The religion of fear

I’ve been observing lent during March. Thankfully, I can do so free from reprisals in this country. People who choose not to observe lent are also free from reprisals.

Meanwhile, a Christian in Afghanistan is not so blessed. Abdul Rhaman, who has admitted to converting to Christianity, is facing the death penalty for being a traitor to Islam. His own family turned him in. The Middle East times has a photo of the most damaging evidence against him – his bible.

So Islam once again demonstrates it is not the religion of peace, but is the religion of intimidation and fear.

(Hat tip: Michelle Malkin)

What kind of catholic am I?

The results from

  You scored as Neo-Conservative Catholic. You see that the government of the United States was originally founded on recognizably Catholic natural law principles and reason in the tradition of Saint Thomas Aquinas, and the freedom of religion acknowledged in the Constitution has allowed Catholicism to flourish in this largely Protestant country. You recognize that the American system of government, even with its faults, is the most moral social order developed in history. You are committed to being a Catholic active in society. 

Like the Liberal Catholic, your views might be too determined by American culture, and you may uncritically accept many theories that may be harmful to yourself and society; instead you may need rediscover traditional Catholic teaching. You should emphasize the love of your neighbor, especially love for the poor, in your everyday business dealings.

Neo-Conservative Catholic
New Catholic
Evangelical Catholic
Traditional Catholic
Radical Catholic
Lukewarm Catholic
Liberal Catholic

What is your style of American Catholicism?
created with

Hmmm, seems pretty accurate. I’ve even mentioned in conversations with others how the faith of American Christians in general is shaped by American culture. I don’t see that as all bad as this is the greatest nation on God’s green earth. Yet it is something to be aware of.

I do disagree that I uncritically accept theories that are harmful to myself. I suspect they are talking about thing like “tax cuts for the rich”. In Colorado, we are voting on referrenda C & D in November. The referrenda are state tax hikes. My voting against it (which some would say is against my immediate self-interest) doesn’t mean I did so uncritically.

How to marginalize yourself – 101

On Monday, Pat Robertson suggested the U.S. should assasinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Of course his remarks have started a controversy.

Pat Robertson was right about one thing. Chavez is not a good man. Chavez is showing all the signs of being a totalitarian.

Robertson’s suggestion of assasination is just foolish. He has done the opposite of his intention. Instead of drawing attention to the problems of Venezuela, he has given Chavez a diverision. Even worse, Robertson is now denying he suggested assasination. Don’t try to cover yourself with such an obvious lie.

If there weren’t enough misconceptions of the so-called religious right, now we have to deal with this. Thanks Pat. As Shrek once said, “That is the opposite of help.”

Abortion clinic bombing Christians

Last week USA Today published letter’s from infamous abortion clinic bomber Eric Rudolph who eluded capture in the mountains of North Carolina for five years. He had been held up as the poster child of all that is wrong with the Christian right.

The only problem with that, he isn’t a Christian. In a letter to his mother he wrote about his prison experience printed in a USA Today article.

“Many good people continue to send me money and books,” Rudolph writes in an undated letter. “Most of them have, of course, an agenda; mostly born-again Christians looking to save my soul. I suppose the assumption is made that because I’m in here I must be a ‘sinner’ in need of salvation, and they would be glad to sell me a ticket to heaven, hawking this salvation like peanuts at a ballgame. I do appreciate their charity, but I could really do without the condescension. They have been so nice I would hate to break it to them that I really prefer Nietzsche to the Bible.”

But there was not a word about how his radical athiestic views (“God is dead”) were the cause of his evil – unlike when the press thought he was a Christian extremist.

Catholic Faith and social issues

The Catholic Church acts in two ways to try to further its social agenda. The first is through Catholic Charities where the church acts through private donations to assist people in need. The second is by advocating government programs.

