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Our Feckless President


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. 

Religion & the Founding: Bailyn's "Ideological Origins of the American Revolution"


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.

+Flores & the Consistent Ethic of Life


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:

Religion & the Founding: Linda Colley's "Britons"


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.

Jobs Report Better Than Hoped


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 Religious Leaders Letter to Obama


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. 

Happy July 4th: But Was the American Founding a Religious Event?


There are many reasons to question the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ “Fortnight for Freedom,” not least its failure to capture the imagination of Catholics, which may have something to do with its unfortunate name. But, surely, the greatest problem is that it feeds a trend in Americans’ understanding of our nations’ founding, an effort to baptize the founding. In short, it dabbles in the tropes, and more than the tropes, of Americanism.


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In This Issue

September 26-October 9, 2014


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