December 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) – Only hours before the law was to take effect, a Supreme Court justice on Tuesday blocked implementation of part of President Barack Obama’s health care law that would have forced some religion-affiliated organizations to provide health insurance for employees that includes birth control.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s decision came after a flurry of efforts by Catholic-affiliated groups from around the nation. Those groups had rushed to the federal courts to stop Wednesday’s start of portions of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Sotomayor acted on a request from an organization of Catholic nuns in Denver, the Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged. Its request for an emergency stay had been denied earlier in the day by a federal appeals court.

The government is “temporarily enjoined from enforcing against applicants the contraceptive coverage requirements imposed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” Sotomayor said in the order. …

For more Follow Jesse J. Holland on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/jessejholland.

See Al Kresta’s comments here: http://krestaintheafternoon.blogspot.com/2014/01/breaking-justice-sotomayor-blocks.html?m=1

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Will Islam Accept America?

by Steve Ray on December 29, 2013

I just found this clipping in my stack of papers. In a USA Today letter written by Dan Wolf (9/29/09) he responds to an article entitled “Will Americans accept Islam?” I think his comments are brilliant so I am reproducing his letter here:

The question should be, “Will Islam accept America?” Today the answer to that question appears to be no.

Our forefathers understood the need for separation of church and state. Religious tolerance was imperative in our country’s creation. They also realized that society much have a moral foundation to retains its liberties. Our forefathers realized that for a people to remain free, they needed to understand the languages of reason and faith. 

This is not true of Islam, where religion and the government rule are professed to be one. This is a direct threat to our representative form of government and our religious freedom, regardless of whether your beliefs are Christian, Jewish , Hindu, Buddhist, pagan or atheistic.

The issue is not America’s bigotry toward Islam, but Islam’s hostility toward America’s core values.

One thing I would add. Many European countries opened their doors wide to immigrants. Most of the immigrants have assimilated into European culture. Almost all. Muslims in general do not. For a clear example just Google “Sweden-Muslim-Integration” and read some of the articles how their immigration policies, the most lenient and accepting in the world, have been rewarded with riots and refusal to integrate. If we think Islam is not bigoted toward our Western forms of government, then think again. 

Sure, you may be friends with some Muslims or may work with a few who seem like nice and decent folks – and many may be. But Islam flows deep in the Muslims psyche and watching Europe will inform us what will happen when Muslims gain ground in America. Water and oil do not mix. You can shake them up for a brief uncomfortable integration, but soon they inexorably separate again.

You may want to read my article “Living with Muslims: Prepare for the Skyline of the Future.”

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Our Pilgrimages Mentioned on FoxNews.com

by Steve Ray on December 27, 2013

I received an email requesting an interview on Holy Land pilgrimages. It was from Fox News. I agreed and the following article is the result. 

“6 Out-of-the-Ordinary Ways to Experience the Holy Land”

During the holidays, thoughts turn to the Holy Land as the center of Christian and Judaic history. With so many preserved relics of Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the apostles and sites dating back to the Old Testament, traveling to the Holy Land this time of year is a wonderful way to recapture the meaning and spirit of the season.

While there are many companies and tours available for seeing the traditional sites, we found several that offer a perspective different from the standard journey to Israel. Here are some distinctive Holy Land tours that let you do everything from biking to bird watching to traveling with a celebrity.

The section about our unique Holy Land Part II Pilgrimage stated:

For those who’ve already traveled to the Holy Land, Footprints of God Pilgrimages has a 10-day trip designed to give travelers a different experience the second time around. With Catholic tour guides Steve Ray, nicknamed “Jerusalem Jones” and producer of the “Footprints of God” DVD series, and his wife Janet, who’ve been to the Holy Land more than 100 times, travelers on the Holy Land Part 2 Tour see sites different from those featured on the couple’s traditional Holy Land tour.

There are more Old Testament sites on the Part 2 journey, as well as many related to the life of Jesus. Highlights include learning to sling a stone where David slew Goliath, climbing Mt. Muhraka, where Elijah called down fire, drinking water from the well in Samaria, as Jesus did, a beer tasting at a Christian brewery and a visit to the authentic baptismal site of Jesus, which was previously closed to the public. Ray likes to focus on getting to know the locals on this trip. “You are visiting the ancient stones, but you should go back and see the ‘living’ stones, too,” he says.

The whole article can be read HERE. For more on our pilgrimages visit FootprintsOfGod.com.

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St. Ignatius Steps on Luther; Mary Throws Luther out of Heaven

December 26, 2013

Two great Jesuit churches stand near each other in Rome. One is the Church of St. Ignatius and the other the Church of Gesu (Jesus). Both are imposing and majestic and reflect the glory of the Jesuits in their heyday.  The one to the left is called the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola. In Italian [...]

