Fr Stephen Smuts

Posts Tagged ‘USA

Put the Bibles Back

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BibleSo says the Navy.

The Navy on Thursday ordered the Bibles returned to rooms and said it is reviewing a decision by the Navy Exchange to remove them from its worldwide network of military hotels.
Atheists had cheered a victory after a complaint prompted the exchange to begin moving the Bibles to its lost-and-found bins this summer, but the Navy said the decision was made without consulting senior leadership. 
“That decision and our religious accommodation policies with regard to the placement of religious materials are under review,” Navy spokesman Cmdr. Ryan Perry wrote in an email to Stars and Stripes. “While that review is under way, religious materials removed from Navy Lodge rooms will be returned.” 
The Navy Exchange sent a memorandum in June to all its lodge managers saying the Bibles and all religious materials left in rooms will be removed using “established procedures for lost-and-found property.” 
In the meantime, managers were ordered to “refer all inquiries about placing religious materials including Bibles to the chaplain’s office for the military installation where the lodge is located,” according to the memo written by Bill Mayhue, the Navy lodge program regional manager. It was signed off on by the director of the Navy Exchange lodges program. 
“This will allow the commanding officer to determine … whether the materials will be accepted and how they will be handled and distributed,” Mayhue wrote…

More here.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

August 15, 2014 at 17:16

Posted in Church

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Obama Authorizes Air Strikes, Humanitarian Aid in Iraq

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Time is reporting:Iraqis arrive at a peshmerga controlled checkpoint between Irbil and Mosul after fleeing villages near Mosul in fear of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant attacks.

President Barack Obama said Thursday that he has authorized U.S. air strikes against militants in Iraq to prevent them from moving on the Kurdish city of Erbil and to protect tens of thousands of refugees in northern Iraq. Obama said American forces had also airdropped food and water to the refugees under siege by the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).

“America is coming to help,” Obama said during a brief televised address from the White House late Thursday night, describing the actions as “limited strikes” to assist Iraqi forces in reaching the refugees and to protect American forces who are advising the Iraqis in Erbil. The refugees have taken shelter atop the Sinjar Mountains after Kurdish forces were pushed back by the Islamist group last weekend.

Officials said U.S. air strikes have yet to actually take place, and Obama, who has taken pains to avoid re-engaging in a conflict from which he withdrew American troops in 2011 even as militants have taken control of large swaths of the country, said no ground forces would be part of the operation, other than the military advisers he authorized two months ago. “As Commander in Chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq,” he said.

“American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq,” Obama added.

White House officials spent much of Thursday evening notifying lawmakers of the action, but Obama decided against seeking specific congressional authorization for the intervention. The White House chief of staff also called House Speaker John Boehner.

“When many thousands of innocent civilians are in danger of being wiped out, and we have the capacity to help, we will take action,” Obama said. “When we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre, then I believe the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye.”

No, a blind eye cannot be turned!

Read on here.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

August 8, 2014 at 09:06

Satanic Black Mass

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How awful! As reported by Fr Z:

As you may have heard, some nitwits have scheduled use of a public venue in Oklahoma City for the purpose of a Satanic Black Mass.  It is unclear if they have a consecrated Host.

This is, I think, mostly a sophomoric stunt.  It is, nevertheless, a horrible blasphemy.

The Bishop of Tulsa, His Excellency Most Rev. Edward Slattery, has issued a letter to people in his diocese.  HERE

A letter from Bishop Slattery

Countering with Prayer the proposed Black Mass in Oklahoma City

My Dear People:

As has been widely reported, a Satanic Black Mass has been scheduled for September 21 in Oklahoma City’s Civic Center. As a part of Satanic worship, a Black Mass attempts to invert the action and meaning of the Eucharist in order to mock Christ’s sacrifice and worship Satan through an orgiastic ritual of pain and perversion. It blasphemes everything which we hold as sacred and redemptive; and the spiritual dangers it poses ought not be dismissed. Since the Civic Center has not responded positively to the pleas of the Archbishop of Oklahoma City not to host this event in a tax-payer supported public venue, I am asking the faithful Catholics in the Diocese of Tulsa to fight this blasphemy through prayer and fasting:

