April 23, 2007
April 25, 2007

April 24, 2007

DRIVEN TO COURT

In Indiana, you can get a special license plate that says, "In God We Trust." But the ACLU is suing over it because the state apparently treats this plate differently than other special plates. Wonder what it would cost to get an "In the ACLU We Trust" plate.

* * *

A FAITH-BASED AGENCY MAKES A DIFFERENCE

When I was at a fund-raising dinner the other night for a wonderful organization, it occurred to me again how much good people of faith do.

OpbreakConsider Operation Breakthrough of Kansas City, led by two nuns.

First, it focuses on children, among the most vulnerable people in our society. At the moment, it serves nearly 700 such kids.

The idea is to provide what O.B. calls a "safe, loving and educational environment." O.B. seeks to rescue children from the deleterious effects of poverty. Its success stories are simply awesome, though, of course, there is no guarantee that every kid who enters an O.B. program will flourish.

O.B. began in 1971 to provide safe day care for children in the inner city. Today is operates an early childhood education program, before- and after-school programs, a summer enrichment program and much more.

The nuns who have given their lives to this effort are Sister Corita Bussanmas and Sister Berta Sailer. They are simply astonishing women.

When the sisters and volunteers put on their first fund-raising dinner in 1998, there were so few people in attendance that "everybody had a front-row seat," Sister Berta says. The fund-raiser at a big downtown hotel the other night was jammed. People filled a huge ballroom. And they donated tens of thousands of dollars.

Why? Because these Christian women believe it's crucial to help children reach their God-given potential. Yes, religious adherents also cause many problems in the world, sometimes setting the globe aflame with hatred and violence. But let's not forget the marvelous work done by such people of faith as Sisters Corita and Berta.

You can go to the O.B. Web site and find out how you can help. I recommend you do that.

To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here.

P.S.: The annual AIDS Walk to raise funds for Kansas City area AIDS service organizations happens this Saturday, and I'll be participating. Thanks to those of you who already have donated. If you want to but haven't yet donated, just click here. And thanks for any help you can give.

Comments

kayceewolf

I actually saw one of the Indiana "In God We Trust" plates on a car in Westport over the weekend. My first thought was 'Wow ... they are courting a lawsuit if they give those plates to everyone.'

As it turns out, the plates are optional, but the disparity in price is apparently the issue with the plates. I can see having to pay an extra fee that benefits a service or organization one wants to support (like the child abuse plates here in Missouri). But if the Indiana BMV was to charge an extra $25 for the "God" plate, how would they decide what organization to give it to? Given the wide range of religious organizations I doubt that they could choose one that would satisfy everyone. I suppose they could offer a variety of organizations the vehicle owner could choose to support, but that would be a bureaucratic nightmare.

As long as they are other license plate options that offer a "neutral" message at the same price, I don't have any problem with the "In God We Trust" logo ... but it seems more and more that states offering specialty plates are coming close to turning license plates into bumper stickers.

Thomas Murray

Bill, I really enjoy your writing - a refreshing outlook on things. If you are interested in another organization that really makes a difference, check out the Gracious Promise Foundation, www.graciouspromise.org,
1021 Pacific Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas. These wonderful people actually do something also, help people released from prison get jobs and homes so they won't reoffend. My church, Atonement Lutheran in Overland Park (and many others) support this faith-based organization, and they are tremendous. Thanks again for your enjoyable writing! Best thoughts to you, Tom Murray

JoLynne Martinez

Kudos to you for spotlighting the good work of Sisters Corita and Berta. My family and I have donated to their program over the years, despite the fact that we are not Christian. Whatever religion you are, you have to admit the Sisters are doing good work that needs to be done. And no one else is stepping in to do it. So everyone else, I challenge you to write a check or volunteer sometime to Operation Breakthrough today. I hadn't previously heard of the Gracious Promise Foundation, Tom, but I'm off to look at their website now.

kayceewolf

Not to change the topic, but there was a discussion about the Vatican and the idea of limbo over the weekend.

Today's Slate.com has an interesting article about the move to get away from the concept of limbo at: http://www.slate.com/id/2164834?nav=tap3

Joe Barone

Two small comments: I wonder if you could get an Indiana license plate which says, "In Satan we trust," or whoever? If so, you are just exercising free speech when you do, "In God we trust." Otherwise . . .

