July 24, 2007
July 26, 2007

July 25, 2007

FREEDOM OF CHOICE FOR MUSLIMS

A top Islamic scholar and adviser in Egypt says Muslims are free to choose which religion to follow -- an opinion certain to have various ramifications, including for Christians there. In the best of all possible worlds, of course, one wouldn't need to say this at all because of its obviousness.

* * *

MARKING A GREAT HYMN -- AND WORDS ON BIRTH CONTROL

Now and then this summer, just for a change of pace, we've been talking a little religious history here on the blog.

GreatAnd today I'd like to continue that theme by noting two events tied to this date.

The first is the birth in 1899 of Stuart W.K. Hine, an English missionary who, with his wife (whose first name I cannot find), wrote the English words to one of my favorite hymns, indeed, one of the most popular hymns in all of Christianity -- "How Great Thou Art." (The picture here is of evangelist Gail Richardson singing the hymn at a White House service last year.)

Some years ago a wonderful pianist at our church played a version of that one evening as well as "Great is Thy Faithfulness" when a group of us met in the sanctuary, and it was simply transforming.

I said earlier that Hine wrote the English words. The hymn originally was written in Swedish by a pastor named Carl Gustaf Boberg, entitled O Store Gud (Oh Great God) and published in 1891. Hine later found a Russian version of the text and sang it on missionary work in Ukraine.

Today is also the 39th anniversary of the publication of an important encyclical by Pope Paul VI called Humanae Vitae, which condemned artificial methods of birth control. It's hard to think of a papal position that more American Catholics ignore (at least by anecdotal evidence). Perhaps one reason is that most of the members of the Pontifical Commission appointed to make study the subject favored contraception in certain cases.

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

Today's religious holiday: St. James the Great Day (Christianity)

Comments

Dolores Lear

With all the artificial methods of birth control, it is not working. In 100 years, Humans on Earth went from 1 billion people to over 6 billion people I call passengers on Spaceship Earth.
What would happen to a planet where no methods of artificial birth control, were used during a sexual revolution?
There was only one other sexual revolution, in our past, where the planet was overpopulated. It happened during the Noah/Atlantis High Tech Society that had nuclear and laser weapons.
This resulted in the Noah/Atlantis Planetary Flood Castrophe, that killed most of the people on Earth, and changed the Eco System and the land mass area. This is recorded in Genesis in the Christian Bible.

Where are the resources coming from to feed and house all these people during our population explosion? War and starvation can only kill a small percentage of humans. How many people will there be on Earth in another 100 years when the over 6 billion people reproduce?
How many wars will it take to kill enough people, to make a balance of people on one spaceship planet?
Or will it take only one Planetary Nuclear War to destroy all Life on our planet? We also have the terrible crystal, the laser, like the Atlantis Society also had in their arsonal.
A Planetary Fire is being set up with our Nuclear Waste, drought, other Pollutions and oil spills on land and sea which will cause the Planetary Fire catastrope.

Earth is an enclosed area, like a spaceship. There has to be a limit on how many passengers can be aboard.
A Nuclear Bomb War, is the spark that that will set off the Planetary Judgement Day Fire, like lightning sets forrest fires.
We are about to destroy the Ozone Canopy, and then Life as we know it, cannot exist on a Planet. We still had the Ozone Canopy after the Planetary Flood, but it will go with this final destruction of our Eco System.
Like the Nuclear Bomb and laser activity of the Noah/Atlantis Planetary Flood destroyed that population explosion, we have set up the Nuclear Bomb activity that will be the spark to set Afire our Pollution on land and sea.
It 'is' Time to understand the past History of Life on Earth, with a High Tech translation of Genesis and Revelation, in the Christian Bible.

As I posted yesterday, High Tech Asexual Reproduction only reproduces Asexual Equal male and female Human Clones, that do not reproduce by Body Birth and control the population on their planet and in spaceships.
Body Birth Heterosexual Reproduction on a Planet, reproduces all the rest of the different categories of Sexual Humans: Celibate, Heterosexual, Bisexual, Homosexual, and Transexual or CHBHT, a new set of letters for Humans, from LGBT used today. There is a Higher Nature and a Lower Nature for Humans, it is in the Birth process they practice on their Spaceship Planet.

Eternal Pure-bred Physical Life can be had by Humans with High Tech Asexual Reproduction and Balanced Elements on planets and in spaceships.
There is Eternal High Tech Pure-bred Physical Asexual Clone Life After Birth on planets, and in spaceships in the Universes. This is the Life taught in
Fallen Societies religions, as 'Life After Death'.
Is there really Human Life as we know it After Death?
When we accept there is Eternal Physical Human Life After Birth? Before we blow up our Home Planet?

