Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Previously, we told you how the Times Union won its suit to have the leaders of our state legislature comply with the law and reveal how some of their pork barrel spending is allocated. Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno has said he will comply with the court decision, but Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has yet to tell us whether he will comply or appeal to a higher court. Today’s editorial in the TU states:
For Mr. Silver to continue to hold back on the details of member item spending, especially when Mr. Bruno is quite ready to comply with the court order, will give credence to those who wonder if he has something unseemly to hide. Is there, beneath the long list of Assembly-sponsored member items for volunteer fire departments, cultural endeavors and other community projects, something that Mr. Silver doesn't want the public to know about?

We at Albany Catholic wonder if Mr. Silver is waiting for some sign from the public as to what he should do. If so, we urge you to contact him today and urge him to release the information – now. You can call his office in Albany at 455-3791.

And it would not hurt if your called your own Assemblyperson and asked him or her to do the same.

Monday, October 30, 2006

More on “the common good”

Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good is a non-partisan non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the fullness of the Catholic social tradition in the public square.
Reading the founding documents of the United States, one has to be impressed by the concept of freedom they enshrine: a freedom designed to enable people to fulfill their duties and responsibilities toward the family and toward the common good of the community. - Pope John Paul II

What is the Common Good?

Are we in this together or should we look out only for ourselves? In a country where everything seems less secure - our jobs, health care, pensions, national defense, the environment, our kids’ tuitions, and even our marriages - it is easy to lose sight of the common good and the call to care for our neighbors as ourselves. A culture of the common good is one in which people look out for each other and concern for one another is reflected in the corporations, communities, entertainment, and government we produce.

A culture of the common good provides for the health, welfare, and advancement of all people, regardless of race, gender, religion or economic class. This central goal of Catholic Social Teaching expresses our faith's understanding that society functions best when decisions are made with an eye toward what benefits everyone, and not just the few. In the words of Pope John Paul II, the common good refers to the "good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all."

You can read more here.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Catholics must vote

Catholic News Service reports:
As the midterm elections near, some Catholic bishops are not finding any pressing moral issues to comment on in their dioceses, while others are jumping into the fray -- especially about the moral content of referendum issues facing voters in 37 states.

But there is one constant in all their pre-election messages: Catholics have a moral obligation to vote.

"Catholics, like all other citizens, are bound by duty and responsibility to cast their vote," said Bishop Richard J. Malone of Portland, Maine, in a recent letter. "Voting is a right and responsibility we cannot forgo, even when confronted with moral dilemmas."

The rest of the article is here.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

More on the voter guide

Bishop William Murphy of the Diocese of Rockville Center comments on the voters guide issued by the New York State Catholic Conference:
All of us have an obligation and responsibility as citizens to vote and to be well informed on the issues as we reach a decision on our choices for various state offices. As Catholics we are blessed to have the principles of Catholic social teaching to inform and guide us as we reflect on our political choices.
. . .
My hope is that all who read this column will consult the Voter Guide itself for the answers to the questions by the candidates who are presenting themselves to you. Included in that hope is a firm conviction, both as a citizen and as a Catholic, that everyone should exercise his or her responsibility to vote. All of us should do so informed not only about the positions of the candidates but also on the extent to which their positions are consonant with natural moral reasoning, are reflective of the truths enunciated in Catholic social teaching and truly advance the real good of every human being and the common good of our society as a whole.

The entire column is available here.

What "common good"?

Earlier this month, we told you how Democrats plan to use the phrase “the common good” as a way to describe liberal values and reach religious voters who rejected Democrats in the 2004 election. To help you understand the Catholic Church’s use of that term, we refer you to the website of the Office for Social Justice of the Diocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul, which offers Answers to 25 Questions about Catholic Social Teaching here.
10. Can you explain what is meant by the common good?

