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Archive for July, 2013

The Chilling History of How Hollywood Helped Hitler.

How Hollywood Helped Finance The Nazi War Machine

The 1930′s are celebrated as one of Hollywood’s golden ages, but in an exclusive excerpt from his controversial new book, The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler (Harvard University Press, on sale Sept. 9), Harvard post-doctoral fellow Ben Urwand uncovers a darker side to Hollywood’s past.


In devastating detail, an excerpt from a controversial new book reveals how the big studios, desperate to protect German business, let Nazis censor scripts, remove credits from Jews, get movies stopped and even force one MGM executive to divorce his Jewish wife.

Drawing on a wealth of archival documents in the U.S. and Germany, he reveals the shocking extent to which Hollywood cooperated and collaborated with the Nazis during the decade leading up to World War II to protect its business.

Indeed, “collaboration” (and its German translation, Zusammenarbeit) is a word that appears regularly in the correspondence between studio officials and the Nazis. Although the word is fraught with meaning to modern ears, its everyday use at the time underscored the eagerness of both sides to smooth away their differences to preserve commerce.

The Nazis threatened to exclude American movies — more than 250 played in Germany after Hitler took power in 1933 — unless the studios cooperated. Before World War I, the German market had been the world’s second largest, and even though it had shrunk during the Great Depression, the studios believed it would bounce back and worried that if they left, they would never be able to return.

Beginning with wholesale changes made to Universal’s 1930 release All Quiet on the Western Front, Hollywood regularly ran scripts and finished movies by German officials for approval. When they objected to scenes or dialogue they thought made Germany look bad, criticized the Nazis or dwelled on the mistreatment of Jews, the studios would accommodate them — and make cuts in the American versions as well as those shown elsewhere in the world.

It was not only scenes: Nazi pressure managed to kill whole projects critical of the rise of Adolf Hitler. Indeed, Hollywood would not make an important anti-Nazi film until 1940. Hitler was obsessed with the propaganda power of film, and the Nazis actively promoted American movies like 1937′s Captains Courageous that they thought showcased Aryan values.

Historians have long known about American companies such as IBM and General Motors that did business in Germany into the late 1930s, but the cultural power of movies — their ability to shape what people think — makes Hollywood’s cooperation with the Nazis a particularly important and chilling moment in history. – Andy Lewis

‘Victory Is Ours’

On Friday, Dec. 5, 1930, a crowd of Nazis in Berlin seized on an unusual target: the Hollywood movie All Quiet on the Western Front. Recognized in most countries as a document of the horrors of the First World War, in Germany it was seen as a painful and offensive reenactment of the German defeat.

The Nazis, who had recently increased their representation in the Reichstag from 12 to 107 seats, took advantage of the national indignation toward All Quiet on the Western Front. They purchased about 300 tickets for the first public screening, and as they watched the German troops retreat from the French, they shouted: “German soldiers had courage. It’s a disgrace that such an insulting film was made in America!” Because of the disruptions, the projectionist was forced to switch off the film. Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels gave a speech from the front row of the balcony in which he claimed that the film was an attempt to destroy Germany’s image. His comrades threw stink bombs and released mice into the crowd. Everyone rushed for the exits, and the theater was placed under guard.

The Nazis’ actions met with significant popular approval. The situation came to a climax Dec. 11, when the highest censorship board in Germany convened to determine the fate of the film. After a long discussion, the chairman of the board issued a ban: Whereas the French soldiers went to their deaths quietly and bravely, the German soldiers howled and shrieked with fear. The film was not an honest representation of German defeat — of course the public had reacted disapprovingly. Regardless of one’s political affiliation, the picture offended a whole generation of Germans who had suffered through the War.

All this was a result of the Nazis’ actions against All Quiet on the Western Front. Soon every studio started making deep concessions to the German government, and when Hitler came to power in January 1933, they dealt with his representatives directly.

And so, six days after the protests in Berlin, All Quiet on the Western Front was removed from screens in Germany. “Victory is ours!” Goebbels’ newspaper proclaimed. “We have forced them to their knees!”CLICK HERE to read the rest of the story on Hollywood Reporter.

by NTEB News Desk

‘The Israeli Government Has Surrendered the Temple Mount’.

