July 24, 2014

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...]

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...]

The Judges’ Atheist Inquisition

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Source: The Spectator | Melanie Phillips The secular inquisition against Christians was ratcheted up another notch yesterday in a grotesque judgment in the High Court by two judges, who have actually banned a couple from fostering children simply because they hold traditional Christian views about homosexuality. The implications of this judgment are utterly appalling on many levels. The couple involved, Eunice and Owen Johns, are upstanding, traditional people whose quality of care for the twenty or so children they have fostered is not in doubt. At a time when is estimated that there is a need for another 10,000 foster carers, one might have thought the Johns would be treated as gold dust. Nor have they even prevented any homosexuals from having or doing anything. Their crime is simply to believe it is wrong to promote a homosexual lifestyle to a child in their care because they take the view that sex outside marriage is wrong. Yet for that view – which not long ago was … [Read more...]

Christianity Isn’t Dying, It’s Being Eradicated

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Source: London Telegraph It’s official: Britain is no longer a Christian nation. In banning Eunice and Owen Johns, a devout Christian couple, from fostering children, Lord Justice Munby and Mr Justice Beatson declared that we live in a secular state, and that the Johns’ religious convictions disqualified them from raising citizens of that state. We’ve outgrown Christianity, the judges professed. Instead, we have graduated to the status of a multicultural nation, blessed by a plurality of faiths. Ironically, the justices who have pronounced that Britain is no longer Christian did so in a court where witnesses swear on the Bible and invoke God’s help in telling the truth. I do not imagine that these judges leave out the first word in “God Save the Queen” – nor would they shun an invitation to the Royal wedding, which is happening not at a registry office but the centrepiece of official Christendom, Westminster Abbey. In taking part in these traditions, the judges – and the rest … [Read more...]

Fr. Peter Preble interviews Fr. Jay Finelli, the iPadre

Fr. Peter Preble, host of the Ancient Faith Radio program Shepherd of Souls, webmaster of the Fr. Peter-Michael Preble website, occasional contributer to the AOI Observer and all around good guy has good discussion this week with a Roman Catholic priest on the role of the Church in politics and culture, in particular the obligation the Church to speak out on moral issues. Fr. Peter's guest is in the diocese where the Roman Catholic Bishop Tobin has been in a public conversation with Representative Patrick Kennedy about Kennedy's stand on abortion. Listen here: … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: ‘Patriarchate is dying’

’We cannot breathe, the Patriarchate is dying,’ says patriarch ASLI AYDINTAŞBAŞ ISTANBUL - Milliyet Thursday, December 24, 2009 Following criticism of his controversial statement to a U.S. television network describing his community’s problems, Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew says his comments were emphasized, but the serious problem of opening Halki seminary needs to be addressed. Criticized for telling U.S. network CBS that he felt “crucified in Turkey,” in an interview he told daily Milliyet, “We are without oxygen, the Patriarchate is dying.” He said the interview with CBS was not planned and that the media had emphasized the crucifixion quote. He said this was a metaphor for detailing Greeks’ problems in Turkey, highlighted by the issue of the Halki seminary located on Heybeliada, one of Istanbul’s Princes’ Islands in Marmara Sea. “What will we do, if we cannot raise men of the cloth? Our metropolitan bishops in Europe are over 70 years old. The ones here are … [Read more...]

Wave of Clergy Killings in Russia

Source: Voice of America Peter Fedynsky | Moscow 23 December 2009 The second murder of a Russian priest in as many months has prompted a call by the Orthodox Church for Russians to think about their country's spiritual and moral condition. The killings follow more violence this year directed against Muslim clerics in Russia's troubled Caucasus region. Tuesday's shooting death of 39-year-old priest Alexander Filippov is alleged to be the act of two intoxicated men in the village of Satino-Russkoye near Moscow. His widow is quoted as saying Filippov had reproached the suspects for relieving themselves at the entrance of their apartment building. … [Read more...]

