Christians are builders, educators, healers, givers. Unlike the philosophies of fatalism and death which are so popular today, Christianity brings love, life and hope.
The difference is Jesus.
Christians are builders, educators, healers, givers. Unlike the philosophies of fatalism and death which are so popular today, Christianity brings love, life and hope.
The difference is Jesus.
If you are engaging the world for Christ on any level, you will face opposition and personal vendettas.
Put your trust in Jesus and don’t worry about it. It’s just old scratch, working through his unaware disciples. Pray for those who try to stop you from witnessing for Jesus and keep your eyes on Christ alone.
Christians, unlike their critics, build hospitals and schools, go on missions to help those in need where help is needed. Christians donate massive amounts of money to aid those in need. They run toward disasters, rather than away from them, to give aid and comfort.
When Moore Oklahoma was devastated by a tornado a couple of years ago, a carful of Christian women in New Jersey took up a donation of money, food and other aid and drove to Oklahoma to deliver it. I know about this because they came to our church to find a way to connect with victims. The gym at our parish was “home” to Christian young people who came to help with the clean-up and stayed all summer working on it.
These people were not paid for their efforts. No one asked them to do it. They simply responded to need because that is what Our Lord told them to do.
In all these things, the difference is Jesus.
When I was at the Catholic Writer’s Conference last summer, I picked up a book entitled Consoling the Heart of Jesus by Michael E. Gailey, MIC. It bills itself as a do-it-yourself retreat in the Ignitian tradition. I’m going to take the rest of the week off and give it a try. I seriously considered taking off the whole month of November, but just couldn’t convince myself to do it.
I’m going to follow the retreat in this book, read the Bible, pray the Rosary, play my piano, and go to confession and mass. I will also take care of my Mama and find time to run the vacuum cleaner. This isn’t a full stop kind of retreat. It’s more of a shut my mouth about what I think and listen to God kind of retreat.
I plan to come back next Wednesday. When I do, I’ll review Consoling the Heart of Jesus for you. I will continue to monitor your comments so you can continue your discussions, and I will post a video every day.
In the meantime, know that you are in my prayers.
To join the discussion about Rise of ISIS, a Threat We Cannot Ignore, or to order a copy, go here.
Jay Sekulow has written a small, much-needed counter-point to the suicidal political correctness that infects almost all public discussion about the threat of ISIS and militant Islam. This political correctness has become a kind of censorship by means of name-calling and personal attacks that sink to the level of vendettas against anyone who dares step over the line to say that, yes America, we have a problem.
Mr Sekulow refuses to accede to this, and, in the process, puts forward his own viewpoint without weakening it with protective self censorship.
To put it bluntly, ISIS is a killing machine. Its brother violent jihadists, Hamas, are more specific in who they kill and how they conduct themselves, but, based on their own statements, there is little doubt that they would kill every Jew in Israel if it wasn’t for Israeli defenses. We are witnessing the rise of organizations bent on holocaust in a determined, multi-generational way. In a manner reminiscent the 1930s, these murderers have powerful apologists in the Western world.
These apologists launch personal attacks against anyone who steps outside their dogmatic assertions by labeling them bigots and trying to destroy them professionally. They have been absolutely successful in destroying civil discussion in our society and we are much the weaker for it.
The Rise of ISIS does not excoriate all Muslims. In fact, it makes clear that Islamic people who oppose these murderous villains are our allies in the fight against them. It also says something I think should have been acknowledged a long time ago: We do not need to shoe-horn American-style democracy into societies that are not ready for it in order to oppose these satanic killing machines.
ISIS is a living libel on the name of Islam. It disfigures the notion of faith and transmutes it into an ugly self-permission to murder, rape, steal, kidnap, enslave and torture the innocent. It seeks to deify the ungodly sin of genocide and to destroy whole civilizations. It is, at base, the claim of the right to enact soul-destroying, civilization-killing dictatorship, all dressed up in a phony guise of religious sanctity.
