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Ink Slingers

Five Reasons Why I Love the Catechism


In the twelve years we’ve been Catholic, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) has remained dear to our entire family. Here are five reasons why:

1. It was instrumental in my husband’s conversion. Very early on in our studying of Catholicism, he bought a copy of the catechism, figuring that since he was interested in what the Church taught, he might as well go right to the official catechism. He read it cover to cover and checked every Biblical reference. He still reads it for personal encouragement and education and appreciates it more every time (He tells me!).

2. It is beautiful to read – poetic, solid, and satisfying, with footnotes from Scripture, history, and other Church documents. A random opening of my copy while writing this fell to paragraph #2842 on Christian Prayer: “When we ask to be delivered from the Evil One, we pray as well to be freed from all evils, present, past, and future, of which he is the author or instigator. In this final petition, the Church brings before the Father all the distress of the world. Along with deliverance from the evils that overwhelm humanity, she implores the precious gift of peace and the grace of perseverance in expectation of Christ’s return. By praying in this way, she anticipates in humility of faith the gathering together of everyone and everything in him who has ‘the keys of death and Hades’ who ‘is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty’.”  Magnificent. There is a footnote directing the reader to three passages in Revelation. What a devotional!

3. It covers everything, from difficult, contentious issues to heartbreaking, suffering issues to mystical, spiritual issues. Topics are neither shied-away from nor sugar-coated. We can read about sex, social justice, national laws, union with Christ, and the problem of pain (the section that brought me to my knees; see paragraphs 1499-1532.) It is something I direct my children to time and time again. 

4. It can be relied upon for instruction in our Holy Faith, for it is a “Full, complete exposition of Catholic doctrine, enabling everyone to know what the Church professes, celebrates, lives, and prays in her daily life (From the prologue by Pope John Paul II).” There are no worries about whether or not an author is faithful to the Magisterium. Jesus told the apostles, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth (John 16:13)” and Paul told young Timothy how to behave within “the ousehold of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of truth (I Timothy 3:15).” A bulwark is a defensive wall; I wonder if Paul had the formidable walls of Jerusalem in mind as he pictured the Church keeping Christians safe from false doctrines. The Catechism is the continuing of the Holy Spirit’s leading of the Church as it guards the precious deposit of faith and instructs the faithful. Jesus never left a book; he left men filled with Holy Spirit, guided into truth, forgiving sins (John 20:23), and going out to teach and baptize (Matthew 28:19-20). They did write, however, and our Church in her wisdom, gathered and compiled their stories and letters into a New Testament. The Catechism is another example of her wisdom in leading Christians here on earth.

5. Jesus is central. Again, from the prologue: “In reading the CCC, we can perceive the wonderful unity of the mystery of God, his saving will, as well as the central place of Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of God, sent by the Father, made man in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, to be our Savior. Having died and risen, Christ is always present in his Church, especially in the sacraments; he is the source of our faith, the model of Christian conduct, and the teacher of our prayer.” How powerful and peaceful.

I encourage you, dear Sistas, if there’s not a copy on your bed stand; put one there and dig into it. I bet you’ll love it!

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Domestic Church Homeschool Ink Slingers Raising Saints

The One Room Schoolhouse Approach: Catholic Schoolhouse

Catholic Schoolhouse ReviewIt is that time of year where everyone is figuring out what to use next school year.  Social Media is swamped with questions and suggestions from other home educating mothers with the “what worked,” “what did not work,” and the simple, “what do you think of this?” conversations.  Curriculum selection among home educators can be confusing and difficult since we cannot walk into a room and flip through the texts or programs ourselves.  We rely on what experiences other mothers have had with their children in their home schools, which is fine but be sure you ask TONS of questions and keep your individual children in mind.

