WBEZ | Religion http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Global Activism: ORPHANetwork http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-orphanetwork-112695 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/220134903&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-a54d33cc-4c4b-8795-5bb3-5c88eb0baa35">When a church&rsquo;s high school group went on a trip to Nicaragua in the 1990s, they were &ldquo;shocked&rdquo; by the poverty they witnessed. The students then committed to doing what they could to make a difference. As they kept going back to Nicaragua, they left with &ldquo;a high that never went away.&rdquo; To help, they began selling off their personal belongings, including literally, the clothes off their backs. The trips were the genesis of what would become the <a href="http://www.orphanetwork.org">ORPHANetwork</a>. For </span>Global Activism, we&rsquo;ll talk with the group&rsquo;s executive director, Dick Anderson and Travis Simone, one of those original high-schoolers whose life was changed in Nicaragua. Today, Travis is senior pastor of Williamsburg Community Chapel in Williamsburg, Virginia.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-a54d33cc-4c6a-9ae6-c88a-024156f51aac">EVENT</span></strong></p><p dir="ltr">5th annual <a href="http://www.partywithapurposechicago.com">&#39;Party With a Purpose</a>&#39; to benefit&nbsp;1,100 children in the community of Nueva Vida</p><p>Donald E. Stephens Convention Center</p><p>9291 Bryn Mawr Ave</p><p>Rosemont, IL 60018</p></p> Thu, 20 Aug 2015 09:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-orphanetwork-112695 Iranian rappers speak about hip-hop and its future in Iran http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/iranian-rappers-speak-about-hip-hop-and-its-future-iran-112571 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Zedbazi_Doc.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&quot;Our group was the first group that used what they call explicit language in Iranian music.&quot;</p><p>So says Alireza Jazayeri, a rapper whose stage name is Alireza JJ, who originally gained fame as a member of a hip-hop group called Zedbazi, &quot;Even before the revolution there was no explicit language or curse words in art. We were the first who actually brought it to mainstream, like they did in American hip-hop in the late 80s.&quot;</p><p>The Iranian rap scene blew up in the mid 2000s in Tehran. Zedbazi formed in 2002, in the middle of this boom, and steadily gained popularity through the 2000s with their controversial language and lyrics.</p><p>&quot;Now rap is undoubtedly the most popular genre of music among 18-25 year old Iranians. Even 13-17 rap is like the main thing teenagers like to listen to,&quot; said Jazayeri.</p><p>If you listen to Iranian rap and hip-hop you&#39;ll hear frequent references to 021, the area code for Tehran and calling card for Iranian rap as a whole. &quot;I want you to throw your hands up high, higher/ throw 021 up forever&quot; raps Hichkas, lauded as the godfather of Iranian rap, in his 2008 song Bunch of Soldiers.&nbsp;</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="465" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/QU1NNAH6b_g" width="620"></iframe></p><p>But not all Iranian rappers live in the 021. Jazayeri and his group are currently based in France: &quot;I don&#39;t think in the near future we&#39;re going to be legal musicians in Iran,&quot; he said.</p><p>All musicians in Iran must have their music approved by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance to legally produce or perform music. The rules are strict and the stamp of approval is hard to come by. In 2010 the deputy of the ministry stated that only 20 percent of music reviewed receives approval.</p><p>Inside the country Iranian rappers have formed a lively underground music scene. Djs mix beats in their bedrooms, rappers record in basements, and everything is shared for free online.</p><p>&quot;I would say inside of Iran 99 percent of rappers are working underground. They&#39;re not exactly being arrested but they can&#39;t legally perform or sell their music,&quot; explained Jazayeri. Some musicians have faced difficulties: Hichkas currently lives outside Iran after an arrest and trouble with authorities. Rapper Shahin Najafi fled to Germany after a fatwa was issued against him for rapping about a revered imam.</p><p>&quot;Iranian Hip-hop is at a very interesting stage of its life. But in the process of it becoming the most popular genre of music among the Iranian youth it went through a lot of transformation,&quot; commented rapper Salome MC, hailed as Iran&#39;s first female rapper, who now lives in Japan. &quot;It started from one website and few people that put their songs in it. Then it turned into something bigger that none of us could probably foresee back then.&quot;</p><p>Those who identify themselves as part of the 021 or Iranian hip-hop have formed an international musical community: collaborating on music, performing at &quot;virtual shows&quot; projected on computer screens, and promoting each others&#39; work from Paris to London to Tehran.</p><p>&quot;Because we record outside of Iran and we don&#39;t do any political stuff, they just consider us foreign artists who use the Persian language,&quot; said Jazayeri, &quot;We are not Iranian artists in the eyes of the government because Iranian artists have to have permissions to sell records and give concerts in Iran, and I don&#39;t see us getting that anytime soon.&quot;</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UdlL5nQ3W3k" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Jazayeri says his hope for the future of Iranian rap is that it becomes legal, and that his music will become legal.</p><p>And with the recent Iranian nuclear deal, things may soon be changing. Trade will increase between the US and Iran, and travel between the two countries may become easier.</p><p>&quot;I doubt there will be a grand culture shock, at least for the middle to upper class,&quot; Said Salome MC, &quot;but the changes in economy as the key element of a social structure will effect everything, and hip hop will be one for sure. Will we have live hip-hop shows? I doubt it will happen in the near future, but I do think that once we have a bigger middle class and less people in poverty line, the demand for a more free public domain will increase, more people will start to realize the lack of human rights and make an issue off of it.&quot;</p><p>&quot;I don&#39;t know what will happen,&quot; concludes Jazayeri, &quot;I think when Iran&#39;s doors begin to open to the west there are some things that are going to change for sure. I think they&#39;re going to be more relaxed in some areas especially with a lot of foreign investors and people coming in and tourists. But that&#39;s going to take time. A country doesn&#39;t do a 180 in just a few years time so we&#39;ll see. But I&#39;m optimistic. It was a good deal, and it was great for Iran I think.&quot;</p><p>Listen to more Iranian rap here:</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/111594044&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Wed, 05 Aug 2015 11:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/iranian-rappers-speak-about-hip-hop-and-its-future-iran-112571 Pope's encyclical takes on climate change http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/popes-encyclical-takes-climate-change-112207 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/popefrancis.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><strong><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 20px; background-color: rgb(249, 249, 249);">▲&nbsp;</span>LISTEN&nbsp;</strong><em>The Vatican will release a rare encyclical on the environment Thursday. A leaked draft of Pope Francis&rsquo; letter came out earlier this week. In the draft, the Pope reportedly calls for urgent action to fight climate change and says global warming is &ldquo;mostly&rdquo; due to human action. </em>Morning Shift<em>&#39;s Tony Sarabia asked Sister Dawn Nothwehr, the Erica and Harry John Family Endowed Chair in Catholic Theological Ethics at the Catholic Theological Union, to discuss what this means.</em></p><p>VATICAN CITY &nbsp;&mdash; There&#39;s something of a whodunit going on in the Vatican to discover who leaked Pope Francis&#39; environment encyclical to an Italian newsweekly, deflating the release of the most anticipated and feared papal document in recent times.