Christians must stay strong

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It is now estimated that more Christians were killed for their faith in the 20th century than in the first 19 centuries combined. The killing continues at a rate of more than 100,000 Christian martyrs every year in the 21st century. Thankfully, in the United States and most Western countries, religious freedom is not a matter of life and death. However, the challenges we face today in the West are extremely serious.

Discrimination in the United States and other Western countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia is no longer unusual. Frequently people are being penalized; weeded out; dismissed from their jobs or higher education programs; excluded from providing services to children and counseling; and dragged through employment tribunals and civil lawsuits – simply for holding to, or merely expressing, their religious and conscientious convictions about issues such as abortion, marriage and sexuality.

Courts, government entities and now some employers are trying to enforce a particular world-view under the banner of diversity, tolerance and human rights. The diversity that is acceptable seems to be limited to allowing Christians to think differently if they really must – as long as they keep these thoughts to themselves, and under no circumstances seek to act upon them.

President Obama has notably shifted from using the constitutional phrase “freedom of religion” to “freedom of worship.” Freedom of religion is not just freedom to worship at your church on Sundays. It is both our God-given and constitutional guarantee to be free to act on our beliefs in the public square, to speak about them and to seek to persuade others. It means not being coerced or bullied into silence by speech control and accusations of “homophobe,” “intolerant bigot,” “anti-choice,” etc.

In the United States, there is still time to turn this trend around. To borrow a phrase from Pope Francis, it’s time to “make a mess.” It is absolutely critical that Christians of all stripes get out of their silos and work together before all our religious freedoms are stripped away. Baptist and Catholic opposition to the U.S. contraception and sterilization mandate is just one example of “getting it right.” We need to fight to keep a tolerant pluralism, not an intolerant secularism, while there is still time.

Dan Almeter

Augusta

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faithson
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faithson 09/02/13 - 10:43 am
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Bishop Ware recognizes the politics, a wonderful start

"The Orthodox felt and still feel deep resentment at the way—as they see it—evangelicals have moved in on their territory"
Kallistos Ware

ps: tradition is in the realm of behavior, the intellect must remain free

faithson
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faithson 09/02/13 - 11:01 am
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2nd point

Bishop Ware is eastern orthodox, their evengelical activities outside of the baltic never came to furation. They were and are of a cultural tribal nature. Rome on the other hand, took evangelization to a new level, making 'Christian', all men. dark ages come to mind. then of course the renaissance, where the intellect was once again allowed reign.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 09/02/13 - 11:22 am
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The decline of Rome

The decline of Rome precipitated the dark ages where intellectual pursuits stagnated. That is except for Christian scholars and cleric who kept rational inquiry alive during this period. During this dark period for the west the Islamic east was having a renaissance of scientific inquiry driven by Islam.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 09/02/13 - 11:27 am
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I was noting atheist efforts

I was noting atheist efforts to remove mention of "God" in pledge of allegiance. I wonder if they will rewrite MLKjr "I have a dream speech to remove any mention of God"-should be a short speech.

effete elitist liberal
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effete elitist liberal 09/02/13 - 12:36 pm
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The pledge and MLK

Bikzit, Last I heard, students in public schools were not pressured into standing at attention, placing hands over hearts, and reciting the "I have a dream" speech.
Am I missing something???

effete elitist liberal
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effete elitist liberal 09/02/13 - 12:42 pm
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Giants

Re: your 8:54 post. Remember, both Dante and Milton believed their poems were non-fiction. The encouraging thing today is not that there remain people who still consider The Inferno and Paradise Lost true, but that more and more consider them myths!

effete elitist liberal
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effete elitist liberal 09/02/13 - 12:45 pm
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Bizkit

Right, except you might have added that those medieval Christian scholars and clerics stole many of "their" ideas from Islamic scientists and mathematicians....

Bodhisattva
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Bodhisattva 09/02/13 - 12:51 pm
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The original Pledge of Allegiance

"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

effete elitist liberal
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effete elitist liberal 09/02/13 - 01:03 pm
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Bod

Yeh, the "God" part was added later, but even the "liberty and justice for all" part was wrong, even then.

