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 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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Charles Curran's Rocky Road

Published: Jan 8, 2009
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

Charles Curran, one of the most influential theologians of the past half century, grew up in Rochester, New York. He decided at the age of 13 to be a priest, earned two doctorates in theology in Rome, where he was also ordained, and accepted an appointment to the theology faculty at the Catholic University of America in 1965, a campus that would serve as the stage for an epic battle between Curran and the Vatican. (1)

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Religious Illiteracy

Published: Dec 26, 2008
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

In a recent book on the subject of religious literacy in America (1), Stephen Prothero, a historian of religion, argues that, paradoxically, "Americans are both deeply religious and profoundly ignorant about religion." (2) For instance, despite the fact that a huge majority of Americans are Christians, only half can name even one of the four Gospels (3), a majority cannot name the first book of the Bible (4), and only one-third know that Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount. (5) Americans are ignorant not only about Christianity but other religions as well.

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Galbraith on Global Warming and Planning

Published: Dec 11, 2008
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

The mobilization for World War II by the United States shows government planning at its best. During a four-year period the United States recruited, trained, and deployed eleven million soldiers; commissioned the production of countless aircraft, seacraft, trucks, jeeps, tanks, bombs, guns, and bullets; kept inflation low; and achieved full employment. (1) The result was victory over the Axis powers. By contrast, the devastation in New Orleans caused by Hurricane Katrina shows government planning at its worst.

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A Lesson from Scandinavia

Published: Dec 2, 2008
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:
  • During the years 2005 and 2006, American sociologist Phil Zuckerman spent fourteen months in Denmark and Sweden to study these two societies. In a recent book, he reports these findings: (1)
  • Denmark and Sweden have among the lowest rates of violent crime in the world. (pp. 28-29) (2)
  • Denmark and Sweden have the lowest rates of HIV and AIDS in the world. (p. 27)
  • Sweden is third and Denmark is fifth in the world in economic competitiveness. (p. 27)
  • On gender equality, Denmark is second and Sweden is third in the world. (p.
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Are American Voters Stupid?

Published: Nov 14, 2008
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

Consider the following facts about the American people:

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New Atheists

Published: Oct 31, 2008
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

In a book published in 2006, journalist and author Chris Hedges pilloried religious fundamentalists in America, charging them with corrupting Christianity, undermining the Constitution, and promoting American imperialism. (1). In his most recent book, I Don't Believe in Atheists, (2) Hedges shifts to the opposite side of the ideological spectrum to critique a group which he calls the "new atheists" and which he considers secular fundamentalists.

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Chris Hedges: American Fascists

Published: Oct 10, 2008
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

The radical segment of American Evangelicals is the focus of the fourth book by Chris Hedges, a former war correspondent for The New York Times and co-recipient of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for reports on global terrorism. The book, entitled American Fascists: the Christian Right and the War on America, is a chilling expose and critique of the quest for theocracy, and its leaders, among them Francis Schaeffer, Jerry Falwell, D. James Kennedy, Pat Robertson, Timothy LaHaye, Rod Parsley, and others.

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