</p><p><em>L&#39;Espresso</em> magazine published the full 191 pages of &quot;Laudato Si&quot; (Be Praised) on its website Monday, three days before the official launch. The Vatican said it was just a draft, but most media ran with it, given that it covered many of the same points Francis and his advisers have been making in the run-up to the release.</p><p>On Tuesday, the Vatican indefinitely suspended the press credentials of <em>L&#39;Espresso</em>&#39;s veteran Vatican correspondent, Sandro Magister, saying the publication had been &quot;incorrect.&quot; A letter from the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, to Magister advising him of the sanction was posted on the bulletin board of the Vatican press office.</p><p>Magister told <em>The Associated Press</em> that his editor, not he, obtained the document and decided to publish it.</p><p>&quot;I just wrote the introduction,&quot; Magister said in a text message, adding that he had promised the Vatican to keep quiet about the scoop.</p><p>In the draft of the encyclical, Francis says global warming is &quot;mostly&quot; due to human activity and the burning of fossil fuels. He calls for a radical change in behavior to save the planet for future generations and prevent the poor from suffering the worst effects of industry-induced environmental degradation.</p><p>Several Vatican commentators hypothesized that the leak was aimed at taking the punch out of Thursday&#39;s official launch of the encyclical, in which the Vatican has lined up a Catholic cardinal, an Orthodox theologian, an atheist scientist and an economist to discuss the contents.</p><p>They noted that conservatives &mdash; particularly in the U.S. &mdash; attacked the encyclical even before it was released, chiding the pope for talking science in a church document and insisting that global warming isn&#39;t a scientific reality. It would be in their interest, the argument goes, to fudge the pope&#39;s message via a scoop by<em> L&#39;Espresso</em>, since Magister has championed views of the conservative Catholic camp hostile to Francis.</p><p>Italian daily La Stampa suggested that the leak might have come from conservatives inside Vatican, noting that Francis&#39; reform plans for the Vatican bureaucracy have been resisted by the more conservative old guard who would have an interest in sabotaging Francis&#39; labor of love.</p><p>A leak, however, was to be expected, given that drafts of the document have been circulating for months and that the text had been translated into multiple languages before its official release.</p><p>Not to mention that the Vatican has had a long and storied history of leaked documents: The last big scandal in 2012 resulted in the pope&#39;s butler being put on trial for stealing his private papers and passing them off to an Italian journalist. He was convicted but was eventually pardoned by Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.</p><p>In the aftermath of the &quot;Vatileaks&quot; scandal, the Vatican City State updated its criminal code to include severe penalties for anyone who leaks a Vatican document or publishes news from it: Up to two years in prison and a 5,000 euro ($5,600) fine.</p><p>Vatican commentator John Allen, writing for the Boston Globe&#39;s Crux site, said the leak highlighted the clash of cultures at play at the Vatican over different understandings of embargoes: The Vatican regularly provides accredited journalists with embargoed documents to give them time to read them and prepare articles, with the understanding that they will only publish at a fixed time.</p><p>While the Vatican cried foul that the encyclical embargo had been violated,<em> L&#39;Espresso </em>obtained the article independently of the Vatican press office, and thereby wasn&#39;t beholden to the noon Thursday embargo that had been set.</p><p>&quot;As a final observation, the frenzy probably will boost interest in Thursday&#39;s official presentation, if for no other reason than to see whether there are actually any substantial changes between the leak and the real deal,&quot; he said.</p></p> Wed, 17 Jun 2015 11:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/popes-encyclical-takes-climate-change-112207 Global Activism in India: Pravah helps youth overcome caste, sexism and religious intolerance http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-india-pravah-helps-youth-overcome-caste-sexism-and-religious <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/india%20ga%20pravah%20manisha%20and%20husband.JPG" title="Manisha emotionally talks of how much of India society considered education wasted on a woman from a lower class. But after working with the NGO, Pravah, she and her husband - pictured - are inspired to achieve. Manisha is now a business owner. Taken at Pravah's Delhi offices February 1, 2015 (Photo by Steve Bynum)" /></div><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-ebcdae0c-3049-7fee-9931-6c6284daf4f9">We continue our <a href="http://www.wbez.org/sections/water/special-series-global-activism-worldview-visits-india-111888">Global Activism in India</a> series with a visit to Delhi. We and <a href="http://idsusa.org/">India Development Service</a>, met with the NGO, Community Youth Collective Learning and Leadership Journey is a partnering initiative of the NGO, <a href="http://pravah.org/">Pravah</a>. The project tries to inspire India&rsquo;s youth to become leaders and overcome traditional societal barriers, such as <span id="docs-internal-guid-ebcdae0c-3049-7fee-9931-6c6284daf4f9">caste, sexism and religious intolerance</span>. Pravah received attention when co- director, Neha Buch, introduced President Obama before one of his speeches during his visit to India. We&rsquo;ll chat with co-director, Sonal Chaturvedi and young people about how they now dream and achieve in areas that at one time were cut off from them.</span></p><p><strong>Jerome McDonnell and Steve Bynum of WBEZ&#39;s <em>Worldview</em> and </strong><strong>India Development Service (IDS)</strong><strong> share their adventures in India</strong></p><p>Sunday, May 17th, 2015, 5:00pm-7:30pm</p><p>The Meadows Club</p><p>2950 Golf Road, Rolling Meadows</p><p>Free of Charge - Dinner Included</p><p><strong><a href="https://mycity.sulekha.com/development-unveiled_buy_2090130">Reserve Tickets Here</a></strong></p></p> Thu, 07 May 2015 13:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-india-pravah-helps-youth-overcome-caste-sexism-and-religious Catholics say final farewell to Chicago's Cardinal George http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/catholics-say-final-farewell-chicagos-cardinal-george-111930 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/george funeral_lk.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated 6:08 p.m.</em></p><p>About 1,200 people packed Chicago&rsquo;s Holy Name Cathedral Thursday to say goodbye to the late Cardinal Francis George.</p><p>The smell of incense rose into the rafters as nearly 70 Roman Catholic cardinals and bishops filed slowly into the cathedral. They were joined by top political leaders, priests and religious sisters, as well as George&rsquo;s family, friends, co-workers and parishioners.</p><p>The mass ended three days of visitation, including an interfaith service and an overnight vigil Wednesday.</p><p>&ldquo;He offered a brilliant mind in love with God,&rdquo; said Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain, who gave the homily. &ldquo;No one could ever dispute the extraordinary intellectual gifts God gave Francis George, nor could one ever dispute the enthusiasm with which he put these gifts to use for the good of the church and for the world.&rdquo;<br /><br />George, who was the first Chicago native to become archbishop here, died at home Friday after his third bout with cancer. He retired in November, and was replaced in the role by Archbishop Blase Cupich. George was 78.</p><p>The cardinal was known as an intellectual leader and prominent conservative voice in the church here and abroad. As former head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, he led the bishops&rsquo; battle against the Obamacare contraception mandate and against same-sex marriage. He was a fierce fighter for religious liberty, and often warned of the dangers of rising secularism.</p><p>Sartain said he first heard of George more than 20 years ago, when he read a talk George had given while still bishop of Yakima, Wash.</p><p>&ldquo;Here was a clear voice, a voice I wanted to listen to, a pastor who helped me understand the faith and taught me how to teach it,&rdquo; Sartain said, adding George had a &ldquo;keen ability to communicate clearly what he believed.&rdquo;</p><p>Sartain described the cardinal as someone having &ldquo;a profound interior life motivated by hope, hope in the Lord,&rdquo; and a strong sense of compassion for the suffering learned at an early age after contracting polio at 13.