Pope Francis Reflect’s on the Lord’s Prayer: Up from Orphanism

Brad Miner read some reflections by Pope Francis on the Lord’s Prayer and concludes we’ve come a long way from Benedict XVI and St. John Paul II.

Pope Francis has allowed to be published a “book” about what a priest in my parish calls “our family prayer,” Our Father: Reflections of the Lord’s Prayer, which arose from a TV interview he did with an Italian prison chaplain, Marco Pozza.

This hastily thrown together little book – made up of fragments from that interview as well as remarks from general audiences and his Angelus talks – presents Francis at his most capricious. Thus the pope’s Preface opens:

Father.

Without saying this word, without taking it to heart, we cannot pray.

To whom do I pray? Almighty God? Too far away. I cannot feel that he is near. Even Jesus did not refer to God as “the Almighty God.”

He goes on in this anodyne fashion for 120+ widely spaced pages, constituting ten chapters, each devoted to a phrase from the Lord’s Prayer.

Of the prayer’s title and its opening phrase, Fr. Pozza asks the pope to explain “what it feels like for you pray the Our Father.”

The pope responds that he finds the prayer “reassuring;” that it reminds him he’s not an orphan. He has a “dad.”

God is a dad who warns, “Pay attention, look out for this,” he is saying. . . . I think that today the world has somewhat lost the meaning of fatherhood. It is a world sick with orphanism. . . .Jesus says to us that it will be the poor, the sinners, the prostitutes, the discarded who enter before you into the kingdom of heaven, all.

That’s a direct quote from the pope’s chat with Pozza, but the lack of editorial attention here is appalling. Perhaps in speaking the pope added that “all” at the end of his words (an oral tic), but why on earth should that have made it into the published version?

The pope’s point is that God is not one’s “private property,” which is why the word “Father” is preceded by the word “our.” This lacks the intellectual depth of his two predecessors, but I suppose one ought not to dwell on that.

There follows some hectoring by the Holy Father that “we have gone so far as to affirm that ours is a ‘fatherless society.’” This is especially true in the West, he says, where father figures are “seen as being symbolically absent, vanished, removed.”

Whatever does “symbolically absent” mean?

His view that in the past “authoritarianism, even tyranny in certain cases, held sway in some homes” and that children were treated as slaves is presented without supporting data, and it occurred to me reading this screed, that the pope’s off-the-cuff style (so familiar from his Alitalia flights), resembles no other public figure so much as Donald Trump on Twitter.

In any case, exactly what this pop sociology has to do with Christianity’s greatest prayer is unclear. If his point is that it’s hard to believe in THE Father if you have no faith in your own (biological) daddy, I’m not sure I’ve ever read anything quite so jejune.

Fr. Pozza now turns to “Who art in heaven,” and he is struck by the closeness of “those who say ‘Daddy,’ but at the same time by the distance.” And so he asks: “What is meant by ‘heaven’?”

The pope opines that ‘heaven’ means the greatness of God, “the immensity of his power,” and he cites Genesis 17:1 when Yahweh says to Abraham, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless.”

So . . . it’s okay for the Father to refer to himself as “Almighty,” even though Jesus never did. I thought of Walt Whitman: “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”

The pope then gives the helpful example of when, at 6, he had his tonsils removed, which, he says, the doctors did without anesthesia. Afterward, they gave him ice cream. In a taxi home from the hospital, little Jorge was stunned when his father paid the driver. “I thought my dad owned all the cars in the city!” That other papa Bergoglio set the boy straight, “which gives us,” his son the pope says, “an idea of our relationship with God.” To wit:

God is a God of glory, but he walks with you and when it is necessary, he even gives you ice cream.

As Abraham in heaven might remark, “Oy . . .”

Next, the pope explains that “hallowed be thy name” means God’s name “should be hallowed.”

To say “Thy kingdom come” means to show mercy. It is “to be a beggar.” Pope Francis refers to the Parable of the Mustard Seed: the “kingdom is . . . a reality that in human terms is small and apparently irrelevant,” and one must “not trust in one’s own capabilities” but be a humble participant in God’s work.

Something here must be getting lost in translation. I sure hope so.

I skip ahead now to the part that last December led to controversy when, in the televised with Fr. Pozza, the Holy Father suggested that “lead us not into temptation” is incorrect. In the translated text it is: “This . . . is not a good translation.” Pope Francis mentions that the most recent Italian and French translations (“do not abandon me” and “do not let me fall”) are better since they do not suggest that it is God “who tosses me into temptation.” It’s Satan who does that.

There may be merit in this, although the old phrase has served pretty well for a very, very long time.

That televised interview ended with the great prayer itself, in which the pope and the priest recited together: “And lead us not into temptation . . .”

Walt Whitman would no doubt grin to know that a pope may also contain (contradictory) multitudes.

Brad Miner

Brad Miner

Brad Miner is senior editor of The Catholic Thing, senior fellow of the Faith & Reason Institute, and Board Secretary of Aid to the Church In Need USA. He is a former Literary Editor of National Review. His new book, Sons of St. Patrick, written with George J. Marlin, is now on sale. The Compleat Gentleman, is available on audio.

EDITORS NOTE: © 2018 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.orgThe Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own. The featured image is of Pope Francis saying the Our Father during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta [May 2015].

Déjà Vu All Over Again? How Anglicans went wrong and praying that Catholicism won’t suffer the same ‘spinectomy.’

Fr. Dennis Garrou, a former Anglican (now Catholic) priest, shows how Anglicans went wrong and prays that Catholicism won’t suffer the same “spinectomy.”

Twenty years ago, before I had the privilege of entering the Catholic Church through the Pastoral Provision for Former Anglican Clergy, I was an Episcopal priest during the “ecclesiacide” engineered by Bishop John Shelby Spong. The instrument of execution was his “Twelve Theses,” an heretical collection of denials of the basic articles of Christian faith that he promulgated in 1998, as a kind of Wittenberg Door caricature. I reproduce it here for the benefit of Catholic readers who have probably never seen it and realized how much of what it contains is still abroad in our churches.

Thesis #1 “Theism as a way of defining God is dead. God can no longer be understood with credibility as a being, supernatural in power, living above the sky and prepared to invade human history periodically to enforce the divine will. So most theological God-talk today is meaningless. We must find a new way to conceptualize and to speak about God.”

Thesis #2 “Since God can no longer be conceived in theistic terms, it becomes nonsensical to seek to understand Jesus as ‘the incarnation of the theistic deity.’ The traditional concepts of Christology of the ages are, therefore, bankrupt.”

Thesis #3 “The biblical story of the perfect and finished creation from which we human beings have fallen into original sin is pre-Darwinian mythology and post-Darwinian nonsense!”

Thesis #4 “The virgin birth understood as literal biology makes Christ’s divinity, as traditionally understood, impossible.”

Thesis #5 “The miracle stories of the New Testament can no longer be interpreted in our post-Newtonian world as supernatural events performed by an incarnate deity.”

Thesis #6 “The view of the cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the world is a barbaric idea, based on primitive concepts of God that must be dismissed.”

