Politics/United States

(From Franciscan University of Steubenville)

After serving 25 years in state and federal prisons, Utah polygamist Addam Swapp was released from parole supervision last week. Incarcerated since 1988—at a time when marriage was defined as a union between one man and one woman—Swapp returns to a country that is now abandoning that definition.    

Convicted of orchestrating the 1988 bombing of the meetinghouse of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Marion, Utah, and implicated in the shooting death of Utah Department of Corrections Lt. Fred House, Swapp claimed that he was acting on a revelation from God to destroy the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because the Church leaders had abandoned their commitment to polygamy.

Using dynamite to blow up the LDS building, Swapp believed his actions would lead to the “resurrection” of his father-in-law, John Singer, a Utah polygamist, who was killed by local law enforcement officers in 1979 when he pointed a loaded weapon at the officers as they entered his property to serve him with a contempt of court citation at his ranch in Marion, Utah. Singer, described by the Salt Lake City News Tribune as a “fundamentalist Mormon,” had been “embroiled in a years-long feud with local officials that began when he and his first wife, Vickie, decided to homeschool their children.”

During the years following Singer’s death, Swapp lived a polygamous lifestyle, having married two of Singer’s daughters.  He began to believe that Singer would be resurrected if he destroyed the LDS Church. After the bombing, which occurred on the ninth anniversary of Singer’s death, Swapp fled to the Singer ranch with 14 members of his extended family and began a 13-day standoff that ended violently with the death of Lt. Fred House. While he did not personally kill Lt. House—who was shot by Swapp’s brother-in-law, John Timothy Singer—Swapp was held responsible because he had created the conditions for the standoff. 

The US government’s opposition to polygamy within Mormonism (which officially rejected polygamy in 1890) was based on the government’s definition of marriage at the time—a union of one man and one woman. Both Swapp and Singer lived as polygamists with the memory of more than a century of opposition to their lifestyle (and that of their ancestors) from the government. Now that the government is sanctioning what it calls “same-sex marriage,” it will permit marriage between same-sex couples on the basis of a legislative negation of the previous definition. This is the same definition that has been used for more than a century to oppose polygamy.

For the whole article, read here: http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Blog/3362/utah_polygamist_returns_to_a_world_without_a_definition_of_marriage.aspx

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Patriarch Sako: Refugee Situation Escalating, U.S. Military Action Disappointing

Says Iraq’s Christians Face Hard Dilemma: Emigrate or Stay

By Staff Reporter

VATICAN CITY, August 11, 2014 (Zenit.org) – The Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon has highlighted the extent of the refugee situation in northern Iraq, warned of “escalating” humanitarian needs, and said the hardships facing Iraqis should stir consciences into action.

In a statement issued Sunday, Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako said the “level of disaster is extreme” and that more must be done to “dry up the sources of manpower and the resources of these Islamic terrorists.” 

He added that in the Christian villages around Mosul up to the borders of Kurdistan Region “the churches are deserted and desecrated.”

Specifically, he noted, “five bishops are out of their bishoprics, the priests and nuns left their missions and institutions leaving everything behind”. He said families have “fled with their children abandoning everything else!”

The situation facing Iraqi Christians has deteriorated as the forces of Islamic State (IS) have expanded across the Nineveh Plain. In July, the terrorist group issued an ultimatum demanding Christians convert, pay an “infidel” tax or be killed. Thousands of Iraqi faithful fled Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.  

In his statement, Patriarch Sako decried how children and elderly in the region are sick and dying, along with the thousands of refugee families spread over the Kurdistan Region who lost everything.

As IS militants are still advancing, humanitarian aid is insufficient, he claimed. 70,000 displaced Christians and other religious minorities have fled to Ankawa, a suburb of Erbil, where they are seeking refuge in churches, schools or living in “deplorable” conditions on the streets and public parks. 

As humanitarian needs escalate, the Chaldean Patriarch criticized the international coordination as slow and therefore limiting the effectiveness of helping thousands awaiting immediate support.

