Happy today: When life is grim, columnist Mary Schmich likes to ask people, "What's making you happy today?" She doesn't ask, "Are you happy?" That's a "black hole" of a question, she says, that can lead to equivocation and existential dread. Her question, instead, assumes that there's always something, no matter how grim life is, that can be a source of gladness, however small or simple—like a flower or a bird, a skyline or a full moon, or just a cup of coffee (Chicago Tribune, May 1).
Ever since the University of Notre Dame announced that President Obama would receive an honorary degree and speak at its May 17 commencement ceremony, debate among American Catholics has grown increasingly heated.
The Alliance of Baptists applauded President Obama for loosening restrictions on Americans’ travel to Cuba and called for more U.S. policy reform during the progressive group’s April 17-19 convocation in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Obama administration has clarified its policy on embryonic stem cell research, issuing draft guidelines to expand federal funding for the controversial research but retaining a ban on funding for its most ethically fraught versions.
Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has hired Katherine Hancock Ragsdale to be its new president and dean. She is president and director of the liberal think tank Political Research Associates, is openly gay, and has sat on the boards of NARAL Pro-Choice America and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.