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Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman

Bio

Steven Waldman is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Beliefnet. He's also the author of the Founding Faith: Politics, Providence, and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America, which has been published by Random House. Before co-founding Beliefnet in 1999, Waldman was a political journalist, serving as National Editor of U.S. News & World Report and National Correspondent for Newsweek. His writings have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Review, The Atlantic, Slate, and many others.

Good Bye

posted by swaldman

Today is my last day at Beliefnet (which I co-founded in 1999). The swirling emotions: sadness, relief, love, humility, pride, anxiety. But mostly deep, deep gratitude. How many people get to come up with an idea and have rich people […]

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“Steven Waldman Named To Lead Commission Effort on Future of Media In a Changing Technological Landscape” (FCC Press Release)

posted by swaldman

STEVEN WALDMAN NAMED TO LEAD COMMISSION EFFORT ON FUTURE OF MEDIA IN A CHANGING TECHNOLOGICAL LANDSCAPE FCC chairman Julius Genachowski announced today the appointment of Steven Waldman, a highly respected internet entrepreneur and journalist, to lead an agency-wide initiative to […]

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My Big News

posted by swaldman

Dear Readers, This is the most difficult (and surreal) post I’ve had to write. I’m leaving Beliefnet, the company I co-founded in 1999. In mid November, I’ll be stepping down as President and Editor in Chief to lead a project […]

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“Beliefnet Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief Steps Down to Lead FCC Future of the Media Initiative” (Beliefnet Press Release)

posted by swaldman

October 28, 2009 BELIEFNET CO-FOUNDER AND EDITOR-IN-CHIEF STEPS DOWN TO LEAD FCC FUTURE OF THE MEDIA INITIATIVE New York, NY – October 28, 2009 – Beliefnet, the leading online community for inspiration and faith, announced today that Steven Waldman, co-founder, […]

Secularizing the Cross (Christian Activists: Be Careful What You Wish For)

posted by swaldman

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week, in Buono v. Salazar, about whether a white 6 1/2 foot cross can be displayed in a national park as a tribute to World War I soldiers. Though it’s depicted as a […]

The 92 Year Old Woman Who Ministered to Her Mugger

posted by swaldman

Flags of My Father in Law

posted by swaldman

We buried Amy’s father’s ashes this weekend in a beautiful church garden in suburban Chicago. Because Austin had served in the Air Corps during World War II, we had military honors at the small ceremony. Two airmen from an Air […]

Abortion Amendments Defeated (With a New Argument)

posted by swaldman

As expected, amendments from Senator Orren Hatch to further restrict abortion were defeated Wednesday. Most interesting to me is the rise of a new argument: the Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus noted that the status quo is to ban […]

Westboro Baptist vs. Southern Baptists: How Similar?

posted by swaldman

In the comment thread on my post about Westboro Baptist Church’s visit to Brooklyn, Jay writes: “I think you underestimate the links between Westboro and the Southern Baptists and other more mainstream Christian religions, nearly all of which trumpet the […]

Democratic Ineptitude on Abortion? Or Canny Hardball?

posted by swaldman

David Kirkpatrick’s New York Times article about abortion-and-health-care politics included the stunning disclosure that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is meeting today with the leading pro-life Democrat for the first time. According to the Times piece, Rep. Bart Stupak, a Democrat […]

The God of Groucho Marx & Westboro Baptist Church (The “God Hates Fags” Gang)

posted by swaldman

(Photo by Gordon Waldman) The “church” that became infamous for bringing their “God Hates Fags” signs to the funerals of people who died of AIDS and fallen soliders came to town this weekend. Westboro Baptist Church of Topkea picketed my […]

HOW Lack of Insurance Kills

posted by swaldman

I recently suggested that more people have died from lack of health insurance since 1994 (when Congress last defeated health care reform) than died during those years as a result of the first Gulf War, the Iraq War, the Afghanistan […]

Battle Fatalities in the Fight Over Health Care Reform

posted by swaldman

A recent study in the Journal of American Public Health concluded that 45,000 people die each year for lack of health insurance. Another study in 2002, from the Institute of Medicine, put the number at 18,000. Still another, put it […]

Deism — It’s Back!

posted by swaldman

When historians refer to some of the Founding Fathers as “Deists,” it’s as if they’re talking about an extinct philosophy, like alchemy or phrenology. Very few Americans go around describing themselves as Deists. Perhaps that ought to change. A new […]

Something We Can All Look Forward To (More Bitter Culture Wars)

posted by swaldman

Dan Gilgoff at US News speculates that the rise of the Nones will lead to a more polarized electorate: As more Americans leave religion, the ones left in the pews are those most committed to their faith. In a nation […]

How the Republican Posture on Health Care May Now Be Hurting the Pro-Life Cause

posted by swaldman

I think I’ve finally figured out a way of pissing off both my pro-choice and pro-life readers in one post. Here goes. I believe that if one’s goal is to get health care to reflect the status quo on abortion, […]

Dept of No-Good-Deed-Goes-Unpunished (Abortion Division)

posted by swaldman

Democratic health care proposals in the House and Senate included this novel provision: the new health care exchanges would be required to offer at least one plan that covers abortion and one that doesn’t. Doesn’t that sound even-handed? What I’m […]

The Republican Approach to Abortion and Health Care — Fair or Unfair?

posted by swaldman

In his “chairman’s mark” on health care reform, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus had rejected the pure pro-choice position — he limited direct government funding for abortion — but still included provisions that pro-lifers viewed as supporting abortion. Republicans […]

Whitney W. — “Lost my job, depressed, addicted to meds…”

posted by swaldman

Whitney writes: My life has did a total 360. I went from a person who had everything to a person who right about now..has nothing nothing. Dealing with the lost of losing my job has added so much stress in […]

Downs Syndrome Touchdown

posted by swaldman

According to the description with this video, Matt Ziesel is a high school freshman with Downs Syndrome in Saint Joseph, Missouri. He loves football”He puts his pads and helmet on, stands next to Coach McCamy and waits for his turn […]

I Agree With the Value Voters Here

posted by swaldman

I actually agree with the folks at the conservative Values Voters Summit trying to shut up the MSNBC reporter. It’s always struck me as rude when TV reporters do live shots during public events in a way that ruins the […]

Prayerism

posted by swaldman

Is praying becoming a religion unto itself? Consider this: 39% attend church weekly yet 75% pray at least weekly, according to the Pew Religion Forum. In fact, 58% of Americans, and 66% of American women pray daily. And maybe most […]

Why The Catholic Bishops Matter on Health Care Reform

posted by swaldman

In response to some recent posts about the Catholic Bishops position on abortion and health care, some have chided me for caring too much about what the Bishops think. After all, there’s plenty of evidence that Catholics don’t follow the […]

Baucus Shifts in a Pro-Life Direction

posted by swaldman

At first blush, the health care plan released today by Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus seems to shift somewhat in a pro-life direction. Whether it will be enough to satisfy pro-life groups — especially the Catholic Bishops — remains […]

The Baucus Health Care Bill on Abortion — Full Text

posted by swaldman

Application of State and Federal Laws Regarding Abortion Current Law The performance of and payment for abortions is regulated by both state and Federal laws. State law, for example, sometimes prescribes parental notification, waiting periods and other procedural requirements before […]

Praying for Health & Financial Security: Unemployed, Blind Wife, Needing Work

posted by swaldman

“Please pray for me because I am unemployed and my wife is legally blind. I need to return back to work so my wife and I can take care of some medical issues.” Please add your prayers here for Vanessa […]

Breakthrough on Abortion and Health Care — The Bishops Diverge?

posted by swaldman

Are the Catholic Bishops splitting from the rest of the pro-life movement on health care and abortion? The Bishops have always been in a different category from most of the pro-life or religious conservative groups in this sense: but for […]

Prayers for James Pouillon

posted by swaldman

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of pro-life activist James Pouillon, as well Mike Fuoss, who were both murdered yesterday in Owosso, Michigan. Also, prayers of thanks that the third prospective victim was spared.

