Courageous is one of the few films to hit the big screen this year that's worth writing home about. Exploring the lives of four men that are impacted by tragedy, the movie deals with spirituality and faith, and tells a story that will likely remain with its viewers long after the final credits.
Courageous explores the paternal relationships of four unique families.
Police officer Adam Mitchell (Alex Kendrick) believes himself to be a good father because he provides for the physical needs of his wife and children, but thinks nothing of skipping out on a 5K father-son race, or declining an offer from his 9-year old daughter to dance together in a deserted parking lot. He seems to believe that because he works hard at his career, which supports his family, he has earned the right to neglect the emotional needs of his family.
Meanwhile, police officer Shane Fuller (Kevin Downes) struggles with maintaining a relationship with his son after his divorce, and finds it difficult to maintain monthly alimony. Rookie David Thompson (Ben Davies) does his best to keep the fact that he has a child hidden from the world, choosing instead to play the role of a carefree bachelor. Nathan Hayes (Ken Bevel) is another police officer who has made the conscious decision to support his family in a way his father never did, and is willing to meet that challenge each and every day.
Following complaints by a homosexual student who was allegedly dismissed from a Christian fraternity at the school, Vanderbilt University has launched a crusade aimed at forcing Christian groups that receive school funding to follow an official policy that conflicts with some of the groups’ own faith-based bylaws and policies.
“Last academic year, an undergraduate made an allegation of discrimination against a student organization,” the university said in a statement on September 15. “As a result of that allegation, we sought to ensure that the more than 300 student organizations were aware of their need to comply with the university’s longstanding nondiscrimination policy.”
The university’s policy is a model of political correctness, stating that in addition to all of the other ways in which it does not discriminate against individuals (“on the basis of their race, sex, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability…”), the university also “does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression….”
As the Obama Administration continues the efforts of the radical Left to redefine terms such as “marriage” and “family” to the point where they have been emptied of their historic meaning, traditionalists are becoming increasingly vocal. New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan’s September 26 talk — “The Ring Makes a Difference” — is one of the most prominent statements in opposition to such efforts at undermining the historic, traditional understanding of marriage. The archbishop denounced the effort to ‘redefine’ marriage, declaring the effort to promulgate the notion of “same-sex” marriage as an “ominous threat to religious liberty.”
Archbishop Dolan spoke this past Monday as part of a panel discussion in Poughkeepsie, and an article for the Poughkeepsie Journal reported that Dolan and other speakers emphasized the threat which “same-sex marriage” poses to the country:
Dolan framed criticism aimed at the Catholic Church and opponents of same-sex marriage as an "ominous threat to religious liberty," warning of what he called "aggressive secularism."
Not every nation and not every culture grants women the rights that they enjoy in America or those nations we usually call “Western” nations. Consider Najalaa Harriri of Saudi Arabia. She and other Saudi women began a campaign to be allowed to drive cars in June. The religiously orthodox kingdom observes closely the precepts of Islam, and the interpretation given to the Moslem rulers of Saudi Arabia is that activities like driving cars is restricted by Islam to males.
Not only is it forbidden for Saudi women to drive cars, but other restrictions of Saudi-stye Islam (sometimes called Wahhabism) would make women driving cars actually dangerous. Women in public, according to the strict reading of Islam given by the Saudi government, must be fully clothed. That means dress that restricts vision and may inhibit the free movement of women’s arms and legs while driving.
The ban has become increasingly questioned among Saudi leaders. In March, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a nephew of Saudi King Abdullah, suggested lifting the ban:
In what appears to be another incident in a troubling trend across Great Britain, police in the community of Blackpool in northwest England have threatened the owner of a Christian coffee shop with arrest for displaying Bible passages on a television screen in his shop.
As reported by the UK's Daily Mail newspaper, Jamie Murray, owner of the Salt and Light café, “was warned by two police officers to stop playing DVDs of the New Testament in his cafe following a complaint from a customer that it was inciting hatred against homosexuals.”
Murray said that the officers, who arrived during a busy time and questioned him for nearly an hour, said that the Scripture display violated Britain’s notorious Public Order Act, a 1986 law which prohibits the use of language that is “insulting” or may cause “harassment, alarm, or distress.”
Murray recalled to the Daily Mail: “I told them that all that appeared on the screen were the words of the New Testament. There is no sound, just the words on the screen and simple images in the background of sheep grazing or candles burning. I thought there might be some mix-up but they said they were here to explain the law to me and how I had broken it.”
