NCR Today

Speech disruption and free speech

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On Sept. 23, an Orange County court in California found 10 Muslim students guilty of criminal charges for disrupting a speech by the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. last year at the University of California, Irvine.

Prior to the district attorney charging the students with misdemeanor counts of conspiring to disrupt the speech, the Irvine school had itself disciplined some of the students. The students were sentenced to three years of probation and 56 hours of community service and fines. I discussed this issue with a Freshman Seminar on Contemporary Political Issues in Historical Perspective that I am teaching this fall at University of California, Santa Barbara.

Morning Briefing

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Study finds most unmarried, college-age Christians sexually active, despite the general push for abstinence in most Christian denominations.

Letter to the Editor: Catholic church started 'meatless' day

A man who became the caretaker for the Rev. Raymond Kownacki -- whose sexual abuse of a minor cost the Catholic Diocese of Belleville more than $6 million -- has filed suit against the 76-year-old priest.

Stephanie Baliga became a nun last night. Sunday, she will run in the Chicago Marathon.

Philippines: Bishops step up drive vs mining

A priest among the tribes

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His parish is vast -- millions of acres of brushland and desert. But his flock is small -- at Sunday Mass, two people show up to worship. But for Fr. Earl Henley, his task is huge: inviting Native American tribes of California back into the church after centuries of abuse and mistrust.

Henley is the subject of a fascinating profile in today's Los Angeles Times, detailing his work among desert tribes as head of the Native American Ministry of the San Bernadino diocese. It is, he admits, hard work -- much harder than the decades he spent as a missionary on Papua New Guinea, out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Scandal and confusion?

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I just read the NCR story on the 8th Day Center for Justice in Chicago and the pressure brought to bear by Cardinal George over a Sept. 8 event in which they showed the film, "Pink Smoke Over the Vatican", and sponsored a talk by Maryknoll priest, Fr. Roy Bourgeois, who has been ordered to recant his public support for women in the priesthood.

According to the story, "George stated the event could lead to scandal and confusion among the faithful over the church's teaching on ordination."

Scandal and confusion? Really? The hierarchy loves to use these words to describe events or statements or publications with which they disagree. And they are ludicrous.

Alabama's vanishing students

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Hispanic Students Absent From Alabama Schools Following Controversial Immigration Law

The Huffingtonpost is reporting that Hispanic students are "vanishing into thin air" because of the harsh, new immigration law in Alabama.

There are no precise statewide numbers. But several districts with large immigrant enrollments – from small towns to large urban districts – reported a sudden exodus of children of Hispanic parents, some of whom told officials they planned to leave the state to avoid trouble with the law, which requires schools to check students' immigration status.

The anxiety has become so intense that the superintendent in one of the state's largest cities, Huntsville, went on a Spanish-language television show Thursday to try to calm widespread worries.

On this day: Saint Mother Theodore GuÈrin

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On this day we celebrate the feast of Saint Mother Theodore Guérin who came to Indiana from Brittany in 1840 with five other Sisters of Providence to found Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

Like so many other founders of women's congregations, Mother Theodore was abused by her ecclesiastical superior.

"The carriage was empty. Sister Mary Xavier was walking slowly and sorrowfully over the bridge. 'Where is Mother?' we asked. 'Where is Mother?' Sister Mary Xavier pressed the hand of Sister St. Francis; it was some time before she could speak. At last she said, 'O mon Dieu! she could not come; the Bishop has excommunicated her and expelled her from the Congregation, and forbidden her to come back to St. Mary's.'

Churches lose fight over Ala. immigration law

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The Washington Post reports:

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A federal judge jolted the national immigration debate on Wednesday (Sept. 28) by approving most parts of Alabama’s aggressive immigration law that religious leaders had called the “meanest” in the nation.

In a ruling hailed by many state officials, U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn refused to block much of Alabama’s far-reaching immigration law from going into effect.

Blackburn’s decision came after three separate challenges were filed by the U.S. Department of Justice; Catholic, Episcopal and United Methodist bishops; and a coalition of civil rights groups, unions and individuals who said they would be harmed by the law.

The Christian Post reports that the judge's decision wasn't a total loss for the churches:

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December 2-15, 2016

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