God Is Not Dead and Messages that Resonate

 

God Is Not Dead, the low budget surprise hit of the season, is drawing audiences and brickbats that seem out of proportion to the movie itself.

God Is Not Dead is an uber low-budget film that opened in a limited number of theaters to consistently terrible reviews. The movie has a predictable plotline and, with the exception of Kevin Sorbo, who had the starring role in the television series Hercules, unknown actors.

Yet it is pulling in the $$. The small side theaters where it is showing are filling up. It’s been in those theaters long enough for any roll that accrued to the film through early direct marketing to churches has died. But the audiences keep coming, and, surprisingly, they are mostly young people who cheer and applaud when the film’s hero vanquishes the villain.

At the same time, a matching vitriol, not toward the film itself, but toward it’s message, is dotting the internet like a bad case of chickenpox.

What’s with this little film?

I didn’t get around to seeing the movie until recently, so I attended it with a post-direct-marketing audience. I personally witnessed the full theater of young people, with late-comers going from aisle to aisle, looking for a seat. I saw and heard the entire audience cheer and clap at the gotcha line aimed at the villainous professor.

I came home wondering if this was an Oklahoma thing. I looked at the box office results, and it turned out that $2 million God Is Not Dead was in range with $125 million Noah for the weekend’s box office. Meanwhile the Christian-bashing thought meisters of the internet were in a rageful froth over the film’s astonishing success.

Predictably, this spiteful jabbing was aimed, not at the film itself, but at Christians in general. The basic message in these opinion pieces is simple. Here’s the gist of it: YOU CHRISTIANS ARE STUPID, PARANOID FOOLS! YOU ARE NOT PERSECUTED!!!! NOW SIT DOWN, SHUT UP AND STOP SPENDING YOUR MONEY ON A FILM WITH A MESSAGE TO THE CONTRARY OF WHAT WE TELL YOU!!!

It turns out that there are at least three underlying messages in the success of God Is Not Dead, and only one of them is in the film itself.

I think that God Is Not Dead is somewhat analogous to the Billy Jack movies of the 70s. It has a message that strikes a powerful chord with the younger generation of Christians. Every Christian kid who’s sat in a classroom while the professor derides people of faith, or who has been belittled and given lower grades for standing firm on their beliefs, knows from their own life experience that this movie is based on reality. I think that’s the reason that this movie has legs, and I also think it’s the reason that young adults in the audience burst into applause and cheers when the student zapped the bullying professor.

I know from personal experience that nothing gets the Christian-bashing crowd going more than Christians who call Christian bashing what it is. They turn personal in one ugly step. I’ve been accused of all sorts of things, including indifference to the mass murder of millions, because I raise these issues.

The Christians-are-crazy crowd is really heaping it on right now because of the surprise success of God Is Not Dead. They appear to be confounded by the fact that people will spend their money and go watch a film with a message about Christian bashing in higher education. According to them, Christians who believe that Christian bashing exists in higher education are all a bunch of paranoid hayseeds with very small brains.

What they fail to see is that this attitude in much of the media, along with the undeniable Christian bashing that occurs in a great deal of higher education, is exactly why God Is Not Dead is striking such a chord with so many people. It speaks to their experience, an experience which is denied, derided and belittled by both big-time entertainment and the internet mavens who are jabbing at God Is Not Dead’s surprising success.

I honestly thought that this movie had the possibility of a good run when I saw the previews for it. I knew that the Christian bashing that the film dramatizes is happening and that a lot of Christians are beginning to get enough of it.

I’m glad God Is Not Dead is a success. My reason is simple: I want Christian young people to stop allowing themselves to be bullied in the halls of academia by professors with personal problems.

To the extent that God Is Not Dead raises the self-awareness of Christian young people and helps then find their courage, I think it is a very good film, indeed.

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Conversion Story: Inside I was Dead

 

 

Jesus Saves.

It’s as simple as that.

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It’s Getting Awful Crowded Under that Bus. Another Catholic School Apologizes for a Speaker Teaching Catholic Morality

 

It’s getting awful crowded under that bus.

