July - August

Notes From Across the Atlantic

On 1st April, Governor Ted Kulongoski of Oregon, a Democrat, signed a bill that repealed a law that banned teachers in public schools from wearing any religious clothing. Under the old law, Jewish teachers couldn't wear yarmulkes, Sikhs couldn't wear turbans and Muslim women couldn't wear head scarves. Groups as diverse as the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, the American Islamic Congress,...

Read More

Synthesis

FAITH Magazine July-August 2010

Newman was not ultra-montane. Nor did he believe that Church and Papal authority was a stick with which to beat people about the head - see our Truth Will Set You...

Read More

Budding Hopes and Sudden Storms:Newman’s Beatification and Rage Against the Church

On 19 September Pope Benedict will beatify John Henry Cardinal Newman during a Mass planned to take place in Birmingham. It will be a unique and significant moment for Catholicism in these islands...

Read More

"My Own Bishop Was My Pope..." John Henry Newman On Magisterium

As Newman is always being quoted as a vindicator of the human conscience, it is instructive to see how he viewed the episcopal authority which was placed over him when he was a member of the...

Read More

The Moral World Before Christianity

Before Our Lord Jesus Christ preached the Good News of the Gospel among men, the world was submerged in a prolonged and terrible night, in which moral licentiousness, egoism, cruelty, inhumanity...

Read More

Priesthood in the New Testament

In the years after the Council a certain confusion took root in many quarters regarding the nature of the Catholic priesthood. Doubts were raised concerning whether the New Testament shows Christ...

Read More

The Biology of Sexual Faithfulness and Fruitfulness

Vicki Thorn presents some of the growing body of biological evidence which suggests that sexual relationships which are monogamous and not artificially closed to procreation are the only healthy...

Read More

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

FAITH Magazine July-August 2010

Dear Father Editor,

Thank you for your excellent editorial regarding sex and relationships education in the May/June edition of the magazine. It is very helpful to be...

Read More

Comment on the Comments

Comment on the Comments

The child abuse committed within the Roman Catholic Church and its concealment is deeply shocking and totally unacceptable. I am ashamed of what happened, and understand the outrage and anger it...

Read More

The Truth Will Set You Free

FAITH Magazine July-August 2010

The supremacy of conscience is the essence of natural religion; the supremacy of the Apostle, or Pope, or Church, or Bishop is the essence of revealed religion....

Read More

The Road From Regensburg

FAITH Magazine July-August 2010

Papal dialogue in search of a new apologetic

Pope to the Italian bishops' plenary assembly last May, concerning the crisis in education:

A first point seems to me to...

Read More

Book Reviews

Book Reviews

FAITH Magazine July-August 2010

Behold the Lamb of God
By Pope Benedict XVI, Family Publications, 112pp, £8.9J

This selection of Pope Benedict's reflections on the Eucharist, ranges from...

Read More

Cutting Edge

Cutting Edge

FAITH Magazine July-August 2010

Science and Religion News

The prominent Catholic scientist Professor Francisco Ayala of the University of California/Irvine has won the 2010 Templeton Prize....

Read More
  • Notes From Across the Atlantic

    Joseph Bottum FAITH Magazine July-August 2010

    BAN LIFTED

    On 1st April, Governor Ted Kulongoski of Oregon, a Democrat, signed a bill that repealed a law that banned teachers in public schools from wearing any religious clothing. Under the old law, Jewish teachers couldn't wear yarmulkes, Sikhs couldn't wear turbans and Muslim women couldn't wear head scarves. Groups as diverse as the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, the American Islamic Congress, the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland, the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, the Sikh American Legal Defence and Education Fund and the Anti-Defamation League supported repealing the law. Nebraska and Pennsylvania remain the only two states in the nation that still have a similar law.

    The Oregon state legislature passed the original law in 1923, during a wave of Nativist sentiment fuelled by the Ku Klux Klan and other groups. The purpose of the law was to keep Catholic priests and nuns from teaching in public schools. The law was one of several Nativist measures, aimed at Catholics and immigrants, that the state legislature passed at the time. Other laws required immigrants who owned businesses to display signs indicating their national origin and banned Japanese immigrants from owning property.

    The Oregon chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union supported maintaining the ban on religious clothing in public schools, arguing that it protected students from improper religious influence.

    Once again, the ACLU supported a law that was passed as an explicitly discriminatory measure. In recent years the ACLU also has championed the "Blaine Amendments" that were added to many state constitutions in the nineteenth century. The Blaine Amendments, which also were initiated by Nativists fearful of Catholicism and which remain in place in many states, ban any state aid to private, religious schools.

    Eric Rassbach, the Becket Fund's national litigation director, hopes Nebraska and Pennsylvania eventually will follow Oregon in repealing the religious clothing ban in their public schools. "Anti-Catholic laws like these are Jim Crow's lesser-known cousins, and they make everyone, not just Catholics, less free," Rassbach says.


    ALL IS NOT WHAT IT SEEMS

    Machiavelli may have been right to claim that we judge more from appearance than from reality, but the difference between the two sometimes may be deeper than we think. On 5th October 2009, President Obama held a photo-op speech on the White House lawn. Standing with him were 150 physicians who supported the president's plan for health-care reform. The doctors invited to the event had been told to bring along white lab coats (just in case they should need to examine a patient or two along the way, of course). Inevitably, a few docs forgot to bring their coats and, at the event, as cameras whirred, Obama staffers could be seen handing White House-issue white coats to les medecins sans manteaux.

    As Obama addressed the uniformed group, he asserted that "Nobody has more credibility with the American people on this issue than you do". There are two ways to interpret this flattering line: either it was genuine, and Obama will follow the lead of the doctors' credible voices, or it is disingenuous and patronising.

    Unfortunately, neither possibility works in Obama's favour. A poll conducted in 2009 by Investor's Business Daily and TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence suggested that physicians are not nearly as uniform in their approval as Obama would like us to think. The poll found that more than two-thirds of doctors opposed Obama's health-care plan, and 45 percent would consider leaving medicine altogether or taking early retirement if the proposed plan were to become a reality. Aside from the usual politics of appearances, this also makes us wonder: if Obama held a photo-op with General Motors employees, would he give them coveralls and welding guns? Better yet, how would he dress up the "religious right" if they came for a visit?

    WHEN LIFE IS CHEAP

    Seeking to expand its business abroad, the Virginia-based Genetics and IVF Institute held a rather unconventional raffle in March, during a free promotional seminar in London. According to news reports, one seminar attendee won the chance to select her "ideal donor egg based on its mother's profession, ethnic background, hair colour, qualifications and upbringing". Silly us, worried about the commodification of human life.