July 30, 2014

Rod Dreher: It’s Time Bishops Man Up

Rod Dreher

Earlier this year, there was a battle-royal raging among the elites of my church, the Orthodox Church in America, over the leadership style of Metropolitan Jonah, the primate. A number of the bishops on the Synod were plotting against him, along with some key and vocal activists associated with the OCA old guard. I involved myself in the defense of Jonah, blogging under a pseudonym to prevent the chance that that controversy could bring negative publicity to my then-employer. I and the other bloggers were outed after a bishop accessed (probably illegally) the e-mail account of a friend and former pastor, and spent two months reading all the man's private e-mails, including correspondence from me. The fallout from all that made me decide that I need to stay the hell away from anything to do with bishops, because there is nothing but trouble there for me. I never should have gotten involved, because it was all, in the end, pointless. I say that not to "re-litigate" that whole … [Read more...]

Mark Steyn on Free Speech

Mark Steyn

Steyn: "One of the great strengths of common law has been its general antipathy toward group rights because the ultimate minority is the individual. The minute you have collective rights, you require dramatically enhanced state power to mediate the hierarchy of different victim groups." … [Read more...]

San Jose Articles Challenge UN Position of a Universal Right to Abortion

San Jose Articles

Source: Touchstone Magazine - Mere Comments Download the San Jose articles (.pdf). This relates to a press conference yesterday. At the end you will find a link for the San Jose Articles. It is a strong and impressive statement of principle, with impressive signatories. PRESS ADVISORY, October 5, 2011 UN Officials Wrong. No Right to Abortion.New Expert Document Issued at United Nations  Where: UN Press Briefing Room, Dag Hammaskjold Auditorium When: October 6, 2011, 11 a.m. What: Launch of the San Jose Articles Tomorrow morning [Oct. 6] at the UN press briefing room, internationally recognized scholar Professor Robert George of Princeton and former US Ambassador Grover Joseph Rees will challenge claims made by UN personnel and others that there exists an international right to abortion in international law. As recently as a few weeks ago the UN Special Rapporteur on Health, the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Secretary General have all said such … [Read more...]

Obama Court Case Could Force Christian Schools, Churches to Employ HIV-Positive, Transgender Teacher

Coming soon to a Christian school near you?

Source: The Right's Writer | Ben Johnson I wrote recently of the Obama administration’s Supreme Court challenge to the “ministerial exception.” If successful, the government will allow Christian schoolteachers and church employees who are considered “ministers” to sue their churches for violating anti-discrimination laws. There is a deeper, more disturbing aspect to the EEOC’s advocacy in this case. As this administration enforces those laws, it could require a Christian school to employ a transgender, HIV-positive homosexual as an elementary teacher. The government may allow impose Affirmative Action upon churches, as well. The “ministerial exception” has been enforced by lower courts for decades, but the Supreme Court has never defined its parameters. Courts have ruled, essentially, that churches have the right to define their own criteria for who can serve as a minister. The Supreme Court began hearing arguments this week in … [Read more...]

New Book: Greece’s Dostoevsky

Greece's Dostoevsky: The Theological Vision of Alexandros Papadiamandis

From the publisher: Herman A. Middleton is author of Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit: The Lives and Counsels of Contemporary Elders of Greece (featuring eight Greek Orthodox monastic elders). He translated the recently released Greece's Dostoevsky: The Theological Vision of Alexandros Papadiamandis (a study of one of modern Greek literature's finest writers). It is about his new book that he now writes. (The second, third, and fourth posts will be posted elsewhere, for which see below.) I have been working on a translation of Dr. Anestis Keselopoulos's book, Greece's Dostoevsky: The Theological Vision of Alexandros Papadiamandis for quite some time now. The book is a study of the living (lived/experiential) theology found in the short stories and novels of one of Greece's greatest fiction writers of the past 2+ hundred years. I was first introduced to Papadiamandis through Dr. Keselopoulos's pastoral theology class while a student at Aristotle University in … [Read more...]

Why Pastors Must Be Free To Preach On Politics

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Source: Town Hall | John Sears | HT: OrthodoxNex.com Blog On Sunday, October 2, hundreds of pastors all over the country did something an astonishingly large number of their fellow Americans had forgotten they had the God-given right to do: namely, address political issues and candidates during a worship service. Across the nearly 60 years since then U.S. Senator Lyndon Johnson pushed through an amendment to the IRS code threatening any church or pastor who gets involved in politics with IRS reprisals – specifically, the loss of the church’s tax-exempt status – conventional wisdom has congealed around the idea that pastors must stay out of politics. As extraordinary as that assertion is to anyone with even a cursory knowledge of our nation’s history, it’s a theme that’s been hammered home unrelentingly for decades by groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State. As a result, pastors … [Read more...]

