Culture Wars Threaten the Orthodox Church, Our Freedom, and Our Families

Culture Wars Threaten the Orthodox Church, Our Freedom, and Our Familiesby Fr. John Whiteford –
It would be nice if we could ignore the culture wars, but the culture wars are coming after us, our Church, and our families. You can choose what you are prepared to defend, but you cannot choose who will attack what you wish to defend.

There are those in the Orthodox Church who say that we should have nothing to do with the culture wars that have been raging in our culture since the 60’s. They accuse conservative converts of trying to bring those culture wars into the Orthodox Church. Ironically, those who talk like this are usually the very people who actually are bringing the culture wars into the Orthodox Church by their promotion of the acceptance of homosexuality, gay marriage, abortion, women’s ordination, and various other liberal causes.

It is not as if the Orthodox Church was full of people who thought gay marriage was a great idea until converts started showing up. In fact, the Orthodox in traditionally Orthodox countries are very conservative, and though, for example, there are not lots of Protestant converts to Orthodoxy in Russia, the Russian Church has taken a very strong and vocal position on these issues. [Read more…]

Christians Are The World’s Most Persecuted Minority

Christians Are The World's Most Persecuted Minorityby Shawn Schuster –

For those Christians living in Muslim-majority countries, torture and death are an everyday occurrence, according to Ibrahim’s new research. “I’m not talking about ‘War on Christmas’ type harassment,” he said in the new video he produced for Prager University. “I’m talking about, ‘know your place or we’re going to kill you’ persecution.”

Ibrahim says that 20 percent of the population of North Africa and the Middle East followed the Christian faith 100 years ago, but that number has dwindled down to a mere 4 percent over the years with most of the decline occurring in the last decade. “Astonishingly, the Western mainstream media barely acknowledge what is happening,” he continued. [Read more…]

Gay ‘Marriage’ and Religious Freedom Cannot Coexist

Gay 'Marriage' and Religious Freedom Cannot Coexistby Napp Nazworth –

Gay marriage proponents will not allow for religious freedom of their political opponents because their belief system does not allow for the fact that dissenters can be reasonable people of goodwill, Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, argued at the Institute on Religion and Democracy’s 2014 Diane Knippers Memorial Lecture.

Most of those arguing in favor of redefining marriage to include same-sex couples do not understand, or even know, the arguments of those who oppose the redefinition of marriage, George claimed. They assume there are no reasonable arguments against gay marriage and those who oppose it are simply driven by hatred of gays.

“The whole [gay marriage] argument was and is that the idea of marriage as the union of husband and wife lacks a rational basis and amounts to nothing more than ‘bigotry,’ reflecting animus against a certain group of people,” he said. “Therefore, no reasonable person of goodwill, we are told, can dissent from the liberal position on sex and marriage, any more than a reasonable person of goodwill could support racial segregation and subordination. You’ve heard the analogy drawn a thousand times. [Read more…]

Moral Earthquake is Taking Place in America

Archpriest Victor Potapovby Maria Stroganova –

Father Victor, please tell us how the Orthodox of America reacted to the decision of the US Supreme Court recognizing the legitimacy of same-sex marriage throughout the country?

– To tell you the truth, we feel like we are in mourning. Of course, no one was surprised that it happened. We all understood that the majority of the Supreme Court would vote in favor of the decision to register same-sex marriages. It all started a long time ago, and over a year ago, the Supreme Court declared the Marriage Protection Act illegal Now this is the result.

Of course, homosexuals claim that they are looking for equality in civil life and they want gay husbands and wives to have the right to visit each other in the hospital, inherit property, to have children, and the rights which are provided to traditional couples. I think, though, they actually are pursuing other goals. Just this morning, I read an interview with a rather famous Russian emigrant, Masha Gessen, who has long been an activist in the LGBT movement. She, of course is an anarchist, but they listen to her opinion in America, and she said: “Our goal is to destroy marriage as an institution, so that there is no longer the concept of marriage.” Her words need to be taken very seriously.[Read more…]

Justice Kennedy: Define Your Own Truth

Same-sex marriage Judicial Tyranny Supreme Courtby William McGurn –

In the heady days since Anthony Kennedy unearthed a constitutional right for Americans “to define and express their identity,” the extravagance of the Supreme Court’s claim has taken some by surprise. It shouldn’t have. In finding for same-sex marriage the way he did, Justice Kennedy made official what he made inevitable a quarter-century back.

That was in 1992. The occasion was a Supreme Court decision on abortion into which Mr. Kennedy inserted a new definition of liberty. Where Thomas Jefferson had grounded human liberty in self-evident truth, Mr. Kennedy holds that the mere self suffices.