Thesis #7 “Resurrection is an action of God. Jesus was raised into the meaning of God. Resurrection, therefore, cannot be a physical resuscitation occurring inside human history.”

Thesis #8 “The story of the ascension of Jesus assumes a three-tiered universe and is, therefore, not capable of being translated into the concepts of a post-Copernican space age.”

Thesis #9 “There is no eternal, revealed standard written in scripture or on tablets of stone that will govern our ethical behavior for all time.”

Thesis #10 “Prayer cannot be a request made to a theistic deity to act in human history in a particular way.”

Thesis #11 “The hope for life after death must be separated forever from the behavior-control morality of reward and punishment. The church must abandon, therefore, its reliance on guilt as a motivator of behavior.”

Thesis #12 “All human beings bear God’s image and must be respected for the person that each of us is. Therefore, no external description of one’s being, whether based on race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, and no creed based on human words developed in the religion in which one is raised can properly be used as the basis for either rejection or discrimination.”

The internal logical contradictions (compare theses 1 and 12, for example – what God, what image?) are numerous. The moral relativism and subjectivism are patent.

But as theologically preposterous as they are to an orthodox Catholic mind, Spong’s work could not have had the radical success that it did in the Episcopal Church, which today is on the verge of extinction, without the complicity of the Episcopal Church’s bishops by virtue of their refusal to sanction him and reject his theses. The deficiency of the absence of authority in the Anglican Communion was extremely poignant in this case.

It has been remarked more than once that when the consecrating bishops gathered around a new bishop to lay hands upon him at his consecration, what was really happening was that they were performing a “spinectomy” (i.e., removal of moral courage) and requiring an oath that the newly consecrated bishop would never challenge the theological meanderings of the other bishops. This brings to mind Edmund Burke’s famous phrase that, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

We have some courageous and faithful bishops in the Catholic Church who have influenced my life and ministry, and those of many others as well. This is the time for renewed ardor in the face of theological challenges of, at best, playing fast and loose with Church doctrine and, at worst, of heresy in the Americas and abroad.

The words of Jude’s epistle are as urgent today as ever:

I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.  For admission has been secretly gained by some who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly persons who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

No wonder this epistle has never made it into the lectionary. I certainly hope that the current episcopal (small “e”) theological meanderings, especially in the United States and Europe, do not play out in the Catholic Church as they did in the Episcopal Church. I’ve seen that happen before, and it does not end well.

Fr. Dennis Garrou

Fr. Dennis Garrou

Fr. Dennis Garrou, a new contributor, became a Catholic priest via the Pastoral Provision for Former Anglican Clergy through the Immaculate Conception Seminary Newark, NJ, and St. John Vianney Seminary Denver, CO. He retired from the Archdiocese of Denver in 2017 and is now serving as a National Chaplain with the Fellowship Of Catholic University Students, providing clerical supply in area parishes and on mission trips to Uganda.

RELATED ARTICLE: Catholic Church sets out a vision for closer ties with Islam

EDITORS NOTE: © 2018 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.orgThe Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

VIDEO: The Story Behind The Making Of Billy Graham’s Casket

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association published a video on the story behind Pastor Billy Graham’s casket. They note:

A seemingly unlikely group made Billy Graham’s casket: These men at Angola State Penitentiary. Watch & share the story behind it all.

RELATED VIDEO: President Trump Makes Remarks at the Lying in Honor of the Reverend Billy Graham.

EDITOR NOTE: Please take the time to watch the coverage of Billy Graham’s funeral at https://billygraham.org/funeral

Billy Graham Called Our Nation Back To Its Judeo-Christian Roots [WATCH VIDEO]

“Spiritually, we have wandered far from the faith of our fathers…no nation which relegates the Bible to the background, which disregards the love of God and flouts the claims of the Man of Galilee, can long survive.”

Reverend Graham’s prophetic warning reflects the sentiments of all those who love America:

“Our government is certainly going to fall like a rope of sand if unsupported by the moral fabric of God’s Word. The moral structure in our country grew from Judeo-Christian roots. But if that structure disappears, the moral sentiment that shapes our nations’ goals will disappear with it.”

We’ve put together a 5-minute video highlighting Doctor Graham’s incredible ability to call the American people to Jesus Christ. It includes a part of his final public sermon in July of 2006 at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland.

Millions of Americans and countless others around the world have been reporting on the legacy Billy Graham since the news of his death was announced. Popularly labeled as “America’s Pastor,” Reverend Graham passed away at age 99 at his home in North Carolina on February 21.

Reverend Graham lain in honor at the Capitol Rotunda in Washington D.C. on Wednesday. He is the first spiritual leader ever to receive that distinction. His body will be returned to North Carolina for the private funeral on Friday. He will be buried beside his wife, Ruth, who passed in 2007. Both had caskets made by inmates of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, where they had funded two chapels.

While the funeral service is private, the public will be able to watch a live stream – click here beginning tomorrow, Friday March 2 at 10:00 a.m. EST.

Billy Graham preached to over 215 million people at more than 400 crusades, simulcasts and evangelistic rallies since 1947.

Doctor Graham, the Thomas More Law Center thanks you for your steadfast defense of the Christian faith and your incredible witness of the Gospel. God only knows how many millions of people came to know Jesus Christ through your dynamic and passionate evangelism.  May you rest in eternal peace.

Closing Mental Institutions Made Us More Vulnerable to Mass Shootings

A liberal-created failure that goes entirely ignored is the left’s harmful agenda for society’s most vulnerable people—the mentally ill.

Eastern State Hospital, built in 1773 in Williamsburg, Virginia, was the first public hospital in America for the care and treatment of the mentally ill. Many more followed. Much of the motivation to build more mental institutions was to provide a remedy for the maltreatment of mentally ill people in our prisons.

According to professor William Gronfein at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, by 1955 there were nearly 560,000 patients housed in state mental institutions across the nation. By 1977, the population of mental institutions had dropped to about 160,000 patients.

Starting in the 1970s, advocates for closing mental hospitals argued that because of the availability of new psychotropic drugs, people with mental illness could live among the rest of the population in an unrestrained natural setting.

According to a 2013 Wall Street Journal article by Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, founder of the Treatment Advocacy Center, titled “Fifty Years of Failing America’s Mentally Ill,” shutting down mental hospitals didn’t turn out the way advocates promised.

Several studies summarized by the Treatment Advocacy Center show that untreated mentally ill are responsible for 10 percent of homicides (and a higher percentage of the mass killings). They are 20 percent of jail and prison inmates and more than 30 percent of the homeless.

We often encounter these severely mentally ill individuals camped out in libraries, parks, hospital emergency rooms, and train stations, and sleeping in cardboard boxes. They annoy passersby with their sometimes intimidating panhandling.

The disgusting quality of life of many of the mentally ill makes a mockery of the lofty predictions made by the advocates of shutting down mental institutions and transferring their function to community mental health centers, or CMHCs.