Although the churches are doing all they can, he said more must be done by others. President Obama’s decision to only give military assistance to protect Erbil “is disappointing,” he said, as they are not going to attack the IS in Mosul and in the Nineveh Plain.

Although Obama has said he is interested in preventing the Islamist militants from establishing a caliphate in Iraq, many await concrete military and humanitarian action.

Despite an increasing number of US air strikes, many claim the operation is insufficient to destroy Islamist extremist forces.

Patriarch Sako also criticised the Iraqi government. “While the country is under fire, the politicians in Baghdad are fighting for power,” he said.  

The BBC reported that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has been criticized for sectarian policies. His push to serve a third term is also adding to tension. 

The Patriarch expressed concern that “in the end, perhaps Mosul will not be liberated neither the villages in the Nineveh Plain,” as other Islamic extremists continue to join IS from around the world.

The choice of the refugee families, he said, is either to migrate or to stay. If they migrate, he asked, “do they have the necessary documents and money?” If they stay, he wondered what their fate will really be, whether their schools will be reopened, and if they will be able to retain their property, jobs and belongings. 

He closed by calling on all people and organizations to reflect on these questions and to take action to help the Iraqi people.

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Steve will join the Al Kresta Show on Ave Maria Radio from 5:20 – 6:00 to discuss the slaughter of Christians in Iraq and the silence of the world.

Iraq’s Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako: a Voice in the Desert

Catholic Leader Appeals to Pope, Brother Bishops: ‘Speeches Are Good for Nothing’

ROME, August 08, 2014 (Zenit.org) – By Mark von Riedemann

“It is time to take a principled stand: the situation calls for concrete action, a gesture of solidarity in the face of an existential crisis—‘we will either be or will not be.’”

It is an angry condemnation of an indifferent world. The words are unpolished and bitter. They exude disillusionment; they reject a world obsessed with consumption, in awe of comfort, blind to evil and deaf to the cry of the innocent. “In fact, speeches are good for nothing, so too declarations that rehash condemnations and indignation; the same can be said for protest marches.”

These words are taken from the Aug. 5, 2014, letter by Iraq’s Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako. It is addressed to Pope Francis, his fellow prelates leading the Churches in the Middle East and the presidents of Catholic bishops’ conferences around the world. He laments the world’s silence about plight of Christians in his country. What is different about this letter, however, is the tone. Over the years the Patriarch has warned, cajoled, and appealed. Today he is shouting; a prophetic voice shouting that without immediate international intervention the ancient Christian community of Iraq will cease to exist.

When Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003, there were more than 60,000 Christians living in Mosul. Today there are at most 200, mainly those too poor or weak to flee. This microcosm reflects the wider state of Christianity across Iraq. Prior to the 2003 US-led military invasion Christians numbered 1.4 million. Today the tally stands at 300,000 and, thanks to the rapid advance of the Islamic State (formerly ISIS) across swathes of Syria and Iraq, those figures are declining rapidly. Patriarch Sako estimates that in the near future Christians could number only 50,000.

The militant Islamists seek to establish a caliphate across the Middle East. These Sunni jihadists embrace a radical form of Islam that echoes the 7thcentury. Anger at corrupt regimes, the exploitation of oil wealth by the West—and the moral decay of this same West—has engendered an aggressive, regressive ideology, rejecting all that does not coincide with this fundamentalist vision of Islam.

Local Christians too have been given an ultimatum: convert to Islam, pay the ‘jizya’—a tax levied on an Islamic state’s non-Muslim citizens—leave or die. Half a million Christians and Muslims have fled seeking shelter in Christian villages near the Kurdish controlled regions in northern Iraq. In his letter, Patriarch Sako is no less stinging in his reproach of the silence of moderate Muslims: “We are equally shocked and indignant by the absence of a vigorous position taken by the Muslims and their religious leaders, not the least because the actions of these factions represent a menace for the Muslims themselves.”

