disagree? Compare and contrast this view, using these criteria, with the current war in Iraq and the war on terrorism in general: Does the current war in Iraq meet the criteria of the just war tradition as outlined above? You may wish to research the just war views of Saint Thomas Aquinas as well.
7. Sir Frederick Pollock wrote: “Natural law was conceived to be an ultimate principle of fitness with regard to the nature of man as a rational and social being which is, or ought to be, the justification of every form of positive law.” Cicero wrote, “There is, in fact, a true law – namely right reason – which is in accordance with nature, applies to all men and is unchangeable and eternal.” The Apostle Paul wrote: “For when the Gentiles who do not have the law by nature observe the prescriptions of the law, they are a law for themselves even though they do not have the law. They show that the demands of the law are written in their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even defend them on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge people's hidden works through Christ Jesus (Romans 2:14-16). The author of Hebrews also wrote: “But this is the covenant I will establish with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds and I will write them upon their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people” (8:10).
Alongside many discussions of natural law theory are discussions of natural rights theory, the belief that people have rights by nature that are independent of the society into which they have been randomly born. The Declaration of Independence puts it this way: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” While some argue that natural rights stem from natural law, it can also be argued that from natural rights stem the responsibilities associated with natural law. The Rights of Man (of the French Revolutionary Assembly) puts it this way: “Men are born free and equal in respect of their natural and imprescriptible rights of liberty, property, security, and resistance of oppression.” The Constitution of the United States of America asserts that no one “shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” Write an essay in which you defend or refute the theories of natural law and natural rights. You may wish to consider that for many thousands of years slavery was an accepted institution and the denial of natural rights was more the norm than the affirmation of natural rights, especially for people of low station in society (it depends on whose ox is gored).
8. Arthur C. Clarke wrote, “The idea that we are the only intelligent creatures in a cosmos of a hundred million galaxies is so preposterous that there are very few astronomers today who would take it seriously. It is safest to assume, therefore, that They are out there and to consider the manner in which this fact may impinge upon human society” (Report on Planet Three and Other Speculations). Do you think that intelligent beings on other worlds exist? If so, why? If not, why not? How do you think the discovery of extraterrestrial intelligent beings would impact human society, human social institutions, religion, philosophy, government? Would the impact be positive or negative?
9. Solipsism is the belief that the self is the only true reality or object of real knowledge, and everything which seems to exist is merely an extension of the self or the self’s imagination. Defend solipsism from your own personal point of view.
10. Immanuel Kant wrote, “I ought never to act except in such a way that I can also will that my maxim should become universal law.” This has come to be known as the Categorical Imperative. Do you agree with the Categorical Imperative? If so, why? If not, why not?
11. Advocates of legalized abortion argue that a woman has the right to do with her body whatever she wishes, while opponents argue that the child in her womb has rights independent of the mother. There are essentially two opposite premises argued: one is that the fetus is a human being and the other is that the fetus is not a human being. If you accept that the fetus is not a human being, then what, advocates argue, is the problem with abortion? If you accept that the fetus is a human being, then what, opponents argue, is the defense against the killing of an innocent human being? Take a stance, either one that is pro-choice or pro-life, and defend your position.
12. Discuss whether or not you believe capital punishment is justified in America today. Opponents of capital punishment often argue that taking a life is always wrong, even though a criminal may be guilty of a heinous murder, while advocates of capital punishment often argue that, if a criminal unlawfully takes a life, then the criminal de facto forfeits his or her own life. Opponents often argue that capital punishment does not deter people from committing murder, while advocates argue that it isn’t a question of deterrence but of justice. Opponents often argue that Christians should forgive murderers, while advocates argue that Christian forgiveness does not extend to exempting criminals from punishment. The question is often asked: If Christians should forgive murderers, then why not let all murderers out of prisons and release them into society? In other words, the argument is not over whether condemned murderers deserve to be punished – the argument is over the nature of the punishment. With these ideas in mind, take a position either for or against capital punishment and discuss whether or not you believe capital punishment is ever justified.
