Saturday, July 4, 2015

Is America headed for civil war over religious freedom?

From Democracy to Oligarchy

On June 26th, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States made same-sex marriage a constitutional right by a vote of 5 to 4. This ruling will have a significant impact on Catholic Christians, Protestant Christians, and people of all faiths who profess the sanctity of marriage as being between one man and one woman.

I once considered America to be a beacon of hope for the western world because both sides of the same-sex marriage debate were equally protected by the law. However, this is no longer the case. The majority of states (thirty three) had previously decided to stick with traditional marriage, but now they have to conform to the will of five Supreme Court judges. Anyone who does not accept same-sex marriage as an accepted norm will now be chastised, ridiculed, bullied, and persecuted. Democracy has ended in America. One only has to read the comments from the four dissenting Supreme Court Justices: Thomas, Alito, Roberts, and Scalia:
... the majority’s decision threatens the religious liberty our Nation has long sought to protect. -- Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

It will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy. -- Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito

Unfortunately, people of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they receive from the majority today. Perhaps the most discouraging aspect of today’s decision is the extent to which the majority feels compelled to sully those on the other side of the debate. It is one thing for the majority to conclude that the Constitution protects a right to same-sex marriage; it is something else to portray everyone who does not share the majority’s “better informed understanding” as bigoted. -- Supreme Court Justice John Roberts

Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. The opinion in these cases is the furthest extension in fact— and the furthest extension one can even imagine—of the Court’s claimed power to create “liberties” that the Constitution and its Amendments neglect to mention. This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves. -- Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
The Thomas More Law Center has stated that the Supreme Court’s Same Sex Marriage Decision is Judicial Tyranny and ‘A Threat to American Democracy’—Expect a Wave of Christian Persecution.

George Weigel, Senior Fellow of Washington's Ethics and Public Policy Center, says:
In the developed, democratic world, it seemed impossible to imagine that Catholics would once again live under penal laws or their cultural equivalent. It’s no longer impossible to imagine that. -- George Weigel, Lessons for Today, after Obergefell, from Catholics Who Were Persecuted under Elizabeth I
Richard Thompson
In the audio clip below, Richard Thompson, President of the Thomas More Law Center, speaks with Michael Voris about the legal ramifications of the Supreme Court's decision, and if your job is safe. My wife actually worked for Richard Thompson many years ago, and she admires him very much. Thompson discusses the subtle discrimination in the workplace against anyone who opposes same-sex marriage, and predicts civil disobedience, or possibly a civil war over the Obergefell decision. Listen to the discussion below, it is very interesting. 

-- The entire 1-hour show can be found at Mic'd Up (July 2nd, 2015)

Judeo-Christian Sexual Morality

Christianity teaches that we humans have been flawed from the beginning, through original sin [1], but that God has revealed, through the prophets, the Apostles, and from Himself in the person of Jesus Christ, what is necessary for salvation. Catholicism sums up the deposit of faith as follows:
10. Sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God, committed to the Church. Holding fast to this deposit the entire holy people united with their shepherds remain always steadfast in the teaching of the Apostles, in the common life, in the breaking of the bread and in prayers (see Acts 2, 42, Greek text), so that holding to, practicing and professing the heritage of the faith, it becomes on the part of the bishops and faithful a single common effort.

But the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed.

It is clear, therefore, that sacred tradition, Sacred Scripture and the teaching authority of the Church, in accord with God's most wise design, are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others, and that all together and each in its own way under the action of the one Holy Spirit contribute effectively to the salvation of souls. --
Dei Verbum, Pope Paul VI, 1965
In other words, the "bar" has been laid out for us, and it has been set high. We are supposed to try our best to meet it, knowing that our sinful nature will drag us down below it, but through cultivation of the virtues, we can try our best to get as close to the "bar" as we can, even though our efforts alone are not sufficient. Apart from our own effort, we are also supposed to be truly repentant of our sins, and must forgive others who do us wrong (even our enemies). By our faith and good works, God alone can save us if he so chooses (the particular judgment and the last judgment). The final outcome will be eternal life in Heaven or in Hell [2].

So what does this "bar" say with regards to sexual morality? According to the original and true teachings of Judaism and Christianity, all sexual relations outside of the marriage bond between a man and a woman, are considered contrary to the Natural Law, and opposite to God's will for us.

Judeo-Christian sexual moral values are clearly articulated in the Bible, and explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (June, 1992). The Catechism interprets offenses against chastity and homosexual acts [3] as sins.
You shall not commit adultery. -- Exodus 20:14

You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. -- Leviticus 18:22

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. -- Matthew 5:27-28

Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved. -- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2357

The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition. -- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2358

Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. -- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2359
Persecution of Christians has already begun

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil:
God will not hold us guiltless.
 Not to speak is to speak.
 Not to act is to act.”

