By Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights,
Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the rise in exorcisms:
The Christmas season has just begun, and so has the need for spiritual peace. By any measure, the number of troubled Americans, saddled with personal problems, is staggering. Some are so desperate as to seek ways to purge themselves of demons.
Take the case of Gary Dale Mort. This Muncie, Indiana man recently kicked his wife out of their house and set it on fire. He was shot by police after he flashed what turned out to be a pellet gun; he was not seriously injured. Last year, he slammed his car into a store. When questioned, he said the crash was intentional, an act he attributed to his being possessed by a demon. He had sought, unsuccessfully, to get a priest to perform an exorcism.
John Allen Chau, a 26-year-old missionary from Vancouver, Wash., died this month trying to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with one of the world’s most isolated tribes, and now seven people who helped him reach the off-limits island near the eastern coast of India have been arrested. His story has been heard aroudn the world (Britain, Australia, Asia, Middle East,India, Africa).
Chau, an adventurous explorer and wilderness EMT who led missionary trips abroad, wanted to convert the North Sentinelese people to Christianity. He had traveled four times to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal since 2015, according to The Washington Post.
In Chau’s journals of his last days, which his mother shared with The Washington Post, the young man who had graduated from Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma spoke about his plans to reach the island even though he knew it was illegal to do so. For decades Indian law has prohibited outsiders from going within five nautical miles of the tiny island, both to protect them from harm and prevent illnesses from spreading to the natives who have no immunity to common ailments such as the flu, according to The New York Post.
Earlier this year I read through Joni Eareckson Tada’s book When Is It Right to Die?: A Comforting and Surprising Look at Death and Dying, which has been revised and updated to examine the current events, trending issues, and the rising acceptance of assisted suicide in this country.
I can’t say enough about When Is It Right to Die? Joni is not a professional ethicist pondering the theoretical; she is a wise and devoted Jesus-follower living out the actual, every day for the past fifty years. She has met and listened to thousands of people whose lives are often seen, sometimes even by themselves, as less than meaningful or worthwhile. She shares many of their stories with compassion and empathy. Joni is both a veteran and an expert on every facet of this issue—in fact, she has advised presidents concerning it. She knows the facts and the complexities, and offers no easy answers, but nonetheless she writes with profound wisdom and eternal perspective. There’s no one I would sooner listen to on this critical question than Joni. Like Jesus Himself, this book overflows with grace and truth.
Below is an article excerpted from the book:
Do I Have a Right to Die?
By Joni Eareckson Tada
No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main . . . Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. —John Donne
For the moment, forget everything you’ve ever heard about right-to-die or right-to-life positions. Put aside the court rulings. Push out of your mind the tug-at-your-heart stories you’ve seen in the movies or read about online.
Now, with no one reading your thoughts, may I ask, “Do you know when it is right to die? For you? For your family?” Please, I realize this may not be a theoretical question for you. You may be one who could write a real-life tug-at-your-heart story. And you may have already made up your mind about how and when you want to die. Whatever your response, I want you to know that your decision matters.
It matters more than you realize.
Let me explain. Since at one time I served on a national council that drafted major civil rights legislation, my husband, Ken, then a high school government teacher, asked me to speak to his classes on the subject of legalizing euthanasia. This was well before California had legalized medically assisted death, but plenty of initiatives were testing the waters. Ken wanted me to talk to his students about the implications of a right-to-die law. The classroom was crowded with kids standing along the back and leaning against the chalkboards covering the walls.
I was surprised by how interested they were as I divulged my despair of earlier days. I admitted my relief that no right-to-die law existed when I was in the hospital and hooked up to machines. I then underscored how critical it was for every student to become informed and involved in shaping society’s response to the problem. Then I added, “What role do you think society should play in helping people decide when it is right to die?”
A few hands went up. I could tell by their answers that they felt society should take action to help hurting and dying people—some students insisting on life no matter how burdensome the treatment, and a few wanting to help by hurrying along the death process.
One student shared how his mother was getting demoralized by the burden of taking care of his sister with developmental delays. He felt society should, in his words, “do something.”
“Like what?” I playfully challenged.
“Like . . . I’m not sure, but society ought to get more involved in the lives of people like my mother.”
