1. District to consider right-to-die legislation, Assisted suicide debate swirls ahead of vote, By Bradford Richardson, The Washington Times, Pg. A12, September 21, 2016.

The Death with Dignity Act, introduced by Council member Mary Cheh, Ward 3 Democrat, would establish procedures by which doctors would be authorized to prescribe a lethal dose of medication to patients given a prognosis of six months or less to live.

In advance of an Oct. 5 committee vote, a coalition opposed to the legislation is holding a lobbying day Wednesday, arguing that assisted suicide laws devalue human life and pose a significant threat to vulnerable populations, including the elderly and disabled.
 But Diane Coleman, president of the disability advocacy group Not Dead Yet, said assisted suicide laws risk coercing patients to end their lives if they feel like a financial or emotional burden on their loved ones. She said the D.C. legislation does not properly safeguard against the potential for abuse behind closed doors.

“People with disabilities, as well as everyone, should be concerned about the risk of coercion and abuse under these laws,” Ms. Coleman said. “And that there is really no oversight from the state to address any of that.”


2. North Carolina Pays a Price for Bigotry, By The Editorial Board, The New York Times, Editorial, Pg. A26, September 21, 2016.

The governor and his Republican colleagues in the Legislature are solely to blame for the hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars the state has lost as businesses and sports organizations have turned away from North Carolina, because they don’t want to condone bigotry. This month, the Atlantic Coast Conference and the National Collegiate Athletic Association announced that they would move championship games in multiple sports that had been scheduled to take place in the state.

Those moves followed decisions by businesses, organizations and musicians to abort expansion plans, relocate conventions and cancel performances to protest North Carolina’s law. Those consequences have cost the state more than $200 million, according to an estimate by Facing South, an online magazine that covers policy issues in Southern states. In addition, the state itself is wasting taxpayer money defending the constitutionality of the law against lawsuits brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and the federal Department of Justice.

It’s not too late for Mr. McCrory to come to his senses and take the only way out — admit ignorance and error and repeal the law. While he and lawmakers are at it, they can acknowledge that no one has been made safer by preventing transgender people from using appropriate public restrooms, the ostensible reason for passing the law. The rule was never enforceable, since police officers can’t reasonably be required to inspect people’s genitals outside bathroom stalls. The point of the law was to harm and humiliate L.G.B.T. citizens, and for that all North Carolinians are having to pay an ever growing price.


3. Religious Freedom: The Basis for Human Rights . . . and the Survival of Christians in the Middle East, By Ignatius Joseph III Younan, The Public Discourse, September 21st, 2016.

His Beatitude Ignatius Joseph III Younan is Patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church of Antioch.

It is time for the international community to respond to the plight of Christians in the middle east. Adapted from an address delivered by the Patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church of Antioch to the 134th Convention of the Knights of Columbus.

On the night of August 6-7, 2014, one hundred fifty thousand people—some 40 percent of all Christians still living in Iraq—were driven from their ancestral communities. They had nowhere to flee except nearby Kurdistan. Two years have passed since that catastrophic eradication, and still there is no real solution. In Mosul too, Christian and other minority groups were murdered, and women and children were raped and abducted by the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

For five and a half years, the sectarian war in Syria has raged. The devastation in this country is beyond all description. Hundreds of thousands have died, millions are displaced, and the influx of migrants continues to threaten the lives of desperate people, as well as Europe as a whole. It is a hecatomb that has befallen Syria, a country that had one of the most secularized governments in the Middle East.

We, the Church pastors, kept warning Westerners who pretended to have the right to interfere in Syria in the name of democracy that fomenting violence would surely lead to terrible sectarian war because of the complex religious and ethnic diversity in Syria. We knew innocent people, primarily Christians and minorities, would suffer most.


4. The Vatican, China, and Evangelical Prudence, By George Weigel, First Things, September 21, 2016.

Recent remarks by the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, have fueled speculation about a possible exchange of diplomatic representation between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China. Unfortunately, the cardinal’s remarks did not address any of the serious questions that have been raised about the evangelical and prudential wisdom of such an agreement at this moment in history. Those questions involve the nature of the PRC regime; the doctrine and canon law of the Church; the impact of such an agreement on Vatican diplomacy in promoting human rights; and the Church’s twenty-first-century mission in China.


5. Chaput says violence now part of American way ‘from womb to tomb’, By Matthew Gambino, Catholic News Service, September 21, 2016.

A shooting rampage late Sept. 16 that left a West Philadelphia resident and the shooter dead, plus two police officers and three civilians wounded, drew a strong response from Archbishop Charles J. Chaput.

“Combine easy access to guns with a culture that breeds resentment, self-focus, personal license and contempt for human life and the law, and what you get is what happened over the past weekend: the terrible shootings of innocent people by Nicholas Glenn and others,” Philadelphia’s archbishop said Sept. 19.

Chaput in his statement condemned the ease with which residents can acquire guns, but pointed to deeper issues at work in such incidents of violence.

“Taking away the guns – making them far more difficult to acquire – is the easy part, but it doesn’t begin to address the deeper moral and social dysfunctions of American urban life,” the archbishop said.

“Violence begins in the heart before the hand picks up a weapon. Violence is now part of the American way from womb to tomb, and it should surprise no one when it hits home locally.”


6. Pope and World Religious Leaders Vow to Oppose Terror in God’s Name, By Reuters, September 20, 2016, 12:33 PM.

Pope Francis and leaders of other world religions said “No to War!” on Tuesday, vowing to oppose terrorism in God’s name and appealing to politicians to listen to “the anguished cry of so many innocents”.

Francis flew by helicopter to the central Italian hilltop city that was home to St. Francis, the 13th century saint revered by many religions as a patron of peace and nature and a defender of the poor.

The head of the Roman Catholic Church closed a three-day meeting where about 500 representatives of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism and other faiths discussed how their members could better promote peace and reconciliation.

Francis, who delivered two addresses and shared meals with the leaders, said indifference to suffering had become “a new and deeply sad paganism” that caused some to turn away from war victims and refugees with the same ease as changing a television channel.