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?”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
“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.
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.”
The National Catholic Reporter keeps tabs on the unfolding turmoil at the Vatican. Last week, the board of the Vatican Bank forced out the bank’s president, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi. Less than 24 hours later, Vatican police arrested a longtime personal servant to the pope for allegedly leaking sensitive Vatican records to Italian reporters.
At Tablet, James Kirchick writes that in 1999, then New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani invoked the Holocaust to justify his calls for further intervention in Kosovo to stop the slaughter of Serbian Muslims at the hands of troops loyal to Slobadan Milosevic. Thirteen years later, Giuliani’s consulting firm now counts as clients two Serbian political candidates who were once allies of Milosevic. In April, Giuliani even traveled to Belgrade to meet with Aleksandar Vucic and Tomislav Nikolic, the Serbian Progressive Party’s (SNS) mayoral and presidential candidates. “From once righteously calling for American intervention to put a halt to murderous Serb nationalism,” writes Kirchick, “to standing alongside a pair of rebranded Serb nationalists, last month’s spectacle in Belgrade represents a new low for ‘America’s Mayor.'”
At Commentary, Alana Goodman writes a moving Memorial Day post chronicling the sacrifices that many American soldiers who survive war continue to make long after leaving the battlefields. Goodman tells the story of two brothers, Army Specialists John and James Thorne, whom she met at a wounded warriors event in Las Vegas. After stepping on an IED during a foot patrol in Kandahar, Afghanistan, James ended up in an Army hospital in Germany. John visited his brother there. But given only a 35 percent chance of living, James, who lost his leg and was suffering from a mild traumatic brain injury, wasn’t expected to make it home. James did survive and was awarded a Purple Heart. “But his brother, John, was appalled by the medal,” writes Goodman. “’For me, he deserves so much more than a Purple Heart,’ he said. ‘I started looking at it, and I thought, man, this isn’t worth it.’”