Recently, we switched out of Our Lady of Victory School (OLVS) with our four smaller children then ages 9, 8, 6, and 4 but our eldest who was a junior will continue using it until he graduates.  We were not disappointed with OLVS at all but I did have a situation where my then nine year old son was bored.  He is a gifted child (high IQ), he is artistic, had trouble learning to read, is a bit lazy, and needs help with Spelling and Writing.  He was bored with the workbooks and the long check lists of things to do.  At the end of the day I was not happy that he did not enjoy school.  Now, please do not think I am telling you to go with every whim your child(ren) have against doing school work.  It took me a long time to come to the conclusion that OLVS was not working for my son. I did recall that when we did lapbooks or projects, he was super engaged.  So that was my starting point.  After much research I realized I needed a program that gave me the flexibility to be as hands on or not as we needed to be.  I decided that the Classical Education approach was something that we have always appreciated, so I began researching all of the Catholic Curriculum that use this approach.

In addition to hands-on, our son has a love for music and also for historical facts, so I started searching for a program that had a strong history curriculum.  The other thing I was looking for was to be able to teach most of the four small children most of the subjects together.  This came in the heels of a field trip we made last Fall to a One room schoolhouse.  The idea of teaching all of the children from kindergarten to high schoolers never really crossed my mind but a group of us from my parish went and voila! it was possible.  I was able to see most of the afternoon lessons and to speak to the lady who ran the day as the school teacher and realized that it was really an ideal way of homeschoolers to teach their children instead of having four different topics to discuss we all would be discussing and digging further into one topic!  Here are pictures of our field trip and our little group, we did fill the schoolhouse that day:

So, with the one room schoolhouse idea in mind is where I began my search and ended with Catholic Schoolhouse.  Now many of my friends were concerned that it was a program designed for Homeschool Co-Ops, which in its original form it was but I could see how it was possible to be used at home exclusively. I have been using it as my core curriculum since last February, 2015 (why yes! I did switch curriculum with four months of school left).  My husband thought I was crazy (I might be) but it was either the children in brick and mortar schools or me in a straight jacket!  So switching curriculum in February was not so crazy after all, it turns out.  What sold me on this program?  This video by Delena of It’s on My To Do List:

So what makes this program so awesome?

First, the children working together for most subjects.  Can you imagine?  When went to a one room schoolhouse, I could not imagine what it was like for the student or the teacher (aside from what I have seen on Little House on the Prairie), so this trip really helped me to see the benefits of the older children learning alongside the smaller children. Also, seeing the smaller children learning from the great answers and discussions they have with the teacher.

Second, the Music.  All of the memory work (Religion, Science, Math, Grammar, History, and Latin) is set to catchy tunes.  Tunes your children will love and your toddlers will learn.  Hey, better they sing these than “Let it go!” no?  You can preview the music on their website.  I also love learning about the different composers and that my small children are able to identify the great composers and their pieces by name! Here is my daughter singing the first part of Psalm 23, and after learning the story of the Good Shepherd:

 

Third, the Science.  I love that they have placed all of the materials needed and the objectives of the lessons organized by specific science subtopics.  I love that they have a memory verse to learn pertinent facts about our lesson.  Learn more about their hands on Science. Here is an example of what we learned in Science this year:

Catholic Schoolhouse Science Lessons
Science Lessons on Insects with Memory verse (song) and diagramming in our notebooks!

Fourth, the Art.  Along with the history, the program also teaches art from the time period.  I love that the Art guide has beautiful color pictures to help explain the lessons and also the detailed plans for the art lesson which teachers so many things.  I love the art vocabulary the children are learning as well as art etiquette (did you know there was such a thing?) Learn more about their integrated Art program.

Fifth, last but definitely not least, the History and Geography.  My children and I are such visual learners that this part of the program really sold it for me.  There are five timeline cards per week which you go through history in the different years (Years 1, 2, and 3).  Marking different times, events, and people important to the time in history, not excluding Catholic events and people, of course.  Here is a lesson we were doing on George Washington.  I was reading to the four children in our living room and they had their notebooks out.  They drew what they wanted from what I was reading to them.  This is my then four year old’s work:

Catholic Schoolhouse history
Learning about George Washington, we do notebooking in composition books and the children write, draw and diagram what we are learning.
Catholic Schoolhouse History
This is the book I was reading from, while my daughter was notebooking.
Catholic Schoolhouse History
Here is my four year old’s interpretation of President George Washington and his horse.