13. Consider below John Donne’s Meditation XVII.
”PERCHANCE he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that. The church is Catholic, universal, so are all her actions; all that she does belongs to all. When she baptizes a child, that action concerns me; for that child is thereby connected to that body which is my head too, and ingrafted into that body whereof I am a member. And when she buries a man, that action concerns me: all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God's hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another. As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come, so this bell calls us all; but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness. There was a contention as far as a suit (in which both piety and dignity, religion and estimation, were mingled), which of the religious orders should ring to prayers first in the morning; and it was determined, that they should ring first that rose earliest. If we understand aright the dignity of this bell that tolls for our evening prayer, we would be glad to make it ours by rising early, in that application, that it might be ours as well as his, whose indeed it is. The bell doth toll for him that thinks it doth; and though it intermit again, yet from that minute that that occasion wrought upon him, he is united to God. Who casts not up his eye to the sun when it rises? but who takes off his eye from a comet when that breaks out? Who bends not his ear to any bell which upon any occasion rings? but who can remove it from that bell which is passing a piece of himself out of this world?
”No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee. Neither can we call this a begging of misery, or a borrowing of misery, as though we were not miserable enough of ourselves, but must fetch in more from the next house, in taking upon us the misery of our neighbours. Truly it were an excusable covetousness if we did, for affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it. No man hath affliction enough that is not matured and ripened by and made fit for God by that affliction. If a man carry treasure in bullion, or in a wedge of gold, and have none coined into current money, his treasure will not defray him as he travels. Tribulation is treasure in the nature of it, but it is not current money in the use of it, except we get nearer and nearer our home, heaven, by it. Another man may be sick too, and sick to death, and this affliction may lie in his bowels, as gold in a mine, and be of no use to him; but this bell, that tells me of his affliction, digs out and applies that gold to me: if by this consideration of another's danger I take mine own into contemplation, and so secure myself, by making my recourse to my God, who is our only security.”
The issue of assisted suicide has repercussions for all people. In terms of Donne’s ideas about the interconnectedness of all human beings, it would seem that all people should be concerned about the issues not only of whether people have a right to live but whether people have a right to die. The position of many religious groups as well as secular ethicists is that suicide is always morally wrong, but should it be illegal? As with the subject of abortion, many people argue that, while suicide is immoral, it should not be illegal. Some argue that people who are terminally ill or in serious pain which cannot be relieved by modern medicine have the right to “die with dignity.” Research specific cases where people who are terminally ill or in unremitting pain have chosen to commit suicide or have thought about or attempted to commit suicide, sometimes with the aid of a physician like Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Do you think the law should allow doctors to aid such people in committing suicide? Do you think the law should allow doctors to actually kill people who have so requested? Do you think that people have a right to die? You may wish to research the views of religious ethicists as well as secular ethicists on this issue.
14. Do you believe that courts should remove children from the custody of abusive parents and place them in court-ordered foster care even when the parents have formally apologized and pledged not to abuse their children further? Courts often handle abuse cases with the view of not only protecting the child but preserving the integrity of the family. Do you think that children should have a say-so in whether they are removed from the custody of their parents?
15. Members of some religious groups in America have withheld medical treatment from their children in the belief that, if God wants their children cured, then God will cure them, and that it somehow thwarts the will of God to allow their children to be treated with modern medicine. Research cases in which law enforcement authorities have arrested parents for child abuse or child neglect because the parents refused to let their children be vaccinated or treated for illnesses. In one case, Christian Science parents in Sarasota, Florida, refused to allow their diabetic daughter, Amy Hermanson, age 7, to receive insulin shots which would have saved her life, and, when the girl died, the parents were arrested and charged with child abuse and third-degree murder. Do you think police should arrest and juries convict parents of child abuse because they are, in their view, exercising their right under the first amendment to practice their religion as they wish? The 1986 conviction was overturned by the Florida Supreme Court in 1992. Do you agree or disagree with this ruling and why? There are many such cases in America, and hundreds of children, by some estimates, have died because their parents refused to let them be treated with modern medicine. You may wish to consider the deuterocanonical/apocryphal passage in Ecclesiasticus/Sira 38:1-15 (NAB):
Hold the physician in honor, for he is essential to you,
and God it was who established his profession.
