Christophobia

On Christmas Day, the New York Daily News published an op-ed article that I wrote on the persecution of Christians. I thought you might want to read it.

Here is an excerpt from my op-ed:

This coming weekend, Christians throughout our land will jam churches to celebrate the birthday of Jesus, accepting the angels’ invitation from the midnight skies over Bethlehem to “come, let us adore Him!,” the infant they believe to be their Lord and savior.

They’ll be praying and singing, laughing and hugging, wishing each other peace and joy as they leave church to return home for gifts and a festive meal with family and friends.

They will do it all in security and safety. Not so throughout a growing swath of the rest of the world. If recent ominous events are predictors, Christians in Egypt, China, Iraq, India, parts of Africa and Indonesia — just to name a few places — will keep to the shadows this holy day as they leave for church, avoiding people, walking to church by a back route, hurrying into a darkened church, with their prayers hardly of joy over the birth of the Prince of Peace.

Also printed in this morning in the New York Daily News was an op-ed about the tragic Christmas Day bombings in Nigeria.  Here is an excerpt:

Christians are under attack around the world, for nothing more than their desire to worship God as they choose.

The Nigeria violence marked the second year in a row that the Boko Haram Islamists — who seek to impose strict Sharia law across the nation of 165 million — have turned a day of peace into one of horror.

You can read the whole op-ed here.

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7 Responses to “Christophobia”

  1. Dear Archbishop
    I too have been growing increasingly concerned about the violence and persecution against Catholics and Christians in several regions of the world, and it does make me appreciate the ability to go to Mass and receive communion daily, much less weekly or monthly, without having to risk my physical life or my job or my family’s safety to do so. But there is another side to this violence and persecution that does affect Catholics and Christians in America as a result, and that is the increased division based on fear, and the increased prejudice against our brothers and sisters of other faiths, living in our own communities. As a former Artistic Ambassador for both the UK and USA, I have learned that we can (and must) help our youth and the future generations of Christians and Catholics in particular to respect and appreciate the rich cultural traditions of their classmates and neighbors, so as to understand that these are not the individuals doing the persecuting and the violence. There is tremendous spiritual value and life residing in the musical gifts God has granted to each culture of the world. To that end, I founded a global organization for music listeners everywhere, called Listen for Life (www.listenforlife.org) and we have declared Sunday January 8th to be Multicultural Music Day, as a way to celebrate music’s God-given power as a force for unity, nourishment, inspiration, healing and cross-cultural dialogue. For those in your Archdiocese of New York, we are hosting a special celebration of Multicultural Music Day at famed Carnegie Hall at 8pm on January 8th. We will have music masters from Israel, Syria and Jordan all together on one stage as a musical statement for peace in the new year, and they will be joined by award-winning recording artists from Hawaiian music, traditional Vietnamese music, Native American music, and Western European traditions. The program will feature world-renowned performers from the genres of classical music, world music and jazz. We believe it is very important for the children and youth to experience the magical sounds and instruments from around the globe so they can realize the beauty of God’s musical creation beyond Hiphop, rap and other styles popularized in global media – so we are giving tremendous discounts for students and families who would never otherwise be able to come to Carnegie Hall. We want to make this event a celebration for everyone, and if your Archdiocese churches would each like to give out two comp tickets to parishioners, we are willing to assign two comps to each parish in your diocese – they just need to contact us (events@listenforlife.org, tel 510 540 8136).
    Meanwhile, Archbishop, I would like to personally invite you to attend as my guest, and I will hold two tickets for you with the hopes that you will be able to get back to us and let us know (dstoering@listenforlife.org, 408 406 6240).
    Wishing you all God’s blessings (and I always look forward to coming to St Patrick’s Cathedral whenever I am in NY, so that will be next week in advance of this concert!)
    sincerely
    Donna Stoering, Founder of Listen for Life
    http://www.donnastoering.com http://www.listenforlife.org http://www.travelswithmusic.org

  2. Gary Miller says:

    Archbishop Dolan,

    Very good article. The recent overthrows of totalitarian governments in the Middle East and North Africa is a good thing. My fear though, is that government reform takes the form of a strict Islamic government and possible reprisals against Christians and Jews.

  3. AndyP/Doria2 says:

    And the American media has blacked these stories out. Thank you for shedding some light on this Archbishop.

    We have the pulpits of America and we should be telling this story that the American media is ignoring.

    You can have your brother bishops mandate that this story be told in homilies across the nation and world Your Excellency.

    Unite us

  4. JohnG says:

    Catholics and other Christians are under attack in the United States also for following the dictates of their religion. There is an immediate need for the 60 million members of the Laity of the Church to be advised/instructed as to adverse actions that have been taken against the Church in the past 3 years or so. That action needs to be spoken about within every Church in the United States. There are only 10 months or so for the Catholic voters in the United States to evaluate the programs and past actions of their governmental representatives.

    There is never any mention in Church of the Bishops’ Advisory on the Responsibilities of Catholic Voters. Very few American Catholics visit or read the USCCB Website. More publicity needs to be given to Bishop Lori’s Committee on Religious Liberty.

    In addition to publicity we all need to pray……

    Oremus – Let Us Pray

    A Petition For The Nation

    V. – That God will bless the United States of America and guide its people and their leaders in the pathways of wisdom, justice and peace for all of its citizens; and that our Country will continue to be a beacon of freedom, opportunity and liberty for all Nations to witness and imitate…..

