Mass. Lawmakers Set to Vote on Gay Marriage Boston (RNS) State legislators are scheduled to meet next Thursday (June 14) in a constitutional convention to vote on whether to place a referendum on the 2008 ballot that, if approved by voters, would ban future gay marriages. â€“from a news listing by Dan Ring for Religious News Service at the PBS Religion and Newsweekly website
Thanksgiving Prayer for the Nation
Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government, and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large.
And, finally that Thou wilt graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Amen. –George Washington, 1789
French embracing evangelical church
Ivry-Sur-Seine, France — Decked out in Sunday finery, the chattering line stretches out the door and up a gritty block of warehouses and homes in this working-class Paris suburb. Inside, the congregation at Impact Christian Center sways and chants to gospel music as the first morning service rolls on, way behind schedule.
It is hard to believe that this outburst of religious joy is taking place in France, the most staunchly secular nation of an increasingly secular Europe.
Yet even as Christians are fleeing mainstream churches across the region, evangelical Christianity is booming thanks most recently to flourishing migrant churches like Impact Christian.
France alone has witnessed an eightfold increase in evangelical Christians over the past half-century, from 50,000 to 400,000 today.
Those numbers are small in absolute terms. Indeed, evangelicals represent less than 2 percent of the European population. But their influence is growing, as Roman Catholic and traditional Protestant churches increasingly borrow from their hands-on and inclusive doctrine… –excerpted from a story by Elizabeth Bryant, in The Washington Times, 11.18.06
Do you allow your pre-teen daughters to wear T-shirts with suggestive messages? Well, plenty of parents do. Just stroll through any clothing store catering to the younger set, and you will find ‘Hottie’ and ‘Sexy’ on shirts too small to fit anyone older than 12. Bare midriffs are marketed to girls as young as 7 and 8… It isn’t that the adults here have no standards. Are we in any doubt about what would happen to a kid who wore a T-shirt that said ‘Girls can’t do math’? It’s not that these people are impossible to offend; it’s that the wrong things offend them… If parents were doing their jobs, none of this would be a problem. The trashy clothes would hang unsold on the racks, or failing that, would be stopped at the front door before junior or little miss left the house. But parents are abdicating massively… [and] these kids desperately need higher standards of comportment. –Mona Charen, as quoted in The Patriot Post and submitted by Mark Zaveson.
Episcopal leaders vote to leave
Leaders of two of Virginia’s most historic Episcopal parishes have voted to split from the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia, a move that could spark a legal battle over millions of dollars’ worth of property.
The vestry — or governing board — of Truro Episcopal Church, an 18th-century church in downtown Fairfax, voted unanimously Saturday to depart from the 2.2-million-member Episcopal Church over questions of biblical authority and the 2003 consecration of New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, an active homosexual.
Monday night, the vestry of the Falls Church, an equally historic Virginia congregation in the city of Falls Church, voted 15-2, with one abstention, to leave the Episcopal Church, a denomination it has called home for more than 200 years… –excerpted from an article by Julia Duin in The Washington Times, 11.16.06.
Dr. Dobson Helps Larry King Understand ‘Separation of Church and State’ – Focus founder correctly points out it’s not anywhere in a foundational document.
In an interview turned history lesson, Dr. James Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, helped talk-show host Larry King understand — over his protests — that “separation of church and state” is not found in the U.S. Constitution.
During last week’s hour-long conversation on Larry King Live, King quizzed Dr. Dobson on myriad topics including O.J. Simpson’s rejected book, the fall of evangelical leader Ted Haggard and Michael J. Fox’s TV ad for embryonic stem-cell research. But when the discussion turned to attempts to redefine marriage — the TV host made it an issue of separation of church and state.
KING: Why is it a state institution rather than a religious institution? Why is the state involved?
DOBSON: Well, it’s both. It is both.
KING: But we have a separation of church and state.
DOBSON: Beg your pardon?
KING: We have a separation of church and state.
DOBSON: Who says?
KING: You don’t believe in separation of church and state?
DOBSON: Not the way you mean it. The separation of church and state is not in the Constitution. No, it’s not. That is not in the Constitution.
