Both the Left and the Right Should Defend Religious Freedom for Everyone

If the Democratic Party wants to start winning national elections again, it needs to communicate its values to people of faith.

If the Republican Party wants to be an honest broker, it must defend religious liberty—even when it hurts its ideological agenda.

At their best, the government and the faith community can work together to promote the common good.

See my full thoughts in this clip from Fox News:


Trump Approval Low Among Millennials, Catholics, Women, But Not White Catholics

Here are some highlights from Pew’s latest survey for April 2017:

  • Overall, 39% approve and 54% disapprove of Trump’s job performance
  • For Catholics, just 42% approve, while 54% disapprove
  • But for white Catholics, a majority (55%) approve of his performance
  • Just 33% of women approve of Trump’s performance with 60% disapproving
  • Likewise, his approval rating among millennials is also 33%
  • Interestingly, while 11% of liberal Democrats approve of his performance, just 3% of conservative/moderate Democrats do
  • His support remains strong among Republicans (88%) and low with Democrats (8%) and independents (35%)
  • 50% of white Americans approve of his performance, with approval among black and Latino Americans in the teens, 14% and 17%, respectively
  • 78% of white evangelicals approve of Trump’s handling of his job

Around the Web

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

I told Paul Ryan what it’s like to be poor. I wonder if he remembers me now. by Tianna Gaines-Turner: “The structural changes Ryan envisions — sometimes referred to as “per capita caps” or “block grants” — are actually budget cuts that will devastate the safety net and harm families like mine.”

Fox serves up a fetid reminder that when you’re a star, you can still do anything by Michael Gerson: “A certain kind of Fox viewer will never find this persuasive. They think that boys will be boys, and men should be manly, and opponents are snowflakes, and women should just learn to lump it or leave. But it is hard for me to imagine how Christian conservatives — a major Fox demographic — could avoid choking on such rotted values. The way that women are treated in the workplace — or at home, or anywhere else — should reflect a belief in human equality and a commitment to human dignity. And the proper reaction when reading about the cases of O’Reilly and Ailes is revulsion.”

Is it time for a dramatic flourish from U.S. bishops on immigration? by John Allen: “Suppose it wasn’t just one cardinal who led brother bishops in celebrating a Mass at the border. Suppose it was all six residential cardinals in the United States – Timothy Dolan of New York, O’Malley of Boston, Donald Wuerl of Washington, Joseph Tobin of Newark, Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, and Blase Cupich of Chicago? Suppose, too, the cardinals were joined by a good chunk of the archbishops who lead the other 30 dioceses in the United States – Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, for instance, and William Lori of Baltimore, not to mention the indispensable voice in American Catholicism on this issue, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles?”

End the death penalty for mentally ill criminals by Bob Taft and Joseph E. Kernan: “Legislators in six states — Indiana, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia — have proposed legislation to prohibit the death penalty for individuals with severe mental illness. As former governors of states that are grappling with this issue, we strongly support this effort to end an inhumane practice that fails to respect common standards of decency and comport with recommendations of mental-health experts.” Read More


New Vatican Consultor Fr. James Martin on Holy Week and the Gospel’s Radical Message

This week, Fr. James Martin, SJ was appointed as a consultor to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications. He was also interviewed in Vanity Fair on his social media presence in the Trump era:

Vanity Fair: Those of us in the media joke about “hot takes,” where you weigh in quickly on a topic that everyone’s talking about, but you do a legitimately good job of that. What’s your approach to covering the news?

Rev. James Martin, S.J.: People are hungry naturally for a moral perspective. That’s their conscience desiring some kind of moral compass. The Gospels are always relevant, and Jesus’s way of looking at something is my way of looking at something. There are some questions that cry out so much for a Christian perspective that, when you find them, they take off on social media.

But there are different ways of looking at the Gospels. How would you describe the Jesuit perspective, specifically?

That Jesus’s message is essentially one of love, mercy, and forgiveness, and that his approach was radical inclusion. He was in particular concerned with the marginalized, which is why I’m concerned with the marginalized.

Fr. Martin also made his second appearance on the new podcast Jesuitical, which is hosted by Olga Segura, Zac Davis, and Ashley McKinless, to talk about Holy Week. You can download or listen to the podcast here.


Quote of the Day

Pope Francis: “For as we all know, it is in the little things that joy is best seen and shared: when by taking one small step, we make God’s mercy overflow in situations of desolation; when we decide to pick up the phone and arrange to see someone; when we patiently allow others to take up our time…”


Why Church Unity Matters

Millennial writer Christopher White has a new article at Crux. He writes:

Hostility to this pope has been mounting from the earliest days of his papacy, when his pro-life credentials were called into question, when his economic views were mocked, and when an entire encyclical was practically ignored by certain constituencies within the Church.

As someone who continues to be inspired by the life and legacies of Popes John Paul II and Benedict, it’s been all the more disheartening that such behavior has arisen from the very writers, thinkers, and publications that paved the way for my early exploration of Catholicism….

I take great solace in the affirmation of “one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church” that we profess at each Mass. That was true when I was first confirmed and it remains just as true today.

This doesn’t mean we’re a homogenous institution without different ideas and opinions. As Pope Francis has reminded us, the only place you won’t find disagreement is in a cemetery.

But it should mean that Catholics of all stripes should welcome this time of mercy that we are blessed to live in and seek to promote it rather than be polarized. For if we sincerely hope to heal a broken world, a unified Church is a necessary starting place.

You can read the full article here.