The Common Good

Consistent Life Ethic

What’s Abortifacient? Disputes Over Birth Control Fuel Obamacare Fight

Conception. Pregnancy. Abortion. Abortifacient.

Those words today are in a rhetorical swamp where contesting religious, medical, and political views muddy understanding. And soon the U.S. Supreme Court will wade in.

On March 25, it will hear challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s provision that employers must provide insurance coverage with no co-pays for contraception.

+Continue Reading

God, Same-Sex Marriage, and 33 Weddings at the Grammys

Call me old fashioned, but our culture hit a new low at the Grammys when 33 couples were married. Some of them were gay and lesbian couples.

Indeed, it was a bad day for marriage.

First, Macklemore sang "Same Love," then Queen Latifah officiated a wedding for 33 couples, and then Madonna sang her 1986 single "Open Your Heart."

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love Macklemore’s Same Love. I love its pro-same-sex marriage message because of my Christian faith, not in spite of it. I’ve written about why Christians should embrace same-sex marriage herehere, and here, but Macklemore’s theological argument in the song is as good as any.

+Continue Reading

Fla. Man Gets Prison for Abortion-pill Miscarriage

The son of a Florida fertility doctor was sentenced Monday to nearly 14 years in federal prison for duping his pregnant girlfriend into taking medication that caused her to abort her 6-week-old fetus.

John Andrew Welden, 29, had pleaded guilty in September to forging a prescription for Cytotec, the brand name for misoprostol, in March 2013, which he relabeled as the common antibiotic amoxicillin. He convinced his former lover, Remee Jo Lee, that she had an infection and needed to take the antibiotic he claimed his father had prescribed. She miscarried within hours.

Welden, of Lutz, near Tampa, was sentenced to 13 years, eight months in a minimum-security facility, four months less than what prosecutors had sought in exchange for dropping a murder charge.

+Continue Reading

For Some Christians, Sharing Medical Bills is a Godly Alternative

Every time he goes to the doctor’s office, Daniel Eddinger takes a leap of faith.

Eddinger, a 28-year-old father of two from Lexington, N.C., doesn’t have health insurance.

But he’s not worried about the cost of getting sick.

Instead of insurance, he says, he relies on God — and the help of other believers — to pay his medical bills.

+Continue Reading

Half the Sky

Nicholas D. Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
$15.95
Books, Books by Other Authors

Anti-Abortion Activist Frank Pavone Is Back in Church's Good Graces

The Rev. Frank Pavone, head of Priests for Life and a leading anti-abortion crusader, was braving freezing temperatures with thousands of others at the annual March for Life on Wednesday, but at least he can look forward to a warm embrace from the Catholic Church.

After years of tensions with various bishops, Pavone has complied with demands to straighten out the group’s finances and to become accountable to his home diocese in New York.

The news came in a December letter sent to the nation’s Catholic bishops by Bishop Patrick J. Zurek of Amarillo, Texas, where Priests for Life has been based for several years.

+Continue Reading

Study: Conservative Protestants' Divorce Rates Spread to Their Red State Neighbors

Conservative Protestants in red states aren’t the only ones seeing high divorce rates — so are their neighbors, according to a new study.

Researchers found that simply living in an area with a large concentration of conservative Protestants increases the chances of divorce, even for those who are not themselves conservative Protestants.

According to researchers who took into account race, income, and other factors, marriage and fertility trends that are common among conservative Protestants — younger marriage, more kids, less higher education — affect all people in areas most populated by conservative Protestants, no matter their personal religious affiliation.

+Continue Reading

New 'SoulPulse' App Lets Users Monitor Their Spirituality in Real Time

Folks who have just knocked back two drinks say they’re really aware of God at that moment.

And good sleep enhances a sense of God, joy, peace, and love.

Who knew?

Actually, about 160 people, so far, know such details about their spiritual lives. They were the first participants in SoulPulse, a newly launched, ongoing study of spirituality in daily life.

It’s an “experiential” research survey inspired by pastor/author John Ortberg and conducted by a team led by Bradley Wright, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut and author of Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites … and Other Lies You’ve Been Told.

Twice a day for two weeks, participants receive questions asking about their experiences of spirituality, their emotions, activities, and more at the moment the text messages arrive.

+Continue Reading

A Gift of Hot Chocolate

My mom died in a nursing home five years ago this week. She spent the last 10 months of her life there following a severe stroke. Mary was buried next to her mom, Ann, at the top of a gently rising hill in a cemetery during a 13-inch snowfall in Cleveland.

There was a lot of talk about hot chocolate that day.

My mom always found ways to give something to others. Multiple sclerosis forced her to use a wheelchair, but she still figured out ways to give gifts. She took a ceramics class in her apartment building and made Christmas ornaments for family and friends. Some of them hang on our tree even now. A red-nosed reindeer that she made stands in our living room each December.

After her stroke, she was very limited. One side of her body didn’t work at all. She was bedridden those last 10 months. Still, she found a way to give. When the attendants at her nursing home came around and asked what she wanted for each meal, she ordered a packet of hot chocolate with it.

She didn’t like hot chocolate. Never drank it. But she saw an opportunity to come up with a gift. She saved the packets of hot chocolate and gave them to my sister Joanne, who has two boys. They would get the gift of hot chocolate from her.

What a remarkable gesture, eh? Even confined to a bed, she found a way to give. 

+Continue Reading

A Celebrity Photographer's Faith-Driven Cause

Portraits may seem like a staple in every home, but for many families, a professional photo is beyond reach.

Each year, the nonprofit Help-Portrait pulls together professional photographers to spend one Saturday taking free portraits of people who normally can’t afford it.

Help-Portrait founder Jeremy Cowart is a celebrity photographer who has shot famous names such as Taylor Swift, Tim Tebow and the Kardashians and has been published in publications such as Rolling Stone, People magazine and The New York Times.

Like a number of Christians driven by their faith to set up humanitarian nonprofits, Cowart is motivated to do good.

+Continue Reading