This term is often invoked in CST [Catholic Social Teaching]. Perhaps the most commonly cited explanation is John XXIII’s succinct description of the common good as “the sum total of conditions of social living, whereby persons are enabled more fully and readily to achieve their own perfection” (Mater et Magistra, #65). For CST the common good is not an aggregate term, the totality of individual goods. Rather, there are goods that are only experienced in common, as shared, or they are not experienced at all.

The common good also suggests that the good of each person, the well-being of the human person, is connected to the good of others. That is, human beings only truly flourish in the context of a community. Our well-being is experienced amidst a setting in which other persons also flourish. From this perspective we can say two things: Each of us has an obligation to contribute to the common good so that human life can flourish and no description of the common good can exclude concern for an individual, writing off some person or group as unworthy of our interest. That is why human rights claims have become an important dimension of the common good in CST, no one should be denied the basic goods needed to join in the life of the community.

The centrality of the common good in CST reflects the communitarian outlook of the tradition and a commitment to serve the common good is a means whereby the dignity of each person is given its due.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Who's to blame?

The Post-Standard newspaper of Syracuse published a very interesting editorial on the New York state Legislature. It was so good, that we present it here in it entirety, since it reflects our thinking.
New York's state Legislature has been labeled the most dysfunctional lawmaking body in the nation.

Actually, that's wrong. It really functions quite well - for the secretive politicians who control its chambers and the special interests that grease their palms. As for serving the people of New York - well, that's another story.

It's no surprise, then, that the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University's School of Law says legislators have made little progress in recent years on reforming how they conduct the public's business.

The Legislature is still beset by gridlock on major issues. Rank-and-file lawmakers are still shut out of the decision-making process by their despotic leaders. The public still is denied access to basic information on how millions of dollars in public money will be spent. And crucial elements of the legislative process, such as meaningful floor debates, committee hearings and the use of conference committees to reconcile differences in bills, are still hard to come by.

Oh, legislators did make a few changes since the Brennan Center released its landmark study of the Legislature in 2004, along with solid recommendations for improvement.

After 20 years of late budgets, lawmakers finally passed on-time spending plans. Both houses ended "empty-seat voting," though senators can still vote in absentia on "non-controversial" bills. The Assembly increased accountability for its committees. And the Senate stripped its leader of the power to block any bill.

But by and large, the center said, legislators ignored the vast majority of its recommendations. The Legislature remains today nearly as impaired as it was in 2004.

Who's to blame for this sorry mess?

You. That's right, you.

Only you can elect legislators who are committed to real reforms, not token gestures. Only you can hold legislators accountable if they fail to open and democratize state government. Only you can demand substantive changes that truly benefit New York's citizens, not New York's politicians.

If a legislator ignores this obligation or makes lame excuses for inaction, then send someone else to Albany to get the job done.

Too many lawmakers blame their leaders - Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno - when proposals for reform are shelved or die in committee, if they even get that far. But legislators elect their leaders, and you elect the legislators.

This Election Day, choose candidates who have the courage to stand up to the bosses. Choose candidates who pledge to work for - not give lip service to - a more transparent, more responsive, more honest government.

A win for all of us

Today's Times Union reports on the court case involving the refusal of the state's legislative leaders to provide information on millions of dollars in spending:
A state judge ordered Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on Tuesday to turn over to the Times Union the names of lawmakers who sponsored member items -- known as pork barrel grants and projects.

The discretionary cash comes out of a $200 million pool of public funds within the state budget.

