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Pope Francis, the Environment, & the U.S.

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The controversy over the theory of gravity continues. While most scientists have accepted the theory, a determined, vocal and well-funded group of politicians, armed with studies most scientists dismiss, argue that Newton got it wrong. Corporations that make hydraulic lifts and airplane manufacturers are concerned that the debate could affect their businesses. Journalists, abiding by their own standards, feel compelled to acknowledge both sides of the dispute. The general public, unable to ascertain the veracity of the rival claims, seem inclined to sit this debate out.

Happy Bastille Day!

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I know, I know. The Revolution did not turn out so well for Catholics. But, it did yield the best national anthem of all time. Difficult to choose among the many fine renditions from the great, baroque Berlioz treatment, to the memorable performance of Jessye Norman, wrapped in a giant tricoleur of a dress, singing it at the French bicentennial celebration. (It says a lot about French commitment to culture that they thought nothing of choosing the most statuesque singer of the day, even though she was an American, for a moment that required such stature.

Religion & the Founding: MSW's Wrap Up

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Last week, I looked at five books all of which, in different ways, had significant bearing on the relationship of religion to the American founding. Too often, secularists have ignored the influence of religion in late colonial and early Republican America. Too often, Christians have sought to claim the founding as a Christian event. Both efforts have a grain of truth but a pound of falsehood. What are the takeaways from the book we surveyed?

Religion & the Founding: Holmes' "The Faiths of the Founding Fathers"

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The final book in this series on religion and the founding comes from David Holmes, Professor of Religious Studies at the College of William and Mary. The Faiths of the Founding Fathers, unlike the four previous volumes, is scholarly but more accessible and could easily be read by a high school age student. As we shall see, it does not delve as deeply as one would want into the thorny issues of religion and society, but it does provide both the appropriate frames, and concise pictures within those frames, of individual founders and what they believed.

NYTimes Ed Board Channels Emily's List

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The New York Times published an editorial yesterday asserting that the Supreme Court's order in the Wheaton college case last week undercut their own logic in the then-two-days-old Hobby Lobby decision. I think they are wrong. But, you would think the editorial board of the nation's newspaper of record might have given a bit of thought to their complaint.

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August 29-September 11, 2014

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