In an “unprecedented” move, police on Wednesday informed Jewish groups that the Temple Mount will be closed to all non-Muslims until at least the end of Ramadan, on 11th August. The announcement has provoked renewed anger over anti-Jewish discrimination on the Temple Mount, and sparked calls by activists for a mass-protest on 7th August, at the start of the Hebrew month of Elul.


“No matter what posturing the government performs, and no matter how many times they repeat the meaningless mantra that ‘The Temple Mount is in our hands’, the fact is that the Temple Mount is actually in the hands of the Waqf and the Jordanian government.”

Temple Mount activists had complained that for the past three days the Temple Mount – the holiest place in Judaism – remained inexplicably closed to non-Muslim visitors. The only “explanation” offered was a bland sign which simply read “Today the Temple Mount will be closed to visitors.”

Those restrictions did not, however, apply to Muslim visitors, who continue to receive unrestricted access.

On Wednesday, Police Commander Avi Bitton finally informed representatives of the Organisation of Temple Movements – an umbrella of various Temple Mount groups – that the sign would remain up for at least another two weeks, until after the Muslim festival of “Eid”, which marks the end of Ramadan.

Since the beginning of Ramadan, Islamists have upped their campaign to prevent Jews from setting foot on the Temple Mount – let alone praying there.

On the eve of the 9th of Av – the Jewish day of mourning over the destruction of the Holy Temples – a group of Jews including Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin were driven off the Mount by a mob of Muslim extremists.

The next day, police banned Jews from the site altogether, provoking angry reactions from worshippers, activists and Members of Knesset, including government ministers.

Since then, say activists, Jews who wish to ascend have either been turned away without explanation, or otherwise subjected to even more severe restrictions than they had previously experienced.

In a statement following the meeting, the Organisation of Temple Movements accused the police of caving in to Islamist threats of violence, and failing in their duty to securefreedom of worship:

“Since the beginning of this month, groups of Muslims have used violence to try to prevent Jews from entering the plaza of the Temple Mount. Police could not deal with the rioting Muslim extremists, and time and time again stood helpless before them,

“Now it turns out that the police have collapsed completely in their mission, and have failed in their effort to keep order on the Temple Mount.”

Yehuda Glick,  a spokesman for the Organisation of Temple Movements, slammed the police decision as “illegal”:

“All of these [closures of the Temple Mount] were illegal actions taken by police, violating freedom of access to holy places,” he said.

Glick called on Jews and government ministers to immediately begin visiting the Temple Mount around the clock, in response to attempts to deny access to Jews. The Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest site, where the two holy Temples once stood before being destroyed by the Babylonian and Roman empires respectively.

Despite its supreme importance to Jews worldwide, Jewish visitors are subject to draconian restrictions on the Mount, including a ban on praying, due to the presence of an Islamic complex, administered by the Waqf Islamic Trust, and amid threats by Islamist groups. The Israeli police have bypassed several court decisions upholding the Jewish right to prayer there by citing unspecified “security concerns”, either to ban individual activists or even to issue blanket prohibitions on Jews ascending at all. Religious Jews are followed closely by Israeli police and Waqf guards to prevent them from praying, or from carrying out any other religious rituals. Non-Jewish visitors are not subject to such restrictions.

But Wednesday’s decision to close the Mount for such a prolonged period of time is “unprecedented,” according to Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute.

“This sets a new and dangerous precedent,” warned Rabbi Richman.

“Over the past few weeks there have been several attacks by Muslim extremists on the Temple Mount, and the police have aided and abetted them by standing by and allowing our rights to be violated. Even the Deputy Foreign Minister was not granted the right to freedom of worship.”

Rabbi Richman accused the government of having “surrendered sovereignty over the Temple Mount.”

“By granting the Jordanian-run Waqf free reign on the site, even aquiessing to their demands to ban Jews from ascending, the State of Israel has effectively abandoned the Temple Mount altogether.

“No matter what posturing the government performs, and no matter how many times they repeat the meaningless mantra that ‘The Temple Mount is in our hands’ [a reference to the famous declaration made after the liberation of Jerusalem in 1967 – ed.], the fact is that the Temple Mount is actually in the hands of the Waqf and the Jordanian government.”

