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Archive for the ‘religion’ Category

The Catholic Church in Minnesota recently mailed out 400,000 DVDs to its parishioners in the state, asking them to accept the church’s belief that gay marriage is wrong for human beings. In fact, gay marriage is so bad for the rest of the world, the Catholic leadership wants lawmakers to pass a new law forbidding it. It’s about six weeks before an election, see, and the church would really like its people to vote for candidates who oppose gay marriage.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune published this piece last week (Sept. 20).

Then, an art curator at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis decided to produce a sculpture using DVDs provided to her by other Catholics who are opposed to its content. It’s her way of taking a stand against the church’s teaching on gay marriage. She was summarily terminated from her job, of course, and the Star Tribune published this article about the debacle.

As I read the story and readers’ comments, this one struck me as the most relevant…so I wanted to share it here. Naturally, not all good Catholics are anti-marriage. Some actually think with a reasonable and “modern” process about the issue. Here’s the reader’s comment from the newspaper:

Where did the $400,000 for the DVD come from?

First, I’m a parishioner at St. Mary’s, and like many fellow parishioners, my wife and I are planning to donate the archbishop’s DVD to Ms. Naylor’s art work. We feel this work of art is the perfect response to the archbishop’s actions, and it’s the Holy Spirit at work. Second, the archbishop has clearly crossed a line of political lobbying that is totally inappropriate. The church lobbies on behalf of the poor, children and others who need the protection of the church. The church builds schools, hospitals and shelters to serve, according to Christ’s command. That’s not what this DVD is about. This is the archbishop telling Catholics how to vote to change the constitution of the secular state of Minnesota. Minnesota and the United States are secular institutions which have laws and constitutions to protect the rights of all–regardless of religious belief. Instead of fighting for the poor, Archbishop Nienstedt is fighting to get Catholic theology into the constitution of the state of Minnesota where it would govern anyone, Catholic or not. We’re not a theocracy–like Iran or Saudi Arabia. We’re America, a secular society, and one of our core beliefs is freedom of religion. That includes freedom *from* religion. I don’t want my church dictating to people outside the church. It used to be illegal to buy contraceptives in many states, because archbishops demanded laws against it. They misused the authority of the church then, just as Archbishop Nienstedt has misused his authority now. Finally, I have to ask: where did this $400,000 come from? Was it a donor? Who was the donor? What else has the donor given money to? And if it wasn’t from a donor, how can the Archbishop order $400,000 be taken from the church’s budget and spent on this theocratic attempt to deprive some non-catholics of their civil rights? That money could run a daycare center in north Minneapolis for 250 kids for a year. Or a homeless shelter. Or it could have been spent lobbying the legislature to stop cutting funding for education. The number one subject Christ talks about in the New Testament is about the poor–not fighting to take away rights that are due to others. The appropriate place for the archbishop to plead his case for the church’s view of the institution of marriage is from the pulpit. Instead he wasted desperately needed $400,000 of funds on an arrogant attempt to decree Catholic law should be secular law. Each year there is a special collection at St. Mary’s, as in all diocese churches, for the Archbishops Fund. Each year as the scandals have grown in the church, the amount of donations has shrunk. So long as Archbishop Nienstedt leads the bishops of Minnesota in this kind of arrogant theocratic campaigns, ours is one parish household that will give our money elsewhere to help the poor and the forgotten. Rohn Jay Miller, parishioner at the Basilica of St. Mary.

Amen Brother!

-end-

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Today, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Minnesota’s Roman Catholic bishops will launch a new effort against same-sex marriage. Their plan? To mail out a DVD to parishioners across the state, which explains the church’s teaching on marriage and describes the possible effects of allowing same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

Good luck with that.

As Catholic priests prepare to preach to their choirs, I find myself once again overwhelmingly happy that I left the Catholic church five years ago. The church and its leaders continue to fall on their interpretations of the Bible that have long since expired. I simply couldn’t stomach it when I was practicing the faith and I certainly abhor the intentions now.

With the issues facing our world, can the Catholic church honestly feel good about itself by perpetuating ancient thinking related to marriage? Gold star for trying, I suppose, but a big “Does Not Play Well With Others” goes in the comments section of their report card on this topic.

Two women or men who are in love and want to marry does not an apocalypse make. So please, bishops of the Catholic church, grow up and turn the other cheek once and for all.

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My Dad marched to the beat of his own drum. He set his own standards, and while they changed through my childhood years, the bar and his expectations were always higher than I was tall.

rhg-wwiiDad was a product of a rough and tumble father and a mother who only knew how to love and care for others – no matter what. I guess his lack of emotion, his inability to truly display love, only became evident in hindsight – because as a kid, even when he failed to properly parent, I felt loved.

We didn’t spend a lot of time playing ball in the backyard, because Dad owned a small business and put in long hours. So instead, I often biked to Dad’s shop and swept or cleaned the work benches until he was ready to lock up – usually after Mom’s third or fourth phone call. On the way out of the shop door, he’d drop a dime in the pop machine and hand me an Orange Crush Soda for the short ride home.

