The Common Good

Today in God: Feb. 10, 2012

Photo by Getty Images.
Photo by Getty Images.

Guess what? NUNS VERSUS STRIPPERS!!

Now that I have your attention, think about Hassidic Judaism. Who's the first person who comes to mind? If you thought Oprah, then you're in for a treat! (although you also might be a little weird) The Daytime Diva just finished touring some Hassidic communities in New York City, and is apparently pretty inspired by Jewish family life.

You can know Hassidic Jews to the people who probably love Oprah, also known as "everyone."

Speaking of celebrities, Relevant magazine is looking at how "celebrity culture" is starting to take over Christian pulpits. A Christian TMZ isn't that hard to imagine, but I'm curious what a Christian version of Perez Hilton would look like…

Saudis are really, really mad at writer and frequent tweeter Hamza Kashgari. The Saudi author apparently tweeted a few controversial statements about Muhammad on his birthday, raising the ire of his fellow Saudi Muslims.

You've all probably heard about how the Obama-contraception hubbub might hurt the President's standing with Catholic voters, but some are wondering whether the debate will result in a female backlash against the GOP.

All eyes are on the White House today, where ABC is reporting that POTUS will try to split the baby (so to speak) with religious group over his mandate to offer contraception coverage to employees. VPOTUS Joe Biden (a Catholic, it's worth mentioning) says he's "determined to see that this gets worked out."

Meanwhile, The New York Times reports that U.S. Catholic bishops had anticipated their fight with Obama months before he rolled out the policy change: Hours after President Obama phoned to share his decision with Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York ... the bishops’ headquarters in Washington posted on its Web site a video of Archbishop Dolan, which had been recorded the day before."

Mother Angelica's EWTN Catholic cable network has filed at least the third lawsuit by a religious group against the contraception mandate.

Rick Santorum says the contraception mandate has "nothing to do with women's rights" (and also thinks female "emotions" could get in the way of military combat).

On Capitol Hill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants everyone to just "calm down" already. Or, as Mother Jones points out, is this all really much ado about nothing? "The central mandate — that most employers have to cover preventative care for women — has been law for over a decade."

Things are getting downright weird in Philly, where there are calls to make sure that retired Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua didn't die of foul play just one day after he was deemed fit to appear as a witness in a major sex abuse trial.

And in the category of "Yes he did but he really shouldn't have," a Virginia lawmaker "Tebowed" himself after advancing a bill to allow home-schooled students to play varsity sports at public high schools.

He aint the only one seeking divine intervention: Canadian Catholics are seeking prayers for a play-off spot for the Montreal Canadiens.

Two parents in Washington state have been charged in the faith-healing death of their 17-year-old son, who apparently died from a ruptured appendix; the family does not seem to be tied to the Followers of Christ church in neighboring Oregon, which has seen several members convicted in faith-healing deaths.

The Vatican is dismissing as "madness" a leaked letter suggesting that there's an inside plot to kill the pope.

No reaction yet, however, on an apparent sighting of the Virgin Mary in an oak tree in Houston.

A bunch of young Jesuits have launched "The Jesuit Post," an online forum about "about Jesus, politics, and pop-culture, it’s about the Catholic Church, sports, and Socrates."

Actress and playwright Anna Deavere Smith is the new artist-in-residence at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral.

And finally, to get your weekend off right: You've heard of drive-thru banks, drive-thru pharmacies, even drive-thru liquor stores. Now you can bid farewell to your loved one without ever having to leave the car: A drive-thru funeral home. Reuters photo gallery HERE.

Source: Kevin Eckstrom and Jack Jenkins/RNS.

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