President Obama rounded up key congressional backing for a military strike on Syria, though most of the political chat has been about John McCain getting caught playing poker on his phone during a hearing on going to war.
More critically, the White House is working to secure crucial support from religious groups, and is having some luck with Jewish leaders. The Forward reports on how the administration did it – mainly saying Iran would be worse.
The pope also named a new Secretary of State for the Vatican, but Archbishop Petro Parolin won’t take over until Oct. 15
Francis also wanted to make it clear he can’t abide the use of chemical weapons:
With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) September 3, 2013
But then there’s this:
Patriarch Gregorios III: shipping arms “far more dangerous” than use of chemical weapons. http://t.co/OAjel4uQ4Z
— Edward Pentin (@edwardpentin) September 4, 2013
(On the lighter side, we have a lot of amazing entries in our Pope Francis art competition – be sure to vote! Hey. It’s something we have some control over.)
Also keeping it light, Cardinal Timothy Dolan went on Stephen Colbert’s show last night and we have the transcript and the best quips. To wit:
Colbert: “So this blows the lid off the papal conclave.”
Dolan: “There’s really not much to say – I lost.”
Colbert: “You did not get the gig … I was pretty mad because I had fifty bucks on it.”
One question Colbert did NOT ask: Why do popes wear white? Here we supply the answer, since you’ve always wanted to know.
Francis is also getting the full biopic treatment – whether he wants it or not.
Many bar and bat mitzvahs are getting slammed as over-the-top displays of “Las Vegas excess,” but the NYT’s Laurie Goodstein looks at how some in the Reform movement are trying to reinvent the traditional Jewish coming-of-age ritual. Can that work?
At 92, Mike Greenstein is a long way from his bar mitzvah, but the son of the legendary strongman Joe Greenstein, aka ‘The Mighty Atom,’ is still one of the strongest Jews in the world, sayeth The Forward.
A new survey shows that Yom Kippur, the sacred Day of Atonement, is not as important to younger Jews. Lauren Markoe reports. Feminists in Israel don’t seem ready to apologize for calling a temporary platform for women near the Western Wall a “sun deck.”
Meanwhile Israel’s chief rabbi doesn’t want women praying anywhere at the wall but he does want Jews to treat the chickens that some swing around their heads (yes, you’ll have to read the story) before Yom Kippur to get better treatment. I’m not sure how that would work.
From scapegoating chickens we continue the theme, as Jews argue that SeaWorld’s treatment of killer whales (orcas, if we’re being truly sensitive) violates Jewish law. It is, however, harder to swing a killer whale over your head.
From the sublime to the, well … Madam Tussauds in Vienna has a life-size wax version of Anne Frank.
Mohel model? The outré fashion outlet American Apparel unveils kosher beefcake – a Hasidic Jewish guy.
Coincidence? Muslim clerics in Indonesian are asking the government to cancel this month’s Miss World pageant because Islam prohibits women from publicly “exposing their bodies in a contest.” And the Gulf state of Oman shut down a newspaper after it published an article viewed as sympathetic to gays in the Muslim nation. Under Oman law, you can go to jail for three years for being gay; no word on the punishments for writing nice things about gays.
Should public schools ban yoga because it’s religious? Christianity Today hosts a forum.
Do Americans support a ban on abortions after 20 weeks? Depends how you ask the question, it seems…Will Saletan explains, which is what Will does.
Last week we had a gallery of cool modern churches. Now the Huffington Post has 50 of the World’s Most Unusual Churches.
It seems Pentecostals aren’t speaking in tongues as much as they used to. The Associated Press reports:
“It’s different now,” said Pastor Ken Walters. “People don’t like to stand out if they don’t have to.”
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