Albany Catholic recommends that voters remember who opposed releasing this information when they go to the polls next month. You can read more here.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The abortion vote

Commonweal magazine last month presented a guide for Catholic voters with the subtitle Abortion is not the only issue:
. . . the logic of Republican Party apologists is as follows. The issues where traditionally Democratic policy positions have tended to reflect church teaching-economic justice, the death penalty, war, environmental protection, and others-are issues for which the church’s positions are flexible, making policy disagreements permissible even among those who accept Catholic principles. The intrinsic immorality of abortion, on the other hand, allows for no dissent, and a vote for a prochoice candidate is therefore a vote for someone whose views are unquestionably opposed to what is right and good. The handful of bishops who explicitly went after prochoice politicians based their actions almost entirely on the legal status of abortion-an issue so important, they suggested, that voting for a candidate who supported legalized abortion was unacceptable, irrespective of that candidate’s conformity with Catholic teaching on other issues. As Princeton political philosopher Robert George and Notre Dame law professor Gerald Bradley suggested in an opinion piece published by National Review Online before the 2004 election: To vote for a prochoice candidate is to cooperate in evil of an unspeakable magnitude-the intentional killing of over a million human beings a year. Faithful Catholics, they implied, must vote Republican.

A full, and interesting, discussion of this position is available here.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

An editorial

The good folks at Commonweal have written an editorial on the upcoming election that we think is worth sharing.
As they did in 2004, President George W. Bush and the Republican Party continue to think that failure in Iraq can be disguised by fearmongering at home. Like Vice President Dick Cheney, Bush baldly implies that a vote for Democrats is a vote for terrorists. Yet polls suggest the electorate no longer believes what this administration says about Iraq, and rejects the president’s Orwellian assertion that this unnecessary war is the frontline in defeating terrorists. There is no evidence that our bungling presence in Iraq prevents terrorists from attacking the United States. There is plenty of evidence, however, that Iraq provides jihadists with new motivation and a new training ground. At the same time, the four-year-old war is debilitating the U.S. military’s capabilities and discrediting American aims. Some of the most astute observers of the radical Islamic threat argue that tying the United States down in a futile war in the Middle East was precisely what Osama bin Laden hoped to achieve with the 9/11 attacks. Bush may be playing into the hands of our worst enemy. The administration policy of not talking directly with North Korea seems to be having similar results there.
. . .
There will be a lot of cleaning up to do after this administration leaves office. That cleaning up could begin November 7, if Democrats and Republicans willing to place the Constitution above political gain are elected to Congress.

You can read the entire editorial here.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Death tax?

The issue of the "death tax" has been raised in a local congressional race. While we do not take sides in these races, we do believe the facts should be presented accurately. To help our newer readers understand this tax issue, and to refresh the memories of those who have been with us longer, Albany Catholic suggests you read some of our earlier posts on this matter, here and here.

And if you want to question a candidate about why he misrepresents this issue, well, we wouldn't stop you.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Receiving Communion

Catholic News Service reports:
A Catholic who "knowingly and obstinately" rejects "the defined doctrines of the church" or its "definitive teaching on moral issues" should refrain from receiving Communion, according to a document that will come before the U.S. bishops at their Nov. 13-16 fall general meeting in Baltimore.

The document, "'Happy Are Those Who Are Called to His Supper': On Preparing to Receive Christ Worthily in the Eucharist," requires the approval of two-thirds of the members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for passage.

In an introduction, Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Paterson, N.J., chairman of the USCCB Committee on Doctrine, said the draft document was the result of a proposal to the bishops in November 2004 by Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark, N.J., for a statement on how Catholics should prepare to receive the Eucharist.

"He envisaged this document as applying to Catholic faithful, not just to politicians or those in public life," Bishop Serratelli said.

The rest of the article is here.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

"Common Good"

The Washington Post reports that 'Common Good' Unifies Dems for Election:
Ned Lamont uses it in his Connecticut Senate race. President Clinton is scheduled to speak on the idea in Washington this week. Bob Casey Jr., Pennsylvania candidate for Senate, put it in the title of his talk at The Catholic University of America _ then repeated the phrase 29 times.

The term is "common good," and it's catching on as a way to describe liberal values and reach religious voters who rejected Democrats in the 2004 election. Led by the Center for American Progress, a Washington think-tank, party activists hope the phrase will do for them what "compassionate conservative" did for the Republicans.

