Orthodox Church of America
Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be glory given;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.
O come, let us adore him:
Christ the Lord!
What kind of polity is it that doesn't want a man like Rocco Buttiglione looking after the administration of justice and the protection of human rights?
A polity in which too many people believe that the God of the Bible is the enemy of human freedom. A polity in which too many people believe that freedom is license. A polity in which "anti-discrimination" has become the excuse for active discrimination against Catholics and others whose moral convictions ill-fit the relativist-secularist opinion mainstream. A polity, in other words, like the new Europe.
The demographers tell us that Europe is dying, physically. The Buttiglione affair tells us that Europe is now on life-support, morally and culturally.
Turkey's proposed entry into the EU has become some weird sort of Swiftian satire on the crazy relationship between Europe and Islam. Ponder the contradictions of it all. Privately most Europeans realize that opening its borders without restraint to Turkey's millions will alter the nature of the EU, both by welcoming in a radically different citizenry, largely outside the borders of Europe, whose population will make it the largest and poorest country in the Union — and the most antithetical to Western liberalism. Yet Europe is also trapped in its own utopian race/class/gender rhetoric. It cannot openly question the wisdom of making the "other" coequal to itself, since one does not by any abstract standard judge, much less censure, customs, religions, or values.
It may be useful to reflect for a moment on how the West itself has coped with religion. The separation of church and state was indeed a necessary condition for democratic development in Europe and the United States, but the separation has never been absolute. Britain's constitutional arrangements include organized religion: the monarch is the protector of the Anglican faith. This may now be nothing more than a formality, but in continental European politics Christian democratic parties are still the mainstream. The first such party, the Anti-Revolutionary Party, was founded in 1879 by a Calvinist ex-pastor in the Netherlands named Abraham Kuyper. His aim was to restore God (not the church) as the absolute sovereign over human affairs. Only if secular government was firmly embedded in the Christian faith could its democratic institutions survive. That is what he believed and what Christian Democrats still believe.
I do not believe this. It is always tricky for an agnostic in religious affairs to argue for the importance of organized religion, but I would argue not that more people should be religious or that democracy cannot survive without God, but that the voices of religious people should be heard. The most important condition for a functional democracy is that people take part. If religious affiliations provide the necessary consensus to play by common rules, then they should be recognized. A Sharia-based Shiite theocracy, even if it were supported by a majority, would not be a democracy. Only if the rights and interests of the various ethnic and religious groups are negotiated and compromises reached could you speak of a functioning democracy.
First question: Does Parliament have the exclusive legislative authority to change the legal definition of marriage?
Supreme Court's answer: Yes
Second question: Is extending the capacity to marry persons of the same sex consistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms?
Supreme Court's answer: Yes
Third question: Are religious leaders protected under the Charter of Rights from having to marry same-sex couples?
Supreme Court's answer: Yes
Fourth question: Is the traditional definition of marriage between a man and a woman constitutional?
Supreme Court's answer: The Court exercises its discretion not to answer this question.
Although Canada was experiencing turbulent times and General Vanier suffered from a heart condition, he reacted to the news of his appointment [as Governor General] with the deep faith that was his constant companion. "If God wants me to do this job," he said, "He will give me the strength to do it." The Vaniers' strong religious beliefs led them to champion the disadvantaged, youth and the family. Their concern for the state of the family in Canada led them to organize the 'Canadian Conference of the Family' at Rideau Hall in 1964, which led to the founding of the Vanier Institute of the Family.
During General Vanier's term, the separatist cause accelerated in Quebec. General Vanier firmly believed in Canadian unity and his speeches often attempted to improve relations between Francophones and Anglophones. He possessed a masterful command of both languages and promoted a policy of bilingualism long before his tenure as Governor General. The depth of his concern for Canada is revealed in one of the last speeches of his life, where he said, "The road of unity is the road of love: love of one's country and faith in its future will give new direction and purpose to our lives, lift us above our domestic quarrels, and unite us in dedication to the common good... I pray God that we may all go forward hand in hand. We can't run the risk of this great country falling into pieces."
