Monday, January 4. 2010
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And why aren't you reporting that Fr. Andrew Jarmus is receiving a $60K severance pay from the OCA? It surprises me that your "informed sources" didn't reveal that to you.
#1 Dick on 2010-01-04 21:20
I'm glad to see Metropolitan Jonah's explanation on the ManDec signing. It offers me a clear picture of the reasons why he signed it, but none are surprising. At least he was honest and agreed it was a political document.
I find it interesting and disappointing he did not voice one single reservation about it. I would think a thinking person would at least have had a few reservations about it. Did you catch my self agrandizement? Forgive me. I had many reservations eventhough I agree with all the underlying tenets of it. My greatest reservation was due to the heavy straw man argument that some mysterious government or Obama (implied) was going to require our church leaders to marry gays and such.
I find it interesting that MJs message is hosted on the website of people who call themselves 'culture warriors' and argue that America is a 'Christian' nation. I guess the work of the preachers is done, then. Whoa, though, wait a minute. According to the US Census Bureau in 1990, the US was 86.2% Christian, and today it is 76%, that is a decline in 19 years and far short of a fully Christian nation. The Catholics think the other 24% are purgatory bound I'm sure. Must be the immigrants, huh? I'm sure it had nothing to do with failed leadership in the Catholic church, according to census, they are up(gotta be the immigrants). Or we could blame Clinton, yeah its gotta be his fault. Non-religious persons are way up. The culture is just falling apart it seems. Must be the gays.
Who needs a mirror?
The fact that 10% more people consider themselves non-religious in just 19 years is important. The recorded decline actually happened in only 11 years. Probably should be far more important to some people. What happened in the 1990s? Must have been that slick Willy. He had to have destroyed the Christian movement on his own. (While I sound like a defender of slick Willy, I'm not a fan.)
A good demographic study would go into greater detail about the age of Christians I suppose, but again, forget all of that, borderline Christians either left or didn't stay.
Has anyone truly asked why?
Is Christianity about love or about alignment with the Republican right? Hmmm. I know, the suggestion that we don't love someone because we don't agree with their lifestyle is an overstatement. Love can be the cruel to be kind type I know. And fighting abortion is important, hell, let's take on the government and try to stop it. Certainly by doing that we'll convert non-Christians and women, too. Better still, how about we allow our chief priest to sack the coffers for 15 years while we do it?
I suggest Metropolitan Jonah take a lesson from Frank Shaeffer who finally understands after years of being wrong why the Republican party is not very American in its marriage to Christian conservatives and explores this notion in 'Crazy for God'.
I truly believe the marriage of Christian conservatives to any political party is the underlying reason for the decline in people who call themselves Christian and I truly believe it will continue.
I never considered myself a Republican and always considered myself a Christian and the implication that I'm not a Christian because I'm not a Republican is downright dirty. And that is just what Professor Robert George is trying to do with the ManDec.
The government and the church are not on parallel planes. Let's hope they never are...or Christianity will decline down to only those conservative Republicans. Hmmm.
Must be giving healthcare to the poor that's doing it.
#2 Daniel E. Fall on 2010-01-05 12:51
Daniel Fall insists on regarding the Manhattan Declaration as a statement representing the views of the Republican Party.
This is a slander.
Mr Fall knows nothing of the political affiliations of the authors and original signers of that document.
Let me give him his first piece of reliable information on that subject:
I was one of the original signers, and I am a registered Democrat.
#3 Father Patrick Reardon on 2010-01-05 20:41
Now that your Bishop and supportor have fell asleep to the Lord hopefully his sucessor with have the sense to close down this website and stop all the gossip and nonsense that people post in this comment section, or would you just be disobedient to your new Bishop.
(Editor's note: Keep dreaming.)
#4 Anonymous on 2010-01-05 22:07
Being a Christian nation isn't just about the numbers. Our country is based on "Christian" values. Our laws are based on Judeo "Christian" principles. One doesn't need to adopt Christianity to live a "Christian" life.
Israel has no problem saying they're a Jewish nation. The Middle East has no trouble declaring themselves Muslim. Why shouldn't we declare ourselves "Christian?" The fact that the majority of people in this country ARE Christians is an even more compelling reason.
