In his 184-page papal encyclical released today, Pope Francis had harsh words for how humanity has treated the earth. “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth,” he wrote. "Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain." Encyclicals—papal letters that represent some of the Catholic church’s most important documents—are typically addressed directly to the Catholics around the globe. But this year, the pope had a larger audience in mind, saying the letter was addressed to “every person living on this planet.”
The pope took more than a year to write the encyclical, which was released in at least five languages and cites research from dozens of scientists and scholars. In it, he acknowledged that humans are primarily at fault for the large change in global temperatures. He argued that climate change is having serious consequences, including hurting the poor, and that developed countries have a responsibility to help less developed countries take steps to fight climate change. Slowing down the destruction of the earth will take a “bold cultural revolution,” he argued, which will require people in all areas of society to combat consumerism and structural injustices and practice responsible stewardship.
"We are not God," he wrote, "The Earth was here before us and has been given to us" ... Discuss
Way back in 1980, a court overturned Jerry Hartfield’s murder conviction and ordered a new trial. But today, 35 years later, Hartfield is still behind bars. Three years after his sentence was overturned, then-Texas Governor Mark White commuted his death sentence to a life sentence, despite the fact that the conviction had been overturned. Hartfield, who is estimated to have an IQ of 51, wasn’t aware that his case should have been retried until a fellow inmate informed him in 2006. He filed for a retrial and started working on his case with a state-appointed attorney. Two years ago, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals said the life sentence wasn’t valid, but prosecutors still intended to retry him and he stayed in prison. A judge argued that Hartfield did not take the steps to ask for a new trial, but others have argued that the state violated his constitutional right to a speedy trial. Despite the court’s ruling on the case, Hartfield is still awaiting his new trial. In an interview with the Associated Press, he explained that he had become a Christian in prison, and that “being a God-fearing person, He doesn’t allow me to be bitter. He allows me to be forgiving” ... Discuss
"Are you a football player?” I haven’t even settled in my airplane seat before I am peppered with smile-laced questions about my professional sports history. The question almost always comes from someone white, and genuinely nice—but the root of the sentiment is still the same: You’re in first class because you’re large and play sports.
It happens so often that I’ve prepared my answers, and my face, to disarm politely and redirect the conversation. I have learned that these are teachable moments, where I can push understanding into previously closed spaces. Read More