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Here are some news stories and articles which might be of interest to you. I've posted the opening section, and if you want to read more, you can click on "Read the whole article" to go to the original item. You'll find a variety of things here -- current news, political analysis, opinion pieces, articles about religion -- things I've happened to read and want to share with you. It's your Reading Room, so take your time. Browse. You're certain to find something you'll want to read.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Triumph of Nice

by William Kilpatrick

In the summer of 2012, Michele Bachmann and four other House members sent a letter to the Inspector-Generals of key government agencies asking them to open an investigation into possible Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the U.S. government.

The letter to the Department of State specifically raised concerns over Huma Abedin, then-Deputy Chief of Staff and top personal aide to the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. The letter stated that Abedin “has three family members—her late father, her mother, and her brother—connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations,” and noted that the Department of State had “taken actions recently that have been enormously favorable to the Muslim Brotherhood and its interests.”

For their pains, the five Republican House members were severely castigated, not only by Democrats but also by fellow Republicans. For instance, Senator John McCain, who had “every confidence in Huma’s loyalty to our country,” characterized Bachmann’s assertions as “ugly and unfortunate attacks” on “an American of genuine patriotism and love of country.” As with McCain’s response, most of the criticism of Bachmann et al was addressed not to the merits of the charges but to their insensitive nature. The charges were variously described as “vicious,” “extreme,” “outrageous,” “sinister,” and “offensive.” Republican campaign strategist Ed Rollins expressed concern that the Republican Party would become the party of “intolerance and hate” if Bachmann had her way, and he admonished her to seek forgiveness:

Shame on you, Michele! You should stand on the floor of the House and apologize to Huma Abedin and to Secretary Clinton and the millions of hardworking, loyal Muslim Americans for your wild and unsubstantiated charges. As a devoted Christian you need to ask forgiveness for this grievous lack of judgment and reckless behavior.

Such exercises in shaming were formerly confined for the most part to communist Chinese re-education camps, but of late they seem to have become standard operating procedure in our own society whenever anyone steps over the sensitivity line. And who can tell where those fault lines lie? They are constantly being re-drawn. Moreover, as in the case of Mozilla CEO’s Brendan Eich, they can be applied retroactively. Eich was recently forced to step down from his position following the revelation that he had contributed $1,000 to the campaign in support of Proposition 8 six years ago. An apology was demanded from Mozilla by gay activists and was soon forthcoming. Here are some excerpts from Mozilla executive chairwoman Mitchell Baker’s statement:

We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right…. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people…. We’re sorry. We must do better…. We will emerge from this with a renewed understanding and humility….

“A renewed understanding” of what? That one must never hurt the feelings of those who believe that same sex-marriage is good for our society, but that it’s all right to trample over the lives of those who disagree?

[Read the whole article at this link.]

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Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.