What ISIS really amounts to is putting one satanic man, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, and his satanic philosophy of death in control of wide swaths of the world. That this man claims he has the right to enslave populations of people under his “caliphate” because of his twisted ideas of religion does not alter the fact that this is a grab for absolute power by one man.
I recommend the Rise of ISIS, a Threat We Cannot Ignore. I do not see it as an end-point in learning about the threat civilization is facing because of violent Jihad. But it is a good beginning. The primary reason I say this is because it represents a viewpoint that is expressed without self-consorship to conform to politically correct dogma in order to avoid being personally attacked.
Honest discussion of issues of almost any sort has been obliterated in our society by the threat of personal attacks. I applaud Mr Sekulow for ignoring that threat and speaking out according to what he believes. More people need to do that.
The ACLU has declined to pursue legal action against The Hitching Post wedding chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho because the chapel only provides religious services.
Donald and Evelyn Knapp, owners of the Hitching Post Lakeside Chapel, were facing possible jail time and enormous fines that would have put them out of business because they do not offer same sex wedding services at their facility. The Knapps are ordained ministers in the International Church of the Four Square Gospel. The denomination’s teaching holds that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Leo Morales, ACLU Idaho’s interim director said Thursday that the organization would reconsider the decision not to sue “if the chapel were to offer secular services, such as providing flowers or cakes, or holding nonreligious ceremonies.”
While I am glad that the ACLU has decided not to pursue this case, Mr Morales’ caveats constitute an attempt to impose an undue limitation of First Amendment rights by threat of lawsuit. Are churches going to be forced to forgo all sales on their premises or the use of their facilities for “non-religious” purposes or face lawsuits trying to shut them down?
Does this mean that churches who open their buildings for AA meetings or hold bake sales to raise money for a new gym are running the risk of being drug into court?
For that matter, what about allowing church buildings to be used as polling places? Do you want to raise your taxes to build government facilities for elections in every precinct in this country? Or maybe, in small towns, we could just put the voting booths out in a field. I am quite certain that a failure to provide sufficient and accessible polling places constitutes a violation of the core Constitutional right of this nation: To engage in free elections.
I’m glad that the ACLU actually did something that appears to be in support of the First Amendment, but I’m extremely leery of them or any other organization using the threat of lawsuit to limit First Amendment rights in the way Mr Morales seemed to be attempting to do.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Tedesco, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, the legal firm defending the Knapps, says that the ACLU is “terrified … that the ordinance has been used in exactly the way we said it would be. The ACLU wants nothing to do with the worst possible set of facts that could result from one of these ordinances.” The ordinance Mr Tedesco is referring to is the non-discrimination ordinance by which the Knapps were being threatened.
From The Blaze:
The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho announced Thursday that it will not wage a legal challenge against Hitching Post Wedding Chapel, the for-profit business in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, that could be in violation of a local non-discrimination ordinance for its ardent refusal to marry same-sex couples.
Leo Morales, the ACLU’s interim executive director, said that chapel owners Donald and Evelyn Knapp — both ordained ministers — recently changed their business status to become a “religious corporation,” according to the Associated Press.
Morales made these comments during a press conference Thursday, noting that the newdesignation would likely exempt the family from performing gay marriage ceremonies so long as Hitching Post — which will remain a for-profit business — exclusively performs faith-based weddings.
“As long as a entity is conducting a religious activity, that is accepted. That should be accepted under the nondiscrimination law in Coeur d’Alene,” Morales told TheBlaze Friday. “Once that entity begins to offer other services that are secular services, we believe it then falls under the category of public accommodation.”
If you’ve got gay fatigue, you’re not alone.
I’ve been hearing muttering from some surprising places, including people who are strongly in support of gay rights, that they’re “tired” of the obsessive focus our society has on homosexuality.
The endless circular debates about forcing people to bake a wedding cake or if ordained ministers should be allowed to not perform gay weddings is beginning to try the patience of people from all points on the ideological compass.
However, there is another side to this, and it’s not about petulant demands that everyone collude in the fantasy that two men or two women are the same as a man and a woman. It has to do with the most basic of human rights: The right to life. It also has to do with another basic human right: The right not to be incarcerated unjustly.
