So, the Blunt amendment got killed in the Senate. And good riddance: you wouldn't know it from the L.A. Times's writeup, but the measure was a good bit broader than a reversal of the Obama administration's contraception mandate (which itself would have been nothing to celebrate). From the amendment text (pdf):
A health plan shall not be considered to have failed to provide the
essential health benefits package...on the basis that it declines to
provide coverage of specific items or services because...providing
coverage (or, in the case of a sponsor of a group health plan, paying
for coverage) of such specific items or services is contrary to the
religious beliefs or moral convictions of the sponsor, issuer, or other
entity offering the plan.
In other words, essentially a line-item veto of whatever the boss is morally opposed to, based on church teaching or otherwise.
New York City mayor Michael
Bloomberg is planning ceremonies for the 9/11 anniversary without the
participation of clergy. Jay Sekulow et
al. think this is an attack on religion. Jim Wallis et al. are criticizing both sides of
this debate and also calling for less criticism of others, or something like that.
The People's Republic of China marked its 50th anniversary on October 1, and in preparation for the occasion China's Communist Party did more than spruce up the streets of Beijing. It reasserted the authority of the party and made clear in old-style communist fashion that it intends to remain the sole actor in the political realm.
Earlier this year, a group of English bishops charged that the nation's Christians faced systematic discrimination that endangered their right to hold public office. Some even warned that anti-Christian hostility amounted to open persecution, which could provoke civil unrest. Pope Benedict, meanwhile, charged that new British statutes clearly violated natural law.