Most of the stories about the flap over the planned Islamic Center in New York refer to the debate over a Ground Zero mosque. The reality is that the matter hardly qualifies as a debate. It is, instead, the latest example of the degree to which our public discourse has become stripped of reason and fact and driven by mindless politics and ideology.
A year ago today, people in Massachusetts and around the world mourned the death of Senator Ted Kennedy in a manner reserved for few Americans. Tens of thousands stood respectfully for hours, spontaneously forming lengthy lines along the shore of Columbia Point on Boston Harbor for a chance to walk past his casket. It was a testament to respect for a special moment in history, but more poignantly to a deep sense of personal loss. A member of the family had died, and the grief was evident on the faces of people who sacrificed hours to be together there. "He was out there every day, fighting the fight for us -- especially for our health," the Rev Jesse Jackson told me, as he signed the guest book. "And look how much these people loved him for it."
Senator Kennedy was the only one of the four brothers who was not taken in his youth. But even at age 77, after 15 months of crossing swords with cancer, he seemed at the height of his game -- a pivotal figure in the victory of Barack Obama and a key player in the impending healthcare debate. Why at that moment, many people asked. Why do bad things happen to the people we need the most?
A half century ago, John F. Kennedy was elected the first Catholic president of the United States because he convinced American voters that he wouldn’t take orders from the pope.
Now, however, Catholic politicians across the United States, particularly those running for national office, are increasingly facing criticism from some members of the hierarchy -- because they won’t take orders from the church.
Archbishop Charles Chaput has characterized President John F. Kennedy’s 1960 address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association as “sincere, compelling, articulate -- and wrong” (See story). It would be easier to agree with the archbishop if his own arguments were not also wrong, and wrong in ways that will prove as unfruitful for the future of Catholicism’s relationship with American culture as he claims Kennedy’s arguments were.
WASHINGTON -- Progressive Christian college students hope to reorganize a movement that propelled young adults into pro-civil rights and anti-war activities before it was disbanded decades ago.
The U.S. Student Christian Movement, which officially ended more than 40 years ago, will be revived at an Oct. 8-11 meeting at Morehouse College in Atlanta.
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The chairman of the U.S. bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage July 12 criticized a federal judge's ruling in two Massachusetts cases that a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.
"To claim that defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman is somehow irrational, prejudiced or even bigoted is a great disservice not only to truth but the good of the nation," Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., said in a statement July 12.
Russell Pearce, the legislator from Mesa, Ariz., who sponsored the controversial law SB 1070 against undocumented immigrants, has another objective: taking away citizenship from the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants.
WASHINGTON -- What does it mean when the two best-known Indian-American politicians in American politics are converts to Christianity?
In South Carolina, Nikki Haley won the Republican nomination for governor despite a whisper campaign that criticized her name and religion. Along with rumors of alleged sexual misconduct, many questioned the validity of Haley's Christian faith.
Updated July 12
NEW YORK — Citing "potential violations" of federal law governing emergency medical treatment, the American Civil Liberties Union has asked the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services to investigate how religiously affiliated hospitals provide emergency reproductive care.
"Religiously affiliated hospitals across the country inappropriately and unlawfully deny pregnant women emergency medical care," the ACLU said in a letter to the Medicaid and Medicare administrator July 1. "This issue was recently highlighted by a situation in Phoenix, Arizona," it said.
WASHINGTON -- Requiring personnel in military hospitals to perform or participate in abortions would place "a very heavy burden" on those in the armed forces who value human life, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services told U.S. senators.
"The United States is one of the few nations in the world based on self-evident principles: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," the archbishop said in a June 17 letter. "Constraining the very men and women committed to defending those principles for the rest of the country to act against their consciences violates the foundation of this republic."