In an interview that aired this morning, President Obama was asked whether he'd have too much influence over an American pope. He didn't answer the question, but he did say he hopes the next pope carries the "central message of the Gospel":
"While we're here," said the interviewer from ABC News, "a lot of eyes on Rome as the cardinals prepare to pick a new pope. And for the first time some American cardinals on the list. But what I wanted to ask you about, there seems to be some concern among Catholics there shouldn't be an American pope because that pope would be too tied to the United States government. What do think of that?"
"It seems to me that an American pope would preside just as effectively as a Polish pope or an Italian pope or a Guatemalan pope," responded the president of the United States.
The ABC newsreader asked, "And not take orders from you?"
"I don't know if you have checked lately but the Conference of Catholic Bishops here in the United States don't seem to be taking orders from me," said Obama. "My hope is, based on what I know about the Catholic Church and the terrific work that they've done around the world and certainly in this country, you know, helping those who are less fortunate, is that you have a pope who sustains and maintains what I consider the central message of the Gospel that we treat everybody as children of God and that we love them the way Jesus Christ taught us to love them."
Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts has banned a Christian group from campus because the group requires student leaders to adhere to "basic biblical truths of Christianity." The decision to ban the group, called the Tufts Christian Fellowship, was made by officials from the university's student government, specifically the Tufts Community Union Judiciary.
Just in time for the nearly 2 million member Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly this week, which will consider anti-Israel divestment, some prominent Christian activists have released a new anti-Israel salvo, called Kairos USA.
Last Sunday, CBS’s 60 Minutes broadcast “Christians of the Holy Land,” by Bob Simon, largely blaming Israel for an exodus of Christians from the Holy Land. The showing coincides with a growing international campaign to portray Israel as anti-Christian, showcasing Palestinian Christians as evidence.
Fyodor Dostoevsky once purportedly wrote that the degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons. As many in the mainstream media have reminded us since his April 21 death at age 80, Charles W. Colson first did so in 1973, as President Nixon’s “hatchet man” sent to prison for seven months after his role in exposing Daniel Ellsberg. His subsequent contributions to improving the lives of prisoners—and to setting in motion entirely new prison paradigms—will endure for decades to come.
It’s widely reported that Charles Colson once said he'd walk over his grandmother to get Richard Nixon elected to a second term. In the Nixon White House he was considered smart, effective, and ruthless—Nixon's "hatchet man." Then came Watergate, a prison sentence, and a conversion nearly as dramatic as St. Augustine’s or St. Paul’s.
In Nigeria, thousands of people have been killed in recent months, and tens of thousands in the last decade. It is a fissiparous country whose conflicts have been exacerbated by the increased influence of radical Islam—beginning with attempts to apply Islamic law, then the growth of militias, and now the depredations of the vicious al Qaeda-linked Boko Haram movement.
Windham, N.H. The auditorium at Windham High School seats 660, but the fire marshal tells me the crowd for Rick Santorum’s fifth event on Thursday overflowed with more than 700 in attendance. But even with this big audience, Santorum looks tired and gives a low energy, pedestrian performance.
As we look ahead to Easter—Christianity’s greatest feast day, and the celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead—there is much to pray for. We pray for those affected by economic strife, and those harmed by natural disasters and war. But let’s not forget the Christians suffering around the world for their beliefs.
Cairo -- Polling places are packed today as Egyptians are casting their votes to ratify six amendments to the country’s constitution in what may be Egypt’s freest and fairest election ever. Because the military is running the show, penalties are stiff for voter fraud, and very few seem tempted to risk a second trip to the ballot box more than once in exchange for a 2-5 year prison sentence. Moreover, the fact that Egyptians are eager to display their sense of civic responsibility means that the lines are long and no one wants to wait to vote upwards of an hour twice.
For nearly 30 years Richard Cizik represented the National Association of Evangelicals in Washington, D.C. During the George W. Bush administration, he tilted increasingly left and embraced global warming as his iconic issue. A Vanity Fair magazine spread admiringly portrayed him walking on water, just like Jesus.