Barack Obama successfully courted young people through the internet – blogs, twitter, timed texts, and Facebook. Now the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church and Vicar of Christ on earth, Pope Benedict XVI, will follow suit by joining up on Facebook with his application ‘Pope2You’. The app will link followers to his YouTube channel (launched last year). There is also a related app for the iPhone.
Log in to Facebook and check it out.
A new Barna study reveals that most American Christians don’t hold to some of the basic tenets of historic Christianity.
Only 35% believed that Satan is a living being rather than a mere symbol of evil. 8% were unsure.
Fifty-eight percent agreed with the statement that the Holy Spirit is “a symbol of God’s power or presence but is not a living entity.”
This question is not a good one because traditional orthodox speaks of the Holy Spirit as a “Person” and not as an “entity”. I imagine that many were confused.
The real zinger is that 22% believed that Christ sinned while one earth! 17% agreed somewhat. This demonstrates a true failure in American congregations to communicate the biblical faith.
On March 5 the Connecticut State Legislature Judiciary Committee which is jointly chaired by Senator Andrew McDonald and Representative Michael Lawlor launched a direct attack on the Roman Catholic Churches in their state. The assault came in the form of a bill that would force Connecticut Catholic Bishops to relinquish control of their parishes and turn them over to a committee of lay parishioners. The view of the Diocese of Bridgeport is that this move “directly attacks the Roman Catholic Church and our Faith.”
Hat tip to Sean D.
Arizona Cardinals running back Tim Hightower and quarterback Kurt Warner are both evangelical Christians who remain open about their faith in Christ. Interesting story from Fox.
The Cardinals face the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Superbowl on February 1.
Nancy Pelosi’s daughter and Ted Haggard – not a likely duo.
Alexandra Pelosi has put together a new HBO documentary entitled “The Trials of Ted Haggard” that debuts on Thursday. Pelosi’s film tracks the fallout after the Evangelical leader and pastor lied and then admitted to a sexual encounter with a homosexual massage therapist.
Haggard is now under further scrutiny for a new accusation that he masturbated in front of a church member in 2005.
Obama tried to reverse the Mexico City “gag rule” against funding overseas agencies that perform or promote abortion. Now the Vatican is blowing the whistle.
Hat tip to Dwight Lindley.
How did you feel about Rick Warren’s prayer at President Obama’s Inauguration?
Please let Christian and American know what you thought about Pastor Warren’s inaugural prayer by either leaving a comment below or by participating in our poll. If you didn’t hear the prayer, you can read the officially transcribed text of the prayer at the bottom of this post.
After you make your selection, PLEASE CLICK THE “Confirmation” BUTTON THE OPTIONS TO ENSURE THAT YOUR VOTE HAS BEEN COUNTED AND TALLIED.
Let us pray.
Almighty God, our father, everything we see and everything we can’t see exists because of you alone. It all comes from you, it all belongs to you. It all exists for your glory. History is your story.
The Scripture tells us Hear, oh Israel, the Lord is our God; the Lord is one. And you are the compassionate and merciful one. And you are loving to everyone you have made.
Now today we rejoice not only in America’s peaceful transfer of power for the 44th time. We celebrate a hinge-point of history with the inauguration of our first African-American president of the United States.
We are so grateful to live in this land, a land of unequaled possibility, where the son of an African immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership.
And we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in Heaven.
Give to our new president, Barack Obama, the wisdom to lead us with humility, the courage to lead us with integrity, the compassion to lead us with generosity. Bless and protect him, his family, Vice President Biden, the Cabinet, and every one of our freely elected leaders.
Help us, oh God, to remember that we are Americans, united not by race or religion or blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all.
When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you, forgive us. When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone, forgive us. When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the Earth with the respect that they deserve, forgive us.
And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches, and civility in our attitudes, even when we differ.
Help us to share, to serve and to seek the common good of all.
May all people of good will today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet. And may we never forget that one day all nations and all people will stand accountable before you.
We now commit our new president and his wife, Michelle, and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, into your loving care.
I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life, Yeshua, Isa, Jesus, Jesus (hay-SOOS), who taught us to pray, Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
Eighty five year old Carl Djerassi the Austrian chemist who helped invent the contraceptive pill now says that his co-creation has led to a “demographic catastrophe.”
In an article published by the Vatican this week, the head of the world’s Catholic doctors broadened the attack on the pill, claiming it had also brought “devastating ecological effects” by releasing into the environment “tonnes of hormones” that had impaired male fertility, The Taiwan Times says.
The assault began with a personal commentary in the Austrian newspaper Der Standard by Carl Djerassi. The Austrian chemist was one of three whose formulation of the synthetic progestogen Norethisterone marked a key step toward the earliest oral contraceptive pill.
Djerassi outlined the “horror scenario” that occurred because of the population imbalance, for which his invention was partly to blame. He said that in most of Europe there was now “no connection at all between sexuality and reproduction.” He said: “This divide in Catholic Austria, a country which has on average 1.4 children per family, is now complete.”
He described families who had decided against reproduction as “wanting to enjoy their schnitzels while leaving the rest of the world to get on with it.”
The fall in the birth rate, he said, was an “epidemic” far worse, but given less attention, than obesity. Young Austrians, he said, were committing national suicide if they failed to procreate. And if it were not possible to reverse the population decline they would have to understand the necessity of an “intelligent immigration policy.”
