This is just a wonderful engaging delightful short video by a young Louisiana Cajun born woman and her vocation as a nun. As she points out the events that help awaken the seeds of her vocation were many. However for some reason I was struck about the Nun in the Detective movie part. It does show the power of having our various vocations portrayed in a positive light in secular culture. It's just a small part of a very engaging vid but it stuck with me.
Friday, November 30, 2012
From Movies To Baptist Boyfriends- Young Louisiana Cajun Woman Talks Vocation of Being A Nun ( VID )
Support For Georgia Personhood Amendment From Surprising Source - Episcopal Church USA Bishop Of Atlanta Robert Wright
Was about floored when I read this. The Lead has Atlanta bishop backs personhood amendment . The fact that this has quickly generated 14 comments is a sign this might generate a lot more discussion in the TEC.
I note Elizabeth Kaeton who is on the board of Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and in which the Episcopal Church USA is a member of has chimed in at the comments.
I suspected this might be the case. See Catholics strongly support new Mass translation after first year
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Joseph Strickland Ordained & Installed As Bishop of Tyler Texas - Front Page Newspaper Pic , Coverage ,& Links
Problems With the Slacktivist Article - " White evangelicals and contraception: reversal and revision redux "
I just wanted to make a few observations on this article by Frank Rich , of the Slacktivist site at the Patheos Progressive Christian portal, entitled White evangelicals and contraception: reversal and revision redux .
Again these are just quick observations where I think his article misses the mark.
1 - When we talk about evangelicals we are of course casting a pretty wide net on a rather diverse community
2- It is incorrect that to say some evangelicals are having some theological, scriptural , ethical problems with birth control because of Obama. This has been going on for some time as evident that at times there are more evangelicals in natural family planning classes sponsored by the Church than Catholics.
3- The issue for the majority of evangelicals ( who have no objection to birth control objections) is two fold.
a- A legal precedent that defines Church down and which evangelicals correctly view in my opinion as a long term threat to religious liberty on other issues.
b- That some form of contraception that are issue and in fact are the subject of many evangelical lawsuit have long been the subject of controversy before most folks knew who Obama was. That being Plan B , Ella, and other morning after so called "contraception". In fact many of the evangelical people that have filed suit have provided birth control but they have an objection to these prescriptions because they view it as an abortion.
4 - The author talks about the the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good recent statement on birth control. Contrary to what he thinks the major problems I believe has nothing to do that a "woman " is involved but that it does not address the concerns at hand. In reality it's a tepid little document that demands one side do all the concessions while seemly afraid to raise some concerns that might offend their friends. On that see my post Concerns About New Evangelical Partnership Statement On Birth Control.
There are some other things he mentions I think are problematic but these are my main objections to this view of history and current affairs that is portrayed.
Until there is some honesty and acknowledgement that these underlying issues exists there is likely not going to a discussion on them sadly.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
In the famed King of the Hill episode The Passion of Dauterive , which can be viewed here , the ever emotionally unstable Bill after a near death experience no less enters into a romantic relationship with his Clergyperson the Methodist Pastor Stroup. The good producers of the show appears did not know that Rev Stroup had put herself in danger of doing a crime that being Texas. Penal Code Chapter 5. (22.011) .
I am of still of two conflicted minds about these adult abuse clergy laws as a criminal matter.
Part of me thinks that much of this would be better served by remaining in the realm of a civil tort. I am not saying I think there is no moral problem or real harm can not occur.
But in the real world widow pastors have had married one of their flock and College campus ministers have married a college student they was a part of their flock. In some of these cases no doubt something might have got out of hand before they said " I do" . That being maybe the line in the relationship between religious advisor and we are dating was not so clearly defined as the relationship progressed
Further with more females pastors , rabbis, priests, etc on the scene I do wonder in the real world if we are going to see some significant gender bias in prosecution and conviction rates.
It's a real problem but we see in some states having these laws and others not how to deal with this is in dispute.
Which leads us today to the interesting case out of Minnesota that Religion Clause reports on. See Priest's Conviction Was Based On Excessive Religious Evidence
The fact pattern is this as we can gather from the Appeals Court Opinion :
Christopher Wenthe was a Roman Catholic priest in a St. Paul parish when he first met A.F., a ADULT parishioner, in July 2003. In October 2003, appellant heard A.F.’s confession and agreed to serve as her regular confessor. Appellant heard A.F.’s confession anonymously approximately three or four more times.
A friendship developed between A.F. and the Priest then happen in the ensuing weeks. They often spent time together in various social contexts. They shared their personal concerns and struggles and often talked for hours about theological matters.
The next day ironically after a evening where " Theology of the Body " was discussed A.F. came to the Priests living quarters and sexual conduct occurred. Sexual conduct occurred thereafter about once every two weeks in the course of the next year. The last sexual encounter occurred in February 2005. She reported this to the police in 2010.
The state charged appellant with one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct under Minn. Stat. § 609.344, subd. 1(l)(ii) (2002), for sexual conduct that occurred while the complainant was meeting with the defendant on an ongoing basis for spiritual counsel. The state subsequently amended the complaint to include a second count under subdivision 1(l)(i) (2002), alleging sexual conduct that occurred during the course of a single meeting in which the complainant sought or received spiritual counsel
The Lawyers for the Priest present many issued but the Court addressed two of them before remanding this case back to the district court.
I. Does the clergy sexual conduct statute violate the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution on its face?
The Appeals Court answered no
II. Did the clergy sexual conduct statute, as applied in this case, violate the Establishment Clause?
The Court answered YES.
The court gets into the details but their main objections was the Prosecution was bringing up just to much Roman Catholic stuff. Such as:
(i) evidence regarding the power imbalance between priests and parishioners, stemming from priests’ religious authority; (ii) the Roman Catholic Church’s official policies regarding pastoral care; (iii) the church’s doctrines and concerns about sexual conduct involving priests; (iv) the church’s response to the allegations of appellant’s misconduct; and (v) the religious training appellant received.
In the Court's view maybe the fact that Priest broke his vow of celibacy is really not all that relevant perhaps nor the fact the Catholic Church says they should be " Holy Men".
The Court did not say it but I do wonder if they thought perhaps the totality of all this was too
I sort of feel for Prosecutors here that the line about how much internal religious stuff they need to present and how much is too much is not clear. But I think it also shows perhaps that the State realizes to win these cases they do did a sort of wow factor to sort of outrage the jury.
