From the Light!
Psychic, And Confused?
'We are likewise actuated by the persuasion that it would be pleasing to Almighty God to publish the wonders of His workings in chosen souls; for if it is good to hide the secret of the king, it is also honorable to confess the works of the Most High.
'The disciples of Antichrist never weary of publishing book after book, each more pernicious than the preceding, with the design of perverting the mind and corrupting the hearts of millions; they employ every effort, every stratagem to spread around by means of the press and in every possible form the deadly poison of hell.
'As every bad book tends to mislead the mind and corrupt the heart of its ready, so every good book is a cherished companion, a faithful teacher, whose lessons are more often telling on the interior life than the most eloquent sermons.'
The Best Choral Album in the World...Ever!
The Canadian Tenors by Victor Micallef
"Perfection, though the samples don't do justice to the emotion and power they convey."
Il Divo by Il Divo
The Opera Band by Amici Forever
Duetto: Marcelo Álvarez & Salvatore Licitra by Marcelo Alvarez
The Best of Andrea Bocelli: Vivere by Andrea Bocelli
My Heart by Sissel
Songs From a Secret Garden by Secret Garden
Yanni Voices [CD/DVD] by Yanni
River of Dreams - Very Best of by Hayley Westenra
Tallis Scholars sing Palestrina by Gregorian Chant
Buxtehude: Membra Jesu Nostri by Dietrich Buxtehude
Pergolesi: Stabat Mater; Salve Regina by Emma Kirkby
Vivaldi - Nisi Dominus & Stabat Mater / Lemieux, Jaroussky, Ensemble Matheus, Spinosi by Philippe Jaroussky
Josquin Desprez: Motets & Chansons by Josquin Desprez
Salve Regina: Gregorian Chant by Gregorian Chant
Like As A Hart-Psalms & Spiritual Songs by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
Favourite Hymns from Oxford by Christ Church Cathedral Choir Oxford
Holy Bible: From the Ancient Eastern Text: George M. Lamsa's Translation From the Aramaic of the Peshitta by George Mamishisho Lamsa (May 8, 1985)
Aramaic Peshitta New Testament Translation - Messianic Version by Janet M Magiera (Mar 20, 2009)
The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The Revised and Updated Translation of Sacred Gnostic Texts Complete in One Volume [Paperback] by Marvin W. Meyer (Author), James M. Robinson (Author)
The Gnostic Bible: Revised and Expanded Edition [Paperback] Willis Barnstone
"Lucifer's created nature is good, though through his own choice (his exercise of the gift of free will), he has become the most perfectly corrupted being in existence. He is the first conspiritor, the first deceiver. While self-proclaimed "englightened" folk would like to dismiss the concept of Satan as simplistic myth and folklore, their position is not well-reasoned; it lacks in the understanding of free will, and the universal consequences of our corporate choices.
End of the Present World and the Mysteries of the Future Life [Paperback] , Fr. Charles Arminjon (Author), Susan Conroy (Translator), Peter McEnerny (Translator)
The Confessions by St. Augustine
The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God by Dallas Willard "" is, like the Kingdom of Heaven itself, a feast for the soul. "
One of the things Willard does best is to deal a problem which he diagnoses as "overfamiliarity" with Jesus and His message. One of the greatest benefits of the book is that Willard has a way of giving the reader forceful thoughts and memorable quotes."
Devotional Classics: Revised Edition: Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups by Richard Foster
"Foster and Smith’s "Devotional Classics" is a rare devotional book that fits truly blesses the reader in a deep way. The devotional selections introduce us to saints from all ages of the church and leaves us wanting to read more of their works"
Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home by Richard Foster
""Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home" by Richard Foster is a good place to start for the many people who want help in praying. The most beneficial aspect of Foster’s book is that he presents and describes 21 kinds of prayers that we might pray. In this way, he expands our vocabulary of prayer, and therefore he deepens our experience with God."
Spiritual Companions: An Introduction the the Christian Classics by Peter Toon
"Many of us are looking for better, deeper devotional material. In "Spiritual Companions" Peter Toon introduces us to 100 spiritual companions – devotional writers and their works that may help lead us closer to God. I wish, however, that Toon had included a devotional excerpt from each that I could savor for myself."
The Practice of the Presence of God the Best Rule of a Holy Life (Dodo Press) by Brother Lawrence
"This little book will help you "pray without ceasing," which is the missing part of the lives of many. Brother Lawrence was able to achieve this by continually turning to God throughout the day as he worked in a kitchen and by carrying on a familiar conversation with God before, during, and after work. It will definitely contribute to a deeper devotional time."
Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius by St. Ignatius of Loyola
"The Spiritual Exercises are deep spiritual exercises that have benefited many over the centuries. While intended as a whole course of spiritual exercises for the few, many could potentially benefit from Ignatian examinations of the conscience and meditations on sin, the kingdom of Christ, biblical narratives, the Sermon on the Mount, humility, the Ten Commandments, the senses, etc."
