Wednesday, January 8, 2014

In the News: Little Sisters of Poor vs. Obama, Frank Cocozzelli's Coughie Award, Fred Clark's "Daily Blog of the Day," John Allen Leaving NCR

Now a grab-bag of news items and articles that have caught my attention in recent days, and which I'd like to bring to the attention of readers here:

On the weekend, I took brief note of the lawsuit of the Little Sisters of the Poor against the Obama administration regarding the Affordable Care Act and its contraceptive mandate. I linked to a Steve Benen article at the Maddow Show's website that notes this:

The case that led to a New Year’s Eve injunction was brought by a group of Roman Catholic nuns in Colorado who are claiming a religious objection to … paperwork.

And now see Jon Stewart's witty (and scathing) commentary in the video above on the position taken by the Little Sisters of the Poor; as he asks them, 

You do realize every week you already give them [i.e., your employees] paper issued by the government that allows them to get contraception, right? It's called money.

I also wouldn't want readers here to miss Frank Cocozzelli's annual Coughie Award, which he presents at the end of each calendar year to "the person who has best exemplified an exclusionary, strident interpretation of the Catholic faith in the preceding year." The award is given in memory of Father Charles Coughlin, a strident Catholic radio personality of the 1930s who is, as Frank notes,  a "role model for today's Religious Right radio and television evangelists, and other conservative media personalities."

And this year's award goes to . . . Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City and his friends, though, as Frank notes, there was stiff competition. I encourage readers to visit Frank's essay and read it in its entirety. It's both funny and full of sound Catholic good sense.

Next, I'd like to take note of a new "Daily Blog of the Day" series that Fred Clark has begun at his wonderful Slacktivist blog site. As Fred noted when he implemented the new series on 2 January, he intends to take note each day of an outstanding blog, as he presents a posting about that blog with an excerpt of material from the blog. The link I've just pointed recommends Samantha Fields's Defeating the Dragons site, 

Other blogs Fred has recommended in this series up to today include Consumer Reports's Consumerist blog, Raw Story's TBogg blog, Richard Beck's Experimental Theology, the Sarah Bessey blog, Andre E. Johnson's Rhetoric Race Religion site, and Jason Pitzl-Waters's The Wild Hunt. Each of these links points to Fred's discussion of the blog, which will have links to the blog being discussed.

With this list, Fred Clark is doing a very valuable service to any of us interested in keeping up with blog commentary about religious (and religion-and-politics, religion-and-culture, etc.) issues, where there's an embarrassment of riches with few tools to help anyone seeking to sort wheat from chaff. In the past, he's compiled extraordinarily helpful lists of the 1,001 best Christian women bloggers a person should know, and of the 66 best blogs by LGBT Christians. This new day-by-day list is equally important.

Finally, an interesting announcement at the National Catholic Reporter site yesterday: longtime NCR journalist and Vatican expert John Allen has taken a position as an associate editor at the Boston Globe. This is the second significant staffing announcement NCR has made as the new year gets underway: as of 1 January, Caitlin Hendel has taken over as the new CEO-President of NCR. Hendel posted about her "new perch" two days ago.

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