The Via Dolorosa by Jon McNaughton

The Via Dolorosa by Jon McNaughton by Seth Adam Smith -
The Via Dolorosa features over 100 figures–men and women that have left their footprint on Christianity. The man in the middle represents the modern Christian…a man who must make a choice. It takes courage to be a Christian in today’s society.

The man in this painting, puts his hand on the shoulder of Christ because Jesus is the source of his strength. The man holds up his right arm as if to say, “Be still, for I know that Jesus is the Christ!”

Says Jon McNaughton, “I got the idea for this painting as I walked through a street in Jerusalem called the Via Dolorosa. This is the road where traditionally Christ carried his cross about 2,000 years ago. I thought to myself: ‘If I had been alive then, would I have watched from a comfortable distance or would I have come to His defense?’

Today, true Christians are the most persecuted people in the entire world. Yet many of us stand idly by as we are mocked and persecuted for what we know to be true. [Read more...]

Progressive Inhumanity, Part Two: The State against the Churches

The State against the Churches Christian Persecution by Anthony Esolen -
A small town in Vermont has recently been ordered to cease its immemorial tradition of opening meetings with a prayer.
The order came from a judge who does not live near. A public school in the city where I am writing these words has banners hanging from its gymnasium ceiling, one of which featured a prayer written by a student of the school many decades ago. It has been removed, also by order of a distant judge. Since the citizens of the town and the school district no longer govern themselves but have become dependent upon regular infusions of green federal blood, they could not reply, “You and whose army?” The prayer and the banner are gone.

We Catholics hold that man, unique among creatures on earth, finds his fulfillment only in what transcends him. He will not compose symphonies in honor of a good housing market. He does not whistle an air for low inflation. He will pen poetry born of love, but if the object of his love is a Clodia rather than a Beatrice, even his love poetry will degenerate into satire and cynicism. Man is made for God. [Read more...]

Christianity or Thoughtcrime?

Thoughtpolice Christian Persecution by Cindy Simpson -
“Thoughtcrimes” — opinions and ideas that oppose the status quo — were pursued and punished by the Thought Police in the future world described by George Orwell in his novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four.  Could politically incorrect thought be declared illegal — a type of “hate” crime against individuals or the State — someday in America?  Since much of Christian thought seems to be considered politically incorrect these days, might it also be declared hate speech?

Although such notions may seem the stuff of futuristic science fiction, just last week, Big Journalism ran a column with the subtitle “Shorter Ann Curry: Your religious beliefs represent hate speech!”  The column by John Nolte described Curry’s recent NBC Today interview with Christian actor Kirk Cameron.

What did Cameron say to deserve Curry’s “attack”?  When, a couple of weeks earlier, the actor was asked his views on gay marriage by CNN’s Piers Morgan, Cameron, within a much longer answer, made these particular statements: “I think that it’s unnatural.  I think that it’s detrimental and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of our civilization.” [Read more...]

Progressive Inhumanity, Part One: The State against the Family

The State against the Family by Anthony Esolen -
The family is that natural society where individual liberty and the common good are most nearly reconciled. To deprive it of its rights is to rob people of a great part of what it is to be human.

The beauty and the divine order of the family is the very soul of his social teaching, because it is there, within the walls of the home, that society begins.  Thus we hear him declare, against the statists of his time, that by the command of God “we have the family; the society of a man’s house — a society limited indeed in numbers, but no less a true society, anterior to every kind of State or nation, invested with rights and duties of its own, totally independent of the civil community.”  This is the doctrine of subsidiarity at its core. 

The Pope does not justify the family on utilitarian grounds.  He does not affirm (what is true in any case) that there are many things the family can do that the State cannot do as well, or cannot do at all.  Instead he founds the rights of the family in nature, and the God of nature.  It is a society both human and divine.  It is within those bonds of love or duty that children and parents both put faces upon law that would otherwise remain abstract, distant, sometimes threatening, sometimes impotent, but always extrinsic, and therefore not quite real.  It is there, and only there, that law and love may be found growing together. [Read more...]

Stand Up for Religious Freedom – March 23, 2012

Nationwide Rally for Religious FreedomThe Nationwide Rally for Religious Freedom is being held Friday, March 23 at noon, local time, outside federal buildings, Congressional offices and historic sites across the country. The theme for the Rally is “Stand Up for Religious Freedom—Stop the HHS Mandate!”

Thousands of Americans of all faiths will be participating in these peaceful rallies, organized by the Pro-Life Action League and Citizens for a Pro-Life Society to oppose the new mandate from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that requires all employers provide free contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs through their health plans, even in violation of their consciences.