The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A. Kempis
""The Imitation of Christ" is a cornucopia of devotional material, some of it better than others. What a Kempis does well is place before the believer the continual need to seek Christ above all things. Another thing a Kempis does well is to keep pointing us toward eternity. However, it’s too world-denying at times."
Lancelot Andrewes and His Private Devotions by Alexander Whyte
"One of the greatest resources for private prayer. They are some of the finest prayers and meditations composed by man. I use these prayers sometimes for my own devotional use and on other occasions. Though not set up for daily use, they can certainly become a part of your daily prayer and devotional life."
My Utmost for His Highest - by Oswald Chambers
"The granddaddy of 20th century devotional books is still a favorite. Chambers wrote in a simple format: one verse from the Bible, followed by one page of devotional writing. He writes simply, forcefully, and practically. However, such devotional books are limited because Scripture is meant to be read in its entire context, and not as single verses."
Matthew for Everyone: Chapters 1-15 by N. T. Wright
""Matthew for Everyone" is part of the New Testament series of books by N.T. Wright. The series is nothing less than sensational and, in spite of his contributions to theological debates, is one of Wright’s most important contributions to the good of the Church. Although billed as a commentary, it has wonderful devotional material."
Ancient Christian Devotional: A Year of Weekly Readings, Lectionary Cycle A by Cindy Crosby
"The "Ancient Christian Devotional" helps Christians connect to the saints and Church of all ages. It provides a year of weekly readings for each week of the year. It’s a rich devotional resource that provides a structure for the devotions of God’s people, while drawing upon the riches of the saints of the past. Unfortunately, you’ll have to be a little creative to use it on a daily basis."
Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray
""Abide in Christ" is a helpful but limited guide to abiding in Christ. What Murray says is good and helps to feed the Christian’s soul, and the lesson that we need to abide in Christ is an important one. However, Murray’s understanding of how we abide in Christ is a solely individualistic abiding in Christ, and Murray is too general in what he says."
Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God, Revised and Expanded by Henry T. Blackaby
""Experiencing God" reminds people that God’s always at work around us, pursues a love relationship with us, and speaks to His people. The workbook questions can be particularly helpful. However, Blackaby focuses too much on individual, subjective experiences with God. He assumes too much that the way God spoke to people like Moses is normative for Christians today."
Protestant Spiritual Exercises: Theology, History, and Practice by Joseph D. Driskill
Journey with Jesus: Discovering the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius by Larry Warner
The Spiritual Exercises Reclaimed: Uncovering Liberating Possibilities for Women by Katherine Marie Dyckman
The Ignatian Workout: Daily Exercises for a Healthy Faith by Saint Ignatius of Loyola
Wellsprings: A Book of Spiritual Exercises by Anthony de Mello, SJ
The Way to Christ: Spiritual Exercises by Pope John Paul II
Spiritual Exercises Based on Paul's Epistle to the Romans by Joseph A. Fitzmyer
Living in the Presence: Spiritual Exercises to Open Our Lives to the Awareness of God
New Spiritual Exercises: In the Spirit of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin by Louis M. Savary
Spiritual Freedom: From an Experience of the Ignatian Exercises to the Art of Spiritual Guidance by John J. English
Holy Companions: Spiritual Practices from the Celtic Saints by Mary C. Earle
Start Now!: A Book of Soul and Spiritual Exercises by Rudolf Steiner
Psalms Through the Year: Spiritual Exercises for Every Day by Marshall D. Johnson
The Edgar Cayce Remedies by William A. McGarey (Jun 1, 1983)
(Edgar Cayce (1877-1945) has been called the "sleeping prophet," the "father of holistic medicine," and the most documented psychic of the 20th century. For more than 40 years of his adult life, Cayce gave psychic "readings" to thousands of seekers while asleep.
Edgar Cayce's Story of Jesus
Auras: An Essay on the Meaning of Colors, Edgar Cayce
Edgar Cayce's Story of the Bible.
