Your writer is a firm believer that the church is as good a place as any to talk about the issues, because for the believer God clearly takes sides on some matters-some political positions clearly are not in line with any form of a Christian conscience and people need to be made aware that some candidates might hold positions which are clearly unacceptable to a person with a properly-formed Christian worldview. Candidate endorsements may be another matter, because while the Almighty clearly has a problem with some ideas, he also doesn't have a political party, and the Church universal is not a political party herself anymore than the General Assembly is a house of worship. The Church cannot always stay out of the political fray, and should not when issues at hand are of direct concern to believers. However, the Church does not represent the kingdoms of this world, but the Kingdom that is not of this world-the greater Kingdom to come when the corruption of this world shall pass away and those who do the bidding of the Prince of this World will be cleansed as wheat from chaff. Ministers must be very careful to remember whose Kingdom they serve and whose they ultimately are supposed to represent.
However, Haslam's seeming frequent appearances in the State's largest urban area do raise an interesting question. Haslam isn't writing off Memphis, even though he can count on his vote totals in East Tennessee and in the collar counties around Nashville to likely pull him through-perhaps with ease, so are the Democrats merely making the assumption that they'll carry Memphis easily and concentrating on everywhere else?
The original purpose of inter-collegiate athletics, lest we forget, was the students. The athletic pitch was meant as a place for those students with God-given sporting abilities to use and enhance those abilities and, for many of them, to do so in a way that could pay for their college education. For the student body at large, school-sponsored athletic events began as a way to instill school spirit, camaraderie, and pride while cheering on in unity for the efforts of fellow students. Perhaps more importantly, in the days before high-priced television and radio rights school sporting events provided a form of clean and (formerly) supervised entertainment for young people away from home, many for the first time.
I see that Representative Craig Fitzhugh lets us all know pretty clearly that the press is supposed to have a double standard. He thinks Republicans ought to get the 3rd Degree when minor and relatively insignificant things happen, while Democrats should be let off the hook:
What is interesting is Fitzhugh's response to Humphrey that "I've got more important things to do than fool around with where I parked for an hour on a Friday night in Knoxville, we have a lot bigger problems in our state." Craig Fitzhugh does have a point, of course, but so does Campfield. In Campfield's case, he had special permission to park where he was temporarily so that he could cast his vote on the House floor. It can certainly be argued about whether this was the right thing to do or not, but note that in Campfield's circumstance his incident is splashed on the front page of the News Slantinel and seen in every major paper in the State, while Democrat Craig Fitzhugh parks illegally at the University of Tennessee for over an hour and then we hear about how we have bigger things to worry about in this State than where Craig Fitzhugh was parked?
What the paper did not report, one has to assume because of its ever apparent personal vendetta against Campfield, is that it was Campfield himself who had recommended that Steve Hill be chosen for the temporary appointment. Here is something else I wouldn't expect to see in the News Sentinel-the fact that Hill is on the host committee for Campfield's Tuesday fundraiser at Club LaConte, and Steve Hill has promised to do "everything he can to help Campfield win the 7th District Senate seat in the November General Election.
As with many in the Catholic world, I have watched with a mixture of fascination and anticipation the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Scotland and England over the past four days. Most papal visits are pastoral visits, meaning that the Pope's sole official reason for being in a given place is to visit and encourage the Catholics and other Christians in a given country to keep fighting the good fight of faith. This visit to the United Kingdom was different in that while the Pope did engage in a lot of pastoral activity (such as beatification in Birmingham on Sunday of the late and now Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman), this was an official State visit, with the Holy See returning the favor of an official visit some years ago by Her Majesty the Queen.
The Pope used the occasion to combat what he views as the greatest evil facing Western culture today: Aggressive secularization.
In this, of course, Benedict is absolutely correct. For years our friends on the Left have attempted to tell us how we should compartmentalize our lives and leave our faith at the door when we enter the schoolhouse or the Statehouse. Fortunately, there are enough of us in our own country with a Christian conscience to continue the fight. In Britain, we see the ultimate example of what happens to a country and its political and cultural life when the secularists win.
Churches are being converted to mosques in the United Kingdom. The Muslims cannot be blamed for the fact that the Muhammedians are now more faithful than the Christians there. Catholics are now the largest group of active church-going Christians in the United Kingdom, but let us be fair-this is because the nominal Protestants do not go to church or care much for the worship of the Lord God Almighty. Britain was far better off when it was a vigorously Protestant Christian nation than it now is as a secular, amoral one.
Catholics have faced persecution and/or suspicion in Britain since the time of Elizabeth I-something that began under her reprobate father, Henry VIII, who insured that the Anglosphere would have a Protestant majority when he declared himself to be the head of the Church of England-because he wanted to live in public adultery with his court harlot Anne Bolynn, as opposed to the private adultery most royals were and are accustomed to. (Say it with me-divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived). Even Henry lived in constant fear of God's wrath, however, and he understood that the Christian heritage of his people demanded the acknowledgment of God and His Divine justice.
For the sake of brevity, we will not discuss the lengthy history of anti-Catholic purges and pogroms in a nation that was once more deeply Catholic than even Italy, except to say that in today's Britain, observant Catholics face persecution not from their Protestant neighbors, but from the aggressive secularization sweeping Britain and Europe. And far be it from a public figure, whether they be Protestant or Catholic, to make a devout public profession of faith.
The parallels are striking: Historic Christian society abandons the public inclusion of God in the name of pluralism. Moral relativism and hostility first to Christianity, then to nearly all faith later follows.
As it was the fate of the Mother Country, is, God Forbid, her superpower daughter next?
Pope Benedict XVI addresses members of British civil society at Westminster Hall
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