The Common Good

The New Yorker

Pope Francis Brings Religion to the Newsstand

To paraphrase Shakespeare’s musing on a name, “What’s in a cover?”

In the past week, we’ve seen Pope Francis on the cover of Time as the magazine’s “2013 Person of the Year,” followed by The New Yorker’s whimsical cover of the pope as a snow angel. Now, most improbably, he’s on the cover of The Advocate, the magazine for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people, that put the message “NO H8″ (No hate) on his cheek. What’s next? Sports IllustratedJack and Jill?

If you ever wanted to show that someone reaches across all segments of society, this flurry of magazine covers may be it.

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Farrakhan Waxes Anti-Semitic (Again) at NOI's "Saviors' Day" Celebration

Jewish leaders on Monday denounced Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan after he delivered a four-hour speech on Sunday that was laced with anti-Semitic statements about Jewish control of the media. 

Speaking to thousands of supporters during the 82nd annual Saviors' Day celebration in Chicago, Farrakhan accused "Zionists" of trying to push America into war with Iran and dubbed Al-Jazeera, the Dubai-based news channel, as "Al Jew-zeera."

"I'm not anti-Semitic, I'm just telling the truth," Farrakhan asserted, alleging that Jews were responsible for a controversial 2008 cover of The New Yorker that depicted President Obama in Muslim garb.

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The Morning News: Monday Nov. 21, 2011

Obama At Church: The Tricky, Exciting, Distracting Business Of Worshipping With A President. OpEd: Should A President Be Intelligent? Archbishop Rowan Williams Backs Revolt Against Coalition's Welfare Cuts. Taking It To The Streets. Are Christians To Blame For White House Shooter Linking Obama, Antichrist? Voices Of The Near Poor. What Occupy Harvard Should Tell Liberal Elite Parents On Thanksgiving. Democrats To Protest Immigration Crackdowns. And Hispanic Churches Fight Alabama Crackdown On Immigration.

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Afternoon Links of Awesomeness

Controversy at the World Scrabble Championships, President Obama's teleprompter was stolen, 40 signs of the times, the debut of "The Walken Dead," R.E.M. releases final song, unlikely Occupy Wall Street supporters, Walker Percy, and more!

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What is an Evangelical, anyway?

evangelicals-cartoonMost of my friends knew evangelicalism only through the big, bellicose voices of TV preachers and religio-political activists such as Pat Robertson, the late Jerry Falwell and James Dobson. Not surprisingly, my friends hadn't experienced an evangelicalism that sounded particularly loving, accepting or open-minded.

After eschewing the descriptor because I hadn't wanted to be associated with a faith tradition known more for harsh judgmentalism and fearmongering than the revolutionary love and freedom that Jesus taught, I began publicly referring to myself again as an evangelical. By speaking up, I hoped I might help reclaim "evangelical" for what it is supposed to mean.

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The Problem With Christian Labels

A week or two after the 2004 election, I was dining with some friends in New York when the conversation turned to religion and politics -- the two things that you're never supposed to discuss in polite company.

George W. Bush had just been re-elected with the help of what was described in the media as "evangelical voters." And knowing that I am an evangelical Christian, my friends were terribly curious.

"What, exactly, is an evangelical?" one gentleman asked, as if he were inquiring about my time living among the lowland gorillas of Cameroon.

I suddenly found myself as cultural translator for the evangelical mind.

"As I understand it," I began, "what 'evangelical' really means is that a person believes in Jesus Christ, has a personal relationship with him and because of that relationship feels compelled to share their experience of God's love with other people. "How they choose to share that 'good news' with others is entirely up to the individual. Beyond that, the rest is details and style."

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Friday Links Round Up: John Perkins, Laughter Yoga, a New Planet

John Perkins. Laughter yoga. A new planet. Here's a little round up of links from around the web you may have missed this week:
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Friday Links Round-Up

Anne Rice. Elena Kagan. Kanye West. Baseball. Here's a little round-up of links from the web you may have missed this week:
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Abu Ghraib: Don't Be Afraid of the Truth

Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba wrote the U.S. Army's report on the Abu Ghraib torture scandal. He was then forced into retirement.
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New Yorker Obama Cartoon Controversy

While Ben Franklin penned the first American political cartoon in 1776, Thomas Nast ushered in the gilded age of the modern political cartoon when he toppled Boss Tweed. Since then, no political party or scandal has been deemed off limits, as evidenced by the cartoon coverage given to the

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