-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
It's not surprising that the secular world has rejected Christian morals with regards to sexuality. It's a hard teaching for many, and the culture has taken the position to dismiss it entirely, and has replaced it with the sexual moral value system stemming from the 60s sexual revolution. This new anti-Christian sexual moral value system has effectively normalized same-sex marriage in western society through effective propaganda, herd mentality, hatred, and shame. A good recap of the normalization of same-sex marriage can be found in the article, Bigots and Haters? Using Conformity to Normalize Same-Sex 'Marriage' [4].

Whatever sexual moral value system you live by, the error of the Supreme Court of the United States was to declare that the Judeo-Christian sexual moral value system (as described above) is no longer acceptable because it "offends" those who subscribe to the 60s sexual revolution. It has declared that it is no longer permissible for people with traditional views on sexuality and marriage to openly profess them. In Canada, for example, Trinity Western University (TWU), a privately funded institution, has been persecuted for this statement of faith and community covenant. There shouldn't be anything wrong with expecting students to sign these documents if they freely choose to seek admission at TWU. How would it compromise their academic achievements or the academic standards at the university? This statement in particular, has caused so much controversy within the secular culture:
Healthy Sexuality

People face significant challenges in practicing biblical sexual health within a highly
sexualized culture. A biblical view of sexuality holds that a person’s decisions regarding
his or her body are physically, spiritually and emotionally inseparable. Such decisions
affect a person’s ability to live out God’s intention for wholeness in relationship to God,
to one’s (future) spouse, to others in the community, and to oneself. Further, according
to the Bible, sexual intimacy is reserved for marriage between one man and one woman, and within that marriage bond it is God’s intention that it be enjoyed as a means formarital intimacy and procreation. Honouring and upholding these principles, members of the TWU community strive for purity of thought and relationship, respectful
modesty, personal responsibility for actions taken, and avoidance of contexts where
temptation to compromise would be particularly strong.
The following articles explain quite well how Christians are being persecuted by the legal elite in Canada:

It is hard to deny that religious freedom is being effectively extinguished in Canada [5].

Across North America, Christian business owners have already been bullied, intimidated, and threatened for openly expressing views in support of traditional marriage, e.g. vicious attacks on Memories Pizzeria [6], hate messages and threats at Today's Jewellers [7], and gay vandalism at Chic-Fil-A [8]. The state of Oregon has even fined Aaron and Melissa Klein of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, with a hefty $135,000.
According to the state of Oregon we neither have freedom of religion or freedom of speech. -- Aaron and Melissa Klein
State Silences Bakers Who Refused to Make Cake for Lesbian Couple, Fines Them $135K -- Kelsey Harkness, The Daily Signal, July 2, 2015

Oregon Slaps Christian Bakers With a Fine and Gag Order for Refusing to Help Celebrate Gay Wedding -- David French, The Corner, National Review, July 3, 2015
Of course not all homosexual persons are militant, but I do worry about gay activists and unions that continue to persecute Christians who operate their businesses according to their good consciences. One only has to look at the long list of human rights violations against the Christian community (in Canada and in the US) [9], and to Bobby Jindal, the first American politician (Governor of Louisiana) to face persecution after Obergefell [10]. He is being sued by the The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana. In another case, a Kentucky clerk is being sued for not issuing gay-marriage licenses [11].

Pope Leo XIII
Christians readying to repel attacks

In the face of all this persecution of Christians in North America on the same-sex marriage issue alone, and with the official seal of approval by the Supreme Court of the United States, I find myself particularly drawn to Pope Leo XIII's encyclical, Sapientiae Christianae (Christians as Citizens), published in January 1890 [12]. These two passages in the encyclical have given me some strength and courage on how to deal with the continued persecution of Christians because of their open expression of views opposed to homosexual acts and same-sex marriage:
13. Under such evil circumstances therefore, each one is bound in conscience to watch over himself, taking all means possible to preserve the faith inviolate in the depths of his soul, avoiding all risks, and arming himself on all occasions, especially against the various specious sophisms rife among non-believers. In order to safeguard this virtue of faith in its integrity, We declare it to be very profitable and consistent with the requirements of the time, that each one, according to the measure of his capacity and intelligence, should make a deep study of Christian doctrine, and imbue his mind with as perfect a knowledge as may be of those matters that are interwoven with religion and lie within the range of reason. And as it is necessary that faith should not only abide untarnished in the soul, but should grow with ever painstaking increase, the suppliant and humble entreaty of the apostles ought constantly to be addressed to God: "Increase our faith."