This leaves the Church alone calling for the unity and the restoration of the religious mosaic that was Iraq. “As for the Church, she finds herself completely alone, more than ever; nevertheless her leaders are strongly required to react before it is too late in applying the necessary pressure on the international community as well as those other decision-makers in view of fundamental answers necessary to the scandalous crimes and the destructive conspiracies that affect, above all, unarmed citizens in Iraq, Syria, and in Palestine-Gaza.”

In an earlier, more hopeful interview with the Patriarch, I asked him about how he kept his faith. “It is not easy. Sometimes we are upset, we are exhausted,” he said. “I studied history—Christian history and ancient history in Iraq and also the Church fathers. It was the same situation. Our church was a martyr Church, but always there was hope—as Tertullian says the blood of the martyrs is the seed of faith and I think this is our hope and I do believe Islam will change. Islam cannot stay as it is now. Fundamentalism, extremism has no future.”

At this writing, there are reports that the US has begun executing bombing raids targeting the Islamic State in northern Iraq. Help may be on its way. Thanks be to God.

Mark von Riedemann is the International Director of Communications for Aid to the Church in Need.

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Christians Fleeing Nineveh as ISIS Muslims Destroy their Cities – Where is the West??

August 7, 2014

UPDATE: Glad the Pope finally calls on the world to step in and “end the crisis” and help the Christians being slaughtered and displaced in Iraq. I hope this means more than just following along behind ISIS to pick up the dead bodies, feed and care for the raped and starving: (Reuters) – Pope Francis [...]

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Where is Ronald Reagan When We Need Him? Why I Felt Pain at the National Anthem. May My Grandchildren Still Celebrate the 4th in Liberty When They are My Age!

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(Watch Reagan video below) Not long ago we were on a boat sailing across the Sea of Galilee. The captain raised the United States flag and played the national anthem. My heart was ripped in half. I love my country, but I no longer love my country. Let me explain. When I pull out my [...]

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Hobby Lobby Wins; Religious Freedom Wins!

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Hobby Lobby just got a victory from the Supreme Court. This is a HUGE legal decision which punches Obamacare right in the face. It is a ruling which defends religious liberty. Any business that objects to abortion and birth-control no longer has to pay it in their health insurance. U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favour [...]

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ROME, December 11, 2013 (Zenit.org) – In his latest book Tea Party Catholic, Dr. Samuel Gregg develops a Catholic case for the values and institutions associated with the free economy, limited government, and America’s experiment in ordered liberty. He underscores the moral and economic benefits of business and markets, addresses the welfare state’s problems, and [...]

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Lawyers Team Up to Resist the Gay Mafia

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A team of lawyers is being assembled to make sure there are no more cases like that of Brendan Eich, the CEO of Mozilla. He was forced out of his position for contributing – years earlier — $1,000 to the Proposition 8 campaign in California in which voters themselves decided to define marriage in their [...]

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Prepare for a New America – Using Detroit as a Model

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By Frosty Wooldridge (Frosty Wooldridge (born 1947) is a US journalist, writer, environmentalist, traveler). (I ,Steve Ray who is posting his article, was born in Detroit. My ancestors lived there since the 1700′s.)   For 15 years, from the mid 1970′s to 1990, I worked in Detroit, Michigan I watched it descend into the abyss [...]

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Do You KNOW if Your Tax Returns Are Correct?

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Donald Rumsfeld served as secretary of defense under both President Gerald Ford and President George W. Bush, but he can’t master the tax code.    Every year on Tax Day, Rumsfeld sends a letter to the IRS explaining that he doesn’t know whether he did his taxes properly. Rumsfeld published his newest letter on his Twitter [...]

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Obama Meets the Pope: the Spin Begins

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By Phil Lawyer | March 27, 2014 2:07 Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Pope Francis, President Obama said that Church concerns about religious freedom and individual conscience were “not really a topic of conversation” during the exchange. That’s funny. The Vatican summary of the discussion mentioned “questions of particular relevance for the Church, [...]

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Obama’s Incredible Pro-Life Video

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Green Eggs & Ham with a Political Twist

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Supreme Court Justice Delay’s Health Care Law’s Birth Control Mandate

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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 [...]

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The Pope, Economics and His Recent Exhortation

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

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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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