45 Responses to Where is Tort Reform in the Health Care Debate

  • Tito:

    Let’s not start with the lawyer bashing. 1) Why should doctors be immune from having to pay for their own acts of negligence. 2) As a resident of the State of Indiana where all medical malpractice suits have to first pass mustard with a panel made up of physicians and malpractice cases (no matter how eggregious) are capped at $1.25 Million, I can tell you that tort reform has no benefit to the consummer when it comes to medical costs. 3) If doctors don’t reimburse patients for the costs of their own negligence then who would you have take care of these people – the taxpayer? 4) Ask any military member or former military member about the wonderful medical care that they receive at the hands of doctors immune from malpractice suits.

  • Texas has had ione of the strictest tort reform regimes since the late ’80s. Hasn’t lowered medical costs for the consumer at all. It hasn’t lowered malpractice premiums for physicians. The only thing it seems to have accomplished is line the pockets of insurance companies (gee, guess who is pushing for tort reform as a solution?). And as awakaman says – why should docs get a pass? If you negligently hit someone with your car and injure them, you are fully responsible for all damages – why shouldn’t a doctor be responsible for any damage he causes?

  • Didn’t know tort reform meant no malpractice payments. Don’t read that anywhere. Wonder where it comes from.

  • Also having served in the military there are some bad docs there. Also a great many good ones. Some of the best I’ve ever worked with. Are lawyers completely free of blame. Not at all. But that would require opening eyes.

  • I don’t think anyone is questioning whether doctors should be responsible for actual damages — they’re questioning whether they should be responsible for punitive damages.

    But the commenters who’ve pointed out that tort reform hasn’t significantly lowered the cost of malpractice insurance are right — though probably wrong that insurance companies are getting their pockets lined all that much either. And indeed, I can assure you that doctors in Texas continue to practice defensive medicine, as my wife and I ran into with some frustration when getting ready for the delivery of our youngest.

    I’d guess there are two things at play here:

    1) The prevalence of astronomically high awards is actually not all that high. The real costs of malpractice insurance probably center around records gathering, legal representation, arbitration and fairly small settlements. So as long as legal action remains the primary way to solve possible malpractice, the costs of malpractice insurance will remain high. This is avoided in countries with centralized medicine by not having any malpractice claims system, and just providing the care to repair (as much as possible) any malpractice be free.

    2) Lawsuits aside, doctors really do want the best for their patients. As such, they tend to order up extra procedures which marginally reduce the likelihood of problems not just because they’re afraid of being sued, but because they do not want themselves to sit down afterwards and think, “If only I had done X, my patient would have been alright.” Given that they know their patients usually aren’t being directly hit by the cost, and that they themselves sometimes actually get paid a bit more as a result, there’s really no reason to not always insist on “better safe than sorry” even when we’re talking about a 0.01% improvement in likely outcome.

  • Actually, Tito, go ahead and delete my entire previous comment.

    I – as do many attorneys – enjoy a good lawyer joke, and think lawyers shouldn’t be immune from “bashing” when they deserve it. But there’s no need for me to tar with such a broad brush.

  • DC:

    I agree that some things do need to be reformed. As you said “punitive damages”. Also another is a trend to allow parents of adult children to be compensated for loss or injury to that child due to loss of love and affection. However, these are recent innovations. Tort cases have traditionally been meant to make the injured party whole for their loss not to punish or to compensate individuals for injuries that are purely subjective.

    Yes, there are some good doctors in the military, but there are also a lot of guys who are there unwillingly fulfilling an obligation they incurred as a result of the military paying for their education or contract doctors who are unable to get a job elsewhere. For example, at the base I was at in the Army we had a doctor we called “the world’s fattest Captain” since he was trying to eat his way out of the Army.

    Doctors like those in many other professions I’m sure start out young and idealistic. However,after a time the realization that one has to make a living (and preferably a good living) sets in and the business aspects of ones profession usually takes precedence – at least that’s my cynical world view.

    Finally, if doctors would properly police their profession this might not be an issue. How many times do incompetent doctors lose their licenses to practice medicine? Not very often. Whereas, dozens of lawyers are disbarred each year in Indiana alone.

  • That’s probably because there are more incompetent lawyers than doctors. 🙂

  • My experience with military doctors (and dentists) is that there are the base medical groups who deal with all the day to day issues of the base personnel, and the medical units which are attached to combat divisions and set up in the field. The former fall under the category of I have to do this because the army paid for my college, the latter are dedicated and highly skilled at dealing with combat wounds. I think the former is what you’d experience under Obama-care.

  • I would agree that some doctors are incompetent and fly under the radar – sometimes with other doctors looking the other way. Though there are plenty of review mechanisms both public and private (such as Morbidity and Mortality rounds at hospitals.)
    There is also the confusion of a judgment that turned out to be wrong and a complete error of judgment. Sometimes you do all the right things and the patient still goes south. We all die in the end even with the best medical care.

  • As for some doc’s just doing their time and others trying to get out, that’s true. Where I worked once a Navy doc finished his four year OB/GYN residency. Had orders to Okinawa. He didn’t want to go. The day after he finished his residency he marched into the CO’s office and announced he was gay (and in fact he was.) Got him out of orders and the Navy.

    Though a couple of months later he was working at the same medical facility as a civilian OB/GYN.

  • it hasn’t lowered malpractice premiums for physicians.

    that’s not true at all.

    Doctors: Malpractice Costs the Biggest Money-Saver in Tort Reform
    “Whole states are demonstration projects,” said Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas. “Texas passed tort reform in 2003 and … insurance premiums went down 30 percent. California passed tort reform and premiums went down 40 percent. Let’s enact tort reform. Let’s not just try that with demonstration projects. We already know it works. Let’s put it into law.”

    I suggest Rep. Smith knows what he’s talking about, perhaps you want to challenge his numbers? Also this from an actual doctor:

    When Texas passed tort reforms in 2003, medical malpractice insurance premiums went down and doctors started rushing back into the state. At least 10 counties that had zero obstetricians, for instance, now have one, and more than two dozen other counties have seen additional obstetricians seek licenses there.

    “We now have women that are getting their care in local communities whereas before, for their obstetric care, they had to drive hundreds of miles to be able to get it,” said James Rohack, president of the American Medical Association. “Before the reforms, there was such a shortage of obstetricians, many expectant mothers had to drive long distances for care. The liability reforms changed that.”

  • Fair enough, Matt. I thought I remembered reading it was “margin” improvement here in Texas — but 30% does not sound marginal. Thanks.

  • ps. and that’s just the cost of malpractice insurance, there’s also the huge cost of defensive medicine.

  • Insurance premiums in Texas are about at the national average (they are a little higher than average for individuals and a little lower for families). So if Texas is the model for tort reform, I think we’d have to conclude that it isn’t really a magic bullet.

    By the way, according to this report by AHIP, premiums are highest (both for families and individuals) in Massachusetts and lowest in Wisconsin. So if you want to use individual states as a model, a rough first approximation would be to find out what Wisconsin is doing, do that, find out what Massachusetts is doing, and don’t do that.

    I have no idea what is going on in Wisconsin. Massachusetts, on the other hand, looks a lot like ObamaCare.

  • The docs I know (my brother, brother-in-law, my parents, and their friends) do not seem to agree with that assessment – one reason they may look “statewide” is because county by county, there are vast differences in the insurance risks. A doc practicing in Dallas County is going to have a much lower risk, and therefore premium, than one practicing in Hidalgo county.

    The other big costs (as I heard from my national chain medical facility client) is the extremely expensive medical equipment they constantly have to purchase/upgrade.

    As for punitive damages, they have their place in the law (Ford Pinto, Dalkon Shield, etc.). Docs have not been particularly singled out, and there are many, many legal hurdles to jump over before you get to them. The real problem, which no one wants to admit, is the jury system. The jury, after all, is the one with (nearly) final say on liability and damages. And the jury is just a reflection of our own society – our average Joe.

  • Given the relative size of malpractice premiums versus total health care costs — it’s probably not surprising that even a significant cut in malpractice insurance costs would have virtually no impact on the cost of health insurance.

    Don’t have the time to research this, but recalling that Medicare spends a lot more per person in some regions than in others (based, perhaps, on cultural expectations and practices on the part of both patients and doctors) is is possible that a certain amount of the variance in health insurance costs by state is due to the same factors?

    Though certainly, I’ve heard good claims that state insurance regulations significantly drive up the cost of insurance in New York and Mass.

  • Comparing insurance rates from state to state is comparing apples and oranges. Aside from the cost of malpractice insurance, there are vast differences in the costs to doctors, and especially in the coverage levels required by each state.

    The claim is that malpractice insurance dropped 30%. Is someone saying that is inaccurate?

    As to the hidden cost of “defensive medicine” (including more of those fancy expensive machines), it would be much harder to find it. Look for things like the rate of c-sections, a common “defensive” procedure.

  • ps. it will also take time for defensive medicine to percolate out of the system, doctors like everyone else are creatures of habit, and they will tend to stick with what has worked, and been standard practice before. Tort reform is not a magic bullet, but it’s an important step.

  • I suppose, to be fair all around, tort reform is one of those things that we as conservatives like to bring up because although it may only decrease the cost of health care a percent (or an otherwise small amount) it seems like something worth doing right away because it seems like clear “wasted money”.

    And, of course, if one does a number of things that each help a bit, it will all add up in the end. (Heck, our dear leader informs us he can pay for his entire health plan by reducing waste, fraud and abuse of Medicare — so clearly everyone’s an optimist.)

  • The claim is that malpractice insurance dropped 30%. Is someone saying that is inaccurate?

    I don’t think anyone is saying this is inaccurate. The question, though, is whether it is significant. If the price of thermometers dropped 30% in Texas that would be nice, but it wouldn’t be significant in terms of the overall cost of health care.

    I’m not opposed to tort reform. I think our medical malpractice system is really screwed up. But I’m skeptical that this is really the source of high medical costs.

  • Though then you could drop payments to physicians that percentage that it compromises their costs.

  • Phillip,

    Malpractice insurance only makes up about 2% of health care costs. If you cut premiums by 30% and passed every penny on to the consumer, you could use your savings to buy a latte.

    Yes, yes, defensive medicine. Even if you take the absurdly high estimates of the cost of defensive medicine, you’re looking at less than 10% of the total (and if the costs of defensive medicine are several orders of magnitude larger than the problem being defended against that suggests that something else is going on).

  • Just pointing out that, given an average 55k price tag for malpractice for specialists, a 30% savings would be about 17.5k for a specialist. If you came out and said doc pay should be cut 17.5k for about a 8% pay cut for a specialist, many would say that would be a good start.

  • Phillip,

    Again, a 30% reduction in malpractice costs would amount to .6% reduction in total health care costs, or about $3.60 per person. Looking only at a particular subgroup where the percentage would be higher will only give you a false picture of things.

  • So reducing physician payments won’t significantly decrease health care costs?

  • Your point is not lost BA, but using the number of 3.60 per person (annually, right?), that’s a billion dollars a year. Nothing to sneeze at.

  • In case people didn’t pick up on it, Blackadder is lumping legitimate malpractice cost in with the WFA (Waste Fraud and Abuse) that is popularly believed can be easily eliminated. I hate to offer a WAG here, but I think it is well north of 70% of the costs malpractice insurance go towards care where malpractice has occurred. The lawyers will argue that it would be far more effective to reduce malpractice. The often analogize with compliments the building industry made about negligence and workcomp claims. The building industry eventually implemented for safety measures to reduce their risks.

  • with comments the building industry made… If they were compliments, I think they would have been heavily sarcastic.

  • Healthcare is a very labor and capital intensive business. Labor costs are the single largest expense for any hospital. You need a large number of highly skilled professionals around the clock to provide care. Then the equipment and persons to operate and maintain the equipment. Malpractice premiums are not a very big part of the picture, it’s just that hospitals hate paying for them (like most of us do) because insurance is not a productive asset – you are spending money on something you hope not to use, off of which you won’t make a dime. And health care tort reform (because I don’t see as much clamoring for other industries) seems the easiest place (politically) to make hay.

  • Awakeman,

    Been out and about so haven’t had the opportunity to respond.

    Though Donald and Jay have done a fine job on my behalf.

    I was thinking of the punitive damages that are handed out in most cases.

  • MZ is right that the 2% figure represents *all* medical malpractice expenses, not just those from frivolous or non-meritorious claims. Not only that, but as with the debate over administrative costs, there’s no guarantee that spending less on medical malpractice would translate into lower costs overall (since the threat of a malpractice suit can result in fewer injuries to patients).

    On the other hand, the evidence I’ve seen suggests that the current med mal system does a horrible job. According to an independent review, around 40% of successful claims didn’t involve negligence, whereas only around 2% of people who were injured by negligence even bring suit.

  • Here’s a link to a study on the results of malpractice reform in Texas:

    http://www.tlrfoundation.com/files/tlr_perryman_factsheet_final2.pdf

  • Again, I see no consistent empirical evidence supporting the case for tort reform

    So how does one punish a corporation for negligence? Money is what is given by law. If their are not punitive damages what is to prevent a company from continuing on with their negligence?

    Following is a GAO report on medical malpractice and could not find any evidence to substantiate the claims of lawsuits impacting health care costs, access to health care or defensive medicine (with one possible lose connection relating to OBGYN). But of course you will not see this report on any media outlet swinging left or right.

    http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d03836.pdf

    Remember the CBO report regarding the cost of a single payer system that we all grasped to support our arguments against a single payer system…

    Well, there is the CBO report which had this to say about tort reform:

    “But even large savings in premiums can have only a small direct impact on health care spending–private or governmental–because malpractice costs account for less than 2 percent of that spending.”

    http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=4968&type=0#t3

    And of course there is Tillinghast-Towers Perrin (one of the largest in the world that provides risk management for the insurance and reinsurance industry).

    According to the actuarial consulting firm Towers Perrin, medical malpractice tort costs were $30.4 billion in 2007, the last year for which data are available. We have a more than a $2 trillion health care system. That puts litigation costs and malpractice insurance at 1 to 1.5 percent of total medical costs. That’s a rounding error. Liability isn’t even the tail on the cost dog. It’s the hair on the end of the tail.

    Of that 1 to 1.5 percent what portion of that is “frivolous”?

    http://www.towersperrin.com/tp/getwebcachedoc?webc=USA/2008/200811/2008_tort_costs_trends.pdf (Page 10)

    And then of course the report from Towers Perrin that states that the total tort cost in the US is 2% of the GDP. What percentage of that is “frivolous” and of that percentage what percentage is “frivolous” corporate lawsuits. So how much are “frivolous” lawsuits driving up the cost of everything? Maybe less than 2 cents on the dollar or maybe even less the 1 cent on the dollar?
    http://www.towersperrin.com/tp/getwebcachedoc?webc=USA/2008/200811/2008_tort_costs_trends.pdf

    http://www.robertsfight.com

  • 85% of the people say we need tort reform but yet those same people participate in this supposedly out of control justice system given to us by our founding fathers.

    Judges have more knowledge of the civil jury system than anyone.
    In a recent survey:

    * Ninety-one percent believe the system is in good condition
    needing, at best, only minor work.
    * Only 1 percent of the judges who responded gave the jury
    system low marks.
    * Judges have great faith in juries to solve complicated
    issues.
    * Ninety-six percent said they agree with jury verdicts most
    or all of the time.
    * Nine of 10 judges said jurors show considerable understanding
    of legal issues involved in the cases they hear.

  • Mark,

    sorry to point this out… But most judges are lawyers. As are most opponents of tort reform.

  • Matt,

    Don’t be logical.

  • True. I guess one could be cynical about the world. Yes, it is always the “others” that have bad intentions because they are indoctrinated with a false conscience. If that is the view we want to take then all corporations are evil and bad. They will add the cost of human life into their accounting ledgers and get away with as much as possible, child labor, massive pollution, etc…

  • “Your point is not lost BA, but using the number of 3.60 per person (annually, right?), that’s a billion dollars a year. Nothing to sneeze at.”

    Numbers mean nothing. I do not invest that way. Medtronics revenues last year were 14 billion dollars. That is a big number but it tells me absolutely nothing other then it is a big number.

  • “sorry to point this out… But most judges are lawyers. As are most opponents of tort reform.”

    And so we should believe what the insurance companies and doctors tell us because they are good. No. This discussion needs empirical analysis. Unfortunately we all let our egos filter the world we live in and let our exaggerations drive our anger and hate. There seems to be no willingness on the part of society anymore to discover the truth. We all back into our own tribes and camps and blame what is wrong with this world on the “others”.

    We humans have not changed much in the last thousand years. When we start to fear the future we all start to herd up again and cling to our deepest roots, our “tribes”.

  • Mark,

    No. This discussion needs empirical analysis.

    exactly, and the personal opinions of judges do not qualify as empirical analysis.

    ps. you are a lawyer, aren’t you?

  • I agree, the survey of judges is a starting point and at least tries to counter the statements from the right. It uncovers more questions which is good because that is how truth is discovered. The empirical evidence points to 2% of the GDP or 2% of total health care costs. Those are the facts.

    There are many exaggerations regarding tort reform and they are pumped up everyday by the media, both left and right and no one is challenged to “show the beef” in any statement that is pumped out of the media, left, right, drive-by, or car chase media.

    Is it possible that doctors are more afraid of being sued then the actual probability itself? Is it possible that because insurance companies have to cover there investment loses that lawyers are an easy target because we all hate lawyers? Complicated issues that unfortunately liberal and conservative media is not capable of handling or that we are not willing to demand from our media.

    No, I am not a lawyer. I am a father trying to discover what happened to my sixteen year old son. I have spent the last six months informing myself on these issues. The Reigel v. Medtronic Supreme Court ruling killed that chance for me. The Supreme Court said that if a medical device was approved by the underfunded politically controlled, money influenced FDA then a person can not sue a medical device manufacturer. What I do not understand is that this ruling took away a state right. It removed one of the few powers left to an individual to fight corporate money and influence and Republicans support this ruling. It tells me that Republicans/conservatives are more concerned with corporations then the individual rights. It tells me that Republicans/conservatives are more like Democrats, more concerned with the benefit to society then individual rights.

    Or maybe this is more about pulling the funding legs out from under the Democratic party. I believe we are to the point where we are so partisan that we just oppose good ideas and support bad ideas because we believe anything the “others” are doing is destroying all that is good. We find security in our “tribes” and fight the other “tribe” because we are told they are the enemy out to destroy all that is good in the world.

    I am a big believer in states rights. And while not perfect, I am a big believer in the court system and juries. I am a big believer in the capability of the ordinary individuals finding the truth and determining justice. As I have said earlier we seem to have lost out passion for discovering the truth.

    I have nothing left but memories of my son. This is a fight that I am willing to dedicate my life to. He is my son and I am his father. Fathers fight for their children. If someone put their greed over his life then I will seek justice. If they could be put in jail I would be fine, unfortunately money is what the law gives me.

  • Regarding the link Phillip provided:http://www.tlrfoundation.com/files/tlr_perryman_factsheet_final2.pdf

    It seems doctors just do not want to be responsible citizens like the rest of us.

    “But it’s not all sweetness and light down on the border. An 11-hour hearing in the Texas Legislature last fall featured “angry, frustrated doctors from Houston to Laredo” venting about ” overzealous oversight” by the Texas Medical Board, the regulatory body that got beefed up to safeguard Texans from bad docs when the malpractice curbs were enacted, the Houston Chronicle reported. Complaints to the board have increased dramatically, and disciplinary actions against docs has nearly tripled since 2001. ”
    http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2008/05/19/doctors-flock-to-texas-after-tort-reform/

    Or maybe they are not getting the doctors they want.

    “Want to know what else has gone up? Patient complaints and actions against doctors by the Texas Medical Board.”
    http://www.newyorkpersonalinjuryattorneyblog.com/2007/10/texas-tort-reform-and-new-york-times.html

    Texas”Tort Reform” a Disaster for Citizens
    http://www.commondreams.org/news2004/1025-14.htm

    http://www.robertsfight.com

  • Actually doctors are afraid of being sued wrongly. The rhetoric you provide comes from hurt. There is value in that. But not empirical evidence. I am sorry for your losses.

  • Yes, part of my rhetoric comes from pain, but I am a big believer in what our founding fathers gaves us. There is a reason they gave us trial by juries. And besides how do I know your rhetoric does not come from hate or anger or some experience in your past that filters your view of the world? They gave us juries for that exact reason. They gave us this great Democracy for that same reason. They gave us the free markets for that same reason. You either believe in wisdom of the crowd or you do not. If you do not believe in juries then how can you believe in the free market or this Democracy. Tort reform is government interference, plain and simple.

    The question is are doctors afraid of being sued because of hype or the probability? That should drive the solution.

    Did Texas reform really work? That is open for debate. What is that great conservative of Texas, George Bush did to contribute to the hype?

    “Another matter which is often not discussed was that Texas passed a series of reforms in 1995,” Opelt said.

    He was talking about the previous tort reforms, passed under then-Governor George Bush. A companion bill ordered five years insurance rate drops. The drops were significant. According to a Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) report , the cost of Medical Malpractice Insurance for doctors was 21% lower than regulated insurers wanted in 2000. For hospitals, the state ordered rates reduced by 24%.