14. But in this same matter, touching Christian faith, there are other duties whose exact and religious observance, necessary at all times in the interests of eternal salvation, become more especially so in these our days. Amid such reckless and widespread folly of opinion, it is, as We have said, the office of the Church to undertake the defense of truth and uproot errors from the mind, and this charge has to be at all times sacredly observed by her, seeing that the honor of God and the salvation of men are confided to her keeping. But, when necessity compels, not those only who are invested with power of rule are bound to safeguard the integrity of faith, but, as St. Thomas maintains: "Each one is under obligation to show forth his faith, either to instruct and encourage others of the faithful, or to repel the attacks of unbelievers."

To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when from all sides such clamors are raised against truth, is the part of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the truth of what he professes to believe. In both cases such mode of behaving is base and is insulting to God, and both are incompatible with the salvation of mankind. This kind of conduct is profitable only to the enemies of the faith, for nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good. Moreover, want of vigor on the part of Christians is so much the more blameworthy, as not seldom little would be needed on their part to bring to naught false charges and refute erroneous opinions, and by always exerting themselves more strenuously they might reckon upon being successful. After all, no one can be prevented from putting forth that strength of soul which is the characteristic of true Christians, and very frequently by such display of courage our enemies lose heart and their designs are thwarted. Christians are, moreover, born for combat, whereof the greater the vehemence, the more assured, God aiding, the triumph: "Have confidence; I have overcome the world." Nor is there any ground for alleging that Jesus Christ, the Guardian and Champion of the Church, needs not in any manner the help of men. Power certainly is not wanting to Him, but in His loving kindness He would assign to us a share in obtaining and applying the fruits of salvation procured through His grace.
Love is Not Tolerance

I have always tried my best to be respectful of all people, while at the same time holding dear to the tenants of my faith. If I am attacked and persecuted for my religious beliefs, I will do my best to encourage others in the faith, and to "repel the attacks of unbelievers", as Pope Leo XIII has called for. As various evils in the world continue to grow, only the Judeo-Christian value system is capable of opposing it.

There is no doubt that some Christians will say that the only way to over come evil is through love, and not through combat, but I would argue that the two are not mutually exclusive. It is for love of the other that it is sometimes necessary to "go to combat". Ideally, the "combat" would remain non-violent, and stay within the realm of words and legalities - a war of ideas so to speak; but some are already predicting that America is heading towards civil war [13]. The Bishop of Louisiana has said that opposing gay ‘marriage’ may demand civil disobedience [14].
I realize that this ruling will create conscience problems for many Catholics, especially those in public office, ... In some cases civil disobedience may be a proper response. -- Bishop Michael Jarrell
I agree with the words of Pope Leo XIII's in his encyclical, Sapientiae Christianae, and I think the Venerable Bishop Fulton J. Sheen says it best with regards to love. He says that love is not tolerance, and to be charitable means to " the beautiful and hate the morally ugly."

Christian love bears evil, but it does not tolerate it.

It does penance for the sins of others, but it is not broadminded about sin.

The cry for tolerance never induces it to quench its hatred of the evil philosophies
that have entered into contest with the Truth.

It forgives the sinner, and it hates the sin; it is unmerciful to the error in his mind.

The sinner it will always take back into the bosom of the Mystical Body;
but his lie will never be taken into the treasury of His Wisdom.

Real love involves real hatred:
whoever has lost the power of moral indignation and the urge to drive the buyers and sellers from the temples
has also lost a living, fervent love of Truth.

Charity, then, is not a mild philosophy of "live and let live";
it is not a species of sloppy sentiment.

Charity is the infusion of the Spirit of God,
which makes us love the beautiful and hate the morally ugly.

-- Venerable Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

Hope: St. Josemaria's Feast Day

June 26th, 2015 is a day of infamy because of the Supreme Court's decision on same-sex marriage, but it is comforting for me to know that June 26th is also the feast day of the canonization of a great saint in the Catholic Church, Saint Josemaría Escrivá, founder of Opus Dei. Is it a mere coincidence, or is this a sign of hope for Catholics around the world?

Christ and his bride (the Church) will prevail in the end (even with the apparent heterodoxy and potential schism within the Catholic Church), and we should never underestimate the power of prayer and penance to transform the world. I have a feeling that like-minded Catholics, some Protestant Christians, some Jews, and some Muslims may start to organize and gather to discuss how to best repel attacks coming from gay activists and from the state.

The Rainbow is a Sign of the Covenant
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will look upon it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.” -- Genesis 9:8-17

The glory of the stars is the beauty of heaven, a gleaming array in the heights of the Lord. At the command of the Holy One they stand as ordered, they never relax in their watches. Look upon the rainbow, and praise him who made it, exceedingly beautiful in its brightness. It encircles the heaven with its glorious arc; the hands of the Most High have stretched it out. -- Sirach 43:9-12



Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Bobby Jindal first to face persecution after Obergefell

Bobby Jindal, current Governor of Louisiana, whom I admire very much, is the first person to face persecution [1] the day after the Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage. He is being sued by the The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana. I never really liked unions [2].