Get Religion looks at an article from the New York Times ona possible future declared Catholic Saint that being Dorothy Day . See Times tries to pin a label on Dorothy Day (updated).
The link at the bottom ( the update) is a good read and shows where these political labels by the Times again goes against some fact. On that note see Dorothy Day's Sainthood Cause Begins
By Cardinal John O'Conner dated 2000.
See an An Expanding Readership? at the Commonweal site. Also while you are there they have the link to the Papal Nuncio 's full remarks in his speech which is a very good read.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans thanks to the late Archbishop Hannan was one of the first places to implement a very aggressive Catholic Deacon vocation program.
This year The Archdiocese will be ordaining 20 Deacons. Here is a story on them Permanent deacons emerge from all walks of life
They also highlighted one soon to be Deacon in another story . See New deacon had a lifetime mission that talks about Lieu “Leo” Tran . His personal story is pretty gripping but this part caught my eye:
...“Our Lady of La Vang has a special place in my heart,” he said, adding how his wife converted to Catholicism there.
Tran realizes he faces a challenge being accepted in the Vietnamese community as a deacon. He is only the second Vietnamese deacon in the archdiocese, due, he thinks, to the Vietnamese Catholics’ misconception of the deacon’s role. Many only think a deacon helps the priest at Mass and don’t realize they are ordained and can baptize, perform marriage ceremonies, distribute the Eucharist, preside at funerals, minister to the sick, and lead Communion services in the absence of a priest.
“Permanent deacons are perceived as a common man serving on the altar,” Van-Ha Tran said.
When he returned to Vietnam in 1994, even his grandmother said she would quit the Catholic Church if he became a deacon.....
That is pretty amazing especially in how the Catholic Vietnamese community for their numbers gives us so many priests and religious.
Monday, November 26, 2012
I have to admit after all my years as a Catholic there are some basic things I just keep learning about the Faith. There was an excellent article out today at the Life Teen site that is one of the best articles I have seen on Confession in some time. See My Side of the Confessional: What Is It Like for a Priest?
The whole article is a wonderful read but I sort of took a step back when I saw this.
.....Lastly, when a priest hears Confessions, he is taking on another responsibility.
One time, after college, I was returning to Confession after a long time and a lot of sin and the priest simply gave me something like “one Hail Mary” as my penance. I stopped.
“Um, Father…? Did you hear everything I said?” “Yes, I did.” “Don’t you think I should get a bigger penance than that?” He looked at me with great love and said, “No. That small penance is all that I’m asking of you.” He hesitated, and then continued, “But you should know . . . I will be fasting for you for the next 30 days.”
I was stunned. I didn’t know what to do. He told me that the Catechism teaches that the priest must do penance for all those who come to him for Confession. And here he was, embracing a severe penance for all of my severe sins.
This is why Confession reveals the priest’s own soul; it reveals his willingness to sacrifice his life with Christ. He sees our sins as a burden that he will take up (with Jesus!) and offer them to the Father, while offering us the mercy of God.
Remember, Confession is always a place of victory. Whether you have confessed a particular sin for the first time, or if this is the 12,001st time, every Confession is a win for Jesus. And I, a priest, get to be there. That’s what it’s like . . . I get to sit and watch Jesus win His children back all day.
It’s flippin’ awesome.
I had no idea !! In fact in all the homlies I have heard on confession ( and there should be more) I can't recall hearing this . Maybe way way way back in R.C.I.A. it was mentioned but I can't recall it.
And LO and behold it is indeed in the Catechism :
1448 Beneath the changes in discipline and celebration that this sacrament has undergone over the centuries, the same fundamental structure is to be discerned. It comprises two equally essential elements: on the one hand, the acts of the man who undergoes conversion through the action of the Holy Spirit: namely, contrition, confession, and satisfaction; on the other, God's action through the intervention of the Church. The Church, who through the bishop and his priests forgives sins in the name of Jesus Christ and determines the manner of satisfaction, also prays for the sinner and does penance with him. Thus the sinner is healed and re-established in ecclesial communion.
1466 The confessor is not the master of God's forgiveness, but its servant. The minister of this sacrament should unite himself to the intention and charity of Christ.71 He should have a proven knowledge of Christian behavior, experience of human affairs, respect and sensitivity toward the one who has fallen; he must love the truth, be faithful to the Magisterium of the Church, and lead the penitent with patience toward healing and full maturity. He must pray and do penance for his penitent, entrusting him to the Lord's mercy.
How wonderful and bless we are to have such Priests.
Get Religion comments with approval on this very nice article that appeared in the Commercial Appeal up in Memphis. See Faith, family and football for Ole Miss walk-on.
American Born Abbot Michael John Zielinski Appointed By Pope Benedict To Lead New Liturgical Architecture And Music Office
Pope Benedict has appointed American born Olivetan abbot Michael John Zielinski to lead the new liturgical architecture and music office in the Congregation for Divine Worship. Vatican Insider has a story up on this at The U.S. born abbot Michael John Zielinski has been chosen as head of the new office for liturgical architecture and music in the Congregation for Divine Worship.
This has been viewed as good news in many quarters it appears.
Here is a past story on him from 2009.
A very nice post and link from the New Liturgical Movement on Ordinariate Lessons and Carols Around the Country .
The Pope wants everyone to benefit from including Anglican ppatrimony in the Church and this is one of the biggies around the Christmas season.
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Friday, November 23, 2012
That is defiantly the tone I am sensing from a good many Catholics across the ocean. You can can kind of grasp that in this Catholic Herald article Parliament should beware taking a People’s Republic of China approach to women bishops. From the last paragraphs:
But what really worries me is the presumption that our secular government has a religious role to play, and the presumption that exemption from “equality legislation” is a privilege conferred on religious groups by government. Actually, it is not. In this country, and in every liberal democracy, it is the rights of conscience that are above all other rights – Parliament itself is subordinate to my conscience and should recognise that.
There is an amusing picture going round Facebook at present, of an English politician, the most high ranking of his day, who refused to get with the programme – Sir Thomas More. He paid the price. But it was a price worth paying. Erastianism, the doctrine that the state should control the Church, always was a heresy, and now is a heresy that has passed its sell-by date by several centuries. Its only adherents in the world seem to be people like Yvette Cooper, and of course the government of the People’s Republic of China, who refuse the Pope his right, which we believe to be given by God, to appoint bishops in his own Church. This behaviour by the People’s Republic is just one of the aspects of their unpleasant tyranny. British parliamentarians should beware going down the same path.
