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The unofficial theme for Religion & Liberty’s first issue in 2017 is despotism. In the following pages, you’ll find stories from the Soviet Union, a close look into the North Korea regime and a reexamination of Hitler’s rise to power.

The cover story is an interview with human rights expert Suzanne Scholte, who discusses her passion for fighting the sadistic rule of Kim Jong Un and working with North Korean defectors. After 20 years fighting for those who don’t enjoy freedom and democracy, she has countless stories and anecdotes to share. Several harrowing tales of life in North Korea or under other regimes are adapted from the Scholte interview and featured in “Stories from the worst regimes.”

One can’t ponder infamously cruel governments for long without thinking of World War II. A newly translated book, Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939, by Volker Ullrich takes a deep look into Adolf Hitler’s historic rise to power. Fr. Anthony Perkins reviews the book and explains what this all means for us today.

Moving away from totalitarianism, the “Double-Edge Sword” reflects on John 5:20–21. These short verses demonstrate the complete and perfect unity between God the Father and God the Son.

In an excerpt from Acton’s new monograph What’s Wrong with Global Governance? Robert Gorman explains exactly what global governance is and advises readers to be wary of these encroaching bodies. The Church should especially fight back against many of the unsavory things that come with political bodies that enjoy transnational authority.

Theologian Thomas C. Oden admitted he was “in love with heresies” at one point, but famously had a change of heart and a craving for orthodoxy. Though he passed away in 2016, his legacy will go on. This issue’s “In the Liberal Tradition” celebrates his life and work.

Rev. Robert Sirico closes the issue with a reflection on humility and power. He discusses this ongoing theme of totalitarianism and the cruelty of those regimes.

Finally, there’s some news for Religion & Liberty readers. This issue’s FAQ is an important one, as the Religion & Liberty editorial board has decided it’s time for a change. This publication will be redesigned and will feature a new layout and expanded content starting with the Spring 2017 issue. Kris Mauren outlines some of the new features and what you can look forward to when you receive the next issue.