Sunday, September 19, 2010

My mom would have been 100 years old this month. Unfortunately, she died in an automobile accident on Sept 11th, 1976. So every September, as we memorialize those who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, I also pay special tribute to my mom, with a sincere appreciation for all she taught me.

The example of her faith was one of Mom's greatest gifts to me. She was a devout Catholic who believed in the church, but she taught me to look deeper into religion -- to look beyond individual personalities, and specific rules.

Mom always said "religion should make sense, and if it doesn't make sense to you, find out why." She taught me that questioning the rules was not only OK, but an important responsibility, a necessary part of personal growth.

As I questioned and looked deeper into the church I began to understand some of the reasons behind the rules. For example, fasting on Fridays during lent strengthens our self-discipline, and required attendance at Mass every Sunday provides important learning opportunities as well as encouraging us to take time for prayer.

Thanks to my Mom, I've been able to go beyond the "letter of the law". And thanks to her I've been able to recognize the church's faults and shortcomings while still appreciating the importance of the church's guidelines for our spiritual growth. After all is said and done, the only mission of the church as an institution, is to teach us about God, to make us aware of our purpose here on earth, and to help us attain the promise of the afterlife we call "heaven".

Thanks Mom for all your guidance! I know you are enjoying heaven.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Constitution, Article 6

Standing in line at the grocery store I see the tabloid headline "Shocking Proof, Obama IS a Muslim" ... and I'm thinking, what happened to Freedom of Religion in America?

Of course the answer is obvious ... since 9/11 we've become paranoid about Muslim extremists who vow to destroy us. But shouldn't we smart enough to realize there are extremists in every group, whether it be political, religious or racial? (And if you are worried about Muslims in America, I suggest you read "Acts of Faith" by Eboo Patel, founder of the Interfaith Youth Corps. More about him in future blogs)

I think that maybe right now we need to remind ourselves of the importance of freedom of religion as guaranteed in our constitution. It is one of the basic ideals of our country; one of the principles on which our country was founded. Are we on the verge of sacrificing the basic principles of our Constitution because of the actions of extremists?

When it comes to questioning Obama's religion, refer to Article 6 in the Constitution. It states that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States"

The questions we should be asking about our President are not what religion does he profess, but is he a man of integrity? Can we trust him to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States? Will he put the interests of our country first in all of his decisions and actions? Will he lead this country in the right direction as we see it? If the answer to these questions is yes, it should not matter if our president worships God in the traditional Protestant religion or if he is a Born-Again Christian, a Catholic, a Jew ... or a Muslim.