May 3, 2013 |
Some think I have a cushy job. After all, what could be easier than teaching the founding religion at a faith-based institution? Actually, it's more complicated than that. Because I am an academic, my task is more rigorous than merely reviewing the ideals of our religion, and because I embrace the Christian virtues of truth, accuracy, and fairness, I must engage my students with the complete story of our faith. This includes Christianity's glorious chapters when it has made positive contributions to humanity, but also the darker episodes when our religion is linked to some of history's most violent and barbaric events.
April 21, 2013 |
Again and again the grainy FBI videos flickered across TV screens Thursday, and the whole nation leaned in to study two nameless young men in backpacks. But their faces and clothing revealed nothing as they strolled toward the site of the Boston Marathon bombings. The alleged killers looked like two ordinary Americans in baseball caps. Then, overnight, came their names, news of a high-speed police chase, a fatal gun battle, and clues to their identities. They were immigrants.
April 18, 2013
I KNOW that people are always searching for truth and often try to find it in a trendy, cool, new religion. The central tenet of this hot new religion in Pennsylvania appears to be that the PSSA and other standardized tests are the Devil's work. Does this bold new claim come from Pope Francis, seeking a return to Catholic orthodoxy? Does it come from any of the Protestant sects that broke with the Catholic Church during the Protestant Reformation? Maybe Jews or Muslims have discovered this in a sacred text?
April 5, 2013 |
Sister Mary Florian Heck, 90, an educator and administrator at schools in the Philadelphia Archdiocese and other locations, died Wednesday, March 27, at McAuley Convent in Merion Station. Sister Mary, the former Anna Sophia Heck, was born Oct. 24, 1922, in Philadelphia, one of three children of John and Eva Heck. She attended grade school and graduated from high school at the Academy of the Sisters of Mercy at Broad Street and Columbia Avenue in 1941. That year, she entered the Sisters of Mercy.
March 29, 2013 |
One day in 2003, Mike "Slo-Mo" Brenner walked into a music store in Cambridge, Mass., and happened upon a VHS tape offering to teach him "How to Play Hindustani Slide Guitar. " "It had a picture of an Indian gentleman playing this way-out-looking thing," says the Philadelphia guitarist and bandleader, who was then on tour with the roots-rock band Marah. "I asked the guys in the store, 'What is this?' They had no idea. " When he got home and popped it in his VCR, Brenner recalled over lunch at a University City Indian restaurant this week, he heard "the most amazing sound.
January 29, 2013
By Jason P. Gosselin More than 40 lawsuits have been filed throughout the country regarding the Affordable Care Act's "contraception mandate," which requires employers to provide health insurance covering all methods of contraception and sterilization approved by the Food and Drug Administration. One of those lawsuits is Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius . Finding that the mandate was a burden but not a substantial burden on the exercise of religion, a federal court in Philadelphia recently rejected the employer's claim.
October 16, 2012 |
At a time when increasing numbers of people say they are unaffiliated with any religion, a group with perhaps every reason to question God is talking about rocklike faith. Jacob Story says his faith gets hard core when the teasing gets relentless. "I feel like I'm being bullied because they know more stuff than [me]," Story, 21, of Quakertown, said. That's when he focuses on the Biblical passage about being humble and humility leading to good things. Story is sitting in a circle of 15 at a meeting of Faith and Light, a combination fellowship gathering and worship service.
September 14, 2012
Another reminder of barbarism The savage murders of the U.S. embassy staff in Libya, on the anniversary of 9/11, are yet one more reminder of the barbarism inherent in Islamic fundamentalism ("Outrage, questions follow Libya attack," Thursday). Only months after Americans supported the Libyan people in deposing their despotic dictator, this is their response. We are often reminded that Islamophobia is irrational. But if we must fear for our lives when this religion is criticized, those concerns are not only rational, but necessary.
August 21, 2012 |
BOSTON - A new study on the generosity of Americans suggests that states with the least religious residents are also the stingiest about giving money to charity. The study, released Monday by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, found that residents in states where religious participation is higher than the rest of the nation, particularly in the South, gave the greatest percentage of their discretionary income to charity. The Northeast, with lower religious participation, was the least generous to charities, with the six New England states filling the last six slots among the 50 states.
August 21, 2012
COMEDIAN W. Kamau Bell says that a presidential race featuring "a Mormon vs. a black guy" is to most Americans "like Alien vs. Predator. " It's a funny line. And Bell, who hosts his own TV comedy show, FX's "Totally Biased," is a funny guy. But the line got me thinking about religion and race in the current election. And as the campaign continues to wallow in small-minded (often surrogate) sludge, the prospect of religion and race becoming overt increases. Better for all if that doesn't happen; at the moment, there's good news and bad news.