Torrey writes:

The evidence is overwhelming that this federal experiment has failed, as seen most recently in the mass shootings by mentally ill individuals in Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo., and Tucson, Ariz. It is time for the federal government to get out of this business and return the responsibility, and funds, to the states.

Getting the federal government out of the mental health business may be easier said than done.

A 1999 Supreme Court ruling in the case of Olmstead v. L.C. held that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, individuals with mental disabilities have the right to live in an integrated community setting rather than in institutions.

The Department of Justice defined an integrated setting as one “that enables individuals with disabilities to interact with non-disabled persons to the fullest extent possible.” Though some mentally ill people may have benefited from this ruling, many others were harmed—not to mention the public, which must put up with the behavior of the mentally ill.

Torrey says it has now become politically correct to claim that this federal program failed because not enough centers were funded and not enough money was spent. But that’s not true. Torrey says:

Altogether, the annual total public funds for the support and treatment of mentally ill individuals is now more than $140 billion. The equivalent expenditure in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy proposed the [community mental health centers] program was $1 billion, or about $10 billion in today’s dollars. Even allowing for the increase in U.S. population, what we are getting for this 14-fold increase in spending is a disgrace.

The dollar cost of this liberal vision of deinstitutionalization of mentally ill people is a relatively small part of the burden placed on society.

Many innocent people have been assaulted, robbed, and murdered by mentally ill people. Businesspeople and their customers have had to cope with the nuisance created by the mentally ill.

The police response to misbehavior and crime committed by the mentally ill is to arrest them. Thus, they are put in jeopardy of mistreatment by hardened criminals in the nation’s jails and prisons.

Worst of all is the fact that the liberals who engineered the shutting down of mental institutions have never been held accountable for their folly.

Commentary By

Portrait of Walter E. Williams

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.

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U.S. Department of Heath & Human Services: Moving Rights Along…

Conservatives don’t need to prove the existence of the war on faith anymore — HHS did it for them! After years of pooh-poohing the crackdown on Christians, the other side will have a much harder time now, thanks to the agency’s new division in the Office for Civil Rights.After eight years of weaponizing the government against men and women of faith, President Trump is demanding a unilateral disarmament — starting with one of the leading offenders, Health and Human Services. In January, it wasn’t just the start of a new year, but a new era in protecting religious liberty. The administration announced a bold new initiative, aimed at turning the government from an enemy of freedom to an ally. Starting in 2018, it would open an office dedicated to stopping the assault on conscience.

Two months into the idea, the job is turning out to be bigger than anyone envisioned. Now that Americans have a president they can trust and a place to confide, more victims are stepping out of the shadows to tell their stories. Complaints are pouring in to the agency about violations across a full spectrum of services: health care, medical care, adoption, child care, and more. Roger Severino, director of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), is surprised but encouraged. At least the system is working.

“We have made a commitment to vigorously and fairly enforce laws protecting conscience and religion that had been given second-class treatment for too long,” he told CQ. “The surge in complaints shows that the American people are responding to our new openness.” It also shows something else: the problems are deeper than people thought. “Less than two months into 2018, OCR is already nearing the total combined conscience and religion complaints in all of 2017.” Last year, before a special division was established, OCR was on the receiving end of 464 conscience and religious-related complaints. Right now, that number has already hit 345! (And, one official points out, that doesn’t include any filed by mail.)

Obviously, the hostility toward religion is so deeply ingrained that it will take years to weed out the abusers and clean up the toxic environment that has stunted our First Freedom. And here’s the ironic part: until President Obama, the freedom to believe was never a controversial idea. It was such a consensus issue, in fact, that after the Supreme Court invented legalized abortion in 1973, Congress responded by passing a law to protect health care workers from the very discrimination they’re facing today. Even Senator Ted Kennedy defended the bill’s “full protection to the religious freedom of physicians and others.” Only two members objected.

Suddenly, under the Obama administration, that all changed. Instead of demanding compromise and coexistence, the other side exchanged its sham of tolerance for full-blown government forced coercion. Now, almost a decade later, the mess is titanic. Longtime grievances can finally be aired. Before Trump, most people who were affected by Obamacare, taxpayer-funded abortion, or gender identity knew that if they complained it would only make them bigger targets. What a refreshing change for them to know that the government that was once their oppressor can now be their defender.

Let’s hope the White House recognizes the good work of OCR and moves to replicate it in other places across the administration. Until then, this is another important reminder that elections have consequences. In this case, positive ones.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


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On the Morality of Gun Control

After delivering a homily indicting Catholic Senators (Democrat and Republican) who voted against legislation that would render illegal the killing of unborn babies with a developed nervous system, I received a response in a letter:

I look forward to hearing your next political homily, similar to the one on abortion a few weeks ago. Please state the Catholic position on mass murder, and, in that context, list the Catholic Republicans in Congress who block any reasonable assault-weapons ban. You might need to extend church hours since the list will, undoubtedly, be extensive. Thank you.

It needs to be said right off, of course, that a homily on the evil of abortion is about as political as a homily condemning the Holocaust. Regardless, if my correspondent would identify any politician who was in favor of placing weapons – including daggers and box cutters – into the hands of criminals and psychotics for purposes of mass murder, I would happily identify them by name. And I would invite the same boos and hisses I invite for any politician who doesn’t lift a finger to protect the lives of unborn babies.

But on such matters, here is my answer in a nutshell:

  1. Abortion is intrinsically evil and thus opposing it is not political.
  2. Guns are not intrinsically evil. On the contrary, the Catechism teaches not just the right but the duty to use lethal force, if necessary, to defend oneself and those towards whom we have a responsibility.  The same right to life that condemns mass murder requires the use of a gun to wound or kill if necessary to save life. Keeping guns away from mass murderers is obviously a moral duty, but guns in themselves are not intrinsically evil, unlike abortion.
  3. Every firearm can be used in an assault, so the label “assault rifle” is a political, rather than a moral, one.

Priests and prelates have no pertinent expertise in crafting gun control legislation or, or for that matter, in preventing the arming of rogue states.  Those killed by a butter knife, an AK-47, or a neutron bomb are equally and indifferently dead. In each case, the resort to arms will be judged just or unjust by the same moral criterion.

The Church must always uphold the integrity of justice, and justice not only permits but requires defense of the innocent against unjust aggressors, i.e., those who inflict harm without due cause.

But is a “reasonable assault-weapons ban” a moral imperative in our day in view of the increasingly frequent school shootings (not to mention violence in the cities)?

Here there arise some truly political questions that need thoughtful consideration and rigorous analysis – by the laity. The ones I am about to list certainly are not exhaustive.  (I do not presume to exercise priestly authority here, but I am, after all, a citizen, too.)

What is a “weapon”? Obviously, handguns and rifles are weapons. But so are box cutters on airplanes.  Nearly 3,000 people were murdered with assaults that began with box cutters in the hands of terrorists.

Image: The Fruits of Arbitrary Power, or the Bloody Massacre, printed in 1770 by Paul Revere after a design by Henry Pelham [Library of Congress]

The difficulty of defining a “weapon,” however, doesn’t disappear when restricting the conversation to fire sticks. What is an “assault weapon”? A tank? A machine gun? A repeating Winchester rifle? An M-16? The real question is how might legislation keep these weapons out of the hands of criminals and the mentally disturbed?