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 09/02/13 - 01:36 pm
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There's a big difference betweens actually reading

what someone writes and cherry-picking quotes from someone else's negative assessment of one tiny piece of a complete opus that covers such a broad scope of Christian life. It's just not all that impressive that you are able to do a meta search that pulls up something as skewed and unrepresentative as what you cite, and what it really reveals is your own pretty narrow focus, at least in my opinion. If evangelization is the only thing you look at or even the main thing, if it is your touchstone for Christian validity, well, that's pretty limited in value. There are many more gifts and all are equally important. That is straight from the NT.

As for tribal, please. How much do you really know and understand about Orthodoxy, even if you somehow believe (incorrectly) that you have some understanding of the political exigencies of Eastern Orthodoxy? That is virtually irrelevant to theology, which should be more than obvious for someone claiming to be informed about such things.

Bodhisattva
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Bodhisattva 09/02/13 - 01:24 pm
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Dante and Milton didn't

Dante and Milton didn't consider their works non-fiction, although many have based their theology, their images, and their ideas about their religion on these works of fiction.

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 09/02/13 - 01:39 pm
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Dante and Milton's works were allegorical

It was a very useful method for explaining very abstract concepts, including theological concepts as well as moral concepts, to people who were completely concrete and practical in their thinking.

It is useful today for the very same reasons.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 09/02/13 - 01:46 pm
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Well I agree there isn't

Well I agree there isn't justice for all especially women, Hispanics ,and Asians. I was making light of the penchant to remove mentionof God in historical documents. To me it is like neutering Huck Finn because it is offensive. If you don't believe in God is it that big a deal to leave it for those Americans who do. But I agree there needs to be mutual respect from both sides so back off gay marriage and abortion, and atheist can let Christians have their bibles,guns,and public displays-welcome others too. Whatever my personal feelings I like to see people have freedoms and I don't like restrictions. As long as it doesn't propose a state religion- no I doubt many Christians would want a theocracy. We still have a secular state that has so much freedom they allow mention of faith in historical documents. America is becoming atheist but I would hope there will be tolerance and freedom of religion when there are few- we let American- Indians their myths. But from comments here I think not.

myfather15
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myfather15 09/02/13 - 02:02 pm
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" You want to make the US

" You want to make the US into a theocracy. You want prayer, or your own faith, in public places, in schools, in all areas of government. You want to be the persecutor and are dying inside because you can't force your will on to others. You want your God to be declared the God of all the land against all Constitutional restrictions and against all the founders fought and died for."

No, we don't want ANY religion that FORCES others to believe as they do, because you truly CAN'T do that!! It wouldn't be true, PURE love and devotion.

Yes, we DO want to reestablish Prayer in public places, including schools!! No, every child shouldn't have to participate, just as they didn't we MY school classes had prayer. The children that don't participate should NOT be discriminated against; as WE didn't then. I remember several children who didn't do the prayer or celebrate Christmas or Easter. NOTHING happened to them, they weren't ridiculed for this. With the way children are behaving today and how out of control our schools are, how could it possibly hurt to hold prayer in class? But hey; this is what the left wants and you will have it.........for a while!!

We are certainly NOT dying inside, for any reason!! We are more alive than you can imagine!! Everything you guy's say and attempt to belittle us with; has been forewarned of us in the Bible. God has told us the "Falling away" will come and it will be difficult. We are told to stay in the WORD and IT will help us be strong, but you guys wouldn't understand that.