CNS News: More than 2,000 Evangelical, Orthodox Chaplains Join Catholics in Opposing Pentagon Directive on Same-Sex Marriage

President Barack Obama signs the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Here's one way for the Orthodox to get noticed: do what is right. Source: CNSNews (CNSNews.com) – A national group representing more than 2,000 military chaplains from evangelical Christian and Orthodox backgrounds said on Wednesday that the Pentagon has launched a “direct assault” on marriage, and the chaplains they endorse will not be allowed to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies under any circumstances. Dr. Ron Crews, executive director of the newly formed Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, said his 2,000-plus membership is concerned about a Sept. 30 Pentagon memorandum that authorizes chaplains and military chapel facilities to be used for “any private ceremony,” a move that contradicts current federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). “By dishonestly sanctioning the use of federal facilities for ‘marriage counterfeits’ that federal law and the vast majority of Americans have rejected, the Pentagon has … [Read more...]

La Stampa: Divisions in Orthodox Church Hinder Pope’s Meeting with Patriarch of Moscow

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We are getting more news from the Catholic/Italian press than we are from Orthodox sources. This report appears reliable; the author has a good grasp of the ecclessiological disagreements between Constantinople and Moscow, particularly the conflict about what constitutes primacy in Orthodoxy. This question must be settled before a Pan-Orthodox Council can take place and before dialogue with Rome can proceed with any seriousness. Both Constantinople and Moscow have different interests at stake. Moscow sees a working alliance with Rome (not unity) as a practical necessity to re-Christianize Europe in order to roll back the hedonism, moral relativism, lowered value of human life and other afflictions associated with secularism. Constantinople has expressed little interest in Moscow's (and Rome's) agenda and prefers instead to focus on global warming and other boutique issues. Highlights from the article: In Ravenna, the delegation of the Patriarchate of Moscow decided to … [Read more...]

The Legacy of Communism, Abortion, and Other Anti-Life Philosophies in Russia [VIDEO]

population-control

Population Research Institute Ideas have consequences, and the legacy of bad ideas is self-destruction. This video examines the legacy of the anti-life and anti-family ideas of that Communist ideology imposed on Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution. These same ideas that ravaged the Russian nation are today prevalent in the West. Abortion, the redefinition of marriage, the elevation of homosexuality and so forth conspire towards demographic suicide where a civilization and culture cannot sustain itself and starts to collapse from within. The collapse is gradual, it may take several generations before the point of no return is reached, and it starts not merely with the behaviors, but with the ideas that justify them. Bad behavior can atrophy the soul, but the mind must first be convinced that a lie is truth in order to quiet the soul's desire for life. If enough people believe the lie, civilization perishes. … [Read more...]

Hadley Arkes. From California: Another Front in the Culture Wars

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Source: Ruth Institute | By Hadley Arkes From California again we get a glimpse of the future – or the future that a political class is consciously seeking to prepare for us in reshaping the culture. During the summer the legislature enacted, and Governor Jerry Brown signed into law, SB48, as an amendment to “the Education Code, relating to instruction.” That Code had already made ample provision to instruct the children of California in the contributions made by all racial and ethnic groups supplying votes for politicians. But there was an appreciation also for the contributors who were “entrepreneurs” and labor unions, and whose stories deserved to be told. With SB48 the legislature took a further step by adding: “Pacific Islanders, European Americans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans.” The schools were directed to give only favorable accounts of these groups in telling the story. But on the other side, teachers and administrators were enjoined not to offer any … [Read more...]

David Roemer: Christianity and Politics

church-and-flag

David Roemer, an email acquaintance and contributing writer on OrthodoxyToday.org, was recently interviewed on a Christian radio station with a gracious host who was unaware how Christian thought can engage the broader culture. Roemer was just as gracious in return. The result is a delightful primer on important and necessary things. (30 second ad precedes audio.) Source: Blog Talk Radio Listen here: … [Read more...]

John Couretas: National Council of Churches ‘Balancing the Budget on the Backs of the Poor’?

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Source: Acton Power Blog | John C. Couretas A “budget is a moral document,” right? The Institute on Religion & Democracy reports that following the loss of a major donor, the National Council of Churches (NCC) finds itself “closer than ever before to the precipice” of financial collapse. The progressive/liberal church coalition, comprised largely of mainline Protestant and Orthodox churches, is running out of dough. IRD’s Barton Gingerich: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Presiding Bishop told the NCC’s September board meeting: “We have 18 months sustainability.” All voting NCC board members were scrambling for “immediate sustainability,” mostly behind closed doors as they discussed the NCC’s audit and budget. Further highlighting the crisis was an interruption of the meeting by placard waving union employees distressed over benefit cuts to NCC staffers. Meeting in secrecy? Workers protesting draconian budget cuts? In response, some NCC leaders suggested that the … [Read more...]