Category: Society & Common Good

Super Tuesday and Being Human
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Super Tuesday and Being Human

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I write on Super Tuesday, but my reflections here pertain to the entire election season of 2012, and in fact, of every election cycle. If you look at the writings of the Catholic Church regarding political responsibility, you often see reference to what is important to “Catholic social teaching” and a “Catholic conscience.” And, of […]

Overcoming the Merely Therapeutic: Human Excellence and the Moral Life
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Overcoming the Merely Therapeutic: Human Excellence and the Moral Life

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In Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers (2005), researchers Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton argue that for many young adults in America, the spiritual life is understood in moralistic terms. But where orthodox (and Orthodox) Christianity focus on the necessity of “repentance from sin, of keeping the Sabbath, of living as a servant of a sovereign divine, […]

Contraception and Contradiction
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Contraception and Contradiction

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The Church is a sign of contradiction. On the issue of contraception, in which the Catholic Church is seen as the most inveterate of socially conservative reactionaries, the Church loses not only libertine opponents, but also many conservative friends. In the present debate about the government’s attempt to compel religious institutions to fund the use […]

Getting Senator Rick Santorum into the White House
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Getting Senator Rick Santorum into the White House

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If we want a new president, it isn’t going to happen without some blood, sweat and tears. And divine grace—plenty of divine grace. So, this being said, just where do you and I come in? It’s going to have to be our blood, sweat and tears. We can’t lay this one on somebody else. Not […]

The Historical Reality of the Muslim Conquests
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The Historical Reality of the Muslim Conquests

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Because it is now almost axiomatic for American school textbooks to whitewash all things Islamic (see here for example), it may be useful to examine one of those aspects that are regularly distorted: the Muslim conquests. Few events of history are so well documented and attested to as are these conquests, which commenced soon after […]

Pharaoh and the Midwives
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Pharaoh and the Midwives

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Watching how Great Britain deals with the ethical issues surrounding health care is instructive for a few important reasons. First, we both have a Judeo-Christian foundation to our cultures; we have inherited much of our legal system from theirs; they introduced socialized medicine over sixty years ago, and finally, they legalized abortion six years before […]

We are the 40%:  Why I'll Not Vote in the GOP Caucus
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We are the 40%: Why I’ll Not Vote in the GOP Caucus

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By reason of ineligibility,  I had to decline a friend’s well meaning invitation to vote.  I cannot participate in the GOP caucus this weekend because I’m not a Republican.  In 2007 I left the GOP over the issue of torture and have been an independent ever since. At the time, I made a public resignation […]

woman symbol
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What Women Want

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In honor of Women’s History Month, I’d like to make a request of America’s political and media elites on behalf of America’s women: Stop lumping us together. To be more specific: Stop telling us “what women want” in the next president, which political stands are sure-fire winners (or losers) of “the women’s vote” and what […]

U.S. Senate Defeats Amendment to Protect Religious Liberty
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U.S. Senate Defeats Amendment to Protect Religious Liberty

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The U.S. Senate this morning voted down an amendment that would allow employers to opt out of paying for health care coverage of procedures that violate their religious beliefs. The amendment, offered by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-MO, rolled back Barack Obama’s invasive Health and Human Services mandate that employers insure contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs […]

Hope vs. Despair: The Discussion is Coming
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Hope vs. Despair: The Discussion is Coming

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My colleague, Paul Kengor, wrote a brilliant article this week saying that Team Obama will try to cast the presidential election either in terms of class warfare—if Romney is the Republican nominee—or a battle over social issues, if Santorum gets the nod. If it’s Romney, the president’s team will have home field advantage. If it’s […]

Rome in Lent: Like a Mist
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Rome in Lent: Like a Mist

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A quiet time in Rome, the end of February. A time of silence. This evening in a completely empty and silent Vatican, I had the rare experience of running into a little child inside the city. He was walking with his father near the back of the basilica. The child’s mother, a member of the […]

The Suppositions Behind Obama’s Contraception Coverage
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The Suppositions Behind Obama’s Contraception Coverage

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Recently, the Obama administration declared that all employers, including Catholic institutions, will be required to offer free insurance coverage for birth control to their employees. In the weeks since the declaration, the controversy that it stirred up caused the administration to revise its decision, putting in place “accommodations” by which it hopes to quell the […]

