You might say that Patricia Bonomi, in her book Under the Cope of Heaven: Religion, Society, and Politics in Colonial America, picks up where Bailyn left off. He surveyed the literature of colonial America with an emphasis on its political argumentation, considering the significance of the dissenting religious tradition to that political debate, but primarily focusing elsewhere. Bonomi looks specifically at not only the religious argumentation, but the series of religious events that helped stoke the flames of revolution in late colonial America.
Over the weekend, the Washington Post had this story about President Obama's decision to stop talking about income inequality and, instead, focus on "opportunity," a gauzy phrase if ever there was one. You would think the president would have realized by now that the only real political tool he has is the bully pulpit and now, apparently, he is unwilling to use that pulpit to focus on poverty.
This article at the Tablet (not that Tablet) explains why Gustav Niebuhr was deeply upset by the Presbyteraian Church's decision to divest from Israel and the manner in which they treated the otherwise illustrious memory of his uncle Reinhold.
In the 1960s, Bernard Bailyn was invited to edit some late colonial pamphlets for publication. Pamphlets were common in those days, the mid-eighteenth century equivalent of a blog: affordable, accessible and, most of all, explanatory. They permitted their authors to explain not only what they supported as the crisis with Great Britain unfolded, but why they supported it. And, in going over the pamphlets, Bailyn became fascinated by the sources of the arguments the Americans employed and cited.
Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, Texas will need a proverbial umbrella, because I am sure certain conservatives are about to rain down abuse on his head. In a posting at his blog, +Flores notes the frustration many Catholics feel when they enter the political realm because one party is steadfastly indifferent to the rights of the unborn and the other is steadfastly indifferent to the rights of immigrants. +Flores writes:
Another excellent commentary by Mark Silk at RNS, this time on the use and misuse of the phrase "moral equivalence" and how it does or does not apply to the situation in the Mideast.
This weekend, the Washington Post published a remarkable op-ed by Loren Clark-Moe in which she argues against the Hyde Amendment, which bans the federal government from paying for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is threatened.
Today, I begin a week-long look at some of the key historiography of the relationship of religion to the American founding. Other writers would point to different works, I am sure, but these are the books that have convinced me that any effort to “baptize” the American founding is deeply problematic, at least for a Catholic. As well, I hope these essays will point to the long history of some of today’s most contentious issues regarding the relationship of religion to politics. In any event, the books surveyed are all very good reads.
The Department of Labor's June numbers are out and they were stronger than expected: The DOL reported that 288,000 jobs were added last month. Perhaps more significantly, they revised the previous two months' reports upward: They May number went from 217,000 to 224,000 and the April number from an already robust 282,000 to 304,000. This is all good news and was desperately needed after the lousy first quarter GDP reports.
The text of the letter sent by a group of religious leaders to President Obama, requesting robust religious exemptions to any forthcoming LGBT non-discrimination rule is available here. I am not sure it was very politic to remind President Obama that they are only requesting that religious groups not be penalized for hold a position he articulated quite emphatically just a couple of years ago. But, it is the truth.