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Political incorrectness and the U.S. Navy

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A young reporter named Corinne Reilly has effectively ended the career of a highly-decorated naval aviator and two-time commanding officer.

Her big “scoop”? Four or five years ago Captain Owen Honors told stupid pilot jokes on silly videos, was told to stop, and did. As Executive Officer of USS Enterprise, Honors oversaw day-to-day operations of the Navy’s second oldest ship -- where a sailor’s average age is nineteen and a half. He also hosted “XO Movie Night.”

Now Honors -- Enterprise’s commanding officer since May 2010 -- is relieved of command.

Yes, the videos are ridiculous. Yes, his “humor” crossed several lines. But if his Facebook supporters (now over 21,000 and counting) are to be believed, Honors did in fact boost morale among the 5,800 men and probably not the women aboard the floating testosterone village.

There are several issues here.

Finding Christ at Christmas

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“I mean no disrespect,” the student asked in class, “but, did Jesus really exist?”

Hate to say it, but real or not Jesus is rapidly fading from the scene. Today’s culture wars take direct aim at Christianity. Try finding religious Christmas cards. Or, check out your choices for an Amazon gift card. Snow flakes, trees, birds, but no Mary, no Magi, no Jesus.

Rome's checkbook strategy on women religious

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Seems the Vatican heard how Catholics are incensed over its inquisition of U.S. women religious. Some say Pope Benedict personally asked Archbishop Joseph Tobin, the new Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, to undo the mess caused by his Congregation’s Apostolic Visitation of U.S. women’s institutes.

The Cross, the witch, and The New York Times

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The Celtic cross on the beer bottle caught my eye. The full label depicted a witch burning.

No one is complaining about the cross, only about the witch.

The witch-burning label caught the eye of Vicki Noble, co-author of the “Motherpeace Tarot Deck” and publisher of the journal Snakepower. Well known among Wiccans as an expert in goddess spirituality, astrology and shamanic healing, Noble began an e-campaign challenging the label.

Just Catholic

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It’s not too much to say when NCR asked me to write in its pages I nearly hurt myself jumping at the chance. I grew up with NCR’s light shining on the issues -- especially the Catholic issues -- of the day. Now I am in the august company of writers I’ve read for ages -- Eugene Kennedy, Joan Chittister, Richard McBrien -- along with newer, younger voices in Catholic commentary.

Nature vs. nurture

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I was always told that you’re not supposed to discuss religion or politics in polite company. That was before gay marriage became the item du jour.

Polls indicate about half the US population favors legal protections for same-sex couples. Gay marriage is another story. Not so many support it.

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July 4-17, 2014

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