June 2014

This is very sad news and deplorable. These three teenage boys were hitchhiking and called the police with a distress call that they had been kidnapped. They had not been heard from for several weeks and have just now been found in a shallow grave north of Hebron in the Palestinian West Bank.

This is quite amazing for us since we were filming the life of Abraham in the area where they found the bodies today. We were looking for the authentic site of the Oaks of Mamre which is mentioned in Genesis 18. Two weeks ago we were in this part of the Palestinian West Bank filming those scenes for our movie.

This makes the peace process in Israel very difficult. Since the kidnappings are the result of Hamas who has just partnered with the Palestinian Authority, it will make any further discussions of peace nearly impossible in the coming months or even years.

One thing people are not mentioning is that these boys were part of families who are settlers. That means that they are Jews infiltrating and setting up settlements inside the Palestinian West Bank which is a very provocative endeavor. Settlers live in risk by the very nature of their lifestyles of trying to appropriate Palestinian lands.

However, this is no excuse for murdering three young teenagers and burying them in unmarked graves. Israel has every right to defend themselves.

I do want to make one very important comment for those who are considering a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The areas where these kidnappings took place are NOT in the itinerary where we take our groups. The holy sites in Israel that we visit are completely unaffected by this situation which is far removed from areas where we visit on pilgrimages.

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Hobby Lobby Wins; Religious Freedom Wins!

by Steve Ray on June 30, 2014

Hobby Lobby just got a victory from the Supreme Court. This is a HUGE legal decision which punches Obamacare right in the face. It is a ruling which defends religious liberty. Any business that objects to abortion and birth-control no longer has to pay it in their health insurance.

U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favour of Hobby Lobby

In 5-4 Decision, Court Says Family Businesses May Claim Religious Exemption from Mandate on Contraception Coverage

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 30, 2014 (Zenit.org) – Religious groups in the United States are celebrating a U.S. Supreme Court decision today which has ruled that closely held companies can claim a religious exemption from the requirement that they offer contraception coverage in their worker health plans.

The justices voted 5-4 in favour of family-run businesses, including the craft-store chain Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., saying that on religious grounds they do not have to mandate the free provision of contraception to their employees, according to Bloomberg News.

The court majority concluded that the Obama administration failed to prove that the so-called HHS mandate is the least restrictive means of advancing its interest in guaranteeing the provision of free access to contraception in health insurance plans.

It also said the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act requires that closely held companies receive the same accommodation the administration has already granted to nonprofit organizations that object to the mandate on religious grounds.

The ruling is a significant advance in the expansion of corporate rights, showing that for-profit companies as well as individuals can claim religious freedoms under federal law.

Safeguarding the religious rights of corporations “protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control those companies,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the court.

Bloomberg News said the case divided the court along ideological lines. Alito’s majority opinion was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented.

The case centered on the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which says the U.S. government may “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” only when it meets a demanding test.

The Obama administration argued that the law doesn’t cover corporations and that the government’s interests outweighed any religious rights the corporations possess.

Responding to today’s decision, Human Life International President Father Shenan J. Boquet said the full implications of this decision are not yet known, but this appears to be “at least some good news in the fight for religious freedom.”

“What many found deeply disturbing about this case was not only the assault on religious freedom, but the manipulation of scientific facts in order to support a radical political agenda promoting abortion,” he said in a statement.

“There’s scientific consensus that when sperm meets egg and fertilization occurs, a new human life begins. Yet we see our own government and pro-abortion lobbyist groups like American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) play games with the words ‘fertilization,’ ‘conception,’ ‘pregnancy,’ and even ‘abortion’ to make it seem as though the drugs and devices in question in the Hobby Lobby case don’t kill innocent human life-when it’s scientific fact that they can, and do destroy new life in the womb.”

Fr. Boquet said not only does the “HHS contraception/sterilization/abortifacient mandate seek to undermine our God-given freedom to practice our faith, the mandate furthers U.S. government support for the greatest human rights abuse in history, using taxpayer dollars to kill preborn human life.

“There’s no doubt that legal action will continue on this mandate, and the many other troubling provisions of Obamacare,” Fr. Boquet said. “The American people must make clear to our elected representatives that we will not allow our religious liberty to be violated by our own government, especially in pursuit of an immoral agenda that furthers the erosion of human rights, and ends human lives.”

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It was one of the funnest and fastest shows ever! Great questions and lively discussion. Here are the questions I answered. The topic was “Abraham: Father of Faith and Works.”

Here is the link for listening on-line and here for downloading as a podcast.

1) Did Abraham know that God wouldn’t have him actually go through with killing Isaac?

2) Why was Isaac willing to go through with this and let his father kill him?

