So which stories / issues / topics draw your attention here at the end of the week?
Here in Delaware, State Representative Greg Lavelle (R-Sharpley) has offered an alternative to Governor Markell's push for background checks on most private gun sales. Lavelle wants to make it illegal to sell a weapon to someone prohibited from possessing guns. Lavelle declares his legislation "doesn't mandate background checks. It doesn't create a registration. It allows people to make smart decisions for themselves." Meanwhile, State Senator Ernie Lopez (R-Lewes) would boost the penalties for anyone knowingly selling firearms to anyone prohibited from possessing a gun in the first place.
Younger girls can play football! Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput issues a provisional ruling: Girls can play football in Philly's Catholic Youth Organization league next season. The archbishop's ruling followed an evaluation of legal issues and the stances of other C.Y.O. leagues around the country; input from parents and coaches; and hundreds of letters and e-mails from the public. An earlier panel recommended Chaput uphold the ban. The case of an eleven-year-old girl from Doylestown prompted this review. Caroline Pla had played in the 2011 and 2012 seasons without anyone questioning it. Looks like the archbishop may earn a few P.R. kudos on this one.
Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman - who was on the short list to be Mitt Romney's running mate - is changing his public stance on gay marriage after his son came out of the closet. The senator says the discovery that his son, now 21, was gay has given him a "new perspective and understanding" for why equal opportunities should matter. Portman sought advice from former Vice President Dick Cheney, whose daughter is a lesbian.
A Republican female politician in Texas - State Representative Debbie Riddle (married, but no children) - has sparked outrage after coming out publicly against a breastfeeding bill. Riddle posted on Facebook that "women need to be modest." She says while she supports breastfeeding in general, she does not feel it's appropriate to do it in a public place. More precisely, she opposes legislation that would allow for lawsuits if one "interfered" with a woman breastfeeding. Riddle insists it's wrong for a business owner to fear a lawsuit for questioning a woman who is openly breastfeeding. The counter-argument: It's unreasonable and unfair to force babies to feed under hot and stuffy blankets just to placate others who may feel awkward in such situations.
Pope Francis has hinted he will have little patience for the scandal that has rocked the Holy See's bureaucracy, the Curia.
One story may humanize this new pope: A childhood sweetheart, Amalia Damonte, now 76, claims she may have driven him to the "calling". She says they were childhood sweethearts, and Jorge Bergoglio proposed to her when he was 12. Her recollection: Bergoglio wrote her a letter - in either 1948 or 1949 - declaring he would like to marry her: "He said that if I didn't say 'yes', he would have to become a priest. Luckily for him, I said no!" This woman still lives four doors away from Bergoglio's childhood home.
However, Ms. Damonte may not have been the only love in Bergoglio's life, despite what he told her. In a 2010 interview, the then-cardinal admitted he had a girlfriend with whom he loved to dance the tango, so one presumes this was a different girl a little bit later: "She was one of a group of friends with whom I used to go dancing with. Then I discovered my religious vocation."
On a more serious side, the elevation of this Argetine cardinal to the Papacy has led to a number of media accounts about Argentina's so-called "dirty war" during the military dictatorship, and whether Bergoglio - as the head of the Jesuit order in Argentina - did not do enough to protect his priests from the nightmarish dictatorship.
I've done a number of interviews about this subject:
Dr. Ramon Luzarraga at the University of Dayton and Paraguayan diplomat (and former journalist) Ricardo Caballero defend the new Pope...
Interviewed on the Israeli station, Channel 2 TV, President Obama says his Administration believes it'll take Iran "over a year or so" to develop a nuclear weapon. He again promised the United States would do whatever was necessary to prevent that outcome. The Israelis appear to have a more accelerated timeline. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel and its allies are likely to move against Iran this spring or summer, by the time Iranian scientists will have enriched sufficient uranium to become a nuclear threat. President Obama visits Israel next week.
Posted at 9:10am on March 15, 2013 by Allan Loudell
And again, we see the double standard of nuclear politics. Why is it acceptable for the U.S. to have thousands of nuclear warheads, and it's not okay for Iran to improve its nuclear program for more efficient energy?
The U.S. has repeatedly tried to bully Iran with threats, and the Iranians SHOULD arm themselves as a deterrent against American aggression. It's the peace through strength paradigm where Iran can only deter attacks by arming itself with nuclear weapons.