</p><p>Before the mass started, the line to get into the cathedral wrapped around the block. It was by invitation only, and seemingly everyone had a story of knowing the cardinal.</p><p>Mary Anne Yep said the cardinal supported her company&rsquo;s fight over a religious liberty issue. Triune Health Group joined a lawsuit to protest the contraception mandate, saying it would force them to go against their conscience.</p><p>&ldquo;The cardinal took the time to give us his home phone number. How many times can you actually be calling a cardinal to say, &lsquo;Cardinal, guide us through this, help us on this?&rsquo; Yep said. &ldquo;He helped us write a whole declaration for religious liberty &hellip; He was so profound and so succinct in what he had to say.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;He was always smiling, always approachable to young people as well,&rdquo; she added. &ldquo;He knew my kids&rsquo; names. It was beautiful.&rdquo;</p><p>She attended an event where someone asked his sister if there was anything people didn&rsquo;t know about George. His sister replied that he was in pain every day, but never let anybody know it.</p><p>Yep said she&rsquo;s glad he&rsquo;s no longer in pain, a common refrain this week.</p><p>Graciela Contreras, who served as the coordinator for Hispanic ministry at one of the vicariates here, said George&rsquo;s death is a great loss for Latinos. One of his first acts was to create a pastoral plan to make Latinos feel welcome and increase archdiocesan programs for them, work started under Cardinal Bernardin, she said.</p><p>George created an Office for Racial Justice after the beating death of a black boy by white teens. The office created anti-racism training for thousands of employees and school leaders that led to workshops, unity events and a book. It gave new prominence to the issue.</p><p>He appointed Sister Anita Baird to head the effort, and she was one of two people vying to be first in line Thursday. She described the cardinal as a &ldquo;dear mentor and friend&rdquo; who was approachable and had a great sense of humor.</p><p>&ldquo;He loved to hear hear people&rsquo;s opinions, he loved the challenge. He would challenge you, but he wanted you to also voice your opinion, and you were always treated with respect.&rdquo;</p><p>The director for campus ministry at Chicago State University, Corrine Grant, said George had great warmth and never declined a request to speak to students.&nbsp; &ldquo;That was his problem, he never said no. He&rsquo;d always find a way to work it into his schedule. That helped our schedule, but I know it crowded his schedule.&rdquo;</p><p>A college student from Benedictine University who got to know George in high school said he respected the way the cardinal kept his core beliefs.</p><p>&ldquo;He wasn&rsquo;t scared to cause a little controversy,&rdquo; Joe Ward said. &ldquo;Everything was black and white with him, and that&rsquo;s one thing I really respected about him. He didn&rsquo;t let the public change his mind. He stuck to the Catholic teachings, and that&rsquo;s awesome.&rdquo;</p><p>That strict sense of Catholic teachings, that sense of black-and-white, didn&rsquo;t describe George as a person, said longtime family friend Jack Norton of Westchester. Norton described George as kind, understanding, generous and supportive, while being firm in his faith.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&#39;t think we realize yet what a loss it was and how much he has done in the last 17 years for us,&rdquo; Norton said.</p><p>Cardinal George was buried in his family&#39;s plot at All Saints Cemetery in nearby Des Plaines Thursday afternoon.</p><p><br /> </p></p> Thu, 23 Apr 2015 08:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/catholics-say-final-farewell-chicagos-cardinal-george-111930 Portage Park church mourns 'favorite son' Cardinal George http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/portage-park-church-mourns-favorite-son-cardinal-george-111906 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/cardinal francis george as altar boy_picmonkeyed.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Parishioners at Cardinal Francis George&rsquo;s boyhood church are mourning the late Roman Catholic leader.</p><p>George grew up in the Portage Park neighborhood on Chicago&rsquo;s Northwest Side at St. Pascal Church. He went to Catholic school here and was ordained here. He&rsquo;s described on the church website as their &ldquo;Favorite Son.&rdquo;</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/remembering-chicagos-cardinal-francis-george-111900" target="_blank">George died Friday</a> after a long fight with cancer.</p><p>Photos lining the back of St. Pascal&rsquo;s show George at every stage of his life: as a baby, an altar boy, graduating from school here, and years later, greeting the Pope.</p><p>Parishioners gathered around the photos and shared memories before mass started Sunday.</p><p>&ldquo;No matter where he came to visit, he came back with a smile and hope,&rdquo; Danny Klbecka, a longtime parishioner recalled. &ldquo;He was a great man, and we&rsquo;re sorry he&rsquo;s gone. We&rsquo;re going to miss him, we&rsquo;ll all miss him.&rdquo;</p><p>The cardinal often returned to visit the church and to see childhood friends.</p><p>&ldquo;He was our great success story,&rdquo; said St. Pascal&rsquo;s Pastor Paul Seaman. &ldquo;He was symbolic of what St. Pascal and the Catholic church is all about. He was a man of faith, he was a man of service, he cared about people, and he was very genuine in the life he lived.&rdquo;</p><p>The pastor and parishioners alike described George as a kind man who was devout in his faith, and they offered insight into the longtime spiritual leader.</p><p>In his sermon, Father Seaman said George talked about his bouts with cancer. At one point, the cardinal felt he was sure he was dying. He said he felt cold inside and out. But a nurse held his hand and told him to fight.</p><p>George said he learned the only thing we take into eternity is our relationships. And although his most important relationship was with God, Seaman said, during a meeting with priests the cardinal said he regretted not becoming friends with more of them. He always wanted to be fair and didn&rsquo;t want anyone to feel they were &ldquo;in&rdquo; or &ldquo;out,&rdquo; Seaman said, adding that such an attempt at fairness came at a high personal cost.</p><p>The cardinal had a strict interpretation of church teachings and was often described as rigid or rule-driven by some.</p><p>Rev. Seaman said George believed that if we learned merely from our experience, our range of knowledge would be too narrow. He saw the history and teachings of the church as a broader and wiser teacher.</p><p>Seaman said the point wasn&rsquo;t the rules, but a relationship with God. Without that relationship, the cardinal said, religion was just a set of burdensome rules.</p><p>St. Pascal isn&rsquo;t the only parish remembering the cardinal. Churches across the region said prayers for him over the weekend, and tributes came pouring in from religious and political leaders.</p><p>Muslim and Jewish leaders here offered sympathy. Leaders of the Muslim Community Center said George made arrangements for Muslims to pray within Chicago churches, denounced injustice and collaborated on public policy issues.</p><p>&ldquo;The Muslim Community Center along with the world will miss this truly committed person of interfaith understanding,&rdquo; leaders said in a statement.</p><p>&ldquo;Leaders of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago join with the entire Jewish community in remembering with joy, respect and gratitude the faithful friendship of Cardinal George,&rdquo; a statement said, adding George &ldquo;continued the path of his predecessors, Cardinal Cody and Cardinal Bernardin, in building a relationship built on foundations of mutual respect.&rdquo;</p><p>Meanwhile, Pope Francis sent this telegram from the Vatican:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;To the Most Reverend Blase Cupich<br />Archbishop of Chicago</p><p><br />Saddened to learn of the death of Cardinal Francis E. George, Archbishop Emeritus of Chicago, I offer heartfelt condolences to you and to the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the Archdiocese. With gratitude for Cardinal George&rsquo;s witness of consecrated life as an Oblate of Mary Immaculate, his service to the Church&rsquo;s educational apostolate and his years of episcopal ministry in the Churches of Yakima, Portland and Chicago, I join you in commending the soul of this wise and gentle pastor to the merciful love of God our heavenly Father. To all who mourn the late Cardinal in the sure hope of the Resurrection, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of consolation and peace in the Lord.