The entire article is available here.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The White House and politics, part 3

More from Tempting Faith by David Kuo:
White House officials realized they had a problem, former staffer David Kuo writes in his new book, "Tempting Faith," when they saw how a panel rated the first applications for grants under the "faith-based initiative," President Bush's vaunted effort to help religious charities.

On a scale of 1 to 100, respected national organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of America scored in the mid-70s to mid-80s, "while something called Jesus and Friends Ministry from California, a group with little more than a post office box," scored 89 and Pat Robertson's overseas aid organization, Operation Blessing, scored 95, according to Kuo.

"It was obvious that the ratings were a farce," he writes, adding that he and other White House aides feared that if the list became public, "it would show once and for all that the initiative was purely about paying off political friends for their support."
. . .
In the case of the grant applications, for example, Kuo says that the ratings obviously favored conservative Christian groups but that the White House "really did have nothing to do with" it. The problem, he asserts, is that the "peer review" panel chosen by the Department of Health and Human Services came from the "faith-based policy world."

"There are, at most, 100 people in think tanks, foundations, major nonprofits and the like who really work on these issues and who support the president. Virtually all of them are very compassionate and dedicated evangelical Christians who tend to be politically conservative," Kuo writes. "They were supposed to review the application in a religiously neutral fashion. . . . But their biases were transparent."

You can read more here.

Death penalty

The Chair of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Diocese of Albany wrote an interesting column regarding forgiveness and the death penalty. You can read it here.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The White House and politics, part 2

There is more to report on Tempting Faith by David Kuo, the book we told you about yesterday, from MSNBC:
. . . the Bush administration often promoted the faith-based agenda by claiming that existing government regulations were too restrictive on religious organizations seeking to serve the public.

Substantiating that claim proved difficult, Kuo says. "Finding these examples became a huge priority. If President Bush was making the world a better place for faith-based groups, we had to show it was really a bad place to begin with. But, in fact, it wasn't that bad at all."

In fact, when Bush asks Kuo how much money was being spent on "compassion" social programs, Kuo claims he discovered the amount was $20 million a year less than during the Clinton Administration.

The money that was appropriated and disbursed, however, often served a political agenda, Kuo claims, with organizations friendly to the administration often winning grants.

More pointedly, Kuo quotes an unnamed member of the review panel charged with rating grant applications as saying she stopped looking at applications from "those non-Christian groups," as did many of her colleagues.

You can read more here.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The White House and politics

CBS' 60 Minutes tonight offered an inside look at the way the White House views some religious leaders.
David Kuo is an evangelical Christian and card-carrying member of the religious right, who got a job in the White House in the president’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. He thought it was a dream-come-true: a chance to work for a president whose vision about compassionate conservatism would be matched with sweeping legislation to help the poor.

But Kuo says the so-called compassion agenda has fallen short of its promise and he blames President Bush for that in his new book.

As correspondent Lesley Stahl reports, he also says the White House was a place that cynically used religion for political ends and that White House aides ridiculed the very Christian leaders who helped bring Mr. Bush to office.
. . .
This has been gnawing at both him and his wife since 2003, when he learned he had a malignant brain tumor, and left politics for good. Now he has written his book, "Tempting Faith," published by a CBS sister company.

The entire story is here.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

It's not too late

It is not too late to participate in the Faithful Citizenship grogram of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops we mentioned here.

You can find planning ideas of parish staffs and parish councils here. If there is problem with that link, go here and click on the link on the left side that says planning ideas of parish staffs and parish councils.

