18 Jun

David vs Goliath: A Modern Tale of Courage, Conscience & Conviction

The Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic religious order dedicated to living with and caring for the elderly poor, filed a lawsuit in 2013 asking the courts to protect them from being forced to comply with the Health & Human Services (HHS) abortion mandate that compelled religious groups to give their employees free access to contraception and abortion-inducing drugs.  Without relief, the Little Sisters faced millions of dollars in IRS fines.
 
The case came before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016, and they unanimously ruled to protect the Little Sisters.  “This is a game-changer,” said The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “The Court has accepted the government’s concession that it can get drugs to people without using the Little Sisters (;) has eliminated all the bad decisions of the lower courts (;) has forbidden the government from fining the Little Sisters …”  The Supreme Court then sent the case back down to the lower courts and asked the government and nonprofits to reach a new settlement.
 
The nuns still need permanent court protection to finally end this lawsuit.
 
The latest threat has come from the attorneys general of California, Pennsylvania, and 4 other states who, in 2017, filed suit against the federal government over the broader exemptions to the HHS mandate that benefit the Little Sisters and other nonprofits. 
“The Little Sisters will tell the judges in these new cases what they have successfully told the Supreme Court time and again; that governments do not need nuns to give out contraceptives, that our big country has room enough and space enough for diversity of ideas,” stated The Beckett Fund.
 
 Sister Constance Viet,  Communications Director for Little Sisters of the Poor, will speak to us about the Supreme Court case at the Rally for Religious Freedom on June30.
!!!! Save the Date !!!!
SaturdayJune 30, 10-12:00Rally for Religious Freedom, St. John the Baptist HS, Montauk Hwy, West Islip. Public Witness Rosary @10:00amRally @10:30am; Keynote Speakers:  Fr. Eric Fasano, Co-Chancellor of DRVC, Sr. Constance Viet, Communications Director, Little Sisters of the Poor; Video Messages – Bishop Barres and Cardinal Dolan
11 Jun

Truth vs. Relativism

Jesus said, “…and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free …” (John 8:32)
Veritatis Splendor (The Splendor of Truth)  was written by Pope John Paul II in 1993 and revolves around man’s ability to discern good, the existence of evil, the role of human freedom, human conscience and natural law.  Pope John Paul II emphatically says that moral truth is knowable and there is no contradiction between freedom and following the truth.  The Hebrew word for “truth”, emeth, means “firmness, constancy, duration” and implies everlasting substance and something that can be relied on. Truth is that which corresponds to reality.
 
It’s important to understand and embrace the concept of absolute truth in all areas of life, including faith and religion, because life has consequences for being wrong.
 
The freedom we enjoy as rational creatures does not extend to determining what is true and what is false in matters of morality any more than in other matters.  We cannot choose that a circle has 4 sides and we cannot choose that adultery is good. “The fact is, the truth matters – especially when you’re on the receiving end of a lie,” said Christian author, Ravi Zacharias.
 
Much of our modern culture is based on a belief in relativism which says there is no absolute truth and that truth is merely what a particular individual or culture happens to believe. Veritatis Splendor insists that moral law is universal across people in varying cultures and is in fact rooted in the human condition and natural law.
 
 
Fr. Eric Fasano, Co-Chancellor of DRVC, will speak to us about Veritatis Splendor at the annual Rally for Religious Freedom on June 30.
!!! Save the Date !!!
Saturday, June 30, 10-12:00, Rally for Religious FreedomSt. John the Baptist HS, Montauk Hwy, West Islip; Public Witness Rosary 10:00am, Rally @ 10;30am       Keynote Speakers: Fr. Eric Fasano, Co-Chancellor DRVS, Sister Constance Viet, Little Sisters of the Poor; Video messages from Bishop Barres and Cardinal Dolan
04 Jun

Religious Persecution Worldwide – 2 Types

In North America and Europe we  see a “Polite Persecution” through intimidation and legislation.
 
In Asia and Africa we see more and more “Violent Persecution.”
 
