That’s a pretty good lens through which to view the pope’s remarks. He mentioned religious freedom, but only in an oblique way:
In this land, the various religious denominations have greatly contributed to building and strengthening society. It is important that today, as in the past, the voice of faith continue to be heard, for it is a voice of fraternity and love, which tries to bring out the best in each person and in each society. Such cooperation is a powerful resource in the battle to eliminate new global forms of slavery, born of grave injustices which can be overcome only through new policies and new forms of social consensus.
What Francis either does not understand, or is not willing to say, is that the forces of aggressive secularism in America are no longer working to change the culture into something the Catholic Church finds disagreeable. That ship sailed 30 years ago. No, these days the goal is to push the Catholic Church itself out of the public square and force it to stop performing its mission. (Again, see the case of the Catholic Charities adoption services in Boston.)
As Ben Domenech observed this morning at the Federalist:
The most interesting thing Pope Francis has said thus far on his trip to America is these comments to U.S. Catholic bishops, urging them to avoid taking “harsh” stances on contentious issues. . . .
The Pope is expressing his views on harshness and division coming from the church in a vague manner – I would like him to be more specific, in part because defending the things Christians believe in the context of the current American culture war is increasingly divisive, not because those beliefs have changed, but because the beliefs of the people have changed. Namely: one side is thoroughly done debating the issues, and believes the other side needs to be banished from polite society and the public square. It’s all well and good for the Pope to stress the need for dialogue – but stressing this fails to recognize how much that dialogue, particularly on divisive issues, has been crushed by the modern American priorities of political correctness.
The issue of the Catholic Church’s place in America will ultimately be decided without the Holy Father’s input—so it’s not as if Francis is denying Catholics an important tool in the fight to preserve their religious liberty. Still, it would be nice to know that he understands their plight.
On immigration and climate change, Francis left no doubt about his beliefs and preferred courses of action. Indeed, the logic of Francis’s remarks to Congress would seem to suggest a Christian duty to support open borders:
Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War. This presents us with great challenges and many hard decisions. On this continent, too, thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities. Is this not what we want for our own children? We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal. We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
The difference between man and woman is the force that hauls life forward (as the Talmud remarks) and the origin of everything that is most beautiful in our world. I thought I understood that, but I didn’t until my father died. The whole can transcend the sum of parts, and that’s why Judaism deems marriage sacred. I never truly understood that either.
On MSNBC today, Washington Post reporter Janell Ross hinted that Jeb Bush was covering up a major family scandal -- but she offered no proof or explanation for her comments. Even the MSNBC host made an effort to distance herself and her network from the Post reporter's comments.
Vice President President Joe Biden announced the passing of his son, Beau Biden, in a statement released by the White House.
"It is with broken hearts that Hallie, Hunter, Ashley, Jill and I announce the passing of our husband, brother and son, Beau, after he battled brain cancer with the same integrity, courage and strength he demonstrated every day of his life," reads the statement from Vice President Biden.
President Obama talked about his commitment to Africa in personal terms last night at the White House. "I stand before you as the President of the United States and a proud American," Obama told the U.S.-African Leaders Summit at dinner last night.
After Zeituni Onyango, the woman President Obama once called Auntie, died in a South Boston nursing home this month, her closest relatives gathered her belongings at her nearby apartment. There, framed photographs of her with the president covered the wall.
On the one hand, Barack Obama, speaking as a dad, says he "would not let my son play pro football." It's a reasonable judgment, one other parents have made and one they're entitled to make (though enforcing it on recalcitrant sons is another matter!).
Every time you think that we've finally touched bottom on Obamacare, some new problem emerges. So what began merely as a dysfunctional website became a broken and mis-designed system. When it turned out that lots of people were paying more for their plans, it then turned out that others were having their plans canceled—and that some people were even losing their doctors. And now we're finding that, along with everything else, Obamacare contains a marriage penalty, too.
President Obama likes to talk about income inequality, but what matters far more is the actual income of the typical American. And how has the typical American household income fared on Obama's watch? Well, the economic "recovery" has now spanned an Olympiad, and during that time the typical American household income has not only dropped—it has dropped more than twice as much as it did during the recession.
'Time was when the whole of life went forward in the family,” the historian Peter Laslett once wrote, “in a circle of loved, familiar faces. . . . That time has gone forever. It makes us very different from our ancestors.” Laslett was writing in 1965, as he lamented the decline of the family over the course of England’s industrial age. But even then, after a century and a half of upheaval, families in Great Britain and the rest of the West were relatively large, divorce was rare, and illegitimacy was frowned upon.
Garden City (“What a misnomer!” said cousin Betty, who’d been there) is the seat of Glasscock County, a rectangular piece of flat, dry West Texas with a population density of two per square mile. The population of the “city” fell as low as 100 early in the last century, but the 2010 census put it at an all-time high of 334.