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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.

Who are these guys and where did they come from?

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Testosterone is in the news again from coast to coast. The new reality TV follows the misadventures of over-sexed men, their victims, and their defenders. It looks like a cartoon about a dysfunctional high school.

Reading from the left, in California Arnold Schwarzenegger (football coach), gets a housekeeper pregnant and lies about it for 15 years or so while his wife raises their son, born a few days earlier.

Firing bishops and the new evangelization

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It looks like the church is developing parallel universes.

To the left are writers and a few bishops who think some topics shouldn't be swept under the Vatican carpet; their stories gone viral. To the right are card-carrying genuine real live Catholics whose often angry blogs support their idea of the One True Faith.

Most of us are in the middle. Daily battered by a tsunami of information, we are increasingly selective of what messages we receive. So we choose.

Your Holiness, it is time for women deacons

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His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
00120 Vatican City State, Europe

Your Holiness:

Forgive my presumption in addressing you directly, but the matter I bring is both urgent and pressing. Women are no longer walking away from the church. They are running away. They are running toward churches that make it clear women are made in the image and likeness of God.

Federal dollars and abortion

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Remember when folks used to get arrested demonstrating against abortion? Now they get arrested demonstrating for it. The latest teledrama: the mayor of Washington, D.C., wants to spend his federal budget dollars on abortion. Hello? It’s the District of Columbia, a federal territory and the permanent national capital provided for in the Constitution.

Why not have a woman in charge of charity?

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For the first time in its long history, Caritas, the Catholic Church’s international relief agency, has a woman Secretary-General. Or, make that “had.”

Dr. Lesley-Anne Knight, who once headed international programs for the British relief agency CAFOD and worked at both the UN High Commission for Refugees and Oxfam, is getting the scarlet boot from Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s Secretary of State.

Repairing the broken church

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The heartbreak is that nobody in the Vatican seems to be in the dot-connecting business. No matter how many official reports or media exposés, no matter how many ad limina visits or episcopal memoirs, the bureaucracy just does not get it.

The Irish church is on the verge of total collapse. A third of the theologians in Germany are calling for reform. The US church suffers a scandal a day.

I am sick of it. You are too. Let’s talk.

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July 18-31, 2014

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