The old adage “if you can’t beat them, join them” is enjoying a resurgence in popularity amongst policy makers here in the United States. Many have called for an end to the “War on Terror” and celebrated the return of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan – but the new relationship developing in Washington is probably not what most had in mind. Murtaza Hussain explains in his article at Prism.

Before there were infographics there were…well, infographics. Susan Schulten takes a look at the art of early visual data representation in her new book on the U.S.census, Mapping the Nation. Of particular interest is this visual created by 1870 superintendent Francis Amasa Walker, charting “the ratio of church accommodation.”

Islamophobia is Not Pro-Israel.” You tell ‘em, Josh.

Want to wage a “war on women?” If conceiving of or voting for legislation mandating invasive procedures isn’t quite direct enough for you, then author Teresa Tomeo has a simple solution: give them access to birth control. Her new book, Wrapped Up: God’s Ten Gifts for Womenseeks to expose the “real conflict” taking place in this country.

Has Mrs. Tomeo convinced you? Then it’s TIME TO TAKE ACTION.

As the election drags on and Mitt Romney’s religion takes center stage, Mormonism’s minority status and Mitt’s chameleon-like policy missives beg one question: What’s Mormon and what’s just Mitt? As to the Mormon part, the answer seems pretty complicated and begins with the fact that Mormonism is, like any religious tradition, somewhat divided against itself. Or so Mary Barker claims. Read her take on “Mormonism’s Other Legacy” at Religion Dispatches.

Mitt’s Mormonism may be a hot topic these days, but, if the Pew Research Center is to be believed, it won’t make much difference come election day.

What’s more, the Mormons aren’t the only ones looking for a healthy dose of apocalypse. Scott Carlson at Grist points to entertainment media’s recent obsession with apocalyptic settings.

Apparently apocalyptic-romanticism is a uniquely human trait, though. Take this tidbit from the “Military UFOs: Secrets Revealed” panel co-hosted by the Smithsonian and the National Atomic Testing Museum: “If an alien were to land here, our common cold could kill him. His common cold could wipe out the population of planet Earth. If they’re smart enough to build a vehicle that could travel light-years of time, they’d be smart enough to know that our diseases could wipe out people.” For info on the rest of the proceedings, check out HuffPo’s article on the conference.

As we watch the Catholic church and its lay parishioners struggle to define its doctrine, William Doino, Jr. points to the continuing significance of the life of one American Catholic icon. “It is something all Christians can learn from, and seek to emulate.” Read his article on Dorothy Day at First Things.

How do you feel about “ecclesiastical inside jokes?” Can’t get enough, right? Well, they’re in here, but you’ll have to put up with Stephen Colbert being funny to find them. Terry Mattingly gives a play-by-play of Stephen Colbert’s appearance with Cardinal James Dolan at Fordham University on his blog. Titled “Humor, Joy, and the Spiritual Life,” the event takes a look at where faith and comedy mix.

“Neither side today is really making a historical argument. Each is seeking bedrock in which to anchor an opinion about modern government, and there is no bedrock.” Read William Hogeland’s take on the modern  liberal… and conservative abuses of the notion of “constitutionality” in his article for the Boston Review.

Tired of hearing about the war on religious freedom? Unfortunately for you, there may be some truth to all the invectives hurled from the pulpits in recent days. A new study by the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures Project suggests that there is a global increase in restrictions on religious freedom and hostility towards religion taking place. Of course the big question, “Why?,” remains to be addressed.

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