Is Russia a Surprise Ally in the Defense of Persecuted Christians?

 

Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, is paying a visit to the Pope.

According to Vatican Radio, this is the fourth time President Putin has visited the Vatican. He met twice with Pope John Paul II and once with Pope Benedict XVI.

President Putin, who is an Orthodox Christian, has said through his spokespeople that he and Pope Francis will focus on, among a couple of other things, “the protection of Christian minorities in the Maghreb and the Middle East.”

From QuestionMore.Live:

Hopes were high for warmer relations between the Russian Orthodox and Catholic churches as President Vladimir Putin flew Monday to Rome for his first audience with Pope Francis. Topping the agenda is likely help for Christians in the Middle East.

Putin, an Orthodox Christian, has repeatedly said that he is a man of faith and his administration has consistently sought closer ties with the Russian Orthodox Church.

His policies “have brought religion to the forefront and triggered positive change in ecumenical relations,” said Natalya Pecherskaya, rector of the St. Petersburg School of Religion and Philosophy.

But state interests will come first on the visit, officials said.

“Putin will be meeting Pope Francis as the president of Russia, and then only secondly as a Russian Orthodox [Christian],” said Father Kirill Gorbunov, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow.

As well as his visit with the Holy Father in the Vatican, Putin will meet with Italian president Giorgio Napolitano and Romano Prodi, the country’s former premier and a special UN representative, in Rome. On Tuesday, Putin will travel to Trieste for talks with the Italian government.

The Kremlin announced ahead of the visit that Putin and Pope Francis would focus on the state of international institutions and their ability to respond to crises, as well as the protection of Christian minorities in the Maghreb and the Middle East.

YouTube Preview Image
Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

Religious Freedom and Gay Marriage: Are They Intrinsically Inimical?

 

Does the First Amendment apply to individual people or only to the institutional church, inside its church building?

This question would have been unthinkable even a decade ago. But that was before President Obama used Obamacare as a method to coerce churches and private citizens in areas where it had never gone before.

The HHS Mandate was the brainchild of a star chamber committee at the Department of Health and Human Services. It was signed by the president. It has the force of law, but it is not a law. It is a regulation, that was not written by elected officeholders who are answerable to the people. In fact, it is in direct violation of public promises that President Obama made to elected officials in order to get the votes to pass Obamacare.

As such, the HHS Mandate was, from its beginning, an end-run around Democracy.

It was and is an autocratic attack on religious freedom by a few people with a vested interest in the outcome.

It also ushered in an era of direct attacks on religious freedom by government such as has never been seen in America since its founding.

One manifestation of this is the demand by gay marriage advocates that the government force one-person business owners to provide services such as cake-baking, flowers and wedding photography for their “wedding” services. They have managed to successfully use the government to coerce people, even in states where same-sex marriage is not legal.

I recently wrote a post asking the if it was possible to have personal freedom of conscience and gay marriage. In other words, is it possible to find a compromise between gay marriage advocates and traditional Christians that would allow both to exist without government coercion? If the response to that post is in any way indicative of the larger culture, the answer is no.

Gay marriage advocates swarmed the post. Most of them got deleted, but there weren’t any serious attempts to even address the issue of how to balance rights. Instead, the combox response to the post devolved down to the question of homosexuals’ “rights” in this matter trumping everything else.

Rather than give up, I’m going to ask the question again. Are religious freedom and gay marriage intrinsically inimical?

To put it another way, are we bound to decades of warfare over this issue in much the same way that we’ve suffered through the abortion debacle? The salient point is that this gay marriage debate comes after forty years of bad blood. This country is already divided in a dangerous manner. Can the government maintain its authority if those who seriously profess Christ come to believe that they have to chose between obeying their government and following their Lord?

The games that certain people in insulated thought communities are playing with these matters are far more dangerous than they allow themselves to understand.

The Supreme Court needs to turn back the HHS Mandate with a clear-cut decision that leaves no questions. Anything less will precipitate a Constitutional crises of generational proportions. Elected officials need to refuse to accede to demands from gay marriage advocates that they use the power of government to force people to participate in gay marriages against their will. We are talking about one-person or small family businesspeople who are being faced with losing their livelihoods if they do not violate their faith. There is no legitimate reason for this.

The questions at hand are not, as some like to claim, questions of civil rights such as that engendered by segregation. They do not pertain to basic matters of accommodation for a group of people who are forced to drink at separate drinking fountains, attend separate schools, sleep in separate hotels and watch movies in separate rooms. We are talking about isolated instances of one baker out of many or one photographer out of many saying they will not participate in a specific event based on their religious belief.