1. Polite Persecution:   in Michigan, Fired for her Faith:  A Catholic clinical social worker with 20 years experience  providing individual psychological counseling to a diverse group of patients, was fired  because she declined marriage counseling to a same-sex couple since her faith teaches marriage is between one man and one woman.  Her supervisor said she had to be “a social worker first and a Catholic second.”  
 
“This case shows that people of faith are under assault in the workplace,” said a Thomas More Law Center attorney. “… discrimination against Christians is a civil rights violation that will subject employers to legal liability.”
 
 2.  Violent Persecution:  Radicalized Hindus have increased violent attacks on the religious minorities of Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, and Buddhists.  These range from arson of churches to priests beaten & killed, nuns raped, and the destruction of Christian schools, colleges, and cemeteries.
 
Ten pastors and co-workers were taking 60 children to a Christian summer camp last May when they were surrounded by police, put in prison, and charged with kidnapping, cruelty, and forceful conversion. Although the parents protested saying they wanted their children in the camp, the pastors remained imprisoned.
 
 
 “Our sufferings today are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will suffer in the near future.”  Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul, Iraq
 

Save the Date! Mark your calendar!

Saturday, June 30, Rally For Religious Freedom, 10-12:00, St. John the Baptist HS, Montauk Hwy. West Islip; Public Witness Rosary @ 10:00; Rally @ 10:30Keynote Speakers: Fr. Eric Fasano, Co-Chancellor DRVC; Sister Constance Viet, Little Sisters of the Poor;  Video messages from Bishop Barres & Cardinal Dolan

21 May

Military power wins battles, but Spiritual power wins wars.

Military power wins battles, but Spiritual power wins wars.”    General George Marshall
 
On Memorial Day we honor our deceased veterans and remember that, even today, they are under attack by freedom-from-religion groups.
 
 In 1934, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) erected the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial Cross atop Sunrise Rock in the middle of the 1.6 million-acre Mojave National Preserve in CA, in honor of WWI veterans.  But in 2001, the ACLU brought a lawsuit from one individual who lived outside the state.  Fortunately, in 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the land transfer of the veterans memorial to the VFW, allowing the cross to be restored.  “Judges and lawyers may have played their roles, but it was the veterans who earned this memorial, and it is for them it rises once more,” said a Liberty Institute attorney.
 
A 40 foot-tall World War I memorial in the shape of a cross has stood for almost a century in Bladensburg, MD.  A U.S. Court of Appeals has declared this Peace Cross unconstitutional.  Defenders of the monument hope to take the case to the Supreme Court arguing that the ruling sets a dangerous president, threatening other national treasures.
 
 A Memorial Day display  featuring 79 white, handmade crosses, representing residents who died in America’s wars, were posted along a state highway in Georgia.  The crosses were abruptly taken down when one person complained about the display.  “It was never about religion – it was to honor them,” said Mayor Philyaw.  “The cross is a ‘rest in peace’ symbol to me.”
 
 
“America without soldiers would be like God without his angels.”   Claudia Pemberton, Author

 

14 May

Good News for Military

The Air Force reversed its decision to punish a highly decorated colonel after he declined to sign a “certificate of spouse appreciation” for a retiring master sergeant’s same-sex spouse. Even though Col. Bohannan applied for a religious accommodation and asked a more senior officer to sign the certificate, he was grounded, suspended, and guaranteed that he’d never be promoted – all because of his beliefs on marriage.
 
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson announced the new ruling in favor of the colonel and reinstated him.  She said, “Col. Bohannon had the right to exercise his sincerely held religious beliefs and did not unlawfully discriminate…”
 
“However, we must remember that at every level of government there are bureaucrats who actively resist … efforts to preserve and protect religious freedom,” said First Liberty general counsel.
 
Not Good News for Military Chaplains:
Army Chaplain Scott Squires has been reprimanded and faces “career-ending punishment” because an Army investigator wrongly concluded he discriminated when he declined to facilitate a Strong Bonds Marriage Retreat that included same-sex couples. However, Chaplain Squires was actually following Department of Defense regulations.
 