What evidence do you have that "the marriage of Christian conservatives to any political party is the underlying reason for the decline in people who call themselves Christian?" This doesn't make sense to me. There are a lot of liberal Christians. Don't they have an impact? Why only conservatives and why are they so unpalatable that people turn away from the Christian faith just to avoid them?
#5 Gail Sheppard on 2010-01-06 04:57
The severance pay is probably reasonable if you consider a few things: (1) the communications under Fr. Jarmus has somehow deteriorated dramatically over the past year and a half (I don't know what has happened but the dribble that has come out over the past year and a half isn't worth $500/month). The web site redesign that was promised has been almost non-existent. The Orthodox Church magazine missed its budget by such a large margin that they had to stop printing it entirely. I'd have to say that this was about as poor a job as one could do. (2) if you recall back to the Bodnar debacle, the officers of the church each had severance agreements. So whether one likes it or not, he was probably legally entitled to the severance. (3) This was truly the best move that the administration could make. For everything that I just mentioned in point one, this was not sustainable. I'm glad they finally got the nerve to pull the plug and start over. Kudos to the administration for seeing the light and addressing this problem. Hopefully the administration will see the light and settle with Kondratick in a similar fashion. That entrenched battle has cost the OCA hundreds of thousands and for what? Pay a settlement and move on with life.
(Editor's note: It certainly sounds easy when one allows oneself to ignore the facts. The fact is that Fr. Jarmus, unlike Kondratick, is not a deposed priest, did not misuse his position or Church funds for personal gain, is not battling the OCA or suing the OCA in revenge for being exposed, etc. but a good priest in good standing who is continuing to serve the Church, now in a new capacity. To make an analogy between the two is to insult to a priest - and I don't mean Kondratick, who is not.
The fact is also that the OCA has indeed paid a hundred thousand to defend itself from Kondratick's legal assaults and those that fund these attempts. The alternative, however, is to return to the days when the Church robbed orphans for elaborate dinners in Moscow restuarants, the constant promotion of episcopal candidates with shady pasts, mortgaged properties on the sly, and all the manifold abuses laid out in the SIC report. No thanks.)
#6 Anon. on 2010-01-06 10:09
It made me nervous and disappointed to see that our Primate recorded a video for the website of this strange couple. That act was even more political then his unilateral decision to sign the bogeyman ManDec.
#7 Fr C. Calin on 2010-01-06 11:45
I stated "I truly believe". You are welcome to provide your own theories if you decide to critique mine.
#8 Daniel E. Fall on 2010-01-06 15:56
The English like to overuse slander, but it doesn't work that way here.
This is a quote from the ManDec.
'Although public sentiment has moved in a pro-life direction, we note with sadness that pro-abortion ideology prevails today in our government. Many in the present administration want to make abortions legal at any stage of fetal development, and want to provide abortions at taxpayer expense. Majorities in both houses of Congress hold pro-abortion views. The Supreme Court, whose infamous 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade stripped the unborn of legal protection, continues to treat elective abortion as a fundamental constitutional right, though it has upheld as constitutionally permissible some limited restrictions on abortion. The President says that he wants to reduce the “need” for abortion—a commendable goal. But he has also pledged to make abortion more easily and widely available by eliminating laws prohibiting government funding, requiring waiting periods for women seeking abortions, and parental notification for abortions performed on minors. The elimination of these important and effective pro-life laws cannot reasonably be expected to do other than significantly increase the number of elective abortions by which the lives of countless children are snuffed out prior to birth. Our commitment to the sanctity of life is not a matter of partisan loyalty, for we recognize that in the thirty-six years since Roe v. Wade, elected officials and appointees of both major political parties have been complicit in giving legal sanction to what Pope John Paul II described as “the culture of death.” We call on all officials in our country, elected and appointed, to protect and serve every member of our society, including the most marginalized, voiceless, and vulnerable among us.'
