Tag: human-rights
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Pope Francis, ‘Throw-Away Culture’, and The Real Problem

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Once again, I agree with Pope Francis – but not on what you think.

Francis says abortion is a symptom of our “throw-away culture.”

Yes!  I agree that the rampant abuse of the practice of abortion is a symptom of our “throw-away culture.”

Instead of using our smartphones until they have ceased to work for our needs, we give in and get a new phone every two years – or sooner (with wireless carriers advertising heavily this sort of program, and profiting in a major way).  Instead of driving a car to the point where it no longer runs without thousands of repairs, we get a loan or lease for a new one.  Whenever a small appliance has a hiccup, our first reaction is often to go pick up a brand new one.

Now, there are certain situations where the above scenarios are the common sense thing to do.  However, we are trained from our youth to believe that the newer thing is the better thing – and then we need that thing.  This has trained us to believe that our desires are the only thing that should dictate our actions.

This is no different for many Christians, though it should be.

With that said, I believe the Pope didn’t go far enough.  Follow me, here.

Our throw-away culture is a symptom of our consumer culture.

Our consumer culture is a symptom of our capitalistic system.

Our capitalistic system is what makes this country the economic force in the world that it is, it is yet a symptom of our sin condition.

Each of our sins is our responsibility.  However, we cannot deny there is something else at work here.

Pope Francis has spoken out against greed and the financial powers of the world.  He made his latest comments on abortion to satisfy the faithful who spend way too much time on the big 3 social issues.

I just thought this connection needed to be made.

Though, not many people will read it.

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Christians Creating Culture, Not Controlling It

 

This semester – my final semester at United Seminary (as I graduate in December) – I’m taking a class entitled ‘Christ, Culture & Conversion.’

So far, it has proved to be very challenging and exciting.

The above video features Andy Crouch – editor of Christianity Today – talking about how Christians should understand, interact with and create culture.

I highly recommend taking 10 minutes to view it.

Christians should be about creating, contributing to and interacting with the culture (a term which he defines in this video), rather than seeking to control it.  When we seek to control the culture – as we see is the goal of so many prominent Christians today – we typically don’t do a very good job.

To borrow a phrase from my new obsession with British television, “we muck it up.”  Let’s stop mucking it up.

IRD Intern @BrianKenMiller Criticizes Rowan Williams, Makes His Point For Him, @TheIRD

Pseudo-Methodist Washington think-tank The Institute on Religion & Democracy has interns.  If the goal is to produce people exactly as confused as they are, they are so nailing it! Brian Miller is the intern in question. He picked up on the comments of former archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and his comments on Western Christianity and

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Persecution Schtick Makes Christians Look Like Dopes – @TheIRD

A screen-grab from the 'Fortnight for Freedom' website

A screen-grab from the ‘Fortnight for Freedom’ website

 

If it weren’t for @TheIRD, I would have no idea what the above event is.  I’m talking about Fortnight for Freedom – an effort by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to bring attention to what they feel is a war on religious liberty.

There is, of course, no war.

At all.

It.

Doesn’t.

Exist.

That hasn’t stopped the USCCB from creating this event from whole cloth.  What is it?  It’s a two week event that begins today, and ends on July 4th – which isn’t heavy-handed in the least.

Independence Day.  Get it?

What does @TheIRD have to do with it?  Nothing.  They just featured a blog post from one of their interns about it.  The thing is, @TheIRD uses any excuse to add another layer to the myth – yes, myth – that religious liberty in this country is under attack.

It has become no more than a schtick to them – or any of their ilk.  The phony cries of a “war on religious liberty” are more often fundraising pleas, than actual concern for actual instances of incursions on those who seek religious liberty.

Whenever some semi-prominent religious person is shouted down by someone with a differing opinion – or some small town nativity scene is forced to move from city hall to the church grounds – certain Christians hit the airwaves to cry foul.

It also doesn’t help that pompous media figures posing as journalists bring the offended parties on their FOX News shows and ask questions to get answers that aren’t actual journalism – but shilling to a particular population subset.

Why does this persecution schtick make us look like dopes?

This story from Patheos recounts 6 recent stories of actual persecution against Christians in portions of the world where Christians face actual opposition.

American Christians are so spoiled and weak.  Is it any wonder that the church continues it’s decline, considering that a mere disagreement with a Christian is construed to be an attack on religious liberty?

It seems silly to have to explain this, but your First Amendment rights mean you have the right to say what you want.  It also means that others have the right to say what they want.  Free speech rights do not protect you from people saying they disagree with you.

When we don’t act like we understand that, we look like dopes.

Now, the Fortnight for Freedom has more to do with the USCCB’s snit with HHS over reproductive issues. It’s still not a war on religious liberty.  It’s figuring out that your religious rights stop at someone else’s reproductive system.

So, I mean, come on.  Let’s act like adults who understand that we don’t always get our way, and not petulant children who throw fits when we don’t.

*dismounts soapbox*

Yes, @MarkDTooley, Murder is Murder

  Mark Tooley – @MarkDTooley and President of The Institute on Religion & Democracy – is reactionary enough to be the president of a Washington D.C. based think tanks, but too reactionary to be the religious leader he believes himself to be. Por ejemplo… His latest article is his reaction to an article by Christianity Today.  The

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Mr. Tooley (Pot) – @MarkDTooley – I’m The Kettle

In response to a press conference that featured prominent clergy people from across the ecumenical spectrum, Institute on Religion & Democracy president Mark Tooley decided he needed to weigh in on it – as if we didn’t already know what he was going to think about it.  However, he didn’t just go to the point of saying

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The Church Is Not A Business, Jeffery Walton – @TheIRD

  In the wake of Atlanta-based pastor Louis Giglio’s decision to back out of praying during President Obama’s 2nd inaugural – due to backlash he received based upon an anti-gay sermon he preached in the 90’s – The Institute on Religion & Democracy has made sure to display it’s righteous indignation. I’m not writing to comment

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Spitballing The Future of The Church: Surrendering The ‘War on Christmas’

  Every Christmas, Christians across the country are forced to celebrate one of their holiest days in the privacy of their homes, yards, churches, many public spaces and  the wasteland of their local retails establishments.  It is such a violent attack on religious liberty that we have called it the ‘War on Christmas.’ Each year,

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Mark Tooley’s Disgusting Straw Man Speculation – @theIRD

  Mark Tooley reeled me in this time. In an article posted by One News Now, Mark Tooley begins a story by using the POTUS’s middle name (Hussein) – in this context, a dog-whistle to connect Obama to “the other” in the reader’s mind – and recounting the history of his membership at Wright’s Trinity

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Keith Pavlisheck of @theIRD Creates a Straw Man from a Straw Man

  Keith Pavlisheck is a blogger with The Institute on Religion & Democracy.  Apparently, he also specializes in calling fellow believers names and having a sullen sense of superiority about it. Shane Claiborne is a pacifist – and a church leader, writer and prolific national speaker.  He views Jesus self-sacrificing death on the cross as a

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