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Analysis and commentary on issues that concern the work of FaithTrust Institute.

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The Work of Tikkun Olam: Repairing and Restoring the World

The Work of Tikkun Olam: Repairing and Restoring the World

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There are two important stories this week within the Orthodox Jewish community in the U.S. The first is the conviction of Nechemya Weberman, a Hasidic Jew in Brooklyn, for sexual abuse of a child who had the courage to come forward and report him.

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NFL Player Homicide-Suicide: This Is Domestic Violence

NFL Player Homicide-Suicide: This Is Domestic Violence

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A head injury? Alcohol? Drugs? Depression? An argument? Everyone who knew Jovan Belcher is grasping for an answer to “why?” We only know what we read in the paper, but there is nothing all that unusual here when a man kills his partner and himself. The story is pretty predictable. This is domestic violence.

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Put Your Activism To Work Right Now

Put Your Activism To Work Right Now

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The New York Times is right on this one. If politicians are serious about fixing the perception that they don’t understand or care about women, they would do well to move quickly to pass the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) immediately.

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Knowing the Mind of God

Knowing the Mind of God

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In the midst of the campaign, Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock was asked if abortion should be allowed in cases of rape and incest. He responded negatively with this explanation: “I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something the God intended to happen.” Apparently, Richard Mourdock knows the mind of God.

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Déjà Vu All Over Again

Déjà Vu All Over Again

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Now it’s the Boy Scouts. They have been forced by the court to release the “Perversion Files”: over 1200 reports of sexual abuse by scoutmasters from 1965-85. Admittedly the record is mixed. Some allegations were investigated and some scoutmasters were banned from scouting. Some reappeared with another troop after a hiatus. Hardly any were reported to law enforcement.

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Fifty Shades of Depressing

Fifty Shades of Depressing

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First, a confession: I have not read Fifty Shades of Grey nor do I intend to. When I choose a novel to read, I pay attention to reviews or suggestions of my friends. The thought of spending time reading second rate prose about dominant-submissive heterosexual sex just doesn't seem very appealing. Life is too short.

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Responding to Clergy Abuse of Children: Not Rocket Science, Part 2

Responding to Clergy Abuse of Children: Not Rocket Science, Part 2

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Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn has been convicted of failure to report suspected child abuse; he is the first Bishop to be held accountable for shielding a pedophile priest. He received no jail time or fine; rather he was sentenced to two years of court-supervised probation.

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Responding to Clergy Abuse of Children: Not Rocket Science, Part I

Responding to Clergy Abuse of Children: Not Rocket Science, Part I

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What does a pastor do when he discovers that a volunteer youth minister in his church is “sexting” a 15 year old girl in the youth group? As reported in the news, “The West Seattle church's youth pastor went to police immediately after learning of the allegations against Davis, resulting in the 26-year-old’s arrest. Davis was also dismissed from his volunteer position.”

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Dear Pat Robertson:  Time to Retire

Dear Pat Robertson: Time to Retire

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Dear Pat: It really is time for you to retire. In your latest display of complete ignorance you are embarrassing yourself.

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Weary Beyond Words

Weary Beyond Words

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“Legitimate rape” has now been added to the lexicon of sexual assault thanks to Representative Todd Akin, candidate for the U.S. Senate in Missouri. One wonders about the definition of this new term; perhaps its synonym “real rape” and its opposite is “illegitimate rape.” It’s a mystery to me.

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Ramadan Kareem!

Ramadan Kareem!

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As Ramadan and the period of fasting draws to a close, Muslims around the world prepare to celebrate Eid al-Fitr on Sunday, August 19.

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“Guns Don’t Kill People . . .”

“Guns Don’t Kill People . . .”

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“Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” This National Rifle Association (NRA) answer to any suggestion of gun control is only partially true. The fact is that men with guns kill people. At least this is what the headlines tell us.

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What Will It Take to Pass VAWA?

What Will It Take to Pass VAWA?

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The Violence Against Women Act [VAWA] was originally passed in 1994 with strong bipartisan support. It was renewed in 2000 and 2005 also with bipartisan support. In those votes, legislators seemed to basically agree that violence against women was a bad thing and that all of us, including our federal government, had a role to play in addressing it.

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News with Teeth

News with Teeth

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This week’s news that the Paterno statue has been removed from the Penn State campus, the NCAA heavily penalized Penn State with both a fine of $60 million and denied their wins of the football team as well as its future bowl game participation was welcome news.

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Hiding in Plain Sight . . . With Help

Hiding in Plain Sight . . . With Help

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The Penn State report and the conviction of Jerry Sandusky provide the irrefutable evidence that he was a sexual predator on the loose for over twenty years and there were numerous people with full knowledge of his crimes who could have stopped him. How does this happen?

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The Truth Will Set You Free

The Truth Will Set You Free

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A small news story hidden deep in the paper caught my eye. A middle school teacher has been arrested and charged with child rape. She has been placed on leave. The boy decided to come forward and disclose after hearing a church sermon which urged victims of sexual abuse to speak up because “the truth will set you free.”

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Dear Pope:  A “Mystery”?

Dear Pope: A “Mystery”?

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I’m puzzled. In a recent talk in Ireland about the sexual abuse of children by priests, you described the situation as a “mystery” when you addressed the Eucharistic Congress.

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Finally, Some Justice Made

Finally, Some Justice Made

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Good news is hard to come by in the work to address sexual and domestic violence. But last week was a pretty good week.

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Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day

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When I was about nine years old, I remember a dinner table conversation between my father and mother. I think we had just received news that my favorite uncle, the doctor, had beaten up my aunt.

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Dear Pope: About Sr. Margaret . . .

Dear Pope: About Sr. Margaret . . .

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I am just writing to thank you for denouncing Sr. Margaret Farley’s excellent book, “Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics.” This is the best PR any author could possibly get and, as a result, the book has soared to the Best Seller list at Amazon overnight. I realize that God works in strange and mysterious ways, but this is too good.

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