    R. – Lord, hear our prayer.

  5. cmcarroll says:

    The Catholic Church has basically taken itself out of the adoption and foster care business in Illinois rather than comply with new rules that require adoption agencies to treat gay couples equally when making placement decisions:

    Roman Catholic bishops in Illinois have shuttered most of the Catholic Charities affiliates in the state rather than comply with a new requirement that says they must consider same-sex couples as potential foster-care and adoptive parents if they want to receive state money. The charities have served for more than 40 years as a major link in the state’s social service network for poor and neglected children.

    The bishops have followed colleagues in Washington, D.C., and Massachusetts who had jettisoned their adoption services rather than comply with nondiscrimination laws.

    For the nation’s Catholic bishops, the Illinois requirement is a prime example of what they see as an escalating campaign by the government to trample on their religious freedom while expanding the rights of gay people. The idea that religious Americans are the victims of government-backed persecution is now a frequent theme not just for Catholic bishops, but also for Republican presidential candidates and conservative evangelicals.

    “In the name of tolerance, we’re not being tolerated,” said Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, Ill., a civil and canon lawyer who helped drive the church’s losing battle to retain its state contracts for foster care and adoption services.

    The Illinois experience indicates that the bishops face formidable opponents who also claim to have justice and the Constitution on their side. They include not only gay rights advocates, but also many religious believers and churches that support gay equality (some Catholic legislators among them). They frame the issue as a matter of civil rights, saying that Catholic Charities was using taxpayer money to discriminate against same-sex couples.

    Tim Kee, a teacher in Marion, Ill., who was turned away by Catholic Charities three years ago when he and his longtime partner, Rick Wade, tried to adopt a child, said: “We’re both Catholic, we love our church, but Catholic Charities closed the door to us. To add insult to injury, my tax dollars went to provide discrimination against me.”

    The bishops are engaged in the religious liberty battle on several fronts. They have asked the Obama administration to lift a new requirement that Catholic and other religiously affiliated hospitals, universities and charity groups cover contraception in their employees’ health plans. A decision has been expected for weeks now.

    At the same time, the bishops are protesting the recent denial of a federal contract to provide care for victims of sex trafficking, saying the decision was anti-Catholic. An official with the Department of Health and Human Services recently told a hearing on Capitol Hill that the bishops’ program was rejected because it did not provide the survivors of sex trafficking, some of whom are rape victims, with referrals for abortions or contraceptives.

    Critics of the church argue that no group has a constitutional right to a government contract, especially if it refuses to provide required services.

    But Anthony R. Picarello Jr., general counsel and associate general secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, disagreed. “It’s true that the church doesn’t have a First Amendment right to have a government contract,” he said, “but it does have a First Amendment right not to be excluded from a contract based on its religious beliefs.”

    The reality, of course, is that the Church is not being discriminated against because of its religious beliefs, it is being denied state funds and a government contract because of its refusal to comply with the laws and regulations of the government entity with which it would contract. Should Northrup-Grumman be permitted to build a fighter jet if it refused to comply with the design specifications of the Pentagon? The answer to that question, of course, is obviously no, but the situation is complicated to some degree by the fact that it is impossible for any private entity to engage in adoption or foster care services without being involved with the state in some manner. Even if there were no state funding involved as there is in Illinois, an entity that places children will still be licensed by the state. If all that were involved were a state license, would that permit the state to require the Church to comply with anti-discrimination laws? Or, to turn the tables, should a licensed private adoption agency be free to discriminate for racial reasons if it chose to?

    It’s a close issue, and Jonathan Turley does raise some interesting points in the Church’s defense. However, I think it’s fairly clear that requiring the Church to comply with the law is not an infringement on their religious liberty. As mistermix notes, Catholic Charities does so much great work, for which I commend them, but if they are going to enter into contracts with the government and take money from taxpayers, then they should be required to comply with the same laws that every other government contractor has to comply with. If their distaste for homosexuals is stronger than their desire to see children placed in loving homes, then they must make the appropriate choice. It would be the wrong one, in my opinion, and it would harm the children, but they are certainly free to make it.

    The most important point, though, is that religious liberty does not mean the right to take public money without having to comply with the law because the teachings of your faith tell you those laws are wrong. That’s not how you live in a civil society, and if the Church cannot comply with that simple rule then it needs to rethink its priorities.

  6. dezembro 31. 12. 2011 eu venho atravez desta lhe desejar um feliz ano novo cheio de muito amor e muita paz em nome do nosso senhor jesus cristo para todos de vossa archdiocese de new york tambem aproveito o momento para lhe fazer um apelo eu gostaria muito de poder lhe mandar um email pessoal ´para o senhor porque eu seio que se chegar em vossas maos terei certeza que o senhor vai fazer alguma coisa para nos ajudar a nossa comunidade e muito sofrida e os seus filhos muitos deles tem sido mortois antes de completarem os 15 anos de idade e muito sofrimento peço a vossa eminencia nos ajudem a ajudar estas pessoas a nao sofrer tanto com a perdas dos seus entes queridos jose pinto da silva paulista pernambuco brasil.

  7. Desde el confín del mundo acompaño con oración.