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The Memorial Day established in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln is gradually fading into history. It was meant to establish into our national memory the sacrifice of thousands of sons and daughters who gave their lives in service to their country in peace and war.
Pope Francis is the first pontiff to reach into the 13th century and choose the name of a humble Christian called St. Francis of Assisi. How significant for the Catholic Church and for Orthodox and Protestant Christians!
The Oscar movie of the year, "Slum Dog Millionaire" pits a hard working young man in Mumbai, India against a corrupt nexus of money and privilege. The poverty of the Mumbai slum is overwhelming.
A staff editorial in the student newspaper at Valparaiso University on Feb. 13 asks the question -- Who is a Lutheran? The issue emerged when the president of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod was invited to preach in the Chapel of the Resurrection at the dedication of the $37 million Har…
The longest running conflict in the modern world is again being addressed by the Obama administration. Former Senator George Mitchell has been sent to re-start peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian authority.
The 15,000 books about Abraham Lincoln are second only to the Bible in sales. The book President Barack Obama brought to the White House - besides the Bible - would be about Lincoln's cabinet, "Team of Rivals" by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.
The month of January is named for Janus, the two-faced Roman God who looked forward and backward. It is a good time to learn from the past and hope for the future. We live in exciting times as history is being made.
The Martin Luther King celebration at Valparaiso University always brings an outstanding speaker and program to the campus. This year the speaker was Michael K. Honey, labor historian at the University of Washington in Tacoma and author of "Going down the Jericho Road": The Memphis Strike, K…
Like millions of others I received an engraved invitation to the Jan. 20 inauguration -- no tickets enclosed. Just the same I hope every American will be there by enlisting in the change we know it portends. Leadership at the top depends on the base being persuaded and activated.
Expectations are high -- probably too high -- for the inauguration of our 44th President Barack Obama on Jan. 20. Because youth played such an important role in his election, I decided to inquire of several as to what they expected.
A recent issue of Newsweek on religion and homosexuality has again placed the issue on the public agenda. Hardly any church denomination has avoided the issue ever since conservative theology has made abortion and gay marriage their focus of political ideology.
It has been a long time since anyone asked us to sacrifice. Yet both candidates for President cited selflessness, service and the merits of sacrifice to change the direction of America.
Most of us are interested enough in history to reflect at mention of a time capsule placed in a cornerstone. Originally the stone in the corner kept the building from falling. The dictionary calls it "a foundation of something of primary importance -- usually also a repository of historical …
The founding fathers didn't know what they started when the words "All men are created equal" were included in the Declaration of Independence. Many of them were slave owners.
Valparaiso should realize what a treasure we have in Valparaiso University. The reasons have been reiterated in the installing of its 18th president Mark Heckler.
The vote Nov. 4 may define the American dream for a generation. The choices are stark and clear. We are in an economic tailspin with unemployment creeping up and manufacturing creeping down. We are bogged down in an endless war with terrorism that has drained our treasury and decimated our m…
Both Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Illinois Gov. Blagojevich have come up with proposals to lease the state's lotteries.
Two different views of Capitalism are coming into a headcrash. "The economic crisis is not a Wall Street or Main Street crisis but an American crisis," Said Sen. Barack Obama. He is right.
The final weeks of a political campaign often brings out the worst in human nature. It's called "dirty politics or the sleaze factor." We are in that period now.
Despite the media hype, John McCain's surprise choice of Sarah Palin as the vice presidential candidate of the Republican Party may have been his undoing on Nov. 4. At stake is the divisive attempt to pander to the right wing of the party.
My first experience with binge drinking occurred in high school when a classmate got drunk after the basketball season, lay outside, caught pneumonia and died.
I have empathized with Brett Favre's agony in the dilemma of retirement. It is not an easy adjustment for we mortals. It is especially tough for sports heroes.
Four hundred years ago the English settled in Plymouth and Jamestown in the same century the other great European power, France, settled in Canada and claimed the whole continent for France.
Francis is well known in Valparaiso. The 13th century saint is best known for his friendship with animals and birds as legend says he talked with them.
With six months left in his term, President Bush is giving much thought to the "wake he leaves behind his ship of state."
Mary Mwaura grew up in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. She and her family became Christian. Today she is a Lutheran Deaconess in Valparaiso looking to start a new life.
Random thoughts cross my mind in this post-primary run to the fall elections.
