How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.
Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “disposable” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”.
...In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.
During one recent class discussion a Mount St. Mary student stated that people do not choose their traits or qualities, but are born with them and should not be judged on that basis. I concurred with her observation. There was no negative comparison of Down Syndrome in relation to any other human condition. I shared more than one example of my own family members who have faced public reaction due to their birth conditions; one of them was born with Down Syndrome. I made the point that we must show compassion and sensitivity to everyone, respecting them for who they are and who God made them to be. Later, when a faculty member asked me about my choice of examples, I realized that I should have chosen a different example to illustrate the value of respecting everyone for their intrinsic worth.”
The Hobby Lobby Hanukkah controversy began when Berwitz learned that on a recent shopping trip his wife’s friends could not find anything related to Hanukkah at their local Hobby Lobby store in Marlboro, N.J., though it was stocked with Christmas items.
According to Berwitz, one of the women asked about bar mitzvah cards, and a Hobby Lobby salesperson replied: “We don’t cater to you people.”
The town’s “practice of beginning a participatory local government meeting with a communal prayer infringes the liberty of conscience of not just religious minorities, but also of Christians who believe that worship should be voluntary,” according to the brief. The Founders and our Baptist forebears understood “that prayer is an expression of voluntary religious devotion, not the business of the government.”
The prayer practice upheld in Marsh involved a chaplain employed by the Nebraska Legislature to minister to its members, a practice the Court found comparable to the historical tradition in Congress. The practice in Greece differs fundamentally because “[l]ocal board meetings directly affect citizens in a way that legislative meetings do not,” according to the brief. “A passive visitor in the gallery of the U.S. Congress is simply in a different position than a citizen preparing to speak before a town board.”
“By opening a local government meeting with an exercise of religious devotion, a political assembly is transformed into a religious congregation,” said K. Hollyn Hollman, general counsel for the Baptist Joint Committee. “It is because of – not in spite of – the importance of prayer and religion that we object to this government assumption of religious functions,” Hollman said.
Pope Francis is warning that the Catholic Church's moral edifice might "fall like a house of cards" if it doesn't balance its divisive rules about abortion, gays and contraception with the greater need to make the church a merciful, more welcoming place for all.
Pope Francis said the church has the right to express its opinions but not to "interfere spiritually" in the lives of gays and lesbians, expanding on explosive comments he made in July about not judging homosexuals.
In a wide-ranging interview published Thursday, the pope also said that women must play a key role in church decisions and brushed off critics who say he should be more vocal about fighting abortion and gay marriage.
Invitation from Coach Paul Calley: The Bryant Hornet Football Team Worship is this Sunday, Aug 25th at Otter Creek Assembly of God, 10:30 am kickoff. Our guest speaker will be Dr Fitz Hill, President of Arkansas Baptist College. I would like to invite anyone and everyone that would like to join us in worshiping The Lord and kicking off the football season the right way! This tradition has been a blessing to me, our staff, our players and all of our families and we would love for you to come and share in this exceptional experience with us!
Shouldn't this religious invitation be made through the Otter Creek church Facebook account instead of through the public school Facebook account? This seems completely inappropriate.
FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott sent an August 22 letter to Bryant Public Schools Superintendent Randy Rutherford requesting he cancel the team religious worship service.
The school is violating the Constitution by endorsing and promoting a religious event. The school will trample on the Constitution by allowing the school- and coach-sponsored "Bryant Hornet Football Team Worship" to be held as planned.
"Bryant Public Schools has a duty to remain neutral toward religion," Elliott wrote. "By one of its employees scheduling a religious service for a school athletic team, the district has breached that duty."
"I just felt like with what's going on in many of the public sectors where there seems to be a lot of shootings we need to take the same stance that we do in church on Sunday for our kids Monday through Friday," says Pastor Perry Black.
Pastor Black has armed security during Sunday service, but now his school will be seeing the same thing five days a week. He posted some signs in front of the Arkansas Christian Academy in Bryant that read, “Staff is armed and trained. Any attempt to harm children will be met with deadly force.”
It is also unlawful to possess a firearm upon the property of public or private schools, public or private college or upon a school bus.UPDATE: The school has responded by e-mail that the law on guns in school doesn't apply to churches. I do recall that the 2013 legislature, in opening churches to guns had to adopt additional legislation to make it clear that guns would be allowed in houses of worship that also operated schools. I had thought that was merely to protect gun carrying in the churches. But no. The school is right. The legislation explicitly authorizes concealed weapons in church schools. The thrust of legislative debate at the time was to not have the presence of a school bar congregational gun packing. Sponsor Bryan King said he was just trying to clarify the church language. Perhaps sponsor King now would like to clarify this. Another unexpected gun in the woodpile, like the little old gun possession clarification that some are now using to allow unfettered open and concealed carry, without necessity of a permit.
It is a defense that at the time of the act:
The person is in his own dwelling or place of business or on property in which he has a possessor or proprietary interest.
The person is a law enforcement officer, prison guard, or member of the armed forces, acting in the course and scope of official duties.
The person is, by request, assisting a law enforcement officer, prison guard, or member of the armed forces acting in the course and scope of his official duties.
The person is a licensed security guard acting in the course and scope of his duties.
The person is taking part in a school approved educational or sporting activity.
