Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: Catholic church

May
7th

No rosebuds for discriminating against gay customers

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

Opponents of same-sex marriage have rallied around a Richland florist who is being sued by the state attorney general’s office and the ACLU for refusing to provide flowers for a gay couple’s wedding. But the core issue isn’t same-sex marriage; it’s the consumer’s right not to face discrimination.

Florist Barronelle Stutzman says she is religiously opposed to same-sex marriage because of her Christian beliefs, and she has every right to hold that opinion. She just doesn’t have the right to impose it in the commercial marketplace.

State anti-discrimination and consumer protection law is clear: Merchants cannot refuse goods and service to someone because of race, creed, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, military status or disability.

Would Stutzman’s supporters defend her if she Read more »

May
1st

Scouts need live-and-let-live policy on gay leaders

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Most of the argument over gay Boy Scouts and Scout leaders tends to overlook the structure of the Boy Scouts of America.

The BSA administration itself does not run Scout troops, Cub packs, etc. Its employees provide training, insurance and other support for the “chartered organizations” whose volunteers help kids earn merit badges, take them on campouts, etc.

Many of those organizations are religious in nature and operate with great autonomy. Conservative Mormon, Roman Catholic and Baptist congregations by themselves run most troops and packs. Often their Scout leaders amount to youth ministers.

It’s arrogant to insist Read more »

March
13th

First thoughts on Francis

Having grown up Catholic, I was immediately taken by the choice of the new pope’s name: Francis. It honors St. Francis of Assisi, who renounced his family’s wealth and dedicated his life to the poor. As a child living in Northern Italy, I had the opportunity to visit Assisi with a church tour group from Aviano Air Force Base and learned all about this saint.

Apparently the name caught many by surprise. It’s hard to believe that there’s never been a Pope Francis, given St. Francis’ popularity among the faithful. (If you’re a Catholic with any yard statuary, it’s likely to be either Mary or St. Francis, who is often depicted feeding birds.)

I asked a Catholic friend for her thoughts on the selection of Jorge Bergogli for pope. Her response: Read more »

April
19th

An ex-priest’s take on Vatican action against nuns

When I read the story Thursday about how the Vatican plans to rein in its more uppity nuns, I wondered what my friend – a former priest at a Tacoma parish – thought about it. Here’s his take:

It is amusing  that a group of conservative men have been appointed to change the bylaws of a group of women concerning matters that generally deal with sexual orientation.

Granted, a group of nuns may not know as much about sex as the standard adult Catholic female population, but they still probably know a hell of a lot more than the

Read more »

Aug.
11th

Birth control coverage will be a boon for millions

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

Contraceptive use in the United States is an issue fraught with irony.

The women who can least afford to get pregnant – including the young, the poor and the uneducated – often have the least access to effective birth control. They may not have health insurance, but even if they do, it might be subject to a deductible or co-pay. So they’re more likely to use cheaper, less effective methods like condoms – or nothing at all.

Little wonder the United States has the highest rate of unintended pregnancies in the industrialized world. Almost half of all U.S. pregnancies are unplanned, and about 40 percent of those end in abortion. Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program alone spend more than $12 billion a year providing maternity care for low-income women and care for infants in the first year of life. Read more »

April
12th

A turn-the-cheek moment for Catholicism

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

By some reckonings, the Roman Catholic Church has as many as a billion members.
It’s the largest religious organization in the United States and on earth. So the pedophilia scandal that has now touched the papacy of Benedict XVI has global implications.

The scandal needs some statistical context. A church this large is going to have problems of commensurate magnitude. The sheer size of the Catholic clergy is part of the reason that abuses within its ranks keep hitting the news.

It’s not clear at all that Catholic priests are more prone to pedophilia than other authority figures who work with children – Boy Scout leaders, say, or Protestant clergy. But if even a tiny fraction of Catholic priesthood is abusive, the tiny fraction adds up to a lot of predators and a lot of victims.

It hasn’t helped that the Catholic clergy – probably like the leadership of most organizations – has had a habit of protecting its own. The most outrageous thing about this mega-scandal has been the way some bishops quietly moved priests from one assignment to the next after they were accused of preying on children or other vulnerable parishioners. Read more »

March
28th

The church’s challenge

I am deeply, deeply troubled by ongoing and increasing reports of child sexual abuse within the Catholic priesthood and its mismanagement by church leadership.  My belief in the goodness of Catholic Christian ideals is shaken by national and international accounts of these incidents

The Vatican must respond swiftly, truthfully, and completely to these allegations if it is to retain any moral authority on important social issues.  Anything less will fail the faithful, and further alienate an already fragile and disillusioned segment of Catholics. It is hypocritical to exhort a congregation — from the pulpit — to oppose national

Read more »

Nov.
3rd

Pope sanctions Darwin

This week an academic conference is taking place at the University of Notre Dame, titled “Darwin in the 21st Century: Nature, Humanity, and God.” It is timed with the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, and organized by the Pontifical Council for Culture’s Science, Theology, and the Ontological Quest (STOQ) Project in Rome.

This conference is nothing short of an evolution revolution, especially given the church’s history with science. As my daughter might say, “The two haven’t exactly been bffs.”

I am thinking Galileo. The year is 1609. Galileo steps out under a canopy of stars, perhaps one or more of his four children are underfoot. He takes the telescope he made with his own hands, not even sure how well it will work, and puts it to his eye. What he sees catapults human understanding like nothing before it.

Read more »