Religious leaders and other public figures will speak out against the HHS Mandate at each Rally site. Holding signs reading “Stand Up for Religious Freedom” and “Stop the HHS Mandate,” participants will offer hymns and prayers for our nation and pass out literature to the public about why the HHS Mandate is unconstitutional and Un-American. [Read more...]

Obama Admin Finalizes Rules: $1 Abortions in ObamaCare

Obama Abortion HHS mandate by Steven Ertelt -
It’s official. The concern pro-life organizations had about the ObamaCare legislation funding abortions has been confirmed, as the Obama administration has issued the final rules on abortion funding governing the controversial health care law.

Nestled within the “individual mandate” in the Obamacare act — that portion of the Act requiring every American to purchase government — approved insurance or pay a penalty — is an “abortion premium mandate.” This mandate requires all persons enrolled in insurance plans that include elective abortion coverage to pay a separate premium from their own pockets to fund abortion. As a result, many pro-life Americans will have to decide between a plan that violates their consciences by funding abortion, or a plan that may not meet their health needs.

The Department of Health and Human Services has issued a final rule regarding establishment of the state health care exchanges required under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. [Read more...]

In the Face of Secularism, It is Time for a New Defense of Christianity

New Defense of Christianity by Michael Terheyden -
In the Face of Secularism, What is needed is a Defense of the ancient yet ever new faith which sets people and Nations free
The Obama administration’s unconstitutional mandate regarding birth control coverage reminds us that we live in the age of secular humanism, when many people no longer believe religious faith is reasonable or important.

The message this administration sends to Christians is that our faith is bad for modern society, and we will no longer be allowed to live according to our beliefs in this nation. Therefore, as we prepare to enter into the deepest mysteries of our faith this Lenten season, perhaps it would be helpful if we compare the reasonableness of our faith with secular humanism.

The renowned Catholic theologian Germain Grisez provides us with excellent information on this subject in Volume 2 of his book, Living A Christian Life. This article was inspired by the excerpts in the section on faith which focus on secular humanism’s claim that Christianity is not rational, scientific or tolerant. But before I proceed, I want to be clear about how I use the term “secular humanism.” [Read more...]

What are you going to give up this Lent?

Cardinal Francis George

Cardinal Francis George

by Francis Cardinal George -
The Lenten rules about fasting from food and abstaining from meat have been considerably reduced in the last forty years, but reminders of them remain in the fast days on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and in the abstinence from meat on all the Fridays of Lent. Beyond these common sacrifices that unite us spiritually to the passion of Christ, Catholics were and are encouraged to “give up” something voluntarily for the sake of others. Often this is money that could have been used for personal purposes and instead is given to help others, especially the poor.

This year, the Catholic Church in the United States is being told she must “give up” her health care institutions, her universities and many of her social service organizations. This is not a voluntary sacrifice. It is the consequence of the already much discussed Department of Health and Human Services regulations now filed and promulgated for implementation beginning Aug. 1 of this year. [Read more...]

Canada’s New Tyranny: The State’s Takeover of the Family

Canada Tyranny Christian Family Persecution by LifeSiteNews Editors -
The great English writer G.K. Chesterton once wrote: “The family is the test of freedom; because the family is the only thing that the free man makes for himself and by himself.”

But if what Chesterton says is true, then Canada fails the test, because the Canadian family is no longer free.

In the past week we have witnessed the Supreme Court of Canada dismiss the appeal of a Quebec family for permission to exempt their child from that province’s controversial ethics and religious culture course, which critics say is “relativistic,” and teaches that all religious are equally valid. And we have heard a spokesperson for the Alberta education minister state that under the province’s new Education Act even homeschooling parents will no longer be allowed to teach their children traditional Christian sexual ethics. [Read more...]

Cardinal Dolan: Cannot Rest When Faced with so Grave a Threat to Religious Liberty

Cardinal Timothy Dolan by Deacon Keith Fournier -
“If the government can, for example, tell Catholics that they cannot be in the insurance business today without violating their religious convictions, where does it end? This violates the constitutional limits on our government, and the basic rights upon which our country was founded. Much remains to be done. We cannot rest when faced with so grave a threat to the religious liberty for which our parents and grandparents fought. In this moment in history we must work diligently to preserve religious liberty and to remove all threats to the practice of our faith in the public square.” (Cardinal Timothy Dolan)

NEW YORK, NY (Catholic Online) – Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, recently returned from Rome, is continuing to provide clear and courageous leadership to the Catholic Church in the United States. We are facing one of the greatest struggles in our history.