    Opelt said, “About the time the rollbacks were lifted was the time the rates really began to spike.”

    …Tort reformers themselves admit prior tort reform was at least part of the reason that insurance rates spiked.”

    http://www.krld.com/topic/play_window.php?audioType=Episode&audioId=2215113

Real Men, Manly Men

Monday, September 14, AD 2009

It’s ok for men to seek positions of authority, speak their mind, and help damsels in distress.  It’s in our DNA and that’s what God wants from us.

Be men.  Be manly men!

Here is a fine blog I recommend for those wanting to rediscover their masculinity and return on their path to manhood.  It’s called The Art of Manliness.

_._

To view more commentary on Catholicism from RealCatholicTV click here.

To read more about the movie, Robin Hood Men in Tights, where the second video is taken from, click here.

Continue reading...

17 Responses to Real Men, Manly Men

  • Donald,

    What movie is that clip from in your first comment?

  • Michael,

    I didn’t want to approve your comment, but it was too funny not to.

    😀

  • I have to say, I too wonder if this is something of a joke. Commentary with a sword? Now, don’t get me wrong – I am a swordphile myself, and I consider fencing to be the only sport I can actually play well – but come on.

    The truth of the message of the commentary was somewhat lost. Certainly we do not need to see the brandishing of a weapon to make the point about masculinity. In fact I think it trivializes it. And I wouldn’t want women to get the unfortunate notion that weapons are for men only!

  • My only guess would be that Mr. Voris was trying to emphasize the point of masculinity by brandishing a weapon.

    Other than that he did a fine job communicating his message in my opinion.

  • I can’t quite tell if the sword-wielding Catholic gentleman in the above video is joking or not when he complains about feminists and homosexuals making a mockery of modern men: I fear not.

    The sword is a recurring theme in men’s ministries, as I note in my book, Numen, Old Men:

    ‘Once men have been released from “mediocre lives into lives of excellence” by Real Man Ministries, the men receive a Real Man Sword symbolizing the Sword of Truth. A sword is also the emblem of Faithful Men Ministries. Both Faithful Men Ministries and Real Man Ministries swords are Richard Lionheart swords, an aesthetic beloved by extremist right-wingers with a propensity to violence. Honorbound, a significant men’s ministry of the Assemblies of God has a logo of a crusader shield and they continue the theme with their “Raise an Army” conferences. Honorbound’s accompanying music CDs Raise an Army and Take the Nations again carry graphics of crusader swords. Some Honorbound promotional material is quite fanciful in this respect. Their Rise Up and Do Battle poster depicts a clean-cut individual in a battle stance with his sword: he stands upon an apocalyptic scene of ruin, above him ascends a muscular Aryan angel, also carrying a sword. Champions of Honor ministry also use a shield as their logo and their founder, Chuck Brewster (the ex-United States Secret Service Special Agent), is shown wielding a sword.’ (pp. 64-5)

    And if you connect the dots to where wielding shiny swords leads…

    ‘Ann Burlein (2002) charts the intersection of the Christian Right and white supremacists, whose strategies share some disturbing commonality with men’s ministries. Burlein looks at two case studies, one “hard” and one “soft”: Pete Peters of Christian Identity and James Dobson of Focus on the Family. Dobson has written several books about Christian masculinity (Dobson 1975, 2001, 2003 and 2005) and is often referred to within men’s ministry material. We have already seen how men’s ministries have a penchant for swords and knights, and it is possible to identify a similar attraction with Christian Identity-aligned ministries similar to Peters’. Church of the Sons of YHVH/Legion of Saints employs the “sword of truth”. Kingdom Identity Ministries shows a sword-wielding knight. The Scriptures For America logo employs a sword, as does The Church of Jesus Christ Christian/Aryan Nations, not to mention the crusader aesthetics of those others upholding white Christian ideals: Stormfront and the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.’ (p. 66).

    Then you got yourself some family values!

  • Hmmm, the Klan uses swords in ceremonies as does the Knights of Columbus. Presumably they also both breathe air. Shazam!

    Tito, the Nelson Eddy clip is from the movie New Moon (1940).

  • “Real men” do not go about pointing out how brave and manly they are. They just do their thing.

    It may perhaps be best summed up by the wife who says [or quietly thinks] of her husband” He’s a jackass but he’s my jackass”.

    The subject was well discussed in Fritz Stern’s THE FLIGHT FROM WOMAN.

  • I have to agree with Gabriel on this one.

    But not with Joseph. There is nothing wrong with the sword as a symbol – it is the noblest weapon, requiring the most skill and grace to wield. And I certainly do agree with the commentary regarding feminists and homosexuals – they DO make a mockery of masculinity, and they ARE trying to make straight men into weak submissive cowards.

    And we absolutely should resist it, and respond, as King Henry V did to the Dauphin: with “Scorn and defiance; slight regard, contempt”.

    I just question the tact of discussing the matter WITH a sword. There is a PROPER time and place for the use of the sword, and it is not while delivering a lecture. That almost implies that we want to impose our point at the tip of a sword, that it cannot stand on its own merit.

  • Yeesh, the sword was just a prop. I suppose if you were to ask the man why he thought to use it as prop he would tell you he was just thought it would provoke thoughts of chivalry; of strong, principled, and caring Christian men who are willing to use their strength and talents in sacrifice for others. ‘Twas no big deal, really, other than it probably turned out to be a mistake. A mistake that in turn proves his point to a degree.

  • It’s just a sword people.

    Would it have been better if he brandished a feather boa or a hammer? (tongue in cheek)

  • I really hope I’m not being misunderstood here as being, lol, anti-sword.

    I’m just saying, I wouldn’t speak about masculinity with one on my hand. That’s all.

  • Joe,

    I won’t accuse you of being an anti-gladite.

    LOL

  • “There is nothing wrong with the sword as a symbol; it is the noblest weapon, requiring the most skill and grace to wield.”

    Au contraire —

    1. Those who use the sword, die by the sword.
    2. The noblest weapon, requiring the most skill and grace to wield is: The Cross! That’s why we need the Holy Spirit to do so!

  • @ Tito: maybe a liter of Oktoberfestbier in hand could have been a more appropriate image than a sword? 😉 The Oktoberfest season is upon us.

How To Solve Health Care

Monday, September 14, AD 2009

Pro-life liberal Catholic writer Michael Sean Winters of the National Catholic Reporter argues that because Catholic conservatives find themselves opposed not only to a universal health care bill that funds abortion, but also to the idea of centralized health care in general, they are in fact playing into the hands of the pro-abortion lobby.

It is strange indeed to see conservative Catholics unwittingly aiding and abetting the agenda of the pro-abortion organizations they oppose. And stranger still that conservatives who spent the last election cycle saying that no political issue mattered as much as abortion are suddenly putting their idolatry of the market before adopting a sound strategy for keeping abortion coverage out of the health care reform effort. They have provided ample reason for the administration and Congress to ignore their pleas on abortion. The may see themselves as the “loyal opposition” but they are not being loyal to the pro-life cause they espouse. They are undermining it.

Natlamp73His argument is basically that since health care reform is currently on the table, if conservative pro-lifers do not promise to support it if it doesn’t fund abortion, then they are therefore helping those who want it to fund abortion. I can’t help like feeling that this is a bit like the old National Lampoon cover: “If you don’t buy this magazine, we’ll kill this dog.”

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10 Responses to How To Solve Health Care

  • If I’m not mistaken, I believe we saw the exact same argument (or one fairly close to it) in a comment that was part of the most infamous thread in this blog’s history:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2009/07/17/rep-chris-smith/#comment-16699

    I’m thinking Mr. Winters and Tony A are sharing notes.

  • I believe I originated the argument. Certainly a person can oppose something for whatever reason they choose. When they claim to be advocates for the unborn or claim abortion is the most important issue, one is compelled to think they are lying when they refuse to participate in a moderate reform effort. It isn’t like we are talking NHS or single payer. Instead of risking a pooch’s life, they are risking the lives of the unborn for a national clearing house and a public provider in inefficient markets; limitations on the ability to use rescission; and prohibiting rating on pre-existing conditions. And this wouldn’t be so bad if at the end of the day they said they couldn’t support a given bill. The big problem is that they have declared that they don’t want to be a part of the negotiations, because they have no intention of supporting any bill. That’s just imprudent, unnecessary, and in the end, stupid.

  • MZ,

    I could see the point if ObamaCare actually contained some sort of positive offer for pro-lifers. For instance, if Obama announced a compromise in which there would be guaranteed issue, subsidies, a mandate, and exchange and a public option — but also threw in a total ban on abortion after 10 weeks, or even a ban on any insurance funding abortion, plus a large tax on abortions — I would feel pretty compelled by the argument that if pro-lifers were serious they had better sign on the line that is dotted. If that offer is put on the table, I’ll almost certainly grit my teeth and support the bill.

    However, in this case, if ObamaCare doesn’t pass, we find ourselves no worse than we are now in regards to abortion. The only “incentive” being offered is that if we play along, maybe, possibly the Democratic majority will agree not to subsidize abortion in a way that it never has been before.

    In that sense, I think the gun to the pooch’s head is pretty accurate. “Help us pass our bill which you don’t like regardless, or else we’ll do something you’ll really hate.” For Winters’ argument to hold any water, there would have to be something positive for pro-life conservatives in the bill.

    As for sitting the whole thing out — I’d be happy to be a very active partisan for a bill that bore some resemblance to one of the suggests I listed above, or something else I haven’t thought of if I didn’t think (as I do of the current effort) that it will achieve almost nothing (or perhaps actual detriment) at great cost.

  • I guess Democrats ought to just include a provision in every bill providing tax funding for abortion. Then pro-lifers would always be obligated to support the bill in question so long as the funding provision is taken out.

  • I realize health care coverage isn’t considered by you to be a positive. Our bishops happen to think differently.

  • I never claimed pro-lifers were obligated to support any bill. I claimed they were imprudent for abstaining from the debate process.

  • I realize health care coverage isn’t considered by you to be a positive. Our bishops happen to think differently.

    Actually, I do consider it to be a positive — it’s just that I don’t think the major Democratic bills currently on offer would provide much of it. I’d be very strongly in favor of any one of the approaches I listed above to health care coverage.

    I never claimed pro-lifers were obligated to support any bill. I claimed they were imprudent for abstaining from the debate process.

    See, I don’t get the impression that the majority is interested in much actual debate from their conservative opponents. They’d like to guilt-trip conservatives into signing on to the bill basically as-is, with perhaps a very few changes. But when it comes to actual debate on how its best for our health care system to work, there’s little up for negotiation.

    In this sense, I think that defeating the current set of bills would actually be a pretty good start to getting some real debate going. And since the current plans are designed not to help anyone till after the 2012 election, we appear to have plenty of time to discuss things without causing additional harm.

  • Exactly, Darwin. The Democrats could have at least tried to make this a truly bipartisan effort at compromise by including some things the other side could hang their hats on. The inclusion of Hyde Amendment language and major, far-reaching medical malpractice tort reform would have gone a long way toward moving the health care agenda forward.

    The Democrats are the majority party, however, and if they feel that they can get the bill passed without an olive branch or two to the other side, that’s their perogative. But I don’t think I’m obligated, then, to sign on in the faint hope that I might be able to maintain the status quo on federal funding for abortion.

  • I have quit listening to Winters advice on this since he proclaimed as long as their is no abortion in it the bill is fine because it redistrubtes wealth. Which I am not sure is the whole purpose of reforming Health Care

  • I enjoy reading MZ’s arguments.

    It makes me feel better about myself and my sanity.

    Anytime I poke my eye with a pencil or dislodge my left knee I just have to read his posts and suddenly I have this feeling of calmness and serenity.

    Knowing that my problems pale in comparison to those with poor logic and reasoning.

    This makes me put things in perspective that yes, this to shall pass, but MZ’s analysis will always be there for comfort.

    Life is good.

My Reaction to the Shooting of Jim Pouillon

Monday, September 14, AD 2009

It has already been confirmed that Jim Pouillon was shot to death for his pro-life views.

Jim Pouillon was a pro-lifer advocate that would stand outside of abortion mills hoping in turning away women from killing their unborn children.  He wore leg braces, was dependent on an oxygen tank, and was a “wonderful, Christian, peaceful man.” as described by close friend Cal Zastrow.

Jim Pouillon was also a Catholic and was remembered by his parish priest, Father John Fain of Saint Paul Church in Owosso, Michigan as “a good Christian and a faithful Catholic.

For self-disclosure I am very active in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston in the pro-life movement.  One of the many activities that I participate in is peaceful prayer in front of Planned Parenthood.  So when I heard of the shooting I was deeply shocked at the news.

Even more shocking was the reaction in the secular world, particularly from the political extreme left as this example displays from the notorious Huffington Post:

“…with the way the fake news pundits will run with this one, we might as well get a good laugh out of it now.”

Though what was most disturbing at all was what emanated from various dissident Catholics and blogs when they began smearing the pro-life movement immediately after the attack by claiming that many pro-lifers are violent.

What can we do?

Pray for them.

Follow Jim Pouillon’s example of peaceful protest and prayer.  As our Lord and Savior told us, close the door behind us and pray in private.

Ora pro nobis.

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15 Responses to My Reaction to the Shooting of Jim Pouillon

  • I have no respect for Catholics who hate the pro-life movement, with whatever flaws it may have, more than abortion itself.

    But pray for them, we must. Nice post.

  • Joe

    It is not a hate for the pro-life movement to say it needs to be reformed; it is love for it that this is said.

  • Joe, you’re exactly right. Absolutely no respect for those Catholics who have nothing but evil to say about the pro-life movement while they, themselves, try to pass off support for legalized abortion as merely “incidental” to the overall greater good of a particular policy agenda.

    Henry, with all due respect, I have a hard time believing that your co-blogger’s recent criticism of the pro-life movement is out of “love” for the movement; rather, on the basis of his track record, I’d say his attack on pro-lifers is the purely politcal “not my tribe” stuff we’ve come to expect from him.

  • Joe,

    Thank you.

    Prayer has certainly been one of the main catalysts towards my reversion to our beautiful Catholic faith.

  • Henry,

    It certainly doesn’t have to be hate, but it can certainly take that form.

    I don’t see these criticisms ever being made in a spirit of charity, in a spirit of recognition of the basic good that the pro-life movement does in spite of its flaws.

    I don’t see half or even a quarter of the angry effort expended upon the flaws of the pro-life movement ever directed at the actual practice of abortion.

    Love does not exclude, and often demands, criticism. But it also requires, well, love.

  • Joe

    “I don’t see these criticisms being made in the spirit of charity.” Why not? Is it because you don’t want to do so? The problem is that people are so self-centered today, they can’t handle criticism? Seriously, when the point is to show “self-contradiction of the movement with its proclaimed motive” by someone who says “I support the motive,” it clearly is an issue of charity. Only those who are unwilling for self-examination and confession will find this problematic.

  • Secondly, “angry effort”– is it angry? Again, the hermeneutic used to reject the criticism is indicative of the problem. “Oh they are just angry.”

    Thirdly, perhaps the reason why the focus is with the pro-life movement is again because it is people who are pro-life who want the movement to be such? As Jesus said, until you correct yourself, don’t go correcting others. Perhaps this will help explain why that is a focus for some, without it being “hate” or “anger.”

  • Henry,

    Be very careful how you insult people’s intelligence.

    Your hate of the pro-life movement is tolerated so as to be an example of what to look for when faced with evil.

    So watch it with your uncharitable comments.

  • The problem is that people are so self-centered today, they can’t handle criticism?

    Only those who are unwilling for self-examination and confession will find this problematic.

    Again, the hermeneutic used to reject the criticism is indicative of the problem. “Oh they are just angry.”

    It’s utterly amazing how much of what Henry spews could apply in spades to himself, espcially the last point. I mean, didn’t we just have an entire pair of threads dedicated to the proposition that certain pro-lifers are motivated by anger? So what happens when confronted with an argument that his co-blogger might be motivated by anger? He scowls back at the accuser in a manner that indicates that he just might be “so self-centered” that he “can’t handle criticism?” Maybe it’s time for some of that self-examination and confession.

  • “Why not? Is it because you don’t want to do so?”

    Of course, Henry. You got me. You exposed my secret, hidden motives. Congratulations.

    Could it be because I simply do not see it? Is that a possibility?

    “The problem is that people are so self-centered today, they can’t handle criticism”

    That can be a problem, yes. But there is criticism, and there is attack. How do you think one Christian pro-life advocate ought to criticize another? What would be your rules of engagement? I’m sure if you were to list them, we would agree.

    In practice, however, some people default to more anger towards the tactics of the pro-life movement than abortion itself, as if abortion really were just some “issue” on which one has no possible justification for becoming passionate about.

    “when the point is to show “self-contradiction of the movement with its proclaimed motive”

    Yes, I am familiar with the type of criticism that is intended to “show” – that is, to hold up for ridicule and reinforce what the critics already believe (all sides are guilty of this). How about the type of criticism that is intended to actually achieve something?

    “Oh they are just angry.”

    Uncharitable would be another word. Though I don’t suppose you or your friends have ever used the word “angry” to describe pro-lifers.

    For my part, I believe anger is a perfectly legitimate and valid thing to feel – over abortion. Certainly not over graphic signs which remind us that abortion is not a nice, clean, spotless procedure.

    That said, I do not take “anger” as a sign of irrationality, stupidity, or invalidity – I question why it is directed at one thing instead of another. So it isn’t that you are “just angry” – it is that some people appear to be angry over the WRONG THING.

    “As Jesus said, until you correct yourself, don’t go correcting others.”

    Sound advice.

  • Tito,

    I don’t think it’s accurate to say that Henry hates the pro-life movement — it’s more that Henry thinks that the pro-life movement should be exactly like him, and he considers it untrue to itself to the extent that it’s not like him.

    Since it’s not much like him, this leaves him disliking most of it.

    But I’m sure that he does honestly believe himself to be strongly pro-life — even if his actions may at times seem to us to be in contradiction to that.

  • Darwin,

    Well said.

    I should use you as my proofreader to more accurately convey my thoughts.

  • “As Jesus said, until you correct yourself, don’t go correcting others. Perhaps this will help explain why that is a focus for some, without it being “hate” or “anger.””

    Actually, Henry’s point is valid to the extent that yes, I have believed, who am I to correct others, if I am a Sinner.

    Yet, at the same time and not to correct any other posters here, this is why we have the Holy See, this is why we follow the Traditions of the Church along with Scripture but it is not Sola Scriptura. The Right to life has been important enough for the Holy Father to address with regards to heads of state as we knew so with Obama. Rome says it! And that’s all I need to know.

    I may not be saying this in the best way possible but I think everyone can understand the gist of it.

    And I’ll keep this short, above Joe uses the correct words in saying “One pro life Christian advocate” and this is correct, as many Christians, Jews are pro life. I believe it is against the tenants of Buddhism and other faiths as well.

    Those acting rashly are real needles in a haystack.

  • That pelicanproject.org website is a nice site, I compliment you.

    This is another thing, let’s not be violent but know the enemy well.

    This is no big deal but one night I was reading on the web from some pro-abortion agency something about “Remember to avoid the crisis pregnancy centers, they are often run by Christians”: words to this effect, maybe not as harsh but still awful. Just like some of the stories one can hear about abortion mill workers getting commissions if they are able to sell a business. Know how bad these people can be as well!!

    Visit like http://www.blackgenocide.org or the more radical site blackgenocide.com . I do know of other Christians say from visiting http://www.prolifeamerica.com/ forums (one guy in there is like close to the real radicals of the Pro Life movement but it is mostly talk) and some Christians have that attitude of extending out the olive branch and how awful at times, pro-lifers can be. I’ve certainly seen those kinds of positions before.

  • You people all! Get so involved in a conversation but reading the quote from the Huffington Post and I do not know the whole context nor will search for it, that is an outrage.

    It was an outrage about the story of the blogger there that confessed to stealing McCain Palin signs out of yards and he was a professor at a college but not from the area, he was from far away from Northfield (he was a Professor for Carlton or St. Olaf Lutheran Colleges, not sure) Minnesota where he did these deeds. I thought it was the worst.

Of Tea and Elections

Monday, September 14, AD 2009

I have had my eyes on the tea party movement protesting government spending since the beginning of the movement.  On Saturday a huge national tea party protest was held in Washington.  Estimates of crowd size range from 500,000 to 2.3 million.  Some organs of the mainstream media are attempting to downplay the significance of this event.  Politicians on both sides of the aisle are not so gullible.  They realize that a political storm is brewing.  Perhaps even more significant than this show of strength by the forces opposed to the drunken sailor spending of the Obama administration are the state tea parties taking place each week.  For example in the completely blue state of Illinois, my home state, there was a tea party at New Lennox near Joliet last week that drew 10,000 people.   This weekend a tea party at Quincy, Illinois drew 12000 people.   Receiving scant coverage from the national media, these parties are are becoming a real factor in the 2010 elections.

Charlie Cook is one of the best political prognosticators in the business.  Here is what he is seeing:

 

“Even in the best of times, Congress is unpopular. And now voters see Obama as having sent suggestions rather than proposals to the Hill, staking his future and reputation on a body that they hold in low regard. (On foreign-policy matters, where Congress plays a small role, Obama’s job-approval ratings remain quite good. It’s on the domestic side that his numbers are dismal.)

