The decision by the diocese of Arlington to require “fidelity oaths” from Sunday school teachers is deeply troubling. This morning’s Washington Post has the story. But, let me point out at the outset that the issue is troubling for both those who support the idea and those who oppose it.
To observe that Father John Zuhlsdorf is a crank is like observing that the sun rises in the East. You don't get points for stating the obvious.
But, at the end of this post, in which he rightly faults President Obama for his response to a question about the HHS mandate, Zuhlsdorf includes a fake poster showing, in a row, Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Mao-Zedong, and Obama. This crosses the line, even for someone as off-kilter as Zuhlsdorf. Marx, of course, was a writer and thinker, not a politician, so he fits rather oddly with the quartet: In Moscow, after the collapse of communism, the statues of Lenin were hurled from their pedastals, but not the statue of Marx not far from Red Square. There, the inscribed motto was altered, and not by much, to read: "Workers of the World, I'm Sorry." But, Lenin was bloodthirsty. Mao was one of the great mass murders of the 20th century. To put Obama with them is so wrong, I don't know where to begin.
While most of us at NCR were breathing a sigh of relief over the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act, the Court's ruling regarding the expansion of Medicaid is troubling. Sort of. On legal grounds, I suspect the Court got it right - the idea that the federal government could withdraw already pledged funds to the states to entice those same states to sign on for the expansion of Medicaid runs counter to the ideas of federalism at the heart of the Constitution.
Those who are prone to conspiratorial explanations of phenomenon tend to be, well, a little bit crazy. And, their craziness is not only intellectual, it is moral.
Yesterday, I looked at Romney’s problem, the need to continually conciliate a rabid base while not alienating moderate, swing voters, a task made more difficult because Romney simply does not talk or walk like either a wild-eyed libertarian or an evangelical zealot.
For President Obama, the problem is difficult but it also has to do with the fact that he has proven himself incapable of talking and walking like his party’s base. He, like Romney, is stuck with a personality that is strangely out-of-touch with the job he holds.
Fordham's Charles Camosy has a new book out - "Peter Singer and Christian Ethics: Beyond Polarization" - and, over at America, Camosy has a podcast up discussing his work. I have started Camosy's book, but had to set it aside to do some reading on assignment, but I hope to have a review of it posted next week. In the meantime, get Camosy in his own words on the podcast.
There was distressing news for Mitt Romney in the most recent Washington Post/ABC News poll. Yes, the poll showed that he was dead even with President Obama nationally, both men garnering the support of 47% of the electorate. But, while 75% of Obama supporters said that their choice was based on their support for the president and 23% said they were supporting Obama primarily because they were against his opponent, only 37% of those who said they would vote for Romney said their choice was based on support for him, while a stunning 59% said they were primarily opposed to giving Obama a second term.
Our friends at the Crossroads Cultural Center have posted the videos of the event I attended at the end of June, where both Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete and I spoke about the Holy Father's speech to the Bundestag. You can access the videos by going to the Crossroads website here.
Over the at Weekly Standard, Georgetown University's Tom Farr has an essay on the dangers to religious liberty around the globe. I share his concerns, both about how the issue plays out in countries like Iraq, where most Christians have fled, and Egypt, where many Christians fear they may yet have to flee. And, I worry about the cavalier way some liberal democracies are shunting religious opinions aside. Farr writes:
Many of the nation's bishops have been at pains to insist that their concern about religious liberty is not a partisan concern. I know many who doubt the bishops' statements in this regard, but I do not and I am quite willingly to blame the Obama administration for the current fight and for the partisan implications of the consequences.