Barack Obama plans to visit Hiroshima, Japan, on Friday, May 27, making him the first sitting president to visit the city where the United States dropped an atomic bomb in August 1945 and killed more than 100,000 people, most of them civilians. The idea has not been well received by critics who have long charged the president with insufficient patriotism. “President Obama has an unfortunate record of seeking opportunities to apologize for things America did before he became president,”...
June 6-13, 2016
Walking is a human right. There are physical, psychological and spiritual benefits to exploring our world on foot. The activity invites wonder at our world and contemplation about our place in it. In “Laudato Si’,” published just over a year ago, Pope Francis stresses the importance of “landscapes which increase our sense of belonging” and provide “a coherent and meaningful framework for [our] lives.” These landscapes do not have the same effect upon...
May 23-30, 2016
Most people in Chicago, particularly on the South and West Sides, did not need another internal investigation to know that the Chicago Police Department has deep problems. Anyone familiar with the stories of the serial torturer Jon Burge, the drug racketeer Joseph Miedzianowski, the crime wave authored by the C.P.D.’s Special Operations Section and, sadly, many more examples already knew the department has fallen far short of what its motto promises: “We...
May 9, 2016
When Senator Bernie Sanders, during his New York debate with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, criticized Israel for its brutal waging of the war in Gaza in 2014, he called our attention to a moral issue politicians lately tend to avoid: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
To punish Hamas for its rocket attacks, Israel launched Operation Protective Edge, consisting of aerial bombings and a ground invasion. The...
May 16, 2016
It has been 52 years since the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, first began its military campaign against the nation’s government. This long-running conflict, the longest in the Western world, which has left over 220,000 dead and five million displaced, may finally be coming to an end. Though the two sides missed a self-imposed deadline on March 23 to strike a deal, government and FARC leaders seem confident an agreement is within reach.
May 2, 2016
Simply sharing breakfast has become a matter of significant political compromise. On the morning of April 12, Senator Charles Grassley, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, met with Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, in the Senate dining room. In the absence of any substantive news, journalists were reduced to reporting that the senator ate oatmeal while the judge had eggs and toast....
April 25, 2016
On Friday, April 8, Pope Francis’ long-awaited apostolic exhortation on the family and love , “Amoris Laetitia” (“The Joy of Love”), was released. The exhortation includes not only the pope’s reflections but also insights from the meetings in 2014 and 2015 of the Synod of Bishops. In this thorough analysis of the theology of the family and of the challenges...
April 18, 2016
Eight years ago, Senator Barack Obama warned that the powers of the office he sought were being stretched beyond their constitutional limits: “The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all.” The editors of America echoed his concern in “ Abuse...
April 4-11, 2016
‘We have become, now, an oligarchy instead of a democracy,” former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said in an interview last fall. Mr. Carter described current U.S. politics as driven by an obsession with raising money rather than directly engaging voters.
The money chase became more intense in 2010, when the Supreme Court ruled, in the Citizens United case, that the government cannot restrict political spending by...
March 28, 2016
It was an incomprehensible act of violence: 16 individuals, including four members of the Missionaries of Charity, were brutally shot and killed in a church-run retirement home in Yemen. Pope Francis responded to the murders on March 4 saying that the sisters were “victims not only of those who have murdered them, but also of indifference...this globalization of indifference.” It is difficult to make sense of events like this, and it sometimes seems...