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Church & State: A Briefing Paper from Pew

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The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has posted an update of its basic "white paper" on church-state issues in the courts, noting the Supreme Court's decision to grant cert in Hosanna Tabor Church v. EEOC, about which I blogged earlier this week.
The Pew paper offers a concise overview of the legal and constitutional issues involved and is a good starting point for anyone trying to get their heads around these very complicated issues.

Zulsdorf Nails It (Unintentionally)

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Father John Zuhlsdorf has a little post entitled "A study in contrasts, or why we need Summorum Pontificum and the Corrected Translation." Blissfully, and uncharacteristically, Zuhlsdorf provides little commentary in the post, he just puts up two photographs, one showing a woman carrying a bowl of incense at the recent Los Angeles Catholic Education Conference and the other an old painting of a traditional Latin Mass. The contrast is, indeed, jarring, but not for the reason Zuhlsdorf thinks. The woman with the incense is participating at a Mass where thousands of people joined in; the celebration was, by all accounts, very faith-filled for all. Newly installed Archbishop Gomez said "I have been amazed" by the gathering. In contrast, the print of the old Mass shows a few lonely souls gathered around the altar.

Making the Moral Case for Unions

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Michael Kazin, at The New Republic, writes about how a small union organizing effort at Georgetown University is succeeding in large part because it has made an explicitly moral case for its efforts. This moral argument has attracted many allies who might otherwise be uninterested were the union's case built solely around an argument for advancing the interests of its members. There is a lesson here for the broader progressive community: They need a moral argument, a narrative, if they want to win in the court of public opinion and, in the event, they have a good moral argument to make.

Unions (and Wisconsin Voters) Push Back

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Wisconsin voters have collected more than enough signatures to mount a recall effort against one of several GOP state senators being targetted for a recll election because they supported the effort of Gov. Scott Walker to attack collective bargaining rights.
Reaction, in both senses of the word, produces a counter-reaction.
The GOP over-reach in Wisconsin is proving to be just that, an over-reach. Elected because of a dreary economic climate, the GOP mis-interpreted its mandate to mount a full-scale attack on fundamental rights. Americans don't like that. And, in a democracy, the people have the power to make the GOP pay for its over-reach. On Wisconsin!

Johnson's book and lessons from history

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In reading about the decision of the U.S. bishops' doctrine committee to condemn a 2007 book by Sr. Elizabeth Johnson of Fordham University, my thoughts turned back to another story of ecclesiastic condemnation in the late 19th-century regarding the writings of Henry George. Back then, some U.S. prelates argued that condemnations were ill-suited to the American temperament and were likely to produce more harm than good.

Real Socialized Medicine

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Bless their hearts, the Vermont House of Representatives passed a bill that puts the Green Mountain state on the path to a single-payer health care system. At a time when many states are looking for ways to frustrate the health care reform law, how welcoming to find a state that is moving the ball further than the White House could move it last year. A single-payer health care system is the best solution, and always has been, and ,yes, it is socialized medicine and I am all for it.
(H/T- Ben Smith at Politico)

Newman Scholar Ian Ker to Speak at CUA

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Father Ian Ker wrote the definitive biography of Cardinal, and now Blessed, John Henry Newman and was honored by the Holy Father at the Mass of Beatification for Newman last year. He will be giving a lecture at Catholic University on April 27, 2011 at 4:15 on the topic, "Newman's Idea of a University - Some Misunderstandings." The lecture is part of the year-long festivites commemorating the inauguration of John garvey as President of the Catholic University of America, all organized around the theme "Intellect and Virtue." The lecture will be held in the Great Room at the Pryzbyla Center on campus. This is a must-attend lecture.

Galston is Wrong

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Bill Galston, of the Brookings Institution, is a very smart man and I disagree with him very rarely. But, in a post at New Republic this morning, he gives President Obama some really bad advice about answering the forthcoming budget proposals from Cong. Paul Ryan.
Ryan is one of the stars of the new GOP - he is articulate and smart, and he seems to know the budget inside and out, better than almost any of his colleagues to be sure. But, his proposals, if they track with his "Roadmap," are likely to take aim at some of the core programs Democrats hold dear, starting with Social Security and Medicare.

Sullivan Looks at Newt's Outreach to Evangelicals

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Amy Sullivan, who is one of the few journalists who really understand religion and the religio-political landscape, looks at Newt Gingrich's attempts to reach out to Evangelical voters in a post at Time magazine. It is more than passing strange that the new Catholic Gingrich should be courting Rev. John Hagee who thinks Catholicism is the "great whore." But, with Donald Trump becoming a birther and Michelle Bachmann considering the race (for those who think Sarah Palin is just too much of a nerdy intellectual), the GOP presidential sweepstakes promises to be strange indeed.

Of Hedgehogs & Foxes

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Sir Isaiah Berlin begins his justly famous essay on Tolstoy by invoking a fragment of poetry found in Athens and attributed to Aeschylus. The fragment read: “The fox knows many things; the hedgehog knows one big thing.” Berlin than goes on to categorize certain great contributors to Western civilization based on whether they were foxes or hedgehogs, whether they pursue many ends or relate all ends to a central objective or theme, whether their ideas exhibit centripetal or centrifugal tendencies, whether they are pluralists or monists. Among the foxes, Berlin puts Shakespeare, Herodotus, Aristotle, Montaigne, Erasmus, Moilere, Goethe, Pushkin, Balzac and Joyce. Among the hedgehogs, he places Dante, Plato, Lucretius, Pascal. Hegel, Dostoevsky, Ibsen and Proust.

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