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California trying to strike out tax-exempt status for Little League, ‘discriminatory’ groups

A California bill that could strip tax-exempt status from Little League, the Boy Scouts of America and other “discriminatory” nonprofit youth-serving groups could come up for a final vote this week.

The first-of-its-kind bill, SB 323, passed the California Senate and sailed through Assembly com
mittees to a floor vote, possibly this week.

But opponents are taking heart that there might not be enough votes in the state Assembly to pass the bill.

The chamber did not consider the bill in its Monday session, but may take it up when it convenes Friday.

The bill, introduced by State Sen. Ricardo Lara, names the Boy Scouts, Little League, Future Farmers of America and 19 other organizations as examples of groups that could be stripped of their tax-exempt status if found to discriminate based on gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, race, religion or religious affiliation.

The measure also threatens tax-exempt status for public and private schools found to sponsor discriminatory youth groups. One critic said it could even threaten an exemption status held by a church.

“Traditional values regarding heterosexuality are being branded as the legal equivalent of racism, and so there’s the quite genuine fear that the tax code really is the battleground against the traditional churches,” said Alan Reinach, executive director of Church State Council, which opposes SB 323.
“It’s not about ‘live and let live.’ If the churches do not conform to the values of homosexuality, then we will lose our standing in society,” he said.

 

Proponents of Mr. Lara’s bill — called the Youth Equality Act — say groups that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) or atheist youths should not receive preferential tax status.

LGBT youths need to be assured that they can have “equal access to participate in all youth organizations,” said Mr. Lara, who has spoken of his own experiences as a gay youth.
Supporters of the bill include Equality California, the American Civil Liberties Union, the California National Organization for Women, the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, the city of West Hollywood and the Service Employees International Union of California.

Opponents include traditional-values groups, as well as three churches: Calvary Assembly of God, First Christian Church and Lighthouse Baptist Church.

They say SB 323 discriminates against organizations that have faith-based convictions and forces them to adopt the government’s viewpoint on sexual orientation and gender identity in their hiring, practices, membership, objectives or activities.

Many youth groups do not even hold their own tax-exempt status, but operate under the exemption of their church conference, said Mr. Reinach, whose public policy organization focuses on religious-freedom issues.

So if a youth group is found to be discriminatory, “what are you going to do — revoke the tax exemption for two dozen schools and 150 churches or at least all of their youth groups?” he asked.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/aug/26/california-bill-targets-tax-exempt-status-for-disc/#ixzz2dK4Wwlqd
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

Joseph Bottum claims fidelity to Church stance on marriage

By Carl Bunderson
 

.- Author Joseph Bottum says that while parts of his controversial article on Catholic responses to “gay marriage” may have been unclear, he did not intend to suggest a divergence from Church teaching.

“I’m not dissenting from Church doctrine here, in any way,” said Bottum, who wrote the essay “The Things We Share” in Commonweal last Friday.


Joseph Bottum.

Rather, he told CNA Aug. 26, “I am taking exception to some prudential judgment about the way in which we try and evangelize the world.”

In the more than 9,000 word essay, subtitled “A Catholic’s Case for Same-Sex Marriage,” Bottum suggested that federal and state recognition of same-sex “marriage” is already so far advanced that Catholics would do well to not expend energy fighting it in judicial and legal spheres, but rather to evangelize and share the Christian world-view in other ways.
Bottum’s essay was popularized by an interview which appeared in the New York Times by Mark Oppenheimer headlined “A Conservative Catholic now backs same-sex marriage.”
This characterization was the first introduction to the article for many, both on the political right and left.

“Much as I was grateful for the publicity” of the Times article, he said, “I think one of the problems with that was our conservative Catholic friends read the New York Times essay first, and then read the Commonweal piece, and it’s effect was, ‘Catholic deserter comes to our side.’”

“They look at it through the lens of ‘Catholic deserter’, and the first blog posts about it really blocked me into a position.”

