Religions and Spirituality

Letters to the Editor

The Transgender Flag Raising and the Pursuit of Happiness



The village president, Sheena Collum, was not elected to inject herself or speak for all of us in national political issues. This would be true even if every South Orange resident agreed with the position she is taking today and supported the symbolic act she is choosing to express as president, not as a private citizen. She is supposed to represent all residents, no matter their political or religious stripe, and by this action she is overstepping her bounds and not representing all the people.

A transgender soldier who dies serving his or her country is as much a hero as a heterosexual soldier who is killed in action. Moreover, all persons, however they identify themselves sexually, have a God-given dignity that comes from their Creator. That is not at issue.

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There are clergy and rabbis attending this flag-raising. To them we proclaim from the depths of our faith tradition -- Roman Catholic -- that God is love. It is not just one of His attributes, it is who God is. That being the case, love cannot be anything we humans want it to be, or simply what we feel. Love is a choice, love is an act of the will and, ultimately, we believe, the "yes" to a loving Creator. We can never accept the popular phrase that “Love is love,” that it is anything we want it to be, we cannot water down the true meaning of love to suit us.

God as Creator and all-loving does not give us life in such a way that He traps anyone inside a body that is not the real us or that does not conform to our true being. God made male and female to be fruitful and multiply and to live a life of loving complementarity and interdependence.

Coming to know how much God loves us and desires us to love Him in return, that He did not have to create us and did so only out of love, and that He is our ultimate good and destiny, the happiness we most deeply want, matters for each of us in helping find our true identity, where we came from and our true destiny, heavenly happiness with God. If our happiness matters, then eternal life matters, so does knowing that all humans are redeemable, so does recognizing that the womb is where we start. The lives we live and how we live them are important and each of us must choose how the story of our lives will turn out. We are accountable, which means we are given the freedom to choose, to say yes or no to God’s offer of a trusting, loving abiding in Him and His plan for us. We are given that freedom, we are born with it, because God will not force us to say yes to Him, for then it would not be a loving relationship, a loving relationship that will culminate in our eternal happiness with God, which is what He most wants for each of us, the only creatures He made in His image, that is, solely out of love.

Science is based on empirical proofs. It is pseudo-science to say that something must be so -- that there is a gay gene, for instance -- when science has not proved that as yet. We believe that science and faith are both real and that there cannot be two alternative truths, one scientific and another faith-based. This is not to say that until science proves it, faith cannot profess belief in God. After all, if the only truths are those of science, then no one can believe love exists, since that is not quantifiable, or that poetry and music and beauty count for anything. If God is greater than us, it goes without saying that we cannot “discover” Him.

That does not mean we cannot know Him if He chooses to reveal Himself and His loving plan for us. Another, more basic way to know God is the same way that you and I can recognize a great work of art without being able to identify its author. Would Michelangelo’s David be any less identifiable as the produced by an art master if no one knew who carved it? In a similar way, it is not irrational to conclude that the world and all that is in it, our very existence, and the existence of our vast universe must have been produced by someone with far greater gifts than we can ever imagine.

In a social and political climate that leaves little room for dialogue, a time in which many insist they have the whole truth and that it is therefore right to condemn those who disagree; that the end justifies the means, even if it means violence and hatred, and that people must choose to take one side or another or be demonized, we say, “BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS.” We welcome dialogue while at the same time realizing that at this time in our nation’s history there seems to be little common ground that supplies the basis for such dialogue.   

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

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Spring is (Almost) Here

Get ready for farmers markets and outdoor events, spring is bound to come at some point! To help you get ready Sadie's has lots of new spring products including this great Market Tote by Feed- the purchase of this cute everyday bag will donate 50 school meals. While stopping in for this tote check out some of the other great spring items just in. Don't forget the charity of the month is ...

Feeling Lucky

Shop of the morning to you! It’s that time of year when everyone’s color is green! Stop by Sadie's to get your St. Patty’s shirt before the big day. While your here and feeling lucky check out our latest Spring styles for Men and Women. You may make your friends green with envy.

Horoscope: Have a birthday between 3/13 and 3/24? If you stumble into a ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 13

On this episode of AtlantiCast, new clinical studies in the fields of cardiology and immunotherapy, national and statewide recognitions for Atlantic Health System medical centers and the inaugural AtlantiCast Collab Challenge!


South Orange Police Blotter - Adult Arrests for Shoplifting and DWI Reported

March 16, 2018

South Orange Police Blotter as of March 16

Adult Arrest/Shoplifting - William Minitee, a 45 year old Irvington resident was arrested on Thursday, March 8, at approximately 12:40 p.m. for shoplifting. Security officers at the Stop & Shop on Valley Street observed Minitee conceal several items on his person and then flee the store without paying for the items. Officers stopped a subject ...