Obama Reaches Bushian Levels of Oratory

posted by swaldman

I’ve long been among a very small minority of pundits who believed that, in toto, Barack Obama was a good-not-great public speaker — on a par with Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. The reason I’ve held this eccentric belief […]

Baucus May Have Solved the Abortion-Health Care Riddle. Spotlight Now On the Catholic Bishops

posted by swaldman

The health care proposal being floated by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus will be attacked or hailed for a variety of reasons. But I’ll say this: based on what I’ve read so far, it may have solved the abortion […]

Praying for Health Care — Lost Insurance, Has Lung Cancer

posted by swaldman

Pray for Keith Mullins: Due to economy lost job. Which means lost health insurance also. This all happened appx. two months ago. Just diagnosed this week with cancer of both lungs and heart Add your prayers here.

Colleges That Serve Their God and Country

posted by swaldman

The Washington Monthly magazine has just released its crucially important (and fascinating) college rankings. They argue that while U.S. News and other rankings emphasize factors connected to status or financial success, the Monthly ratings focus on what good the schools […]

Praying for Health Care — Laid off, no insurance, with brain tumor

posted by swaldman

Teresa Inman asks for your prayers: My husband got laid off in Dec.I hate praying for money,I feel selfish.I would not be asking for your help if we we;re not in need!I have a brain tumor,and c o p d! […]

Praying for Health Care — Mental Illness Medication “Taking a Back Seat”

posted by swaldman

http://www.beliefnet.com/prayer/commemoration.asp?milestonetypeid=6&milestoneid=93915 Melissa M. says financial problems are forcing her to take medications for mental illness less: Single Mom dealing with mental illness – I am struggling financially to afford just the basics so medication seems to be taking a back […]

Pope Benedict’s Prayer for Ted Kennedy

posted by swaldman

Ted Kennedy wrote a letter to Pope Benedict asking for his prayers. The Holy Father wrote back in part: The Holy Father has read the letter which you entrusted to President Barack Obama, who kindly presented it to him during […]

Those Who Believe Kennedy Was a Bad Catholic

posted by swaldman

Cardinal Sean O’Malley presided over Ted Kennedy’s funeral. Cardinal McCarrick presided over the burial ceremony, reading the prayers that were offered Kennedy by Pope Benedict XVI. But Kennedy’s death illustrates once again a split in the Catholic church, which is […]

Eulogy by Kennedy’s Priest, Mark Hessian

posted by swaldman

Obama’s Eulogy of Ted Kennedy

posted by swaldman

Mrs. Kennedy, Kara, Edward, Patrick, Curran, Caroline, members of the Kennedy family, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:Today we say goodbye to the youngest child of Rose and Joseph Kennedy. The world will long remember their son Edward as the heir […]

Ted Kennedy’s Last Suppers — And Yours

posted by swaldman

The New York Times had a lovely piece about Ted Kennedy’s desire to have a “good ending” to his life. A priest led Mass each week and there was much prayer, and repitition of some of the simple wordly pleasures: […]

Does Health Care Cover Abortion or Not? Fact Checking the Fact Checkers

posted by swaldman

You know things have gotten confusing when even the independent “fact checking” organizations can’t agree with each other. The question that tripped them up: does health care reform cover abortion? FactCheck.org last week said Obama was misleading when he claimed […]

My Snapshots of Kennedy at the Democratic Convention

posted by swaldman

Ted Kennedy, and the Art of the Deal

posted by swaldman

A while back, I wrote a behind-the-scenes book about the passage in 1993 of the law creating AmeriCorps. That national service program is sometimes called the “Domestic Peace Corps,” a reference to the international service program established by President John […]

The Greatest Kennedy?

posted by swaldman

“When you survey the impact of the Kennedys on American life and politics and policy, he will end up by far being the most significant.” –Norman Ornstein, political scientist at the American Enterprise Institute Given his personal problems (Chappaquiddick, drinking, […]

Learn How to Proselytize Jews, Cults and the Self Righteous “Inoffensively”

posted by swaldman

In my inbox today was a promotion for this TV show: “The Way of the Master” is an evangelical ministry created by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron to train Christians in the art of apologetics and open-air evangelism. A new […]

Justice vs. Mercy, Judaism vs. Christianity on the Lockerbie Terrorist

posted by swaldman

The Washington Post featured two relatives of victims of the Lockerbie Pan Am attack. Each had lost loved ones, but one supported and one opposed the Scottish court’s decision to allow the terrorist, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, to return to […]

Mind Boggling Stat of the Day

posted by swaldman

Nick Kristoff’s characteristically thought-provoking column begins by telling the story of a man who got life imprisonment for stealing a pair of socks (as a result of the three-strikes-and-you’re-out law) and then notes that California will spend roughly $49,000 per […]

The Obama Conference Call with Religious Leaders on Health Care (Audio)

posted by swaldman

Here is the conference call with religious leaders about health care. Obama speaks toward the endMore info about 40 Days for Health Reform visit Faithforhealth.org For info about conservative opposition, try the FRCAction.

A Death of the Public Option Might Solve the Abortion Dilemma

posted by swaldman

Putting aside for a moment the substantive arguments for and against the public option, it occurs to me that if it were to die that would have one unintended consequence: defusing the abortion issue. When 19 pro-life Democrats wrote to […]

Is Obama About to Shift His Health Care Message In the Wrong Direction?

posted by swaldman

The Wall Street Journal today reported: President Barack Obama, trying to regain control of the health-care debate, will likely shift his pitch in September, White House and Democratic officials said, as he faces pressure from supporters to talk more about […]

The Miserable Spiritual Seeker

posted by swaldman

It turns out that in terms of happiness, the big divide in America is not between believers and non- beliefers, or Christians and non-Christians — but those who are certain and those who aren’t. A recent study by Grand Valley […]

What Obama’s Mother, the Anthropologist, Could Teach Us About Health Care Reform

posted by swaldman

The Obama campaign in 2008 talked much about the work ethic of Obama’s mother but precious little about what she actually did with her life. One can assume that this was partly because being a professional anthropologist — living in […]