Why the HHS Mandate is About Religious Freedom AND Contraceptives
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Why the HHS Mandate is About Religious Freedom AND Contraceptives

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By now, most Catholics are aware of the impending HHS mandate the Obama Administration will be imposing upon faith-based organizations, requiring them to pay — through insurance companies — for contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs. If they choose to not pay, a fine will be imposed per employee, which could cost institutions like the Catholic Church millions […]

On Santorum, Democrats, and 'God’s Will'
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On Santorum, Democrats, and ‘God’s Will’

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In case you didn’t notice…. With George W. Bush out of office and a Democrat in the White House, the secular media stopped its handwringing over the president mentioning God. With Rick Santorum’s surge, the hysteria has started again. Every religious utterance by Santorum will be a cause for apoplexy by the liberal press. It […]

The Social Kingship of Christ
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The Social Kingship of Christ

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In the Gospel reading for the First Sunday of Lent in the Ordinary Form of Holy Mass, Jesus proclaims, “The Kingdom of God is at hand,” but what does that mean? Is this Kingdom still to come such that we might participate in bringing it to fulfillment, or is the reign of Christ the King […]

Syria: Arguing for U.S. Inaction
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Syria: Arguing for U.S. Inaction

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Some thoughts on U.S. policy toward Syria on the occasion of the just-ended “Friends of Syria” meeting in Tunisia: Since the end of the cold war, many Americans have a sense of being so strong, they don’t need to think about their own security but can afford to focus on the immediate humanitarian concerns of […]

Canada’s New Tyranny: The State’s Takeover of the Family
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Canada’s New Tyranny: The State’s Takeover of the Family

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The great English writer G.K. Chesterton once wrote: “The family is the test of freedom; because the family is the only thing that the free man makes for himself and by himself.” But if what Chesterton says is true, then Canada fails the test, because the Canadian family is no longer free. In the past […]

A Whiff of Privatization
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A Whiff of Privatization

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Three decades ago, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher implemented a policy called “privatization” to rejuvenate the moribund economy of the United Kingdom. Like the United States today, the cost of a too-large government was sapping the vitality of the U.K.’s economy. The private sector was staggering under the heavy tax burden needed to fund the public […]

Seven States Sue Obama Administration Over ObamaCare Mandate
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Seven States Sue Obama Administration Over ObamaCare Mandate

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Seven states filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration today seeking to overturn the mandate that religious employers provide contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients to their employees as part of their health care plans. The state attorneys general of Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas filed suit today in U.S. District Court, arguing […]

CSA: A Distributist Agrarianism
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CSA: A Distributist Agrarianism

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After quitting my job as a school teacher in 2010 to become a full-time organic farmer, I was left with a dilemma. I was quite certain that I could grow high quality produce, but what was I going to do with it? I had heard about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs from various other small-scale […]

Obama’s Values Spark Return of Culture Wars
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Obama’s Values Spark Return of Culture Wars

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In 2007, while still a member of the U.S. Senate, Barack Obama said, “I am absolutely convinced that culture wars are just so ‘90s. Their days are growing dark.” Until recently, I’ve been inclined to agree with Mr. Obama. The culture wars are over. We lost. We’re no longer fighting to uphold traditional social values. […]

Pharmacists' Conscience Rights Upheld in Major Court Victory
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Pharmacists’ Conscience Rights Upheld in Major Court Victory

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Today, religious liberty gained a resounding victory. A federal court in Tacoma, Washington, struck down a Washington law that requires pharmacists to dispense the morning-after pill even when doing so would violate their religious beliefs. The court held that the law violates the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion. “Today’s decision sends a […]

Satan and Santorum: Perspective from Reagan's Evil Empire Speech
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Satan and Santorum: Perspective from Reagan’s Evil Empire Speech

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The secular world today trembles and shudders at the sight of Rick Santorum speaking on good and evil at Ave Maria University in Florida in 2008. Santorum’s statement came 25 years after another much-maligned social conservative, Ronald Reagan, delivered a similarly fiery speech in Florida in 1983. In both cases, the secular left recoiled in […]

Gradually, Then Suddenly
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Gradually, Then Suddenly

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It is not often that one sees Ernest Hemingway cited in an article on the federal budget and fiscal situation. But that is what GOP House Budget Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), ranking member of the Senate Committee, did in a recentWashington Post op-ed on President Obama’s last budget of his first term. […]

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