The Common Good

God's Politics Blog

Afternoon News Bytes: Feb. 20, 2012

The Surprising Faith Of 8 American Presidents (OPINION); Santorum Questions Obama's 'World View,' Not Faith; Educating Two Generations (OPINION); The Inside Story On Climate Scientists Under Siege; Obama's 'Radical' Option For America's Nuclear Future; Pain Without GainFacing Death, A Top Pastor Rethinks What It Means To Be Christian; The End Of Church (OPINION).

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Bayer, Knees and Contraception

I was intrigued by a recent comment from a major political contributor when he suggested using Bayer aspirin was a viable birth control method for women. Mega-contributor Foster Friess was being interviewed by MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell when he referred to bygone days when “the gals put it between their knees, and it wasn’t that costly.”

He later claimed the remark was just a joke, but not before I’d spent a half hour trying it out. I wouldn’t have wasted my time seeing if it was possible which, according to my unscientific test, it’s not. Of course, it could have been the slacks I was wearing, which sometimes gather at the knees, or the angle in which I was sitting. But the darn thing just kept falling out.

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The Top 10 Stories of February 20, 2012

Quote of the day.
"When you know about those situations those kids are bringing into the school and we are asking them to sit down and concentrate and do their work, and they might be hungry and we haven't been made aware of it yet - we definitely want to do everything we can to help the kids.” - Doug White, principal of Garfield Elementary School in inner-city Kansas City, on why his school, like many others, is now providing three meals a day to eligible students.
(Miami Herald/McClatchy)

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Anthony Shadid, 1968-2012

Late last Thursday evening, getting one final fix of news before going to bed, I saw it. Anthony Shadid, the New York Times correspondent and Beirut bureau chief, had died from an asthma attack while ending a clandestine reporting trip into Syria. He apparently suffered the attack in a reaction to horses being used by smugglers helping him and a photographer leave the country.

When you read the news as much as I do, you learn which bylines to look for if you want the most comprehensive and well-written coverage of a story. Mr. Shadid was one of those correspondents.

In a career that included stints with the Associated Press, Boston Globe, Washington Post, and The Times; Mr. Shadid covered one of the most dangerous parts of the world — the Middle East. He was shot in the West Bank in 2002, kidnapped and beaten in Libya in 2011. He won two Pulitzer Prizes, in 2004 and 2010, for his reporting on the Iraq war; and has been nominated by The Times for a 2012 prize.

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Ash Wednesday: Restoring the Right to Vote

On Ash Wednesday, Catholics and many others will walk around with ashen crosses (or, by the end of the day, what look like indeterminate smudges) on our foreheads. Those ashes are strong symbols of core principles of the Catholic faith — symbols of repentance, identity, reconciliation, and renewal of baptism in the faith.  



As a voting rights lawyer who is about as passionate about my work as I am about my faith, I can’t help but see parallels between the moral guidance I am given by my faith, and the policy choices that confront us in the secular world. These principles are reflected in the way we worship – and also in the actions we take in the secular world. This has led me and others to the conclusion that the 4 million Americans who lost their voting rights while incarcerated, and now live in our communities, deserve the chance to vote again upon release. It is both the just and the moral thing to do.

As we approach Ash Wednesday during this Holy Season, I encourage all Christians, guided by their core beliefs, to consider this idea.

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N.J. Lawmakers Approve Gay Marriage, But Veto Looms

TRENTON, N.J. — Even as Gov. Chris Christie's threat of a "swift" veto looms, gay rights activists are celebrating after the state Assembly voted last week (Feb. 16) on a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in New Jersey.

With supporters imploring lawmakers to make history, the lower house passed the bill after hours of debate on a day that began with protests and prayer vigils under gloomy skies outside the Statehouse.

"Without question, this is a historic day in the state of New Jersey," said Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, who, along with Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a fellow Democrat, made the measure a top priority.

The Senate, which failed to pass a gay marriage bill two years ago, easily approved it Monday. The governor's office would not say when Christie would respond.

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Nonprofits Oppose Obama's Charitable Deduction Changes

For the fourth year in a row, President Obama is proposing lower tax deductions for the wealthy on donations to churches and other nonprofit organizations. And for the fourth year in a row, nonprofit groups say the change would lead to a dramatic drop in charitable giving.

The reduction, included in Obama's 2013 budget proposal, rankled the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America.

"We were hoping this would not come up again this year. We asked that they not renew it, but unfortunately the request was not taken," said Nathan Diament, the group's Washington director. "It's a real concern."

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Gotham is No Gomorrah: New York's New Cardinal Timothy Dolan

VATICAN CITY — On the eve of his elevation to cardinal, New York's Archbishop Timothy Dolan said he would like to change the caricature of his city as a modern-day Gomorrah.

"New York seems to have an innate interest and respect for religion and I'm going to bring that up because I don't like that caricature that New York is some neo-Sodom and Gomorrah," Dolan told Reuters after celebrating Mass here on Friday (Feb. 17).

"I have found the New York community to be very religious and innately respectful of religion, interested in religion," he said.

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Jeremy Lin and Jesus: A Round Up

Jeremy Lin has been all the hype this week, but in case you’re still not familiar with him, or are still navigating the waters, we’ve rounded up some of the best coverage of Lin and his faith from the past week. But before diving in, you can read a bit of Lin’s background story and see how he compares to the popular Christian athlete Tim Tebow, in Sojourners’ assistant’s Joshua Witchger and James Colten’s article “The Lin-carnation of Tim Tebow?” And for a little exploration on crafting our own heroes, see God’s Politics contributor Christian Piatt’s “Jeremy Lin and Messiah Formula.” 

 

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Afternoon News Bytes: Feb. 17, 2012

What War On Religion?; America's Youth Uprising Ending Poverty Need Not Be At The Expense Of The Environment; The Jeremy Lin Problem (OPINION); Globalization 2.0: Democracy's Coming Demise (OPINION); A Blueprint For A 21st Century Workforce; This Is What Job Creation Really Looks Like; Contraceptives, Religious Freedom: Are We In A New Culture War?; From Bad To Worse In Egypt; Very Religious Rate Higher On “Well Being” Scale.

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