Entries in Church (8)


Rick Santorum: JFK’s 1960 Speech Made Me Want to Throw Up

AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said on Sunday that watching John F. Kennedy’s speech to the Baptist ministers in Houston in 1960 made him want to “throw up.”

“To say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes you throw up.  What kind of country do we live [in] that says only people of non-faith can come into the public square and make their case?” Santorum said.

Santorum also said he does not believe in an America where the separation of church and state is “absolute.”

“I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute. The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country,” Santorum said. “This is the First Amendment. The First Amendment says the free exercise of religion. That means bringing everybody, people of faith and no faith, into the public square. Kennedy for the first time articulated the vision saying, no, ‘faith is not allowed in the public square. I will keep it separate.’ Go on and read the speech ‘I will have nothing to do with faith. I won’t consult with people of faith.’ It was an absolutist doctrine that was foreign at the time of 1960,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rick Santorum Mixes Football and Faith on the Campaign Trail

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.) -- Rick Santorum began a serious testimonial of his belief in God on a lighter note at an evangelical megachurch saying he really doesn’t have a dog in the hunt when it comes to Sunday’s Super Bowl.

“I’m from Pittsburgh, I’m a Steelers fan, sorry,” Santorum said at the beginning of a question and answer session with the church’s pastor Troy Dobbs. “So I don’t really care. I do find it hard to root for Tom Brady, that’s all I have to say.”

The answer got cheers and laughs from the large audience of about 3,500 congregants at Grace Church, in Eden Prairie, Minn., located about 30 minutes outside Minneapolis.

The pastor quickly replied, “Go Vikings, right?,” referring to the local Minnesota Vikings who are not playing in the big game.

The New York Giants face off against the New England Patriots in an East Coast showdown. The last time they faced off was during the last primary cycle in 2008.

After that, the forum quickly moved to the serious when the pastor asked him what Jesus Christ means to him.

Santorum told the audience when he first came to the United States Senate he became involved in bible study and before he came to Congress he wasn’t the religious man he is now.

He called Jesus Christ his “savior, he’s my guide, he’s my role model. He’s my teacher.”

“He hasn’t always and I admit this freely,” Santorum said. “He was not always my friend and my savior and the center of my life, but it was through my marriage with my wife who is an amazing woman…and when I came to the United States Senate, Christ became the center of my life.”

He said it’s why he’s currently on the “journey” he is on, including running for president.

The former Pennsylvania senator said “prayer has an effect” on the men and women working on Capitol Hill.

“There are people who do in a sense mission work on Capitol Hill and His presence is very much there,” Santorum said. “There are people there who fall onto their needs and ask for His guidance…and you are lifting them up.”

The last question the pastor asked him was how the congregation could pray for him.

Santorum related it back to football by giving a sports and warrior analogy.

“When you are out in the arena…when you are out there fighting…you get hit and yeah you hit back, you take your swings and it’s all expected, everything that comes at you. Even things you think are unfair. You are in the arena, it happens,” Santorum said before answering that it’s the families of the candidates that really need to be prayed for, on both sides of the aisle.

“It’s the spectators, it’s the folks that watch that love you they get hit too,” Santorum said to shouts of 'Amen.“And they don’ t have the armor, they don’t have the people praying for them and that’s what hurts so I ask you not just for me, but for all those in public life in this rather tough and messy world we live in, pray for those who are the loved ones of the people in the arena, pray for my wife and the wives, the children, the loved ones of those out there.”

It was then that the pastor asked the packed church to pray for Santorum and his family. The crowd of thousands rose to their feet, reached out their hands and began to pray.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Catholic Churches Distribute Letters Opposing Obama Healthcare Rule

George Doyle/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Catholic parishioners around the country were read letters Sunday morning written by church leaders railing against an Obama administration ruling that requires employers to provide health insurance plans that include free contraceptives.

Churches and other houses of worship are exempt from the guidelines but Catholic hospitals, colleges and social services fall under the umbrella of institutions covered by the decision.

Originally introduced last summer, the decision was lauded by abortion rights supporters.  But Catholicism considers some forms of contraception as the termination of life and religious leaders say adherence would fly in the face of the tenets of their faith. Critics also charge it would be a violation of the Constitutional right to freedom of religion.

The letters were penned by individual clergy, so variations exist in what was read at each Sunday Mass, but the overall theme is unified.

One letter from the Archdiocese of Washington says, “Catholic moral teachings will be placed in the untenable position of having to choose between violating the law and violating their conscience.”

In another from the Diocese of Phoenix, a bishop calls on Catholics to stand united against the rule.

“We cannot -- we will not -- comply with this unjust law,” it reads. “People of faith cannot be made second class citizens.”

Nearly all the letters found by ABC News called on parishioners to pray for a reversal.

Earlier this month, religious institutions were given a year extension to comply with the administration's decision.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obamas Visit Church Ahead of Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday

(Official White House Photo) Annie Leibovitz/Released by White House Photo Office(WASHINGTON) -- President Barack Obama and his family attended church services on Sunday, continuing their custom of prayer on each Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. The family does not go to church frequently, but has traditionally spent the holiday occasion at historically black places of worship.

This year, President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Sasha and Malia visited the Zion Baptist Church in Washington for the first time. Founded in the 1860s, the congregation’s historical commission is dedicated to preserving the history of black Christian culture in the District of Columbia.