The head of Austria’s Catholics, Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, told an interviewer that the Vatican had forecast 40 years ago that the pill would lead to a dramatic fall in the birth rate in the west.
“Somebody above suspicion like Carl Djerassi … is saying that each family has to produce three children to maintain population levels, but we’re far away from that,” he said.
Schonborn told Austrian TV that when he first read Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical condemning artificial contraception he viewed it negatively as a “cold shower.” But he said he had altered his views as, over time, it had proved “prophetic.”
Catholic Church renews its attack on contraceptive pill (Taipei Times)
Medical Association points out prophetic nature of Humanae Vitae (Catholic News Agency)
Hat tip: Clint Rain
The great former Lutheran pastor and Catholic priest Richard John Neuhaus has passed away and gone to his reward. He was the founder of First Things, the great journal/magazine discussing religion and the public square.
“Out with the old, in with the new!”
Rarely have those words been uttered with more enthusiasm than at the beginning of 2009.
2008 was an historic and unsettling year. Our economy imploded, the President abandoned free market principles “in order to save the free market system,” and government assumed an unprecedented role in financing our economy. Business magnates, from bankers to automakers, pleaded for a bailout—and got one from Uncle Sugar. Gas prices took a roller coaster ride, soaring, then plunging in the second half of the year. Political and celebrity scandals abounded, from John Edwards’ and Eliot Spitzer’s infidelities to Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s pay to play scandal to Britney Spear’s meltdown and resurgence. Things were so chaotic on the domestic front that some almost forgot that there was a war going on. Not surprisingly, Americans voted for “change” and elected their first African-American as President. The Democrats took control of both houses of Congress and Republicans were kicked to the curb.
But rather than dwell on the best and worst of 2008, it may be a better use of our time to look ahead to what’s in store for our country in the new year.
The dawning of a new year is always an exciting time. We celebrate it by popping corks on champagne bottles, lighting sparklers, and watching the big ball drop in Times Square. We get together with friends and loved ones and count down the hours, minutes, and seconds until the new year. The celebration is important, for the advent of a new year is a symbol of what is to come, of new beginnings, resolutions, renewal, and the hopes of all to be better and to live better in the year to come.
This new year provides us with a new opportunity to improve on the sorry state of politics and the economy in our country. Our culture’s character was on display during 2008. We paid a high price for the lack of it and we have a chance for reform in 2009.
The new year provides us with the opportunity to reinstitute the notions of virtue and moderation as important guideposts in the conduct of our business and financial affairs. For far too long, the marketplace has been viewed as a virtue-free zone—a place were “self-interest” operated free of moral restraints. This attitude has turned something good (a free market economy) into a system where the interests of others were irrelevant to our economic decision making. As a result, radical self interest and unrestrained greed characterized many of our transactions. The housing debacle provides a good example. Home buyers bought more house than they could afford, unhesitatingly misrepresenting their financial capacity to repay their loans. Lenders encouraged irresponsible loans in exchange for handsome up front fees because they expected to pass the risk to downstream institutions like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who, in turn, packaged the bad loans as securities and sold them to investors who were looking for unprecedented returns. All the way along the line, the participants were looking out only for themselves. They were unconcerned for the welfare of any other party to the transaction. This lack of virtue and restraint was commonplace in the broader markets and resulted in a financial meltdown, the likes of which haven’t been seen since The Great Depression.
Aristotle showed great insight into the nature of man when he said, “The virtue of justice consists in moderation, as regulated by wisdom.” This moderation (or restraint) which is necessary for a flourishing free market economy has been virtually absent in the business practices which led to our current economic calamity. All of us would do well to adopt it in the new year.
How often have we been tempted to buy something we couldn’t afford? To keep up with the Joneses? To regard entertainment as more important than responsible behavior? The new year provides us with an opportunity to reclaim financial responsibility not only for our own interests, but also for the interests of others. Perhaps we will once again realize that our financial decisions impact others, that personal responsibility is good for all people, ourselves included, and that thrift and savings do not merit scorn and derision.
What has been true in the economic arena has been no less true in the political arena. Virtue and moderation have been anything but the hallmarks of American political behavior in the last year. A spirit of hyper partisanship has fostered a continuation of the politics of personal destruction. The smallest amount of blood in the water resulted in a veritable feeding frenzy as each party sought to capitalize on the political peccadilloes of their opponents. The conduct of Ted Stevens, William Jefferson, and Rod Blagojevich were emblematic of public servants who had lost their way and put their own interests ahead of the interests of their constituents. Hopefully, the excesses of the last year will point out the need for a recovery of virtue and moderation in the political arena in the coming new year.
Indeed, this new year presents all of us with the opportunity for the renewal of virtue and restraint in our political and economic affairs. Two thousand years ago, the apostle Paul exhorted his co-worker Titus: “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.” (Titus 3:1-2 NIV) Paul’s advice is as good now as it was then. We will all do well to take his instruction to heart and to pursue these virtues in every dimension of our lives in this coming new year.
Ken Connor is an attorney and co-author of “Sinful Silence: When Christians Neglect Their Civic Duty” He is also Chairman of the Center for a Just Society. For more articles and resources from Mr. Connor and the Center for a Just Society, go to www.centerforajustsociety.org.