The first slander is calling the majority in power (that'd be Democrats) pro-abortion. There are very few people that are truly pro-abortion. Pro-abortion is a nifty term people use to label someone who has decided they can't determine the actions of others to this degree. That is to monitor the progress of their pregnancy, and or to simply make the lawful and regulated practice illegal. Another slander is to call Roe v. Wade an 'infamous' decision. It was a decision that allows mothers the liberty to end a pregnancy. And another slander is to suggest Obama believes abortion is 'needed'. The disclaimer at the end only suggests that neither party has done enough to meet the demands of the authors and signers, but the onus is clearly laid upon the current-President and Congress. If not, then why wasn't it done between say 2000 and 2008?
I personally blame Christian leaders for not working harder to bring more people to God, rather than worrying about changing laws that apply to everyone, even non-Christians.
Abortion foes think Roe v Wade is the guidance. The law only allows it. It doesn't provide the guidance. The guidance comes from people that are lost Father. I know of two women in my travels that had abortions. One did because she was irresponsible; she had several abortions actually and said, I don't want any kids now. Another did because she thought it would hurt her chances of completing college. Roe v. Wade didn't guide those decisions. Both those women considered themselves Christian, too, just so you know.
Another fact about laws is they must be enforceable. Any abortion law is essentially an unenforceable law. Again, this is another reason for putting love into people's hearts and not into the lawbook.
The ManDec was crafted by an ardent Republican. If Robert George is your friend, surely you must know his ideology. Our Metropolitan agrees it was a political document so I don't understand why you don't see it as such.
The one thing I would say as left leaning fellow and a person that is pretty much against abortion personally is I don't particularly believe tax money should fund abortion. It is nearly as elective as cosmetic surgery. I'm sure someone would twist this out of context, but the point is taxes ought not fund it. When I've made this argument, folks usually say taxes ought not fund other stuff, etc. The failure of the Christian conservatives is that they won't call abortion as elective as cosmetic surgery because it might diminish its relative importance, so we get stuck with the bleeding hearts saying poor folks should get abortions done for free instead of rational decisionmaking.
Not one leader or person that signs the ManDec appreciates what it would truly mean for a child to be unwanted, or mistreated in utero, either. It is a conversation that is typically run away from... The girl that I mentioned above that was irresponsible did any drug she could find and pregnancy would not have stopped her. As awful as it sounds, knowing this person, I developed a bitter appreciation for the lawful practice. You can imagine how awful it must be for that to run through one's mind, but it did for me and I must share.
Religious leaders do well to condemn abortion Father Reardon. But they fall short when it comes to recognizing it isn't the law that is the problem.
I believe one Orthodox church hasn't fallen short. St. George Orthodox Christian Cathedral in Wichita, KS is supporting Motherhood through the Treehouse charity and I commend them for their stand in supporting mothers. And I pray that they don't use their resources to fight with the government over the law.
In fact, if all the resources spent fighting the government and campaigns were used promoting motherhood, I'd bet abortion would be practiced far less.
...just one man's opinion from a different road walked...
...and fighting is easier than helping...
#9 Daniel E. Fall on 2010-01-06 16:44
The issues of Fr. Jarmus and Mr. Kondratick certainly are not the same. I never said otherwise. However, in my opinion there is one connection, acting on a negative situation. The administration identified a deficiency with Communications and dealt with it head on. It does not appear that the administration has dealt with the Kondratick matter in the same manner. It has allowed this issue to continue to consume valuable resources that could have been used to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. And for what? The gospel is very clear about turning the other cheek. Do I believe that Kondratick was a crook and ripped of orphans and 9/11 victims? You're darn right I do. Am I mad about it? Not any more. I think Kondratick is a very pathetic individual that will stand in judgement for his actions one way or another. Perhaps I'm in the minority but I say settle the case and move on with life. Every day and every additional dollar that is spent on Kondratick in the name of "justice" is time and money wasted. The Orthodox Church in America has manage to survive through many difficult struggles. Perhaps if it would just pay to settle the matter it might be a little poorer, maybe a little wiser, but most importantly, it could learn from the experience and turn its attention to back to proclaiming the gospel of Christ.
(Editor's note: Jesus said to turn the other cheek, indeed: he did not say you have to hand anyone the rock with which to hit you. This is not, nor has it ever been, about "justice" - for such is not possible in this world. This is about defending the Church from an attack - so that it can continue to preach the Gospel. If one does make a stand here, where does it end? Do we pay off , to use your word, every "pathetic" individual who sues the Church because not to might be difficult? Is that not an invitation to every Tom Dick and Bob to come against us? The more interesting question is where is Kondratick getting the money to fund his lawyers?....)
