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Some Things Said… (Dec 05) (4)

Majority in U.S. believes in God

Traditional religion is still the bedrock of America, with “very large majorities” of the public steadfast in their belief in God and the birth and Resurrection of Jesus Christ — with belief in astrology, ghosts and other New Age hallmarks lagging behind.

Overall, 82 percent of Americans believe in God, according to a recent Harris poll, which also revealed that 73 percent also believe in miracles, 70 percent in life after death, 70 percent in the existence of heaven, and 70 percent that Jesus is the Son of God. In addition, 68 percent believe in angels and 66 percent in the Resurrection of Christ. Six out of 10 believe in the devil and the existence of hell.

Republicans emerged as the most spiritual of all the respondents in the survey — which included demographic divisions for men, women, three political parties and three levels of education. –from an article by Jennifer Harper in The Washington Times 12.25.05

Holidays without homes

Here in California, the divorce culture is further along and more deeply entrenched than in most places. It isnt unusual for children to grow up not only with divorced parents, but also with divorced grandparents. Holiday times can be particularly stressful for these families.

…Court-ordered, or at least court-regulated, visitation has become such a common feature of our social landscape that we dont even notice it anymore… When cooperation between parents breaks down, they implicitly or explicitly invite the state to become involved in the most intimate details of their lives.

The divorce culture appears in a different form for married couples with divorced parents. I am acquainted with young couples whose own parents are divorced. These young families are trying to keep their parents happy. And their own marriages are extremely important to them, precisely because of the trauma they experienced through their parents divorces. What are the holidays like for these families? Well, lets just say they spend a lot of time in the car…

The end-result often is that these young parents, who are doing their best to try to please their parents and meet their childrens needs, are caught in the middle. By the end of the ordeal, they are exhausted, frazzled and just want to be alone…

When No-Fault Divorce was first introduced, it seemed like a good idea. People thought that easing divorce rules would lower the cost of divorce for people who had already decided to divorce anyway. No one fully anticipated how many more divorces would occur. We were assured that children would be better off living with parents who were happy, rather than living in a high-conflict environment with miserable parents. No one anticipated how many divorces would take place among couples who were not roiled in violence, but rather in marriages with an undercurrent of discontent…

But there is hope. The younger generation is sick of the divorce culture. I hear it from them every day, whether on talk radio, or after a speech Ive given, or in response to a column like this one. They are hungry for information on how to keep their marriages vibrant and their love alive. With some help from older people, these young married couples may just change the world, or at least their own little corner of the world. –excerpted from an article by Jennifer Roback Morse at 12.26.05, Find the article here

Alexandria firm automates Catholic tithing

An Alexandria company is helping local Catholic churches boost weekly donations through automatic bank account and credit card deductions.

The process is the same as any automated bill payment: The company Faith Direct, works with parishioners banks so that a predetermined amount is automatically deducted from their accounts or credit cards each month. Contributions are itemized on parishioners’ monthly statements.

For parishioners, direct-deposit contributions mean no more scrambling for the checkbook on the way out the door to Mass. –by Kara Rowland, from her article in The Washington Times 12.23.05

Backers Join Ousted Priest in “Illicit Mass

ST. LOUIS – At least 1,500 people attended Christmas Eve Mass with an excommunicated Roman Catholic priest presiding, despite warnings from the archbishop that participating would be a mortal sin.

The Rev. Marek Bozek left his previous parish without his bishops permission and was hired by St. Stanislaus Kostka Church this month. As a result, Father Bozek and the parishs six-member lay board were excommunicated last week by Archbishop Raymond Burke for committing an act of schism.

Archbishop Burke said it would be a mortal sin for anyone to participate in a Mass celebrated by a priest who was excommunicated. The archbishop, who could not stop the Mass, said it would be “valid” but “illicit.” –by The Associated Press, from an article appearing in The New York Times 12.26.05

Sixth Circuit Upholds Courthouse Commandments Display

Panel drops lump of coal in ACLUs “holiday stocking and dismantles “wall of separation.

In ACLU v. Mercer County, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled December 20 that a display of the Ten Commandments in a Kentucky Courthouse “lacks a religious purpose” and further concluded, “That it does not endorse religion.” The court minced no words rejecting the “three fundamental flaws” in the American Civil Liberties Unions (ACLUs) argument.

In 2001, the Kentucky General Assembly passed a resolution authorizing “the inclusion of the Ten Commandments in displays of formative, historical documents on government property.” Soon thereafter, the Mercer County Fiscal Court voted to allow a County resident to personally hang a display that he paid for and framed, titled, “Foundations of American Law and Government.” It includes “the Mayflower Compact; the Declaration of Independence; the Ten Commandments; the Magna Carta; the Star-Spangled Banner; the National Motto; “In God We Trust and the Preamble to the Kentucky Constitution; the Bill of Rights; and Lady Justice.” –by Jan LaRue from an article in The Washington Times 12.24.05

Where the “wall of separation” idea came from…

The original phrase is found in a letter by Thomas Jefferson to a Baptist association in Danbury Connecticut that had written congratulating him on his election in 1800 and asking why he had not issued a fasting and thanksgiving proclamation. In the letter he is explaining why he had not done as his predecessors. In it he stated (in part), “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between church and state.”

From Washingtons Thanksgiving Proclamation

It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favors.–George Washington, Thanksgiving Proclamation 1789

Global warming versus global cooling…

When I was a young man, the latest scientific theories were all about the alleged proofs on global cooling and of pondering its effects. Now its all about global warming and melting polar caps. So I think that in about 20 more years things ought to be just about right. –Richard Vandagriff

Article contributed by Richard Vandagriff and Mark Zaveson

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