“President Palin Today Eliminated Abortion Coverage From The Basic Benefits Plan…”

posted by swaldman

Pro-life activists have opposed the current heatlh care bills in part because they would seem to leave the determination of what might be in a basic benefits package, for a public plan, up to the Secretary of Health and Human […]

Defusing the Abortion Issue — A Catholic Bishops’ Conference Leader Responds to My Proposal

posted by swaldman

Richard Doerflinger, Associate Director of Pro-Life Activities at the US Conference on Catholic Bishops — and a key player on health care reform and the Catholic Church — posted this comment on the WSJ.com version of my modest proposal: ” […]

Defusing the Abortion Issue (cont’d) — Bill Donohue Doesn’t Hate My Idea

posted by swaldman

Bill Donohue, the very-anti-abortion head of the Catholic League, responded to my trial balloon of having the basic public health care option not cover abortion but then offering consumers the ability to buy with their own money a rider that […]

De-Fusing the Abortion Bomb on Health Care Reform — More Ideas!

posted by swaldman

I earlier threw out some ideas for how we could keep the abortion issue from blowing up health care reform. I suggested having the basic plan not cover abortion but allow people, with their own money, pay for a rider […]

Is Obama Actually Eloquent?

posted by swaldman

Much surprise has been expressed that Barack Obama has struggled to convey the benefits of health care reform. This is attributed to the inherent complexity of the topic. I may be in the minority here but I always thought that […]

Bishops Letter Opposing the House Health Care Bill

posted by swaldman

Letter to Congress from Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, the Chairman United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Pro-Life Activities August 11, 2009 Dear Representative: As you continue deliberations on the “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act” (H.R. 3200), […]

How to Defuse the Abortion Issue on Health Care Reform

posted by swaldman

Lost in the vitriol about abortion is a surprising development: key pro-life and pro-choice leaders both say they don’t intend to use health care reform to shift the balance of power in their direction. Activists have said health care reform […]

Pro-Lifers Haven’t Quite Gotten The Hang of Common Ground Either

posted by swaldman

Having criticized Democrats for failing to neutralize the abortion issue on health care through effective “common ground” provisions, I must point out that the pro-lifers have fared no better. When the issue came up before the House Energy and Commerce […]

Killing Grandma vs. Killing Babies/Fetuses

posted by swaldman

It might be tempting to equate the assertion that Obamacare definitely pays for abortions with claims that Obama’s death panels will kill your grandmother and siphon money from your bank account. . They’re actually different. The death panel and raid-your-bank-account […]

The Man Behind Obama’s Death Panel’s

posted by swaldman

An academic colleague of William Ayers? A Kenyan socialist? Or a conservative Republican from Georgia?

Old Nuns, Asian Priests & the Allure of Habits

posted by swaldman

Three things surprised me about the study of nuns (by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University for the National Religious Vocation Conference) reported on by Laurie Goodstein in today’s New York Times (MSM): –I knew […]

Religious Health Care Ads

posted by swaldman

From the conservative FRCAction:Click here to give them money to help propagate the ad.From the progressive group, FaithfulAmerica:Click here to give them money to propagate this ad.

Is Health Care Reform Covering Abortion or Not?

posted by swaldman

It’s very hard to make sense of what’s going on related to abortion and health care. Conservative pro-lifers claim the health care plan recently passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee would increase the government’s support for abortion. “They […]

Did Bush Justify the Iraq Invasion As Biblical Prophecy?

posted by swaldman

According to a new account, President Bush tried to enlist France’s support for the Iraq invasion by telling French President Jacques Chirac that the war would fulfill Biblical end of times prophecies. “Gog and Magog are at work in the […]

Is the Health Insurance Industry Immoral?

posted by swaldman

Nancy Pelosi calls the insurance executives the “villains.” But is it really the case that the insurance industry is immoral? The answer to this question was probably best provided by Jessica Rabbit, the femme fatale in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” […]

Obama’s Health Care Pitch Should Be Less, Er, “Christian”

posted by swaldman

Until recently, Obama has emphasized two rationales for health care reform — reducing the burden on the economy and providing universal coverage. One attempts to appeal to our sense of fiscal responsibility, another to our conscience. “The cost of our […]

Abortion and Health Care: Did These Two Guys Figure it Out Yet?

posted by swaldman

A debate is raging over how the new health care legislation ought to treat abortion. Recently, the conservative group, Family Research Council’s legislative arm, FRC Action, launched an ad campaign claiming that health care reform would “mandate” abortion. This prompted […]

The Capps Amendment and the Pitts Amendment on Abortion & Health Care (Complete Text)

posted by swaldman

The House Energy and Commerce Committee wrestling with health care last night narrowly approved one measure (“The Capps Amendment”) claiming to be neutral on abortion — but which opponents claimed was slanted toward the pro-choice side. Then they narrowly voted […]

What Role Will the Catholic Bishops Play on Health Reform?

posted by swaldman

Terry Mattingly makes the fascinating point that the U.S. Catholic Bishops seem to be non-players in the health care debate, if press coverage is any gauge. “Are the journalists ignoring the bishops or are the bishops (and their gatekeepers) ignoring […]

The Contraception Divide Within the Pro-Life Movement

posted by swaldman

“The new fault line is not between pro-life and pro-choice people. It’s within the pro-life community. The question now is: ‘are you pro-life and pro-contraception, therefore trying to reduce the need for abortions, or are you pro-life and against contraception […]

Proving Ground for the Religious Left: Health Care

posted by swaldman

During Republican administrations, the religious right flexed its muscle around issues like abortion and judicial appointments. As the religious left grew in importance during the election, it was unclear how they would attempt to exert their influence. It looks like […]

Walter Cronkite’s Religion: “It’s None of Your Business”

posted by swaldman

Walter Cronkite didn’t lend his name to many things. So it was notable when he became chairman of the Interfaith Alliance, a group in part created to combat the “religious right.” As the Alliance’s founder C. Welton Gaddy explained: “As […]

Why The New Abortion Common Ground Bill Matters (Ryan-DeLauro)

posted by swaldman

The “common ground” abortion legislation re-introduced today does seem to represent real political progress. I’m on jury duty today so I haven’t been able to do any extra reporting but looking over the summary of the legislation, known as “Ryan-DeLauro,” […]

Breaking: The Common Ground Abortion Bill (Full Summary of New Ryan-DeLauro)

posted by swaldman

There was a major breakthrough today for efforts to achieve common ground on reducing the number of abortions. Rep. Tim Ryan, a pro-lifer, and Rosa DeLauro, pro-choice, reintroduced a revised version of their common ground legislation, drawing a wider range […]

More Pre-Existing Conditions, Pre-Existing Conditions, Pre-Existing Conditions

posted by swaldman

I’ve written in the past of my frustration that health care advocates — both policymakers, religious lefties and spinmeisters — aren’t focusing sufficiently on the pre-existing condition problem as one of the central outrages of the modern health care system. […]

Pre-Existing Conditions, Pre-Existing Conditions, Pre-Existing Conditions

posted by swaldman

Religious leaders advocating for health care reform have tended to emphasize the plight of the uninsured, which surely is a great injustice. But to me, another facet is just as unjust — and politically more potent: that is, the tendency […]

