I am usually immune to bouts of flu and the like, but starting yesterday afetrnoon, I have taken ill with fever and chills. I shall not be posting today.
Baylor University's Thomas Kidd has an article up at Patheos that looks at how evangelical voters can and should approach the GOP nominating process. I especially liked his concern about a traditional evangelical concern, religious liberty, and how some of the GOP candidates ignore that traditional concern and start fear-mongering about Muslims.
Yesterday, I was a guest on the "Colin McEnroe Show" on WNPR here in Connecticut. I was on a panel with former gubernatorial candidate Bill Curry and local news reporter Christine Stuart to discuss the budget negotiations going on between the Governor, the legislature and state employee labor unions. Here is a link to the audio.
I was especially proud to be able to point out that state employees are the only people on the planet whose work contracts are subject to review by state legislatures, which is like being the only teeth in someone's mouth subject to the attentions of an 18th century dentist. And, later in the show I was able to make the point, so central to Catholic social teaching, that labor is not a commodity and efforts to see it as such, either by businesses or government, is an ethical lapse.
By the way, anyone who thinks federalism is the answer should spend some time at your state legislature.
The President gave a mostly impressive performance at his press conference yesterday. Whenever a president finds himself being compared to Harry S. Truman, it is a good day for that president.
As noted in the link above, one of President Obama’s strongest parts of the news conference was when he castigated Congress for failing to act on a variety of measures that might help the economy create more jobs. He noted pending legislation on trade, middle class tax cuts, infrastructure improvements and revising the patent system and challenged Congress to pass the bills. In addition to the Trumanesque charge that Congress is not doing all it should, here was Obama defending a proposition that the GOP denies, that government is part of the solution and not just the problem when trying to stimulate the economy. I wish the President had been a little more explicit on that point, mentioning the jobs that were saved at Chrysler and GM, the people working on infrastructure projects right this moment, etc.
Mark Silk at Spiritual Politics looks at the latest Gallup figures on the God Gap. As usual, more religiously observant American tend to the Republicans, moderately religious Americans tend towards the Democrats, and non-religious Americans overwhelmingly support the Dems.
NCR pulled in a big haul of awards from the Catholic Press Association. But, I also wish to call attention to another one of the award winners. Professor Charles Camosy of Fordham won second place in the category Social Concerns category for his book "Too Expensive To Treat? Finitude, Tragedy and the Nenatal ICU" which can be found, and purchased, at Amazon by clicking here.
Camosy is one of the movers and shakers behind the Catholic Conversation Project, a group of young, untenured theologians who meet to discuss issues of concern to the Church. His commentaries have appeared in these pages before and I reviewed his book here.
Congrats to Camosy for his fine book and his well-earned award.
Yesterday, Michelle Bachmann was interviewed by George Stephanopoulos. He asked her about her claim that the founding fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery, a claim that does not pass the historical sniff test.
Bachmann not only stood by her remarks but brought an example. She cited the anti-slavery efforts of John Quincy Adams. To be sure, John Quincy was a great hero in the cause of abolition, but he was also nine years old when his dad signed the Declaration of Independence. What can we conclude from this? Bachmann saw the movie "Amistad."
If Pentecost is known, properly, as the “birthday” of the Christian Church, today is the Catholic Church’s “name day.” Unity in faith is one of the gifts of the Spirit, so Pentecost bespeaks a decidedly ecumenical flavor and agenda, but the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul is a distinctly Roman day. This is why the Ecumenical Patriarch comes to Rome, or sends a legate, on this day as the Pope sends a legate to Istanbul on the Feast of St. Andrew.
The fact that the feast day is shared by the two greatest apostles tells us something about the nature of the Church. Peter is the rock, the foundation on which the Church is built. Paul is the great missionary, called to bring the Good News to the gentiles. The Catholic Church must always embody both vocations. It must be solid, rock solid, able to withstand the fads and threats that beset every age. It must also constantly be looking beyond itself, bringing the Gospels to the gentiles of our day. And not only to the gentiles, but the Church must bring the Gospel to those parts of our hearts and minds that remain hidden from the light of Christ.
The following Action Alert from the USCCB was issued today. (I apologize if links do not work - my cursor is beyond skittish and, as soon as I return to DC next week, will be getting a new computer. Bear with me.)
Protect our Poor and Vulnerable Brothers and Sisters
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops urges Congress and the Administration to protect programs for poor and vulnerable persons during deficit reduction negotiations that are happening this week.
What you can do:
Urge the Administration and Congress to give priority to poor and vulnerable persons in the negotiations to reduce the deficit.
Fiscal responsibility is important and our current budget deficit must be addressed; however, a just framework for future budgets cannot rely on disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor persons. A balanced approach requires shared sacrifice by all, including raising adequate revenues, eliminating unnecessary spending, and addressing the long-term costs of health insurance and retirement programs fairly.
Urge Congress and the Administration to consider these moral criteria to guide their budgetary decisions:
Chris Cillizza, the very bright political reporter at the Washington Post, looks at Michelle Bachmann's explicit efforts to become the, make that THE, Tea Party candidate of choice. And, he compares that effort to the 2008 effort of Gov, Mike Huckabee to become THE candidate of the religious right.
But, as Mark Silk points out, there is more than a little overlap between the Tea Party and the religious right. And, I would add that while Huckabee built his lightly financed campaign on the social network of home schoolers, in Bachmann, those home schoolers see not only a champion as they did with Huckabee, but one of their own. After all, most of the parents who actually do the home schooling are women.