Danmiel Maguire of Marquette University has an article up at Religion Dispatches in which he shows how Congressman Paul Ryan's attempts to invoke Catholic social teaching in defense of his budget proposals are mere window dressing, and, in the event, window dressing that is directly at odds with any truthful account of Catholic social teaching.
The New York Times has a look at "reparative therapy" in which some Christian psychologists try to turn gay people straight, and how it is or is not practised at the clinic run by Michelle Bachmann's husband.
Normally, a spouse's work is way down on the list of things with which the voters, and the media, should concern themselves. But, Congresswoman Bachmann has been touting the fact that this clinic is a small business and listing it among her credentials for the office of the presidency. Mind, friends of mine who work at clinics do not usually refer to them as small businesses. They seem them primarily as aiming at goal other than profit. Be that as it may, reparative therapy is to psychology what climate change denial is to geology. This is kookie stuff. And, it is another indication of how far off the tracks the far right has gone.
Dear Mr. President,
I was thrilled to vote for you in 2008. I admired your intelligence and your self-confidence. I thought your calls for a post-partisan future were naïve, but well-meant. And, you spoke in a language, a morally driven language, that evoked the strong words of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, language about the common good and the least of our brethren. I thought in voting for you not only that my vote – and millions of others – would help free our nation from the idolatry of laissez-faire economic theory, but that you stood with FDR, Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson, in their commitment to keeping the Democratic Party as the champion of the working class.
The news reports about your desire for a “grand bargain” now fill me and others like me with dread. So, let me start by saying what I was not voting for when I voted for you in 2008.
Somehow, Herman Cain thinks building a mosque in Tennessee is an infringement on his freedom.
I use the verb "thinks" loosely. Can this man explain how he understands the nature of freedom of worship? Can he explain anything? How is this idiot still polling higher than serious candidates like Newt Gingrich or Tim Pawlenty?
Sr. Mary Ann Walsh uses the occasion of Bill Keller's now controversial review in the New York Times to look at the phenomenon of lapsed Catholics. It is a moving post, well worth reading, especially because it articulates the hold the Church has upon the imaginations even of those who leave her.
This article in the Huffington Post looks at the controversy surrounding Michele Bachmann's church - which she apparently only quit last month - and their beliefs about the papacy.
The spokesoman for the Evangelical Lutheran Church said Bachmann's pastor had explained what he thought was the critical distinction, namely that their church "primarily views the office of the papacy as the anti-Christ, not the individual popes themselves." Not sure about you, but that does not really satisfy does it?
Opponents of the Maryland DREAM Act have garnered a sufficient number of signatures to delay implementation of the law and to put the measure to a referendum of voters in 2012. This has ugly implications not only for immigrants, but for the very health of our political life, which is not exactly flourishing to begin with. On the other hand, there is, as almost always, a silver lining.
Some 4,000 pastors nationwide signed an open letter to Congress asking that social programs that help the poor and the marginalized not be cut during the final budget negotiations. The pastors point out that real people will be hurt by these cuts, which are usually discussed in DC as if they were mere line items in a budget. The letter is powerful and if your pastor has not signed it, urge him to do so.
Yesterday, Our Sunday Visitor posted a column by Congressman Paul Ryan in which he explained how he understands Catholic Social Teaching and how he applied it to his budget proposals. Today, OSV has an article from Professor Stephen Schneck, director of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at CUA presenting a vastly different, and far more accurate, explanation of how Ryan's budget does and does not cohere with Catholic teaching.
GOP presidential aspirant Tim Pawlenty, the former Governor of Minnesota, has posted a video in which he explains how his faith informs all that he does. Unsurprisingly, he repeats the idea that the Separation of Church & State was designed to protect the Church from the State, which is only half the story: The founders clearly also wanted government free from ecclesiastical interference. And, in speaking of traditional marriage, he notes that the Bible teaches the centrality of marriage between one man and one woman, neglecting the fact that the Hebrew Scriptures are also filled with instances of polygamy.
But, as an RC, I was especially interested in the almost breezy way he described the way he left the Catholic Church to join his wife's evangelical church. I am just enough of a stiff-necked Catholic to miss the days when it was virtually assumed that a mixed-marriage would result in the non-Catholic becoming Catholic. I can understand why a person would leave the Catholic Church and become an atheist or an agnostic, but I simply cannot understand how someone would leave the Catholic Church to join a Protestant denomination. I will never understand it.
Here is the video: