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Not All Choice is Free: Why demand religious exemption for contraception, but not the death penalty, torture, or unjust war?

Not All Choice is Free: Why demand religious exemption for contraception, but not the death penalty, torture, or unjust war?

By Louis A. Ruprecht, Religion Dispatches….
On November 2, 1984, Velma Barfield became the first woman to be executed in the U.S. since 1962, and the first to be executed in the State of North Carolina after the nationwide moratorium on the death penalty was lifted in 1976. She was 52 years old. For those of us who had worked on her clemency petition, it was a devastating blow. Then-Governor Jim Hunt was running for a seat in the US Senate against arch-conservative Jesse Helms. Inexplicably, Barfield’s clemency hearing had been scheduled just six days prior to the election. Helms made it a campaign issue, of course, suggesting that, were the Governor to grant Barfield clemency, then his true liberal stripes would be clear to everyone.

Just War and Post War Justice

Just War and Post War Justice

The just war tradition is the centuries-old gold standard for morally evaluating war. Most Christian denominations subscribe to this ethical framework, even as they are more and more commending nonviolence as a viable alternative. Just war reasoning also rests behind much of the modern international laws of war. Over time, this tradition has come to consist of several criteria—though the lists vary depending on the source—to be used to evaluate morally when and how war may be justly embarked upon and conducted. A war is considered just if these criteria are adhered to and satisfied.

Americans’ views of God shape attitudes on key issues

Americans’ views of God shape attitudes on key issues

By Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAY  If you pray to God, to whom — or what — are you praying?  When you sing God Bless America, whose blessing are you seeking?  In the USA, God — or the idea of a God — permeates daily life. Our views of God have been fundamental to the […]

Home Shrines for American War Dead: Are They Just About Remembering?

Home Shrines for American War Dead: Are They Just About Remembering?

Borrowing from both Cartwright and Orsi, what do we see in home war shrines that we did not see previously? To begin with, these carefully preserved bedroom offer far more than an aid for remembering. They offer a sacred space in which family members may experience heightened physical intimacy with those “who will never return” in any tangible manner. Relationships sundered by violent and untimely death may be at least partially and fleetingly re-constituted and re-experienced.

Home Shrines for American War Dead

Home Shrines for American War Dead

As “[y]ou walk into these rooms… and you feel like these are the kids you used to hang out with…. It’s powerful to look at where these kids lived, to see who they were as living, breathing human beings.” The authors interpret these actions as attempts on the part of family members to “resist” and “wrestle with” what has happened; this is “how they will cope and how they will remember.”