“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive
those who trespass against us.” Matthew 6.9

Pastor Dean Snyder of Foundry United Church in his Easter Morning sermon cited this passage from the Lord's Prayer to support his contention that with respect to 9/11 we should stop remembering the hatred associated with this trespass against us. He then symbolically sprinkled pure water on the sanctuary floor to dramatize that cleansing of hatred.

As a nation we were stunned when in four simultaneous air strikes 2,766 Americans and others were killed or severely wounded. There were 460 first responders killed our injured. Rev. Snyder notes however that the 19 Terrorists were killed in the four airplane crashes and that since then master perpetrator Osama bin Laden was shot to death and buried at sea.

Our remembering that sustains hatred has been enormously expensive in American lives and the lives of others. . For the record in the decade since 9 /11 U.S. retaliatory military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan has suffered 6,000 killed and 43,000 wounded.. These wars have already cost more than one trillion dollars and climbing. The costs in innocent lives lost and property destroyed in these two counties is astounding. Domestically the post 9/11 financial costs for Homeland Security are monumental. The foot and other body searches are humiliating and the transportation operating costs are beyond measurements.

There are ample precedents for another way to forgive and forget those who have militarily trespassed against us. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and their simultaneous conquest and enslavement of a huge part of Asia is now fading into history. The United States post war occupation of Japan and the preservation of the position of Emperor gave us means of introducing Democracy into that previously isolated country. For example recent celebrations on the graves of sailors entombed in the Battleship Arizona have witnessed a strengthening bond between United States and Japanese citizens who served in the military of their country during the subsequent war..

On the other side of the world we responded to the Nazi declaration of war against the United States by an incredibly successful military operation. Again our post war response was the Marshall plan. The United States contributed great sums of money to rebuild houses, factories and infrastructure for the German people. In short the United States of America is now leader of the free world in part because we have both declared and practiced the forgiveness requirements from the Lord's Prayer.

More recently we and our allies are withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan. We are joined by Germany and Japan and most of the rest of the world in trying to persuade Iran from developing nuclear war capacity and North Korea from forging atomic missiles. Again with the help of much of the world we are supporting the masses fighting for reform in what we call the “Arab Spring “.

The teachings of Jesus Christ on forgiveness are a part of most of the world's religions and central to the practices of the world’s Psychiatrists and Psychologists. These teachings were initially focused on the individual's relationship to God and to his or her fellow humans. A very strong case is now being made that this forgiveness is crucial to the relationships of nations.

The Easter Celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ at Foundry gave us a fresh opportunity to remember that Christ is called the Prince of Peace and …why.

Rev. Bernard F. Hillenbrand


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" Dear Friends,

I have been greatly moved by Rick Santorum's wise pronouncements, guided by Biblical principles, especially those concerning marriage. Of course he believes that sexual intercouse should be used only for purposes of procreation (he says he has never worn a condom), but thereare some gray areas I was hoping he could clear up, so I wrote him the following letter:

" Dear Sen. Santorum:

" Thank you for doing so much to educate us regarding God's Eternal Law. I have learned a great deal from you and understand why you would propose and support a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sexmarriage, which of course is an abomination.

" As you said, "In the eyes of God, marriage is based between a man and a woman." I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can.When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

" I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how I might obey them:

" 1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies only to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Can I own Canadians?

" 2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her? (She works hard, but does eat a lot.)

" 3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanness (Lev. 14: 19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking when meeting young women at church socials, but most of them seem to take offense.

" 4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is with my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them, or would Lysol work?

" 5. I have a neighbor, Aaron Rogers, who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states that he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it? And how good is the Packers backup QB?

" 6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev.11:10) it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there degrees of abomination? Whatabout a homosexual at an oyster bar?

" 7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I do wear glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here? What about contacts?

" 8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die? I know they must be put to death, but I do not know the recommended method. .

" 9. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field (I think corn and alfalfa). And his wife wears garments made from two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev.24:10-16). Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their inlaws? (Lev. 20:14).

