First up from the God Machine this week is Sister Simone Campbell, perhaps best known for her role in the Nuns on the Bus national tour, who this week became a Nun at the Podium when she addressed the Democratic National Convention.
Campbell's opposition to the Republican budget plan, written by Paul Ryan and endorsed by Mitt Romney, is what motivated the Nuns on the Bus excursion in the first place, but at the Democrats' convention, the audience heard Campbell explain her perspective in detail.
"...Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are correct when they say that each individual should be responsible. But their budget goes astray in not acknowledging that we are responsible not only for ourselves and our immediate families. Rather, our faith strongly affirms that we are all responsible for one another.
"I am my sister's keeper. I am my brother's keeper.... Looking out at you tonight, I feel your presence combined with that of the thousands of caring people we met on our journey. Together, we understand that an immoral budget that hurts already struggling families does not reflect our nation's values. We are better than that.... This is what we nuns on the bus are all about: We care for the 100 percent, and that will secure the blessings of liberty for our nation."
To put it mildly, Campbell, as you can probably tell from the clip, was well received by Democratic convention goers, who gave her an enthusiastic standing ovation.
It was a rather beautiful reminder that when it comes religion and a debate over "moral" issues in national politics, a fight over sexual orientation and reproductive rights is far too narrow -- and that debating morality and public policy also means debating how the nation cares for struggling families.
Also from the God Machine this week:
* Sun Myung Moon, a self-professed messiah and Korean cult leader, died this week at the age of 92. In American politics, Moon is well known for his role supporting conservative causes, including creating the conservative Washington Times newspaper.
* In Missouri this week, a Roman Catholic bishop, Robert W. Finn, was convicted this week of failing to report suspected child abuse, "becoming the first American bishop in the decades-long sexual abuse scandal to be convicted of shielding a pedophile priest." Finn faced up to a year in jail, but was instead sentenced to two years of court-supervised probation (thanks to reader R.P. for the tip).
* And Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu, the retired Anglican Church's archbishop of South Africa, wrote an op-ed this week calling for Tony Blair and George Bush to face prosecution at the International Criminal Court for their role in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.