MH News June 27, 2019

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Indianapolis
Two catholic high schools in Indianapolis have come under pressure from archbishop Charles Thompson to dismiss faculty members who are in gay marriages; but the responses of the two schools have been very different. Brebeuf Jesuit High School, accountable not to the archbishop but to the Jesuit order, refused to comply and received an order from the archbishop that the school could no longer use the word “Catholic” in its name and would not be considered a school in good standing with the archdiocese. On the other hand, Cathedral High School, a diocesan school accountable to the archbishop, complied with a simi lar directive and dismissed a teacher who is in a legal gay marriage. The archdiocese had threatened to remove all priests from the school, thus eliminating celebration of the mass and other pastoral services normal for a Catholic school. Catholic teaching forbids gay marriage and insists that Catholic institutions adhere to Catholic teaching.  

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San Jose
Netflix has begun the process (announced last fall) of adapting the seven-volume book series The Narnia Chronicles into a series of TV shows and films. The books were written by popular Christian author C. S. Lewis and have sold more than 100 million copies. They are children’s fantasy and  feature the land of Narnia, the four Penvensis children, and the lion named Aslan. Copyright is owned by the C. S. Lewis Company, a privately-owned and rather secretive organization based in Singapore. Award-winning screenwriter Matthew Aldrich (of Coco success) has been hired as the “creative architect” for the project. Netflix is the world’s leading internet entertainment service with over 148 million paid memberships in over 190 countries.

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Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington
Scholars researching the role of religion in public life continue to educate Americans with their findings. In Chicago, the Public Religion Research Institute announced data that demonstrates growing numbers of adults believe small-business owners should be able to refuse service based on their religious beliefs, especially in situations involving LGBTQ or trans-gendered persons. The Pew Research Center in Philadelphia reported that Americans by a two-to-one majority support same sex marriages, sizable demographic and partisan differences emerge from the numbers, and the United States is one of 29 countries or legal jurisdictions worldwide that allow gay marriage. And from Washington DC, the U. S. State Department issued its 2018 International Report on Religious Freedom with its survey of notable successes (Uzbekistan, Pakistan, and Turkey) and on-going concerns in Burma, China, Iran, and Russia.  

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Bladensburg
The Supreme Court, in a 7-2 decision, reversed a lower court and allowed a 40-foot cross to remain on public land. The case was The American Legion vs. American Humanist Association. The cross had been erected to memorialize 49 area residents who had died in World War I and was widely known as The Peace Cross, a name placed on the accompanying bronze plaque. The court ruling, written by Samuel Alito, was oriented toward the specifics of this case and is not considered a strong precedent for other cases involving religion and public life. Ginsburg and Sotomayor dissented.

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New York City
Greek Orthodox in the United States have a new archbishop, the reverend Elpidophoras Lambriniadis, a professor of theology at The Theological School of Thessaloniki, in Greece. Born in Istanbul in 1967, Dr. Elpidophoras has a long and distinguished record of academic success and ecumenical collaboration, having been active in the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches since 1996 and a leader in the dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Lutheran World Federation. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is composed of one archdiocesan district (New York, site of the archbishop’s residence and office) and eight metropolitan districts (New Jersey, Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Boston, and Denver. There are 540 parishes, 800 priests, and approximately 1.5 million participating Orthodox Christians.