After ten years, Portugal drug law show results.

November 13th, 2011

I have argued for years against the failed War on Drugs. The proof is in the pudding;

Health experts in Portugal said Friday (1 July 2011) that Portugal’s decision 10 years ago to decriminalise drug use and treat addicts rather than punishing them is an experiment that has worked. (emphasis mine)

He does not lend at usury or take excessive interest.

September 4th, 2006

The psalm this past Sunday, Ps 15:2-3, 3-4, 4-5 is a reflection on Ezekial 18:5-9, a description of a man of virtue. This one line from that reading hit me simply because I have credit card debts that are years old, that I’ve been trying to pay “forever”.

In California, the legal rate of interest is 10% for consumers; the general usury limit for non-consumers is anything over 5% greater than the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s rate, yet I have credit cards that charge way over 20%!

How can they do that? According to http://www.lectlaw.com/files/ban02.htm, in 1980, the federal government passed a special law which allowed national banks to ignore state usury limits. They are the ones that issue credit cards and change over 20% interest on them.

What they are doing may be perfectly legal, but I wonder what God will say to the people who work for those banks when judgment day roles around?

Catholic Analysis and Charismatic Spirituality

July 13th, 2006

I stumbled across this blog today; Happy Catholic and it pointed me to another blog;

At Catholic Analysis Oswald Sobrino is running quite an excellent series about Catholic charismatic spirituality. I’ve been involved, in some manner or other, in that Charismatic Renewal for over thirty years, so I have a slight, positive bias. 🙂

Check out Charismatic Spirituality Part I, Part II, his summary, Pope John Paul II’s Pentecost Vigil Address, and Pope Benedict XVI’s Pentecost Vigil Address (both with Sobrino’s commentary).

Marriage: The separation of the Sacred and the Profane

May 11th, 2004

You’ve all seen crying and hand-wringing by those who believe that Same Sex Marriages [samesexmarriage.ca] somehow violate the sanctity of marriage. (See: Bush vows to defend ‘sanctity of marriage’ [washtimes.com].)

My position is simple. By mixing the secular or profane recognition of legal and financial contracts, known as marriages, with the theological or sacred unions of a man and a woman, also known as marriages, the churches have opened themselves up to this problem.

The major theme behind the drive for same sex marriage contracts is access to the same financial rights and benefits that are given to those who get “married”. Hospital visitation rights, health insurance, the right to raise children and inheritance rights. These are all secular issues. They have nothing to do with the teachings of mainstream religions. [One exception noted below.]

The pastors and priests of this country have allowed the state to license them to perform marriages. In doing so, they have mingled the sacred and the profane. Other countries require two wedding ceremonies. One, by a civil servant, establishes the civil and financial contracts that make up a civil union. The other, by a minister or priest, establishes the spiritual union as taught by that specific church. By co-mingling the sacred and the profane aspects of the marriage union, the religious leaders have lost their ability to control the definition of a “marriage”.

The solution is simple. Each church needs to clearly define what constitutes a marriage based on their theology and perform the appropriate ceremonies needed to recognize that union. However, they must also understand that they cannot and must not control the secular contracts that state recognizes as a marriage union. If they were smart, they would join the bandwagon to recognize same sex and other civil contracts as just that, civil contracts and unions, and work to separate them from the concept of a sacred marriage union.

Sacred [reference.com]: 2. Worthy of religious veneration: the sacred teachings of the Buddha.

Profane [reference.com]: 2. Nonreligious in subject matter, form, or use; secular: sacred and profane music.

The one exception I mentioned is the underlying teachings by some faiths that homosexuality is a sin. (See: HOMOSEXUALITY—SIN, OR A CULTURAL BAD HABIT? [apologeticspress.org] for one example.) This, however, has nothing to do with the US Government or a State recognizing a financial contract between two people who are living together. Finally, given the US concept of the separation of church and state, the government cannot base its legal decisions on the teachings of any one church, no matter how mainstream that church is.

Word of Faith?

November 23rd, 2003

In Christian circles, there is a concept of prayer that blames the lack of a positive answer to prayer on the lack of ‘faith’ on the part of the person praying.