Remember, the goal is to be political without being partisan, so do not endorse or oppose any candidates or political parties.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Questionnaire results

Last month, we reported here about a candidate questionnaire that the New York State Catholic Conference mailed to all of the state candidates for elective office, surveying them on a variety of issues of importance to the Church. The Conference now reports:
The questions were mailed the day after the September 12 primary elections to candidates of both major and minor political parties. Candidates were instructed that they should return their responses by September 28. The Catholic Conference received responses from only 27 percent of those who were sent surveys. When candidates failed to respond, all boxes associated with their names were left blank. In some cases, the candidate responded with a letter but did not answer the questions, usually stating that he or she has a policy of not answering such surveys. These candidates are indicated in the Voter Guide with the line, “Response did not include answers to survey questions.” In the letter that was sent with the survey, candidates were told that explanations of their positions could not be accommodated, given space constraints. Nevertheless, some did send written responses that could not be accurately categorized as support, oppose or no position. In these cases, the answer is listed as QR, which stands for qualified response. If a candidate left a question blank, it is indicated by NR, or no response to that question.

You can learn the results here.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006



Need we say more?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

St. Francis

In his most recent On the Road to Peace column for National Catholic Reporter, John Dear S.J.writes of St. Francis:
In 1219, he embarked on a year-long pilgrimage of nonviolence -- from Italy to Northern Africa -- right into the war zone. And there, at great peril, he secured a meeting with the sultan, Melek-el-Kamel, the leading Muslim of his time. He met, too, with the sultan's counterpart, the Christian general Cardinal Pelagius. Put a stop to the killing, he urged them both.

The cardinal dismissed Francis out of hand The campaign, after all, was being conducted in Jesus' name, and under his sign and blessing. Interfere with that and one interferes with heaven's very purpose. For the purpose of heaven and the state are one, so we're told.

Francis would have none of it. Likewise, we too must dismiss such blasphemy out of hand. There is no theological justification for the bombing of Iraq, the spending of billions on weapons of mass destruction, the death penalty, our corporate greed or any such violence.

The sultan received Francis with an altogether different attitude. The sultan, historians say, was impressed by this mendicant friar -- such exemplary kindness and gentleness. "If all Christians are like this," said the sultan, "I would not hesitate to become one."

You can read the entire column here.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Time to read

From the publishing arm of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:
The Church has a timeless, long-standing body of social doctrine that is known, lived, and shared by Catholics in many faith-filled ways. The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, a unique, unprecedented document in the history of the Church, serves as a tool to inspire and guide the faithful who are faced with moral and pastoral challenges daily.

The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church is divided into five sections, an introduction, three parts, and a conclusion entitled For a Civilization of Love. The first part deals with the fundamental presuppositions of social doctrine-God's plan of love for humanity and society, the Church's mission and the nature of social doctrine, the human person and human rights, and the principles and values of social doctrine. The second part deals with the contents and classical themes of social doctrine- the family, human work, economic life, the political community, the international community, the environment and peace. The third part contains a series of recommendations for the use of social doctrine in the pastoral activity of the Church and in the life of Christians, above all, the laity.

The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church is a must-have resource for leaders of social ministry at the diocesan and parish level as well as those in religious education, school, and youth and young adult ministry.

You can order a copy here

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Another voter guide

Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, a non-partisan non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the fullness of the Catholic social tradition in the public square, has unveiled its 2006 voter guide. An initial printing of one million copies of “Voting for the Common Good: A Practical Guide for Conscientious Catholics” will be distributed nationwide through on-the-ground organizers and partner networks in all 50 states.
“Our guide provides faithful Catholics with practical principles to make conscientious decisions informed by our Church’s teachings. For too long, divisive issues have been applied as a litmus test for choices by people of faith.” said Alexia Kelley, Executive Director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.

You can learn more here.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Faithful Citizenship

From the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website, a few words about Faithful Citizenship:
We hope you will find the resources available here helpful. They are designed to help you learn, share, and act on Catholic teaching about how our faith can and should shape our choices and opportunities as citizens, so that we can build a world more respectful of human life and dignity and more committed to justice and peace.

Every four years since 1976, the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a statement on the responsibilities of Catholics to society. The purpose of the statement is to communicate the Church’s teaching that every Catholic is called to active and faith-filled citizenship, based upon a properly informed conscience, so that each disciple of Christ publicly witnesses to the Church’s commitment to human life and dignity with special preference for the poor and the vulnerable.

Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility was approved by the USCCB Administrative Committee in September 2003. With the release of the statement, the bishops are launching a major campaign to share this important message. To help Catholics learn more about our responsibilities in public life, and to help dioceses and parishes share this teaching, the USCCB has produced a brief brochure summarizing the statement as well as a video outlining its message. In January 2004, Faithful Citizenship resource kits were mailed to dioceses and parishes across the United States. This web site contains the contents of the parish kits as well as a wide range of additional resources, including liturgical and homily ideas, education materials and lesson plans for various age groups, and information on conducting non-partisan voter registration and education programs.

You can learn more, and find valuable resources, here.

Iraq for Sale, the movie

Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace is showing the film Iraq for Sale this Sunday, October 8, at 4:30 p.m. in the Bethlehem Town Hall, 445 Delaware Avenue, Delmar, New York.
This 75 minute film will be followed by a discussion. "Acclaimed director Robert Greenwald (Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, Outfoxed, and Uncovered) takes you inside the lives of soldiers, truck drivers, widows and children who have been changed forever as a result of profiteering in the reconstruction of Iraq. Iraq for Sale uncovers the connections between private corporations making a killing in Iraq and the decision makers who allow them to do so." Call 439-8863 for more information.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Voter guides

Catholic News Service reports on voter guides, with a special mention of the survey Albany Catholic mentioned last month from the New York State Catholic Conference:
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In the absence of a "Faithful Citizenship" document from the U.S. bishops to guide Catholic voters in this midterm election, groups as diverse as the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Priests for Life, state Catholic conferences and new organizations with names like Red Letter Christians and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good are stepping into the fray.

But the voters' guides and other election guidance offered by the groups must walk a fine line between providing nonpartisan political information -- permitted by the Internal Revenue Service for tax-exempt religious organizations -- and endorsing particular candidates, which is clearly banned under IRS guidelines.

Some of the offerings, like Maryknoll's one-page guide on "becoming a global good neighbor," cover general principles, while others get much more specific -- publishing candidates' responses to a set of questions on topics of interest to Catholic voters.

The New York State Catholic Conference recently mailed a 10-question survey to 400 candidates for elective office in the state. The candidates were asked to answer yes, no or "no position" to questions about school vouchers, taxpayer funding of abortion, labor rights for migrant farmworkers, same-sex marriage, the death penalty and other issues.

"The purpose is not to endorse one candidate over another or to tell Catholics how to vote, but to inform Catholic citizens as to where each candidate stands on issues of particular concern to the Catholic Church in her commitment to serve the common good," said Richard E. Barnes, executive director of the conference, in a Sept. 13 letter to candidates.

The entire article is available here.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Red Mass

Today's Washington Post reports on yesterday's Red Mass in the nation's capital.
At a Mass attended by four U.S. Supreme Court justices, Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl said yesterday that religious faith is an enduring "cornerstone" of American life and that morality and ethics "cannot be divorced from their religious antecedents."

The archbishop delivered the homily as he celebrated his first Red Mass, held annually as the Supreme Court convenes at which worshipers seek God's blessing and guidance for those who administer justice.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. sat in the first pew during the service at the Cathedral of St. Matthew of the Apostle in Northwest Washington alongside Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas.

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales was among five members of President Bush's Cabinet who attended the service, which began with the 1,000 worshipers rising and singing the national anthem and ended with "America the Beautiful."
. . .
In his homily, Wuerl, who took over the Archdiocese of Washington in June, described spirituality and religious faith as an integral part of American life, one that endures even as some resist its place in political discourse.

"The assertion by some that the secular voice should alone speak to the ordering of society and its public policy, that it alone can speak to the needs of the human condition, is being increasingly challenged," Wuerl said.

