July 22, 2014

Orthodoxy and Obama’s conscience clause

MAY_2009_WORD_

A friend sent me an email earlier today. Search Google, he said, with the terms conscience rule obama catholic bishops and conscience rule obama orthodox bishops and then compare the two. Not very impressive. (Actually, the AOI blog article on Abp. Demetrios' awkward praise of Pres. Obama ranks first in Google, but that's beside the point.) It got me to thinking. If there is ever a need for Orthodox unity, the time is now. The authority of the Orthodox moral tradition far exceeds our numbers, but that authority has to be exercised. As long as we remain disunited our voice is muted and the culture does not receive the direction it needs. The Catholic Bishops understand this, just as they understand that the life issues are a matter of not only personal life and death, but cultural life and death. That is why they are ready to use their authority to clarify these issues and, if necessary, offer moral resistance. It is time for us to step up too. Apart from the GOA, the … [Read more...]

Brilliant

President Obama and Pope Benedict met in Rome today. As reported by Reuters: Obama and Benedict held private talks for about 40 minutes in the pope's frescoed study in the Vatican's apostolic palace and the Vatican said bioethics and life issues were a central part of the discussion. In a surprise move, the pontiff gave Obama a booklet explaining Vatican opposition to practices such as abortion and embryonic stem cell research, which Obama supports. The booklet was Dignitas Personae, described by the news service as the document that "defends life from conception to natural death." And a Vatican statement issued after the meeting said the topics discussed included "the defense and promotion of life and the right to abide by one's conscience." Here's what the president will find in the opening sentences of the document: The dignity of a person must be recognized in every human being from conception to natural death. This fundamental principle expresses a great “yes” … [Read more...]

To Frank Schaeffer: ‘I’m sorry’ doesn’t cut it

(HT: Orthodoxy Today) The State of Kansas vs Frank Schaeffer in the Murder of Dr. George Tiller By George C. Michalopulos Recently, the notorious abortionist Dr George Tiller was gunned down in his church in Wichita, Kansas. The killer was a man who appears to be a dysfunctional loner with grave psychological problems. Nobody in the pro-life movement has stepped forward to applaud him or his actions; routine condemnation has been the order of the day. One man however, has bravely stepped forward to take responsibility for this act. Frank Schaeffer, a self-described former member of the “Republican Party hate machine,” a group that included his father Francis Schaeffer, Jerry Falwell, and Ronald Reagan among many others, recently offered a mea-culpa in the left-wing journal The Huffington Post. Schaeffer believes that his life’s work as a young man in the Evangelical movement directly led to this incident because he helped create a "climate of fear" with his documentary … [Read more...]

Obama and His Pro-Life Apologists

At the National Press Club yesterday, the Catholic University of America hosted a discussion on "The Obama Administration and the Sanctity of Human Life: Is there a common ground on life issues? What is the right response by 'Pro-Life' Citizens?" One of President Obama's most prominent pro-life opponents, Robert P. George, engaged in a debate with one of his most prominent pro-life supporters, Douglas W. Kmiec. Public Discourse published an adapted version of George's remarks, excerpted below. You can watch a video of the George-Kmiec debate on the C-SPAN Web site here. Robert George: Because the President does not believe in the profound, inherent, and equal dignity of every member of the human family; because he does not believe that babies acquire human rights until after birth; because he does not see abortion as tragic because it takes the life of an innocent human being, he is utterly and intransigently unwilling to support even efforts short of prohibiting … [Read more...]

Keep the Human in Humane

Wesley J. Smith

Wesley Smith, occasional commentator on AOI blog published the is article on To the Source. Visit Smith's blog Second Hand Smoke. When Aldous Huxley wrote his prophetic 1932 novel Brave New World, he envisioned a dystopian future in which mankind would become, in the words of bioethicist Leon Kass, "so dehumanized that he doesn't even realize what has been lost." Huxley believed we would evolve into a society steeped in radical hedonism—where drugs would be used to erase every negative emotion and promiscuity would be not just the norm, but the expected. He also saw our future as becoming profoundly utilitarian and eugenic, depicted in his novel by genetically engineered babies being decanted through a cloning-type process rather than being born, a society without families, without the old and sick—who are done away with rather than being cared for—and without real purpose other than experiencing transitory pleasure. It is a world in which human life has been … [Read more...]

The god Called Earth

stevethebuilder

Couples who refuse to have children in order to protect the environment, says Steve Robinson, "reject religion and dogma, (yet) their devotion to the earth is indeed a religious devotion very similar to the ancient pagans." In fact, the "eco-fundamentalists has a version of the prosperity gospel… we 'serve the earth god,' name it and don’t claim it, and you get nice stuff and exotic vacations." Robinson continues, "The ecologist and Orthodox Christian agree that the human being is indeed taken from the dirt of the earth and thus shares in the nature of the earth itself. But Christianity says he also is given the breath of God who created the very dirt from whence he came, and so he shares in the nature of the spiritual and is given dominion over the dirt, but not for gluttonous consumption but as a means of expressing love in the image of the one who created all things out of love." Listen to the podcast: " … [Read more...]