From God the doctor has his wisdom, and the king provides for his sustenance.
His knowledge makes the doctor distinguished,
and gives him access to those in authority.
God makes the earth yield healing herbs
which the prudent man should not neglect;
Was not the water sweetened by a twig that men might learn his power?
He endows men with the knowledge to glory in his mighty works,
Through which the doctor eases pain and the druggist prepares his medicines;
Thus God’s creative work continues without cease
in its efficacy on the surface of the earth.
My son, when you are ill, delay not, but pray to God, who will heal you:
Flee wickedness; let your hands be just, cleanse your heart of every sin;
Offer your sweet-smelling oblation and petition,
a rich offering according to your means.
Then give the doctor his place lest he leave; for you need him too.
There are times that give him an advantage, and he too beseeches God
That his diagnosis may be correct and his treatment bring about a cure.
He who is a sinner toward his Maker will be defiant toward the doctor.
16. Illegal immigration is a serious problem in America. Some believe that America should grant amnesty to illegal immigrants while others believe that granting amnesty to illegal immigrants does a disservice to legal immigrants who went through all the bureaucratic paperwork and red tape to come to America lawfully. Since the 911 terrorist attacks, many believe that illegal immigrant is not only a moral problem but a national security problem as well. Do you think America needs to take measures to curtail illegal immigration or do you think illegal immigrants should be allowed to become American citizens, especially those who have lived in this country for years and have children and other family in this country? Research and defend your answer. You may wish to consider several Biblical passages regarding the treatment of aliens:
Exodus 22:20: “You shall not molest or oppress an alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.”
Exodus 23:9: “You shall not oppress an alien; you well know how it feels to be an alien, since you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.”
Leviticus 19:33: “When an alien resides with you in your land, do not molest him. You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; have the same love for him as for yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt, I, the LORD, am your God.”
Deuteronomy 10:17-19: “For the LORD, your God, is the God of gods, the LORD of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who has no favorites, accepts no bribes; who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and befriends the aline, feeding and clothing him. So you too must befriend the alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.”
Deuteronomy 24:17-18: “You shall not violate the rights of the alien or of the orphan, nor take the clothing of a widow as a pledge. For, remember, you were once slaves in Egypt, and the LORD, your God, ransomed you from there; that is why I command you to observe this rule.”
Deuteronomy 27:19: “Cursed be he who violates the rights of the alien, the orphan or the widow!” And all the people shall answer, “Amen!”
Jeremiah 22:3: Thus says the LORD: Do what is right and just. Rescue the victim from the hand of his oppressor. Do not wrong or oppress the resident alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.
Zecheriah 7:10: “Do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the alien or the poor; do not plot evil against one another in your hearts.”
17. Many religious groups believe that homosexual behavior is immoral, based on several Biblical passages. For example:
Leviticus 18:22; 20:13
1 Corinthians 6:9-10
1 Timothy 1:10
Other groups interpret these passages differently, suggesting that they do not necessarily condemn all homosexual behavior, especially between consenting adults. Do you think that homosexuals should be excluded from serving in the military? Do you think that homosexuals should be allowed to marry someone of the same sex? If not, do you think that homosexual “domestic partnerships” should be recognized by the state in order to secure certain rights enjoyed by heterosexual couples such as the right to declare someone a “spouse” or “domestic partner” for insurance reasons, rights involving inheritance, rights involved in making medical decisions for one’s partner, rights involved in making decisions upon the death of a partner, etc.? Do you think that there are any legitimate secular moral reasons for denying homosexuals who wish to declare a domestic partner of the same sex the same rights as heterosexual couples or do you think that morals are religious by definition? If you do not believe that morals can be secular, do you think that religious reasons for regarding homosexuals as engaging in immoral behavior are legitimate reasons for requiring the law to recognize only heterosexual partnerships or to declare homosexual sexual acts between consenting adults to be unlawful and punishable behavior? Defend your answers.