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>Details: <a href="http://www.archchicago.org/passing-of-francis-cardinal-george/schedule" target="_blank">Funeral services</a> for Cardinal George.</p><p><em>Lynette Kalsnes covers religion for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/lynettekalsnes" target="_blank">@LynetteKalsnes</a>.</em><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 15:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/portage-park-church-mourns-favorite-son-cardinal-george-111906 Remembering Chicago's Cardinal Francis George http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/remembering-chicagos-cardinal-francis-george-111900 <p><p><em>Updated at 11:06 a.m.</em></p><p><em>Visitation and funeral arrangements are at the bottom of the story</em></p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.archchicago.org%2FCardinal%2FBiography.aspx&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNEGx5I7_Ml3Zb-0rkLV73BOMh_BXg">Cardinal Francis George</a> is being remembered as a kind, devout man whose strict view of church teachings was applauded by some and called rigid by others.</p><p>George, who stepped down from his post late last year to fight cancer for the third time, died at home on Friday. He was 78.</p><p>He&nbsp; was the leader of 2.2 million Roman Catholics in Lake and Cook Counties for more than 17 years. He retired in November 2014 due to his health.</p><p>When asked at the time about his legacy, George told WBEZ:</p><p>&ldquo;I just hope people remember I tried to be a good bishop. It is administrative. You have to take care of the institutions that protect the mission. What I discover now in many letters is truly touching because people write and tell me, &lsquo;You don&rsquo;t remember me, but 10 years ago or five years ago, I was transformed (or helped anyway spiritually) by something you said or you did.&rsquo; And when I hear that, I realize the Holy Spirit is making use of me to make his people holy. And that&rsquo;s all the legacy I want. It&rsquo;s an unknown legacy. It has to be because it&rsquo;s invisible. But if you touch people, your work lasts forever.&rdquo;</p><p>George was the first Chicago native to become archbishop here. But he gained renown far beyond the Chicago region.</p><p>As former president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the cardinal led high-profile fights against same-sex marriage and the Obamacare contraception mandate. He was internationally known as an advocate for religious liberty.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve always been able to fall back on the law to protect us,&rdquo; George said. &ldquo;Now we feel it&rsquo;s the law that&rsquo;s writing us out of the American consensus, and it&rsquo;s a huge cultural problem.&rdquo;</p><p>He often said he viewed things as either gospel truth, or not: &ldquo;Jesus didn&rsquo;t die on the cross so you could believe anything you want to. There is a faith. You can say, &lsquo;I&rsquo;m Catholic but I don&rsquo;t believe this, I don&rsquo;t believe that.&rsquo; Well, you&rsquo;ve created your own church.&quot;</p><p>That stance won him many fans, including Mary Anne Hackett, who heads the conservative <a href="http://catholiccitizens.org/">Catholic Citizens of Illinois</a>.</p><p>&ldquo;What he tried to do was restore the church in Chicago to what the church teaches about various things,&rdquo; Hackett said. &ldquo;You could call that conservative, I would call that Catholic.&rdquo;</p><p>But George&rsquo;s tenure wasn&rsquo;t without controversy. Supporters and critics alike described him as a reserved but kind man with keen intelligence and a quick wit.</p><p>They shared Hackett&rsquo;s respect for how he publicly endured both cancer and complications from polio, which he&rsquo;d contracted as a teen.</p><p>&ldquo;I was impressed that during all the time that he&rsquo;s been fighting these cancers, he&rsquo;s had an unbelievably busy schedule,&rdquo; Hackett said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s really been admirable, and it&rsquo;s been a wonderful example to all of us how he has withstood this suffering and done his duty.&rdquo;</p><p>While George&rsquo;s strict interpretation of church doctrine won praise from many, it drew criticism from others.</p><p>&ldquo;Certainly if you&rsquo;re a progressive Catholic, your view of him was tainted by his stance on things,&rdquo; said Linda Pieczynski. She&rsquo;s the long-time former spokesperson and president of <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fcta-usa.org%2F&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNH4W8mFnqT1vzViU7zOfyXAS2oFPg">Call to Action</a>, a national group of progressive Catholics based in Chicago. She&rsquo;s active in Dignity USA, which supports LGBT rights in the church.</p><p>&ldquo;But I do think he was a good man,&rdquo; Pieczynski said. &ldquo;I don&#39;t think we harbor any anger toward him as an individual. I think we recognize he was a product of his time and upbringing and being in a very isolated clerical culture. It would be surprising if he had been more open about dialoguing with people.&rdquo;</p><p>She lauded George&rsquo;s stances on immigration reform and helping the poor. But she said his opposition to same-sex marriage and women in church leadership could be &ldquo;tone-deaf.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;He just did not seem to want to engage in a dialogue about these types of issues,&rdquo; Pieczynski said. &ldquo;It was very dogmatic &mdash; this is what the church said, this is what it&rsquo;s always going to say and it&rsquo;s going to be that way forever. And of course, that&rsquo;s not true. Church teachings evolve.&rdquo;</p><p>The cardinal <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.huffingtonpost.com%2F2010%2F04%2F16%2Frev-michael-pfleger-apolo_n_540220.html&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNFXZ_AYI3npP0b4rzRnC_r0R8eHZw">asked some priests</a> who openly supported women&rsquo;s ordination - a stance against church teachings &mdash; to apologize.</p><p>In 2011, <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Farticles.chicagotribune.com%2F2012-01-06%2Fnews%2Fchi-cardinal-george-apologizes-for-linking-pride-parade-to-kkk-20120106_1_pride-parade-equality-illinois-lesbian&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNEpHm1xfvBuztgiBpC-cCRDdQo4WA">he likened gay Pride Parade organizers</a> to &ldquo;something like the Ku Klux Klan&rdquo; when he feared the parade route would disrupt mass at a local church. He later apologized for the remark.</p><p>Dignity Chicago spokesperson Chris Pett said those remarks were hurtful and alienating for LGBT people and their families.</p><p>&ldquo;In some ways he tried to provide ministries to LGBT Catholics. Leadership from Dignity met with him, and we were always treated with respect and enjoyed his intelligence and wit,&rdquo; Pett said. &ldquo;But like many church leaders, his opposition to marriage equality put the church on the wrong side of history, and he made many Catholics, straight and gay, question whether they were really welcome in the church.&rdquo;</p><p>Pieczynski reserved her sharpest criticism for the cardinal&#39;s handling of the priest sex abuse crisis.</p><p>On the one hand, the cardinal was credited with leading a delegation to press the Vatican on a zero tolerance policy for priest sex abuse, which led to a series of reforms in 2002. And a review of thousands of pages of church records showed he did more than his predecessors to help victims and report abusers to police and prosecutors, rather than just moving credibly accused priests around to different parishes. After the 2002 reforms passed, George moved to pull numerous priests from active ministry and to defrock some of them.</p><p>But he still let some priests <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.andersonadvocates.com%2FArchdiocese-of-Chicago-Documents.aspx&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNEijX6uWoyVpuMszQE6HmY1VH5Ggw">stay in their positions despite abuse allegations, and sometimes even after the church review board recommended their removal</a>. Most notably, Pieczynski said, he didn&rsquo;t act quickly enough to get rid of Daniel McCormack, who molested numerous boys before being arrested and defrocked.