God bless Gov. Jindal for trying to protect people who oppose same-sex marriage. He's one of the rare politicians with a spine.
This Executive Order protects religious liberty. The ACLU used to defend civil liberties, now it appears they attack them. The Left likes to pick and choose which liberties they support at any given time, and it seems to me that religious liberty has fallen out of favor with them," he said. "Well, I’m not going to be swayed by the latest opinion poll or left wing lawsuit. Religious liberty is fundamental to our freedom as Americans and I will not back down from defending it.
-- Bobby Jindal 

Friday, June 26, 2015

A message to America from ~740 BCE

Left: Isaiah cries out to heaven (~740 BCE).
Right: It isn't just love. It also comes with a lot
of hate, towards anyone who doesn't celebrate
this cause.
God's Warning to America
Rabbi Jonathan Cahn
Now that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has declared itself God [1] by redefining marriage (5-4 decision), I think it is the right time to send Americans (and Canadians) this message from Isaiah (~740 BCE). The Prophet Isaiah is revered by Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

Isaiah 1

1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzzi′ah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezeki′ah, kings of Judah.

The Wickedness of Judah

2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;
    for the Lord has spoken:
“Sons have I reared and brought up,
    but they have rebelled against me.
3 The ox knows its owner,
    and the ass its master’s crib;
but Israel does not know,
    my people does not understand.”
4 Ah, sinful nation,
    a people laden with iniquity,
offspring of evildoers,
    sons who deal corruptly!
They have forsaken the Lord,
    they have despised the Holy One of Israel,
    they are utterly estranged.
5 Why will you still be smitten,
    that you continue to rebel?
The whole head is sick,
    and the whole heart faint.
6 From the sole of the foot even to the head,
    there is no soundness in it,
but bruises and sores
    and bleeding wounds;
they are not pressed out, or bound up,
    or softened with oil.
7 Your country lies desolate,
    your cities are burned with fire;
in your very presence
    aliens devour your land;
    it is desolate, as overthrown by aliens.
8 And the daughter of Zion is left
    like a booth in a vineyard,
like a lodge in a cucumber field,
    like a besieged city.
9 If the Lord of hosts
    had not left us a few survivors,
we should have been like Sodom,
    and become like Gomor′rah.
10 Hear the word of the Lord,
    you rulers of Sodom!
Give ear to the teaching of our God,
    you people of Gomor′rah!
11 “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
    says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
    and the fat of fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
    or of lambs, or of he-goats.
12 “When you come to appear before me,
    who requires of you
    this trampling of my courts?
13 Bring no more vain offerings;
    incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and sabbath and the calling of assemblies—
    I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts
    my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me,
    I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you spread forth your hands,
    I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
    I will not listen;
    your hands are full of blood.
16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
    remove the evil of your doings
    from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
17     learn to do good;
seek justice,
    correct oppression;
defend the fatherless,
    plead for the widow.
18 “Come now, let us reason together,
    says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
    they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
    they shall become like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
    you shall eat the good of the land;
20 but if you refuse and rebel,
    you shall be devoured by the sword;
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

The Degenerate City

21 How the faithful city
    has become a harlot,
    she that was full of justice!
Righteousness lodged in her,
    but now murderers.
22 Your silver has become dross,
    your wine mixed with water.
23 Your princes are rebels
    and companions of thieves.
Every one loves a bribe
    and runs after gifts.
They do not defend the fatherless,
    and the widow’s cause does not come to them.
24 Therefore the Lord says,
    the Lord of hosts,
    the Mighty One of Israel:
“Ah, I will vent my wrath on my enemies,
    and avenge myself on my foes.
25 I will turn my hand against you
    and will smelt away your dross as with lye
    and remove all your alloy.
26 And I will restore your judges as at the first,
    and your counselors as at the beginning.
Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness,
    the faithful city.”
27 Zion shall be redeemed by justice,
    and those in her who repent, by righteousness.
28 But rebels and sinners shall be destroyed together,
    and those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed.
29 For you shall be ashamed of the oaks
    in which you delighted;
and you shall blush for the gardens
    which you have chosen.
30 For you shall be like an oak
    whose leaf withers,
    and like a garden without water.
31 And the strong shall become tow,
    and his work a spark,
and both of them shall burn together,
    with none to quench them.
-- Isaiah 1

Cardinal: "What Sister Lucia told me: Final Confrontation between the Lord and Satan will be over Family and Marriage." -- Rorate Caeli


Wednesday, June 24, 2015