Fr. Jose Poch

Monday, October 22, 2012

Do Christians Have Rights?

            I listened to a report on the case in Texas involving several cheerleaders who use Bible verses on banners. These banners are placed at the entrance to the field. As we have seen in many football games, the team runs right through the banner, tearing them to pieces. An Atheist group, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, was offended by this expression of the cheerleaders’ faith and a complaint was filed before the East Texas school district which promptly forbade the cheerleaders' practice.

            A judge, however, has granted an injunction requested by the Kountze High School allowing the cheerleaders to continue their practice. A trial is scheduled for June 24, 2013. This issue has drawn into the fray Texas governor, Gov. Rick Perry, and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott who are in support of the cheerleaders’ rights to express their faith.

            Why is Christianity, constantly, under attack in this country?  Why is so much attention and anger roused when Christians express their faith openly? Anyone is allowed to march down our streets to show pride in their causes and rallies can be held in any public park in support of issues. Other religions are not as challenged. When traffic is stopped in New York near a mosque so that Muslims can pray in the direction of Mecca, they are not confronted, but raise a Cross in a public place or set a Nativity Scene, even with permission, and many are offended. They are threatened and immediately challenge our rights to such expressions. What in the world is going on?

            Christianity is not an offensive or an aggressive religion. If we have learned anything from Jesus, it is to turn the other cheek, to go the extra mile, to love and to pray for our enemies and those who persecute us. Is this the reason we are challenged? Are we persecuted because we are easy targets who allow these types of abuses without retaliation? Perhaps, after all, that is what happened to Jesus who quietly endured all that He endured. The early Christians lived day in and day out persecuted by many in the Roman Empire. They were easy targets. They were blamed for earthquakes, for a lost child and for any other catastrophe. It wasn’t until Emperor Constantine became a Christian and declared the rights of Christians to exist that the Church was able to rest from constant persecution.

            So, who speaks for the rights of Christians today? What can we do to protect our rights to express our faith and exercise our religious convictions openly? If our rights continue to erode in this country, we will eventually be muzzled even from the pulpit in our churches, even by our own government. One thing I say to you, don’t stop to speak or to live for Jesus out in the open, declare your faith even if challenged or persecuted but do it in peace, without offense or demeaning anyone else. Live as a true living example of Jesus Christ.

            What do you think?

            Lets Blog!

Thursday, October 18, 2012


“I noticed that many of the older girls, twelve and thirteen years old, had lost all life in their eyes. They appeared to be in a trance or under some kind of dark magician’s spell. They moved with a slow resignation; no amount of smiling, warmth or kindness on my part could draw them out. The systematic and prolonged sexual abuse of children and young people is perhaps the worst crime against humanity because, as I saw day after day, it strips them of their heart and soul. It murders the person but leaves their bodies alive.” (Walker, Daniel. God in a Brothel.)

The above quote captured my heart and saddened my soul. It made me stop, put down the book, and pray. I was spiritually sickened. God in a Brothel is the story of a Christian police officer who works for an organization in the United States that infiltrates groups and brothels all over the world–from the United States, to South America, Central America and South Asia–to rescue young victims of the sex trade. Without getting explicit he describes the stories. Some of them are so perverse and some of the men in the account are so vicious, that at times I feel I do not want to finish the book. I feel I have read enough, I am sickened enough, but my eyes are being opened to the abuses against innocent children and women around the world. He calls Las Vegas, with all of its lights and beautiful buildings nothing more than a brothel and he speaks of Atlanta, the home of the Civil Rights Movement, as a place of slave trade.

How inhumane can this world be? How abusive and heartless can human beings become that they take advantage of the poor, underprivileged, immigrant, lonely and needy to the point of exploiting their bodies for self-gratification and for money?

In this book Daniel Walker, tells of his victories–of rescues–and you want to cheer out loud when a child looks at him and says, “Thank you.” You also want to cry when a rescue does not go well and the child disappears because the police or other investigators tipped the criminals and culprits who run the brothels, in advance of the raid.

We, Christians and people of prayer, must be aware of what is going on all around us. My questions as I read the book is how can I help? How do I support these organizations that rescue these young victims?

Let’s Blog!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


This morning, during my time of prayer and meditation on God’s Word, I read John 14:5-12  (The Upper Room Devotionals). Jesus is in the Upper Room where He was partaking of His Last Supper–the Jewish Passover Meal–with the twelve disciples. As He spoke to them about going to the Father’s House, Thomas asks Him how to get there. Jesus responds with His very famous, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6, NKJV).

Jesus’ subsequent words–If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him–stopped me for a moment and caused me to think. The Father is known and can be known through the Son. Whoever came to know the Son, came to know the Father.

Philip, another of the disciples, requests Jesus to show them the Father. And again, Jesus gives a similar answer: "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” Jesus points to two things as evidence of the Father being “in” Him and therefore visible through Him, the “words” that He speaks (v. 10) and the “works” that He does (v.11).

What about me? Can others know the Father by knowing me? Is He visible and evident through me? Is He known through my character, my words, my actions and my behavior? When they know me, truly know me, can they see the Father?

I had to stop to consider these words of my Lord and I have to tell you that my heart sank. I felt sorrow for the testimony I give with my words and with my actions. I know that I am not saved by my actions in any way, shape or form, rather I am saved by grace alone through faith but I also must take these words of Jesus to heart. How will they know my God by knowing me? How will anyone hear the Father’s voice and see the Father’s works unless they are visible in me?

Share with me your thoughts.

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