The question of crafting criminal laws threatening to inflict just punishment, it seems to me, is far easier to evaluate with moral criterion than regulatory laws. Front-end regulatory laws such as a “reasonable assault weapons ban,” in contrast, are far more complicated because not only do the laws need to envision an ever-expanding universe of definitions, there are serious questions of effectiveness and the morality of infringing on the right to self-defense. And it should be recognized that in the aftermath of violence, hysteria and emotionalism easily disrupt clear thinking.

With respect to the question of effectiveness:  What kind of gun control is “reasonable”?  How do outlaws obtain guns? Is it true – or just a clever phrase – that if guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns? What is the experience in cities with strict “gun control” laws?  What is the experience of political entities with “conceal and carry” regulations? What are the facts?

All of these questions are clearly beyond the competence of the clergy.

Questions of gun violence causality need a continuing dispassionate investigation by the laity and the experts among them. (My educated guess is that pornography plays a large part in causality. When the porn fails to satisfy, a twisted mind seeks other methods of excitement. And of course at root is the breakdown of the family including legalized abortion. Disrespect of unborn human life begets disrespect of all human life.)

Who among us would not like to see a world without violence, where guns were only used for hunting and sport?  But the effects of Original Sin remain and we have a natural right to self-defense.  (Alas, whenever I try to “Visualize World Peace,” I end up visualizing a police state.)

These are difficult times, with a broken culture contributing to a breakdown on a wide scale of our civilization, leading to countless acts of violence.  So pronouncing on the morality of banning guns should not be made by a cleric in the exercise of his prophetic office. There are too many moving parts, questions of fact and causality, and good faith prudential judgments where believing Catholics can disagree in good conscience. But underlying moral principles remain and need proper application.

At times, a clean gun in good working order can be the solution – as in just war, just police action, and acts of personal self-defense. But legislation regulating the procurement and possession of guns, to preserve the liberty and order and security essential to a free society, is the business of the laity.

Rev. Jerry J. Pokorsky

Rev. Jerry J. Pokorsky

Father Jerry J. Pokorsky is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington. He is pastor of St. Catherine of Siena parish in Great Falls, Virginia.

EDITORS NOTE: © 2018 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.orgThe Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

In God Schools Trust

America has been successful at keeping God out of schools, but not guns. And that irony isn’t lost on leaders in Arkansas, who are desperately trying to put positive influences back into classrooms. If there was ever a time to put a simple reminder like “In God We Trust” before students, it’s now. While Florida families mourn the loss of 17 young lives, maybe it’s time to rethink what messages we’re teaching our teenagers.

In Arkansas, the idea was simple: require schools to put up “In God We Trust” posters. The bill sailed through the state legislature, passing 78-1 in the House and 28-2 in the Senate. Rep. Jim Dotson (R) thought it wouldn’t just be an opportunity to honor America’s heritage, but also “provide students with a good conscience while in school.” “We all know of instances in recent events where our culture of violence is being shown all around, and I think it’s something that hopefully students will be able to see on the walls and know that our country was founded on something better.”

As a show of support, local American Legion posts have raised money to pay for 1,000 framed posters in one school district, and others are lining up to donate more. As usual, the American Atheists are pitching a fit that children might be exposed to the word “God,” something they could certainly stand to hear more of, if the latest headlines are any indication. “Rep. Dotson and groups who have pledged to donate these displays have been quite clear about their purpose: injecting religion into Arkansas’s public schools.” Well, I hate to break it to them, but God’s already there. Unless these kids check their purses and wallets at the front door, He’s on every dollar they have.

As for putting the motto out where everyone can see it, the Supreme Court has said time and time again that there’s absolutely nothing wrong about it. The motto isn’t an endorsement of religion, the court said, but a “statement of optimism” about America’s heritage. If you want to protect kids from something, try the schools’ graphic sex-ed curriculums or propaganda of those trying to deconstruct society and the family that’s paraded through our schools. Those are the real destructive influences.

At a time when more schools are war zones than classrooms, surely we can all see the good of pointing kids to the fact that there is a God to whom we will all give an account — including the atheists who work night and day to fight someone they say doesn’t exist. For everyone else, maybe we should ponder the possibility that by letting God back in we might keep the violence out.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


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‘The View’ Points to Need for Tolerance

ABC got at least one thing right about “The View” — its name. As far as the hosts are concerned, there is only one view: theirs. Sure, they’ll invite a token “conservative” on to add fireworks, but even that doesn’t get in the way of the hosts’ daily routine of smug Middle America-bashing. If the idea is to offend viewers, it’s working.

Earlier this week, host Joy Behar did her share of the insulting when she responded to an episode of CBS’s “Celebrity Big Brother,” which happens to feature fired Trump staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman. On Monday night’s episode, Omarosa played the bitter ex-employee when she told her co-stars, “Everybody who’s wishing for impeachment might want to reconsider. We would be begging for days of Trump back if [Vice President Mike] Pence became president… He’s scary.” Newman, said, “I’m a Christian. I love Jesus, but he thinks Jesus tells him to say things.”

Behar, who never met a conservative whose sanity she didn’t question, could barely contain herself. “It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you. That’s called mental illness — if I’m not correct — hearing voices.” Then, in a dig to Pence’s policy of not dining alone with other women, joked, “Can he talk to Mary Magdalene without his wife in the room?” The whole episode was an embarrassment — not for Mike Pence, whose faith is shared by the majority of Americans, but for ABC, who may have done the administration a favor by reminding viewers of the deep disdain it has for conservative Christians. This is par for the intolerant course in a movement that continues to see Americans who want to live by their faith as backwater people. It’s the same contempt that birthed Obama’s “God and gun-clingers,” and Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” — both of which only drove up evangelical turnout.

If people want to understand why the Trump administration enjoys such strong support from Christians, this attack sums it up. Evangelicals share the faith that Behar mocks. They’re also tired of being kicked around by elitists whose version of “tolerance” is only for people who think like them. They’re finally glad that there’s somebody on the playground like Donald Trump who’s willing to punch the bully. “Rejecting the Almighty, and particularly, believers, is easy and painless for the Left,” Mike McDaniel writes. “They know Christians will not kill them for their attacks, and at worst, might pray for them — a concept they also reflexively reject.” In the end, “their ideology does not admit the existence of anyone or anything greater than that ideology.”

Hardly the verbal flame-thrower that his boss is, Mike Pence refused to let the cheap shot pass. “I actually heard that ABC has a program that compared my Christianity to mental illness. And I’d like to laugh about it,” he told C-SPAN, “but I really can’t. Tens of millions of Americans today will have ash on their foreheads to mark the beginning of Lent. The overwhelming majority of Americans cherish their faith. And we have all different types of faith in this country. But I have to tell you, to have ABC maintain a broadcast forum that compared Christianity to mental illness is just wrong.” Honestly, he went on:

“I just think it demonstrates how out of touch some people in the mainstream media are with the faith and values of the American people that you could have a major network like ABC permit a forum for invective against religion like that. I just call them out on it, not because of what was said about me, but it’s just simply wrong for ABC to have a television program that expresses that kind of religious intolerance. We’re better than that. Our country is better than that.”

