Daily Links: Tues., Sept. 20: Poverty, death penalty, and atheism

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Between the recent Census Report on poverty in America and the talk in Washington about balancing the budget and creating jobs, the economy continues to dominate the headlines.

Catholic Charities USA held its inaugural National Poverty Summit this week in Fort Worth, calling for a change in attitudes toward the poor. Archbishop Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. bishops' conference, is also calling for more discussion of poverty in homilies via a letter to his fellow bishops. And our own Liz Lefebvre looks at the numbers in the "class war" debate, based on a Congressman's lament over the mere $400,000 he has left over after feeding his family and paying his taxes.

In the wake of some cheering for the death penalty at the recent Republican debates, many in the nation focused this week on the case of Troy Davis and his appeal for clemency. Unfortunately, despite a long list of advocates on his side, Davis was denied his appeal and is set to be executed for a crime that many still believe he did not commit. Meanwhile, some are still wondering how so many Americans consider themselves supporters of the death penalty despite being pro-life.

In other legal news, apparently it is against the law in San Juan Capistrano, California, to host a Bible study in your own house. Well, at least if your neighbors complain about it.

More bad news for religion: CBS News reports on the ongoing story that not all are happy to have the pope visit Germany and Catholic Charities in Illinois will be forced to make major cuts if it loses its contract with the state for foster care and adoption. In other (related?) news, did you know that atheism is apparently on the rise?

Last but not least, one from the sports department: Marquette University is considering leaving the Big East and joining other top Catholic universities like Notre Dame and St. John's in forming an all-Catholic basketball conference. Maybe they can follow the lead of the U.S. Open and get priests to serve as referees.