Maplewood Police Blotter - Home Burglary, Burglary at DeHart Community Center Reported

March 4 - Burglary; At approximately 1:20 a.m., officers observed a male removing several items from inside DeHart Community Center. The male was identified as 22 year old Joe Carr of Irvington. He was arrested and charged with burglary.

March 6 - Burglary; At approximately 11:30 a.m., officers responded to a home on Broadview Avenue on a report of a ...

Maplewood Senior Center Holds Grand Opening on St. Patrick's Day

March 21, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The Maplewood Senior Center has been open on Burnett Avenue for several months and this past Saturday, Maplewood Township officials, many seniors and community members held a grand opening celebration with a ribbon cutting officially dedicating the center.

As Saturday was the St. Patrick's Day holiday, the Senior Center celebration included green bagels ...

Maplewood to Hold Spring Egg Hunt on Sunday, March 25

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Hop on down to Maplewood's Spring Egg Hunt! Maplewood will hold its 34th annual hunt on Sunday, March 25, from noon to 2 p.m. in Memorial Park.

An email from the Maplewood Recreation Department states to "please arrive promptly at noon with a basket or bag to make sure you don’t miss anything."

At last year's event, hundreds of kids ...

Upcoming Events


Thu, March 22, 7:00 PM

Millburn Free Public Library, Millburn

My Clutter is Taking Over! with Jamie Novak at ...

Education Home & Garden

Thu, March 22, 7:00 PM

Columbia High School Black Box Theatre, Maplewood

Janet Mandel: Vincent Van Gogh: After Arles

Arts & Entertainment

Thu, March 22, 7:00 PM

Bow Tie South Orange Cinemas, South Orange

18th Annual New Jersey Jewish Film Festival

Arts & Entertainment Religions And Spirituality

Fri, March 23, 7:00 PM

Bow Tie South Orange Cinemas, South Orange

18th Annual New Jersey Jewish Film Festival

Arts & Entertainment Religions And Spirituality

Hundreds Cheer on Marchers and Bands at 67th West Orange St. Patrick’s Day Parade

March 19, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ – Even a week’s delay caused by a massive snowstorm couldn’t dampen the spirits of the large crowd of spectators who cheered on the marchers and bands who participated in West Orange’s 67th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday.

Wending their way up Main Street were more than 25 bands, including marching bands from northern New Jersey high ...

Members of Brick City Brims Charged for Alleged Roles in Drug Trafficking Organization

NEWARK, NJ – Six members of the Brick City Brims set of the Bloods street gang were arrested last week for their alleged roles in a major drug trafficking organization that dealt heroin in and around Newark.

Tyrone Brown, 34, Lamarr Burwell, 22, and Miles McCloud, 37, all of Newark, and Martin Pettiford, 23, of Irvington, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to ...

Renovation Complete, Winberie's Restaurant Reopens

March 22, 2018

SUMMIT, NJ - After a more than two months-long renovation -- an initiative which focused on updating the entire dining room, revamping the floor plan, and expanding the bar -- Winberie’s Restaurant & Bar has reopened in Summit.

The restaurant had been closed since New Year's Eve.

“Our guests will immediately see the physical changes we’ve made ...

Commemoration of Jay Kielwasser, Union Animal Control Officer

UNION, NJ – A commemoration of the late Jay Kielwasser's work as Union’s Animal Control Officer took place at Wednesday evening’s Board of Health meeting.

Board President Jackie Carter said Kielwasser, who passed away in April, was the first Animal Control officer appointed by the Board of Health. 

“You really don’t know how someone ...

Check Out BCB Community Bank's High Rate CDs

March 22, 2018

Get the most out of your savings with BCB Community Bank's high rate CD.

Check out BCB's 18-month CD interest rate of 1.76%.  Invest early and watch your money soar.  For more information, just visit or call your local BCB branch today in Union, Maplewood or South Orange:

Union Branch

2000 Morris Avenue
Union, NJ 07083

Maplewood Branch

156 ...

Winter Storm Update from South Orange

New Jersey and Essex County has announced Emergency Declarations which South Orange will also have in affected March 21, 2018, 9 :00 a.m. Please move all vehicles from the road way to allow for the Department of Public Works (DPW) to clear the roads.

Village Municipal Offices, Library and the Baird Community Center will be closed.
Please see a detailed forecast and more information ...

Storm Advisory from Maplewood

Winter Storm Information – Tuesday, March 20, 2018 – 4:00pm

1) Emergencies – Please call 911 if you have an emergency. You can also call 973-762-1234 for a direct connection to a police dispatcher. Do not call the Fire Department or Public Works. Call the police at 911 or 973-1234.

2) Jitneys – The Maplewood Jitneys will operate ...