NOTE: Vice President Mike Pence responds to comments on The View.

The real issue for people like Behar is not what Jesus is saying to Christians in their prayer closets, their issue is what He has definitively said in His word. The fact that He is the Creator. That human life is sacred because it is made in the image of God. The fact that Jesus affirmed that there aren’t 72 genders, and that marriage is between a man and a woman. These people and their followers mock the private faith of Christians in an effort to intimidate them from living by their faith in public. See, this debate has never really been about what Christians do privately, but what they dare to do publicly. That’s what terrifies them. Their biggest fear is that men and women of faith will take what God says about marriage, life, and sexuality and bring it out into the open where it can affect policy and other people.

Here is the best way to counter Joy Behar and company — publicly live out your private faith in Christ. To be a follower of Jesus means to be just that, a follower of Jesus. It’s time to stop trying to appease the haters of God. These cultural extremists are only interested in the complete and utter surrender of Christians. “You will be hated by everyone because of me,” Jesus warned, “but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10:22) If the world doesn’t have an issue with us, I’ve got news for you — we’re doing something wrong.

The time for playing patty-cake is over. This is a time for choosing — for separating the wheat from the chaff. Either God defined marriage, or He didn’t. Either He created and values life in His image, or He didn’t. There is no 38th parallel. Either we stand on the side of truth or the side of a lie — in these times, there is no in between.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


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The Ash Wednesday Massacre: What have ‘we done wrong’ to allow this slaughter of our children?

The Ash Wednesday Massacre

Since the slaughter of 17 faculty and students on February 14th, 2018 by 19-year old Nikolas Cruz at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, Florida the political discourse has been focused on fixing blame rather than fixing the fundamental problem. Please let me explain.

Many media outlets portrayed this as the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre. What many missed, as portrayed in the above photo of a crying woman with an ash cross on her forehead, is that February 14th was also Ash Wednesday. This is prophetic.

For you see Ash Wednesday in the Catholic Church is the first day of Lent marked by services of penitence. Penitence is sorrow for one’s sins.

The fundamental problem resulting in the “Ash Wednesday Massacre” is not government policy. The fundamental problem is not in the slaughterer’s choice of a weapon. The fundamental problem is not which political party is in control of the White House or Congress. The problem is not law enforcement or the lack thereof. The problem is not how the media commentators portray it in their routine fixing blame ways.

The fundamental problem is we are all sinners. The only solution is penitence.

Penitence requires a belief in God, the Father. It requires living a moral life. It requires dedication to not just doing good but being good in the image of Jesus of Nazareth. Penitence requires faith!

Each of us is to blame for the Ash Wednesday Massacre.

It is prophetic that the Ash Wednesday Massacre occurred in a public school. For you see the Supreme Court of the United States in the 1962 case Engel v. Vitale ruled the public recitation of Christian prayer in public schools is illegal.  In the 1963 case Abington School District v. Schempp the Supreme Court ruled corporate reading of the Christian Bible in public schools is illegal.

Ash Wednesday is the first day of lent. Six weeks after Ash Wednesday Catholics and Christians will celebrate Easter Sunday.

QUESTION: Given the Ash Wednesday Massacre, why is the date Easter 2018 falls upon important?

Wikipedia notes this about Easter:

Easter, also called Pascha (Greek, Latin) or Resurrection Sunday, is a [Christian] festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his burial after his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary circa 30 AD. It is the culmination of the Passion of Jesus, preceded by Lent (or Great Lent), a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.

Easter falls on April 1st, 2018, also known as April Fools Day. 

Easter Monday is the day after Easter Sunday. It is not a federal holiday in the United States of America. Some Easter traditions continue on the Easter Monday, such as the egg rolling race at the White House.

Joe Zevuloni weeps in front of a cross placed in a park to commemorate the victims of the shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Photo by CNS photo/Carlos Garcia Rawlins, Reuters.

In the New International Version of the Holy Bible 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 reads:

Christ Crucified Is God’s Power and Wisdom

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called,both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

Those who are fixing blame are the foolish.

They are foolish because they do not believe in “the message of the cross.” Man cannot save mankind from himself. Only the “power of God” can save mankind from himself.

The Ash Wednesday Massacre is yet another example of the foolishness of our “wise” politicians, teachers of the law and philosophers.

The following dialogue appeared on social media after the Ash Wednesday Massacre:

Dear God,

Why do you allow such violence in our schools?

A Concerned Student

Dear Concerned Student,

I’m not allowed in schools!

God

American theologian, ethicist, commentator on politics and public affairs, and professor at Union Theological Seminary Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr wrote:

Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context in history; therefor we must be saved by faith.”

On Sunday, April 1st, 2018 there will be those who celebrate April Fools Day. On Sunday, April 1st, 2018 there will be those who will be celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The fools will remain foolish. The faithful will remain penitent.

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Five Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution: Part II

Note: This is a slightly edited version of the second half of a paper that our colleague Mary Eberstadt gave at Hillsdale College’s conference, “The Sixties,” on January 30. The first half, explaining the overall thesis and the first two paradoxes may be read here. – Robert Royal

A third paradox has become the dominant social media soap opera of our time, a story that goes like this: The revolution was supposed to empower women. Instead, it ushered in the secular sex scandals of 2017 etc., and the #MeToo movement. In addition to the fact that it made marriage harder for many women to achieve, it also licensed sexual predation on a scale not seen outside of conquering armies.

Take Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy, who died last year. His commercial empire was founded, of course, on pornographic photos of a great many women. He made himself an exemplar of his own supposed philosophy – the Playboy philosophy of sophisticated drinks and music and, naturally, easy sex. It was an idea that caught on quickly, and it seems safe to guess that most people didn’t know the sordid truth, which would later emerge from the Playboy mansion and elsewhere, about the exploitation behind the slick advertising.

Nonetheless, when Hefner died, many progressives, including self-styled feminists, glowed with praise for the apostle of the revolution. Why? Because he cloaked his predatory designs in the language of sexual progressivism. As a Forbes writer summarized the record, “Playboy published its first article supporting the legalization of abortion in 1965, eight years before the Roe v. Wade decision that permitted the practice – and even before the feminist movement had latched onto the cause. It also published the numbers of hotlines that women could call and get safe abortions.”

In other words, Hefner’s support for these causes appears inextricably tied up with his desire to live in a way that exploited women. This same Siamese twinning joins many of the secular sex scandals that have been exploding in the news. The Weinstein etc. stories revealed the same strategic role occupied by abortion for numerous men who objectify women and disdain monogamy. Without the backup plan of fetal liquidation, where would such men be? In court, of course, and paying lots of child support.

