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Crucified Santa On Display Outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral



(Via NY Post)

It’s ho-ho-horrifying!

An artist displayed a painting of a crucified Santa Claus in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Christmas Eve — a stunt that was ripped as sacrilegious.

The artwork by Robert Cenedella, which depicts a disheveled St. Nick hanging from a cross over a pile of Christmas presents, was removed from a Manhattan gallery after it received complaints.

So the painter took it right to the cathedral in the heart of Midtown on Sunday night — to the dismay of holiday revelers.

“You have to be a real piece of crap to try to ruin Christmas for children and families coming out of Mass,” said Councilman Joe Borelli (R-SI). “For shame!”

People walking down Fifth Avenue hours before Midnight Mass also expressed outrage at the painting.

“It’s a disturbing image — that’s the bottom line,” said Theresa Manly, 54, of Chapel Hill, NC. “I can’t imagine how whoever painted this abomination . . . All he’s doing is being a grinch.”

“If they saw this they’d be asking me, ‘Mommy, what’s Santa doing on the cross? Is Santa dead?’ ” said Cynthia Rodriguez, 29.

Cenedella told The Post that “the painting has been considered controversial from the outset but for the wrong reasons.”

“The thing about St. Patricks is, I always thought if the painting was there on Christmas Eve and people saw this during the service they would realize what has happened — how commercialism has really taken over what’s one of the more religious events in history,” he said. “That was the whole idea.”

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‘Don’t Accessorize The Cross’ – Pope Francis



(Via Breitbart)

In the lead-up to the commemoration of Holy Week and Easter, Pope Francis has urged Christians to see the crucifix not as an piece of jewelry but rather as a profound symbol of faith in Jesus.
Commenting on the gospel reading March 18, where Jesus says that when he is “lifted up” he will draw all people to himself, the pope said that the passage invites us to contemplate the crucifix, where Christ’s glory is revealed.

“Those who want to know Jesus must look inside the cross, where his glory is revealed,” Francis told pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday before reciting the Angelus prayer with them. “Look inside the cross.”

The gospel, he said, “invites us to direct our gaze to the crucifix, which is not a decoration or a fashion accessory.” It is, rather, “a religious symbol to be contemplated and understood.”

“The image of Jesus crucified reveals the mystery of the death of the Son as the supreme act of love, the source of life and salvation for humanity of all times,” he added. “In his wounds we have been healed.”

The pope warned that like other holy objects, the crucifix is sometimes “abused” by people who treat it simply as a piece of jewelry, disregarding its deeper religious significance.

Francis invited his hearers to ask themselves, “How do I look at the crucifix? Like a work of art, to see whether it is beautiful or not? Or do I look inside, entering the wounds of Jesus even to his heart? Do I look at the mystery of God brought low to the point of death, like a slave, like a criminal?”

The pope also encouraged his audience to meditate on the wounds of Christ, which he suffered for the salvation of the world.

In this way, “we will learn the great wisdom of the mystery of Christ, the great wisdom of the cross,” he said.

Despite his criticism of wearing the crucifix as a piece of jewelry, on the following day the pope told a group of young people that he has nothing against tattoos, even in the form of a cross.

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Scientology Organization Getting Sued For “Forced Abortions”



(Via The Daily Wire)

Former Scientologist Laura DeCrescenzo alleges that the church forced her to undergo an abortion at age 17.

DeCrescenzo and the Church of Scientology “have been in an on-going legal battle for years, and the church asked a federal court to dismiss the entire case in December,” LifeNews reports.

DeCrescenzo, now 39, says she joined the group under her parents at age 12 and served in the infamous Church of Scientology International Sea Org after having left home. While serving, she allegedly suffered harsh working conditions and long hours. The horror reached its apex when Scientology allegedly forced her and other women into getting abortions.

“I was told by the commanding officer of my organization that … at this point the baby wasn’t a baby, it was just tissue,” DeCrescenzo said, previously. “I never agreed to have an abortion. Did I concede? Yes, I did. Does it kill me every day? Yes, it does.”