This damaging concept leads to many people blaming themselves and others for their continued illness or misfortune.

It is based on a misunderstanding of some key scriptures. Here is a look at two of them.
Mark 11:
23 “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Normally this is interpreted as requiring an act of faith on the part of the believer for prayer to be answered. They tie it to Hebrews 11:1.

Hebrews 11:
1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

The claim is that you must ‘believe’ before you ‘see’ in order to ‘receive’ and that failure to ‘believe’ will lead to a failure to ‘receive’.

Instead, read it as a description of the discernment process.

When you pray, ask for discernment, and when the Spirit places His faith and peace in your heart you will know that the prayer will be answered.

Matthew 18:
19 “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.
20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”

Again, instead of reading this as a call to ‘forced agreement’, see it as a description of the discernment process.

When two or more believers spend time together in prayer and come to peace in their hearts about the issue, they can rest assured that their prayer has been answered in heaven.

California missionary killed in southern Lebanon

November 22nd, 2002

http://www.foxnews.com/story/2002/11/21/us-missionary-killed-in-lebanon.html

Here is another an example of the current actions of the poor, downtrodden Muslim people, that leads to the current high levels of non-sympathy for their situation in the civilized world.

When something like that happens in the ‘civilized’ world, the local government agencies go all out to find the person who did it and insure that it doesn’t happen again. The local, civilian communities respond in outrage and help to insure that the person who did it is caught.

In the poor, downtrodden Muslim world, the local governments make vague gestures of sorrow and accomplish nothing. The local, civilian community goes out of its way to idolize and hide the person who did it.

And yet, they wonder why sympathy is lacking. History is replete with stories of poor, downtrodden ethnic groups that rose above their suffering while acting with honor and integrity. The Muslim community has NOT shown itself to be one of those groups. Maybe that is why they are still suffering.

Where are the stories of people of honor and integrity coming from the Middle East? Where are the Muslim equivalents this young, American nurse, who gave her life working to better the lives of others?

It appears that the only Muslim equivalents we hear about are those who give their lives to ruin the lives of others.

Not quite the same.

MEDIA ATTACKING CATHOLIC PARISH FOR REFUSING TO MARRY PRO-ABORTION COUPLE

August 30th, 2002

http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2002/aug/02082801.html

Catholic Wedding Not Possible For Unrepentant Abortion Supporter

MEDICINE HAT, AB, August 28, 2002 (LSN.ca) – Newspapers across the country have attacked a Catholic parish in Medicine Hat Alberta for refusing to marry a pro-abortion couple. Celina Ling, a Planned Parenthood employee, who was supposed to marry fiance Robert Symmonds at St. Patrick’s Church on Sept. 21, was told by pastor Rev. John Maes that she could not be wed in the church due to her pro-abortion stand.

The media has assailed the parish for its action which is consistent with Catholic principles. Various news organizations have gone so far as to present one-sided commentary from the fraudulent pro-abortion group “Catholics For a Free Choice” (CFFC). A Canadian Press story, quoted in newspapers as far away as New Brunswick, quoted CFFC’s Frances Kissling’s hostile comments towards the church.

Pro-lifers congratulated Fr. John Maes for remaining true to the Catholic faith by refusing to allow an unrepentant abortion supporter to get married in the Catholic church. Catholic Insight editor Fr. Alphonse de Valk told LifeSite “Marriage is a sacrament in the Catholic church and, like all other sacraments, requires repentance for grave sin prior to valid participation.” Fr. de Valk concluded, “Fr. Maes did not ‘just decide’ to refuse the pro-abortion woman marriage, she excluded herself from the sacrament by contributing to the killing of unborn children with her work at Planned Parenthood.”
See related LifeSite coverage: ALBERTA PRIEST REFUSES TO MARRY PLANNED PARENTHOOD EMPLOYEE AND FIANCE

http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2002/aug/02082701.html
See the biased coverage in various papers:

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1030485715233&call_page=TS_News&call_pageid=968332188492&call_pagepath=News/News

Story appeared in the Calgary News Aug. 28 edition. [story taken offline]

http://www.recorder.ca/cp/national/020827/n0827111A.html