</p><p>&ldquo;I really thought he got it, which is why is was such a disappointment when he didn&rsquo;t follow his own rules in terms of removing Father McCormack,&rdquo; Pieczynski said. &ldquo;And that was a real tragedy, a Shakespearean tragedy, in terms of here was a person who knew better.&rdquo;</p><p>George said he was &ldquo;saddened by my own failure, very much so.&quot;</p><p>&ldquo;Oh, by far, the most difficult challenge has been the terrible fallout from the sexual abuse of children by some priests,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I pray for victims, I&rsquo;m concerned as we try to accommodate victims and help them. That&rsquo;s been the overwhelming weight in a sense that has stayed with me.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/george%20and%20cupich.jpg" style="height: 403px; width: 620px;" title="Cardinal George welcomes Bishop Blase Cupich as the 9th Archbishop of Chicago. (Twitter/CardinalFGeorge)" /></div></div><p>Near the end of his tenure, the cardinal reflected on his accomplishments and his regrets.</p><p>&ldquo;I regret very much mistakes that were made, particularly if people were hurt. I regret that I tried sometimes to listen but didn&rsquo;t succeed either in understanding or agreeing, and I couldn&rsquo;t, I didn&rsquo;t think sometimes. I regret a certain bitterness that you find occasionally in people,&rdquo; he said, adding he also was encouraged by all the good and holy people he met at various parishes.</p><p>George gained national and international prominence for his defense of religious liberty and his warnings about the dangers of growing secularism.</p><p>&quot;I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history,&quot; <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.catholicnewworld.com%2Fcnwonline%2F2012%2F1021%2Fcardinal.aspx&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNFd3Lfvm2tOP3QKccApGDcXvpZUjQ">he famously said</a>,</p><p>Locally, he steered the Archdiocese through the Recession, was a staunch supporter of Catholic schools, and worked to improve the seminary, lay ministry and catechismal programs &mdash; anything, he said, that affected people.</p><p>George was honored by the Jewish and Muslim communities for working to improve dialogue with them.</p><p>He also served as chancellor of <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.catholicextension.org%2F&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNFI6FXyXVY3KXtLanGjepDsEP2xrg">Catholic Extension</a>, a national group that sends funds and other resources to poor Catholic communities.</p><p>Catholic Extension President Father Jack Wall, the longtime former pastor of Old St. Patrick&rsquo;s Church, called George a &ldquo;man of deep faith, of great wisdom,&rdquo; with a &ldquo;missionary heart&rdquo; in his desire to help the poor.</p><p>&ldquo;Cardinal George was not a very demonstrative person in terms of his emotions but at the level of conviction he was very, very strong,&rdquo; Wall said, pointing to George&rsquo;s correspondence and meetings with many of his fellow cancer patients. &ldquo;Many of (his) acts of kindness and compassion were felt on a really very personal level.&rdquo;</p><p>Catholic Theological Union President Emeritus Father Donald Senior described George as deeply religious, brilliant, articulate and fearless about holding his positions.</p><p>&ldquo;Something I admired greatly in him, he was very direct. What you saw was what you got,&rdquo; Father Senior said. Even though some found that trait difficult, Senior said, that clarity of view made the cardinal a touchstone for Catholics. He said George&#39;s deep religious belief was the key to the man.</p><p>The cardinal himself said he never expected to become a bishop.</p><p>George first felt a pull toward the priesthood while receiving his first communion. Then polio struck when he was 13, and Quigley Preparatory Seminary turned him away. He found another religious school downstate and later joined that order, the <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.oblatesusa.org%2F&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNFy3zSlnpXo1NeOtakoVf5RaN0glA">Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate</a>.</p><p>He started as a theologian, earning master&rsquo;s and doctorates in both philosophy and theology. He quickly rose through the ranks of his order before being appointed bishop of Yakima, Wash., and then Portland, Oregon. Then he returned home to Chicago as archbishop. He described his path as one of obedience.</p><p>&ldquo;Many times I heard Cardinal George say he wanted to be a pastor, but his job prevented it, and I think that with all the administrative things at times kept him from being just a priest and the pastor that he sort of yearned to be,&rdquo; Father Senior said.</p><p>The cardinal had hoped to spend his retirement speaking and writing, but mostly focusing on doing pastoral work at local parishes like hearing confessions.</p><p>But the cancer didn&rsquo;t leave him much time.</p><p>Still, Father Senior said, George accepted those losses with serenity.</p><p>&ldquo;The skill of living is to live as if you&rsquo;re going to die tomorrow and still do your job,&rdquo; the cardinal said. &ldquo;In a sense prayer does that. You live for a while in a moment where you&rsquo;re not in charge, you&rsquo;re just at God&rsquo;s disposition. And as long as that&rsquo;s the case, then, well, I don&rsquo;t want to die tomorrow, but if I did, I&rsquo;m sure the Lord would still be providential in his care of the Earth. It doesn&rsquo;t depend on me.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Lynette Kalsnes covers religion and culture for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/LynetteKalsnes">@LynetteKalsnes</a>.</em></p><p><br /><strong>Schedule of Services and Public Visitation</strong><br /><em>All services, including public visitation and the Funeral Mass, will take place at Holy Name Cathedral (<a href="http://holynamecathedral.org/" target="_blank">http://holynamecathedral.org/</a>), State and Superior Streets in Chicago. <em>Immediately following the Funeral Mass, the Committal Service will take place at All Saints Cemetery<em><em>, 700 North River Road in Des Plaines.</em></em> <em>(<a href="http://www.catholiccemeterieschicago.org/locations.php?cem=2" target="_blank">http://www.catholiccemeterieschicago.org/locations.php?cem=2</a>). </em>Per the Cardinal&rsquo;s wishes, he will be buried in the George family plot. (Open to the Public)</em><br /><br />Tuesday, April 21<br />1 p.m.&nbsp; Holy Name Cathedral Doors Open<br />2 p.m.&nbsp; Rite of Reception (Open to the Public)<br />2:30 to 6:30 p.m.&nbsp; Visitation (Open to the Public)<br />7:30 p.m.&nbsp; Prayer Vigil for Priests and Seminarians (Attendance by Ticket Only)<br />9 to 11 p.m.&nbsp; Visitation (Open to the Public)<br />11 p.m.&nbsp; Holy Name Cathedral Doors Close<br /><br />Wednesday, April 22<br />7 to 9:30 a.m.&nbsp; Visitation (Open to the Public)<br />10:30 a.m.&nbsp; Interfaith Service (Open to the Public)<br />11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.&nbsp; Visitation (Open to the Public)<br />7:30 p.m.&nbsp; Prayer Vigil for Women and Men Religious, Deacons and their Wives (Attendance by Ticket Only)<br /><br />9 p.m.&nbsp; Wednesday, April 22 until 7:30 a.m. Thursday, April 23<br />Visitation and All Night Vigil Conducted by Lay Ecclesial Movements (Open to the Public)<br /><br />Thursday, April 23<br />7:30 a.m.&nbsp; Prayer Service (Open to the Public)<br />8 a.m.&nbsp; Holy Name Cathedral Closed for Funeral Mass Preparation<br />11 a.m.&nbsp; Holy Name Cathedral Doors Open for Funeral Mass (Attendance by Ticket Only)<br />12 p.m.&nbsp; Funeral Mass (Attendance by Ticket Only)<br /><br />In lieu of flowers, donations to the Cardinal&rsquo;s favorite charities will be appreciated -- Priests Retirement and Mutual Aid Association (PRMAA) (<a href="https://www.givecentral.org/location/91" target="_blank">https://www.givecentral.org/location/91</a>) or To Teach Who Christ Is (<a href="https://givecentral.org/ttwci/" target="_blank">https://givecentral.org/ttwci/</a>), a campaign to support scholarships for students in Catholic Schools.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 13:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/remembering-chicagos-cardinal-francis-george-111900 Indiana, Arkansas try to stem religious objections uproar http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/indiana-arkansas-try-stem-religious-objections-uproar-111817 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/mikepencepressconference.