With 14 months to go before the 2010 midterm election, something could happen to improve the outlook for Democrats. However, wave elections, more often than not, start just like this: The president’s ratings plummet; his party loses its advantage on the generic congressional ballot test; the intensity of opposition-party voters skyrockets; his own party’s voters become complacent or even depressed; and independent voters move lopsidedly away. These were the early-warning signs of past wave elections. Seeing them now should terrify Democrats.”

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7 Responses to Of Tea and Elections

  • To be sure, this movement is about liberty and the founding principles. Every hour we work to fund unconstitutional government boondoggles is an hour we are enslaved to it. The founding fathers never envisioned that so much power would be centralized and would trample the rights enshrined in the founding documents.

    It should also be noted that this is not a Republican movement, and many Republicans should fear it, but for the Democrats it should be terrifying.

  • Estimates of crowd size range from 500,000 to 2.3 million.

    No they don’t. The D.C. Fire and Emergency Department says 60,000-75,000. Most places are reporting 70,000. It is impressive but protests many times larger (Iraq War, immigration, March for Life) go ignored. After the world-record setting Iraq War protests, Bush was reelected. Obama is not invulnerable but this rally is hardly terrifying.

  • Restrained Radical the pictures of the events speak for themselves. This was clearly an event with at least 500,000 people in attendance.

    I would also note this comment from a participant:

    “Eric, September 13, 2009 2:20 PM
    The 70,000 number came from the original estimated size of the march, and the Fire Dept. safety estimate of the capacity of Freedom Square. This was the projected estimate of the expected crowd at 1130. The Capitol police ordered the march to begin at 0930, because Freedom Square had REACHED IT’S MAXIMUM SAFETY CAPACITY two hours before the event. The crowd filled the west lawn and spilled into the National Mall, where the Capitol Police tried to prevent overflow into the mall, but for safety reasons they permitted the attendees to fill the Mall ALMOST AS FAR AS 9TH STREET. I was there. You can try to prevent the truth from escaping, but every single person that was there is fired up,and you can’t stop first-person eyewitness accounts from leaking out.”

    http://www.freedomslighthouse.com/2009/09/video-shows-massive-crowd-gathered-for.html

  • A good article on the difficulties of determining the precise size of the crowd. I agree with him that good aerial pics of the event would make this a lot easier.

    http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/how-big-was-the-crowd/

  • I was there and there were clearly more than 70,000 the number is closer to 1+ million. I saw an estimate, using a statistical analysis of the area covered from aerial photographs and crowd density that puts it at 1.7 million, that is 1,700,000!!!

    It was peaceful, zero arrests, polite, chanting of USA, USA, chanting of we own the dome and we own the Mall, and singing of the national anthem. This is far more than a protest (and it isn’t necessarily against Obama or event the Demopublicans or the Republicrats) this is a pro-government movement — pro CONSTITUTIONAL government under God that is.

    Even the atheist from the so-called Objectivist Ayn Rand institute made some good points. The media, political establishment and the trans-national banking cartel known as the Federal Reserve want to downplay the numbers because they don’t want us to know that most of the people of the states and commonwealths of America, united, are of the same fundamental mind-set:

    ONLY USE THE POWERS ENUMERATED in the CONSTITUTION and never forget that the so-called separation of church and state is to PROTECT the church from the government — not the other way around.

    This is the beginning of the end (it will take time) of the decay of America (and probably Western Civilization) God willing. If not, it will be over — perhaps the second coming maybe just the downfall of civilization as we know it. The moral decay of a civilization always precedes the ultimate decay.

    Most of the people I met, from all over the country and one guy from Australia, were moral, God-fearing people who are sick of the decay, both moral and the rejection of God and the true American principles (based on Christian principles).

    We need not fail, we cannot give in and without seeming too much of an American exceptionalist [well maybe a little too much:)], the downfall of America is the downfall of civilization and the ascension of Communist/fascist/collectivist slavery.

    Sure the Church universal will not fail until Christ returns, but the Church in America has no such guarantee.

    My favorite sign, other than the one my wife made, was simple. It was white, with blue writing and it stated:

    Ephesians 6:12

    Mary of Sorrows, ora pro nobis.

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White House Clueless on Health Care Protests

Monday, September 14, AD 2009

“A mob”

“Astroturf”

“Nazi’s”

President Obama and Speaker Pelosi are trying their hardest at imitating an ostrich sticking its head in the sand.  It continues still today.

When White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod was asked for his opinion concerning the large number of protesters that marched on Washington on Saturday, he replied:

“I don’t think it’s indicative of the nation’s mood . . . “You know, I don’t think we ought to be distracted by that. My message to them is, they’re wrong.”

After tens of hundreds of tea party and town hall protests, the Obama administration seems to purposely be ignoring what Americans demand, no more government intrusion and spending.

The tone deafness of this administration and their proxies is simply stunning.

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43 Responses to White House Clueless on Health Care Protests

  • One small correction, Tito, to an otherwise right-on post: “tens of hundreds” is also known by its more mathematical name, “thousands”! 😉

  • Unbelievable!

    Barack Obama in a few short months as president of “all the people” has assembled a group of unelected Czars who with the aid of the most liberal congress in history and an agenda to “fundamentally change” our country has taken over the banking and finance system (which is reported to be in worse shape now than before he fixed it), the major portion of our auto industry, is planning to control all elements of the energy production, and is demanding that one way or another government should take control of our health care system. All of this was carefully planned to take place without any input from the people and over any objections by the minority party in congress.

    Fortunately some of this Marxist blitzkrieg is still incomplete. The “people”, after witnessing the obvious socializing of America almost over night, voiced their objection to Obama’s polices and the actions of a hell bent congress to bankrupt the nation by allocating never before imagined enormous amounts of deficit spending to support Obama’s agenda.

    Citizens by the tens of thousands have gone to town hall meetings and marched on Washington to demand a halt to the destruction of our economy and the jobs which are at stake under Obama’s inept governance. He reads his ambiguous speeches from a script.
    Yet when the people read the fine print in his legislation and find it different from his script we are scary, ill informed, and obstructionist who are opposed to progress.

    They are frightened by a future that looms with higher taxes, out of control deficits, loss of private healthcare, potential skyrocketing energy costs, and pending inflation not to mention loss of basic freedoms granted under our constitution. They are aware seniors over seventy fear “cuts” in the availability of healthcare services and small businesses see increased costs which will cut payrolls. They hear that primary care doctors see the possibility of not being able to continue to serve patient volumes if reimbursements are lowered and surgeons and hospitals say without tort reform prices will continue to rise.
    All of this is tied directly to provision within the stealth “Obamacare” bill which the House of Representatives hurriedly proposed without even reading it.
    The future is frightening for families and the economy and the people know it!

    SO WHAT IS OBAMA’S RESPONSE TO THE PEOPLE?
    He says we are using SCARE TATICS in our opposition to his policies and agenda.
    Who’s scaring who?
    Unbelievable!! Mr. President that’s real AUDACITY.

  • Perhaps I am completely off-base, but if in 2012 there is a real chance of Obamolech being defeated, then I think he will declare some sort of national emergency and postpone the election indefinitely. He is so narcissist that he cannot conceive that the “peepul” don’t love him any longer. Liberalism is tyranny.

  • It seems to me that when he was confronted by protests, Richard Nixon said he was speaking for the silent majority. Many conservatives at the time agreed that the loud left-wing protests were not representative of the attitudes of the population as a whole.

    During the Iraq war, there were protests involving hundreds of thousands of people. Conservatives (of a certain kind, at least) argued in that case too that the protests were not representative of the population as a whole.

    In both cases, I would argue they were correctin rejecting the notion that people with the drive to get involved in protests were unrepresentative, and their concerns were not the only ones to be considered.

    Last year, the huge crowds Obama drew were dismissed by conservatives.

    Why should the “tea party” protests, which are as chaotic and divided (in terms of policy goals) as the anti-war protests of 2003 be considered authoritative and representative? Because you agree with their attitude toward the President?

  • “Why should the “tea party” protests, which are as chaotic and divided (in terms of policy goals) as the anti-war protests of 2003 be considered authoritative and representative? Because you agree with their attitude toward the President?”

    No, because they match what political prognosticators are seeing as a very rough year for the Democrats in the 2010 elections.

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2009/09/14/of-tea-and-elections/

  • Zak, it’s true that one or a few big D.C. gatherings don’t necessarily reflect the mood of the entire country. But what about state and local gatherings? What if they keep growing over a period of years?

    The Iraq war protests of 2003 probably didn’t represent the mood of the people at that time. The “loud left-wing protests” of the Vietnam era, however, were another matter — they kept spreading. Campus unrest also was not confined only to places like Kent State and Berkeley.

    In the early chapters of Chuck Colson’s “Born Again,” when he recalls his years in the White House, he says that the wave of protests after the Cambodian incursion and Kent State in 1970 were intense enough to spark genuine fear — at least for a brief period — within the Nixon Administration that an all-out civil war or insurrection could be brewing. Perhaps Nixon’s assertion that he had a “silent majority” behind him was a little bit of whistling in the dark, so to speak?

    However, you are right in pointing out that conservatives can’t have it both ways — asserting that THEIR massive protest gatherings prove the country is on their side while liberals’ massive protests don’t prove anything.

  • Perhaps I am completely off-base, but if in 2012 there is a real chance of Obamolech being defeated, then I think he will declare some sort of national emergency and postpone the election indefinitely. He is so narcissist that he cannot conceive that the “peepul” don’t love him any longer. Liberalism is tyranny.

    Yes, I’m afraid that I think you are indeed completely off base.

    There’s virtually nothing about Obama that I like, but conservative fears that he will cancel elections are no more founded than liberal fears that George Bush would. Sorry, I just don’t see it. And I must admit, it really annoys me to see members of “my side” sounding unhinged in the way that I was so recently blasting the left for doing.

  • Perhaps I am completely off-base, but if in 2012 there is a real chance of Obamolech being defeated, then I think he will declare some sort of national emergency and postpone the election indefinitely.

    Um, what? If off-base is a baseball mataphor, then I’d say you’re across town on a train speeding away from the stadium. Get off the train. Put down Atlas Shrugged. Come back to sanity.

  • But there were plenty of pro-Hward Dean state and local gatherings in ’04 that signified nothing. Granted they weren’t as loud as tea party protests, and weren’t played up by Fox News, but I don’t think loudness is a good criterion for political importance. It is true, as Don says, that the Dems will probably do relatively poorly during the ’12 election – but except for ’02, the President’s party always loses seats in his first off-year elections. And the Republicans are just as (or more) unpopular and distrusted by independents.

  • Perhaps I am completely off-base, but if in 2012 there is a real chance of Obamolech being defeated, then I think he will declare some sort of national emergency and postpone the election indefinitely. He is so narcissist that he cannot conceive that the “peepul” don’t love him any longer. Liberalism is tyranny.

    As others have stated, I highly doubt this would happen and I don’t think we should discuss this as a likelihood…. however…. I have no doubt that the left believe they know what’s good for the people no matter how unpopular, and they will use whatever means possible to achieve their goals, stealing elections is definitely in their bailiwick.

    The possibility of such an act being successful increases as the constitution is allowed to be infringed, especially those elements which were designed to prevent such a usurpation. Efforts such as gun confiscation, internal security expansion, infringements on free speech all lead us down the path of dictatorship.

  • There’s virtually nothing about Obama that I like, but conservative fears that he will cancel elections are no more founded than liberal fears that George Bush would.

    I would agree with you. There is, however, an element within the academy and in and among pressure groups which simply does not regard the opposition as legitimate exponents within intellectual life or in the wider public square. At the intersection of this academic subculture and electoral politics is Bradford deLong, and Dr. deLong is (in his programmatic preferences) not at all eccentric within the Democratic Party and may be mildly to the right-of-center when compared to the total population of professors on liberal arts faculties. Look north to Canada and also to Sweden to see extensions of this mentality in practice, and recall that provisions of the federal and state Constitutions guaranteeing rights of speech and petition and assembly are interpreted by the same crews which say the 14th Amendment requires county clerks to issue marriage licenses to pairs of dudes.

  • And we have a mainstream NY Times liberal columnist talking about how in many ways the communist dictatorship in China is better than our own government.

    Certainly, there is a certain appreciation that elements of the left can have for authoritarianism when it’s their kind of authoritarianism. I just don’t see that ever translating into elections being canceled. Heck, we even had an election when we were in the middle of a civil war. Not having one is pretty much unimaginable to the American people. I can’t see such a thing ever happening.

  • Kevin in Texas,

    Thanks! I will correc that.

    Zak,

    You make an excellent point. I’ll need to chew on that for a while for another posting.

  • Why conservative protests are getting folks’ attention more than the liberal versions:
    Libs are always protesting. Cons hardly ever go in for big protests.

    Same way it’s a big deal in social circles when cons are rude about politics, but not when libs do it; it’s just not the style.

    I guess the best way of phrasing it would be that it’s a matter of different “cultures”– either the Con culture is changing, or there’s something really wrong. (or maybe both, really)

  • Question: Why are 99.9% (probably not an exaggeration) of the protesters white? This is DC! And I thought it wasn’t just Republicans, but a nice cross-section of America that’s mad.

  • …are you seriously trying to claim that Republicans can’t be black, Asian or anything else?

  • restrainedradical,

    I was there and about half a percent of the ‘protesters’ were black not to mention other non-white ethnicities. Several of the speakers were black too. Keep in mind that blacks are less than 12% of the total populaiton and over 95% have been brainwashed into thinking their political salvation is from the nice, stealthy racists on the LEFT!!!!

    Not to mention that over a third of the 50,000,000 murdered babies of the last 30 some years have been BLACK.

    You can hardly expect that a majority of the people at the pro-constitutional government rally would be black.

    As for us believers, we know that there is neither Jew nor Greek, nor black nor white — we are one in Christ.

    The racism canard is getting really old. I am not afraid that there is a half-black, half-white man in the White House, I am afraid that the white house is becoming RED — Commie RED!!!

  • over 95% have been brainwashed

    Those dumb black people. But why weren’t there more Hispanics and Asians? They’re 15% and 5% of the population respectively. Are they stupid too?

    You can hardly expect that a majority of the people at the pro-constitutional government rally would be black.

    I’d expect more than 0.5%.

    So far, American Knight offers the explanation that there were hardly any non-whites because most blacks are dumb. Any other explanations?

  • Nice try — it is clear that is not at all what I said. Additionally I did see quite a few Asians.

    Furthermore, I am not exactly a WASP myself. Heck, I wasn’t even born here. My parents, by the Grace of God moved us here before I was an adult and they came in through the front door.

    Stupid and groupthink are not necessarily the same thing. And before you go flying off the handle and tell me everyone at the pro-constitution rally is engaged in groupthink and blind followers of Glenn Beck; don’t confuse unity for our founding principles with groupthink.

    America is a Constitutional Republic based on Christian Law no matter if you like it or not. If it bothers you that real Americans (who happen to be mostly white but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for the rest of us) are RESTORING the country to stop the current Zeitgiest that seeks to reform her into Nazi Germany or Red China or Soviet Russia you can leave.

    From what I understand our southern border is pretty open. I’ll buy your burro for you since y’all like to use other people’s money so much. 🙂

  • Guess we should take a page from the Dem’s book and make sure to move token folks of the right color and sex in for pictures….

    Or maybe borrow from MSNBC and crop out anything that doesn’t fit the story? (Say, like a black man packing a scary looking gun in the same area that Obama’s in?)

    Or, we can do like we have been, take pictures and not care what shade folks are or what shape their eyes are, and ignore race-baiters who want to insist that, somehow, the party that keeps getting about half of the support of the nation is made up of old, fat, male WASPS.

  • American Knight Says:
    don’t confuse unity for our founding principles with groupthink.

    But it’s OK to confuse unity against bigotry with groupthink? Oh wait. Only non-whites are brainwashed, right? Whites are “unified for our founding principles.” What is it that makes whites so enlightened?

    Foxfier says:
    Or, we can do like we have been, take pictures and not care what shade folks are or what shape their eyes are, and ignore race-baiters who want to insist that, somehow, the party that keeps getting about half of the support of the nation is made up of old, fat, male WASPS.

    Because you don’t care is exactly why you don’t get their votes (though if you’re a loyal Republican, you should care that too many Hispanics are entering the country). The party that keeps failing to capture non-white votes is made up overwhelmingly of white people. That’s a fact. McCain won the WASP vote.

  • But it’s OK to confuse unity against bigotry with groupthink?

    We can show unity with the founding fathers; all you can show is “you disagree with a politician whose father was black.”

    I won’t even dignify your garbage aimed at me with a response. Should I ever meet the strawman you’re fighting with, it might be an interesting visit.

    You want to keep insisting “you don’t agree with me that we should treat folks differently because of their race, then you’re a racist” — go for it. I’ve got enough faith in humanity that enough will see that BS for what it is.

  • I’m sorry, but not appearing to be a racist when I am in fact not one is somewhere next to what color socks I wear and what brand of toothpaste I buy on my “things I give a crap about” list.

    I don’t even think people like “reinstatedradical” can even coherently define racism anymore, or differentiate it from other things they don’t like. Racism is bad, policy x is bad, somehow they must be related, because “everyone knows” we still live in a racist society.

    All hail the never-ending march and triumph of reason!

  • Funny. I didn’t mention “racism” anywhere. Didn’t accuse any one of it. Talk about oversensitive! For the record, I oppose Obamacare, at least the public option part of it. I opposed the bailouts. My dislike of ACORN goes back more than a decade. I just asked an honest question. A question to which the only answer given so far has been that blacks are brainwashed. So if I were to dig for racism anywhere in this discussion, I’d have to say that American Knight’s comment was racist. Not the Republican party (to which I belong), not any policy or protest of policy, just American Knight’s comment.

    But this does bring up something interesting. Just my mentioning of a racial disparity, is dismissed as an unfounded accusation of racism. There is a reluctance on the Right to acknowledge even the existence of a racial disparity, and if acknowledged, there’s a tendency to ignore it, or worse, blame the race that makes them look bad as American Knight did.

  • “Question: Why are 99.9% (probably not an exaggeration) of the protesters white?”

    “So far, American Knight offers the explanation that there were hardly any non-whites because most blacks are dumb.”

    “But it’s OK to confuse unity against bigotry with groupthink?”

    “Because you don’t care is exactly why you don’t get their votes (though if you’re a loyal Republican, you should care that too many Hispanics are entering the country). The party that keeps failing to capture non-white votes is made up overwhelmingly of white people. That’s a fact. McCain won the WASP vote.”

    “There is a reluctance on the Right to acknowledge even the existence of a racial disparity, and if acknowledged, there’s a tendency to ignore it, or worse, blame the race that makes them look bad as American Knight did.”

    “Funny. I didn’t mention “racism” anywhere. Didn’t accuse any one of it.”

    Good one, restrained. Without actually using the word “racism”, you imply one commenter is a bigot, accuse another of not caring about nonwhite people, and insinuate that loyal Republicans fear Hispanic immigration. But you didn’t accuse anyone of racism.

    So you didn’t like American Knight’s assessment of why comparatively few black folks participated in the rally. Fair enough; brainwashing would be tough to quantify anyway. Perhaps you’d care to explain why it is that black voters support the Democratic Party (and supported Obama) at consistent rates of around 95% although the party offered no support to the antislaver movement in the 1800s, little to the civil rights movement before the ’60’s, and has consistently promoted policies that have resulted in the disproportionate abortion of black babies, damage to the black family, and urban decay.

    BTW, that the DC population didn’t turn out in droves is hardly surprising. These are the same folks who have repeatedly scuttled their own statehood attempts by maintaining crooked or incompetent local administrations that would have been ridden out on rails anyplace else, and who continue to keep convicted drug offender and do-nothing politico Marion Barry in government. My guess is a good segment of D.C. would continue to support Obama and his policies were he to declare himself President for Life, abolish private property right down to toothbrushes, and commence acquiring a harem of teenage girls.

  • Restrainedradical,

    white knight was merely alluding to the % of blacks who voted for Obama. A far greater rate than voted for any previous presidential candidate. His comment may have been inarticulate, but it was surely not meant to be racist as you have CLEARLY suggested.

    I do agree that we must convert minorities to vote their already conservative values.

    Raging Elephants is a Houston based effort to do just that, led by conservative minorities who recognize the devastation wrought on minorities by their democrat voting records.

  • Please let me clarify ‘brainwashed’. As some of you have cogently pointed out, it is bad wording. Forgive the speed at which I typed a response because I was incensed.

    I think it is very insulting to black people to state that there were no or very little black people at the pro-constitution rally. I think it is equally insulting to state that blacks, or anyone else, including us non-white naturalized citizens, can’t think for themselves.

    My ‘brainwashed’ comment was a reference to the cognitive dissonance among black voters. Most blacks are pro-family, pro-life, pro-school choice and pro-private property, yet as a block they vote for the exact opposite, which is what the nice, stealthy racists on the left promote. In addition to my mention that the general genocide of abortion is disgusting, it is also racist in that it has targeted black babies overwhelmingly. That is racist. The voting black population has been decimated by the horror of abortion. How can a party or ideological fellow travelers claim to empower blacks when they are the once eradicating the black population? That is racist and hypocritical.