Hunger is rising again in America. One in 10 Americans lives with what the census bureau calls food insecurity, forcing them to skip meals. Food prices are climbing more than 5 percent a year.
The political furor over retired Pastor Jeremiah Wright may accelerate into the fall campaign. Wright revealed the bitterness and bias of the black experience in America in his untimely remarks before national television.
Foreclosures in Porter County in 2007 jumped 37 percent to 493 according to the Sheriff's Department. In Lake County the number was 1,697. The nationwide meltdown of the housing mortgage market is bad as 2.8 million face foreclosures.
Johnny Depp has gone from Crown Point. An acclaimed movie star attracts crowds. We are all prone to celebrity fetishes. Will this carry over to the notorious gangster he depicted?
Not since John F. Kennedy has faith played such a role in a national election as today. It is a mixed bag that touches on a candidate's value system, his/her integrity, balance between compromise and understanding of growing American diversity.
My son Earl returned from a visit to Dubai on the Persian Gulf. He was fortunate to view a private camel race where the jockeys were robots programmed by remote control.
Author John Gresham reports 130 death row prisoners who were later proven innocent. "Wrongful convictions occur every week," he says. "Eye witness identification is mostly wrong. Something is wrong with our social justice system."
It's that time of year again -- basketball tourneys -- coaches being fired and hired - Hoosiers call it March Madness.
The customer ahead of me at the check-out counter had 10 plastic bags of groceries. The bags are free and she never had to give a thought to what happens to them. That will change.
To anyone who knows little about Afghanistan and less about kite contests, the first novel by Khaled Hosseini and the movie by the same name, "Kite Runner," comes as a pleasant surprise.
Valparaiso University has been called a "model for observing Martin Luther King Jr. Day on college campuses." The 14th program on Jan. 21 lived up to the expectations of President Harre who initiated the program in 1995.
Why was religion not included in the December Annapolis Conference to jump start the lagging peace process in the land called holy by Judaism, Christianity and Islam?
The issue of torture of prisoners of war is not new. Shortly after the end of World War II, some Japanese were prosecuted for water boarding which the Geneva conventions defines as illegal and torture.
During Advent a sensitive pastor had his congregation register their hometown as they entered the sanctuary. Then he asked them go sit in the areas of their origin; Michigan, Indiana, Chicago, etc. they soon realized that all had moved from somewhere - were emigrants and immigrants.
Can you imagine a 10-year-old U.S. Naval officer commanding burly sailors and even a ship? In Valparaiso public and parochial schools that remarkable story ties in with the name of Captain David Porter and the Battle of Valparaiso in 1814.
One of the goals of the Iraq War was to establish a mid-east democracy that would be an example to other peoples in the Arab world. Lately that goal seems to have been dropped as unrealistic in the light of the elected Iraqi government's inability to bring a consensus among Sunnis, Shiites a…
Year after year of Thanksgivings makes us wonder what's new that can grab our attention in this favorite of holidays that hasn't been too messed up by commercialism. My conclusion is that it is not gratitude alone but gratitude in the midst of adversity.
Racism has a variety of symbols and words that denote denigration and hatred. I recall in the 1980s a cross being burned at a Valparaiso-Gary Roosevelt football game. It was dismissed as a prank. Indiana has no hate crime law.
The 14 1/2 hour epic by Ken Burns on "The War" has brought into our homes the greatest cataclysm in history with unimagined brutality in which a whole generation knew the worst and the best of human nature.
Finally the issue of how many hospitals can Porter County afford has surfaced after Porter was sold to Community Health Systems of Tennessee. At last count it was four hospitals on the 49 bypass.
There are many stories and opinions as to who or what is a Hoosier? Origins of the term are wrapped in myth but have stuck. One popular story comes from Indiana's renown poet, James Whitcomb Riley.
CNN's six-hour program "God's Warriors" in August has brought home the crucial issue of how religion and politics inter-relate in Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Christiane Amanpour, chief international correspondent for CNN, reveals a distressing picture of how the three major world religi…
While the Iraqi and U.S. Government are both on vacation it is a good time for all to search our conscience on how to salvage something good from an immoral war. First we must face up to our sinful nature that arrogantly proclaimed itself the saviors of the Middle East. The lives of thousand…
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Should the new Porter County Council districts take effect in 2014 or after next year's elections?