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Gay bashing at Notre Dame

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As an alum and former writer for the student newspaper, I'm embarrassed to report that the Notre Dame Observer recently published an anti-gay cartoon, for which the editors have since apologized.

The Jan. 13 cartoon, "Mobile Party," depicted a conversation between two figures, in which the first one asks, "What's the easiest way to turn a fruit into a vegetable?" The second responds, "No idea." The punchline, in the third panel, is "A baseball bat."

According to the cartoonists' blog (since removed), the newspaper's editors changed the original punchline, which said "AIDS."

The cartoon evoked a strong reaction from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), alumni and some students. Two days later, the editors issued an apology and dropped the cartoon, and the managing editor resigned. Some are calling for the cartoonists and editors to be expelled.

NCR featured Haitian women's group decimated by quake

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I Just received this email from Beverly Bell, author of the NCR series, "Women: Birthing justice, birthing hope," which you have been seeing in the paper and on the web these past weeks.

You might recall that one of the women's profiles we published in December featured Hatian activist, Helia Lejeunesse, who has dedicated her life to fighting modern slavery.

Here is what Bell wrote me:

Greetings, Tom. I just learned that Helia Lajeunesse is alive, though the conditions on which she and other members of her anti-slavery group are living are very precarious. I have a note from her colleague in Commission of Women Victim-to-Victim. I wonder if you would want to update your readers who care about her through her beautiful words? I'm taking the liberty of sending it on, here:

Defense contractor has God in its sights

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Bible verses inscribed on scopes used by U.S. forces in Iraq, Afghanistan

One can surely imagine the the "No-God crowd" is not going to be happy with this story:

Combat rifle sights used by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan carry references to Bible verses, stoking concerns about whether the inscriptions break a government rule that bars proselytizing by American troops.

Military officials said the citations don't violate the ban and they won't stop using the telescoping sights, which allow troops to pinpoint the enemy day or night.

The contractor that makes the equipment,Trijicon of Wixom, Mich., said the U.S. military has been a customer since 1995 and the company has never received any complaints about the Scripture citations.

Atheists for Aid to Haiti

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We are all by now aware of the idiot remarks by Rush Limbaugh about the tragedy in Haiti. But, from Britain, via USAToday, comes a report that renowned atheist Richard Dawkins has set up a special website for non-believers to give to the relief effort. I am all for relief assistance, no matter what the source, but why did Dawkins, like Limbaugh, think that this tragedy should become a vehicle for making an unrelated ideological point?

It is especially amusing that one of the two relief agencies to which Dawkins will give whatever funds he raises is the Red Cross. Now, I understand that the Red Cross is a thoroughly secular organization these days, but its name indicates that its initial inspiration was a little bit Christian. Will Dawkins concede that Pope Benedict is on to something when he insists that if Western culture is ignorant of faith, it is ignorant of its roots? The organization could have been called the Red Parrot, or the Red Hospital, or whatever. But, it is called the Red Cross.

Caritas staff blog from Haiti

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Michelle Hough, a communications officer for Caritas Internationalis, the umbrella organization for national Catholic charities, was sent to Haiti as a member of the international rescue staff to help with operations in the area.

Hough has been recounting her experiences through daily blog updates from Haiti.

A story about Hough is here: Caritas officer blogs experiences in Haiti

Her blog is here: http://blog.caritas.org/

Science supports gospel value of nonviolence

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Just after World War II, a new branch of science was born – ethology, the study of animal behavior. The first ethologist to come to prominence in the scientific community was Austrian Konrad Lorenz.

In 1973 Lorenz won the Nobel Prize, along with colleagues Karl von Frisch and Niko Tinbergen, for their discoveries concerning animal behavioral patterns. They discovered the phenomenon of imprinting, in which young animals socially bond to the first moving object they encounter.

Some of Lorenz’ views were expressed in his popular book On Aggression (1966), wherein he asserted that human aggressive impulses are to a degree inborn, and drew analogies between the aggression demonstrated in both human and animal territorial behavior. These assertions made decades ago have engendered considerable controversy. Some saw Lorenz’ views as an attempt to whitewash human atrocities like the Nazi persecution of the Jews.

'Scenes from a Parish:' Inner-city Massachusetts' parish viewed

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“Scenes from a Parish” is a 90-minute experience of inner-city change seen through the transformation of St. Patrick’s parish and its persevering pastor, Father Paul O’Brien.

Filmed over four years, director/producer James Rutenbeck made this film out of a desire “to find communion with the forgotten and the marginalized.”

Jan. 19, Mother Joseph, Sister of Providence

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“I bring you my daughter Esther, who wishes to dedicate herself to the religious life. She can read and write and figure accurately. She can cook and sew and spin and do all manner of housework well. She has learned carpentry from me and can handle tools as well as I can. Moreover, she can plan and supervise the work of others, and I assure you, Madame, she will some day make a very good superior.”

-- Joseph Pariseau, presenting his daughter Esther to Mother Emilie Ganelin, founder of the Sisters of Providence.

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