In summary, I highly recommend this curriculum as an option for an at home program.  Mainly because you can teach all of our children together while supplementing in specific areas such as Reading, Spelling, Mathematics, Religion, and Writing (as in you can continue using the texts you already use in these subjects).  I like the flexibility to be as creative as you’d like with the ability to add to the program when needed.  The timeline cards help the visual learner while the wonderful CDs with catchy tunes help the auditory learner master Religion, Science, Math, Grammar, History, and Latin facts with ease.  Lastly, I love the idea of a one room schoolhouse in our Catholic homeschools and the fact that the program is incredibly economical.

Includes Year 2 Tour Guide, Year 2 Art Book, Year 2 Science Book, Year 2 History Cards and Year 2 Memory Work CD set. Price: $169
Includes Year 2 Tour Guide, Year 2 Art Book, Year 2 Science Book, Year 2 History Cards and Year 2 Memory Work CD set. Price: $169

 

Helpful links:

I have decided to use Catholic Schoolhouse, now what do I do?

Ready to buy?  Next year is Year 2.

Want to know more?  Join the Catholic Schoolhouse @ Home – Facebook Group

Check out the Catholic Schoolhouse Pinterest board

What else should I use?

What is their Scope and Sequence?

Want to join one of their Co-ops?

Who created this program?  (psst….Kathy is Lacy from CatholicIcing’s MIL)

Have more questions?  Leave me a comment OR contact Catholic Schoolhouse directly!

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7 Quick Takes Books Christi Homeschool Homeschool Ink Slingers Products Reviews

Seven Quick Takes – Why Use “The Rending Of Christendom Sourcebook”

Both Rending BooksSeven Reasons to Use “The Rending Of Christendom Sourcebook”

The Rending of Christendom Sourcebook, written by Phillip Campbell, is a primary document Catholic study course and is very different from the typical textbook that one finds on the bookstore shelves these days. There was a time when one studied history – only original documents were used. In fact, until the Positivist period we only had the original documents or, as they are sometimes called, ‘primary sources’ available for instruction in history. I will attempt in this quick take seven to show why the use of textbooks, when studying history, is not always a good thing; why the use of primary sources is; and thus, why one should consider the addition of “The Rending of Christendom Sourcebook” to your home library as a great resource or as a homestudy course for your high school student.

Quick Take One: The force behind the evolution of textbooks.

Textbooks, as we know them today, are the direct “gift” of the Positivist movement. In brief, the Positivist movement was the belief that “the entire scope of human phenomenon could be accounted for according to rules of empirical science and thus “experts” in various fields sought to find scientific methods for directing their respective fields of study.” (Phillip Campbell) This thought process lead to the development of objective standards of precision in various fields of study and this was a good thing for some subjects of study. This in turn led to the compilation of data into one compendious book which worked well for areas such as mathematics and the sciences. The one area of learning that suffered from this development (rather than improved) was the study of history.

Quick Take Two: Why is Positivism bad for the study of history?

There is more than one reason why the Positivist movement was bad for the study of history. Most importantly, as I have foreshadowed, the Positivists wanted study (of any subject) to be regulated through rules of empirical science. Yet due to the very nature of humanity – history will not adhere to this rule. Phillip Campbell does a very good job explaining this so I will simply quote him here:

“Positivism seeks to find universally applicable laws in all things: history since it concerns human beings with free will, deals only with particular people and events. But there really are no universals in history. . . .  As such we cannot force these [historical] events to yield to precise scientific methodologies. To be sure if we studied enough battles we will find certain similarities . . .  that are all generally true but they fall far short of scientific precision. At best they are ‘rules of thumb’ and no sooner do we state them than a military historian can think of ten exceptions to each.” Yet, despite the fact that history could not bend to this theory of study the attempt was still made to do so leading to the development of the historical textbook or as Campbell points out “Rather than study history from primary sources, historical “data” was compiled by the historian into a compendious textbook.” (p ii of the intro.)

