September 27, 2013
A FEDERAL appeals court has thrown enforcement of one of the Affordable Care Act's mandates into confusion by accepting a bizarre argument: that businesses can refuse on religious grounds to include birth control in employee health plans. The health-care reform law mandates that if employers provide insurance plans, they must include preventive services, including those specifically for women. Relying on advice from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the administration is insisting on coverage of the full range of contraceptive methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
August 15, 2013 |
IF STATE AND CITY political leaders aren't able to secure $180 million in funding for the School District of Philadelphia, then a group of local congregations may seek to boycott schools when they open Sept. 9, the coalition announced earlier this week. POWER, Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower & Rebuild, a faith-based community organization representing 41 congregations, is calling on the state and city to provide a "safe and quality environment on the first day of school," said a spokesman for the group, Bishop Dwayne Royster.
August 9, 2013 |
THE RHAWNHURST faith-healing couple charged with causing the death of their sick baby by praying for him instead of taking him to a doctor will stand trial for murder, a judge affirmed yesterday. In separate hearings, attorneys for Herbert and Catherine Schaible asked that third-degree murder charges be dropped for lack of evidence. But Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner concluded that the District Attorney's Office had ample evidence and rejected those requests, saying, "We've been here before" and, "This is not a close case.
August 7, 2013 |
Whenever I write sympathetically about religion, I get bombarded by tweets and notes from readers who cannot abide the idea that religious belief should be seen as intellectually serious. Getting lambasted doesn't bother me. But my correspondents underscore the existence of a strong antireligious current within a segment of the liberal community that is both an important political fact and a potential problem for progressives. Here's the challenge: Americans who are left-of-center are far more religiously diverse than their opponents on the conservative side.
July 27, 2013 |
RIO DE JANEIRO - Pope Francis showed his rebel side Thursday, urging young Catholics to shake up the church and make a "mess" in their dioceses by going out into the streets to spread the faith. It's a message he put into practice by visiting one of Rio's most violent slums and opening the church's World Youth Day on a rain-soaked Copacabana Beach. Francis was elected pope on a mandate to reform the church, and in four months he has started doing just that: He has broken long-held Vatican rules on everything from where he lays his head at night to how saints are made.
July 24, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - His second-term agenda on the line, President Obama urged his most ardent supporters to mount a summertime show of support that can rival any opposition Obama and Democrats may face from constituents next month. "We've got to get folks activated and involved," Obama declared. Obama spoke Monday to a summit of Organizing for Action, a group formed from the president's 2012 reelection campaign with the express goal of backing his policy priorities. The Democratic Party's other most prominent figures, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, joined him in asking supporters for help in promoting the party's legislative goals.
July 24, 2013 |
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Frenzied crowds of Roman Catholics mobbed the car carrying Pope Francis yesterday when he returned to his home continent for the first time as pontiff, embarking on a seven-day visit meant to fan the fervor of the faithful around the globe. During Francis' first minutes in Brazil, ecstatic believers swarmed around the closed Fiat several times when it was forced to stop by heavy traffic on the drive from the airport to an official ceremony in Rio's center. A few security guards struggled mightily to push the crowd back in scenes that at times looked alarming.
July 5, 2013
IF YOU LOOK at a Catholic calendar (and, I mean, who hasn't, right?), virtually every day is devoted to the veneration of one or more patron saints. My own namesake, Christine, is the patroness of mental illness, which prompted several irate readers to send me cards last July 24 suggesting I pray harder. My favorite days are those devoted to the warrior or martyred saints, the ones who "did not go gentle" but took a stand for their faith. Chief among them is St. Michael, patron of the soldier and policeman, who protects whoever goes into battle (whether martial or personal.)
July 2, 2013 |
LOS ANGELES - Jimmy Rollins couldn't believe what he heard, so he engaged second-base umpire Dale Scott in a brief conversation. Rollins turned and was about to fire the baseball back to Kyle Kendrick, but still couldn't believe Scott didn't see Yasiel Puig come off second after he overslid the bag on a steal in the fourth inning. So the shortstop engaged the umpire again, to no avail. Less than 5 minutes later, Scott's blown call showed up on the previous unblemished scoreboard at Dodger Stadium.
June 24, 2013
Rabbi Moshe Greenberg, 84, a religious educator who survived a brutal gulag in Siberia and secretly taught Judaism under an oppressive Soviet regime, has died in Israel. The Hasidic Chabad Lubavitch movement, of which Mr. Greenberg was a member, said he died Tuesday. Mr. Greenberg was born to a Hassidic family in Moldavia at a time when Jews were oppressed and Jewish practices were forbidden by the Soviets, Chabad said Thursday. At 14, he went to Tashkent in Uzbekistan to study Judaism at a secret Chabad seminary.