More and more thinkers, even outside the religious sphere, have come to the same conclusion. The sexual revolution did not deliver on its promises to women; instead, it further enabled men – especially men without the best of intentions. Francis Fukuyama, a non-religious social scientist, wrote almost twenty years in his 1999 book The Great Disruption: “One of the greatest frauds perpetrated during the Great Disruption was the notion that the sexual revolution was gender-neutral, benefiting women and men equally. . . . In fact the sexual revolution served the interests of men, and in the end put sharp limits on the gains that women might otherwise have expected from their liberation from traditional roles.”

With that observation, Fukuyama joins a long and growing list of non-religious thinkers who can now grasp more clearly, in retrospect, what some religious leaders have been saying all along. The revolution effectively democratized sexual predation. No longer did one have to be a king, or a master of the universe in some other realm, to sexually abuse or harass women in unrelenting, serial fashion. One only needed a world in which many women would be assumed to use contraception, and would further be deprived of male protectors. In other words, all one needed was the world delivered by the revolution.

A fourth paradox has barely been studied, at least not systematically, and needs to be: the effect of the revolution on Christianity itself. To look back over the decades is to understand that the revolution has been, simultaneously, polarizing the churches within, and creating tighter ties among some different denominations than ever before.

For decades now, commentators have argued over what “the Sixties” meant for the churches. Some have welcomed the innovations of Vatican II, for example; others have hailed the radical theological transformations of Mainline Protestantism. Still others deplored these changes. Wherever they have stood, though, observers of Christianity today have come to find one central fact unavoidable. The sexual revolution is the single most divisive issue now afflicting faith itself.

And this is true whether one’s Catholic or Protestant. In 2004, A Church at War, by Stephen Bates, a book about the Anglican Communion, summarized the argument on its back cover: “Will the politics of sex tear Anglicans and Episcopalians apart?” A few years later, writing of the same subject in Mortal Follies: Episcopalians and the Crisis of Mainline Christianity, William Murchison concluded with this observations: “For Episcopalians, as for large numbers of other Christians, the paramount issues are sex and sexual expression, neither viewed by the culture as means to a larger end but as the end.”

In his 2015 book Onward, Russell Moore reflected on the tension between evangelical progressives and traditionalists thus: “when it comes to religion in America at the moment, progress always boils down to sex.”

As in our other examples, it seems safe to say that today’s divisiveness wasn’t anything that Christians of the 1960s wanted to embrace. Those voices within the churches decades ago who just wanted Christianity to “loosen up” didn’t know what they were starting, which is today’s figurative civil war, across denominations, within the faith itself.

A fifth, and for now, final paradox: The sexual revolution didn’t stop at sex. What many people thought would be a private transformation of relations between individuals has gone on to radically reconfigure not only family life, but life, period.

Perhaps the least understood of the revolution’s effects are what might be called the macrocosmic implications – the way in which it continues to transform and deform not only individuals, but society and politics as well.

Some of these changes are demographic: across much of the developed world, families are smaller and more splintered from within than ever before in history.

Some effects are political: Smaller and more fractured families have put unprecedented pressure on the welfare states of the West, by reducing the tax base required to sustain it.

There are also social effects that are only beginning to be mapped, like the sharp rise in people living alone, or reporting greatly reduced human contact, or in other measures that make up the burgeoning field of “loneliness studies” – and this too takes place across the countries of the West.

Then there’s the spiritual fallout, which also couldn’t have been foreseen in the Sixties – especially by those arguing that something about a changed moral paradigm for Christians would somehow help them to be better Christians.

I have argued elsewhere that the revolution has also given rise to a new secularist, quasi-religious faith – the most potent such body of rival beliefs since Marxism-Leninism. According to this new faith, sexual pleasure is the highest good, and there is no clear moral standard beyond consenting adults and whatever they choose to do with one another. Whether they are conscious of it or not, many modern people treat the sexual revolution as religious bedrock – off-limits for revision, no matter what consequences it has wrought.

These are just some examples of the new world that needs mapping, and that will absorb intellectual attention for a long time to come. We should be hopeful about those future efforts. After all, it’s taken over fifty years for opinion to re-align about just some of the revolution’s negative legacy. It may take fifty more, or a hundred, for a full and honest empirical and intellectual accounting. Revisionist thinking about the revolution’s effects in the world has only just begun.

In summary, one parting thought. The great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy was once sent out by a journal to report back on what happened in a local slaughterhouse. What he saw there moved him deeply. His subsequent description included an immortal line that I think applies widely to us today. After relaying the facts, Tolstoy observed with devastating simplicity, “We cannot pretend we don’t know these things.”

That is exactly where humanity is in 2018 with respect to the sexual revolution. We can no longer pretend we don’t know these things – these things that the revolution has done.

In the heady 1960s, many could plead ignorance, in good faith, about the fallout to come. Few could have suspected how many millions of children in coming generations would grow up without fathers in the home, say; or how many more millions would be aborted; or how many men and women alike from fractured homes would go on to suffer in diverse ways, such as turning to drugs – surely there’s more going on in the opioid epidemic than mere marketing – and other self-destructive behaviors.

Many people, just half a century ago, hoped that the revolution would incur no collateral human damage. And in fairness to them: who, back then, could have foreseen the library of social science created over the fifty years since, demonstrating just some of the human damage out there among men, women, and children of the revolution?

Some people fifty years ago even hoped that the new freedoms, and technological controls, would stabilize marriage itself. The 1968 papal encyclical Humanae Vitae, which also reaches its 50th anniversary this year, went on to become widely despised across the decades precisely for predicting otherwise – precisely for insisting that the revolution would hurt romance and family, and end up licensing predatory men and malignant governments.

It is a paradox within a paradox right now that a great many people, including inside the Catholic Church itself, have ferociously resisted Humanae Vitae’s rejection of the revolution – or for that matter, any rejection of the revolution – despite all this evidence, even in some pretty high places.

By 2018, can any of us really, in good faith, pretend we don’t know these things that empiricism itself has documented? The answer has to be no.

In 1953, when the first issue of Playboy arrived on newsstands, many people might have wanted to believe its hype about enhancing the sophistication and urbanity of American men. By 2018, we can’t pretend that the mainstreaming of pornography has been anything but a disaster for romance, and a prime mover of today’s divorces and other breakups.

In 1973, even supporters of Roe vs. Wade could not have imagined the evidence to come: some 58 million never-born micro-humans in the United States; and gender-cide, or the selective killing of micro-girls for being girls, in various nations around the world, also numbering in the millions. Nor could supporters back then have imagined the technological leap that would unveil the truth about abortion once and for all: the sonogram.

Can today’s advocates for Roe possibly claim the same unknowing?

To face facts squarely, and use them to tell a truthful story, is not merely to deliver a jeremiad: it is to empower. To reject living under the falsehoods about the revolution, even if they have become the dominant narrative of the age, is to embrace the freedom to write a new narrative – and a truer one.

Just one step is needed toward revising the revolution’s legacy in the direction of truth: ceasing to pretend that we don’t know the empirical and historical record, when every year just reveals it both to science and human reason, more and more.

