Monday, August 10, 2009

Defending Aganst Defending Contending

Today I was directed to visit a blog called Defending. Contending.. This blog contains a lot of worthy material, but I was sickened by the fact that the Catholic Church was lumped together with Mormons, Jehovahs Witnesses, Liberal Christians, and the Emerging Churches such as Mark Driscoll's Mars Hill Church. Here is the quote from the post by Pilgrim:

"Or whether it’s the Roman Catholic Church who in times past would burn you at the stake for merely possessing the Scriptures in your native tongue, but who now settle for pompously looking down their noses at you for daring to hold God’s inspired, infallible Word above that of their fallible, uninspired popes, priests, and man-made traditions."

What a completely foolish and ignorant statement to make. Let's take the two parts separately. First, Pilgrim recalls the time in the church's past when heretics were burned at the stake. I am certainly not a supporter of this practice, and I find it regrettable and reprehensible, but I also don't like hypocrisy. Pilgrim levels this charge (which is true) while ignoring the same practice committed by Protestants.

Pilgrim, are you familiar with the name Michael Servetus? If not, he was the person John Calvin had burned at the stake for heresy. You hypocrite! If you're going to hold a Church's history against modern members, you had better check your own history first.

Perhaps Pilgrim recalls reading in U.S. History about the burning of witches at the stake in 17th century New England? Was it Catholics that were trumping up false charges of witchcraft, imprisoning people, and burning them at the stake. NO. What's the difference Pilgrim?

Then Pilgrim attempts to make a comparison between the burning at the stake episodes from the Church's distant past to the erroneous idea that the Church (leadership) looks down their noses at people who read the Bible.

I'm growing tired of people mischaracterizing Church teaching because:

  1. They aren't Catholic, don't know Catholic teaching, and listen to others in the same category.
  2. Are disgruntled former Catholics whose parents didn't teach them correctly. [More on this in a future blog post], or
  3. Know they are mischaracterizing Catholic Church teaching and do it anyway to further their own point of view.

Let me educate you Pilgrim, since I don't know which of these three categories you fall into. Throughout the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is the book that contains a description of all of the Church's current beliefs and teachings, the primary importance of the Bible as the Living and Incarnate Word of God is stressed again and again. Throughout the Catechism, it is the Bible that is quoted far more often than any other source, and when other sources are quoted, it is writings of great historical teachers who have written about the sacred Word, such as St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas.

I cannot think of a single instance where I have ever said to myself, "Hmmm...the Bible says X, but the Pope says Y. I know the Bible is the inspired Word of God, but I'll follow the Pope on this one." You know why? Because that isn't what we do, but that's exactly how you've portrayed us, Pilgrim. By doing so, you have discredited yourself and your blog, no matter what other things you say that are good and right. You can't be trusted.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Help Fight Discrimination Against Live Action

I was listening to the Cathlolic Channel on Sirius XM radio on Tuesday, and I heard a guest on the radio show talking about discrimination by YouTube against her organization. I looked up more information on her organization's website, and I was moved to show her my support in every way possible.

Lila Rose, the president of the organization "Live Action", has established a new media campaign against abortion. This is a young woman who isn't just talking about the Christian value of life, she is taking action, and doing so in a big way!

Her organization sends women (including herself) into Planned Parenthood clinics to expose some of the heinous practices occuring there. In her latest encounter in Birmingham, AL, she posed as a 14 year old girl with her 31 year old boyfriend seeking an abortion.

Did the clinic contact the authorities to report a case of statutory rape? No, instead the worker tried to figure out a way that she could get her the abortion without her parents finding out!

YouTube has made the decision to ban videos from this organization, since Live Action's support of life conflicts with their "values". Today, I signed the online petition to YouTube to reinstate Live Action's account. The corruption of Planned Parenthood needs to be exposed, as this is not an isolated incident.

Please join me in standing up for life and support Live Action and its brave young men and women.

Visit Live Action's Website

Sign the Petition

Monday, July 20, 2009

What are you Willing to Die For?

