Distinctly Catholic: The best thing to be said about last night's Republican presidential debate is that it was only two hours.
The first Republican debate is now history and the polls and pundits are quickly making decisions about who won and who lost.
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The letter, from more than 70 Catholic and Christian leaders, asks all presidential candidates to put forward plans to address the two issues.
A public interest law firm has filed a federal case on behalf of the archdiocese of Newark challenging a New Jersey law that bars church-run cemeteries from selling headstones.
"This case addresses one of the most important unanswered questions in constitutional law: how far government power can act for primarily private gain," said Jeff Rowe, senior attorney for the Institute of Justice.
The Newark archdiocese, the largest single provider of in-ground burials in New Jersey, must give up a lucrative companion business -- the marketing of headstones and private crypts -- under a bill signed into law Monday by Gov. Chris Christie.
The measure, which passed both houses of the Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support, goes into effect in one year, allowing the archdiocese time to wind down without imperiling sales in progress at its Catholic cemeteries.
Gov. Chris Christie created a stir during a trade trip to London this week when he defended parents' right to decide whether their children should get mandated vaccines -- remarks that a spokesman quickly clarified by saying the governor "believes vaccines are an important public health protection."
Back home in New Jersey, where Christie's health commissioner has been a vocal advocate for vaccinations, parents already have the right to make those decisions if they put in writing that accepting vaccines violates their religious beliefs.
In today's Republican Party, a number of factors have forged a new religious identity that supersedes familiar old categories.
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