Good stuff from the Book of Maccabees, as applied by John Garvey, president of Catholic University on why he is suing the federal government over the Obamacare contraceptive/abortifacient mandate: A wonderful story in the second book of Maccabees describes the martyrdom of the old scribe Eleazar. It occurred during the Hellenizing campaign of Antiochus Epiphanes. He forced the Jews “to forsake the laws of their fathers and cease to live by the laws of God.” Eleazar was ordered on pain… Read more

So says Richard Leakey, scion of the famed fossil-finding family.  From the Washington Post: Richard Leakey predicts skepticism over evolution will soon be history. Not that the avowed atheist has any doubts himself. Sometime in the next 15 to 30 years, the Kenyan-born paleoanthropologist expects scientific discoveries will have accelerated to the point that “even the skeptics can accept it.” “If you get to the stage where you can persuade people on the evidence, that it’s solid, that we are… Read more

Terry Mattingly points to a shift in language and of thinking that could be devastating to religious liberty: With the sounds of protests echoing across the campus, President Barack Obama knew his 2009 commencement address at the University of Notre Dame would have to mention the religious issues that divided his listeners. “The ultimate irony of faith is that it necessarily admits doubt,” he said. “It is beyond our capacity as human beings to know with certainty what God has… Read more

The state of Indiana has passed a law that allows citizens to shoot police officers if they reasonably believe the cops have entered their home illegally. PJ Media » Why the GOP-backed Indiana Gun Law Is a Terrible Idea. Conservatives used to make a point of saying, “I support my local police.”  Is anti-government and pro-gun sentiment so strong now that it’s all right to shoot police officers who have made a mistake?  Aren’t there legal remedies that will click… Read more

One of the medieval “works of mercy” is burying the dead.  So the Benedicting monks of St. Joseph Abbey in Louisiana, who had been making hand-crafted wooden caskets for members of their order, decided to make them available to the public. But before they sold even one, state officials filed a cease-and-desist order, threatening the monks with fines and criminal prosecution.  It seems Louisiana has protectionist laws favoring local funeral directors, who alone are entitled to sell coffins. Now the… Read more

Luther is the acclaimed British crime drama now available to Americans on BBC America.  Here is the Wikipedia description of John Luther, played by Golden-Globe winner Idris Elba: He is obsessive, possessed, and sometimes dangerous in the violence of his fixations. But Luther has paid a heavy price for his dedication; he has never been able to prevent himself from being consumed by the darkness of the crimes with which he deals. For Luther, the job always comes first. His… Read more

Denmark has passed a law requiring the state Lutheran church to hold church weddings for gay couples.  It allows pastors who don’t believe in gay marriage–from one-third to one-half of the clergy–to opt out, but bishops must provide a replacement pastor to preside over the wedding. It isn’t clear to me from the news stories how this will affect other church bodies than the state church.  Reuters says, “The new law permits homosexual marriages in the Evangelical Lutheran Church as… Read more

Yesterday we posted about mining “big data,” how corporations, politicians, and researchers are delving into Twitter, Google,  Facebook, and other online information to forecast trends, target customers, and gain various competitive advantages.  Well, it turns out that the Obama campaign is mining such data on voters on a massive, unprecedented scale.  Politico’s Lois Romano reports: On the sixth floor of a sleek office building here, more than 150 techies are quietly peeling back the layers of your life. They know… Read more

There is a TV show on BBC called Luther about a British police investigator, a black man played by Idris Elba.  According to Jordan Ballor, Luther is also Lutheran, a dramatic exploration of vocation and what it means to be a little Christ to your neighbor. I haven’t seen the show, but I’ve got to now.  Ballor’s essay is worth two blog posts.  First, I appreciate his explanation of vocation, along with Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s application.  I’ll post that today.  Tomorrow… Read more

President Obama said something that will be a much-replayed sound-bite in the presidential race: Laying out his economic argument at a morning news conference, Obama said that cutbacks in state and local government spending have slowed the nation’s recovery and that Congress has “no excuse” for not supporting his jobs bill that would provide funding to retain public workers. “The private sector,” the president added as a point of comparison, “is doing fine.” The remark struck a discordant political note… Read more

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