Mere Links 10.07.14
Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 10:00 AM

Pagans and Christians
Ross Douthat, New York Times

Occasionally in the debates about Christianity’s weakened position in American culture, you’ll hear traditionalists and conservatives analogize the Christian situation, now or soon, to the environment the faith faced in its earliest centuries, as an embattled minority in a hostile pagan empire.

The Political God is the Buffoon King
Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, Preachers Institute

The account of Esther commences with an emperor and his empire. This emperor’s original-Persian-name was Xsayarsa.

Same-Sex Marriage and the Supreme Court: What Now for the Church?
Russell Moore, Moore to the Point

The Supreme Court has declined to take up appeals from states in which the courts have found same-sex marriage to be a constitutional right. This paves the way for same-sex marriage in many, perhaps most, places in the United States. Many Christians may be unaware of how momentous this is, since the denial of cases doesn’t come with quite the shock and awe of a ruling handed down. The effect though is wide-ranging. So what should our response be as the church of Jesus Christ?

Denying Review, Justices Clear Way for Gay Marriage in 5 States
Adam Liptak, New York Times

The Supreme Court on Monday denied review in all five pending same-sex marriage cases, clearing the way for such marriages to proceed in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.



Mere Links 10.06.14
Monday, October 6, 2014, 10:00 AM

Where Have All The Irish Priests Gone?
Greg Daly, Aleteia

As the number of clergy in Ireland continues to fall, practical priests look to build a culture of vocation.

When Jews are bigoted against Conservative Christians
Dennis Prager, Jewish Journal

Over the last 20 years, I have probably spent as much time with Evangelical Christians as with fellow Jews — in private settings, speaking at churches, on listener cruises, in my home and in their homes. I have come to admire and in many cases love these people.

Guardian angels exist, pope says
AFP

Pope Francis said on Thursday that guardian angels exist and people who listen to their advice are less likely to make the wrong decisions. Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/afp-guardian-angels-exist-pope-says-2014-10#ixzz3F6WlyZmZ

The troubling persistence of eugenicist thought in modern America
Michael Brendan Dougherty, The Week

We no longer talk of “unfit” children, but we’ll still destroy them in the name of quality of life.



Mere Links 10.03.14
Friday, October 3, 2014, 10:00 AM

What is Domestic Violence?
Justin S. Holcomb, Reformation 21

The month of October has been designated Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The goal of this month is to raise public awareness about domestic violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to recognize, prevent, and respond to domestic violence.

Iraq crisis: ‘Every single Christian wants to leave’
Jessica Winch, The Telegraph

Christians in northern Iraq are unable to celebrate communion for the first time in two millennia after Islamic State captured the area, says vicar.

Polygamy: Coming to America?
Rev. Paul Sullins, Aleteia

Our society may be about to take another step in the process of denying these wise words of Jesus on human sexual relations. With widespread divorce, we have long ago moved past the conviction that the two become one flesh.

Whatever happened to the National Council of Churches?

Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2014/09/whatever-happened-to-the-national-council-of-churches/#ixzz3Ev9NFNK1
Gene Veith, Cranach

The ecumenical organization of liberal mainline Protestants (plus the Orthodox, which I never understood) known as the National Council of Churches used to be enormously influential. But now it has dwindled to insignificance.



Mere Links 10.02.14
Thursday, October 2, 2014, 10:00 AM

Are You Greek?
Andrew Stephen Damick, First Things

Are you Greek?” This is the question I get asked the most when I tell someone that I am an Orthodox Christian. At first, this question rankled, because I am not Greek. (I am, among other things, Lithuanian.) Mind you, I would have no problem being Greek. It’s a wonderful, ancient culture with much to recommend it. But what rankled was the sense that being Orthodox means being Greek.

The World Alexander Made
Philip Jenkins, Aleteia

Early Christianity emerged in a thoroughly Hellenistic context.

California Approves Controversial ‘Yes Means Yes’ Consent Law For College Campuses
Associated Press

Gov. Jerry Brown announced Sunday that he has signed a bill that makes California the first in the nation to define when “yes means yes” and adopt requirements for colleges to follow when investigating sexual assault reports.

Natural Morality, American Exceptionalism, and Race Relations
S. Adam Seagrave , Public Discourse

The anti-slavery arguments of American abolitionists demonstrate the way in which Lockean natural rights and Thomistic natural law can be reconciled.



Mere Links 10.01.14
Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 10:00 AM

What Does Liberty Really Mean for Christians?
Jim Tonkowich, Juicy Ecumenism

Both people on the right and people on the left “alike seem confused about what liberty and progress really mean and require,” writes Ethics and Public Policy scholar, Yuval Levin in the October First Things.

The Cult Deficit
Ross Douthat, New York Times

Like most children of the Reagan era, I grew up with a steady diet of media warnings about the perils of religious cults — the gurus who lurked in wait for the unwary and confused, offering absolute certainty with the aftertaste of poisoned Kool-Aid.

The Modern Campus Cannot Comprehend Evil
Camille Paglia, Time

Young women today do not understand the fragility of civilization and the constant nearness of savage nature.

How Serious Is the Supreme Court About Religious Freedom?
Dawinder S. Sidhu, The Atlantic

A new case will test whether the justices’ defense of conscience in Hobby Lobby applies to minority religions like Muslims, or just to Christians.



