Happy Holydays

Saint Nicholas - Bishop of Myra, Defender of Orthodoxy

Saint Nicholas - Bishop of Myra, Defender of Orthodoxy

12/6/2010 – Lisa Fabrizio –
The conclusion of Thanksgiving, originally a day of solemn acknowledgement that all that we have that is good is a gift from God, brings us to the celebration of the greatest gift from our Creator: the incarnation of our Savior, Jesus Christ. And just as many have seen fit to ignore the giving of thanks to God on Thanksgiving Day, so too have countless others deigned to divorce the birth of Christ from Christmas.

The reasons for this disturbing disconnect vary, but the main one seems to be that the worship of the deity recognized by the great majority of those in this country might be the cause of offense for a few; God himself excepted of course. And so in a few weeks we will commence the season of attempts at discrediting Christianity and its founder while distancing Christmas from any connection with him.

One of the most common ploys will be to claim that the date itself is nothing more than a pagan observance. Most scholars have agreed that the date of December 25 derived from pagan Rome’s celebration of the Natalis Invicti; birth of the deity, Mithra, the Sun God. But this should not, as has become fashionable, justify the notion that Christianity is an offshoot of paganism, even though Scripture is filled with literary allusions to the Sun of God. [Read more…]

Time for US Catholics [and Christians] to Vote and Build a Truly Free and Good Society

Look at the amazingly clear and moral thinking going on in the Catholic Church. Replace the word “Catholic” with the words “Orthodox”, “Anglican”, “Lutheran”, “Baptist”, or just “Christian” and this editorial applies universally to all those who claim to believe in Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God, the Messiah, Light of Light, True God of True God, and the Savior of mankind.

Vote Christian Conscience 11/2/2010 – Deacon Keith Fournier –
On Tuesday, November 2, 2010, voters in the United States of America will go to polling places in every State in the Union where we have the privilege of exercising our constitutional right to vote. The pundits who filled our television and computer screens with endless predictions on who will win or whether this will be a “wave” election will finally stop talking, at least for a while. The voters will do the talking. Catholics in the United States have an obligation, both as citizens and as Catholics, to vote in a manner consistent with what is true and right, and good.

On April 18, 2005, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger offered a homily on the eve of the convocation which elected him Pope. Here is an excerpt:

“How many winds of doctrine we have known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking. The small boat of thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves – thrown from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism, and so forth. Every day new sects are created and what Saint Paul says about human trickery comes true, with cunning which tries to draw those into error (cf Eph 4, 14).

[Read more…]

God, Liberals and Liberty

Dennis Prager

Dennis Prager

by Dennis Prager –
America’s anomalous religiosity is very much worth celebrating — not because it leads to affluence, but because it is indispensible to liberty. Had Blow made a liberty chart rather than an affluence chart, he might have noted that the freest country in the world — for 234 years — the United States of America, has also been the most God-centered.

Yes, I know that the Islamic world has also been God-based and that it has not been free. But that is because Allah is not regarded as the source of liberty, as the America’s Judeo-Christian God has been, but as the object of submission (“Islam” means “submission”).

Since the inception of the United States (and, indeed, before it in colonial America), liberty, i.e., personal freedom, has been linked to God.

America was founded on the belief that God is the source of liberty. That is why the inscription on the Liberty Bell is from the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 25): “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”

The Declaration of Independence also asserts this link: All men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” [Read more…]

Is Obama’s Position on Religious Freedom ‘Mosque, Yes; Cross, No?’

Mojave_Cross_covered_02_md 10/10/2010 – Margaret Calhoun Hemenway –

It would be unimaginable for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to pursue the removal of thousands of crosses in Arlington National Cemetery, situated so near the seat of the federal government in the nation’s capital and where so many of America’s veterans and honored heroes are laid to rest. Likewise, it would be seemingly unthinkable for the ACLU to try to sue to eliminate the Senate and House chaplains (both of whom are of the Christian faith), who, in accordance with longstanding tradition, open with a prayer the upper and lower chambers each day that Congress is in session.

But like the predatory wolf that searches for the lamb at the outskirts of the flock, the ACLU targeted a lone cross — a war memorial — in California’s Mojave Desert, off a desolate highway, perhaps believing it to be an easy target for removal. The ACLU was mistaken. For ten years, a battle has been waged to preserve this solitary Latin cross, first erected in 1934 to honor World War I veterans. In fact, the Mojave Desert War Memorial is our nation’s sole congressionally designated World War I memorial.