“Test balloon”

The Organization of Temple Movements is taking this latest development very seriously, viewing it as a “test balloon” as to how the Israeli public – and wider Jewish public – will respond.

As a result, they have announced a demonstration at 7:30am on the 7th of August, which is also the start of the Hebrew month of Elul, marking the beginning of the period of repentance in the run up to the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana) and the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur.

“This week we commemorated the 10th anniversary of the reopening of the Temple Mount to Jews, after it was closed for three years following the outbreak of the Arab intifada,” said Rabbi Richman.

“During those three years of abandonment the Waqf took the opportunity to destroy countless precious artifacts in an attempt to erase the Jewish connection to the Mount.

“It is truly tragic that the government has chosen to mark this occasion by once again imposing an extended ban on Jewish ascents.

“If this situation passes quietly, we will have reached a point of no return. The police are testing the waters: how important is the Temple Mount to the Jewish public? Our message – and the message of Jews around the world – must be clear: the Temple Mount is the heart and soul of the Jewish people, and we will not abandon it again.” source – Israeli National News

by NTEB News Desk

Fox Cross-Marketing X-Rated Cartoons With New Animated Programming Block.

'High School USA!'
High School USA!’ is an offering from Fox‘s new ‘ADHD.’ (Facebook)

Sunday night, Fox gave viewers a preview of a new animated adult programming block they are calling ADHD (short for Animation Domination High-Def), right in the middle of prime-time viewing hours. The series will debut in its normal time slot of 11 p.m. ET/PT (10 p.m. CT and MT) this Saturday and already exists online.

What Fox showed viewers on Sunday night was tame compared with what they’ve made available online, and parents could understandably be misled into believing ADHD is perfectly suitable for their youngster to watch. It’s not.

Modeled on (and from the creator of) Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block, Fox’s ADHD, as it exists online, features horrifically graphic, ultraviolent, sexually explicit and profanity-laden cartoons. It will become a tempting forbidden fruit for millions of children attracted to its animated format and themes like High School USA! and Scientifically Accurate Spider-Man.

Online, teens and even younger children can watch these X-rated cartoons for free and with absolutely no parental controls. Any 8-year-old could simply click and watch selections from a collection of three-minute cartoons more explicit than anything we’ve seen on broadcast television to date.

And now Fox is going to choose morsels from this digital menu and serve them up right in our living rooms, where Fox executives state they hope one of their animated shorts will catch on to become a new hit series. Fox Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly told Daily Variety, “I’d like to find the next Family Guy out of this block.”


{ Day 212 }.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the  Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” —Psalm 91:1-2

Churches are full of people who spend Monday through Saturday trying harder in their walk with the Lord. They wake up early so they can read through the Bible in a year; they make promises to themselves to invite a neighbor to church or pray for the ailing child a few doors down. They try to show the light of Christ at work and hold their tongues when angered by their spouse. Then on Sunday they cringe in the pew during worship and feel somehow that they’ve spent another week failing to be a good Christian. But if you experience God’s enjoyment of you, then you will begin enjoying God, and this whole cycle changes. Transformation happens as naturally as the changing of seasons. You will live in much greater holiness, and you will be truly happy. You won’t be so concerned about not doing bad things because your heart will find no pleasure in them anyway. This process of transformation never ends. We will be always gazing, always discovering, always changing, always enjoying, always reflecting more of His glory and passion.


Day by day You are changing me into Your likeness, Jesus. The things that used to hinder me no longer appeal to me. The wonder of Your presence is all I want. Let me reflect Your glory and passion.

We enjoy God more by searching out and convincing
ourselves of God’s enjoyment of us.


God’s Agents.

And these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. —Mark 16:17-18

We are God‘s agents in the earth, and He desires to manifest His miracle-working power through us. But in order to be used, you must not only be willing to be used, you must also be ready to be used.

Don’t wait until you need a miracle to start polishing your vessel. Don’t wait until the devil has ravaged your family, wrecked your health, and destroyed your finances to seek a relationship with your heavenly Father.

