Monday, April 27, 2009

Same-Sex Marriage And Separation Of Church And State

My friend Justin and I are having an interesting discussion on thoughts from this video:
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Douglas Kmiec
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorGay Marriage Commercial

over at his Blog. (Justin and I have been friends ever since our days at Campbell and through the years have had interesting discussions). Here are some of Justin's thoughts on the subject at hand:
Should Clergy Perform (LEGAL) Marriages?

I am ordained clergy and one of my favorite parts of being ordained is the unique role that I can play in officiating a wedding. I've already done 2 this year, and there's more to come. There is something so holy to me to when I walk a couple through the vows that they chose/wrote for each other as they look lovingly in each others eyes.

However, as of late there has been an interesting point being pointed out by many in the church. The latest is found on Tony Jones' blog entitled: Doug Kmiec Is Right: Clergy Should Not Perform (Legal) Marriages.

In this Tony points out some interesting and thought-provoking observations about clergy and marriage. He says:
In no other fuction as a clergyperson did I function as an extension of the government -- not when I was baptizing, burying, counseling, or communing. Only when performing a wedding did I, with the stroke of a pen, make official a legally binding contract that, in the eyes of the state, allowed that couple to enjoy certain privileges like the ability to file joint tax returns, visit one another in the hospital, and receive joint health care benefits from one of the partner's employers.....
I do find it odious that clergypersons are called upon, in this one instance, to act as agents of the state.

He goes on to conclude:
Clergy and churches, on the other hand, should have no part in legally-binding contracts. Instead, religious professionals should bless and sanctify unions and partnerships that fit within their religious traditions as part of their sacerdotal functions.

Of course part of this is brought on by the issue of same sex marriage. Douglas Kmiec on The Colbert Report, points out that "the state has an obligation to treat all of its citizens equally and to preserve the principle of equality." In essence, he is saying that by allowing the polemic Church to decide who can and can't be married that the State is not upholding its role of equality for all citizens. This is something of which I had not considered, but has been thought-provoking to me.

By watching the video and reading all of Tony's blog, you will see that what they are suggesting is a separation of the two roles. This allows the state to practice equality, while allowing the Church to decide according to their own convictions and traditions. That would mean that different traditions would bless and marry same sex couples, and others would not. If a couple would not be recognized/blessed by their own church/tradition, then they could seek out another tradition. Either way, they would still have equal rights as heterosexual unions, because according to the State, all couples would have to go through the state for the legal union of marriage. (Read Full Post: Here).

Here are some of my thoughts from my comments on that post:
TheoPoet said...
Interesting post. I agree with all you said and I am sure officiating marriages is a joy. However, I would tend to think that officiating over sham weddings wouldn't be so joyful and by that I mean people getting married for all the wrong reasons. Lets face it same-sex marriage isn't a threat to the institution of marriage but divorce and people getting married for all the wrong reasons are. I wonder how much this plays into Kmiec's views. It seems that we spit on marriage when we allow sham weddings to happen but same-sex marriage is fought over and homosexuals with a genuine love for each-other are denied the right to marry. Isn't it amazing how marriages of convenience are always granted such as Britney Spears' 24 hour marriage or even weirder the woman who married the Eiffel Tower but not for homosexuals who are committed to each-other with genuine love.

I also wonder how literally we take the phrase: "Into this holy estate these two persons present now come to be joined. If any person can show just cause why they may not be joined together – let them speak now or forever hold their peace." from the Traditional Wedding Vow is taken. As for me I've never seen any wedding where anyone dared to take the phrase to heart and answer it---perhaps out of fear of being labeled "jealous" or a "hater" or some other insult---although, I do know of instances where perhaps the phrase should have been answered honestly and thereby preventing messy divorce or some other form of violence.

TheoPoet said...
Bringing my comments back to the issue of separation of church and state, I believe that those who oppose same-sex marriage don't understand the concept. It involves exactly as you said:
This allows the state to practice equality, while allowing the Church to decide according to their own convictions and traditions. That would mean that different traditions would bless and marry same sex couples, and others would not. If a couple would not be recognized/blessed by their own church/tradition, then they could seek out another tradition. Either way, they would still have equal rights as heterosexual unions, because according to the State, all couples would have to go through the state for the legal union of marriage.

Also, interestingly enough our Puritan fore-bearers believed in separation of marriage and church:
The English Puritans who founded Massachusetts in 1630 formed a society as committed to religion as any in history. But for them, marriage was a civil union, a contract, not a sacred rite.
Early Boston’s Puritans would not have sanctioned gay marriage, because they would not have had the conceptual categories to make sense of the idea. They condemned and occasionally punished homosexual behavior as a sin, a deviation from the procreative function of sexuality. But in this light, homosexual behavior was not categorically different in their eyes from other forms of sexual transgression, from premarital sex to masturbation. Sexual behavior was something a person did, an action of the moment, not a form of identity or a defining characteristic of a person’s nature. Race, by contrast, was a category that New England’s Puritans often did regard as a form of identity, a defining characteristic that separated Europeans from Africans or Native Americans. In this respect, they were no different from most people of that era. And yet Puritans like Samuel Sewall, a judge on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and author of the first antislavery pamphlet in America, abhorred the laws barring interracial marriage. He fought to grant legal recognition to the marriages of slaves and free people of color. Sewall stands at the beginning of a proud tradition in which Massachusetts judges used the court’s power to decide cases in favor of equal rights for all. In Sewall’s view, all people "are the Sons and Daughters of the First Adam, the Brethren and Sisters of the Last Adam, and the Offspring of God; They ought to be treated with a Respect agreeable."

Massachusetts history reminds us that what we commonly call marriage today was initially, and quite deliberately, constructed as a form of civil union. Although marriage was a fundamental aspect of these highly religious people’s lives and the foundational element of their social order, its regulation was separate from the church. The Puritan founders understood marriage as a social institution that needed adjustment according to changing circumstances, and they left the state to do this important work.

In every region of colonial North America, devout believers fought over how to define true religion, and where to draw the line between church and state. In some of the smaller and initially more homogeneous colonies like Massachusetts and Connecticut, religious uniformity was enforced by the state. But taken collectively, no single religion in colonial America ever had the power to decide for everyone, everywhere, what was sacred. As a practical matter, the traditional practice of state-enforced religious uniformity proved to be unworkable in the new American republic. It was this de facto diversity that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution enshrined in federal law.

Different religious communities have long maintained different standards governing who can marry, whether interfaith marriages are permissible, what the obligations of marriage entail, and when or if divorces can be granted. We should not forget that the English Reformation began in 1529 with a conflict between Henry VIII and Pope Clement VII over whether Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon could be annulled. Henry said yes, Clement said no, and in that dispute a new religious tradition, with new ways of defining the relationship between church and state, was born. The idea of legalized homosexual marriage is no doubt innovative. Some religious traditions reject it, while others support it. But the same was true of past adjustments to the legal definition of marriage, such as the recognition of interracial marriage. The traditions pioneered by Boston judges–a legacy that removed marriage from church control–have made these legal adjustments to social changes possible. A policy wherein all marriages are considered as civil unions would be consistent with America’s strongest traditions regarding civil liberties, equal rights, the separation of church and state, and the freedom of religion. (Read full article: Here).