Yesterday I was reading various news articles online, and I came across a story with a headline that caught my attention. It was about a Florida woman who has driven the same car since 1964. In this article, she is quoted as saying "People don't want to talk to me anymore. They're tired of hearing about my Chariot (the pet name for her car)". She also said that she keeps a .38-caliber handgun in case anyone tries to steal her car. "Somebody's going to go down with me if I get in that situation," she said. "I'm not going down alone."

At the close of the article, she was asked if she considered trading in her car under President Obama's "Cash for Clunkers" program, which gives $4,500 to motorists who trade in older cars with poor gas mileage. She replied: "He ain't gonna get mine. I'll die fighting for her."

On the one hand, I felt a sense of admiration for a 90 year old woman who still has this much passion in life. But then a thought occurred to me. Isn't this commitment, this love, and this willingness to fight and die horribly misplaced?

There are three things that are worthy of being willing to fight and die to protect; our families, our nation, and our triune God. Of these three, only one of these offers the promise of eternal salvation, and that is death in defense of our belief in God the Father, the Son, and the holy Spirit. In 21st century North America, it is almost unthinkable to be put in a situation where we have to make the choice between saving our life here on Earth or professing our belief in Christianity and being killed for it. I believe that most of us would fail that test if it were put to us.

This woman in Florida is willing to die to save her car. Are you willing to die to save your soul?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Veterans Fight to Keep 75 Year Old War Memorial

A good friend and brother in Christ posted a video from YouTube earlier today with a story about yet another disturbing lawsuit brought forward by the ACLU. Unless the Supreme Court hears the case and overturns the lower court ruling, a 75 year old war memorial in the Mojave Desert is in danger of being taken down. Why? The reason is that the war memorial is a white cross and the memorial is on federal land. The ACLU argues that there should be no religious symbols anywhere on public land. As it currently stands at the time of this writing, the cross has been ordered to be covered up until the Supreme Court hears the case.

Now the fact that the ACLU has taken this case and is making this argument isn't shocking at all. We expect this from the organization that has defended NAMBLA (the North American Man-Boy Love Association), fought against free speech rights of pro-life groups, and defended mock child pornography as free speech (provided that real children aren't used in the filming, of course). What was shocking to me was WHO the originator of the lawsuit was. Not only was he not even from the same state (the memorial is in southern California and this man lives in Oregon), but he claims to be a Roman Catholic.

I say "claims to be a Roman Catholic" because a true Christian of any denomination cannot have the hardness of heart to bring such a lawsuit. When a man puts government first and the holy cross second, he is not a Catholic and not a Christian, he is a statist. This person worships at the altar of Government, and I as a Catholic, Christian American rebuke him in the strongest possible way. Apparently he has nothing better to do than to make sure that his revered "separation of church and state" ideal is enforced, even when he knows that it will deeply hurt our veterans who have bravely fought and died to defend our freedom, including his.

If it weren't enough to rebuke him as unappreciative of his freedom and who earned it for him, this fraud of a Roman Catholic (that's right I said it!) seems to have forgotten who died for something vastly more significant than our great nation. It was Jesus Christ. He spent three hours nailed to the cross depicted in this memorial; He died so that my sins and your sins and this man's sins would be forgiven. What does this man from Oregon do to show how thankful he is for the cross? He asks that it be taken down because he would be offended to see it on federal land!

Perhaps he would make the argument that he doesn't mind seeing crosses at church, just not in public places. My response would be "get your priorities right". If statism is #1 to you and Christianity is #2, then it is pretty clear that you are worshipping the false idol of government.

I am confident that the Supreme Court will overturn this ruling from the lower court and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The U.S. Government is defending the memorial in the case. I pray that the heavily Catholic Supreme Court will defend the right of the veterans to memorialize the fallen in the same way that they have since 1934, by looking up at the gleaming white cross on the side of the road in the Mojave Desert. They have the opportunity to rebuke this man in a way that I cannot; by putting an end to this disgraceful lawsuit. A ruling in favor of the veterans won't change this man's heart, but it will restore a symbol of the sacrifices of so many veterans, and of the greatest sacrifice of all: that of Jesus Christ.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Misuse of Matthew 7:1-5

"Judge not lest you be judged." You have surely heard that phrase spoken numerous times, often in response to something you said that sounded critical of someone's actions. On its own, this phrase seems to indicate that we cannot criticize or point out someone else's wrongdoing. With this phrase lurking in the back of our minds, we become hesitant to speak up when we observe a Christian brother or sister doing something that we know is not in accordance with Bible teaching.