    As other posters have pointed out, the policies of the Left (both the Donkeys and the Elephants) have been extremely damaging to black Americans. I stated that the voting blacks are ‘brainwashed’ because I can’t think of another reason that they would vote against their own interests consistently and malign the minority of blacks that support Constitutional government, personal responsibility and a general improvement for all Americans, which includes black Americans.

    I also think the right-thinking silent majority, who are not all Republicant’s, are waking up to this long march toward the end of the United States as we know it. That isn’t racist, that is patriotism. If Republicans want to attract so-called minorities then they need to return to true conservative principles and quit copying what the Democrats were 40 years ago and the Democrats need to stop copying the Politburo.

    Also, as I stated before, which was conveniently ignored, people of faith know that there is no Jew or Greek, no black and no white, we are one in Christ. We also should all be red, white and blue rather than red vs. blue and black vs. white.

    We can by UNITED, as in the United States (Commonwealths) of America on basic, fundamental American principles enshrined in the Declaration and the Constitution. And please don’t go trotting out the allowance for slavery and the three-fifths mistakes — they have been corrected because they were and are not compatible with liberty. America is the best, warts and all.

    PS – Matt, my moniker is AMERICAN Knight and although white knight has a certain appeal, given this topic it is probably very innaproriate. I am fairly confident the KKK would not have me as a member not only becuase of the color of my skin and texture of my hair but becuase I am also very Catholic and my status as knight is only due to Fr. McGivney 🙂

  • One thing that seems to be lost on Michael Sean Winters and others intimating that racism is a major motivator for these protesters is the fact that these same protesters are also quite angry with the quite fair-skinned congress.

    Just sayin’.

  • American Knight,

    deepest apology for the typo. Growing up in Canada the concept of “white knight” has nothing to do with racism or the KKK and so the transposition was not ill-intended.

    ps. I find it ironicly amusing that restrainedradical would imply you are racist against yourself…

  • Matt,

    No harm. I didn’t think you meant it that way; I was clarifying becuase some people tend to use any slip to latch on to in order to promote their illogical argument.

    You may be interested in knowing that I am currently suing myself for discrimination and I am hoping to enlist the help of ACORN becuase I will not put up with this blatant racism and hatred for an immigrant especially becuase he dared to enter through the front door and actually read the Constitution. These kind of people are dangerous, they may actually have an idea that liberty and rights come from God and are secured by the Constitution for everyone! Where would that leave community ‘prostitution’ organizers and trial lawyers? Not to mention who would actually watch NBC? This is frightening. I demand an investigation. Unfair. I am victimizing myself — do something about it you white people.

  • AK- *lol*

    …Am I the only one kinda sad that folks watch the video up top, and the first thing they do is try to count how many of what race are where?

    I wish I’d kept track of a picture that was making the rounds during the election– it was from one of the mainstream newspapers, and some folks made a stink because the lighting made Obama look no darker than an Italian with a slight tan. If he were wearing a hat with a nice shirt…are we sure someone would be able to guess his race in that video? Seems like a lot of sand to build an accusation on.

  • cminor says:
    Without actually using the word “racism”, you imply one commenter is a bigot, accuse another of not caring about nonwhite people, and insinuate that loyal Republicans fear Hispanic immigration. But you didn’t accuse anyone of racism.

    That 95% of blacks are brainwashed is a bigoted comment. I said that that was racist. I didn’t accuse anyone of not caring about nonwhite people. Foxfier admitted to not caring about race. Stephen Colbert mocks that sentiment with his line, “I don’t see race. I’ve been told I’m white.” It’s not racism. It’s ignoring that race issues exist. That’s why the GOP can’t win nonwhite votes. As for the loyal Republicans and xenophobia, “loyal Republicans” was not entirely accurate. I was talking about the Tom Tancredos and that large minority of the party that agrees with him.

    Perhaps you’d care to explain why it is that black voters support the Democratic Party (and supported Obama) at consistent rates of around 95% although the party offered no support to the antislaver movement in the 1800s, little to the civil rights movement before the ’60’s, and has consistently promoted policies that have resulted in the disproportionate abortion of black babies, damage to the black family, and urban decay.

    I’ll address that but I’d just like to let you know that those are very poor arguments that the Right would do well to drop. Seriously. It doesn’t convince anyone and only demonstrates how little the modern GOP has done for blacks. Blacks were Republican in the 1800’s and left the party entirely in the ’60’s. Parties change. Black babies are disproportionately aborted because more black women want to. They want abortion.

    Blacks vote Democrat because:
    1. They’re poorer than whites. Progressive taxation and social programs help them disproportionately. Most people vote according to their economic interests. Not “brainwashed.” Perfectly rational.
    2. They don’t trust Republicans. After the GOP picked up the segregationists in the 60’s, they lost the trust of blacks. The GOP did nothing to earn that trust back. Again, not “brainwashed.” Perfectly rational.

    But I’d like to hear your answer as to why blacks don’t vote Republican, if as you claim the Democratic party is so bad for them.

  • American Knight says:
    I think it is very insulting to black people to state that there were no or very little black people at the pro-constitution rally.

    It’s a fact. You said so yourself: “about half a percent.” Don’t be insulted by facts.

    I think it is equally insulting to state that blacks, or anyone else, including us non-white naturalized citizens, can’t think for themselves.

    Good to see you acknowledge that. But then you say…

    I stated that the voting blacks are ‘brainwashed’ because I can’t think of another reason that they would vote against their own interests consistently and malign the minority of blacks that support Constitutional government, personal responsibility and a general improvement for all Americans, which includes black Americans.

    So you’re standing firm? Most blacks are brainwashed? Unbelievable.

    Also, as I stated before, which was conveniently ignored, people of faith know that there is no Jew or Greek, no black and no white, we are one in Christ. We also should all be red, white and blue rather than red vs. blue and black vs. white.

    Using faith in Christ for an appeal to nationalism? How about this one? There should be no illegal immigrant vs. native. No child vs. parent. No rich vs. poor. No healthy vs. disabled. In Christ we are all of equal dignity but these earthly differences should matter when it comes to policy.

  • Big Tex says:
    One thing that seems to be lost on Michael Sean Winters and others intimating that racism is a major motivator for these protesters is the fact that these same protesters are also quite angry with the quite fair-skinned congress.

    The KKK didn’t like LBJ, therefore, the KKK cannot be racist.

  • Restrained:
    Way to dodge the question, dude. And no, I’m not going to be lured into venturing theories as I have little doubt that I’ll have been called a racist and a few other things by the time I’m done. You didn’t notice, by any chance, American Knight’s reference to his own racial background? I’m astonished you persist in attacking him.

    Incidentally, I think most black pro-lifers would take issue with your flip remark about black women and abortion. You’re unaware, I take it, that Planned Parenthood originated from the eugenics movement and strategically locates clinics in predominantly black neighborhoods to this day?
    http://www.lifeissues.org/connector/2005/Oct05_PPTargetsAA.htm

    I’m part Hispanic and can vouch for the fact that PP and other abortionists also advertise heavily in the secular Spanish-language press, so their commitment to “servicing” minorities is nothing if not broad-based. For some reason they seem to be less interested in ad campaigns targeting middle-class white women, unless they happen to be high school or college students.

  • Myapology; there was an answer down there at the bottom. But I’m sticking to my guns re the rest.

  • OTOH, it doesn’t really explain the persistence of Democratic voting into the black middle and upper classes.

  • This is getting tired. 0.005% of the country’s population was at DC on 912. 300,000,000 at 12% (approx black population)= 36million. black population factored by total of dc 912 population is 180,000. Since 95% of balcks are probably still against this movement then we can expect that 9,000 black Americans would be present at DC 912. I didn’t count, but I think the number is higher than that.

    In any event, it doesn’t really matter this whole discussion is a canard. Are some people racists? Yes. Are they all white? No. Is America as a country racist? No. Is the por-Constitution movement racist? No. Are some people in it racist? Probably.

    A minority of racists no matter if they are black, white, Kenyan, Korean or from Kansas do not make a racist movement.

    As for radical’s comment about using faith for nationalism. What do you think Jefferson (not an exemplary Christian and sadly using enlightenment language) meant when he wrote that our rights come from Nature’s God? This is a Christian nation. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t allow for other beleifs it means the principles are Christian — a fact, a stubborn, unavoidable fact.

    In your twisted attack on me you mixed behavior with constitution. A black man is a black man becuase God made him that way. An illegal alien is illegel becuase he chose to trespass. Not the same thing at all. We are not to be judged on our make-up but on our behavior and choices.

    I am finished with this discussion so like a typical antagonist, I am sure that radical will take the last word. I know I am right so I am done.

    God bless you all.

  • Margaret Sanger the big abortion pioneer lectured the Klan. By the way, Catholics have been targets of the KKK as well.

    http://www.blackgenocide.org (and the more rowdy dot com version give lots of facts)

    Martin Luther King a Republican.

    Republicans voted for desegregation in the 1960s. I’m not sure saying the Republicans picked up the Segregationists is an accurate statement with someone like Byrd a powerful democrat and he was in the Klan.

  • “Blacks were Republican in the 1800’s and left the party entirely in the ’60’s. Parties change. Black babies are disproportionately aborted because more black women want to. They want abortion.”

    Denzel Washington, Martin Luther King, Republicans.

    Desegregation Bills only passed because Republicans voted for those bills.

    The last sentence really is a joke, again http://www.blackgenocide.org

  • restrained radical,

    The KKK didn’t like LBJ, therefore, the KKK cannot be racist.
    I fail to see your point. In fact, you entirely missed mine. In these protests, the ire directed at President Obama is very much the same as that directed at the Congress. Why not take a look at the rhetoric from these protests and see for yourself what the nature of the ire actually is.

  • American Knight Says:
    Since 95% of balcks are probably still against this movement

    You say that in passing but that’s my point.

    In your twisted attack on me you mixed behavior with constitution. A black man is a black man becuase God made him that way. An illegal alien is illegel becuase he chose to trespass. Not the same thing at all. We are not to be judged on our make-up but on our behavior and choices.

    I also used the example of children and the disabled which you very conveniently ignore. Unless, you think one chooses to be a child or disabled.

    I know I am right so I am done.

    Bigotry is never right.

  • cminor says:
    OTOH, it doesn’t really explain the persistence of Democratic voting into the black middle and upper classes.

    The distrust of Republicans still applies plus:
    1. Many middle and upper income blacks grew up poorer. They have friends and family who are still poor.
    2. Solidarity within the black community. At the macro level it’s strong.

Irena Sendler

Sunday, September 13, AD 2009

Some people just make you proud to be a human being, and the incredibly heroic Irena Sendler is in that category.  When asked why she saved 2500-3000 Jewish kids she said simply:  “I was taught that if you see a person drowning, you must jump into the water to save them, whether you can swim or not.”  The acclaim she received late in life bothered her somewhat:  “Every child saved with my help is the justification of my existence on this Earth, and not a title to glory.” 

When any of us confront evil and think, “What can I do?”, may the example of Irena Sendler cause us to do the very most that we can.  Irena Sendler did not think of herself as a heroine.  She said that she could have done much more.  I find that hard to believe, but with such a conscience to guide her I can understand how she accomplished the near miraculous.

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6 Responses to Irena Sendler

God Save The Tsar

Saturday, September 12, AD 2009

Something for the weekend.  God Save The Tsar, the national anthem of pre-Revolutionary Russia.  As a whole the members of the Romanov dynasty who ruled Russia for three centuries prior to 1917 were a rather bad group of rulers, with the exceptions of Peter the Great, Catherine the Great and Alexander II, the Tsar Liberator who freed the serfs, and seemed to specialize in inept mediocrities,  especially poor doomed Nicholas II, the last Tsar, who lacked the ability to run a town let alone a vast empire.  However, they were fortunate in their successors.  They shine when compared to monsters like Lenin and Stalin.  Perhaps the Obama administration could revive the song and have it played when some of their “tsars” consult with the President?

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One Response to God Save The Tsar

  • Kontakion 1

    O passion bearer chosen from birth and incarnation of the love of Christ, * we sing thee praises as one who did love all the fatherland. * As thou hast boldness before the Lord, * enlighten our darkened minds and hearts that we may cry to thee: *
    Rejoice, O Nicholas, God crowned Tsar and great passion bearer.
    Ikos 1
    The Creator of angels did send thee to the Russian land as an angel of meekness and instructor to thy people, as He did choose thee after the example of His Only Begotten Son to be a sacrifice of redemption for the sins of the people. And we, marveling at the Providence of the Almighty towards thee, cry out with contrition:

    Rejoice, O likeness of Christ.
    Rejoice, sacrifice of whole burnt offering.
    Rejoice, adornment of the Tsar’s of Russia.
    Rejoice, thou who gavest an example of meekness and forgiveness to all.
    Rejoice, true hope of the offended.
    Rejoice, unshakable foundation of faith.
    Rejoice, O Nicholas, God crowned Tsar and great passion bearer.

    Kontakion 2

    The All good Mother of God, seeing her chosen place, the Russian land, defiled by the abomination of corruption, chose thee from thy birth as a most pure one who would be for the cleansing of Russia, that all might as a funeral lamentation make a hymn to thee: Alleluia.
    Ikos 2
    The pre eternal Mind did fore know thy salvation and thy life, prefigured by Job the Much Suffering, joining thy birth and the memory of the righteous one. And we, recalling our sins and lawless deeds, with trembling of heart and contrition of soul cry out to thee thus:
    Rejoice, thou who didst endure abuse and trials from thine own people.
    Rejoice, thou who didst preserve the Faith to the end.
    Rejoice, example of meekness.
    Rejoice, guardian of the worship of God.
    Rejoice, rule of humility.
    Rejoice, O Nicholas, God crowned Tsar and great passion bearer.

    Kontakion 3
    The power of the Most High did overshadow thee, O God crowned Nicholas, who didst fight back to enlighten the West in its false wisdom, that the world might cry out to God: Alleluia.
    Ikos 3
    Having fervor for the enlightenment of those gone astray, thou, O right believing Tsar, was zealous for the erection of churches, the glorification of the relics of the Saints who pleased God, the planting of Christian enlightenment, and the protection of the unfortunate against violence, and so the Christian world cried out to thee thus:
    Rejoice, namesake of St. Nicholas upon the earth.
    Rejoice, fellow intercessor with St. Seraphim in Heaven.
    Rejoice, planter of Orthodoxy.
    Rejoice, bearer of the Light of Christ.
    Rejoice, teacher of Christian patience.
    Rejoice, intercessor for Orthodox Christians.
    Rejoice, O Nicholas, God crowned Tsar and great passion bearer.

    Kontakion 4
    Thou didst not fear the storm of folly and abuse, O Passion bearer Nicholas, when thou didst renounce agreement with the enemies for the destruction of the fatherland; and thou didst endure censure, imprisonment, and death, crying to the Almighty: Alleluia.
    Ikos 4
    Hearing of the tumults of the Russian land and beholding the destruction of Christians, thou didst unceasingly pray, that the alleged Mother of God save Orthodox Russia. Wherefore, we cry out to thee:
    Rejoice, fragrant incense of prayer.
    Rejoice, inextinguishable lamp of faith.
    Rejoice, admonisher of the violent by the meekness.
    Rejoice, consoled of the disconsolate amid sorrows.
    Rejoice, lover of heavenly things.
    Rejoice, O Nicholas, God crowned Tsar and great passion bearer.

    Kontakion 5
    Thou hast been revealed as a God-guided star for Russians in the diaspora, O Tsar Nicholas; for, gathering them together in thy name, thou dost show the path to the rebirth of the Russian land, that we may hear angels crying out: Alleluia!
    Ikos 5
    Seeing that thy meekness and humility accomplished nothing, thou didst place all thy hope in the Most Pure Mother of God and give thyself entirely into the hands of the Almighty, that even the senseless might be instructed to sing to thee:
    Rejoice, vanquisher of pride,
    Rejoice, invincible rampart of the infirm.
    Rejoice, enlightenment of the proud.
    Rejoice, overflowing love for thy people.
    Rejoice, fervent sacrifice for the Russian land.
    Rejoice, O Nicholas, God-crowned Tsar and great passion- bearer.

    Kontakion 6
    The ends of the world preach thy glory, and thy word hath gone forth into all the earth; for there is no sacrifice thou wouldst not have offered for the good of the Russian land, thereby teaching thy people to sing in thanksgiving to God: Alleluia.
    Ikos 6
    Thou didst shine forth greater than the sun for the Russian land, O Tsar Nicholas, revealing thine intercession for the Orthodox people even unto death, that all might be converted to Christ and hasten to thee. Therefore we hymn thee thus:
    Rejoice, O light that hath come out of the East.
    Rejoice, example to Orthodox kings.
    Rejoice, unquenchable shining of righteousness.
    Rejoice, unsetting luminary of meekness.
    Rejoice, fatherly exhortation to sinners.
    Rejoice, fervent glorification of the righteous.
    Rejoice, O Nicholas, God-crowned Tsar and great passion-bearer.

    Kontakion 7

    Wishing to strengthen Orthodox Faith on earth, thou didst move thy whole kingdom to the defense of the wronged land of Serbia, that all might cry out to God: Alleluia.
    Ikos 7
    The Lord did manifest thee as a new Noah, a builder of salvation for the Russian people, that all, remembering thy labors, might cry out ceaselessly thus:
    Rejoice, helmsman of the Russian ship.
    Rejoice, consoled of the Slavs in misfortunes.
    Rejoice, guide of Russians.
    Rejoice, proclaimer of the love of peace.
    Rejoice, planter of Christian virtues.
    Rejoice, O Nicholas, God crowned Tsar and great passion bearer.

    Kontakion 8
    We see strange wonder in thee, O Nicholas, who many times wast saved by the right hand of the Most High and was crowned by a martyr’s crown with thy children and kinsmen, that we might cry out to God the Provider of all things: Alleluia.
    Ikos 8
    Thou was entirely a defender for all Christians, O divinely chosen Nicholas, and didst show a double intercession for the Slavic peoples, moving them to sing to thee in praise:
    Rejoice, defense of the offended.
    Rejoice, exhortation to offenders.
    Rejoice, refuge of the grieving.
    Rejoice, intercessor for the persecuted.
    Rejoice, intercessor for the persecuted.
    Rejoice, peacemaker in thy life.
    Rejoice, champion of Christians after thy murder.
    Rejoice, O Nicholas, God crowned Tsar and great passion bearer.

    Kontakion 9
    By many wonders did the Lord reveal His good will to the Russian people, until they did grieve Him mightily; but being called by thee in repentance, we cry out together unto God: Alleluia.
    Ikos 9
    Eloquent orators, like voiceless fish, cannot express the height of thy patience; but we, beholding the abyss of our fall, cry out in contrition of spirit:
    Rejoice, unvanquishable patience.
    Rejoice, unwavering faithfulness of Christians.
    Rejoice, wise teacher of the foolish.
    Rejoice, thou who didst give an example to the faithful in thy life and martyr’s death.
    Rejoice, thou who didst suffer for the sins of thy people.
    Rejoice, O Nicholas, God crowned Tsar and great passion bearer.

    Kontakion 10
    Christ the Knower of hearts, Who founded His Church on the blood of martyrs, desiring to save all men, did place thee, O Passion-bearer Nicholas, as the foundation of the new house of the Russian realm, that all within it might cry out to God: Alleluia.
    Ikos 10
    Thou art a rampart for all who hasten to thee with faith, and an inextinguishable protection for the Orthodox world, and thou dost teach all the faithful to glorify thee thus:
    Rejoice, manifestation of heavenly things on earth.
    Rejoice, new strength for those grown faint in virtues.
    Rejoice, dawn that hath shone forth on the land of Russia.
    Rejoice, river that doth nourish all her boundaries.
    Rejoice, teacher of the humility of wisdom.
    Rejoice, planter of faith and love.
    Rejoice, O Nicholas, God crowned Tsar and great passion bearer

    Kontakion 11
    Offering a hymn to the Most Holy Trinity even unto thy death, thou didst finish thy course and keep the Faith, by which thou dost move all Orthodox Christians to sing: Alleluia.
    Ikos 11
    Thou wast sent by the Giver of Light to the Russian land like an immaculate lamb, and thou didst lay down thy life for the redemption of our sins, that we all might ceaselessly glorify thee thus:
    Rejoice, sacrifice beloved of God.
    Rejoice, unquenchable abundance of love.
    Rejoice, praise of the faithfulness of Christ.
    Rejoice, invisible blowing of the Spirit.
    Rejoice, mirror of wisdom.
    Rejoice, hope of the hopeless.
    Rejoice, O Nicholas, God crowned Tsar and great passion bearer.

