Sunday, October 13, 2013

The 3 - October 13, 2013

This week's edition of my week-in-review feature includes news about a series of gatherings across the nation involving students going to their local football stadiums to be inspired.   Also, U.S. officials, including military leaders began to deal with the shortage of Catholic chaplains available to perform Mass and other rituals due to the government shutdown. And, the top story involves a gathering in Washington that featured a number of high-profile leaders, including a number of current and former governmental officials who are Christians.

3 - "Fields of Faith" attracts students to football fields nationwide

Across America this past week, thousands of students were scheduled to gather at football fields to celebrate the annual event known as "Fields of Faith", sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, encouraging students to engage with the Bible and follow Jesus Christ.

FCA National Director of Communications Mickey Seward told The Christian Post on Thursday that 439 Fields of Faith gatherings across 37 states had been registered, though not all of them took place Wednesday.  By Sunday, that number was closing in on 450 in 38 states.  The events are designed to bring young people together at local athletic fields or gymnasiums for a time of worship, Bible reading and testimony sharing.  Montgomery was one of the locations for an FCA Fields of Faith event on Wednesday night, and Dothan will host an event on the 23rd of this month.

The Post reports that Fields of Faith began in 2002 when Jeff Martin, the Oklahoma Fellowship of Christian Athletes area director, asked God what he should do with his frustration over the spiritual battles facing the young "spectator generation," according to the event's website. Martin found his answer in the biblical story of King Josiah, a young king of Judah who led a spiritual shift in his nation when he gathered his people, read the scriptures to them and had them pledge to keep God's commands.

More than 6,000 students across Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas gathered for the first Fields of Faith in 2002. In 2012, more than 170,000 people in 37 states participated in the event nationwide.   Participants were being asked to share their photos via social media and to use the hashtag #fieldsoffaith on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.  The Fields of Faith website is

2 - Budget shutdown hits Catholics' ability to participate in Mass, rituals

Recent guest on The Meeting House, former Congressman Bob Beauprez, Editor-in-Chief of the website, A Line of Sight, writes:
...Catholic priests denied the opportunity to celebrate Mass, even as volunteers, leaves me speechless. Read below from the general counsel of the Archdiocese for Military Services as he explains priests that defy the governments orders may even face arrest.
(Hear Beauprez's commentary as part of this interview.)

According to Catholic News Service, some civilian Catholic chaplains, unable to perform religious duties at U.S. military bases during the first weekend of the federal government shutdown, were getting back on the job as the shutdown continued into its second week.

"We're now being told priests can return to work," John Schlageter, general counsel for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, said Oct. 9.

However, only general services priests, because they work for the military, are returning.  Contract priests whose contracts were not appropriated prior to the Oct. 1 shutdown were unable to perform their ministry at that time.

Schlageter, in an Oct. 7 telephone interview with Catholic News Service, said he did not know whether the return of some priests to work was a result of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's declaration Oct. 6 that far more civilian Defense Department employees would be considered "essential" and return to their jobs -- or the reaction to Schlageter's own Oct. 3 op-ed article about the shutdown adversely affecting the ability of civilian chaplains to minister at military bases with no resident Catholic chaplain.

He said the op-ed piece had gotten coverage or publication by The Washington Post,, and the Fox News Channel.

The House passed a concurrent resolution to authorize the return of civilian Catholic chaplains to their military ministry. "I think the House resolution -- (with a vote of) 400 to 1 -- speaks for itself," Schlageter said.   Family Research Council reports that after a week of pressure from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), other Senate Republicans, and the grassroots, Senate Democrats joined the House in calling on the Secretary of Defense to allow contracted chaplains to minister to men and women in uniform. FRC states, "it is even more important that DOD recognize the role religious support staff play in supporting the 'morale and well-being' of our members of the Armed Forces and their families."

The military archdiocese estimated that about 50 civilian chaplains were unable to conduct services on bases the weekend of Oct. 5-6 because of the shutdown. "Almost all GS (general services) priests and most contract priests were unable to work Sunday," Schlageter said. "We do have situations of door-lock, signs that said, 'No Catholic services this weekend.'"

Schlageter is quoted as saying that, "We're starting to get news from overseas bases where there was not (chaplain) coverage...It seems in many of the situations, private resolutions were found."  He added some priests celebrated Mass off base and invited the military congregants to attend.

1 - Values Voter Summit attracts Christians, conservatives to educate and motivate on issues

Friday morning, the Values Voter Summit, got off to a blazing start with some high-profile speakers who are in the mix in the national discussion over the 2016 elections.  The lead sponsor and organizer of the event is the Family Research Council.  According to a report at

A still partially shutdown government couldn't stop the enthusiasm of conservatives from across America as over 2,000 registered attendees gathered here at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.  Senator Lee reminded the audience that the government's biggest ally is found in the family. "To be truly pro-growth, we must be pro-family," he said.  Senator Cruz implored President Obama hear the people on ObamaCare, noting, "The fundamental problem in Washington is that Washington is not listening to the American people." Senator Paul took on the global persecution of Christians saying, "American tax dollars should never be spent to prop up a war on Christianity. But that's what's happening now across the globe. As Christians, we should take a stand and fight against any of your tax dollars funding any persecution of Christians."
Senator Rubio cautioned the audience that, "We can't stop talking about the importance of our values and our culture. We can't stop talking about them because the moral well-being of our people is directly linked to their economic well-being." Senator Scott challenged us that in order to restore America, "we must first get back to fiscal sanity." Mark Levin urged us to "embrace the Constitution, embrace our history [...] listen to George Mason, and Madison, and Franklin, and the others, and take our country back." Dr Ben Carson capped off the morning by exhorting attendees that " it's time - it's really time for the people - we, the people of America, to stop being afraid of the government and to put it in its place."
Other speakers included former Vice-Presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan, former Presidential candidate and former Senator Rick Santorum, former Arkansas governor and former Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, and more.

The Christian Post reported on the results of a straw poll taken Saturday afternoon, in which Texas Senator Ted Cruz took first place, while neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson took the top vice presidential spot, and religious freedom was considered the most important political issue.   Cruz took 42% of the vote in the Presidential poll, with Carson and Santorum essentially tied for second with about 13% each.  Carson won 21% in the VP straw poll, with Cruz at 17%.

FRC President Tony Perkins said, "Values voters are looking for those who will refuse to be bound by the 'can't mentality' of the establishment and will challenge the status quo...In short, values voters, many of whom did not fully engage in the last election, are looking for a leader that will inspire them by challenging President Obama and speak clearly and directly to the challenges facing America."

On the question of the most important issue for Values Voters, responders ranked "Religious Freedom" as number one. Perkins called it an "umbrella issue for other issues such as marriage, parental rights, and 'Obamacare.'" The pro-life cause ranked number two, followed closely by opposition to Obama's health care law.

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