Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Why, Pastor Morris - Why?

I cannot think of any member of our national family who has not been affected by the tragic events in Newtown CT.  It was my hope that during this past weekend, all members of the pastoral community would offer words of comfort and healing to their congregations.

This evening I was presented with a story about a minister in Tennessee and his sermon this past weekend that is beyond my professional and pastoral understanding.

Old Paths Baptist Church Pastoral Sam Morris told his congregation that the number of mass shooting were escalating because of schools were government “mind-control centers” that taught “junk about evolution” and “how to be a homo.”  Mr. Morris went on to say “We get all up in arms about 20 children being shot in a day care but we don’t give one good-glory rip about the 4,000 that were removed violently from the wombs of their mothers on the same day,” he explained. “I believe they use children and Christmas and all that to pull on our heart strings about gun control. That’s what it’s all about.”

In additional remarks, Morris said “We’re going to see more of this because notice, the first thing in America we start yelling about is gun control is gun control. Have you noticed that? Gun control. No one’s even thought about the fact that these shootings only happened at places where guns are banned. Have you noticed that? They have never had a mass shooting at a gun show, where you can find over a thousand loaded guns at one time.”

“Why do you still send your kids to the governmental schools?” the pastor asked the congregation. “What’s behind this shooting that we saw on Dec. 14 in Newtown, Connecticut and the other one’s like it? What’s going on. Well, number one, deception… I got news for you, when you kicked God out of schools, you’re going to be judged for that.”

How about that?

A few days ago, I committed myself to working with two of my colleagues from the independent catholic movement to form an ecumenical committee named “Bishops for the Prevention of Violence.”  I hope that not only we will be successful in helping to bring about an end to gun violence, but we may also counteract the damage done by the words of Sam Morris.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pope bestows Blessings upon Rebecca Kadaga, Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament

After ending my canonical relationship with the Roman Catholic Church, I promised myself that I would never engage in any form of "bad-mouthing" the jurisdiction I once belonged to and I re-affirmed that promise after I became a bishop within the Evangelical Catholic Church.

Today I read a news story that is forcing me to go back on that promise.

John Becker recently wrote a story in the Huffington Post titled: "Pope Blesses Uganda's Top "Kill the Gays" Lawmaker"  Rebecca Kadaga, Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament was in Rome with a delegation of Ugandan lawmakers.  Speaker Kadaga has proposed "Kill the Gays" legislation in the Ugandan Parliament and hopes to see it past before the end of this year.

Upon presenting Pope Benedict XVI with a gift, Speaker Kadaga received a Papal Blessing from the Pope. Let me repeat this:  The Bishop of Rome publicly bestowed a Papal Blessing to a political leader working to enact a Holocaust of gay and lesbian Ugandans.  

As a result, Speaker Kadaga can now return to Uganda with pictures of her receiving her Papal Blessings and use it as a tool to push through her "Kill the Gays" legislation.  

Where is the outrage?  Why have so many voices elected to remain silent - just as they did so many years ago when Hitler came to power. 

Benedict XVI has sent a clear message to the world.  Will there be a response? 

This is just beyond me.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"They" couldn't get Obama, so they got Susan Rice instead

I was sorry to hear that UN Ambassador Susan Rice has asked to have her name removed from consideration at the next United States Secretary of State. Few individuals have the credentials or experience to step in the role of Secretary of State as Ambassador Rice. While I am convinced that President Obama will nominate someone who will serve our country well, it is a shame that John McCain and his band of thugs got away with the hatchet job they did on Ambassador Rice. Since McCain and Company could not defeat President Obama's re-election, they had to settle on Ambassador Rice as a surrogate.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn must appeal the order of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to force Illinois to enact legislation permitting Illinoisans to carry concealed handguns.

Today I sent a letter to Illinois Governor Pat Quinn urging him in the strongest of terms to appeal the decision of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to mandate the Illinois legislature to enact legislation permitting the people of Illinois to carry concealed handguns.

In my letter to the Governor, I said "We are at a time in our history when it is apparent to all that the plague of handgun violence must be addressed and steps must be taken to reduce the number of handguns and assault weapons that currently infest our cities and towns and which contributes to the number of premature deaths of our statewide family members.  Permitting Illinoisans to carry concealed handguns will guarantee a deadly surge in the “Rambo mentality,” thus insuring a drain on our law enforcement agencies, hospital emergency rooms and offices of our medical examiners. 

Permitting Illinoisans to carry concealed weapons will contribute to a loss of jobs in our states because small business owners will close their shops because of the higher cost of insurance and force their employees on the unemployment rolls.  Our state economy cannot afford this.

As a catholic bishop, I unconditionally beg you to also consider the moral and ethical obligations our elected officials have to protect the welfare and safety of our state wide community.  I have had to hold the hands of too many parents and spouses who have lost their loved ones to handgun violence and I have no desire to have those numbers increase because of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.  The morticians and undertakers of our state will always have their clients and I believe that the only positive outcome of this mandate would be an increase in their business.   Every person born into this world has the right to a life of possibilities and not destined to be a statistic in the book of victims. 

Many years ago, I stood with you in front of the Prudential Building in Chicago in the dead of winter fighting for those who were about to have their electricity shut off.  I said to you that “I hope that we here might make a difference.”  Your response to my statement was “We are obligated to protect the health and welfare for the people.”

For the sake of all Illinoisans I beg you to embrace those words and to fight this mandate in the United States Supreme Court.  I pledge to you all my help and support in such a fight.”

I fear that I need to begin to brace myself for the worst to come.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Advent Season for Gender-Common Marriage

Sometimes the gift of humor helps individuals and the community at large along its way in a discernment process.

