Lesbian Wants Priest Removed After She Was Denied Communion at Her Mother's Funeral
If they are unrepentantly living in sin, they are not eligible for communion anyway
Barbara Johnson and her family are calling for Rev. Marcel Guarnizo of St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland, to be removed from his ministry. The family is making bold proclamations after Guarnizo reportedly denied Johnson, 51, communion at her mother's funeral on Saturday.
Johnson, a lesbian, was joined at the church by her partner to celebrate her mother's life. Just before the service, Guarnizo apparently learned about her sexuality and relationship. Then, during the service, when Johnson stood up to receive communion, the priest openly denied her. "He put his hand over the body of Christ and looked at me and said, `I can't give you Communion because you live with a woman, and in the eyes of the church, that is a sin,'" she explained following the incident.
When he refused her, Johnson said she was shocked and stood in front of him, thinking that he'd change his mind. "I just stood there, in shock. I was grieving, crying," she explained. "My mother's body was behind me, and all I wanted to do was provide for her, and the final thing was to make a beautiful funeral, and here I was letting her down because there was a scene."
But Johnson, 51, and her family claim that Guarnizo's offending actions went above and beyond the communion he purportedly refused to offer her. They claim that the priest left the altar when Johnson gave her eulogy and that he didn't show up at the burial and declined to find a priest to replace him.
In a letter she penned to the priest, Johnson made her disgust and frustration known. She wrote, in part:
"You brought your politics, not your God into that Church yesterday, and you will pay dearly on the day of judgment for judging me." "I will pray for your soul, but first I will do everything in my power to see that you are removed from parish life so that you will not be permitted to harm any more families."
The Washington, D.C. Archdiocese claims that the priest's actions go against "policy." Although the church has not officially commented to media, this statement was made in a brief note that was released on the matter. The Archdiocese plans to investigate the incident.
"Any issues regarding the suitability of an individual to receive communion should be addressed by the priest with that person in a private, pastoral setting," the statement also read.
Johnson's family, though, says they aren't looking to use the incident to criticize the Catholic Church as a whole. "We agreed this is not a discussion about gay rights or about the teachings of the Catholic Church," her brother, Larry Johnson, said. "We're not in this to Catholic-bash. That's the farthest thing from our minds."
Dharun Ravi Could Face At Least 10 Years For Thought Crimes
You've probably heard about the issue with Dharun Ravi: he was the Rutgers U. student who used a webcam to spy on his roommate, Tyler Clementi, having homosexual sex. Clementi later disappeared, then was found to have committed suicide. Ravi's trial has started
(Seattle PI) Early witnesses testified that Ravi expressed discomfort about having a gay roommate, but they didn't know him to have a problem with gay people generally.
His attitude matters in the trial because the 15 charges Ravi faces include bias intimidation, which can carry a 10-year prison sentence. To get a conviction on that charge, prosecutors must persuade jurors that Ravi acted out of bias against gays.
Ravi also is charged with invasion of privacy. And he is accused of trying to cover his tracks by taking measures including deleting a Twitter message and instructing a witness what to tell police. He is not charged with Clementi's death.
Now, make no mistake about it, what Ravi did was pretty darned mean. But, essentially, he is being charged with a thought crime (bias intimidation), which could land him in jail for 10 years on that charge alone. You can peruse Google News for hate crimes, and see much the same thing: people being charged for having improper thoughts. People can receive long prison sentences for essentially be a**holes.
Why do I bring this up? I've actually been thinking about this most of the day, as KC and Carmen were discussing it on the Morning Rush (106.1 Raleigh), as was Jason Lewis. 10 years for thought crimes. And, this makes me wonder: Ravi is no threat to society, he was simply a young man who did something seriously a**holish, yet, could be put in a dangerous jail with hardcore criminals. Meanwhile, there are people in government who allowed guns to walk across the border into Mexico without alerting the Mexican authorities, and did not track those guns.
Those guns were put in the hands of hardcore criminals and criminal enterprises, and resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Mexicans, possibly people from other countries, and at least two US citizens, Border Agent Brian Terry and Jaime Zapata, with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Yet, the people responsible for Operation Fast and Furious are facing no criminal charges (at this time). Were it you or me, we'd be facing, at a minimum, illegal gun trafficking/gun running and accessory to murder charges. The government of Mexico would want you or me extradited. We'd be looking at spending the rest of our lives in jail.
Alas, the people responsible for F&F will more than likely not even be charged. And will get a nice little pension and high paying lobbyist jobs when they leave office. Yet, Ravi is looking at a minimum of 10 years in prison for bad thoughts. What kind of bad thoughts put untracked guns in the hands of violent and murderous criminals? How's that justice system working?
Resurgence of marriage in Britain: After an official report showed married couples are happiest, wedding are on the increase
Marriage is coming back into fashion. After 40 years of decline, the number of weddings has risen by 3.7 per cent in a year.
Analysts believe the recession has caused a return to family values and a desire for the stability marriage offers.
Data released by the Office of National Statistics showed there were 241,100 weddings in England and Wales in 2010, the most recent year for which figures are available.
This is 8,657 more than in the previous year, and provides welcome ammunition for campaigners who are trying to push David Cameron into keeping his promise to give a tax break to married couples.
The new data follows fresh evidence of the benefits of marriage from the first results of the Prime Minister's attempt to measure the nation's happiness.
Figures published this week showed that married people are the happiest, their sense of well-being higher than that of cohabitees and far higher than that of the single, divorced or separated.
Church of England weddings went up by 4 per cent in 2010 thanks to rules which allow couples a wider choice of churches than was available under the old system, which tied a bride and groom to the parish where they live.
