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Links on R&P from around the web

For Jan Karski, a Long Overdue Medal of Freedom

posted on May 31, 2012

Writing at Real Clear Politics, Mark Salter, John McCain’s former chief of staff, retells the story of Jan Karski, “a hero of the Polish resistance in World War II.” On Tuesday Karski posthumously received the Medal of Freedom for his actions during World War II, when he “was ordered to brief the Polish prime minister in London on Nazi atrocities in Poland.” Salter, a former student of Karski’s at Georgetown University, writes of his former professor: “Jan Karski, a haunted man, a righteous man, it was a privilege to have known him even slightly. I’ll never meet another like him.” 

Read at Real Clear Politics

Q&A: Sam Harris

posted on May 30, 2012

At Tablet, David Samuels interviews Sam Harris, the best-selling author famed for his atheism and attacks on the Christian right, radical Islamists, and the secular left. Samuels writes: “An 18th-century Enlightenment thinker in a 21st-century world riven by 14th-century conflicts, Harris is an expert polemicist—funny, logical, fearless, and sometimes impulsive—who also possesses the rarer qualities of psychological suppleness and a willingness to admit when he’s wrong.”

Read at Tablet

Conservative Leader Agrees to Visit Home of Married Gay Couple for First Time

posted on May 30, 2012

At CNN, Dan Gilgoff reports on Tony Perkins’ decision to visit the home of a married same-sex couple. Perkins heads the socially conservative Family Research Council, which “has helped lead a national movement to ban same-sex marriage.” Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of Family Equality Council, invited Perkins to dinner with her and her wife, who have twin boys and a baby on the way. “While I recognize it may not change your mind, I hope that it might soften your heart,” Chrisler wrote in her invitation. “As Christians, I think we can both agree that ours is not to judge and that we must live by the golden rule.”

Read at CNN

Straight People Are the Problem with Gay Marriage

posted on May 30, 2012

An opponent of gay marriage, W. James Antle, associate editor of The American Spectator, sees straight people as the problem. Writing for Real Clear Policy, Antle states, “Ironically, gay marriage is conceivable precisely because heterosexuals have made such a hash out of traditional marriage.” Because heterosexual marriages have been marred by “astonishing divorce rates” and have “rested … on the tenuous bonds of human affection,” these unions allow same-sex marriage supporters to ask: “How is it fair to frustrate the ambitions of same-sex couples to preserve an ideal heterosexuals aren’t doing a very good job of upholding in the first place?”

Read at Real Clear Policy

Pro-Choice and Pro-Life? On Abortion, Americans say “It’s Complicated.”

posted on May 30, 2012

Robert P. Jones at The Washington Post comments on how the abortion debate is not a binary choice, despite it’s pro-choice/pro-life rhetoric. Jones digs into Gallup’s most recent polling data and a national survey his own Public Religion Research Institute, finding: 43 percent of Americans describe themselves as “both ‘pro-choice’ and ‘pro-life.’” Arguing for more clarity in the debate on abortion, Jones sees Americans’ perspectives on abortion as complex and “nuanced.”

Read at The Washington Post

The Politics of Religion

posted on May 30, 2012

Last Sunday, The New York Times published an editorial criticizing the lawsuit brought by 13 Catholic dioceses and other Catholic groups over Obama’s contraception-coverage mandate. Denouncing the lawsuit as “a dramatic stunt,” the editorial concludes: “This is a clear partisan play. The real threat to religious liberty comes from the effort to impose one church’s doctrine on everyone.”

Read at The New York Times

Proposed Mosques Spark Opposition in Some U.S. Communities

posted on May 30, 2012

Since 9/11, tensions have been strained over the proposed building of several mosques across America, Judy Keen reports for USA Today. While some oppose the constructions ostensibly for reasons like increased traffic and effects on property values, others see the opposition as “anti-mosque.” Kevin Vodak, director of litigation for the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says, “The post-9/11 atmosphere has created a lot of fear and hysteria about Muslim institutions.”

Read at USA Today

Catholics Caught Between Bishops, Obama’s Birth Control Mandate

posted on May 30, 2012

Lisa Miller at The Washington Post sees the debate over Obama’s birth control mandate as a tug-of-war, one in which most American Catholics are caught in the middle. Miller points out that of the 194 dioceses in the U.S., only 12 joined the lawsuit filed against the birth control mandate. Many Catholic groups have remained silent during this debate, a role Miller sees as the “silent and frustrated mother” in a fight between “mommy and daddy.” 

Read at The Washington Post

Romney’s Run Evokes Pride, Fear in Mormons

posted on May 30, 2012

“For Mormons, this is a potentially volatile moment,” writes Matt Viser for The Boston Globe. While Mitt Romney can become a champion of the Mormon faith, Viser reports how some Mormons “fear that their beliefs, often misunderstood, will again be subjected to scrutiny, even ridicule, on a national scale.” A faith that is no stranger to persecution, Viser writes how Mormons are guarded but excited for Romney’s presidential run. 

Read at The Boston Globe

Lady Gaga Cancels Indonesia Concert on Security Fears

posted on May 29, 2012

Reuters reports that Lady Gaga canceled a concert planned for June 3 in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, following objections and protests from some Islamic groups. Certainly Gaga, whose now-canceled “Born This Way Ball” concert was sold out, has many fans in Indonesia. But Salim Alatas, the head of the Islamic Defender Front, is not one of them. Reuters reports that Alatas called Gaga a “vulgar singer who wears only panties and a bra when she sings and she stated she is the envoy of the devil’s child and that she will spread satanic teaching.”

Read at Reuters