Wilfred M. McClay, "My Dinner with Irving," Mosaic, October 2013.
Several years ago, I gave a lecture at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) on the subject of religion and secularism. Afterward, the discussion continued at a relaxed and intimate dinner for selected guests—an occasion greatly enlivened by the presence of the late Irving Kristol, then an AEI senior fellow, and his wife Gertrude Himmelfarb, the distinguished historian. As usual, Irving had plenty to say. In particular, when the subject turned to the distinctive character of evangelical Christianity, he pronounced himself in a manner that I (and others in the room) remember vividly to this day. “Well, after all,” he remarked, with casual assurance, “religion is what you’re born with.”