When President Barack Obama said during his campaign that "the United States must maintain a military that is second to none," he was echoing what has become a common refrain among candidates of both parties since the late 1940s, says Emory University's T. Jeremy Gunn.
Since 9/11 there has been a huge growth in the number of books that seek to explain and analyse the phenomenon of high-profile violent attacks by extremist Islamist groups. Ben White examines a contribution by high-profile Christian writer Patrick Sookhdeo.
One of the deep mysteries of the early 21st century is why one set of Christians tries to persuade another set of Christians to reject the theory of evolution, says Denis Alexander. He suggests a positive perspective on faith, science and Darwin.
Christian thought has contributed a great deal to ancient and modern conceptions of justice, says Puck de Raadt, reviewing a recent book by Nicholas Sagovsky. But justice is at heart a matter of community and action.
There are many people who are not Christians who revere Jesus, says Martin Marty. But when his name is invoked in the civic arena they hear assertions of majority privilege in the religious realm, where privilege often has taken form in power against others.
Some will view Charles Darwin's anniversary year as one in which to score cultural points rather than purely to celebrate science, says Mark Vernon. That would be a missed opportunity for meaningful dialogue.
Bishop Robinson chose to eschew specifically Christian language for the occasion, saying that the texts and beliefs he holds sacred are not so held by all Americans. But his prayer could hardly be accused of pulling punches or resting on polite diplomacy.