"Who am I to judge?", we ask ourselves, and let the action stand unchallenged.

My brothers and sisters, this is a completely incorrect interpretation of this verse, and we need to read past the first sentence to discover its true meaning. We also need to investigate other passages which tell us the correct way to deal with a brother or sister in Christ whom we know to be doing wrong.

Matthew 7:1-5
Stop judging that you may also not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove that splinter from your eye' while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother's eye.

What is this passage telling us? When we read it in its entirety, we see that Jesus is instructing us not to be hypocrites, that is, pointing out our brother's faults while we are doing the same or worse. Notice that Christ tells us at the end of this passage that we can remove the splinter from our brother's eye once we have removed the wooden beam from our own. That means that once we have changed our ways and have begun to live the Word honestly and with cleanliness of heart, then we can point out what others are doing wrong. In fact, we are commanded to do so.

2 Timothy 4:1-4
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power, proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching. For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers, and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths.

If you know someone who is rejecting sound doctrine in favor of false teaching, it is your Christian duty to teach and to reprimand. Do not let the phrase "Judge not lest you be judged" paralyze you into inaction.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Knights of Columbus Support Ref. 71

I have written in my last few posts what I believe to be wrong with the state of individuals, the nation, and Christianity. Today I am happy to report that something has been done right. The Knights of Columbus (K of C) has endorsed Washington State Referendum 71. Washington State Ref. 71 would bring the controversial Senate Bill 5688 to the voters of Washington State this November. In essence, Senate Bill 5688 seeks to provide the framework for legalizing gay marriage in the state of Washington. A vote is certainly preferable to the alternatives, i.e. gay marriage imposed by the courts as in the commonwealth of Massachusetts, or by the state legislature without the consent of the people.

Unlike many of the liberal churches in Western Washington and their affiliated organizations, the K of C (a Catholic mens' organization for those who aren't familiar with it) has taken a courageous stand in defense of the Biblical definition of marriage. In their endorsement, they cite the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered," and "contrary to the natural law." "Under no circumstances can they be approved."

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in turn, cites several Bible passages, including the following:

Romans 1:24-27 : "Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degredation of their bodies. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshipped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. Therefore, God handed them over to degreading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity."

Could this be any clearer? Anyone who tries to make the case from the Christian perspective that homosexual acts are natural, and therefore equivalent with heterosexual acts is either lying to himself and to you, or he is ignorant of what the Bible says. In either case, what that person says must be rejected. St. Paul refers to homosexual acts as unnatural, shameful, perverse, and degrading all in this one passage. That is a strong and clear condemnation not of the individuals who feel passions toward members of the same gender, but those who act upon them. We are called upon to love the sinner, but hate the sin. God detests sin, and therefore so must we.

If asked to support Referendum 71, it is your Christian duty to do so (as well as mine), and you must be prepared to be answer for why you support it. Homosexual activists have discovered and used the tactic of publishing the names and addresses online of everyone who signs this referendum, and you MUST be willing to sign this petition and accept the potential fallout.

When someone tries to label you as homophobic (and they will if you support this referendum), ask yourself one very important question. Would you rather offend that person by stating your strongly-held beliefs in the teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and his apostles, or would you rather offend God? If you are more concered about offending the homosexual activist or misguided Christian, perhaps you should re-evaluate your priorities and ask yourself if you are truly committed to Christ.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Why Politics Matters - National Version

Yesterday it became official; the Democrats now have the first U.S. Senate supermajority since 1979 with the certification of former Saturday Night Live writer and comedian Al Franken as the Senator from Minnesota. There are three ways to view this event: with glee that the Democratic takeover of Washington is complete, with dismay at how things could have turned so bad in just three years, or with a big yawn and an attitude of "Who cares?"