Mary Eberstadt

Mary Eberstadt

Mary Eberstadt is a Senior Research Fellow at the Faith and Reason Institute. Some of her previous The Catholic Thing columns (and columns by others in which her work is discussed) can be found here. She is the author of several books including It’s Dangerous to Believe and How the West Really Lost God.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Sharon Tate (murdered by Charles Manson’s “family”), Hugh Hefner, Barbi Benton, and Roman Polanski (accused of statuary rape of a 13-year old girl). in 1968. © 2018 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.orgThe Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

Hitler Returns to France and Europe to Support Islam: The Horror Returns

It is unfortunate for Europe and the World that so many countries have decided to support antisemitism and ‘Judenrein‘ and are substituting their Jewish population for a Muslim population. Israel is the only ‘safe harbor’ for Jews in a sea of rising antisemitism.

The last time Hitler, Nazi Germany and Europe exploded with antisemitism it didn’t turn out well. It will be worse this time.

Islamic Anti-Semitism in France: Toward Ethnic Cleansing

Politicians also see that the country’s 600 “no-go zones” are growing; that radicalized Muslims may kill, and that violent riots can break out at any time. In France, more than 500 people were murdered or maimed by Islamic terrorists in less than four years.

Six years ago, the author Renaud Camus published Le Grand Remplacement (“The Great Replacement”), a book noting that Jews and Christians are not only being replaced by Muslims, but that they are often harassed and persecuted. He lamented the destruction of churches and described attacks on Jews as a “slow pogrom”. He was condemned for “inciting hatred”.

Recently, journalist Éric Zemmour observed that in Muslim neighborhoods, Muslims are now living “according to their own laws” and forcing non-Muslim people to leave. He was found guilty of “incitement” and fined.

A reporter who recently made a documentary about French Muslim neighborhoods, concluded that the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical Islamist organizations are quickly taking hold of French Muslim communities while spreading hatred towards the Jews and the West, and that they own many schools where jihad is taught .

The French government, he added, is financing these schools and is therefore complicit in sowing the seeds of a devastation that could easily go beyond the destruction of France’s Jews. “The occupation of the West,” he said, “will be done without war but quietly, with infiltration and subversion.” No French television station has broadcast it, nor plans to. The documentary was aired only in Israel.

Anti-Israel demonstrations support terrorism. People shout, “Death to the Jews,” but those people are never arrested for “hate speech”.

Polls show that the unhindered dissemination of Muslim anti-Semitism and the violence that results from it has led to the rise of widespread anti-Semitism that clearly recalls dark periods of history.

growing percentage of the French say that the Jews in France are “too numerous” and “too visible.”

Read the full article by clicking here.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of French soldiers guarding  a Jewish school in Paris. Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images.

What is fundamentally wrong with our schools? Let us count the ways…

On Valentines Day 2018 Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year old, decided to enter his former high school and began slaughtering students and faculty. Does this scenario sound familiar? It should because we knew, as a society, this was going to happen over and over again. We did not listen to those sounding the alarm bells. We turned a blind eye, and because we did there is blood flowing in our public schools and worse. We blamed everything and everyone but ourselves for this blood shed.

How did this happen? Answer: God was taken out of our schools.

God was taken out of public schools by United States Supreme Court on June 25th, 1962. In 1989 researcher David Barton published a book titled “America, to pray or not to pray?

Barton asked:

It is impossible to know how many of the 39 million children were involved in daily verbal prayers, but most accounts indicate that a clear majority of the students voluntarily participated in daily school prayer.

Is it possible that the prayers that were being offered by these children and their teachers across the nation actually had any measurable, tangible effect? 

The editorial staff of The Forerunner in 2008 published an op-ed titled “What Happened When the Praying Stopped.” The editorial staff looked at David Barton’s book and wrote about what Barton found in six areas:

Figure 1: SAT Total Scores. Basic data from the College Entrance Exam Board

Figure 1: The SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) is an academic test that measures the developed verbal and math reasoning of a student exiting from high school or some similar type of learning facility. The results of these tests are commonly used by colleges and universities to indicate the strength of a student’s academic preparation and his potential for success on the college level.

Figure 1 shows how drastically the actual knowledge of high school students began to drop at an accelerating rate after 1962. Barton notes in his report that the upturn in SAT scores since 1981 is due to the increase in private Christian educational facilities which began to flourish at that time. Statistics have proven that students from private Christian schools showed higher academic achievement and higher test scores.

Figure 2: Percentage of U.S. Teenage Girls Who Have Had Pre-Marital Intercourse.

Figure 2: This graph shows the increase in sexual activity in unmarried teen-age girls after the 1962 Supreme Court decision. It is evident from the figures provided that in the years previous to the removal of prayer the rates remained stable and relatively unchanged. In the post- prayer years the numbers immediately began to soar. The sudden increase on the graph appears as if a great restraining force had suddenly been removed.

Figure 3: Unwed women 15-19 years of age showed a phenomenal increase in the rate of pregnancies after the School Prayer decision. Note that the figure jumps drastically after the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision which made abortion legal in the U.S. The United States now has the highest incidence of teen-age motherhood in any Western country.

Figure 5: SINGLE PARENT HOUSEHOLDS. Female Head, No Spouse Present

Figure 4: For the 15-19 and 20-24 age group, the rates of youth suicide remained relatively unchanged during the years from 1946 to the School Prayer decision in 1962. But in the years since, suicides among the same group have increased 253 percent, or an average of 10.5 percent per year.

Figure 5: Stability in the family has also been affected since the 1962 decision. Divorce, single parent families, couples living together but not married, and adultery are areas of family breakdown which have experienced radical growth in recent years. In the graph above, the increase in single parent families (households with only a mother and children) are detailed. Note the dotted line at the bottom, which shows the rate of growth prior to the 1962 decision.

Figure 6: VIOLENT CRIME: Number of Offenses.

Figure 6: Crime, productivity, and national morality had been on a fairly stable level prior to the 1962 decision, but that is no longer the case. It is obvious that such a quantity of students praying for their nation had a very positive effect on the course that this nation had taken. The rate of violent crime, as shown above, has risen over 330 percent.

Click here to view more of the charts in America, to pray or not to pray?.

In an August 15, 2014 CNS News published an article titled “Education Expert: Removing Bible, Prayer from Public Schools Has Caused Decline” by Penny Starr. Starr interview Dr. William Jeynes a Professor of Education at California State University, Long Beach. Starr reported:

“One can argue, and some have, that the decision by the Supreme Court – in a series of three decisions back in 1962 and 1963 – to remove Bible and prayer from our public schools, may be the most spiritually significant event in our nation’s history over the course of the last 55 years,” Jeynes said.

[ … ]

Since 1963, Jeynes said there have been five negative developments in the nation’s public schools:

  • Academic achievement has plummeted, including SAT scores.
  • Increased rate of out-of-wedlock births
  • Increase in illegal drug use
  • Increase in juvenile crime
  • Deterioration of school behavior

Dr. Jeynes noted, “So we need to realize that these actions do have consequences. When we remove that moral fiber — that moral emphasis – this is what can result.”

Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision the top five complaints of teachers from 1940-1962 were talking, chewing gum, making noise, running in the halls and getting out of turn in line. Since 1963 the greater concerns are rape, robbery, assault, burglary and arson.

We are reaping what we have sown.

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Nickolas Cruz

EDITORS NOTE: Nikolas Cruz has been identified as the alleged killer of 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, FL. Cruz was “expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for unspecified disciplinary reasons.” Cruz was adopted by Lynda Cruz, a widow. Postings under the name Nikolas Cruz included threatening comments under videos on YouTube and other sites, including “I whana shoot people with my AR-15” (sic), “I wanna die Fighting killing s**t ton of people” and “I am going to kill law enforcement one day they go after the good people.”

Obama’s Perfect Presidential Portrait: Black-Supremacist, Predatory, Perverse and Made in China

Kehinde Wiley

Like all Presidents, Barrack Obama unveiled his presidential portrait Monday, February 12th, 2018. Normally presidential portraits are grand depictions of a president in a traditional style. President Obama decided to go along a different path. Obama commissioned Kehinde Wiley to do the portrait. His choice reflects his world view and his book “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance” in which Obama wrote:

“My identity might begin with the fact of my race, but it didn’t, couldn’t end there. At least that’s what I would choose to believe.”

Obama’s father’s dreams are the reason he choose this artist to do his portrait.

He sees himself as a reflection of everything Wiley has painted like Wiley’s 2012 portrait of black women holding a knife and the severed head of a young blond white girl. This painting reminded me of photos of Australian terrorist Khaled Sharrouf, 36, and sons Zarqawi, 11, and Abdullah, 12, who joined ISIS and were once pictured holding a severed head. It also brought to mind the photo of former comedian Kathy Griffin holding the severed head of President Trump.

Kehinde Wiley, Judith Beheading Holofernes (2012).

Obama also views himself as a king rather than a president with limited executive powers as depicted in the below painting by Wiley done in 2005 titled “Ice T” copied from the painting of “Napoleon on his Imperial throne” (1806) by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.

In a Daily Caller article titled “Obama’s Painter Has Long ‘Predatory,’ ‘Perverse’ History Of Sneaking Sperm Into Paintings” investigative reporter Ethan Barton wrote:

The artist who painted former President Barack Obama for the National Portrait Gallery in the Smithsonian has a history of including depictions of sperm in his work, and has been described as “predatory” and “perverse” by The Village Voice.

Kehinde Wiley is well-known for recreating famous paintings, but replacing the featured white person – often a noble or general – with a young black man. Wiley often met the men on the street, brought them into his studio, and had them pick a work to be painted into, the famously left-wing Village Voice reported in March 2015.

Wiley “lures young men into his studio with the promise of power and glamour,” writer and art critic Jessica Dawson wrote. She called the behavior “predatory” and “perverse.”

Wiley painting “St. Andrew” showing a black man with his crotch against a wooden cross with free floating spermatozoa.

Dawson also points out the sexuality in several of his pieces and highlights that they often include sperm. Wiley’s rendition of “St. Andrew,” [above] for example, shows a black man grinding “his crotch against a wooden cross” with “free-floating spermatozoa” painted on the canvas, Dawson wrote.

Read more.

Wiley also has a studio in China. According to a 2012 column titled “6. Outsource to China: While riffing on the Western canon. Kehinde Wiley’s global reach” New York Magazine Christopher Beam reports:

In a soaring studio on the outskirts of Beijing, where Kehinde Wiley came in 2006 to set up the first of his several global production outposts, the 35-year-old painter is showing off his women.

[ … ]

Producing work in China cuts costs, but not as much as it used to, Wiley says. These days in Beijing he employs anywhere from four to ten workers, depending on the urgency, plus a studio manager, the American artist Ain Cocke. The Beijing studio began as a lark: After visiting an artist friend there and liking what he saw, he and a couple of his New York staffers flew out, rented some space, and started painting, “sort of like a retreat,” he says. One thing led to another—“another” being a five-year relationship with a Chinese D.J.—and eventually the Beijing studio became the main production hub as well as his second home. He recently bought an apartment overlooking Chaoyang Park, complete with a live-in maid and two miniature greyhounds, Xiaohui, or “Little Gray,” and Celie, named after the character in The Color Purple.

The official portrait of former President Barack. (Kehinde Wiley)

Whatfinger News reports:

Obama Presidential Portrait: Well folks he hired an anti-white racist as his artist. The media ignored that fact other than Fox. Think of it this way: Had Trump hired an artist to create a portrait, and that artist was known for works depicting the severed heads of blacks by white people, we would not hear the end of it for many many months.  Think about that as yet another indication of the racism of the left and media.  With that in mind – you can’t make what our side found out about the portrait.

You see Wiley’s works are just copies, shadows, of painting by the great masters of Western civilization.

Obama’s legacy is, like his life and Wiley’s portrait, a copy of the great leaders of Western civilization. Obama never achieved what the great leaders of America have. He never had any willingness to make America great. He never had any desire to make America safe. Obama never had any intention to make America united as one people, one culture under God.

RELATED ARTICLE: Americans mock Obama portrait with side-splitting memes

Prayer Shirts Get under the Collar of Secularists

Most Americans have probably never heard of Beloit, Ohio. But this month, they’re starting to hear from them. It may a small town (less than 1,000 people at most), but it’s mighty. And in the face of the bullies at the Freedom from Religious Foundation (FFRF), that’s all that matters.

As usual, the anti-Christian activists are always on the prowl for rural areas, where they think locals can be easily intimidated on issues of faith. But the atheists at FFRF made a mistake when it picked on Beloit. As usual, the Wisconsin group is terrified of the prayers of a few believers, so it fired off a letter to the superintendent of West Branch ordering the school to stop praying before sporting events — or else. School officials were upset at the thought of ending a tradition that had gone on for years, but they agreed, admitting they couldn’t afford a lawsuit.

But that wasn’t the end of the story. The community has started rallying to the side of the students, who are fighting back by selling more than 4,000 “Prayer Matters” shirts (in a town of 900 people)! “They don’t know us, have never attended a West Branch sporting event, or even stepped foot in our community,” one mom said. “Yet they believe they can tell us to stop [praying]. That just doesn’t seem right.

At Friday’s home basketball game, fans everywhere could be seen wearing the message that atheists so desperately wants to silence. “Everybody’s really coming together in support of the prayer issue,” local pastor John Ryser told Fox News’s Caleb Parke. “[Now], we’re having more conversations about prayer and about the gospel, the Good News about Jesus Christ, than we’ve ever had before.” As for the prayers, students took over, asking fans to have a moment of silence after the National Anthem.

What activists meant for evil, God meant for good. As we speak, our friends at First Liberty Institute are on the ground, investigating. If there’s a way to restore the religious freedom of these students, their attorneys will find it. For now, we’re cheering on the hundreds of families across that small, northeast town who know that no earthly power can stop God’s people — not from taking a stand and certainly not from praying!


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


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