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More Than Just a “Friendly Neighbor”, Mr. Rodgers Was a Counter-Cultural Christian Icon

What may come as a bit of a surprise to many, one author has discovered that Mr. Rodgers was far from just a friendly television personality

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The cheerful sounds of “Mr. Rodgers’ Neighborhood” were a staple part of the childhood of millions of Americans, who grew up learning simple lessons on kindness, neighborliness, and just how vast a collection of sweater-vests one can own.

Fred Rodgers, the man behind the classic children’s show, has long been a symbol of everything wholesome and good, and his legacy has been given new light in the wake of a recently-released documentary on his life, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

What may come as a bit of a surprise to many, one author has discovered that Mr. Rodgers was far from just a friendly television personality, he was also a deeply ideological Christian pacifist, who used his platform to speak out against the variety armed global conflicts that went on during the time his show ran.

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Michael G. Long, associate professor of religious studies and peace and conflict studies at Elizabethtown College, chronicles Rodgers’ quest to promote faith-based pacifism in the book Peaceful Neighbor: Discovering the Countercultural Mister Rogers.

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The Christian Post has the story:

In comments given to The Christian Post, Long explained that he was drawn to write the book because, like so many others, he “watched the viral videos of Fred Rogers speaking to children and adults in light of horrific violence — clips in which he speaks of the need to care for another and to keep one another safe.”

“Partly because of my interest in peace studies, these videos led me to wonder about his vision of a peaceful society. And so I began digging through the Fred Rogers archives at St Vincent College in Latrobe,” said Long.

“I discovered that Fred Rogers was not only the gentle soul we all imagined him to be, but also a fierce peacemaker intent on creating other peacemakers who would help establish God’s peaceable reign right here on Earth.”

During his research, Long explained to CP that he analyzed the letters, sermons, prayers, essays, books, and television programs of Mr. Rogers, who was an ordained Presbyterian minister.

“Rogers broadcast antiwar programs during the Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf War, and he broadcast programs opposing the nuclear arms race in the 1980s,” explained Long.

“Rogers always advanced the idea that there is a better way to solve conflicts, and to deal with our anger, than going to war or fighting.”

You may not agree with his theology, but it is always admirable to see any Christian have such a large impact on the world with a simple message of kindness, love, and decency.

Lord knows we need more of that today.

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Faith

LA County Now Lifting Ban On Indoor Worship Services ‘To Align With Recent SCOTUS Rulings’

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Los Angeles County has decided to finally follow the Constitution and honor the First Amendment right of freedom of religion — a right handed down by God Himself — and lift a ban on indoor church worship services over the weekend after recent Supreme Court rulings in favor of houses of worship. Gee, how nice of them to allow folks to do what God commands them to do and hold services inside a building like normal people. This should never have been something that needed a Supreme Court ruling. The Constitution is pretty clear that the right to freely expression religion is protected. via Daily Wire: “The Los Angeles County Health Officer Order will be modified today to align with recent Supreme Court rulings for places of worship,” the county said in a press release Saturday. “Places of worship are permitted to offer faith-based services both indoors and outdoors with mandatory physical distancing and face coverings over both the nose and mouth that must be worn at all times while on site. Places of worship must also assure that attendance does not exceed the number of people who can be accommodated while maintaining a physical distance of six feet between separate households.” “Public Health strongly recommends that places of worship continue to hold services outdoors, with physical distancing and the use of face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to congregants and to the entire community,” the release continued. “Because Los Angeles County is experiencing an unprecedented surge of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, every effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to congregants and to the entire community is critical. This is an absolute win for religious liberty, one of the most important and fundamental rights our republic was established upon. In fact, it was our forefathers seeking after religious…

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Faith

Catholic Priest Says A Prayer For ‘Unborn Child In The Womb’ During The DNC

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A Catholic priest who was called upon to deliver a prayer during the Democratic National Convention no doubt made quite a few folks very, very angry by praying for and making a plea on behalf of unborn children at the end of the event. Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit who has caused quite a stir in the Catholic Church for his writings about gay and transgender issues, prayed that folks who were watching the event would open their hearts to “those most in need,” which included “the unborn child in the womb.” Here’s more on this from The Washington Examiner: “Help to be a nation where every life is sacred, all people are loved, and all are welcome,” he said. Martin confirmed to the Washington Examiner earlier in the week that his prayer would contain explicit references to the unborn. Although a hot-button issue for much of the Democratic primary, abortion did not play a major role in the Democratic convention. Aside from Martin’s prayer, the issue received only minimal attention, with some speakers mentioning it in their speeches. Republicans, by contrast, are gearing up to make a major issue of abortion at the Republican National Convention next week. In addition to several anti-abortion speakers, the Republican National Committee invited Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, to deliver the convention’s opening prayer. Dolan has previously done so at both the Republican and Democratic conventions, during which he prayed for the protection of the unborn. At the end of the day, abortion is one of the most critical issues to face our culture in modern history. The reason, of course, is because fundamentally, at the core of the issue, is the defense of the most basic right we all have. The God-given right to exist, to live. If we cannot…

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