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What are humans for?

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Somehow we manage to both disparage our humanity and exalt it at the same time.

We are told by TV evangelists that we are unworthy, abject sinners. Low self-esteem and depression are epidemic, even among teens. There is widespread interest in angels and UFOs, beings that will perhaps save us from ourselves. We don’t really feel good about our humanness. We’re always trying to improve. Self help books are legion in bookstores.

An open letter to Anglicans

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Just got a news release from Call to Action. It's an open letter to Anglicans who might be thinking about joining the Roman Catholics.

An Open Letter to our Sisters and Brothers in Christ in the Anglican Tradition

We greet you in the name of the One who unites us all. We were disappointed with the Vatican's announcement of a stream-lined process for Anglican conversion to Roman Catholicism for individuals and dioceses who do not support women's and LGBT equality.

The Anglican tradition embodies a courageous history of seeking reform in the face of church injustice. In the last decades, you have built on that history and stood strongly in support of marginalized women, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in your faith tradition. We have watched and supported your struggles over the years to welcome all God's people equally to ministerial leadership. You should stand proud.

Married priests for all!

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“We’re surprised and pleased to see Vatican flexibility in permitting married priests for Anglican converts, but we need the option of a married priesthood in the Latin rite of the Catholic church too,” begins a news release from FutureChurch, quoting its executive director, Sr. Christine Schenk.

Four years ago, FutureChurch lobbied the Vatican’s International Synod on The Eucharist asking for open discussion of mandatory celibacy and women deacons. Four of the synod’s twelve working groups wanted to study married priests. “At the synod there was much talk of allowing viri probati (“tested men”) to perform priestly functions,” said Schenk. “So perhaps that conversation helped prepare the way for yesterday’s announcement that Rome will make special adaptations for married Anglican priests and bishops to join the Church.”

Read the full news release here: Catholics Request Married Priests for Everyone, Not Just Anglican Converts

KC Nuke Plant: Lawsuit Dismissed, Opposition Continues

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The Kansas City Star reported Tuesday that a key effort by local community members to stop the construction of the new Kansas City Plant has been stalled.

On Monday a lawsuit filed by the National Resources Defense Council, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and others to stop the construction of the new plant was dismissed in Washington, D.C. The lawsuit had claimed that there was little public notice of the new plans and that the environmental assessment used to determine the impact of the new plant was overly broad.

Members of the local community are “upset that they didn’t give public notice, didn’t have a public hearing, and are not addressing existing contamination,” said Henry Stoever, a signer of the lawsuit who is a local attorney and board member of PeaceWorks Kansas City.

Cutting Executive Pay

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The Obama Administration’s “Pay Czar” has announced that the government will require several firms that participated in the bailout of the past year to cut the executive compensation for their top corporate executives. You can already hear the howling from the free marketers.

The funniest of the objections to the pay cuts is that these large Wall Street firms need to pay enormous bonuses in order to retain the best employees. Funny, you would think that people who ran their companies into the ditch and needed to turn to the government to bail them out might not be prime candidates for being re-hired. Human nature being what it is, and the effects of original sin being what they are, I suppose someone hired the architect of the FBI building after he designed that ugly blot on Pennsylvania Avenue. Some move directors still hire even when they have proven they can’t act their way out of a paper bag. So, maybe this concern is valid but I say – let’s put it to the test.

Others worry about excessive government interference in the free market. This is a concern that could have been raised before the bailouts. Now, it seems perverse.

John Roberts' Empathy

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Chief Justice John Roberts expressed his chagrin that his colleagues declined to take up a Virginia drunk driving case in which the conviction of a drunk driver was thrown out because the arresting officer was acting on a tip, and had not seen the driver actually break the law. “The decision below commands that police officers following a driver reported to be drunk do nothing until they see the driver actually do something unsafe on the road - by which time it may be too late,” the Chief Justice wrote in an opinion joined by conservative stalwart Justice Antonin Scalia.

I have no opinion one way or the other whether or not there were sufficient grounds for the Supreme Court to take this case. But, I find Roberts’ argument intriguing because it sure sounds like he is expressing empathy for the victims of drunk driving.

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October 10-23, 2014

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