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Tea Party reality, and its dangers

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A recent and riveting piece on the Mother Jones Website, a long profile/interview of U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis, (R-SC), a staunch conservative who was recently taken out by a Tea Party -backed candidate, documents the chilling reality of the party and its adherents' off-the-wall conceptions.

Inglis describes his descent into the depths of party wrangling with a constituency that had no regard for truth much less civility. He describes scenes in which he is left speechless in the face of elaborate fabrications, and he describes his decision not to stoop to the fever of the moment by referring to Obama as a socialist because it would simply be a lie.

Here's a taste:

During his primary campaign, Inglis repeatedly encountered enraged conservatives whom he couldn't—or wouldn't—satisfy. Shortly before the runoff primary election, Inglis met with about a dozen tea party activists at the modest ranch-style home of one of them. Here's what took place:

Examination of the hierarchy continues

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Sr. Fran Ferder and Fr. John Heagle add to the growing examination of the culture of hierarchy in the Catholic Church, an examination occasioned by the horrific and ongoing tales of child abuse by clergy.

I doubt that people like Ferder and Heagle -- not to mention Fr. Tom Doyle or Richard Sipe or Mary Gail Frawley O’Dea or Eugene Kennedy or Fr. Donald Cozzens or the leaders of SNAP or any of the host of other long-time church observers, some schooled in the psychological disciplines, others deeply familiar with the workings of the hierarchy -- will be asked any time soon to a meeting in Rome to present their best insights into the abuse crisis.

But NCR retains a record of their insights and those of others over the long decades of the church’s nightmare, and the record continues to accumulate in efforts such as the online series Examining the Crisis.

Finding Christian community in 110 degree weather

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My walk home from work yesterday was hot. Clothes sticking to you, arms glistening, sun pounding you into the ground kind of hot.

The heat index was 110 degrees. My first thought as I walked outside through the office door was that I just wanted to be home.

Yet, on the way there I had an unexpected opportunity to slow down and appreciate the importance of building community — no matter the hot, sticky weather.

About halfway home (sometime after my polo shirt was seriously soaked through with sweat ) I was stopped by a voice calling out to me. Looking to my left I saw an older man sitting on his porch, holding a cool glass while gesturing at me.

The man didn't waste any time with introductions of pleasantries. As soon as I had walked close enough to hear more clearly he started to speak at a mile a minute, as if he thought I would walk away if he even took a breath. In truth, if he had given me the chance I probably would have blamed the heat and kept on my way.

But thanks to his persistence I found myself transported in time and space.

Holocaust film produced by Jesuit possible Oscar contender

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A film about the Holocaust – produced by a Jesuit priest and directed by his son – finds itself on a possible path to the Academy Awards.

The 37-minute documentary is called “The Labyrinth,” and tells the story of Marian Kolodziej, a Polish Catholic resistance fighter during World War II who survived more than five years in Auschwitz.

For five decades, Kolodziej – prisoner number 432 – kept silent about his years inside the death camp. He became a set designer for Polish film and theatre, he married, and – like so many survivors -- tried to somehow stitch together a normal life.

Then in 1993, he suffered a severe stroke. During his rehabilitation, he quietly asked for a pencil – and immediately a flood of images from Auschwitz poured out onto paper. Kolodziej soon had more than 300 drawings, all depicting the camps in nightmarish and surreal detail. A church in Poland gave him its basement as a workspace and gallery – with his wife, he set up his enormous drawings in a place he came to call his Labyrinth.

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