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Climate Change: the "Silent?" Issue

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If there is any clear mandate in Christianity, it is the call to care for our planet, for the natural world that God has entrusted to us. But for decades now, scientists have been warning us about the dangers of climate change, and the fact that human activity is the major cause of it. It is a consensus endorsed even by the Vatican.

Enter Rick Perry. He announced on the campaign trail that he does not believe that climate change is caused by human action. I’m not sure what planet he is living on, but he seems to have missed the entire scientific consensus on this issue.

What kind of military do we need to defend our borders?

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Just think. What sort of military do we need to defend our borders? Tanks, aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines are particularly ineffective against terrorists. Nuclear weapons use would turn global warming into a nuclear winter which won’t solve anything. The oceans and the sheer size of the nation are effective deterrents to invasion.

If we started the Department of Defense off at zero, imagine where you would put the money.

Myself, I would spend a bundle on information gathering – spying, if you like. And then I’d spend three bundles addressing the needs the spies uncovered: nation-building, job creation, trade opportunities.

But even for me, it is difficult to say: disband the DOD; toss the guns; pitch the nukes; bring the boys home. People would say, that’s crazy talk. But what is crazy, what is true mental illness, is the stockpile of nuclear weapons; the continued building of newer fighter planes designed to dogfight with Russia MIGs; the plans for new aircraft carriers to deploy the fighters. I could go on.

In the Anglican Church, Sexism Still Runs Deep

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Early this week in the Guardian, Lesley Crawley offers a comparison of the sexism she faced as an engineer and the sexism she now faces as a priest in the Church of England.

Crawley describes enduring catcalls, lewd gestures, and blatant displays of pornography by her male co-workers in the factory where she was an engineer. She writes:

Although these events were difficult, it was possible to manage well as a woman in the secular workplace, because the structures were not sexist. So I knew that the law of the land entitled me to work as an engineer, and that the procedures of our company demanded equality. Furthermore, almost all of the managers, and especially the managing director, were enthusiastically committed to equality. . . .

Morning Briefing

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What if we started Defense Dept. at zero?

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Just think. What sort of military do we need to defend our borders? Tanks, aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines are particularly ineffective against terrorists. Nuclear weapons use would turn global warming into a nuclear winter which won’t solve anything. The oceans and the sheer size of the nation are effective deterrents to invasion.

If we started the Department of Defense off at zero, imagine where you would put the money.

La Crosse, Wic., diocese among recipients of $20 mil bequest

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According to the La Crosse Tribune:

The Robert and Eleanor Franke Charitable Foundation will give $20 million to charities in La Crosse, Wis., including the Diocese of La Crosse and Mayo Clinic Health System.

Robert Franke died in September 2009 at 91. His wife Eleanor died in 2001. They had no children.

Every year, the diocese and the Mayo Clinic will each receive one-third of the funds earnings. The final third will be split among various other non-profit groups in La Crosse.

On this day: St. Helena

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On this day we celebrate the feast of St. Helena.

"The story of St. Helena was popular in England, since she was said to have been the daughter of King Coel of Colchester ('Old King Cole'), although her renown derived from being the mother of Constantine and, more significantly, the discoverer of the true cross. There are a number of variants, but the story basically recounts how St. Helena travels to Jerusalem and, with the forced aid of a Jewish man, finds where the cross has been concealed. . . . she is asked to adjudicate the case between a Christian goldsmith and a Jewish usurer. Since the Christian is unable to pay back his debt, the Jew demands that 'he solde yield of his awen flesse' and carries a 'sharp grundin knife in hande' in order to exact the penalty. Of course, Helena points out that the Jew is allowed only 'flesse' and informs him that if he takes 'a drope of blode' the 'wrange is [th]ine.'"

--"Rubbing at Whitewash: Intolerance in The Merchant of Venice, by Marion Wynne-Davies in A Companion to Shakespeare's Works: Volume III: The Comedies, edited by Richard Dutton and Jean E. Howard, Blackwell, 2004, pages 359-360.

Ohio State president atones for Little Sisters joke

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Sports Illustrated covers the story of The Ohio State president and the Little Sisters of the Poor:

Ohio State University's president is back in the good graces of the Little Sisters of the Poor after turning them into a punch line last fall when he mocked other universities who don't play in football's power conferences.

Gordon Gee spent Wednesday touring a home for the elderly operated by the religious order in northwest Ohio, and he pledged to be one of their greatest advocates after putting them into the spotlight.

"As you know, I've made you famous," he told the residents and staff members.

He later stood next to Mother Cecilia Mary Sartorius, the home's administrator, who gave him a hug and whispered that he was forgiven. "Does everyone hear that I'm forgiven?" he shouted. "My day of penance is over."

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