I’m talking about countries that have draconian laws giving the death penalty, lashing or long prison sentences for homosexuality. Sadly, most of these laws are being justified because of bogus claims to religion, including, in a couple of places, Christianity. To the extent that this is true, it calls for Christians to speak out against these laws and take a stand against them. Laws such as these are an affront to the basic human dignity of men and women who are made in the likeness and image of God. They are a smear on the name of Christ.
One of the best parts about this story is that, at least in one circumstance, the passage of such laws has been turned back. Uganda’s law which would have provided for a death penalty for homosexuals, was scrapped. This was due to the work of brave homosexual people and their supporters all over the globe.
However, Uganda did end up passing a law that criminalizes “homosexual activities” and metes out harsh punishments. This law clearly violates the civil liberties and human rights of homosexuals.
I think it’s important for us as Christians to join the fight against laws such as these, and for us to do it in the name of Christ. This does not mean that we should stop our defense of traditional marriage. It is a requirement on us as Christians that we walk this line of supporting the human rights of all persons, including homosexuals, and that we also refuse to back down in our defense of the family.
Each in its own way is a human right, which must be defended.
The commitment to Christ Jesus is always a counter-cultural commitment. It does not matter the culture. Following Christ, if you are true to the call, will pit you against the cruelties and lies of your society. That is why so many people who claim to be Christian do not, in fact, live Christian.
Living Christian is not easy. It requires being attacked for one position, and then crossing the street to stand with your attackers on another issue. There is no country for the authentic follower of Jesus except heaven itself.
I’m going to make an effort to follow these attacks against the basic human rights of gay people and to let you know ways in which you can join in the fight against them. At the same time, I am going to continue to urge you to stand strong in the work ahead to rebuild and reclaim traditional marriage, and to work against the onslaught of attacks on First Amendment freedoms in the name of bogus claims of “human rights” violations against gay people in this country.
If that seems like a contradiction, so be it. It is my idea of following Jesus the best that I can.
From the Washington Post:
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni today signed a law that imposes a 14-year prison sentence for homosexual acts — and life sentences for those found guilty of “aggravated homosexuality.”
A measure imposing the death penalty was removed from an earlier version of the bill.Homosexuality was already illegal in Uganda, as it is in 37 other African countries.
Though the death penalty was removed from Uganda’s law, it’s a potential punishment elsewhere, including parts of Nigeria, Mauritania and Sudan.(Last month, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed a measure similar to Uganda’s into law; a few weeks later, a mob pulled 14 young men from their beds and assaulted them, screaming about cleansing their neighborhood of gay people. )
My fellow Catholic Patheosi, Dr Tod Worner published a post today concerning the Ebola crisis. I hope you will click on the links in this post and read it.
Dr Worner gives us a glimpse of the concerns that medical practitioners face when deciding how they would treat this illness. It also evaluates our government’s reaction to Ebola without the distorting prism of political one-upsmanship and ambition.
It is precisely the kind of non-political, rational discussion of this killer disease that should be taking place everywhere, but isn’t.
Here’s a taste:
We crowded into a small room at my internal medicine clinic and looked at each other. Some decisions had to be made. Soon. We were charged to answer one fundamental question: What would we do if a patient suspected of having Ebola were to walk in our clinic door? As simple as it may seem, this is an incredibly complex question. It requires considering the well-being of the patient, the risk to other patients exposed to him (or her, but I will use him for simplification) in our waiting room, and the risks to medical and ancillary staff who are attending to him. We must concern ourselves with the risk of over-reaction as well as that of under-reaction. We need to consider the imperfect state of our understanding of the mode and ease of transmission. And we must recognize that risk and response changes daily with an ever-evolving national and international epidemic. Confronted with this question in that small room, to a person, there was sincere concern about the patient, earnest concern about personal safety and a clear sense that there is a lot of uncertainty about this virus and the epidemic that is unfolding day by day. And yet, that has not been the message from the government leaders or the Centers for Disease Control. If anything, there has been an abundance of assurance. For example,
Photo Source: ABC News
New York City’s Police Commissioner has said that the hatchet attack that wounded two police officers was a terror attack.
