Thursday, October 5, 2017

Interfaithism and Apostasy of the “End-Time” Kind

The infamous world’s first lesbian Bishop is in the news again. Sweden’s Eva Brunne recemtly strongly called for one of the Parishes in her diocese, the Seamen’s Mission, to remove crosses and other Christian symbols from their buildings.  Ostensibly this will make some of the non-Christian sailors (particularly the Moslems) who frequent the church’s location at a dockyard feel happy and welcome.   Brunne actually went on to suggest that some dedicated “Muslim Prayer Space” should be provided within the Church.

         Happily enough, elders in the Seamen’s Mission chose to exercise their independence and simply ignored the Bishop’s counsel. Director Kiki Wetterberg summarised the Parish’s position: “I have no problem with Muslim or Hindu sailors coming here and praying. But I believe that we are a Christian church, so we keep the symbols. If I visit a mosque I do not ask them to take down their symbols. It’s my choice to go in there”.

        The situation at the Boswell Chapel in the East Central University (ECU) in Ada, Oklahoma, US was more dicey.  An organization known as the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State had petitioned the University that the permanent display of Christian symbols such as the Cross on the Chapel steeple, as well as the Lectern, Bibles, and Hymnals in the Chapel constituted an infringement of the First Amendment to the US Constitution which forbid display of religious objects on government property.  The University authority seemed only too happy to clear out the “offensive” Christian symbols, especially, since the 60 year old chapel is now being used “for various religions, student clubs and events”.

        The anti-Christian movement was not prepared for the spirited fight-back from the Church!  The social media blitz went round the globe, including here in Nigeria via videos on What’s App.   The University was forced to do an about-turn.  Attempting to save face, President of the University, Katricia Pierson, issued a statement conceding that the University indeed “moved too quickly.” The popular fact-checking site, Snopes, obviously sympathetic to the atheist’s cause, tried to do some damage control and further confuse issues by claiming that Christians were the principal complainants in the case, and that the demands for Christian symbols to be removed from a Christian Chapel is somehow justified since the Chapel is not “denominational” anyway.

         In the face-saving statement, the University undertook to halt actions, until students and faculty members have been duly consulted.  However, local sources have pointed out that the promise to not take further action actually means that though no new materials will be removed, those already removed will also stay removed!.

        It is evident that the enemies of Christ are prepared for a long haul in the ECU.  According to the Tulsa Word, another group, the atheist group  called Freedom From Religion Foundation, is now demanding that the University should stop its well-established sacred music program  as it is “religious”, rather than academic.”

       There are several other barrages of attacks directed against the Church in the US where atheists, humanists, and other new-age inclined groups have determined to test the nation’s Constitution to the limits.  In one topical case, an atheist organization challenged the legality of the 70-year old seal of the Lehigh County in Pennsylvania. As at press time, a federal judge has concurred with the atheists that the seal, due to the inclusion of a cross on it, is indeed unconstitutional, and must be changed.  According to Judge Smith." neither the longevity of the Seal nor the secular symbols surrounding the cross detract from the religious message that a cross conveys to the reasonable observer." 
         In another deliberate and systematic series of attacks, the Satanic Temple has announced a new strategy urging its followers to target Christian bakers opposed to working gay weddings by demanding they make cakes "for Satan."  Lucien Greaves, co-founder and spokesperson for The Satanic Temple, observed  that since sexual orientation is not a protected class under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, religious business owners who refuse to comply with provocative requests from the gay movement, might start  winning cases at the U.S. Supreme Court, particularly as the defendants now shift the emphasis from “religious freedom” to “artistic freedom/freedom of speech” which is indeed protected in the US Constitution.  "For this reason,” according to Greaves, members of The Satanic Temple are encouraged to “Request your homophobic baker make a cake for Satan."  We will see how this works out in the days ahead! 
        Finally, in recalling some cases of rabid interfaithism that has all but overwhelmed the Christian culture in this end-time, we cite the development in Morocco, where catholic Father Juan José Mateos Castro actually invited a procession of Hindus to bring the statue of their god, Ganesh, into the Our Lady of Africa cathedral, as a mark of affirmation and support.  According to one report, “Catholic worshippers ….sang a Marian hymn while facing the statue of Ganesh, which the Hindus placed at the altar." 
        The Hindu communities from the neighboring Spanish regions of Ceuta and Melilla, had intended to leave a floral offering outside the catholic cathedral as a “gesture of respect to Christians during the end of their worship of the god Ganesh.  But the Vicar General of the cathedral bid them and their statues in.  He obviously didn’t see any difference between statues supposedly representing Mary or some other Christian saints and that used to represent a Hindu god. Going by his recent postures and pronouncements, which have elicited strong open criticisms by so-called conservative catholics, the Pope would probably have supported the Vicar General. However, in this case, most of the council members at the Moroccan church felt outraged by Father Castro’s decision, and he has been forced to hand in his resignation.

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