Posts Tagged ‘America’

Pope Critical of American Culture

April 18, 2008

 By E. J. Dionne, Jr.
The Washington Post
Friday, April 18, 2008; Page A27 
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The most jarring word that Pope Benedict XVI is using during his visit to the United States is “countercultural.” The American sense of that term is shaped by the 1960s: free love, drugs, hippies, rock music and rebellion. Needless to say, that’s not what Benedict is preaching.
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That word is the key to understanding how Benedict’s message runs crosswise to conventional liberalism and conservatism. Benedict came to the United States as a quiet but forceful critic of “an increasingly secular and materialistic culture,” as he put it during yesterday’s Mass. Almost any American who paid attention to his sermon had to be uncomfortable because all of us are shaped by the very forces he was criticizing.
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Benedict directly challenged an assumption so many Americans make about religion: that it is a matter of private devotion with few public implications.
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Not true, said the pope. “Any tendency to treat religion as a private matter must be resisted,” he told the country’s Catholic bishops on Wednesday. “Only when their faith permeates every aspect of their lives do Christians become truly open to the transforming power of the Gospel.”
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That is a demanding and unsettling standard for the right and the left alike. Benedict asked a pointed question: “Is it consistent for practicing Catholics to ignore or exploit the poor and the marginalized, to promote sexual behavior contrary to Catholic moral teaching, or to adopt positions that contradict the right to life of every human being from conception to natural death?”
Pope Benedict XVI holds a Mass at Nationals Park in Washington ... 
From REUTERS/Jim Bourg
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Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/17/AR2008041703168.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Profiles in American Education

April 16, 2008

By Star Parker
The Washington Times
April 16, 2008
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Two recent studies show the complexity in assessing educational progress in our nation.

One, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the nation’s education “report card,” reported improvement in writing skills of eighth- and 12th-graders by statistically significant amounts over scores the last time these skills were examined, in 2002.

More sobering was a report on high-school graduation rates, sponsored jointly by America’s Promise Alliance — founded by Colin Powell and chaired by his wife, Alma — and the Gates Foundation.

According to this study, 70 percent of high-school students nationwide are graduating on time. But over 1 million kids are dropping out annually and 17 of the nation’s largest cities have graduation rates below 50 percent.

The gaps in dropout rates in suburban schools compared to those in urban schools and between various ethnic groups are huge.

Read the rest:
http://www.urbancure.org/article.asp?id=3094