It could be that you have never heard of John Stott. I don't blame you. As far as I can tell, Stott has never appeared on an important American news program. A computer search suggests that Stott's name hasn't appeared in this newspaper since April 10, 1956, and it's never appeared in many other important publications.
Yet, as Michael Cromartie of the Ethics and Public Policy Center notes, if evangelicals could elect a pope, Stott is the person they would likely choose. He was the framer of the Lausanne Covenant, a crucial organizing document for modern evangelicalism. He is the author of more than 40 books, which have been translated into over 72 languages and have sold in the millions. Now rector emeritus at All Souls, Langham Place, in London, he has traveled the world preaching and teaching.
The flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada Has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop the illegal immigration. The re-election of President Bush is prompting the exodus among Left leaning citizens who fear they'll soon be required to hunt, pray and agree with Bill O' Reilly. Canadian border farmers say it's not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, animal rights activists and Unitarians crossing their fields at night.
In a September op-ed piece (New York Times, 9/10/04), Yale professor Paul Bloom rightly argued that ideas have consequences. Thus, one's view of human nature will certainly affect one's judgment on issues such as stem-cell research, abortion, and the role of religion in public life.
Bloom, a developmental psychologist, believes that the view of human nature propagated by Descartes--involving a radical mind-body dualism--is mistaken and does not adequately help to explain the way children actually develop. I agree with him and would add that the Cartesian dualism coupled with a sacred-secular value dualism has distorted the worldview of all too many people, including Christians.
The 1940s gospel song, "This world is not my home, I'm just a passin' through," may help those struggling in difficult circumstances to maintain hope fostered by the biblical promise that God will, in the end, "wipe every tear from their eyes" (Rev. 21:4). But to the extent that the song suggests humans are just angels driving around in automobiles--whose spirits will eventually shed their inferior material carriages forever--it is both bad creation theology and a misunderstanding of the biblical hope for fulfillment.
The book of Genesis presents God declaring that everything in and about creation is good--"very good"--and the creation remains good despite the parasitic intrusion of evil. Furthermore, the blessed outcome promised in the Bible is not a disembodied heavenly existence, but "a new heaven and a new earth." It is not for nothing that Christians have for centuries confessed their faith (through the Apostles' Creed) not in the immortality of the soul, but in "the resurrection of the body."
What should matter to those who make this confession is how to fulfill their earthly callings so that the riches of creation can unfold in ways that reflect God's purposes and standards for every sphere of life--economic, artistic, familial, political, and all others. Moreover, Christians should do this in ways that anticipate the new heaven and new earth, where justice and righteousness will fully prevail.
This does not guarantee easy answers to questions about embryonic vs. adult stem-cell research or about the many concerns surrounding abortion. But it does mean that you cannot and should not try to exclude faith-based dialogue from the public square, because different views of human life, including the "naturalism" of most scientists, are all faith-based world views.
Consequently, when Bloom asserts that "the qualities of mental life that we associate with souls are purely corporeal [and] emerge from biochemical processes of the brain" he is making a statement that is no less faith-based than the theological assertion that God "sustains all things by his powerful word" (Heb. 1:3). If the latter is correct, then nothing is "purely" corporeal, not even the dirt under our feet.
So I agree with Bloom's judgment that minds develop in dependence on bodily structures and functions, but I disagree with his biological reductionism. And Bloom should have second thoughts about it too, because if all thought is merely the inevitable consequence of the thinker's biological processes and learning history, then the very enterprise of science is rendered meaningless. A consistent naturalism also renders all moral prescriptions (such as, "Work for the welfare of humankind") meaningless, since such statements would also be the outcome of biological and other processes that are widely variable and sometimes even random in origin. The fact that most naturalists are not moral relativists does not rescue them from intellectual inconsistency; it simply means that as people, they are better than their theories. Let's hope they stay that way.
--Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, Professor of Psychology and Philosophy Eastern University
Abortion has caused missing Democrats--and missing liberals. For advocates so fundamentally committed to changing the face of conservative America, liberals have been remarkably blind to the fact that every day the abortions they advocate dramatically decrease their power to do so. Imagine the number of followers that their abortion policies eliminate who, over the next several decades, would have emerged as the new liberal thinkers, voters, adherents, fund-raisers and workers for their cause.
Where, then, does the difference lie between those who look forward to the next four years and those who dread them? It has to do with a philosophical question: not of what is right or wrong, but why certain things are right or wrong.
There are two possibilities. Either we know what's right because God or his earthly agents inform us through objective revelation or tradition — or, we know because that's just what the better-informed human beings appear to have decided, through a subjective process of moral democracy. President Bush is the country's most prominent believer in objective morality.
OTTAWA, 2011 - The Supreme Court of Canada today ruled unanimously that all legal definitions of everything are unconstitutional. Because they discriminate against whoever and whatever does not conform to them, such definitions violate the equality provisions of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Parliament has been given 60 days to rewrite all laws to conform to this decision.
In claiming that monotheism and reliance on revelation are necessarily terroristic, these secular pundits condemn Christians, Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, Unitarians, Sabeans, and Bahais, to name a few, along with George Washington, James Madison, and a host of other Founding Fathers, as inherently violent. Notice, however, that the condemnation extends also to the revealed monotheistic religion of Islam--and no one objects. Yet when Jerry Falwell and Franklin Graham said that violence is inherent in Islam, they were pilloried by respectable opinion. These days, religious intolerance and theological illiteracy are far more conspicuous in the pages of the New York Times than among most southern fundamentalists.
There is also hypocrisy and self-contradiction. [Thomas] Friedman seems blissfully unaware that, even as he condemns others for holding out their particular faith as supreme, he is asserting the supremacy of his own passionately held view. His secularist critique attempts the miraculous combination of denouncing others' faith while attacking those who denounce others' faith. Do not try this trick at home. It should be attempted only by seasoned professionals who lack any capacity for self-criticism or even self-awareness.
As for confronting their own limitations, Democrats may need little urging. For despite unprecedented unity, strong organization, and an able candidate, the party suffered a clear defeat in the popular vote. Will Democrats be willing to ask the hard questions, however? Will they ask how the party reconciles responsible environmental stewardship with reckless individualism on marriage and life issues? Will they question why liberalism should be the foe rather than the friend of faith-based social services or of parents' primary responsibility for their children's education?
Self-reflection is also long overdue among evangelical Christians who now enjoy unprecedented influence in Republican ranks. Despite their strong defense of a biblical view of marriage, many are unreconstructed individualists who equate stewardship of the environment with liberal elitism and believe that unilateralism in foreign policy is justified because America is God's chosen nation. It is a Christian axiom that all communities, institutions, and persons are broken, reflecting the sinfulness of humanity. But communities, institutions and persons can, by the grace of God, experience transformation. The conditions for such transformation are humility, repentance and forgiveness. In the end, political humiliation rather than political triumph may make for easier transit through this particular needle's eye.
Our modern innovation of "no-fault" divorce is really unilateral divorce. If one person wants a divorce, the marriage ends, regardless of the other person's wishes. We have no idea how many reluctantly divorced people are walking around our society, but no doubt there are a quite a few. People who want to keep working on the marriage — people who want to keep the vows they made — these are the people who are penalized by the current system. Tell me again how this makes us all freer and happier?
1. The Hobbesian commonwealth
2. The night watchman state
3. The regulatory state
4. The equal opportunity state
5. The choice-enhancement state
At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.
1. To destroy completely; ruin.
2. To undermine the character, morals, or allegiance of; corrupt.
3. To overthrow completely.