Income Disparity: The Lethal DisEase

The growing gap between the incomes of the rich and the much smaller incomes of the poor poses the greatest threat to our nation’s future as a democracy. While Eastern European nations have managed to erect reasonable “guard rails” on capitalism that distribute wealth in a way that has eradicated the worst ills of poverty, the United States seems to be going in the opposite direction, hastening our own demise.

read more

Do Your Job – Part IV

Part 4 of a 4-Part Series

In his World Peace Day Message for 2017 Pope Francis states, “To be true followers of Jesus today also includes embracing his teaching about nonviolence.” This is a fine example of a bishop being what a bishop is commissioned to be by Jesus (Mt 28:19). He is teaching the disciples of Jesus “to obey all that I have commanded you.”

read more

3 Reasons Catholic Bishops are Holding their Tongues on GOP Health Care Debacle

By Patricia Miller for Patheos

When President Obama proposed requiring health plans to cover common contraceptives without charge, the Catholic bishops howled like the world was coming to an end. Dire warnings about the future of religious liberty were issued on a regular basis by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, then-head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who personally went to the White House to complain to Obama. A special committee was formed. Legislators were lobbied. Lay Catholics were called on to protest. A scorching letter was read aloud by bishops at masses across the country. And threats were made about the Catholic vote in 2012.

But now, even as the clearly deceptive and immoral Trump administration plunges further into chaos and the Republican Party uses it as a distraction as it plots to take health care away from millions, the nation’s Catholic bishops have remained largely silent.

read more

America Will Be Great When…

The campaign cry of “make America great again” presumes that there was some halcyon time of American greatness that has been lost. Given our history of slavery, segregation, discrimination, unprovoked wars, and class disparity it is clear that unless you were white, male, and wealthy, America’s greatness is not something from the past wanting to be restored, but it is something yet to be realized in our potential future. America could be great but becoming great depends upon our willingness to make substantive changes in the direction of giving both freedom and justice to all.

read more

Carne y Arena: “Flesh and Sand”

Alejandro Inarritu drops a depth-charge into the souls of all who experience Carne y Arena. And he cuts a new trail in the desert of Hollywood toward a promised land of kindness and justice. Let us walk it through political action for protecting the undocumented in our midst, and let us follow him in employing this entertainment technology for social and spiritual progress.

read more

Do Your Job – Part III

Part 3 of a 4-Part Series

An institution is a humanly created means to achieve an end. All the activities within it are designed by human beings to reach that end. An institution is like a hammer. It is a tool devised by humans to do a job. But, the hammer in order to do the job for which it was developed, e.g. put a nail in a piece of wood, must be employed according to its own intrinsic logic. The handle is held and the head of the hammer hits the top of the nail. To use a hammer contrary to its own logic, for example, to hold the head of the hammer and hit the side of the nail with the handle, is to misuse the tool and render it ineffective to achieve the end for which it was created. Once the tool is chosen its intrinsic logic must be obeyed. 

read more

The Prodigal Pig

You can call me Wilbur. No, you are not hallucinating: I can talk. And yes, as you can see if you look carefully, I have been circumcised. And no, I do not recommend having it done unless you are an infant who won’t be able to remember.

read more

AMERICAN CIVIL RELIGION IS DEAD, LONG LIVE AMERICAN CIVIL RELIGION

The Founding Fathers were explicit in calling for their politicians to set aside “faction” in favor of the American project. But the singularity of that project was always bullshit, most notably in its equally explicit rejection of a role in the political body for African Americans. […] Now that the fraud has been exposed and there is little, if any, agreement on what the American project is or should be, there is correspondingly less agreement on who ought to lead the nation.

read more

Is Healthcare a Right or Privilege? Wrong Question.

When people ask whether healthcare is a right or privilege, they are basically asking whether healthcare is either an act of charity or a luxury. And then if it is an act of charity, they ask whether others are entitled to that charity or not. Furthermore, this question implies that the benefits of healthcare go directly to individuals and not to society as a whole.

read more

Will Supreme Court allow businesses to not serve the LGBTQ community?