KING: It’s in the Bill of Rights.
DOBSON: It’s not in the Bill of Rights. It’s not anywhere in a foundational document. The only place where the so-called “wall of separation” was mentioned was in a letter written by (Thomas) Jefferson to a friend. That’s the only place. It has been picked up and made to be something it was never intended to be. What it has become is that the government is protected from the church, instead of the other way around, which is that church was designed to be protected from the government.
KING: I’m going to check my history.
And well he should, according to Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst for Focus on the Family Action. He said King bought into a misconception that is far too common. Many Americans continue to believe the phrase “separation of church and state” is found in the U.S. Constitution, illustrating the need for a better civics education.
“Dr. Dobson’s statement regarding separation of church and state was entirely accurate,” he said. “Most Americans do not realize that it wasn’t until 1947 that the U.S. Supreme Court imposed that metaphor — ‘separation of church and state’ — upon the country as law.”
The court actually lifted the phrase from an 1802 letter President Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptists in Connecticut. They had asked him to help protect the rights of religious minorities… –excerpted from an article by Wendy Cloyd, assistant editor at CitizenLink, at the Focus on the Family website, 11.27.06
In conjunction with the above: an editorial that appeared on this e-page 07.10.05
An editorial on interpretations
We have as much trouble reading, understanding and interpreting the Constitution as we do the New Testament. Two weeks ago in this column we printed the text of Article 1 of the Bill of Rights. Since that has had a week to “heat soak,” dare we ask why there is so much difficulty understanding this either from a legal view or from any other point of reference?
The complete text states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble; and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
Does not that mean that Congress has no legal right to make any law concerning establishment – the mandating or sanctioning of some form a religion, in preference or by deference over some other religion, or further to make any law that would prohibit any religious expression? That is after all, exactly what is stated. The same would be also true of the remaining items (freedom of speech, press and on). The simple and correct view is that Congress has not been granted any constitutional right to make any laws concerning these things. There is to be no law “prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Therefore legislation concerning these areas would be outside the realm of its jurisprudence.
For enforcement purposes, that would mean that any existing laws made by Congress that have any bearing on these rights or that have anything to do with regulation or restriction of these rights, whether for or against, would thereby be illegal and properly should be struck from the rolls (surely as a duty of the Supreme Court?).
With that understanding, it would be usurpation when Congress seeks to mandate either for or against any of the rights listed in this part of the Constitution. It is simply not its business to do so; and by this they were and should be prohibited from making any such laws against such fundamental rights.
There is no mystery here, no obscurity of language — only 46 simple words, three commas, and three semi-colons all in just one single sentence. What has been interpreted has been allowed to become interpreted into obscurity. Now what is difficult about all of that? A child could figure it out.
The precepts Christ gave on baptism or on marriage and divorce are equally simple and yet equally misinterpreted and wrestled with. So I note that what God gave, man has made complicated, and likewise what man has given, man also has made equally complicated. –Richard Vandagriff 07.10.05
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. –Paul, from the letter to the church at Philippi (4:6, 7).
Christianity seen at risk of extinction in birthplace
Bethlehem, West Bank — The death threat came on simple white fliers blowing down the streets at dawn. A group calling itself “Friends of Muhammad” accused a local Palestinian Christian of selling cell phones with offensive sketches of the Muslim prophet.
The Oct. 19 message went on to curse all Arab Christians and Pope Benedict XVI, still struggling to calm Muslim outrage from his remarks on Islam.
While neighbors defended the merchant — saying the charges were bogus — the frightened phone dealer went into hiding, not reassured when authorities dismissed the message as a harmless rant.
Now the dealer is thinking of going abroad.
Call it a modern exodus, the steady flight of the Palestinian Christian minority that could lead, some predict, to the faith being virtually extinct in its birthplace within several generations — just one of many dwindling pockets of Christianity across the Islamic world… –excerpted from an article by Brian Murphy of The Associated Press 11.12.06, as it appeared in The Washington Times
Not in any danger of extinction or of disappearing…
I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. –Jesus, from the Sermon on the Mount – whose remarks may certainly be taken literally, here speaking specifically of the Law of Moses.