The Praying Coach

A person that just joined my blog made this comment on one of his posts:  The Bible is my rulebook … I’m supposed to use it as the standard bearer for everything that I do in life.

prayingcoachAnd it seems this is also the philosophy of the four Supreme Court judges who ruled in favor of the high school coach who led a “voluntary” postgame prayer on the field.

It’s been suggested that had it only been the coach performing this act, the impact of the ruling might not have been so great. But as images have shown, it wasn’t long before some of the players joined him. A few at the beginning, but soon the entire team. Most likely, early on the joiners were actual believers, but the Law of FOBLO (Fear Of Being Left Out) soon came into play.

Another point that should not to be overlooked is the considerable amount of power coaches have over high school players. They are huge authority figures and can delve out many sought-after benefits … from playing time to access to scholarships. Plus, at its core, such an action tends to become coercive –and exclusionary– when performed by authority figures.

Mmuslim-g49a59d552_640oreover, what about religious minorities … or people who are not affiliated with any religion? Several parents wondered how receptive the high court would have been to the freedom arguments if the coach in question had been a Muslim, who placed a prayer rug at midfield and bowed in prayers to Allah.

Prayer_Closet.jpgWhat’s interesting about this ruling is how many believers (and especially certain SC Judges) seem to “forget” (ignore!) the scripture in Matthew: “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners that they may be seen by others. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret,

Final thought: A WHITE man gets the OK from the Supreme Court to pray after a high school football game, but a BLACK man is castigated for “taking a knee” during a Super Bowl football game. Prejudice anyone?

Religious Liberty and Abortion

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This statement, published in a Guardian article, is one that few people consider as they argue and fight over abortion rights:

Religious liberty for people of all faiths is protected under the US constitution, state constitutions and federal statutes.

Considering this assertion, it would seem that while some religious groups believe abortion should be banned by law, there are others who see things quite differently. And they base their stance on the religious liberty protection granted to them in the above declaration.

The article lists some examples …

In Judaism, abortion is usually seen as permissible and even required in cases where the patient’s life is at risk. In Islam, scholars contend that abortion is allowed for the first 120 days, after which it’s seen as a civil – not a criminal – issue, and it’s permitted at any time when the health of the mother is in danger. Other believers, including within Christianity, focus on the sacredness of the individual or the family to make such decisions, rather than prosecutors or lawmaker

And …

Catholics for Choice believe they have a religious duty to protect reproductive health despite the Catholic church’s stance against abortion.

The article further notes that nearly half of Protestants and 56% of Catholics believe abortion should be legal in some or all cases, and more than half of Muslims, 82% of Buddhists and 83% of Jews believe the same.

One rabbi said this: “If you ban abortion, when my religious tradition tells me that I am a) permitted and b) possibly required to access abortion care, you are limiting my free exercise of religion.” (Emphasis mine)

Another person said — and I fully agree — To me, the law of the land and [religious] law are two separate and distinct things.

While I am personally against any laws forbidding abortion, I was surprised to learn of the resistance to the anti-abortion movement from within certain segments of the religious community — with several referencing their rights to religious liberty.

Even so, the Certain Individuals who have the Authority and Power to rule on this issue continue to disregard even the religious segment of society as they move towards an anti-abortion ruling designed to affect ALL women.

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Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Watch What You Say!

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Now this is one of those stories that, in my opinion, “takes the cake.”

This article talks about an Arizona priest who has been baptizing infants for over 25 years — and has been using an “incorrect” word during the sacrament!

Oh the HORROR of it! Thousands of poor little babies were never sanctified because of this priest’s poor choice of words!

Apparently, when baptizing, a priest must say: “I baptize you …” whereas this careless priest said, “We baptize you …”!!!

Fortunately, all of the other sacraments this priest conferred were valid. (Phew!) However, because baptism is the “sacrament that grants access to all the others, a botched baptism could invalidate any subsequent sacraments, including confirmation, marriage and holy orders.”

The article reports that similar discoveries were made by the “lay faithful” in Detroit and Oklahoma City, so if you –or someone you know– happens to be one of the many that were affected, it may be necessary “to repeat some or all of those sacraments” after being “validly baptized.” 

Although I have my doubts the following needs to be shared, I wouldn’t want to be remiss in my responsibilities, so let me close by adding that the Arizona Parish is:

seeking help in identifying those in need of the sacraments and encouraging anyone who believes their own baptism was affected to call their parish for more information.

P.S. This was also shared in the article:

 (I)f a priest uses milk instead of wine during the Consecration of the Eucharist, the sacrament is not valid (because) the milk would not become the Blood of Jesus Christ.

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Image by Jercy Rhea Senecio from Pixabay

Evidences and Facts

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In reading various blogs related to discussions between believers and non-believers, I find it rather puzzling that the former take it for granted that the latter accepts the credibility of the Bible. Again and again, as questionable matters arise, Christians will reference scripture to “prove” their point. Occasionally, a believer will reference a noted apologist who supports the matter under discussion, but essentially it is the words of the Bible that are the determining factor.

As an example, I lifted the following from a discussion related to the existence of the person Jesus. (Interestingly, the blog visitor preceded his comment by saying: “I’m about evidences and facts.”)

What you need to understand is it is very clear in the Bible that hundreds of people saw Jesus and people touched his wounds and saw him up close. It is one thing to have a person act as a double to trick the masses for a cruel trick on humanity it is completely another thing to have someone go up to Jesus and see his wounds and touch them. Jesus was making it very clear with no doubt to all the witnesses he was indeed Jesus Christ.

So the natural question that pops into my mind as I read this is what “evidences and facts” does this person have that “hundreds of people” saw Jesus? How does this person know that “Jesus was making it very clear” that he “was indeed Jesus Christ”? Indeed, what “evidences and facts” does this person have that it wasn’t someone acting as a “double to trick the masses?”

Oh Wait! Could it be? Ahhh yes. As the person noted, “it is very clear in the Bible”!

Do believers not understand that atheists do not accept the validity of the Bible? Do they not realize that atheists reject the existence of gods in any size, shape, or form? Do they think it’s all a façade and that in reality, atheists (deep down in their hearts) truly believe the Bible God exists?

It would seem so.

I can only surmise that they put their faith in the BIBLE scripture that says …

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12; ESV)

And thus, they continue to reference the contents of this several thousand year old book written by nebulous individuals … certain that it has the force to “pierce the soul” of the Non-Believing Atheist.

“It’s true, the Force of the Jedi Bible — all of it, it’s all true.”
(With apologies to Hans Solo in “Star Wars”, Episode 7)