July 30, 2014

The Faith-Based Pitfall

A word of warning from Joseph Loconte on the seductive appeal of government funding for Church-based social ministries. Loconte, a senior research fellow at The King’s College in New York City, says that the faith-based initiative, as it's being reformulated under the Obama administration, will likely be filtered though a Religious Left/Social Gospel ideology which holds that "compassion is defined by government budgets and delivered by government agents." From my point of view, the faith-based initiative has always been problematical because it surrenders the autonomy of the Church, and its ancient ethic of freely given charity, to federal bureaucrats. The danger here is the secularization of social ministries and a dependence on federal funding. Just say no. Witness the bizarre debate that erupted in 2001, recently revived by Obama, about the right of religious organizations to make faith commitment a criterion for employment. Earlier this week, the New York Times demanded that … [Read more...]

Obama’s Theology Problem

John Mark Reynolds observes in the Washington Post that President Obama's liberal Christian theology "represents a last chance for a faith that has been in decline in the West since the 1950s." Reynolds, an Orthodox Christian, blogs at The Scriptorium Daily along with other faculty from the Torrey Honors Institute, a great books program at Biola University for which he is founder and director. Reynolds: President Obama has a chance at greatness, but Tuesday demonstrated that his theology could undermine him. Bush is gone and Obama can no longer simply not be George W. Bush to succeed. He has taken the Oath of Office and now must govern. Of course, Obama could not truly fail on Tuesday. Seeing him take the Oath of Office, the mere image, was a great moment for the nation, but his speech failed to add anything to the greatness. President Obama made history by being elected, but great presidents govern. The picture of the swearing in will make every child's American history … [Read more...]

Met. Jonah’s ‘Obama Moment’

The Washington Times' Julia Duin interviews Metropolitan Jonah who, she says, is enjoying an "Obama moment" because of his relative youth and sudden rise to prominence. In Duin's interview, the Metropolitan said he wants to expand outreach to youth and on college campuses. "The thing I am most concerned about is the despair that grips so many of the young people in our culture," he said. "There is so much nihilism and atheism, all a result of the broken families, drugs, social and economic ills that grip our culture. So many of the young are in a state of existential despair." Why Orthodoxy? "It is a very integrated way of life," he said. "It's a lifestyle, a way of self-denial as a way to greater fulfillment. It is a way of spiritual discipline to help people to bring themselves under control so they are not possessed by anger, lust and the seven deadly sins." He was persuaded to join Orthodoxy through the reading of one book: "The Mystical Theology of the … [Read more...]

Obamakis and Bidenopoulos

Opa! Obama!

Political candidates follow a time-honored campaign strategy of reaching out to ethnic groups and religious communities, and Orthodox Christians have been courted this way for years. It works both ways, of course. Now, little more than a week after the election, we're getting a good look at how politicians and political operatives of Greek descent -- many of them prominent in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese -- have been working for years to promote President-elect Barack Obama and running mate Sen. Joseph Biden. The Greeks for Obama group, for example, developed this catchy slogan: "If you are Greek and love Obama, clap your hands." On Nov. 5, the National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes told supporters that it had raised $500,000 for Obama's campaign just weeks before the election. (full message appended at bottom of post). Andy Manatos, a public relations executive who also chaired last summer's GOA Clergy-Laity Congress, led the effort for this group. "Moving the huge American … [Read more...]

Obama Defeats ‘Social Darwinists’?

Bishop Savas of Troas

Update (11/19/08) -- In "Bush's record in Africa receives well-deserved praise," USA Today's DeWayne Wickham gives us this: This year, Bush signed a bill that authorized up to $48 billion to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria — most of it to be spent in sub-Saharan Africa — from 2009 through 2013. Since 2003, the Bush administration has provided funding to increase the number of Africans receiving anti-retroviral drugs from 50,000 to about 1.4 million, Frazer said. -- End update -- Did God ordain an Obama victory? You get that impression from Sava on a Rolla, the blog of Bishop Savas of Troas. In a post titled, "This is the Day that the Lord has made!," the chancellor of the Greek Archdiocese celebrates the victory of President-elect Barack Obama in terms that can only be described as divine: Do I expect miracles from the President-Elect? Am I confusing the man with the Messiah? Of course not. But neither is he the Antichrist, as some of his opponents would have … [Read more...]

In the Wake of the Election

Whether your guy won or lost on Tuesday (mine came in second) you have to marvel at this very exceptional nation called America. And, indeed, the whole world is doing just that. In an editorial, the Times of London described the election as a "Masterclass in Democracy": The world has been fascinated and profoundly moved by this election most of all because of what America is — a nation founded on universal aspirations, and thus a mirror to humanity. For two centuries that mirror has seemed irreparably cracked by the legacy of slavery and segregation, a pernicious and enduring racism that remains a factor in the blighted lives of so many of the poor blacks among whom Mr Obama launched his political career. He is not the last role model they will ever need, but he is the most powerful proof his country has produced that it is ready to judge them by the content of their character, not the colour of their skin. The world watched as 121 million Americans peacefully went to the polls and … [Read more...]