The indictment originally unsealed in late March accused the nine, members of a midwestern militia group called the Hutaree, of planning to kill a police officer in Michigan and then ambush the funeral procession using explosives.
The new indictment adds 10 weapons charges including possession of machineguns and unregistered rifles and use of firearms during a violent crime.
According to the new indictment federal agents seized from defendants’ homes in March machineguns, unregistered short-barreled rifles and over 148,000 rounds of ammunition, as well as “a variety of explosives and related items capable of being readily assembled to build several types of destructive devices.”
Instead of addressing the legitimate concerns of those who oppose the church’s teaching on abortion—such as concerns for the health of women—American bishops too often seem to fear that any acknowledgment of the complexity of this issue would weaken their own position. And instead of speaking from the real strength of their position, and assessing their political situation rationally, too many bishops are in a hurry to warn of impending betrayals and persecutions, suggesting that their prochoice political opponents have more power and fewer scruples than they actually do.
Thus, American bishops spent a fortune on a campaign to defeat the illusory threat posed by the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), which has almost no chance of becoming law. Rather than concede that they may have exaggerated the threat posed by FOCA, some bishops talk as if they themselves averted it by means of their furious warnings. Then there were the denunciations of the University of Notre Dame for inviting President Barack Obama to give its 2009 commencement address, an act some bishops seemed to equate with apostasy. More complicated and consequential was the role played by the USCCB during the congressional debate over the recently passed health-care-reform bill. The bishops ended up opposing the bill because of their dubious reading of its provisions to restrict abortion funding and protect existing conscience clauses (for more on this, see Timothy Stoltzfus Jost’s “Episcopal Oversight”).
Jost dissects the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops continuous parade of false and misleading arguments about health reform. Arguments which tend to discredit the USCCB and confuse those who trust them:
Public polling repeatedly reveals that Americans are confused about what the health-reform legislation does. The legislation is long and complicated, and some misunderstanding of the bill is inevitable. It is unfortunate, however, that this confusion continues to be fed by mischaracterizations of the legislation by the USCCB.
Alex Wild writes at his blog, Myrmecos
With plumes of crude oil destroying the Gulf of Mexico, tensions rising in the middle east, a severe hurricane season reving up in the Atlantic, and the earth opening up and just plain swallowing parts of Guatemala City whole, what else could possibly go wrong?
At Ethics Daily Robert Parham celebrates Baptist historians, among them E. Glenn Hinson, once of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Parham reminds us that in 1980 amid the gathering fundamentalist storm, Hinson “took on Bailey Smith, the Southern Baptist fundamentalist, who said in 1980 that ‘God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew.’”
Hinson told FaithLab in an interview:
I made five points in response to Bailey Smith: (1) Jesus was a Jew – you may have disenfranchised Jesus’ prayers; (2) You disenfranchised everybody from Abraham to Jesus; (3) The Bible teaches that God hears the prayers of unbelievers; (4) This conflicts with centuries of Baptists’ respect for every person’s religious belief; (5) This is the stuff from which Holocausts come. I think the last point may have ignited the tinder.
Hinson eventually left Southern, and although he still considers himself a Baptist was blunt in his assessment of Southern Baptists:
The Baptist tradition depends on a minority consciousness. And having become the majority, Baptists in the South could no longer think like Baptists, they thought like medieval Catholics.
Candace Chellew-Hodge, associate pastor at Garden of Grace United Church of Christ in Columbia, S.C., blistered the formerly homosexual Rev. Ted Haggard for hypocrisy after Haggard said that at his new church he would “‘encourage’ members to strive towards the ideal of biblical heterosexuality and monogamy.”
It’s disappointing when you realize the lesson [of his period of being widely shunned] has gone unheeded—that Haggard is so desperate to again be accepted by those who disowned him that he will bury his own truth and continue to shun, abuse, and belittle others all while hiding behind his pulpit and his Bible.
My partner and I never went to the Episcopal church that had so gladly “welcomed” us. I hope that no gay or lesbian person makes the mistake of believing that Haggard has changed and is really “welcoming” them to his new church.
Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston’s appointment to head the apostolic visitation to deal with the Roman Catholic child abuse catastrophe in Dublin was for good reason not universally cheered:
BishopAccountability.org, a Waltham-based organization that tracks abuse cases, was also critical, saying, “O’Malley’s career ascent has been fueled by his ability to walk into dioceses wracked by horrible revelations of child molestation and enshroud them again in silence.”
Lisa Wangsness of the Boston Globe wrote:
The assignment marks the fourth time that O’Malley, 65, has been asked to intervene in a diocese damaged by clergy sexual abuse. In 1992, he was named bishop of Fall River, a diocese roiled by the serial pedophilia of the Rev. James R. Porter; in 2002, he was named bishop of Palm Beach, where the two previous bishops had acknowledged sexually abusing minors; and in 2003 he was named archbishop of Boston, replacing Cardinal Bernard F. Law, who stepped aside over criticism of his failure to remove sexually abusive priests from ministry.
English Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, who has been appointed apostolic visitor to Ireland’s Armagh archdiocese, was greeted with similar criticism by abuse victims for his mishandling of sexually predatory clerics in his own countries. Specifically, the Irish Independent wrote:
nstead of informing the police of allegations against “notorious paedophile” Fr Michael] Hill, [then Bishop of Arundel Murphy-O’Connor] moved the cleric to the chaplaincy at Gatwick Airport, where he believed the priest would no longer be a danger to children.
But in 1997, Hill was convicted of sex attacks against nine children. After serving three years, he was then given another sentence of five years for assaults on three more boys.
The then-Bishop Murphy O’Connor argued that at the time little was understood of the compulsive nature of paedophilia.
Many in the UK survivor movement would wonder why a bishop with a record of mishandling his own cases could independently look at another bishop’s handling of cases.
Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan, also one of the nine apostolic visitors to Ireland, has a history of resisting appeals for constructive reform in the U.S.
Their records are chacteristic of the most able reformers the Roman Catholic Church can muster to this task?