In regard to these helping organizations like Breakthrough or the one for prison ministry, my question (which is seldom answered) is, "What kinds of strings are attached to the help?" Do you have to convert or conform in some way to the helping people's religious biases to get the help. If not, then I would see those agencies as truly acting in the spirit of Jesus.

Patricia

Speaking of "In Satan We Trust"...the Wiccans have received the right to have their symbol on graves in the national cemeteries. http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/04/23/wiccan.grave.ap/index.html
----------
Operation Breakthrough has no religious affiliation. It functions as a childcare/early education agency and operates with government funding.
http://www.operationbreakthrough.org/au_faq.htm

On this same subject......Head Start has taken a hit with this administration. If you can't donate money, then urging your government reps to support the agency is a very good thing. We have plenty of studies to prove that early childhood development is critical.
---------
If the "real" costs of the plate are not the same as a special plate, then why not allow people their motto? It looks as if there is a $.50 difference, total. So charge $.50 more. But the state must function in that manner, if there are other special plates that incur no extra costs. And they must be open to other special religious or non-religious plates.
--------
Thanks for the Slate link, KCWolf. It echoes my question regarding limbo.........what does this say about the fallibility of the church? Certainly that it is a mere mortal construct making "best guesses" like the rest of us.

Mary Behr

Two small comments: I wonder if you could get an Indiana license plate which says, "In Satan we trust," or whoever? If so, you are just exercising free speech when you do, "In God we trust." Otherwise . . .

Good one, kayceewolf. I thought, too, of "what about pornographic plates." Do they censor for those? If someone wants an IN GOD WE TRUST sign they can always buy one of those licence plate "frames." :)

As for Limbo, indeed there are lots of subjects that are continually struggled with. I think the idea is that GOD doesn't change, but humans in and out of the churches constantly search and struggle with how to make sense out of things. How do you square a loving God with all the suffering in the world, etc. Limbo has long and gradually gone out of front burner consideration in the Catholic church. I thought, when exposed to that idea years ago (I'm 75)I took it as a comforting way of thinking about God's loving providence. That there would be some provision for all those babies. When I had a miscarriage, I learned to just trust my little one to God's benevolent care. Ways of thinking and understanding difficult matters are not the same as core doctrines. The Pope is not in the business of telling God what to do or how to do it. We just continually try to understand with our necessarily limited intelligence and language.

There are faith based agencies all over the place, thank God. And yes, we can rightfully ask if there are "strings attached."
The ones without strings might indeed have the best credibility.


Mary Behr

Welcome, Thomas. I look forward to reading more comments from you.

kayceewolf

Actually, Mary, the "In Satan We Trust" post was from Joe. Heaven knows I stir up enough around here without someone getting the idea I'm a Satanist. ;-)

If Indiana's laws are anything like Missouri's there are only a few "message" license plates available to choose from. They won't let you craft your own message unless you can get by with "IM 4 SATAN" as a personalized license plate. I'm not sure how many options are available here in Missouri. I one I've seen the most is the one supporting child abuse prevention. Seems like several years ago there was a controversy over an anti-abortion group wanting a license plate that read "Choose Life," but it was turned down as too controversial. Most states that offer license options tend to stick with fairly mainstream, noncontroversial groups. It's not likely you'll see licenses for hot-button groups like Satanists or even the NRA or ACLU in the near future.

Dolores Lear

Mary said: "How do you square a loving God with all the suffering in the world, etc."

God does not make suffering, Mis-bred people do. God did not reproduce Fallen Humans by Body Birth 'in the beginning'. God/They reproduced the Adam and Eve Colony, who were Perfect Humans, made 'supernaturally'. We are in the image of the God that walked and talked with Humans.
This was the God of Peace, that said 'Thou shalt not kill".
It was after Adam and Eve reproduced the First Generation of Humans by Body Birth, including Cain and abel, that Killing and suffering began on our Home Planet. Humans are responsible for all the suffering and death on our planet, not the God/Angels, that looked like Humans.

God lets Humans have Free Will, to follow the rules or not. There are built in results for High Tech Pure-bred Humans, they have Eternal Pure-bred Physical Life After Birth. For Mis-bred Humans they have Physical Death on a planet.
For Body Birth Mis-bred Humans, there is Disease, Divisions, and Death. Maybe even rebirth to Fallen Human Life, as they have relation generations of Life and Death. There are no relation generations in High Tech Human Life.

