Mitt Romney is the first Mormon to head a major party's Presidential ticket. CNN's Wolf Blitzer and Presidential Historian Douglas Brinkley discuss this historic sign of the times.
Mitt Romney is the first Mormon to head a major party's Presidential ticket, but he rarely discusses his faith on the campaign trail. In a rare instance, members of the campaign press corps were invited to attend church services with the Romney family near their New Hampshire home. For many voters, getting to know Mitt Romney as a candidate also means sorting out fact from fiction about the Mormon religion. Gary Tuchman shows us a closer look.
The Washington Post
I like to fancy myself a jihadist. Not in the false, hackneyed and mistranslated sense of the word, but rather, in its truest sense.
If jihad means "holy war," then my name means "the running of nails down a chalkboard." Sure, some people, even some musicians, would call such screeching a "melody." Most of us, however, would have the good sense to call it what it really is: a cacophony, at best.
Likewise, some Muslims believe that a jihad is a violent, literal war between peoples, sanctioned by God. Most of the more than 1 billion Muslims on our planet, however, are far from convinced.
To wage a true jihad is to "strive" or "struggle" in the way of God, using the most peaceful methods available. This means, foremost, striving to improve your soul, not your earthly circumstance. This internal struggle for righteousness is known as the "greater jihad." Any effort to change something outside oneself is part of the "lesser jihad," which centers on the struggle to achieve worldly justice.
Interfaith Youth Core
In Cairo, President Obama stated in no uncertain terms the importance he places on interfaith cooperation. He also stressed that interfaith work should take the form of concrete service projects:
"Indeed, faith should bring us together. That is why we are forging service projects in America that bring together Christians, Muslims, and Jews...Around the world, we can turn dialogue into Interfaith service, so bridges between peoples lead to action – whether it is combating malaria in Africa, or providing relief after a natural disaster."
For a long time, interfaith cooperation meant a group of senior theologians or religious leaders presenting a document about peace at a conference in a fancy hotel. That's all good stuff, but I remember going to some of those conferences in the late 1990s and having two questions – where are the young people, and where is the social action?
Rev. Robert Barron
Special to CNN
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/05/15/barron.why.celibacy/art.barron.wordonfire.jpg caption="The Rev. Robert Barron says celibacy sets the priest apart as a symbol of the world to come."]
The scandal surrounding the Rev. Alberto Cutie has raised questions in the minds of many concerning the Catholic Church's discipline of priestly celibacy. Why does the church continue to defend a practice that seems so unnatural and so unnecessary?
There is a very bad argument for celibacy, which has appeared throughout the tradition and which is, even today, defended by some. It goes something like this: Married life is spiritually suspect; priests, as religious leaders, should be spiritual athletes above reproach; therefore, priests shouldn't be married
This approach to the question is, in my judgment, not just stupid but dangerous, for it rests on presumptions that are repugnant to solid Christian doctrine. The biblical teaching on creation implies the essential integrity of the world and everything in it.
Genesis tells us that God found each thing he had made good and that he found the ensemble of creatures very good. Catholic theology, at its best, has always been resolutely, anti-dualist - and this means that matter, the body, marriage and sexual activity are never, in themselves, to be despised.
But there is more to the doctrine of creation than an affirmation of the goodness of the world. To say that the finite realm in its entirety is created is to imply that nothing in the universe is God. All aspects of created reality reflect God and bear traces of the divine goodness - just as every detail of a building gives evidence of the mind of the architect - but no creature and no collectivity of creatures is divine, just as no part of a structure is the architect.
The Washington Post
Some friends who are loyal alumni of Notre Dame are distressed that God's alma mater is hosting a pro-choice president at commencement. For decades, they argue, Notre Dame has accommodated, legitimated and enabled pro-choice views, compromising its identity as a Catholic institution. They question the wisdom of the Obama invitation, which they believe adds to that confusion.
But some critics go further, calling President Obama's appearance "an outrage and a scandal." And that goes too far.
The office of the president has meaning and importance that transcend the views of its occupant. Though elected by a part of America, the president becomes a symbol of its whole. The respect we accord him does not imply agreement or endorsement. It reflects our appreciation for constitutional processes. So a presidential visit is always an honor. The televised arrival of Air Force One, the motorcade, the playing of "Hail to the Chief," the audience standing as the president enters - all these express a proper respect for democratic legitimacy.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2009/LIVING/wayoflife/02/09/muslims.america/art.sheikhwazir.cnn.jpg caption="Sheikh Salahadin Wazir discusses his Muslim community after Friday afternoon prayers in Clarkston, Georgia."]
I see the following headline in newspapers nearly every day: "Young Muslim Suicide Bomber Kills X People in Y Country." These headlines create problems that go deeper than the immediate violence, because the more sentences we read which begin with "young Muslim" and end with "terrorist", the more we expect those two things to be linked.
I usually write about the impact that the "young Muslim terrorist" frame has on non-Muslims, but I'm increasingly concerned about the impact it's having on Muslims too. My problem is not that young Muslims hear the terrorist story and aspire to that. It's that they hear the terrorist story, are repelled by it, but don't see an alternative grand narrative to aspire to because we haven't created one. As Alexander MacIntyre wrote, "I can only answer the question "What can I do?" if I can answer the prior question, "Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?"
So how do we communicate to young Muslims that we believe in their potential to create good in this world? We tell different stories…
Interfaith Youth Core
Picture religious violence. What images come to mind? A plane crashing into the World Trade Center on 9/11? A videotape confession by a suicide bomber?
The perpetrators of religious violence are masters of marketing. They want you to see them commit acts of violence, and they want you to associate it with their religion. In fact, the violence is in many cases simply an excuse for the image. The goal is not the murder of a few, it is the poisoning of many with the pictures of violence, with the ultimate hope being the incitement of a religious civil war in cities like Baghdad.
Now picture interfaith cooperation. Did your brain-screen go fuzzy? I wish interfaith images came just as readily and were just as clear as images of religious violence. In fact, I believe one of the reasons we lack a strong, cohesive interfaith movement is because of the absence of such clear visual reference points.