Pope Warns Media Over ‘Sin’ Of Spreading Fake News, Smearing Politicians

Pope Warns Media Over ‘Sin’ Of Spreading Fake News, Smearing Politicians

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Spreading Disinformation is “the greatest damage that the media can do.”

Media that focus on scandals and spread fake news to smear politicians risk becoming like people who have a morbid fascination with excrement, Pope Francis said in an interview published on Wednesday.

Francis told the Belgian Catholic weekly “Tertio” that spreading disinformation was “probably the greatest damage that the media can do” and using communications for this rather than to educate the public amounted to a sin.

Using precise psychological terms, he said scandal-mongering media risked falling prey to coprophilia, or arousal from excrement, and consumers of these media risked coprophagia, or eating excrement.

“I think the media have to be very clear, very transparent, and not fall into – no offence intended – the sickness of coprophilia, that is, always wanting to cover scandals, covering nasty things, even if they are true,” he said.

“And since people have a tendency towards the sickness of coprophagia, a lot of damage can be done.”

Read more here.

Raise the Minimum Wage!

 Set the Minimum Wage at $15 per hour

At the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ (CT-UCC), a resolution was adopted which called for a minimum wage of $15 per hour beginning in 2019. The resolution was sponsored by Faith Congregational Church UCC, Asylum Hill Congregational Church UCC, Center Church, UCC and Immanuel Congregational Church UCC, all of Hartford. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, and the CT minimum wage will be $10.10 per hour starting January 11, 2017. While CT has been a leader in setting its minimum wage above the federal standard, more needs to be done. CT United Way has participated in ALICE [Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed], a study of how much it costs to live in Connecticut, what those expenses are, how much people earn, and poverty levels. The study can be found here. What it tells us is that in 2014, the hourly wage for a Household Survival Budget for a single person was $11.33 and for a family of 4 with 2 small children $35.39. Given a 2% inflation rate those figures are about $11.56 and $36.10.


The cost of living here, however, is far more expensive than the ALICE individuals and families can afford. We CAN do something about this.   At it says in Proverbs 14:31,” You insult your Maker when you exploit the powerless; when you’re kind to the poor, you honor God.”

We did a petition drive. The petition said:

We the undersigned members and friends of the following churches: Asylum Hill Congregational Church, UCC; Immanuel Congregational Church, UCC; Center Church UCC; and Faith Congregational Church UCC  hereby petition you to support setting the minimum wage for Connecticut at $15 per hour beginning in 2019.”

The petitions were presented to Governor Malloy, Lt. Governor Wyman, 12 Hartford area legislators and 6 legislative leaders on December 21, 2016. There were 425 signatures, with 178 presented through the efforts of Faith Church. The petitions were delivered by the Rev. Stephen Camp of Faith Congregational Church, the Rev. Bill Warner-Prouty of Center Church, and Jim Boucher and David Biklin of Immanuel Congregational Church. Thanks to all who helped make this happen.

What Do You Know About Christianity?

First Advent, Now Epiphany ? What?

First we celebrated Advent, the 40 day period leading up to Christmas,  complete with frenzied shopping and partying. (BTW, it seems that the commercial  “Christmas” season starts earlier every year. I saw Christmas in stores in early October this year!) Now we are celebrating the 12 days of Christmas, ending with Epiphany on January 6. 12 days of Christmas? I thought that was just a song?   Well, it is, but it stands for a very real, and now very expensive, tradition.

The ’12 Days of Christmas’ Costs a Little More This Year

This year it’ll cost a little more if you want to put everything from the “12 Days of Christmas” song under your tree.  The complete set of prices for buying everything in the song from a physical store is as follows:

  • Partridge, $20; last year: $25
  • Pear tree, $190; last year: same
  • Two turtle doves, $375; last year: $290
  • Three French hens, $182; last year: same
  • Four calling birds (canaries), $600; last year: same
  • Five gold rings, $750; last year: same
  • Six geese-a-laying, $360; last year: same
  • Seven swans a-swimming, $13,125; last year: same
  • Eight maids a-milking, $58; last year: same
  • Nine ladies dancing (per performance), $7,553; last year: same
  • 10 lords a-leaping (per performance), $5,509; last year: same
  • 11 pipers piping (per performance), $2,708; last year: $2,635
  • 12 drummers drumming (per performance), $2,934; last year: $2,855