Also interesting that the U.S. "allows" nuclear weapons for Israel, which has proven time and again to be a terrorist state.
I guess where it becomes difficult for me to comprehend is why one nation is allowed to tell all the other nations in the world what they can or cannot do.
Sat, Mar 16, 2013 12:11pm
I'm still caught up in the election of a new pope. Trying to just let the rest of the world just pass me by. I'm in news burn out mode.
Sat, Mar 16, 2013 4:28pm
teatime, the answer to your question primarily lies in power politics. We are the most powerful nation on the planet. For anything to move forward in anyway, it involves us. Therefore, if we are silent, or silently passive, other options to benefit the world, do not move forward, simply because of questions, what will the US do or not do....
Although it may seem silly that everyone waits to see what the most powerful power in the room will do first, keep in mind that both money and lives are involved here. To pursue an action involving the investment of lives and fortunes, only to have the US come out against it. and it is doomed, means all that effort and resourses expended, were wasted...
That is why, when the most powerful leader doesn't act to set the direction, but chooses to work defensively and augment others actions, confusion and the inability to predict the future, reign...
Not just on the global stage, but on the job site, within a family, among non profits and church organizations, and particularly in Congress.... when you don't have someone stating a direction and acting to implement it, you get confusion and stalemate....
Anarchy, confusion, and stalemate, I think are probably more dangerous than taking action. For if ones action is headed the wrong way, then opposition quickly rises to counter act that argument. Then that action has to defend itself and be proven correct before it can go forward... But at least, there is foward movement....
So to teatime's point and question, as to why one nation is allowed to tell others what to do, I think the answer is simply, that no doing so, presents a worse case scenario..... A boss faces the same question on his job site. A mom faces the same question with her family, a military commander faces the same question on the battlefield... Someone has to lead.
Sat, Mar 16, 2013 6:08pm
Mike from Delaware
Sat, Mar 16, 2013 10:56pm
I'm with JimH in terms of news burnout. I'm excited about Pope Francis too.
I too agree with JimH when he says to Kavips: Bravo. I'll add: well said Kavips.
Sun, Mar 17, 2013 1:15pm
Let me see if I get this straight...
We are the most powerful nation because we have the most nukes.
We have the most nukes because we are the most powerful nation.
We can have nukes because we have nukes.
Therefore, we can push everybody else around.
Forget the fact that the US has not come out on top in a military conflict since 1945.
Forget the fact that US has become a second-rate economic power and trade is where the real power lies.
Forget that the US can't actually ever use all those nukes without committing national suicide.
Forget the US trails in education, health and most other quality of life and economic measures.
Forget that nobody is going to do what the US says anyway (which is the definition of power).
We have nukes, so we're number one.
Did I miss something?
Mike from Delaware
Sun, Mar 17, 2013 3:11pm
Billsmith: There are many times when the US sticks its nose where it doesn't belong. However, North Korea has threatened the US and its neighbor, South Korea and is developing Nukes and the long range missles to accomplish that mission. What I'd prefer is for China, N Korea's northern neighbor to speak up and tell its southern neighbor to stop, but that won't happen so the US has no choice, but to do something. We can't sit back and wait for N Korea to nuke Honolulu.
We did win in Desert Storm I under Papa Bush. But your point is well taken, however, realize why we lose those "wars". We fight not to take over a place like the former Soviets or Nazi German's, etc, did. We could easily take over almost any nation if we wanted to be as ruthless as those nations were, but that's not who we are (thankfully) so use restrain and many times causing our effectiveness to not be as great as it could be.
I agree we've lost much ground in the quality of life issues, and that we need to change. The US of the 1950's and early 60's was a far nicer place to live in terms of education/quality of life issues. We also were a nation then that had a higher regard for human life, worship of God (mostly Judaeo/Christian), etc, etc.
Today's US has thrown all that out in favor of the god of self. What you see are the results of such a selfish attitude.
Sun, Mar 17, 2013 3:32pm
MikeFromDelaware: Let me ask you to put the shoe on the other foot. Suppose the US was developing some new super-weapons technology and some other country or group of countries told US we couldn't have it and would have to stop developing it. Let's say they also threatened to attack the US or take some other drastic step if we did not comply. Assume they their threats were credible. What would you say? What do you think the politicians in power would say?
