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Chaldean Travel Spot Under Threat Because of Christian Cross
By Sam Yousif :: Monday, June 16, 2008 :: 68693 Views :: Article Rating :: Law & Order, Government & Society

Michigan, USA – Many would say it is a rite of passage for Michigan Chaldeans to visit Frankenmuth.  The Bavarian village, dubbed “Michigan’s Little Bavaria” has rich cultural and historical significance and is one of the largest tourist attractions in Michigan.  The small town is now facing legal pressure to strip all religious symbols from their village.  The legal threats hope to end the all-year Christmas displays, removal of the Cross from the town shield, and the destruction of the Cross in the city park.

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State has taken steps to challenge the city for its use of religions symbols. In response, the City Council of Frankenmuth unanimously voted to retain the Thomas More Law Center to defend its unique historical and cultural heritage.  

Christian persecution in America is not necessarily physical abuse says David Haddad, a student of world history.  He asserts that it is more psychological and systematic intimidation that will eventually lead to physical abuse.  “When a Chaldean thinks of ‘persecution’ our minds turn to the humiliating and horrible conditions we faced as a people or the holocaust our people suffered during World War I,” Haddad adds. 

“Others may think of the holocausts of the 20th century and those brutal dictators responsible for murdering millions. Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot come to mind as well as Idi Amin (Uganda), Omar al-Bashir (Sudan), to name a few.  America is moving down the same path.  Oppress psychologically, then legally, then by force.”

Haddad sees the United States of America as a growing and fomenting caldron of Christian persecution.  “They try to shame you if what you believe is counter to what they want you to believe, then they get activist judges to defy the will of the people, and finally use the police to force you to abide by their standards.”

Minority groups such as Catholics, African-Americans, and Native Americans could attest to American persecution.  Regardless of their behavior, these groups were forced to suffer and even killed simply because their right of equality was not protected.  They were treated as second-class citizens and in many cases continue to be oppressed. 

Haddad says groups like the ACLU, Freedom From Religion Foundation, The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), NARAL, NOW, Human Rights Campaign, National Gay and Lesbian Tax Force, AFL-CIO, Unions, International Socialist Organization, People For the American Way, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the Alliance for Justice, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and many other “nice sounding names” attack Christians. 

It is not only Haddad who thinks such groups are attacking Christians.  A number of groups have recently formed to counter the anti-Christian rise in America.  Groups like the Thomas More Law Center headquartered in Michigan who have taken a principled stand to defend the constitution and targeted Christian groups. 

The Thomas More Law Center website states that the group defends and promotes the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life through education, litigation, and related activities.  The center boasts that it does not charge for its services and is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations.

German cultural heritage of Frankenmuth extends as far back as 1845.  The Thomas More Law Center says that the history of Frankenmuth serve to link and promote the city’s unique origins and history which are secular purposes.  Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center commented, “We need not purge all historical references to religion merely to satisfy militant atheists.”

Thomas continued saying that the council’s unanimous vote to retain the Thomas More Law Center in the face of a previous attempt to remove the small cross from its city shield and now the more recent focus on the cross in Cross Park by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State reflects a deep commitment on the part of the council to defend these symbols of the city’s unique history and culture.

 

 

 

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St. Thomas, MI USA

St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church
6900 Maple Rd.
West Bloomfield, MI 48322
Tel: (248) 788-2460
Fax: (248) 788-2153

Founding Pastor:
Rev. Hanna Cheikho

Current Pastor:
Rev. Frank Kalabat

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Emmanuel Rayes, Retired  


Rev. Frank Kalabat
 

Rev. Frank Kalabat was born in 1970 in San Diego, California and entered St. Francis Seminary of San Diego, California.  The admission to the Catholic seminary made him the first born U.S. Chaldean to enter an American seminary.  In 1992, Fr. Kalabat continued his studies at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan.  In July 1995, shortly after graduation he was ordained as priest by His Excellency Bishop Ibrahim N. Ibrahim.  

Fr. Frank chose Mother of God Parish in Southfield, MI. as his first assignment serving the Chaldean community as an associate pastor for half a decade.  In 2001, Fr. Kalabat was elected to serve as Pastor of St. Tomas Parish in West Bloomfield, Michigan where he remains today.   

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1942. Upon graduation Fr. Abrahim was admitted to St. Peter Chaldean Seminary in Baghdad, Iraq.  After a decade of studies and numerous degrees, Fr. Abrhim was ordained a priest in 1967.  He chose to continue ministering in Baghdad, Iraq.  There he was appointed the headmaster of the catechism at Mother of Sorrows Cathedral.  Fr. Abrahim also assisted St. Therese Church in Baghdad until 1978.  Afterward he was asked to assist St. Joseph Church in Baghdad and was appointed Parochial Vicar from 1978-1992. 

In 1992, Fr. Abrahim was called upon to assist the growing Chaldean population in Michigan.  Upon his arrival he was assigned to St. Joseph Church in Tory, Michigan.  Two years later Fr. Abrahim was asked to become the pastor of a Parish community in Windsor, Canada  where he remained the parish pastor until 2001.

Continuing demographic changes in Michigan required Fr. Abrahim to return to St. Joseph Parish in Tory as a Parochial Vicar, where he remained until 2006.  In 2006 he was elected to St. Thomas Parish as Parochial Vicar in West Bloomfield, MI. where he currently serves the Chaldean community.

 

Rev. Emmanuel Rayes

Rev. Emmanuel Rays was born in Araden, Iraq in 1930.  He studied at St. John Dominican Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood in 1954.  The Chaldean catholic ambassador ministered in northern Iraq from 1954-1963, in Syria and Lebanon from 1963-1980, and in the United Stated from 1980 to the present day.
 
Form 1980-1983, he was appointed associate pastor at Mother of God Parish in Southfield, Michigan.  From 1983-1989 he served as pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Detroit, Michigan.  During the early 1990’s he ministered to the Chaldean community in Farmington Hills and was at St. Joseph Parish in Tory where he was Parochial Vicar until 2000.

Although Fr. Rayes retired in 2001, he remains active in serving the community.  He is the author of many articles in Arabic and is the editor-in-chief of the Al Mishal and Al-Tariq magazine.  He has translated and continues to translate many books from French and English into Arabic.