However other Christian denominations saw a fall of 1.1 per cent in their wedding numbers. There were even bigger drops in religious weddings staged by other faiths.
Together, the number of Sikh, Muslim and Jewish weddings went down by 3.4 per cent. Two out of three of all civil weddings are now celebrated in stately homes, hotels, golf clubs or football-ground hospitality suites which have been allowed to stage ceremonies since 1995.
The popularity of a wedding in a venue technically known as 'approved premises' means 124,570 were held in them in 2010, a 12 per cent increase in a single year. This is more than three times the number in register offices.
In general the popularity of marriage has been on the wane since 1972 - just after liberal divorce reforms came into operation which made it possible to end a marriage in six months.
At the time there were more than 400,000 weddings a year in England and Wales.
The ONS said economic pressures could be behind the increase in 2010. 'During tough economic times, people seek stability and family may be valued more highly than material goods. As parents could be out of work, they may have more time to spend on child rearing.'
If this thinking is right, it means many people still instinctively put marriage at the heart of family life - a view not shared by politicians such as Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
He said in December that marriage was outmoded and that 'we need to get away from the idea that there is something on a piece of paper that says if you are married, that's good, if you're not married, that's not'.
The ONS report also said that couples whose lives had been disrupted in the first years of the recession, or who had to put off marriage because of money pressures, could have been catching up in 2010.
Other reasons put forward to explain the rise included a drop in the number of couples marrying abroad - another result of the recession - and an increase in numbers of older cohabiting couples deciding it was time to put their relationships on a firmer legal footing.
The rise might also be attributable to immigration. Around 600,000 migrants come to live in Britain each year and have a high regard for marriage.
All available academic research has long shown that married couples are better off and healthier than others, and that their children too are healthier and do better at school.
The new count showed that for every 1,000 single people over 16, 8.7 were married in 2010, up from 8.5 in 2009. Couples were most likely to marry between the ages of 25 and 29, but the biggest percentage increases in marriage numbers came among men in their late 40s and women in their early 30s. Two out of three weddings were first marriages for both bride and groom.
The increase was the third rise in marriage numbers in the past decade. Between 2002 and 2003 there was a 5.7 per cent rise, and there was a further very small increase between 2007 and 2008.
The ONS believes a decline in 2004 was caused by new laws clamping down on sham marriages to get around immigration laws.
The ONS report said: 'It is not possible to determine at this stage whether the rise in the provisional number of marriages in 2010 signifies an end to the long-term decline of marriages or whether such increases will continue.'
Britain's bid to rein in the Euro judges: National courts must have priority, say ministers
Britain has drawn up long-overdue plans to curtail the meddling of the controversial European Court of Human Rights.
Under the leaked proposals, judges in Strasbourg - who recently blocked the deportation of hate preacher Abu Qatada - would not normally be allowed to interfere in cases which have already gone through the UK courts. The plans were welcomed by Tory MPs sick of the court overturning UK judgments.
But ministers face a huge battle to get the proposals past the 46 other nations who are members of the Council of Europe, which oversees the court - and the Liberal Democrats.
Changing the rules requires unanimous approval of the Council - which is notoriously difficult to achieve.
Ministers have thrown in a concession to supporters of the court in a bid to make the proposals seem more attractive. It would, for the first time, allow the Council of Europe to levy fines on member states which ignore Strasbourg's judgments. This could mean, for example, that Britain could be clobbered with a fine if Parliament refuses the Strasbourg court's current demand for prisoners to be granted the vote.
The proposals - named the 'Draft Brighton Convention' - are to be debated at a meeting in England on April 19 and 20.
Britain currently has presidency of the Council and the Tories are determined to use the opportunity to rein in some of the worst excesses of the court, which is criticised for being unaccountable.
Under the plans, Strasbourg would not normally be able to examine cases that are 'identical in substance to a claim that has been considered by a national court'.
The court would only be able to take on a case when national courts have made a glaring error, or in major issues of interpretation of human rights.
The changes would also reduce the time period in which claims must be lodged with Strasbourg following a ruling by a domestic court, from the current six months to two or four months.
In the case of Qatada, who is wanted for trial in Jordan on charges of plotting terrorist atrocities, the UK's Law Lords (now the Supreme Court) ruled he could safely be deported.
But the European judges overturned the decision, saying there was a risk that some of the evidence used against Qatada - an Al Qaeda hate preacher - may have been obtained by torture.
Qatada has since been released on bail and Home Secretary Theresa May is now seeking reassurances from Jordan that she hopes will allow the fanatic to be kicked out.
Tory MP Dominic Raab, who has led the calls for urgent reform of the Strasbourg court, welcomed the draft proposals. He said: 'These are sensible and moderate proposals to reduce the Strasbourg Court's scope to interfere with decisions of the UK Supreme Court and law-making by our elected representatives. 'Strasbourg should re-focus on the worst violations of the most fundamental rights.'
But he added: 'Any suggestion that we give the Council of Europe the power to issue fines is out of the question at a time when the court is handing down arbitrary rulings on Abu Qatada and prisoner voting.'
Shami Chakrabarti, of campaign group Liberty, said Britain should be setting an example on human rights to younger democracies, such as Russia.
Mr Raab responded: 'There's no point in kidding ourselves that Putin is going to care two hoots about whether we deport Abu Qatada, or prisoner voting.'
Labour's Sadiq Khan said: 'We risk opening a Pandora's Box across Europe as other countries ignore the Convention. Our moral authority could simply evaporate for the sake of satisfying Cameron's awkward backbenchers.'
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.