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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

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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Faith

President Trump Says He’d ‘Go In And Do A Number On Middle East Countries Persecuting Christians’

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President Trump recently said that he would “do a number” on countries located in the Middle East that are persecuting Christians if he could find solid proof and evidence that sort of thing was happening. Christians in that part of the world are heavily persecuted, mostly by radical Muslim government regimes and terrorist groups, for daring to stand up boldly for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Here’s more on this from The Washington Examiner: “If you look at the way Christians have been treated in some countries, it’s beyond disgraceful,” Trump said Thursday during a news conference at the White House. “If I had information and if I had absolute proof — some of the stories that we’ve heard, which are not easy, which is not easy to get — I would go in and do a number to those countries like you wouldn’t believe. He added, “What they do to Christians in the Middle East — it’s disgraceful.” Trump made the comment while discussing the nascent “Abraham Accord” treaty to normalize relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. This is not only going to be a big help to Christians in that area of the world, but it will also help Israel as well. For many, many years, the Jewish Nation has been surrounded by countries who do not recognize it’s legitimate right to exist. Striking this deal is a first step in changing that way of thinking in that part of the world. It’s something a lot of folks probably never dreamed possible before. Christians are told in the Bible to expect persecutions and to rejoice in suffering for the cause of Christ. However, that doesn’t mean we should allow persecution to continue on as if it’s a good thing. It’s not. If we have an opportunity…

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