The Essential Edgar Cayce by Edgar Cayce and Mark Thurston (Jul 8, 2004)
Edgar Cayce on the Akashic Records: The Book of Life by Kevin J. Todeschi (Apr 1, 1998)
The Power of Your Mind: An Edgar Cayce Series Title by A R E Press (Mar 1, 2010)
Edgar Cayce on Angels, Archangels, and the Unseen Forces by Robert J. Grant (May 2005)
Many Mansions: The Edgar Cayce Story on Reincarnation (Signet) by Gina Cerminara and Hugh Lynn Cayce (Oct 5, 1988)
Edgar Cayce Encyclopedia of Healing by Reba Karp (Sep 1, 1999)
The Edgar Cayce Primer: Discovering the Path to Self Transformation by Herbert B. Puryear (Feb 1, 1985)
The Second Coming by Kirk Nelson (Aug 13, 2010)
Access the Power of Your Higher Self (Pocket Guides to Practical Spirituality) by Elizabeth Clare Prophet (Jul 1998)
YOUR SOUL by Elizabeth Clare Prophet
How To Work With Angels (Pocket Guides to Practical Spirituality) by Elizabeth Clare Prophet (Aug 1998)
The Science of the Spoken Word by Mark L. Prophet and Elizabeth Clare Prophet (Jan 1, 1988)
Reincarnation: The Missing Link In Christianity by Elizabeth Clare Prophet and Erin L. Prophet (Mar 1, 1997)
Your Seven Energy Centers: A Holistic Approach To Physical, Emotional And Spiritual Vitality (Pocket Guides to Practical Spirituality,) by Elizabeth Clare Prophet and Patricia R. Spadar (Jun 1, 2000)
The Great Controversy by Ellen G. White (Jan 9, 2007)
Counsels on diet and foods by Ellen G White (2007)
The Desire of Ages: A Classic on the Life of Christ by Ellen G. White (Mar 25, 2009)
The Truth About Angels by Ellen G. White (Dec 5, 2010)
The Acts of the Apostles by ELLEN G WHITE (Feb 22, 2010)
Christ's Object Lessons by Ellen G. White (Sep 10, 2010)
The Ministry of Healing by Ellen G. White (Sep 10, 2010)
The Christian Taurus The Christian Aries!
It's Great to be a Taurus
The unmistakable stars of Taurus were painted by Cro-Magnon deep in the caverns and grotto walls. Cheerful industriousness, loyalty, fidelity, and an appreciation for all qualities under the sun are the most marked Taurean traits.
The nature of Taurus is that of the nature of the earth itself; so sacred, so varied, so holy, where does one begin? With the Pleiades, on the shoulder, called the Beehive? Or with the star called, 'Bullseye!' since times so ancient we dare not date them.
Somehow we never seem so secure in our spirituality as when we are loftily dismissing the things of the earth. Yet we are not now disembodied spirits, and most of us have no desire to return thus forever. What a duel dilemma!
The celestial Bull is where the Golden Girl makes her true home. The Golden Girl is that glittering, sought after celestial influence which brings the golden touch: beauty, riches, romance, good cheer, good friends, and good times, as well as quick cash and good fortune. She bestows her many gifts with a lavish hand she can really bowl you over. Her worldly attributes are always the most sought after by wordings, and the least attained: popularity, recognition, and abundant earthly rewards. This is the time to get rich in the worldly sense, and to remember the unfortunate when you do.
It is in the spiritual realm where we appreciate this influence the most, and the keenest however, for the Golden Girl reveals our state of communion with the Christian fold. This influence as sacrament represents the mystical mingling of our earthly flesh with essence of the Divine. Unless our mingling with both our brethren and our Lord is daily, cheerful, natural, and sought after, like the Influence itself, it is not a blessed but a dead thing.
The Apostle Andrew is the living link to Taurus to the Greek Scriptures, as is Asher of rich and royal daities to the Hebrew Testament.
The natural scent of Taurus is bergamot, verbena and lilac. Copper and brass are the Venusian metals, with the emerald, star sapphire, or turquoise as the most widely accepted gem. The prudent Christian Taurus would add lepidolite to this list, as this stone brings understanding of suffering and pain to the wearer. It is said to open and release pain and suffering layer upon layer, called the Cross of St. Michael. It is said to bring acceptance, calm, trust in life and in God, healing fear at its source.
The Taurean material is leather, but also flax, and cotton solids. Foods include, beside everything in creation, are beans, cocoa, beef, spinach, and wheat, in addition to anything sweet.
These associations give the prudent Christian Taurus a deeper insight into his nature and place in the world.
Your words of knowledge are, 'Feeling stronger every day!'
The Taurus garden sports columbine, daisy, larkspur, lily, daffodil, orchid, clover, lilac, peppermint, bergamot, catnip, golden seal, lemongrass, sage, thyme, birch and ivy, with a bull, elephant, or polar bear in the middle.
The most effective pilgrimage for Taurus or for anyone with a strong influx of the influence of the Golden Girl would be Orleans Cathedral in France.
The most effective shrine would be in a bank, a jewelry box, a stable or dairy, pastures, wheat or corn field; any middle room, or middle house on a block. Dedicate the shrine in the key of D.
Taurus Spiritual Connection: Communion!
The Sacraments of the Catholic Church, "instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, are efficacious signs of grace perceptible to the senses. Through them divine life is bestowed upon us." They assist individuals in their spiritual progress and growth in holiness. The sacraments contribute to the Church's growth in charity and in giving witness.
Though not every individual receives every sacrament, the sacraments as a whole are seen as necessary means of salvation for the faithful, each conferring that sacrament's particular grace, such as incorporation into Christ and the Church, forgiveness of sins, or consecration for a particular service.
The Church teaches that the effect of a sacrament comes ex opere operato, by the very fact of being administered, regardless of the personal holiness of the minister administering it. However, a recipient's own lack of proper disposition to receive the grace conveyed can block the effectiveness of the sacrament in that person. The sacraments presuppose faith and through their words and ritual elements, nourish, strengthen and give expression to faith.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church lists the sacraments as follows: "The whole liturgical life of the Church revolves around the Eucharistic sacrifice and the sacraments. There are seven sacraments in the Church: Baptism, Confirmation or Chrismation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony.
