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Are you serious?

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Have you seen this?

A substantial and growing number of Americans say that Barack Obama is a Muslim, while the proportion saying he is a Christian has declined. More than a year and a half into his presidency, a plurality of the public says they do not know what religion Obama follows.

'Eat, pray, love': awful movie, bad spirituality

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I see that “Eat, Pray, Love” has attracted the ire of some Catholics who have expressed their dissatisfaction with its kiss off of our faith. I get the point. The movie tracks the story of a woman who sets out on a journey all across the world after it dawns upon her that she is not getting want she wants out of her life. And soon she is being told that God is everywhere and to look within.

I saw the move last night and, well, it is awful, full of forced melodrama, mid-age yet adolescent introspection, and cheap spirituality with a nod in the last minutes to any communal religious dimension whatsoever.

An Unsolicited Mosque Alternative

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I am in principle firmly in favor of Muslims being permitted to build a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero or anywhere else zoning laws permit.

I'm also fearful that building the mosque there will result in violence. Lunacy has become a major growth industry in America.

My solution is to use the proposed mosque site for another, related purpose. Use the space to display a large, elegant sculture (or another suitable symbol) commemorating Muslim contributions and good will to America's life and ideals. It could be a striking monument of sorts to all those American Muslims who have acquitted themselves so well as citizens of this country.

Then build the actual mosque somewhere else.

Nobody would have to lose face, a Muslim presence at the scene could be preserved and violence could be averted.

A NY deacon's take on the 'Ground Zero mosque'

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Perspectives on the mosque that is to be built near the World Trade Center site abound. One that is particularly worth reading comes from a deacon in Albany.

Writing for The Evangelist, the diocesan paper of Albany, N.Y., Deacon Walter C. Ayres asks a simple question: "Do we identify with people who are persecuted, or with the ones who do the persecuting?"

More from the deacon's piece:

Too often, the fears we have are based on inaccurate information about a religious minority, just as the fears that led white Anglo-Saxon Protestants to ban Catholic priests were based on unfounded fears of Catholics.

We can begin by acknowledging that not all Muslims are alike, just as all Christians and all Catholics are not alike — nor even amicable. Go to some Catholic websites to see vitriol among people who profess to love one another.

It's a real credit to you

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There is much talk about helping people out of poverty through one program or another. One hurdle everyone faces, especially the poor, is the credit score system. A good score helps in lowering borrowing costs for large items like furniture, a car, major appliances and a mortgage. A bad credit score means (a) that sometimes businesses won't lend at all, or (b) a borrower cannot get favorable terms on their loans - that is, everything costs more for those with bad credit.

So a key question is this: What goes into the credit scoring system that banks and businesses use to judge one's creditworthiness?

This story explains the five components that make up the FICO credit scoring system and should become familiar to everyone from the poor, to college students, to the middle class.

Believe it or not, bad credit scores can prevent you from getting a job.

Noted Haiti supporter pleads guilty to sex abuse

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And here's another story to add to the sex abuse list.

The News-Times, a daily newspaper in Danbury, Conn., is reporting today that Douglas Perlitz -- a young man known for his creation of a program in Haiti to help homeless boys -- will plead guilty today of sexually abusing a boy.

From the report:

The government said the plea agreement reached with Perlitz would present evidence that he had sex with eight minors, all boys, and that there were an additional five cases of abuse prosecutors were prepared to document.

The government intends to recommend a sentence of 188 to 235 months inprisonment for Perlitz, while defense attorneys were seeking a sentence of between 97 and 122 months.

Perlitz, 40, formerly of Bridgeport and Fairfield, received funding from the Order of Malta, a Roman Catholic charity and collected donations from wealthy Fairfield and Westchester County Catholics to create Project Pierre Toussaint, a three-stage program in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, the country's second-largest city, to prepare abandoned boys for adult life.

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