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placeholder August 10, 2015   •   VOL. 53, NO. 14   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers
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Religious freedom

Jim McCrea believes that bakers, photographers and wedding planners should be compelled — and prosecuted when they refuse — to focus their creative energies upon same-sex "marriages" (Forum, July 13).

As justification, McCrea cites business licenses which [in some states] prohibit discrimination based on "sexual orientation" and the fact that businesses reduce their taxes via depreciation and deduction of operational costs, benefits "paid for by all members of the public."

Such outlooks derive from several false and destructive assumptions, supposing that:

• Businesses exist to serve governmental and political priorities.

• Business-startup risks are naturally privatized, but benefits should be collectivized.

• Business-cost tax deductions are public concessions.

• The asserted rights of sexual revolutionaries eclipse the First Amendment.

There's a difference, obvious to most, between public-accommodation laws requiring, say, a baker to sell her shop's cupcakes to any and all walk-in customers — and laws requiring her to participate actively and artistically in celebrating someone's "gay marriage," even if the latter violates the baker's Biblically validated religious beliefs.

Homosexual pairs seeking marriage-related services can readily find willing providers these days. But normalization and compulsive de facto endorsement of homosexuality is the underlying agenda, whence the prosecutions of religiously faithful service providers by amoral state agencies.

The new frontier now, already being explored by homosexual activists — and conceded even by Obama's solicitor general before the Supreme Court as something that's "certainly going to be an issue" — is the termination of tax-exempt status for churches which themselves refuse to conduct homosexual "marriages."

The needed response is a reaffirmation and reinforcement by Congress of 1993's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Church's characterization of homosexuality as "objectively disordered," thereby as an affliction deserving of compassion but not approval, strikes the right balance.

Religious freedom

Upgrade observance

Today (July 22) we commemorated the life of St. Mary Magdalene. In the "rating" system of our Liturgy, her day is observed as a "memorial."

I submit that with her life as we know it from the New Testament, if she were a male, the calendar would grade the observance a "feast." As many commentators have observed through the centuries, she is the first Evangelist of the Resurrection of Christ.

This would certainly put her on a par with the apostles (some of whose lives we know nothing about, except that they were chosen). Indeed, the Gospels show that when she announced the resurrection to the apostles, they had to run back to see if she was right.

Shouldn't Rome correct this inconsistency and upgrade her observance?

Paul Sporer

Hatred vs. true love

Catholics (and human beings in general) who support the homosexual lifestyle commit the sin of hatred in two ways. Firstly, they hate Christ (God) and also they hate his creation (persons with homosexual tendencies).

Christ came to give the truth which He speaks through His church, the Catholic Church. The Church upholds His law of nature which states that the homosexual lifestyle is inherently disordered.

If one supports something contrary to the order Christ has given, then he hates Christ (God). Secondarily, because any person with homosexual inclinations must refrain from this activity (just like a person with kleptomaniacal tendencies should not steal or a person with heterosexual inclinations should not fornicate, lust or use contraceptives), encouraging persons to give in to such tendencies is to encourage them toward the destruction of what they are created to be — wholly human. Another word for that is hatred.

The gravity of the hatred is serious and therefore mortally sinful which means it cuts one off from the life of grace and from the great gift of Holy Communion.

If you are guilty of this sin of hatred, I recommend the Sacrament of Penance as soon as possible. As a remedy for this hatred, begin encouraging the virtue of chastity to these individuals. Chastity is an integral virtue necessary for every human being regardless of sexual inclination. It's what brings about true intimacy amongst individuals because it makes hearts pure. To encourage this virtue is to truly love.

Giorgio Navarini

Not a 'hypothesis'

The "Pope's love" letter (Forum, July 13) objected to the pope's "hypothesis" that our climate change is caused by human activity, arguing we need more debate and analysis. Well, it's not just a "hypotheses" when 97 percent of the earth's scientists have already come to the conclusion that fossil fuel use is poisoning our world.

There has been plenty of debate among scientists about this in the past already. Although we can't know the future exactly, we are now reasonably certain that the governments of the world must act now to forestall calamity. We don't have the luxury of sitting around looking for more data.

But there is another reason to curtail the use of fossil fuels, for which there can't be any argument: since the earth is finite, and we are not replacing fossil fuels, one day they will all be gone — we just don't know when. And then what?

Robert Anelli

Pope on target

Nancy Hudson (Forum, July 13) was critical of Pope Francis' views on climate change.