Ready your vessel by keeping your spirit strong in the Word, in prayer, and in fellowship with your Father. Speak forth His praises and acknowledge Him as your healer, your deliverer, and your provider. Today and every day, confess that you walk in divine health because the Spirit of life resides in you. Confess that His promises are made manifest in your life daily.

What will you do today to ready your vessel to receive all that God wants to pour into your life?

Pour into me, O Lord, Your living waters.
I am ready to receive today all that You
desire to pour into me and out of me.


Instant Victory.

And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured….
Revelation 19:19-20

Recommended Reading
Revelation 19 ( )

The 1982 war between Great Britain and Argentina over the Falklands lasted seventy-four days. The 1971 conflict between India and Pakistan lasted thirteen days. The Six-Day War in the Middle East lasted June 5-10, 1967. Perhaps the shortest war in history occurred in 1896 between Great Britain and Zanzibar. It lasted forty-five minutes. What about the longest war? That would be the Hundred Years’ War, which really lasted 116 years, between 1337 and 1453.

Listen to Today’s Radio Message ([ )

Earth‘s final battle will end abruptly. The Antichrist will deploy the armies of the world from his headquarters at Armageddon, planning to destroy the nation of Israel once and for all. In the nick of time, Jesus Christ will burst from heaven with a shout, with a word of power, and He will win the victory — instantly, decisively, gloriously.

As Christians, we’ll have a front-row seat to the action. Until then, we can visualize and anticipate victory every time we read Revelation 19 and its description of Him whose name is called Faithful and True. And we can shout with the angels in advance: “Alleluia!”

Christians can rest in the sure conviction that just as Jesus came to earth the first time, so He will return at the conclusion of the Great Tribulation.

David Jeremiah, in What in the World Is Going On?

Isaiah 57-59

By David Jeremiah.

Facing change…

By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
-Joshua 1:9

Change is so hard. Dying, aging, losing friends, moving to new places, getting or losing jobs – these changes bring tremendous pain and suffering. And we often don’t know how to cope with it.

How do we respond, then, as believers when change comes into our lives? We must understand that the past is eternal – eternal and fixed. Unchanged. All of those memories that we have with people that we have loved, all of those lives that we’ve touched, all of those people that we’ve encountered along the way – those experiences will never change. They will always be in the timeline of history. They have set things in motion that can’t be undone.

My grandparents, even though in so many ways they’re doing well, they have also been undergoing a tremendous amount of suffering. There is retirement. There are health concerns. There is loss. And what I have said to them is this: “Grandma, Grandpa, listen: Things may be changing in the future, but think about every single person who was about to jump from a ledge but walked away when he or she heard, ‘This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!’ Think about how, over 50 years, every person that believed for the first time that they could start a business, or be a teacher, or get a degree, or overcome suffering or pain. Those things are fixed! Unchanged. Eternal. There are thousands of people alive today that would be dead if it wasn’t for this ministry that the two of you founded.”

The past is fixed and eternal. The good things that all of us have done with our lives, the people that we have touched, they will stay touched forever. And, like dropping a stone in a lake, the ripples from that stone will go on and on, even after our own deaths. The past cannot be changed. It is eternal and undone. All the great things in this life that we’ve done stay done. That is a great comfort.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me when I suffer from loss and change. Even when it’s a positive change, I still experience some discomfort and confusion. I know you are the only constant in my life. Thank you for being there each step of the way.

Reflection: What recent change has been causing you to suffer? How has this devotion helped you to face and embrace the change?

Coming Soon to MapQuest: A Palace of King David.

Eric Metaxas

According to 1 Samuel 17, after David slew Goliath, the men of Israel pursued the Philistines, who eventually were killed on the road to Shaarayim. Shaarayim, which means “two gates” in Hebrew, also appears in the book of Joshua and is listed as one of David’s cities in 1 Chronicles.

Where it doesn’t appear is on a map. Until now.

Two Israeli archeologists, Yossi Garfinkel of the Hebrew University and Saar Ganor of the Israel Antiquities Authority, recently announced that they had not only found Shaarayim but had also found the remains of one of David’s palaces and royal storehouse.

