Tuesday, July 15, 2014

U.S. CATHOLIC - July 15, 2014

July 15, 2014
The beginning of the end of the death penalty
The death penalty is still legal in most states, but little by little, the laws that allow executions are being chipped away. 

Leroy Wright was forced to endure a mock execution mere hours before doctors were set to inject him with a lethal cocktail meant to end his life in January 2011. He lay on the gurney with IVs in his arms when the United States Supreme Court issued a temporary stay of execution. Wright was convicted of murdering his wife in 1988, but the victim's family--including Wright's three children--had requested a sentence of life in prison without parole. The prosecutor had offered him a plea of life without parole, but his volunteer attorney erroneously advised against it. In a 9 to 3 vote, the jury decided prison without the chance of parole was the appropriate punishment for Wright's crime. However, thanks to an Alabama law that allows for judicial override, the trial judge, without giving a reason as to why he was rejecting the jury's decision, sent Wright to death row. Read more

Once you've read this feature, be sure to check out the rest of the content from our July issue. What do you think? Is the death penalty on its way out? Send us a letter to the editor and let us know!
Power to the public workers
Should a librarian have any less of a right to unionize than an auto worker or a nurse?
 
In 1981 my grandmother, a librarian, became a union organizer. The director at her library had become increasingly erratic and dictatorial. This wasn't a traditional case of exploitation or unsafe working conditions in a private factory or store--it was the public library. A welcoming community center had been transformed into a hostile work environment. Teaming up with the local teachers union, she began to organize the librarians to seek justice and participation. On the day that I was born, they held the official vote to unionize. In one day she became a union leader and a grandmother. Today, though, jobs like hers are believed to be somehow different, and therefore her right to unionize is challenged. Read more.
Is the church's teaching on marriage and family life out of touch?
With the Extraordinary Synod approaching, we want to know what you think! 
 
This coming October, the bishops will convene at the Vatican for an Extraordinary Synod on marriage and family life. We at U.S. Catholic want to know what you think the bishops should discuss. Do you think the church gets it right on marriage and family? Or do you think there are some tweaks required? Take our survey and let us know! The results will be published in our October 2014 issue. Read more.
Religion: Answer to our problems or simply outdated?
A new poll reflects a real shift in the way Americans have viewed religion over the last 50 years. But it doesn't tell the whole story.
  
A recently released Gallup poll attempts to answer the question of how modern Americans view religion, posing the question: Do you believe that religion can answer all or most of today's problems, or that religion is largely old fashioned and out of date? Gallup has actually been asking this question periodically since 1957, and the results aren't entirely surprising. Read more. 
Party ties, not religious ones, drive down Obama's approval rating
A religious group's political tilt will shape its views more than Obama's policies and actions.
Most Christians don't approve of President Obama right now, but he gets high ratings from Muslims and other minority religious groups. It's not because of their religion, though. Obama's level of popular approval matches Americans' political party ties, not their religious identity, age or almost any other demographic characteristic, said Jeffrey Jones, managing editor of the Gallup poll. Read more.
Listen: Say Grace
Sam Baker (Self-released, 2013) 

Say Grace is a collection of rough-hewn jewels honoring the people Sam Baker calls "everyday heroes." There is the flagman on "Road Crew," another guy "wrestling a pipe in a ditch," the lonely woman in the "terrycloth bathrobe with a tear." Their portraits are set in a sparse frame of guitars, piano, violin, and Baker's earnest croak of a voice, and they are all holy. They are all, as Thomas Merton put it, "walking around shining like the sun." Read more
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July 2014

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