  1. Please keep the nine days prior to the Feast of the Assumption as an extraordinary period of prayer and penance. I am asking every Catholic to abstain from all meat and meat products from August 6 through the 14th. I am also asking that you consecrate your hunger with a daily recitation of a decade of the rosary and the familiar Prayer to Saint Michael. Printed copies of these prayers are available in the bulletin and at the entrances of the church. Be strong and encourage your friends to also be strong.
  1. On Assumption Day, August 15th, we will ask Our Lady on her Feast, to intercede for us and protect us. On that day I in the Cathedral, and every priest in his own parish, will pray a special prayer written by Pope Leo XIII for the defense of the Church against the attack of the Enemy and his apostate angels.
  1. Should these prayers and this period of fasting not effect the cancellation of this event, then I will ask every priest in the Diocese to conduct a Eucharistic Holy Hour on September 21 at the same time (7:00 p.m.) as this profanity is being celebrated in Oklahoma City. Wherever possible, I ask that Eucharistic Processions – especially outdoor processions – be arranged as part of these holy hours. Let us give a public witness to our faith in the Eucharist which is being so profoundly mocked and ridiculed by this event.

From the snares of the devil, deliver us, O Lord!

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Rev. Edward J. Slattery
Bishop of Tulsa

To download and/or print this letter and the bulletin announcement in PDF format, click HERE.

To download and/or print the letter to the priests from Bishop Slattery which includes both the Novena prayers  and the “Leonine Prayers” from the 1962 Rite of Exorcism, click HERE.

I invite all bishops and priests who read this blog, in solidarity with the Bishop of Tulsa and Archbishop of Oklahoma, to pray for the conversion of these deluded souls and for the overturning of this scheduled event.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

August 3, 2014 at 22:28

Ebola Patient Dr Kent Brantly Arrives in the USA

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NBC News:

A person in a hooded white protective suit with was helped out of an ambulance by a person in heavier protective gear on Saturday at the Atlanta hospital where an American doctor who contracted Ebola while working with a charity organization in Liberia arrived for treatment Saturday afternoon. Dr. Kent Brantly — the first person infected with Ebola on U.S. soil — landed at Dobbins Air Force Base in Marietta, Georgia, in a plane specially outfitted with containment equipment. Dobbins Air Reserve base Spokesman Lt. Col James Wilson said the arrival and transfer was “uneventful.”

He was immediately transported by ambulance to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, according to the Christian charity organization Samaritan’s Purse. Emory has prepared a special isolation unit with the help of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and said they are equipped to care for Brantly. Nancy Writebol, a second American infected with the deadly disease will be evacuated from Liberia and placed in the same “hospital isolation unit” with Brantly, Dr. Jay Varkey, an infectious disease specialist at Emory, told NBC News. Writebol remains in serious but stable condition, according to SIM, the Christian mission organization that she works with.

“The patients will be escorted throughout by specially and frequently trained teams that have sufficient resources to transport the patients so that there is no break in their medical care or exposure to others,” the U.S. Defense Department said in a statement. Ebola has infected more than 1,300 people and killed 729 of them in the current West African outbreak, according to the CDC.

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

August 2, 2014 at 19:16

Court Says Ground Zero Cross Can Stay, Atheists Weep and Gnash Teeth

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On the Creative Minority Report:

I don’t think the atheists really had a prayer with this lawsuit. The atheist group, American Atheists, pretended to be so horrified by the sight of a cross at the 9-11 museum that they filed suit for it to be removed.

“Atheists died on 9/11, members of our organization suffered in lower Manhattan on that day, and our members helped with the rescue and recovery efforts, yet we are denied equal representation in the National Museum,” American Atheists President David Silverman reportedly said.

But the suit just got tossed out of federal court and the atheists don’t know if they’re going to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court or not.