Please note the developed countries which score higher than the US on economic and quality of life issues are less religious, have less participation in religious services and are more liberal on social (or moral) issues. The US actually ranks high on religious involvement. What's different about these other countries is they don't put the majority of their GDP into military and related spending and corporations don't have control of the political process. So any selfish attitude might better be described as corporate greed.
Sun, Mar 17, 2013 6:57pm
billsmith: If we don't maintain our status as a superpower, we're toast. Period. End of story. End of America.
Sun, Mar 17, 2013 7:45pm
Oh, yes. Everybody's hates us. Everybody's out to get us.
Maybe BECAUSE the US is so obsessed with being a super power and pushing everybody else around.
All those other countries that spend money on health care, education, infrastructure instead of bombs, bombers and missiles. How come they're not toast?
"There's absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we're the greatest country in the world. We're 7th in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, 3rd in median household income, number 4 in labor force, and number 4 in exports. We lead the world in only 3 categories: number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending, where we spend more than the next 26 countries combined. 25 of whom are allies." - Aaron Sorkin
Mike from Delaware
Sun, Mar 17, 2013 11:43pm
Billsmith, actually our nation has been threatened when we wanted to develop "STARWARS" back in Reagan's time. USSR said it would cause them to restart the nuke race, etc.
My personal beliefs are the US does mettle way too much into others business [Iraq, I've said here many times Bush Jr. was wrong to get us into Iraq for example], however, Iran and N. Korea having nukes is bad for all peoples of the planet. We just can't sit back and allow either nut job running those two countries to have nukes. No one will be safe.
Where the US has gone wrong is that the conservative part of our government wants to legislate those moral agendas. I've also said it here before that the Christian Church should not be fooled by the GOP, they are not a Christian organization. They are using the faithful. What the church should be doing is doing the Lord's work, by doing what Jesus did. He didn't fight with the government trying to legislate his values, instead Jesus went quietly about his Father's business, touching one heart at a time with his love and faithfulness, etc [essentially Jesus walked the talk]. Once a person comes to Christ, the Holy Spirit works on changing that person from the inside out to making them more like Christ. THAT's the change, not legislating.
The government should be more focused on getting this economy going and providing opportunities for all people here to have a piece of the American dream, etc, etc.
The liberals on the other hand too have an agenda that they are pushing, but we'll save that for another time.
Mon, Mar 18, 2013 5:18am
MikeFromDelaware: Good points. Too bad the new Pope did not go that way down in Argentina. From what I read, he tried to legislate values (and lost) and abandoned priests to be murdered. But everybody wants to believe he's this real nice guy and will help poor people, like Pope Anthony Quinn in Shoes of the Fisherman.
Hey, who doesn't have an agenda? Nothing wrong with that. Just cop to it.
I don't think you can just blame the GOP. There are a lot of what the gospels called "wolves in sheep's clothing" in churches, especially in the clergy, using the GOP. Clergy, even the new Pope, can't seem to resist sticking their nose into politics.
Mon, Mar 18, 2013 8:18am
Wellsaid by billsmith. The U.S. wants to preserve its position as the world's global superpower, hence all of the angst about Iran perhaps developing a nuclear warhead.
If we truly lived in a democratic community of nations, the United Nations would be able to get all nations to give up their nukes...including the U.S.
Mike from Delaware
Mon, Mar 18, 2013 8:26am
Billsmith: Funny, I too was thinking of the Anthony Quinn Pope too.
I also agree with you as I've visited many different churches and denominations during my journey with Christ as his follower, everything from: Baptist, Assembly of God, Non-Denominational, Charistmatic, Roman Catholic, United Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran Church (ELCA) the liberal one, and the Lutheran Church (LCMS) the conservative one (where I'm currently worshipping and in the process of becoming a member).
What I found is all churches have: A solid remnant of on-fire-for-Christ group of believers, also some who are playing church what we in Christian circles call "Churchianity", also some "phoney baloney's" the wolves-in-sheeps clothing, there are many great pastors, unfortunately many mediocre pastors too who'd have been happier if they were in some other line of work, each denomination has the core truths of the faith; each has its own spin on the other stuff thus the differences causing denominations.
Remember all these churches are run by fallen, fallible people (yes even the Pope is fallible, ONLY Jesus is infallible - sorry Allan - the issues that drove Martin Luther into fighting the Pope were faith issues and the Pope at that time was wrong, thus fallible).