Quick take three: What is the goal behind the historical textbook?

What did Positivists see as the benefit from the use of a text book as opposed to the direct study of the original Old_book_bindingssources? To answer this I will, again, quote Phillip from his introduction to “The Rending of Christendom Sourcebook”.

“The textbook had several ostensible benefits. First, instead of reading everything a certain person of the past wrote, the textbook offered only the “relevant data” allowing the history student to get the “gist” of things without having to wade through so much material. Second the textbook allowed the historian-author to add his own glosses onto the events of history; little insights drawing connections between events, historical assessments of the successes and failures or individuals, highlighting of important innovations – in short, the textbook allowed for a veritable professional commentary on the entire history of mankind. This was held to be a great benefit to the student who was relieved of having to make these connections himself from the primary texts. Thus the regime of the textbook was supposed to bring scientific rigor and objectivity to the study of history.”

Quick Take Four: What was wrong with the goal of the textbook?

While no one will deny the usefulness of the text book in compiling historical facts along with highlighting important events etc; it does not render the recitation of these facts in an objective manner. In fact, one must understand what era the historian himself is writing in, to better understand his prejudices and choices as to what is historically important and what is not. As well, the textbook lends itself well as an “avenue for academia to do violence to the young minds by imposing the author’s particular historiographical vision on students who do not have the intellectual formation to notice it, much less resist it.” (Phillip Campbell)

Quick Take Five: Why go back to using primary documents as sources for studying history?

ramses iiPhillip does a great job of explaining the benefits of the use of primary sources. He begins by pointing out that the original sources are typically biased. “Unabashedly biased.” You might well ask how that is a good thing – did we just not visit why bias in a historical textbook is bad? Campbell explains that in primary sources (letters, documents etc) the biases of the authors is clear and self evident and that this helps the student to identify subjectivity in source material which “paradoxically makes them less susceptible to biased writing”.  He explains that the sort of blatant subjectivity one finds, for example in a depiction of Rameses II as forty feet tall and the Hittites as barely coming up to his ankle, is preferable to the kind of “stealth subjectivity one finds in modern textbooks, where ‘objectivity’ is claimed while in reality hidden agendas are relentlessly pushed.”

Phillip also gives the heart breaking example of the difference of reading the date and time of Mary Queen of Scots’ execution and reading instead her gut wrenching letter that she wrote from her prison cell at 2 am, just hours before her execution. This, much more than the cold facts of a text book, will give one a taste of life as it was at that moment in time.

Quick take six: Primary sources help you fall in love with history.

Or so says Phillip in his introduction to “the Rending of Christendom Sourcebook”.

“To really fall in love with history it is necessary to not only learn the facts of an era but to truly understand it. How did people talk? What sorts of things were important to them? What were their prominent cultural symbols? What sort of literature did they produce? Any thorough understanding of an era requires us to answer these questions – yet these questions cannot  be satisfactorily answered unless we “enter in” to the time of period of question.” And obviously, Phillip Campbell tells us that the best way to do so is through primary sources.

Quick Take Seven – ok, so what original sources does “The Rending of Christendom Sourcebook” cover and where do I get it?

95ThesenThis course study by Campbell pulls together twenty-three primary sources that help us to understand how the Protestant reformation, or revolt, came about and was executed. He has included Papal Bulls, letters, theological treatises, along with polemics as original sources.  At the end of each section he has a couple of study questions – the answers to these can be found within the answer book which can be purchased separately here. He also provides at the back of his book an appendix with a suggested list of how many weeks to study these sources as well as which documents to include in each week.