Similarly, he said, that the left’s first reaction, “based on the New York Times profile” was “’hooray, hooray, we’ve got a defector’; and then they actually read the essay, and now they’re all out after me.”
Since his essay itself conveys a different tone than did Oppenheimer’s article, Bottum said, “I didn’t expect the immediate knee-jerk reaction of a sizable chunk of the conservative world to be angry at me.”

While continuing to view homosexual acts as “manifestly not in accord with divine law,” in alignment with Church teaching, Bottum said it is “right to make the distinction over what evils we allow without rebellion.”

“Just as there’s no rebellion in Nevada among Catholics over the counties that have legalized prostitution, I think we’ve probably reached a point where the Catholic teaching here has no purchase on the larger culture, and we’re going to get same-sex marriage – it’s already mostly here.”
While wanting to make clear that “there’s no doubt” he accepts that marriage as being between two persons of the opposite sex, Bottum said merely wanted to write the piece about his thinking having come to the position that, in the U.S., “the Church just needs to get out of the civil marriage business, because the culture is just too bizarre to hear” her teaching about marriage.

“In the short-run anyway,” Bottom said, Catholics should tolerate the civil recognition of same-sex unions. “I also think we need to re-evangelize the culture, but, in the short run … I think we have to accept that the facts on the ground is, it’s here, and it’s going to be here for some time.”

“I was always very careful to, any time I said something affirming of same-sex marriage, I was very careful to put in the word ‘civil’, ‘state recognition of’, some kind of qualifying phrase like that.”

“I did kind of assume that it would be taken as writ that I’m an orthodox Catholic,” Bottom reflected, though adding, “maybe I should have just said it, to pre-empt some old friends from reading the piece as though I was saying, this is sacramental marriage as much as anything else.”

The essay is “very long,” Bottom admitted, explaining that it is written in a literary style he’s been exploring lately, calling it “a style of personal essay that takes two steps forward and one step back, that circles around and circles around, that’s more impressionistic than it is argumentative.”

“I open for instance with that description of a lost friendship … and immediately afterwards I say, personal anecdote isn’t argument, and then I say, we’re all Americans, America’s got this, we should probably just accept this insofar as we’re Americans,” he said, reflecting on his writing style.
“And then immediately after, I say that of course the bishops shouldn’t be persuaded to take the (popular) cultural position out of some feel-good call for consensus. And the whole essay kind of proceeds by this back and forth method.”

He cited the style of Michel de Montaigne, a French essayist of the 16th century renaissance, as an inspiration for the admittedly “complicated” and “impressionistic” voice of his personal essay.
“I set myself up to be misinterpreted, in a way, just by making the conscious literary decision to write an essay in an essayistic style, and it didn’t occur to me at the time that it would be quite so open to misinterpretation,” Bottum shared.

Saying that he is “not entirely free from blame” for the essay’s subtitle, since he discussed it with the editors and consented to it, Bottum said that instead of being a Catholic advocate for same-sex “marriage,” “the case that I am making, is a case for Catholics who work in these sorts of fields to recognize that same-sex marriage is something the culture has, and is going to get completely,” though “in the civil sense only.”

“I certainly didn’t intend to undermine the bishops, by making anything more than a prudential argument about their fight over same-sex marriage,” Bottum said.

Moreover, he pointed out, “I explicitly said in the piece that they should not be persuaded by purely cultural reasons.”

Bottom said there are two passages that he should have phrased differently, because “they’re getting misinterpreted consistently” – one section on the judicial cases made in favor of marriage, and another on natural law.

Please read the rest here: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/joseph-bottum-claims-fidelity-to-church-stance-on-marriage/

Woman drinks water from a Muslim’s cup … death sentence.