God didn't make his followers into robots, so even though we have the grace of God and his love, he still allows us to stumble and fall, which we do; but the great thing about God is we worship the God of Second Chances, he paid the price for our sins on the cross, etc. Sorry didn't mean to get "preachy". But you get the point.
So don't judge Jesus or the Father God by their followers. Unfortunately most of us are not as Godly as St. Francis of Assisi, but if the church were made up of only perfect people, then folks like me wouldn't be allowed, so I'm glad folks like me, sinners, are welcomed.
Mon, Mar 18, 2013 11:25am
MikeFromDelaware: We have movie reviews and restaurant reviews. Maybe you should start a column reviewing churches and preachers. ;)
Oratory and rhetoric have become lost arts. About the only places you can hear good public speakers are in churches - and not many of them there any more. For some reason, no idea why, the best sermons seem to be in Black churches. The worst in Catholic churches. Lutherans do pretty well on preaching plus they have good, traditional church music with organs and good choirs and formal liturgy. I can understand the appeal.
Mike from Delaware
Tue, Mar 19, 2013 8:12am
Billsmith: interesting idea for a newspaper column or radio vignette.
Tue, Mar 19, 2013 3:41pm
Do they make you memorize Luther's Small Catechism in adult confirmation class?
Mostly I remember his "What does this mean?" explanation of the sixth commandment (adultery) made absolutely no sense to me and I had no idea what I was not supposed to do. Not that I had much chance of doing it at that age.
Mike from Delaware
Tue, Mar 19, 2013 11:09pm
I haven't had the membership class yet, but I don't think there will be memorization involved. He said he'll discuss with us what Lutherans believe. I'll let you know if there is any memorization, sure hope not or I might be 80 before completing the class - heh heh.
Thu, Mar 21, 2013 9:54am
If you can nail down justification by faith and consubstantiation, you'll probably pass. Just remember, everybody outside the Missouri Synod will be going to hell, so don't have anything to do with them.
Mike from Delaware
Thu, Mar 21, 2013 11:50am
Do the LCMS really believe that in terms of other Christians? That sounds like a holdover from Roman Catholicism. That definitely isn't my view. I'm more of a if you have Jesus as your Lord and Savior, the denomination doesn't matter. You're saved by your faith in Christ, not what church you attend.
Mike from Delaware
Thu, Mar 21, 2013 6:04pm
Billsmith: I went to the LCMS website and found the answer:
The LCMS recognizes all Trinitarian church bodies as Christian churches (in contrast to "cults," which
typically reject the doctrine of the Trinity and thus cannot be recognized as Christian). In fact, a primary
"objective" listed in the Synod's Constitution (Article III) is to "work through its official structure toward
fellowship with other Christian church bodies"—which explicitly assumes that these "other church
bodies" are "Christian" in nature. That does not lessen the Synod's concern for the false doctrine taught
and confessed by these churches, but it does highlight the Synod's recognition that wherever the "marks
of the church" (the Gospel and Sacraments) are present—-even where "mixed" with error—-there the
Christian church is present. Such a church is a heterodox church, that is, a church that teaches false
Of course, personal salvation is not merely a matter of external membership in or association with any
church organization or denomination (including the LCMS), but comes through faith in Jesus Christ
alone. All those who confess Jesus Christ as Savior are recognized as "Christians" by the Synod—only
God can look into a person's heart and see whether that person really believes. It is possible to have
true and sincere faith in Jesus Christ even while having wrong or incomplete beliefs about other
Look under other denominations and you'll find it in that section of questions/answers.
Thu, Mar 21, 2013 7:34pm
Interesting stuff. They phrase things politely but basically they are saying we are right; they are wrong.
Unlike other denominations, however, the LCMS practices closed communion and allows only confirmed members of the LCMS to receive communion. Congregations have come up with various ways to keep "outsiders" away from the altar rail. Reservations and reserved seating. ID Cards.
The LCMS was founded by German immigrants (it's still mostly people of German descent) who broke away from their church in Germany when Lutherans merged with Calvinists to form the "Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland." Hence their insistence on doctrinal purity, although Luther was a determinist and came pretty close to expressing the same views on predestination as Calvin.
Since the LCMS takes the Bible literally, they are creationists.