" 10. And last, I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean. May I still play football if I wear gloves?

" I know that you are very busy with your presidenial campaign, but, if you get a chance, I would really like your guidance on these critical and disturbing issues.

" Thank you again for reminding us of the eternal and unchanging truth of the
Holy Bible. God bless you. And may He guide you in your quest to lead this
great nation of ours. "

Sincerely Unknown Author

This came in my Email and I add it to my Blog because is exposes the falacy of the Republican Party's Homophobia

Rev. Bernard F.Hillenbrand

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I had a remarkable experience one evening many years ago. While flying from New York to Washington by chance I sat next to former Governor of Minnesota and perennial (eight times!) presidential candidate Harold E. Stassen. It was late at night and he was in a talkative mood. He recounted his various experiences in international affairs including his service in Great Britain. He got to know Winston Churchill pretty well. Here are some of the comments he made about this remarkable man.

He noted for example that he often went to the House of Commons when he knew Churchill would speak. On one occasion just after World War II when Churchill was out of office and critical of the incumbent Labor Party he arose on the House of Commons and noted as follows: “Great Britain is an island of coal surrounded by fish. Under the Labor government the two items that are in short supply our coal and fish.”

The Governor noted that Churchill had a son-in-law that he disliked very much. The unfortunate fellow added to his difficult relationship by calling Churchill “daddy”. One evening at dinner the son-in-law asked Churchill who is the most impressive world leader he had ever met. Churchill responded “Benito Mussolini. He had the courage to execute his son-in-law Count Ciano”.

Stassen also told the story of Churchill receiving a surprise invitation to address the Women’s Christian Temperance League. With his well-known propensity for alcohol he was intrigued and accepted. At the opening of the conference the chairperson in her introduction noted that the League had carefully selected the place for the meeting. She said that, based upon the reports of his daily consumption of Alcohol that Churchill had already consumed enough wine and brandy to half fill this auditorium half way to the ceiling. Churchill arose slowly raised his eyes to the ceiling and in a soft voice said “I am very humbled when in my advanced age I face the challenge of reaching all the way up to the ceiling.”

Stassen also repeated the famous story about the first woman elected to the House of Commons who was American Nancy Astor or Lady Astor. One day in a furious debate with Churchill she turned to him and said angrily “If you were my husband I would give you poison.” To which Churchill responded “Madam if you were my wife I would take it”.

It was another story about the rivalry between Churchville and Anevrin Bevan the Welsh leader of the Labor Party. At a break in the proceedings Churchville went to the restroom and walked right past Bevan who was at the first urinal. Bevan was very annoyed at the slight and snarled” Winston why are you being so uncivilized?” Churchill responded “Anevrin when you laborites see an instrument of production in private hands you want it nationalized.”
Churchill was a famous napping during dull moment and the House of Commons. One afternoon as Churchill was fast asleep Anevrin Bevan pass by and jammed his finger in Churchill's rather large belly and said “Winston what are you going to call the baby?” Churchill in a split second opened his eyes and said, “Anevrin”.

Rev Bernard F. Hillenbrand

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Surveys confirm that 95% of Roman Catholic women have at sometime in their lives used contraceptives. This is in the face of the prohibition against artificial birth control mandated by the celibate Pope and celibate Church hierarchy. It is also in the face of a profound worldwide concern for overpopulation. Some 28 states have already mandated that birth control services be provided in healthcare policies. One of the provisions of the President Obama’s Health Care legislation is that in the interest of women’s health that ALL American women are entitled to birth control.

President Obama and his advisers continue to be very concerned about the precious constitutional right of religious freedom. For that reason the President’s Plan began with an absolute prohibition against applying these contraceptive rules on churches. The churches however with massive federal help do employ many non-Catholics in church related facilities like hospitals Universities and other facilities. The president in a reversal of policy has now directed that these employees will be covered by the insurance provider and that the cost not be charged against a church.