Songs I’m Embarrassed to Like

posted by swaldman

There are some songs I secretly play when I’m alone that I know would mark me as a) unsophisticated b) sappy and c) old. But I love them nonetheless, perhaps because they entered my brain at an impressionable moment, perhaps […]

Walter Cronkite and My Mother

posted by swaldman

This photo has been running in newspapers and on websites throughout the country along with stories about legendary anchorman Walter Cronkite. The caption says it’s Cronkite and someone named Sandra Nemser broadcasting the CBS radio show Answer Please in 1958. […]

Did Luke Steal His Vision of Heaven from Osiris?

posted by swaldman

Our excerpt from Robert Wright’s important new book Evolution of God focuses on the origins of the modern idea of heaven. Wright suggests that Luke evolved the idea of heaven to compensate for the fact that the anticiated resurrection of […]

Contraception and Abortion: Common Ground and the Protestant-Catholic Divide

posted by swaldman

Efforts to achieve common ground on abortion often stumble over the role of contraception. For pro-choicers, it’s a no brainer: if you want to reduce abortions, reduce unintended pregnancies – and the best way to do that is through better […]

Why I’m Bullish on Sarah Palin’s Prospects

posted by swaldman

The day Sarah Palin announced her resignation as Alaska governor, I wrote a post speculating on whether there was anyone who could stop her from getting the Republican nomination. (Answer: Huckabee). I was surprised to see that most of the […]

Did Obama Promise the Pope He’d Try to Reduce The Number of Abortions?

posted by swaldman

For months now, pro-choice activists have resisted those pro-life Democrats who said they wanted to “reduce the number” of abortions. No, no, they said, the goal should be “reducing the need” for abortion, a goal that’s less stigmatizing to women […]

Francis Collins As Culture War Statement

posted by swaldman

Beliefnet Blogger Francis Collins was nominated to be head of the National Institutes of Health! Okay, being a Beliefnet blogger is not Francis Collin’s main claim to fame, though the blog that he and his BioLogos foundation run — Science […]

Sarah Palin as Queen Esther

posted by swaldman

Referring to her political future, Sarah Palin said, “If I die, I die.” When I first heard this I assumed this language was designed to feed the Christian sense of persecution. Turns out it’s even more Biblically resonant than that. […]

Michael Jackson’s Sad Childhood & Joyful Sabbaths

posted by swaldman

Perhaps by the time Michael Jackson was an adult, he was drawn toward the outrageous, unusual or abnormal, but as a child he seemed to want nothing more than to be like other kids. “More than anything, I wished to […]

Burger King Blows It

posted by swaldman

As a parent of two teenage boys, we’re in a constant struggle to figure out what movies or TV shows are appropriate. (The latest debate: Bruno). It’s a struggle, and the source of much friction, but we figure it’s our […]

Would Pro-Lifers Accept More Premarital Sex If It Meant Fewer Abortions?

posted by swaldman

To me, the most important points in my email exchange with pro-life activist Jill Stanek were: 1) She believes that contraception and sex ed increase the number of unintended pregnancies 2) Even if she could be convinced that sex ed […]

Disposable Immigrants

posted by swaldman

Though largely about the disturbing way much of our food is produced, the most haunting scene for me in the movie Food, Inc. shows how meat processing and poultry plants recruit illegal immigrants — and then work with law enforcement […]

Lady Liberty, Fourth of July

posted by swaldman

Amy, Gordon and I took a boat trip into New York Harbor to watch the fireworks. The Statue of Liberty at sunset was extraordinary.

A Key to Sarah Palin’s Future: Mike Huckabee

posted by swaldman

If Sarah Palin’s sudden resignation reflected a decision to run for the Presidency — and not some new scandal about to erupt — it means the critical figure in the Republican party now is Mike Huckabee. Palin is armored in […]

Celebrating Our Patriotic Holy War

posted by swaldman

John Adams wrote to Abigail on July 3, 1776 that July 2 ought to be celebrated not only with “bells, bonfires and illuminations” but “as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.” It makes sense […]

Why Pro-Lifers Oppose “Family Planning” To Reduce Abortion: Pro-Life Leader Jill Stanek Explains

posted by swaldman

I’m often asked by pro-choice friends why pro-lifers oppose sex education, family planning, and contraception. Don’t those approaches reduce unintended pregnancy and therefore the numbers of abortions? It’s a question at the heart of efforts to achieve “common ground” on […]

Check Out the Tan Lines on that Bathsheba (Mark Sanford vs. King David)

posted by swaldman

Most religious conservative politicians who get caught in a sex scandal make Adam their friend. Because he took the bite of that apple, long before there were hookers or F.B.I. stings, he insured that we were “all sinners.” Christ came […]

Is Adultery More Acceptable If You’re In Love With Your Mistress?

posted by swaldman

“This was a whole lot more than a simple affair, this was a love story. A forbidden one, a tragic one, but a love story at the end of the day.” –Mark Sanford Several women friends have told me that […]

Adoption Reform SHOULD Be Part of Abortion Common Ground

posted by swaldman

I recently threw out a half-baked idea of paying pregnant mothers to give up babies for adoption instead of having an abortion. I admit there’s something creepy about the idea (which has been mocked here, here, here, here, and here, […]

Prophet Isaiah Weighs in for Health Care Reform

posted by swaldman

In 1993, religious groups were an insignificant part of the health care reform debate. This time groups like the Family Research Council are weighing in hard against, while progressive religious folks are working hard to generate grassroots support for health […]

Our Brief, Surreal Meeting with Michael Jackson

posted by swaldman

In 2000, some Beliefnet folks were invited to a small meeting with Michael Jackson, who was trying to raise money for a Peter Pan theme park. Bob Nylen, Beliefnet’s co-founder, wrote about the scene in his new book, Guts: Best […]

Rockin’ Robin — My First Song

posted by swaldman

The first two pop songs I remember ever being conscious of were “Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown” by Jim Croce and “Rockin’ Robin” by the Jackson Five. I remember sitting in the back of a yellow school bus heading to Sands […]

Why Don’t Women Politicians Have Affairs?

posted by swaldman

Popular water-cooler theories: 1) For men, sex and power are very connected. On a caveman, evolutionary level, a key perk of being powerful is having sexual bounty. For women, sex isn’t about power. It’s about (I’ll let my women readers […]

Mark Sanford Didn’t “Let Us Down”

posted by swaldman

Politicians when caught in sex scandals seem to often apologize for “letting down” or “disappointing” various people — and Mark Sanford hit that point over and over. For his family: “Let me first of all apologize to my wife Jenny, […]

Flower Mandalas

posted by swaldman

Our new community has a cool new photo gallery tool. I made this gallery of flower mandalas. Sign up for the community and check it out.community.beliefnet.com/steve_waldman

Billy Graham, Richard Nixon & More Anti-Semitic Comments

posted by swaldman

New tapes of Richard Nixon once again have the former President and the evangelist talking about Jews in disturbing ways. Cathy Grossman of USA Today summarizes: “ixon raises the news that Israel had mistakenly shot down a Libyan civilian airliner, […]