Steve sacrificing a ram in Israel

3) Why wasn’t God disappointed with Abraham’s adultery with Hagar?

4) It seems strange to me that Catholics practice “offering it up” with their sufferings. What is all that about if Christ’s already suffered for us?

5) Why would God ask Abraham to commit a mortal sin? And why would Abraham believe that God would ask him to do that? How can you justify this sacrifice?

6) I don’t understand why Hagar was punished? What did she do wrong?

7) It seems like you are justifying Abraham’s affair with Hagar because of the customs of the time. Wouldn’t it be wrong for him to have intercourse with Hagar no matter what the customs of his time were?

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Today on Teresa Tomeo, Al Kresta Show and Tomorrow Catholic Answers Live

June 24, 2014

Busy day. Just finished a show on Sts. Peter and Paul on Teresa Tomeo‘s show.  Al Kresta will interview me about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. We will discuss especially the new wave of Religious Orthodox Jews who despise Christians. We will emphasize the new problems at the Upper Room on Mount […]

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For 1st Time in 1,600 Years, There Was a Sunday in Mosul With No Masses Offered

June 23, 2014

Bishops Seek ‘Rescue Plan’ as Iraq’s Christians Near Extinction For 1st Time in 1,600 Years, There Was a Sunday in Mosul With No Masses Offered ROME, June 23, 2014 (Zenit.org) – Catholic bishops from Iraq are meeting this week to come up with a “rescue plan” amid growing fears that the ISIS Islamist attacks have put […]

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Got Home Exhausted, Drinking Milk from the Goat, Riding Camel, Sacrificing Ram

June 20, 2014

We just got home yesterday after a long and grueling filming trip to Israel and Turkey. It will take us a few days to recover and catch up on everything. We got great footage and I think Abraham might be my favorite DVD yet. Being bitten by a camel five times, sacrificing a ram, getting […]

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One Thing I Know About Abraham: He was Sweaty all the Time!

June 15, 2014

We flew from Israel to Istanbul and then from Istanbul Urfa. We then boarded the van for the one hour drive to Haran. It was 100° and the van didn’t have air-conditioning or windows that opened. It was a stifling trip but paid off with what we found.  Haran is mentioned 19 times in the […]

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Should Priests Wear their Collars?

June 14, 2014

Msgr. Dolan always wears his clerical collar. In fact, when he was interviewed by CBC Television’s Evan Solomon last year during the height of "The Da Vinci Code" movie controversy, he showed his empty closet, bare except for a few black shirts and slacks off the sparely furnished bedroom bed at his residence in Montreal. […]

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Pope Francis Says He will Renounce the Papacy in the Future

June 14, 2014

Interesting story. Looks like Pope Benedict started a trend. You can read about it at… …Pope Francis May Renounce the Papacy Someday: Six Things You Should Know and Share.

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Making the Case for Tea Party Catholics – recommended reading

June 12, 2014

ROME, December 11, 2013 (Zenit.org) – In his latest book Tea Party Catholic, Dr. Samuel Gregg develops a Catholic case for the values and institutions associated with the free economy, limited government, and America’s experiment in ordered liberty. He underscores the moral and economic benefits of business and markets, addresses the welfare state’s problems, and […]

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Lawyers Team Up to Resist the Gay Mafia

June 11, 2014

A team of lawyers is being assembled to make sure there are no more cases like that of Brendan Eich, the CEO of Mozilla. He was forced out of his position for contributing – years earlier — $1,000 to the Proposition 8 campaign in California in which voters themselves decided to define marriage in their […]

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Spent the Day in a Bedouin Camp…

June 8, 2014

…riding camels, donkeys, drinking goat milk right from the goat’s teat, cooking lentils in their tents, giving camel a Coke to drink and more. Our filming for Abraham is going well and ahead of schedule. Tomorrow and Tuesday we have rare access into two hot spots; very sensitive political and religious sites: the Tomb of […]

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Planting a flag in the Holy Land

June 6, 2014

Today we stood where Abraham first arrived in Canaan 4000 years ago. I built an altar and talked about Abraham and how that altar he built was like marking his claim in this land, putting his flag in the ground. In our DVD I’m going to show the astronauts planting the flag and the moon […]

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My Show “Loving Your Wife” on Relevant Radio got a LOT of Response

June 5, 2014

If you’d like to listen, click HERE.

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Pray for Us as We Continue Filming Abraham DVD – now in Israel and Turkey

June 1, 2014

We finished shooting our footage in Iraq in January. I’ve now finished the script and we are now going for three weeks to Israel, Palestine and then to Turkey to finish filming our Footprints of God Abraham DVD. Our crew of four will join us on Wednesday. We have been granted permission to film inside […]

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