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The State of the Union

The State of the Union

An article from the Religion News Service considers implications of some of the invitations issued to attend President Obama’s final State of the Union address tonight.

It’s evidence of the role that religion and moral values are playing in the nation’s politics as we head into the heart of the presidential campaign

writes David Gibson.

The guests he highlights run across the religious and political spectrum:

Two members of the Little Sisters of the Poor will be hosted by House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican who wants to highlight religious opposition to the contraception mandate in Obamacare. The order runs a chain of nursing homes and say allowing such coverage for their employees forces them to compromise their religious beliefs.

Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who was jailed briefly last year for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, will be in attendance with her lawyer; the last time Davis was in Washington it was for a secret meeting with Pope Francis that blew up into a controversy when the Vatican discovered the pontiff had been set up.

Jim Obergefell, an Ohio real estate agent who was the lead plaintiff on the Supreme Court case last June that gave gay couples across the country the right to marry, will be a guest of the president.

Obama has also invited Refaai Hamo, a Syrian refugee and scientist who fled that country’s civil war, and settled with four of his children in Michigan last month; his presence is a visual rejoinder to the growing calls to bar refugees from Syria or to set up religious restrictions for entry. Hamo’s family background is Kurdish, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Mexican-born Oscar Vazquez will be another guest of the president and will highlight the immigration reform issue that has galvanized and divided religious groups: Vazquez was brought to the U.S. illegally as a child, earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering, returned to his home country and re-entered the country legally, and then joined the Army and served a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

An empty chair in the president’s box will represent the victims of gun violence.

Read the article here. Whom would you invite?

Photo: Kim Davis

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Paul Woodrum

Kim Davis' picture? Really? Symbol of bigotry and religion gone wild. She looked about as happy sitting in the House of Representatives gallery as she does in the picture above. Dear Café, you could have done better.

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David Allen

It appears you don't recognize irony.

You can choose the photos you guys prefer, on the days that you guys are the volunteer editors. Deal?

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David Allen

Andrew has been chosen as a candidate to become the eighth Bishop of Northern Indiana, so that could be one opening if he is elected.

You could make your interest known to Jon White, the managing editor.

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Jerald Liko

Is there a need for volunteer editors? That would be a cool way to get more involved with the cafe!

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Jay Croft

I second Paul Woodrum. Her photo gives me the creeps, and seeing her sitting in the gallery was even more creepier.

According to the web, she came with her lawyer. Was she going to slap a lawsuit on the President?

That woman also got to meet the Pope, who of course didn't realize that he was being manipulated.

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Philip Snyder

I would set aside an empty chair for all the children killed by abortion.

I would set aside empty chairs for the victims of the Benghazi attack and invite soldiers who were ordered to stand down when they attempted to mobilize to rescue the men defending the Ambassador.

I would invite bakers or florists or photographers who were financially ruined for exercising their first amendment right to freedom of religious expression.

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Doug Simpson

There was no stand down order issued. It's been debunked over and over again. I'll even link an article from Fox News of all sources to corroborate that:

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/11/21/no-stand-down-order-or-military-missteps-in-benghazi-attack-gop-controlled.html

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David Allen

I don't think that the truth has ever really stopped Philip from promoting falsehoods here.

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JC Fisher

"I would set aside an empty chair for all the children killed by abortion."

No empty chair then!

Sigh, I'm resigned that I'll have to fight my entire life-long for my person-with-a-uterus rights, against those who see me (having that body part) as their property. "The arc is long..." God, give me strength!

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Bob Button

Keep fighting. You are absolutely in the right. The anti-choice side will not prevail.

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David Allen

I would set aside an empty chair for all the transgendered folk who have been murdered.

I would set aside an empty chair for all the GLBTI kids who have committed suicide.

I would set aside an empty chair for all of the GLBTI kids living on the streets.

I would set aside an empty chair for all the veterans living on the street.

Etc., etc., etc,

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