It wasn't until later when theocratic Calvinism took over that marriage became entrenched in a blend of church and state language as it had always been in the Catholic/sacradotal traditions.

For all those interested, join the conversation over here: A Noggin' Full Of Noodles: Should Clergy Perform (LEGAL) Marriages?.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Rich Mullins On Being Born Again

Rich Mullins On Being Born Again :
"You guys are all into that born again thing, which is great. We do need to be born again, since Jesus said that to a guy named Nicodemus. But if you tell me I have to be born again to enter the kingdom of God, I can tell you that you just have to sell everything you have and give it to the poor, because Jesus said that to one guy too…[And he paused in the awkward silence.] But I guess that’s why God invented highlighters, so we can highlight the parts we like and ignore the rest."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Interesting Quotes

Brian McLaren on Christian Nationalism:
When people tell me that we are or have been a Christian nation, I want to ask, "When?" Was it in the colonial era or during westward expansion, when we began stealing the lands of the Native Americans, making and breaking treaties, killing wantonly, and justifying our actions by the Bible? Was it in the era of slavery or segregation, when again, we used the Bible to justify the unjustifiable? Was it in more recent history, when we dropped the first nuclear bomb and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, when we overthrew democratically elected governments in the Cold War era, when we plundered the environment without concern for the birds of the air or flowers of the field, or when we sanctioned or turned a blind eye to torture earlier this decade? Was it earlier this week, when I turned on the TV or radio and heard people scapegoating immigrants and gay people and Muslims?
---thanks to Mainstream Baptist: Brian McLaren on Christian Nationalism.

Oscar Romero On Pluralism In The Church:
A healthy pluralism is needed. We don't want to force everything into the same mold. Uniformity is different from unity. Unity means pluralism, with everyone respecting how others think, and among all of us, creating a unity that is greater than just my way of thinking.---May 29, 1977.

You, with your charismatic movement; you, with your Cursillo movement of Christianity; you, with your community studying catechism; you, with your traditional thoughts; you, with your progressive thoughts, why do you do this? Do you defend what you do because it is comfortable? Then you are going the wrong way. This is not the right thing to do. Do you do it to serve God sincerely? Well do it this way and try to understand others who are doing what they are doing for God. This is true pluralism in the church.---September 17, 1978.
---pgs. 3 and 68 of Through The Year With Oscar Romero: Daily Meditations .

See also: “A bishop will die,…”.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

פֶּסַח And The Ransom Theory Of The Atonement *(Continued)

Sorry for the hiatus from my Atonement Post series for awhile but it seems like so much Blog-worthy stuff has been happening lately that it's been hard to keep up with everything. Anyways, continuing from the previous post: TheoPoetic Musings: פֶּסַח And The Ransom Theory Of The Atonement---here are a few other thoughts regarding the Ransom Theory of the Atonement:

First here's a refresher on what the Ransom theory exactly entails:
The ransom view of the atonement, sometimes called the classical view of atonement,[1] is one of several doctrines in Christian theology related to the meaning and effect of the death of Jesus Christ. The first major theory of the atonement, it originated in the early Church, particularly in the work of Origen. The theory teaches that the death of Christ was a ransom, usually said to have been paid to Satan, in satisfaction of his just claim on the souls of humanity as a result of sin. Robin Collins summarized it as follows:

Essentially, this theory claimed that Adam and Eve sold humanity over to the Devil at the time of the Fall; hence, justice required that God pay the Devil a ransom to free us from the Devil's clutches. God, however, tricked the Devil into accepting Christ's death as a ransom, for the Devil did not realize that Christ could not be held in the bonds of death. Once the Devil accepted Christ's death as a ransom, this theory concluded, justice was satisfied and God was able to free us from Satan's grip.[2]

"Redeeming" meaning, literally, "buying back," and the ransoming of war captives from slavery was a common practice in the era. The theory was also based in part on Mark 10:45 ("For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many") and 1 Timothy 2:5-6 ("For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time"). The ransom theory was the main view of atonement through the first thousand years of Christian history, though it was never made a required belief.[2]

Another way of viewing the Ransom theory is that God ransomed us from Himself via Jesus in some way---although, the above definition is the traditional description of the Ransom view of the Atonement. Also, the traditional understanding of the Ransom theory is widely accepted by the Eastern Orthodox Church or some other variation of the Ransom theory:
Today, the ransom view of atonement is not widely accepted in the West, except by a few theologians in the Word of Faith movement. However, it remains the official position of the Eastern Orthodox Church.[1]
I believe that we can view the Ransom theory as God ransoming us from not only sin and death as the Ransom theory mixed with the Christus Victor view of the Atonement suggests but that God also ransomed us from His wrath as well as slavery to the Law---which is what Christian liberty and freedom afforded to us by God's Grace is. In other words, Jesus' victory on the Cross ransomed us from the sting of death, God's wrath and the double burden of sin and the Law.

Anyways, one other way that this motif of liberation appears in the scriptures is within the framework of Palm Sunday. Here in this cry:
When the Jews cried out "Hosanna" they were hoping that Jesus the Messiah would liberate them from slavery to a foreign power as God once had done before during the Exodus---of course, the slavery the Jews were enduring during this period was a different type of slavery than the slavery of the Exilic period, but the same principle was there. Hosanna is basically a Hebrew idiom for "save us" or "deliver us" but it is also related to the theme of liberation, which ties into the Ransom theory well as in:
Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!" (Mark 11:9)

How would you welcome Jesus to the city? What should be our attitude to his coming into our world or into our lives? He is one who comes to meet us. Remember too that he did promise to come again and he warned his followers to be ready to welcome him when they least expected to see him.

(Luke 12:35-36) "Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; {36} be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks.
If we are to be ready, what should be our attitude in expecting him? And, at a devotional level, remember how he said, in that vision of the end time in the book of Revelation:

(Revelation 3:20) Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.
Those are perhaps more private ways of welcoming him than the public demonstration which greeted him at the entry to Jerusalem on what we call Palm Sunday. As we were remembering last week he arrived on an immense wave of popularity, while at the same time trying to prepare himself and his disciples for his death.