A former National Park Service (NPS) official (who now lives in the State of Oregon) objected to the cross memorial and enlisted the ACLU to sue to remove it. [Read more…]

Thieves Hijacking the Language of the Christian Moral Tradition

Fr. Johannes Jacobse

Fr. Johannes Jacobse

10/4/2010 – Fr. Johannes Jacobse –
What happens then when people leave Christianity and want to promote ideas about morality that violate the moral tradition? They have only one option: Hijack the language. They use the terms of traditional Christianity but mean very different things by them. Words don’t mean what they used to mean. Language gets inverted, turned upside down. Do this long and loud enough, and in less than a generation the new meanings take hold. When hijackers use the language of the moral tradition, they implicitly claim to stand inside that tradition. It’s only a pose of course, but their pose fools many people.

NAPLES, FL. (Catholic Online) – In a recent Catholic Online article (Social Justice: Take Back the Term from the Thieves and Build a New Catholic Action) Deacon Keith Fournier writes about a question he was asked at a recent conference:

…the host of the conference made a suggestion that we get rid of the term “Social Justice” because it is now used by ‘the left”. He asked for my thoughts. I strongly disagreed. I insisted that we take back the phrase from those who have stolen it, either on the “the right” or “the left”. He then suggested the Church does not use the phrase “Social Justice”. An attendee did a “google” search of the Vatican documents on his handheld device and reported it was used thousands of times in the magisterial teaching of the Church.

Fournier is right on two counts: The Christian moral vocabulary properly belongs to Christians, and we should not cede the vocabulary to the thieves. [Read more…]

The Perils of ‘Wannabe Cool’ Christianity

8/13/2010 – Brett McCracken –
‘How can we stop the oil gusher?” may have been the question of the summer for most Americans. Yet for many evangelical pastors and leaders, the leaking well is nothing compared to the threat posed by an ongoing gusher of a different sort: Young people pouring out of their churches, never to return.

As a 27-year-old evangelical myself, I understand the concern. My peers, many of whom grew up in the church, are losing interest in the Christian establishment. [Read more…]

The Evolutionary Scientists: Apostles of a New Morality

7/25/2010 – Miguel A. Guanipa –

Most evolutionary scientists are unacquainted with the nearly extinct brand of academic deference which comes from a humbling realization that a science degree does not automatically confer a plenary understanding of the vast complexity of the universe. The least diffident ones in the field are not shy about airing their personal grievances against what they view as Religion’s insolent encroachment on the scientific enterprise.

In response, Christians often feel compelled by necessity to point out that these men of science step outside of their boundaries, when they advise the former not to engage in polemics about scientific matters too lofty for their intellects to comprehend. Christians are hence tasked with reminding overzealous scientists that their discipline is more suited to probe the sundry observable schemes that animate our meticulously woven universe, and not to pronounce moral judgments. [Read more…]

An Independent Witness to Marriage

7/16/2010 – Stuart Koehl –

In the pending court case for overturning California’s Proposition 8, which banned “gay marriage,” two leading conservative legal scholars face off: Charles J. Cooper, taking the classical conservative line that organic social institutions such as marriage have an inherent value and cannot be redefined by legal fiat, and Theodore Olson, taking the more libertarian line that government should simply regulate contractual relationships between individuals and not become involved in private matters. [Read more…]

Shocking Setback for Religious Freedom in Supreme Court

6/30/2010 – Ken Klukowski –

On June 28, the Supreme Court handed down a deeply-disturbing decision in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez that sets back religious freedom in this country. This case was nothing more than the Court expressing outright hostility to a group because of its orthodox Christian beliefs.

Christian Legal Society (CLS) is an association of Christian lawyers and law students. In 2004 it was denied recognition as a student group at Hastings College of the Law (part of the University of California), making CLS the only group ever denied recognition by the school. [Read more…]

Maybe I’m Just Too American For This Orthodox Church

6/14/2010 – Protodeacon Eric Wheeler –
I firmly believe that America offers the potential for the Orthodox Faith to flourish and grow like in no other land or culture.

Unfortunately, at times, we cannot free ourselves from the “old world” mentality which mires us in our “ancient” faith. Consequently, it makes it difficult for Americans to even attempt to understand the fundamentals of our Faith.

As the first historic Episcopal Assembly ends, and I read the message delivered at its conclusion, I cannot help but feel that we are attempting to fix our American jurisdictional problem with an “old world” mentality solution. Consequently, it makes it difficult for this American to understand why we are being so Byzantine in seeking a plan for Orthodox unity in America. [Read more…]

The Consequences of Religious Apathy

Ken Connor

Ken Connor

4/30/2010 – Ken Connor –
“Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.” Alexis de Tocqueville

In his treatise, The Christian Manifesto, published in 1981, Francis Schaeffer suggests that the gradual shift away from a Judeo-Christian (or at least a Creationist) worldview towards a materialistic view of reality has broad sociological and governmental implications for western society. His is an interesting thesis to ponder in light of a recent article in USA Today discussing religion and the Millennial Generation.