Another Catholic high school has apologized to “outraged” parents for a speaker who spoke on Catholic morality. The lucky winner this time is Prout School in Rhode Island.

It’s the same old, same old song once again. According to an article in Catholic Culture Father Francis “Rocky” Hoffman, who is the executive director of Relevant Radio, gave a talk to a group of high school students whose parents were subsequently “outraged” by its content.

Outraged parent, Kathleen Schlenz, says that the talk was “offensive regarding divorce, homosexuality, and even adoption.”

Just like the proverbial slot machine, David Carradini, principal of the Prout School apologized, saying that Father Hoffman’s answers to student questions “were not entirely representative of the full breadth of Church teaching on a number of complex and sensitive issues.” Dan Ferris, the Providence diocesan school superintendent, followed up with a statement proclaiming that the remarks were “disappointing and pastorally insensitive to Church teachings.”

In an interesting twist, Father Hoffman’s presentation was recorded so that it could be aired on Relevant network. Parents at Proust School said that the address should not be aired.

First Sister Jane. Now Father Hoffman. And I’m not even mentioning the mess in Seattle.

If this keeps up, we’re going to need a whole fleet of buses.

From Catholic Culture:

For the 2nd time in recent weeks, parents of students at a Catholic high school are protesting that a speaker’s presentation on Catholic morality was harsh and insensitive.

Parents of students at the Prout School in Rhode Island have expressed outrage over an appearance by Father Francis (“Rocky”) Hoffman, the executive director of Relevant Radio, a network of 33 Catholic stations. Kathleen Schlenz, whose daughter attends the school and heard the lecture, said that the presentation was offensive “regarding divorce, homosexuality, and even adoption.”

Father Hoffman, who was on retreat, was unavailable to comment. But David Carradini, the principal of the Prout School, apologized for the presentation and said that Father Hoffman’s answers to students’ questions “were not entirely representative of the full breadth of Church teaching on a number of complex and sensitive issues.” The Providence diocesan school superintendent, Dan Ferris, also issued a statement, saying that the priest’s remarks were “disappointing and pastorally insensitive to Church teachings.”

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Maybe the Only Honorable Place for a Catholic to be is Under the Bus

 

Fear God, and you will have no need of being afraid of mortal man. What can anyone do against you by his words and injuries? He rather hurts himself than you, nor can he escape the judgement of God, whoever he be. Keep God before your eyes. Thomas a Kempis

It’s getting crowded under the bus.

I would imagine that it’s also lonely and a bit shattering for the people who are under there.

First, we’ve got Mozilla, throwing their founder and the inventor of JavaScript under that old bus because he made a political donation six years ago in favor of Prop 8, or, to put it more simply, in support of traditional marriage.

Next, we’ve got Sister Jane Dominic Laurel who committed the “crime” of using sociological studies that the gay marriage/gay rights people claim are bogus in a presentation to high school students. Evidently, she said nothing, nothing, that was against Church teaching. The only half-way legitimate criticism that anyone can dig up is that parents  weren’t “informed” of the talk beforehand. Informing the parents beforehand sounds to me like the administrative responsibility of the school, not Sister Jane.

I’ll toss in one more. Father Marcel Guarnizo says he was removed from ministry for refusing communion to a woman who had informed him she was living in a sexual relationship with another woman.

Meanwhile, this priest (who is a Jesuit, so has different superiors, but the principle is the same) is supporting open defiance against Church teachings and writing about it in national Catholic magazines.

I wonder how many others are out there lying under buses for standing for what the Church has taught us we should stand for?

The forced resignation of Brandon Eich from Mozilla is different because the people who abandoned him were not bishops of the Church. I am not in any way abrogating their responsibility for acceding to an egregious and unconscionable attack on the principles of civil liberties which have allowed us to all live together in peace in this country for over 200 years.

I am saying that when a bishop of the Church throws people under the bus for following Church teaching, it … well … it gets too ripe to breathe.

When the zeitgeist turns, it sometimes turns ugly. You can get ugly mobs at your Catholic high schools, demanding the head of a nun. Situations like that are the ones that let true leaders shine. They are also the situations that lead the weak links to tarnish themselves and shame the rest of us.

