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An update on our Web site comment system

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Visiting these pages over the past couple of years you may have noticed something unique about NCR: We let virtually anyone comment on our online stories. We don't require registration to post a comment on our Web pages and, as best we can, we only moderate out comments that present personal attacks or are simply inappropriate for a public forum.

We do this to encourage conversation, to provide a tiny (but growing every day) corner of the web where people can come to engage one another in thoughtful discourse about issues facing the church and society as a whole.

By and large this experiment works. We receive many comments that are obviously well reasoned. We also receive many that reflect deep personal feelings and convictions which add substantively to the conversation.

Separating church and state

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Yesterday, Sept. 12, was the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's speech to a meeting of the Greater Houston Ministerial Alliance. The speech, in which he addresses his faith and the need to separate church and state, has become the template to measure politican's private faith and public service.

NCR, ran an analysis of current religion-political relations that used Kennedy's speech as a starting point: JFK and the cafeteria bishops: 50 years after Kennedy asserted independence from the pope, tide has turned.

Now read this story from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Santorum injecting faith into presidential discussion

Of rifts and the right wing

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There was much whining and gnashing of teeth this weekend over the lost of unity surrounding commemorations of the 9/11 tragedy. The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times ran front page stories about the new divisive tone.

The implication is that no one gets along in America anymore -- and that things have gotten much worse since a new president took office a bit more than a year and a half ago.

Can we shove that aside for moment and talk frankly about something few seem willing to address? This kind of "incivility" is what usually happens when a Democrat takes over and the right-wing finds itself really really unhappy.

Memo to Terry Jones: Take a look at the New Testament

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When I first heard the news that Rev. Terry Jones, a minister at the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla. was planning a “Burn the Qur’an Day” on September 11, I wondered if I had been transported back in time several centuries.

When I checked the history of book burning, I discovered that it is long and nefarious -- dating back to early Chinese emperors who set fire to works of philosophy that did not comply with state dogma. It includes the destruction of the magnificent ancient library of Alexandria, many burnings of the Torah and Talmud, and, at the time of the Reformation, Protestants burning Catholic books and Catholics burning Protestant books. In fact, the Spanish Inquisition was an equal opportunity arsonist; inquisitors burned Protestant books, Jewish books and even the Qur’an itself. In recent times, the Nazis conducted public book burnings that included the works of many Jewish intellectuals.

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In This Issue

March 27-April 9, 2015

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