    Kontakion 12
    Divine grace which health the infirm did fore know thee as an imperishable healing for thy subjects who cry out to God: Alleluia.
    Ikos 12
    Hymning thy sufferings, O Passion-bearer Nicholas, we bow down before thy patience, for the power of the Almighty Trinity was manifest in thee, that we might all with one accord cry out:
    Rejoice, beloved child of Christ.
    Rejoice, thou who didst conduct thine immaculate children and faithful servants to Christ.
    Rejoice, thou who didst aid the Queen to be righteous and a martyr.
    Rejoice, thou who didst truly direct thy people.
    Rejoice, thou who didst not bring abuse to the honor of thy fatherland.
    Rejoice, thou who didst gain the Kingdom of Heaven.
    Rejoice, O Nicholas, God crowned Tsar and great passion bearer.

    Kontakion 13
    O most wondrous and most glorious Passion-bearer Nicholas, look down upon thy earthly kingdom and thy people, for we have no answer for our sins, and entreat the Almighty that He may not enter into judgment with us, but might vouchsafe us ceaselessly to cry out: Alleluia {three times}.
    Ikos 1
    The Creator of angels did send thee to the Russian land as an angel of meekness and instructor to the people, and He did choose thee after the example of His Only Begotten Son to be a sacrifice of redemption for the sins of the people. And, we, marveling at the Providence of the Almighty towards thee, cry out with contrition:
    Rejoice, O likeness of Christ.
    Rejoice, sacrifice of whole burnt offering.
    Rejoice, adornment of the Tsars of Russia.
    Rejoice, thou who gavest an example of meekness and forgiveness to all.
    Rejoice, true hope of the offended.
    Rejoice, unshakable foundation of faith.
    Rejoice, O Nicholas, God-corwned Tsar and great passion bearer.

    Kontakion 1
    O passion-bearer chosen from birth and incarnation of the love of Christ, * we sing thee praises as one who did love above all thy fatherland. * As thou hast boldness before the Lord, * enlighten our darkened minds and hearts that we may cry to thee: *
    Tropar ion, Tone 5
    Thou didst meekly endure the loss of an earthly kingdom, * and bonds and many sufferings from the fighters against God, * witnessing of Christ even unto death, * O great Passion-bearer and God crowned Tsar Nicholas. * Wherefore Christ God did crown thee and thy Queen and children with a martyr’s crown in Heaven; * do thou entreat Him to have mercy on the Russian land and to save our souls.

    A Prayer To The Holy Tsar-Martyr Nicholas

    O holy passion-bearer Tsar Martyr Nicholas! The Lord has chosen thee as His anointed one to judge with mercy and righteousness thy people and to be the guardian of the Orthodox Kingdom.

    This royal service and the care for souls thou hast completed with the fear of God. Testing thee as gold in the furnace, the Lord has allowed bitter sorrows to come upon thee, as to the much suffering Job, by depriving thee of thy royal throne and sending upon thee martyric death. Having meekly endured all this, like a true slave of Christ, thou art partaking of the highest glory at the Throne of the God of All, together with the Holy Martyrs, the holy Tsarina Alexandra, the holy youth Crown Prince Alexis, and the holy princesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia and with the faithful servants of thine, as well as with the holy Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth and with all the Royal Martyrs and the Holy Martyr Barbara.

    For as having great boldness before Christ King, for whose sake thou hast endured everything, pray with us, that the Lord might forgive the sin of thy people, who did not stop thy slaughter, as King and Anointed One of God, that the Lord will deliver the suffering land of Russia from the fierce and godless ones, who came upon it because of our sin and apostasy, and that He will restore the throne of Orthodox Tsars, and to us will grant forgiveness of sins and will instruct us on every good deed, that we might acquire humbleness, meekness and love, as these Martyrs have done, that we will be vouchsafed the Heavenly Kingdom, where together with thee and all the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, we might glorify Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, both now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

There's No Such Thing as a Monarchist

Friday, September 11, AD 2009

I’ve been on an early modern French history kick lately, reading The Battle: A New History of Waterloo, Alstair Horne’s The Age of Napoleon, and now Paul Johnson’s Napoleon: A Life, and Alistair Horne’s La Belle France. All this has led me towards a contention — though I suppose one on a quirky enough topic few will be interest.

It seems to me that there can be no such thing as a “monarchist”. An -ist indicates some sort of intentional form of government which one may support establishing or working towards. Yet looking at the various attempts to bring back the ancein regime or something like it, it strikes me that monarchy is not something which can be intentionally established, except as a cultural and political figurehead of sorts. Monarchy must necessarily be an unintentional form of government, and so while one may admire it where one finds it in history, it doesn’t seem like something one can be a supporter of establishing. An intentionally established monarchy would not be a monarchy in any sense worth valuing.

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24 Responses to There's No Such Thing as a Monarchist

  • Edmund Burke made very similiar arguments. The bonds of civil society should be derived from the necessities of humanity’s organic development in community, beginning with the associations of family and tribe and extending later into the wider polis. Then, political obligation follows the purposes of civil society, which is the protection and advancement of the aforementioned associations. And so I think any intentionally established “monarchy” (what an invitation to hubristic tyranny!) is a violation of “rights of men”, rooted for Burke ultimately in the nature of man in dignity and inherent worth following from the creative acts of God.

    The reason he could support the monarchy of Britain was because of its long (and he thought properly) developed concepts of natural right and associational protection.

  • Darwin,

    As there are many ways to be intending for the creation of a monarchy, and many kinds of monarchies, what you have only shown is that 19th century France didn’t do a good job after the Revolution. If you want a fascinating piece of history to study, look to the Time of Troubles in Russia (and the period immediately before it), and you will see one example of an established, intentional monarchy. What you need to do is show why past failures present absolute examples of the impossibility of a monarchy being established in the future. In my own reading of history, we will see such, and it does not have to be tyranny as Jonathan indicates. It should be an interesting point of fact that monarchies produce saintly rulers — democratic forms of government, well… maybe a couple, but far less conducive of it, because of what it takes to get in charge.

  • As there are many ways to be intending for the creation of a monarchy, and many kinds of monarchies, what you have only shown is that 19th century France didn’t do a good job after the Revolution.

    It was the French example that reminded me of it, but I think it’s a more general principle than that. Which is not to say that you couldn’t get to a monarchy over time, obviously, monarchies developed. But I think one could make a good case (while recognizing that here I made only a brief assertion) that in the modern era it is essentially impossible to have a chosen monarchy. One would need to have a total breakdown of all governing institutions followed by a gradual build up from more regional rulers.

    It should be an interesting point of fact that monarchies produce saintly rulers — democratic forms of government, well… maybe a couple, but far less conducive of it, because of what it takes to get in charge.

    I think I would contest that that’s a fact. There have been a few saintly monarchs, but I’m not clear that they’re any more common among monarchs than figures like George Washington are among leaders of democratic republics.

  • George Washington is now a saint on the level of St Vladimir, Equal to the Apostles?!

  • King Saul was an intentionally established monarchy.

  • I’m not sure what you mean by an “unintentional form of government”. Do you mean, one not established by explicit constitution?

    There are certainly those in history who find themselves leading a people without having sought such leadership; but when the title “king” or “queen” or “emperor” is ascribed to some leader, then someone is intentional about the ascription.

  • “George Washington is now a saint on the level of St Vladimir, Equal to the Apostles?!”

    George Washington was a much better ruler than any crowned saint I can think of. I also have little doubt that if the 13 colonies had been Catholic that there may have been a push to have had the Church declare him a saint after his death. Certainly his example of refusing a crown, and retiring from power was rare enough up to his time to be considered a minor miracle!

  • George Washington is now a saint on the level of St Vladimir, Equal to the Apostles?!

    He was certainly an unusually good leader. I don’t know that I would consider St. Vladimir to be the equal of the apostles, but even if I did, you must admit that he’s not exactly an average example among monarchs. Indeed, bad or middling monarchs were far more common than saintly ones. As among any other sort of people.

    St. Louis and Edward the Confessor were both good men, but at best middling rulers. And again, it’s notable that among the English and French lines of kinds, they are only saints. (Though of course there was the popular acclaim for Charlemagne, who had a feast day on the calendar in many areas for a number of centuries.) Did the Hapsburgs even have a saint among them?

    King Saul was an intentionally established monarchy.

    True, and the kings of Israel (or at least, the earlier ones, as portrayed in the bible) seem in some ways almost more like constitutional monarchs than traditional ones — perhaps in part because it was so clear that they served at the sufferance of God, not out of any virtue or right of their own.

    I’m not sure what you mean by an “unintentional form of government”. Do you mean, one not established by explicit constitution?

    What I’m trying to say with that is a consciously established government, not in the sense that a leader becomes leader by acclaim, but in the sense of people thinking “what sort of government should we have”.

    Actually, I should clarify. I’m sure you can have a real monarchy through intentional establishment if your coming out of an aristocracy/feudal environment, or from a tribal society or virtual anarchy or a pure (non-constitutional) democracy. But once the idea of constitutional government and “the consent of the governed” has been had, I’m not sure you can get back to a real monarchy. You could have a single administrator, but so long as the idea of “the consent of the people” or of a constitution exists, I’m not sure you could have a true monarchy.

  • Concerning George Washington, it would be good for those here to recall how, in spite of the colonies having been predominantly anti-Catholic, Washington was the one who forbade the celebration of such anti-Catholic festivities like Guy Fawkes Day:

    Order in Quarters issued by General George Washington, November 5, 1775:

    As the Commander in Chief has been apprized of a design form’d for the observance of that ridiculous and childish custom of burning the Effigy of the pope–He cannot help expressing his surprise that there should be Officers and Soldiers in this army so void of common sense, as not to see the impropriety of such a step at this Juncture; at a Time when we are solliciting, and have really obtain’d, the friendship and alliance of the people of Canada, whom we ought to consider as Brethren embarked in the same Cause. The defence of the general Liberty of America: At such a juncture, and in such Circumstances, to be insulting their Religion, is so monstrous, as not to be suffered or excused; indeed instead of offering the most remote insult, it is our duty to address public thanks to these our Brethren, as to them we are so much indebted for every late happy Success over the common Enemy in Canada.

  • Good point e. Washington was ever a friend to American Catholics.

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2008/11/25/our-oldest-ally/

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2008/11/05/remember-remember/

    We should also recall that Pope Leo XIII had a great deal of respect for George Washington:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2009/02/22/pope-leo-xiii-on-america-and-george-washington/

  • I think Charles of Austria was beatified and he was a Hapsburg… and there is Saint Stephen of Hungary who was a monarch and a saint. And there is Elizabeth of Hungary too.

  • “[The Monarchy] doesn’t seem like something one can be a supporter of establishing.”

    I can assure you: I am a Monarchist and want to establish this form of state. There are successful implantations of the a monarchical form of state – from Belgium (1931) to Bhutan (1907) to Jordan (1922).

    The only German Emperor who was declared a saint (Heinrich II + 1024) is unforgotten and his burial place in Bamberg is still attracting pilgrims.
    http://www.heinrichii.de/

  • I should add: It’s not that I particularly dislike monarchy. If I lived in one, I would not necessarily be agitating to end it. But It’s just that I’m not sure one can get there from here — I think the transition from true monarchy to some form of constitutional government (even a constitutional monarchy) is a one way transition, and it’s probably only possible to get back to a real monarchy in the same region after a total civic break down of some duration and then a gradual building back up through local feudalism.

    Well, and yes, I’m skeptical of the idea that monarchy makes monarchs virtuous while representative government makes representatives wicked — but that’s not so much a claim that monarchy is bad and should be avoided as that there’s nothing magical about it which makes people more proof against the temptations of great power than other forms of government.

  • Royalist,

    I can assure you: I am a Monarchist and want to establish this form of state. There are successful implantations of the a monarchical form of state – from Belgium (1931) to Bhutan (1907) to Jordan (1922).

    And to that we can add a massive list of monarchies which were completely unsuccessful, generally leading to massive and devastating misery on the part of their people.

    There’s no advantage to adding monarchy to the mix in places which are not in complete social breakdown. On the other hand, monarchy may be a better model for Islam states with a tendency to sectarian violence and Islamic-fascism. It worked well in Jordan and was working well in Iran until the election of Jimmy Carter.

  • I’d be alright with a constitutional monarchy.

    There is a difference, after all, between that and absolutist tyranny.

    I like the idea of a ruler who is raised from birth for only one purpose – to rule.

    But I do believe that an educated and virtuous citizenry deserves democracy in some form. That is more or less what the American founders believed as well. It is hard for me to imagine them as defenders of this modern abstract, absolute right to vote and to representation given what I have read. I may well be wrong.

  • Indeed, I think most of the founders would clearly have been horrified by the idea of anyone over 18 you could drag to a polling station having a vote.

  • I’m not sure I follow Darwin’s line of argument here. The idea seems to be that what is established via the will of the people can always be disestablished by the will of the people. So if the people tried to set up a monarchy it wouldn’t work because the people would still be ultimately in charge, and that’s not monarchy. But the premise here is incorrect. From the fact that the people establish a certain form of government, it doesn’t follow that they are able to abolish it. There are numerous cases, for example, of dictatorships that have started via democratic means. If it could happen with a dictatorship, I see no reason why it couldn’t happen with a monarchy.

  • The composition of the populace, voting or otherwise, matters a lot more than those in the public sphere will ever discuss openly (often for good career-protecting reasons).

    In the place of the idea of monarchy, constitutional or otherwise, I would prefer to see strict limits placed on the voting franchise – no students, no public employees, no felons, those that are net taxpayers….

  • I see your point about the people not necessarily being able to dis-establish a government simply because it established it.

    I guess what I’m trying to hash out, though, is that it seems to me that “monarchy” in the sense that some people find it attractive (and in the sense that distinguishes it from an enlightened despot or just plain dictator) involves among other things a belief that it is some sort of necessity that one man wield power, and do so in a way constrained by well understood but often unwritten ties of mutual obligation between ruler and ruled. And while I see how that’s something you can admire from our modern point in time, I’m not sure it’s something you could establish in a post enlightenment society without a fairly complete social/political breakdown to allow political memories to reset.

    Maybe I’m wrong. I think right now I’ve got more an aesthetic sense about it an a fleshed out argument.

  • Darwin,

    I don’t think monarchy requires belief that monarchy is necessary. People under European monarchies back in the day knew about the Roman Republic, and other such systems of government, so it’s not like they didn’t realize it was possible not to have one man rule. They would have thought this an inferior way of governing, but not an impossible one.

  • That’s certainly true.

    Though there’s a great weight to tradition so long as it remains unbroken, which is hard to ever put back together again after it’s been broken off for a significant period of time.

    Maybe it’s that I’m strongly associating monarchy with the sense of tradition (rather than constitution or unfettered autocracy) which seems to me to go with it — and obviously tradition is something which can’t really be created so much as developed.

    I’ll have to think on it some more if I’m to come up with something fully coherent it seems.

  • If there was a tension between monarchy and the modern world, I would think it would be in the idea that certain people are of royal blood, and deserve to rule based solely on account of their ancestry, etc. That’s something that would seem hard to sustain in the age of DNA. Not sure to what extent this is required for monarchy or not (obviously there are sophisticated ways of being a monarchist without believing there’s anything special about the King’s blood, but for most people legitimacy has to be internalized).

  • I believe that with a Monarchy, all other things being equal, you have a basic 50% chance of the Monarch doing well and/or being saintly. Whereas, in a Republic, such as the US, with so many 100s involved in every decision, no good can come of it unless a majority can resist the lures of greed and power. While agreeing that it would be hard to get back to, or create from whole cloth, a Monarchy, I’m inclined to believe that you have a better chance of enlightened rulership under the Monarchy.

  • Absolute Enlightened Monarchies are the best type of government ever invented. If you just do the research you all will find that out. I am even a Catholic and I am a monarchist. It does not really matter what type of government you have, it is who’s in charge is what matters, and a monarchy is the easiest one to run.

Pro-Life Protester Shot and Killed

Friday, September 11, AD 2009

In Michigan, a man is in custody after shooting and killing well known local abortion protester:

Owosso police chief Michael Compeau said Jim Pouillon, 63, was outside the school Friday morning with a sign when a man drove by and shot him. No one else was injured.

Michigan State Police have taken a suspect into custody, the Flint Journal reported.

The school was placed on immediate lockdown, though no students were hurt or involved in the shooting, Ossowo Hish School officials told the paper.

When authorities were responding to the first shooting, officials received a report that another man had been shot and killed at a gravel pit business in Owosso. Shiawassee County Sheriff George Braidwood said Mike Fuoss was found dead in his office.

Perhaps I’m cynical, but I doubt that there will be nationwide hand-wringing over whether pro-choice rhetoric has been too violent, and is thus at fault for the killing. Satisfying as that might be for those of us who are frustrated at being accused of being violent simply for opposing the idea that killing the unborn is a constitutional and moral right, it is probably as it should be since, as I’ve said when the shoe is on the other foot, broad political movements cannot be held responsible for the actions of lone crazies who happen to do something vaguely related to their aims.

Further details on the murdered pro-life activist from LifeNews. May God welcome the dead into the eternal kingdom.

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70 Responses to Pro-Life Protester Shot and Killed

  • As I wrote elsewhere: As with all murder, this is an evil act. Is the fact that he (who was he?) against abortion an accident or part of the reason for his death? We will soon find out. As with the murderer of Tiller, pray for the man/woman who did this. It’s evil, and needs to be denounced!

    I will also add: many pro-choicers are indeed violent. Those who accept abortion clearly believe in the utility of violence.

  • Meanwhile, Vox Nova is providing yet another opportunity for the Righteous Catholic Left to gasp and groan about Violent Pro-Lifers. (I believe it’s right near the one about the wickedness of interrupting the President with an uncivil comment.)

  • Ron

    If you deny the fact that many who call themselves pro-life tend to accept the culture of violence, the problem is yours. The reality is that many will claim “I’m pro life” and actively engage the violence of the age and use such violence and think nothing of such violence. It’s sad, but true.

    On the other hand, to point out that many pro-lifes are violent is not to deny many who are pro-choice are violent; indeed, they are. But those who are pro-life shouldn’t be violent and shouldn’t accept the gospel of violence, those who are pro-choice, on the other hand, are at least being more consistent. Consistently wrong, but consistent.

  • Henry,
    If you think that “many” who call themselves pro-life “tend” (what’s that a weasel word?) to accept the culture of violence (whatever that is), the problem is yours. If you think that one must be a pacifist (in the strict and proper sense) in order to be consistently pro-life, then that is your idiosyncratic view.

  • Henry Karlson:

    Your reasoning here would appear to be somewhat sound; however, is it really accurate to say “many” who are Pro-Life actually endorse violent methods as you yourself here seem to have generally supposed?

    This seems to present an entirely wrong impression (and, thereby, almost appears to be right on the periphery of calumny) that most Pro-Lifers are murderous thugs who happen hypocritically to contradict that very Pro-Life ethic to which they supposedly subscribe, to the extent of even murdering life itself.

    To be fair, I personally much prefer saying that a certain of the Pro-Life group mistakenly tend to that sort of violence; however, not “many”.

  • Crud, it would appear that while I was composing my own response concerning same, Mike Petrik beat me to it!

  • Given that he was deliberately gunned down while protesting, it’s a bit of a stretch to think that he wasn’t in some way targetted because of his pro-life advocacy. In much the same way that it seemed a stretch to speculate that Tiller’s murder was unrelated to his chosen profession.

    Speaking of which:

    Anyone care to bet that the President will issue a statement indicating that he is “shocked” and “outraged” by this? That he’ll direct U.S. Marshalls to protect pro-life protesters?

    I’m thinking “no” on both.

  • Henry:

    I do agree with you that violent pro-choicers are at least more consistent with their position than a violent pro-lifer would be.

  • I’ll take your bet Dale, but you have to give me a 1,000,000 to 1 payoff – I am willing to risk a dollar in the lottery-approaching-probability that the O would do so.

  • Dale

    Given there appears to be a possible second murder involving the same murderer, it could be other things and he/she only knew where the victim would be. But it is also possible it is a murderous abortion supporter, since they do exist too, and should always be rejected just as much as any other murderer.

    e. the issue is that many pro-lifers (people who call themselves such, within the movement) tend to be only anti-abortion, but other forms of violence (from wars to guns to the death penalty etc) are not out of bounds by them. It is good to work with people who have a common agreement against abortion, but it is possible that agreement is not based upon life (as Steve Taylor famously pointed out).

  • Have we forgotten what an excessively violent book the Bible is?

    I am not suggesting that murdering an defenseless man in cold blood – mass murderer of innocent children though he may be – is a morally justifiable act. There is a civil and moral law to which we are beholden, and everyone deserves due process.

    But where comes this endless hand-wringing about “violence” in and of itself? The Church opposes senseless warfare, acts of vengeance, and the use of capital punishment where it is not necessary to use it; nowhere I am aware of the teaching that insists upon total pacifism at all times. Sometimes even “violence” is acceptable and necessary.

    These two murderers are not morally equivalent, and it sickens me that this man will be compared to George Tiller.

    Jim Pouillon died in defense of innocent human life. Even if it turns out his killer was not politically motivated, clearly he believed that Pouillon’s protesting offered the best opportunity to gun him down. For his, we rightfully laud Pouillon as a hero and martyr.

    George Tiller was a butcher of innocent children, and the circumstances of his death should never, ever, distort that reality. Because we are beholden to a higher moral law, and to the civil law, it is wrong to murder even a manifestly evil man. But there is absolutely no comparison between the two.