Dolores Lear

The Pure-bred Human Clones that started the New Colony of Pure-bred Human Clones, will rescue the ones left, after our Fallen Lifestyle experience in all the CHBHT forms of Body Birth.
Jesus is with them and will be the new Adam on the new planet they are Colonizing, like they did Earth 'in the beginning'. This is also in Genesis and Revelation, in the Christian Bible with a High Tech translation.

corbin

Was Paul VI a prophet?

"Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection."

Dolores Lear

Along with my post today, Vern Barnet has an article today, in the K.C. Star, 7/25/07, that is relevent.

"Duty Says Prepare For Pandemic"
"How do people of faith need to think about a possible avian flue pandemic? To approach this question, let's review some religious history. -
Arranged by the Kansas City Health Department the conferenece "Mission Possible: Spiritual Response and Ssurvival During a Public Health Crises", gathered clergy, religious volunteered clergy, religious volunterers, health care professionals and disaster relief experts and provided worksheets for participants to plan for their groups as part of metropolitan preparedness. -
Kansas City health director Rex Archer, who recently was president of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, cited the watchman in Ezekiel 3 and had the gathering recite together what could be a spiritual mantra: "The only thing harder than preparing for a disaster is explaining why you didn't."

Now we need to ask why people of faith, did not prevent Humans from setting up all the Pollution and the Nuclear Bombs on Earth? When are we going to prepare for the disaster of more disease epidemics with our Pollution, and our Planetary Nuclear War? It is too late to prepare any help, for this magnitude of desolation.
Are we too busy Killing our Brothers/Sisters of Life, to see what we have set up on our Planet, with mouth worship of the Man Gods and Angels, our High Tech Ancestors, instead of Serving GOD/LIFE with Balanced Elements?

Patricia

Thank you for giving the Swedes their due, Bill. Boberg was an interesting character. He was also a politician and member of Parliament and a newspaper editor.
-----------
I think that Paul VI's motives may be pure but his grasp on reality is faulty. I can't think of any statistics nor anecdotal evidence to deny the fact that couples with a healthy and happy sex life, aren't more apt to have a longer and better marriage.

The reality is that the threat of pregnancy may or may not make a man more reverent, but it CAN make a woman more distant and resentful. She is the one who will bear the daily pressure of caring for what may be too many children.

There is also a reality in terms of our place in the world. It is just simply not responsible to have large families as we battle global warming and the consequences of over-population.

My own belief is that God works through US. And it is a Godly action to use birth control to make our families better and our world healthier.

Patricia

Interesting article in the CS Monitor: In face of human tragedy, what's a pastor to say? http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0725/p01s02-ussc.html
------
Monitor also notes that Muslim leaders are answering questions on WashPo thru 7/27 http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/projects/muslimsspeakout/index.html

Seeker

Paul VI's statement looks to me to be a case of blaming a scapegoat for personal actions. My wife and I used contraception except for the times when we wanted to concieve. After the birth of our second child, I had a vasectomy. Yet I haven't cheated on my wife and I certainly view her with reverence and as a partner in my life. And as far as I know, the feeling is mutual. Those men and women who cheat on their spouses or mistreat their spouses will do so whether or not they use contraception. The responsibility is theirs; not a condom's. By portraying contraception as a cause of infidelity, Paul VI puts the blame in the wrong place. In the words of Jack White of The White Stripes, "Blame me for robbing Peter, but don't you blame Paul."

Just Thinking

The strict requirement of celibacy for the priesthood has not made them more moral as a group, that's for sure.

Patricia, the fact that we have such over-population is partly due to technology, medical science, and especially proper hygiene. Maybe everyone should stop washing up--that's an old-style way of doing things, too, that the Vatican could probably get behind. I wonder if killing all those germs is as bad a sin as killing all those sperms.

Joe Barone

The Pope's comments reminded me of the comments of the researchers who did the recent study on carbonated soft drinks. What they said was that while people who drank sodas had a higher rate of heart disease, no cause and effect relationship could be demonstrated between diet soda and heart disease.

If it true that there is more promiscuity now than before the advent of birth control (something I don't think is provable), then there are all kinds of possible causes other than birth control.

My own situation is the same as Seeker's, and I think he is right on in what he says.

