Super Bowl markets to our deepest desires

The Super Bowl experience is its own form of Roman bread and circuses, its commercials playing a part in distracting us from reality

Super Bowl markets to our deepest desiresThe Super Bowl is the biggest night in the year for advertisers, and with many companies producing teasers and releasing the commercials online before game day the commercials create a buzz that is hard to ignore. Since most Super Bowl commercials are not broadcast in Canada during the game, I watched them ahead of time…

The best faith-based response to physician-assisted suicide

Canadians need quality, accessible palliative care, not a quick end to life

The best faith-based response to physician-assisted suicidePhysician-assisted suicide is coming soon to a health-care institution near you, and you won't need to be terminally ill to access this medical intervention. In its decision in the Carter vs. Canada case, the Supreme Court has given Canadians the right to die, and an answer for the perennial problem of pain and suffering. But the Carter…

The real work of Christmas begins after Christmas

The season of giving should remind us how to live the rest of the year

The real work of Christmas begins after ChristmasThe company has gone. The tree flops sadly at the curbside. The decorations are stowed away for another year. As we resume our normal activities, the feel-good generosity and goodwill of Christmas fade. With the Salvation Army kettles out of sight, the needs of others are out of mind. Howard Thurman, an African American whose…

Every religion has its lunatic fringe

Those of us who are Christians have ours, and the Muslims do, too

Every religion has its lunatic fringeThe familiar refrain of the Right goes something like this: “not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.” It’s become ubiquitous enough that you can find it on T-shirts and bumper stickers. A more intellectualized version of that is found in a recent Wall Street Journal column, by a member of that paper’s…

Charitable giving is a group project

Religious settings are very important for charitable giving and generate a huge amount of significant community outreach

Charitable giving is a group projectStatistics Canada's Charitable Giving by Individuals report is an important look at charitable acts in this nation. The notion of charity has long been associated with sacrificing oneself for the sake of others. It is an antidote to selfish absorption, careless distraction and mindless accumulation. It is a response of gratitude; reflecting that however little we have, it can actually grow when shared…

Silent Night for Christians facing genocide

Christians experience religious persecution more than any other faith group on a global scale and in absolute numbers

Silent Night for Christians facing genocideThere was good news and bad news around an open letter released in Ottawa recently. The bad news was the letter concerned the persecution of about 230 million Christians worldwide faced with “daily threats of murder, beating, imprisonment, and torture.” An estimated 400 million more Christians face appalling discrimination in housing and jobs. The good…

Terrorism a perversion of the human condition

Islamic terrorists are not the only group of religious people who commit violence

Terrorism a perversion of the human condition“La foi n’a rien à voir avec la morale.” Faith has nothing to do with morality. We came upon this piece of graffiti three years ago while in Tournon in southern France. It could have been written yesterday in response to the Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris that killed at least 129 people and wounded…

The emerging post-secular society

It's premature to declare the debates led by social conservatives over

The emerging post-secular societyCurrent wisdom has it that the age-old debate between order and freedom is essentially resolved. Champions of the former – so-called social conservatives and traditional religious believers – are said to be in retreat, even facing outright defeat. There is certainly no question religion has gone from a private good to a public bad. Thirty…

Arrogance threatens the environment and social order

The Pope’s encyclical is about far more than the environment

Arrogance threatens the environment and social orderNot since Humane Vitae has a papal encyclical attracted as much attention as Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, On Care For Our Common Home, which calls us to rethink and transform the “outdated criteria which continue to rule the world.” From the first page, Laudato Si’ grabbed me, and not because I am an…

Pope’s encyclical on the environment wrong in so many ways

Those countries with relatively free markets have made the greatest gains in environmental quality over the past half century

Pope’s encyclical on the environment wrong in so many waysAs pretty much everyone in the world knows by now, Pope Francis published an encyclical recently On Care for Our Common Home, which discusses all things environmental – climate change, of course, but also air pollution, water pollution, sustainable development, the precautionary principle . . . the list goes on through 184-pages. Unfortunately, while the…