Editor's note: Anika Rahman is president and chief executive of the Ms. Foundation for Women.
By Anika Rahman, CNN
(CNN) - After Thursday's vice presidential debate, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell was emphatic that moderator Martha Raddatz's question about the role of the candidates' faith in their positions on abortion had "absolutely no business in a government that has a separation of church and state."
In the now-famous words of Vice President Joe Biden, "That's a bunch of malarkey."
All of us are guided by an internal code of morality, whether it is dictated by religion or by personal responsibility to humankind. Both Rep. Paul Ryan and Biden were explicit that their faith informs all of their decision-making, and that includes issues related to a woman's body.
"I don't see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith," Ryan said. Biden echoed his sentiments, saying his religion "defines" who he is and has "particularly informed" his social doctrine. (The difference in their approaches lies in Biden's refusal to shape national abortion policy according to his personal beliefs, an important distinction for candidates to make.)
While abortion is often framed as a matter of rights (with many women supporting it merely on principle rather than personal necessity), its implications for women go far beyond the mere theoretical.
By Chris Isidore @CNNMoney
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - The American Civil Liberties Union sued Morgan Stanley on Monday, charging the Wall Street firm discriminated against African-American homeowners and violated federal civil rights laws by providing funding for risky mortgages.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York, is the first that connects racial discrimination to the process of bundling subprime loans into mortgage-backed bonds that were then sold to institutional investors and pension funds. The lawsuit was filed behalf of five Detroit residents, and asks the court to certify the case as a class action. It argues as many as 6,000 black homeowners in the Detroit area may have suffered similar discrimination.
By Jessica Ravitz, CNN
Atlanta (CNN) – Sixteen years after Susan Shulman Tessel lost her father, she sat on a Southern college campus Wednesday night and couldn't stop thinking about him. Surrounded by hundreds in a packed ballroom, she cried because he was missing. He should have been there with her and her mother. He deserved to be.
The late Irving Shulman was the only Jewish man to enter Emory University’s School of Dentistry in 1948. That was the same year someone else came to the school: the newly appointed dean, John E. Buhler.
After one academic year, Shulman flunked out. Buhler stayed on for 13 years, leading what some Jewish students would refer to as a “reign of terror.” Between 1948 and 1961, when Buhler left, 65% of Jewish students either failed out or were forced to repeat up to two years of coursework in the four-year program.
Those who lasted often paid. There were insults from professors such as “dirty Jew,” accusations by faculty of cheating and questions from the dean like, “Why do you Jews want to be dentists? You don't have it in your hands.”
Tessel's dad earned the distinction of being the first who failed.
What defines you? Maybe it’s the shade of your skin, the place you grew up, the accent in your words, the make up of your family, the gender you were born with, the intimate relationships you chose to have or your generation? As the American identity changes we will be there to report it. In America is a venue for creative and timely sharing of news that explores who we are. Reach us at email@example.com.
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