Joe Barone

Another point on the same subject: To me it seems unfortunate to have a church which opposes abortion AND outlaws birth control. At the risk of setting things off again, that only makes it clear to me that the never-married Pope wants to control women's lives (and the relationship between faithfully married couples) on all fronts.

Jenkins

For starters, I just want to say that generally Bill is good about providing links to support his points. However, this: "Perhaps one reason is that most of the members of the Pontifical Commission appointed to make study the subject favored contraception in certain cases." is a bold statement without any evidence to support. It's also a convenient thing for Bill to say, given that nearly all Protestant churches have folded on this issue since the early 20th Century. Birth control is not a new concept or practice, but at one point in time not so long ago it was uniformly condemned by all Christian churches. So lets not make this an old man controlling women's lives issue, or even one about supposed Catholic oppression. Paul VI was a visionary and the Catholic Church has been the only one with the fortitude to hold true to its teachings. I fail to see how people can sit here and try to spin that. It shows a real disregard for history.

corbin

Yeah, the Pope really is interested in controlling women's lives, that is it. Read the encyclical and his reasoning, along with the reasoning of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches for 2000 years, should be pretty clear. He said nothing new.
I believe that contraception both directly and indirectly leads to abortion because it debases the sexual act and the blessings of fecundity. (Many times, oral contraceptives are abortifacient so if you are on the pill out there, you may have conceived and not known it.) Paul VI gives his reasons and as a restatement of an ancient tradition, they really do warrant a look.

Jenkins

Also, Seeker, you seem to misread the Pope's comments. He says two things there: 1) That widespread acceptance and use of contraception can exaccerbate temptation particularly in young people and 2) That such widespread use and acceptance MAY cause men to lose reverence for women.

Certainly it can be seen that rampant contraceptive sex has for some reason given many young men the idea that its either not their child or its not their responsibility. Maury is making tons of money off of this.

Also, Joe, the Catholic Church's position on this has been consistent from the time of the Apostles. It has nothing to do with control, unless of course you believe that Jesus was into controlling women.

This has everything to do with who God created us to be as man and woman and how true happiness is fulfilling that divine design.

If you want to learn the actual reasons for the Church's theology, then I suggest you begin with John Paul II's Theology of the Body.

Patricia

"Certainly it can be seen that rampant contraceptive sex has for some reason given many young men the idea that its either not their child or its not their responsibility."

Let's see. What's wrong with this sentence? There seems to be a gap in logic between the notion that contraception causes rampant sex, but the folks who are creating children they don't care for ARE NOT USING CONTRACEPTION.

"So lets not make this an old man controlling women's lives issue, or even one about supposed Catholic oppression."

The Catholic Church should not win any points by being the hold-out when many other churches came to their senses and understood that controlling women's lives, thereby treating them as less than equals, was not going to work for them into the 21st century.

There's a reason that the only place the Catholic Church can really grow itself is in the Third World. Third World, Dark Ages attitudes appeal to Third World people.

Jenkins

Patricia: What? Are you going to sit here and say that contraceptives are 100% effective? Seriously? Unwanted pregnancy = failed contraception

Also, there is no reason why we can't have a civil discourse on this. Making lame assertions about the third world is unnecessary and unproductive. I happen to prefer a church that sticks to revealed truth rather than blowing about after every popular whim and fancy. The everbody else is doing it argument is rather unconvincing.

corbin

Also,

I don't see how the Church is really being controlling here. It has always taught that sterilization, contraception, abortion is wrong. No one has to be Catholic, or has to follow these rules merely because they exist. If we believe it as true, then it really isn't controlling, or is it? Anyway, remember Patricia, this is first a moral, familial, and ontological issue before it is political. So, again, this is what the Church has always taught as revealed truth. They aren't trying to control you, a non-Catholic. You can go ahead and use as much contraception as you want. It is your choisce, but of course, you might suffer greatly for it in the end.

Seeker

Corbin,

Ask the non-Catholic citizens of Spain, Brazil and other predominantly Catholic countries if the Catholic Church uses their rules against birth control to try to control people. When the Catholic, or any other church, uses their might and power to push secular laws upholding their religious beliefs that church is trying to control others not of their church.

Mary Behr

Took time to browze the blog between cataract surgeries (next week after the second one, I will not be able to read at all for awhile. )

Just wanted to say AMEN to the following that Bill wrote a few days ago. We all need courage in these confusing times to keep on keeping on no matter discouraging appearances.

"Some days, reading the comments left on this blog, I become pessimistic about whether it's possible for people of differing beliefs to treat one another with respect and civility. But I haven't given up hope. And hearing a rational voice like Patel's gives me courage."