How Bad Things Are In Iran — Bear Witness

posted by swaldman

Because the mainstream media has been censored in Iran, it’s very hard to get a sense from TV of what’s going on. Based on the posts and tweets on AndrewSullivan.com and HuffingtonPost.com — two of the best sources — the […]

Abortion Stats — Always Read the Fine Print (Case #891)

posted by swaldman

RH Reality Check linked to a fascinating article on a site called “Science Notes” about the reasons for third trimester abortions. As regular readers know, I’ve been hunting for good stats so I was interested in the author’s data about […]

Watching Neda Die — A Sacred Taboo Broken

posted by swaldman

For years, we saw the famous image of a Vietnamese man about to be executed — without realizing that there was film of him actually being shot, crumpling to the ground. For years, we saw only the part of the […]

Neda’s Martyrdom, Gandhi’s Insight

posted by swaldman

Though Mohandas Gandhi valued simplicity, he would undoubtedly be delighted that the rampant spread of technology has made Gandhian non-violence more effective. Indeed, the digital age — when every phone is a camera and a telegraph — makes Gandhism far […]

“Facing foreclsoure…so far behind’

posted by swaldman

Ron and Ann Sody ask for your prayers here: “We are having some financial difficulties and may be facing foreclosure. We have a family of 6 and are struggling. Please pray for us that God will help us through this […]

PBS’s Decision To Avoid Secular Religious Programming

posted by swaldman

PBS recently decided it would not air new “sectarian” religious programs. (Existing ones get grandfathered in). Jay Sekulow thinks this is a bad idea. Barry Lynn thinks it’s a good idea. What do you think?

Islam As the Religion of Freedom Fighters

posted by swaldman

For all of my readers who have argued that Islam is inherently violent and anti-democratic, what do you make of the shouts of “Allāhu Akbar” — “God is Great!” — by the Iranian protesters? Is it possible that Islam, like […]

Do Pro-Choicers Really Honor Roe?

posted by swaldman

The most common argument I hear from pro-choice women in response to most anything I write on the subject is, “this simply is no one’s business but the woman’s.” Even if there is a moral dimension to this, it’s up […]

Why Won’t Christian Leaders Block Gay Hate Crimes Against Christians???

posted by swaldman

Religious conservatives have increased their campaign to label the Hate Crimes legislation as the “pedophile protection” act. An email from the American Family Associaiton declared: “If a mother hears that their child has been raped, and she slaps the assailant […]

It’s The Pre-Existing Conditions, Stupid

posted by swaldman

The health care discussion seems to assume that for most Americans the big issues are either lowering cost or covering the uninsured. But to me, the part of the health care system most people seem most bothered about is the […]

My Common Ground Fantasy

posted by swaldman

When it comes to abortion, my “common ground” fantasy involves a pro-life leader standing up and declaring, “We will be open to looking at family planning efforts, including contraception, to reduce the number of abortions.” This would be followed by […]

The Case Against A Hate Crimes Bill

posted by swaldman

In response to my post about the hate crimes bill, Commenter “Dean Myrick” writes: “I am against any kind of hate-crime legislation. My reasoning for this is three-fold: 1. There are already laws on the books that cover all of […]

The Freedom To Violently Attack Gays

posted by swaldman

Coral Ridge Ministries is working hard to defeat the “Hate Crimes” legislation being considered in Congress. A recent email declared: “If we don’t stop it now, it will become law, and that will mean a loss of liberty for Christians […]

Late Term Abortion — Beyond The Anecdotes

posted by swaldman

Both sides have been throwing out dueling anecdotes to prove that late term abortions are either a) essential to saving the life of the mother b) involve a case of horrible fetal abnormality or c) are for entirely frivilous reasons. […]

A Murder in Iran

posted by swaldman

At least one person was reportedly killed during today’s Iran protests. I’m not sure if this is one of the victims. Andrew Sullivan has the tweets that came forth around the killing.

Abortions for Gender Selection — The Latest Import?

posted by swaldman

Chinese, Korean and Indian families in America appear to be using sex-selection techniques — including abortions based on gender — to maximize the odds of having boys, reports The New York Times: In those families, if the first child was […]

Andrew Sullivan as Walter Cronkite

posted by swaldman

American TV News pretty much decided to sit out the Iranian election but there’s been no shortage of incredible reportage — from both MSM and new media. What struck me most was the role played by people like Andrew Sulivan […]

Iran Coverage — Social Media vs. MSM

posted by swaldman

Last night, I was trying to find out information about the horrifying situation and in Iran. I turned to CNN which had Larry King interviewing bikers. MSNBC had a documentary about prisons. FoxNews had the Huckabee show, talking about credit […]

Sotomayor Wasn’t Always Hispanic

posted by swaldman

John Zimmerman of NYU explains that the term “Hispanic” is: ..a recent invention, dating to the 1970s and ’80s. Before then, when Sotomayor was growing up with her Puerto Rican family in New York City, she was not Hispanic…. How […]

Jim Gaffigan on Jesus

posted by swaldman

“Occasionally i’ll ask myself “What would Jesus do?” It seems he eats and naps a lot.” –Comedian Jim Gaffigan

Grotesque Con-Women for Life (The April’s Mom Scam)

posted by swaldman

What an infuriating story. The Chicago Tribune (aka MSM) reports: The unmarried mother’s story about giving birth to a child diagnosed as terminally ill in the womb hit a major nerve on the Internet. Every night for the past two […]

And Now A Message From the Responsible White Separatist Community

posted by swaldman

“The responsible white separatist community condemns this. It makes us look bad.” –John de Nugent, an acquaintance of James W. von Brunn, who opened fire at the Holocaust Museum. (From The Washington Post, aka MSM)

Ok, Ok, So Jeremiah Wright IS a Bigot

posted by swaldman

I always thought conservatives were being unfair in calling Jeremiah Wright a racist just because he was a black nationalist. Guess I was wrong: Apparently he says he hasn’t spoken to Obama recently since “them Jews” wont let him near […]

That Report on Right Wing Extremism — Still a Fantasy? (Holocaust Museum Shooting)

posted by swaldman

After the George Tiller shooting I suggested that the Department of Homeland Security report about “right wing extremism” — villified by conservatives — may deserve some newfound respect. (I also questioned why on earth mainstream conservatives felt aggrieved in the […]

Obama’s Anti-Christian Koran-Love Is…. Kind of Like Bush’s

posted by swaldman

Religious conservatives have been attacking Obama for referring to the Islamic sacred text as the “Holy Koran.” Robert Knight of Corald Ridge Ministries says Obama’s speech in Cairo proved he has a “low view of Christianity” because, “If you’re a […]

Why Do MOST Late Term Abortions Happen?

posted by swaldman

There’s been a recent wave of blog posts by people who had late term abortions because the baby was dying or would die soon after the birth. (See Andrew Sullivan, Hilzoy and others) This comes after years of assertion from […]