The Eucharist is the sacrament (the third of Christian initiation, the one that, as stated in CCC 1322, "completes Christian initiation") by which Catholics partake of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ and participate in his one sacrifice. The first of these two aspects of the sacrament is also called Holy Communion. The bread (which must be wheaten, and which is unleavened in the Latin, Armenian and Ethiopic Rites, but is leavened in most Eastern Rites) and wine (which must be from grapes) used in the Eucharistic rite are, in Catholic faith, transformed in all but appearance into the Body and Blood of Christ, a change that is called transubstantiation. Only a bishop or priest is enabled to be a minister of the Eucharist, acting in the person of Christ himself. Deacons as well as priests are ordinary ministers of Holy Communion, and lay people may be authorized in limited circumstances to act as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. The Eucharist is seen as "the source and summit" of Christian living, the high point of God's sanctifying action on the faithful and of their worship of God, the point of contact between them and the liturgy of heaven. So important is it that participation in the Eucharistic celebration (see Mass) is seen as obligatory on every Sunday and holy day of obligation and is recommended on other days. Also recommended for those who participate in the Mass is reception, with the proper dispositions, of Holy Communion. This is seen as obligatory at least once a year, during Eastertide.
The Sacred Tarot was used by the earliest Christian communities as a teaching tool!
You can easily perceive the Christian element in the Tarot from the appearance of The High Priestess, who holds the Torah and looks a lot like Mary the mother of Jesus, through Judgment, where the archangel Gabriel blows the Last Trumpet, and the dead arise from the earth, sea, and air. The cards depicting Temperance and the Star are both taken from the scene of the Revelation of John of Patmos, the last book of the Bible. Many of the Wise believe that the Tarot was specifically mentioned here as the little book, which would be opened by the Lamb of God at the end of the age.
The history of the Tarot is vague and uncertain; we know that they were used by many who could not read as their prayer book. What a great idea!!
As such, the cards were never used for divination or game playing, but to explain, exhort, stimulate, and verify the life of the soul, chart its' progress through the shoals of life, and point is squarely and distinctly toward salvation through faith.
Gradually, the various priesthoods came to the conclusion that anyone who could read, either the Scriptures or an artistic rendering, was a rival to their power. The cards came under a dark cloud.
Today, we have come full circle in the realization that Truth does set us free, just as Christ Jesus promised it would. The ability to interpret the images is one akin to speaking in tongues; 'This rests entirely upon Nature; there is no accident. Every happening in the Universe is caused by pre:established laws.'
It is therefore the gift of the Tarot 'to liberate us from the bonds of established doctrine...above all, they free faculties in us which are suppressed by conventions and daily routine.'
No wonder the current church establishments will have nothing good to say of them!
Many persons both in and out of the Christian fold read Tarot regularly, and we encourage you to give a second look to this method of communication with angelic and heavenly spirits.
If you are excited to learn more, please visit the sister website, www.MyTarotBook.com, by our Tarot enthusiasts here at Christian Psychics! Tell them we said Maranatha!!
Holy Scripture is full of warnings for us to take our dreams seriously; occasionally angels, or the Lord Himself, will speak to us in dreams. But all dreams are not the same.
In the Letter from Birmingham Jail written on 16 April 1963, Martin Luther King wrote, "everyone has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."
The letter includes the famous quote "An injustice wherever it is, is a threat to justice everywhere" he also repeats the words of Thurgood Marshall: "A justice too long delayed is justice denied".
Blessings of St. Francis
ã€€The Lord God commanded us from Genesis on to have stewardship over the earth. He had us give each animal its own name.
We've been a little slipshod in our manners ever since!
Please consider adopting a pet from the local Humane Society (HSUS.org or ASPCA.org), making a donation to Greenpeace (Greenpeace.com) or the Sea Shepherd Society (SeaShepherd.org), the National Geographic Society (NationalGeographic.com) or the Sierra Club (SierraClub.org).
You can sponsor the pet of one of our soldiers overseas through Whisker City (WhiskerCity.com) or adopt a rescued pet from the Gulf storms through Noahs Wish (tinyurl.com). Our good deeds and charity adorn us as brides clothes in the eyes of God.
Prayers for these dumb chums are warmly welcome!!
Chancey, a large dog, for peace and reward;
The Manhatten Declaration
MANHATTAN DECLARATION: A CALL OF CHRISTIAN CONSCIENCE
Christians are heirs of a 2,000-year tradition of proclaiming God's word, seeking justice in our societies, resisting tyranny, and reaching out with compassion to the poor, oppressed and suffering.