These DOD regulations require that chaplains must be qualified to serve as military officers and be “endorsed” by a recognized religious organization since they not only represent the military, they also represent their faith group. The Southern Baptist Convention endorses Chaplain Squires who faithfully follows the tenets of his faith.
 
“The investigator concluded that I should be reprimanded for doing something I’m required to do under Army regulations and my endorsement rules,” explained Chaplain Squires.
 
 
“These massive organizations (armed forces) will require the enormous effort and determination of like-minded individuals to restore and protect the religious freedom guaranteed to all Americans.”        Lt.Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin
07 May

Lobbying to Limit Religious Freedom

A network of wealthy donors is funding a series of well-organized lobbying campaigns to restrict legal protections for religious freedom at the federal, state, and local level.  For some, the goal is to advance access to abortion and LGBT causes.  For others, the goal is revolution and tearing down Western institutions.  One donor, Tim Gill, said, “We’re going into the hardest states in the country.  We’re going to punish the wicked.”

In PA, the so called Fairness Act was introduced in 2017, and 43 towns passed local ordinances that were used to target residents for their beliefs.  In Philadelphia, two Christian foster care agencies are under investigation for discrimination because of their religious beliefs about the nature of the family.

Activists attacked the reputation of a Bloomsbury, PA, Christian owned bridal shop, causing it to shut down.  “We will not be forced by government, local ordinances, or bullies to participate in something that goes against our faith,” they said.

Some George Soros-funded attacks are aimed at the small number of orthodox, faithful Catholic colleges and universities and focus on anonymous sources accusing faculty and some students of sexual assault. Soros is an outspoken enemy of these schools, their Judeo-Christian principles, and emphasis on modesty and chastity.  “We have long known that George Soros is the single most influential donor to dissident and anti-Catholic organizations,” said William Donohue, president of the Catholic League.

 

(crisismagazine.com,4/27/18; patheos.com,10/18/17; dailysignal.com,4/25/18; thenewamerican.com,10/14/16)

 
 “If (destruction) ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad.  If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time or die by suicide. Abraham Lincoln
30 Apr

CA Bill Assaults Religious Freedom & Free Speech

(A Cautionary Tale for all States)
 A new bill in California claims to protect LGBT people, but actually limits their choices, censors speech, and infringes upon religious freedom,” wrote Monica Burke, researcher for Religion and Civil Society.
 
This assault on free exercise of religion and free speech hurts everyone, especially those LGBT individuals who wish to seek help or information in their efforts to understand or refrain from certain inclinations.  This legislation would set a precedent for the government to silence certain viewpoints.
 
The CA legislature introduced Bill 2943 that amends a consumer law with the purpose to ban “sexual orientation change efforts.”  This expansive law would impose widespread censorship that could implicate authors, speakers, counselors, colleges and universities, and even religious leaders seeking to address unwanted same-sex attraction or gender identity confusion.
 
In CA, licensed counselors are already banned from helping minors with unwanted same-sex attractions.  This bill goes beyond this ban and legal experts have confirmed that it could ban books, shut down churches, and close psychiatric offices all over the state.  
 
No one in the state of CA could teach a course or recommend books that in any way challenge LGBT ideology.  Bookstores or online platforms, such as Amazon, that sell such books, could be punished or not allowed to sell in CA. Colleges and universities that maintain codes of conduct requiring students to live consistent with biblical views on sexuality, could also be punished.
 
Anyone who is offended by a statement, teaching, or practice with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity could file a lawsuit against a minister, counselor, author, store, or educational institution that offended them. 
 
 
“Without freedom of Thought, there can be no such thing as Wisdom;  and no such thing as public Liberty without freedom of Speech.”  Benjamin Franklin
23 Apr

Harvard Punishes Christian Student Group

Harvard University has sanctioned and placed on probation the largest Christian student group on campus, Harvard College Faith & Action (HCFA), for the group’s expectation that its student leadership follow orthodox Christian ethical teachings on sexuality.
 