#10 Anon. on 2010-01-06 16:53
43 years of priesthood means nothing !!! Stokoe your a nobody and a never will BE !!!! We'll see when the oca loses their case to the Kondratick's and the real truth is out. The hierarch's and YOU can only lie so long.
#11 Anonymous on 2010-01-06 17:32
Gee, I thought all of the Anglotochians and members of the Orthodox Church of Anglos (OCA) would be wetting themselves over the signing of the Manhattan Declaration (I think most of you did!) after all, passive-agressive fear-mongering must be part and parcel of thier dreams of an "American Orthodoxy"; eradicating maladaptives is as much a part of this country's fabric as is it's, uh, "Christianity"....
#12 Moses on 2010-01-06 17:40
Yes, Fr. Calin, I agree with you.
#13 sylvia on 2010-01-06 17:57
The decline in self-identified Christians is mainly generational. In previous generations, nominal Christians raised nominal Christians; nowadays, nominal Christians raise non-Christians. The reasons for this are many and varied, but one would be hard put to blame it mostly on conservative Christians, as liberal anti-Christians have been actively working to de-Christianize the country for many decades. The signers of the Manhattan Declaration object to such efforts; Mr. Fall apparently does not.
#14 Dn. Brian Patrick Mitchell on 2010-01-07 09:21
Well said - I couldn't agree more.
#15 Nilus on 2010-01-07 13:11
Registered, smegistered! It matters not how one is registered, but how one votes and that could be broadly understood to include the public manifestos one puts one name to. The Manhattan Declaration seems a bit to smarmy and it will fall (or already has fallen) into semi-oblivion, a curious asterisk/footnote in some future book. [Full discloser: I have been a life long registered Republican, but vote the person not the party].
On a somewhat separate track, the number of Orthodox Christian signers was but a handful and nearly all of them appear to be of a background originating in heterodox Christian confessions. To no one in particular, I pose the question: is there any discernible connection between who the signers were and the tenor of the document or is it just coincidence? I do not intend to impugn anyone, but the lack of more cradle Orthodox Christian leaders as signers makes me wonder if there is any significance.
P.S. To Daniel Fall: I love your posts on this thread; keep 'em coming.
#16 Terry C. Peet on 2010-01-07 14:42
I read there was a benefit held to help Bishop Nikolai with his medical expenses. I would like to make a contribution but I don't know where to send it. If someone would let me know, I would appreciate it. Thank you!
#17 Anonymous on 2010-01-07 15:32
On another "topic" it seems as though little about the probs of our Antiochian Church in evidnce. Hmmmm! Three visits by Met Jonah to Englewood with no reciprocation (?) Maybe getting ready for the opening of the new Ant. Seminary in Ligonier? Long planned with some aspect of "renumeration of sorts" to St V. & St. T. The Metropolitan thinks Mon thru Sat. Let's hope Mark S. has not been muzzled by anyone!
#18 Anonymous on 2010-01-07 17:21
A blessed Epiphany to you.
Your cynicism only avoids the basic facts, that the Manhattan Declaration speaks against 1) abortion, 2) destructive embryonic stem cell experimentation, and 3) homosexual "marriage" (and expresses concern for the free exercise of religion).
All three of these are not only soul destroying sins but society destroying as well.
All three of these are being promoted by our government --with increasing intensity, including many cases which threaten the freedom of Christians to speak the truth, to run businesses, to maintain charities and to preach the Gospel.
Metropolitan JONAH's brief, eight-minute explanation was not designed to go into an analysis of the document or any personal reservations. It was simply to explain that Orthodox Christians should stand up in our society and let the voice of Christ's Church be heard regarding the most important moral issues of our day. This is Christian leadership.
Attacking the website which shows Metropolitan JONAH's explanation, listing demographics which seek to show America is post-Christian, equating the signers of the Manhattan Declaration with a political party, bringing up Roman Catholicism, purgatory, former President Clinton, Franky Schaeffer, and associating opposition to abortion with Bob Kondratick's embezzlement all serve to avoid the basic facts, that the Manhattan Declaration speaks against abortion, destructive embryonic stem cell experimentation, and homosexual "marriage," and Metropolitan JONAH signed it because he believes Orthodox Christians are obligated to speak the truth in love against such social ills.