Let’s Stop Calling Israel The Only Democracy In the Mideast

posted by swaldman

I was on a TV show the other day with an Israeli diplomat, who declared that Israel is the only democracy in the Mideast. I’ve certainly heard that many times over the years — including here, here, and here — […]

Newsweek’s Cover on Oprah’s “Crazy Talk” Whacks “The Secret” Too

posted by swaldman

The Newsweek cover story whacking Oprah focused mostly on her support for dubious health cures but the package also criticized her support for the spiritual book, The Secret: This perpetual search for The Answer reached its apex a couple of […]

A Mother Prays For Light Jail Term for Her Addicted Son

posted by swaldman

xnyrc ask for your prayers here: Please pray for my son who is having some very hard times in this economic downturn and has turned to drugs which have made him make decisions that can effect his life forever. Please […]

Obama’s Pro-Life Appointment — And Her Pro-Choice Enemies

posted by swaldman

President Obama has appointed a pro-life progressive to head faith-based initiatives at the Department of Health and Human Services. Alexia Kelley had run the Catholics in Alliance for Common Good that pushed for health care reform, aid for the poor, […]

Terminating Katie

posted by swaldman

An evangelical Christian group created this to oppose “partial-birth abortions.” It’s an effective way of challenging those who get late term abortions out of fear that the baby will be disabled or have Down Syndrome.The problem is, this is not […]

Obama & the Holocaust: The Strange Agreement Among & Arabs Jews

posted by swaldman

Tarek Hefni, a Cairo college student, response to Obama’s speech: “I did not feel very comfortable regarding the two state solution and regarding treating the Holocaust as a fact. It is still a debatable issue and should not be taken […]

Bush’s Excellent Speech In Cairo (What Might Have Been)

posted by swaldman

Obama’s speech reminds us that 9/11 needn’t have led to a conflict between the West and Islam. It’s a reminder of the road not taken. Remember, after the attacks, the whole world — including the Muslim world was on our […]

Obama’s Cairo Speech — A Detailed Fisking of a Multi-Layered Talk

posted by swaldman

This is a transcript of President Obama’s speech in Cairo, with my commentaries, in italics, sprinkled throughout. I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo, and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over a thousand […]

This One Goes On My Wall

posted by swaldman

In response to my piece The Inconvenient Truths (For Both Sides) About Late Term Abortions , bcstractor wrote: “I am not sure why I would want to listen to anything from a guy who started “beliefnet”. I f you cannot […]

The Case Against “Natural Growth” of Israeli Settlements

posted by swaldman

Josh Marshall on Talking Points Memo has this provocative argument that the Obama administration is right to hold the line against Israel’s desire to allow “natural growth” in West Bank settlements. “In Israel, the language of settlement growth is divided […]

The Inconvenient Truths (For Both Sides) About Late Term Abortions

posted by swaldman

The murder of George Tiller has prompted many families to post first-person accounts of their own heart-wrenching decisions about abortion and child birth. There’s a broad national consensus against late term abortions yet these stories raise the question of just […]

“He lived for the most wonderful 16 days we’ve ever had.” (Abortion vs. Childbirth)

posted by swaldman

Larson Hicks writes: “My wife gave birth to a beautiful anencephalic little boy about seven weeks ago. He lived for the most wonderful 16 days we’ve ever had. We knew he wouldn’t live long, but we couldn’t be more grateful […]

“At my 3rd ultrasound, I was told, my girl would live not on this earth”

posted by swaldman

A moving post from a female phsyician: “At age 40, I gave birth to my first child – a desparately wanted girl. Only, at my 3rd ultrasound, I was told, my girl would live not on this earth, but only […]

Scott Roeder Got Off On One of Those Liberal Technicalities

posted by swaldman

Scott Roeder, the man charged with murdering abortion doctor George Tiller, had been arrested once before in 1996, on charges of holding illegal explosives. Ironically, he eventually got out of jail when courts ruled that police had improperly searched his […]

Does The Likelihood of Early Infant Death Make Late Term Abortions More Justifiable?

posted by swaldman

In response to the assassination of George Tiller, a number of blogs have posted testimonials from women who had late term abortions. Poignantly, most of the women wanted the babies. In some cases, the babies were dead or dying within […]

Did Obama Order George Tiller’s Murder?

posted by swaldman

I’m wary of drawing too many lessons from anonymous message board comments. One could certainly pluck comments from Beliefnet’s boards to prove that we harbor either right wing or left wing extremists. But it’s worth perusing the message boards of […]

The Tiller Assassination & The Much Maligned Government Report on Right Wing Extremists

posted by swaldman

The murder of abortion provider George Tiller should force a re-assessment of the Department of Homeland Security’s maligned report on “right wing extremism.” I was thoroughly dumbfounded at the conservative reaction to that report in April. If you read the […]

A Deadly Practical Joke

posted by swaldman

Here’s an excerpt from Bob Nylen’s riveting new book, in part about his experiences in Vietnam. Bob, the co-founder of Beliefnet, died in December 2008: “For several days, a private in Robert McNamara’s breathe-and-you’re in Army had played the same […]

What We Fail To See

posted by swaldman

I wonder how many times I’ve walked past scenes like this and not even noticed.

Bill Donohue: Will Likely “Quietly Root For” Sotomayor (!)

posted by swaldman

Conservative Catholic activist Bill Donohue shocked me this morning by saying he will “quietly root for” the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor. During an email exchange, he wrote: “I like the fact that she is not brandishing her religion. I do […]

Guts (Bob Nylen, Vietnam and The Unvarnished Truth About Heroism)

posted by swaldman

Bob Nylen’s just-released book, “Guts,” has to be one of the most honest war memoirs written about Vietnam. It has none of the usual agendas, either glorifying the pristine heroism of the soldiers or, alternately, showing them to be just […]

NARAL’s Cryptic Response on Sotomayor

posted by swaldman

I suggested yesterday that pro-choice and pro-life activists had jumped the gun by assuming Sonia Sotomayor to be an ardent pro-choicer. Today comes this email from Nancy Keenan, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. It doesn’t exactly sound like Keenan […]

The View From My Subway Stop

posted by swaldman

It took me a few seconds to notice the man in this very sad scene.

Do Catholic Judges and Catholic Lawmakers Have the Same Moral Obligations?

posted by swaldman

One of the message board posters, Rev. Martin Fox, took me to task for suggesting that the Bishops might criticize Sonia Sotomayor for being a pro-choice (maybe) Catholic. “Mr. Waldman’s post misunderstands, or fails to appreciate, the distinctions the Catholic […]

Is Sotomayor an Abortion Centrist? (Updated)

posted by swaldman

After the announcement of Sonia Sotomayor’s selection, abortion groups lined up predictably, pro-life groups expressing outrage and pro-choice offering praise. Everyone seems to be assuming she’s ardently pro-choice, if for no other reason than that Obama’s appointed her. But there’s […]

Sotomayor’s Socialist Yearbook Quote

posted by swaldman

I’m slightly surprised that the White House press office gave out this image, from her 1976 Princeton yearbook, in which she quotes Norman Thomas. Norman Thomas was, of course, the leading American Socialist politician of the 20th century. Perhaps they […]

This Just In… Sotomayor IS Catholic. (Will We have a SCOTUS “Wafer Watch”?)

posted by swaldman

Evidence of Sonia Sotomayer’s religion has been hard to come by, but a White House official just confirmed to me that she, in fact, Catholic. UPDATE 2:10 pm.: Another White House official elaborated slightly, “Judge Sotomayor was raised as a […]

Is Sotomayor An Abortion Centrist?

posted by swaldman

One has to assume Obama wouldn’t have appointed Sonia Sotomayor without some indication that she’s pro-choice but — based on very, very little information — I wonder if she might not end up being an abortion centrist.