Mike from Delaware
Thu, Mar 21, 2013 10:24pm
The LCMS doesn't take everything in the Bible literally, the poetry parts like Psalms and Song of Solomon for example they understand to be figurative, not literal.
The Early Church didn't even allow unbaptized people to be in the room during communion. The service had two parts, first part was the prayers, scripture readings, sermon. That was open to any and all people. The second half was only open to baptized Christians (so the unbaptized had to leave) which was the part of the service, much like the Lutheran or Catholic Mass where the elements were consecrated and distributed ONLY to baptized believers.
So in that aspect yes, the Lutherans (LCMS) and Catholics have that in common, a closed communion.
Fri, Mar 22, 2013 12:22pm
Funny, they don't take the Song of Solomon literally. That's way too sensual and erotic. It celebrates sexual passion and they can't allow that.
Luther declared "only scripture." He rejected the teaching authority of the Catholic church and replaced it with a document that is a product of the teaching authority of the church. Then he sat down and he decided what to include and what to exclude (just as the church fathers had done 1,000 years before him). He rejects the notion of infallibility of councils and popes but claims to have edited an infallible document. Where is the logic in all that?
Mike from Delaware
Fri, Mar 22, 2013 6:38pm
Billsmith: The Song of Songs or Song of Solomon is a love poem. Some view this scripture as an allegory of the love relationship between God and Israel. Others view it as wisdom literature. They see this book as wisdom's description of an amorous relationship, (romantic love is a gift of God like wisdom. This should be received with gratitude and celebration.
Actually I've not heard any LCMS pastor or another other pastor or priest of ANY denomination ever preach on this book of the Bible; but as it is poetry, it is not like reading The Book of Acts (history of the early church) or Leviticus (the Law).
Fri, Mar 22, 2013 6:57pm
MikeFromDelaware: Preachers preach from the Psalms and those are poetry, too.
Actually, the Song of Solomon is an interaction between a man and a woman, lovers, talking to each other and telling each other how hot they are. There is an implication that the woman is African (news to people like Bob Jones who think the Bible bans inter-racial dating): "Dark am I, yet lovely,"
Now tell me this isn't erotic...
Your breasts are like two fawns,
like twin fawns of a gazelle
that browse among the lilies.
Until the day breaks and the shadows flee,
I will go to the mountain of myrrh
and to the hill of incense.
But Christianity is a religion of sexual repression which glorifies suffering. That's why preachers ignore this book. Luther even wanted to edit it out of his Bible.
Mike from Delaware
Fri, Mar 22, 2013 8:18pm
Martin Luther, like the rest of us, was a flawed human. He was a godly man who truly was seeking after the heart of God so that he could have a closer walk with Jesus. He, like us, though did make mistakes. Same with John Wesley, John Calvin, all the Popes, Billy Graham, Rick Warren, even saints like Francis of Assisi, Mother Teresa, etc, etc.
As St. Paul said in 1 Corinthians, we see through smoked colored glass and won't see clearly until the perfect comes. That's why I've said that all Christian Churches have some of the truth, but not all of the truth. We all are on a journey with Christ. I've learned many things over the years in that journey with Christ that's flavored my understanding of my walk with Christ. Hopefully my heart's attitudes, how I live my life, etc, mirror a closer walk with God than when I first came to know him many years ago [that's something only God can judge].
Hopefully any of us who call Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior are growing that way. Bottom line, we humans will make many mistakes in our interpretation and understandings of God's will. We won't know totally, or see clearly until we're with Jesus in eternity.
Sat, Mar 23, 2013 7:39am
MikeFromDelaware: All the Popes? Including Borgias and DiMedicis? All the Televangelists? Can't see through a glass clearly if it's rose colored. If patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels, religion is next to last. Wolves in sheep's clothing and all that.
Yes, people are imperfect. Point is how can you trust imperfect people, supposedly with free will, to produce a perfect document (any more than you can trust them to be infallible)?
"If I break wind in Wittenberg, they smell it in Rome."
- Martin Luther
PS: The Torah (aka Pentetuch) is The Law. Leviticus is instructions to the Cohanim (Levites or priesthood). If you really want to understand Jesus, in addition to all the other churches you have visited, you should go a synagogue and even study Judaism. That was the church Jesus (actually Yeshua or Joshua) attended; he was a Jew preaching to Jews. Passover begins in a couple of days. Get yourself invited to a seder and you'll have a whole new appreciation of the last supper.
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