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Newest Member of the Ray Clan – John Mary Caleb Ray

December 21, 2013

Elizabeth Bella Rose Ray holding her new baby brother. The 12th grandchild has just arrived at 11:30 AM Saturday (after only three pushes by his incredible mom). The Twelve Tribes are now complete! We now have our own Jury! Wonder how many priests and religious? Wonder how many great-grandchildren who will help change the world. [...]

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A Walk thru Bethlehem’s History for Christmas – Steve’s End of Year Newsletter

December 21, 2013

To see the content rich and colorful Newsletter with stories, news,  a free gift, upcoming trips and speaking events and riddles, click here. The Real Bethlehem   by Steve Ray The donkey tried to bite me as I climbed on his back. Flies were buzzing incessantly around my head and my clothes were drenched with perspiration. The [...]

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Welcoming New People at Mass this Christmas – They May Be an Answer to Someone’s Prayers

December 20, 2013

We get busy on during the Christmas Season. We don’t have a lot of respect for people who go to church only on Christmas and Easter. We may be irritated that seats are taken and the church is noisy.  But, you are praying for your family and friends to come back to church and MAYBE [...]

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I Like the Bishops Recently Chosen; but Now a New Group of “Bishop Pickers” has been Chosen. Hum?

December 18, 2013

David Gibson of Religious News Service writes, After last month’s annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I wrote a story handicapping the four American churchman who enjoyed growing influence in the new(ish) pontificate of Pope Francis. They were Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, who is one of the eight members of Francis “kitchen cabinet” of advisors [...]

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The Salvation Army is Ringing Bells for Abortion This Christmas

December 18, 2013

“It’s a sight and sound so commonplace, Advent almost wouldn’t seem the same without it. UPDATE TO THIS STORY “In so many of the stores we visit to do our Christmas shopping, we see the ever-present volunteers ringing bells soliciting donations for one of America’s best known charitable organizations: The Salvation Army. “Many of us [...]

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The Pope, Economics and His Recent Exhortation

December 18, 2013

My friend Fr. Chas Canoy, Chaplain of the Ann Arbor Michigan Legatus Chapter, recently wrote on the Pope’s recent apostolic exhortation . . . by Fr. Chas Canoy At a recent Legatus chapter event, we had some lively dinner conversation at our table concerning the pope’s view on economics. The question came up of some [...]

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Some Catholics Live in Nutsville; Does the Sun Really Revolve Around the Earth?

December 16, 2013

They wake up every morning and think the sun revolves around the earth. They live in a different universe than the rest of us. They want you to join their new alternate reality. These folks are marginalized and relatively unknown – and for good reason. They live in Nutsville, a cult that dwells on the [...]

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Dealing with Cancer: Amy Carrico’s Story

December 16, 2013

This is a heart-wrenching, yet beautiful story of a wife and mom with cancer and how she’s decided to deal with it. She’s a inspiration to us all – living in the heart of her family, God and the Church. For other beautifully crafted Catholic and personal videos by Fr. Josh and Lolek Productions, click [...]

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Money and Possessions not Enough…Finding Christ through Pain

December 14, 2013

This is a conversion story – conversion from self-sufficiency, money and possessions to Christ. Pain, suffering, loss of everything brought Terry to Christ. Quite a roller coaster story. Enjoy! It was late one Friday evening, when my wife and I got the call. My Brother and his daughters were involved in an accident on their [...]

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Canon Lawyer Ed Peters: “The Legion of Christ Disaster Drags Inexplicably On”

December 13, 2013

New post on In the Light of the Law. Dr. Edward Peters, advisor to the Vatican. My comments are below. Dr. Peters writes, I have long held that nothing can rehabilitate the institution known as the Legion of Christ nor any of its affiliated works, and I’ve seen nothing in the last three years that [...]

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ESPN Hit with Tough Allegation: Rejected Ad Because ‘Jesus and God are Problematic’

December 13, 2013

UPDATE 12/13/13 ESPN retracted its rejection and has decided to air the ad as it was originally presented. Smart move ESPN. Thanks to all those who protested! Problematic in deed! Read the review, see how ESPN rejected a nice ad for a Children’s Hospital requesting that people send in cards and greetings to the children. [...]

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Who Speaks for God on Morals? Many Choose their Church Like they Choose a Restaurant

December 11, 2013

We have a “church” near our house that is making it comfortable for anyone to join no matter who they are, what they believe or what they practice. They say it is our job to accept and love, to be nice, not to judge. Celebrate Diversity is a slogan of acceptance, multiculturalism, non-judgmental inclusion. Some [...]

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