As I’ve written before, we’ve started taking the Sunday edition of the Deseret News, which includes the Church News. It’s possible that what we get is a Readers Digest version because there’s no local news or comics in what we receive and we receive it on Saturday. So today’s paper included the November 27, 2011 edition of the Deseret News.

We kind of trashed the paper awhile back and I’ve been a bit disdainful ever since in my approach to reading it. I don’t know exactly how I’d categorize it—-there’s no real news, but this morning I was struck by several articles that I feel are quite meaningful and good food for thought.

Guess what? Nate Oman wrote an opinion piece titled “US uniquely obsessed with church-state conflicts”! And guess what else? He has a mustache and goatee. I wonder about his thesis—I never considered that church v state is a US issue. Perhaps we got this from our forefathers fight to practice their religion freely and now it’s evolved into a “save the state from religion” instead of “save the religion from the state” kind of deal.

“Counting the Poor in America” by Elizabeth Stuart explores the problem experienced in delineating who is truly poverty-struck and the differences in the ways helping organizations (mostly government) decide who’s poor. I’ve never quite understood this, because Bill and I are lower middle income by society’s standards, but we don’t feel that poor. I seriously don’t understand economy. Economics? Whichever.

Laura Marostica explores “Sexual harrasment common in schools, study reveals” and I wonder how much of this has gone on since the beginning of time. Or at least the beginning of schools. Sexual harrassment is different from bullying in that it’s gender based. Hmmmm….one thing I’ve noticed is that boy bullies targeting weaker boys will call them fags and sometimes sexually humiliate them. So, I guess I disagree with the conclusion that the issues are separate. And really, what difference does it make what we call it? As would be expected, the study points out that the majority of incidents go unreported. My Sarah experienced something at a dance once that was highly inapproriate and she was traumatized. We never reported it. I can’t think why we didn’t. Seriously, just don’t remember why we chose not to handle it. I think about the boy once in awhile and hope I meet him in a dark alley someday.

The article I found most interesting, though, is titled “The Children Left Behind” with the subtitle “Enforcing the law in a way that respects the sancity of the family.” Elizabeth Stuart again here. She researched the problem of illegals who are sent back to their country of origin without their children. She tells about a young man who was left to navigate life on his own at 16 when his father was arrested and sent back to Mexico. He is in foster care now and expects to be made an American citizen soon. Another young parent was sent back to Mexico without her two week old baby who was eventually adopted by an American family after a court fight. We’ve argued this issue ad nauseum in the bloggernacle, but I’m a bit surprised to see this in the Deseret News. I assume the slant reveals how the church feels about illegal immigration. I’m conflicted, as usual. The parents surely have to own up and accept their own responsibility in these situations. The tragic conclusions are not all the result of unfeeling US government laws and officials. I just seldom hear “we are part of the problem” from our immigrant communities.

There are a few other meaningful articles—-“Millennial generation struggles to relate to religion” by Joshua Bolding and “Having an education pays—even in a difficult job market” by Kirby Brown—-both worthy of discussion. Orson Scott Card wrote a piece about joy received when we sing together. Oh, here’s one! Tiffany Gee Lewis tells us “Why the ideal of the impossibly perfect family matters.” I’m annoyed before I begin to read this one. She recognizes the departure from perfection that typifies most families, but sticks to her conviction that we need “a benchmark that is absolute” and that “striving for it will bring us more happiness than measuring our ideals by any worldly standard.” I pretty much disagree.

My local paper brought us the news that locals were underwhelmed with Black Friday—not as many mobs as has been in years past and that the GOP field is still murky and crowded. The Chevy Volt has problems with fires from the battery and while we in little old Cedar City were relatively calm yesterday, some violence erupted in other cities. Some were injured and others lost their dignity and humanity in their fight to get the perfect gift at little cost. All to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace. An American student arrested in Cairo was releasted. Our editorial page doesn’t have any bloggernacle celebritys’ opinions. Saturdays are the days people “Vent” a feature of the paper which I hate because people can gripe anonymously. I wrote once about it when I was part of the writers group—-accusing those who posted on the Vent of having the moral courage of earthworms. Bill O’Reilly is of the opinion that the “occupy” movement are wearing on our nerves and a local young Democrat takes on the problem of labeling in southern Utah (and you’ve never known labels until you’ve lived here a few years and been different). I applaud his courage, but hate how he applies the caveat “maybe I’m wrong” to his concluding paragraph. Democrats in Utah are afraid. Very afraid. We are a Republican, judging, bunch here in Zion.

Still and all, our little local has more news in it—albeit a lot of bad news—than the Deseret News. But—-the articles in the Deseret News are meaningful, at least today and worthy topics for thought and action.

I’m wondering if as usual, I’m confused and this isn’t the real Deseret News, but some kind of addendum to be added to local papers statewide and somewhere there’s a real paper with actual news under the banner “Deseret News.”