The article cites a recent survey conducted by Lifeway Christian Resources, which reveals that Millennials (defined as Americans born approximately between 1980 and 1995) are distancing themselves from traditional religious forms in favor of a personally-defined, nebulous kind of “spirituality.” These individuals are less likely to pray, they don’t read the Bible, and they don’t go to church. Among the 65% who identify themselves as Christian, “many are either mushy Christians or Christians in name only. . . . Most are just indifferent.” Theological indifference may seem like no big deal in an age where moral relativism and the cult of the individual reign, but it’s worth considering Schaeffer’s argument that – whether we realize it or not – our understanding of religion and its role in society has a direct impact on our politics. [Read more…]

God in Our Classrooms

Bradley Johnson 1

Bradley Johnson and one of the two banners he was ordered to take down

Townhall.com | by Joseph C. Phillips | Apr. 15, 2010

Such was our founder’s belief in the preeminence of God that when the First Continental Congress convened in 1774, Massachusetts delegate Thomas Cushing suggested to the assembly that together they pray for divine guidance and protection. The historical events that would forever change the world were preparing to unfold: war loomed on the horizon; the Declaration of Independence would be signed, and a nation “conceived in liberty” would be born. In this moment, men of varied religious beliefs — Presbyterians, Episcopalians, some Quakers, others Baptists or Congregationalists – were led in prayer by an Episcopal priest in an appeal to the almighty that was described as “extraordinary…filling the bosom of every man present.”

It would not be the last time the founders appealed to the Almighty God.

James Madison acknowledged God’s favor in our founding in Federalist 37 referring to “a finger of that almighty hand, which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution.” I dare say that men like Madison and Cushing would not recognize the America of today, filled with politicians afraid to confess their faith or educators fearful of offending the sensibilities of their students with any mention of God. Math teacher Brad Johnson of Westview High School of the Poway School District in San Diego, California, is a case in point. [Read more…]

Catholic Bishops’ Plea to Congress: Do Not Pass Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill

Catholic Bishops Anti-Abortion Plea Against HealthCare Bill
CNA | 3/20/2010

In a final, urgent plea to prevent the passage of the current form of the Senate health care bill, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on Saturday evening sent a letter to Congressmen asking them to vote “no.”

“For decades,” the letter says, “the United States Catholic bishops have supported universal health care. The Catholic Church teaches that health care is a basic human right, essential for human life and dignity.”

“Our community of faith,” the bishops continue, “provides health care to millions, purchases health care for tens of thousands and addresses the failings of our health care system in our parishes, emergency rooms and shelters. This is why we as bishops continue to insist that health care reform which truly protects the life, dignity, consciences and health of all is a moral imperative and an urgent national priority.” [Read more…]

The Lukewarm Generation


First Things | by W. Bradford Wilcox | 3/8/2010

Sociologist Christian Smith began his ambitious, multivolume effort to plumb the religious lives of Americans across the life course in his 2005 with Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers. In that book—aimed at an audience that the author hoped would include general readers as well as clergy and scholars—Smith painted an incisive portrait of religion among America’s adolescents. Especially insightful was the way Smith explained why the more sectarian religious traditions in the United States, such as evangelical Protestantism and Mormonism, were achieving greater success than more churchly traditions such as mainline Protestantism and Roman Catholicism in transmitting their faiths to the next generation. Also notable was the way Smith explained how the guiding religious ethos of American teenagers—what he aptly termed “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism”—seemed so suited for our culture. [Read more…]

Teacher wins major victory for God in school

Judge scolds district for trying to scrub America’s Christian heritage

Bradley Johnson 1

Bradley Johnson and one of the two banners he was ordered to take down

WorldNetDaily | by Drew Zahn | Mar. 1, 2010

A federal judge in California has handed down a scathing ruling against a school that required one of its teachers to remove signs celebrating the role of God in American history from his classroom walls.

As WND reported, math teacher Bradley Johnson had banners hanging in his classroom at Westview High School in San Diego, Calif., for more than 17 years with phrases like “In God We Trust” and “All Men Are Created Equal, They Are Endowed by Their Creator,” only to have the principal order them torn down during the 2007 school year.

But Johnson filed a lawsuit alleging the order a violation of his constitutional rights, and the teacher has now been rewarded with a court victory and a powerfully-worded ruling. [Read more…]