DeCrescenzo says the church forced her to work as much as 100 hours per week while dishing out “severe punishments” to those who failed to meet demands.

“There are two very different versions of Scientology. There is the Scientology as presented to the outside world and there is a different Scientology in which Plaintiff lived and worked for approximately 13 years,” her lawsuit states.

Here’s more from the report:

She claims that she was “blackmailed” by the CSI and its agents who stored information on her and “interrogated [her] on a primitive lie detector known as an e-meter” to keep her from leaving her staff position.

This practice of “security checking’”was followed up, her suit claims, with the threat that she would be “declared a suppressive person and an enemy of the church” should she leave. She was also told she would be forced to “disconnect” – cease all contact – from family and friends should she leave.

The Church of Scientology denies the charges. Her case will be heard in August unless the church is granted their dismissal request.

Scientology has a notorious reputation for allegedly forcing their members to undergo abortions. Former Scientologist Samantha Domingo said the church treated her and other women like “criminals” if they wanted to keep their babies.

“I bought into it. I had an abortion to prove I wasn’t this evil person, this Satan that everybody was saying I was,” Domingo said. “I murdered a child, that’s the way I look at it, and it will forever live with me that I murdered a child. I will never forgive myself for that, I will never be able to rewrite it.”

Former member Claire Headley told Leah Remini during an A&E special on Scientology that she and other women were forced or coerced into having abortions.

The Trump administration is reportedly looking into having Scientology’s tax exemption revoked.

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Iowa Lawsuit Is Fight For Religious Freedom Against the University of Iowa



(Via AP)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The University of Iowa is caught up in a legal fight with a conservative Christian student group that denied a leadership position to a student who is gay.

The case pits a university policy barring discrimination based on sexual orientation against the religious beliefs of a 10-member group called Business Leaders in Christ. The group sued after the state’s flagship university in Iowa City revoked its campus registration in November.

The group says its membership is open to everyone, but that its leaders must affirm a statement of faith that rejects homosexuality. The university says it respects the right of students, faculty and staff to practice the religion of their choice but does not tolerate discrimination of any kind.

The group, founded in the spring of 2015 by students at the university’s Tippie College of Business, met weekly for Bible study, to conduct service projects and to mentor students on “how to continually keep Christ first in the fast-paced business world.” The group’s loss of registration as an on-campus student organization means it can no longer reserve campus meeting space, participate in student recruitment fairs, access funds from student activity fees or use university-wide communication services.

A student member of Business Leaders in Christ, Marcus Miller, filed a complaint with the university last February after the group denied his request to serve as its vice president. Miller’s request was rejected after he disclosed he was gay.

The group says it denied Miller’s request because he rejected its religious beliefs and would not follow them. Group leaders must affirm a statement of faith that affirms that they “embrace, not reject, their God-given sex” and support the idea that marriage can be only between a man and a woman.

“Every other sexual relationship beyond this is outside of God’s design and is not in keeping with God’s original plan for humanity,” the statement of faith says.

The group’s lawsuit, filed in federal court in Davenport, says it “cannot and will not ask leaders who do not share its beliefs to lead members in prayer or to convey those beliefs.”

“Every organization to exist has to be able to select leaders who embrace its mission,” the group’s attorney, Eric Baxter with the nonprofit law firm Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said. “You would never ask an environmental group to have a climate denier as their leader. It’s the same thing here.”

Judge Stephanie M. Rose has set a hearing for Thursday on a request from the group to reinstate its on-campus privileges in time to participate in spring recruitment fairs Jan. 24-25 — something the group says is “crucial to its existence.”

The university said it has a right and obligation to ensure an open and nondiscriminatory environment on campus. University spokeswoman Jeneane Beck said that on-campus groups must guarantee “that equal opportunity and equal access to membership, programming, facilities, and benefits shall be open to all persons.”

But the university also acknowledged that the court “must carefully weigh the compelling interest of religious freedom on the one hand and the compelling interest of preventing discrimination on the other hand.”

Miller did not respond to messages seeking comment about the lawsuit. He has since started his own university-recognized, Jesus-centered student organization, Love Works, to advocate for justice on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual issues.

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