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Politics

Essay: How to end the Abortion Stalemate??

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Few rulings in American history reverberated across the political and social landscape with as much seismic fallout as the Roe v. Wade decision handed down 36 years ago.

Liberals cheered the landmark case as a breakthrough in women's rights. Conservatives and religious leaders railed against the Supreme Court's decision as an affront to human life and a classic display of judicial overreach.

Decades passed, ideologies hardened and bumper sticker slogans ruled the day. The abortion culture wars rewarded the shrillest voices and shattered bridges to common ground.

Today a new generation of Catholic, evangelical and other faithful Americans who believe that over 1 million abortions performed a year represent a profound moral failure are pushing to end the abortion stalemate.

Recognizing the tragedy of terminating a pregnancy will never be solved by harsh rhetoric or through legal battles alone, these religious voters support bipartisan efforts to reduce the number of abortions by preventing unintended pregnancies, expanding adoption opportunities and increasing economic supports to vulnerable women.

Washington March for Life 2009 - with a twist

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The annual March for Life is being held today. Following a noon rally on the National Mall, participants will march to the U.S. Supreme Court.

At this year’s March for Life, held to protest the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision legalizing abortion, progressive groups like Catholics United are joining in, aiming to add an element beyond the march’s normal focus, of seeking to overturn that decision.

James Salt, director of Catholics United, said the pro-life movement has spent “36 years and at least $100 million” in opposing the ruling yet have only “incrementally changed the margins. There are still 1.3 million abortions a year in the United States.” If the movement were a corporation, he said, it would be difficult to defend such a record. Arguing for a more “results-based” approach, Salt said, “The pro-life movement should be held accountable.”

This year, he said, his group and others will hold a briefing on efforts, particularly The Pregnant Women’s Support Act, to reduce the number of abortions in America.

Library of Congress seeks inaugural sermons

WASHINGTON -- The Library of Congress' American Folklife Center is seeking sermons that are preached in U.S. houses of worship during inaugural week.

The library said it would mark the historic inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama as the nation's first African-American president by adding sermons from a range of houses of worship and secular settings to its spoken-word collection.

"In anticipation of citizens' efforts to mark this historic time around the country, the American Folklife Center will be collecting audio and video recordings of sermons and orations that comment on the significance of the inauguration of 2009," the center states on its Web site.

"It is expected that such sermons and orations will be delivered at churches, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship, as well as before humanist congregations and other secular gatherings. The American Folklife Center is seeking as wide a representation of orations as possible."

The collection will include written texts and audio and video recordings from Jan. 16-25. They must be sent to the center by Feb. 27.

Obama to use Lincoln's inaugural Bible at swearing-in

WASHINGTON (RNS) President-elect Barack Obama has chosen the Bible used at President Lincoln's first inauguration for his own swearing-in on Jan. 20, inaugural planners announced.

It will be the first time a president has used the historic Bible at an inauguration since it was first used by Lincoln himself in 1861.

Hope for HUD: Excellence overtakes cronyism

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A longtime bureaucratic backwater, home to more cronyism and corruption than a Bernard Madoff hedge fund or Rod Blagojevich appointment process, provides one of the best yardsticks to measure Barack Obama’s commitment to effective government.

HUD -- the Department of Housing and Urban Development -- was subject to a rare combination of incompetence, chutzpah and malfeasance during the Bush presidency. That, it seems, is about to change. On Dec. 13, Obama named Shaun Donovan, commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development under Republican-turned-Independent Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to head the department. The baby-faced 41-year-old Harvard-educated architect is hailed by leaders in every segment of the housing industry; realtors, developers, low-income housing advocates, lenders and those who administer the nation’s public housing authorities all praise the choice.

Review of funding faith-based projects called for

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WASHINGTON -- Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on Tuesday (Dec. 16) called on religious leaders to play a prophetic role in the public square but criticized faith groups that use government money to forward a sectarian message.

“The idea that faith-based groups should have special entree to government funding just makes me twitch,” said Jefferts Schori, who leads the 2.2 million-member Episcopal Church. “It makes me twitch when groups funded with public funds will only hire their own members, or use the funds to advance sectarian” views.

Speaking at the National Press Club here, Jefferts Schori also said she hopes the incoming administration of president-elect Barack Obama “is asking questions” about whether to continue President Bush’s faith-based initiative.

Jefferts Schori, 54, was elected presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in 2006, and has seen her church rent by infighting over homosexuality and the Bible. Earlier this month, a group of conservatives announced plans to form a rival church in North America.

The future of conservatism in a nation of mutts

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Conservatism RIP?

American conservatism has crashed and burned and its carefully constructed religious cornerstone, based on an uneasy alliance of white evangelicals and “blue collar Catholics,” sits atop the ash heap.

This reality is not attributable solely to Obamaism, though that is part of it. Rather, it is about the past, namely the contradictory impulses of American conservatism, and the future, specifically a demographic tidal wave that threatens to bury a once powerful political tradition.

The history is effectively explained in White Protestant Nation: The Rise of the American Conservative Movement (Atlantic Monthly Press). American University history professor Allan Lichtman refutes the idea that modern American conservatism dates back to the 1955 founding of National Review, the erudite and pugnacious product of William F. Buckley’s vivid imagination and abundant energy.

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August 29-September 11, 2014

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