“Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen: Nothing is more destined to create deep-seated anxieties in people than the false assumption that life should be free from anxieties.”
“David J. Wolpe: An old saying has it that there are three things we should not discuss in polite company: sex, politics and religion. We don’t follow this advice when it comes to sex and politics. Sexuality, especially in the context of relationships, is an everyday topic of conversation. Office and national politics are discussed constantly. The third theme alone is missing.
“Next time you’re at a party, try sidling up to someone, drink in hand, and ask, ‘So what do you think about God, anyway?’ You will quickly find yourself alone. Everyone has his or her own ideas about God, we are told. But that is equally true of sex and politics. The truth seems to be that most of us have lost the knack for talking about the deepest issues of life. This lack impoverishes our conversation and, ultimately, our lives as well” (Reader’s Digest [November 1994], 212).
Study Says Faith-healing Caused Untimely Deaths “Chicago — Parents who refuse to seek medical care for their sick children because of religious reasons are essentially dooming the youngsters to untimely deaths, suggests a new study by members of an advocacy group.
“Researchers found that the majority of such children who died could have survived if they had received conventional treatment.
“The report in the April issue of the journal Pediatrics is designed as ammunition for lawmakers opposed to efforts by religious groups to exempt parents who practice faith- healing from laws against homicide and child neglect.
“‘A lot of people believe that this is a freedom of religion issue, but it’s not,’ said Dr. Seth M. Asser of the department of pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego. ‘You can’t be allowed to abuse your children based on your reli- gious beliefs’” (The Indianapolis Star [April 7, 1998], A7).
Jury: Abortion Foes Guilty of Conspiracy
“A jury in Chicago put anti-abortion groups in the same category as mobsters Monday, ruling they violated federal racketeering laws by conspiring to close abortion clinics through violence nationwide.
“The ruling, which critics say could endanger free speech, may cost the movement millions of dollars. “. . . . The lawsuit, filed by the National Organization for Women, was the first nationwide class action suit to use the Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Law, of RICO, against the anti-abortion movement.
“That law, passed in 1970, has been used primarily as a weapon against organized crime. But jurors in this case found that anti-abortion activists Joseph Scheidler, Timothy Murphy and Andrew Scholberg engaged in 21 acts of extortion, including threats of physical violence, to shut down clinics.
“They ruled that Operation Rescue and the Pro-Life Action League played a role.
“The defendants were ordered to pay $85,962 in dam- ages, which will be tripled under RICO. It will go to clinics in Milwaukee and Wilmington, Del., to cover the costs of increased security after they became targets of violence.
“‘They want to bankrupt us,’ said Scheidler, head of the Pro-Life Action League.
“Critics warned that the verdict could affect other groups like environmentalists, labor unions and civil rights activists.
“‘The decision in this case effectively equates freedom of speech with racketeering,’ said Cardinal Francis George of the Chicago Archdiocese. Defense lawyers said the verdict will be appealed” (Carrie Hedges, USA Today [April 21, 1998], 1A).
Rate of Teen-age Births Declines 6th Year in Row “Washington — The percentage of teen-agers having babies declined for the sixth year in a row, falling in every state and the District of Columbia, and among every major racial and ethnic group for the first time, the federal government reported Thursday.
“Although nearly a half-million American teen-agers still give birth every year, the overall rate has fallen 12 percent since 1991. The birth rate for black teen-agers is down 21 percent since the beginning of the decade to the lowest level ever reported.
“The rate for Hispanics, the nation’s fastest-growing minor- ity group, remains the highest, but the new statistics show it falling for the first time, by 4.8 percent from 1995 to 1996” (The Indianapolis Star [May 1, 1998], A16).