18. How should Americans address the problem of poverty in the United States and the world? The Bible addresses the poor and the issue of poverty many times. Here are a few examples:
NAB Leviticus 25:39 "When, then, your countryman becomes so impoverished beside you that he sells you his services, do not make him work as a slave.
NAB Deuteronomy 24:17-18 "You shall not violate the rights of the alien or of the orphan, nor take the clothing of a widow as a pledge. For, remember, you were once slaves in Egypt, and the LORD, your God, ransomed you from there; that is why I command you to observe this rule.
NAB 1 Samuel 2:8 He raises the needy from the dust; from the ash heap he lifts up the poor, To seat them with nobles and make a glorious throne their heritage. He gives to the vower his vow, and blesses the sleep of the just. "For the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, and he has set the world upon them.
NAB Psalm 10:12 Rise up, LORD God! Raise your arm! Do not forget the poor!
AB Sirach 7:32 To the poor man also extend your hand, that your blessing may be complete;
NAB Psalm 41:1 For the leader. A psalm of David. 2 Happy those concerned for the lowly and poor; when misfortune strikes, the LORD delivers them.
NAB Proverbs 22:9 The kindly man will be blessed, for he gives of his sustenance to the poor.
NAB Matthew 5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
NAB Luke 6:20 And raising his eyes toward his disciples he said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours.
NAB 2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich.
19. Prior to the Civil War, many whites used the Bible to decry slavery while many other whites used to the Bible to defend the institution of slavery. Research some 19 th century newspaper articles and essays in which slavery is both defended and condemned, both esteemed as ethical and condemned as unethical, esteemed as consistent with the Scriptures and condemned as inconsistent with the Scriptures.
You may also wish to research the views of many of the Founding Fathers of America towards slavery. For example, Thomas Jefferson’s original draft of the Declaration of Independence called King George III of England a tyrant for, among other reasons, offering to free slaves in America who agreed to escape from their slaveowners and fight for the British in the Revolutionary War. Certain members of the Continental Congress removed this assertion on the grounds that even mentioning the existence of slavery in America was inconsistent with the Declaration’s insistence that “all men are created equal.” Most modern scholars agree that the Declaration is stronger without the sentence.
Here are some Scripture quotes that were used for and against the institution of slavery. An example of a quote that supported the Underground Railroad is this:
Deuteronomy 23:16-17: “You shall not hand over to his master a slave who has taken refuge from him with you. Let him live with you wherever he chooses, in any one of your communities that pleases him. Do not molest him.”
Some felt that the black slaves were aliens in America and that God commands people in the Bible not to oppress the alien (see Scripture passages on the proper treatment of aliens above in Essay 16). Here is an example:
NAB Deuteronomy 24:17-18 "You shall not violate the rights of the alien or of the orphan, nor take the clothing of a widow as a pledge. For, remember, you were once slaves in Egypt, and the LORD, your God, ransomed you from there; that is why I command you to observe this rule.”
Some felt that, because the Lord heard the cry of the oppressed alien slaves in America, the result was the War Between the States. The word “slavery” appears 42 times in the Bible and the word “slave” or “slaves” appears 302 times.
The two books that influenced the early Americans more than any other were the King James Bible and John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. These two books helped to give a shape to the South that would influence generations even into the twenty-first century. Reverence for God and the Scriptures had laid a foundation in the South for courtesy and respect because the Bible teaches the importance of regarding all human beings as created in the image of God, and, therefore, encourages the development of an attitude towards esteeming others better than we esteem ourselves. Southerners regarded lack of courtesy without just cause to be an example and a mark of an extreme lack of grace. For this reason, many white Southerners regarded slavery as an institution discourteous to blacks and later white Southerners into the twenty-first century regarded segregation and racism as discourteous to blacks, and, therefore, many white Southerners felt it was their God-directed duty to eliminate discriminatory practices. Using the Scriptures to defend this view is an example of why the South is still known as “the Bible Belt.”
