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Politics

The new 'normalcy' still includes inequality for minorities

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Viewpoint

On Aug. 28, 1963, hundreds of thousands of Americans marched on Washington to demand "jobs and freedom." As the nation engages the 2012 election, the echoes of cries for jobs and freedom from 1963 ought to pierce the conscience of every American.

Martin Luther King Jr. titled an early draft of his "I have a dream" speech "Normalcy never again." King addressed a normalcy wherein the contentment of a white majority lacked the "fierce urgency of now." White Americans did not feel the whips, cattle prods and fire hoses that stung and broke human bodies yet could not dampen the burning desires of a people for justice.

Normalcy then was contentment with a rate of African-American joblessness twice that of whites. Normalcy was the reality of relatively privileged white Americans, not only the overt supremacist, but good people of faith, who failed to see how the conditions under which their African-American brothers and sisters lived represented the dark side of white America.

The new normalcy is certainly not the same as 1963.

Obama campaign unveils its 'Catholics for Obama' 2012 team

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The Obama campaign unveiled its "Catholics for Obama" team for 2012 on Monday in an effort to burnish its credentials with a key voting bloc whose leaders have increasingly voiced their opposition to the administration over issues like gay marriage and abortion rights.

The roll-out had been months in the making and long expected, given the importance of the Catholic vote -- nearly one quarter of the electorate, concentrated in battleground states.

Indiana tops key Senate races

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WASHINGTON -- While almost all of the media's attention has been focused on the presidential race, several key House and Senate races may prove just as likely to determine the shape of politics in Washington over the next few years. And, just as Catholics have become the quintessential swing voters in the presidential race, many of these critical House and Senate races also have a Catholic angle.

Poll: Catholics side with bishops on religious liberty

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WASHINGTON -- A new poll shows that American Catholics tend to agree with their bishops' concerns that religious liberties are at risk in the United States.

Nevertheless, Catholics seem to be warming to President Barack Obama, even as the bishops lambaste his administration in their fight to roll back a federal mandate that requires employers -- with some exceptions -- to cover birth control in their health plans.

Mitt Romney ad says President Obama launched 'war on religion'

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney accused Democratic President Barack Obama of launching a "war on religion" in a television ad released Thursday.

"President Obama used his health care plan to declare war on religion, forcing religious institutions to go against their faith," the ad's announcer states.

Which presidential candidate is truly pro-life?

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COMMENTARY

A few weeks ago, I publicly defended Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York against onslaughts from the left that accused him of paying off pedophile priests to leave the priesthood when he was the archbishop of Milwaukee. As I explained then, the archbishop was simply recognizing the rights to sustenance that a priest, good or bad, child abuser or not, has from the diocese according to the Code of Canon Law. We might not like it, but sustenance is the law of the church, and then-Archbishop Dolan was following the law.

Now I find it necessary to defend Cardinal Dolan, whose openness and personal character I truly admire, from onslaughts from the far-right, those folks who have created their own parallel magisterium in which the Catholic church sings one note: Making abortions illegal is the highest, truest (maybe only) teaching of our church.

Dolan criticized for inviting Obama to Al Smith Dinner

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NEW YORK (RNS) -- By tradition, the storied Al Smith Dinner has provided a few hours of comic relief from the angry volleys of the campaign trail -- a white-tie charity banquet held in the weeks before Election Day, hosted by the archbishop of New York and featuring speeches by the two presidential candidates on the condition that they lob nothing more than good-natured jibes.

But the Catholic hierarchy's fierce feud with President Obama, abetted by the increasingly sharp tone of the 2012 elections, is threatening to invade this demilitarized zone and give New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan a case of pre-dinner agita.

Congress undermines Obama's peace efforts

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In response to President Barack Obama’s clear -- albeit understated and unenforced -- calls for an end of the Israeli occupation of most of the Palestinian West Bank, both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill have mobilized to undercut the administration’s timid efforts and throw Congress’ support to the right-wing Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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August 1-14, 2014

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