Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Christmas!

To those following the New Calendar, we wish a joyous Feast of the Nativity!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Reason on Paul Controversy

As a Christian, I hold to ethical principles that strongly influence my political views.

As a priest, and bound by civic legal rules that stifle my First Amendment rights to free speech, I do not represent my political views as in any way reflecting the teachings, opinions, or holding the authority of my Church. Thus, in this my first - and likely only - posting of a distinctly political nature, I speak only for myself and in no way posit an evaluation of religious censure against anyone who disagrees with any inferred opinion that may be attributable to me herein.

As a citizen, I firmly believe in Federalism as exemplified by the Federalist Papers of Hamilton, Madison and Jay, and the US Constitution (as interpreted through the lens of the annals of the Constitutional Convention by James Madison). I am convinced that it is only through upholding the Liberties protected in the Constitution that the US Republic can provide a setting for people of good will to work out their salvation, promote a peaceful, productive and ultimately moral culture, and establish an equitable society for the general welfare of all its citizens.

That said, and having followed the ongoing political debates that form part of the lead up to next year's Federal election in the US, I recommend the following article.

Ron Paul Ugly, Racist Newsletters Not Going Away, But Do They Invalidate His Candidacy?

Incidentally, Reason is typically an interesting and often thought-provoking read.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Chicago Sun-Times Reports on Christian Suffering in Middle East

Today, the Chicago Sun-times reports a rarely stated fact for Christians in the Middle East: Persecution at the hands of Moslem neighbors.

From the report, note the following:
Only in Israel, where religious freedom is honored, have Christians increased, soaring from 34,000 in 1948 to 140,000 today.

Advocates for Islam talk about its history of tolerance, but political, revolutionary Islamism is the driving force in Mideast history today; it has little use for religious freedom. That has Christians literally running for their lives.
Read it all here (and post a comment to let it be known that it is an important issue).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Professor Glenn on the Tyranny of Public Education

Professor Charles L Glenn of Boston University has contributed a thought-provoking piece over at First Things concerning Secular Education in the United States. It is well worth reading and pondering. Below are a few excerpts.

Most Americans are products of the public school’s 140-year near-monopoly on education, and have an understandable residual loyalty to our current educational settlement; many believe, as advocates of the “myth of the common school” have been arguing since Horace Mann, that only the public school can form citizens. But low test scores and concern over the moral vacuousness of both curriculum and school life dominated by peer culture have shaken faith in the public system. Parents are seeking alternatives, not only in private schools but in charter schools (legally “public” but functionally private), homeschooling, and cyberschools. Even those parents who do not want religion taught in the schools their children attend usually see no problem with other children attending schools whose religious character is preferred by their parents.

America did not always have a rigid educational establishment that claimed religious neutrality. Its rise was propelled by anti-Catholic sentiment, leading to a unified educational system that displaced the patchwork of local arrangements that prevailed in the early republic and that provided a degree of religious pluralism surprising to those raised with the contemporary idea of the separation of church and state. It was common in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries for public funding to be provided to schools that we would now consider “private” and religious, the great majority of them Protestant but some of them Catholic. These denominational arrangements were actually the norm in federally funded schooling for children on Indian reservations until the late nineteenth century.

Our nation needs to confront the loss of faith in public education, a loss fueled both by disappointing international comparisons of test results and by a severing of the rootedness of schools in local communities. Consolidation of school districts, professionalization of educational administration, the unresponsiveness of teachers’ unions to the concerns of parents, and ballooning state and federal requirements, all have led to a loss of confidence in America’s schools.

Read the whole article here.