April 24, 2014

Greek lobby gives Obama a C-/D+

Hellenic News of America Summary: So ends the first year of Obama's historical presidency, average, uneventful and full of broken promises. What the next three years will have in store no one truly knows, maybe change can still come to America. Just maybe. . . . Read the full report here. … [Read more...]

Orthodoxy and Obama’s conscience clause

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A friend sent me an email earlier today. Search Google, he said, with the terms conscience rule obama catholic bishops and conscience rule obama orthodox bishops and then compare the two. Not very impressive. (Actually, the AOI blog article on Abp. Demetrios' awkward praise of Pres. Obama ranks first in Google, but that's beside the point.) It got me to thinking. If there is ever a need for Orthodox unity, the time is now. The authority of the Orthodox moral tradition far exceeds our numbers, but that authority has to be exercised. As long as we remain disunited our voice is muted and the culture does not receive the direction it needs. The Catholic Bishops understand this, just as they understand that the life issues are a matter of not only personal life and death, but cultural life and death. That is why they are ready to use their authority to clarify these issues and, if necessary, offer moral resistance. It is time for us to step up too. Apart from the GOA, the … [Read more...]

Obama, Stem Cell Research, and Orthodox Christianity

Earlier this week, President Obama issued an Executive Order repealing President Bush's August 2001 restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. This was no surprise, especially since, as Senator, he voted for the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005, which was vetoed by President Bush. While, the issues surrounding the creation and use of embryonic stem cells remain substantially the same, this change in political policy affords us another opportunity to reflect on how we, as Orthodox Christians, might approach this topic in the context of the public controversy. There is no doubt that there has been a simmering resentment in the scientific community over these restrictions (spurred on in part by more general funding cuts for the National Institutes of Health). Obama gave voice to this during his campaign when he charged the Bush administration with "handcuffing" scientific progress. There is also no doubt in my mind that researchers themselves are most competent to … [Read more...]

Obama and Moral Imagination

Newly elected President Obama, writes John Couretas, Executive Director of AOI in his essay "Obama and the Moral Imagination" frequently makes use of the phrase "common story." This phrase "may sound strange to the ears. But it is impossible to understand the new president unless his brilliant use of narrative is first grasped," Couretas says. It's a page taken from the Reagan playbook and masterfully executed. Couretas writes: Reagan biographer Lou Cannon told the Chicago Tribune last year that Obama has "a narrative reach" and a talent for story telling that reminds him of the late president. Reagan "made other people a part of his own narrative, and that's what Obama is doing," Cannon said. "By doing it, it expands his reach because he isn't necessarily just another partisan Democrat." … [Read more...]

Obama’s “Evangelical” Appeal

The appeal of Barak Obama, who, as far as I can tell, has no discernible ideas, puzzles some culture watchers and worries some even more (see Spengler over at the Asia Times for example). Fr. John Chagnon offers "One Possible Clue" on his blog "The Traveling Priest Chronicles." Obama's appeal, Fr. John suggests, might be that he taps into the desire for salvation that inevitably takes a political shape when secularism rules the day. … [Read more...]