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February 15, 2016 | Volume 91 Number 8

LETTERS

Sharia law espoused by many Muslims

Regarding Dr. Mazzarella’s support for the defense of Muslims in the Letters section (Jan. 18 issue), everyone should understand that Islam is a religion but it is also a set of laws known as Sharia law.

Sharia or Islamic law defines the culture of Islam and legalizes such things as child marriage (50-year-old men take child brides as young as 10 years old, justified because their prophet did it), polygamy, wife beating, treating women as property, stoning of adulterers, death by hanging as punishment for homosexuality, limb amputation as punishment for theft and death for Apostasy (Muslims converting to other religions).

These are not extreme views. These are widely accepted views by Muslims in Muslim nations all over the world. “Google” it and look it up for yourself.

According to Pew Research, most Muslims want Sharia law to be the law of the land. Chapter 1: Beliefs About Sharia.

Do your own research then decide for yourself if Islamic culture is something we want in America.

read the letter »

 

Slippery slope with classroom prayer

In re: Patriotic words challenged (Commentary, Jan. 18 issue), it’s very disturbing to read an article pertaining to the flagrant violation of our Constitution and the blatant attack on our religious freedoms by secular, communist founded organizations like the ACLU.

It further disturbs me to see how uninformed and ignorant the average person is concerning these rights and freedoms, including the Supreme Court Justices currently on the bench and their erroneous interpretations.

It’s a slippery slope when we mix the establishment clause with the free exercise clause, and more ambiguity arises if mixed in a governmental setting, in this case a school.

As a result of this slippery slope, it’s easy to confuse what constitutes an establishment of religion, and the free exercise of a religious liberty, also protected equally by the first amendment.

Thomas Jefferson was quoted as saying: “To consider judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions is a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy… the Constitution has erected no such tribunal.”

This is the first problem… they have become just that. Any right-minded person with any sense at all would easily be able to discern the difference between an establishment of religion from the free exercise thereof… the second big problem.

The third and most dangerous threat to our freedoms is the atheistic, progressive movement that has been advancing in our country for the last 100 years, polluting the minds of the feeble and simple-minded with entitlements, making them nothing more than mindless government cattle, sheltered in a government barn and fed with government hay.

Then they systematically and incrementally, over this extended period of time, promote hostility towards religion, promotion of decadence and immorality thus weakening resolve and reason by appointing progressive, activist jurists on the highest court in the land to subvert, pervert and all but eradicate any semblance of a constitutional republic.

As a political activist with The Heritage Foundation, I’ve had the pleasure to observe the prayers invoked in the beginning of government proceedings including the Congress of the United States where a chaplain is on the payroll for just that purpose.

The Constitution of the United States is in no way hostile to religion, and on the contrary encourages it as a fundamental pillar of good government.

As long as any government entity does not promote the establishment of a religion, according to the common sense of the 1st Amendment, there has been no Constitutional violation.

read the commentary »

 

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

The Catholic Virginian welcome letters in response to content or faith and moral issues. Letters should be typed or neatly written or in e-mail form. Please include the writer’s full name, address and phone number. We request they not exceed 300 words, focus on one topic, and not make a personal attack on individuals or institutions. Letters may be edited for style, size or content. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of The Catholic Virginian or the Diocese of Richmond.

Letters maybe faxed to: 804-359-5689, mailed to 7800 Carousel Lane, Richmond, VA 23294, or e-mailed to steveneill@catholicvirginian.org.

Conflict conditions hurt persecuted Christians

In response to “U.S. Bishop Says Palestinians Have Lost Hope,” Jan 18, 2016, it is very sad to see how innocent people’s lives are torn up by conflict.

In this case, it is Christians in Gaza who are also being persecuted in many parts of the world today, more than ever in recent times.

I remember not too long ago reading about how Israeli and Palestinian children grew up together in Israel as friends, went to school together. Palestinians there had businesses, worked, took part in voting during elections and were treated as people in a Democracy should be. Perhaps some normalcy still exists.

