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Only in America

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From Deseret News, this story about a Lebanese Muslim student, Mustapha El Akkari, the first non-LDS student body president at Brigham Young University in Hawaii.

It is a commonplace in some circles to consider tolerance a negligible virtue, although one can easily think of dozens of countries around the world where a bit more tolerance would be very welcome. This article shows why tolerance is still the kind of thing that can put a big, fat lump in one's throat.

Obama & Same-Sex Marriage

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President Obama yesterday announced that “personally” he is in favor of same sex marriage. Of course, nothing a president does is exclusively personal: The job comes with a bully pulpit. But, it is worth noting that he did not announce any new policy yesterday, has not proposed federalization of the issue, etc. It is also worth noting that the metaphor of a “bully pulpit” – it is not a “bully lectern” – suggests that in some sense the President, being head of state as well as head of government, has a unique role in leading a nation that is still very religious.

Wassup with RNC?

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First, The Republican National Committee's staffer charged with reaching out to Hispanic voters, an unenviable task that, said that Mitt Romney was "still deciding" what his position on immigration would be. Huh? Mr. Romney has made it quite clear, in the very public forum of several debates, what he thinks about immigration policy. He supports Arizona's draconian law. He supports Alabama's draconian law. He favors "self-deportation" and has promised to veto the DREAM Act because it is a magnet for illegal immigration, even though, by its own terms, it is a magnet for those who aspire to college or to protect the U.S. by serving in the military, in which case it would seem like a good magnet to have.

Then, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus pulled a Joe Biden on gay marriage, saying that the GOP does not support federalizing the issue, although mr. Romney is on record supporting a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Also, the Defense of Marriage Act is already an instance of federalizing the issue.

Lawler to USCCB: Ditch the Bubble Gum

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Phil Lawler at CatholicCulture.org seems worried that the USCCB is incapable of walking and chewing bubble gum at the same time. He is upset that instead of focusing exclusive on the issue of religious liberty and a few others, the USCCB is diluting its own message. What should the bishops have to say about farm policy?

Well, Mr. Lawler fails to recall the sonorous opening lines of Gaudium et Spes: "The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ."

Lugar's Loss - And Ours

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Sen. Richard Lugar did not merely lose his primary contest last night. He got thumped. Richard Mourdock took 60.6% of the vote in the Hoosier state to Lugar’s 39.4%. In all of his previous contests, Lugar has taken more than two-thirds of the vote. Six years ago, the Democrats did not even field a candidate against him. This is not your grandfather’s Republican Party.

Lugar joins former Senator Robert Bennett from Utah and former Congressman (and odds-on favorite to become a Senator) Mike Castle of Delaware in the list of those mainstream Republican candidates who were retired by their own party which has swung hard to the right. Some have given up trying, like Maine’s Senator Olympia Snowe, recognizing that even if you manage to win, your Republican caucus in the Senate is going to be sufficiently filled with fire-breathers, enabled by those whose Machiavellian instinct to worry most about obstructing one’s political opponents no matter what the cost, that what was once a rewarding job, reaching consensus in ways that benefit the nation, is no longer worth the effort.

Fr. Jenkins at Wesley

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Father John Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame, delivered the graduation speech at the Wesley Theological Seminary's commencement exercises, held this week at Washington Nation Cathedral. Jenkins called on all, but especially the graduates, to root ourselves in the Christian commitment to treat others fairly, be watchful for the danger of hubris and hatred in ourselves, and to always show respect to those with whom we disagree.

Outside, critics burned an effigy....just kidding.

More on Pro-life Dems

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I had reached out to former Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper for a comment about the Democrats for Life of America and their petition asking for a "big tent" on abortion in the party's platform. I wrote about this yesterday.

The comment arrived too late for my post yesterday, but it is worth posting on its own. Here is Dahlkemper's comment:

When I was running for Congress, my Democratic primary opponents questioned whether I was a “real” Democrat because of my pro-life stance.

I always refer to myself as a whole life Democrat and have fought for issues that Democrats hold dear including health care reform, a clean environment and educational opportunities for everyone. My whole life position also includes protecting the unborn. That position does not and should not negate my membership in the Democratic Party nor should people ever question my Party Affiliation due to my stance on abortion. There needs to be room for all Democrats in our big tent party so we can fight for the issues we all believe in.

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