While fully acknowledging the imperfections and shortcomings of Christian institutions and communities in all ages, we claim the heritage of those Christians who defended innocent life by rescuing discarded babies from trash heaps in Roman cities and publicly denouncing the Empire's sanctioning of infanticide. We remember with reverence those believers who sacrificed their lives by remaining in Roman cities to tend the sick and dying during the plagues, and who died bravely in the coliseums rather than deny their Lord.
After the barbarian tribes overran Europe, Christian monasteries preserved not only the Bible but also the literature and art of Western culture. It was Christians who combated the evil of slavery: Papal edicts in the 16th and 17th centuries decried the practice of slavery and first excommunicated anyone involved in the slave trade; evangelical Christians in England, led by John Wesley and William Wilberforce, put an end to the slave trade in that country. Christians under Wilberforce's leadership also formed hundreds of societies for helping the poor, the imprisoned, and child laborers chained to machines.
In Europe, Christians challenged the divine claims of kings and successfully fought to establish the rule of law and balance of governmental powers, which made modern democracy possible. And in America, Christian women stood at the vanguard of the suffrage movement. The great civil rights crusades of the 1950s and 60s were led by Christians claiming the Scriptures and asserting the glory of the image of God in every human being regardless of race, religion, age or class.
This same devotion to human dignity has led Christians in the last decade to work to end the dehumanizing scourge of human trafficking and sexual slavery, bring compassionate care to AIDS sufferers in Africa, and assist in a myriad of other human rights causes – from providing clean water in developing nations to providing homes for tens of thousands of children orphaned by war, disease and gender discrimination.
Like those who have gone before us in the faith, Christians today are called to proclaim the Gospel of costly grace, to protect the intrinsic dignity of the human person and to stand for the common good. In being true to its own calling, the call to discipleship, the church through service to others can make a profound contribution to the public good.
We, as Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christians, have gathered, beginning in New York on September 28, 2009, to make the following declaration, which we sign as individuals, not on behalf of our organizations, but speaking to and from our communities. We act together in obedience to the one true God, the triune God of holiness and love, who has laid total claim on our lives and by that claim calls us with believers in all ages and all nations to seek and defend the good of all who bear his image. We set forth this declaration in light of the truth that is grounded in Holy Scripture, in natural human reason (which is itself, in our view, the gift of a beneficent God), and in the very nature of the human person. We call upon all people of goodwill, believers and non-believers alike, to consider carefully and reflect critically on the issues we here address as we, with St. Paul, commend this appeal to everyone's conscience in the sight of God.
While the whole scope of Christian moral concern, including a special concern for the poor and vulnerable, claims our attention, we are especially troubled that in our nation today the lives of the unborn, the disabled, and the elderly are severely threatened; that the institution of marriage, already buffeted by promiscuity, infidelity and divorce, is in jeopardy of being redefined to accommodate fashionable ideologies; that freedom of religion and the rights of conscience are gravely jeopardized by those who would use the instruments of coercion to compel persons of faith to compromise their deepest convictions.
Because the sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage as a union of husband and wife, and the freedom of conscience and religion are foundational principles of justice and the common good, we are compelled by our Christian faith to speak and act in their defense. In this declaration we affirm: 1) the profound, inherent, and equal dignity of every human being as a creature fashioned in the very image of God, possessing inherent rights of equal dignity and life; 2) marriage as a conjugal union of man and woman, ordained by God from the creation, and historically understood by believers and non-believers alike, to be the most basic institution in society and; 3) religious liberty, which is grounded in the character of God, the example of Christ, and the inherent freedom and dignity of human beings created in the divine image.
We are Christians who have joined together across historic lines of ecclesial differences to affirm our right—and, more importantly, to embrace our obligation—to speak and act in defense of these truths. We pledge to each other, and to our fellow believers, that no power on earth, be it cultural or political, will intimidate us into silence or acquiescence. It is our duty to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in its fullness, both in season and out of season. May God help us not to fail in that duty.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10
Although public sentiment has moved in a pro-life direction, we note with sadness that pro- abortion ideology prevails today in our government. Many in the present administration want to make abortions legal at any stage of fetal development, and want to provide abortions at taxpayer expense. Majorities in both houses of Congress hold pro-abortion views. The Supreme Court, whose infamous 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade stripped the unborn of legal protection, continues to treat elective abortion as a fundamental constitutional right, though it has upheld as constitutionally permissible some limited restrictions on abortion. The President says that he wants to reduce the "need" for abortion—a commendable goal. But he has also pledged to make abortion more easily and widely available by eliminating laws prohibiting government funding, requiring waiting periods for women seeking abortions, and parental notification for abortions performed on minors. The elimination of these important and effective pro-life laws cannot reasonably be expected to do other than significantly increase the number of elective abortions by which the lives of countless children are snuffed out prior to birth. Our commitment to the sanctity of life is not a matter of partisan loyalty, for we recognize that in the thirty-six years since Roe v. Wade, elected officials and appointees of both major political parties have been complicit in giving legal sanction to what Pope John Paul II described as "the culture of death." We call on all officials in our country, elected and appointed, to protect and serve every member of our society, including the most marginalized, voiceless, and vulnerable among us.