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>INDIANAPOLIS &mdash; Two states roiled by criticism over new religious objections laws are looking to move forward after taking different approaches to changing the legislation to ease concerns about discrimination.</p><p>The governors of Indiana and Arkansas signed bills Thursday that lawmakers hoped would quiet the national uproar over whether the laws offered a legal defense for discrimination against gays.</p><p>For Arkansas, the changes requested by Gov. Asa Hutchinson amid mounting criticism from retail giant Wal-Mart and other businesses meant revising the language to closely align with that in the 1993 federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. But for Indiana, which had seen businesses and organizations ban travel and cancel conventions, the solution was an amendment that put the first references to sexual orientation and gender identity into state law.</p><p>Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who said the law was never intended to allow discrimination and blamed the fallout on &quot;mischaracterizations&quot; of the legislation, signed the bill privately Thursday and urged residents to move on.</p><p>&quot;However we got here, we are where we are, and it is important that our state take action to address the concerns that have been raised and move forward,&quot; he said.</p><p>The revised Indiana law prohibits service providers from using it as a legal defense for refusing to provide goods, services, facilities or accommodations. It also bars discrimination based on race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or U.S. military service.</p><p>The measure exempts churches and affiliated schools, along with nonprofit religious organizations.</p><p>Business leaders called the amendment a good first step but said more work needs to be done. Gay-rights groups noted that Indiana&#39;s civil-rights law still does not include LGBT people as a protected class.</p><p>Democrats said the damage done by the uproar could last for years, and some groups, including the Indiana Catholic Conference and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in Washington, D.C., raised concern that the law now goes too far and could open the door to discrimination against other groups or allow for criminal prosecutions.</p><p>&quot;People of faith should not be coerced to violate their conscience in their daily lives,&quot; the Catholic conference said in a statement.</p><p>Former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, now a senior vice president at drugmaker Eli Lilly, praised the changes but said the state&#39;s image must still be mended.</p><p>&quot;The healing needs to begin right now,&quot; he said.</p><p>Arkansas was able to avert much of the fallout Indiana has seen by making changes before Hutchinson signed the law. The revised language more closely mirrors the 1993 federal law and only addresses actions by the government, not by businesses or individuals. Supporters said that would prevent businesses from using it to deny services to individuals. Opponents said they believed the measure still needs explicit anti-discrimination language.</p><p>The lawmaker behind the original Arkansas proposal backed the changes, saying he believed the law would still protect religious beliefs.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re going to allow a person to believe what they want to believe without the state coming in and burdening that unless they&#39;ve got a good reason to do so,&quot; Republican Rep. Bob Ballinger told the House Judiciary Committee.</p><p>Despite some conservative groups saying the Indiana changes wrongly weakened religious liberty protections for business owners, legislative leaders maintained that a week of national turmoil needed to be addressed.</p><p>&quot;It is causing real harm to real people right now in our state. I&#39;m not talking about those who feel their rights are being infringed, I&#39;m talking about commerce in a major, major way,&quot; Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma said. &quot;So we had to be prompt. We had to be swift.&quot;</p><p>With the men&#39;s basketball Final Four set for this weekend in Indianapolis, NCAA President Mark Emmert said the Indiana law &quot;absolutely, positively&quot; needed to change. Emmert even suggested that the organization could take its business out of the state if the law wasn&#39;t fixed to his satisfaction.</p><p>Officials in both states indicated they were hopeful the worst was behind them.</p><p>The original bill &quot;gave us a black eye. This bill ices it,&quot; said Rita Sklar, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas. &quot;We still need some Tylenol.&quot;</p><p>Indiana and Arkansas are now among 21 states with comparable laws on the books. More than a dozen states are considering similar proposals, but the backlash has given them pause.</p><p>Georgia lawmakers adjourned the final day of the legislative session Thursday without taking a vote on a divisive bill, leaving the measure dead for the year. Atlanta-based Coca-Cola warned lawmakers against approving &quot;any legislation that discriminates.&quot;</p><p>In North Carolina, the House speaker said deliberations over a bill would be slowed to give lawmakers time to determine if the legislation would harm the state&#39;s economy.</p><p>A proposed amendment to the Texas Constitution would prohibit the government or any other entity from imposing burdens on religious freedom, potentially opening the door for businesses to refuse to serve gay people on religious grounds.</p></p> Fri, 03 Apr 2015 08:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/indiana-arkansas-try-stem-religious-objections-uproar-111817 Indiana law: Sorting fact from fiction from politics http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/indiana-law-sorting-fact-fiction-politics-111800 <p><p>The culture wars are always percolating beneath the surface in presidential politics &ndash; until something or someone pushes it to the surface.</p><p>That something early in this cycle is the Indiana &quot;Religious Freedom Restoration Act,&quot; which Republican Gov. Mike Pence, who is considering a run for president in 2016, signed into law last week. It has caused a firestorm of criticism from those who say the law could lead to discrimination against gays and lesbians, including businesses like<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/pro-discrimination-religious-freedom-laws-are-dangerous-to-america/2015/03/29/bdb4ce9e-d66d-11e4-ba28-f2a685dc7f89_story.html">Apple</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://money.cnn.com/2015/03/28/news/companies/angies-list-indiana-gay-discrimination/">Angie&#39;s List</a>, the&nbsp;<a href="http://espn.go.com/college-sports/story/_/id/12587768/ncaa-president-mark-emmert-keeping-close-eye-indiana-legislators-new-law-allow-businesses-discriminate-gays-lesbians">NCAA</a>, which is hosting the men&#39;s college basketball Final Four in Indianapolis, and even other states like Connecticut, which&nbsp;<a href="http://www.courant.com/politics/capitol-watch/hc-malloy-issues-executive-order-banning-statepaid-travel-to-indiana-20150330-story.html'">banned state-paid travel</a>&nbsp;to Indiana.</p><p>Pence seemed surprised by the backlash and has had some difficulty explaining his position. Other potential 2016 candidates have&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2015/03/31/396570683/what-the-2016-hopefuls-are-saying-about-indianas-religious-freedom-law" target="_blank">leapt to his defense</a>&nbsp;and, some, like Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, went further than the Indiana governor.</p><p>Supporters say Indiana&#39;s law is similar the federal &quot;Religious Freedom Restoration Act&quot; passed in 1993.</p><p>As often is the case in controversies the facts have become muddled and conflated. So what are the facts? How are the two laws different? And how have politics on both sides shaped the response?</p><p><strong>Seeking &#39;Clarification&#39; and a &#39;Fix,&#39; As The Contenders Weigh In</strong></p><p>On Tuesday, Pence&nbsp;<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2015/03/31/full-text-of-indiana-gov-mike-pences-news-conference-on-rfra/">said</a>&nbsp;there has &quot;been misunderstanding and confusion and mischaracterization of this law.&quot; But he said he is seeking &quot;clarification&quot; and a &quot;fix&quot; to the law with legislation &quot;that makes it clear that this law does not give businesses a right to deny services to anyone.