Today, however, there are violent knife attacks by Palestinians on Israelis on the streets of Israel. ISIS may be part of the current influence, but I’m sure security has become more intense and uncomfortable for everyone.

The Palestinians today, residing in Gaza, are the victims of their own government’s refusal to accept an agreement acknowledging Israel’s right to exist.

Over decades several American administrations have attempted to broker a peaceful solution to no avail. Israel has made many concessions, hoping for peace, by giving up land, the latest being Gaza.

The response has been constant rocket attacks and tunnels used to attack Israeli soldiers. Cement slabs and barbed wire barriers have been necessary for Israel’s survival and consequently disrupts the lives, land, jobs and farming of people near the border, as described by Bishop Cantu of New Mexico.

One wonders how people could endure this ugly existence without losing hope on both sides of the barriers. Israel needs our continued prayers and support for a solution so all may live in peace and freedom in the region.

Israel needs a change of heart and desire for peace from the leadership of the Palestinian people, perhaps a miracle.

“U.S. Bishop Says Palestinians Have Lost Hope,” did not appear in the web edition of The Catholic Virginian.

 

Climate change seen as political issue

Although the subject of “climate change” and the Church’s decision to support the actions governments plan to take to address its predicted consequences have been presented in The Catholic Virginian and in subsequent letters, I feel compelled to offer another perspective.

When the scientific investigation behind climate change is carried out almost entirely by government agencies and by researchers who are funded by these same governments, and when the political leaders from these governments gather to determine what must be done to solve a self-defined problem, it is evident that climate change is a political issue.

Given this context, I am troubled by the Church speaking out in support of the current climate change agenda. In its almost illogical simplicity, climate change is said to be caused by too many humans utilizing too much of the earth’s carbon based resources.

It follows that if governments are to address the projected dire situation being attributed to climate change, they must first act to reduce the use of “dirty” energy, while promoting the use of “clean” energy, and second move to discourage the growth of the earth’s population.

Both of these strategies are fraught with unintended consequences for the Church and two of its primary teachings, addressing the plight of the poor and being open to life.

As good Catholic Christians, each of us should seek guidance from the Holy Spirit as to what we as individuals can do to protect God’s creation.

We should be sensitive to the amount and types of energy we use, as well as how we discern what the secular world puts before us as truth.

Our relationship with God is a personal one, not one abdicated to government so it can control and direct us to do what it determines to be in the best interest of what we refer to as the Body of Christ and the future of the planet upon which it resides.

 

Church rightly addresses climate change factors

Climate change meets statistical standards as a valid scientific phenomenon and cannot be brushed aside as a political ploy.

Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si encourages good stewardship of our planet and is consistent with Biblical teaching. Yes, variables such as cloud formation and ocean dynamics are little understood. But it is possible to detect pollution from the industrial plants in India, China and the U.S. as far north as Barrow, Alaska.

There is growing concern that extreme weather patterns may be the product of climate change. Holy Mother Church has good reason to be concerned.

Conservative and liberal Vermont farmers witness how climate change affects their maple sugar operations. Maple sugar bush operations at Highland County, Virginia are doomed. American bird watchers have documented the march of bird territories 400 miles north thanks to global warming.

Virginia’s Tidewater regions are watching sea level changes from combined forces of glacial melt and bay subsidence.

St. Peter and several disciples were fishermen who understood the dynamics of fish yield. They would have cautioned modern fishermen against the use of technology and habitat destruction that can take a fish population to the point of no return.

Moses secured the food of Egypt by understanding that Nile River variations affect crop yield and he wisely prepared for years of famine and good harvest.

Climate change will have a major effect on global politics as the winners and losers fight over resources such as water. Pope Francis challenges us to remember the poor because they will pay the most immediate price as their food, water and living space deteriorate.

Pope Pius XII and his successors examined the evidence regarding evolution and declared that the theory of evolution is not at odds with Church teaching. Denying climate change joins evolution denial as a rejection of scientific fact.

Climate change deniers can beat their drums in the political arena but they are wrong to claim the Catholic Church is in error for addressing the subject.