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Defending Jerry Falwell

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At Politico, Joe Scarborough writes: "Since Jerry Falwell founded The Moral Majority in 1979, few things have unified American liberals as much as their contempt for self-righteous types who pushed a political agenda by attacking the faith of partisan opponents." Alas, whatever one's objections to Falwell's politics, I do not once recall him "attacking the faith of partisan opponents." Yes, he criticized their moral reasonings. Yes, he felt betrayed especially by Jimmy Carter, the first "born again" president who, in Falwell's eyes, gave Baptists a bad name. But, he never denounced Carter's faith, or Ted Kennedy's, or any other politician. He was highly critical of other evangelists, especially Pentecostals, on religious grounds but those criticisms had nothing to do with politics.

The habit of some rightwing zealots today have adopted of impugning President Obama's faith, or some leftwing zealots today have of impugning Mitt Romney;s faith, is truly ugly. It is not truly Falwellian.

Obama's Speech at the Holocaust Memorial Museum

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Yesterday, President Obama spoke at the Holocaust Memorial Museum. News accounts have focused on his announcement of new sanctions against Syria and Iran regarding their use of new technologies to further their repressive aims. The President also announced the establishment of an Atrocities Prevention Board, that will serve senior government officials across many bureaucratic jurisdictions, to alert them to pending challenges and articulate policy responses to horror. All to the good.

AZ Anti-Immigrant Law Heads to SCOTUS

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The United States Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments this week in the case Arizona v. United States. At issue is Arizona’s anti-immigration law, known as S. B. 1070, which requires police officers to ascertain the legal status of those they suspect of being in the U.S. illegally.

There are a variety of legal reasons why the Court can and should strike down the law. For obvious reasons, immigration policy is a federal, not a state, issue. If Arizona can find legal justification for police action that effectively creates a second juridical border, what is to keep California from pulling down the barriers that exist along its border with Mexico? Federal immigration law is enough of a mess without further complicating the issue by permitting all fifty states to enact their own separate provisions.

CACG Back Bishops on Ryan Budget

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Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good has weighed in to support the USCCB's concerns about the Ryan budget. First, in their "Common Good Forum," this week, they published an essay by Nick Cafardi that is well worth the read.

Today, they issued a press release on the subject. The text follows:
Fred Rotondaro, Chair of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, an organization of lay Catholics committed to traditional Catholic social teaching, issued the following statement on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ letters to members of Congress regarding the budget, and on Speaker John Boehner’s and Cong. Paul Ryan’s responses:

Kilgore on Romney & Evangelicals

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I think Ed Kilgore, at the New Republic, is mostly right when he indicates that most evangelical leaders will dutifully line up behind the candidacy of Mitt Romney, their concern for the issues trumping their doubts about his unorthodox doctrinal beliefs. But, most is not all. Kilgore fails to mention the deep fear harbored by some evangelical pastors about the legitimacy a Romney presidency would confer upon Mormonism. Those evangelical churches that are deeply engaged in missionary work in Lein America and Africa will be especially conscious of this danger because in those parts of the world, evangelicals are in direct competition with Mormons for converts.

Schindler on Religious Liberty

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I confess my bias, but Professor David Schindler, of the John Paul II Institute for the Study of Marriage and the Family, is the best, most incisive, smartest theologian in the United States. There are not many books that have literally changed my life, but his book "Heart of the World; Center of the Church," changed my life, opening avenues of reflection i did not know existed.

In the current issue of Communio, Schindler has an essay that looks at the religious liberty debate. With his typical grasp of the theological implications that tend to remain opaque to the rest of us, Schindler exposes a principal difficulty with the USCCB's embrace of the religious liberty issue: Our nation's negative conception of freedom possesses a hidden metaphysics that simply does not square with Catholic anthropology.

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In This Issue

May 22-June 4, 2015

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