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

Icon of Christ opening the gates of Dachau

Every Pascha, I repost two stories on OrthodoxyToday.org. that tell how Orthodox prisoners in Dachau held the Paschal Liturgy during their liberation. The first, "The Souls of All are Aflame" provides historical background and detail. The second, "Pascha in Dachau" recounts the story of a prisoner who was there. Dachua was liberated during Holy Week. The Orthodox believers experienced Christ's triumph over the forces of darkness to a depth that is difficult to understand. It is hard to fathom the depravity the evil ideologies fostered in their persecutors short of any direct experience, but anyone who has confronted lesser evils knows that such great evil can exist. The resurrection of Christ is the final confrontation to the horrors unleashed when the embrace of Nazism and Communism opened the jaws of a deep hell. We see it in our own day too, especially the embrace of the nihilistic fantasies that fuel the arguments that devalue human life. It began with that faceless figure, … [Read more...]

Wesley J. Smith: Orthodox Advocate for Human “Exceptionalism”

afrvertical

Our culture is at a crossroad about the value of human life, argues author and human rights activist Wesley J. Smith in an interview with Kevin Allen on the "Illumined Heart" podcast (Ancient Faith Radio). Do we value human life simply because it is human, or do we value it based on notions and definitions of "personhood" including such characteristics as sentience, awareness, stages of biological development and others factors? The former allows for a universal definition of human rights. The latter reduces human beings to "subjects" that are bound to shifting and often capricious standards that determine who lives and who dies.   Listen here: widget here (43:38) It's a heated battle (one that even spills over into the comments of this blog on occasion). Often, the the level of vituperation in the attacks against religious defenders of human life arise because the utilitarians understand their view allows for no coherent defense of any human rights, Smith says. "They … [Read more...]

Metropolitan Iakovos Speaks Out on Illinois ‘Reproductive Health and Access Act’

Greek Orthodox Metropoiltan Iakovos has issued a "call to action" on an Illinois bill that right-to-life advocates describe as a state level Freedom of Choice Act. The metropolitan has posted a clear and forceful letter on the Metropolis of Chicago Web site condemning the proposed HB 2354 as unjust and a violation of "the very principles of our faith in Jesus Christ, the Life of the world." The metropolitan said HB 2354 "would affect all health care workers by removing their right to conscientious objection to abortion and related procedures, forcing them to participate in or provide abortions or face legal punishments. This bill would basically make the right to an abortion a fundamental human right in the State of Illinois." More: The forces that oppose religious freedom and are actually seeking to increase the number of abortions in our society are well organized, well funded, and well connected to the political process. It is high time for Christians to raise their own … [Read more...]

Obama, Stem Cell Research, and Orthodox Christianity

Earlier this week, President Obama issued an Executive Order repealing President Bush's August 2001 restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. This was no surprise, especially since, as Senator, he voted for the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005, which was vetoed by President Bush. While, the issues surrounding the creation and use of embryonic stem cells remain substantially the same, this change in political policy affords us another opportunity to reflect on how we, as Orthodox Christians, might approach this topic in the context of the public controversy. There is no doubt that there has been a simmering resentment in the scientific community over these restrictions (spurred on in part by more general funding cuts for the National Institutes of Health). Obama gave voice to this during his campaign when he charged the Bush administration with "handcuffing" scientific progress. There is also no doubt in my mind that researchers themselves are most competent to … [Read more...]

Pope: Catholic politicians must protect life

Ed. GOA leaders could learn from the moral courage of Pope Benedict. They remained silent when Orthodox Senators Olympia Snowe and Paul Sarbanes voted against a ban on partial birth abortion. See: Senators Sarbanes and Snowe Betray the Moral Heritage of the Orthodox Christian Faith. VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday told U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a Catholic who supports abortion rights, that Catholic politicians have a duty to protect life "at all stages of its development," the Vatican said. Pelosi is the first top Democrat to meet with Benedict since the election of Barack Obama, who won a majority of the Catholic vote despite differences with the Vatican on abortion. The Vatican released remarks by the pope to Pelosi, saying Benedict spoke of the church's teaching "on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death." That is an expression often used by the pope when expressing opposition to abortion. Benedict said all … [Read more...]

“We have to stand up and make our voice heard.”

Met. Jonah of the Orthodox Church of America speaks at the 2009 March for Life. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-qzcPBaerg[/youtube] … [Read more...]