When Sotomayor Ruled In Favor of Anti-Abortion Protesters

posted by swaldman

In Amnesty America v. Town of West Hartford, anti-abortion protestors argued that the police had used excessive force against them. A lower court had ruled that the police had not used excessive force. She ruled that “a reasonable jury could […]

Sotomayor — Her Ruling Against An Abortion Rights Group

posted by swaldman

Interestingly, in the one abortion-related case she ruled on as a court of appeals judge, Sonia Sotomayor ruled against the pro-choice group. She rejected arguments from pro-choice advocates that their Constitutional rights were being restrained by the Bush’s administration’s policy […]

Get Ready For: “Is Sonia Sotomayor A Bad Catholic?”

posted by swaldman

First published May 5, 2009 From a raw political point of view, it’s hard to top Sonia Sotomayor to be Obama’s appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. She’s Hispanic, a key group that Obama won over and must keep. She’s […]

Does Colleen Hauser’s Religion REALLY Require Her to Avoid Chemo For Her Son?

posted by swaldman

I’m no expert on the Nemenhah Band, the spiritual group to which Colleen Hauser belongs and whose teachings she cites in refusing chemotherapy for her cancer-stricken son. But poking around their website, it seems to me the group actually gives […]

A Glass 6/7ths Full (Released Detainees Who Didn’t Terrorize)

posted by swaldman

About that Pentagon study reporting that 14% of detainees released from Guantanamo “returned to terrorism or militant activity.” Two reactions: Given that ALL of the people we picked up were supposed to be terrorists, what should we make of the […]

The Nemenhah Constitution

posted by swaldman

Nemenhah Band and Native American Traditional Organization An Educational Auxiliary of The Oklevueha Native American Church of Sanpete Declaration of Good Conscience and Practice, Constitution, and Establishment of a Native American Traditional Organization beginning in this State of Utah, in […]

National “Year of the Bible” — The 2010 and 1983 Versions

posted by swaldman

Rep. Paul Braun (R-Ga) wants 2010 to be “The Year of the Bible.” His Congressional resolution would encourage the President: “to issue a proclamation calling upon citizens of all faiths to rediscover and apply the priceless, timeless message of the […]

“Hate America? Hit the Jews” — The Bronx Bombers in My Neighborhood (By Michael Kress)

posted by swaldman

By Michael Kress By now, you’ve heard of the foiled plot to blow up two synagogues in the Riverdale section of the Bronx– my neighborhood, my home, my community. Thankfully, the explosives they were caught planting were fakes, sold to […]

Raping Children

posted by swaldman

Nick Kristoff of The New York Times reports: Jackie [who is 7-years-old] is too young to remember the 14-year civil war in Liberia, from 1989 to 2003, when as many as three-fourths of women were raped. Jackie’s world is one […]

I’m Suddenly Addicted to the “We Are the World” Video

posted by swaldman

Something horrible has happened. For the last five mornings I’ve desparately wanted to watch a video of the “We Are the World” song. It all started after 30 Rock did their “Milton Green Needs a Kidney” celebrity fundraising song. My […]

Bible Verses on the Intelligence Briefings — Did They Make Us Less Safe?

posted by swaldman

Did those Bible verses at the top of the intelligence briefings make us less safe? Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld put Bible verses on the top of the “Worldwide Intelligence Update” presented to President Bush, Robert Draper reports in GQ. […]

Me on News Hour About Abortion ‘Common Ground’

posted by swaldman

Can you spot how I snuck in the “safe, legal, early” reference?

In Defense of Bloody Aborted Fetus Photos

posted by swaldman

Advocates of abortion “common ground” seem to believe that reasonable debate would eschew infammatory tactics such as displaying huge photos of aborted fetuses (as we saw aplenty at the Notre Dame commencement). But if you believe most abortions ought to […]

Obama Is Blessed With Good Enemies

posted by swaldman

Watching the Notre Dame speech I was reminded: this man has been blessed with good enemies Instead of people focusing almost entirely on the remarkable fact that the head of the US Catholic Bishops Conference opposed the invitation, the media […]

The Most Important Policy Phrase in the Obama Notre Dame Speech

posted by swaldman

In terms of actual abortion policy, the key phrase in Obama’s Notre Dame speech (full text here) was not inspiring or poetic. It was his specific call to “reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies.” In […]

Obama’s Notre Dame Speech (Full Text)

posted by swaldman

Thank you, Father Jenkins, for that generous introduction. You are doing an outstanding job as president of this fine institution, and your continued and courageous commitment to honest, thoughtful dialogue is an inspiration to us all. Good afternoon, Father Hesburgh, […]

On Abortion, Is Legality the Only Thing the Catholic Church Should Consider?

posted by swaldman

One of the frustrating things about the Notre Dame controvesy is that we’ve settled back into the same terms of debate we’ve had for years: whether one is “pro-life” is determined entirely by one’s position on the legality of abortion. […]

4,000 Americans Killed By Terrorists Since 9/11?

posted by swaldman

In his explosive essay on torture, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson made this comment in passing: “More Americans were killed by terrorists on Cheney’s watch than on any other leader’s watch in US history. So his constant […]

Carrie Prejean: Baptist “Arm Candy”?

posted by swaldman

Diane Winston of the USC Media and Religion program asks this about the Carrie Prejean controversy: “How do more modestly clad Southern Baptists feel about having a piece of Donald Trump arm-candy cast as the spokesperson for their movement?” And… […]

Ex-Fundagelicals Tell Their Story

posted by swaldman

In response to my “In Defense of ‘Fundagelicals’” post, two former “fundagelicals” have told their stories: Excerpts from New Age Cowboy: I grew up “Fundagelical”. My father and two older siblings are the remaining Fundagelicals in my immediate family. My […]

Did Torture CAUSE The Iraq War?

posted by swaldman

Whether American officials violated the law to justify torture is a hugely important moral issue. Whether American officials launched a war under false pretenses is a hugely important moral issue. What if it turns out that the two are connected, […]

My Abortion Approach Would Lead to “Nightmare of Moral Crudity” (Safe, Legal, Early, cont’d)

posted by swaldman

Will Saletan at Slate responded to my latest “Safe, Legal, Early” defense: “Morally, my feelings differ from Steve’s. I’m more uncomfortable with early abortions than he is. At the same time, I’m more uncomfortable with government interference in late abortions […]

