Church

Amid the Chaos and Carnage in Syria, What is Happening to the Christians?

Amid the chaos and carnage in Syria what is happening to the Christian community there? No end seems to be in sight to the torture and slayings ordered by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime which, in five months has left over 2,200 Syrians dead, 3,000 missing, 14,000 imprisoned and 12,000 injured.

The Christian community in Syria, which dates back to the time of St Paul and his conversion on the road to Damascus, makes up 10 per cent of Syria’s population of 22.5 million. Since 1970, the Assads, who are Alawite, a small Shia Muslim offshoot, have stayed in power with a coalition of religious minorities, including the Christians – allies together against the huge Sunni majority. Christians are favoured in many ways. There are now three Christians (two Catholics and one Greek Orthodox) in the government and churches, like mosques, get free electricity and water.

A Catholic news agency in Rome has written that the majority of Christians in Syria have continued to back Assad’s authoritarian rule, stressing that this contrasts with the majority of Christians in Egypt who were supporters of the Arab Spring revolution. But, as foreign journalists are banned in Syria, such a statement can only be an assumption. I personally found that many Christians, fearful of the network of spies and informers, are terrified of the consequences of talking even anonymously…

The rest and more in the Catholic Herald here.

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Church

Preparing Clergy for War: Army Chaplains Train for Combat Zones

CNN:

Fort Jackson, South Carolina (CNN) – The summer sun beats down on camouflaged Kevlar helmets.  Weighed down by heavy body armor, men and women of the cloth are crawling through sand, under barbed wire and learning how to run with soldiers.

Explosions in woods simulate the battlefield as an instructor barks commands.

“You are not following simple instructions!  Cover me while I move!  Got you covered!  Let’s go!”

This is the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, where the Army trains clergy of all faiths how to survive in combat.

Once many of these chaplains complete this modified basic training they will head to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, where the explosions and gunfire are not simulated.

Here at Fort Jackson, on a range in the woods, there is a bevy of broken down cars and trucks to simulate an urban battlefield.

The army says being a chaplain in combat is among the most dangerous jobs because the chaplains move from base to base ministering to soldiers.

“Once you move behind the vehicle, the chaplain, who has no weapon, will stay behind the engine block or the wheel base. That is the safest place for you to be,” the instructor yells to the long line of chaplains who are readying to run this course.

On the battlefield, chaplains look just like any other soldier.

Decked out in camouflage and body armor, the only addition is a two-inch patch signifying their religious affiliation…

Read on here.

There’s even a short video.

Culture

Your Kids Are OK With This Child Killer, Right?

On The Creative Minority Report:

This just shows how little concern our culture has for children. A judge just said it’s all okey dokey if two kids live with a…child killer. Oh don’t freak out, she only killed the kids because she was stressed out at the time.

The LA Times reports:

She was a Brownie troop leader, a room mother, a Sunday school teacher and almost the definition of an Orange County soccer mom — until she shot her two small daughters to death in 1991 while they slept in their home in
Laguna Niguel, Calif.

Kristine Cushing, then 39, said she was the victim of anti-depression medication, a debilitating heart condition and worry over the impending dissolution of her 17-year marriage to former Marine Corps fighter pilot John Cushing Jr. when she shot her daughters, ages 4 and 8, and then attempted to kill herself.

She was found not guilty by reason of insanity and spent four years in a mental hospital. In 2005, California
authorities concluded that she posed no risk and granted her an unconditional release.

Fast forward to now: The Cushings are back together, living on Vashon Island in Washington state, and an Oregon woman who married John Cushing four years after the killings has temporarily lost her legal bid to prevent her own teenage sons from living with the couple.

In his ruling, King County Superior Court Judge William Downing said Trisha Conlon, who only recently discovered that Kristine was living in the home, has not proved that Kristine Cushing poses an immediate threat to Conlon’s two boys, ages 13 and 14, though he called for a full investigation to determine an appropriate final order.

So it’s ok if children go live with a child killer? What?

Here’s the thing. I guess the judge’s perspective is that the woman served her time and you can’t hold her past crimes against her. Or something. But how about the fact that she spent just four years inside an institution for killing her kids. Shouldn’t killing your kids be a pretty important crime? Kind of a big deal?

If she was spending her life behind bars we wouldn’t have some moronic judge allowing children to live with her. Lunacy. Absolute lunacy.