In the New York Post I saw an article about a Christian woman who was sentenced to death for drinking water from a cup owned by a practitioner of the Religion of Peace.
Sentenced to death for a sip of water
As her religion faces persecution across the Middle East, a Christian woman explains why she faces hanging in Pakistan for the crime of ‘blasphemy’

By ASIA BIBI

Daughters of Asia Bibi hold a photo of their mother, who has been in prison for four years.
Daughters of Asia Bibi hold a photo of their mother.

 To her neighbors, Aasiya Noreen “Asia” Bibi, a poor mother of five in the tiny village of Ittan Wali in central Pakistan, was guilty — guilty of being Christian in a nation that is 97% Muslim. For four years she has languished in a prison cell for this, facing death by hanging. Her new memoir, “Blasphemy,” was dictated to her husband from jail, who relayed it to French journalist Anne-Isabelle Tollet. Fifty percent of the proceeds the book will go to support Bibi and her family. Tollet says the situation is dire. Embarrassed by Bibi’s case but still refusing to release her because of angry protests by extremists, the Pakistan government has transferred her to a more remote prison, hoping the 42-year-old dies quietly behind bars, perhaps poisoned by another inmate. Already two government officials who have spoken out on her behalf have been murdered, including Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti, who was killed by the Taliban. In this excerpt, Bibi explains the simple “transgression” that led to her plight.

[...]

Read the rest there.
Sts. Nunilo and Alodia, pray for us.

Coptic Catholic leader: Egyptian government is not stopping hate speech against Christians

By on Tuesday, 27 August 2013
Coptic Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sedrak (CNS)
Coptic Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sedrak (CNS)
 
Egypt’s new interim government is doing nothing to prevent hate speech, which is inciting violence against Christians, a prominent Egyptian Catholic leader has said.

“The state is paying no attention to sermons coming out of the mosques, which are inciting Muslims against Christians,” said Coptic Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sedrak.

In a statement he said perpetrators involved in a wave of attacks on Christian institutions across the country since early July were not being apprehended, and those involved in the burning and destruction of churches should have been forced to repair them at their own expense and not at the cost of the state.

He said southern parts of the Minya governorate had seen some of the most severe anti-Christian violence so far, and that “people there are so extreme that they are threatening the Copts with expulsion from their homes”.

Muslim-Christian tension in Egypt has long been a problem, but it reached unprecedented levels after the July 3 military ousting of the Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and worsened after security forces raided two Cairo camps of pro-Morsi demonstrators on August 14. Hundreds of people, most of them protesters, were killed that day.

About a week later, the Coptic Catholic Church reported that more than 70 churches, schools, community centres, homes and other properties belonging to Christians had been ransacked in the violence. The military and the new interim government have said they will repair the damage done to Christian institutions.

Coptic Christians make up as much as 15 percent of Egypt’s population. Coptic Catholics account for as many as 300,000. The rest of Egypt’s 82.5 million people are predominantly Sunni Muslims.
Christian leaders, including Patriarch Sedrak, have come out in support of military leaders, who they say are “fighting a war on terror” launched by people sympathetic to Morsi.

Source: http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2013/08/27/coptic-catholic-leader-egyptian-government-is-not-stopping-hate-speech-against-christians/

TLM Workshop at Sacred Heart Major Seminary

New Liturgical Movement
Certainly a sign of the continued movement towards tradition among new and future clergy is the increase in workshops and classes dedicated to teaching seminarians and priests the usus antiquior (for example, the expressed desire of Bishop Morlino that all the seminarians in the diocese of Madison learn to celebrate the TLM, or the liturgical practicum in the EF offered by the Pontifical College Josephinum).

A recent announcement in the Archdiocese of Detroit offers news of the same:

Fr. Dan Jones, Professor of Patristics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, announced on August 23, 2013 that the Seminary has invited the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius of Chicago to offer a workshop on celebrating the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

Fr. Jones said that the Canons Regular have been invited because they have a particular charism for the restoration of the sacred in the Latin rite and “an expertise both in celebration of the EF and in the training of others to celebrate it.” [...]

