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The \"Shifting Religious Landscape\"

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Last week I mentioned that CUA’s Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies and the Public Religion Research Institute were teaming up for an event at the National Press Club about the role of religion in the 2012 elections. The event was yesterday, and in one of the happiest signs that the mainstream media finally “gets it,” the room was packed with reporters.

Silk on Florida

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Mark Silk, at his new blog site, looks at some of the recent polling data on the Florida primary which will be held tomorrow. Clearly, the glut of negative ads the Romney campaign has dumped on the Sunshine State is having its desired effect, but I think it is way too premature to count out Gingrich even if he does terribly in Florida. The key dynamic in this race for many months now has been this: The GOP electorate is not thrilled with any of their choices and as soon as someone looks close to winning, they spank the frontrunner at the next primary. This could go on for a very long time.

Silk also notes the persistence of the "Mormon Gap" among white evangelicals.

Dana Dillon on Cooperating with Evil

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One of the moral, as opposed to legal and political, issues raised by the HHS decision not to expand conscience exemptions is whether or not providing insurance coverage for treatments the Church considers wrong is whether or not such provision of insurance would constitute cooperation with evil.

In a very smart essay, Dana Dillon, one of the young theologians I have come to truly admire, looks at this issue. Dillon not only carefully reflects on how our Catholic moral framework copes with that question, but she reminds us that this issue is not only about contraception. Among the treatments the new mandate requires are drugs like Ella which are abortifacients.

Governments and the Economy

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It must be somewhat unnerving, for the campaign staffs of both President Obama and his would-be opponents, to realize that the fate of November’s election may be determined largely by events over which they have no control. Corporations are recording record profits, but they are hesitant to invest in new plant and equipment and, most especially, in new employees, so the success of the business community is not “trickling down” to the millions of Americans who are out of work or under-employed. No one knows if the government of Greece will be able to negotiate new debt terms with its lenders. Will the economy of Italy respond to the “austerity” plans of the current government, even though austerity has never once worked before to stave off a foreign-debt crisis? What impact will the faltering economies of Greece, Italy and Spain have on the Eurozone and what will be their impact on the US economy?

Big Pro-Life Win

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Pro-life leaders are hailing a decision by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to support a resolution banning euthanasia, specifically as regards advance directives and living wills.

This is a fight we can antipiate coming to these shores: Indeed, the fight is on in Massachusetts. I have written before that protecting the elderly is a cause to which all Catholics, from the left or the right, should be willing to sign on to. Whether the assault on the elderly is from misguided euthanasia advocates or from those who wish to slash the social safety net by cutting Medicare, we RCs need to protect the human dignity of the elderly no matter who a=or what the threat.

Nate Silver on the Debate

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The NYTimes' Nate Silver argues in a strongly reasoned post this morning that Newt Gingrich, the most well paid historian in the country, failed to take account of recent history in devising his strategy for the debates this week in Florida. Just as Romney, wanting to appear above the fray and presidential after his New Hampshire win, got clobbered by Gingrich in both South Carolina debates, Gingrich was decidedly less aggressive in the two debates this week in Florida.

The Debate: Gingrich and Romney in a Draw

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Last night’s GOP debate in Jacksonville, Florida displayed a surprisingly pugnacious Mitt Romney, a performance by Newt Gingrich that was strong but not dominating as he had been in earlier contests, some funny lines from Ron Paul, and a very strong, but seemingly irrelevant, performance by Rick Santorum. The question is whether anything said last night will make a difference in next Tuesday’s vote.

Meyerson on Manufacturing

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Harold Meyerson, who is one of my favorite columnists, looks at the way candidates on both sides of the aisle are advocating reindustrialization. The fact is that not all Americans go to college, not all Americans will find work in the high-tech field, but they are still Americans and still entitled to partake of the American Dream. The future of America should belong to Americans, not just to multinational corporations that looked out only for their own profit and not for America's workers.

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November 21-December 5, 2014

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