May 12, 2013
Re "Medical rates range off the chart," May 9 Our political leaders regularly lament the notion that ever-rising healthcare costs will eventually bankrupt our country. The question is why they treat this problem as if it were an act of God, totally beyond their power to do anything about it. In most businesses the price is based on actual costs plus overhead, profit and other items. In healthcare, the price is whatever ridiculously inflated number someone has the gall to put on the bill.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 8, 2013 |
Michael Jackson's behavior and gaunt figure were so troublesome to a producer that she told the director of the “This Is It” concert series that she believed the singer was dying and should be immediately taken to a hospital. Alif Sankey also testified Wednesday that the director for the concerts told her Jackson believed God was talking with him. Sankey recalled that on her way home from rehearsal one night, she pulled her car over and called Kenny Ortega, who was directing what was to be Jackson's comeback tour.
May 5, 2013
Re "2 views of gay NBA player," May 3 It is clear from this article about reactions to professional basketball player Jason Collins' announcement he is gay that many Christians have been taught differently in their denominations about homosexuality. One high school student quoted in this story said he believes that God created people to be heterosexual; another said he believes that God created people to live up to their potential, regardless of their sexual orientation. One's religion is important in making ethical decisions, as it should be. Thus, it would be helpful if the top clergy of various Christian denominations taught their followers that all people should be accepted and valued, regardless of their innate sexual orientation, and be free to satisfy their own potential.
May 3, 2013 |
It's not surprising that the leading Roman Catholic churchman in Rhode Island is disappointed that the state has legalized same-sex marriage. But in reacting to what he called “this immoral and unnecessary proposition,” Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Providence seemed to up the ante by warning Catholics not to attend the same-sex weddings of friends and relatives. Tobin wrote that “because 'same-sex marriages' are clearly contrary to God's plan for the human family, and therefore objectively sinful, Catholics should examine their consciences very carefully before deciding whether or not to endorse same-sex relationships or attend same-sex ceremonies, realizing that to do so might harm their relationship with God and cause significant scandal to others.” This prompted a nice rejoinder from Mark Silk of Trinity College, one of my favorite commentators on religion.
April 21, 2013 |
WEST, Texas - The selection from the Gospel according to John is read in Masses in Catholic Churches far and wide, chosen to celebrate the Easter season. But in the red-brick church in a small Texas town ravaged by an explosion, the words resonated as though they'd been picked just for them. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. It's been four days since the fire and explosion at a fertilizer plant on the outskirts of West killed 14 people, injured scores more and damaged and destroyed neighborhoods, with half of the city still cordoned off. Residents of just a few blocks of that area were allowed brief visits home to collect possessions and check on their property.
April 20, 2013 |
WEST, Texas - The crowd that had gathered - lighting candles, offering prayers, crying as they tightly embraced family and friends - had streamed from the dimly lighted sanctuary of Assumption Catholic Church, but Kelly Nelson lingered behind. “The people who we lost, these are people I know, I see on a daily basis,” Nelson said. “Knowing that I'm never going to see these people on the Earth again is very difficult for me to handle.” On Wednesday night, a blast at a fertilizer plant rocked this small east-central Texas town.
April 19, 2013 |
WEST, Texas - The crowd that had gathered - lighting candles, offering prayers, crying as they tightly embraced family and friends - had streamed from the dimly lit sanctuary of Assumption Catholic Church, but Kelly Nelson lingered behind. “The people who we lost, these are people I know, I see on a daily basis,” Nelson said. “Knowing that I'm never going to see these people on the earth again is very difficult for me to handle.” On Wednesday night, a blast at the West Fertilizer Co. plant had rocked this small town.
April 13, 2013 |
It is heartening in a way that perhaps the biggest comic in America - in a sense of cultural import if not necessarily in income, though he is obviously doing well there too - is a doughy, bald man of 45. It's heartening both from the aspect of one's own advancing age and as notice that kids these days are not entirely consumed with things made in their own image. That experience counts for something is an explicitly stated theme of Louis C.K.'s new concert special, "Oh My God," which premieres Saturday on HBO: Real wisdom is a thing that only time can earn, he says.
April 11, 2013 |
Terrence Malick, as unconventional, esoteric and spiritual as ever, has created an ocean of love in "To the Wonder," filling it with calm seas, treacherous storms, incredible beauty and a god who watches over it all. Love in all its many facets is distilled and dissected by the writer/director from first flame to dying embers, between couples and between mankind and God. There is no new ground, really, the distinction is in the way Malick covers...
April 7, 2013 |
According to a survey conducted by the Bertelsmann Religion Foundation Monitor, the United States is the most religious nation in the industrialized world. The Pew Forum's U.S. Religious Landscape Survey found that 88% of the Americans it surveyed are fairly or absolutely certain that God exists, and that more than half of them say religion is "very important" in their lives. Personally, I've always had a tenuous relationship with organized religion, especially Christianity. As it was for most African Americans of my generation, the church was a powerful force in my childhood.