National Catholic Reporter

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The Samson Option upheld

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According to investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, the Samson Option is the name Israel has given to its nuclear arsenal. The title recalls the biblical superhero Samson, who himself was killed when by pulling on the support pillars he brought down the Philistine Temple in Gaza, killing its ruling class.

Beginning with the writing of the militarist Ze'ev Jabotinsky, the image of Samson has been central to construction in popular culture of the modern Zionist identity of "the fighting Jew" who has left exile and subjugation behind forever.

Report: Only 'full recognition of religious freedom' will protect people

The cover photograph on a new 232-page report outlining religious freedom violations around the world last year pretty much says it all.

The image is of Yezidis of all ages walking on a sandy, dusty terrain with sheep. Thousands of members of this religious minority had been executed and assaulted last year while others were forced to flee their ancient homeland in the Nineveh plains of Iraq by actions of the Islamic State, known as ISIS.

California bill targets state's abortion-alternative pregnancy clinics

California's 71 abortion-alternative pregnancy medical clinics may be forced to inform pregnant women considering their services that publicly funded programs that provide abortion are available to them if a fast-moving bill becomes law.

The Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care and Transparency Act is needed to ensure all women have knowledge and access to a full range of publicly funded reproductive health care options, according to the bill's authors, Democratic Assembly members David Chiu, of San Francisco, and Autumn Burke, of Los Angeles.

Archbishop urges prayers for victims of 'tragic train derailment'

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Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput Wednesday urged prayers for all affected by the Amtrak train derailment in the city's Port Richmond neighborhood that left at least six people dead and injured more than 200 others.

"I urge all people of goodwill to join me in extending prayerful condolences to those mourning the sudden loss of a loved one and in asking the Lord to bring healing to all those suffering physical and emotional anguish in the wake of this incident," he said in a statement.

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