Religion

The Thwarting of Catholic Reform

A half century ago, the Second Vatican Council charted a course for reform of the Catholic Church. But conservative popes, such as John Paul II and Benedict XVI, protected an autocratic system that failed to stop pedophile priests and even falls short on the religious needs of the faithful, says Catholic theologian Paul Surlis.

Why Jesus Died

Recent historical discoveries about northern Palestine of two millennia ago reveal how radical Jesus’s message was, what risks he was asking his followers to take, and why he was arrested and crucified as an insurrectionist when he ventured south to Jerusalem, says Rev. Howard Bess.

All for One

Much of the propaganda that inundates the world’s population is designed to justify animosities and conflicts, whether religious, racial or political. But there is a larger truth that also must be understood – that we are all in this together, as Winslow Myers notes.

Who Speaks for Jesus?

The Vatican has scolded American nuns for deviating from Church doctrine. Conservative bishops decry President Obama’s health-care reform for violating their religious freedom. But some Catholics find this heated rhetoric at odds with the gentler message of Jesus, as Catholic theologian Paul Surlis said in this excerpted sermon.

Journey of an Israeli General’s Son

The Israeli-Palestinian crisis is one of the world’s most troublesome conflicts, especially since it has been exploited by extremists on both sides to justify a range of violent actions far and wide. A book by the son of an Israeli war hero puts the dispute in a human context, writes David Swanson at warisacrime.org.

Jesus, the Radical Economist

If the teachings of Jesus were really taken seriously, the Christian Right wouldn’t be devoting so much time to protecting the wealth of the wealthiest. True Christians would be demanding redistribution of the world’s riches in ways far more radical than modern politicians would dare propose, as Rev. Howard Bess explains.

The Moral Challenge of ‘Kill Lists’

Exclusive: Counterterrorism adviser John Brennan has been called President Obama’s “priest” as they wrestle with the moral dilemma of assembling a “kill list” of “bad guys,” a role that recalls how established religions have justified slaughters over the centuries, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Pope Paul VI’s Error on Birth Control

After conservative U.S. Catholic Bishops sued the Obama administration over its health-insurance requirement for contraceptives, many assumed the Bishops were upholding settled doctrine. But Catholic theologian Paul Surlis says Pope Paul VI incorrectly removed the issue from the Second Vatican Council in 1965.

How al-Qaeda Exploits Palestine Cause

Exclusive: When U.S. Special Forces raided Osama bin Laden’s compound last year, they grabbed al-Qaeda documents describing internal debates, including how the terror group should continue exploiting Israel’s abuse of Palestinians as a crucial recruitment pitch, reports Robert Parry.

The Bible’s Vile Standards of Marriage

Religious fundamentalists object to same-sex marriage as a violation of Biblical standards. But the actual Biblical marriage standards treat women as chattel and let men have multiple wives, along with concubines and sex-slaves, an inconvenient truth that Rev. Howard Bess notes.