No, we don't want our God to be declared "The God of all the land" because that declaration would have to come from MEN!! God IS the God of the entire world and HE declares this, we don't need MEN to do this for us!! So, you can keep misinterpreting the Constitution and using it to suppress Christianity from the public arena.........for a while longer!!

faithson
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faithson 09/02/13 - 02:12 pm
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How much do you really know and understand about Orthodox

ahhh... pretty much, in fact a whole lot... as that is how I was raised, Latin and all. Hard to criticize an cradle observant Catholic about their relationship with orthodoxy, especially before they turned the Altar around.
I also make no claims... I state positions, but I claim nothing,

myfather15
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myfather15 09/02/13 - 02:14 pm
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EEL

"Bikzit, Last I heard, students in public schools were not pressured into standing at attention, placing hands over hearts, and reciting the "I have a dream" speech.
Am I missing something???"

Well, I actually wouldn't mind reciting that speech, because it was a wonderful speech from a man of God!! He certainly wasn't an atheist liberal and was NOTHING like the "civil rights leaders" of today!! THAT MAN was different and did the entire world a great service!!

BUT, certainly school children ARE being TOLD so sing "Obama loves the little children, all the little children of the world." Putting HIM into a place that was for Jesus!! Causing children to worship this man, as liberals love to worship MEN!!

But don't worry, it will last a little longer......and then will come to a final end!!

myfather15
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myfather15 09/02/13 - 02:27 pm
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GAD

"As for myself (and this is just me), if I belonged to ANY group who took delight in bad news, I would seriously reconsider my affiliation with that group."

The simple fact is, you have no clue what you're talking about!! You can't know or understand the truth, because your mind refuses to allow it. Christians don't "delight" in bad news; that's a ridiculous distortion of the truth!! MOST of the Bible is prophecy; prophecy through examples and stories. History AND the Bible keep repeating themselves, over and over!! In the old testament, mankind kept REPEATING the same crap, over and over; even after God warned them to change their ways. THEN, the Savior appeared!! Current history and MEN, keep repeating the same things now........and the Savior shall appear again!!

Therefore we DO NOT "delight" in bad news and God doesn't cause the bad things. He knows the future and has TOLD us all things. We don't delight in them, but we know HE told us ALL this would happen; so it comforts us that eventually, all the bad things will stop!!! Because if MAN were to remain in charge for ever; BAD THINGS would NEVER stop!! When you've been forewarned that certain things will happen, you aren't surprised when they do!!

God's Word COMFORTS US; it doesn't cause us to delight in evil things occurring!! We place the blame of evil things, right where they belong....on MANKIND!!

myfather15
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myfather15 09/02/13 - 02:33 pm
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"Ask a holocaust survivor

"Ask a holocaust survivor what religious persecution is. I don't think comments in a newspaper will quickly come to mind. Shheeez!"

Good point!! The holocaust victims were Jews and the King of the Jews was Christ!! They killed Him and they killed them!! They've been hated for a very long time, mostly by left wing fascist governments!!

myfather15
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myfather15 09/02/13 - 02:38 pm
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nonfaithson

" This 'slant' to appeal to the white races has tainted Christian theology to the point that it loses its effect upon the other cultures of the world. We may think that OUR's IS the religion of the Christ, but if you think about it, the religion of the Christ should have an appeal to ALL peoples, as the Christ IS in partnership with the Father, the creator of them. "

This comment is so ridiculous; and the only thing more ridiculous is that you actually believe this!! Do you have ANY clue how many Black people are Christians? Do you have ANY clue how many of those Churches, you guys talk about on "every corner" are black Christian Churches?

Did you have any clue that percentage based; black people are more firm and faithful to their beliefs than whites? Did you know the vast majority of the black population are against gay marriage and abortion? Get a clue!!

OJP
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OJP 09/02/13 - 02:47 pm
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@Fiat Lux

" There is real martyrdom being experienced by people even here in little old Augusta..."

Oh for crying out loud... if you think Christians are persecuted in this country, you're the religious equivalent of a trust fund baby (i.e., clueless).

myfather15
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myfather15 09/02/13 - 03:08 pm
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Yes, pay no attention to left

Yes, pay no attention to left activists entering Churches, disrupting the service to chant about equality/gay marriage!! Pay no attention to the couple in Arizona being arrested for holding Bible study in THEIR HOME, because too many people attended. Pay no attention to the thousands of lawsuits, aimed at Christian organizations for displaying anything in public!! Pay no attention to the government telling Christian organizations they can NOT abide by their beliefs, because that would violate government regulations about health care!!