Report: Phanar backtracks on crucifixion remark

From Today's Zaman (Dec. 24). No statement yet on the Patriarchate's site. The patriarchate’s statement said: “There are similar idioms in all languages, and they are not evaluated in their narrow meanings but in their broad sense in that language. While answering questions in that regard, the patriarch obviously did not intend to imply any pressure from our government.” The statement also said that there was a need to make a public announcement about the issue because the patriarch’s words were interpreted in a way that goes beyond their meaning. Turkish government officials continue to denounce the patriarch for his crucifixion remark: In İzmir, speaking at a conference organized by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç called the patriarch’s criticism “unacceptable,” while reiterating that Turkey doesn’t consider the patriarchate to be ecumenical in line with the Lausanne Treaty of 1923, which governs the status of the … [Read more...]

Before the Manhattan Declaration: ‘A Letter from America’s Religious Leaders in Defense of Marriage’

Given the vitriol, smug arrogance, and sectarian sentiment with which some Orthodox Christians have greeted Orthodox Christian participation in the Manhattan Declaration, let us review the 2006 letter below which was signed by Archbishop Demetrios and Metropolitan Herman. In fact -- and this may be upsetting to some readers so brace yourself -- Archbishop Demetrios was bookended on this list by Chuck Colson and James Dobson. Let us also revisit SCOBA's 2003 "Statement on Moral Crisis in Our Nation" which defended traditional marriage. "The Orthodox Christian teaching on marriage and sexuality, firmly grounded in Holy Scripture, 2000 years of church tradition, and canon law, holds that marriage consists in the conjugal union of a man and a woman, and that authentic marriage is blessed by God as a sacrament of the Church," SCOBA said. This statement, in many quarters today, would likely be described as hate speech. Note that the following statement calls for a constitutional … [Read more...]

Battle looming over icons and prayers in Greek schools

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MbEL-C7ypU[/youtube] The head of the Greek Orthodox Church has warned the country's new socialist government that it faces a major battle over removing religious symbols from schools. The European Court in Strasbourg has ordered Italy to take down crucifixes from its classrooms, and Greece's Justice Minister has acknowledged that it may have to follow suit. From Lamia in Central Greece, Malcolm Brabant reports. "This is a major battle of faith, which is just beginning," he says. From Moscow, December 21 (RIA Novosti): Europe's future unthinkable without Christianity - Patriarch Kirill The future of the European continent is impossible without taking into account its Christian heritage, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church said Monday. "People who attached great significance to European cultural and religious identity as an important element of pan-European wellbeing were among the EU originators," Patriarch Kirill of Moscow … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: ‘Dark forces’ in Turkey plotted to assassinate minority leaders

By Yasemin Budak and Elif Kaya in the Nov. 26 Today's Zaman (HT: National Herald): Plotters planned to overthrow government by using us, says Bartholomew Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew has said dark forces planned to use minorities to overthrow the government as revealed in the investigation into Ergenekon, a clandestine organization accused of attempting to create chaos and undermine the stability of the country in order to trigger a coup d'état. Based in İstanbul, the spiritual leader of the world's approximately 300 million Orthodox Christians, Bartholomew was referring to the latest revelations of a devious plan, called the Cage Operation Action Plan, by a group of members of the Naval Forces Command aimed at intimidating the country's non-Muslim population by assassinating some of their prominent figures and in this way undermine the power of the ruling party. Recent incidents in İstanbul's Kurtuluş neighborhood and Adalar district suggest that the alleged plan had … [Read more...]

Reynolds on the Minarets and Fr. Sysoyev

Writing on the Washington Post's On Faith blog, John Mark Reynolds wonders at the umbrage taken against the Swiss for voting a ban on new minarets -- and the silence about the murder of a Russian priest in his church. Father Sysoyev is dead in Moscow, but by all means let us condemn the Swiss voters loudly enough that we cannot hear his blood cry out for justice. If we look into it too hard, it might complicate the European energy picture. Read it all: Real religious oppression in Turkey, not Switzerland Switzerland should not have banned minarets. It was both wrong and stupid, which is something even for government. Condemnations will be loud and are deserved. Meanwhile in November a Russian priest has been martyred in Moscow for the temerity of disagreeing with the Islamic religion or Putin's oligarchy. Few will notice or care. It is sad commentary on the state of Europe and America that a few minarets not built will generate more outrage than a dead priest. … [Read more...]