SAINT MARY OF THE CROSS
A court in Nantes, France, has ordered regional authorities in La Roche-sur-Yon to remove the Nativity crib from the town hall.
The ruling was based on a 1905 law enshrining strict separation of church and state.
Similarly, in Béziers, the mayor has refused to remove a crib in the town hall, defying an order from the local government prefect.
A recent poll in Le Parisien newspaper suggests that 86 percent of over 12,000 readers surveyed want to keep Nativity scenes in public places.
The French government is currently treading carefully so as not to upset French Muslims, who have been banned from wearing burqas in public.
A spokesperson for France’s main opposition party, UMP (Union pour un Mouvement Populaire), said:
“There’s no point following up on the wars of religion with wars of secularism. Ardent defenders of secularism mustn’t become sectarian. The crib is a cultural phenomenon.”
Back in Australia, haven’t we tended to throw away the cultural side of Christmas — losing it in a welter of Santa-related and happy-holiday and seasons-greetings-type slogans?
The traditional Christmas message is thought-provoking:
Silent night, Holy night,
All is calm, all is bright.
Round yon virgin, mother and child
Holy infant, tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace.
Silent night, Holy night,
Son of God, love’s pure light.
Radiant beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at thy birth.
Don’t we as a human race need redeeming grace?
So is Christmas the birthday of a particular man – a Jew born 20 centuries ago?
Was he so important?
The top people of his day considered him important enough (dangerous enough) to need killing.
At his birth, it is said King Herod felt so endangered as to slaughter all recently-born babies, seeking to eliminate a possible rival.
Later, the religious VIP’s wanted him dead.
Eventually the Roman political authorities did it — famously crucifying him.
Today his believers relate his importance to his apparently rising from the dead.
You might say, prove to me that he rose.
No, that can’t be done.
You must think about the accounts of his life, death and rising — and decide for yourself.
Get a Bible. Read straight through Saint Mark’s Gospel. You can do it in one hour.
Then read First Epistle to the Corinthians, chapter 15.
Be careful. Reading it may make you change the way you live.
Today I received an email from somebody calling himself Bill.
He addressed me as Arnold.
He said the contact was a follow-up to the ALP winning last weekend’s Victorian election.
And that he was writing to congratulate “every single supporter who played such a valuable part in making it happen”.
How does he know I am single? My wife doesn’t think so.
How does he know I supported the election of the ALP? Perhaps I didn’t.
Did I, in fact support them?
That would be a big secret.
True enough — the outgoing government was not very flash.
But now where are we?
We’re looking at the continued conscription of us pro-life doctors into referring for abortion of babies — even gender-selection abortions.
Also the use of state-funded schools for indoctrinating and recruiting gender-confused youth into the world of the come-out homosexual community.
These losses of freedoms not everybody would want to support.
The St Vincent de Paul Society has as its official “aspiration” the creation of an Australia “transformed by compassion and built on justice”.
The Society advocates on pressing social justice issues, including homelessness, poverty and asylum seekers.
It lists as its seven “key values”:
Commitment – Loyalty in service to our mission, vision and values.
Compassion – Welcoming and serving all with understanding and without judgement.
Respect – Service to all regardless of creed, ethnic or social background, health, gender or political opinions.
Integrity – Promoting, maintaining and adhering to our mission, vision and values.
Empathy – Establishing relationships based on respect, trust, friendship and perception.
Advocacy – Working to transform the causes of poverty and challenging the causes of human injustice.
Courage – Encouraging spiritual growth, welcoming innovation and giving hope for the future.
They are running their annual Vinnies Christmas Appeal at the moment.
Anybody wanting to support them can donate online at www.vinnies.org.au/donate
In the USA, liberalised laws in California and some other states regarding “medical cannabis” have resulted in a blowout in marijuana prescription and smoking.
The average medical-marijuana card-holder in California is a male aged 32.
Few of those legally smoking have debilitating or serious illnesses — the commonest indications for prescriptions being, not life-threatening conditions, but “pain” and “other conditions”.
On November 4, the voters of Florida rejected a proposal to legalise medical cannabis.
What should happen here?
Is the California experience a warning to us?
The Victorian Labor opposition’s website says that if elected on November 29, the ALP will legalise medical cannabis.
They say the Victorian Law Reform Commission will be asked to report by 31 August 2015 on how its prescription, manufacture and distribution should be regulated, and what forms (sprays, tincture, tablets etc.) should be permitted.
The website specifically promises that “Labor will not legalise the smoking of marijuana for medical purposes”.
Are we to believe them?
Thousands of Muslims from around the world travel to the Middle East to join Islamic State.
Such Muslims believe IS-style terrorism, beheadings and slavery to be in accordance with Islam.
There are, however, signs of an upsurge of disapproval within the Islamic world itself against jihadist excesses.
The best way non-Muslims should react is, while doing whatever necessary to protect themselves, to otherwise keep out of it.
Importantly, never forget that most Muslims are not violent.
We must silence and/or discredit counter-productive persons in our community who go about saying or implying that there’s no such thing as a moderate Muslim.