To the great credit of the Roman Catholic Church the church’s spokesman on this issue Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan of New York President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has called the new approach by the President “a step in the right direction”.

Any movement in this highly volatile and emotional Church and State issue is always dangerous. This is particularly the case now. We are in the center of a most bitter and divisive political campaign in the Republican contest for the presidential nomination. There is a wide public perception that the principal aim of each of the candidates is to prove that he then can destroy President. Obama. The major weapons are wedge issues like stem cell research, abortion, same-sex marriage, and amnesty for illegal Mexicans, gays in the military and now religious oppression. These issues are raw meat for the far right republican base that is so critical in the primaries. These are the people who believe that President Obama is a non-American Muslim, who is at war with Israeli, the Christian religion, Private enterprise and the U.S. Constitution.

Candidate Mitt Romney added his thought on Contraception. When speaking to the Ultra conservative annual Conference Political Action Conference.(CPAC) he got wild applause when he ridiculed China’s “One Child Policy” . The facts are that in the face of that policy a little over 30 years of that policy china has grown from one billion by more than three hundred million. This is about the population of the U.S. Rev Bernard F .Hillenbrand

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The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde is Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, which includes Montgomery, Prince George’s , Charles , and St. Mary’s Counties. She wrote this article for On Faith

“The Scriptural argument against same-sex marriage is based on seven references in the Old and New Testaments that condemn homosexual activity. Each one of those passages, however, condemns exploitative sexual activity that is the antithesis of loving, committed relationships. The Bible is silent on the subject of same-gender monogamous relationships.

In contrast, the Bible has strong teachings against divorce. Jesus himself is quite clear on the subject. Yet over the ages, most Christian churches have come to recognize that God forgives the human sin and frailty that precipitate divorce. We now take a more compassionate approach to this issue than our biblical forebears would have condoned. If the teaching on divorce can change in the light of further theological reflection, I believe that the teaching on same-sex relationships can change as well.

However you interpret the seven texts used to argue against marriage equality, they pale in comparison to the over-arching biblical imperatives to love one another, work for justice, and recognize that each of us is created in the image and likeness of God. Jesus, for Christians, is God incarnate. He not only shows us how to live, but reveals to us that God loves us unconditionally. Indeed, gay and lesbian Christians often speak of the overwhelming experience of being assured that they are loved by God as they are

No matter how devoted to the scriptures of our faith we may be, few of us shape our moral opinion based on holy texts alone. If God is at work in the world, then our experience is a kind of scripture, and we must pay careful attention to what it is teaching us.

Jesus said, “you will know people by their fruits.” St. Paul wrote: “The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Many of us in the Episcopal Church, which I serve as a bishop, know same-sex couples whose relationships can only be described as holy, and thus we have come to support the blessing of such unions. They stand in stark contrast with many exploitative and casual patterns of sexuality that both heterosexual and homosexual Christians are right to reject.

The struggle to determine what sorts of people God approves of is an ancient one. Jewish Christians, the original followers of Jesus, struggled over whether to include non-Jews into their fellowship. Gentiles, according to Jewish law, were unclean. But in the Acts of the Apostles, Peter was led by a vision to the home of a Gentile family who were eager to learn of Jesus’s teaching. After sharing a meal with them, he makes one of the most memorable declarations in all of scripture: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality.”

Every generation, it seems, has struggled to include someone previously thought to be outside the realm of God’s grace and full humanity. In our time, we in the Episcopal Church have come to understand that God shows no partiality between straight and gay people. Not every same-sex couple is a paragon of holiness, but neither is every heterosexual couple. Life long relationships are hard, which is why the support of religious and societal institutions is so important.

From the convictions of my Christian faith, and in support of my gay and lesbian friends whose relationships inspire me in my marriage, I urge Marylanders to join me in supporting the marriage equality legislation currently under consideration in their state.”

Bishop Budde’s scriptural analysis is impressive and hopefullly frees many Christians to now support Same Sex Marriages as do most young people.
Rev Bernard F. Hillenbrand

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