R.L. Dabney’s Defense of Virginia and the South consists of a Biblical defense of the South and the institution of slavery. Many decried this view as against the teachings of the Bible even though it quotes the Bible extensively. You may wish to read Dabney’s work and state whether you think he makes a valid case for the Biblical defense of slavery. You may wish to consider that slavery, as practiced in America, was racist, whereas slavery in the Bible as well as in Greek and Roman times was different in that slaves were usually captured enemies of war and not necessarily consistently members of a particular race. You may also wish to read Against Slavery: An Abolitionist Reader edited by Mason Lowance to get the views of those opposed to slavery. You may discuss whether you agree with the abolitionists that slavery, as it was practiced in the South, was unbiblical and immoral.
20. Should we allow genetically engineered foods to be grown and sold to the public?
21. Should America’s wildernesses be preserved in pristine condition or should the government allow development of wilderness areas? You may wish to consider the issue of building oil wells in the Alaskan wilderness.
22. How should Americans respond to natural disasters? You may wish to consider Hurricane Katrina and its devastation of New Orleans. How should the world respond to natural disasters?
23. Is global warming a real problem and, if so, how should we deal with it?
24. Is the world heading towards another energy crisis?
25. How should we handle nuclear and toxic waste?
26. What should we do about the devastation of the world’s rain forests, and what are the implications if we do nothing?
27. What do you think should be done about the AIDS epidemic? Should children with AIDS be allowed to attend public schools? What do you think of the statement “AIDS is God’s punishment for homosexual behavior”? How do reconcile this view with the knowledge that AIDS affects millions of heterosexuals as well?
28. Should animal experimentation be eliminated or regulated? If animal experimentation is made unlawful, you may wish to consider the implications for millions of people with diseases and illnesses that may never be cured without animal experimentation. Do you think animals have rights?
29. Is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) a serious problem or is this an overused diagnosis? Are children with ADHD overmedicated?
30. Should we allow the cloning of animals? Should we allow the cloning of human beings? Discuss the ethics of human cloning: Do the benefits outweigh the costs?
31. Should we allow gene therapy on human beings?
32. Do you think that there is an afterlife? Do you think there is a heaven and hell and/or purgatory? Who do you think goes to heaven or hell or purgatory? How should we view death – as a transition to the next life or as the permanent end of this life? How does your view of the next life (if you think there is one) affect how you live your life in this world?
33. Should the law allow human embryo experimentation? Do you think stem cell research should be allowed because it will provide so many medical benefits to millions of people in desperate need of them? Do you think that the destruction of an embryo snuffs out a human life and should not be allowed?
34. Should marijuana be legalized? Should recreational drugs in general be legalized? Should the possession of illegal drugs be decriminalized?
35. Should sex education be taught in schools? Should teachers instruct children in the proper way to use a condom or use other birth control devices?
36. Do you think democracy can succeed in the Middle East or do you think it is doomed to failure?
37. Does equality really exist in America or is it an ideal towards which we strive but have not yet achieved?
38. Is Iran a threat to global security? Is Korea a threat to global security? If so, what exactly should we do about it?
39. Is the political divide between right and left, conservative and liberal, republican and democrat harming America or is the dispute healthy for America?
40. What limits should be placed on the powers of the President of the United States of America? Does the President currently have too much power or too little power?
41. Do you think affirmative action or racial quotas are appropriate in today’s society?
42. Are American elections fair or is the system broken? If it is broken, how do we fix it?
43. Does the Constitution imply a right to privacy? If not, do you think we need a Constitutional amendment guaranteeing a right to privacy?
44. Should biological and chemical weapons be banned or should America keep them in reserve in the event of a national threat which might require their use to defend our country?
45. Does the Central Intelligence Agency have too much power? Should the agency be eliminated or do you think it does a great deal of good around the world in defending America’s interests?