Each set of documents is introduced with a rationale paragraph that is printed in italics to set it apart from the actual sources being studied in that section. Within the introduction there is a section on how to best use this book. This book was originally written to be used in conjunction with his online course, the Rending of Christendom (available through subscription to Homeschool Connections which was reviewed last year here.)

While the book was written to compliment his recorded online course, Rending of Christendom, there is enough material included in the study that this book could be used as the core material for a semester long course on the Protestant revolt and it is presupposed that the person directing such a course would be well versed in the history of this time period. Regardless of how you use it, Phillip has provided an answer key to provide answers to the study questions that are found in the sourcebook.  (You can go here to read more about these online recorded classes that are available through a monthly subscription.)

I, myself, am lacking in this area of history but I have still enjoyed reading Campbell’s sourcebook and I have found Papal.bullmyself asking questions such as what was King Phillip the Fair’s response to the Papal bull of 1296 by Pope Boniface VIII? This causes me to believe that the use of this book would make for a great family project – reading these original sources and exploring further these naturally occurring questions.

Or you might have a student that is mature enough to engage in separate studies on his own while using this source guide for the core reading materials about the Revolt.  However if, like myself, you lack the knowledge of this time period to lead such a study – then I would seriously consider subscribing to the online course from Homeschool Connections. Having used more than one of their courses (several of which were Phillip’s engaging classes) with my teen aged homeschool students I can, without hesitation, advocate the use of their courses as well as ‘The Rending of Christendom Sourcebook’ by Phillip Campbell.  (At the time of this post the sourcebook and the answer key are on sale here.)

Be sure to check out This Ain’t the Lyceum and the rest of the Quick Take Seven posts featured this week. See you next month when I’ll be taking a different direction with my quick takes and will hopefully have a beautiful bouquet for you to enjoy! seven-quick-takes-friday-2

 

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Domestic Church Erika D Homeschool Mass Motherhood Raising Saints The Latin Mass

10 Steps to Selecting a {Catholic} Homeschool Curriculum

Selecting a curriculum can be a truly overwhelming task each year for homeschooling mothers.  So many times I have said to myself, “if I could see that book, I’d know if I want it!”  Right?  Then you hop online look through blogs of perfect homes, with perfect mom teachers, that have the perfect school rooms, and then there is Pinterest…then you are headed to Confession, jealousy is a lousy sin.  No seriously, is it not just frustrating?  😀  How do these women just *KNOW* that’s the right Math book?  Why did it not work for *MY* child?  🙂  Well, here’s why:  There IS NOT one set curriculum that is perfect for everyone.  There I said it.  So here’s another secret that lady that introduced you to homeschool forgot to mention, the beauty of homeschooling is that you are able to create a custom curriculum that is beneficial to *YOUR* family.  What works for another family may not be the best fit for another, or *gasp* what works for one of your children may not work for another.    Okay, so now lets take a deep breath and investigate how these ladies on their blogs look so with it.  I confess many times I have said, “when I grow up I want to be just like Jessica from Shower of Roses.”  Don’t laugh, I have said it..even to her. 😀

Over the years our family has tried a variety of things – ranging from being an eclectic homeschooler, to using a complete curriculum package to creating things to use, and it has morphed into a combination of pieces that we now use together as a family and components that we use individually to round out the various subject areas.  So how do you decide what is the right fit for your family/homeschool?

10 Steps to Selecting a {Catholic} Homeschool Curriculum:

  1. Think about your educational philosophy or teaching style. There are several methods of teaching, depending on the method that both you and your children are comfortable will also determine which books you will select for your homeschool.  There are several homeschooling methods to pick from, if you haven’t you might want to look back at our previous articles in this series.

  2. Consider your children’s learning styles. Every child is different in their learning approach and may process information differently. Some pieces of curriculum are tailored to meet the needs of various learners, so this is very helpful to know.  Some children will need a particular style of curriculum to help them succeed.  Again, weighing in what homeschooling method you have selected would be helpful.