500 Zygotes vs. 1 Baby — What Are the Pro-Life Gray Zones?

posted by swaldman

One of you asked what I was getting at with the thought experiment pitting 500 zygotes against one baby. (If you were in a burning medical building, which would you save?) I’ve argued that some pro-choice leaders are slightly out […]

Safe, Legal, Early — Slate’s Will Saletan’s Political Critique

posted by swaldman

Slate’s very wise “Human Nature” columnist, Will Saletan, gave me the honor of thoroughly critiquing my “Safe, Legal and Early” essay. He suggests that my proposal by itself is politically impractical because it’s too complicated and because, “people won’t take […]

In Defense of “Fundagelicals”

posted by swaldman

At the end of my post yesterday about the National Day of Prayer, I included a clip from the festivities last year (?) in Tacoma, Washington (see above). I said it was,”lovely, warm and very evangelical.”Rob the Rev commented: “Steve, […]

The National Day of (Conservative, Christian) Prayer

posted by swaldman

Conservative religious groups are criticizing President Obama for what the Associated Press called his “muted” observance of National Prayer Day. “At this time in our country’s history, we would hope our President would recognize more fully the importance of prayer,” […]

Bristol Palin, Britney Spears & Teaching Girls to Be Sexy (But Not Having Sex)

posted by swaldman

I’m not going to harp on the obvious irony of Bristol Palin leading a campaign against teen pregnancy. Nor am I going to wonder how Tripp Palin will feel when he grows up and watches the videos of mom talking […]

Obama’s National Day of Prayer Proclamation

posted by swaldman

NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER, 2009 BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION Throughout our Nation’s history, Americans have come together in moments of great challenge and uncertainty to humble themselves in prayer. In 1775, as the […]

Father Cutie’s (Non-Ironic) Video on How to Build a Happy Marriage

posted by swaldman

“One of the fundamental things for me would be honesty, transparency,” he said, unironically, in this Preachers and Teachers video. (Father Cutie is the Catholic Priest-turned-TV-star who recently caught smooching with a lady on the beach)

“We have applied for dozens of jobs. We will be on the street soon”

posted by swaldman

Danny and Bertie ask for prayers: “Our families are spent. We have applied for dozens of jobs. We will be on the street soon if nothing happens. We have a small child,.”

“A Cry for Help”

posted by swaldman

Patricia Carl and Son: “This is a cry for help by a single parent who has done all she can to keep her head above water and keep a roof over me and my sons head. I lost my job […]

Joe the Plumber on Queers & Christian Love

posted by swaldman

In an interview in Christianity Today by Sarah Pulliam, Samuel Wurzelbacher says he likes James Dobson, John Eldridge, and Sarah Palin — and criticizes the Republican Party for not standing up for evangelicals enough. “They use God as a punch […]

Ethical Riddle for Pro-Choicers

posted by swaldman

Having challenged pro-lifers with this ethical riddle, I’d like to now hear from pro-choicers on a particular aspect of the moral dilemma. Let’s assume that abortion is fully legal, right up until the point of birth. Would you feel morally […]

Amazing Maps of US by Sin “Hot Spots”

posted by swaldman

Kansas State University researchers have mapped the concentration of different sin “hot spots.” Note how lust, pride and wrath are concentrated in the south, while greed seems strangely focused in the Northeast and California. As for gluttony, it appears to […]

500 Zygotes vs. One Baby: Which Would You Save? (Safe, Legal, Early contd)

posted by swaldman

Responding to the Safe, Legal, Early essay, Albert the Abstainer, in the comments box, offers this interesting challenge to pro-lifers: Consider the following ethical question: You are running out of a burning hospital and can run into the fertility clinic […]

Why Christians Support Torture

posted by swaldman

Andrew Sullivan powerful post on why support for torture seems to correlate with the intensity of one’s Christian faith. The more devout you are, the more likely you are to support torture. Brilliantly, Sullivan illustrates the post with a trailer […]

Non-Simulated Deaths

posted by swaldman

Though it’s crucial for the country to get our hands around the fact that the government authorized simulated drowning (waterboarding), I’m puzzled by the emphasis. One hundred detainees have experienced death of the non-simulated variety, including 27 who have already […]

Is Christian America Really Disappearing? A Contrarian Theory

posted by swaldman

We’ve had much discussion lately about the “decline and fall of Christian America,” as the Newsweek cover story put it. That article was based on a survey showing the percentage of Americans calling themselves Christian dropped from 86% in 1990 […]

“About to lose lights and water and our house payment is due in 3 day’s” (Financial Prayer Circles)

posted by swaldman

A prayer circle from Christy Long: Please Pray for us…Like most today I have lost my job and we are struggling We were married on 3/28/2009 and I was laid off 3/31/2009..We have three children. My husband works but my […]

Do Pro-Choice Activists Actually Believe in Roe v. Wade?

posted by swaldman

Several commenters have suggested that my “safe, legal & early” argument is the same as Roe v. Wade. freelunch writes: “Steve has discovered the decisions in Roe v. Wade. It is the law of the land already. I don’t know […]

“Kill Babies Faster” (Safe, Legal, Early, Cont’d)

posted by swaldman

Over at Crunchy Con, Alan sarcastically summarizes the argument in my big “safe, legal, early” piece: “For decades, the argument has focused on whether we should be killing babies. This is a mistake. Instead, we should be asking ourselves: can […]

Financial Prayer Circle: “Sealing up her tear ducts”

posted by swaldman

A prayer circle for Pammy Adamski: “Her cornea transplants are not taking and she may go blind. Her doctor is sealing up her tear ducts in hopes that this will save her sight, but so far, this is not helping. […]

Safe, Legal & Early — A New Way of Thinking About Abortion

posted by swaldman

First printed on AOL’s PoliticsDaily.com The political debate on abortion has for several decades focused on the wrong moral question: Does life begin at conception? Those who believe it does, oppose abortion. Those who don’t, or think the question is […]

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"Steven Waldman Named To Lead Commission Effort on Future of Media In a Changing Technological Landscape" (FCC Press Release)
STEVEN WALDMAN NAMED TO LEAD COMMISSION EFFORT ON FUTURE OF MEDIA IN A CHANGING TECHNOLOGICAL LANDSCAPE FCC chairman Julius Genachowski announced today the appointment of Steven Waldman, a highly respected internet entrepreneur and journalist, ...

posted 11:46:42am Oct. 29, 2009 | read full post »

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Dear Readers, This is the most difficult (and surreal) post I've had to write. I'm leaving Beliefnet, the company I co-founded in 1999. In mid November, I'll be stepping down as President and Editor in Chief to lead a project on the future of ...

posted 1:10:11pm Oct. 28, 2009 | read full post »

"Beliefnet Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief Steps Down to Lead FCC Future of the Media Initiative" (Beliefnet Press Release)
October 28, 2009 BELIEFNET CO-FOUNDER AND EDITOR-IN-CHIEF STEPS DOWN TO LEAD FCC FUTURE OF THE MEDIA INITIATIVE New York, NY - October 28, 2009 - Beliefnet, the leading online community for inspiration and faith, announced today that Steven ...

posted 1:05:43pm Oct. 28, 2009 | read full post »

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