A bishop who is a good leader must be a great follower. He must be a follower of Christ before anything else. A bishop who follows Jesus and lets the Holy Spirit work through him, will be able to deal with mobs without running away and abandoning his people. But bishops who decide that being a bishop is all about them, will not stand in the tough times.

Such is our fallen state. Jesus Himself told us that the tares would grow up alongside the wheat and not be separated out until Judgement Day. We, meaning you and I, have the task of remaining faithful to Our Lord, even if we have to do it alone, even if our priests and bishops abandon us, even if it makes social martyrs of us.

Make no mistake about it, those who destroy people’s careers and push them to the sidelines for supporting traditional marriage are making martyrs of them. I include bishops who do not stand by them among the martyr-makers.

The suffering of a Brandon Eich who had the corporation he founded and his life’s work stolen from him in what can only be described as an act of malice and spite, must be exquisite. Imagine what it is like to be Sister Jane or Father Guarnizo, who have given their lives to the Church, to have that Church cashier them as a matter of convenience for a bishop who won’t make a stand? Meanwhile those who ignore the Church’s teachings, or even deride them, are riding high.

So long as individual Catholics, ranging from priests, to nuns, to laity, can not rely on their bishops to stand by them when the angry mobs of the zeitgeist come at them for standing for Christ, the only honorable and faithful place for Jesus loving, Jesus following Catholics may very well be under the bus.

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Euthanasia: Putting You Out of My Misery

 

Recent arguments about euthanizing children, those with dementia and healthy adults pulled the mask off the death-dealing death with dignity movement.

Advocates of medical murder tossed the pretense that only those who were fatally ill, in irremediable suffering and could give informed consent would ever be subject to euthanasia over the side of the political ship without a fare-thee-well. All of a sudden, the arguments morphed to a question of choice, as in the notion that people should have the right to hire their own government-approved hit man and have themselves done in if they wanted.

This swung the door wide open to medically murdering people who are depressed, on the depressive side of being bi-polar or, I guess, have just had a bad day and decide to chuck it all. Legally sanctioned murder doesn’t come cheap. Evidently a well-to-do woman Italian woman traveled to Switzerland (while her family thought she was going to a spa) and paid $14,000 to have herself offed. The reason? She was getting on in years and had become depressed about losing her looks.

Statistics concerning euthanasia have repeatedly shown that where it is allowed, medical people decide to jump the moral shark and begin killing people without the victim’s knowledge or consent. This is ignored by euthanasia advocates who just toss out slick lies and facile arguments to confuse and obfuscate the plain facts of what is happening. Just to be clear, what is happening is legalized medical murder.

Let me say the word again: Murder.

What it often comes down to is killing someone instead of writing a script or taking them out to a movie and spending time with them. I wonder how many people are being constantly badgered by family members and caretakers to assent to euthanasia in order to get them out of the way and hurry along getting an inheritance. How many doctors decide to kill their patients for no reason because that is the ethos of the doctor’s environment and their personal morality?

It’s not a question of sparing people misery and suffering. It’s a question of putting you out of my misery by killing you and getting you and your problems out of the way.

Here are a few statistics from LifeNews.com concerning the new business of putting you out of my misery:

In Belgium, one study found that 32% of the assisted deaths were done without request.

Another Belgian study found that only 53% of the assisted deaths were reported and 73% of the reported assisted deaths fulfilled the requirements of the euthanasia law and .

Netherlands study found that 23% of all assisted deaths are not reported. Euthanasia in the Netherlands has been extended to psychiatric conditions. In 2013, euthanasia for psychiatric reasonsoccurred 45 times.

Recently a former leader of a euthanasia group in the Netherlands stated that the Netherlands euthanasia law has derailed.

A study from Switzerland found that in 16% of the assisted suicide deaths, the person who died had no physical illness.

Some real life stories.

healthy woman, who was becoming blind, died by euthanasia in the Netherlands because she thought that it would be intolerable to live without knowing if her clothes were clean.

depressed woman died by euthanasia in Belgium, even after her psychiatrist thought that treatment was possible.