High Tech Humans Live Forever, and only have to reproduce Humans to start Life on another planet.
Fallen Humans start religions and teach Life After Death. Is there really Human Life After Death as we know it?

We are now back up to the High Tech supernatural power of God, and can reproduce Humans by High Tech, in a dish and put it in the female womb. This is how God reproduced Humans also. Only they have advanced to a Society that has a High Tech Womb, and also reproduces male and female Clones like Adam and Eve. The Clones were not supposed to reproduce by Body Birth.

Until we understand Humans have caused all the problems on Earth by Body Birth, we will keep on Killing, and Fallen Humans have set up the ultimate Planetary War, with nuclear bombs all over our Home.
Will this kill off this bad genetic strain of Human, when we destroy our planet, or will Jesus and our High Tech Ancestors, the God in whose image Humans on Earth were made, return to Save those that remain, after we Kill the Eco System they set up on Earth, when they Colonized Earth 'in the beginning?

Dolores Lear

Mary said: "How do you square a loving God with all the suffering in the world, etc."

God does not make suffering, Mis-bred people do. God did not reproduce Fallen Humans by Body Birth 'in the beginning'. God/They reproduced the Adam and Eve Colony, who were Perfect Humans, made 'supernaturally'. We are in the image of the God that walked and talked with Humans.
This was the God of Peace, that said 'Thou shalt not kill".
It was after Adam and Eve reproduced the First Generation of Humans by Body Birth, including Cain and abel, that Killing and suffering began on our Home Planet. Humans are responsible for all the suffering and death on our planet, not the God/Angels, that looked like Humans.

God lets Humans have Free Will, to follow the rules or not. There are built in results for High Tech Pure-bred Humans, they have Eternal Pure-bred Physical Life After Birth. For Mis-bred Humans they have Physical Death on a planet.
For Body Birth Mis-bred Humans, there is Disease, Divisions, and Death. Maybe even rebirth to Fallen Human Life, as they have relation generations of Life and Death. There are no relation generations in High Tech Human Life.

High Tech Humans Live Forever, and only have to reproduce Humans to start Life on another planet.
Fallen Humans start religions and teach Life After Death. Is there really Human Life After Death as we know it?

We are now back up to the High Tech supernatural power of God, and can reproduce Humans by High Tech, in a dish and put it in the female womb. This is how God reproduced Humans also. Only they have advanced to a Society that has a High Tech Womb, and also reproduces male and female Clones like Adam and Eve. The Clones were not supposed to reproduce by Body Birth.

Until we understand Humans have caused all the problems on Earth by Body Birth, we will keep on Killing, and Fallen Humans have set up the ultimate Planetary War, with nuclear bombs all over our Home.
Will this kill off this bad genetic strain of Human, when we destroy our planet, or will Jesus and our High Tech Ancestors, the God in whose image Humans on Earth were made, return to Save those that remain, after we Kill the Eco System they set up on Earth, when they Colonized Earth 'in the beginning?

Dolores Lear

One time is enough. :)
I had to go through verifing my post and it posted 2 times. I did not realize it had also posted.

I know every so often someone has the same problem, even on other Blogs also. But the Web is wonderful anyway.

Jenkins

KC,

Thanks for the link to that Slate article. However, the article makes a false assumption about the Church's teachings. First, there is a clear distinction (that the writer fails to make) between the Church's doctrine on matters of faith and morals, and the Church's pastoral guidance on other issues. The former are infallible and cannot be changed, the latter are not infallible and can be adapted (though always derived from the same eternal principles). Second, the article mistakenly lists several examples as though they are proof of the Church changing its doctrine (which as we've discussed, the Church hasn't done in the case of limbo either).

Though I don't have time to address all three links. I find the third (regarding religious freedom) quite humorous, because the link that Slate provides is to an article by Cardinal Dulles explaining why the Church HAS NOT changed its doctrine. I recommend that anyone interested check it out. http://www.firstthings.com/article.php3?id_article=2279
But here are few brief quotes that shed light on our dialogue:

"As Newman himself intimated, doctrine of a social or political character does not follow exactly the same course of development as pure dogma. It is not simply spun out of the original deposit of faith, but emerges with a certain irregularity according to the vicissitudes of history. Pope John Paul II explains that the social teaching of the Magisterium is under continual revision insofar as the unchanging principles of the gospel need to be upheld in varying social situations. The fundamental principles are constant, but the judgments and adaptations are ever new. A measure of discontinuity may therefore be expected in successive responses to novel situations. Such discontinuity, however, does not require reversals unless the Church at an earlier time ruled out precisely the development that was to occur under changed circumstances."

