Friday, October 06, 2006

News Tidbits for a Friday Afternoon

Good news on the freedom of religion front, from Agape Press:
A federal judge has ruled that Wisconsin's program allowing state employees to donate part of their paychecks to charity may not exclude religious charities on grounds that the groups use religion as a basis for employment or membership on their governing boards.

Under Wisconsin's State Employees Combined Campaign, employees of the state are allowed to voluntarily authorize payroll deductions for charitable purposes. But when state officials told several faith-based organizations -- the
Christian Legal Society among them -- that they could not take part in the program because of their membership requirements, the Association of Faith-Based Organizations (AFBO) challenged the restriction, alleging those groups were wrongly left off the list of potential recipients under a rule requiring them to adopt an anti-discrimination policy. Federal Judge John Shabaz agreed on Friday that the state policy amounted to unconstitutional religious discrimination.

I guess Wisconsin was convinced that tolerance only applies to those who share their particular vision of tolerance. Any dissenters will be prosecuted. Thank heaven for a judge that realizes one man can’t predicate his freedom on the repression of another man.

From (the very liberal) Ekklesia:
Preaching at a Union of Utrecht Eucharist for a service of thanksgiving in Freiburg, Germany, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said that the message of the churches within a changing Europe should be one of peace and welcome.

Dr Williams quoted the words of Jesus in the Gospel, sending out his followers on a mission: “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’”

[…] Applying this to the current situation in Europe, Dr Williams said: “Jesus Christ tells us to say ‘Peace!’ – not in a tone that suggests we are happy with all that Europe is or has become, not as though we thought Europe the measure of human excellence. We simply say, ‘Peace!’- meaning that we seek the welfare of this society, its justice and stability and honesty, and that we believe it is a society capable of hearing and being transformed by the Word of grace.”

“… and from the prophet even to the priest everyone deals falsely. They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, saying, 'Peace, peace,' but there is no peace. Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all. They did not even know how to blush…” (Jer 6:13b-15a, NASB)

Having been hypersensitized to poppycock in the Episcopal Church, I realize I may be overly critical. However - given the current conflicts facing Europe and the deteriation of its culture - instead of proclaiming “Peace, Peace,” perhaps the Church would do better proclaiming “Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”

From Spirituality & Religion:
A group of Catholics in Minneapolis will celebrate "National Coming Out Day" next Tuesday at the Basilica of St. Mary. Fr. Michael O'Connell will preside over the event, sponsored by St. Joan of Arc Church, as a service is held in the basilica's St. Joseph Chapel. "Along with the planned retreat activities, there will be time for reflection, journaling, massage, friendship and recreation," organizers of the Dignity Twin Cities event said Thursday in a news release. "We encourage participants to stay overnight on Saturday for the full, rich experience of the retreat, but commuters are also welcome." Also, this Sunday, Dignity Twin Cities, a homosexual group, will celebrate a noon mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul.

Are they celebrating “coming out of the closet,” or “coming out of Catholicism and historic Christianity?” Will these folk ever get the message that the Church isn’t going to give them what they want – not because the Church doesn’t care, but because the Church doesn’t have the authority? If you have a complaint about the Faith once delivered, please don’t complain to me; I don’t get to make it up. Take it up with God – it’s His Church, not my Church!