As they made a carpet of welcome for him with their cloaks and the branches they carried, they shouted "Hosanna!" The word "Hosanna" is formed from two Hebrew words meaning "Save now", or taken together "Save us" or "O save". We tend to think of the shouts of the crowd welcoming Jesus as shouts of joy; and true it is that the cry of "Hosanna" had been used for centuries in festivals of joyful celebration; yet originally such festivals were also times of remembrance when pain and suffering were brought to mind. To call out "Save us" was to greet a saviour, not in the personal sense in which Christians today might think of it concerning our individual salvation, but more in the sense of a national saviour, like a general leading an army of liberation. That kind of saviour came to deliver them from danger or present suffering under an oppressor who was a ruler of a similar kind. For the people who shouted "Hosanna" to Jesus, it might well have been a joyful in anticipation of being liberated from a foreign power which occupied their country. The same shouts with the waving of branches were sometimes used to celebrate a victory over enemies that had already been won, as when a few generations before Jesus came to Jerusalem the people celebrated the defeat of their enemies in the time of the Maccabees:

They celebrated it for eight days with rejoicing, in the manner of the festival of the booths, remembering how not long before, during the festival of the booths, they had been wandering in the mountains and caves like wild animals. Therefore, carrying ivy-wreathed wands and beautiful branches and also fronds of palm, they offered hymns of thanks giving to him who had given success to the purifying of his holy place. -- 2 Maccabees 10:6-7.
Note the waving of branches and remember too how Jesus purified the Temple. In another part of those writings that fall between the Old and New Testaments, 1 Maccabees 13:51, we read of an entry to Jerusalem not very different from what happened with Jesus:

It was on the twenty-third day of the second month in the year 171 [about the beginning of June 141 BC] that the Jews entered the city amid a chorus of praise and the waving of palm branches, with lutes, cymbals, and zithers, with hymns and songs, to celebrate Israel's final riddance of a formidable enemy. [REB]
Those celebrations of the life of the nation being saved and the Temple restored are continued today as the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, which comes close to our Christmas -- our celebration of the coming of the Saviour.

So Jesus was welcomed in a traditional manner, and it was with thoughts of deliverance of the kind that one would expect of a king leading an army of liberation. Of course it was quite clearly different. Jesus chose to ride a donkey rather than a war horse and took on the style of a humble servant.
Picture then the Jews asking Jesus to liberate them from their captivity and another view of the Ransom theory emerges for Jesus does liberate/ransom us from our worldly/societal inclinations so that we are free to follow Him by participating in the Kingdom of God and in this way also we find another multifaceted and rich contextual layer to the Ransom Theory of the Atonement. Anyways, so ends my discussion on the Ransom Theory of the Atonement. Next, we'll be look at Implications Of The Incarnation To The Atonement and don't worry if you've missed any of my Atonement or Holy Week posts, I will index them in a single post after I've finished the series.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Kristen Dalton Won Fair And Square

Many in efforts to try to make it seem as if the Miss USA Pageant was somehow rigged and that Miss California was the true winner of the competition try to somehow tie her lost to her personal stand on same-sex marriage. Brannon Howse and his band of Right-Wing nutcases at Worldview Weekend try to brand idiot judge, Perez Hilton with using hate speech. Listen: Here . Brannon Howse of course believes hate crimes are ok as long as they support his views, but when the shoe is on the other foot---he is the loudest to yell hate crime and persecution. Of course, Brannon believes that Miss California supports the traditional and biblical view of marriage---even-though there are several views of marriage within the bible. However, I do believe Perez Hilton is an idiot for his comments about Miss California---even-though, I do not believe in her views---her answer to her question was respectful and not arrogant like fundamentalists:
Miss USA 2009
Hilton served as a judge for the Miss USA 2009 pageant in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 19, 2009. During the Q&A portion of the contest, Hilton's question came to the Miss California representative, Carrie Prejean. Hilton asked:

“Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit? Why or why not?”

Prejean responded:

“Well I think it’s great that Americans are able to choose one way or the other. We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. You know what, in my country, in my family, I do believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, no offence to anybody out there. But that’s how I was raised and I believe that it should be between a man and a woman. Thank you.”
Here are Kristen's scores which proves she won fair and square:
During the broadcast, viewers were able to follow the judging action during the swimsuit and gown portions of the competition as the judges' aggregate score was displayed. Miss North Carolina USA Kristen Dalton had the highest scores of the contestants in both sections with a 9.198 in swimsuit and a 9.470 in gown.

See also: Miss California and Perez Hilton Act Like a Couple of Pageant Queens. I'm just sorry that this stupidity has taken away from celebrating in the joy of Kristen becoming Miss USA---not just because she's a Wilmington local and a member of FBC-Wilmington, but because she won---she is the best one to represent our country.

Ron Howard Versus The Catholic League

Ron Howard Defends His 'Demons' From Catholic League
posted: 2 MINUTES AGOcomments: 293filed under: Fight!, Gut Reactions, Highbrow, Movie NewsPrintShareText SizeAAA'

Angels & Demons' director Ron Howard has taken the fight back to Catholic League head honcho William "Bill" Donohue, who is accusing the Hollywood star and author Dan Brown of "smearing" the Vatican "with fabulously bogus tales" in the upcoming 'Da Vinci Code' prequel. In recent weeks, Donohue has released a series of Op-Eds and press releases slamming Howard and the film, which follows Robert Langdon (played by Tom Hanks) as he teams up with the Church to thwart an attack against the Vatican. In a piece for the Huffington Post, Howard asks "What, exactly, is anti-Catholic about that?" Donohue attacks Brown for incorporating well-known conspiracy theories in his books, such as in 'Demons' where it is said the Catholic Church massacred members of the Illuminati -- a short-lived secret society composed of the power elite -- in the 1600s. In reality, the group did not exist until 1776. "It would be a lie if we had ever suggested our movie is anything other than a work of fiction (if it were a documentary, our talk of massacres would have referenced the Inquisition or the Crusades)," Howard responds.
"And if fictional movies could never take liberties with reality, then there would have been no 'Ben-Hur,' no 'Barabbas,' 'The Robe,' 'Gone With The Wind,' or 'Titanic.' Not to mention 'Splash!'" In a press release on the Catholic League's Web site, Donohue takes a bite out of Hanks as well. "Were it not for savaging Catholicism, few would care about the duplicity of Brown and Hanks. But they are obviously not content to spin mysterious tales absent an anti-Catholic animus." Howard finds one thing that he and Donohue have in common: "we both like to create fictional tales, as he has done with his silly and mean-spirited work of propaganda." "Since Mr. Donohue has, in effect, smeared me by claiming I am smearing his Church, I want him to know this: I have respect for Catholics and their Church, and know they accomplish many good works throughout the world." "And I believe Angels & Demons treats the Church with respect -- even a degree of reverence -- for its traditions and beliefs." The film hits theaters on May 15.

2009 AOL LLC. All Rights Reserved.
2009-04-21 09:13:42

And we should get this worked up over a work of fiction because? Granted anti-Catholic bigotry exists in the world---mostly in the thoughts and ideas of Reformed Fundamentalist Protestants and Independent Fundamentalist Baptists and other fundamentalist groups because of their anti-ecumenical stance and/or what early Protestants said. Shouldn't we as Christians be more concerned with these more real and concrete examples of anti-Catholicism then? Examples such as by: King James Onlyists like Jack Chick, Peter Ruckman, Gail Riplinger, etc. And Fungelicals like John MacArthur and John Hagee, etc.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Oscar Romero's Assasination

In case you missed it---March 24th was the anniversary of Archbishop Oscar Romero's assassination, so here are some items related to that:

See: San Romero de las Américas.

Here's an excerpt from Travel Blog's post--- Mons Oscar Romero-Central America Caribbean » El Salvador » San Salvador
October 23rd 2008 by Sabbatical
Seeing the chapel where Mons Romero was shot while celebrating Mass was inspirational. At 6.30 pm on 24th March, 1980, as he prepared the gifts for the Offertory, Archbishop Romero looked to the back of the chapel only to see his assassin pointing his gun at him. His last words were 'This is my gift'. It is little wonder that he became a target in the Central American setting of that time, seeing he was so insistent on justice. At Sunday Mass, for example, he used to name people from across Central America who had 'disappeared'. The government of that time did not want to be shown up!

