The Common Good

Blog Posts By Caleb Bell

Posted by Caleb Bell, Kimberly Winston 1 year 13 weeks ago
President Barack Obama praised Bostonians for their actions “in the face of evil” during an interfaith memorial service on Thursday for victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.“You’ve shown us, Boston, that in the face of evil, Americans will lift up what’s good. In the face of cruelty, we will choose compassion,” Obama said.The 90-minute service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross featured local political figures and religious leaders from Christian, Jewish and Islamic traditions. Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley shared a greeting with the congregants from Pope Francis.“The Holy Father invokes God’s peace upon our dead, consolation upon the suffering and God’s strength upon all those engaged in the continuing work of relief and response,” O’Malley said.Obama opened his remarks with Scripture, and quoted it throughout his speech.
Posted by Caleb Bell 1 year 14 weeks ago
A candidate for sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama Thursday at the White House.The Rev. Emil Kapaun, a priest who served as an Army chaplain in the Korean War, was recognized for his bravery on the battlefield and in a prisoner-of-war camp.During battles, Kapaun would run into enemy fire to save wounded Americans or comfort the dying. When he was captured and taken to a prisoner-of-war camp, he defied the guards in order to care for other soldiers, physically and spiritually, until he died in 1951.
Posted by Caleb Bell 1 year 15 weeks ago
More than one-half of Americans think the Bible has too little influence on a culture they see in moral decline, yet only one in five Americans read the Bible on a regular basis, according to a new survey.More than three-quarters of Americans (77 percent) think the nation’s morality is headed downhill, according to a new survey from American Bible Society.The survey showed the Bible is still firmly rooted in American soil: 88 percent of respondents said they own a Bible, 80 percent think the Bible is sacred, 61 percent wish they read the Bible more, and the average household has 4.4 Bibles. 
Posted by Caleb Bell 1 year 16 weeks ago
Lego is defending its “Star Wars”-based Jabba the Hutt toy set after a Turkish cultural group said it promulgates negative stereotypes of Muslims.Earlier this year, the Turkish Cultural Community of Austria criticized the Danish toy company, saying the Jabba’s Palace set was insensitive because of its similarity to Muslim mosques.“The terrorist Jabba the Hutt likes to smoke a hookah and have his victims killed,” said the statement, reported by the Austrian Times. “It is clear that the ugly figure of Jabba and the whole scene smacks of racial prejudice and vulgar insinuations against Asians and Orientals as people with deceitful and criminal personalities.” Earlier this year, the Turkish Cultural Community of Austria criticized the Danish toy company, saying the Jabba’s Palace set was insensitive because of its similarity to Muslim mosques.
Posted by Lauren Markoe, Caleb Bell 1 year 17 weeks ago
Isn’t it remarkable, attorney Ted Olson said after arguing for same-sex marriage before the Supreme Court on Tuesday, that the other side wasn’t really arguing against it?“No one really offered a defense,” he said of his opponents’ bid to uphold Proposition 8, the 2008 California referendum that effectively ended gay marriage in the state by defining marriage as between a man and a woman.The question inside the courtroom was not so much can there be gay marriage, but “how do you establish marriage equality?” said David Boies, another attorney for Prop 8 opponents.Indeed, the lawyer trying to prop up Prop. 8, which was struck down by federal trial and appeals courts, spent barely any time talking about the virtues of traditional man-woman marriage or the hazards of same-sex marriage.And that, for supporters of gay marriage, shows just how far this debate has come in the U.S.: It’s no longer “if” it will be accepted and legal, but “how” and “when.”
Posted by Caleb Bell 1 year 18 weeks ago
The producers of History Channel’s The Bible fended off claims Monday that the actor who plays Satan in the miniseries resembles President Barack Obama.Executive producers Mark Burnett, who created Survivor, and his wife, the actress Roma Downey, described the comparisons as “utter nonsense.”“Both Mark and I have nothing but respect and love for our President, who is a fellow Christian. False statements such as these are just designed as a foolish distraction to try and discredit the beauty of the story of the Bible,” according to a statement from Downey, who starred in the television show Touched by an Angel.Mehdi Ouazaani, the Moroccan actor who portrays Satan, has played satanic roles prior to his work on The Bible, the statement said.The social media sphere blew up with the comparison Sunday night, which was touted by  conservative commentator Glenn Beck, among others.
