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And We Wonder Why CDF Gets Worried?


My colleague Tom Fox has posted excerpts from an essay by Regina Schulte. There is much in the essay I find objectionable or foolish or both, but these lines especially jumped out at me:

They [the hierarchy] fuss about obedience, dogma, retro-liturgical maneuvers, the charade about religious freedom, women’s reproductive behaviors, and who marries whom. American nuns find such issues to be counterproductive to the works of the Gospel, at worst; and mere distractions at best.

I am not sure what reading of the Church's history, or the Christian Scriptures, or the documents of Vatican II, would permit one to think that obedience is not worth fussing about. Maybe I just have more sins than Ms. Schulte - I do not doubt it. For me, the desire to be obedient to Christ is something I fuss about a lot.

Evangelicals Not All On Board Rel Liberty Fight


The Family Research Council, one of the nation's premiere conservative Christian organizations's, announced this week that it had hired retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin as its executive vice-president. This is very disturbing. Boykin has a long history of anti-Islamic fear-mongering and was, in fact, rebuked by President George W. Bush after Boykin said that the God of Islam was "an idol," a claim that fell beyond his competence as a general and, what is worse, endangered U.S. troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Romney's Taxes & \"All you people\"


When Mrs. Ann Romney told Robin Roberts on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that she and her husband, presidential candidate Mitt Romney, had “given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life,” she betrayed a grave misunderstanding on modern democracy. Her comment lacked the cluelessness of Marie Antoinette’s famous, and likely apocryphal, “let them eat cake” line, but the two remarks share a common lack: accountability.

In a democracy, we the people get to decide what we think we need to know about those who aspire to public office. And the extent to which we are entitled to invade a person’s privacy is directly correlative to the amount of power we are being asked to entrust to the person seeking office. In the case of the modern presidency, Mr. Romney seeks a great deal of power and consequently we are entitled to know a great deal about his past.

Morna Murray on the ACA


Over the Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Morna Murray, special counsel to Sen. Bob Casey, has a great essay explaining some of the parts of the Afforcable Care Act that have been forgotten, such as those provisions incorporated into the law from the Pregnant Women Support Act. Whatever issues those of us in the pro-life community have with the HHS mandate, it is important to remember that there are other parts of the law that are profoundly helpful to women facing crisis pregnancies. And, that's pro-life.

Maryland DREAM Act


The press release below came into my inbox yesterday from a group advocating on behalf of the DREAM Act in Maryland, which goes to a referendum this November.

Today, dozens of students, teachers, faith leaders and members of civil rights and community organizations and labor unions joined prominent university president Freeman Hrabowski, president of University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Bishop Denis Madden, auxiliary bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore for the launch of Educating Maryland Kids, the coalition working to protect the Maryland DREAM Act. I am pleased to see a Catholic bishop taking such a forceful stance in support of this vital legislation. Here is the text of the release:

"I know the power of education to transform lives. Moreover, I know the power of telling a child that, 'Yes, we want you to get the best education possible,’” said Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, president of UMBC (The University of Maryland, Baltimore County). “Supporting our children is the American way and the right thing to do for many reasons. Most important, perhaps, it leads to a stronger and more prosperous America."

Reaction to Wheaton College Joining HHS Suits


Morning Briefing has a link to an essay jointly written by CUA President john Garvey and Wheaton College President Philip Ryken, that appeared in the Wall Street Journal. The essay explains some of the reasons Wheaton has joined with CUA in its lawsuit against the HHS mandate.

And, at "Debating Obama," Greg Metzger looks at some of the media reaction to the news of Wheaton's lawsuit.

The Contentious Legacy of Roger Williams


Over at Religion & Politics, Thomas Lewis has an essay on the admixture of religion and politics in Rhode Island. Roger Williams founded the colony of Rhode Island in large part to create a haven of religious tolerance, after he was expelled from Massachusetts. Rhode Island is also an interesting venue for such fights because it is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic and overwhelmingly Democratic. The essay points to the central conundrum in these fights: Williams wanted to keep religion and politics separate, but they keep mixing anyway, and in the U.S. the default position has become to keep the public square - the officially public square, that is anything governmental - free of all religious symbols. But, how is that not an endorsement of secularism? These issues are very, very thorny.

Three Victories in the Fight Against Islamophobia


Islamophobia is one of the uglier sins of our day. Also one of the more prominent. But, a victory was achieved yesterday in the fight against Islamophobia when Chief Judge Todd Campbell of the Nashville federal District Court ruled that the building of a new mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee could proceed. In June, a local judge cited “tremendous public interest” in ruling that the new mosque needed to meet a different, and higher, hurdle from that imposed on other religious building permits. The lead counsel for the mosque was the Becket Fund’s Deputy General Counsel Luke Goodrich.

Earlier in the day, before the ruling, the Becket Fund released a powerful statement on the issue. The letter detailed the campaign of intimidation and violence to which the mosque’s members had been subjected. And, in the finest tradition of American concern for liberty, the letter stated:

Rabbi Saperstein on Bachmann's Charge


Rabbi David Saperstein,Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement in response to the charge made my Cong. Michele Bachmann and other House Republicans, that the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated the U.S. government:

I am deeply troubled by the allegations made by Rep. Michelle Bachmann and other Members of Congress in letters to the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Defense and State, asserting that respected government officials and religious organizations are connected to the Muslim Brotherhood. The letters assert that Huma Abedin, Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary Clinton, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and ISNA President Imam Mohammed Magid, are all connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, posing a potential security risk to the United States.

The Reform Movement, and I personally, have worked with Ms. Abedin, Imam Magid and ISNA for many years. All have worked on behalf of U.S. interests at home and abroad, built relationships across religious lines and affirmed U.S. constitutional values.


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November 20-December 3, 2015


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