My belief is that Pope Francis is well versed on the issues regarding global warming. Whenever the pope publishes an encyclical, he does so with the assist of many subject area experts who research and provide drafts of parts of the document. The Pontifical Academy of Science, perhaps the most esteemed science academy in existence, advises the pope on science issues. Pope Francis did not write "Laudato si" in an intellectual vacuum. Furthermore, I doubt he ignored the protestations of the small number of science deniers, but rather considered them carefully, in context, as he formulated his position.

According to social science research, 97 out of every 100 scientists, comparing observations to existing theories and hypotheses (the scientific method), conclude that human activities affect climate. (Anderegg et al. 2010, Cook et al. 2013).

Many ignore the numbers; my guess is that they are not well informed. Referring to the growing scientific consensus that human activities affect climate, Hudson wrote she was, "…appalled that the Vatican refused to hear from those whose research did not support that hypothesis." It would be interesting to hear how well researched her source for that statement is.

We all need to be better informed. Pope Francis is doing his part.

Martin J. Leach
Castro Valley

Vaccine 'lies'

Father Jerry Coleman's column (Forum, July 13) on SB277, which eliminates parent's rights to forego vaccinations, is very heavy on the emotion, incorrect on the facts and even goes against Church teaching. Don't be swayed by the constantly repeated PR lies that vaccinations are completely safe.

Damaged kids are the new normal, with almost every family I know having at least one kid with autism, ADHD, a deadly food allergy, speech therapy or some type of learning disability. The government and health care industry in the United States are not protecting our children and have created a system designed to ignore and dismiss any side effects or harm caused by their vaccines.

Many of the key advocates and organizations that claim vaccines to be safe have a morally flawed foundation of truth. How can you trust them when they don't value innocent human life and embrace practices and procedures that clearly harm?

This law also violates the principal established by the Church that parents are the primary educators and caregivers of their children and not the state.

For those with younger children, my advice is to be like the Holy Family and home school your kids. Also make sure to watch "Trace Amounts," as it does an excellent job of summarizing everything in a 90-minute film documenting scientific studies, some of the cause and effect and gives voice to those most impacted by these decisions, our children.

Jim Gilheany

Plea to come back

All former parishioners of St. Edward Church in Newark: A plea to come back if it pleases you.

We would very much like you all to rejoin us, and be a part again of your parish home.

Some already have come back as was seen during the installation of the new pastor. You will experience for yourselves (as we have lately felt and experienced) a new and different everyone-is-welcome approach in shepherding this parish community.

Dante Suguitan

Planned Parenthood

For those of you who believe that Planned Parenthood is only doing good to help women with what they call "women's health issues" and not money making abortion mills read the following:

"The undercover video, produced by an anti-abortion group called The Center for Medical Progress, displays Planned Parenthood's senior director for medical services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, bragging about the technique in which they abort babies to enable them to later sell their body parts and organs for profit.

"We've been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I'm not gonna crush that part," Nucatola tells actors posing as organ traffickers. "I'm gonna basically crush below, I'm gonna crush above, and I'm gonna see if I can get it all intact." (Newsmax.com, July 15).

This was recorded as she sipped red wine and nibbled on treats.

Such an atrocity would bring a smile to the face of Dr. Josef Mengele, the Nazi monster at Hitler's Auschuwitz concentration camp in WWII and today's leaders of ISIS.

It is time that our Federal Government stops supporting but condemns such inhuman activity, even though Planned Parenthood uses devious means to do it legally. Please write your congressional representatives and demand a stop to this terrible desecration of humanity and pray for the victims.

Clifford R. Wiesner

Continue the fight

On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of same-sex "marriage." Although we Christians lost this battle of defending traditional marriage, we should not be discouraged, just as St. Paul encouraged the Corinthians in one of his letters to them.

He said, "We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." (2 Cor 4: 8-9)

We remember that Jesus was apparently defeated when he was crucified to death, but he won his victory by his resurrection. In the Book of Revelation, apparently Satan has defeated the Christians as mentioned in Chapter 13. However, we shall see the final victory of the Christians in Chapter 19.

Jesus said, "I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world." (John 16:33)

I agree with Mother Teresa in her saying that God does not require that we be successful, only that we be faithful. Therefore, we need to be faithful to God and continue our fight against the devil.

Stephen T. Lo
Union City

Eye opening book

Manny stopped on the steps of St. Michael Church and asked if I had read the book in his hand. I hadn't. "It's yours," he said and went into the church.

"Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist" by Brant Pitre, a professor of Sacred Scripture at Louisiana's Notre Dame Seminary, is an eye opening revelation of how the Consecration was formed based on many Biblical passages. The subtitle is "Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper." Most of his quotations are from Exodus. You will see the Eucharist in a new and deeper experience.

Mary McMahon

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