A half century ago, the Catholic Church had a chance for reform in the Second Vatican Council, with a young advocate in Joseph Ratzinger. But reactionary popes shunted reform aside, with Ratzinger later joining them as Pope Benedict XVI. That lost hope has put the Church in today’s crisis, says the Rev. Paul Surlis.
Over the centuries, Christian churches and allied rulers have tortured and killed countless fellow Christians for deviating from doctrinal claims about Jesus’s divine identity. But the historical record that exists indicates that those doctrines were tragically wrong, writes Rev. Howard Bess.
For Christians, the search for the real Jesus can be a challenging pursuit, given the two millennia of doctrine, dogma and distortion that have built up around his teachings. For some followers, the key has been to strip away those traditions and find a purer historical understanding, says Rev. Howard Bess.
The central contradiction in the cozy U.S. relationship with Israel is that the American system rejects religious and ethnic preferences and Israel embraces them. This intolerance is growing as ultra-Orthodox Jews direct discrimination against women, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.
The failure of many mainstream Christian churches to embrace social movements of recent decades – from gay rights to women’s equality to peace activism – has alienated young people who see the contradictions with Jesus’s teachings of tolerance. Is it too late for established churches, asks Rev. Howard Bess.
Israel’s elections rebuffed the hard-right politics of recent years, but the new government is still unlikely to stop Jewish settlers from seizing Palestinian land or to recognize equality for Arabs, many of whom have no say in the Israeli occupation that constrains their lives, reports Dennis J. Bernstein.
Though U.S. observers tend to view Egypt’s politics through a secular-vs.-Islamist lens, a clearer way of seeing what’s happening in that important Arab country is to examine other issues, like the economy, that are motivating Egyptians, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
The 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling granting women the right to abort unwanted or dangerous pregnancies, will be observed by opponents and proponents alike. Among its backers will be NOW president Terry O’Neill, who was interviewed by Dennis J. Bernstein.
In life, Martin Luther King Jr. was often demeaned for his radical vision of peace and justice – and not just by crude racists and warmongers but by well-spoken members of the elite. Then, in death, King became a national icon but with his sharpest criticisms dulled down or forgotten, writes Gary G. Kohls.
Evangelicals remain one of the principal obstacles to the full acceptance of gay Americans as people deserving equal rights and equal respect. But even in those religious circles, pressure from more tolerant Evangelicals – especially the young – is breaking down the barriers, Rev. Howard Bess writes.