It’s time our government officials were more forthcoming with the truth.
Let’s look at the line of events. Fort Hood. Boston Marathon. Oklahoma. Canada. New York.
It appears that the tripwire to truth was — finally — New York. I was beginning to wonder how long the American people were going to allow themselves to be bullied by the threat of being called a “bigot” if they said what was the obvious truth.
The people committing these acts do not represent American Muslims. That is a given. However, that fact does not mean that it has nothing to do with Islamic terrorism. If we are going to deal with the dangers of this world, we need to begin by accepting reality on reality’s terms. Refusing to acknowledge what is right in front of us can get more people killed.
The Facebook pages of both the man who beheaded a woman and severely injured another here in Oklahoma, and the hatchet murderer in New York were full of jihadist garbage. The man in Oklahoma was shouting jihadist slogans as he murdered an innocent woman.
Political correctness which seeks to censor public comment about these things in order to bring it into line with the fantasy pablum that these are discreet acts of workplace violence or random craziness is the kind of political correctness that gets people killed.
It appears, at least as of now, that the terrorist attack in New York, as well as the one here in Oklahoma, were unaffiliated. By that I mean that they do not seem to have been coordinated or planned by an outside terrorist group. They appear — emphasis on appear — to have been inspired by terrorist activities and rhetoric.
It’s interesting that these are converts to Islam, rather than people who were raised in the faith. I don’t know if that means anything. But it’s possible that the murderous behavior is partly a function of them not being integrated into the larger Islamic community. Again, I do not know.
What I do know is that we are beginning to see a pattern of a new kind of terrorist attack that is fomented by American Muslims acting unilaterally. At least two of the men who have committed these acts were relatively new to the religion, and, based on their Facebook pages, attracted to the most violent and murderous form of Islamic terrorism in the world today.
I am glad that the New York City Police Commissioner has what it took to say the truth. We can handle any problem that confronts us. But first, we’ve got to stop the vicious tyranny of thought and speech that is political correctness.
From ABC News:
A brazen daylight hatchet attack against a group of police officers on a busy New York street was a terrorist act by a reclusive Muslim convert who ranted online against America but had no clear ties to international extremists, the police commissioner said Friday.
Police were examining Zale Thompson’s computer for clues about a motive for the Thursday assault that left one of the officers seriously injured and ended with Thompson being killed by police. Police Commissioner William Bratton said Thompson’s browsing history included organized terror groups, beheadings and the shooting in Canada earlier this week that officials there have called a terrorist attack.
Thompson was not on any watch lists, and officials found no indication he sought any training or affiliation to any groups.
Bratton said investigators were trying to determine whether the attack was planned or spontaneous but believe Thompson was self-radicalized. His father told officials he converted to Islam about two years ago and was described as a “recluse” who had been depressed lately.
Bratton said he was comfortable calling it a terrorist attack.
“This was a terrorist attack, certainly,” Bratton said.
But he also stopped short of including the attack in the list of terror plots against the city since Sept. 11, 2001, saying the investigation was continuing.
According to KOCO.com, someone drove their car into the monument at around 9pm Thursday, smashing the monument to pieces. They then left their car at the site. The suspect in custody has evidently confessed to doing this.
He also is said to have told law enforcement officials that he urinated on the Ten Commandments Monument before running into it with his vehicle. He says that “Satan told him to do it.
The suspect also reportedly spit on a photo of President Obama and said that he would kill our President.
The Oklahoma ACLU has issued a statement saying that they are “outraged” by the incident.
OKLAHOMA CITY —The Secret Service has arrested an individual for allegedly driving into the Ten Commandments monument near the State Capitol building.
Officials say someone drove their car into monument Thursday night, smashing it to pieces. The suspect reportedly made vague threats at the Oklahoma City Federal Building today and was taken into custody. His name has not yet been released.