My best Dad memories, though, involve the after-hours deliveries we’d make on warm summer evenings. Dad sold outdoor equipment and he would drive within a 100-mile radius to deliver a lawn tractor to a good customer. I’d help unload the equipment off the trailer and he would demo the machine, chatting up the new owner while I kicked at the stones eager to head back home.

We’d climb back into the red Dodge van he drove (purchased the year I was born) and he would steer us down Northwest Iowa county blacktops – back to Spencer. At five or six years old, I marveled at how many people knew my Dad as we made these trips together. I’d see a car or truck approaching us and nearly every single time, the driver in the oncoming car would wave – and Dad waved back.

“Who was that?” I’d ask him eagerly.

“I couldn’t quite make out the face,” Dad would say with a grin. Or, he’d say, “I think that was Jim from the hardware store,” or he would make up the names of other people he knew, completely BS-ing me.

Eventually, it dawned on me that we were out in the country and these other drivers were just being friendly, waving as they passed every car they met. But for a few years, at least, I believed Dad was the best-known man in the state of Iowa – or at least our corner of the state. He was my well-connected Dad and I was proud of him.

Dad died on Sunday and he’ll be buried back in my hometown today. We rarely spoke these past couple decades. Distance created distance and days lapsed into years.

But I’ll call upon the best memories I have of him. And if there’s a Heaven, I know my Dad has been greeted by the hundreds who waved at him on those summer evenings when it was just the two of us on the road.

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There’s so much crazy going on that I struggled with what to choose to publish on this, Day 2 of my “30 Days of Crazy.” So let’s get after the issue of a certain faith that feels it’s cool to have multiple wives, and in many cases, marry teenagers who then themselves have babies before they’re out of junior high school.

In communities throughout the Southwest United States and Texas, law enforcement officials are planning for capacity crowds as town-hall meetings are organized to deal with a very hot topic:  Polygamy. It’s one of the many not-so-secret practices of members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS).

But apparently the larger and more well-kept secret of these faith-based communities is that the polygamy practices of many male FLDS members include “marrying” and fathering children with teenage girls. In typical communities and states throughout the U.S., that’s better known as rape and it’s a punishable felony. But in the polygamy world, it’s accepted.

At least it was accepted until the spotlight shown down on Eldorado, Texas, last month where more than 400 children were taken into protective custody by the state because of reported abuse as well as under-age brides having babies themselves.

And now courts, local government officials and even our own wizards in D.C. are spending time and money trying to wrap their arms around what to do with this fundamentalist atrocity, where yes, having multiple wives and in some cases 40 or more children is “all that.”

Crazy? Ummmm. Yes. While Mormons disavowed polygamy back in 1890 and now excommunicate polygamists from the Mormon church, the FLDS, whose leader was convicted in Utah for raping a 14-year-old, continues to make a go of marrying frequently and fathering liberally. Laws, even in Texas, that stipulate that girls under 16 can’t marry even with parent permission, seem to be snubbed.

The answer seems pretty clear here. Polygamy and rape are illegal in this country and those who choose to commit these crimes should be behind bars – religious beliefs or no.

I just can’t quite fathom why time, money and effort need to go into government meetings to discuss the matter. In this case, the law is the law. Let’s tell our “officials” to apply it – fast and furiously.

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Why Obama?

OBCIf you haven’t read, word for word, or watched – from start to finish – Barack Obama’s speech from March 18, 2008, I urge you to do so. You may like John McCain, Hillary Clinton or even our current president. It really doesn’t matter who you like for November. What does matter is that you sit down and spend 30 minutes reading or listening to the words of someone who gets it…who gets America; someone who understands you, your neighbor, the janitor and STILL believes that through it all, there’s room to cross the chasms that exist among us.

An excerpt:

Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don’t have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should’ve been authorized and never should’ve been waged, and we want to talk about how we’ll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for President if I didn’t believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected.”

–Barack Obama speech on race, Philadelphia, March 18, 2008

Go read the transcript at the New York Times if nothing else.

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Too Funny Not to Post

I found this on a local blog and just had to put it here to share with the masses (wink).

We think they meant “boards,” but it’s impossible to be sure. Photo sent along by the Mole’s pals Dave and Angela. The church is on Dowling Avenue in north Minneapolis.

Church Sign

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Celebrate Christmas 24/7/365

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tiding of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.’

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem. And they said, ‘Where is he that is born King of the Jews, for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.’

And they found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger and when they had seen it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.”

Of all religious holidays, Christmas owns the top rung on the ladder. Even for those of us less-than-certain about all things biblical, Christmas opens the window long enough to ponder the possibilities. It also gives us opportunities to make memorable moments with family, show our gratitude to friends and be thankful for all that’s been given to us.

In the car sometime last week, while listening momentarily to a radio station that plays Christmas songs 24/7 from Thanksgiving through Dec. 25, I caught a lyric that essentially said, “Every day should be Christmas.” There would be a lot of Christians unhappy if that were the case, because Jesus needs His birthday.

But when it comes to making memories, saying thanks to friends and being satisfied with where we’re each at in life instead of toiling to get ahead all the time – Christmas should be each day. These are things we need to live and breathe regularly, not just once a year.

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