The chapel at the Carmelite Hospial for Cancer patients
Mons Romero was standing behind the altar when he was shot from the back of the chapel with the gunman taking aim from within a car.

Mons Romero
The house where Mons Romero lived is located adjacent to the Chapel. The blood stains can be seen on these clothes and robes the Archibishop was wearing when he was shot.

The Tomb of Mons Romero
Mons Romero's tomb is located in the crypt of the San Salvador Cathedral. For a while it was located at a side altar in the Cathedral.

Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez - En su memoria

Today In History---April 20, 1884

1884Pope Leo XIII publishes the encyclical Humanum Genus. In this 'papal encyclical promulgated on April 20, 1884, by Pope Leo XIII---The Pope addresses the issues within the framework of the coming...ascent of the industrial age (and Marxism), when it posited that the late 19th Century was a dangerous era for Christians, and condemned Freemasonry as well as a number of beliefs and practices purportedly associated with Freemasonry, including naturalism, popular sovereignty, and the separation of church and state. Some of the encyclical's strictures remain in force today.'

Here is a relevant section of the encyclical dealing with the alleged 'Masonic' concept of separation of church and state:
25. As men are by the will of God born for civil union and society, and as the power to rule is so necessary a bond of society that, if it be taken away, society must at once be broken up, it follows that from Him who is the Author of society has come also the authority to rule; so that whosoever rules, he is the minister of God. Wherefore, as the end and nature of human society so requires, it is right to obey the just commands of lawful authority, as it is right to obey God who ruleth all things; and it is most untrue that the people have it in their power to cast aside their obedience whensoever they please.

26. In like manner, no one doubts that all men are equal one to another, so far as regards their common origin and nature, or the last end which each one has to attain, or the rights and duties which are thence derived. But, as the abilities of all are not equal, as one differs from another in the powers of mind or body, and as there are very many dissimilarities of manner, disposition, and character, it is most repugnant to reason to endeavor to confine all within the same measure, and to extend complete equality to the institutions of civic life. Just as a perfect condition of the body results from the conjunction and composition of its various members, which, though differing in form and purpose, make, by their union and the distribution of each one to its proper place, a combination beautiful to behole, firm in strength, and necessary for use; so, in the commonwealth, there is an almost infinite dissimilarity of men, as parts of the whole. If they are to be all equal, and each is to follow his own will, the State will appear most deformed; but if, with a distinction of degrees of dignity, of pursuits and employments, all aptly conspire for the common good, they will present the image of a State both well constituted and conformable to nature.

27. Now, from the disturbing errors which We have described the greatest dangers to States are to be feared. For, the fear of God and reverence for divine laws being taken away, the authority of rulers despised, sedition permitted and approved, and the popular passions urged on to lawlessness, with no restraint save that of punishment, a change and overthrow of all things will necessarily follow. Yea, this change and overthrow is deliberately planned and put forward by many associations of communists and socialists; and to their undertakings the sect of Freemasons is not hostile, but greatly favours their designs, and holds in common with them their chief opinions. And if these men do not at once and everywhere endeavour to carry out their extreme views, it is not to be attributed to their teaching and their will, but to the virtue of that divine religion which cannot be destroyed; and also because the sounder part of men, refusing to be enslaved to secret societies, vigorously resist their insane attempts.

28. Would that all men would judge of the tree by its fruit, and would acknowledge the seed and origin of the evils which press upon us, and of the dangers that are impending! We have to deal with a deceitful and crafty enemy, who, gratifying the ears of people and of princes, has ensnared them by smooth speeches and by adulation. Ingratiating themselves with rulers under a pretense of friendship, the Freemasons have endeavoured to make them their allies and powerful helpers for the destruction of the Christian name; and that they might more strongly urge them on, they have, with determined calumny, accused the Church of invidiously contending with rulers in matters that affect their authority and sovereign power. Having, by these artifices, insured their own safety and audacity, they have begun to exercise great weight in the government of States; but nevertheless they are prepared to shake the foundations of empires, to harass the rulers of the State, to accuse, and to cast them out, as often as they appear to govern otherwise than they themselves could have wished. In like manner, they have by flattery deluded the people. Proclaiming with a loud voice liberty and public prosperity, and saying that it was owing to the Church and to sovereigns that the multitude were not drawn out of their unjust servitude and poverty, they have imposed upon the people, and, exciting them by a thirst for novelty, they have urged them to assail both the Church and the civil power. Nevertheless, the expectation of the benefits which was hoped for is greater than the reality; indeed, the common people, more oppressed than they were before, are deprived in their misery of that solace which, if things had been arranged in a Christian manner, they would have had with ease and in abundance. But, whoever strive against the order which Divine Providence has constituted pay usually the penalty of their pride, and meet with affliction and misery where they rashly hoped to find all things prosperous and in conformity with their desires.

29. The Church, if she directs men to render obedience chiefly and above all to God the sovereign Lord, is wrongly and falsely believed either to be envious of the civil power or to arrogate to herself something of the rights of sovereigns. On the contrary, she teaches that what is rightly due to the civil power must be rendered to it with a conviction and consciousness of duty. In teaching that from God Himself comes the right of ruling, she adds a great dignity to civil authority, and on small help towards obtaining the obedience and good will of the citizens. The friend of peace and sustainer of concord, she embraces all with maternal love, and, intent only upon giving help to mortal man, she teaches that to justice must be joined clemency, equity to authority, and moderation to lawgiving; that no one's right must be violated; that order and public tranquility are to be maintained; and that the poverty of those are in need is, as far as possible, to be relieved by public and private charity. "But for this reason," to use the words of St. Augustine, "men think, or would have it believed, that Christian teaching is not suited to the good of the State; for they wish the State to be founded not on solid virtue, but on the impunity of vice."(15) Knowing these things, both princes and people would act with political wisdom,(16) and according to the needs of general safety, if, instead of joining with Freemasons to destroy the Church, they joined with the Church in repelling their attacks.

30 .Whatever the future may be, in this grave and widespread evil it is Our duty, venerable brethren, to endeavour to find a remedy. And because We know that Our best and firmest hope of a remedy is in the power of that divine religion which the Freemasons hate in proportion to their fear of it, We think it to be of chief importance to call that most saving power to Our aid against the common enemy. Therefore, whatsoever the Roman Pontiffs Our predecessors have decreed for the purpose of opposing the undertakings and endeavours of the masonic sect, and whatsoever they have enacted to enter or withdraw men from societies of this kind, We ratify and confirm it all by our apostolic authority: and trusting greatly to the good will of Christians, We pray and beseech each one, for the sake of his eternal salvation, to be most conscientiously careful not in the least to depart from what the apostolic see has commanded in this matter.

(Read the whole encyclical: Here).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Festivals And Pageants

This past week our internet was down for about 2 days and we had out of town company as well, so that's why I haven't posted in a few days. Anyways, we've had some interesting events this month that have happened in our community and FBC-Wilmington's life. The first of course was the Azalea Festival a long-standing local Wilmington tradition for over 60 years. Some of our church members participated in the festival including our associate pastor Jim Everette's daughter who was part of the 2009 Azalea Festival Princess Pageant.

