Bits, Pieces, and Highly Recommended Reading

Jig Saw PuzzleThere’s some good writing in the blogosphere that deserves a second or third look.

##The GOP Vision For America Depends On False Christian Doctrine” from Vegas Jessie is a good place to start.  Seasonal, and an overview of the distortions required to transform a religion of communal compassion into an argument for individual selfishness.

## However, there’s hope.  Pope Francis announced his appointments to the Council of Bishops — omitting at least one notable Culture Warrior.  [See also] “Notably, Francis did not confirm Cardinal Raymond Burke, president of the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican’s highest court, as a member of the Congregation for Bishops. Generally seen as occupying a prominent place on the church’s conservative wing, Burke had been named to the Congregation for Bishops by Benedict XVI in 2009.” [NCR] At some point the Church may have to come to grips with the observation that only 9% of the faithful are aligned with the standard definition of “approved sex,” and only 12% of the regular church-goers are thus inclined. [TRD]

There’s an interesting piece on the difference between what Christianity IS and what some believers would like it to be here.

## On the other hand there’s less hope to be garnered from the infamous Affluenza Defense.  “A North Texas teen from an affluent family was sentenced to probation this week after he killed four pedestrians when he lost control of his speeding pickup truck while driving drunk, a punishment that outraged the victims’ families and left prosecutors disappointed.” [HuffPo] And one rational reaction: “But, the practice of using a client’s background in arguments to make him or her less responsible or culpable for a crime is the core of good defense work, said Filler, a former criminal defense attorney. “The real truth is that our criminal justice system is suffering from ‘affluenza’ because affluent people can afford better attorneys and better get better outcomes,” Filler said.” [USAT]

## What’s Really Needed To Protect Voting Rights?  Answer here.  And, North Carolina offers a classic example of why voting rights protections are still necessary. [Nation]  And, then there’s the $150,000 spent by an Iowa Republican to fine Voter Fraud — and found …. next to nothing.

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