The Common Good

nancy pelosi

Activists End Immigration fast as Thousands of Others Take up the Cause

Sapped by three weeks of a water-only diet, three activists for immigration reform ended their fasts Tuesday with a morsel of bread blessed by a priest and “passed the fast on” to others who hope to keep attention focused on the issue.

“You have truly put your faith in action,” said retired Washington Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, one in a small crowd of political and clerical dignitaries who came to the National Mall to praise those who have gone without food in a bid to pressure Republican House leaders to pass an immigration reform bill.

Also seated alongside the quiet and wan fasters: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi; the Rev. Bernice King, the daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.; Secretary of Labor Tom Perez; Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.; and the Rev. Al Sharpton.

In recent weeks, the fasters have attracted high-profile visitors, including President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden, to the heated tents where the fasters have been living on the National Mall.

+Continue Reading

Nuns on the Bus Push Congress to Pass Immigration Reform

The “Nuns on the Bus” are back from their 6,800-mile trek across the U.S., but their hardest job may be yet to come: convincing the Republican-led House to pass immigration reform.

The cross-country tour, a project of Network, a Catholic social justice lobby, was the nuns’ second cross-country trip after last year’s push to protest proposed budget cuts that the sisters said would hurt the poor.

When it comes to lobbying for comprehensive immigration reform, Sister Simone Campbell said even the Catholic bishops are on board with the Nuns on the Bus.

+Continue Reading

Abortion Bill Reopens Tricky Terrain for Republicans

As the House debates a bill to limit abortion, Republicans are reopening a subject that cost them dearly in 2012 and continues to present perils for the party’s attempt to appeal to women voters.

Even before the full House took up the bill Tuesday to ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, Republicans had a sharp reminder of how sensitive the issue can be when Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., appeared to say that rape rarely results in pregnancy.

“The incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy [is] very low,” Franks said at a June 12 committee hearing on the bill. Franks later said he meant that third-trimester abortions of pregnancies caused by rape are rare.

+Continue Reading

Ahmadi Muslim Leader Pushes Plight in Congress

WASHINGTON — The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is persecuted around the world, but it has plenty of friends on Capitol Hill.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., joined more than 20 House colleagues and at least one senator on June 27 at a reception to mark the first visit of the Ahmadiyya’s spiritual leader, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, to Congress.

The Ahmadiyya have faced severe repression, Pelosi said,  “but you refused to turn to bitterness or vengeance.”

“The message we carry is 'if you are being hurt, do not respond with hurt,'" said Ahsanullah Zafar, president of the Ahmadiyya community in the U.S.

+Continue Reading

The Moral Default

The debate we have just witnessed has shown Washington, D.C. not just to be broken, but corrupt. The American people are disgusted watching politicians play political chicken with the nation's economy and future. In such a bitter and unprincipled atmosphere, whoever has the political clout to enforce their self-interest and retain their privileges wins the battles. But there are two casualties in such political warfare: the common good and the most vulnerable.

So how will vulnerable people fair under this deal? "The Circle of Protection," a diverse nonpartisan movement of Christian leaders, has been deeply engaged in the budget debate to uphold the principle that low-income people should be protected. But it is hard to evaluate a deal that averts a crisis when the crisis wasn't necessary in the first place. Over the past few weeks, our economy has indeed been held hostage as politicians negotiated the price of the release. Ultimately, I think most of us wish that no hostages had been taken in the first place, and this was no way to run a government or make important budget decisions.

+Continue Reading

Which Corporations are Buying Your Candidates?

The midterm election season is upon us, the first since the Supreme Court's January 21 ruling that allows corporations to spend as much as they wish on political advertising -- as long as they disclose their involvement.
+Continue Reading

In Honor of Women's Equality Day

It took more than 70 years of blood, work, and persistence, but the movement prevailed and on August 18, 1920, women were given the right to both vote and run for office.
+Continue Reading

Why Clint Eastwood Can be Trusted with Mandela (and Why Glenn Beck Can't be Trusted with MLK)

It's that time of year again -- you know, when Clint Eastwood releases a trailer for a movie that looks fascinating and completely different from the last thing he did, and your trio of reactions run something like this: 1) Hmmm, Clint's got a movie coming out -- didn't we just see 'Gran Torino' five minutes ago?
+Continue Reading

More Heat than Light: Randall Terry's 'Burn in Hell' Protest

Sometimes the things you read are so outrageous that you simply sit at your desk, unclear how to respond.
+Continue Reading