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.


Judge Jones

Published: Dec 13, 2007
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

John Locke, America's philosophical father, cited as a key objective of government to provide "known and indifferent judge(s) with authority to determine all differences according to the established law..." (1) Locke's ideal of an independent judiciary guided only by the law has not always been realized in practice in the United States. One clear case in which it was involves federal Judge John E. Jones III who sits on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. On December 20, 2005, Judge Jones issued a 139-page ruling in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.

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Thanksgiving

Published: Nov 29, 2007
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

On the fourth Thursday of November every year, we celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States to give thanks to the Almighty.  This purpose has been affirmed and reaffirmed since colonial days. (1)  On Thanksgiving millions of Americans enjoy a feast with their families, one usually featuring turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and rolls.  Just before the meal, most families bow their heads in grateful prayer to God.

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Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District

Published: Nov 8, 2007
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

Next month marks the second anniversary of the landmark ruling by Judge John E. Jones III in the U. S. District Court in Harrisburg in the case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.

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World Religions in Modesto

Published: Oct 25, 2007
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

The United States is now the most religiously diverse nation in the world. Despite the fact that during their lives young Americans will deal with followers of religions other than their own, few of them know much about any religion except their own. Seven years ago Modesto, California, a city of 200,000 residents about ninety miles east of San Francisco, decided to do something about this. It was then that the Modesto public schools established a mandatory, semester-long course in world religions for ninth grade students.

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Baseball

Published: Oct 4, 2007
Commentator: Lou Zona
Transcript:

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Mark Lilla

Published: Sep 27, 2007
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

In a recent article and book, Mark Lilla, professor of humanities at Columbia University, gives us a refresher course in how the United States of America and European nations came to separate theology and politics while most other nations did not. (1) Lilla points out that the Reformation destroyed the unity of Christendom and left 16th century Europe a hodge-podge of churches and sects where doctrinal differences and political ambitions fueled each other.

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Big Brother

Published: Sep 20, 2007
Commentator: Lou Zona
Transcript:

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The Power of Belief

Published: Sep 13, 2007
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

We're not far away from the holiday shopping season when all of us will be searching for gifts for special people in our lives. I have a suggestion of a gift that is inexpensive, educational, and entertaining and that is suitable for either adults or children aged twelve or older. It will also make a superb addition to the media collection of a local school or library. I'm referring to a forty-five minute film entitled The Power of Belief which first aired as an ABC News Special hosted by John Stossel on October 6, 1998.

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Paul Kurtz

Published: Aug 30, 2007
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

In the current issue of Scientific American (September 2007), Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, sends an "open letter" to four religious skeptics - Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens. (1) Books by all four of these authors are currently on the New York Times best-seller list. In his letter Shermer warns the authors that the militant, in-your-face tone of their narratives is likely to be counterproductive.

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The Christian Reconstructionists

Published: Aug 17, 2007
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

On July 12 of this year, Hindu Chaplain Rajan Zed of Nevada gave the opening prayer in the U.S. Senate. The prayer was disrupted by Christian activists who called prayer in the Senate by a non-Christian an "abomination." The live protest had been preceded by virulent opposition to the invitation to a non-Christian by the Reverend Donald Wildmon, leader of the American Family Association, and David Barton, a "Christian nation" activist. (1)

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