46. Do nuclear weapons pose a serious threat to the world and should the United Nations ban their production in all countries including America? Do you think that America should do what the United Nations tells it to do or should America remain independent?
47. Does the world hate America? If so, why do you think the world hates America? What can Americans do about enemies who hate our country so much that they engage in terrorism against our country? Is military action justified against nations that support terrorism?
48. Is America too dependent on foreign oil? If so, what should America do about it?
49. How does religion influence politics? Does religious fervor play too powerful a part in American politics? How do you define the religious right? How do you define the religious left?
50. How should America treat prisoners in the war on terror?
51. Should America withdraw from Iraq? If you think so, why and in what manner?
52. Is Islam a religion of war or peace? You may wish to read the Koran to answer this question.
53. Consider the peace movement: Is violence always wrong?
54. What are the most serious threats to national security and what should we do about them?
55. Do you think that the defense of human rights is of paramount importance in world affairs?
56. What do you think motivates suicide bombers? How can they be called “cowards” when they are giving their lives for their causes, however much we disagree with those causes?
57. Are religious cults a serious threat in America and the world?
58. What should local and national government do about gang violence? What motives young people to join gangs and how are they harmful to America’s youth?
59. Do you think interracial relationship are appropriate or inappropriate? Why?
60. Is American society too materialistic? Do you think that Christmas has been shanghaied by materialism? You may wish to read The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, the children’s book by Dr. Seuss in which the Grinch learns the true meaning of Christmas. What do you think of buttons and bumper stickers that say “Jesus is the reason for the season”? Do you think that giving gifts is the reason for the season and that Christmas has become a largely secular holiday?
61. Are violent television shows and violent video games harmful to our children or do they allow honest and healthy expressions of emotions by our children?
62. Is the American Dream a myth or is it still true that anyone can grow up to be successful with enough hard work?
63. Do you think the practice of police using racial profiling is immoral or unconstitutional or both?
64. Do you think Satanism is a serious problem in our culture today?
65. Should there be laws banning people from using cell phones when driving their cars?
66. Should we have alternatives to prisons? Should we allow community service for nonviolent offenders? Should we allow, as some countries still do, corrections officials to administer corporal punishment for crimes rather than have judges give prison time?
67. Do you think that anti-semitism is a serious problem in both America and the world today? If so, what do you think should be done about it?
68. Do you think that anti-Catholicism is a serious problem in both America and the world today? If so, what do you think should be done about it?
69. Are athletes good role models?
70. Should schools be allowed to present religious figures as role models for children in public schools? If not, whom should we allow teachers to present to students as role models and why?
71. Do conspiracy theories have any validity in the modern world? Conspiracy theories can be anything from UFO cover-ups and alien abductions to anti-semitic and anti-Catholic theories that Jews and Catholics really run the world and its banking system (among other things) to the belief that the moon landing in 1969 was a hoax to the JFK assassination, etc.
72. Do you favor bilingual education in American public schools for children whose language in the home is not English?
73. What rights do you think children have? You may wish to research Supreme Court rulings regarding the rights of children. For example, in essence, the courts have ruled that, when children enter through the doors of a public schools, they don’t check their rights at the door. Also, parents lack absolute authority over their children, which is a far cry from the days when children (and women, for that matter) were considered the property of their parents.
74. Do you think that the Internet benefits society? Do you think the Internet has done more to help international relations by allowing people to develop friendships via email or mailing lists with people in other countries than television?
75. Does capital punishment deter crime? If not, do you think that capital punishment is still just and why?
76. Does the Internet increase the risk of crime?
77. What do you think about drug testing in the workplace? Is it valid or is it an unwarranted invasion of privacy?
78. Many bumper stickers say: “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” Do you agree with this sentiment? Do you think the second amendment should be repealed, and, if so, why? How can gun violence be reduced?
