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Blind man could be first openly atheist congressman

James Woods, first openly atheist and blind Congressional candidate, who is running for Congress in Arizona's 5th Congressional district, poses for a campaign photo (Credit: James Woods via chrisstedman.religionnews.com) James Woods is running for Congress in Arizona's Congressional District 5.  If successful, he would be the first blind member of Congress in nearly 100 years.  And he would be the first person elected who campaigned openly as an atheist.  (Other atheists have been elected, but none made their religious views public during their campaign.)

Woods lost his vision to a MRSA infection seven years ago.  His courage in dealing with his physical challenges is commendable.  And his atheistic views do not disqualify him for public office in America.  The U.S. Constitution, in Article VI paragraph 3, clearly states: "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

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Donald Sterling, racism, and the Bible

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling (R) sit with his wife Rochelle (L) as they watch a game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Detroit Pistons at the Staples Center, March 22, 2014 (Credit: USA TODAY Sports/Jayne Kamin-Oncea)Donald Sterling, owner of the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers, has long been infamous for racist views and actions.  For instance, he settled a housing discrimination lawsuit with the government for $2.7 million when he was accused of refusing to rent apartments to Hispanics and blacks.  He made more headlines over the weekend when a racist rant was released to the media. Reaction has come quickly: President Obama called the remarks "offensive" and "ignorant," and Michael Jordan is "completely outraged." And rightly so.  


How does God feel about racism?  His word is clear:

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Super Bowl quarterback getting a divorce

Russell Wilson and his wife, Ashton Meems Wilson, pose for a photo on a gondola while on vacation in Venice, March 2013 (Credit: Russell Wilson via Instagram) Russell Wilson is quarterback of the NFL champion Seattle Seahawks.  Before the Super Bowl he was part of a video making public his faith in Christ.  He posts daily Bible verses on his Twitter feed.  Now he is in the headlines again with the announcement that he and his wife are divorcing.  Some claim that he wants out of his marriage before signing a large contract extension in a few years.  A critic reacts, "Saint Wilson isn't so perfect after all huh?"  A more positive commenter writes, "Will pray for you brother."  So should we all.

Pope Francis is making news on the same subject.  One report states that he called a Catholic woman in Argentina who is divorced and remarried to tell her that she could "safely receive Communion."  This would be a significant departure from established Catholic doctrine.  Others claim that he made no such sweeping pronouncement.

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St. John Paul II: three choices for us all

Pope John Paul II waves to the crowd in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on April 23, 1997 (Credit: Associated Press/Andrew Medichini) This Sunday, Karol Jozef Wojtyla will be canonized as Saint John Paul II.  Born in Wadowice, Poland on May 18, 1920, he planned as a young man to become an actor.  However, when Germany invaded his Polish homeland, the 19-year-old Wojtyla chose to become a priest instead.  He became the first non-Italian pope in four centuries when he was elected in 1978; his was the third-longest papacy in history.  From his remarkable life and ministry, I would like to highlight three life choices today.

First, choose excellence.

Karol Wojtyla attended a secret seminary at night, then completed doctoral studies in just two years.  He could speak three languages by the time he was 14, and eight as an adult.  As pope, he wrote more than 3,000 pages a year and traveled more than 775,000 miles, equivalent to traveling to the moon and back three times.  His memory was as prodigious as his work ethic: the pope knew every one of the 2,000 Roman Catholic bishops in the world by name. He served his Lord with his best gifts.  Does God want less from us?

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Stephen Colbert's joyful faith

Stephen Colbert and David Letterman take a selfie(Credit: CBS) Stephen Colbert sat down for an interview with David Letterman this week.  What made their conversation front-page news?  The fact that Colbert will take over the Late Show when Letterman retires next year.  Colbert read his own "Top Ten" list and confessed that Letterman had been his idol since his college days.  He was offered a job as an intern with Letterman's show in 1986, but turned it down.  "Why is that?" Letterman asked.  "Because you did not pay people," Colbert explained.  Then he added, "The next job I'm taking here, it pays, right?"

Colbert is currently star of The Colbert Report and one of America's funniest personalities, but there's more to his story than most television viewers know.  His father and two brothers were killed in a plane crash when he was 10 years old, and he was raised primarily by his mother.  Her faith marked him for life.  He teaches Sunday school and attends mass regularly with his family.

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