Pay no attention to the teacher in Florida who was fired for talking about his personal Christian beliefs about gay marriage; on HIS FACEBOOK account!! Pay no attention to the MANY Elementary schools, who refused to allow the children to write "Merry Christmas" on letters written to our military men and women, fighting over seas!!

Pay no attention to Virginia's law banning the mention of God at military funerals AND ordering the banning of any religious symbols from being placed in those cemeteries.

Federal judge threatened “incarceration” to a high school valedictorian unless she removed references to Jesus from her graduation speech.

City officials prohibited senior citizens from praying over their meals, listening to religious messages or singing gospel songs at a senior activities center.

A public school official physically lifted an elementary school student from his seat and reprimanded him in front of his classmates for praying over his lunch.

The U.S. Department of Justice argued before the Supreme Court that the federal government can tell churches and synagogues which pastors and rabbis it can hire and fire. Yes, it was shot down; but it's astounding they even tried this!!

The State of Texas sought to approve and regulate what religious seminaries can teach.

Please, don't believe ME!! Look it up yourself; you've got the information SUPER HIGHWAY at your fingertips!!!

But, pay no attention to this non-sense!! Just listen to every word these liberal atheists say; because THAT is exactly what they are hoping people will do!!

myfather15
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myfather15 09/02/13 - 03:12 pm
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They are just like credit

They are just like credit card companies!! They know people are lazing and irresponsible!! Most people won't do their own research and LEARN truth. The credit card companies BANK on people being irresponsible, and late with a payment; so they can jack their interest rate sky high, where you will never get it paid off!! Liberal's BANK on people being lazy and uninformed; so they can slip in there and tell their lies!! These lies confuse people and many LISTEN to them.

Fiat_Lux
15698
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Fiat_Lux 09/02/13 - 03:16 pm
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At Faithson

I'm not talking about orthodox Catholicism. I talking about Orthodoxy, as in the part of the Faith the Latin Church split off from around, oh, 1000 years ago.

Very different things.

carcraft
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carcraft 09/02/13 - 03:53 pm
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EEL -I have read that Muslim

EEL -I have read that Muslim scholars actually didn't have much of a scientific renascence as simply incorporated conquered peoples knowledge into thier culture wit little advancement beyond that!

carcraft
26269
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carcraft 09/02/13 - 04:25 pm
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Most of the concepts of

Most of the concepts of algerbra and zero were understood but multiple prior cultures, Greek, Hindu, etc.

Fiat_Lux
15698
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Fiat_Lux 09/02/13 - 05:44 pm
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@OJP

Because you have the awareness of an oyster when it involves matters of faith and conscience, especially of the Christian variety, you probably should take it on faith that you're not likely to be carrying around an informed or worthwhile opinion about such things.

I mean, really, how would you even know?

faithson
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faithson 09/02/13 - 06:42 pm
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eastern orthodox ?

good friend in Father Munn, past pastor of our local eastern orthodox congregation. super traditional outlook on spirituality.

carcraft
26269
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carcraft 09/02/13 - 07:09 pm
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Faithson, wasn't Father Minn

Faithson, wasn't Father Minn an Episcopal Priest before he went to the Greek Orthodox?

corgimom
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corgimom 09/02/13 - 07:49 pm
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"I was noting atheist efforts

"I was noting atheist efforts to remove mention of "God" in pledge of allegiance. "

My parents grew up not saying "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, it wasn't added until 1956.

And I defy anyone to show me a more religious, more patriotic group than the Greatest Generation.

corgimom
33229
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corgimom 09/02/13 - 07:50 pm
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"NOTHING happened to them,

"NOTHING happened to them, they weren't ridiculed for this."

You were fortunate,myfather, I've seen different. As an adult.

Your experience doesn't necessarily translate to a universal experience.

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