During the past few decades, Catholic voters have generally supported the Democratic Party. This is mostly because the Church has taken a position of supporting socialist policies such as welfare programs. For some reason, the Church has taken the position that the importance of helping the poor through government programs trumps the moral issues it advocates – specifically its pro-life and pro-family positions. Catholics have a history of voting for candidates who promise to “help the disadvantaged” while those same candidates advocate abortions or gay marriage.

Even if helping the poor was the more important issue, history has revealed problems with relying on government to fix it.

Government assistance does not work

People who receive from the government only come to rely on the government, not God.
Churches that advocate more government welfare are undermining their own witness. Welfare recipients don’t thank the taxpayers for what they receive. They come to believe the payments they get are a right and that taxpayers are obligated to support them.

The government does not hold people accountable for changing their lives. Did you know it is illegal for an organization that receives federal money to require the people they help stay off drugs? That is why groups like Step 13 in Denver who work with homeless and street people will not accept government funds. Because they require their clients stay off drugs, they change lives.

Churches should be self-reliant

By relying on the government, the church abandons its responsibilities. Europe shows that charitable giving and involvement decreases as people come to rely on the government for assistance. Look at the great Tsunami last year. Europeans criticized the size of the U.S. government’s contribution. They didn’t acknowledge the hundreds of millions of dollars private citizens donated. These contributions dwarfed those of European countries. Europeans private contributions were nothing compared to the generosity of Americans. It is a natural tendency for Europeans not to give since they believe they are already giving through the tax collector.

Reliance on government only hurts the soul. People that receive aren’t grateful; they will change their behavior only reluctantly.

People that are forced to pay the taxes are not involved in the lives of the people they are supporting. They have no influence to improve the behavior of those getting the benefits.

The Catholic Church is large enough to have a great impact on the world. If it were to use its own resources instead of abandoning some of its mission to the government, it could change even more lives.

Habemus Papum!

Benedict XVI Posted by Hello

Today Cardinal Joseph Ratziner was elected Pope Benedict XVI. For the past 23 years, he served in the Vatican as guardian of the church doctrine. Liberal theologists will surely be disappointed that Pope Benedict is not the kind of man who will change the church’s teaching to approve of abortion, gay marriage, or female priests.

It’s a great day for Catholics though. As Honeybun and I were just confirmed in the Catholic Church at Easter, this is an exciting time for us.

A new pope! How cool is that?

The passing of Pope John Paul II

I was at work when I heard the news. Obviously, the news wasn’t surprising.
The world watched him deteriorate over that last few years. As I was watching the news coverage, I realized I had forgotten what a strong presence he was. Old news clips really show a vibrant man of faith.

May God bless John Paul II

Vox Blogoli Update

It seems that Mr. Rauch has clarified his views to Hugh Hewitt. He claims that he never meant to equate the religious right with violent actions.

At least Mr. Rauch and The New Atlantic have the integrity to clarify instead of entrench and cast even more aspersions.

Vox Blogoli Volume 2, Number 1

Hugh Hewitt has once again asked for comments. Johnathan Rauch has written a piece for the New Atlantic confusing the religious right with violent 60’s activists.

On balance it is probably healthier if religious conservatives are inside the political system than if they operate as insurgents and provocateurs on the outside. Better they should write anti-abortion planks into the Republican platform than bomb abortion clinics.

Sadly, Rauch believes that anyone who supports life is equivalent to the few wackos who bombed clinics. That’s right, the bombers that were widely criticized by the religious right are just the same as the religious right.

He continues:

The same is true of the left. The clashes over civil rights and Vietnam turned into street warfare partly because activists were locked out of their own party establishments and had to fight, literally, to be heard.

Rauch makes a false comparison. Pro-life people have been against legalized abortion for 32 years. Yet as a group, they have not rioted in the streets like the leftists of the 60’s. The religious right are not the terrorists, “insurgents and provocateurs”, that Rauch believes they are.

It’s amazing that someone can grow up in America thinking Christians (which is what they mean by religious right) are terrorists and it is only by the left’s reluctant allowance of Christian participation in the political process that abortion clinics are safe from bombing.