&quot;</p><p>On Monday, though, the law became part of the presidential campaign with Republican presidential candidates weighing in after a Sunday show performance from Pence that raised more questions. Pence sidestepped half a dozen specific questions about whether the law could lead to discrimination against gays and lesbians.</p><p>Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush contended that facts had not been established, and once they are, &quot;people aren&#39;t going to see this as discriminatory at all.&quot;</p><p>Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker backed the law and said through a spokesperson that it was about &quot;the right for Americans to exercise their religion and act on their conscience.&quot;</p><p>Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said the law &quot;is giving voice to millions of courageous conservatives.&quot;</p><p>Rubio, though, did something the other candidates did not. He more directly addressed the charge that businesses could discriminate against gay and lesbian couples. Gay rights advocates, for example, say if a gay or lesbian couple wanted a flower arrangement or cake for a reception, a florist or caterer could lawfully choose not to fill the order, if they have a religious objection.</p><p>Rubio said he thinks businesses should have that right.</p><p>&quot;The issue we&#39;re talking about here is should someone who provides a professional service be punished by the law because they refused to provide that professional service to a ceremony that they believe is in violation of their faith?&quot; he said on Fox News Monday. &quot;I think people have a right to live out their religious faith in their own lives.&quot;</p><p>Most conservatives, including Pence, have mostly not addressed that charge head on. Instead, they say, the law is unfairly maligned. After all, other states have similar laws and even Democrat Bill Clinton signed a federal &quot;Religious Freedom Restoration Act&quot; into law as president.</p><p>Hillary Clinton, for the record, tweeted: &quot;Sad this new Indiana law can happen in America today. We shouldn&#39;t discriminate against ppl bc of who they love.&quot;</p><p>The White House on Tuesday blasted Pence and others, who &quot;falsely suggest&quot; the two laws &mdash; Indiana&#39;s and the federal one &mdash; are the same.</p><p>&quot;That is not true,&quot; White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said at the White House daily briefing. He cited the spirit of the law as well as the text. He said the 1993 law &quot;was an effort to protect the religious liberty of religious minorities based on actions that could be taken by the federal government.&quot;</p><p>On the other hand, &quot;The Indiana law is much broader,&quot; Earnest continued. &quot;It doesn&#39;t just apply to individuals or religious minorities. It applies to, and I&#39;m quoting here, &#39;a partnership, a limited liability company, a corporation, a company, a firm, a society, a joint stock company, or an unincorporated association.&#39; So this obviously is a significant expansion of the law in terms of the way that it would apply. ... [T]his is a much more open-ended piece of legislation that could reasonably be used to try to justify discriminating against somebody because of who they love.&quot;</p><p><strong>The Background</strong></p><p>First, let&#39;s start with how and why the 1993 law came to be. The federal law&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1993/11/17/us/clinton-signs-law-protecting-religious-practices.html">stemmed from</a>&nbsp;an Oregon Native American man, who lost his job in 1990 after testing positive for drugs. He had used peyote as part of a religious ritual. The &quot;fix&quot; to that problem became the federal RFRA, introduced by soon-to-be Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, then a House member from New York. A companion bill passed the Senate and was introduced by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.</p><p><a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/03/27/19-states-that-have-religious-freedom-laws-like-indianas-that-no-one-is-boycotting/">Nineteen states</a>, in addition to Indiana, have since enacted their own RFRAs, but as<em><a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/03/27/19-states-that-have-religious-freedom-laws-like-indianas-that-no-one-is-boycotting/">The Atlantic</a>&nbsp;</em>notes, just South Carolina and Texas have similar variations to Indiana&#39;s and neither seems to go quite as far.</p><p><strong>Indiana vs. Federal Law &mdash; What Do They Say?</strong></p><p><a href="http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-103hr1308enr/pdf/BILLS-103hr1308enr.pdf">The Federal RFRA</a>&nbsp;states that &quot;Government shall not substantially burden a person&#39;s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability....&quot;</p><p><a href="https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2015/bills/senate/101#document-92bab197">The Indiana law</a>&nbsp;also states, &quot;a governmental entity may not substantially burden a person&#39;s exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.&quot;</p><p>That is, the federal law states, except when it &quot;is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.&quot;</p><p>Indiana also states the exception as &quot;(1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.&quot;</p><p>But that&#39;s where the similarities end.</p><p>The federal law does not go so far as to define a &quot;person.&quot; Indiana&#39;s law does. And a &quot;person,&quot; by their standard is not what you might think.</p><p>Section 7 of the Indiana code includes people, churches and corporations in that definition:</p><div class="bucketwrap statichtml" id="res396674585"><div class="DC-note-container" id="DC-note-210824">&nbsp;</div><script src="//s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/notes/loader.js"></script><script> dc.embed.loadNote('//www.documentcloud.org/documents/1699074-sb0101-05-enrs/annotations/210824.js'); </script></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>As related to whether, why or who can sue, the federal law says:</p><div class="bucketwrap statichtml" id="res396674719"><div class="DC-note-container" id="DC-note-210827">&nbsp;</div><script src="//s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/notes/loader.js"></script><script> dc.embed.loadNote('//www.documentcloud.org/documents/1699105-bills-103hr1308enr/annotations/210827.js'); </script></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The Indiana law goes further. In Section 9, it states that &quot;a person,&quot; in this case meaning an individual, church, limited liability company, etc., &quot;whose exercise of religion has been substantially burdened, or is likely to be substantially burdened, by a violation of this chapter may assert the violation or impending violation as a claim or defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding, regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity is a party to the proceeding.&quot;</p><p>So, in other words, while the federal law states that a person can sue the&nbsp;<em>government</em>for a grievance, Indiana makes a point of stating that it doesn&#39;t matter if government is involved.</p><p>Josh Blackman, a constitutional law professor at South Texas College,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/article/416160/indiana-protecting-discrimination-josh-blackman">notes in<em>National Review</em></a>&nbsp;that while some read the federal provision as pertaining only to government, it has actually split federal courts. &quot;Private parties,&quot; he points out, &quot;had brought suits against corporations.&quot;</p><p>For example: &quot;[T]he D.C. Circuit held that the Catholic University of America could raise RFRA as a defense against a sex-discrimination claim brought by a nun and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alike.</p><p>That said, the Indiana law explicitly wipes away any ambiguity.</p><p><strong>The Politics</strong></p><p>Support for gay rights has increased dramatically over the past decade. Since former President George W. Bush proposed a ban on same-sex marriage during his 2004 presidential reelection campaign, support for same-sex marriage has reversed.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/gallupsamesexmarriage14_custom-d446a9946a90cc2b8b0eb5d2e5b886e25823a763-s800-c85.png" style="height: 350px; width: 620px;" title="Gallup's May 2014 survey found support for same-sex marriage at a new high: 55 percent. Gallup" /></div><p>In 2004, a majority of the country &mdash; 55 percent &mdash; was against it, while 42 percent was in favor, according to Gallup. Now, it&#39;s exactly the opposite, with 55 percent saying they&#39;re in favor of same-sex marriage and 42 percent saying they&#39;re against it.