79. Do you think gays and lesbians should be allowed to adopt children? Why or why not?
80. Should parents be allowed to homeschool their children? Why or why not?
81. How can domestic violence be prevented? Should wives who are battered by their husbands be allowed to use their husband’s violence against them as a defense against killing their husbands?
82. How can school violence be prevented?
83. How should society address the needs and problems of the elderly? Do we need stricter laws regarding the abuse of the elderly either by families or by nursing home or assisted living employees?
84. Do you think Internet piracy is a serious problem? If so, what should be done about it?
85. Is American culture in decline or is it, as Ronald Reagan said, “morning in America”?
86. Is the Mafia still a force in America, and, if so, what should be done about it?
87. Is torture ever justified? If you could have peace and prosperity for the rest of eternity just by torturing an innocent child, would you do it? If America could obtain extremely valuable information that would save the lives of Americans by torturing someone, should it be allowed or is torture always wrong?
88. Should American blacks receive reparations for slavery?
89. Should juveniles be tried as adults? Do you think that this is forcing adult responsibilities on juveniles without giving them the rights of adults?
90. Should there be limits to freedom of speech?
91. Should American put forth more concerted efforts at increasing space exploration? You may wish to examine the many benefits space exploration has accorded our nation and the nations of the world already.
92. What is a hate crime? Should we have special punishments more severe than normal for people who harm other human beings in the name of hatred of particular religious, racial, or ethnic groups?
93. Do you think that religion and education should ever mix? Should teachers in American public schools teach religions or ignore that religions exist? Do you think teachers should teach religious works of literature, religious historical figures, religious events, and religious political views in public school classrooms?
94. Public teachers are allowed to teach the Bible as a great work of Western literature. Some scholars argue that the Bible has influenced and continues to influence Western culture in a profound way unlike any other factor. Indeed, Northrop Frye, the great twentieth century literary critic, once famously quotes William Blake (c. 1818) in his book The Great Code: “The Old and New Testaments are the Great Code of Art” (Laocoon Aphorisms). Do you think English teachers should be allowed to teach the English Bible as a foundational document of Western civilization?
95. Do you think that public schools should allow students who are members of white supremacy groups to meet on public school campuses just like other groups?
96. Do you think that public schools should allow students who are members of certain religious groups (for example, Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc.) to meet on public school campuses to study and discuss religious works (for example, the Bible, the Talmud, the Koran, etc.) as a club?
97. Do you think women should be allowed to serve in combat roles in the military?
98. Do you think that the government ever has the right to censor anything? You might wish to research such books as The Anarchist’s Cookbook, which gives detailed instructions for how to do things like make and use your own drugs and build an atomic bomb.
99. One of the reasons why many people support the Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing abortion is the theory that a woman has the right to do with her body whatever she chooses. On this theory, do you think prostitution should be legalized throughout America on the theory that a woman as the right to do with her body whatever she chooses including selling her body for money?
100. Do you think that burning the American Flag is a legitimate expression of dissent or do you think that burning Old Glory should be against the law? Do you think there should be a Constitutional amendment banning the dishonorable burning or desecration of the American flag?
101. Do you believe it is possible to prove that God exists or that God does not exist? You may wish to examine the five proofs of God’s existence by Saint Thomas Aquinas. Some argue that, because God, whatever you conceive him to be, is not part of the natural universe, it is not possible to use natural means to determine whether or not God exists, but it is possible to determine whether God exists by using only spiritual means. Some think that this may be what the Apostle Paul had in mind when he wrote the following:
For the Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God. Among human
beings, who knows what pertains to a person except the spirit of the person that is within? Similarly, no one knows what pertains to God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the things freely given us by God. And we speak about them not with words taught by human wisdom, but with words taught by the Spirit, describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms.
Now the natural person does not accept what pertains to the Spirit of God, for to him it is foolishness, and he cannot understand it, because it is judged spiritually. The spiritual person, however, can judge everything but is not subject to judgment by anyone. For “who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to counsel him?” But we have the mind of Christ. – 1 Corinthians 2:10b-16
|Due By (Pacific Time)||04/25/2013 05:30 pm|
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