In other news, tonight, Kristen Dalton one of our church members won the Miss USA Pageant. Here's a video from last month of her interview with DJ Turtle on Foz and TIna in the morning on Z107.5FM Wilmington:

Miss USA 2009 is Kristen Dalton, former Miss North Carolina

Kristen Dalton was crowned Miss USA 2009! The Miss North Carolina contestant was just crowned Miss USA 2009 at the Miss USA 2009 Pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

Kristen Dalton has quite the family history with Pageants. Her Sister is Miss North Carolina Teen USA 2008 and her mother was Miss North Carolina USA 1982. Kristen was also 1st runner up at Miss North Carolina Teen USA 2005.

See more clips: Here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Thoughts On The Resurrection

"Faith is never easy, and the appropriation of belief is always difficult. But the Church has been it's strongest when it has proclaimed the death of Jesus, relived and recapitulated in the believer's own life. The Church today finds itself once again confronting this ultimate truth. No longer can the Church be exclusive, either in race or denomination. We are all brothers, one of another. The Church cannot be an instrument of the status quo. It must always point above and beyond the values of contemporary life. It must point, ultimately, to the Cross of Christ."

"In our own lives, as in his, there can be no Easter Day without a Good Friday. There can be no life without death. There can be no resurrection without a crucifixion. There can be no benefits of the Passion without sacrifice, dedication, and commitment, even when they contradict the things which are labeled by the world as success, popularity, prestige, and entertainment."
----Beverly Madison Currin, If Man Is To Live: A Rediscovery Of The Meaning Of The Atonement, Backcover.

Dr. Currin is probably one of my relatives as he was originally a native of North Carolina---which is pretty cool.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday Meditation

John 19:31-37

31Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken,"[b] 37and, as another scripture says, "They will look on the one they have pierced."[c] (NIV)

The Blood and Water from His Side

St. John Chrysostom- Early Church Father and Doctor of the Church

This reading is an excerpt of The Catecheses (Cat. 3, 13-19; SC 50, 174-177) by St. John Chrysostom, one of the greatest Early Church Fathers of the 5th Century. It is used in the Roman Church's Office of Readings for Good Friday with the accompanying biblical reading of Hebrews 9: 11-28 and is a powerful meditation on the passion. But it also tells us much about the connection between the passion and the sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist which flow from the paschal mystery and connect us to its saving power.

If we wish to understand the power of Christ’s blood, we should go back to the ancient account of its prefiguration in Egypt. “Sacrifice a lamb without blemish”, commanded Moses, “and sprinkle its blood on your doors”. If we were to ask him what he meant, and how the blood of an irrational beast could possibly save men endowed with reason, his answer would be that the saving power lies not in the blood itself, but in the fact that it is a sign of the Lord’s blood. In those days, when the destroying angel saw the blood on the doors he did not dare to enter, so how much less will the devil approach now when he sees, not that figurative blood on the doors, but the true blood on the lips of believers, the doors of the temple of Christ.

If you desire further proof of the power of this blood, remember where it came from, how it ran down from the cross, flowing from the Master’s side. The gospel records that when Christ was dead, but still hung on the cross, a soldier came and pierced his side with a lance and immediately there poured out water and blood. Now the water was a symbol of baptism and the blood, of the holy eucharist. The soldier pierced the Lord’s side, he breached the wall of the sacred temple, and I have found the treasure and made it my own. So also with the lamb: the Jews sacrificed the victim and I have been saved by it.

“There flowed from his side water and blood”. Beloved, do not pass over this mystery without thought; it has yet another hidden meaning, which I will explain to you. I said that water and blood symbolized baptism and the holy eucharist. From these two sacraments the Church is born: from baptism, “the cleansing water that gives rebirth and renewal through the Holy Spirit”, and from the holy eucharist. Since the symbols of baptism and the Eucharist flowed from his side, it was from his side that Christ fashioned the Church, as he had fashioned Eve from the side of Adam Moses gives a hint of this when he tells the story of the first man and makes him exclaim: “Bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh!” As God then took a rib from Adam’s side to fashion a woman, so Christ has given us blood and water from his side to fashion the Church. God took the rib when Adam was in a deep sleep, and in the same way Christ gave us the blood and the water after his own death.

Do you understand, then, how Christ has united his bride to himself and what food he gives us all to eat? By one and the same food we are both brought into being and nourished. As a woman nourishes her child with her own blood and milk, so does Christ unceasingly nourish with his own blood those to whom he himself has given life.

(Read More: Here).
See also: Blood And Water From The Side Of Christ, DEATH OF JESUS and Aquinas On The Blood And Water From The Side Of Christ.

Here are the lyrics to Double Cure:
Double Cure
Run Time: 5:09
Written by Bill Mallonee for Fingerprint Records and CyBrenJoJosh (BMI) ©1996

yeah today i'm sick of all i am
today is my setback
first i swear i love you
then i stab you in the back

i wanna drink out of that fountain
on a hill called double cure
i wanna show you my allegiance Lord
yes i wanna be a son of Yours

so tired of all my toys
they never last for long
they keep beaming dreams and wishes
to a big dish on my front lawn

bet you all have got a story
you're just aching to tell
haven't we thrown our coinage
down the wishing well

so go and call your neighbor
proceed with all due haste
go grab your wife and sweet family
see there is no time to waste

we're gonna drink out of that fountain
on a hill called double cure
i wanna show you my allegiance Lord
yes i wanna be a son of Yours

ask me why i love Him
He gave riches to this poor
yes and i will one day see that face
over yonder shore

---Did You Know?

A number one single for the Vigilantes of Love, "Double Cure" remains a favorite of many fans and a favorite of Bill's wife, Brenda, who claims it will always be her favorite. In the words of Bill, this is "a song about understanding how close God is when He seems the farthest away." The song begins to the tune of "All Hail The Power Of Jesus Name." The phrase "Double Cure" was taken from a verse of the hymn "Rock of Ages." It is a reference to being cleansed from both sin's guilt and power. The recording of this song was the first time that Tom Crea, Chris Bland and Bill had been in the studio together. VoL was nominated for a Dove Award for this song. They lost to a song called "Epidermis Girl" by Bleach.