According to Edwin and Jennifer Woodruff Tait, writing for Christianity Today,  the “real” 12 days of Christmas are important because they give us a way of reflecting on what the the birth of Jesus means in our lives. Christmas commemorates the most momentous event in human history—the entry of God into the world God made, in the form of a baby.  December 26 is the feast of St. Stephen—a traditional day for giving leftovers to the poor. St. John the Evangelist, commemorated on December 27, is traditionally the only one of the twelve disciples who did not die a martyr. On December 28, we celebrate the feast of the Holy Innocents, the children murdered by Herod.

Finally, on Epiphany (January 6), the celebration of Christmas comes to an end. “Twelfth Night” (as all lovers of Shakespeare know) is the ultimate celebration of Christmas madness (Shakespeare’s play features one of his many “wise fools” who understand the real meaning of life better than those who think they are sane). Epiphany commemorates the beginning of the proclamation of the gospel—Christ’s manifestation to the nations, as shown in three different events: the visit of the Magi, the baptism of Jesus, and the turning of water into wine. In the Western tradition, the Magi predominate. But in the Eastern churches, Jesus’ baptism tends to be the primary theme. Read the complete article here.

Meditation Not Detention

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The Dalai Lama said: “If every 8-year-old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.”

This school replaced detention with meditation. The results are stunning.


Imagine you’re working at a school and one of the kids is starting to act up. What do you do?

Traditionally, the answer would be to give the unruly kid detention or suspension.

But in my memory, detention tended to involve staring at walls, bored out of my mind, trying to either surreptitiously talk to the kids around me without getting caught or trying to read a book. If it was designed to make me think about my actions, it didn’t really work. It just made everything feel stupid and unfair.

But Robert W. Coleman Elementary School has been doing something different when students act out: offering meditation.

Photo from Holistic Life Foundation, used with permission.

Instead of punishing disruptive kids or sending them to the principal’s office, the Baltimore school has something called the Mindful Moment Room instead. Read more here and here.

Spiritual Care in Medicine

Click through to learn how you can view an all-new one hour interview with Bernie Siegel, MD, one of the top teachers of spirituality in medicine #nicabm #spirituality #spiritual #medicine #psychology:

 The Case For Incorporating Spiritual Care In Medicine

“We need to back away from the computer and really listen.”

Antonia Blumberg     Associate Religion Editor, The Huffington Post

Blumberg writes, “Dr. Christina Puchalski is familiar with death. The palliative care doctor and founder of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health (GWish) has seen countless patients facing the end of life ― but there are still moments that shake her foundation.” She continued, “Sometimes, Puchalski noted, the most crucial thing a doctor can offer a patient is their presence and a willingness to listen. With these tools doctors can attend not only to their patient’s physical needs but to their spiritual concerns as well, she said. The definition Puchalski uses for spirituality at GWish, which marked its 15th anniversary this year, focuses less on religious affiliation and more on a person’s “search for ultimate meaning.” How patients make sense of their illnesses, and even their aches and pains, should be part of the “whole person model” doctors employ, she said.”

Read more about how spirituality affects medical care here.

Protect Your Child’s Education for Free

Protect Your Child’s Education for Free

Are you:

  • Between 19 and 42
  • The parent or legal guardian of one or more dependents under 18
  • A permanent, legal resident of the USA
  • Currently employed full or part time with a total family income of between $10,000 and $40,000
  • The only parent or legal guardian in your household who has applied
  • In good health
  • Are not on probation
  • Don’t have heart disease, cancer, HIV or Type 1 diabetes
  • Don’t abuse drugs or alcohol or haven’t abused them within the past 10 years

I know those are a lot of conditions, but the rewards might be great! MassMutual’s LifeBridge program provides free life insurance to help you insure that your children can complete their education should you die before they do. If you qualify, MassMutual will issue a $50,000 term life insurance policy to a trust for 10 years and they pay the premiums. If you die within that time period, the money can be used to cover the educational expenses of your children, who have 10 years after your death or until age 35 to use the benefit. For more information, click here.