  3. Write down and decide on the educational goals have you set for your children and family. This is another area that is important to look at because you want to have a long range plan in each subject so that you feel confident that you are meeting these goals.

  4. Do you have a spending budget? This is really important and I strongly advise setting a budget and knowing your spending limits.  Start off by making a list of the books you select and then finding out what their retail rate is.  It is important to think long term within your budget.  If the book fits your needs and you can reuse it with subsequent children, it’s a long term savings!

  5. What subjects can your children work together in? Some families focus on specific grade levels and books while other families work on certain subject areas together as a family. Subjects like Science and History are great examples of working as a family on a particular topic with varying expectations depending on the child’s abilities. This will help you save money as well.

  6. What works for your current life situation? There are some programs that are more labor-intensive than others, searching for living books when you are about to give birth to baby number six and all your children are eight and under might not be a realistic goal.  Do not set yourself up to fail by doing this.  Also, if you cannot afford certain programs do not put so much pressure on yourself.  I have seen families with financial burdens homeschool for almost nothing.
  7. Do you have access to a good library system?  Before you start spending money, check your local library.  A lot of times they carry those wonderful books and you can reserve them ahead of time and even have them delivered to your local library.  Sometimes you can go to the children’s section and make suggestions on certain books.  Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of times they are willing to purchase these recommendations.
  8. Have you asked others for their opinions?  Warning.  This is a great thing with this day and age of technology BUT the warning comes in not becoming overwhelmed with so many suggestions.  There are groups on Yahoo and Facebook that can be gem or a burden, if you ask a curriculum question in a group, take the good from what others suggest.  Do not be afraid to ask questions you will find other homeschooling mothers who have become experts at certain curriculums and can be very helpful.  You can also visit a homeschooling conference near you to listen to speakers and also get to see the books first hand.
  9. Did you check your own bookshelf?  Starting with what you already have saves you time and money.  Sometimes we homeshcooling moms might pick up a book that was on sale, or someone gave us and forgot about.  {I know it never happens to you, but it does me.}  You should also make a list of the books you own and keep this list handy so that you do not purchase duplicates of books you already own.
  10. Have you checked out SWAP groups or thought of borrowing?  Once you have selected a product you like, it is much easier to buy things used or online.  Yahoo Groups has a group and so does Facebook Groups where you can post WTB (Want to Buy) and ISO (In Search Of) threads looking for a used book to avoid paying retail.  You help another homeschooling mom and she helps you save money.  Oh, also, if you have books you don’t use anymore, SELL THEM!  They don’t need to be collecting dust on your shelves.  Sometimes, you can even borrow books from other families.  There is a family at my church that has a son in 11th and 9th, I have a son in 10th, I give her my books for her 9th grader, she gives me her books from her 11th grader.  We both win!  🙂

With all that said, there are times that you find out part way through the year that something you thought would be perfect just isn’t. Sometimes you discover that curriculum is just not working. The tweaking involved in the process, and while it’s frustrating – it’s ok, and good. The first bit of homeschooling involves a learning curve where you are discovering your areas of comfort in teaching and your children’s learning grooves.

So with all that said, I have spent the last six weeks in the arduous task of getting my children’s curriculum together.  As we enter our fifth year of home education, I am finally feeling pretty good about all of our curriculum selections for our children.  We will have a kindergartner, second grader, third grader, and a tenth grader, oh yes, and of course our little tag along three year old toddler.  I don’t promise this won’t change one more time, because it might, and it’s okay.  But as of now, this is our 2013-2014 curriculum selection:

Frequency: Daily

 


Grammar {Daily}

Spelling {Bi-Weekly}

Writing {Daily}

Reading ~ {Daily}

Kindergarten Core

For the bulk of our year we will be using 26 Letters to Heaven by Sarah Park as our core. Technically Noah is kindergarten this year, although he is academically ahead in a few areas, so we are adjusting things accordingly.

