Commentaries

If you're a regular listener to NPR news programs, you're probably familiar with the occasional brief commentary during the morning or evening news programs by experts in various fields; people providing insight into public affairs, observations on the arts, and thoughts on how we live. This page contains transcripts and/or audio recordings of local commentaries that have aired on WYSU.


Faith Based Policies

Published: Jun 11, 2009
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

In 1899 the U.S. Supreme Court issued an important decision on whether government may constitutionally grant public funds to a religious organization. In Bradfield v. Roberts the Court ruled that the District of Columbia could pay a hospital in Washington operated by an order of Catholic nuns to provide a secular service to the poor health care. (1) Under this ruling, many religious groups received public funds without controversy year after year. Typically such groups did not seek to proselytize their clients, only to serve them, and used no religious test in hiring and firing.

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Suicide Terrorism

Published: May 29, 2009
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

Suicide terrorism in today's world began with an attack by Hezbollah against the U.S. marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983. That attack drove Israel, France, and the United States out of Lebanon and convinced many groups, including the PLO, Islamic Jihad, al-Qaeda, and the Tamil Tigers, among others, that suicide missions can be an effective tool to achieve their goals. (1) As suicide attacks proliferated, millions puzzled over what prompts a person to become a suicide terrorist.

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American Religious Identification Survey 2008

Published: Apr 23, 2009
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

Last month researchers at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, published the results of a national survey of beliefs about religion called the American Religious Identification Survey, or ARIS for short. This is the third such survey from this group over an eighteen year span. (1) Perhaps the most startling finding in ARIS 2008 is about the Nones. That's N-O-N-E-S. The Nones are the non-religious among us. There are twenty million more Nones today than in 1990, an increase of 138 percent, and the percentage of Nones has jumped from 8.2 percent to 15 percent of the population. (p.

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Ted Kennedy's Legacy

Published: Apr 10, 2009
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

A team of reporters and an editor from The Boston Globe have published a book entitled Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy which gives us a thorough, objective study of Joseph and Rose Kennedy's youngest child. (1)

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Christopher Hitchens on Religion

Published: Mar 19, 2009
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

Christopher Hitchens's most recent book is an in-your-face critique of religion entitled God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. (1) Hitchens offers the reader a long list of complaints about religion, including:

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John Haught and the New Atheists

Published: Mar 2, 2009
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

John F. Haught is a Roman Catholic theologian who specializes in religion and science and who has served on the faculty at Georgetown University for most of his career. His new book, God and the New Atheism, is a reply to recent assaults on religion by three popular religious skeptics - Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens. (1) Let's focus on three of the many issues which Haught raises.

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Wonders of a Garden

Published: Feb 23, 2009
Commentator: Carole Babyak
Transcript:
There is no transcript available.
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Faith Healing and Children

Published: Feb 19, 2009
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

Suppose a child in the United States dies from a medically treatable condition because her parents prayed over her but did not take her to a doctor. Will criminal charges be filed against the parents? In most cases, no. American prosecutors have found it difficult to obtain convictions in such cases because the laws in most states exempt parents from prosecution for child neglect, child abuse, and manslaughter if their religion mandates spiritual healing. The statute in Wisconsin is typical.

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Rabbi Wolpe

Published: Feb 12, 2009
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

In his most recent book, Why Faith Matters (1), Rabbi David J. Wolpe makes the case for religion and rebuts recent critiques of religion by a quartet of prominent atheists called the New Atheists. (2) This is a book that deserves a large audience among religious and seculars because it is accessible, well-argued, and thought-provoking.

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Sidney Poiter

Published: Jan 22, 2009
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

Sidney Poitier was the first black actor to win the Academy Award for Best Actor. He won it in 1963 for his role in Lilies of the Field. (1) Subsequently he received virtually every major honor which an actor can receive. (2) Poitier starred in some forty films, including Blackboard Jungle (1955); The Defiant Ones (1958); The Bedford Incident (1965); A Patch of Blue (1965); Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967); To Sir, With Love (1967); and In the Heat of the Night (1967).

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