Double Cure (Reprise)
Run Time: 3:42
Written by Bill Mallonee for Fingerprint Records and CyBrenJoJosh (BMI) ©1996

today i'm sick of all i am
today is my setback
first i say i love you
i stab you in the back

wanna drink out of that fountain
on a hill called double cure
show you my allegiance Lord
i wanna be a son of Yours

i'm tired of all my toys
they never last for long
they're beaming dreams and wishes
to a big dish on my lawn

i bet you've got a story
you've been aching to tell
i bet you've thrown some coinage
down the wishing well

go and call your neighbor
there is no time to waste
get your wife and family
proceed with all due haste

you ask me why i love Him
He gave riches to the poor
i will one day see that face
over yonder shore

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Official US Mysterious Cities Of Gold DVD Finally Released Tues. April 7th

And so began one of the greatest cartoons of all time. Here is the basic info on the show:
The Mysterious Cities of Gold (太陽の子エステバン ,Taiyō no Ko Esuteban?, lit. Esteban, a Boy from the Sun[1]), abbreviated MCoG, is an anime series co-produced by DiC Entertainment and Studio Pierrot. The series premiered in Japan on NHK on May 1, 1982 and ran for 39 episodes until its conclusion on September 5, 1983. It was licensed for release in France by AK Video, which aired the series under the title Mystérieuses Cités d'Or in 1983. The French version, edited to have different characterization and music, was subsequently redubbed and distributed to many different countries throughout the world. In the United States, it aired under its English title of The Mysterious Cities of Gold. It is licensed for English language home video release in the United Kingdom, North America, and Australia by Fabulous Films. Set in 1532, the series follows the adventures of a young Spanish boy named Esteban who joins a voyage to the New World in search of the lost Cities of Gold and his father.

In 1532 a Spanish orphan named Esteban joins Mendoza, a navigator, and his associates Sancho and Pedro, in their search for one of The Seven Cities of Gold in the New World, hoping to find his father. They are joined on their quest by Zia, an Incan girl, and Tao, the last descendant of the sunken empire of Mu (Hiva in the English dub).

The series is a mix of ancient South American history, archaeology, and science fiction. The travellers encounter the Maya, Inca, and Olmecs during their journey. They discover many lost technological wonders of the Mu Empire, including a solar powered ship (the Solaris) and The Golden Condor, a huge solar-powered would-be ornithopter (mechanical bird), capable of traveling considerable distances under the sun's power alone. They are constantly pursued by antagonists Gomez and Gaspard, who are also in search of the Cities of Gold.
The show is based in part on actual history and loosely based on Scott O'Dell's book The King's Fifth albeit with a Sci-Fi twist. Here is the basic info on the book:
The King's Fifth is a children's historical novel by Scott O'Dell that was the inspiration for the cartoon TV series The Mysterious Cities of Gold. It describes from the point of view of a teenage Spanish Conquistador how the European search for gold in the New World of the Americas affected people's lives and minds.
[edit] Plot summary

The story takes place in a time when the Spanish adventurers known as Conquistadors roamed the New World of the Americas in search of the mythical gold treasures of the dethroned Native Americans.

Estéban is a teenage cartographer of the Spanish Conquistador Army. The story starts in his jail cell, where he is awaiting trial for tax evasion. More specifically, he is suspected of finding a treasure without submitting the Quinto Real, also known as the "King's Fifth", a tax levied by the King of Spain on precious metals.
The King's Fifth is a good case study on the sin of greed and it's affect and effects on different people. Anyways, The Mysterious Cities of Gold use to haunt my dreams for years as I vaguely remember seeing it on Nickelodeon in the 80's at the 5/6 am Eastern Time time-slot. It haunted me that is until I obtained a fan-made bootleg copy a few years ago from Tim Skutt who made it and coincidentally was interviewed as an extra feature on the new official DVD. The official DVD also features all the historical documentaries that were cut from the US broadcast on Nickelodeon. Grab a copy if you can, it's good for all ages especially History buffs and Sci-Fi/Fantasy fans.

Here is part of episode 1:

Here is the ending theme:

And here is an example of the very early 1980-ish documentaries that immediately followed the end of European broadcasts:

Also check out Tim Skutt's Youtube channel: skuttduck's Channel.

More On Rick Warren's Boo Boo

See TheoPoetic Musings: Rick Warren's Boo Boo first.

Here is part of something Drew Tatusko posted:

Rick Warren is doing some good things in the evangelical community. But he is now discrediting himself with this sort of populist bandwagoning that should be saved for politicians. Let us all take heed of Psalm 15:

O Lord, who may abide in your tent?
Who may dwell on your holy hill?

Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right,
and speak the truth from their heart;
who do not slander with their tongue,
and do no evil to their friends,
nor take up a reproach against their neighbours;
in whose eyes the wicked are despised,
but who honour those who fear the Lord;
who stand by their oath even to their hurt;
who do not lend money at interest,
and do not take a bribe against the innocent.

Those who do these things shall never be moved.

(Read more: here).

Rick Warren's Boo Boo

John Shuck beat me to it: Shuck and Jive: Rev. Rick Warren's Short Memory and Shuck and Jive: Rick Warren Continues to Play the Victim.

But here is the gist of it---

Here's a clip of Rick Warren clearly supporting Proposition 8:

And here's the clip in question from a recent Larry King episode, in which Rick Warren denies ever supporting Proposition 8:

Also here's an article from AOL's Political Machine on Warren's boo boo:
Rick Warren Abandons Fight Against Gay Marriage?
By David Knowles
Apr 8th 2009 9:24AM
Filed Under:eRepublicans, Barack Obama, Featured Stories, Gay Rights

A growing sense of inevitability is rising across America. In the past week alone, an Iowa supreme court decision, a resounding veto-override in the Vermont legislature, and a Washington DC city council measure to recognize gay marriages performed in states that permit the practice, have all essentially reached the same conclusion: Gays and lesbians should be allowed to get married.

While this social issue still has the power to divide people across the country, it seems clear that a paradigmatic shift is underway, and that before long gays will be afforded full marriage rights, and we will look back and wonder what all the fuss was about. Don't believe me? Well, let's consider the recent turnabout by evangelist Rick Warren, who on the Larry King show this week declared "I am not an anti-gay marriage activist."
As others have pointed out, Warren broke one of the ten commandments in front of King's audience, because he did "issue a statement" and made an "endorsement" in California's Prop. 8 battle.
Warren aside, there are plenty of conservatives, religious or otherwise, who have come to the conclusion that it's time to pack in the fight against gay marriage. In part, this has to do with a simple revelation.

The next generation overwhelmingly supports the expansion of gay rights. Many Democrats, too, who, like President Obama, have waffled over whether civil unions are an adequate substitute for marriage are suddenly seeing the light. Here's Iowa State Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal taking a stand and refusing to co-sponsor legislation to attempt to ban gay marriage.

And here is what Right Wing nutcase Ingrid Schlueter of Worldview Weekend has to say about Warren's boo boo:
In Warren's Own Words: "I'm Not an Anti-Gay or an Anti-Gay Marriage Activist....I am interested in what the recession is doing to the spiritual climate of our nation."
Posted: 04/08/09
Apr 08 by Ingrid Schlueter

Here is Rick Warren in his own words. What Rick Warren thinks or doesn't think about homosexual marriage doesn't amount to a hill of beans. The real issue is whether God is anti-gay marriage, and those who read the Scriptures are well aware that God has spoken for all time in His Word on homosexuality.

"Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind:it is abomination."

–Leviticus 18:22

"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."

–I Corinthians 6:9-11

"For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another,men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error."