A culture of death inevitably cheapens life in all its stages and conditions by promoting the belief that lives that are imperfect, immature or inconvenient are discardable. As predicted by many prescient persons, the cheapening of life that began with abortion has now metastasized. For example, human embryo-destructive research and its public funding are promoted in the name of science and in the cause of developing treatments and cures for diseases and injuries. The President and many in Congress favor the expansion of embryo-research to include the taxpayer funding of so-called "therapeutic cloning." This would result in the industrial mass production of human embryos to be killed for the purpose of producing genetically customized stem cell lines and tissues. At the other end of life, an increasingly powerful movement to promote assisted suicide and "voluntary" euthanasia threatens the lives of vulnerable elderly and disabled persons. Eugenic notions such as the doctrine of lebensunwertes Leben ("life unworthy of life") were first advanced in the 1920s by intellectuals in the elite salons of America and Europe. Long buried in ignominy after the horrors of the mid-20th century, they have returned from the grave. The only difference is that now the doctrines of the eugenicists are dressed up in the language of "liberty," "autonomy," and "choice."
We will be united and untiring in our efforts to roll back the license to kill that began with the abandonment of the unborn to abortion. We will work, as we have always worked, to bring assistance, comfort, and care to pregnant women in need and to those who have been victimized by abortion, even as we stand resolutely against the corrupt and degrading notion that it can somehow be in the best interests of women to submit to the deliberate killing of their unborn children. Our message is, and ever shall be, that the just, humane, and truly Christian answer to problem pregnancies is for all of us to love and care for mother and child alike.
A truly prophetic Christian witness will insistently call on those who have been entrusted with temporal power to fulfill the first responsibility of government: to protect the weak and vulnerable against violent attack, and to do so with no favoritism, partiality, or discrimination. The Bible enjoins us to defend those who cannot defend themselves, to speak for those who cannot themselves speak. And so we defend and speak for the unborn, the disabled, and the dependent. What the Bible and the light of reason make clear, we must make clear. We must be willing to defend, even at risk and cost to ourselves and our institutions, the lives of our brothers and sisters at every stage of development and in every condition.
Our concern is not confined to our own nation. Around the globe, we are witnessing cases of genocide and "ethnic cleansing," the failure to assist those who are suffering as innocent victims of war, the neglect and abuse of children, the exploitation of vulnerable laborers, the sexual trafficking of girls and young women, the abandonment of the aged, racial oppression and discrimination, the persecution of believers of all faiths, and the failure to take steps necessary to halt the spread of preventable diseases like AIDS. We see these travesties as flowing from the same loss of the sense of the dignity of the human person and the sanctity of human life that drives the abortion industry and the movements for assisted suicide, euthanasia, and human cloning for biomedical research. And so ours is, as it must be, a truly consistent ethic of love and life for all humans in all circumstances.
The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man." For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. Genesis 2:23-24
This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:32-33
In Scripture, the creation of man and woman, and their one-flesh union as husband and wife, is the crowning achievement of God's creation. In the transmission of life and the nurturing of children, men and women joined as spouses are given the great honor of being partners with God Himself. Marriage then, is the first institution of human society—indeed it is the institution on which all other human institutions have their foundation. In the Christian tradition we refer to marriage as "holy matrimony" to signal the fact that it is an institution ordained by God, and blessed by Christ in his participation at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. In the Bible, God Himself blesses and holds marriage in the highest esteem.
Vast human experience confirms that marriage is the original and most important institution for sustaining the health, education, and welfare of all persons in a society. Where marriage is honored, and where there is a flourishing marriage culture, everyone benefits—the spouses themselves, their children, the communities and societies in which they live. Where the marriage culture begins to erode, social pathologies of every sort quickly manifest themselves. Unfortunately, we have witnessed over the course of the past several decades a serious erosion of the marriage culture in our own country. Perhaps the most telling—and alarming—indicator is the out-of-wedlock birth rate. Less than fifty years ago, it was under 5 percent. Today it is over 40 percent. Our society—and particularly its poorest and most vulnerable sectors, where the out- of-wedlock birth rate is much higher even than the national average—is paying a huge price in delinquency, drug abuse, crime, incarceration, hopelessness, and despair. Other indicators are widespread non-marital sexual cohabitation and a devastatingly high rate of divorce.
We confess with sadness that Christians and our institutions have too often scandalously failed to uphold the institution of marriage and to model for the world the true meaning of marriage. Insofar as we have too easily embraced the culture of divorce and remained silent about social practices that undermine the dignity of marriage we repent, and call upon all Christians to do the same.
To strengthen families, we must stop glamorizing promiscuity and infidelity and restore among our people a sense of the profound beauty, mystery, and holiness of faithful marital love. We must reform ill-advised policies that contribute to the weakening of the institution of marriage, including the discredited idea of unilateral divorce. We must work in the legal, cultural, and religious domains to instill in young people a sound understanding of what marriage is, what it requires, and why it is worth the commitment and sacrifices that faithful spouses make.