The Daily Caller reports:

A federal court ruled Monday that the existence of a cross at Ground Zero does not violate the Constitution, slamming the appeal filed by the secular activist group American Atheists.

The famous cross, formed by two intersecting beams left standing after the 9/11 attacks, has been a powerful spiritual symbol for many since and even during the tragedy. Frank Silecchia discovered the cross while helping recover bodies from the site. “It was a sign,” he later said. ”a sign God hadn’t deserted us.”

American Atheists felt differently. In July 2011 they filed suit over the cross, which had been included in the 9/11 Memorial Museum, saying members of their group found its presence there “offensive and repugnant to their beliefs, culture, and traditions, and allege that the symbol marginalizes them as American citizens.”

“Many of American Atheists’ members have seen the cross, either in person or on television, and are being subjected to and injured in consequence of having a religious tradition not their own imposed upon them through the power of the state,” the suit read.

The Franciscan priest, Father Brian Jordan, who reportedly originally had the cross pulled from Ground Zero. “In a way, we’ve been vindicated,” he said. “I’m satisfied and gratified that this will go down as a piece of history — as a reminder.”

But the Second Circuit stated that the “actual purpose in displaying The Cross at Ground Zero has always been secular: to recount the history of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and their aftermath.”

The court said the cross tells “the story of how some people used faith to cope with the tragedy.”

Faith is a real part of people’s lives and it shouldn’t be ignored…

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

July 29, 2014 at 16:15

Christian Air Force Chaplain Under Fire for Reference to Atheists

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bible-american-flagWorthy News:

An Air Force chaplain in Alaska who was censored in his weekly column may now face additional consequences, according to The Washington Times.

Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Kenneth Reyes had posted a sermon on the base’s online site titled: “No Atheists in Foxholes”. Although the saying comes from a speech made by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation claimed that Reyes’ reference to atheists somehow violated military policy. But even after his sermon was removed from the site, MRFF demanded that Reyes also be disciplined.

In reply, the Family Research Council asked why we even have chaplains if they aren’t allowed to express theirs beliefs about the role of faith in the lives of their fellow service members?

Military chaplains are the exception to the First Amendment’s establishment clause: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

Under the principle of religious accommodation, the government may support religious activity if it addresses the religious needs of Department of Defense personnel who, because of government action, no longer have access to religious resources. When the military separates service members from their worship, the government may provide the required religious resources, i.e., chaplains. In this situation, the government is simply responding to a religious need and not promoting religion.

U.S. Army Regulation 165-1 states: “In striking a balance between the ‘establishment’ and ‘free exercise’ clauses, the Army chaplaincy, in providing religious services and ministries to the command, is an instrument of the U.S. government to ensure that soldiers’ ‘free exercise’ rights are protected. At the same time, chaplains are trained to avoid even the appearance of any establishment of religion.”

Military chaplains predate the Constitution; in September 1775, George Washington wrote Benedict Arnold to ensure religious freedom within the ranks of his command.

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

July 27, 2014 at 20:02

Inside the Church Without a God

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With 700 mostly evangelical places of worship Nashville, Tennessee is often described as the “Protestant Vatican”, but even here a secular church is finding its niche .

In the Telegraph:

Viewed from the outside, the pointy-roofed building in a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee deep in the heart of America’s Bible Belt, looks very much like a church.

And stepping inside, where a congregation is swaying along to music, listening to sermons and discussing ways to help their local community, it sounds very much like a church too.

There is, however, one rather fundamental missing ingredient that sets this congregation apart from the hundreds of others turning out to worship this Sunday morning in Nashville: this is a church without God.

“I pass seven big churches between my house and the main road two miles away, there are plenty of churches in Nashville, but we needed a place for us,” says David Lyle, a founder-member of the Nashville branch of the “Sunday Assembly” secular church movement.

Started in London in January 2013 by a pair of British stand-up comedians, Sunday Assembly offers a church experience but without the ‘God part’ and, according to organisers, it is starting to catch on in America…

Rest here, with a video. And whatever it is, it ain’t Church.

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

July 27, 2014 at 17:01


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