“At the heart of liberty,” he wrote, “is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”[Read more…]

Why the Silencing and Persecution of Christians will Continue

Silencing and Persecution of Christians will Continue by Rev. James V. Schall, S.J. –

The number of subjects we cannot talk about in public discourse are rapidly multiplying. The older notion of “free speech” as a search for the truth through reasonable argument is being replaced. We no longer want to hear speech if it “offends” someone’s feelings or self-defined identity. We would rather “just get along” than to have to decide about the truth of any issue or confront the consequences of its violation.

We thus have become infinitely “tolerant” of anything but truth itself. Speech is not directed to truth or falsity of an issue but to the “sensitivity” and “compassion” of those who hear it. “Objective” standards are subject to the listener’s “right” to hear only what he wants to hear. Thus, whatever is “permitted” in positive or civil law becomes a “right” for those who follow it. [Read more…]

The Truth is Always ‘Offensive’

The Truth is Always Offensive - Christ the Truth and Pilate by Trevor Thomas –
True followers of Christ tell the truth with courage, conviction, and love. They also peacefully, but strongly, stand up to the lies of liberalism, Islam, and the like. This is precisely why such Christians are found to be so ‘offensive.’

When Jesus stood before Pilate, just prior to going to His execution, Pilate asked Him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” After some discussion, Pilate concluded, “You are a king, then!” Jesus replied, “You are right in saying that I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

Sounding much like a modern-day graduate of Harvard’s divinity school, or the Dean for Religious Life at Stanford University (who both probably have about the same regard for Christ as did Pilate), Pilate concluded his exchange with Jesus by asking, “What is truth?” And just as one would expect from someone so blind to the truth, Pilate and the crowd sent the most innocent man the world has ever known to his excruciating death. [Read more…]

Islam Built on Violence, Murder, and War

Islam Built on Violence, Murder, and Warby Justin O. Smith –
Islam is violent and repressive, and its sacred texts are the heart of darkness at the center of the Islamic State’s inspiration and motivation, despite Barack Obama’s assertions in September 10th’s address to the nation that the Islamic State “is not Islamic” and that “no religion condones the killing of innocents.” Violence is an integral part of Islamic doctrine, following the example set by its Prophet Mohammed, and in the name of Islam and Allah, Muslims have been murdering innocents, since 656 AD.

Six hundred years after Mohammed, one of Islam’s most respected scholars, Ibn Khuldan wrote ‘Muqaddimah’ (Introduction to History), which explained: “In the Muslim community, the holy war is religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and [the obligation to] convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or force.” [Read more…]

A Cold Age – Eliminating Faith from the Public Square

A Cold Age - Eliminating Faith from the Public Squareby Fr. Lawrence Farley –
One of the benefits of reading history is that it enables one to compare one’s own era with other eras, and so identify the blind spots of former times and as well as the blind spots of one’s own time.  As C.S. Lewis once pointed out (in his essay On the Reading of Old Books), “Not that there is any magic about the past. People were no cleverer then than they are now; they made as many mistakes as we. But not the same mistakes.  They will not flatter us in the errors we are already committing, and their own errors, being now open and palpable, will not endanger us.”

Comparing our own age to those of previous ones (and even our own North American culture to other contemporary cultures) reveals what is perhaps the defining characteristic of our society—its coldness.  Men and women in previous ages sang while they worked, and while they walked down the road.  They greeted strangers in the street, and asked God’s peace upon them.  They retired and rose with the sun—and awoke refreshed.  It was normal even to arise at midnight to pray. [Read more…]

Christian Persecution: Kicking Evangelicals Off University Campuses

Kicking Evangelicals Off University Campuses Requiring campus student leaders to be converts to Christianity can get a ministry kicked off campus at some schools. Sadly, an increasing number of universities and colleges are requiring Evangelical campus groups to open their leadership roles to all comers, regardless of their faith commitments.

The Bowdoin Christian Fellowship, an InterVarsity chapter, has just lost official recognition after 40 years of serving students on the Brunswick, Maine campus. They found that meeting requirements of the Bowdoin College non-discrimination policy would make “faithful Christian witness impossible.”

In a recent update at First Things, Robert Gregory tells the Bowdoin Christian Fellowship story. [Read more…]

The Left Embraces Blacklisting and Christian Persecution

Left Embraces Blacklisting and Christian Persecution by Sally Zelikovsky –
David and Jason Benham had their HGTV show canceled when it was discovered that they are Christians (oh, the horror) and are pro-life and pro-traditional marriage (high crimes and misdemeanors, doncha know). It won’t be long before people who hold these views will be hauled off by PC mobs and stoned to death.

