The latest on confession and indulgences

Todd alerted me to this story from Reuters: The Vatican has granted priests the right to forgive the sin of abortion when hearing the confessions of hundreds of thousands of young people attending a Roman Catholic youth festival in Spain this week. The termination of pregnancy is a sin punishable by excommunication under Church law. The World Youth Day (WYD) pilgrims will attend a mass confession in the presence of Pope Benedict on Saturday in a central Madrid park. “This… Read more

Obama’s new stimulus plan

President Obama will soon propose a new economic stimulus plan, one that will combine tax cuts, lots of new spending, AND deficit reduction: President Obama has decided to press Congress for a new round of stimulus spending and tax cuts as he seeks to address the great domestic policy quandary of his tenure: how to spur job growth in an age of austerity. Obama will lay out a series of ideas in a major address right after Labor Day, when… Read more

Normalizing “minor-attracted persons”

First we accept homosexuality, some social conservatives said, and next we’ll accept pedophilia.  If we legalize gay marriage, they said, next we’ll have legalize polygamy.  “Nonsense!” came the reply.  “You’re committing the slippery slope fallacy.”  Well, we are slipping and sliding on that same slippery slope.  That’s the point made by  Joe Carter, who analyzes the latest effort to de-stigmatize pedophilia; that is, to use a more politically-correct term “minor-attracted persons.” If a small group of psychiatrists and other mental… Read more

The end of cursive handwriting

When I was in grade school, penmanship kept me off of the honor roll.  Today most schools have not only dropped penmanship, they do not even teach cursive writing anymore Most states don’t require children to learn cursive writing anymore. Some 46 states have adopted the Common Core Standards, a set of educational guidelines that do not require cursive writing as part of a school’s curriculum. The state of Indiana recently announced it would drop a district requirement to teach… Read more

Perry leads in GOP polls–already!

Governor Perry is leading the other Republican presidential contenders, including among tea partiers and anti-tea partiers.  Romney leads him among moderates by only two points. Rick Perry leads his Republican rivals by double digits in the first national survey taken since the Texas governor joined the race and Michele Bachmann won the Ames Straw Poll over the weekend. According to a Rasmussen Reports poll released Tuesday afternoon, Perry, who launched his campaign Saturday in South Carolina, attracts the support of… Read more

The new Lutheran denomination

Congregations dissenting from the ELCA’s embrace of homosexuality now have a bishop and have formed a new Lutheran denomination:  The North American Lutheran Church (NALC).  It has 250 congregations and some 100,000 members.  Check out their website, which details the NALC’s beliefs, government, and mission: North American Lutheran Church (NALC). My impression is that the NALC will still ordain women and be ecumenical in relation to other churches–the website specifically says it will co-operate with the new Anglican church, which… Read more

The Ron Paul alternative

Ron Paul, the pro-life anti-war libertarian, took second place in the Iowa straw poll.   Michelle Bachmann beat him by only 200 votes, and yet her showing is being hailed as making her a contender.   Paul is attracting much more support than he received the last time he ran for president, which was considerable. So why does the media continue to ignore him?   Why does the punditocracy refuse to treat him as a legitimate contender?   Isn’t that a case of the… Read more

The Middle-Earth election guide

The Wall Street Journal and John McCain started it by calling Tea Partiers “hobbits.”  Timothy Furnish develops the parallels: The first leg on this journey is figuring out what the Ring represents in modern political discourse. Since the Tea Party is trying to cast it into the fire, it must be American government spending and debt (which includes deficits, of course). That would make Congressman Paul Ryan Frodo since he knows more about that burden than anyone; and thus Samwise… Read more

Another consideration in a presidential candidate

In choosing which presidential candidate a person will support, the most usual preoccupation for people in both parties is “what does he–or she–believe”? That’s certainly important, since a leader’s beliefs will manifest themselves in their policies and decisions.  But there is something else to consider:  How well can this person govern? Having an ideology and having the ability to preside over a government are two different dimensions that are not necessarily related to each other.  To run something–as a manager,… Read more

What makes a gaffe?

Mitt Romney said, “Corporations are people.”  Newt Gingrich castigated “right-wing social engineering.”  Michele Bachmann claimed that she shared the same spirit as someone else born in Waterloo, Iowa, John Wayne.  But it wasn’t the movie star with whom she shared a birthplace but serial killer John Wayne Gacy. These politically-damaging statements were heralded as “gaffes.”  But what makes a gaffe, as opposed to a forgivable misstatement or an inconsequential mistake?  Journalist Paul Waldman, a liberal, by the way, explains: What… Read more

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