September 13, 2016
ISSUE | CHURCH & STATE Jefferson was clear President Thomas Jefferson was extremely cogent of what he was writing when he used the term "wall of separation" in his letter to the Danbury Baptist Church in 1802 ("Twisted meaning," Thursday). The second paragraph reads: "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.
April 13, 2016
The 2016 election is transforming the religious landscape of American politics. It's hard to imagine a Democratic presidential candidate receiving a mid-campaign invitation to speak at the Vatican. But on Friday, Bernie Sanders put out word that on April 15, he'll attend a gathering of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. Both Sanders and Hillary Clinton, his front-running rival, have regularly praised Pope Francis. And on the day of Sanders' announcement, Francis released "The Joy of Love.
February 13, 2016
By John Nivala The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has said that any historic designation of any church property without its consent "allows the government to place undue restrictions on religious structures and property, which in effect interferes with the free practice of our religion. " If Philadelphia were Seattle, that position would be spot on. The Washington state Supreme Court, using the state's constitution, has found that even initiating the designation procedure violates a church's right to free exercise of religion.
January 20, 2016
WHEN I CONSIDER the link between race, religion and terror in America, my thoughts go well beyond the actions of Edward Archer, who told investigators he was acting "in the name of Islam" when he was caught on video shooting Philadelphia Police Officer Jesse Hartnett three times. For me, issues of race, terror and religion are more often connected to the religion I happen to practice - Christianity. From Baptist preachers who doubled as Klan leaders in the darkest days of Jim Crow, to Bible-thumping Aryan Nation leaders who carried on the legacy of religiously inspired bigotry, self-proclaimed Christians have committed numerous acts of terror in this country.
December 10, 2015 |
The terrorist attacks this fall that killed 43 people in Beirut, 130 in Paris, and 14 in San Bernardino were not the work of "Islamic extremists," a panel of speakers told an audience at Rutgers-Camden on Tuesday. "The term Islamic extremists is a contradiction in terms," said Imam Shaheed Muhammed of the United Muslim Masjid in Philadelphia. Most Muslims, he added, "are just as much in fear for our lives from ISIS" and other terrorists "as anyone else. " His views echoed those of the two other panelists, who spoke before a gathering of about 100 students in the student center.
October 5, 2015 |
They say you should never talk about politics or religion. But these days, politics is religion. And I think that's a wonderful thing. This way, instead of not talking about two things separately, you can not talk about two things together. This is much more efficient. It's like if you were going to have dinner of spaghetti and salad. In the old days, we ate them separately, but these days, we mix the spaghetti and the salad together and eat them that way. Doesn't that sound delicious?
September 25, 2015
FROM THE TIME he arrived at the Vatican two years ago, Pope Francis has enjoyed wild popularity among Catholics and non-Catholics alike, and the reasons for this popularity are worth contemplating as he makes his way to Philadelphia after stops in Washington and New York. The timing of the pope's arrival couldn't be better, not just for the city but for the United States - to remind us that religion can be a positive force, one that builds rather than divides, that comforts rather than afflicts, and that can remind of us our better selves.
September 25, 2015 |
As Pope Francis addresses political leaders Thursday at the Capitol before making his way to Philadelphia, another event is playing out that for decades has prompted a public examination of faith in America: the Republican presidential campaign. During the 2012 campaign, GOP nominee Mitt Romney's Mormon faith drew attention, while runner-up Rick Santorum, a Catholic, surged as a social-issues crusader. In 2008, Mike Huckabee, a former Southern Baptist pastor, carried the Iowa caucuses after stirring fervor with evangelical Christians.
September 16, 2015 |
Emil A. Ralbusky, 65, of Collingswood, who taught religion classes at Gloucester Catholic Junior Senior High School and Camden Catholic High School after becoming a deacon in 1988, died of complications from cancer at his home Friday, Sept. 11. A friend, Bina Marino, knew Mr. Ralbusky because she and his wife, Marie, were youth ministers at St. John's Church in Collingswood in the late 1980s. "He stopped at our home, right after my husband, Frank, had surgery," Marino recalled of a 2004 visit.
August 28, 2015 |
THE TV in the middle of the newsroom is broadcasting the latest about a local shooting, which it always seems to be doing. This one in West Philly. At the same time I'm reading an article about a teenager who held students and a teacher at gunpoint in a West Virginia classroom, while I'm also obsessively scanning my Twitter feed for anything, everything about the horrific shootings of a Virginia reporter and cameraman on live television as they filmed a feature on tourism. When the gunman's name was released, I went looking for his Twitter feed and watched the shocking shootings that he recorded and later posted, and that now a huge part of me wishes I could unsee.