Why Is This So Difficult

Okay, so let's agree on one thing: with the advent of contraception, one potential deterrent to sexual intercourse was removed. That link is clear.

The assertions made after that are up for debate. Does it mean that because the deterrent was removed that it encouraged sex? I'm sure for some people it did. So, let's say that 30% of people abstained from sex prior to contraception. And when contraception appeared, it removed a deterrent to x% of the people who began having sex whenever they wanted. Therefore, the Pope would be correct to say that contraception most likely contributed to sexual intercourse.

The judgement on whether increased sexual encounters is a good or bad thing depends upon a multitude of factors and a particular value system. If you believe sex was intended only for procreation, I suppose contraception is bad all the way around. If you believe sex was God designed and ordained to increase intimacy in a relationship in addition to procreation, then you are probably thrilled with the invention. And I haven't even factored in out of wedlock sex vs. sex in marriage (what people value as moral/immoral).

As for being a woman control issue, I believe the Catholic church disapproves of all methods of contraception - condoms included. Therefore, it does not seem to be an issue of putting down and controlling women (and I am not putting abortion in the category of contraception, since they are different animals).

And I tend to agree with the notion that, in this nation at least, you have freedom to worship where you want - or not at all. Therefore, why all the hatred toward a church who bases their practices on what they believe is the right thing?

If you want to, broaden the argument (as Seeker did) to the whole world and answer this question: is the Catholic church's stance on contraception harmful? I'm sure you'll have plenty more to say about that ;-)

corbin

Birth control is a way to control people. It always has been. It is a tool to regulate populations and make them more manageable for the managers. Look at Meg Sanger and the other bottom-feeder eugenics proponents. Look at the Rockefeller foundation connected with Planned Parenthood to displace the fears over a 'gasp' Catholic majority. And in the end for the majority, it is for people who care more for convenience than the possibilities of a large family. So, for the ideal consumers, living in suburbia, go have your 2.5 kids but make sure you get a flat screen tv, gotta have a flat screen.

Seeker

I may have the right to worship or not at whatever church I want, but that doesn't mean that the Catholic Church's stand doesn't affect me. (BTW, Spain, Brazil, and most Latin American countries have freedom of worship also even though they are predominantly Catholic and the Church wields enormous power in those countries.) The Catholic Church and many evangelical Protestant churches promote laws in this country that are solely based on their religious or moral beliefs. Attempts to limit access to or the types of contraception methods available are promoted in a significant number of state legislatures each year because of religious objections to contraception. The Bush administration blocked FDA approval of RU-486 for purely religious reasons. The only argument against allowing homosexuals to marry is a religious/moral argument. I don’t “hate” the Catholic Church or any church for that matter. I just don’t want someone else’s religious beliefs dictating my moral decisions.

And don’t bring up the old tired argument that our laws are based on the Bible or that not murdering someone is a moral belief. Our laws aren’t based on the Bible or the Ten Commandments, otherwise we would not have freedom of religion and a democracy. And while the decision of whether or not to murder someone is a moral decision; I’m speaking about moral decisions that do not harm another.

Seeker

Corbin, my wife and I decided to limit our family to two children because we decided that we could best provide and care for two children. We live in a middle-class neighborhood and limit the consumer items we buy. We don't have a plasma tv or anything like that. We do however take a family vacation to Europe or some other part of the world. We do this because we feel that it is important to expose our children to different cultures and that experiences are more important than things. We wouldn't be able to do this if we had more than two children. This is one reason we decided to stop at two. Us having more children would lower the quality of life for our children.

corbin

People don't like RU-486 because it causes abortions, Seeker. I am against abortions; RU, 4 86-ing babies?

I am against homosexual marriages because marriage is by definition between one woman and one man. It isn't because my religion tells me so. It merely informs my worldview. What you are advocating is anarchy because you have made two non-religious issues issues issues, and thus could make any issue, a religious issue.

corbin

Yeah, all those brothers and sisters playing with them. All the nieces and nephews and the joys of a large family dinner. Sounds horrible.

corbin

Hey Seeker,
If I sound nasty, I really don't mean to be. I hear these arguments quite often and really don't think there is much to them. They seem simplistic and selfish to me, but I can't really judge the motives of another person. I guess in the end I don't know why any man would not want to have many children. I don't get it, it is such a masculine feat, and so rewarding late in life. I don't get it, and I don't think I ever will. The future belongs to the living and I think it is a pretty cool thing to have your name carved into a small part of the world.

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