    Frankly I am sick to death about the complaints of violence on the pro-life side. 99.99% of the violence in this dispute comes from the pro-abortion side, because, I hope we have not forgotten, every abortion is an act of violence. One or two pro-lifers who break the law and impose their own justice (and I do believe the sentence is just, only it is not theirs to meet out) is not grounds for a hysterical attack on the pro-life movement, does not necessitate an “evaluation” of pro-life political tactics and philosophy.

    The pro-life movement it its very, absolute worse is still 100 times more righteous and good than the pro-abort movement at its very best (whatever that may look like). And this in the end is why I can no longer contribute to sites like Vox Nova, for my differences with the socio-economic order of the United States are no longer greater than my disgust with abortion on demand and the people who defend it.

  • Henry,

    You are smearing the pro-life movement and most of their adherents.

    I am deeply involved in the pro-life movement and your false statements are nothing but lies. There are many Christians from various denominations that are involved and not once have I witnessed nor seen them advocate, talk about, nor exhibit anything that you claim.

    I pray in front of abortion clinics, am a member of a board on one pro-life group, and I actively promote the pro-life cause through various media outlets and other Catholic groups. Again, not once have I witnessed what you have described.

    If you continue to spout such nonsense you will be banned permanently from all activities here on the American Catholic.

    You’ve been duly warned.

  • Excellent points Joe. May we never forget.

  • Tito,

    When you have people who oppose abortion but are so into unjust wars (Iraq), showing a kind of gloating over the death of Muslims, then the violent nature of those people has been exposed. When you have people like Judie Brown posting pro-torture comments, then something is wrong with the movement. Delete and ban if you wish, but all you do is help the movement further diminish its value; if the Church itself is constantly in need of reform, what about non-ecclesial movements? Think this through

  • Joe

    Have we not forgotten that it was the zealots who wanted violence, and Jesus said no? Have we not forgotten that the Torah was given in a different time, different place, different part of salvation history, while Jesus himself came and said he was providing a new law — to love one another, even our enemies? Did you forget that the Church herself deplores this violence and says all life is sacred? Did you forget many cold blooded murderers converted and became men of peace and saints?

  • Two people were killed. The other was not protesting. They could’ve been random killings. Better to be cautious in attributing motive than take the chance of getting egg on your face.

  • Henry,

    You’re being nothing but tribal.

    You’re letting your extremist liberal views trump your Catholic views.

    You’re conflating Republicans and conservatives with Catholicism. Which is in direct contradiction with your extreme liberal views, democratic tendencies, and anti-catholic sentiments.

  • Henry,

    I’ve not forgotten any of those things. But add them all up and you still would not have ruled out all possible violence – hence neither does the Church.

    I condemn cold-blooded murder, yes, absolutely – even of an evil man such as George Tiller. But that does not mean that I must condemn all violence, and go hunting for a mythical “culture of violence” which would link legitimate self-defense to morally forbidden types of violence.

    To answer your specific questions:

    “Have we not forgotten that it was the zealots who wanted violence, and Jesus said no?”

    Why did Jesus tell the Apostles to acquire swords? (Luke 22:35-38)

    And why did he make a whip and use it to drive money changers out of the temple? Would you want to be hit with a whip?

    “Have we not forgotten that the Torah was given in a different time, different place, different part of salvation history, while Jesus himself came and said he was providing a new law — to love one another, even our enemies?”

    Yes it was a different time – but if “violence” as such were this categorical evil, to be unconditionally condemned at all times as you appear to make it, why would God employ it so liberally, and command his chosen people to do likewise?

    “Did you forget that the Church herself deplores this violence and says all life is sacred?”

    The key word being “this” – not “all”. The sacredness of life does not mean that it can never be taken under any circumstances.

    “Did you forget many cold blooded murderers converted and became men of peace and saints?”

    Did you forget that even guns have a patron saint?
    http://www.gunsaint.com/stagnaro.asp

  • I’ve said nothing about Republicans. Who is it that is being tribal? You project too much, Tito.

    I’m pro-life. In the full sense of the word. The Gospel of Life. Violence is to be rejected, and when we discern those within the movement to be violent, reform is necessary.

    And Joe, even prostitutes have patron saints. Do you want to make that as suggesting prostitution is good? [Personal attack on Joe Hargrave deleted here]

  • Oh, for God’s sake, Henry is the *least* liberal person I know, his political sympathies lean monarchist. Tito — people like you and Donald are pure, undistilled, liberals. The last gasp of Enlightenment-era radical individualism is kept alive and kicking by the modern American right. We can debate some otehr time whether this is good or bad, but stop hiding from it.

  • my differences with the socio-economic order of the United States are no longer greater than my disgust with abortion on demand and the people who defend it.

    Joe, I’m with you. What issue is greater than the protection of the unborn? When we watch, for example, the work of activists like Lila Rose, how can we not shudder at the cold, calculated violence enshrined in our laws?

  • Henry K.,

    the FACT is that the pro-life movement from end to end has been the most peaceful mass movement in the history of activism.

    I think your moral theology is confused, you’re suggesting violence in and of itself is immoral. That’s completely in error (how could God himself act immorally??), it is only violence contrary to justice which is immoral. You’re accusing people of being anti-life because they dissagree with your PERSONAL PRUDENTIAL opinion on the justness of particular acts, where the Church has not deemed to judge definitively, and even acts the Church has apparently determined are fundamentally good (owning and using firearms for legitimate defense).

  • Joe: “I am sick to death about the complaints of violence on the pro-life side. 99.99% of the violence in this dispute comes from the pro-abortion side.”

    Even if that were true, it can never justify the 0.01 percent of violence on the other side. Nor can it eevr justify the kinds of violence frequently defended by the pro-life movement in America. For example: Judie Brown, Deal Hudson, Michael Novak, Raymond Arroyo, Fr. Sirico, Jimmy Akin etc, defending torture. George Weigel still to this day claiming that the Iraq war, and the horrendous death and carnage caused by it, are justified. Phyllis Schlafly and so many others praising the use of nuclear weapons in 1945. Pretty ever pro-life Catholic blogger I know opposing gun control. [straw man arguments… 32 million innocent children have been murdered from pro-abortionists and dissident Catholics that you and Henry Karlson]

    Abortion is an abominable crime in the eyes of God because it is a particularly egregrious form of violence, the wilful murder of an innocent. It is not a class onto itself that can be divorced from the broader culture of violence. And when pro-lifers defend violence, then sorry, I question how they can be pro-life in the first place.

    Getting back to Joe’s comment, he is getting very close to making a consequentialist argument. Sorry, but the defenders of abortion also make consequentialist arguments (women’s life improved etc). So do those who defend war, torture, nuclear weapons. It’s all a defense of evil (violence) that should not be acceptable to Catholics. You cannot do evil, especially when that evil entails violence, so that good may come of it.

  • Also, and I hate to be the fuddy-duddy that points this out, but…

    “for God’s sake”, Minion? It’s not the worst way to take God’s name in vain, but we don’t need to see it on a Catholic blog.

    For the record, I would appreciate anyone pointing it out to ME if I slip up one day. I do in speech all the time, though I’ve gotten much better at quickly catching it.

  • Henry,

    To press the point, would it actually be right for me to say that *many* Christians believe in “Once Saved, Always Saved” or that *many* Christians believe in the Rapture?

    I attempted to provide a more charitable critique of your statement to the extent of agreeing that there are *certain* misguided (kindly note the euphemism) people within the Pro-Life movement who wrongly resort to violence and, thereby, contradict that very “Pro-Life” ethic which such a movement as this is obviously dedicated to; however, it would be unjust (to the point of malicious calumny) to say that *many* in the movement happen to endorse violence.

  • Joe,

    you’re scaring me with to much agreement lately… heheh. I will have to say that St. Possenti is not the saint of handguns but is proposed to be the patron saint of handguners. An important note is that this saint used guns to defend human life, and act for which he had no need to repent (though clearly regretting that it became necessary).

    I’d like to see a reference that supports a claim that the Church has identified a patron saint for prostitutes, Catholic Encyclopedia doesn’t seem to associate prostitutes with St. Nicholas as some have suggested.

    Morning’s Minion,

    you are a truly sad individual, why do you bother calling yourself pro-life when you work so hard to discredit that very position?

  • e.

    You ask, “To press the point, would it actually be right for me to say that *many* Christians believe in “Once Saved, Always Saved” or that *many* Christians believe in the Rapture?”

    The answer is: yes, many do.

  • Morning Minion said:

    “Abortion is an abominable crime in the eyes of God…”

    Morning Minion forgot to insert his characteristic Pro-Obama fine print:

    “* except when it happens to be endorsed by a Pro-abort Democratic candidate, then it can be deemed excusable.”

  • A point of order: I think it’s unfair to insert comments and criticisms into the comments of others. Criticism ought to be done in a separate comment.

    Henry is the *least* liberal person I know

    That doesn’t mean a whole lot; you could just need to get out more. 🙂

    Finally, I think the pro-life movement in its purest form is not violent. The pro-life movement has suffered a lot from its affiliation with the Republicans, as Republican views too often became tagged pro-life views, to the detriment of the pro-life movement and credibility. However, I think that this situation is getting progressively better. I think the younger generations are more authentically pro-life and I think we’re seeing more resistance to capital punishment and torture and war then before.

    While the pro-life movement is in need of reform, it is no particularly greater need of reform then its counterparts on the other side of the aisle, who are often pre-disposed towards more lax attitudes on abortion, same-sex marriage, and other issues which also include violence.

  • MM,

    “Even if that were true, it can never justify the 0.01 percent of violence on the other side.”

    No one says that it justifies it. Did you not read what I said it does and does not justify? It doesn’t justify people such as yourself attacking the pro-life movement AS IF it were made up of people on the verge of exploding into irrational vigilante violence.

    And it certainly doesn’t justify any attempt to equivocate the two movements. It doesn’t justify the wasted time, effort, and human breath it takes to condemn a movement that is 99% good. Your words will never stop a 1% outlier that could happen in any movement for any reason. Condemn it and move on – stop looking for the “demon”.

    I don’t support the Iraq War and I don’t support the use of torture – but as you know, I do oppose the sort of ‘gun control’ that amounts to a ban on guns, and no single paragraph from a 1970-something USCCB perspectives document is going to be enough to get me to abandon a 2000 year tradition of recognizing the legitimacy of weapon ownership for self-defense.

    “And when pro-lifers defend violence, then sorry, I question how they can be pro-life in the first place.”

    Then question your Church, which still defense some kinds of violence, such as self-defense, as perfectly legitimate. And nothing conclusive has yet been said about just wars, and even if the future saw the end of just war theory, it wouldn’t apply retroactively.

    “Getting back to Joe’s comment, he is getting very close to making a consequentialist argument.”

    I have done no such thing, absolutely no such thing. Where have I done so? Please quote me.

    I have said repeatedly that killing an unarmed man in cold blood is wrong. I don’t believe there are circumstances or consequences that can justify it, that I know of anyway.

    What bothers me is the WAY you react to these particular killings, the degree to which you heap scorn and condemnation on a largely peaceful movement while directing very little of that rhetorical fire towards the true mass murderers. Yes, I understand the need to say something about the murder of a George Tiller – so did the vast majority of pro-life organizations. But you and your friends go one step further in the condemnation of pro-life vigilantism, and one step backwards in your condemnation of the greatest barbarism of our age.

    Your priorities are out of order, at least if we were to measure them by the tone of your rhetoric and the direction of your efforts alone.

  • Dissident Catholics? Oh, that’s funny. From what teaching do we dissent, I wonder? I don’t dissent from any Church teaching, but I dissent 110 percent from the depraved political strategy of the American right when it comes to abortion – the strategy that allows them to denounce abortion while embracing other forms of violence, the strategy that allows them to choose American liberalism over Catholic social teaching (would a belief in subsidiarity without solidarity, condemned roundly by the pope in the newest encylical, qualify for the “dissident” label, I wonder?), the strategy that involves insular demonization of the opponents in a way that actually sets back the pro-life cause and thereby harms the unborn. Yes, you are harming the unborn.

    Here is Fr. Tom Rosica:

    “Through vicious attacks launched on blogs, a new form of self-righteousness, condemnation and gnosticism reveals authors who behave as little children bullying one another around in schoolyards- casting stones, calling names, and wreaking havoc in the Church today! What such people fail to realize is that their messages are ultimately screamed into a vacuum. No one but their own loud crowd is really listening. We will never change laws and bring about conversion of minds and hearts with such behavior. We make the Church and our efforts for life look ridiculous and terribly anti-Christian. Sowing seeds of hatred and division are not the work of those who wish to build a culture of life.”

    Here is John Allen:

    “One bit of gallows humor in Catholic circles is that sometimes the worst enemies of the pro-life movement are pro-lifers themselves. The point is that a handful of activists occasionally come off as so shrill, so angry and judgmental , that fair-minded people simply tune out the pro-life message.”

  • “you’re scaring me with to much agreement lately… heheh.”

    Matt,

    I’m always grateful for opportunities to agree with a person I typically disagree with.

  • I’d rather we exercised more restraint on the editing and inserting criticisms into the comments also – preferably prior to the parousia. It’s distracting and unnecessary imo.

  • Henry,

    Many Protestants do, yes, but if Catholics make up a considerable portion of the world’s Christian population; I wouldn’t be so inclined to use the word “many”.

    To me, it would be like saying that many Catholics are actually sedevacantist.

    Although, I can see the obvious flaw since Protestant culture dominates American culture.

    Nevertheless, to say that many in the Pro-Life movement actually endorse violence would not only misrepresent the Pro-Life movement itself but also damages the many who genuinely live up to its Cause and admirably promote it.

  • I second John Henry. Please stop the editing. It isn’t necessary. If a comment must be made, how about at the end. Or how about in response?

  • John Henry and Joe,

    Maybe you two need to read your emails first before jumping to conclusions.

  • Where did the Minion comment go? It was heated but I don’t think it qualified as a smear or lie.

    I think all editing should involve only inserting emoticons so that we get a truer understanding of the commenters’ feelings.;)

    On another note, I think American Catholic and Vox Nova should trade Tito for Iafrate for a period of time, like a week or month. It’s been a while since the 4th of July, and New Year’s is a way’s off, and I miss fireworks.

  • Folks,

    I can appreciate spirited discussion as much as the next fellow, but two points:

    1) As the owner of the thread, allow me to repeat with authority what Michael Denton said below: I do not want anyone using their editorial privileges to insert fisking brackets into other people’s comments. (Not looking for an apology or anything just don’t do it again.)

    2) I’d like to remind our progressive friends on the thread to keep a sense of perspective. You may picture political opposition to abortion and support for torture to be intimately connected because you despise conservatives, but recall that not a single conservative contributor here supports torture. Similarly, if you want people to respect that fact that you accept Church teaching on issues like abortion and same sex marriage — keep in mind that the vast, vast majority of advocates for your favorite causes (such as universal health care, greater safety net programs, living wage, etc.) in the political arena are vocal supporters of abortion, same sex marriage, and in many cases militant secularists as well. Tar not if you don’t want to be tarred.

  • Oh, the minion comment disappeared b/c it was being edited…I guess. Weird WordPress…or maybe I’m just blind…

  • Quite frankly (although I might regret agreeing with a sworn nemesis who happens to think likewise), the editting is not only distracting but also childish.

    You’re better than this, Taco Man!

  • MM,
    MM,
    i>Dissident Catholics? Oh, that’s funny. From what teaching do we dissent, I wonder?

    the very fact that you questioned Joe’s assertion that %99.99 of violence is perpetrated by the pro-abortion side of the argument belies that, while you may oppose abortion, you don’t see each abortion as the cold-blooded violent murder which the Church informed by modern embryology has made clear that it is. All of the people killed in all the violent acts that the pro-life movement defends as justified which are even questionable, do not add up to .01% of those murdered by the pro-abortionists.

    fair-minded people simply tune out the pro-life message

    fair-minded people ARE pro-lifers, they don’t stand outside and criticize them.

  • unfortunately for you you don’t write for American Catholic

    Woah! just kidding. Trying to lighten the mood. *backing away slowly now*

  • MM,

    Considering that abortion claims a million and half innocent lives in America alone each year, and shatters countless more emotionally and psychologically, I would say we are quite fortunate to have a pro-life movement that is restrained as it is.

    To get THIS angry over the pro-life movements tactics – and I’m not saying every group is beyond criticism – is, to me, to trivialize the greatness and vastness of the crime of abortion. It makes the actual murder of children itself seem like some secondary concern, entirely subordinate to the political image we project.

    Babies are being murdered. Children are being butchered. Infants are being sliced, diced and burned. Murdered, butchered, sliced, burned. We must constantly be reminded of these things. When we keep these things in mind the sometimes faulty tactics of individual pro-life groups are properly recognized as trivialities that we can address in good time, while the actual murder of children becomes the problem that we focus our efforts upon.

    When you pour such scorn and contempt on pro-lifers, you must be willing to forgive those who believe that you might not be one of them. I see no constructive criticism coming from you, no acknowledgement that the basic idea of these groups is good, but the tactics flawed, no helpful suggestions – just self-righteous anger and contempt, anything to make the other side see what a fair and rational fellow you are. These are people who believe that a woman’s vacation plans are just as valid a reason for abortion as rape. Do you really think they, and not your pro-life brothers, are more worthy of your efforts?

  • Michael D.,

    I like you, so don’t take it personally.

    Just doing my job and keeping the dissidents in place.

  • It’s a testament to the power of self-deception and cognitive bias that Morning’s Minion can post that Rosica comment without looking in the mirror first and realizing that it applies to just about everything he ever writes.

  • Tito:

    Thank you. I just wanted to make sure that you knew I was kidding, as it sounded like you might have taken it in a way I did not intend.

    As to everyone else:

    NYT has just published that it was in fact related to abortion (it being the murder of a man in Michigan that was the subject of the post): http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/12/us/12slay.html?hp

    Prosecutors said the suspect, who is 33, singled out Mr. Pouillon because he disapproved of the victim’s protests in front of children at the school.

    “There was some displeasure with how open he was,” said Sara Edwards, the chief assistant prosecutor for Shiawassee County. “He tended to carry big signs with very graphic pictures of fetuses.”

  • Editorial Note: There was a bit of editorial exuberance in some comments above on the part of some members of the staff which has been removed. However, I didn’t delete references to this fact in the comments, so my apologies for any references above that are now forever obscure.

    MM & Henry,

    How exactly is the pro-life movement discredited by being associated with a “gospel of violence” on the part of conservatives, while movements for just wages, universal health care and safety net programs are not discredited by being associated with the moral evils which remain popular on the left (abortion, euthanasia, same sex marriage, secularism, sexual libertinism, etc.)?

  • The Father Rosica quote is very relevant, and very applicable to the person that has posted it. (“Scorn and contempt” are not overly strong descriptive terms.)

    I have no problems making “alliances” with market liberals or evangelicals or Mormons or athiests or anyone else that also advocates peacefully for the cause of the unborn, seeking their protection through the force of law and cultural change. On those many other issues where there is disagreement, great – let us disagree.

    Might not some of those that decry “dualism” and “Calvinist” and “Americanist” and on and on take a similiar approach to the most pressing human rights issue of our time?

  • “I think American Catholic and Vox Nova should trade Tito for Iafrate for a period of time”.

    OK, I admit it, that’s pretty funny! Enjoy your weekend…

  • Darwin

    Because movements, such as on health care, do not necessarily presuppose the sanctity of all life; the inherent self-contradiction of anti-life beliefs while claiming that to be pro-life is what causes the harm. It is the same problem that the so-called peace movement in the 60s had — the violence within caused it to be anything but peaceful, as one of the most active workers for peace pointed out. When you undermine the principle which the movement is to be based upon, the movement is lost. Health care, etc, could be based upon many ideas, not necessarily life — though for Catholics, the sanctity and dignity of life should lead us to such reforms.

  • Henry Karlson:

    1. Why do are you so determined to paint Pro-Lifers with such a broad brush that would ultimately demonize the majority as being self-contradictory violent hypocrites?

    2. As far as “the inherent self-contradiction of anti-life beliefs while claiming to be pro-life” is concerned and that “though, for Catholics, the sanctity and dignity of life should lead us to such reforms”; what say you of the apparent contradiction in such persons like your friend, Morning Minion, who without question supported a vicious Pro-abort like Obama and with respect to your own previous Vox Nova comments that virtually endorsed his when it came to his defense of Obama?

    Physician, heal thyself (and thine own friend)!

  • e.

    Am I painting the peace movement with broad brushes by ultimately pointing out it was, and perhaps remains, a rather non-peaceful movement, contradicting its very aims?

    As someone who is engaged with peace and for life, it is important to keep the principle established, and reject those elements within (the self, the movement, etc) which contradict that essence. It’s a continual reform. The problem, again, is that the movement in the US (a political movement) is not exactly one and the same with the combination of pro-lifers. I am discussing the movement, and the disheartening facts I see within it.

    2. As the Church has said many times, supporting someone who supports X is not the same thing as supporting X, unless you support them because of their support for X.

  • Henry,

    Am I demonizing black people if I were to say that many blacks are bloody murderers?

    Am I demonizing Catholics if I were to say that many Catholics are anti-semitic?

