The Common Good

God's Politics Blog

Prayers of the People: For the Victims of the Texas Welfare Office Shooting

This is so horrendous it's almost too awful to type.

Early this morning at a welfare office in Laredo, Texas, a mother, desperate after months of being denied food stamps for her family, pulled a gun and shot her two young children, before killing herself.

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Hit the Hallelujah Button: Sing it, Mr. Sister!

Each day leading until Christmas we will post a different video rendition of the "Hallelujah Chorus" for your holiday enjoyment and edification.

Day 3's installment comes from an unlikely gaggle of nuns — in full habits. They are members of the Turtle Creek Chorale, an all-men's chorus from Dallas, Texas. The Chorale has traveled to Europe, performing sold out concerts in Barcelona, Berlin and Prague; as well as two appearances a Carnegie Hall.

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Ron Santo: “Now that’s what I’d call a God-given gift”

Ron Santo, former Chicago Cubs third baseman and radio announcer, was finally inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame on Monday, just over a year after his death.

As many now know, Santo had type 1 diabetes and endured many hardships during his baseball career, as well as every year that followed. In a Guideposts article he wrote about his diagnosis, “Diabetes? I didn't even know what that was. I had just one concern: "Can I still play baseball?"”

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Keystone XL Update: The Buck No Longer Stops Here

President Obama said he’d make a decision on the Keystone pipeline after the election.

The decision to not decide until later was a victory for environmental activists, as the pipeline would be a serious threat to the ecosystems it passes through should it spring a leak (TransCanada has already had 12 oil spills in 2011 alone. That’s 12 too many, by the way.)

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The War on Christmas: Hide the Baby Jesus!

It is unclear how the adjective employed to describe a coniferous tree intended as public celebratory display became a “slap in the face” to the Christian community.  It’s especially curious considering that the use of the fir tree around the winter solstice is commonly traced back to Germanic pagan traditions, not Christian ones.

The display of a Christmas tree, a nativity (or manger, or crèche) or any other “stuff” on public property is made central to the celebration of Christ’s birth. Suddenly the profound and unique Christian mystery of the Incarnation — the profound truth of Emmanuel, God with us — is reduced to a set of cultural traditions and a demand for public officials to sponsor and endorse their particular brand of celebration.

When that happens, it’s no longer clear what the difference is between a Christmas tree, a golden calf or a two-story blow-up polyurethane Frosty the Snowman.

 

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The Afternoon News: Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011

From Judgment To Hope (OPINION); Obama Administration To Consider Gay Rights When Allocating Foreign Aid: Source; Coming Soon To The Southwest: The Age Of Thirst; Iowa Republicans Side With Newt Gingrich Over Mitt Romney On Immigration; Occupy Wall Street Protesters To Occupy Foreclosed Homes The Amazing Rise Of Anna Hazare, India's Gandhi-Like Protest Leader; Arnold Schwarzenegger Urges Candidates To Champion Green Energy; The Bomb Buried In Obamacare Explodes Today-Hallelujah!

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Santa Claus and Black Face: Is Sinterklaas the Innocent Victim of Culture Clash or a Racist Anachronism?

Happy Sinterklaas?

Today marks a traditional winter holiday in Holland and other parts of the European Low Countries (the Netherlands, Belgium, Lille and Arras, predominantly) featuring Sinter Klaas, the forerunner of our Santa Claus, who is traditionally accompanied by a helper named Zwarte Piet (aka "Black Pete") — a young man in black face with curly black hair, thick red lips and dressed as a courtisan with a velvet jacket and frilled shirt.

Sinterklaas — who also goes by Sint Niklaas or De Sint in Holland and environs — was a stranger to me until a few years ago when Dutch-American friends introduced him to me. In my friends' home this morning, the children will awaken to wooden shoes filled with goodies.

Sounds like a charming holiday tradition from the old country. But is it simply that?

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The Morning News: Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2011

Religion Powerful Force In 2012 Race; Groups Prepare To Bring Occupy Protests To Congress; Occupied Washington; South Carolina's Christian Conservatives Focus More On Economy, Less On Social Issues; GOP Candidates' Promises To Secure The Border Could Prove Impossible; Shias Targeted In Deadly Afghan Shrine Blasts.

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America is a Great Idea

HIV/AIDS is a justice issue. The most vulnerable and poorest people still don’t have access to the treatments that save lives. Jesus’ concern for the lives of the sick in Matthew 25 calls Christ-followers to do everything in our power to make these life-saving treatments available to every person in need.

“America is a great idea,” Bono said.

Fundamental to that idea is the belief that all people are created equal and endowed by their creator with the intrinsic right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The right to life, the right to liberty, and the right to pursue happiness each demand the will and resources make an AIDS-free generation a reality by 2015.

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The Top 10 Stories of December 6, 2011

Quote of the day.
“We grieve with those families for whom this is not a season of joy, and hold out the life of Jesus as a model for putting away violence. We also pray for all who work to make our community safe and just.” - Pastor Joe Phelps, Highland Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., as 46 crosses were placed on its lawn, one for each of the city’s homicide victims so far this year.
(American Baptist Press)

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