Busted Halo
Features : Politics & Culture
September 11th, 2005
"Pay It Forward"

Kim Statkevicus had it all. A successful, loving husband, a great house in the suburbs, a 13 month old son and another child on the way—the picture perfect American dream. But on September 11, 2001 Kim’s husband, Derek was among the many killed in the World Trade Center. As she began to mourn the loss of her husband complete strangers came rushing to her aid. “Derek died in a very public way,” she said in a recent phone interview, “so the outpouring of support for me was immense. Because I was pregnant I received so much stuff, and it just kept on coming in. While I was very grateful, I also wondered what I was going to do with [all of it], much of which I didn’t need.”

Kim (pictured…

July 22nd, 2005
Remembering Star Trek’s James “Scotty” Doohan

Before I begin I need to get something out of the way. “Hello, my
name is Dave and I’m a recovering Trekkie.” Phew! It feels so good to get that off my chest. But I still need to come clean with you, though I’ve been in recovery for quite some time I must admit that I had a “slip” when I learned of the death on July 20th of James “Scotty” Doohan, star of the original “Star Trek” series.
While many people focus on Kirk and Spock, the show’s two primary characters, Scotty was always one of my favorite Trek characters. The Starship Enterprise would have been nothing without Scottish Chief Engineer Mr. Scott, who saved the Enterprise and its crew from demise on many occasions. The pop culture lexicon…

July 8th, 2005
The well-known social activist and author of God's Politics talks with Busted Halo

In the months leading up to the 2004 presidential election, the issue of faith—particularly how George W. Bush’s Christian beliefs influence his decisions and policies—became pivotal. While many cited “moral issues” as being important with regard to who they voted for, others felt as though President Bush, the Republican Party and even some religious leaders had hijacked a narrow religious agenda based on abortion and homosexuality and positioned the president as the only choice for voters concerned about morality.
Jim Wallis was a voice of reason and balance in that divisive debate, publicly encouraging the President, as well as Republicans, Democrats and voters in general…

July 2nd, 2005
Live 8 organizer Bob Geldof takes a second crack at reducing poverty

“We don’t want your money—we want you!” You’ve seen the commercials—a quick montage of famous faces imploring viewers to help eliminate poverty forever. This marketing blitz is meant to grab our attention and focus us on a meeting that will take place in Edinburgh,
Scotland on July 7th, 2005. The leaders of the 8 richest countries in the world are gathering here to discuss trade practices, debt relief and how to halt the spread of AIDS, among other topics. Many people around the world hold out hope that at this meeting the “G8″ countries will pledge serious financial resources for an unprecedented effort toward eradicating poverty throughout the world. It is exciting,…

May 16th, 2005
The ethics of genetic engineering

In 1997, Ethan Hawke starred in a little-known movie about human genetic engineering called “GATTACA.” The title cleverly uses only the letters G, A, T, C, which stand for the four bases that make up deoxyribonucleic acid, better known as DNA. The movie was not a huge hit, but the topic it addressed certainly struck a chord with many people. According to the website for the Internet Movie Database (IMDB.com), “When Gattaca was first released, as part of a marketing campaign there were adverts for people to call up and have their children genetically engineered. Thousands of people called, wanting to have their offspring genetically engineered.”
Five years ago, a young boy named Adam…

May 11th, 2005
Little chance for dialogue with protesters at The Vagina Monologues

Some plays just shouldn’t be performed at a Catholic university. Take, for example, a recent production by Fordham University students that included appearances by demonic forces, implied sexual intercourse between unmarried persons, murderous plots, traffic in slaves, blasphemy, implied homosexual attractions, and worship of pagan deities. How dare the Jesuits who run this university allow such a thing! Think of the poor college students being subjected to this insidious propaganda! Thank God for the protesters who showed up every night to boycott performances in the name of decency!
I jest, of course, and there were, as a matter of fact, no protesters, and the play in question was William Shakespeare’s…

May 1st, 2005
CNN's Vatican analyst and National Catholic Reporter correspondent sits down with BustedHalo to talk about the death of John Paul II, the election of Pope Benedict and where the Catholic Church is headed

If you happened to be anywhere near a television set during the extensive media coverage of the death of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict, chances are you are familiar with John Allen Jr. Allen, who serves as a Vatican analyst for CNN and NPR in additon to his role as correspondent for National Catholic Reporter seemed omnipresent during those weeks as he
helped interpret the breaking news at the Vatican for American viewers. Just seven weeks after the installation of Pope Benedict, his new book The Rise of Benedict XVI: The inside story of how the pope was elected and where he will take the Catholic Church,… has hit the shelves. On the eve of its June 7th release, Allen, 40, stopped by BustedHalo’s

