The Boy Scouts’ big vote on gay scouts is today. Religious activists are in full-lobby mode.
President Obama says: “This spring in Jerusalem.” And a trip to the West Bank as well. Should be an interesting Passover. Auguries of peace?
An unlikely pairing, but former U.S. president George W. Bush and current Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have something in common: both have had shoes thrown at them during Middle East visits. That’s actually the least of Ahmadinejad’s troubles during his visit to Egypt.
Chicago looks like the birthplace of the Muslim renaissance in America. (Alert the Redundancy Police.)
The Vatican’s new sex abuse investigator, a Boston priest no less, praises the media for uncovering the scandal. No, that’s not a typo.
And it’s a big change from this approach, in 2002:
“I am personally convinced that the constant presence in the press of the sins of Catholic priests, especially in the United States, is a planned campaign, as the percentage of these offenses among priests is not higher than in other categories, and perhaps it is even lower. In the United States, there is constant news on this topic, but less than one percent of priests are guilty of acts of this type.”
Guess who said that?
More delayed gratification: The Irish government admits – finally – its complicity in the notorious Magdalene Laundries, a kind of slavery for wayward girls that existed until 1996, under Catholic auspices.
Then again: Apparently the court-ordered document dump of sex abuse files from the Los Angeles archdiocese didn’t follow the court’s orders – names of the guilty and other information were blacked out. LA authorities say they want to review it all to see if they still might be able to charge someone.
Cardinal Mahony? Probably not, but if you want a test case to see if he will suffer any fallout from the awful revelations then see whether he still goes to talk to a group of priests in Milwaukee this spring…
But in Oregon, a Portland baker tells a lesbian couple, “No wedding cake for you!” State authorities are investigating whether the baker broke non-discrimination laws.
Alabama is exploring whether to allow residents to brew beer in their homes. Whatever they make in ‘Bama, it’ll likely be better than the stuff in that really weird Super Bowl ad with the black goldfish and the bottle of beer.
Scientology’s Super Bowl ad is still generating buzz, which is the sign of a good ad. I guess.
Signs of assimilation: An Orlando retirement complex caters to aging Hindu immigrants…
More signs of the times: there are “Death Cafes” in places like Ohio, as HuffPo’s Jaweed Kaleem reports, so folks can talk about the end. “I’m really passionate about death,” said Lizzy Miles, a hospice volunteer and social worker who organizes the Columbus-area cafes.
Blogger Andrew Sullivan and neo-atheist Christopher Hitchens had their own salon on these topics, and Sully, a Catholic, has started posting transcripts of his kaffee klatches (and other libations) with the late Hitchens, a sworn foe of faith:
“One can’t be neutral about religion. One can’t just say it’s wrong — one has to say it’s a wicked thing to desire. I mean, why would anyone want it to be true that one was subject to permanent round-the-clock supervision, surveillance, and possibly even intervention, all of one’s waking and sleeping life? And one couldn’t escape it by dying.”
Then there’s my Video of the Day, via Rod Dreher:
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