Yes, I get this crap in my email box, because when I took their Worldview test, I scored Secular Humanist, because I don't bow down and worship capitalist materialism and the Republican party like them. Anyways, don't you just love how much homophobes bring up Leviticus. Ironically though even-though I've stated over and over again here that I'm pro same-sex marriage and against Proposition Hate, I've been labeled a homophobe and bigot by Bigotry Blogs | Sanctity Of Bigotry | Steve's Web Hosting.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

U2's New Easter-ish Song

White As Snow is from U2's new and recent album, No Line On The Horizon---here is the story of the composition of the song from Wikipedia:
[edit] Composition

In an interview with The Guardian Bono revealed that he became tired of writing in the first-person, noting that "I'd just worn myself out as a subject matter"; as a result he created several characters, including a traffic cop, a junkie, and a soldier serving in Afghanistan.[4] The soldier's character appears in "White as Snow", which focuses on the soldier's last thoughts as he dies from the wounds caused by an improvised explosive device.[2] Bono came up with the idea after reading Pincher Martin, written by William Golding.[1]

"White as Snow" was recorded in one take during two weeks of recording sessions in Fez, Morocco in 2007, though it received some minor editing in the final sessions in December 2008.[5] At this time, it was taken out of the 'Maybe' pile to balance out the rockier tunes present earlier on, with Adam Clayton noting that "it gave the listener a break."[6] Original plans were for the track to start with an explosion, though this was later scrapped.[1] Richard Watkins played the French horn in the song.[7] The melody of the song is based on that of the traditional Advent hymn "Veni, veni Emmanuel".[2] Bono noted that, with the exception of "White as Snow", the band had tried to keep the theme of war out of the album.[8]

"White as Snow" appears as the fourth track in the Anton Corbijn film Linear, based on a story by Corbijn and Bono where a Parisian traffic cop travels across France and the Mediterranian Sea to visit his girlfriend in Tripoli.[9]

And here are the full lyrics to the song hyperlinked by myself:
White As Snow

Where I came from there were no hills at all
The land was flat, the highway straight and wide
My brother and I would drive for hours
Like we had years instead of days
Our faces as pale as the dirty snow

Once I knew there was a love divine
Then came a time I thought it knew me not
Who can forgive forgiveness where forgiveness is not
Only the lamb as white as snow

And the water, it was icy
As it washed over me
And the moon shone above me

Now this dry ground it bears no fruit at all
Only poppies laugh under the crescent moon
The road refuses strangers
The land the seeds we sow
Where might we find the lamb as white as snow

As boys we would go hunting in the woods
To sleep the night shooting out the stars
Now the wolves are every passing stranger
Every face we cannot know
If only a heart could be as white as snow
If only a heart could be as white as snow

See also: White As Snow: U2's most intimate song.

Good News For Jon & Kate Plus 8 Fans

Jon & Kate set the record straight on those divorce rumors:
Kate Wins: 'Jon & Kate Plus 8' Will Return
posted: 5 DAYS 11 HOURS AGOcomments: 338filed under: TV NewsPrintShareText SizeAAA

(April 3) - Despite the parents being plagued by divorce rumors and Jon Gosselin's disdain for filming, 'Jon & Kate Plus 8' will return for a fifth season, EW reports.
The fate of the TLC show, which follows Jon and Kate Gosselin as they raise 8-year-old twins and 4-year-old sextuplets, was left up in the air during the finale of season four as Gosselin revealed he was not happy with being in the spotlight but his wife voiced her desire to continue with the series.
Tabloids have jumped on the Gosselin's marriage, showing photos of Jon partying with college girls at a bar. Although specific rumors were not addressed in the March 23 episode, which was the show's highest rated ever, the couple looked uncomfortable together.

2009 AOL LLC. All Rights Reserved.
2009-04-03 08:17:17
My mom will be glad because Jon & Kate Plus 8 is one of her favorite shows. Here is another article about Jon & Kate from Parent Dish:
Jon and Kate Set The Record Straight
by Brett Singer Apr 8th 2009 5:00AM

Categories: Rumors, Behaving badly

In real life, if a couple is having marital problems, they might seek help from a counselor. Or friends. Or just take some time to talk. But in the world of reality TV, they call their publicist.

Jon and Kate Gosselin want people to know that things are fine at home. Well, mostly fine. In an interview with Ladies' Home Journal, Jon says that he now spends his "whole life counting to eight." PopEater gives us some other highlights: Kate does most of the talking, telling us that their TV show "is the realest reality show there is. You get the good, the bad and the ugly," and she wouldn't go back to the way things were before they were on the air. She says that the family thinks of the show as "our family job, one that lets us stay home together."

But what people really want to know is what the heck was up with those photos of Jon playing beer pong with college girls. Jon calls those ladies "fans" and tells Ladies' Home Journal that he is "not perfect. This struggle has definitely put some tension in our marriage." Bottom line for us, he says: "I never cheated on Kate. Kate and I are together."

When you put your life on display, you open yourself up to being judged. And judging by the number of comments on the thousands of blog posts that the Gosselins generate, people seem fascinated by this family, and have very strong opinions about them as well. Here on ParentDish, the over 400 comments on this post range from digs at Kate ("I HATE yes HATE the way Kate treats Jon. She treats him as if he is one of her kids") to digs at Jon ("You are suggesting and condoning a man to cheat on his wife? What kind of people are you?") and even outright denial (" look at that picture of 'Jon' with those two girls at that party, you can see that he is not Jon Gosselin").

No matter what you think of the couple, all of this controversy seems to be translating into higher ratings. In fact, the recent season finale of "Jon & Kate Plus 8" garnered the biggest numbers ever for the show. So while all of this nonsense is probably not good for their marriage, it's clearly good for the bottom line.

What do you think? Will Jon and Kate Gosselin work things out? Or are they done?

Brett Singer is the editor-in-chief of
Here are 2 clips from the show that will warm people up to the Gosselin family:

All I can say is hopefully Jon & Kate will stay strong in their faith and not let anything tear their marriage apart for the sake of their 8 children. Read more about the Gosselin family and their faith here: Gosselin Sextuplets & Twins - The official family website.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

More Violence In The News

Woman Kills Son, Self at Gun Range
posted: ONE MINUTE AGOcomments: 368filed under: Crime News, National NewsPrintShareText SizeAAA

CASSELBERRY, Fla. (April 7) - A Florida woman fatally shot her son and then turned the gun on herself at a central Florida gun range, authorities said. Marie Moore, 44, of Altamonte Springs and her 20-year-old son, Mitchell, were sharing a firing lane at the Shoot Straight range Sunday, Casselberry police said. Shooters in an adjacent lane said the mother and son seemed to be getting along fine. A security video shows Moore walk up behind her son, point a revolver at the back of his head and fire a single shot, police said. She then put the gun in her mouth and pulled the trigger.
The son died at the scene, and the mother died later at the hospital. Family members told police that Moore had a history of mental illness.
The gun was rented from the shooting range.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
2009-04-07 13:54:04
Mom Stabbed Child 100 Times, Cops Say
posted: 3 DAYS 21 HOURS AGOcomments: 637filed under: Crime News, National NewsPrintShareText SizeAAA

GARDNER, Mass. (April 3) - A woman who believes she was being stalked by a cult has been charged with stabbing her 2-year-old daughter 100 times with scissors, her lawyer and police have said, and can be heard yelling "Die! Die!" on a 911 call.
Susan Johnson's screams can be heard on the 911 call made by a security guard who helped to subdue her in a laundry room at a Gardner apartment building Wednesday night.