Regarding tolerance and interreligious dialogue:
"Finally, Pope John Paul II has elucidated the difference between mere tolerance and reconciliation. In the civil sphere, it may be necessary to tolerate certain unacceptable practices because the effort to suppress them would bring about greater evils. But mere tolerance is static; it cannot serve as a principle of growth. In interreligious dialogue and in ecumenism, therefore, efforts should be made to move toward unity in the fullness of truth. This endeavor is germane to the quest for freedom, since we have the promise of Jesus, "The truth will make you free" (John 8:32). To settle for doctrinal compromises or a simple agreement to disagree would be a disservice to freedom itself."

Rich B

Combining the present discussion with one from a couple days about Albania, I wanted to make a point about the growth of religion in Albania.

The Orthodox Archbishop of Albania is a great man. He is very much for teaching his flock about the faith, while not excluding anyone. For example, Muslims are regularly invited to Orthodox youth outings. He is putting a lot of resources into helping orphanages, too.

One story I heard of was encouraging. A mosque was destroyed. No one claimed responsibility, but Christians began to be blamed. The Archbishop ordered the Orthodox Church to rebuild the mosque. And this happened at the same time that Muslim Albanians destroy centuries-old churches in Kosovo.

His message seems to be one of radical Christianity: unconditional love of the brother/sister.

Dolores Lear

using Jenkins reference, to Jesus' The Truth Will Set You Free' from what? Original Sin.

The Truth of High Tech Pure-bred Reproduction will set us from from our Diseased Genetic Bodies reproduced by Body Birth. Jesus was with our High Tech Ancestors, and still is with them, in a Pure-bred Physical Body for the past 2000 years.

The Truth is, Eternal Physical Life is for the Living, not for the Physically Dead.

Just Thinking

If a license plate is the only way for someone to know that you trust in God, then the license plate is worthless anyway. Actually, it's worse than worthless: if you behave perfectly on the road, then nobody will comment; but if you do one single thing wrong, it can be a witness against everyone who claims to trust in God.

kayceewolf

I hadn't thought of it that way, but that's a good point, JT.

From my own experience I know that when I've seen a driver swerving in and out of traffic or tailgating - then had them pass me and I see a bumpersticker for a candidate or issue I don't support - I've often thought to myself "Well, that explains it! If you support XXXXXXXX, then you must be a rude driver." Well, that's a bit oversimplified, but I'm sure we do all tend to remember a rude driver if they have something on their vehicle that identifies them with a cause we oppose. Conversely, most of us probably don't notice bumperstickers on cars driven by courteous drivers.

I guess the lesson in this is that if you are going to use your car to identify with any sort of cause, make sure you drive very, very carefully.

corbin

Jenkins,
Sweet post. Newman is the man on this stuff, but of course, you have to understand the infallibility of the Church first. There is a big riot in an Indiana prison going on. I wonder if they are pissed for having to make the license plates. Oh wait, yep that is it, they are now yelling for stronger establishment clause jurisprudence and secularism. Reminds me of DeSade, yelling the same nonsense from the Bastille.

Just Thinking

"Finally, Pope John Paul II has elucidated the difference between mere tolerance and reconciliation. In the civil sphere, it may be necessary to tolerate certain unacceptable practices because the effort to suppress them would bring about greater evils. But mere tolerance is static; it cannot serve as a principle of growth."

Adding to this ... Christians are called to treat those outside the Church with more tolerance than those inside the Church. Too offten it is EXACTLY the opposite of what is practiced: those outside are heathens and told to reform, while those inside are never criticized because they are "good" people.

1 Cor 5 - insiders vs outsiders
9 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."

Just Thinking

Romns 2:4
Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?

Rich B

Thanks, JT. Your citation and comments remind me of Archbishop Athanasios of Tirana, whom I mentioned above.

John Stuart

How about an "In the ACLU, We Fuss" plate?

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