</p><p>What&#39;s more, in 2004, 54 percent said gay or lesbian relations were &quot;morally wrong.&quot; In 2014, 58 percent said it was &quot;morally acceptable,&quot; while just 38 percent said it was wrong. That is a huge cultural and political shift in a relatively short time.</p><p>It&#39;s something Republican pollster Whit Ayres likens to approval of interracial marriage in the 1970s to 1990s. In his book,&nbsp;<em>2016 and Beyond: How Republicans can elect a President in the New America</em>, he points out, citing Gallup numbers, that in 1972, some 60 percent of Americans disapproved of interracial marriage. Twenty-five years later, 64 percent approved with the lines crossing when the country split about evenly in 1983.</p><p>&quot;It looks similar to gay marriage,&quot; Ayres told reporters at breakfast meeting sponsored by the&nbsp;<em>Christian Science Monitor</em>. &quot;The values of young people, I believe, this is where we are headed as a country.&quot; He added, &quot;We are headed to where a political candidate, who is perceived as anti-gay will never connect with people under 30 years old.&quot;</p><p>But going inside the numbers helps explain why both sides are singing very different tunes on the Indiana law. For example, Gallup found that 3 in 4 Democrats are in favor of same-sex marriage (as were almost 60 percent of independents), but the opposite was true for Republicans with 72 percent opposed, as of 2013.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/gallupssm2_custom-47c4801c026db15f4b3df2883cd5da62b26c7c78-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 388px; width: 620px;" title="Gallup survey showing support of same-sex marriage by party in 2013. Gallup/2016 And Beyond" /></div><p>That makes it difficult to get through a Republican primary being too strongly in favor of gay rights with a significant portion of the base considering themselves &quot;social values&quot; religious voters.</p><p>&quot;That&#39;s a challenge,&quot; said Ayres, who is advising Rubio.</p><p>He points out that younger Republicans under 30 are in favor of same-sex marriage. A Pew poll in 2014, in fact, found 61 percent of young Republicans in favor.</p><p>So, while times are changing with Republicans on gay rights, they are doing so more slowly than the more rapid change taking place in the country at large.</p><p>&mdash; via <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2015/04/01/395613897/sorting-fact-from-fiction-from-politics-on-the-indiana-law"><em>NPR&#39;s It&#39;s All Politics</em></a></p></p> Wed, 01 Apr 2015 09:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/indiana-law-sorting-fact-fiction-politics-111800 Indiana pastor doesn’t want changes to 'religious freedom' law http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/indiana-pastor-doesn%E2%80%99t-want-changes-religious-freedom-law-111798 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Pence Reax_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">As Indiana Gov. Mike Pence asks lawmakers to send him a clarification of the state&#39;s new religious-freedom law later this week, at least one Northwest Indiana pastor is speaking out against the prospect of changes.</p><p dir="ltr">On Tuesday, Pence defended the Indiana law as a vehicle to protect religious liberty but said he has been meeting with lawmakers &quot;around the clock&quot; to address concerns that it would allow businesses to deny services to gay customers.</p><p>The governor said he does not believe &quot;for a minute&quot; that lawmakers intended &quot;to create a license to discriminate.&quot;</p><p>&quot;It certainly wasn&#39;t my intent,&quot; said Pence, who <a href="http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/indiana-gov-pence-signs-religious-objections-bill-111772">signed the law last week</a>.</p><p>But, he said, he &quot;can appreciate that that&#39;s become the perception, not just here in Indiana but all across the country. We need to confront that.&quot;</p><p>&ldquo;It would make the bill null and void,&rdquo; Rev. Ron Johnson, senior pastor of Living Stones Church in Crown Point, Indiana, told WBEZ. &ldquo;Because it&rsquo;s not going to protect religious liberty.&rdquo;</p><p>The Indiana law prohibits any laws that &quot;substantially burden&quot; a person&#39;s ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. The definition of &quot;person&quot; includes religious institutions, businesses and associations.</p><p>Although the legal language does not specifically mention gays and lesbians, critics say the law is designed to shield businesses and individuals who do not want to serve gays and lesbians, such as florists or caterers who might be hired for a same-sex wedding.</p><p>Johnson says from his understanding, the law could allow something more troubling.</p><p>&ldquo;Nobody is saying that if you come into get a hamburger you say, &lsquo;Hey, are you a homosexual? I&rsquo;m not going to serve you a hamburger.&rsquo; That is not even the issue,&rdquo; Johnson said. &ldquo;The issue has been specifically related to forcing someone to celebrate a same-sex wedding ceremony that they believe violates their religious beliefs. That&rsquo;s where the rub has come.&rdquo;</p><p>Johnson feels the religious community is being forced to accept something they do not believe in.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re talking about the Left and the gay lobby forcing us not to tolerate their behavior but to celebrate their behavior and that&rsquo;s fundamentally wrong,&rdquo; Johnson said. &ldquo;Whatever group is pushing for their right to express themselves sexually however they want to do it, if you don&rsquo;t jump on the bandwagon and support that then you&rsquo;re a bigot, or you&rsquo;re a hater.&quot;</p><p>Johnson added that the national backlash Indiana has endured following Pence&rsquo;s signing of SB 101 into law has been shameful.</p><p>&ldquo;This is a witch hunt if I ever saw one. Frankly, I think it&rsquo;s an insult to Hoosiers. It&rsquo;s an insult to our great governor who is an incredibly good man,&rdquo; Johnson said.</p><p>The federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act arose from a case related to the use of peyote in a Native American ritual.</p><p>But in 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal law did not apply to the states. So states began enacting their own laws. Twenty now have them on the books, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/legal-expert-says-illinois-got-it-right-regarding-its-religious-freedom-law-111783">including Illinois</a>.</p><p>Businesses and organizations including Apple and the NCAA have voiced concern over Indiana&#39;s law, and some states have barred government-funded travel to the state.</p><p>Democratic legislative leaders said a clarification would not be enough.</p><p>&quot;To say anything less than a repeal is going to fix it is incorrect,&quot; House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, a Democrat from Michigan City, said.</p><p>Republican Senate President Pro Tem David Long said lawmakers were negotiating a clarification proposal that he hoped would be ready for public release on Wednesday, followed by a vote Thursday before sending the package to the governor.</p><p>&quot;We have a sense that we need to move quickly out here and be pretty nimble,&quot; Long said. &quot;But right now, we don&#39;t have consensus on the language.&quot;</p><p>Also Tuesday, the Indianapolis Star urged state lawmakers in a <a href="http://www.indystar.com/story/opinion/2015/03/30/editorial-gov-pence-fix-religious-freedom-law-now/70698802/">front-page editorial</a> to respond to widespread criticism of the law by protecting the rights of gays and lesbians.</p><p>The Star&#39;s editorial, headlined &quot;FIX THIS NOW,&quot; covered the newspaper&#39;s entire front page. It called for lawmakers to enact a law that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of a person&#39;s sexual orientation or gender identity.</p><p>The newspaper says the uproar sparked by the law has &quot;done enormous harm&quot; to the state and potentially to its economic future.</p><p>The state of Arkansas is now considering passing it&rsquo;s own Religious Freedom Restoration Act.</p><p><em>The Associated Press contributed to this story.</em></p><p><em>Michael Puente is WBEZ&rsquo;s Northwest Indiana Bureau Reporter. Following him on Twitter @MikePuenteNews.</em></p></p> Wed, 01 Apr 2015 07:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/indiana-pastor-doesn%E2%80%99t-want-changes-religious-freedom-law-111798