The businesses in question that I’ve read about have routinely served homosexual people. They just do not want to participate in this one specific event because it violates their religious teaching.

In this instance, the shoe of persecution and discrimination is on the other foot. Using the government to force people to violate their faith so that you feel validated is not only coercive, it is bigoted.

Gay marriage advocates have every right to advocate for their position by petitioning their government and working through the courts. But elected officials have a responsibility to honor the Constitutional freedom of religion of all citizens, including Christians.

No government can successfully enforce any law if a committed minority of people refuse to accede to it. That is a fact. The two political parties have manipulated and exacerbated the culture wars in order to get campaign donations and win elections until they have seriously damaged this country and all but destroyed themselves.

The political parties, for all their power and destructive force, are nothing. They do not care about this country or its people. Their silo mentality has contributed to this situation we now face in so many ways I cannot enumerate them all.

Given all this, it takes a person of stubborn hopefulness to ask the question: Can we reach a compromise?

I’ve never thought of myself that way, at least not the hopefulness part. But I’ve always had stubbornness aplenty. It would be easy to say that stubbornness is what drives me to put this question out there again.

However, that’s not true.

I am motivated by the stakes. I know which side I will come down on if I must choose.

I choose Christ.

But as an American, I do not believe that I should have to make that kind of choice. I believe that it is my right — my Constitutional right — to follow the dictates of my faith without government interference.

Which leads me back to the question with which I began: Are religious freedom and gay marriage intrinsically inimical?

Are gay marriage advocates and their allies in government seriously going to force me, and every other committed Christian, to chose between our country and following the Lord Jesus Christ?

 

 

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

Where’s My Princess Purse?

 

Convos with My Two-Year-Old.

This one is about playing princess with Daddy.

Enjoy.

YouTube Preview Image
Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

I Confess

 

Pope Francis on confession. I included two videos because together they give a fuller understanding of what the Holy Father said.

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image
Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

Tornado Prayer

 

There are two things you can do about a tornado.

1. Get out of the way.

2. Pray.

YouTube Preview Image
Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

Pope Francis Displays Peter’s Bones at Closing Mass of the Year of Faith

 

Pope Francis displayed St Peter’s bones at the closing mass of the Year of Faith.

These pitiful shards of bone are all that’s left of the earthly body of St Peter. But the Church which Christ built on his efforts is vast and growing.

YouTube Preview Image
Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

Keep Your Mouth Shut

Warning: Rant ahead.

Dan Bongino, a former Secret Service agent, is now running for Congress.

I have no problem with that. But he’s evidently written a book about and is now going around discussing the people he guarded while he was in the Secret Service, including both Presidents Bush and Obama.

I have a bit of advice for Mr Bongino, as well as other Secret Service agents: Keep your mouth shut.

The same goes for priests, nuns, counselors, therapists, doctors and politicians.

These are privileged positions which give those of us who hold them access to the deepest secrets of people’s lives. If you can’t keep your mouth shut about the deeply personal things that people share with you, then you shouldn’t be in a position of such trust.

What that means is don’t talk about the things your parishioners, patients, constituents, or the people you guard share with you. Don’t gripe about it, don’t gossip about it, don’t make fun of it, don’t talk about it or allude to it, or discuss it, even without using their names. Ever. To anyone. Period.

I don’t know anything about Mr Bongino’s politics, but if the story I read in which he discussed two presidents he protected are true, I know all I need to know about his character. If he can’t keep his mouth shut, he shouldn’t have been in the Secret Service, and he doesn’t belong in public office.

 

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

America’s Late-Term Abortion Capital. Why?

Albuquerque voters recently came out in support of late-term abortion in all its grizzly inhumanity.

Why?

The only explanation offered in the comments on an earlier post about this vote was a bogus bit of nonsense about how late-term abortion was “necessary” because of a “medical emergency.” I say this is bogus, because, well, it is bogus.

Look at the video below and tell me how the procedures these people describe are in any way medically better for the woman than simply delivering the baby and then trying to save it?

Among other things, the video describes a week-long procedure, having the baby alone in a hotel room, and birthing a dead baby while alone on a toilette. According to their web site, the abortion clinic in question does abortions up to 28 weeks of pregnancy, which is a viable baby. I keep wondering if the people who make these comments actually know what an abortion is, and how it’s done.

