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We fear that every day is 9/11

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What we may remember most about the 10th anniversary of September 11 in New York is that nothing happened. Nobody blew up the George Washington Bridge. Nobody flew a botulism-spraying crop-duster over Midtown Manhattan. Nobody set off mustard gas in the middle of St. Patrick's Cathedral.

It was an otherwise ordinary Sunday in the City. Except half the town was scared to death.

Re-thinking the theological thought police

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What might baldly be called the Vatican Thought Police are after Theological Studies, the 71-year-old journal for professional theologians that has 2,848 subscribers in 90 countries. They’ve made noises about some of the journal’s essays, apparently forcing it to print a rebuttal to one of them.

There is a cold wind blowing out of Rome. Has anyone noticed that Catholic theologians are running for the secular hills?

Ireland, the Vatican and clerical narcissism

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Not long after the Irish government's report on the Cloyne diocese smashed into the public eye, the Irish Prime Minister delivered an eloquent speech before the Irish Parliament in which he decried "the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism … the narcissism that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day."

The Vatican's response is delayed. It seems the pertinent Vatican officials are on vacation.

Same-sex marriage: 7, Bishops: 0

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I don't think the recent legalization of same-sex marriage in New York state was as much a victory for its proponents as it was a defeat for the coalition of religious leaders -- especially the Catholic bishops -- who opposed it.

In the public debate, one side was "pro" and the other side was "anti." That is the heart of the public relations situation. The bishops walked the negative side of the street.

One nation, under God

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In a worldwide telecast, the National Broadcasting Company dropped God from the Pledge of Allegiance. The website for “The Manhattan Declaration” says don’t worry about it because the network apologized, so it’s OK.

It is not OK.

At the start of its Fathers’ Day broadcast of the U.S. Open Golf Championship, NBC re-wrote the Pledge, twice omitting the words “under God.” The annual golf extravaganza telecast opened with patriotic B-roll and voice-over of children reciting the doctored Pledge of Allegiance, military personnel saluting the flag, and historic footage of golfers wildly celebrating their winning the championship.

“The Manhattan Declaration” folks picked up on it. Their 2009 manifesto -- spearheaded by Princeton professor Robert P. George, Samford (Alabama) Divinity dean Timothy George, and evangelist Chuck Colson -- restates Americans’ freedoms not to support abortion, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide, euthanasia, and same-sex marriage. “The Manhattan Declaration” website argues strongly for religious values in civic life. But its blogger says we should forgive and forget about NBC rewriting the Pledge of Allegiance.

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July 4-17, 2014

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