RAP Sheet

Court Won’t Exempt Notre Dame from Obamacare Birth Control Provision

posted on May 21, 2015

The Chicago Tribune reports, “A federal appeals court has rejected the University of Notre Dame’s request to temporarily be exempt from a provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires the Catholic school’s insurance providers to cover the costs of contraceptives for students and staff.” In its lawsuit, Notre Dame argued that offering birth control, even indirectly, violates its religious beliefs. The ruling on Tuesday is an interim measure, forcing Notre Dame to continue providing contraceptive coverage until its case is decided.

Read at The Chicago Tribune

How Republicans Hope to Turn Islamic State into a Problem for Democrats

posted on May 21, 2015

The Washington Post’s Robert Costa reports, “After more than a decade bearing the political burden of Iraq, Republicans are making a dogged effort to shed it by arguing that the Islamic State’s gruesome ascent is a symptom of Obama’s foreign policy, rather than a byproduct of the 2003 invasion they once championed.” This strategy manifested most recently last weekend, at a Republican dinner in Iowa, where many 2016 presidential candidates spoke.


Read at The Washington Post

Boy Scouts’ President Calls for End to Ban on Gay Leaders

posted on May 21, 2015

The New York Times’s Erik Eckholm reports, “The president of the Boy Scouts of America on Thursday called for an end to the group’s blanket ban on gay adult leaders.” This request comes in spite of the fact that many Scout troops receive sponsorship from their local religious organizations, some of whom oppose homosexuality. “He said that he was not yet making a formal proposal but that the Scouts’ governing body should take up the issue formally at a future meeting,” Eckholm writes.


Read at The New York Times

Pope Francis Goes to Washington

posted on May 21, 2015

In TIME, Elizabeth Dias reports on the effects of the pope’s impending September visit to Washington, D.C. “Until now there has never been a Pope, much less one with a political agenda like Francis’, who has been invited to address a joint session of Congress by Speaker John Boehner, a practicing Catholic,” Dias writes. “All this may mark something of a reversal in American politics, or at least a pause.”

Read at TIME

Who Is Columba Bush?

posted on May 20, 2015

In The Atlantic, Hanna Rosin profiles Columba Bush, the Mexico-born wife of presidential candidate Jeb Bush. She is known for her insularity from the political scene as much as for the influence she has had on her husband’s policy and person: Bush converted to Columba’s Catholicism following his first failed campaign for Florida governor and has famously self-identified as Hispanic. “She lives outside the political bubble and brings his focus back to the really important things in life, like family and friends and faith,” said family friend and Republican strategist Ana Navarro. Rosin questions what effect the presidential campaign will have on that focus.

Read at The Atlantic

Piety and Politics in America

posted on May 20, 2015

In The American Prospect, Susan Jacoby reviews Kevin M. Kruse’s One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America and Amy Kittelstrom’s The Religion of Democracy: Seven Liberals and the American Moral Tradition, asking, “How, when, and why did it become controversial for politicians to pay even passing homage to the noble truth that the Founders had the temerity, at a time when nearly all Americans were Christian, to establish a national government whose founding legal document is entirely secular?”

Read at The American Prospect

Fertility Medicine Brings Babies – and Tough Decisions

posted on May 19, 2015

In The Washington Post, Ellen McCarthy explores the fates of excess embryos, left over as more and more couples use fertility medicine to have children. McCarthy writes that couples have the option to “implant them, offer them for donation to another couple, pay the hefty annual storage fee or have them destroyed.” These choices invoke both practical and moral questions, and for some, the solution is simple. “But for some people, the decision to destroy is much more fraught,” she writes.

Read at The Washington Post

Iran Sets Trial Date for Washington Post Reporter Jason Rezaian

posted on May 19, 2015

The New York Times’ Thomas Erdbrink reports that the trial of Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian will begin on May 26. Mr. Rezaian is accused of “espionage for the hostile government of the United States of America and propaganda activities against the system.” According to the Post’s Executive Editor Martin Baron, “The absence of evidence against him should have led to dismissal of the case long ago.”

Read at The New York Times

States of the Union

Writers tell us stories about where they discovered religion and politics in their states.


A Cornhusker Prays with FCA.

By Paul Putz

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