A strict analysis shows the new pope merely hewing to church doctrine. Ross Douthat, not generally one of my favorites at the New York Times, notes that, but also notes that tone and emphasis are important and, in this, the pope's remarks are newsworthy. I buy that. I feel good about the new pope and his seeming higher priority for broader issues of social justice. I welcome the change of tone from Benedict. Writes Douthat:
Popes do not change doctrine, but they do choose what to emphasize and what to downplay, which issues to elevate and which to set aside, where to pass judgment and where to talk about forgiveness, and so forth. And we’ve seen enough of this pontificate to sense where Francis’s focus lies: He wants to be seen primarily as a pope of social justice and spiritual renewal, and he doesn’t have much patience for issues that might get in the way of that approach to Christian witness. Thus the headline-grabbing rhetoric and symbolic gestures emphasizing poverty and simplicity above all else, thus the frequent invocations of “clericalism” as the worst problem facing the church, thus his fairly casual attitude (in his off-the-cuff remarks, at least) toward doctrinal discipline, his frequent calls for experimentation and his apparent hostility to liturgical traditionalism — and thus, too, his apparent determination to distance himself and his message from the culture-war issues of the post-sexual revolution West.
Imagine if the Arkansas flock got even more active — and in this our local bishop is an exemplar — in working for justice for immigrants, rather than obsessing about sexual orientation, a fact of life that many within and without the church don't view as a moral issue.
Social justice jumps to the fore. Maybe, the church's recent obsession with sexual issues will diminish somewhat.
Francis has made it clear he'll make no departure on bedrock issues such as abortion, the church's view on the morality of homosexuality and women in the priesthood. But I think this BBC report is significant:
The Pope's position on gay people appears to contrast with that of his predecessor
Speaking to reporters on a flight back from Brazil, he reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church's position that homosexual acts were sinful, but homosexual orientation was not.
"If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?"
He also said he wanted a greater role for women in the Church, but insisted they could not be priests.
These signals are, of course, heard — and often heeded — in every corner of the world inhabited by the church's followers and priests. Arkansas, in other words.
Well, I've been back in Little Rock for one full day. Here's my home-again open line, including:
* SPANKING WIVES FOR JESUS: I ignored the report from a satire website that the wacky Pat Robertson had endorsed spanking disobedient wives. This satirical item cited the familiar evangelical view on wifely submission to their husbands and, as the website notes, its satire sometimes comes awfully close to reflecting reality. But it seemed worth mentioning when along came the real thing on the role of women from a similar corner of the religious universe. It was this Daily Beast report about a purported movement in which wives willingly submit to corporal punishment from husbands, many out of religious belief. The anecdotal example on one wife beater:
First, he shapes his hands for “warm-up” slaps. Then comes a combination of tools based on the specific infraction. The wooden spoon is the least severe; for the worst ruple-breaking—like texting while driving (“It could kill me,” Chelsea admits) or moving money between accounts without his permission—she’ll be hit with something else: a hairbrush, a paddle, or a leather strap.
But this isn’t domestic abuse, Chelsea says. This is for Jesus.
Chelsea and her husband Clint, who asked that I use only their first names, belong to a small subculture of religious couples who practice “Christian Domestic Discipline,” a lifestyle that calls for a wife to be completely submissive to her husband. Referred to as CDD by its followers, the practice often includes spanking and other types corporal punishments administered by husbands—and ostensibly ordained by God. While the private nature of the discipline makes it difficult to estimate the number of adherents, activity in several online forums suggests a figure in the low thousands. Devotees call CDD an alternative lifestyle and enthusiastically sing its praises; for critics, it’s nothing but domestic abuse by another name.
When a wife breaks her husband’s rules—rolling her eyes, maybe, or just feeling “meh,” as one blogger put it—that can equal punishments which are often corporal but can also be “corner time”; writing lines (think “I will not disobey my master” 1,000 times); losing a privilege like internet access; or being “humbled” by some sort of nude humiliation. Some practice “maintenance spanking,” wherein good girls are slapped on a schedule to remind them who’s boss; some don’t.
In this vein of proper gender roles we have still more nuttiness from Republican U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia, a medical doctor of a sort. In a House speech, according to Talking Points Memo, he suggested that young boys and girls should be enrolled in classes to educate them on gender roles so that they can learn "what's important."
"Maybe part of the problem is we need to go back into the schools at a very early age, maybe at the grade school level, and have a class for the young girls and have a class for the young boys and say, you know, this is what's important," Gingrey said on the House floor, while defending the Defense of Marriage Act.
But hat tip to the First Baptist Church of Gravel Ridge for being first in the race to local news media to trumpet their forsaking of Boy Scout troop sponsorship because of the national organization's decision to allow gay members.
The Bible does say discriminate against gay children, doesn't it? Well, not exactly, but Senior Pastor Tim Reed explained for Fox 16:
"Scripture makes it clear that homosexuality is a sin," Reed said. "God's word explicitly says homosexuality is a choice, a sin, it's not something you're born with. It's just like choosing to be a bully. I can choose to be a bully or not."
..."It's not a hate thing here, it's a moral stance we must take as a Southern Baptist Church," he said. "Anyone is welcome here. We have homosexuals who attend here who are either struggling with it or have asked to be forgiven. But anyone is welcome, and that's what we told the troop members."
I'd appreciate it if the good pastor could send me a citation on sexual identity or, better still, on Jesus' teaching on the subject. I do recall Him talking about children. (Matthew 19:14.)
In the meanwhile came a silver lining in the form of Eagle Scout Sean Cass, who lamented the disruption for kids who just want to go camping and who had a generally more open view of life among 12-year-olds:
Cass wants to see the Boy Scouts troop continue as is, and he believes any child, regardless of sexual orientation, should have a chance to learn about nature and leadership as he did.
"This is for the boys. This isn't for the adults," he said. "We're not a political organization. We're a group of guys that go camping and hiking, and I believe every boy should have that opportunity if he wants it."
Kind. That word appears in the Scout law.
Dan Mitchell rightly noted: Politicians approved legislation in 2011 that was supposed to impose a…
A bad day for Mark Abernathy is always a great day for Little Rock!
"More Republicans than Democrats have signed up for Obamacare" http://www.examiner.com/article/more-repub… want to wager that within…
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