The impulse to redefine marriage in order to recognize same-sex and multiple partner relationships is a symptom, rather than the cause, of the erosion of the marriage culture. It reflects a loss of understanding of the meaning of marriage as embodied in our civil and religious law and in the philosophical tradition that contributed to shaping the law. Yet it is critical that the impulse be resisted, for yielding to it would mean abandoning the possibility of restoring a sound understanding of marriage and, with it, the hope of rebuilding a healthy marriage culture. It would lock into place the false and destructive belief that marriage is all about romance and other adult satisfactions, and not, in any intrinsic way, about procreation and the unique character and value of acts and relationships whose meaning is shaped by their aptness for the generation, promotion and protection of life. In spousal communion and the rearing of children (who, as gifts of God, are the fruit of their parents' marital love), we discover the profound reasons for and benefits of the marriage covenant.
We acknowledge that there are those who are disposed towards homosexual and polyamorous conduct and relationships, just as there are those who are disposed towards other forms of immoral conduct. We have compassion for those so disposed; we respect them as human beings possessing profound, inherent, and equal dignity; and we pay tribute to the men and women who strive, often with little assistance, to resist the temptation to yield to desires that they, no less than we, regard as wayward. We stand with them, even when they falter. We, no less than they, are sinners who have fallen short of God's intention for our lives. We, no less than they, are in constant need of God's patience, love and forgiveness. We call on the entire Christian community to resist sexual immorality, and at the same time refrain from disdainful condemnation of those who yield to it. Our rejection of sin, though resolute, must never become the rejection of sinners. For every sinner, regardless of the sin, is loved by God, who seeks not our destruction but rather the conversion of our hearts. Jesus calls all who wander from the path of virtue to "a more excellent way." As his disciples we will reach out in love to assist all who hear the call and wish to answer it.
We further acknowledge that there are sincere people who disagree with us, and with the teaching of the Bible and Christian tradition, on questions of sexual morality and the nature of marriage. Some who enter into same-sex and polyamorous relationships no doubt regard their unions as truly marital. They fail to understand, however, that marriage is made possible by the sexual complementarity of man and woman, and that the comprehensive, multi-level sharing of life that marriage is includes bodily unity of the sort that unites husband and wife biologically as a reproductive unit. This is because the body is no mere extrinsic instrument of the human person, but truly part of the personal reality of the human being. Human beings are not merely centers of consciousness or emotion, or minds, or spirits, inhabiting non-personal bodies. The human person is a dynamic unity of body, mind, and spirit. Marriage is what one man and one woman establish when, forsaking all others and pledging lifelong commitment, they found a sharing of life at every level of being—the biological, the emotional, the dispositional, the rational, the spiritual— on a commitment that is sealed, completed and actualized by loving sexual intercourse in which the spouses become one flesh, not in some merely metaphorical sense, but by fulfilling together the behavioral conditions of procreation. That is why in the Christian tradition, and historically in Western law, consummated marriages are not dissoluble or annullable on the ground of infertility, even though the nature of the marital relationship is shaped and structured by its intrinsic orientation to the great good of procreation.
We understand that many of our fellow citizens, including some Christians, believe that the historic definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is a denial of equality or civil rights. They wonder what to say in reply to the argument that asserts that no harm would be done to them or to anyone if the law of the community were to confer upon two men or two women who are living together in a sexual partnership the status of being "married." It would not, after all, affect their own marriages, would it? On inspection, however, the argument that laws governing one kind of marriage will not affect another cannot stand. Were it to prove anything, it would prove far too much: the assumption that the legal status of one set of marriage relationships affects no other would not only argue for same sex partnerships; it could be asserted with equal validity for polyamorous partnerships, polygamous households, even adult brothers, sisters, or brothers and sisters living in incestuous relationships. Should these, as a matter of equality or civil rights, be recognized as lawful marriages, and would they have no effects on other relationships? No. The truth is that marriage is not something abstract or neutral that the law may legitimately define and re-define to please those who are powerful and influential.
No one has a civil right to have a non-marital relationship treated as a marriage. Marriage is an objective reality—a covenantal union of husband and wife—that it is the duty of the law to recognize and support for the sake of justice and the common good. If it fails to do so, genuine social harms follow. First, the religious liberty of those for whom this is a matter of conscience is jeopardized. Second, the rights of parents are abused as family life and sex education programs in schools are used to teach children that an enlightened understanding recognizes as "marriages" sexual partnerships that many parents believe are intrinsically non-marital and immoral. Third, the common good of civil society is damaged when the law itself, in its critical pedagogical function, becomes a tool for eroding a sound understanding of marriage on which the flourishing of the marriage culture in any society vitally depends. Sadly, we are today far from having a thriving marriage culture. But if we are to begin the critically important process of reforming our laws and mores to rebuild such a culture, the last thing we can afford to do is to re-define marriage in such a way as to embody in our laws a false proclamation about what marriage is.