For a personage whose existence, as recently as two decades ago, was doubted by some secular historians, King David seems to have left a lot of his stuff lying around for us to find.

This find was the result of a seven-year exploration of a site southwest of Jerusalem called Khirbet Qeiyafa. At the site, Garfinkel and Ganor discovered the two gates and a lot more. They uncovered the “southern part of a large palace that extended across an area of [approximately] 1,000 [square meters],” nearly 11,000 square feet.

As Ganor told the Times of Israel, when David came to visit what was apparently an important regional center, “he definitely didn’t live in a simple home.”

In addition to their size, “the location of the buildings fit the requirements of an Iron Age palace.” From the site, one can see “as far as the Mediterranean Sea in the west to the Hebron Mountains and Jerusalem in the east,” making it “an ideal location from which to send messages by means of fire signals.”

That importance was underscored by the archeologists’ other finds: “a pillared building,” about 50 feet long by 20 feet wide. According to the archeologists, this building was where “the kingdom stored taxes it received in the form of agricultural produce collected from the residents of the different villages …” Evidence of its use is in the form of “hundreds of large stone jars … whose handles were stamped with an official seal as was customary in the Kingdom of Judah for centuries.”

This finding is “unequivocal evidence of a kingdom’s existence, which knew to establish administrative centers at strategic points.”

But these discoveries are only the latest in a series of findings that have overturned a long-held scholarly consensus on David and his dynasty. That consensus held that David likely never existed. And even if he did, he was little more than an Iron Age warlord whose modest accomplishments were exaggerated by the biblical authors for political and religious purposes.

But the discovery back in the 1990s of an ancient monument, known as a stele, with the inscriptions “King of Israel” and “House of David” took care of the first notion. And now the findings at Khirbet Qeiyafa promise to do the same for the second.

As Time magazine put it shortly after the discoveries at Tel Dan, “believers around the world are attuned … to the significance of archeological finds … [that establish] the reality of the events underlying their faith.”

That’s because biblical faith — from the Fall to the calling of Abraham and Israel and the incarnation, passion and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ — takes place within history. We are not being saved from history; we are being saved within history. And this salvation leaves stuff lying around for us to find. And believe.

To learn more about biblical archaeology and the discovery of David’s palace, please come to and click on this commentary.

BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at where you can read and search answers to common questions.

Eric Metaxas is a co-host of BreakPoint Radio and a best-selling author whose biographies, children’s books, and popular apologetics have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

Publication date: July 30, 2013

Do We Really Want a Third Great Awakening?.

Pastors and Pews
Pastors and Pews is part of an effort that has reached more than 10,000 pastors since it began nearly a decade ago. (CBN News)

First there was the removal of the Bible from public schools; then there was the legalization of abortion. And just last month the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in support of same-sex marriage.

All of this has evangelical Christians hoping and praying for a spiritual revival in America. But are too many Christians sitting on the sidelines both spiritually and politically?

An endeavor by spiritual leaders in Iowa as well as across the country is challenging both Christians and pastors to rise to the occasion.

Pastors and Pews
Here’s an evangelical riddle: What combines gospel singing, political speeches, and prayer for possible presidential candidates?

The answer is Iowa’s Pastors and Pews event, a recent two-day gathering for hundreds of pastors in Des Moines to hear the importance of speaking boldly from the pulpit about today’s cultural issues.

“Preach the word and leave the outcome to God,” Laurence White, pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church, told the crowd.

The July 18-19 event is part of an effort that has reached more than 10,000 pastors since it began nearly a decade ago. After Iowa, these events will soon spread to more than a dozen other states around the country.

The effort is lead by influential evangelical and political operative David Lane.

“Thirty-five years ago I was one of the wildest men that ever lived. I deserved judgment and I got mercy,” Lane said.

The movement mixes faith and politics with the goal of returning America back to its original founding principles.

“If the Lord does it, we’re going to turn America back to Him and re-establish a Christian culture,” Lane told CBN News.

That will take pastors helping to organize those in the pews. Consider the following startling figures:

  • Event organizers say of the roughly 65 to 80 million evangelicals in the United States, only 50 percent are registered to vote.
  • Only half of those registered show up on Election Day.