Posted by Caleb Bell 1 year 18 weeks ago
Jesuits are bound by oath not to seek higher office in the Roman Catholic Church, and now one of them has been elected to its highest office: Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Christ, Pontifex Maximus.“On the one hand, Jesuits aren’t supposed to be in positions of authority,” said the Rev. Joseph Fessio, a Jesuit and founder of Ignatius Press. “On the other hand, they’re supposed to be obedient to the church.” Pope Francis, the first Jesuit to become pope, not only represents a paradox for the papacy, but also the larger history of the Society of Jesus, as the Jesuits are formally known.The Jesuits have played a key role in the history of the church. For centuries, they have served as its leading missionaries, founded its most prestigious universities and committed themselves to alleviating the deepest poverty.  
Posted by Caleb Bell 1 year 19 weeks ago
Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe legalized same-sex marriage in the U.S. is inevitable, according to a study by LifeWay Research, a Nashville polling firm with ties to the Southern Baptist Convention.But for some respondents, inevitability doesn’t equal approval.According to the findings, 64 percent of American adults believe same-sex marriage will become legal, whether or not they believe in it.
Posted by Caleb Bell 1 year 23 weeks ago
The House Wednesday overwhelmingly passed a bill to allow places of worship to receive federal aid to repair their buildings damaged during Hurricane Sandy.The bill, which garnered strong bipartisan support, is also expected to pass the Senate, and would address what its sponsors consider a discriminatory practice that keeps federal disaster money from religious groups.Currently the Federal Emergency Management Agency excludes religious organizations but assists privately owned nonprofits. If the bill becomes law, it will make houses of worship eligible for relief on the same terms as other nonprofits.“Today’s debate and vote is about those who are being unfairly left out and left behind,” Christopher Smith, R-N.J., one of the bill’s lead sponsors, told his House colleagues.“It’s about those who helped feed, comfort, clothe, and shelter tens of thousands of victims now being told they are ineligible for a FEMA grant.”
Posted by Caleb Bell 1 year 23 weeks ago
The president of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod apologized for his role in the “debacle” that led him to publicly reprimand a pastor in Newtown, Conn., for praying at an interfaith service following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.In the initial incident, the denomination’s president, Matthew C. Harrison, requested an apology from the Rev. Rob Morris of Newtown’s Christ the King Lutheran Church for participating in an interfaith prayer vigil that followed the Dec. 14  shootings. Morris’ role in the vigil broke denominational rules against joint worship with other religions.Morris complied and apologized — not for his participation, but for offending members of the St. Louis-based denomination. But the president’s request sparked a blaze of criticism — from within the denomination and outside it. Critics charged he was intolerant and insensitive to the town’s grieving residents.“In retrospect, I look back and see that I could’ve done things differently,” Harrison said in a video posted on the denomination’s blog Sunday. “My deepest desire was to bring unity, or at least to avoid greater division in the Synod over this issue.”
Posted by Caleb Bell 1 year 24 weeks ago
A Lutheran pastor in Newtown, Conn., has apologized after being reprimanded for participating in an interfaith vigil following the shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.The Rev. Rob Morris, pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church, prayed at the vigil the Sunday following the Dec. 14 shootings alongside other Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Baha’i clergy.Morris’ church is a member of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, and the denomination’s constitution prohibits ministers from participating in services with members of different faiths.It’s not the first time a Missouri Synod pastor has been reprimanded for joining an interfaith prayer service; a New York pastor also was suspended for participating in an interfaith service after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.LCMS president Matthew Harrison wrote in a letter to the Synod that “the presence of prayers and religious readings” made the Newtown vigil joint worship, and therefore off-limits to Missouri Synod ministers. Harrison said Morris’ participation also offended members of the denomination.