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Try This -- Pastor Terry Jones as Scapegoat

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Figuratively speaking, Terry Jones was tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail.

He was an easy target. He was quickly portrayed as some sort of rube, a lunatic Christian who wanders in the briar patch between name-brand churches and mushroom worshipers. He's not, they'll have us believe, one of us. He deserves our derision and our jokes because he has been sufficiently dehumanized.

Maybe he is all that, but I'm skeptical. He doesn't seem any more of a religious nut than all those wild-eyed fanatics who have roamed America in the grips of fevered pietty from the beginning, many of them wrapped in respectability. He certainly doesn't appear any more riled up by Muslims than the legions who have sworn their own kinds of vengeance on Islam since 9/11, their passions continually inflamed by media prodding.

I don't share that hatred, so far as I can tell, and have no sympathy with burning Qurans or Upanishads or Torahs or the Book of Morman, though, like flag burning, I think we agreed to allow such distasteful things when we adopted the Constitution.

Nut case Quran stunt a publicity ploy?

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Okay, okay, Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center, you have made your point, however jaded, and you have received far more publicity than you deserve -- or possibly ever imagined.

It's now time to call off the Quran buring stunt.

Why do I think you will carry your threat to the last hour, only then to give in to sanity and reason?

It's all quite sad.

Tweet, tweet to fight HIV

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So far, I've managed to avoid Twitter, despite my general enthusiasm for social networking and the web. But this project is enough to get me to sign up:

ONE, the grassroots group co-founded by Bono to fight poverty and disease in Africa and around the world, is organizing thousands of supporters to "tweet" (send a message via Twitter) President Obama, asking him to increase support for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria over the next three years.

Obama has proposed cuts to the Global Fund, and ONE is hoping thousands of tweets will change his mind. As of 1:30 p.m. Central Time, nearly 6,000 messages had been sent. With increased funding, supporters argue, virtually no child will be born with HIV by 2015.

If you're already on Twitter, you can add your message by clicking here.

Me? I'm off to start a Twitter account.

The ties that bind

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Christy Gagne was born, curly-haired and plump as any Botticelli angel, a little after 11:00 pm, August 4th amidst a circle of women speaking three languages. Christy’s mother, Emmanuella, comes from Port-au-Prince, now a collapsed city where people live in tents above the rubble of their former homes. The hour the January earthquake struck, Emmanuella was about to take a nap with her two-year-old son. Mother and child escaped the building unharmed; but on that afternoon, Emmanuella’s expectations for a future in the Haitian capital crumbled along with the walls of her apartment.

A dramatic presentation of abuse documents

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Last week, I blogged on how the 2005 report from the Philadelphia grand jury inquiry into the Philadelphia archdiocese's handling of clergy sex abuse cases over 40 years has been turned into an audio book. (See Philadelphia grand jury report available as audio book)

Now word comes that the Bridgeport, Conn., branch of Voice of the Faithful has turned more court documents into a play, "Bless Me, Father, For I Have Sinned!"

NCAN also addresses the Apostolic Visitation

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The National Coalition of American Nuns (NCAN) at its annual board meeting Aug. 16 -18 in Detroit, Michigan, issued statements on several church topics. The following is what NCAN had to say about the Vatican Apostolic Visitation:

A number of seminary personnel reported that the investigation of US seminaries in 2005 and 2006 did not reflect their actual experiences. We question how the Vatican will determine the results of their visitation of U.S. communities of women religious. No visitation should be completed without a final report being shared with the investigated community. We believe that the lack of transparency will invalidate the whole visitation process.

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