After entering and joining the choir and parishioners in a buoyant rendition of “Lord, You Are Good,” the family listened to the pastor, the Rev. Keith Byrd Sr., deliver his sermon. The pastor invoked William Shakespeare’s “To be, or not to be” during the ceremony. Byrd told parishioners that was the question King had to answer during a time of social upheaval.

“Be a source of hope,” the reverend told the congregation.

The program was also accompanied by a reading from King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”

Typically the Obamas do not actively participate in the church services they attend, remaining in the pews. But in 2010, the family attended services at the Vermont Avenue Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., where the President delivered an address using a pulpit King himself once stood in.

The church’s program books also featured a plea for donations to the Occupy D.C. protest movement. “Warm blankets, sleeping bags, hand and feet warmers” were among the items requested for the movement, which has members camped out in two Washington squares.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Perry Urges Worshippers to Disregard 'Politically Correct Police'

Toni Sandys/The Washington Post(CHARLES CITY, Iowa) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry urged churchgoers in Iowa Sunday to ignore the “politically correct police” who believe separation of church and state does not allow for faith to be present in the public arena, telling the churchgoers they are “biblically charged” to take their faith into the public sphere.

“In the world today, we get often told -- particularly people of faith -- that you leave your faith at the door or on the steps of a public arena, as those that I refer to as the ‘politically correct police’ who say you can’t bring your faith into public arena,” Perry told the crowd of nearly 90 Methodists at the First Wesleyan Church.

“You will be criticized.  Do not be intimidated,” Perry said.  “Somebody’s values are going to decide the issues of the day.  Whatever they may be, whatever policies are being discussed in city council meeting or on the school board or at the state capitol or in our nation’s capital.  Somebody’s values are going to be installed, if you will.  The question is going to be, whose values?  Is it going to be those of us of faith or is it going to be somebody else’s values?”

Perry’s charge was a repeat of a similar message he spread at two church services last Sunday in Waukee, Iowa.  Perry never mentioned his presidential campaign, nor did he discuss President Obama waging a “war on religion” -- a claim the Texas governor has made in recent weeks on the airwaves and speeches in Iowa.  Instead, he relayed Bible passages such as Isaiah 6:8, which reads, “Here am I, Send me.”

At the conclusion of his speech, Pastor Denis Bachman thanked Perry “for taking a stand” for people of faith and told the group of worshipers to take note of the marquee outside the church, which reads: “We’re not afraid to say Merry Christmas around here.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


The First Family Goes to Church

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Holding hands and smiling despite the 37 degree temperatures, President Obama and his family walked across the street from the White House to St. John’s Episcopal Church Sunday to attend the 11 a.m. service.

Malia wore maroon tights and a pink coat, while Sasha wore purple tights and a black coat. Both girls held their parents’ hands as they crossed Lafayette Park. Malia and her father chatted for much of the walk to St. John’s.

According to pool reports, the Rev. Dr. Luis Leon discussed Obama in his sermon. He told the congregation that Americans thought Obama would be a Messiah and change would be immediate.

“People have a tendency to create idols. Society must wait without idols,” he said.

While the Obamas have not claimed a church as their own since moving to Washington in 2009, the family has attended several different churches, including, on Easter Sunday this year, Shiloh Baptist Church.

St. John’s Church was founded in 1815 and, since James Madison, every presidents has attended at least one service there.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obamas Attend Church Service on Eve of MLK Day

Photo Courtesy - The White House/Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- On the Sunday before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the first family visited Metropolitan A.M.E. church, just a few blocks away from the White House.  This is the second time the Obamas have visited the predominantly black church, which extended an offer of membership to the first family.

The Metropolitan congregation stood and applauded when President Obama, the first lady and the first daughters took their seats.

The sermon dealt with how God has a plan for all men and women.  God has singled out individuals throughout history to do extraordinary things, Rev. Ronald Braxton told the congregation.  Braxton highlighted the remarkable works performed by Noah, Rosa Parks and Dr. King after they were called to service by God.

Before the sermon, several church leaders acknowledged that the Obamas were in attendance.  One church leader praised the president for his speech last week after the tragic shooting in Tucson.  Another, invited the Obamas to join Metropolitan.  "It would be a good thing if you could join the church," the person said.

Pastor Braxton said Metropolitan has been praying for the president and the first family.

During acknowledgment of birthdays coming up this week, the congregation sang happy birthday to the first lady and others.  Her birthday is Monday.

The first family does not regularly leave the White House for Sunday church service, which critics who question President Obama's faith make a point of reminding the public.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Catholic Bishops Meddling in Minnesota Governor's Race?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Four weeks before voters head to the polls, Catholic bishops in Minnesota have raised an issue that has largely taken a backseat to the economy and jobs this election season: renewing calls for a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

While such advocacy by religious groups is not uncommon, never before has the message come in the form of a DVD mailed to all Catholic households in the state. And, some say, never before has such a campaign appeared so political.

Because one candidate in the state's three-way race for governor, Republican Tom Emmer, opposes same-sex marriage, the church's message and its timing amount to an unambiguous endorsement, critics say.

The anonymous donation to the archdiocese that funded the production of more than 400,000 DVDs has also stoked questions about the proper role of religious institutions in the political process.

Five bills introduced during the state's 2010 legislative session would legalize gay marriage. The state's new governor would play a key role in deciding whether any bill that might pass should become law.

Democrat Mark Dayton and Independent Party candidate Tom Horner both support same-sex marriage.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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