HCFA had asked a Bible study leader to resign after learning she was in a same-sex relationship.  “We reject any notion that we discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation in our fellowship,” wrote the HCFA co-presidents.  “The student in this case was removed because of an irreconcilable theological disagreement …”   In Christian theology, homosexual conduct – not people – is considered sinful.   “Our theological view is that – for professing Christians who are in leadership – celibacy is the only option outside the bounds of marriage.”
 
The situation at Harvard is not unique.  Clashes between religious clubs and campus diversity policies have occurred at Vanderbilt, Bowdoin, Wayne State, University of Iowa, and California State University systems, to name a few.
 
Religious clubs have the right to select their own leadership and set standards for leaders within the organization just as other campus groups do.   CitizenGoUSA wrote: “Would Harvard force a Muslim student group to retain a student leader who decided to convert to Christianity?  Would Harvard force an LGBT+ group to retain a student leader who expressed views critical of same-sex relationships?  Of course not.”                               
 
(citizengo.org, 2/24/18; freebeacon.com, 2/27/18; nbcnews.com, 2017; bpnews.net, 3/8/18; weeklystandard.com, 3/1/18)
 
“Unfortunately, there are powerful and well-funded interests who, with broad support in the academy and in media, have been working hard to associate our ‘first freedom’ (Freedom of Religion) with discrimination and prejudice.”        Professor Richard Garnett, University of Notre Dame Law School
16 Apr

“The Big Secret”

The following are headlines about schools that don’t know…
“The Big Secret”
The U.S. Dept. of Education Guidelines make it clear…
It’s OK for students to Pray in Public Schools!

* California Deputy Sheriff Visits Home of First-Grade Student to Warn Him Against Sharing His Faith with Classmates
* Sixth-Grade Student Prohibited from Mentioning Her Faith in “All About Me” Presentation
* New York Middle School Students Told to Turn Their T-Shirts Inside-out Because They Have Religious Symbols

Public Schools are not “God-Free Zones.” The courts have declared that students and teachers do not “shed their Constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gates …”

“Catholics For Freedom of Religion,” together with “Americans For Freedom of Religion,” have produced a 9 minute educational video titled: It’s OK to Pray.

You can see the video at www.youtube.com, type the words It’s OK to Pray in Public Schools in the search bar, and watch Long Island students explain denials of religious expression and act out protected rights to live their faith in public schools.

(First Liberty Institute; Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America)

“A Bible and a newspaper in every house, a good school in every district … are the principle support of virtue, morality, and civil liberty.” Benjamin Franklin
09 Apr

Christians Are Persecuted, Not Privileged, as Students are Taught at GWU

George Washington University in Washington D.C. is hosting a training seminar to teach the perils of “Christian privilege.”  The event description asks, “How do Christians in the USA experience life in an easier way than non-Christians?” “… are there places where Christians have built-in advantages over non-Christians?”  The learning objectives indicate the session will touch on “white privilege” as well.  
 
However, the many Christians who have been mocked, ostracized, sued, lost jobs, businesses, or military rank for following their Christian beliefs and conscience, could challenge the premise of this training seminar at GWU and a similar philosophy at Simmons College in Boston and other universities.   Instances of prejudice and persecution against Christians has substantially increased in the U.S. and the world.
 
*  German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that Christianity is “the most persecuted religion in the world.”
*  UK researcher, Rupert Short, says “Christians are targeted more than any other body of believers” and that Christianity is in peril, like no other religion.  He is concerned that “200 million Christians are socially disadvantaged, harassed or actively oppressed for their beliefs.”
*  The Scottish Parliament is demanding that more be done to protect Catholics who bear the brunt of religiously-motivated hate crimes in Scotland.  While Catholics comprise only 15% of Scottish population, they suffer 57% of hate crimes.
*  In the Middle East, the birthplace of Christianity, Christians are escaping or being killed, tortured, or enslaved.  For example, in 1990, Iraq had 1.2 million Christians.  Today, there are less than 200,000.
 

 

“… no one would be more zealous than myself to establish barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.”  George Washington