We offer below the full text of a letter which was sent on Ash Wednesday, from Cardinal Dolan, to his brother Bishops. It is co-signed by another heroic figure in this critical hour, Bishop William Lori, the Chairman of the Bishops Committee for Religious Liberty. [Read more...]

Obama’s Unholy War Against Christianity, Not Islam

American Spectator - War Against Christianity by George Neumayr -
The more illiberal a religion, the more liberals tend to like it. Western liberals who propose no place for God in the public square can usually be counted on to excuse non-western religions that impose a false and dangerous one upon it.

The explanation for this apparent contradiction goes beyond the childish and self-hating affinity of western liberals for all things non-western. The deeper reason is western liberalism’s attachment to irrationality. Having ruptured a once-harmonious relationship between reason and religion in their own culture, western liberals can’t seem to stop themselves from championing similar ruptures in alien ones.

By different routes of irrationality, western liberals and militant Muslims arrive at the same spot. Western liberals reach it by a distorted “reason” without faith, militant Muslims by a distorted “faith” without reason, with each imbalance producing its own culture of death: abortion and euthanasia in the west, jihad in the east. [Read more...]

The First and Foremost Freedom, Freedom of Religion

Christian persecution, loss of religious liberty America by Chuck Colson -
I’ve been talking a lot lately about the Obama Administration’s relentless attempts to restrict religious freedom.

You know by now that the Catholic bishops have strongly rejected the president’s so-called “accommodation” to exempt religious organizations from paying for abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization.

Good for the bishops. What the president outlined changed nothing: religious organizations will still have to provide insurance that covers services that violate their religious beliefs, even if they don’t have to pay for them directly.

Now why does this matter? Why is it really such a big deal? The Administration is hoping you will think this is all about contraception, which not many people, even the majority of Catholics, care that much about. But this is not about contraception. This battle is all about religious freedom—the first and most important of all our freedoms. [Read more...]

Empty Buildings, NYC Kicks Churches out of Schools

Chuck Colson

Chuck Colson

by Chuck Colson -
It’s no secret that Christianity has been unwelcome in public schools for a long time. But recently New York City’s government took an unprecedented step by forcing around 60 churches to vacate sanctuaries they pay to use.

Why? Because Monday through Friday, those sanctuaries also happen to be classrooms.

This deadline was set back in December, when the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the 2nd Circuit’s decision upholding the City’s crass discrimination against communities of faith. New York at this time is the only major city in the nation to ban religious services in its school buildings. But this precedent does not bode well for what may happen in other cities.

The reasoning behind this decision was ludicrous. In his ruling, Circuit Judge Pierre Leval claimed that renting school property to churches implies “an unintended bias in favor of Christian religions,” that makes public schools look like “state-sponsored Christian churches…but not synagogues or mosques.” [Read more...]

Six Things Everyone Should Know About The HHS Mandate

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops logo by USCCB -
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops offers the following clarifications regarding the Health and Human Services regulations on mandatory coverage of contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.

1. The mandate does not exempt Catholic charities, schools, universities, or hospitals. These institutions are vital to the mission of the Church, but HHS does not deem them “religious employers” worthy of conscience protection, because they do not “serve primarily persons who share the[ir] religious tenets.” HHS denies these organizations religious freedom precisely because their purpose is to serve the common good of society—a purpose that government should encourage, not punish.

2. The mandate forces these institutions and others, against their conscience, to pay for things they consider immoral. Under the mandate, the government forces religious insurers to write policies that violate their beliefs; forces religious employers and schools to sponsor and subsidize coverage that violates their beliefs; and forces religious employees and students to purchase coverage that violates their beliefs. [Read more...]

The Time Is Now, Defend Religious Liberty for All

Chuck Colson

Chuck Colson

by Chuck Colson -
Folks, we have reached the point where Christians may be called to actively defy the government of the United States. This is a shocking and sobering statement, but I’m sorry to say it’s true.

If you’ve read the Manhattan Declaration–and I pray you have read it and signed it—you’ll know that we predicted this time would come. We just had no idea it would come so soon.

As you know by now, Obama Administration has refused to grant religious organizations an exemption from purchasing health insurance that covers abortion-inducing drugs, surgical sterilization, and contraception.

The Catholic bishops responded quickly, decrying the Administration’s decision for what it is—an egregious, dangerous violation of religious liberty. [Read more...]