“Our people need to understand if they do not vote, they are betraying the Lord Jesus Christ,” Pastor White said.

Reaching a Younger Generation
The Wilks brothers worry that America’s declining morals will especially hurt the younger generation, so they’re using the riches the Lord has blessed them with to back specific goals.

“I just think we need to make people aware and bring the Bible back into the schools and start teaching our kids at a younger age and focus on the younger generation,” Dan Wilks said.

“They’re being taught the other ideas, the gay agenda, every day out in the world,” his brother, Farris Wilks, said. “So we have to stand up and explain to them that that’s not real, it’s not proper, it’s not right.”

Many of those gathered believe the church has allowed secularism to creep into their flocks.

“You want to do what you can to catch the fish and to bring them out of the water and into the boat and I like there being out doing that, but I don’t want the water in the boat and it’s bad,” Matthew Floyd, pastor of Calvary Bible Church, said.

“No matter how much water, it’s bad to have that water in the boat. Well, we’ve been allowing the world into the Church,” he added.

Part of the problem is many pastors fear the IRS will come after their tax exempt status if they bring politics to their pulpit.

“We’re not being thrown to the lions. We’re not having our heads chopped off. We’re being cowards because we want money,” Pastor Floyd told CBN News.

All those gathered—including possible presidential contenders Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas—agree that boldness is needed.

“The book of Hosea tells us, ‘My people parish for a lack of knowledge,” Sen. Cruz told the Pastors and Pews audience. “Edwin Burke put the points a little differently when he said, ‘The only thing necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.'”

Sen. Paul agreed.

“We must do something our world often tells us not to do: we must seek God, for our redemption and salvation, for our country’s revival,” Paul said.

A Third Great Awakening?
That’s what these pastors pray for above politics: spiritual revival.

“Father, we’re again in need of another Great Awakening,” one pastor prayed.

The first Great Awakening began in the 1700s, led by pastors like Jonathan Edwards and George Whitfield. In the following century, a second revival saw large camp meetings spread like wildfire.

Is there a third Great Awakening around the corner?

“There are a lot of people who want it to happen,” Pastor Floyd said. “I don’t know if people are committed enough yet to see it happen.”

Some of that doubt could be due to events over the last 50 years that have taken aim at Christian principles. In 1963 public school prayer ended, and a decade later, abortion was legalized.

Now there seems to be a cultural acceptance of homosexual marriage.

“I’m telling y’all this is breaking my heart,” Jason Taylor, pastor of Bar None Cowboy Church, said. “This is serious stuff. Our Lord is fixin’ to look at the Father and say, he’s fittin’ to say, ‘America will not do. They’re just not gonna get it.'”

This group of pastors and other leaders, however, does get it. And across the many denominational lines, they’re united in the belief that you can’t put trust in a political party to bring the change.

“They use us, they manipulate us, they lie to us and nothing changes,” Pastor White said, drawing applause from the crowd.

“These politicians aren’t good at much, but they’re good at this: Seeing which way the wind is blowing. We need to change the direction of the wind,” he added.

That wind, they believe, can only come from above.

“Somebody’s values are going to reign supreme, so my guess is spiritually speaking we need mercy, the mercy of God,” Lane concluded.

Should the Catholic Church Ordain Gay Priests?.

Pope Francis
Pope Francis has stirred up a media frenzy with his comments about gays.

Editor’s Note: Michael Brown’s blog, In the Line of Fire, is now available as a newsletter. To have his cutting-edge commentary delivered to your email inbox—for free—click here.

The recent comments of Pope Francis have created a media feeding frenzy.

What exactly did he mean when he said he would not judge gay priests? Is he now condoning homosexuality?

And is he softening the stance of his predecessor, Pope Benedict, who wrote that men with deep-seated homosexual tendencies should not serve in the priesthood? (Wait a second. Does anyone really think it’s wise for a man with deep-seated homosexual tendencies to make a lifetime vow of celibacy and serve side by side with other men of like inclination? We’ll come back to that question in a moment.)

During a media interview while returning from Rio to Rome, the pope was asked about the gay lobby in the Vatican. He responded, “There’s a lot of talk about the gay lobby, but I’ve never seen it on the Vatican ID card!”

