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Links on R&P from around the web

Catholic Schools at a Crossroads

posted on June 6, 2012

Rising costs, competition from charter and magnet schools, and changing demographics have forced many Catholic schools in Chicago to close, reports Jim Jaworski of The Chicago Tribune. Rev. Tony Dosen, a Catholic priest who teaches at Chicago’s DePaul University, says “[s]ome Chicago-area schools have made changes to both improve finances and attract more students.” However, Dosen also notes that, “[o]ne such change, switching high schools from single-sex to coed, may yield only short-term benefits.”

Read at The Chicago Tribune

Why One Black Minister Is Risking His Church to Support Gay Marriage

posted on June 6, 2012

At The Atlantic, Jennie Rothenberg Gritz interviews Reverend Oliver White, a black pastor who leads a United Church of Christ congregation in St. Paul, Minnesota. In the weeks following his 2005 public announcement that he supports gay marriage, White lost two thirds of his congregants. Still, while he scrambles to pay a loan that, if unpaid, might force the shuttering of the church, White remains resolute that he made the right decision. “[This] is a civil rights issue! When you stand up and preach against the gays and lesbians, that’s discrimination. It’s pure and simple to me.”

Read at The Atlantic

Mississippi Governor Advocates Nondenominational School Prayer ‘At Some Point’

posted on June 6, 2012

The Huffington Post’s Gregory Kristof reports on recent controversial statements from Mississippi governor, Phil Bryant. Last week, Bryant told 300 high school boys gathered in Hattiesburg for Mississippi’s American Legion Boys State that, “I think at some point at a moment of enlightenment in the future, the federal government and perhaps a future Supreme Court is going to say it’s not a bad thing for children to hear prayer in school.” Kristof notes, “Governor Bryant’s comments come at a time when the Bible belt is swarming with alleged infringements on the separation of Church and State.”

Read at The Huffington Post

Mormons and Homophobia; Mormons and Gay Pride

posted on June 6, 2012

After a group of some 300 straight, active Mormons marched in Salt Lake City’s gay pride parade this past Sunday, Religion News Service’s “Flunking Sainthood” blogger, Jana Riess, observes, “[i]n the last two years I’ve discerned a palpable shift in overall Mormon attitudes about homosexuality.” Nevertheless, Riess, herself a Mormon convert, notes that there is room for improvement in the official position of the LDS Church towards homosexuals. For example, Riess cites a little known church policy that lumps together “adult homosexual behavior with incest, [and] sexual and physical abuse of children.”

Read at Religion News Service

An Unholy Alliance

posted on June 6, 2012

Three months after a coup toppled the country’s democratically elected government, Mali may be on the verge of peace, but a peace at a high cost. The Economist reports that in the country’s north, a secular coalition of Toureg rebels has joined with a local Islamic fundamentalist group, known as “Ansar Eddine,” to govern the newly formed Republic of Azawad. Yet, according to The Economist, Malians “still have reason to be scared. Ansar Eddine has become almost indistinguishable from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). This is the closest to government that al-Qaeda, under any guise, has ever come.”

Read at The Economist

Rights You Can’t Give Away

posted on June 6, 2012

At First Things, Texas A&M political scientist, James R. Rogers, distinguishes between alienable and inalienable rights. “[A]n inalienable right cannot be given away by the person who has it,” Rogers writes. Rogers explains the practical role that inalienable rights play in preserving democratic rule, and not just when governments attempt to “grab power from their citizens without their consent…inalienable rights inure against the possibility that people in some situations can be induced to give those rights away.”

Read at First Things

Losing faith in Democrats’ religious outreach

posted on June 5, 2012

Compared to 2008, Barack Obama may not see as much support during the election from religious voters, Rachel Zoll reports for the Associated Press. She writes that some religious leaders and scholars who supported Obama in 2008 say “the Democrats have, through neglect and lack of focus, squandered the substantial gains they made with religious moderates and worry it will hurt Obama in a tight race against Republican Mitt Romney.” 

Read at Associated Press

CDF Notification: Sr. Margaret Farley, R.S.M.

posted on June 5, 2012

Commonweal’s Michael Peppard reports that the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released a criticism of Sister Margaret Farley’s 2006 book Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics. The criticism claims the book contains “erroneous propositions, the dissemination of which risks grave harm to the faithful” and calls on Farley, a professor emerita at Yale Divinity School, “to correct the unacceptable theses in her book.” In defense, Farley said “the book was not intended to be an expression of current official Catholic teaching, nor was it aimed specifically against this teaching. It is of a different genre altogether.”

Read at Commonweal

Wis. Recall: A Trial Run For The Presidential Race

posted on June 5, 2012

On Tuesday, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker faces a recall election, which NPR reports is “one of the most expensive statewide races in American history.” Drawing campaign funds from all over the country, many see the election as a forerunner for the presidential election this November. NPR’s Mara Liasson says “the Republicans believe that if Walker wins, Wisconsin automatically becomes a gettable state for Mitt Romney.”

Read at NPR

When Hate Speech Hits Social Media

posted on June 5, 2012

At The Jewish Daily Forward, Nathan Guttman reports on the differing responses Twitter and Facebook take toward hate speech on their respective websites. While Facebook “has recently won plaudits from Jewish groups … for its willingness to censor perceived anti-Semitic hate speech,” Twitter “has consistently rejected attempts to intervene with its content, citing its concern for maintaining free speech.” Guttman writes: “Twitter has made its resistance against requests to provide information to government and police investigations part of its brand,” while Facebook “has shown its willingness to address concerns of other interest groups and of governments.”

Read at The Jewish Daily Forward