March 27th, 2005
A review of Bob Dylan's autobiography, Chronicles: Volume I

When Greil Marcus reviewed Bob Dylan’s eagerly awaited 1970 album Self-Portrait for Rolling Stone, he began with the infamous line “what is this s—t?” Dylan’s legions of fans, Marcus included, suffered traumatic disillusionment upon listening to the inscrutable collection of covers and poorly-produced musical experiments to be found in Self-Portrait, in large part because all were expecting something more revealing from the “self portrait” of the larger-than-life musician whose impact on popular culture had been—and continues to be—so enormous. While Chronicles, the first in a promised series of autobiographical works by Dylan, offers far more to…

March 19th, 2005
Author of The Rosary: A Path into Prayer

Jazz singer, author, triathlete Liz Kelly has packed an awful lot of living into 37 short years. The Minnesota native has traveled and lived all around the globe but now calls Boston home. Over the course of BustedHalo’s interview with Kelly she spoke very candidly on topics ranging from her upbringing and current position at Harvard University to her spiritual journey back to her faith–including her harrowing experience as a rape victim in her mid 20s.
BustedHalo: From what I understand your family plays an important part in your life. Do you come from a big family? …
Liz Kelly (shown with her father, left): Yes, I have six brother and sisters–five girls and two boys–and I am sixth of seven,

March 2nd, 2005
A Journey of Faith From MTV to the Priesthood

Before he reached 30, Dave Dwyer had already achieved some pretty significant career goals in the field of television. The Syracuse University graduate had started out filing video tapes at MTV and quickly became involved in on-air production. By the time he was 25 he was directing a talk show for the newly launched Comedy Central cable channel. Though he was well on his way to bigger and better things in television, Dwyer’s life took a rather sudden turn when he felt a strong call to the priesthood while attending the World Youth Day rally in 1993. Soon after, he left the entertainment industry and entered the Paulists. Bill McGarvey and Mike Hayes sat down with Father Dave to talk about everything from Adam…

February 27th, 2005
Thoughts on Freedom

The following is a reflection written by Sheila Provencher, 32, who lives and works in Baghdad, Iraq, with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). CPT is an ecumenical organization that works with local people in areas of violence (including the West Bank, Colombia and Iraq) to seek nonviolent solutions to situations of injustice and oppression. Sheila (shown left in white), who holds degrees from Harvard and Notre Dame, joined CPT in Baghdad in December, 2003.
BustedHalo.com will feature Sheila’s occasional reflections on daily life in Iraq, the Iraqi people and the challenges they face during the American occupation.

In this last week, countless Iraqi Muslim friends have expressed condolences to me…

February 1st, 2005
Not everything is black and white

Even Dave Chappelle and Jay-Z weren’t cool enough. For some reason, my attempts to fit Black History Month into my high school junior English lesson plans by drawing parallels between these contemporary black entertainers and the work of icons like Frederick Douglas and Langston Hughes just wasn’t working. It worked when I made Catcher in the Rye cool by watching the thematically similar movie, Igby Goes Down, and they really got into it when we did a feminist analysis of The Great Gatsby . Some students might have groaned at the extra work, but they also talked in class, and, I hope, learned something. Now it seemed my class had become the one the kids just had to struggle though. Of the 50 or so girls in…

January 6th, 2005
HBO's latest comedy phenomenon is vulgar, offensive and hilariously revealing

Yes, it’s crass. It’s crude. And it’s more than a little insensitive. All these charges can and should be leveled against Da Ali G Show , which recently completed its second short season on HBO. Nevertheless, Ali G’s critics miss the most important quality of the show, that Sacha Baron Cohen and his trademark alter egos Ali G (the rapper straight outta Staines), Borat Sagdiyev (Kazakhstan’s top journalist) and Bruno (the cartoonishly gay Austrian fashionista) are practicing a kind of guerilla comedy that does much to reveal and eviscerate some of modern American culture’s most laughable assumptions about itself and others.
The Cambridge-educated Cohen first earned…

