Two billionaires use their money to reshape the world in their image
From New York City comes the news that former mayor Michael R. Bloomberg plans to spend $50 million this year building a nationwide grass-roots gun control network he hopes can eventually outmuscle the National Rifle Association.
“They say, ‘We don’t care. We’re going to go after you,’ ” he said of the N.R.A. “ ‘If you don’t vote with us we’re going to go after your kids and your grandkids and your great-grandkids. And we’re never going to stop.’ ”
“We’ve got to make them afraid of us.”
And in Oklahoma we learned that Hobby Lobby’s Steve Green, better known for his Supreme Court case against the Obamacare contraceptive mandate, is now making news with an ambitious Bible school curriculum just adopted by the Mustang (Okla.) school board, but with big plans to go national.
The Bible, he said, “is true,” and it’s “good.”
This one I would not have predicted:
The U.S. Justice Department will defend against efforts to remove a giant cross atop a war memorial in Southern California. “…The United States remains fully committed to preserving the Mount Soledad cross as an appropriate memorial to our nation’s veterans,” the Justice Department petition said. But the Supremes may have to sort this one out.
This was just a matter of time:
The New York Police Department said it would disband a special unit charged with detecting possible terrorist threats by carrying out secret surveillance of Muslim groups. The unit brought the NYPD under fire from community groups and activists who accused the force of abusing civil rights and profiling.
Yesterday was the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing. To mark the moment of the first bomb blast, Massachusetts General Hospital held an interfaith memorial service for those killed in the attacks. G. Jeffrey MacDonald says it was also a day to express gratitude.
From the sex and gender front, lots to mull over
A western Pennsylvania police officer says he went undercover dressed as an Amish woman in hopes of scaring off a man suspected of exposing himself to Amish children.
India now has a third gender; the country’s Supreme Court has recognized India’s transgender community as being in a third neutral category — neither male nor female.
Some drivers of the zone-based taxis operating out of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport have notified their companies they don’t want to drive the cabs for religious reasons, citing rooftop placards that are advertising the upcoming Gay Games.
Some of the most hard fought U.S. Senate races this fall will feature big fights over “Personhood” measures, which have declared that full human rights begin at the moment of fertilization, says Greg Sargent in The Washington Post.
Get ready: Tomorrow is Maundy Thursday
Will Pope Francis violate church law when he washes the feet of women and non-Christians, as he did last year and is expected to do tomorrow? David Gibson examines the issue.
Meanwhile, today is Pope Benedict XVI’s 87th birthday.
And then there’s Easter
Rick Warren has a new three-minute video called “The Answer is Easter,” in which he talks about his son’s suicide and how people can overcome pain and despair.
Jonathan Merritt interviewed Barbara Brown Taylor on her new book “Learning to Walk in the Dark,” and she has some interesting things to say about Christian dualism: good vs. evil, light vs. dark, God vs. Satan:
“To continue to divide reality into opposed pairs, I think, requires another God for that other reality. Needless to say, once you’ve gone there you’ve lost the central Christian narrative, which is, there is only one God.”
In an excerpt from his new book, “The Beer Drinkers Guide to God,” William B. Miller writes:
“When Jesus is invited, the party will go on for much longer than we had planned and will include people we had assumed would not be invited.”
The same might be said for RNS staff. Just because we write about religion doesn’t mean we’re killjoys. Stick with us and you’ll see.