I glanced at Ken. He nodded, as if to give the go-ahead to take a free rein with this young man. “May I ask what you have done to get more involved?”
The student smiled and shrugged.
“How have you helped alleviate the burden? Have you taken your sister on an outing lately? Maybe to the beach?” I teased. “Have you offered to do some shopping for your mother? Maybe your mom wouldn’t be so demoralized, maybe she wouldn’t feel so stressed or burdened, if you rolled up your sleeves a little higher to help.”
A couple of his friends by the chalkboard laughed and threw wads of paper at him. “Okay, okay, I see your point,” he chuckled.
I smiled. “My point is this: Society is not a bunch of people way out there who sit around big tables and think up political trends or cultural drifts; society is you. Your actions, your decisions, matter. What you do or don’t do has a ripple effect on everyone around you. And on a smaller scale, your participation can even make a huge difference in what your family decides to do with your sister.”
The classroom fell silent, and I knew the lesson was being driven home. I paused, scanned the face of each student, and closed by saying, “You, my friends, are society.”
For more on the topic of euthanasia, here’s a blog I wrote a few years ago after a 29-year-old terminally ill woman chose to end her life under Oregon’s physician assisted suicide law. While we’re talking about past articles, I wrote one on euthanasia in 1986, citing relevant Scripture. If you’re interested, here it is. I talk about the difference between taking a life and permitting a death, and that we need to be careful not to play God. Most of it, I think, remains as relevant now as it was then.
Police are looking for a man who siphoned gas from a U-haul truck but caught himself on fire in the process. In the video you can see the man fleeing while he himself was still on fire. The thief left the scene with the fire still burning the U-haul truck. The incident is likely involving intoxicants or drugs and a another reminder of the deep seated problems Portland faces.
I was listening to a Portland vintage rock radio station, The Eagle, this week and the DJ excitedly announced that he had a list of retail stores in the Portland area that were going to be open during Thanksgiving day.
Roughly 1 out of 4 Americans work during Thanksgiving according one survey!!! The more shoppers who shop on Thanksgiving the more moms, dads, sons and daughters get yanked from their Thanksgiving table to be forced to ring up your purchase or forced to make you a sandwich that you could have fixed for yourself at home. I even saw Subway sandwich stores advertising that they were open on Thanksgiving.
As Brendan Kelly danced to upbeat music at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, he heard a familiar sound: pop-pop-pop-pop. Kelly remembered hearing the same noise–the distinctive rattle of gunfire–at a country music concert in Las Vegas last year, and immediately took action.
“As soon as I identified where the target was, or where the threat was, I grabbed at least two people around me and yanked them as hard as I could to the nearest exit,” Kelly told KABC news, a CNN affiliate. Kelly and several other patrons escaped through a rear exit and fled to safety.
Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on a news release published by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury, and Labor on the subject of religious exemptions:
When giving the Commencement Address at the University of Notre Dame in 2009, President Barack Obama said, “Let’s honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause.” His administration never did. Worse, it sought to violate conscience rights of pro-life Americans.
Paul Louis Metzger,
New Wineskins ministry
Multnomah University professor
We all struggle with memory loss. There are times people forget certain things because of trauma (as with dissociative amnesia). At other times, it is due to aging, disease, or injury to the brain. Still, at other times, it may be convenient for us to consciously suppress unpleasant memories to gain an advantage, as in the case of the caravan news, including the call to amass U.S. troops on our southern border.
Perhaps the current state of alarm over the caravan making its way north toward the United States’ southern border is an example of suppressing unpleasant memories to secure our country from the threat of unwelcome outsiders. We are all tribal people and resort to all kinds of tactics to protect ourselves from those we deem harmful. Such tactics can include suppressing or fixating on unpleasant memories to gain an advantage.
By now you’ve probably read and heard all sorts of commentaries analyzing the midterm election results. Whatever your political leanings, you’ve likely been encouraged by some results and discouraged by others. For example, here in Oregon, Measure 106, which I shared about on my blog and which would have stopped tax dollars from funding elective and late-term abortions, was rejected by over 60% of voters. But in more positive prolife news, in Alabama voters approved an amendment to their constitution that says unborn babies do have a right to life. And in West Virginia, voters said “yes” to a constitutional amendment that says there’s no “right to abortion.”