If you are in the last group, and you are someone who cares about freedom of speech, freedom of religious expression, individual property rights, and the value of human life, then you need to WAKE UP!

The era of change is well underway. Let's see what kind of changes we've had so far this year:

On January 28, 2009, U.S. taxpayer funding of overseas abortions was reinstated. As if your tax dollars being used for domestic abortions wasn't bad enough, now we get to send our money overseas to help women all over the world end innocent lives. Care to guess how many Democrats voted against a measure that would have blocked this reinstatement? Only one Democrat stood for life; Ben Nelson of Nebraska. Thank you Senator Nelson.

Three current Republicans and one former Republican voted to send your money overseas, including Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins from Maine, Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, and Arlen Spector from Pennsylvania. The vote was 60-37.

In February, President Obama nominated David Ogden for the post of Deputy Attorney General. Who is David Ogden? Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said Ogden "is more than just a lawyer who has had a few unsavory clients. He has devoted a substantial part of his career, case after case, for 20 years, in defense of pornography." Here are some examples:

In 1986, he argued against the Library of Congress' decision to stop publishing Braille editions of Playboy magazine. He once filed a brief on behalf of a group of library directors arguing against the Children's Internet Protection Act. The act ordered libraries and schools receiving funding for the Internet to restrict access to obscene sites. But Ogden's brief argued that the act impaired the ability of librarians to do their jobs. He called it "unconstitutional," though the Supreme Court later disagreed with him and upheld the act. He argued, on behalf of several media groups, against a child pornography law that required publishers of all kinds to verify and document the age of their models (which would ensure the models are at least 18). The provisions were struck down. View the source of this article

Last month, President Obama appointed Kevin Jennings, the former head of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN) to be the assistant deputy secretary of education in charge of the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools. The GLSEN is dedicated to promoting pro-homosexual clubs and curricula in public schools. The interpretation of what "safe" means should be obvious from this appointment. Hint: it doesn't mean children will be safe to practice free religious expression, but I'll bet it does mean lots of free condoms.

The list goes on and on, but hopefully you get the idea. When one party has complete control of the agenda in Washington DC, and that party is at best indifferent to, and at worse intolerant of the values that you care about, you can't just complain about it. It isn't going to get any better until changes are made.

What can we do? Watch the news, read a newspaper, know what's going on in the world. Send an email, write a letter, or make a telephone call to your Senators and Representatives in Washington, DC. Tell them what you think and how you feel.

Put down your bag of potato chips, get off your couch, and TAKE ACTION!

Friday, June 26, 2009

What a Wonderful World

Imagine living in a world where everyone was guaranteed to never, ever be offended. Children could go to school and never be called names, harassed, or bullied. Democrats and Republicans would always agree on every issue. Smokers could smoke wherever they want and nonsmokers would enjoy breathing it in. People of all religious denominations would respect all of each others' teachings. Better yet, we could create one world religion and call it Christabuddhahinduislamowiccajudaism. A woman whose sons and daughters are serving their country could proudly fly her nation's flag in her office.

You say that's ridiculous? What, you mean Christabuddhahinduislamowiccajudaism? Oh, you mean an American flying a flag in her office.

Well apparently for one African immigrant at a hospital in Mansfield, Texas, the American flag is offensive. And since this woman's rights apparently superceded all others in this workplace, the hospital upper management did what came natural to them, they put the flag where they felt it belongs; on the ground.

It is incredible to me how many people believe that they have a right not to be offended, and look to workplace management, lawyers, or the government to come to their aid if they are offended in any way.

As Christians, we should certainly never go out of our way to intentionally offend anyone, but we should not have or support the expectation of living in an offense-free society. There is only one way to assure that no one is ever offended at any time, and that would be to remove all forms of free expression, including the freedom of religious expression. We must never allow that to happen. If you think that sounds far fetched, then you need to realize that there are movements worldwide that aim to limit religious expression; particularly to label the Bible as hate speech. Once government is allowed to start down that road, there will be no stopping it. Do not let your guard down and be on the lookout for those who would remove any freedom of expression, even if it is an expression that offends you.