This week the U. S. Supreme Court announced that in the fall it will hear the case “Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.” The case – which will have many of us LGBTQ Americans on pins and needles – will argue the parameters of one’s right to practice their religion and their right to express themselves freely that’s enshrined in the First Amendment.

read more

Do Your Job – Part 1

In the U.S. the most successful profession football coach by far is a man named Bill Belichick. He is an intelligent man. Over the thousands of football pre-game and post-game press conference he has had across the decades, he has talked about nothing except his team and the recent or up-coming game of his team. This has not made him a darling of the press. In fact it is quite the opposite. Even when there has been another one of those daily “breaking news” social scandals in the nation or in the National Football League—social scandals being the meat and potatoes of what is passed off as journalism today in North America, Belichick will not speak to the press about them, even if the people involved are on his team. He just says, “My job is to be a football coach. All that other stuff will be handled by the League Administration.”

read more

Occupy Spirituality

This book is a call to action for a new era of spirituality-infused activism. Authors Adam Bucko and Matthew Fox encourage us to use our talents in service of compassion and justice and to move beyond our broken systems–economic, political, educational, and religious–discovering a spirituality that not only helps us to get along, but also encourages us to reevaluate our traditions, transforming them and in the process building a more sacred and just world.

read more

Hitchhiking to Alaska: The Way of Soulful Service

In this guide to soulful service, Jim Burklo draws from his deep well of experience working with homeless people, leading service-learning programs for university students, and pastoring churches. With touching stories, poetry, and parables, HITCHHIKING TO ALASKA illustrates universal principles about the spirituality of helping relationships. It shatters facile assumptions about what it means to serve. It inspires people of all religions, or of no faith affiliation, to aim higher in their works of service. HITCHHIKING TO ALASKA is recommended reading for anyone in any kind of helping relationship. It is particularly useful for service-learning professionals and students in secondary and higher education, and for leaders and volunteers in religious congregations and faith-based service organizations.

read more

Candles for the Uninsured

Trumpcare is cruel, immoral, and unholy. Every last person in this country should be and must be insured so that they have access to decent health care, and it is government’s role to assure that this is the case. As communities of faith, we must light the way and burn with conviction in resistance to this planned destruction of our nation’s health care system.

read more

Why Do Americans Keep Saying “We Can’t”?

Why do we keep telling ourselves that we can’t do things?

I keep hearing it over and over again: We can’t have . . . Universal health care. Public education that includes college. Higher minimum wage. Sustainable energy. Humane immigration reform. Safe harboring of refugees.

We can’t. We can’t. We can’t.

read more

Adios, “Dios” – Part I

Saying Goodbye to “God” in Sacred Text

What good is “God?” We know well how much violence is committed in the name of “God.” If we were to delete both our traditional Western word and notion of “god” from both our speech and thinking, what are the implications for such things we ourselves know and experience to be true in our own human experience? I’m talking about conceiving of such things as love, compassion, mercy, grace, reconciliation, forgiveness, even absolution, redemption, and salvation. Part one in this series considers a scripture text considered sacred, but noticeably absent is the presence of any deity.

read more

Healing Earth – Free Digital Textbook

International Jesuit Ecology Project

Loyola University Chicago and the International Jesuit Ecology Project (IJEP) have launched Healing Earth, a free digital environmental science textbook. The textbook is intended for fourth-year secondary school students, first-year university students, adult learners, and independent learners worldwide. Unlike any other environmental science textbook, Healing Earth presents an integrated, global, and living approach to the ecological challenges we face on our extraordinary planet.

read more

How can Progressive Humanism Counter Islamism’s Corrosive Divisiveness?

By George Suchett-Kaye

Islamist attacks on Western democracies pose a deep philosophical and moral problem to anyone sympathising with a progressive, humanist vision of society. The Islamic fundamentalists are targeting the very heart of our democracies and, more importantly, our entire way of life. They are trying to drive a wedge between the Islamic community, which they are supposed to be part of, and the rest of us. We, as a democracy, must not fall into the trap they have set. If we do succumb to their provocations, our entire society will change forever, if it survives at all. It is ironic that the civilisation that brought Greek philosophy and Islamic science to Europe, at the end of the Middle Ages, should now be so determined to bring down the very societies that it helped to create. Whether they succeed or not will depend on our response to their provocations.

read more