I never thought I would say this, but we all need to respect the integrity of the General Synod, and we all need to respect its decisions, carried out as they are in a transparent way according to rules that the Synod (and Parliament!) agreed on.
I keep seeing the equalities act mentioned by a quite a few Catholic blogs and other social media. In other words if certain politicos get their way as to this Church of England matter where does it stop. As one person I saw commented lets hope Catholics in the British Isles don't have to return to the practice of having their Priests educated overseas again.
An interesting an encouraging story from The Herald . See Lay Catholic says 'lousy music' puts the young off church
Thursday, November 22, 2012
David Cameron is bullying the Church over women bishops, just as he will do over gay marriage reminds me somewhat of a meeting between Jimmy Carter and the Pope.
I suppose what Prime Minister Cameron and especially is doing might be worse even though I think at least he is CofE. .But I have to think John Paul II ( an Ayatollah Khomeini according to Carter ) back in 1978 was asking himself why in the the blue blazes a Southern Baptist was telling him how to do Sacramental Holy Orders. Of course that seem sort of like the situation across the pond where non Christians or very non practicing ones perhaps are going to have a say maybe in this issue.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
A Catholic school that is not only in a town of 3800 people but has tuition of only 700 dollars a year !! What's its secret? Part of it is it appears to be Catholic without apologies See Kansas school upholds Catholic identity, fosters vocations
The web site for the school is here
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
A nice story from the British Columbia Catholic newspaper. See Charismatic order shares gifts with traditional Anglicans
IMPORTANT POINT here:
The sharing of gifts between the Companions and the former Anglicans is exactly what Pope Benedict XVI envisioned in his Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus. “I know that it has greatly enriched me personally,” McCaig said. “ I have to admit the learning curve was steep at first to learn all those rubrics.”
The liturgy and spirituality of the Anglican tradition is “so rich, so beautiful, so powerful,” he said, noting it has been a joy to rediscover the Anglicanism in his own background before he became Catholic.
“It shows forth the richness of the Church universally,” he said.
As I always say read it all
Catholic British Economist - Catholic Theologians Election Statement Against Paul Ryan Was Problematic
This appears in a British publication and is a rather scathing analysis of the statement of 157 Catholic theologians against Paul Ryan that happened in the last election. See The 157 versus Paul Ryan
Hobby Lobby Loses First battle Against HHS Contraception Mandate in Court - Press Release and Opinion
The HHS mandate contraception cases will get mixed results as we go from court to court. There was some good news from D.C. as to a preliminary injunction last week. However yesterday brought some bad news as to a preliminary injunction as to the giant plaintiff Hobby Lobby and the HHS contraception mandate .
See the press release from the Becket Fund with the the Judges opinion linked at the bottom at
Monday, November 19, 2012
Lutcher Louisiana Native Roy Bourgeois Dismissed From the Catholic Priesthood Over Invalid Ordination of a Woman
Catholic News Service has the story at Maryknoller dismissed from priesthood for supporting women's ordination
This part of the American Catholic Church and the second collection that goes with it has been the cause of some legitimate controversy over the years.
There seemed less of it this year and perhaps for very good reasons. See this good post at Hope and Change at the CCHD /
I think especially with the appointment of Dr. Jonathan Reyes the future of this important part of the Church has a bright future.
Anglican Ink has the story and the Vatican directive at Vatican issues clergy dress code
The Catholic Newspaper of the Archdiocese of New Orleans has a introduction to the bloggers that are now part of the Archdiocese of New Orleans team blog called the NOLA Catholic Experience .
See their aticle here at NOLA Catholic bloggers go digital
A Closer Look At The Preliminary Injunction Granted For Tyndale Publishing In the Contraception Mandate Matter
While it is just a preliminary injunction for Tyndale House Publishers, Inc against the HHS contraception mandate , its still significant because of the opinion that came along with .
Mirrors of Justice has a closer look at the opinion here at Court Grants Injunction to Tyndale in Challenge to HHS Mandate
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Journalist and political historian, Robert Mann the Manship Chair at the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University and director of the school’s Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs has a blog I check out on a regular basis. See Something Like the Truth.
He is I think it's fair to say part of the vocal loyal patriotic opposition to some aspecst of the Bobby Jindal Governorship which of course is part of any healthy democracy.
Yesterday I interacted briefly with him via his twitter @RTMannJr on some comments that Bobby Jindal made about some past mistake the GOP made during the past election year.
He has now elaborated on those comments at his blog post Bobby Jindal, the USS GOP and the Iceberg .
In his Titanic post he says:
....Jindal clearly saw that party leaders were out of touch with the concerns of middle-income Americans. He clearly observed how deeply women voters were offended by the reckless rape talk of GOP Senate candidates. He spotted clearly all the troubles — the electoral iceberg — that sank the GOP ship and, with it, Captain Romney’s campaign.
And from his lifeboat, Jindal gave an interview to Politico transcriber Jonathan Martin, in which he told readers all about the iceberg that he saw but never mentioned until the USS GOP had slipped below the waters of the roiling ocean.
“It is no secret we had a number of Republicans damage our brand this year with offensive, bizarre comments — enough of that,” Jindal said in the Politico transcription. “It’s not going to be the last time anyone says something stupid within our party, but it can’t be tolerated within our party. We’ve also had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism. We need to stop being simplistic, we need to trust the intelligence of the American people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters.”
Wouldn’t it have been nice if Jindal had thought to point out all those menacing icebergs when it might have saved the ship? ....
Again as I say read it all.
I am still not quite buying his argument.
In political campaigns it's very difficult to stay on message to say the least. All sort of events, people, and assorted craziness come out of left field that either has to be dealt with or in many cases ignored so your campaign message is not dictated by others. Many of whom don't have your best interest at heart.
I suspect Dr. Mann who has some sort of experience with this since his years of public service which include being press secretary to Senators Breaux and Long might have been there.
It should be recalled that Bobby Jindal first backed the the USS Rick Perry. He stayed pretty loyal to the Perry flagship till the end when it broke up over the primary shoals . Then he got on board the USS Mitt Romney in which he was a loyal supporter to till it got to the election dock. The election is now over.
I think it is fair to say whatever misgivings Jindal might have had about the Romney effort for various policy reasons he thought it was a much better alternative to the USS Obama.
Would have it been really in Romney's or the GOP's best interests for Jindal to spend weeks getting into how to better answer the question regarding rape, abortion, God's will, predestination , etc the good Senate hopeful from Indiana introduced ?