He continued, “When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem. … They’re our brothers.”

What exactly did Pope Francis mean? According to John-Henry Westin, writing on, we must interpret the Pope’s comments in the context of the historic, foundational teaching of the Catholic Church.

Westin notes, “The Catholic faith teaches that all homosexual acts are presented in Sacred Scriptures as ‘acts of grave depravity’; that they are ‘intrinsically disordered’ and that ‘under no circumstances can they be approved.’ (Catechism 2357)”

The Catechism also teaches that “even the homosexual inclination is ‘objectively disordered’ and is a ‘trial’ for most who experience it. (Catechism 2358)”

At the same time, “They must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. (Catechism 2358)”

So, is it possible that Francis was simply restating standard Catholic doctrine—namely, that one shouldn’t be judged for having same-sex attractions, as long as those attractions are not acted upon, in obedience to God? Was that his point, but stated with an emphasis on compassion, in keeping with his character?

That is certainly possible, especially in light of the clear statement on marriage made jointly by Francis and Benedict less than one month ago. As reported in the gay press, “Popes Francis, Benedict Jointly Condemn Same-Sex Marriage.”

In fact, according to a Spanish language publication, when the Pope was asked by another journalist why he didn’t speak out against abortion and same-sex marriage on his trip to Brazil, he responded, “The Church has clearly spoken about that; it is not necessary to go over it again, as it’s not necessary to talk about fraud, lying or other things about which the Church has a clear doctrine. It is not necessary to talk about that, but about positive things that open the road for the young ones. Besides, young people know perfectly well what is the Church’s position about this.”

How interesting that the media has failed to pick up on this quote!

What about the issue of gay priests?

According to Westin, “Especially after the horrors of the sex abuse crisis, which many have seen to be related to past tolerance of an active gay sub-culture within the Church, the Catholic Church has forbidden even those men with fixed homosexual inclinations from entering the seminary. In November 2005, the Congregation for Catholic Education released the ‘Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocation with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders.’

“The Instruction forbade admission to seminary to ‘those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called “gay culture”.’”

Obviously, men like this are not suitable candidates for the priesthood, and it’s hard to believe Pope Francis would now be reversing this policy.

This is not a matter of bigotry toward gays. It’s a matter of common sense.

Responding to the pope’s comments, Cardinal Timothy Dolan stated that a priest’s homosexuality “wouldn’t matter to me as long as one is leading a virtuous and chaste life.” But he also noted there was a potential problem in speaking of gay priests or the like, explaining, “My worry is that we’re buying into the vocabulary that one’s person is one’s sexual identity, and I don’t buy that, and neither does the church.”

To be sure, there are plenty of Christian men who have not experienced change in their same-sex attractions but who have chosen to be celibate, and they are living satisfied, full lives, identifying as Christians who are same-sex attracted rather than as “gay Christians.” (I think of Christopher Yuan, co-author with his mother, Angela, of the moving book Out of a Far Country.)

But that is very different than ordaining into the priesthood men who are struggling with same-sex attraction, thereby putting them all together in the same environment. This would be like heterosexual priests sharing living quarters with heterosexual nuns. How long do you think their vows of celibacy would last?

In the same way, do we really think that a bunch of young gay men living together in a seminary setting will all be saintly enough to keep themselves pure? And is it realistic to think that, later in their ministries, they will not struggle as they work alone with their teenage altar boys? (These are the very environments that celibate, same-sex attracted Christians would avoid.)

And if it was right to condemn the sex scandals that have taken place in the Catholic Church, how can the Church be criticized for refusing to ordain priests with deep-seated homosexual tendencies? (On a side note, in one of the most blatant examples of sticking one’s head in the sand, many gay activists have denied that these sexual abuse scandals had anything to do with homosexuality.)

The simple fact is that those who are dominated by same-sex attraction have no place in the priesthood, and compassion would not put someone in a place of so much temptation, nor would wisdom allow them to be placed in a position of authority where they could hurt others along with themselves.

Any change in this position is a recipe for disaster.



Michael Brown is author of The Real Kosher Jesus and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.

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