The workshop will be held at the Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Thursday Oct. 10th – Sunday Oct. 13th, and that seminarians in their third and fourth years of Theology at the Seminary (T3 and T4), as well as the priest faculty from the Seminary and priests serving in the Archdiocese of Detroit are invited to participate.

Too dangerous for New Jersey

A new law against ‘change therapy’ begs questions about the high health risks of gay sex

             Aug 23, 2013, The Christians 
            

Gay bar: Not a recipe for a long and healthy life.
Gay bar: Not a recipe for a long and healthy life.

            

If you lived in New Jersey, say in Newark or Paterson, and just found out from your 16 year old that he thinks he’s gay, here’s one right you just lost: hiring a professional counsellor to try changing his orientation, even if he wanted to.

State Governor Chris Christie signed a law this week, passed by the legislature in June, making it a de-licensing offence for any professional counsellor to try changing the sexual orientation of a minor. In this regard New Jersey is the first state to follow the lead of California.

Reading more like a gay manifesto than a government statute, Bill 3371 opens with the declaration, “Being lesbian, gay, or bisexual is not a disease, disorder, illness, deficiency, or shortcoming.” It ascribes “critical health risks” to any therapy seeking to alter a same-sex inclination in an adolescent.

A caring parent might slip over to New York anyway

Whether or not “change” therapy actually works – a highly contested question – it’s not as though the gay lifestyle is safe. The medical hazards of homosexual sex are severe, and though rarely acknowledged, have been well known for decades.

Most homosexuals have far more sexual partners than straight men do: the self-reported lifetime totals range fairly evenly from “over 100” to “over 1,000.” Despite three decades of “safe sex” badgering, many gays – about 40 percent – continue to have anal sex without condoms, and many HIV-infected gays don’t tell their partners. Though committed homosexual relationships are not uncommon, almost none are faithful. Some 60 percent of gays are infected with the transmittable, often incurable Human Papilloma Virus. Gays are at significantly increased risk of Hepatitis A and B, often fatally harmful to the liver. They suffer an exceptionally high incidence of Gonorrhea , particularly of the anus and throat. They have very high rates of syphilis infection, and of a uniquely homosexual condition known to doctors as Gay Bowel Syndrome, leading to serious diseases such as enteritis. Many of these health risks expose them to higher rates of various cancers.

To our knowledge, the many sources for these observations have not been discredited, merely ignored. The one assertion that has been heavily challenged is that the average gay life span is eight to 20 years shorter than the male average, making it twice as harmful as smoking. Given the scarcity of data available, it may be an exaggeration; but given the lifestyle’s known medical risks, it’s even harder to believe the assurance we now hear so often, that it’s natural, normal and healthy.

Don’t believe anything the medical establishment says

Since successfully bludgeoning the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from the manual of mental disorders in 1973, gays have achieved unchallenged political control over national mental health associations in the U.S. Parents can therefore ignore the dozen such organizations listed in the New Jersey bill that criticize “change therapy” as dangerous. Until they start talking candidly about homosexual health risks, they have nothing to say worth hearing.

- See more at: http://thechristians.com/?q=node/563#sthash.WfLHjZV9.dpuf

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – August 27, 2013

Talking about the “things that matter most” on August 27

4:00 – How To Wolf-Proof Your Kids
Gary Michuta has produced a product of years of work in the field of apologetics and evangelism. A few years ago, he gathered his experiences and ideas into a series of talks titled “How to Wolf-Proof Your Kids.” Catholic parents around the country were extremely enthusiastic about the talks. Parents frequently approached him after the talks and encouraged him to put the information into book form because their own experiences so closely mirrored what he said. Some of these parents would proceed to share their own heart-breaking stories when their child had been pulled out of the Church. These discussions with parents also helped him to decide what information to include in his talks. He took these parents’ advice to heart and the result is this book. Gary joins us to discuss “How To Wolf-Proof Your Kids.”