Johnson, 38, also used an electrical cord from a dryer to try and strangle the toddler, police said, but the security guard and two residents separated mother and child just before police arrived.
"I heard a woman screaming very loudly that she was going to 'Kill, kill, I have to kill you, Die, die, die,'" said resident Real Belliveau, 65, who lives just down the hall from the laundry room. He was watching a Boston Celtics game on TV when he heard the commotion.
When he ran to the laundry room he thought the child was already dead because she was limp, covered in blood and had the cord wrapped around her neck.
The girl was taken to a hospital suffering from as many as 100 wounds to her head, neck and torso, but many of them were superficial, police Chief Neil Erickson said. The child, who is now in the custody of state child welfare authorities, was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive.

The state Department of Children and Families made a check on the girl at her home in Turners Falls, about 35 miles west of Gardner, the day before the attack, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette and WBZ-TV reported. Department spokeswoman Alison Goodwin refused to confirm the report Thursday and said only the department is now investigating.
It's unclear what she was doing in the apartment building. She has family in Gardner, defense attorney Peter Binder said.
Johnson has a history of depression and had not been taking her medication, Binder said, adding she does not remember the attack in the laundry room.
"She seems to be very paranoid," he said.
Johnson was held without bail on a number of charges including attempted murder and ordered to undergo a competency evaluation at her arraignment Thursday in Gardner District Court. A dangerousness hearing was scheduled for April 17.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
2009-04-03 11:12:03

Recent Violence In The News

Body of Missing California Girl, 8, Found
posted: 4 HOURS 52 MINUTES AGOcomments: 2001filed under: Crime News, National NewsPrintShareText SizeAAA

TRACY, Calif. (April 7) - The body of a missing 8-year-old girl has been found in a suitcase dumped in an irrigation pond a few miles from her northern California home.
Sandra Cantu was found Monday after a 10-day search, authorities announced.
Authorities would not comment on their investigation, but they roped off the mobile home park where Sandra lived. They had previously searched several homes and towed several cars from the park.
No suspects had been identified. "Our heartfelt sympathies go to Sandra's family and friends," said Tracy Police Chief Janet Thiessen. "We will determine the person or persons responsible for this reprehensible act, and we will bring them to justice."
Authorities planned an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
Thiessen said Sandra was found wearing the same clothes she had on when she was last seen on March 27: a pink "Hello Kitty" T-shirt and black leggings.
Sandra's disappearance sparked a widespread search that included hundreds of volunteers and law enforcement officials, including the FBI, and drew more than 1,000 tips. Pictures of the girl with dark brown eyes and light brown hair were posted all over town, on business fronts, car windows and fire hydrants in this city of 78,000 about 60 miles east of San Francisco.
Investigators said they spoke last week to the girl's father, Daniel Cantu, who lives in Mexico and works in southern California. Authorities would not give any details of the discussion, but the father told the Tracy Press newspaper he had not seen his daughter for a year.
Police said the suitcase was found by farmworkers who were draining the irrigation pond to water fields.
Investigators cordoned off the area for hours while they searched the area for clues. The suitcase was eventually opened at the coroner's office, where Sandra's body was positively identified.
More than 100 mourners — some holding candles, others wiping away tears — gathered outside the mobile home park Monday night while police blocked the entrance.
"I am still in shock," said Brandy Robles, 27, who held her 2-year-old son. "You see this in the movies. I never thought it would be real life — real to me."

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
2009-04-07 05:21:24
5 Children Slain in Trailer Park Home

Police Say Dad Killed Kids Because Wife Was Leaving Him
posted: 1 DAY 6 HOURS AGOcomments: 1178filed under: Crime News, National NewsPrintShareText SizeAAA

GRAHAM, Wash. (April 6) - Authorities and relatives portrayed a father believed to have killed his five children and then himself as a strict parent who had been reprimanded by the state and a jealous husband driven to rage by another man.
The children, aged 7 to 16, were found shot to death Saturday in the family's mobile home in Graham, 15 miles southeast of Tacoma. The father, James Harrison, was found earlier in the day, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot behind the wheel of his idling car 18 miles away in Auburn, about 30 miles south of Seattle.

A Grim Tally: In Past Month, US Mass Shootings Claimed 53 Lives

The night before, the father and his eldest daughter went in search of the wife, Angela Harrison. The daughter used a GPS feature in her mother's cell phone to find her with another man at a convenience store in Auburn, said Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff.
The woman told her husband she was not coming home, and was leaving him for the man with her at the store. The father and the daughter left, distraught, Troyer said. Sometime after the children went to sleep, he shot them each multiple times. Four died in their beds. The fifth was found in the mobile home's bathroom, surrounded by signs of violent struggle.
"He wanted the kids dead," Troyer said. "It wasn't like he shot a few rounds. He shot several rounds."
Investigators believe he then returned to the area near the convenience store looking for his wife. His body was found near the store, Troyer said. Investigators believe he then returned to the area near the convenience store looking for his wife. His body was found near the store, Troyer said.
"A working theory is that he probably went back up there looking for her, wasn't able to find her, realized the gravity of what he'd done and shot himself," Troyer said.
Several weapons were found in the home.
Authorities have not released the names of the family, relatives identified the couple as Angela and James Harrison and the children as Maxine, Samantha, Heather, Jamie and James.
Candy Johnson, Angela Harrison's aunt, described James Harrison as a strict, controlling husband and father who didn't allow his wife to make any decisions without asking him first.
"My niece has been so controlled from the time she was young," Johnson said, adding that James Harrison had impregnated Angela when she was 13.
"It's unbelievable," Johnson said. "My whole family is in shock. How does this happen? How does anyone do that?"
The father worked as a diesel mechanic, and the mother works at Wal-Mart, said another of Angela Harrison's aunts, Penny Flansburg. Troyer, however, said he worked as a security guard at a casino.
Ron Vorak, who lives across the street from the family's trailer at the Deer Run mobile home park, said James Harrison "wasn't too friendly a person."
"He was always hollering at the kids. He seemed to be strict with them."
Harrison was put on a parenting plan by state child welfare officials in 2007 after what Troyer describes as a "minor assault" on one of the children. He agreed to the plan and the case was closed, Troyer said.
Ryan Peden, daughter Maxine's classmate, had said she told him Friday night that her parents had gotten into a fight and her mother had left. The father followed the mother and tried to get her to return, said Peden.
"Maxine texted me at 11 p.m. Friday. She said: "I'm tired of crying. I'm going to bed.''" His text to her the next day went unanswered.
Outside the mobile home, neighbors left cards and bouquets of flowers. The yellow crime-scene tape and dozens of investigators who responded to the scene on Saturday were gone. The home's front yard was littered with unused bicycles, a swing set, a trampoline and a basketball hoop.
A few people drove slowly by the scene, a neatly kept mobile home in a quiet park nestled among towering evergreens.
"How do you make sense out of something like this?" asked Jeff Davis, superintendent of the 2,100-student Orting School District where all five children attended school.
"In a small community like this, we know these kids," Davis said. " Teachers know the kids. All the kids know the kids."

Associated Press Photographer Ted S. Warren contributed to this story.---Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
2009-04-05 06:48:20