"Looking around, I see many young men and women who, in such increasing numbers, are looking for spiritual values, a sense of rootedness and hope for the future," he said. "In spite of all the options and challenges from the secular world competing for the allegiance of human hearts, the quiet, soft and gentle voice of the spirit has not been stilled."

Religious faith, the archbishop said, has long played an important role in U.S. society, from the Mayflower Compact, which established law, to the Declaration of Independence. George Washington, he said, told Americans in his farewell address that "we cannot expect national prosperity without morality, and morality cannot be sustained without religious principles."

"What is religion's place in public life?" Wuerl asked. "Politics and faith are mingled because believers are also citizens. Both church and state are home to the very same people."

The entire article is here.

National Death Penalty Archive

The National Death Penalty Archive at SUNY Albany is hosting a talk by Bill Babbitt, the brother of Manny Babbitt, as part of its second annual Albany Symposium on Crime and Justice. Manny Babbitt was a Vietnam veteran who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. He was convicted of murdering an elderly woman. Bill Babbitt donated several items to the archive, including personal effects from Manny's cell, court documents, family photos and Manny's poems.

Bill Babbitt will discuss the collection at a reception at the NDPA at 5:15 p.m. on Oct. 6.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Now hiring

Executive Director Job Announcement, Citizens' Environmental Coalition

Citizens' Environmental Coalition (C.E.C.), based in Albany, N.Y., seeks a dynamic Executive Director for 23-year-old not-for-profit that advocates on toxic waste remediation and pollution prevention. Applicants should possess proven environmental, communication, fundraising, and administrative skills. Salary: $45K. Good Benefits / retirement. C.E.C. is an equal opportunity employer. Send credentials in confidence to C.E.C. Transition Advisory Committee, 119 Washington Avenue, Albany, N.Y. 12210. Fax: 519-465-8349. Email: jobsearch@cectoxic. org

Experience working in minority/low income neighborhoods with environmental justice/health issues a plus.

CEC (www.cectoxic. org) was founded in 1983 by people living with the legacy of toxic pollution. They were united in the belief that no child should be born with toxic chemicals in their body, and began to use their collective grassroots power to influence statewide policy, with a mission to eliminate toxic pollution from homes, workplaces, schools and communities by empowering people. Twenty-three years later, CEC has grown into 110 community, labor, faith-based, youth, health and environmental groups and over 14,000 individuals throughout New York State with offices in Albany and Buffalo. We serve as the nexus of local communities, statewide policy discussions and national collaborations.

CEC's mission is to:
Eliminate pollution in New York State and create safe, healthy communities, schools and workplaces through pollution prevention;
Empower, educate and assist people concerned about environmental problems;

Promote democratic, grassroots advocacy to restore New York's environment;

Strengthen the connection from the grassroots to the statehouse and build effective coalitions; and Promote corporate accountability and non-violent social justice values.

Some of the duties of the ED include:

1) Fundraising: The ED is responsible for developing and implementing a board-approved plan to meet CEC's annual income goals and maintain adequate cash reserves. The ED is responsible for obtaining funds from foundation grants and supervising CEC's Door and Phone Canvasses, Major Donor Campaign and annual appeal.

2) Advocacy: The ED advocates policy reforms and coordinates campaigns on pollution and environmental health problems, such as the Alliance for Toxic Free Future, hazardous waste/substances, Persistent, Bioaccumulative Toxins, groundwater pollution, toxic emissions, labor & environmental justice and CAFOs.

3) Citizen Assistance: The ED responds to citizens and local groups requesting help and information on environmental problems with information, assistance, support, guidance and expert referrals.

4) Coalition-Building: The ED facilitates networking among citizens, groups, experts and others working on CEC priority environmental problems and facilitates democratic and participatory coalitions on CEC priority issues.

5) Publication Clearinghouse/ Media: The ED is responsible for conducting public education; conducting media outreach; and coordinating CEC speaking engagements. The ED is the Editor of CEC's quarterly Toxics In Your Community Newsletter.