This issue has been under discussion and in the news for quite some time, but now Pope Benedict XVI in effect has put "Limbo" out of business. What's your view (or the view of your faith tradition) of the eternal destiny of babies who die?
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A CHANCE TO SEE THE PHELPS FILM
You may recall that last month I did a blog entry about a new documentary film on the Rev. Fred Phelps and his hateful anti-gay and anti-lots-of-folks ministry in Topeka, Kan. I had a chance to see it and I recommend it to anyone who gets a similar opportunity. You have such a chance at 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 29, at Holmeswood Baptist Church, located at 97th and Holmes in Kansas City, Mo. The pastor of that excellent congregation, the Rev. Keith Herron, has arranged the showing.
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A MOVE AGAINST RELIGIOUS PREJUDICE
As regular blog readers know, I'm a proponent of studying -- or at least being aware of -- our history.
So this weekend is a good time to recall a bit of American religious history that sometimes gets neglected: The passage on April 21, 1649, of the Toleration Act. The Maryland Assembly, with vigorous support from Lord Baltimore, a Catholic who was proprietor of Maryland, passed the measure to protect Catholics within Maryland from Protestant harrassment. (The picture here today is the Maryland flag.)
Such antagonism toward Catholics was growing then due the rise to power in England of the Protestant leader Oliver Cromwell.
That was certainly not the end of prejudice against and other trouble for Catholics in this country, of course -- or what was to become this country. It's true that today five of the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices are Catholics and that Catholics have in many other ways been merged into the mainstream of American religious and social culture.
But I certainly recall hatred against Catholics being spewed from the preacher of the Protestant church (Presbyterian) in which I grew up in 1960 when John F. Kennedy was running for office. Our pastor warned us that the pope, in effect, would rule America if JFK were elected.
Perhaps you, too, recall instances of anti-Catholic prejudice in your life. If so, are you aware of such feelings today among people you know? If you have no experience of anti-Catholic prejudices, how do you think we got past all that?
To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here. (My Saturday column this weekend will point you to some help for understanding the religious aspects of the 2008 presidential race.)
Today's religious holiday: Ridvan begins (Baha'i, 21st)