Could the death penalty be dying? Have we had enough of the five methods of state-sanctioned killing: hanging, shooting, gassing, drugging and electrocuting? Are we finally agreeing with Harry Blackmun, who, before retiring from the Supreme Court in 1994, said that the death penalty should be unconstitutional in all cases?
After two blockbuster terms in which it saved President Barack Obama's health care law and advanced the cause of same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court appears poised to tack to the right in its upcoming term on a range of social issues, from abortion and contraception to race and prayer.
Colorado's Catholic bishops said the nation needs to reform immigration laws "across the board" but said "establishing the specifics of those new regulations is the job of lawmakers, not pastors."
Anticipating the worst, religious leaders gathered the day before the federal government shut down to denounce what they called "political brinkmanship."
More than 190 religious leaders from North Carolina want a report on detention and torture tactics used by the CIA since 9/11 released.
Catholic military chaplains cannot be forced to witness or bless a same-sex marriage, nor are they allowed to take part in any marriage counseling retreats that are open to gay couples under new rules issued by the Archdiocese for the Military Services.
The rules, sent to chaplains on Sept. 18 by Archbishop Timothy Broglio, head of the AMS, also bar chaplains from taking part in a funeral for a Catholic if that participation "would give the impression that the church approves of same sex 'marital' relationships."
A bill introduced in the U.S. House to keep the federal government from discriminating against churches, religious groups and businesses that uphold marriage as being between one man and one woman is "of fundamental importance," two U.S. Catholic bishops said Friday.
A day earlier, Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, introduced the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act, known as H.R. 3133.
As opening day for the new health care law approaches, almost half the states in the country have not agreed to go along with a provision to expand their Medicaid programs to include more of their uninsured poor. Social Service Sr. Simone Campbell wants voters to put pressure on those governors and legislators to change their minds about balking at the Medicaid expansion.
"It's straight party politics," she said during a speech Sept. 12 at Mount Marty College in Yankton. "Everyone is positioning for the 2014 election. We people of faith have got to stand up."
We say: Religious groups should step up and help educate the public, especially the poor and working poor, about how the Affordable Care Act can improve their lives.
The number of Americans living in poverty last year stayed stuck at 46.5 million people, as did the national poverty rate of 15 percent, according to Census Bureau statistics.