I am happy to say that the hospital finally got it right in this case and allowed the flag to be displayed. Perhaps that is because this happened in Texas and not San Francisco. The next time around, freedom may not be restored so quickly and painlessly.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Senator Kerry: Bad Comedian, Worse Christian

Senator Kerry,

It's time that you were called out, one Catholic to another. You sir (excuse me, Senator), have shown yet again that you are a Catholic Christian in name only. Your pathetic attempt at humor at the expense of the left's favorite punching bag, Sarah Palin, has shown that there is something deeply lacking in your faith.

How does someone call himself a Christian and at the same time wish for someone to disappear. Whether you agree with Sarah Palin's politics and policies or not, she is a mother, and wife, and a daughter.
Ephesians 5:3-4
"Immorality of any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you, as is fitting among holy ones, no obscenity or silly or suggestive talk, which is out of place, but instead, thanksgiving"

Rather than wishing for the safe return of Governor Sanford, you take the opportunity to wish for the disappearance of Governor Palin instead. In addition to your lack of statesmanship, you are a fraud and a liar when you claim to be a Catholic. How hard must your heart be, Senator, and why? How can someone who has been given so much in life be filled with so much hatred?

It is frightening to think that someone who could say something like this was so close to being President of the United States.

If it were just this one example, perhaps the case could be made that you said if "off the cuff" and didn't really mean it (the Don Imus defense). But when combined with your record on issues of life and repeated verbal attacks on our troops, it begs the question of where your heart is.

Governor Palin will, I'm sure, handle this with class and grace as she always has. Senator Kerry, you could stand to learn from the Governor about how to conduct yourself with the humility of Christ.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Anglican Church in North America

For my very first blog post, I will be writing about an issue that has given me a profound feeling of joy on a personal level; the formation of the Anglican Church in North America. For years, there has been a desire among many in the Episcopal Church to return to sound, Bible-based teaching and practices. I know this not just from reading stories in the news, but because I was once a member.

I was married in the Episcopal Church, and truly thought I had found a lifelong home. My children were both baptised in the Episcopal Church in 2001. In 2002, everything changed when a visiting priest was invited to our Bible study. We were reading a passage in the Bible that referenced the sinfulness of homosexual acts. The priest stated that "we should be open to all loving, committed relationships". When my wife objected, the priest responsed angrily that "You of all people [as an black woman] should understand. Your people endured slavery and are now free. How could you deny anyone the freedom to love whomever they choose?". Later in the conversation, this priest compared her stance to the stance of Nazi Germany in WWII.

We left at the end of the Bible study and were so upset that we didn't attend the church service that morning.

When the pastor returned from vacation, we told him what had happened. Instead of backing us up, he told us that while he didn't agree with the comparisons made by the visiting priest, he agreed with the conclusion; that the church SHOULD bless GAY UNIONS.

We couldn't believe what we were hearing from the pastor of our church. What he was saying was in direct contradiction to numerous passages in Scripture. I decided to do some research on the Episcopal Church as a whole, and discovered that the beliefs of my pastor was now the majority opinion of the leadership of the Episcopal Church.

"How could things have changed this drastically?", I asked myself, "and why didn't I see it coming?". My wife and I talked things over, and we made the decision to return to a church where teaching and doctrine are not subject to the vote of the majority, a spirit of "enlightenment", or popular cultural opinions; the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic Church's teaching on sexuality and issues of life have remained constant in the face of changing public opinion. I realize that there may be rogue priests or lay ministers who personally contradict the teaching of the Church, but I can be sure that official teaching will be based on what is contained in the Bible and not dictated by Hollywood.

So now that you have some insight as to why I feel the way I do, I would like to extend my sincerest congratulations to all members of the new Anglican Church in North America, and say that my prayers will be with you. After reading some information on your website, about how correct teachings are being restored in many areas, I am confident that your denomination will prosper as more and more disaffected members of the Episcopal Church look for a new home.