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Court Upholds Ban on Religious Services in NYC Public Schools

 

A federal appeals court upheld a ban on renting public school facilities to religious organizations for religious services.

In my opinion this ruling is clearly discriminatory.

The reason I say it is discriminatory is that it is aimed at one group of people only. The city evidently allows rental of their school facilities to other groups for their private purposes. This ruling singles out religious groups and applies a prohibition to them that is not applied to other groups of people.

From Catholic News Agency:

A federal appeals court has upheld a New York City policy prohibiting religious services in public school buildings, a decision critics said wrongly targets churches for exclusion.

Jordan Lorence, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, objected to the April 3 decision, saying that “the First Amendment prohibits New York City from singling out worship services and excluding them from empty school buildings.”

He noted that the buildings are “generally available to all individuals and community groups” for activity related to the community’s welfare. Groups that are religious should not be excluded.

Two of the three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overruled a lower court’s finding that the city’s education department’s policy wrongly restricted the free exercise of religion.

The two appellate judges said the policy seeks to avoid the risk of illegally endorsing a religion.

The dissenting judge noted that among the 50 largest school districts in the U.S., New York City is the only one to exclude religious worship from school facilities.

Small churches in poor neighborhoods have said they are particularly affected by the rule since they rely on the inexpensive space, The New York Times reports.

The Bronx Household of Faith, a small church that describes itself as “community-based,” filed a legal challenge to the rule.

Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, backed the policy and contended that religious congregations were “dominating” public schools each Sunday.

She said that when a school is “converted to a church in this way” it sends “a powerful message” that the government favors that church.

However, critics say that renting out space to religious groups with the same rules and standards as non-religious groups is in full adherence with the Constitution.

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Dr Alveda King, Niece of Martin Luther King, for Marriage

 

I was honored to meet Dr Alveda King when she was in Oklahoma for our annual pro-life event at the state capitol, Rose Day.

Dr King is a Pastoral Associate and Director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life.

She is the niece of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr, and the daughter of his brother, Reverend AD King. Her mother is Naomi Barber King.

Her family home in Birmingham, Al was bombed during the Civil Rights Movement, as was her father’s church in Louisville, Ky. Alveda was jailed for her Civil Rights activities. she is the author of How Can the Dream Survive If We Murder the Children? 

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Bishop Jugis Says He Supports Sister Jane — UPDATED

 

David Hains, who is the person LifeSiteNews quotes in the article on which I based this post, left a comment in Public Catholic’s combox. In the comment, he says that he did not make the statements that LifeSiteNews attributes to him. I called Mr Hains to verify that he had actually left the comment, and during our conversation, he told me that Bishop Jugis (no r) is going to issue a statement concerning Sister Jane soon. 

This post incorrectly spells of the name of Bishop Jugis both in the headline and several times throughout the article. As the Bishop’s spokesman I can assure you that he has not issued a statement on the matter at this time, 4/9/2014. The statement you are quoting came from Father Roger Arnsparger, Vicar for Education in the Diocese of Charlotte. Thank you for your interest in covering this story. 

Hooray and Huzzah!!

Bishop Jugis, of the Diocese of Charlotte, has finally issued a statement through his communications director in support of Sister Jane Dominic Laurel.

“Nothing in Sister’s talk opposed Church teaching,” Diocese of Charlotte Communications Director David Hains said in an interview with LifeSiteNews. Hains also said that “Sister would be welcome to speak in the diocese in the future.”

According to Hains, Bishop Peter Jugis is expected to make a public comment on the situation soon.

Sister Laurel withdrew from her position at Aquinas College and has taken a sabbatical in response to what sounds like abusive behavior from a mob. At the time, the Diocese did not support her. The bishop’s spokesman who came to a meeting which was attended by a large crowd tried to parse the situation by at least partially acceding to the crowd’s criticism of the sister.

I’ve read that as many as a thousand people attended that meeting. If this is true, and if the school in question is typical of most Catholic High Schools, there were almost certainly a large number of people at that meeting who were not affiliated with the school. This points to a basic problem, which is mob action that is incited and fed by people outside a community who have specific political and social agendas. In this case, the agenda is to silence the Catholic Church concerning its own moral teachings.