A member of Britain’s Parliament has declared that Christian churches that do not perform homosexual “marriage” ceremonies should be denied the right for their pastors to contract a legally-binding marriage on behalf of the government. Mike Weatherly, who represents the constituencies of Hove and Portsdale, two areas of Brighton on the English Channel, says that Anglicans, Catholics, or those of any other religion that refuses to permit homosexual marriage are evil discriminators who must not be permitted to perform any marriages.
Weatherly, a public proponent of same-sex marriage, is is a member of the Conservative Party.
According to his website, “Mike has pushed boundaries by urging the Prime Minister to completely reconsider the laws surrounding unions for same-sex couples in Britain.”
He is taking up the parliamentary cudgels, apparently, for his constituents. His area has “the highest proportion of gay couples in the country.” Though “civil partnerships” are now permitted in Britain, churches can still refuse to bless same-sex nuptials, Weatherly complained.
A church I visited recently announced a seminar for “financial professionals” who lament their industry’s “fallen ethics.” In 2009, USA Today reported that “the top Roman Catholic bishop in the United States said … the global economic crisis was caused in part by people abandoning personal ethics, and he's calling for increased morality in business.” And earlier this year, Jewish Week lamented that “financial scandals have become a fixed component of our civilization” after opining, “If current trends [in cheating] continue, the Wall Street gang of 2020 will make the slithery coterie of 2008 look like a Cub Scout pack in comparison.”
I’m just a parishioner, not a cleric. Maybe that’s why I don’t see the inherent evil of business. In fact, when I pick up the phone to hear my father from 500 miles away tell me he loves me, or I send another article to an editor with a click of a mouse, or I feast on fresh spinach and blueberries while a blizzard howls outside, I thank God for the market. The comfort, abundance, convenience, and leisure it provides are enormous blessings.
Indeed, the market is nigh miraculous. Jesus Christ fed 5000 men with a few loaves and two small fish, but we mere mortals must depend on voluntary exchange. Yet that astounding commerce multiplies the earth’s scarce resources to feed, house, and clothe billions of people who would otherwise suffer short, nasty, brutish lives.
Joseph Maraachli, the baby whose parents fought doctors and a Canadian court in order to secure surgery to extend their son's life, has died. The 20-month-old infant, who suffered from a rare and deadly medical condition, passed away September 27th, nearly eight months after Canadian doctors decided to remove him from life support rather than perform a surgery that would extend his life, calling it medically unnecessary. His parents fought the doctors’ decision, as well as a Canadian court, eventually taking Joseph to the U.S. for the procedure that would give him several more months with his family.
Moe Maraachli, Joseph’s father, made the announcement of his son’s passing on the family’s Facebook page, writing that “Joseph pass away very comfortable and peace fully like what i ask for him.” He added: “I would like to thank all who contributed to the support of Joseph. I thank you very much.”
Confronting elements of President Obama’s healthcare legislation that are so restrictive of religious freedom that Jesus “would not qualify as ‘religious,’” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has taken a stand against the law's implementation in its current form.
The USCCB’s objections to the pervasive program of socialized healthcare commonly known as ObamaCare is based in the administration’s plan to coerce healthcare providers — including those operated by the Roman Catholic Church — into providing birth control, abortifacient drugs, and abortions. According to an article for the Catholic Review:
“The mandate directly conflicts with the religious beliefs of individuals and institutions who have a moral objection to such practices,” the bishops wrote, “and who do not believe that such ‘preventative services’ constitute legitimate health care.”
The bishops said the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act had a “laudable goal” of “expanding access to genuine health care for all Americans, especially the poor.” They expressed concern, however, that the mandate “contradicts promises made to the American people that the new federal law would not include coverage for abortion.”
A pastor in Iran who has twice refused to renounce his Christian faith may be executed within days, reported Baptist Press News. It would be the first time in over 20 years that the Iranian government has executed someone for apostasy against Islam. The Baptist news site reported that “Yousef Nadarkhani, who leads a 400-person house church movement, refused in court on Sept. 25 and Sept. 26 to recant Christianity and was scheduled to get two more chances on Sept. 27 and Sept. 28, according to the British-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), which monitors religious freedom.” The organization noted in a press release that without recanting, Nadarkhani would most likely be put to death. While the plight of two American hikers imprisoned in Iran garnered worldwide media attention, and their release came following the intense efforts of an American interfaith alliance, no such campaign has been pushed for the lone Iranian minister. “The American interfaith delegation ... who made headlines when they traveled to Tehran and secured the release of the two American hikers last week should pack their bags again,” wrote Nina Shea of the Hudson Institute’s Center on Religious Freedom on September 26th. “They need to make a return trip. And they better hurry.”