The Roman Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape in Missouri has shared his "deep concern" over a church-affiliated hospital's decision to extend benefits to married gay couples. Bishop James V. Johnston also says that those who defend the traditional teaching of marriage are not "hateful bigots."
"I was not consulted or informed by Mercy Hospital Springfield of its decision to provide same-sex couples marriage benefits. I am deeply concerned. By this decision, Mercy Hospital Springfield calls into question its identity as a Catholic Christian institution," Johnston wrote in a statement to News-Leader.
In the same statement, he says that pastors and leaders who defend marriage as an institution between one man and one woman are sometimes called "hateful bigots" for their position by people who claim to support tolerance. more >>
On the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, Pastor Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church urged the congregation to embrace differentness in others and take a stand about justice when needed, just as the civil rights movement leader did.
Hybels, the founding and senior pastor of the church in South Barrington, Illinois, began by talking about two basic kinds of wills, impulsive wills and reflective wills.
The impulsive will, he explained, is linked to our basic instincts, such as rage, hate, prejudice and revenge. The reflective will, on the other hand, "pushes the pause button," appeals to our higher angels, considers several other inputs from God that might influence what our eventual response will or should be, he said. more >>
As opposed to the massive, worldwide show of solidarity with the Charlie Hebdo journalists who were murdered by Islamic terrorists in Paris this month, there was no such show of solidarity when four religious Jews were slaughtered by Islamic terrorists as they prayed in their synagogue in Jerusalem last November. Why?
It is true that there was the occasional "I am a Jew" sign during the Paris demonstrations against the attacks (this was in memory of the Jews killed in the kosher deli in Paris). But such signs were like a needle in a haystack, while worldwide, "I am Charlie" was everywhere and "I am a Jew" virtually nowhere.
This is not to downplay for a moment the absolutely horrific nature of the Charlie Hebdo slaughter or to minimize the trauma it brought to France. These were professional journalists and staff, and to gun down 12 of them in broad daylight in the heart of Paris was shocking beyond words. more >>
What a sight!
Over 25 times from the top of Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., I have seen a sea of people marching to proclaim the dignity of unborn human life, and how death-dealing abortion sends the unholy message that some human beings are disposable.
And as I write, I plan to march with and view that sea of people once again, during the 42nd annual "March for Life" on Jan. 22. It's always a moral and spiritual shot-in-the-arm for me. more >>
Pope Francis said at the conclusion of his trip to the Philippines that he firmly stands behind the Roman Catholic Church's ban on contraceptives, but said that those who have too many children are failing to be responsible parents. The Vatican leader also spoke out against forcing the teaching of gender theory at school, comparing it to the way the Nazis indoctrinated children.
Francis backed Blessed Paul VI's stance against contraception on board the papal flight from Manila back to the Vatican, but said that "this does not mean a Christian must make children one after another," Catholic News Service reported.
The pontiff used as an example the case of a woman who became pregnant for an eighth time after having to undergo a cesarean section to give birth to her seven children. He said that such a scenario is "tempting God." more >>
At 9:30 p.m. on Saturday night, a packed theater in Franklin, Tenn., was completely quiet. As the credits rolled, some folks were filing out, but many more were standing, still looking at the screen, honoring the man whose life they'd just seen portrayed on the silver screen.
Before the movie, I'd never seen the parking lot so crowded. I had to park more than a quarter-mile away, hidden in the corner of a restaurant parking lot (hoping I wouldn't be towed), and watched in amazement as people were streaming into the theater from parking spaces scattered far and wide. It almost goes without saying when a January movie release breaks $90 million in three days, but I felt as if I was witnessing an important cultural moment. This movie was striking a chord in America beyond any post 9/11 movie — beyond even the best of movies about the War on Terror, including Lone Survivor. I think I know why.
First — and most important — it's a phenomenal movie. America is awash in "message movies," left and (recently) on the right. While there are some people who'll attend movies just to make a statement, most of us want to see good movies, with the right statement merely an optional bonus. American Sniper is better than good. It's one of the best war movies I've ever seen, and is now in the pantheon of my all-time favorite movies of any type. Bradley Cooper is outstanding, and the movie pulls off something I've never truly seen in a war film: It creates fully realized characters both inside and outside the combat environment. By the end of the movie, we feel that we understand who Chris Kyle was, who is wife is, what they endured, and what motivated them. They're not one-dimensional heroes but fully realized people who did heroic things. more >>