5:00 – Kresta Comments: Jody Bottum, Generosity of Spirit, and the Battle for Marriage 

5:40 – Economic Plight and the Hope of the Church
The city of Detroit announced in July that it would go into bankruptcy, setting in motion the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history. Archbishop Allen Vigneron was installed as the archbishop of Detroit in 2009, a year after General Motors declared bankruptcy. Critics blame Detroit’s troubles on the struggles of the U.S. automotive industry to adapt to a changing global marketplace, corruption in city hall and public employee unions, which negotiated generous pensions for their members that now cannot be funded.But Archbishop Vigneron sees hope – he sees an opportunity for the Church to be the Church. He joins us to explain.

Alice Cooper’s Christian testimony

 
 

Fruitful Sacramental Preparation

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Ralph Martin, president of Renewal Ministries
Ralph Martin, president of Renewal Ministries and associate professor of theology at Detroit’s Sacred Heart Major Seminary, has an article in Nova et Vetera titled, “The Post-Christendom Sacramental Crisis: The Wisdom of Thomas Aquinas.”

The sacramental crisis of the title has two interrelated aspects:

  1. A “radical drop in the numbers of those who still bother to approach the sacraments.”
  2. “[T]he apparent lack of sacramental fruitfulness in the lives of many who still partake of the sacraments.”

Obviously, an unreceived sacrament is a fruitless sacrament, but if a sacrament is not fruitful, why bother to receive it in the first place?

The key section of the essay is a discussion on making reception of the sacraments more fruitful, in light of St. Thomas’s teaching on adult baptism. Specifically, Martin recommends recovering a balance in sacramental preparation, reflected in St. Thomas’s writings, that was thrown off after the Protestant revolution:

The reaction to the theology of the Protestant reformers produced in the Catholic Church what could be regarded as an overemphasis on the ex opere operato (by the fact of the action being performed) aspect of the sacraments working, to the neglect of the practical importance of the ex opere operantis (from the action of the doer) aspect. The Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms the importance of both aspects:
From the moment that a sacrament is celebrated in accordance with the intention of the Church, the power of Christ and his Spirit acts in and through it, independently of the personal holiness of the minister. Nevertheless, the fruits of the sacraments also depend on the disposition of the one who receives them.
 

While no one would intentionally ignore the disposition of the one in sacramental preparation — I use “no one” in a rhetorical sense here; empirically, people are capable of anything — it’s not only inadequate to argue that the sacrament itself will make up for what is lacking in the recipient, it’s flat-out contrary to what the Church teaches. If “Ex opere operato” is how a given sacramental preparation program addresses the question of subjective disposition, then, objectively, that sacramental preparation program doesn’t address the question of subjective disposition.

Martin quotes St. Thomas’s article on “Whether sinners should be baptized” to explain why subjective disposition needs to be addressed in the sacramental preparation of adults:

Read the rest here: http://disputations.blogspot.com/2013/08/fruitful-sacramental-preparation.html

The Preemptive Surrender of Jody Bottum

   
By Robert Royal
Sunday, 25 August 2013
Joseph Bottum, sometime friend of several of us at TCT, published a painfully long, painfully rambling article Friday in the liberal Catholic magazine Commonweal saying that the Church is wasting its time – is even harming itself – opposing gay marriage. He was fired as editor-in-chief of First Things three years ago, years in which he has mostly been living in his native South Dakota, where one hoped he was growing in wisdom and grace. But that is not our subject today.
 
The subject involves the fact that the liberal Luce Foundation provided the money for the writing of the Commonweal article, whose release included an announcement of the publication of Jody’s book, An Anxious Age (scheduled for in February), and coincided with a large story in The New York Times Saturday. A cynic might think that this shows less an argument about Church policy than a PR campaign, as in “former First Things editor turns.”
 
But let’s start by getting the record straight: if you take his argument seriously, which I mostly do not, Jody is not saying that he “supports” gay marriage, which the New York Times headline, as is its wont in matters Catholic, gets wrong.
 
