The Common Good

God's Politics Blog

U.S. Indicts FIFA Officials for Corruption

Nine FIFA officials and five business executives were arrested early Wednesday morning by Swiss authorities for “racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracies, among other offenses, in connection with … a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer,” according to a statement from the Department of Justice.

According to the statement, bribes and kickbacks to obtain media marketing rights could amount to well over $150 million. Because many of the charges relate to CONCACAF, the regional confederation under FIFA headquartered in the United States, the officials will be extradited to the U.S. on federal corruption charges.

 
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Forget the Numbers. The Big Story Is that Religion Has Lost Social Influence.

“Religion plays a less important role in American life.” Or maybe, “Religion declines as powerful source of American public authority.”

I doubt those headlines would have garnered the attention the Pew Center recently received with its subtitle “Christians Decline Sharply as Share of Population.”

This is no criticism of Pew. It gets full credit for bringing religious demographics to the public’s attention. And the story of Christian decline is an obvious hook, as is the story of the rapidly growing number of “nones,” people with no particular religious affiliation.

But behind the story of Christian decline and the rise of “nones” is a long-standing debate about what religion theorists call “secularization,” the broad process by which religion gradually loses its social influence.

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What Might Tomorrow’s Faith Community Look Like?

It would be God’s incarnate presence in human life. Not the only presence, but one that many people could enter into. Not so much an institution with structures, rules, and layers of leadership, but rather a dynamic, ever-shifting community that gathered in various ways, ranging from small circles of friends to mass assemblies for special purposes.

It would look outward, unlike other human institutions that look inward. It would see people wanting to draw closer to God. It would see human needs such as grief and tragedy, hunger and hopelessness. It would see key moments in people’s lives, such as partnering and parenting. It would see the ways people hurt each other and the tendency of injustice to become systemic.

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Rainbows Over Dublin and the Arc of Bono’s Activism

When Ireland became the first country to legalize same-gender marriage by popular mandate, double rainbows appeared over Dublin, and an Irish rock band transformed their Arizona concert into a gay-rights celebration. Almost 30 years ago, Bono endured threats from angry Arizonans for his support of the U.S. national holiday for the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. But on Saturday, Bono invoked King as peacemaker as U2 celebrated the victory of love, turning the song “Pride (In The Name of Love)” into an anthem for gay pride.

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Bono shared, “This is a moment to thank the people who bring us peace. It’s a moment for us to thank the people who brought peace to our country. We have peace in Ireland today! And in fact on this very day we have true equality in Ireland. Because millions turned up to vote yesterday to say, ‘love is the highest law in the land! Love! The biggest turnout in the history of the state, to say, ‘love is the highest law in the land!’ Because if God loves us, whoever we love, wherever we come from … then why can’t the state?’”

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BREAKING: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Denies Emergency Stay on Executive Action Lawsuit

"While we are disappointed with the court's ruling today, we are not dissuaded one bit in our purpose to keep our eyes on the prize-full integration and recognition of immigrants to the fabric of our society."
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Kendrick Lamar Talks Faith and Politics

In his interview with Ebony the Grammy winner spoke candidly about his spiritual life and the political resemblance his music has to "1970s concept albums like Sly Stone's There's A Riot Going On." After discussing how his mother shaped his faith in God, Lamar also tried to explain the "something that you can only feel in the air" that characterizes this cultural moment for black Americans.

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How the 'Warrior Mindset' Has Damaged Policing, Children, and Youth

If you take human autonomy as your starting point, you lose sight of the most central characteristic of human nature: we learn who we are and how to behave from one another. How we treat children is who they will become.

This bit of wisdom has gone by many names, among them the popular notion of the “self-fulfilling prophecy.” If teachers consistently have low expectations for certain groups of kids — say, minorities or those labeled as “problem kids” — the kids will meet those meager expectations but rarely exceed them. Why? Because our sense of identity is not something we own or develop in isolation. We become ourselves in and through the significant relationships that nurture us from the cradle and envelop us as we move out into the world.

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Australians Push for Vatican Cardinal to Testify on Abuse

More than 55,000 people have signed a petition calling for Cardinal George Pell to return to his native Australia and face a government commission on child sex abuse, after allegations that he tried to bribe the victim of a pedophile priest.

Addressed to Pope Francis, the Change.org petition calls for Pell — the Vatican’s financial chief and former archbishop of Sydney — to answer questions from Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

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Protestants Join Catholics in Reconsidering the Death Penalty

Three times in the past month, the Nebraska Legislature voted for a bill to repeal capital punishment and replace it with life without parole. The governor has promised to veto the legislation, and an override vote is looming. Many of the Christian lawmakers made it clear they cast their votes against the death penalty, in part, to promote a whole life ethic.

The leader of the group is Sen. Colby Coash of Lincoln, a Catholic who put his personal reasons for opposing capital punishment into one easily understood phrase.

“I am pro-life,” he said.

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Obama to Jews: Shared Values Compel Support for Israel

President Obama came to Washington’s most politically connected synagogue May 22 with a dual mission — to celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month and to mark the first “Solidarity Sabbath,” a campaign against anti-Semitism.

But mostly his speech circled back to the testy issue of U.S.-Israel relations.

“No administration has done more to ensure that Israel can protect itself,” he assured a crowd of nearly 1,200 people, who responded with shrieks of approval.

“My commitment to Israel’s security is and always will be unshakable,” he said.

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