And so it is out of love (not "animus") and prudent concern for the common good (not "prejudice"), that we pledge to labor ceaselessly to preserve the legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman and to rebuild the marriage culture. How could we, as Christians, do otherwise? The Bible teaches us that marriage is a central part of God's creation covenant. Indeed, the union of husband and wife mirrors the bond between Christ and his church. And so just as Christ was willing, out of love, to give Himself up for the church in a complete sacrifice, we are willing, lovingly, to make whatever sacrifices are required of us for the sake of the inestimable treasure that is marriage.
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. Isaiah 61:1
Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's. Matthew 22:21
The struggle for religious liberty across the centuries has been long and arduous, but it is not a novel idea or recent development. The nature of religious liberty is grounded in the character of God Himself, the God who is most fully known in the life and work of Jesus Christ. Determined to follow Jesus faithfully in life and death, the early Christians appealed to the manner in which the Incarnation had taken place: "Did God send Christ, as some suppose, as a tyrant brandishing fear and terror? Not so, but in gentleness and meekness..., for compulsion is no attribute of God" (Epistle to Diognetus 7.3-4). Thus the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the example of Christ Himself and in the very dignity of the human person created in the image of God—a dignity, as our founders proclaimed, inherent in every human, and knowable by all in the exercise of right reason.
Christians confess that God alone is Lord of the conscience. Immunity from religious coercion is the cornerstone of an unconstrained conscience. No one should be compelled to embrace any religion against his will, nor should persons of faith be forbidden to worship God according to the dictates of conscience or to express freely and publicly their deeply held religious convictions. What is true for individuals applies to religious communities as well.
It is ironic that those who today assert a right to kill the unborn, aged and disabled and also a right to engage in immoral sexual practices, and even a right to have relationships integrated around these practices be recognized and blessed by law—such persons claiming these "rights" are very often in the vanguard of those who would trample upon the freedom of others to express their religious and moral commitments to the sanctity of life and to the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife.
We see this, for example, in the effort to weaken or eliminate conscience clauses, and therefore to compel pro-life institutions (including religiously affiliated hospitals and clinics), and pro-life physicians, surgeons, nurses, and other health care professionals, to refer for abortions and, in certain cases, even to perform or participate in abortions. We see it in the use of anti- discrimination statutes to force religious institutions, businesses, and service providers of various sorts to comply with activities they judge to be deeply immoral or go out of business. After the judicial imposition of "same-sex marriage" in Massachusetts, for example, Catholic Charities chose with great reluctance to end its century-long work of helping to place orphaned children in good homes rather than comply with a legal mandate that it place children in same-sex households in violation of Catholic moral teaching. In New Jersey, after the establishment of a quasi-marital "civil unions" scheme, a Methodist institution was stripped of its tax exempt status when it declined, as a matter of religious conscience, to permit a facility it owned and operated to be used for ceremonies blessing homosexual unions. In Canada and some European nations, Christian clergy have been prosecuted for preaching Biblical norms against the practice of homosexuality. New hate-crime laws in America raise the specter of the same practice here.
In recent decades a growing body of case law has paralleled the decline in respect for religious values in the media, the academy and political leadership, resulting in restrictions on the free exercise of religion. We view this as an ominous development, not only because of its threat to the individual liberty guaranteed to every person, regardless of his or her faith, but because the trend also threatens the common welfare and the culture of freedom on which our system of republican government is founded. Restrictions on the freedom of conscience or the ability to hire people of one's own faith or conscientious moral convictions for religious institutions, for example, undermines the viability of the intermediate structures of society, the essential buffer against the overweening authority of the state, resulting in the soft despotism Tocqueville so prophetically warned of.1 Disintegration of civil society is a prelude to tyranny.
As Christians, we take seriously the Biblical admonition to respect and obey those in authority. We believe in law and in the rule of law. We recognize the duty to comply with laws whether we happen to like them or not, unless the laws are gravely unjust or require those subject to them to do something unjust or otherwise immoral. The biblical purpose of law is to preserve order and serve justice and the common good; yet laws that are unjust—and especially laws that purport to compel citizens to do what is unjust—undermine the common good, rather than serve it.
Going back to the earliest days of the church, Christians have refused to compromise their proclamation of the gospel. In Acts 4, Peter and John were ordered to stop preaching. Their answer was, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard." Through the centuries, Christianity has taught that civil disobedience is not only permitted, but sometimes required. There is no more eloquent defense of the rights and duties of religious conscience than the one offered by Martin Luther King, Jr., in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Writing from an explicitly Christian perspective, and citing Christian writers such as Augustine and Aquinas, King taught that just laws elevate and ennoble human beings because they are rooted in the moral law whose ultimate source is God Himself. Unjust laws degrade human beings. Inasmuch as they can claim no authority beyond sheer human will, they lack any power to bind in conscience. King's willingness to go to jail, rather than comply with legal injustice, was exemplary and inspiring.
Because we honor justice and the common good, we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family. We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar's. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God's.
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