Daily Links, Oct. 10: Columbus, the cup, and Copts

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Was Christopher Columbus a mercenary, adventurer, or crusader? That’s what Religion News Service is asking this Columbus Day. For Federal employees, bankers, and students, today is an extension of the weekend. For those of us who want the day off but are concerned about just what we’re celebrating, it’s just another manic Monday. Thanks to the RNS article, I can finally feel good about wishing I had the day off because some historians claim that the destruction left in the wake of Columbus and his crew may have been in the name of Christ rather than greed.

As was predicted, another diocese is following Phoenix’s example to keep the cup from the people of God. The pastor explains in this parish bulletin that the church in the United States had permission to offer both the bread and the wine, but that the permission expired in 2005. When the U.S. bishops asked for an extension, they were denied. Phoenix was only the beginning. New translations and no cup. I expect that post-Christmas, the numbers in the pews will rapidly decline.

Tragically, many were killed in Egypt during clashes between Coptic Christians and the Egyptian military, who continue to rule the country after the ousting of former president Hosni Mubarak last February.  According to the Los Angeles Times, “The violence escalated quickly and jolted what had begun as a peaceful rally by Christians to protest the recent burning by Muslims of a church in southern Egypt. Copts began hurling bottles and rocks at security forces after military vehicles plowed through demonstrators as gunshots echoed overhead and crowds scattered.”

Our own Liz Lefebvre challenges Rep. John Boehner about the reality of the American Dream: “Does Boehner really consider forgoing food to pay rent to be a ‘necessary sacrifice’ to achieve not even success, but merely an existence that is one step away from homelessness?” This weekend Boehner had proclaimed, “There's nothing in this world that you can't accomplish, nothing you can't succeed at, if you're willing to work hard enough and if you're willing to make the sacrifices that are necessary.” I’ve heard that demographics and a little luck also help. But that’s just a rumor.

The example du jour of how hard work can pay off, is of course the late Steve Jobs. Pop culture commentator Jim Martin compares the popular response to Jobs’ death last week with the response official saints get.