I know there was a difference of opinion. The Romney campaign that had gained some traction wanted not to have this the topic get them off the economy and the budget. Forces of the Democratic Party disagreed and thought this was one damn fine subject and we should drop everything and discuss this topic. I have a feeling though the Democratic opinion might have had a conflict of interest.
Would it have been really good for the GOP if Jindal had got on to Romney out there on the stump on lets say the 47 percent remark. Let's recall the USS Romney had already sailed and there no was USS ( fill in the blank) to get into.
But lets say in some bizarre world Bobby Jindal decided to take that advice. No doubt today there would be Jindal opponents going "SEE SAME OLE JINDAL LOOKING OUT FOR HIMSELF". Thus we would have had some quite interesting discussion how Jindal was trying to torpedo Romney for his own 2016 Presidential ambitions. Damned if you do Damned if you don't.
There is a time and place for discussions like these and I think Jindal's timing is appropriate.
Andrew Sullivan has another rant against the Catholic Church that goes from various topics as sex abuse, to face book postings , to the elections. See The Vatican's Dead End
It's tempting to respond to these all these items that Sullivan throws against the wall but that is sort of playing his game.
Let me hit the first paragraph:
Earlier this week, I was privileged to attend a screening of Alex Gibney's latest piece of documentary brilliance, "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God." It's released today. To be honest I want to see it one more time before writing a length about it. It's about the Catholic Church's sexual abuse crisis - and the criminal conspiracy reaching right to the current Pope that will one day surely bring the whole house of cards down, so that the church can be rebuilt amid the ruins created by deeply sick and psychologically crippled men at its core. No one is more implicated in covering up this institutionalization of sexual abuse and secrecy than the man who controlled and oversaw every single case of clerical sex abuse in the world from 2001 onwards: Pope Benedict XVI, who knows more than anyone else on the planet about the horrifying psycho-sexual truth beneath the ermined, bejewelled veneer.
This seems to be turning quite a bit of history on it's head as to Pope Benedict. John Allen , whose credentials I rarely see questioned, had a much better overview at Keeping the record straight on Benedict and the crisis from 2010 is still a must read on the matter.
Sullivan piece seems to imply that from 2001 the then Cardinal Ratzinger was just going on as business as usual as to the Vatican handling of sex abuse issues. Allen's piece correctly shows the opposite is true.
This one reason why no doubt that many American Bishops voted for him to be Pope. He was their advocate in Rome in trying to handle this matter.
Mirrors of Justice has a good post responding to some arguments for those that support the HHS Contraception mandate. These are some of the top arguments I hear. See Why Professor Gedicks Is Plainly Wrong
Friday, November 16, 2012
Thursday, November 15, 2012
I have to admit I am tad conflicted about this video . I do agree with some of the concerns of this Anglican Priest here. Especially about the state of funerals in this day and age. That being said though this is sort of so so TEXAS there is actually some sound advice here.
Now I am not advocating this for Catholics Lord Have Mercy no. Since we like to Baptize adults on Holy Saturday Night IN A CHURCH I don't think we are going to encounter this
However speaking as a former Protestant that was raised with low or rather non sacramental understanding of Baptism this is sort of refreshing for what I expect might be a big part of this demographic. It does treat the event with some significance and it's worthy of perhaps some celebration that is sort of a big deal. SO IN MANY WAYS IT'S A IMPROVEMENT if done with God being a central focus.
I mean there is no reason why there can't be nice cake and refreshments later.
One last thought as to this. We Catholics sort of make bigger events about babies being baptized than adults as to the celebration aspect outside the LITURGY . As to infants we have a "celebration" to often mark the event. It is often also done with an appropriate style and dignity. While we might sort of laugh at this vid, I think its important to recall that when converts come into the Church that also needs to be marked perhaps in a more special after liturgy way . At least it gives Catholics , besides those that go to the two and half hour Holy Saturday service time to meet them and welcome them. It also gives us an opportunity on a more personal level to let them know we are there for them as an community. So I am tad less critical of this in some ways.
Oh about the "boobs" I think she gives sound advice.
Catholic Louisiana Tech Weightlifter Olympic Hopeful Stricken By Car Accident Writes Ten Book Epic Poem
I got my Louisiana Tech Association of Catholic Tech Students newsletter that they mail out to alumni today. There is a mention of a student Dereck Warden of Bernice Louisiana in it that attends the Catholic student center there .
The small blurb says :
After suffering a debilitating car accident , ending his Olympic hopes as a weightlifter, Derek turned to writing. The result is a 10 book epic poem entitled Eternity Regained.. Inspired by Beowuf and Paradise lost, Derek States, "one of my darkest moments became a life achievement
Here is the amazon link for the book .
Combining modern free verse poetry with the ancient art of the epic poem, Warden spins a fantastical tale of four fallen angels traversing the universe in an attempt to betray their prince, and regain their eternal bliss. From the moment Warden invokes the powers of heaven and the ancient scribes, to the ultimate fall of evil, readers experience a form of verse which has been mostly unseen for more than three centuries. Riddled with acrostics, varying meters, and multiple levels of allegory, Eternity Regained brings the reader from darkness to dawn.
What an interesting sounding book and what an interesting Catholic young man. I am going to try to see if some Catholic media as to athletics and locally might tell us more about him.
I did find this story on him at the Louisiana Tech Newspaper .
Boston Globe Looks At Tufts University Freedom of Religion Issues and Some Disturbing Students Thoughts
The Boston Globe looks at in my view the very disappointing attack on freedom of religion and association issues at Tufts University. See Group’s faith rule stirs clash at Tufts University Debate centers on freedom, bias .
The article slightly suffers from the fact that perhaps on the advice of counsel the Tuft's Christian Fellowship Leadership is keeping a low profile with the media perhaps in hope their advocates can still work this out with the administration. So we are mainly left with just as to folks on campus the voices of students that thinking that this is all grand.
.....On campus, many students agreed with the decision to strip the group of its status. Sophia Laster, who belongs to a campus coalition against religious exclusion, said she believes some members of the Christian group believe homosexuality is morally wrong.
“I think that TCF likes to hide behind the idea of religious freedom and that they are being persecuted, when they are persecuting others,” she said.
Talia Hulkower, a freshman, said she thinks no student group should be allowed to discriminate against its own members.
“I think it’s strange that there would be a group on campus that is discriminatory, because it is the most open campus,” Hulkower said.
Parker Heyl, another student, said the group should be punished if it violated the antidiscrimination policy. Heyl, a Catholic, belongs to Tufts Hillel, the college’s Jewish organization, because he likes its commitment to community service.
“The club didn’t even blink an eye when I said I was Christian,” Heyl said.
From a pure journalistic viewpoint this brings up my one gripe with the article. Even for such a "open" campus as Talia Hulower calls it there must be some folks outside TCF that thinks this is wrong. At least in my view I hope there is. What are the positions of the other religious groups on campus of various faith traditions. Are they ok with For such an "open" campus that I suspect has some political activity is everyone on the same page or do they see threats.
Beyond that I think these students statements no doubt send a chill down the spines of many that think these First Amendment issues are important. If this is the attitude of students what happens when they take these views now reinforced by their university's "open" policy into the world after college.
Further even in their statements they seem not to be aware of the issues. That is membership versus leadership requirements.
I think the thoughts of Tufts graduate and Visiting Assistant Professor at Penn State Law School on this situation is work reading in full. See her post Freedom of Association/Discrimination .
Let me put in bold what points of hers I think are of prime importance.
1. Tufts is a private university, and, as such, does not need to respect freedom of association.
2. That said, Tufts really SHOULD respect freedom of association.
3. Freedom of association is especially important for groups that have extreme views, or are marginalized (like certain Christian views on certain college campuses).
4. Even people with hateful and offensive views deserve the right to associate only with each other for the purpose of amplifying their voices.
5. If Tufts gives money to some student groups, it should not discriminate against others on the basis of viewpoint. Should- not must- as Tufts is private, but should respect certain First Amendment freedoms, especially when it says it does.
6. All comers policies, which require every student group to accept all members, are constitutional even at public universities because they do not discriminate against any particular viewpoint, but they severely limit the values underlying freedom of association.
7. Student groups should be permitted to discriminate on the basis of beliefs, as belief-based association is the essence of freedom of association, but not on the basis of status or immutable characteristics. Thus, Christian groups should be able to limit their members to those who believe that homosexuality is a sin. However, Christian groups should not be allowed to exclude people simply for being gay, as sexual orientation is an immutable characteristic that, while often (and reasonably) correlated with belief on whether being gay is biblically prohibited, is not coterminous. This status/belief distinction is key, although line drawing is not always obvious.
8. I find that people often lose their sense of principle when issues they care about are on the table- as if the existence of a right depends on the exercise of that right. In this case, in the clash between liberty and equality, where the government isn't actually doing the speaking or discriminating (student groups involve private speech in a limited public forum), I think liberty should win. However, as Tufts is a private institution, it can place whatever value on freedom of association it wishes, as long as it's up front about it. This is why a university like Liberty, which is straightforward about not respecting certain First Amendment values, gets more leeway in my opinion in restricting freedom of association.
As pointed out in this article there is viewpoint that perhaps this policy is not being carried out in a even handed way. Further taken to it logical conclusion one really wonders if for instance the leadership of the Tufts Democrats became republicans if their views would change. Which leads me to belief there is at the core of this some bothersome viewpoint discrimination going on. Meet your future civic leaders of American.
Posted by James H at 11/15/2012 10:05:00 AM
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
The Catholic newspaper for the Diocese of Baton Rouge has an article on the wife of the only married Priest in the Diocese of Baton Rouge. See Life as a wife of a priest not so odd for Bass
In it she said something interesting:
Father Bass had been an Episcopal priest at the second largest Episcopal Church in the nation before the entire family converted to Catholicism in 1995 and moved to Baton Rouge, Donna Bass’s hometown. Father Bass taught religion in local Catholic high schools and worked as a church choir director and organist while he went through the process which allowed him to be ordained a Catholic priest in 2003.
“Do I feel different? Yes and no,” Donna Bass said. As the wife of an Episcopal priest, there was a command performance – a certain amount of things that were expected of her, she said. There is no protocol for a wife of a Catholic priest. There is no expected behavior. “People don’t always know what to do with me, but they love me,” she said.
“My path is to be the mother of the home and family and support my husband. My No. 1 goal is taking care of Frank. That’s my calling. It’s a little different because you never know when he may have to run somewhere, just like a doctor’s life. But it has always been that way for us. That’s our life.”
Being from a Protestant background it does not take much observation that being the wife or children of a preacher is not exactly easy at times. One reason children of preacher jokes are so funny is it's based in a sort of reality. However I have found out of necessity at times wives of pastors have to throw up protective shields. The fish bowl as it were can be suffocating for some.
Anyway I suspect this dynamic might be a tad different in some of the ordinariates where a largely Anglican now Catholic flock might have the same expectations of their married clergy.
Still its a interesting viewpoint and the whole article is good to read.
61 Year Old New Orleans Catholic Lady Gets Confirmed and Brings Her Adult Children And Grand Children With Her
Chalmette right next door.Regardless .....
I have been wanting to post this great story by Beth Donze in the Archdiocese of New Orleans Catholic newspaper. See Home is where the heart is for OLPS confirmands
I have to say I am always a tad wary of "Home Masses" that are mentioned because of past abuses but I really like how they went out of the way to meet her family needs.
“We’re getting older, and I want to be with God and my husband when I pass away because I just love him so much,” said Migliore, describing the state of mind that prompted her to pursue confirmation.
Still, embarrassed about going through the traditional channels of RCIA because of her age, Migliore went to the home of Mark Shiffer, the eighth- and ninth-grade catechism teacher in her home parish of Our Lady of Prompt Succor in Chalmette, and the former CCD teacher of her grandson, Santo Chagnard. She left the absent Shiffer a note: Was there any way he could prepare her for confirmation in her own home?
“If somebody’s gonna walk a quarter of a mile down the street, knock on your door, and say, ‘I really want to go through this process,’ what do you expect me to do? Of course I’m gonna see if it’s possible,” said Shiffer, who had never been asked to teach home lessons in his 25 years as a parish catechist. He contacted his parochial vicar, Father Salvador Galvez, and his pastor, Father Danilo Digal, to see if the archdiocese permitted confirmands to receive religious instruction in the home under special circumstances. Much to Shiffer’s surprise, the unusual request was given the green light within a day or two.
“Their message was, ‘Yes, everyone is entitled to get the information (to prepare them for the sacraments),” said Shiffer, who began holding the weekly two-hour classes in the Migliores’ home last July, in advance of Our Lady of Prompt Succor’s Oct. 16 confirmation Mass.
Class size mushrooms
But Shiffer’s biggest surprise came when he arrived to teach the first session: Not only did Carol Migliore want to be confirmed, seven other family members desired the sacramental preparation: Migliore’s daughter, Sherie, 42; sons Gary Jr., 40, and Roy, 39; Gary’s wife Stacey, 33; two grandchildren – Michael Chagnard, 23, and Santo Chagnard, 18; and Michael’s girlfriend, Brittany Catania, 20. Carol and Gary Migliore’s 11 other grandchildren, who are not of confirmation age, also flitted in and out of the classes.
Read the whole thing truly amazing. This story reminds me of a couple of things. TheNew Evangelization as it's called should be done and aimed at people REGARDLESS OF AGE. Its pretty amazing what a 61 year old New Orleans woman brought with her. Imagine how many lives have changed for perhaps generations .
Second again death of a love one is a pivotal time and again we are reminded of the long term importance and opportunity here.
With all the griping in the American Catholic Church its stories like this that make my day and remind of why I am in as the creed says One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church. See The Church I’ll Never Return to Is the Church I’ll Never Leave
When people want to change basic Catholic Doctrine that is been around for 2000 years I often complain there are no Eastern Orthodox voices consulted. In fact for that matter there are few Eastern Catholic voices consulted.
Still out of all the Faith communities the Catholic Church views Orthodoxy alone as "Church" in the proper sense. Also the efforts of heal the great schism are making small but still steps in the right direction.
So it was of some interest I saw this today. Russian Orthodox Metropolitan’s grim letter to the new Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury
I have been to a few bilingual Masses ( and worse even trilingual ) for big events in a Diocese. In the write up in the Catholic newspaper its often mentioned how wonderful that the Mass was bilingual and everyone loved it. Except I never got the feeling everyone loved it though we all knew we were all suppose to love it. It is sort of like other things in the liturgy that has somewhat changed and we are told by the experts we need to love it. AND HOW CAN EXPERTS BE WRONG so we we go along with it.
It all seemed rather forced and upset the flow of the Mass to me. I can get used to some part of the Mass being in Latin and some in ( native language) but that's about it.
Sam Rocha has a nice column talking about this and other matters at Bilingual Mass Never Quite Jives For Me: A Note on Translation
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
A fun and interesting article from the Arcdiocese dealing with the chaplain for the Miami Dolphins. See Fins fan fans faith on the sidelines Father Manny Alvarez serves as chaplain for the Miami Dolphins
It never really comes out in these articles with either a College or Pro team but I often wonder how a Priest ministers and interacts with what I suspect is a very African American PROTESTANT flock as to the team players itself.
Anyway good article.
Bruce MacPherson Former Episcopal Church Bishop of Western Louisiana Indicted By Church Court On Various Charges
In local Louisiana religion news the former Episcopal Church Bishop of the Diocese of Western Louisiana has been indicted by a Church Court along with 6 other Bishops on various canonical violations some of them not very nice sounding.
It will be interesting to see how this proceeds.
Mirrors of Justice has links to two good law papers at Colombo, "The Naked Private Square". That deals with the religious free exercise rights of corporations. and it relates to some of the religious freedom controversies currently vexing courts.
I might try to break down the arguments in both rather good papers later on. The abstract of the main article ( available for download)
In the latter half of the twentieth century, America witnessed the construction of a “wall of separation” between religion and the public square. What had once been commonplace (such as prayer in public schools, and religious symbols on public property) had suddenly become verboten. This phenomenon is well known and has been well studied.
Less well known (and less well studied) has been the parallel phenomenon of religion’s expulsion from the private square. Employment law, corporate law, and constitutional law have worked to impede the ability of business enterprises to adopt, pursue, and maintain distinctively religious personae. This is undesirable because religious freedom does not truly and fully exist if religion expression and practice is restricted to the private quarters of one’s home or temple.
Fortunately, a corrective to this situation exists: recognition of the right to free exercise of religion on the part of business corporations. Such a right has been long in the making, and the jurisprudential trajectory of the courts (especially the U.S. Supreme Court), combined with the increased assertion of this right against certain elements of the current regulatory onslaught, suggests that its recognition is imminent.
Monday, November 12, 2012
Mark Movsesian who is Director of the Center for Law and Religion at St. John’s University has a piece up at First Thoughts Christianophobia .
I do think he is on to something. Partly because as you can see from the CLR Forum which he helps runs he not only keeps us with the legal cases domestic wise but also keeps a sharp eye on what the academy and various folks in the academy and scholars are saying.
One of the interesting visually and in the text itself as to the past visit by Pope Benedict to the UK was his trip to a nursing home. It did not get the headlines as other parts of the visit but I am still struck by it. The text of that talk he gave to the residents is here. He said in part :
In this sense, I come among you not only as a father, but also as a brother who knows well the joys and the struggles that come with age. Our long years of life afford us the opportunity to appreciate both the beauty of God’s greatest gift to us, the gift of life, as well as the fragility of the human spirit. Those of us who live many years are given a marvellous chance to deepen our awareness of the mystery of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity. As the normal span of our lives increases, our physical capacities are often diminished; and yet these times may well be among the most spiritually fruitful years of our lives. These years are an opportunity to remember in affectionate prayer all those whom we have cherished in this life, and to place all that we have personally been and done before the mercy and tenderness of God. This will surely be a great spiritual comfort and enable us to discover anew his love and goodness all the days of our life.
Pope Benedict today made a visit to the Sant’ Egidio Community's "Viva gli Anziani" rest home for the elderly in Rome. Vatican Insider has a nice story on it here as well as the Pope's remarks at Benedict XVI : "The elderly are the ones hardest hit by the crisis" . Vatican Radio has something up here.
A full English translation shall hopefully be up here soon. I will try to update when a English translation becomes available.
The United State Bishops are meeting this week and right out of the box Cardinal Dolan is making some news that I suspect will get some major secular media coverage. See the full text here at "First Things First!" – From the President, A Call for Penance and you can listen to the audio here.
What will likely get the headlines is this part:
The work of our Conference during the coming year includes reflections on re-embracing Friday as a particular day of penance, including the possible re-institution of abstinence on all Fridays of the year, not just during Lent. Our pastoral plan offers numerous resources for catechesis on the Sacrament of Penance, and the manifold graces that come to us from the frequent use of confession.
Well I am all for that.
However Cardinal Dolan's talk was much more than that. He said we need to be a Church that is on it's knees again. That includes as he goes to great length to say the SACRAMENT OF CONFESSION.
I can not agree more and as can be pointed out countless times there are major differences in Parishes where the Sacrament is availed of a good bit and those that it is not.
One of the religious media watchdogs over at Get Religion looks at perhaps the inconsistent use of scare quotes again by journalist. In this case she is wondering why terms like "religious liberty" are in scare quotes and "marriage equality is not? See Is “marriage equality” our term, theirs and everyone else’s?
I have to say I think she has a point based on past reasoning for scare quoting the words religious liberty.
The two lungs of the Church , the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox, gathered at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation in Atlanta to discuss threats to religious liberty.
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory and Metropolitan Alexios of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta along with keynote speaker, Alveda King were part of the many present.. The Archdiocese Catholic newspaper of Atlanta has the story here at Catholics, Orthodox Come Together On Religious Liberty
Sunday, November 11, 2012
There are times when the rubber meets the road with Christians and this past election week is hard case in point. Christian's have a duty to honor and pray for our leaders and that includes President Obama .
To say the least that is hard because politics is becoming very personal and social media is not helping. If you are on the twitter the liberal "spiking the football" we have seen I suspects makes it harder. It also has in many cases a nasty sort of anti religion aspect that really is infuriating at times. Basically now "Christian Right" appears to mean a person that adheres to Christian teachings that have been somewhat constant for 2000 years. The message is you lost you silly intolerant theocracy advocates so sit down and shut up.
So it is even hard for me to pray for the President even though I suspect he really wish some of his biggest fans would tone it down a tad. That being said we must and if that means turning off the TV and getting off the internet that is how the prayer/electoral cookie crumbles.
If you read the Church Fathers one can easily see how Christians were viewed with some contempt by the majority , but they won in the end because they loved and prayed.
On that note I saw two good pieces this week. From the Baptist viewpoint the always good Dr Moore has nice post here at Christians, Let’s Honor the President As always good educated Baptists are quite good at showing the hard teachings of Holy Writ when our hearts and minds want to do the opposite.
On two Catholic notes I was first struck by some thoughts of John Michael Talbot . He repeats some of Dr Moore's points and ends with this:
,,,Beyond that we seek to convert the populace and their legal representation in our legislation in areas where they oppose traditional Christian teaching, or pursue legal remedies to areas where Obama has sought to limit the authentic freedom of our religion in a nation built on religious freedom through the separation of church and state. These things will all take time to unfold, and must do so in a biblically Christian way described in the above quoted scripture.
I think that is exactly right!! Perhaps the biggest danger Christians face is sort of thinking in the end God is not really in control of these matters. That WE through our vote are the main mover here.
Which leads to my second Catholic posting of note that is linked with a major political protestant in USA history. See via Mirror of Justice Gratitude to Romney-Ryan for the Pro-Life Witness and Work Remaining to Be Done: Wise Words from Ben Stein. That post worth reading in full ends in part :
..David Buysse points out that Dr. King's favored quote is drawn from "The Present Crisis" (c. 1844) by James Russell Lowell:
I think that poem quite powerfully sums up what is going on here. There is I fear a lot of legitimate concerns about religious freedom in this country with the HHS Mandate sort of the being the hurricane Katrina of signs. It does not help that perhaps out of political loyalty more progressive Christians seem to have blinders on this. Still the Lord is in control.
One thing about the Episcopal Church liturgy I have always liked is in their prayers for the leaders. From the President to the Governor to the Mayor they pray for him and pray for him by his Christian name. Many of us Christian don't have that so we got to do it on our own. In the end if the media in its various forms is making you hostile to the Christian teaching of praying and honoring our leaders then time to turn it off.
It is pretty hard I know. Seeing some of the stuff online making a sort idiotic cartoon of my faith this week is tough. But it is what God command
Saturday, November 10, 2012
About ten years I back I knew a couple that lived in a nice part of Shreveport out on Cross Lake. They had reached the time of life where they wanted to downgrade to something smaller. Their house had a wonderful deck, great den, a special elevated place for a long dining room table and downstairs a sort of party room bar too boot. The problem they were having was major difficulty selling the place. When I asked why they said this house was built for entertaining and YOU YOUNG PEOPLE don't entertain anymore.
She was very right. Compared to my grandparents my parents did not entertian as much and my generation even less it seems
That thought came to mind when I read this article Renewing Hospitality and some words of wisdom from the 2nd Century Letter to Diognetus. It also comes to mind because no matter what side you are as to this election one gets the feeling many consider you slime because of your political affiliation.
Offering "hospitality" and breaking bread with other to help bridge differences and even to evangelise is on many religious folks lips. However here is the problem whether you talk about this in the political or religious context ( and those of course overlap) is the Dinner party is very much a lost art.
It might be good to bring this back , but I am not sure how we do this.
This rather huge news that happened today. See Pope Resurrects Latin With Academy to Boost Study
Pope Benedict issued a decree to creatie a new pontifical academy for Latin studies to try to boost interest in the official language of the Church . This is a initial story and hope to find some more detailed Catholic media angles later.
Update- Much better initial article from Vatican Radio.
Friday, November 9, 2012
Wow with the election and the election day aftermath I totally missed this story. It is the largest single donation in the school's history. Just another contribution that Tom Benson and his wife has made to the Catholic community and especially to the Catholic communitythe Archdiocese of New Orleans.
Here is hoping when and IF Granddaughter Rita LeBlanc inherits control and ownership she is as generous.
Or as Ann Althouse pointed out here
......So much money is spent that no one is big enough to be big. Everyone — all the way up to Sheldon Adelson, who dumped $300 million into the ocean of money — is diluted into smallness.
More speech is the classic remedy for whatever is considered the bad speech in the marketplace of ideas. Think about whether more money can work as the remedy for whatever you're thinking is the bad money in campaign finance.
See Isn't it heartening that $3 billion was spent on the presidential election
Robert John Araujo, S.J. interacts with a Commonweal piece on this subject today. See Withering on the vine
Thursday, November 8, 2012
I spent a good bit of the day away from social media in the aftermath of election that gives President Obama another term. Doom and gloom on one side and a lot of spiking the football on the other.
On election night though I could not get past an extreme irony. That the man that killed immigration reform in 2007 got a second term by Hispanic and Latino votes.
The short story is that the immigration bill was the work of a small, bipartisan group of senators. Late in the game, Mr. Obama joined the process, where he asked for (and received) changes in the bill. Yet when the legislation moved forward, Mr. Obama backed a series of poison-pill amendments. One was pushed by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D., N.D.) to weaken the guest-worker program. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D., Mass.) was outraged because he knew this amendment was really organized labor’s effort to kill the immigration bill, not to help workers. “Who is the senator from North Dakota trying to fool?” Mr. Kennedy snapped from the Senate floor.
Mr. Obama voted “yea” on the Dorgan amendment. We know he knew it was a deal-killer because several senators had said so (Sen. Jim DeMint, who had voted “nay” on an earlier version, switched his vote for precisely that reason). Thus Mr. Obama pulled off a trifecta: appeasing Big Labor while telling Latinos he supported the bill and blaming Republicans for its failure…What makes Mr. Obama’s 2007 Senate vote so galling—and different from that of others who voted the same way—was that his support for the poison pills betrayed the bipartisan group of senators who had let him in on the writing of the bill.
As a Republican working for immigration reform at the time I was floored when Senator Obama did that. It is at root the reasons of some intense dislike for him I have to admit.
In order to rob the Bush administration and especially Sen John McCain a victory I believe this was also done. What is amazing is the media pretended this never happened and never called him out on it.
The effect was the that Republicans that stuck their neck out on this retreated back into a stance of doing nothing. It was quite apparent in this episode and during the McCain / Obama election they would get no political cover from social justice groups even.
Obama won the White House that year but at extreme cost to a lot of human of beings that saw any hope of their legal status being regularized . This of course affected many familes of mixed legal status.
I have long argued that the GOP was playing with fire on the immigration debate. As Senator Rubio has mentioned even on complicated issue such as this tone matters. Therefore I was glad to see that some conservative voices seem to be more open to immigration reform today it appears.
But that being said I cannot get over the irony. That the man that in my view defeated immigration reform for his own motives got so many Latino votes. The questionable morals aside one has to view that vote as even being more polticially brilliant today in light of his reelection.
Monday, November 5, 2012
Today is Guy Fawkes day and I like I do every year I wish to note a very important part of American Catholic history.
The election has got me pretty preoccupied so I am hoping starting Wednesday we get back on the regular output level. However some news from Rome. No matter what happens on election day there will be a new Ambassador to the Holy See. U.S. Ambassador to Holy See Steps Down
Saturday, November 3, 2012
This is a very good statement that will be read in all Masses this weekend before the election in the Diocese of Gallup. I think this very forceful and needed to be said.
This weekend, November 3 & 4, the following letter will be read at the Masses in all of the parishes and missions in the Diocese of Gallup. Please pray for our country and the men and women who will help to shape the future of the United States of America as they cast their votes.
Mary Immaculate, Patroness of our country, pray for us.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
May God’s grace and peace be with you during this Year of Faith.
On Tuesday, November 6th many of you will have the privilege of participating in our nation’s electoral process. This is an opportunity that none of us take lightly. We will participate in a decision making process that will help to form policies that will shape the future of our country and the future of the Catholic Church in America. As your Bishop it is my role to help all of the faithful of the Diocese of Gallup to form their consciences according to authentic Catholic moral teaching.
In the United States of America, we continue to see an erosion of religious freedom. This loss of religious freedom has accelerated over the last few years. This is especially evident in the recent Health and Human Services Mandate, enacted by the present administration, which attempts to force Catholics to act against their consciences by cooperating with intrinsically evil acts. These acts include abortion, contraception (including abortion causing drugs) and sterilization. The Church calls these actions “intrinsically evil acts” because they are never permitted under any circumstances.
The grave danger of these unprecedented attacks on religious freedom by the current administration must cause us to think deeply about our vote in this coming election. Unfortunately some candidates and political parties support intrinsically evil actions and, ever more, are seeking to impose their beliefs on all citizens including Catholics. These positions include being in favor of abortion, contraception (including abortion inducing drugs), homosexual marriage and the destruction of human embryos for research. No Catholic can, in good conscience support these positions, nor can any Catholic vote for candidates or political programs that support them.
As each of you prepares to participate in the upcoming election I urge you to research all of the candidates and determine their positions on these issues. I then encourage you to vote as a Catholic, in full support of Catholic issues and for the freedom of Catholics to follow their consciences and the teachings of the Church.
The time is now for all Catholics to join together in solidarity and protect our God given rights to live as Our Lord Jesus Christ calls us.
With the assurance of my prayers and best wishes, I am
Yours in Christ,
The Most Reverend James S. Wall
Bishop of Gallup
Southern Baptist Criswell College Latest To Sue Over HHS Contraception Mandate Over Abortion-Inducing Drugs
Add another plantiff to the list. The press release is here.
I thought this tidbit interesting in Churches wrestle with Obama’s stances on faith from a Hampton Road's newspaper.
Late in August, a group of local African American pastors met in Chesapeake to develop a strategy after the president announced his support for same-sex marriage.
Members of their flocks were concerned that Obama, in a television interview in May, had taken a stand many of them believed was contrary to Scripture.
Some of the pastors who attended the hastily called meeting at Bethany Baptist Church were worried the issue would soften support for the president among one of his strongest constituencies.
While few believed their congregants would vote for Republican challenger Mitt Romney, some said Obama’s stance might dampen enthusiasm for the president, prompting some voters to sit out the election.
That troubled the ministers, who saw a potential problem developing for the president just as the race in Virginia was tightening.
“We felt we needed to make our parishioners aware that not voting was the same as voting for the other guy,” said the Rev. Joseph E. Lamb, pastor of St. Thomas AME Zion in Norfolk, who attended the meeting.
Being careful not to openly endorse any candidate from the pulpit, the pastors agreed to instruct their congregations on the broader issues of the campaign – health care, education, the economy – and discourage a single-issue focus.
They also would educate their flocks on Romney’s Mormon faith and how it differs from their own.
The strategy apparently has paid off. In the closing days of the campaign, some pastors say support for the president within their congregations is as strong as ever.
“They’re still very much looking to back the president regardless of his view on that issue,” Lamb said.
The Rev. Lin Hill, who called the pastoral meeting at Bethany Baptist Church, said what appeared in the summer to be a potential problem for the Obama campaign has been averted.
African American church members, he said, “have never been single-issue voters. While they see same-sex marriage as something they can’t support as Christians, they see it as just one of many matters of concern.”