December 23-30, 2013
Wend your way through the streets of any large city, teeming with Christmas shoppers, where store windows glisten with expensive watches and handbags, and it is all too easy to avert your eyes from those dehumanized shapes in doorways or sprawled on the steps or stretched out in the pews of open churches. Swathed in blankets, they peer out with blank eyes from between scarves and wool hats as they display their cardboard manifestos: House burned down....
December 9-16, 2013
The Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., is scheduled to be completely demolished by Dec. 14, the first anniversary of the massacre that took place within its walls. A place where such unspeakable violence occurred and so much suffering was inflicted is being removed from view because it is too heartbreaking to look at.
December 2, 2013
One of the last great stigmas in American society is that attached to mental illness. How often we hear insensitive comments about people with mental illness and even accusatory moral judgments, like “They just need to shape up and get over it.” The dynamics of stigma enable the great majority of the population to say, “He or she is not one of us.” And because of the stigma and our own fear, we tend as a society to provide only self-defeating half-...
November 25, 2013
Thanksgiving is becoming more and more a celebration of overconsumption—and not just of stuffing and pie, though there is still plenty of that. Major retailers chip away at the holiday by merchandising creep—opening doors to deal-hungry shoppers on Thursday evening or even earlier in the day, as many retailers have begun to do during the past decade. The shift from gratitude and thanksgiving to full-blown mall madness demeans the day.
November 18, 2013
The fallout from the release of classified documents by Edward J. Snowden, a former contractor for the National Security Agency, continues. Recent revelations that the N.S.A. listened to cellphone calls of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany have generated widespread debate and outrage. But this solitary focus may miss the deeper issue: the vast increase in the reach of U.S. intelligence operations, which too often lack a stringent moral grounding...
November 11, 2013
The wheels of justice grind slowly indeed—perhaps slowest when they detour onto Wall Street, where generous campaign contributors, former Treasury Department officials (and future ones) and the super-wealthy operate the global finance market. Five years after a financial crisis that sent the nation and then the world into an economic tailspin, less connected citizens who watched home values plummeting or eviction notices being posted are still...
November 4, 2013
A month ago a Navy SEAL team paddled ashore in the predawn hours in southern Somalia. Their mission was to capture Mohamed Abdulkadir, also known as Ikrima, who was suspected of being “associated with” various bomb plots. But as they approached the militants’ seaside compound, its inhabitants opened fire. The operation commander did not order his team to charge and did not call in an air strike. Instead, he ordered them to withdraw.
October 28, 2013
For many months the editors of America, with the contributions of a talented cadre of writers, worked to prepare this special issue dedicated to women in the life of the church. To our delight, recent statements by Pope Francis have only increased attention to urgent questions concerning this topic. In his interview with Jesuit journals (Am.
October 21, 2013
While some members of the House Republican “suicide caucus” shrug their shoulders in, one hopes, feigned nonchalance, and media outlets sputter that anxieties over the shutdown of the federal government are overblown, more than 800,000 other Americans are wondering when they are going to see their next paycheck. In New York harbor, Lady Liberty, like other federal park facilities across the nation, has gone dark; and hundreds of cancer patients, including 30 children each week, have been...
October 14, 2013
There was a mournful tone in President Obama’s eulogy on Sept. 22 for the 12 victims of the Navy Yard shooting in Washington, D.C., as he lamented America’s “creeping resignation” to gun violence. “Our hearts are broken again,” he said. “The question is, do we care enough?”