WASHINGTON — In the first ever papal address issued to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Thursday, Pope Francis urged Americans to share their wealth, stand up against religious and minority persecution, defend life at every stage of development, welcome immigrants seeking better lives, abolish the death penalty and protect the planet.
After meeting with Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, in his office around 9:15 a.m., the leader of the Catholic Church addressed members of the House and Senate with a 50-minute speech that was broadcasted and shown to approximately 50,000 adoring fans who gathered on the front lawn of the Capitol building to hear his historic remarks.
"Each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility," Pope Francis, who hails from Argentina, asserted. "A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk. Legislative activity is always based on care for the people. To this you have been invited, called and convened by those who elected you." more >>
A number of Republican politicians have warned Pope Francis against "lecturing" them on issues such as climate change and capitalism ahead of the pontiff's major address at a joint session of Congress on Thursday.
"I think it's totally inappropriate that the Pope is weighing in on all the real sensitive, far-left issues," said Oklahoma Republican Senator James Inhofe in an interview with CNN. "I'm not a Catholic, but my Catholic friends in Oklahoma are not real pleased with it."
Rep. Paul Gosar, a Catholic Republican from Arizona, added: more >>
Poverty in the United States affects about 1 in 10 people despite them living in one of the richest countries in the world, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2014 annual poverty report released Wednesday.
According to data from the Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014 report, the nation's official poverty rate in 2014 was 14.8 percent, compared to 14.5 percent in 2013, meaning 46.7 million people were living in poverty last year compared to 45.3 in 2013. The U.S. government defines poverty based on annual household income and takes into account the household size. The median household income in the United States in 2014 fell slightly to $53,657 from $54,462 in 2013. The weighted average poverty threshold per individual during that same year was $12,071; $15,379 for two people; $18,850 for a family of three; and $24,230 for a family of four.
The Christian Post recently spoke with leading Christian non-profit organizations to find out how followers of Jesus Christ are working to eradicate poverty in America. more >>
In 1993, freelance photojournalist Kevin Carter from South Africa went to cover the civil strife in famine stricken Sudan. After his flight touched down in the village of Ayod, Carter captured an iconic image of a starving little girl, her face and body bowed low in the dirt, with a vulture in the background waiting for her to die. The emaciated toddler was struggling to find enough energy to get to a United Nations feeding center.
Carter said he had heard the child whimpering when he had wandered into the open bush. He confessed that after coming upon the scene he was careful not to frighten away the bird. Instead he waited for 20 minutes, hoping the vulture would spread his wings for the perfect shot. Still, the picture he got would win him a Pulitzer Prize.
The photo, which was first published in the New York Times resulted in a surprising public reaction. Hundreds of people wrote in wanting to know what had happened to the child, and queried as to whether Carter had done anything to help the youngster. The paper reported that what happened to the child was not fully known, prompting many to severely criticize Carter for staying aloof of the situation and not doing anything to help. more >>
A diverse group of clergy and legal experts sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to keep a rule allowing religious organizations with government grants to maintain hiring practices consistent with their religious beliefs.
Sent to the White House on Thursday, the letter pleads that President Obama reject calls by many progressive organizations to bar federal grants to religious organizations that use religious affiliation as a parameter for employment.
The letter was organized by the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance and signed by liberals and conservatives, religious leaders and religious freedom experts. For instance, Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association; Ron Sider, president emeritus of Evangelicals for Social Action; and Douglas Laycock, Robert E. Scott Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Virginia Law School, were among the 69 signers. more >>
Political responses to crises are often tardy and embarrassingly fad-driven, as with the current global outcry over the image of a three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on the Turkish shore. He was hardly the first innocent victim of this century's most brutal war. Where has the world been for the last 54 months?
Indeed, the unfolding humanitarian crisis was an entirely foreseeable consequence of Obama's spineless Syria policy, and the Western European leaders who followed it. So, despite Obama's efforts to anesthetize the public, it is understandable if some collective shame for Western failures — driven by tragic images that went viral — has prompted Europe suddenly to announce that it will accept more refugees from the war-torn Middle East.
But how did the West become more responsible for the Mideast refugee crisis than the wealthiest Mideast states (whose funding of Islamist rebels helped to create that crisis)? According to news reports and think tanks, Arab Gulf donors have funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to Syria in recent years, including to ISIS and other groups. more >>