The question which those who have displayed such a cynical and violent reaction against The Manhattan Declaration might ask themselves is, Why do you oppose the moral voice of Christ's Church speaking to the world on these issues?
I notice Bishop Nikolai might withdraw his lawsuits? Interesting that his former diocese wants to help with his bills. As an OCA member I wonder if other laymen have stopped to think just how much personal attack was made against us by this man. An $11,000,000 lawsuit averages out to quite a tidy amount per head in the organization. How about some more realistic canonical procedures against him? Having an illness doesn't of itself absolve him of such a threat against an entire Church. That this is forgotten by the hierarchy seems incredible to me. We don't need clerics with interesting appetites to get us lawsuits when we have them brought up against us by our "Own" clergy over their own bad behavior. Since the obvious action isn't likely to be taken by those hierarchs, I can only suggest that should Nikolai show up at a liturgy, everyone else should leave at once. If he wants to be alone with the celebrating clergy, fine. He should not be indulged.
#20 Ba'ab on 2010-01-08 22:42
Quoting Gail S:
"Israel has no problem saying they're a Jewish nation. The Middle East has no trouble declaring themselves Muslim. Why shouldn't we declare ourselves "Christian?"
You provided two good examples of religion gone out of control and why mixing up religion with government is not such a good idea:
1) Israel has no problem saying they're a Jewish nation.
2) The Middle East has no trouble declaring themselves Muslim.
Our founding fathers were wise to establish the principal of the separation of church and state in our blessed land.
#21 MWP on 2010-01-09 12:49
"I truly believe the marriage of Christian conservatives to any political party is the underlying reason for the decline in people who call themselves Christian and I truly believe it will continue."
I suppose that this statement may possibly have some truth to it, though I don't know of any empirical evidence to support it. What did strike me, though, is the overwhelming sense that Mr. Fall is too young to have seen the swing of the pendulum, too young to remember the days (before such things as Roe vs Wade, etc.) when Christian liberals were (or seemed to be) married to the Democratic party.
For my own part, I have a distinct preference for the attitudes which were in evidence in the early decades of the twentieth century and exemplified by such as H.L. Mencken (who, atheist though he was, could be moved to tears by the words and music of J.S. Bach's b minor Mass) who regarded participation in the political process neither as a 'right' nor as a 'priveledge', but as a (possibly onorous) duty -- rather like doing the laundry, washing the dishes, mowing the lawn, and taking out the garbage.
#22 +Melchisedek on 2010-01-12 10:14
You forget one thing Mr. Editor, Jarmus is one of the reasons for some of the litigation. We'll see!!!!!!
#23 Anon. on 2010-01-12 10:52
I think yours is a very fair question, but I also believe I've answered it fully over the course of time.
1. Straw man argument, I will not debate further.
2. Roe v. Wade as some mystical guidance that abortion is now a preferred course of action for women. Roe only makes the practice federal law. Abolishing Roe doesn't stop the practice, only allows states to decide. A classic argument between parties over State versus Federal power that has nothing to do with killing babies or helping poor mothers.
3. Blaming the majority in power for promoting abortion. All he did is allowed abortion to be discussed as an option. Promoting abortion has been done by demoting motherhood, but there are no road signs saying Abortions for Less or Better Tasting Abortions.
4. Taking a position against homosexual marriage. I was not kind in my 20s to homosexuals on campus and I believe the church and personal events unrelated to homosexuals taught me intolerance of them. The church shouldn't work to condemn these people. It can disagree, but it must be done with great care or homosexuals and their friends are alienated and our children (like me) are mistaught. How is it any greater sin to be homosexual or someone lazy enough to be sitting here chatting back with you for little benefit to anyone or to mistreat someone because they are gay? Is it not enough for the church to take the position that homosexuality is a sin, but we need to love those people, too? Why does the church or +J think it must go further? I don't see that as leadership.
A question back to you..
Is Christianity merely an elite club of like thinkers that take the same position on legal issues of the day?
#24 Daniel E. Fall on 2010-01-27 10:28
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