He is saying that the Church cannot win this cultural battle, indeed is being harmed by it, given the forces arrayed against Her. Our bishops should not waste time on it and instead focus on the deep “re-enchantment of the world,” which is what it will take to get people to see the real point of the Church’s richer notions of Creation – and sexuality.
 
In a way, true enough, and many people, myself included, have been saying that – minus the surrender on same-sex marriage – for decades. But I personally don’t have a large investment in the “beauty will save the world” argument, which tends to work some of the same veins as “re-enchantment.” The Beautiful is one of the transcendentals, but only one, a lot of bad can happen while we’re waiting for it to kick in.
 
There are hundreds of art galleries all over the world filled with first-rate Christian painting and sculpture. Religious music is regularly performed. Christian literature is abundant and still being produced. There are beautiful liturgies in many churches. People I admire write brilliantly about the deep significance of such things. I don’t see that any of this has prevented, slowed, much less reversed, our sharp cultural decline.
 
Bottum’s argument is the equivalent of saying: fighting terrorism will not establish the peace that passeth all understanding, so we shouldn’t bother with such skirmishes. Leave aside that a large and sophisticated entity like the Catholic Church can walk and chew gum at the same time. Walking away from this fight will not gain the Church friends or placate her enemies.
 
The proof will be in the people who rally to his cause. The National Catholic Reporter, Planned Parenthood, Catholics for a Free Choice, most Catholic universities, and the most secular in the secular world. Be ready for the public wave of support for Church efforts to “re-enchant” the world – along with greater time spent on social justice and inclusiveness. I’m sure Luce Foundation funding can be found for those campaigns.
In other words, they will all be happy to send Catholics off on a wild goose chase that threatens nothing in our desert of a culture: “Have a nice trip. Here are a few Euros to tip the waiters. See you guys the day after the Second Coming.”
 
That would be a best-case scenario. Actually, once the Church gives up the legal and cultural pushback, it won’t appease gay activists and their many more or less passive supporters. They know it means weakness. We’ll see an increase in attacks on the Church to simply shut up, and maybe even get onboard about homosexuality.
 
Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George just got a letter signed by eight Catholic lawmakers in Illinois chiding him for cutting archdiocesan funding to a pro-immigrant group that decided to endorse gay marriage. Imagine, a Cardinal of the Catholic Church defunds a non-profit group that goes out of its way to take a non-Catholic position inessential to its mission – and, for his trouble, reaps a stinging rebuke from Catholic pols.
 
The Cardinal is famous for saying that he expects to die in his bed, his successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr. The Cardinal is 76, but he’s in pretty good health, and with the highest respect, may be entirely too optimistic.
 
Jody asserts that there’s no coherent, principled legal argument against gay marriage and that we should simply accept it “as Americans.” I leave the legal niceties to the lawyers and legal beagles, but an awful lot of them seem to think otherwise.
 
And that notwithstanding, there’s a very coherent and principled – if outrageous – legal effort to extend alleged “hate crimes” further and further. One hears that Cardinal George has already been threatened by groups saying that they have eyes and ears on him. And he’s not the only one.
 
Jody cited G. K. Chesterton on enchantment and St. Thomas Aquinas on tolerating certain evils in making his case. The implausibility and formlessness of this argument – about which he’s already published some defensive reflections – show his own nervous ambivalence. Take one step back from the controversy. Can you imagine either of these men retreating from this battle? I can’t.
 
In 1976, Henry Kissinger, known as “the smartest man in the world,” told Admiral Elmo Zumwalt: “The day of the United States is past and today is the day of the Soviet Union. My job as Secretary of State is to negotiate the most acceptable second-best position available.” The Soviets had only thirteen years left.
 
The gay surge in the West may seem much less likely to be reversed. There are days we all feel that way. And it may be so. But there’s only one way to find out. And it’s not pre-emptive surrender.
 
Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is The God That Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the West, now available in paperback from Encounter Books.
© 2013 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

 

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