January 4th, 2005
Tackling the abortion issue without propaganda in school

Teaching morality to sixteen-year-old girls requires a lot of patience, particularly when it comes to issues that revolve around the bedroom. After all, when you are sixteen you have all the answers.
I realize now that this is a necessary trait. I don’t think I could have survived my teens if I had possessed the awareness of life’s ambiguities that I have now. That sense of being sure about everything works like a kind of helpful insulation against the cold breezes of life.
Climbing the Great Wall of Abortion But knowing this about teens doesn’t make it any easier to teach them about complex issues of morality…especially abortion. In the all-girls Catholic high school I teach at in New York…

January 2nd, 2005
The Reiki ministry of Sister Claudine Picard, RSM

This time of year, we promise to strip inches off our waist, build muscle on our upper arms and paint our teeth white. But Sister Claudine Picard, a small woman with fairy-grandmother curls and gentle eyes has a different New Year’s resolution suggestion: attend to your “universal life energy,” otherwise known as Reiki.
After 55 years of ministry as a math teacher, AIDS counselor and parish pastoral associate, Sr. Claudine may seem like an unlikely advocate for a healing technique based on the existence of a “spiritually guided life force energy.” But this Catholic Religious Sister of Mercy has witnessed firsthand the benefits of this ancient hands-on healing ministry and…

January 2nd, 2005
A first-hand exploration of the conflict between Israel and Palestine

Editorial Note: Through Father Tom Ryan of the Paulist office for ecumenical and interfaith relations BustedHalo Editor, Bill McGarvey was asked to participate in a study mission to Israel from Jan 1-Jan 9. The purpose of the trip is to meet with both Israelis and Palestinians to get some sense of what this conflict–which we see constantly played out on our tv screens and the front page of our newspapers–is like firsthand.
The trip is being sponsored in part by a group called the American Israeli Friendship League (AIFL) and they are being led by Sister Carol Rittner who has written numerous books on genocide and the Holocaust and is a professor at Stockton State College. The rest of the group consists…

December 19th, 2004
BustedHalo speaks with the nun who changed the Catholic Church's teachings on anti-Semitism.

Sitting in her wheelchair and tethered to a constant supply of oxygen, 84-year-old Sr. Rose Thering doesn’t exactly fit the image of a righteous crusader for change. But this Dominican sister who challenged the Catholic Church’s long-held teachings regarding the Jewish people has been an unlikely hero in the decades-long struggle to change Catholic attitudes. Through her doctoral research, which played a pivotal role in Vatican II, and her activism since then, this diminutive nun from the Midwest has been instrumental in officially changing the Catholic Church’s position on its relationship with Jews and reversing the Church’s teachings that blamed Jews for the death of Jesus.…

November 9th, 2004
Confessions of a Reluctant Bush Voter

“When you get drafted, you’ll be sorry you voted for Bush,” some co-workers angrily told me after they heard John Kerry was going to concede.
Considering that I’m a thirty-something desk jockey who gets winded walking up the subway stairs, that is a scary thought � particularly for the U.S. military. But I didn’t have the inclination to argue about it or point out that the only draft resolutions brought before Congress recently were sponsored by a Democrat.
The reality is I did vote for Bush, albeit reluctantly. I considered a write-in vote for John McCain (who I believe would make a better President) but ultimately decided it would be a cop-out on my part. A major part of my reasoning…

November 7th, 2004
A mother and son search for hope on the campaign trail

On the eve of the election, I knew I needed to be in Cleveland. The democratic vote in this key swing state would be lost or found in the urban Ohio district of Cuyahoga County. If the election turned out the way I hoped, there’s no place else I’d rather be and if the worst were to happen then I’d know that I’d done everything I could. As one of my fellow canvassers said “I’ll have bitching rights for the next four years.”
My 12-year-old son Gregory and I decided to make the drive from upstate NY to volunteer with America Coming Together in Cleveland. Gregory home schools and we’d been throwing around the idea of campaigning for weeks. What a great lesson it would make.…

October 23rd, 2004
The Rise and Resignation of NJ Governor Jim McGreevey

You couldn’t have a conversation of any depth with New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey without hearing nostalgic stories about his Catholic school childhood. Born in Jersey City, the son of working-class Irish Catholic parents, McGreevey had a childhood many Northeast Catholics would recognize. His family left the old neighborhood in Jersey City for the promise of the suburbs, and young Jim went to St. Joseph’s High School in Middlesex County, where the post-war housing and highway boom in central New Jersey took shape. Eventually, he received a law degree from Georgetown University. He also has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and a master’s in education from…

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