"Soon we may live in a world where the only people opposed to gay marriage will be gay people who are married." –Craig Ferguson

"You know who is really against the president's position on gay marriage? Gay men afraid of commitment. Now they have no excuse." –Jay Leno

"Rev. Pat Robertson says that if more states legalize gay marriage, God will destroy America. He did say that afterwards, gays will come in and do a beautiful renovation." –Conan O'Brien

"When you're a gay couple getting married, who gets the bachelor party? Who goes downstairs in the middle of the night to check on the noise? Who forgets the anniversary? Who refuses to stop and ask for directions? And which one of you will take forever to get ready?" –David Letterman


"Recently, the highest court in South Africa handed down a decision ordering the country s parliament to extend marriage rights to all gay couples. So just to reiterate, American is now less progressive than South Africa." --Jon Stewart

While the Christian community is focused on the spirituality of Advent, there is another advent - a secular one which is building momentum towards its eventual birth.

Just for a quick reference, The word 'Advent' is from the Latin 'Adventus,' which means 'coming.'

I am speaking of the Advent for the legalization of gender-common marriages.

It seems to me that once the last votes (including Florida) were counted and President Obama was re-elected to a second term as President, the momentum to finally resolve the question of marriage equality has become almost as important a national concern as is the "fiscal-cliff" issue. I believe what has freed this momentum on its course is because the vocal minority in opposition to marriage equality and many other forms of human and civil rights has expounded its last roar.

This past weekend, George Will, the patriarch of conservative commentators and writers spoke the obvious on the ABC Sunday talk-show "This Week" said:

"There is something like an emerging consensus. Quite literally, the opposition to gay marriage is dying. It’s old people."

Mr. Will's assessment is correct.  The sadness is that it has taken so long for this matter of human rights and dignity to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

The older I become, the more distinction I see between "human time" and "God's time."  To be human and subservient to God's clock can be very difficult.  As marriage equality becomes a finalized realization, I cannot help thinking about countless numbers of those who never lived long enough to see this approaching day.  Like the former slaves who died just before the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, the women who died just before the 15th Amendment to the Constitution or all those who died before the enactment of the 1965 Voting Rights Act - those who did not live to experience marriage equality must never be forgotten for it was their dream that kept the ember of hope alive through so many difficult years.

There is a sense of sadness in the reality of Mr. Will's comments because I think that it is indeed sad that we have to wait for the death of a generation in order for our society to progress and evolve forward.  As a bishop I have to ask myself where did the pastoral community fail in the spiritual formation of our people.  Why did we allow so many teachable moments to reform social and spiritual attitudes to slip through our fingers?  Why were we silent when we should have, as shepherds, been shouting out against injustice from the rooftops?  Why did we permit the power of bigotry and prejudice to prevail over goodness?  For these failures, many of us will have to answer in the next life.

I find some solace in the fact that my catholic jurisdiction went "against the current" and followed the call of the Holy Spirit to permit gender-common marriage in 1997 and I find additional comfort by seeing other jurisdictions beginning to welcome gender-common couples to marriage.

It is my hope and prayer that as human time and God's time has converged on the question of marriage equality we will not have to wait for generations to die before all of humanity has the opportunity to experience full and complete human rights and equality.

Thank you, God for this Advent.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bread for All, Work for All, Dignity for All: A Christian Revolution

On January 1st, 2013, my new Pastoral Letter "Bread for All, Work for All, Dignity for All: A Christian Revolution" will be officially released.

Since it is a bit long to post here on the blog, let me share with you the Abstract and then, if interested, you will be given the link to read the Pastoral online.

“Bread for All, Work for All, Dignity for All:  A Christian Revolution”

Bishop James Alan Wilkowski, MPS, MDiv.
Evangelical Catholic Bishop for the Diocese of the Northwest
January 1, 2013

Despite the social and spiritual evolution of human rights and dignity, internal and external forces threaten to undermine their gains and sometimes succeed.

This Pastoral identifies select examples of bigotry and social injustice which the secular and theological world has had to content with and often overcame.

This Pastoral focuses on the attempted renaissance of bigotry, social injustice and cultural apartheid in America during 2012 and concurrent with the American Presidential Election. The Pastoral also articulates a “Christian Revolutionary” response to this renaissance that is based upon spiritual, social and psychological principles.

About the Author:

Bishop James Alan Wilkowski has been the Evangelical Catholic Bishop for the Diocese of the Northwest since July of 1997.  He has been awarded a BA from Governors State University, a Masters in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University of Chicago and a Masters of Divinity from Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis.  The Bishop is currently in his second term as Presiding Bishop for the Evangelical Catholic Church.

The text for the Pastoral can be found at

The Covenant for Human Rights and Dignity Scroll Project

The Covenant 
Human Rights and Dignity Scroll Project
The journey towards insuring the basic human rights and dignity for all of God's people has been a fragile and complex one. 
Since the later half of the twentieth century, much progress has been made in the protecting of basic human rights and human dignity and also in an expansion in the understanding and applications of these concepts. 
Despite our growth in understanding the needs for protecting the human rights and dignity for all comes under many forms of threats - both indirect and direct.
The goal of this ecumenical and non-partisan Covenant for Human Rights and Dignity Scroll is to provide an opportunity for all peoples of good will to recommit themselves to the cause for Human Rights and Dignity.
We also wish to reach out and invite our young people - the generation of the future to embrace the work of previous generations to build a contemporary understanding of the importance of Human Rights and Dignity.
It is our hope that this traveling Scroll will remind society of it sacred Stewardship entrusted to us by God.
This Scroll shall bear the names of all who are committed to the work of protecting the Human Rights and Dignity of all God's Children.
 For those who wish to have their names added to the Scroll prior to having the opportunity of signing it in person, we invite you to send us a letter authorizing us to add your name. To insure authentic requests are processed, letters can be sent to us as an attached file via email at