Mere Links 09.30.14
Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 10:00 AM

Marriage Is Not a Water Fountain
Anthony Esolen, Public Discourse

Segregation was based on irrational, peculiar prejudice. By contrast, protecting marriage between one man and one woman is based on universal truths about our human nature.

Demons Believe and Tremble before the Real Presence
Msgr. Charles Pope, Aleteia

A reflection on the theft of the eucharist by satanists.

Many religions heavily concentrated in one or two countries
Conrad Hackett and Joseph Naylor, Pew Research Center

While Christians and Muslims are more widely distributed around the world, the other groups have a majority of their populations in just one or two nations, according to 2010 estimates from our Global Religious Landscape report.

5 Reasons Your Church Should Care about Hunger
Jill Waggoner, Pastors Today

For many Christians, the concept of hunger ministry brings to mind a governmental agency or a local food pantry. Yet the hunger need around the world is diverse and the ministries required to meet these needs will be also.



Mere Links 09.29.14
Monday, September 29, 2014, 10:00 AM

Father’s education level strongest factor in child’s success at school – study
Richard Adams, The Guardian

Children seven and a half times less likely to succeed if father failed to achieve, with mother’s education a lesser factor.

Religion, marriage increase life expectancy, study finds
Nancy Frazier O’Brien, Catholic News ServiceStudy

Study after study has confirmed that those who are involved in religion and those who are married are healthier, physically and mentally happier and live longer than those who are not.

Incest a ‘fundamental right’, German committee says
Justin Huggler, Telegraph

Anti-incest laws in Germany could be scraped after a government-backed group said relationships between brothers and sisters should be legal.

What’s Lost in Not Recognizing Campus Religious Groups
Karen Swallow Prior, The Atlantic

California State University’s recent decision to strip InterVarsity Christian Fellowship chapters of their school affiliation undermines its ability to teach pluralism.



Mere Links 09.26.14
Friday, September 26, 2014, 10:00 AM

Will Catholic Teaching on Marriage Change
Gerhard Cardinal Müller, First Things

The following is an excerpt from The Hope of the Family, a booklength interview with Gerhard Cardinal Müller, forthcoming from Ignatius Press.

When Catholic schools close, poor communities suffer (and crime goes up)
Michael McShane, AEI Ideas

For decades, research on Catholic schools has almost exclusively examined their academic effects. It has been conducted by social science luminaries like James Coleman and Tony Bryk and scales have almost universally tipped in the favor of Catholic schools, particularly when they are compared to traditional public schools in the neighborhood they often inhabit.

Breaking the Silence: Redefining Marriage Hurts Women Like Me – and Our Children
Janna Darnelle, Public Discourse

The push to present a positive image of same-sex families has hidden the devastation on which many are built. We must stand for marriage—and for the precious lives that marriage creates.

Inmate sues prison for not allowing him to worship Satan
Associated Press

A state prison inmate says New Mexico correction officials aren’t allowing him to practice his religion and properly worship Satan behind bars.



Mere Links 09.25.14
Thursday, September 25, 2014, 10:00 AM

Faithful Unto Death
Timothy George, First Things

We do not know exactly when the Christian faith first came to Smyrna. Most likely it was through the preaching of the Apostle Paul during his two-year ministry in Ephesus. Polycarp never knew Paul, but he did know his writings and quoted them often.

The Selfishness of ‘Free Love’
Pete Jermann, The Imaginative Conservative

To an alien traveler just sauntered in from a far distant part of the universe, it would be quite clear that our two speakers above were not talking about the same thing. In fact, it would be quite reasonable for our peripatetic alien to believe that Mr. Lightfoot and St. Paul were talking about two completely opposite things.

Is Divorce Equivalent to Homosexuality?
Russell Moore, Moore to the Point

Couples divorce, sometimes remarry others, and yet are welcomed within the congregation. We don’t necessarily affirm this as good, but we receive these people with mercy and grace. Why not, the argument goes, do the same with homosexuality.

The Family, A Seedbed of Vocations
Arland K. Nichols, Crisis Magazine

Above all else, it is the family that must manifest a fervent commitment to creating and fostering a culture of vocation. This commitment begins in the home and extends and radiates outward impacting the various small communities in which families are involved—parishes, clubs, and schools, for example.



Mere Links 09.24.14
Wednesday, September 24, 2014, 10:00 AM

Demons Believe and Tremble before the Real Presence
Msgr. Charles Pope, Aleteia

A reflection on the theft of the eucharist by satanists.

Many religions heavily concentrated in one or two countries
Conrad Hackett and Joseph Naylor, Pew Research Center

While Christians and Muslims are more widely distributed around the world, the other groups have a majority of their populations in just one or two nations, according to 2010 estimates from our Global Religious Landscape report.

100 Christians, Including Children, Arrested During Major House Church Raid in China
Stoyan Zaimov, Christian Post

Over 100 Christians, including children, were arrested during a major house church raid on Sunday in Foshan city in China’s Guangdong Province. Close to 200 police officers stormed in during the service, eyewitnesses said, believed to be part of a large-scale crackdown on Christians in the country.

Plan to send 300,000 new Bibles into Iran
Hugh Tomlinson, The Times

A new Persian translation of the Bible will be smuggled into Iran to feed a growing Christian community in the Islamic republic, defying a campaign of persecution by Tehran.


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