Phonics ~ {Daily}

Handwriting {Daily}

Frequency: Daily

Frequency: Twice a Week


Frequency: Twice a Week

Art {Once a Week}

Music {Bi-Weekly}:

All Children:

Latin {Bi-Weekly}:

Spanish {Bi-Weekly}

Electives for our High Schooler (in addition to Latin, Art & Music):

 

 

Other articles in this Raising Saints Homeschooling series.

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Ink Slingers Patty

History lesson

History was my first love as a child. As far back as I could remember my father would bring home The National Geographic and even before I could read I would spend hours and hours poring over the photos and later the articles. I was fascinated by the powerful words that created the stories of what had happened in the distant and recent past and the lessons we had (or hoped to have) learned from those who had long since died. Simply put History Is Awesome. If I could have chosen a different occupation in life, archaeology would have definitely been one of those choices.


So what have we learned from the past in this country and in our lives? We live in a country that has been slowly but methodically peeling away layer after layer of our constitutional rights until they are threatened to be taken away altogether.

Recently in New Jersey a case came before Judge Solomon A. Metzger. A lesbian couple wanted to rent facilities to celebrate their civil ‘union’ in Ocean Grove New Jersey. The facilities they wanted to rent are owned by the Ocean Grove Camp meeting association, which in turn is associated with the United Methodist Church, a Christian organization that believes that ‘the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching’ and that, ‘ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.’ In keeping with their teaching, the association had declined to rent their facilities out to these two women. The women sued claiming discrimination based on their sexual orientation. The judge ruled for the women and against the association. In his ruling he made some rather astounding claims.

Statement #1 Judge Metzger states that, ‘this isn’t a case of religious liberty.’ Hold the presses, did I miss something?!? The church cited their spiritual beliefs and yet he is claiming that this isn’t about the free exercise of religion? What IS it about then if it isn’t about making decisions based on firmly held religious beliefs?

Statement #2 (and this one that really shocked me) was his claim that the free exercise of religion was not factored into his decision but rather: ‘a much lower standard that tolerates some intrusion into religious freedom to balance other important societal goals.’ Wait, I thought this WASN’T about religious freedom. I would certainly agree with him on part of his statement. It is a much, much LOWER standard that he is trying to support. In fact, I feel completely justified in saying that the standard he is basing his ruling on is entirely and completely unconstitutional.

This is certainly not the first time that an organization or individuals have been legally pummeled and fined for refusing to compromise on their religious beliefs. The Health and human services department, run by one of the worst Catholics of our day-Kathleen Sebelius, is going to attempt to force Catholic Institutions from Hospitals to Colleges to small parochial schools to cover artificial contraception and sterilization procedures under their health insurance plans. The Church has never wavered on her belief or teachings that the use of artificial contraception and sterilizations to prevent birth is inherently wrong and immoral. The religious exclusions to this are so narrowly defined that few, if any Church run organizations would qualify. In essence, to qualify the organization would have to fire all non-Catholic employees, refuse to serve anyone BUT Catholics and their primary purpose must be spreading the faith. Now, if this is not intrusion into the free exercise of religion, what is? Where in the constitution does it say that your religious freedoms end if you employ or serve a person not of your faith?

Now I have a history assignment for all of you. Do a little bit of research and find out what happens to the free exercise of religion in countries where behavior or decisions based on religious beliefs are no longer respected or tolerated. Start with Nazi Germany in WWII, move over to China and Mexico in the early 1900’s and then take a peek at Russia and the Soviet Union. Get back to me and let me know how many of these countries have not prosecuted and persecuted churches, their clergy and parishioners both in and out of courts. Tell me if our country isn’t going down the same path these other countries have already travelled and if we are, reveal to me how we won’t end up with an almost complete loss of the right to practice and live the way our faith dictates.
‘Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.’ George Santayana.