Stories I’ve Found, 2/28/2014

Interesting Stories I’ve Found:

Is the “sincerely held religious belief” exemption a dangerous legal precent?  This author says yes.  I’m glad Arizona’s governor vetoed the law, and disappointed the Missouri state legislature is going to waste time on it.

Pope Francis has sharp words for arms dealers and others who profit from war.  We have become rather desensitized from the horrors of wars since they are on such a small scale these days. He also preaches about the necessity for Christian witness, and that Jesus wasn’t a communist.  As the preparations for the Synod of Bishops later this year continues, he lays out the mission for the Congregation for Bishops, and an updated set of standards for bishops in their ministry.

It’s not baseball season yet, but John Allen thinks Pope Francis has pulled off an unassisted triple play.  His analysis of Pope Francis’ financial moves this week is hopeful reading.

The Vatican surveys are coming in, and they reflect a great deal of suffering around the world.  They also reveal widespread rejection of the Church’s teaching on contraceptives.  Cardinal Kaspar of Germany offers a way for one of the issues facing the Synod.  Thomas Reese, SJ gives some goals for reforming the Curia.

The Dalai Lama talks about mindfully employing technology.  He’s absolutely on target.

Is the American Dream a reality?  James Surowlecki addresses this question in this New Yorker piece, and says social mobility may be much more a myth than a reality.

Maureen Burke shares with us the struggle to hold onto hope when you’re being beaten with an umbrella.  It’s good to have people like her around: they are too few.

Movie and religion: Laura Turner lists her best moments in film history related to religion. I wouldn’t put the Chariots of Fire scene on this list, would put in the meeting scene of the Jesuit and the natives from The Mission. From the Honorable Mention list: Brokeback Mountain is a sentimental film without much religious significance in my book (regardless of the breakthrough nature of the movie), and American Beauty is a Best Picture Oscar winner that deserves to be mostly forgotten (I’ll meet you for your favorite beverage to discuss why).

Ellen Painter Dollar explores the problems with completely separating sex from procreation, starting with Catholic objections to modern contraceptive technology and going to dystopian fiction to pursue their possible ends.  For me, the issue is dehumanization, which these technologies fail to address adequately.

Tod Worner chooses between the Ego and the Thorn.  His journey of discovery is worth reading and his conclusion is right on the mark.

A lovely meditation by St. Hildegard of Bingen

A series of quotes about God by the Muslim mystic poet Rumi.  These are lovely and true from any faith perspective.

Is your religious liberty at risk? Take the quiz and find out; I bet your answer is the same as mine.

14 sayings of Malcolm X we never knew.  This is a man worth reading about and remembering, although his legacy is very mixed.

5 Reasons Atheists Shouldn’t Call Religion a Mental Illness by Chris Stedman is a good rebuttal to the militant wing of Atheism that wishes to sweep belief off the intellectual map.  Having done an internship as a chaplain in a mental institution, calling something a mental illness is as appropriate as comparing someone to a Nazi.

Katy Perry’s new video has caused a lot of controversy for an implied Muslim slur. Here’s a Muslim response, and it’s worth reading for its serious message.   I understand that since this article was written, the video was re-edited to remove the offensive image.

Pope Benedict addresses the validity of his resignation.  The answer is obvious, and Canon Law, clear. Cardinal Georg Gänswein shares more of the story about the developing relationship between Pope Benedict and his successor.

Pseudoscience isn’t limited to creationism. This look at part of Whole Foods stock in trade is illuminating in the anti-intellectual content that compares to religion belief.

Anna Sutherland explores how parenting has gotten more difficult.  She also presents a new case for parental leave.

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