The suspect said Satan told him to do it, Secret Service officials said. He also reportedly said he would kill President Obama and spit on a photo of Obama. The suspect also allegedly admitted that he urinated on the Ten Commandments monument before running it over.
According to an article I read in The Guardian, Pope Francis has issued a call to do away with life sentences, calling them a ‘hidden death penalty.’
I know that the Holy Father comes from Argentina, and that he lived through a brutal regime in which the government engaged in random arrests, incarceration, torture and even murder of its own citizens. I have no doubt that his feelings about life sentences are informed by his own life experiences. I would guess that, if I was looking at the issue from the perspective of brutal, totalitarian regimes, I would agree with him about this.
Under those circumstances, life sentences can indeed become a “hidden death penalty.”
However, life sentences are also a necessary alternative to the death penalty. Without life sentences, there would be no option in dealing with certain types of criminals except to put them to death.
The reason I say this is that there are people who are too dangerous to ever be allowed to walk free. It is as simple and as hard as that. Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, Charles Manson (and his girls), the BTK killer and all their kin must be kept from the public in order to maintain the public safety.
There are three alternatives here.
1. Let them out after a few years and then go to the funerals of their new victims.
2. Keep them locked up.
3. Kill them.
I have chosen to keep them locked up. The reason I made that choice was that I did not want to use the death penalty to kill them. However, if the choice was the death penalty or letting them out to kill again, I would be forced to chose the death penalty.
A just and stable government is always the greater good. That is the controlling principle by which I operated while I was an elected official. I think it should be the controlling principle for all governance.
It is impossible to have a government that is either just or stable if killers are allowed to roam free to kill at will. It is also a fact that certain crimes against persons and society are so grievous that the perpetrators must, in justice, spend the rest of their lives outside of society.
This flies in the face of Christian mercy, of the idea that all people are redeemable. I know that. But it is a necessary component to good governance and establishing a legal order which places a sufficient weight on the value of human life,
You may not kill people.
That has to be the bottom line for all good governance concerning human life. The wanton murder of an innocent human being must be set aside as a crime so grave, so final, that its finality is reflected in the punishment. I am not advocating an eye for an eye. I do not favor the death penalty, and I’ve got the votes and the scars to prove it.
But I believe absolutely that a just and stable government is always the greater good. The horrors the people of Argentina experienced under an unjust government are just one example of what can happen when those who hold the power of state use that power in unjust ways.
In order to maintain what the Founding Fathers called “domestic tranquility” we must have prisons. We must have just laws and redress from government abuse of its power. Every citizen must have the right to seek redress through the courts. And we must have laws that place sufficient gravity on the value of human life to protect the citizenry.
I believe that life sentences, including the option of a life sentence without parole, (which I authored legislation to create in Oklahoma) are a necessary component in maintaining the public order, and an equally necessary alternative to the death penalty.
Dr Craig Spencer, who had recently been treating Ebola patients in Guinea, has been diagnosed with Ebola.
Dr Spencer is in isolation at Bellevue Hospital in New York. Health care officials are attempting to reconstruct his activities in the recent past to identify people who might have been exposed to the disease. According to reports, “at least three people have been placed in isolation” as a result of this.
Among other things, Dr Spencer used the subways for travel the day before he began to show symptoms. That highlights the ease with which an infection can be spread in crowded cities.
From The New York Times:
A doctor in New York City who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea became the first person in the city to test positive for the virus Thursday, setting off a search for anyone who might have come into contact with him.
At least three people he had contact with in recent days have been placed in isolation. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which dispatched a team to New York, is conducting its own test to confirm the positive test on Thursday, which was performed by a city lab.
While officials have said they expected isolated cases of the disease to arrive in New York eventually, and had been preparing for this moment for months, the first case highlighted the challenges involved in containing the virus, especially in a crowded metropolis. Dr. Spencer, 33, had traveled on the A and L subway lines Wednesday night, visited a bowling alley in Williamsburg, and then took a taxi back to Manhattan.