    I suggest you review the Church’s teaching with regards to formal cooperation with evil.

  • e.

    I know quite well the issue of formal cooperation of evil; voting for someone despite a stand they hold is not formal cooperation.

  • That will be a relief to all those Germans who voted for Hitler because of his full employment program.

  • Michael D. and MM,

    Yes, that is funny.

    Though I’d like to know what would Michael I.’s reaction be as well 😉

  • That Vox Nova and some other statements above, I want to be careful who I prescribe it to, respectfully are absolutely ludicrous and without knowing these people’s positions in depth, may be very shameful as well.

    Let us not forget again, the John Brown Abolitionist of Kansas scenario, John Brown did horrible things to slave owners and the Confederate side. Was he reflective of the whole Abolitionist movement?? Would these paragons of virtue Vox Nova and others be labelling the anti-slavery movement with the same broadbrush because of the murderous raids of John Brown or even from the other side if one reverses rolls, Confederate renegades like Quantrell and his guerillas? The abortion industry commits horrendous violence every day.

    Again, that McCardle’s writings in the Atlantic were so spot on. Abortion was decided and one side was ripped off horribly.

    There are many pro lifers and there is a good number that do get all bent out of shape. I think I’ve mentioned it before, the PPH office here, well before they opened up one morning and no one was there, 7:30ish in the morning, this young man drove his truck up near the doorway, causing some damage and in the ensuing time before being taken away had the shakes and was saying “Auschwitz, Auschwitz…” etc. Yes, people get riled up, they do, how far do we go?? Can I walk by a PPH office and if a worker walks out of there at the same time, avoid saying something disparaging about the organization? Did I drive home during the week of Tiller’s murder, to see Pro-Lifers carrying big signs towards that same office, just outside around 6-7 pm one evening and see a police cruiser on its way there as well?

  • So the last name Henry sports is?? What? Sounds Scandinavian or what?? That is no reason to jump to conclusions but if you live in a Lutheran stronghold, you know, they can have watered down views. Something causing Henry to have some sort of milk toast accusatory position on this. I say that not in finding fault with Henry’s statements, as I’m sure there are many with Irish, Polish and Italian surnames who hedge on the issues as well. Still, it does make me wonder if I may say that.

  • It’s just typical dissident Catholic obfuscation.

    I doubt they even attend Sunday Mass, much less even properly catechized Catholics.

  • Tom,

    I don’t think someone’s name constitutes an argment.

    Tito,

    I share your frustration with people who call themselves pro-life showing up and immediately attacking the pro-life movement as the violent side of the debate — but wrong as that may be, jumping off into speculating over whether people go to mass or not is not appropriate.

  • DarwinCatholic: Okay, but I don’t see anyone named Kowalski or Rossi saying these kinds of things.

  • DC,

    I call them as I see them.

    If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, then it’s a duck.

    Dissident Catholic all the way through and through with no regard to anyone except themselves.

    You can continue to think that Henry is a sincere Catholic, the rest of us know that he’s nothing more than a pawn of Satan.

  • Tito, Karlson is not a pawn of Satan. He is a blogger like us. At most that makes him a knight of verbosity. I am sort of holding out for a bishop of tedium for myself.

  • You can continue to think that Henry is a sincere Catholic, the rest of us know that he’s nothing more than a pawn of Satan.

    Following Don’s lead, I think maybe ‘rook of inapposite analogy’ would be more fitting for Henry, but, in any case, I do not doubt his sincerity as a Catholic.

  • rook of inapposite analogy

    Now that is made of awesome.

    Does this leave the slots of “king of belaborment” and “queen of digression” open?

  • Does this leave the slots of “king of belaborment” and “queen of digression” open?

    I’m sure we all (including Henry and MM) have some candidates in mind…

  • Of course, if we did a nautical edition, we could have “prawns of Neptune”.

  • I don’t even have a response. But that was good.

    Unfortunately, I think of ‘District 9’ when I hear ‘prawns’ now.

  • I do not doubt his sincerity as a Catholic.

    I highly doubt his sincerity since he has not exhibited anything remotely close to the virtue of charity.

    Not once.

Bishop Gracida: Sensus Fidelium

Thursday, September 10, AD 2009

Bishop Rene Gracida

Over on his blog, Abyssus Abyssum InvocatBishop Rene Gracida, retired bishop of Corpus Christi, explains why he thinks it is the duty of the laity to speak out against the Kennedy Funeral:

“OVER ON THE “PRIESTS’ SECRETARY BLOG,

http://4thepriests.wordpress.com/2009/09/09/first-bishop-to-express-concerns-with-kennedy-funeral/

some of what I had written about the scandal of the Ted Kennedy funeral was reproduced and posted on that Blog.
One person, Drew Black, sent in a comment to that Blog:

“Drew Black

Thank-you, Excellency for the courage to speak out, to put the truth into print. May I ask why it is the laity’s duty to formally criticize the Cardinal of  Boston?     It would seem that the most efficacious means of correction would come from the top. Authority in the church lies with its leaders. You must stand up publicly to one another. Please. We pray for you in this year of the priest.?Mary help you.

Thinking that others might be asking themselves the similar question “why did Bishop Gracida consider it the laity’s duty to formally criticize the Cardinal of Boston?” I decided to send an answer to Drew Black on that same Blog.  Here was my answer:

September 9, 2009 at 2:16 pm

abyssum

Drew Black,

You ask “why is it the laity’s duty to formally criticize the Cardinal of Boston?”?In response I would refer you to the Historical Tracts written by the Servant of God, John Henry Cardinal Newman, in which he describes the situation in the Fourth Century when, he says, practically all of the Church’s bishops were tainted either with Arianism or Semi-Arianism, all except for the Pope and Saint Athanasius. The “sensus fidelium” of the laity saved the Church because they would not follow the lead of their bishops. The Pope and Saint Athanasius, relying on that “sensus fidelium” were able to carry the day at the Council of Nicea. Sometimes, history does repeat itself.

My point in referring to what Cardinal Newman wrote was that there are times in the life of the Church when the laity needs to make known to the Church’s hierarchy exactly what the sensus fidelium is with regard to whatever burning issue is affecting the unity of the Church at that moment.”

Bravo Bishop!  It is all too easy for we laity to sit back and leave protecting the teaching of the Church to the clergy.  Rubbish!  The teachings of Christ apply to the laity and the clergy both, and the laity cannot shirk the duty to point out when events are taking place within the Church that are in flat contradiction to that teaching.  The Church, the Bride of Christ, is no less precious to the laity, and when the clergy neglect their duty, that is no excuse for faithful members of the laity to forget theirs.

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4 Responses to Bishop Gracida: Sensus Fidelium

  • If I may correct something. Athanasius carried the day AFTER the Council of Nicea. He was only an elder, not a bishop, during Nicea, so he wasn’t one of the participants. (He was appointed bishop in 328, 3 years after Nicea.) It was afterward, during the decades of battle over Nicea, that Athanasius won the day against the Arians.

    As _The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers_, 2nd series, vol. 4, quoting another author, put it: “[Athanasius] was molded by the Nicene Creed, did not mold it himself.”

    Of course, in the process of winning the battle, the Athanasian Creed (http://www.christian-history.org/athanasian-creed.html) was created–whether or not it was actually written by Athanasius–which is different from what the Nicene Creed teaches. (Nicene Creed: One God, the Father, and one Lord, Jesus Christ; Athanasian Creed: One God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; we can make an awful good argument that Nicea was “semi-Arian”)

    Also, I haven’t found anywhere that the “pope” is even mentioned concerning the Council of Nicea. In fact he wasn’t there, sending presbyters in his place. (NPNF says it was because of his age that he did not come.)

    In fact, it’s of note, in my opinion, that the only mention made of him is that the bishop of Rome is said in Canon 6 to have a similar authority (not a greater one) to that of the bishop of Alexandria.

  • In regard to Saint Athanasius you are correct. He led the fight against Arianism after Nicea. In regard to the pope, the popes of the fourth century and the Church in the West in general were the bulwark against Arianism which was very strong in the East, which made the fight of Saint Athanasius in Egypt such an uphill struggle.

  • I love the notion of the sensus fidelium. It is very much in the spirit of Vatican II, the affirmation that the Holy Spirit is working through all the faithful. Of course, that would mean that artificial contraception is permissible and monogamous homosexual relationships are also in play. I like this idea.

  • It’s “sense of the faithful” Kevin, not the “sense of in-name-only-Catholics”.

Health Care Now

Thursday, September 10, AD 2009

Blackadder pointed out elsewhere that for all of the insistence that people cannot wait and absolutely need reform right now in order to alleviate the suffering of the uninsured, the health care bills currently under consideration are designed not to begin to go into effect until 2013, conveniently after the next presidential election. It is, I’m sure, a matter of opinion whether this is a cynical political attempt to avoid the consequences of people actually experiencing one’s health care reforms, or if its the necessary time to enact all 1100+ pages of regulations in the current plan. Either way, perhaps there’s a better way if people are really serious about helping people quickly and avoiding partisanship.

By most counts, there are actually around 12-15 million Americans who are uninsured for more than a few months, do not have the financial ability to buy their own insurance (make less than 75k), are legal residents, etc. This 12-15 million includes some people who are simply poor and can’t afford insurance (perhaps it’s not provided by their employers, or perhaps they’re unemployed) and others who are middle class (but without employer coverage) and have medical conditions which make it impossible to get individual health care insurance.

Let’s assume it’s 15 million. If we also assume that they’re fairly expensive to insure ($5000/person/year) the cost of simply paying to buy them all private insurance would be $75 billion per year, or $750B over ten years — actually less than the estimated cost of the current health care reform bill. (Heck, you could pay for the first 4-5 years by canceling all stimulus spending which is not scheduled to happen until after 1-1-2010.)

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13 Responses to Health Care Now

  • 12-15 million is the conservative estimate put out by the Republican Policy Committee. The real number could be as high as 30 million (the number that Obama is using to come to his $900 billion estimate). BTW, it says something about Republicans when they count ALL non-citizens are ineligible, not just illegal immigrants.

  • But Obama’s 30 million number includes a large number of people who either already qualify for government health care but haven’t applied for it, and also a large number who can clearly afford health care but have not chosne to purchase it.

  • Great point Darwin

    I have been thinking the same thin. I am baffles why we have to redo the entire system

  • Now Obama says 30 million. Wasn’t he stating the number was 47 million a few months ago? What happened to those 17 million?

  • Donna,

    The 30 million number is for citizens. 47 million includes illegal immigrants and other non-citizen residents.

  • I may have been off in that, in that I hadn’t realized that the bridge down to ~15M involved excluding legal non-citizen residents, which seems a fairly unjust move.

    Still, the point is not so much that I think we should do what’s described above (which is intentionally overly simplistic) but that the claim that we absolutely can’t possibly no matter what we do provide anything to anyone in less than four years is ludicrous on the face of it. (For instance, England’s transition to the fully government run NHS took only two years 46-48.) If one does, as many advocates claim to, really believe that it’s an absolute humanitarian necessity to have “health care now” then Obama’s plan of not even starting to implement his solution until 2013 should seem totally unacceptable. Such an approach may maximize Obama’s time in office, but it cannot possibly be seen as an approach designed to maximize help to those without insurance.

    If advocates are comfortable admitting that “solving” health care is not all that urgent to them, while getting the government camel’s nose into the tent of a major industry (and having the political stick of “they’re going to take your health care away” to wave at their opponents for the next fifty years) is, then at least we could go on to have an honest debate without all this “there is not time for debate” nonsense.

  • I may have been off in that, in that I hadn’t realized that the bridge down to ~15M involved excluding legal non-citizen residents,

    I don’t think there are 15 million uninsured legal non-citizens. I don’t even know that there are 15 million legal non-citizens in the US.

    Whatever the numbers, your point stands. The calls for immediate action NOW OR ELSE don’t square with reality.

  • Conservative numbers put it at roughly 12 million.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-02-23-immigration_N.htm

    Some are backing off that number now that it does influence the numbers one reports for the Health Care debate.

    Some have put the number as high as 25 million.

    Hard to quantify a group exactly that may not want to report itself given that they are here against current laws.

  • Oops, read that wrong. The number I put up was for illegal immigration.

  • I don’t think there are 15 million uninsured legal non-citizens. I don’t even know that there are 15 million legal non-citizens in the US.

    I think the case of legal non-citizens is difficult because many of them are sponsored. Their sponsor is financially responsible for them, and would (at least in theory) have to pay their medical bills if they do not secure insurance and cannot pay. As one of those non-citizens, I think it’s perfectly reasonable that the nation should expect us to be financially responsible for ourselves.

  • Here’s an article from Hot Air that digs into the numbers.
    http://hotair.com/archives/2009/09/11/who-are-the-uninsured-2009-edition/

    Here’s the key graph as relates to the last few comments:

    Of particular interest is the citizenship/resident category. Foreign-born residents comprise 12.3 million of the uninsured, with only 2.8 million of those naturalized citizens. That leaves 9.5 million non-citizens in the count. The Census Bureau refuses to categorize on their legal residency status, which means that legal and illegal immigrants get counted in this total. Last year, estimates put the number of illegal aliens in this category as 5.6 million out of a total of 9.7 million. Even if we attribute the entire 200K reduction in this category to illegal immigrants leaving the US (as opposed to legal immigrants leaving or illegal immigrants getting insured), it still leaves 5.4 million illegals as part of the overall uninsured number.

  • Well, we’ve gone several hundred years without universal coverage, why is it necessary for us to have it right now with no serious examination?

  • I think the case of legal non-citizens is difficult because many of them are sponsored. Their sponsor is financially responsible for them, and would (at least in theory) have to pay their medical bills if they do not secure insurance and cannot pay. As one of those non-citizens, I think it’s perfectly reasonable that the nation should expect us to be financially responsible for ourselves.

    And many, if not most, of the legal non-citizens who are sponsored do have insurance. But millions do not. They pay all the taxes that citizens pay and should receive all the benefits. The Constitution requires it. 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection applies to all persons, regardless of alienage (see Graham v. Richardson).

    Obama’s 30 million probably excludes illegal immigrants and I don’t know who else. It’s a mystery.

Income Gap Narrowing

Thursday, September 10, AD 2009

A year into the economic downturn, the much decried income gap has narrowed.

The deepest downturn in the U.S. economy since the Great Depression may finally shrink the gap between the very best-off Americans and everyone else.

If so, it won’t be by lifting up the bottom. It will be by pulling down the top.

Over the past 30 years, chief executives, Wall Street bankers and traders, law-firm partners and such amassed ever-greater incomes, while the incomes of factory workers, teachers, office managers and others in the middle grew much more slowly. In 2007, the top 1% of U.S. families accounted for 23.5% of all personal income in the U.S., according to economists Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley and Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics. That was a level not seen since the Roaring Twenties.

The top 1%’s share appears to be falling fast. Mr. Saez and other economists expect income going to the top 1% of taxpayers — currently, those with about $400,000 a year — will drop to somewhere between 15% and 19% of all income by 2010. That still would leave income distribution more top-heavy in the U.S. than in many other countries.

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8 Responses to Income Gap Narrowing

Bishop Gracida on the Kennedy Funeral

Thursday, September 10, AD 2009

Bishop Rene Gracida

Hattip to the ever vigilant Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia, who I really should put on retainer for the number of blogging ideas I steal, that is borrow, from him each month.

Bishop Rene Gracida is the retired bishop of Corpus Christi.  He has a blog called Abyssus Abyssum Invocat.   During World War II he was a tail gunner with the 303rd Hell’s Angels B-17 bomb group.  Why does that come as absolutely no surprise to me?  When it comes to speaking out in regard to the Kennedy funeral, I suppose it requires little courage for a Bishop who faced the skies of WW2 Europe.  The Bishop minces no words:

“WHERE DO I BEGIN

There was so much wrong with the funeral liturgy celebrated in Boston last Saturday for Senator Edward Moore Kennedy that I hardly know where to begin.  Aside from the impropriety of such a grandiose celebration for one of the country’s most notorious dissident Catholics, the ‘celebration’ was filled with liturgical errors and transgressions against the General Instruction of the Roman Missal which governs every celebration of the Church’s liturgy.  I am afraid that if I, a bishop, were to go into the details of the scandal it would only add to the scandal and so I will let the laity speak to it.”

The Bishop then places on his blog critical articles about the funeral from many sources.  Go here to read the articles at his blog and then place the Bishop’s blog under your “Favorites” list.  It is definitely a blog to check in at on a regular basis.

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Analyzing Bishop Morlinos Chastizement of Catholics Critical of the Funeral Mass for Ted Kennedy

Thursday, September 10, AD 2009

[Updates at the bottom of this post as of 1:08pm CDT on AD 9-10-2009]

Michael Voris, S.T.B., breaks down Bishop Morlino’s chastizement of those Catholics that were scandalized by Ted Kennedy’s funeral Mass.

LifeSiteNews.com has the following commentary by Patrick B. Craine and John-Henry Westen concerning the very same issue of Bishop Morlino chastizing Catholics critical of the pomp and ceremony bestowed upon the abortion advocate Ted Kennedy during the funeral Mass.

Bishop of Madison, Robert C. Morlino, expressed his support for the Kennedy funeral in a column last Thursday, basing his approval on the claim that the funeral was celebrated “in a subdued fashion,” and that this “low key” approach was appropriate due to the Senator’s support for abortion and other issues.

. . .

“All of this is leading me up to the expression of my contentment with how our Church, in a subdued fashion, celebrated the Rites of Christian Burial for Senator Kennedy,” he said. “The proclamation of God’s Mercy was powerful, the prayer for forgiveness of his past sins was clearly offered, and all of this in a subdued way because of his long-standing and public holding of pro-abortion and other stances which have been a scandal in the literal sense.”

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27 Responses to Analyzing Bishop Morlinos Chastizement of Catholics Critical of the Funeral Mass for Ted Kennedy

  • Well, It’s a good thing the Pope appointed Raymond Arroyo and LifeSiteNews to critique the bishops! What would we do without lay people to evaluate episcopal decisions?

  • Also, why do you spell his name “Morlino” (correctly) sometimes and “Marlino” other times?

  • Zak, are you willing to admit there were problems with the funeral service?

    I don’t have a problem with him being given a funeral Mass, but it’s pretty obvious Bishop Morlino has a nigh-unto-unique definition of the word “subdued.”

  • I don’t know Dale. I’m expecting a couple of Cardinals to attend my funeral and internment. 🙂

  • Things were not as I would have done them, but I agree with Morlino’s writing about the conduct of many who are criticizing. I would also note that Morlino is among the most outspoken bishops in the country on pro-life and other bioethical issues. I think we laypeople should focus more on how we can transform the world through our faith, and less on ecclesial matters like how liturgies are conducted or who should receive communion, though I am quite conservative in my liturgical preferences. Leave such matters for bishops and canon lawyers.

  • Fine, but just for hypothetical reasons, why did a Cardinal need to preside at the funeral and internment?

  • I think Carl Olson provides some perspective on the selective outrage aimed at those who were scandalized as opposed to those who caused the scandal:

    Within a week of Kennedy’s funeral, those making offensive and inappropriate statements of his eternal destination are being called on the carpet for their objectively sinful actions. Fair enough. My question is this: how long after Ted Kennedy made it known in the 1970s that he was going to publicly support abortion (and, later, other evils), was he called on the carpet by bishops or priests for his objectively sinful actions? How often throughout his public career was he publicly confronted and chastised for his support of abortion, contraceptives, “same-sex marriage,” embryonic stem cell research, and so forth? And why does Bishop Morlino only use the word “sin/sinful” regarding those comments, but never in referring to Kennedy’s many public actions and positions? Is it really so hard to call a spade a spade?

    ***
    Once again, it’s interesting how easy it is to chastise pro-life Catholic bloggers for being “vicious” and “bullying” and “sowing seeds of hatred” and being “agents of destruction and violence”, but how hard it is to state the facts about Sen. Kennedy’s public record. I suppose it was Kennedy’s good fortune that he was never a pro-life Catholic blogger, otherwise he might have had to face public criticism from Catholic clergy.

  • “Things were not as I would have done them”–OK. A bit too de gustibus, but fine. Which things?

    Philip: Yeah, I’m just hoping my parish priest isn’t too ticked off, myself. 😉

    In all seriousness, I don’t have a problem with Cardinal O’Malley presiding, either. What sticks in my craw was that it turned into a de facto canonization process–in my less charitable moments, and yes, I have many, Tedapalooza. Instead of a celebration of the hope of Christian resurrection, we had a celebration of the deceased–a man who lived at very public odds with the Church, to boot. The clerical plaudits for the man should stir universal unease in Catholics regardless of political loyalties.

    The failure of both Cardinal O’Malley, Bishop Morlino and those in the same camp to admit to the serious scandal caused by the way the funeral *was handled* (as opposed to *the granting* of a Catholic funeral to the deceased) is telling and doesn’t bode well for the future.

    Not only do we have the right to protest how the Mass was handled, we have a duty to do so. Charitably, and Bishop Morlino is right to call for that. But no less a duty for that.

  • I might take a somewhat different approach. Zack notes that liturgy is for clerics. Fine. It is. So let them make their choices. But politics is for the laity. And a “canonization” carries political implications. And those implications we can critique as laity.