The web is a cyber galaxy of information and connectivity that allows for full expression of the individual in the cyber marketplace of ideas. There is no question that the World Wide Web has enhanced so many aspects of our lives. But the very same platform that gave rise to this information highway — this liberating agent — can also be used by both private and public concerns as a weapon against the individual.

We all know what happens to law-abiding citizens when they express their private opinions outside of work: left wing zealots dig up whatever “dirt” they can find on them — usually related to race, sexual orientation, religion — publish these findings on the internet, and demand any business arrangements with the alleged “extremists” be canceled forthwith. [Read more…]

Atheism’s Gifts to Humanity: Guillotine, Gulag and Gas Chamber

Atheism Gifts to Humanity: Guillotine, Gulag and Gas Chamber by Joseph Pearce –
Guillotine, Gulag, and Gas Chamber. These are the glorious gifts that atheism has bestowed on a world grown tired of God.

There are lies, damned lies, and neo-atheist polemics. One of the most egregious examples of such godless mendacity is the claim that religion has been the cause of most of the wars that have blighted humanity throughout its blood-stained history. In a world with “no religion”, so the argument runs, there would be “nothing to kill or die for”. Such nonsense is only believable if we remain willfully ignorant of the lessons of history.

Almost all wars have been the consequence of human selfishness (a synonym for godlessness) and have been carried out according to the principles of that proto-secularist and incorrigible atheist, Nicolo Machiavelli. Although secular rulers have sometimes used religion as an ethical and ultimately ethereal veneer to justify their actions, war has almost always been the consequence of Machiavellian realpolitik. This includes the so-called wars of religion, most of which were fought by power-hungry princes eager to impose their egocentric wills on their neighbours. [Read more…]

Ashamed of the Gospel?

Robert P. George - Ashamed of the Gospel by Robert P. George –
The days of socially acceptable Christianity are over. The days of comfortable Catholicism are past. It is no longer easy to be a faithful Christian, a good Catholic, an authentic witness to the truths of the Gospel. A price is demanded and must be paid. There are costs of discipleship—heavy costs, costs that are burdensome and painful to bear.

Of course, one can still safely identify oneself as a “Catholic,” and even be seen going to mass. That is because the guardians of those norms of cultural orthodoxy that we have come to call “political correctness” do not assume that identifying as “Catholic” or going to mass necessarily means that one actually believes what the Church teaches on issues such as marriage and sexual morality and the sanctity of human life.

And if one in fact does not believe what the Church teaches, or, for now at least, even if one does believe those teachings but is prepared to be completely silent about them, one is safe—one can still be a comfortable Catholic. [Read more…]

Elder Paisios: Defend the Christian Faith, the Family, the Church

Elder Paisios Fight to Defend the Christian Faith by Elder Paisios –
Today there are many who strive to corrupt everything: the family, the youth, the Church. In our day it’s a true witness to speak up for one’s people, for the state is waging war against divine law. It’s laws are directed against the Law of God.

Today they’re trying to destroy faith, and for the edifice of faith to fall they quietly pull out one stone, then another. But we’re all responsible for the destruction; not just those who destroy but we who see how faith is being undermined and make no effort to strengthen it. As a result the seducers are emboldened to create even greater difficulties for us, and their rage against the Church and the monastic life increases.

Today’s situation can be resisted only spiritually, not by worldly means. The storm will continue to rage a bit, will throw all the flotsam, everything unnecessary, onto the shore, and then the situation will become clearer. Some will receive their reward, while others will have to pay their debts. [Read more…]

Christians Stand Firm: Fight the Lies, Defend the Truth

Christians Stand Firm: Fight the Lies, Defend the Truth Sword by Anthony Esolen –
Truth is truth to the end of time. Even if the battle appears lost, let each Christian raise one sword at least against the lie. Even if the fight is fierce, the warfare long, let each Christian remember that our Captain triumphed in and through the hour of His utter defeat upon Calvary.

One day, said St. Jerome, the world awoke and groaned to find itself half Arian. It was the reasonable position of the time, bearing all the marks of historical inevitability. It shrugged away the most challenging points of Christology, for if Christ was but a creature, a Platonic demiurge, we need not puzzle our minds over how God might be both one and three. We need not be stunned into reverence by the words, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” since the Word was, in a sense, already “flesh.”

Arianism was an easy slide. Most of the bishops leaned that way; it was the way of the well-stuffed. But Athanasius rose up contra mundum, the single-minded saint whom his opponents derided and often exiled for his bigotry. Athanasius was on the wrong side of “history.” Good for him; Christians must always so station themselves. Our Lord was murdered on Calvary by the great dead historical hulk called the Roman Empire. [Read more…]