Standards of evidence are politically contested. But the most crucial issue is due process.
Does the use of drones meet just war criteria? That depends on how you define your terms.
Cuban Presbyterians used to be part of the PCUSA, and pastors paid into the pension plan. Then came the Castro revolution.
Obama's budget includes more money to detain undocumented children. At the largest family detention center, the average child is age six.
Late last week, President Obama ordered a review of the specifics as to how the death penalty is administered at the state level. This came in response to the sad episode in which Clayton Lockett, convicted for the horrific murder of Stephanie Neiman, died of an apparent heart attack shortly after a botched lethal injection. The administration’s step is a good one, but it’s hardly bold or brave.
First Attorney General Eric Holder announces plans to make aggressive use of what’s left of the Voting Rights Act in order to make up for what the Supreme Court took away. Now he’s instructing prosecutors to leave out key details when bringing cases against nonviolent drug offenders, in order to keep mandatory minimum laws from kicking in. Is the AG a politically nimble crusader, overstepping the bounds of his office to pursue his version of justice? Not exactly.
We need a more developed theological ethics of what it means to live in an age when so much information about ourselves is so readily available.
It’s true: gay-rights groups, a progressive church and other liberal organizations have received not-so-special attention from the IRS in years past, as well as more recently. It’s true that there’s no clear evidence that IRS staffers were ideologically motivated when they gave special scrutiny to Tea Party groups. It’s true that, by design, the IRS does its work largely independent of the White House—Obama couldn’t fire the people at the Cincinnati office if he wanted to. And yes: “social welfare” nonprofits need more scrutiny and regulation, not less—assuming they should even exist. Still.
Obama's OFNBP has kept a low profile. It's also sidestepped the thorniest issue around partnerships between faith-based groups and government.
A federal judge in Eastern Missouri has upheld the government mandate that insurance policies cover birth control. Judge Carol E. Jackson ruled that the mandate is not a violation of religious liberty. Religious freedom is “a shield, not a sword,” she said, and religious liberty claims cannot be used as a “means to force one’s religious practices upon others.” Her argument closely aligns with points that the Century made some months ago in an editorial and that I tried to make in a blog post.
In a response to complaints from Catholic leaders, last week the Obama administration revised its rule requiring some religious institutions to include birth control in health insurance. The new stance was welcomed by some Catholic organizations, including the Catholic Health Association but was firmly rejected by the Catholic bishops--who in doing so shifted the ground of their own argument.
When conflicts come up between religious beliefs and the law, religious progressives should support certain religious exemptions--even if they disagree with the beliefs in question.