When the bishop’s spokesman walked into that room, he probably was unprepared for what he met there. It is entirely possible that he spoke out of fear and confusion or just plain being over-awed by the emotional violence facing him. It would be completely understandable if he stuttered a bit under these circumstances. However, throwing the sister under the bus should not have happened, no matter how much the crowd scared him.

The subsequent cashiering of Sister Jane also should not have happened. I am way past glad to hear that the Diocese has decided to take a more faithful stand in this matter. Hopefully, Bishop Jugis will say something that is clear-cut and settles the situation in favor of Sister Jane.

However, bishops all over the country should look at this and learn from it. These are perilous times for the Church. When a nun can be attacked by a mob in this manner for simply teaching Catholic morality, the message is clear that the Church is under attack.

The worst possible thing a bishop can do is accede to mobs that are attacking his own faithful people because they are being faithful.

I’m glad the Diocese has finally decided to issue a statement in support of Sister Jane. They should have done it the first day. Hopefully, Bishop Jugis’ statement will be clear-cut. Also hopefully, this will not signal a move toward parsing and fearfully choosing every word when teachers in that diocese teach the faith. We are called to proclaim the faith, not dip and dodge and try to make it fit in with the world.

In the future, I hope that bishops who are faced with this situation will not wait so long or let things get so out of whack before they do the right thing.

From LifeSiteNews:

The bishop of Charlotte is backing a Dominican nun who has been at the center of a fiery controversy since last month when she gave a speechpromoting Catholic teaching on sexuality to students at Charlotte Catholic High School.

After a public meeting with diocesan and school officials turned ugly, with parents and students alike shouting at administrators over what they perceived as “hateful” remarks criticizing homosexual behavior, divorce and extra-marital sex, a spokesman for the diocese told LifeSiteNews that the nun in question, Sr. Jane Dominic Laurel, did nothing wrong and will be welcome to speak on the issue again if she chooses.

Sr. Jane Dominic Laurel

“Nothing in Sister’s talk opposed Church teaching,” Diocese of Charlotte Communications Director David Hains told LifeSiteNews in an email. “Sister would be welcomed to speak in the diocese in the future.”

Hains said Bishop Peter Jugis is expected to make further public comment on the situation soon.

Sr. Laurel’s critics have complained about a section of her talk in which she discussed scientific findings related to the causes of homosexuality. According to the Charlotte Observer, she was accused of using “suspect anecdotes, antiquated data and broad generalizations to demonize gays and lesbians as well as divorced and single parents.”

But one Catholic scientist says he recently heard the sister give the exact same speech she delivered to the students, and in his opinion, there is nothing in it to which a practicing Catholic could possibly object.

“I was in attendance at the same presentation when given on Long Island, NY a few months ago,” Dr. Gerard Nadal told LifeSiteNews.  “In that meeting, Sister Jane gave medical and scientific data that came from reputable sources and were presented as examples of the consequences for human behavior that contravenes the moral magisterium of the Church. As a Ph.D. in medical science, and as a Catholic schooled extensively in my faith, I saw no contradictions, but rather a seamless presentation.”

Still, in light of all the controversy, Aquinas College announced in a press release Friday that Sr. Laurel has asked to take a sabbatical from her teaching and speaking duties for an indefinite amount of time.

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Mozilla Faces Negative Reaction to CEO Ouster

 

Are we facing a new kind of McCarthyism that is run by mobs?

 

Mozilla ran into a bit of chop because of the ouster of its high-profie CEO.

Brendan Eich, the inventer of JavaScript and all-around tech icon, was forced to resign his position as CEO of Mozilla and his membership on the Mozilla Foundation board because it was discovered that he had made a completely legal donation of $1,000 to the Proposition 8 campaign in 2008.

Mozilla tried to paint a self-righteous gloss over the whole thing by issuing a statement that sounded, oddly enough, like it was written by a computer. The statement contained vague references to “people who were hurt” and how Mozilla hadn’t been faithful to its “values.” Then there was an icing of claptrap about inclusiveness and diversity.

