Around the Web

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

To Overcome Polarization, Focus on the Poor by David Lapp: “But asking what we can do—as religious congregations, neighbors, politicians—to come alongside the poor is a promising way to break through the polarization and get us talking to each other and rebuilding trust. And as one summit participant reminded us, our focus should be on poor people, not poverty in the abstract. If we keep our eyes and hearts wide open to the stories of the poor, there solidarity can work its miracles.”

Has the church abandoned its support of unions? By Kevin Clarke: “It is hard to see how any improvements in working conditions or wages—real antipoverty measures—are likely to be achieved without the bottom-up organizing and advocacy that has in the United States been the role played by union labor.”

Douthat, Poverty & Partisanship by Michael Sean Winters: “The bishops need to find a way to re-connect our Catholic concern for the poor with our Catholic concern for the unborn, repeatedly and consistently, not giving a pass to any Catholic politician who ignores the one or the other.”

What’s so funny about Jim Gaffigan’s Christianity by Michelle Boorstein: “He and Jeannie (who he often calls a “Shiite Catholic”) chose to introduce themselves through an episode that centers on their Catholicism. In fact the entire series is built around the juggling act of this wholesome, churchgoing, no-swearing, no-artificial-birth-control-using family. And they aren’t painted as oddballs, but hip Manhattanites living in a cool loft and hanging around with people like Chris Rock.”

Kansas has found the ultimate way to punish the poor by Max Ehrenfreund: “Cash is one of the most valuable resources a poor person in the United States can possess. Yet legislators in Kansas, not trusting the poor to use their money wisely, have voted to limit how much cash that welfare beneficiaries can receive, effectively reducing their overall benefits, as well.”

Helping Tunisia realize its democratic promise by Barack Obama and Béji Caïd Essebsi: “Amid the turmoil that so often dominates the headlines, it can be tempting to think that all of North Africa and the Middle East is gripped by disorder. But in Tunisia, where the Arab Spring began, democracy and pluralism are taking root.”

Syria: The Imperative of Protecting Civilians by Frederic Hof: “The barrel bombing, starvation sieges, chemical attacks, and door-to-door atrocities have been so widespread, so intense, and so unopposed by a hollowed-out West that now the specter of additional mass atrocities—perhaps genocide—transcending Arab Sunni Muslims presents itself.”

The Rollout of the Encyclical on the Environment by Michael Sean Winters: “Never in my lifetime has there been so much advance buzz for an encyclical. We look at the scientific data, and we say to ourselves that this environmental degradation can’t continue. But, then we turn to traditional, conservative Catholic social  teaching and we find therein the intellectual and moral resources to perceive the outlines of a better future, one that cares for the earth God created, and for the poor who are closest to His heart.”

Boko Haram Militants Raped Hundreds of Female Captives in Nigeria by NY Times: “Hundreds of women and girls captured by Boko Haram have been raped, many repeatedly, in what officials and relief workers describe as a deliberate strategy to dominate rural residents and possibly even create a new generation of Islamist militants in Nigeria.”

Taking Care of our Own by Lauren Sandler: “The price paid by Americans who lack the right to take paid time off to recover from childbirth, to care for newborns, or to respond to the calamities of fallible health—our own and that of our loved ones—could not be higher.”

Pioneering Asian theologian in biblical ethics dies at 46 by Joshua McElwee: “A young theologian and priest with a global reputation as a rising pioneer in the field of theological ethics died suddenly Tuesday, just months before he was to host a first-of-its-kind conference bringing together ethicists across Asia. Jesuit Fr. Lucas (Yiu Sing Luke) Chan, a Hong Kong native who recently joined the faculty of Marquette University in Wisconsin, died Tuesday after collapsing at his office following a morning workout. He was 46.”