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\"War on Religion?\"

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I called attention last week to Rick Perry's ad in which he charges President Obama with conducting a "war on religion." Below, I print the text of the President's remarks at the annual "Christmas in Washington" concert last night. Tell me, Gov. Perry, is this what a war on religion looks and sounds like?

7:31 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Good evening. Thank you. Thank you. Everybody, please, have a seat.
Good evening, everybody. I just want to start by thanking all the folks who have joined us at the National Building Museum. Let’s give it up for our host, who also happens to be the host of the best late night show on TBS, Conan O’Brien. (Laughter and applause.) And I want to thank all the spectacular artists and choirs and glee clubs who have made this such a spectacular evening. Please give them a big round of applause. (Applause.)

A Shameful Slur Against Fr. Curran

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In this morning's Real Clear Religion, Mark Judge has an article, unbiasedly titled "How Catholic University Rid Itself of Father Curran." (N.B. My use of the adverb "unbiasedly" should be read a drenched in derision.)

That article, among other flaws, contains this sentence: "Something of a con man and obviously obsessed with sex, he made the authorities at Catholic University look like doddering saps."

I had Father Curran as a professor in 1986. He was, hands down, the toughest, most demanding professor I had. I did not always agree with his views, but he was a wonderful professor. When he finished his lecture on Lutheran ethics, you were convinced that the last words on ethics had been stated. Until the next week when, presenting class ic Thomistic teachings on ethics, you understood that they had rendered the last word on ethics. He had that gift, essential but increasingly rare in the modern academy, of being able to sympathetically present views other than his own.

More Thoughts on Plan B

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The controversy continues surrounding Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius’s decision not to make Plan B, the morning after pill, available to girls under the age of seventeen without a prescription. As I noted last week, critics of the decision espouse a new religion, scientism, and believe that anything the high priests of the laboratory conclude is safe and effective must be just fine.

Jones on Gingrich and Evangelicals

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Robert P. Jones, of the Public Religion Reserach Institute, looks the evangelical attitudes towards the candidacy of Newt Gingrich, the gender differences among evangelicals on the issue of marital infideltity and, critically, the need for Gingrich to consistently work in his redemption narrative if he wants to win over evangelical voters. Jones' analysis is, per usual and as expected, spot-on and highly instructive.

And, you have to love the quote from Pastor Jeffress: "I think there’s now an evangelical tri-lemma. Do you vote for a Mormon who’s had one wife, a Catholic who’s had three wives, or an Evangelical who may have had an entire harem?" Jeffress made his remarks before Cain dropped out, but it is more than a little ironic, is it not, that the candidate with one wife is the Mormon.

Is This Really a \"Catholic Issue\"?

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Over at the Christian Post, Napp Nazworth makes the case that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was trying to help the administration secure the Catholic vote by deciding not to allow girls as young as 11 to access Plan B without a prescription. It is true that the USCCB applauded the decision, but this has not been at the top of their agenda. The decision had less to do with the Catholic vote than it had to do with the parent vote. As the President said yesterday in his comments on the decision, this was a victory for common sense.

Carolan at Prayer Vigil for Jobs

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At yesterday's Natonal Prayer Vigil for the Jobless and Jobs, our friend Patrick Carolan, Executive Director of the Franciscan Action Network, addressed the crowd. You can read my earlier article about the Franciscan Action Network here.

Here is the text of his remarks:

Statement by Patrick Carolan Executive Director Franciscan Action Network
Faith Advocates for Jobs National Prayer Vigil
For the Jobless and Jobs Prayer Service
12-08-2011 Upper Senate Park US Capitol

Brothers and Sisters Good Morning

Peace and All Good:

I would like to start with a reading from the Gospel of Matthew 25 34-40

New Data from Pew

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Yesterday, the blogging was a little thin because I attended an all-day conference at the Pew Research Center on media coverage of religion and politics. The event brought together journalists and scholars to look at past coverage, analyze current polling data, and discuss issues regarding news coverage of religion.

John Green, a senior research adviser at Pew and professor at the University of Akron, and Alan Cooperman, the Pew Forum’s associate director for research, provided some interesting data on a survey conducted in the beginning of November. The Republican race has changed quite a bit since then – Cain was then in the lead and Gingrich had not begun his race to the top of the polls – but much of the data was still enlightening.

Obama Holding His Own with Blacks & Latinos

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According to a new survey, President Barack Obama continues to receive high marks from both African-American and Latino voters. His numbers among Latinos are down slightly from 2008: Then, he received the votes of 67 percent of Latinos according to exit polls, but the new survey only shows him taking 64 percent. That downturn, however, comes before what you can expect will be some hard-hitting ads about the increasingly virulent anti-immigration stances of the various GOP candidates. Key states such as Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, North Carolina and Florida may all depend on how well Obama does among Latinos.

HHS, Plan B & Scientism

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Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius yesterday overruled the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to make Plan-B, the morning-after pill, available without a prescription to any woman of child-bearing age. Sebelius’s decision is a victory for common sense and it is not, as it is being portrayed, a defeat for science. It is only a defeat for scientism, the reduction of science to that status of an ideology, an "ism."

Plan B is currently available without a prescription to any woman aged 17 or over. Anyone younger than that needs a prescription. The FDA’s recommendation would have allowed girls as young as 11 to purchase the drug in any drug store without any parental consent or doctor’s prescription. “There is adequate and reasonable, well-supported, and science-based evidence that Plan B One-Step is safe and effective and should be approved for nonprescription use for all females of child-bearing potential,” FDA Administrator Margaret Hamburg said in a statement.

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September 12-25, 2014

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