This latter is especially gag-inducing, considering that claims of “inclusiveness” and “diversity” are being use to justify big-brotherish group think and ruthless enforcement of lock-step conformity.

It turns out that at least 7,000 people were outraged enough to write about their non-support of Mozilla’s behavior on the Mozilla web site. Prominent gay marriage activist Andrew Sullivan also spoke out against what happened.

From the perspective of Mozilla itself, throwing Eich under the bus (It’s getting rather crowded under that bus, btw.) isn’t quite as high-profile as firing Steve Jobs from Apple was, but it’s just as stupid. Dump the guy who invented JavaScript and has ably led the company to challenge the big boys in the tech world because of completely legal, entirely private, low-profile political activity? Now that’s thinking.

I want to emphasize that this donation was so low-profile that it took six years for it to become an issue. They had to do research to find out about it.

Is that the new world of “inclusiveness” and “diversity?” Does diversity and inclusiveness mean you are free to think what you want as long as it agrees with the gay rights movement and you don’t do anything in your private life that someone can dig up and use against you to prove that you don’t agree with the gay rights movement?

Are people who support traditional marriage supposed to hide their beliefs and be afraid to exercise their right as free Americans to engage in political action on behalf of those beliefs for fear of losing their livelihood?

If this can happen to someone like Brendan Eich, is anyone in this country really free?

From The DailyCaller:

Mozilla, the company that operates the web browser Firefox, experienced its highest level of negative customer feedback the day after its embattled co-founder Brendan Eich resigned as CEO after gay rights activists objected to his appointment.

On Thursday, Mozilla forced Eich to resign just two weeks after hiring him. At issue was a $1,000 donation Eich gave in 2008 in support of California’s Proposition 8, a successful ballot initiative which banned gay marriage.

The decision to remove the man who invented the web scripting language JavaScipt did not sit well with many customers — many of them pelted Mozilla’s website with a surge of negative feedback.

On Friday, 94 percent of the sentiments registered on the site were “sad,” while six percent were “happy.” That translates to about 7,000 negative responses, compared to nearly 500 positive responses.

“Your abject and pathetic condemnation of an individual’s right to hold and support their own view on the world is simply unbelievable,” read one user’s feedback at the Mozilla site.

 

 

 

 

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I Wish I had a Dime …

I wish I had a dime for every time someone has maliciously lied about me during my 18 years in office.

I could retire the national debt.

If I took every instance of people with an agenda in the culture wars who lied about things I’ve supposedly done or things I’ve supposedly said and wrote them each on a separate piece of paper and laid those papers end to end, I could make a trail of lies that would go from here to Kansas.

When I was pro choice, the pro life people lied about me.

When I was pro life, the pro abortion people like about me.

I’ve had people put stories on the internet about how they heard me say something or other at speeches I never gave in places I’ve never been. I’ve had people I’ve never met give long, detailed descriptions of things I never said in conversations I never had.

The people who seem to know the most about me, including my deepest motivations, desires, and beliefs, are almost always people who’ve never met me.

I’ve been the object of witch hunts. Not once. Not twice. But as a way of life.

Why?

Because I was pro choice.

Because I am pro life.

Because I believe the Bible.

Because I do what I think is right and let the blamed chips fall.

So.

Do I believe that what has happened to Sister Jane in North Carolina and what happened to the priest who refused communion to a woman in Washington state are part of a widespread and systemic pattern of hazing and witch hunting against traditional Christians who support traditional marriage?

You bet I do.

Do I think we need to stand behind our own people when they are attacked in this manner?

Absolutely.

I can tell  you from personal experience that the people who are the best at standing with their own are the pro abortion, pro gay marriage crowd.

Those of us who favor traditional marriage and are pro life, have a real tendency to either stand back and watch while our people get machine-gunned, or to join in with the attackers by (1) believing their lies, (2) passing on their lies, (3) dumping our people and running away from them when they get in trouble.

I said it last night, and I’m going to say it again. If the bishop and priest who cashiered Sister Jane had my back, I would stand against a wall.

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