WASHINGTON — A group of Christian leaders addressed the United States budget as a moral issue, claiming that the programs which lead the federal government to go into debt constitute an "idol" for churches and people alike and hurt the poor and future generations.
"Idolatry is at the heart of this problem," Josh Good, program manager for the Values & Capitalism initiative at the American Enterprise Institute, declared in a Thursday panel discussion hosted by The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. "We need to be careful, it seems to me, about centrally planned solutions that originate here," Good urged. He encouraged people and government "to push solutions out to more local levels where people who are relationally connected to the poor can lead the way."
Jay Richards, distinguished fellow at the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics, declared that "essentially, what we're dealing with on the national debt is an externality where the benefit is in the present and the cost is for someone else in the future." Richards insisted that it is always wrong to saddle future generations with debt in order to get a short benefit in the present. He argued for a non-governmental safety net, in order to avoid national debt and achieve more effective charity. more >>
Taking care of the spiritual needs of church members on a personal level inside a megachurch with a weekly attendance well into the thousands can be a reality, says Pastor Mark Driscoll. However, following the biblical pattern for church leadership is vital in order to do so, the leader of Mars Hill Church based in Seattle stated in a recent blog post.
"Having been the pastor of the same church for what is now 18 years, I am very certain we take much better care of our people today than we did when we were small," writes Driscoll.
Driscoll shared how the leadership team at Mars Hill is "sheep-focused" while he remains "flock-focused," which has been a successful strategy for the 14,000-member church, despite the assumption that larger churches "do not care for people as well as smaller churches." more >>
A federal appeals court has scheduled arguments on an appeal from a group of churches hoping to erect a temporary cross display on public property in Indiana.
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decided to hear arguments on an appeal regarding churches, including West Side Christian Church of Evansville, which wanted to create a display with multiple crosses on property in Evansville.
Arguments will be heard on Tuesday, Feb. 18 before the Seventh Circuit in Chicago. more >>
The Vatican promised to make changes to the way it handles child abuse cases after a U.N. panel in Geneva on Thursday questioned why the Roman Catholic Church refuses to release more information about such incidents, and what it is doing to prevent future abuse.
"We will very gladly take this occasion as a constructive moment, an important occasion, to reaffirm the value and the procedures of the convention and to accept any good advice that is given for that can be helpful in the protection of children," said Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, permanent observer of the Holy See to the U.N. in Geneva.
The Roman Catholic Church was asked if it believes "that pedophilia is something that can be successfully overcome." The Convention on the Rights of the Child pointed to child sexual abuse cases concerning clergy who were moved instead of defrocked. more >>
A veterans organization has called for a congressional hearing on certain activities at the Department of Veterans Affairs, alleging that the government entity is violating religious freedom.
The Louisiana-based group Military-Veterans Advocacy, Inc. sent a letter last week to Congressman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), who chairs the Committee on Veterans Affairs.
Written by retired Navy Commander and Executive Director of Military-Veterans Advocacy J. B. Wells, the letter says that "the curtailment of religious freedom is widespread within the Department." more >>
A small group of Muslim students from the Commonwealth of Virginia have created a petition on a White House website calling for public schools to recognize Muslim holidays.
Posted on the White House's "We the People" site last month, as of Tuesday morning the petition has garnered over 28,000 signatories from across the United States.
"With the growing population of Muslims in the United States of America…we believe it is high time that Muslim holidays are recognized by schools throughout this nation," reads the petition in part. more >>