The pro abortion movement sells — quite successfully, I might add — abortion as a magical re-wind which just — poof!! — makes the woman un-pregnant. They cook up fantasy scenarios where a late-term abortion is actually necessary to save the woman’s life, when in truth it layers another load of medical procedures, as well as much less medical supervision, on top of what the woman would go through if she simply delivered her baby.

Abortion is not a magical re-wind. It does not undo pregnancy and make it never have happened. It kills the baby. That is the whole purpose of an abortion. Late-term abortions do this in a way that is both graphic and cruel to the woman, as well as the baby.

It is amazing to me that the same medical profession that lobbies so aggressively against home births based on how dangerous a home birth is, turns around and lobbies with equal vigor for women delivering dead babies alone on a hotel room toilette when the procedure is called an abortion.

One of the women in this video convinced the medical staff that she was 27 weeks pregnant, which is actually one week earlier than Southwestern Women’s Options does abortions. Twenty-seven weeks is a viable baby that would most likely survive delivery and go on to a normal life.

This circles back around to what I think is an important question: Why did Albuquerque voters come out in support of  late-term abortion?

A lot of things influence elections. People tend to forget that elections are not decided by public opinion. Elections are decided by the people who vote. Politicians influence the outcome of elections by when they hold the election (Certain dates tend toward lower turn-outs, which are much easier for special interest groups to win.) and by how a ballot question is worded.

Advertising is also a major influence on elections, as is how strongly community groups such as the Chamber of Commerce come into the debate. If Albuquerque is anything like Oklahoma, the Chambers of Commerce in the big cities are pretty much owned by pro abortion Republicans with a smattering of pro abortion Democrats. There is a good bit of inter-locking between the Chamber’s inside group and the boards of organizations such as Planned Parenthood.

This is not true of the smaller chambers around the state, but they don’t appear to be taken all that seriously by the two biggies, at least not here in Oklahoma.

One question I have is how much the Albuquerque-Santa Fe chambers of commerce influenced this vote. Since this was a local vote, their influence would matter. I would guess, based on what I heard back when I was pro choice, that the Santa Fe chamber is pro abortion. That may not be true now, but it was true in the 80s and 90s. I don’t know anything about the Albuquerque chamber.

I would guess that the rank and file Albuquerque voter did not vote for late term abortion as it actually is, but rather for some fantasy version of late-term abortion that doesn’t exist outside of pro-abortion polemics. There is no question that late-term abortion is infanticide for the sake of committing infanticide. It has no other purpose. If people fully understood this, only pro abortion fanatics, eugenicists and those who gain from the procedure would be in favor of it.

I don’t think that describes the citizenry of Albuquerque. My question from an earlier post remains: What were the voters told and how were they influenced to vote in favor of the horror of late-term abortion?

If anyone has links to ads or other ways in which this vote was put together, I would love to see them.

From Live Action:

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image
Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

JFK and Peace: Would He Have Kept Us Out of War in Viet Nam?

 

Would John Kennedy have kept us out of war in Viet Nam?

Any reply is conjecture. However, he had actually been to war. That is a far different perspective from the one we find in the long string of draft dodgers and never-serveds we’ve had in recent years.

My friends who’ve seen war are far less eager to commit American troops than my other friends who view combat from an armchair perspective. There was a time when the sons of presidents and men of great wealth and power, such as a vastly wealthy former American ambassador to England, fought and died in defense of this country.

Kennedy was of that time. He had experienced combat and nearly died as a result of it. His older brother had been killed in combat.

He knew the price.

How those life experiences would have influenced his decisions concerning Viet Nam, no one can say. But they would have been an enormous factor. Of that much, I am sure.

I lost people I care about in Viet Nam. I think their lives were wasted by incompetent military commanders and bad presidents of both political parties.

Here is a long speech from President Kennedy, talking about peace. I wish we had presidents today who felt the same regard for peace as this man.

YouTube Preview Image
Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

JFK: Life in the White House

 

This video is not a speech, but it gives a good idea of how President Kennedy was presented to the world back then, through the eyes of a more current journalist.

I have always found it difficult to comprehend the gulf between the fairy-tale photos of President Kennedy’s family life and the sordid tales of his personal sexual behavior.

I think the overall effect of learning that their beloved president had lied to them in such a fundamental way contributed to the cynicism about government that has grown in this country since his death.

Was everything what we thought we knew about him as a person a lie?

Who was this man?

(If you click on the link, it will give you a second link. Click on that, and it will take you to the video.)

YouTube Preview Image
Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK