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Threats to religious liberty in America

Besides the on-going battle with the Obama Administration regarding the HHS mandate and the gutting of funding to Catholic programs that fight human trafficking, the bishops want us to be aware of these perils to religious liberty:

Discrimination against small church congregations.  New York City adopted a policy that barred the Bronx Household of Faith and other churches from renting public schools on weekends for worship services, even though non-religious groups could rent the same schools for many other uses.  Litigation in this case continues.

Forcing religious groups to host same-sex “marriage” or civil union ceremonies.  A New Jersey judge recently found that a Methodist ministry violated state law when the ministry declined to allow two women to hold a “civil union” ceremony on its private property.  Further, a civil rights complaint has been filed against the Catholic Church in Hawaii by a person requesting to use a chapel to hold a same-sex “marriage” ceremony.

Arthur Brooks on faith and flourishing

The two discuss how a free enterprise system promotes entrepreneurship and personal responsibility in a way that allows people to reach their fullest potential. Watch the full interview to learn why Arthur says that “…maximizing liberty, increasing individual opportunity, and working for free enterprise gives the most people the best life.”

Islamic expansion in the Dark Ages

Let me put down here some facts that are worth returning to from time to time, as arguments over the history of Islam and Islamism are back in the news with today’s beheading in London. In debates over the history of tension between Muslims and Christians, the Crusades are often cited, out of their historical context, as the original cause of such clashes, as if both sides were peaceably minding their own business before imperialist Westerners decided to go launch a religious war in Muslim lands…All that said, it’s worth remembering that the Crusades arose in the late Eleventh Century only after four centuries of relentless Islamic efforts to conquer Europe, and the Christians of the Crusading era cannot be evaluated without that crucial context.

What’s the big deal with Arrested Development?

he Bluths live in a post-religious culture. The few Christian characters (e.g. George Michael’s on-again-off-again girlfriend, Ann Veal, and her family) are odd, alienating, and disconnected from the real world. The Bluths observe Christmas by reenacting scenes from the Sistine Chapel. But the real holiday the Bluth Family and contemporary America celebrates is spring break. In the opening scene of “Missing Kitty,” Lindsay questions why the Bluth Company remains open “during the holidays.” Michael retorts that the company isn’t that observant. Spring break is a celebration of debauchery, foolishness, and commercialization, making it the perfect occasion for Lindsay to skip work and G.O.B. to perform a magic trick on the hit TV show Girls with Low Self-Esteem (a parody of Girls Gone Wild).

Rachel Held Evans denies the cat

Here is the problem. Rachel Held Evans rebukes John Piper for answering the problem of evil as all orthodox Christians must, but then cops out herself. “We don’t know exactly why suffering happens in every situation . . .” Now of course this is quite right if we are maintaining that Henry got cancer because he cheated on his taxes three years ago. We don’t know that. But it is staggeringly wrong if we are talking about why our world is broken the way it is. We do know that. We have been told.

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