  • Zak,

    The typos are simply that, typos.

    I like Bishop Morlino, but he certainly did whale into scandalized Catholics a bit much for my taste.

  • I don’t think there’s any chance of a literal canonization of Ted Kennedy. The point that he had fundamental character flaws and that he dissented from essential church teachings for Catholics in the public sphere and that in doing so he was supportive of and complicit in the abortions that have taken place is clear and can be made without the internecine attacks on prelates we’ve seen. They play into an anti-clerical culture that further undermines the hierarchy’s authority, marginalizing its voice further while lamenting the fact that it hasn’t managed to change our pro-abortion legal regime.

    I also think Bishop Morlino has been one of the more outspoken bishops in criticizing pro-choice politicians. Ted Kennedy and other pro-choice politicians have been criticized repeatedly by bishops through the years. It’s very selective of Mr. Olsen to suggest otherwise.

  • Zak,

    Have you ever considered the fact that many bishops in this country have de facto been derelict in their duties?

    And because of a lack of leadership, character, and charity among our many bishops the laity have been scandalized to the point that their respect for our prelates have dropped precipitously? Especially after the homosexual pedophile scandals and committing the sin of omission one too many times when it comes to the most preeminent issue of our lifetime?

  • Zak:

    While I can well have empathy with some of the remarks you’ve made concerning the anti-clerical nature that might underlie many of the criticisms made by those of the Catholic faithful themselves which these may indeed play into some undermining of the Catholic heirarchy; I believe you might yourself be losing sight of the fact that not every instance of criticism is actually anti-ecclesial pers se or do even undermine the heirarchy.

    If you were to survey many of the lives and corresponding works of the great Saints of the Church, you would find criticisms that saints such as these held and subsequently even expressed concerning clergy they sought to correct during their lifetime.

    Take for instance, Catherine of Sienna (a mere tertiary) who dared criticize even the Pope for that matter or even Thomas More (a mere layman) who did so concerning the corrupt nature of a certain of the English Catholic clergy in his days.

    Perhaps what might be more proper to discuss here is how such criticisms should be accordingly laid out, such that they do not, as you say, visciously undermine the hierarchy (especially in the public arena where anything and everything becomes twisted for the sake of mob media), but more importantly cause unjust scandal to the Church and, thereby, detracts and even deters from (or, worst, destroys) the Work that Christ is attempting to accomplish through her for the sake of the Salvation of many.

  • Tito,
    Certainly it is true that bishops have made mistakes, been negligent, or even actively done wrong at various times, particularly in relation to abusive priests. Criticizing specific acts, in those cases, is certainly permissible. Criticisms should nevertheless be voiced in a charitable manner, not with the vitriol we see spewed at people like Cardinal O’Malley, who has been unfailing in his his pro-life advocacy and who, having done so much good in restoring multiple dioceses torn apart by the scandalous episcopal behavior you decry (regarding priestly pedophilia) ought not to be attacked on that issue.

    My problem is that people think the bishops aren’t owed any respect, and they are, by virtue of their office. When someone attacks a bishop for not constantly talking abortion, as if they should all be Bishop Martino, one wonders whether they want to be members of the Catholic Church or the Anti-abortion Church. Certainly we are anti-abortion, but that isn’t the pre-eminent issue for bishops, because politics isn’t pre-eminent for bishops.

    And no group in the country has done more to advocate against abortion than the Catholic bishops. Even before Roe, no one was more outspoken. After Roe, virtually no other group in the public sphere spoke out loudly. Their leadership – in cooperation with Catholic lay people – has been tireless in establishing alternatives to abortion for pregnant women. To speak of sins of omission – it’s absurd. Even Cardinal Bernadin, faulted by so many for his ideas about the seamless garment, spoke out loudly against abortion. What the bishops did not do is embrace the notion that many right-inclined Catholics have that beyond abortion (and pay marriage and abortion), everything else is merely “prudential” and thus something where the Church has nothing to say (thankfully not a view of many of the principled Catholic conservative- and libertarian-inclined Catholics on the this site). And so they’re faulted for the scandal. The scandal is not that the bishops did not speak out. It’s that so many laypeople, both right and left, are willing to ignore them (or at least the difficult things they have to say) when they do.

  • Zak,

    not with the vitriol we see spewed at people like Cardinal O’Malley

    like Bishop Morlino, you are making unsupported, and non-specific accusations, thereby demonizing ALL of those who were critical of the Cardinal’s shameful actions in this matter.

    Be specific, what vitriol? Said by whom?

    Personally, the only vitriol I have heard is from the Cardinal and his apologizers.

    ps. Cardinal Sean (as he refers to himself) has been credibly implicated in attempting to allow Catholic healthcare institutions to be complicit in abortions…

  • e,
    What you say is true, and having a lot of reverence for St. Catherine of Sienna, I’ve puzzled about this issue a lot. I think when a bishop or priest does something explicitly and undeniably sinful, then its clear it can be criticized (Rembert Weakland’s inexcusable behavior, for example), but one should still be cautious not to adopt a pharisaical attitude. When Bishops make administrative decisions (not in the manner of faith and morals) these should be submitted to in the end, though arguments against them can be raised.

    In between those two poles, I’m not sure. I personally find much of the criticism I read (from both right and left, although with conservative sympathies, I’m more surprised and bothered by those from the right) bothersome.

    I remember when Donald wrote a piece attacking a Jesuit professor I’ve had. Now, I disagree with the Jesuit on a number of prudential matters, butI never heard him actually dissenting from Church teaching or saying anything unorthodox. The picture of him that accompanied the article in (the bad) NCR (where he had argued that a more conciliatory tone on abortion would achieve more) showed him not wearing clerical attire, which inspired a number of comments on his heterodoxy and need to be disciplined. Is this where laypeople should be focusing? Or is it a distraction from what we are truly called to? The schism St. Catherine was criticizing was indisputably a scandal and worthily condemned by her. A priest not wearing his collar, though?

    Maybe the problem is the Internet. When St. Catherine spoke out, it was in a society where she was clearly recognized as a holy woman and she thus had some authority (though not official). Here, I don’t know you from Adam. Maybe you’re similarly holy, and if I saw you speaking out on a subject, I would say, “here’s a modern day saint! I should listen as he criticizes our laxness in these days.” I lack the context in which to set people’s criticisms, so they can sound particularly harsh,because I think, “well,I’m no St. Catherine of Sienna (really, I’m not) so I won’t speak like that about a bishop.” At the same time, we feel free to say things on the Internet with a lack of charity we would rarely employ when speaking to someone’s face. St. Catherine of Sienna addressed the pope to his face. It was Martin Luther who put his criticism of the pope in the 16th century equivalent of a blog post. 🙂

  • Matt,
    I had an example where the Catholic League of Massachusetts said the funeral displayed “the corruption of the Catholic Church” or something like that, but my browser crashed when I tried to post it and I don’t feel like looking agin. There were also numerous comments throughout the blogosphere about how the Church in Boston (and O’Malley) suck up to the Kennedys for money and comparing bishops who don’t refuse communion to pro-choice politicians to Pontius Pilate. That’s far more vitriol than Bishop Morlino displays.

  • Zak,

    exactly my point. Don’t poste generalizations and characterizations, just post what was said. Please don’t bother with mentioning comments on the blogosphere, we’re talking about prominent critics not just some schmo on the internet.

    ps. If the Church in Boston (and O’Malley) aren’t sucking up for money, why exactly are they sucking up?

  • But with all due respect, we’re not just talking about prominent people – we are schmos on the Internet. We’re the people who shouldn’t be wasting our time judging whether bishops’ decisions are good or bad.

    “Shameful” “sucking up” – that language sounds self-righteous to me, and it’s exactly the tone I think should be avoided.

  • Zak,

    But with all due respect, we’re not just talking about prominent people – we are schmos on the Internet. We’re the people who shouldn’t be wasting our time judging whether bishops’ decisions are good or bad

    With all due respect (speaking of self-righteous). We are not the ones that the bishop and his apologists are attempting to demonize by their generalizations. Frankly none of the schmos on this blog or anywhere else I’ve seen have suggested he should have been denied a Catholic funeral which is the primary charge being leveled by the Cardinal et al. It’s precisely this misdirection which is so contemptible, especially when it’s used in a attempt to cover ones own shameful actions (sorry, no PC from me, I call it as I see it).

    Here is the quote you’re referring to from the “Catholic Action League” of Massechusets:
    “No rational person can reasonably be expected to take seriously Catholic opposition to abortion when a champion of the Culture of Death, who repeatedly betrayed the Faith of his baptism, is lauded and extolled by priests and prelates in a Marian basilica. This morning’s spectacle is evidence of the corruption which pervades the Catholic Church in the United States. The right to life will never be recognized by secular society if it is not first vindicated and consistently upheld within the institutions of the Church itself.”

    It seems to me that you are not denying any of my assertions or the one from CAL, just whether or not they should be asserted, is that accurate?

  • “Ted Kennedy and other pro-choice politicians have been criticized repeatedly by bishops through the years. It’s very selective of Mr. Olsen to suggest otherwise.”

    Really? In the same “sin/sinful”, “divisive”, “lacking in mercy”, etc. terms as Kennedy’s detractors were described? I’d like to see a cite for that. I’m guessing you’d be hard-pressed to find a single instance – much less “repeatedly” – of a Bishop (outside of perhaps now-retired Bishop Martino and maybe Bishop Bruskewitz) ever using similar terms to criticize Kennedy or any other “pro-choice” politician.

    And, with all due respect to Bishop Morlino, it is difficult for me to take some of those arguments the Bishop made on Kennedy’s behalf (especially (1) describing Kennedy as a “pro-life leader”, (2) about Kennedy’s meeting with dissident theologians to discuss how to fudge abortion as showing his “seriousness” as a Catholic, and (3) the comment about the “subdued” nature of his funerally) as anything other than spin.

    Bishop Morlino gives Kennedy every benefit of the doubt, while assuming the absolute worst about the pro-lifers who were scandalized by Kennedy’s pro-abortion advocacy.

  • Zak:

    I can see where you are coming from, in spite of certain particulars that I would happen to disagree with.

    For instance, I feel that on the one hand, you make a valid point concerning how malicious certain criticisms of various ecclesiastics can be so as to ultimately undermine their very authority as such and even that of the Church itself.

    However, on the other, there are certain matters so pressing (such as those that carry with them not only rightful ecclesial responsibility but also Christian moral duty as well) that should any such member of the Church be found derelict in their duty, both as clergy as well as fellow Catholic, then criticism as concerning their failure to live up to these in such matters is most likely well deserved and, indeed, even necessary.

    Yet, I can feel for what you’re saying.

    I believe, likewise, that there is also a responsibility on the part of the critic himself wherein they should do so in such appropriate measure so as to not undermine not only the authority that clergy (mind you, the distinction being the authority that person carries with him as opposed to the person himself) but, more significantly, the Church itself.

    To put the matter more plainly, we should not be in the business of supplying our enemies with ammunition that they can use against us.

    Unfortunately, as even Sir Thomas More himself would learn later in life:

    et inimici hominis domestici eius.” — Mt 10:36

  • My with “all due respect” was facetious, because I was calling both of us schmos. It was not self righteous.

    I do deny that Kennedy’s funeral suggests that the church is corrupt. I deny that the silly aspects of it like the prayers of the faithful suggest that. I deny that O’Malley’s presence at it suggests that. I deny that anyone can credibly claim that the Church doesn’t care abortion because Ted Kennedy got a funeral.

    Morlino was one of the loudest bishops in criticizing Biden and Pelosi last year. He doesn’t assume the worst about pro-lifers. He says that those who would wish Kennedy in hell, and those who spend their time owrrying about whether he’s there, are sinning. It’s a pastoral caution. Just as when he wrote that Catholics who voted against conscience protections in a Wisconsin law on emergency contraception were sinning.

  • Zak,

    My with “all due respect” was facetious, because I was calling both of us schmos. It was not self righteous.

    Sorry for missing that. I will accept the mantle of “schmo”.

    I do deny that Kennedy’s funeral suggests that the church is corrupt. I deny that the silly aspects of it like the prayers of the faithful suggest that. I deny that O’Malley’s presence at it suggests that.

    If those don’t suggest corruption, do they suggest health??? Deny all you want, it changes nothing.

    corruption
    –noun
    1. the act of corrupting or state of being corrupt.
    2. moral perversion; depravity.
    3. perversion of integrity.
    4. corrupt or dishonest proceedings.
    5. bribery.
    6. debasement or alteration, as of language or a text.

    7. a debased form of a word.
    8. putrefactive decay; rottenness.
    9. any corrupting influence or agency.

    I think the definitions highlighted could be reasonably applied to the American Church as an institution, especially if we look at it’s official body the USCCB, and many of the diocesan organizations and clergy.

    I think we could not say that it is wholly corrupt, as there are a substantial minority of shining lights.

    I deny that anyone can credibly claim that the Church doesn’t care abortion because Ted Kennedy got a funeral.

    I’ll say this louder, because you missed it earlier. NOBODY IS SAYING GIVING HIM A FUNERAL IS THE PROBLEM, IT’S THE NATURE OF THE FUNERAL. That said, none of the Catholic critics are saying that the Church doesn’t care about abortion, we’re saying that the actions of the American Church SUGGEST that. I believe the truth is that much of the American hierarchy (lay and clerical) cares less about abortion than they do about certain leftist issues, and that appears to include the Cardinal of Boston, and the retired Cardinal of DC.

    Morlino was one of the loudest bishops in criticizing Biden and Pelosi last year. He doesn’t assume the worst about pro-lifers. He says that those who would wish Kennedy in hell, and those who spend their time owrrying about whether he’s there, are sinning. It’s a pastoral caution. Just as when he wrote that Catholics who voted against conscience protections in a Wisconsin law on emergency contraception were sinning.

    Good for him last year, but now he’s circling the wagons with his brother bishop, thus lending credibility to the shameful action, and furthermore by his generalized criticism (quite clearly not pastoral) he is slandering the legitimate objectors.

  • There are two points to make here.
    1) The Bishops pick and choose what parts of our doctrine certain people will get to follow.
    This is consistent through the Church Crisis these past few years in how they have “pastorally reached out” to these sinners.
    2) By Baptism alone this man has a right to be buried a catholic. He will have his day of judgement. I can’t place myself in the place of God.
    What I can say is this: The US Catholic church is having an even greater crisis within itself. We allow these people to receive the blessed sacrament. We allow our institutions of higher learning to give face time to our children at graduation. We allow what ever is non confrontational.
    May God have mercy on us all.

  • This guy has great hair! He’s much pretty than Bishop Morlino, too.

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Obamas Speech: Dem Health Care Bill Now, With Or Without GOP

Wednesday, September 9, AD 2009

[Updates at the bottom of this posting as of 3:03am CDT on AD 9-10-2009]

President Obama’s speech covered many topics, lets first layout our President’s plan:

I. Keep the health insurance you have now.

1.  Pre-existing symptoms or disabilities no longer will disqualify anyone from coverage.

2.  No spending caps set by insurance companies.

3.  No drop in coverage in the middle of an illness.

4.  Limit on out of pocket expense.

5.  Minimal requirements of coverage.

II. Public Option & Exchange

1.  When losing your job you have the Public Option if you can’t afford insurance.

2.  Insurance exchange markets will be required for insurance companies to participate in.

3.  Tax credits for small businesses.

4.  In theory this will not lead to a government take over.

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39 Responses to Obamas Speech: Dem Health Care Bill Now, With Or Without GOP

  • For me the oddest statement in the President’s speech was the claim that “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits – either now or in the future. Period.” I’m not sure this can even by classified as a lie, as lying requires an intent to deceive, and I can’t imagine Obama thought anyone would believe him when he said this (so then why did he say it?)

  • I think President Obama actually believes that statement he said about not a single dime towards our deficits.

    So I’m not sure if he can be accused of saying a lie. But if it does happen, does it qualify as a lie after the fact?

  • This proposal doesn’t come off as “reform.” Rather, it comes off as more of what we currently have: tons of regulations that introduce more cost and curb competition.

  • It’s not clear that Obama could even hold true to his promise for the length of his speech. Nine paragraphs after making his “not one dime . . . Period” pledge, he says that his plan would cost $900 billion, and that “most” of this would be offset by cuts in existing health care programs. Perhaps by most he means $899,999,999,999.91? Or maybe he means his pledge literally. He won’t sign a bill if it adds exactly a dime to the deficit, but if it adds billions that’s okay.

  • For full disclosure, I am not an expert on how the Health Care industry works.

    With that said I do like the first portion of his speech that says pre-existing symptoms or disabilities no longer will disqualify anyone from coverage, no spending caps set by insurance companies will be allowed, coverage won’t be dropped in the middle of an illness, there will be a limit on out of pocket expense, and there will be minimal standards required in basic coverage.

    I’m not sure if this will make insurance costs go up, drive companies out of business, and eventually result in a single payer system over a period of time.

    But if this is possible without any of the above scenarios, I like it!

  • Tito, on another thread I was calling you out, takin it back now.
    Really! If we could fix the pre-existing condition and employer control thing in healthcare, who could argue?

  • Master C,

    I was busy typing up this posting when you left that message.

    I like the portion I outlined, but without the public option.

    If some regulations could be set up for the insurance industry without the public option then that would be ideal!

  • We need this change…YESTERDAY!

    Millions of Americans presently have no health care, others who do, when faced with an illness go bankrupt, and others find out that suddenly they don’t have any healthcare at all and still others are covered but face high costs.

    I’m 52 years old..and my job was outsourced 4 years ago.
    Thankfully I have family but I pay $450.67 per month and my Asthma inhaler costs…$211.00 OUT OF POCKET.

    Others are in worse shape.

    Any Catholic that cannot see the good in this isn’t Catholic!

  • P. Edward Murray,

    I certainly sympathize with the problems that you are facing.

    Though I have to say that just because some of us oppose certain points of President Obama’s speech doesn’t make us not Catholic.

    If you could explain why then we have a starting point, but just simply saying this doesn’t make it so.

    Also you can’t force others to pay for something they don’t want to pay for nor are required to pay for.

  • “Primary school taunting”?

    No, he just told the truth. Would that Palin and FOX NEWS would do the same.

  • Mr. Murray,

    I have no health care. I pray that my health does does fail. I haven’t had a full-time job in nearly a year. I do fear bankruptcy if I experience any health programs.

    That said, anyone who tries to get me health care on the backs of dead babies is not doing me any favors. I’d rather face financial ruin than see one more baby slaughtered.

    In Christ,
    Steve

  • Heather,

    Denying that there are End-of-Life-Decision panels, aka, Death Panels?

  • Steve,

    First, I know quite well where you are..I’ve been out of a job for 4 years…

    I thought I had finally found a good company to work for and was promoted a Team Leader at our Panasonic National Diagnostic Center. So I was part of the management team lowest level.

    One day I came in and learned that my entire office was to be sold. We were. And we were led to believe that we would just move to another location.

    That didn’t happen.

    At one point, we had 75 people working at our facility.

    All the remaining jobs were outsourced to Manila.

    I blame GWB and all Republicans..they didn’t give a care.
    To all of them…outsourcing is just another way of making more profit.

    And that is why I will never vote for another Republican as long as I live.

    The lie and cheat period. They only care about themselves and other rich …very rich people.

    As far as abortion is concerned you needn’t worry because this is what the president said…

    “And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up – under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.”

    And to anyone else reading…

    We are living in a Depression…currently I have a brother & sister-in-law out of work. I have an Aunt & Uncle..both in their sixties…out of work and they are trying to start business.

    Millions of Americans are in the same boat as Steve and I and if you aren’t yout of work you should be counting your blessings because it isn’t over yet.

    Being unemployed for a long time is very hard but I’m also

  • I’m also caring for my 74 year old mother who has cancer and is still working and is partially disabled with a bad back so I must take her to work and back in a wheelchair.

    This is what George W Bush did.

    I know this is where Jesus wants me to be..to take care of my mother…something that many middle aged Americans face..caring for their elderly parents.

    We need this change and we need the jobs to come back.

    If this doesn’t happen then God help us because there is going to be a heck of a revolution!

    Say the Chaplet of Divine Mercy!

  • Tito…

    Have you ever heard of

    “A living will”?

    Please don’t tell lies.

  • P. Edwards Murray,

    There will be abortion funding in the bill. You know better that the public option will offer coverage for abortion.

    This is your first warning. If you’re unable to keep your emotions in check and call me a lier one more time then you will be banned.

    You know there are End-of-Life Panels, aka, Death Panels, in one of the two congressional bills.

    I can tell you my sob story as well, but I’m not here to score cheap political points.

    If you really believe a revolution will occur if this bill doesn’t pass then you are beyond logic and reason.

    If this bill does go through, one thing is for certain, we’ll have an entirely new executive and legislative branch come 2012. That is change that I can believe in.

  • Personally having witnessed the outrageous statements at my former Parish…St. Ignatius of Antioch Yardley PA..statements made just after the election…that voting

    “The Economy” was wrong and that “Jesus would have something to say to me” I left that Parish in disgust.

    Picking up my mother from her weekly Adoration, I noticed some flyers saying that this health care would include abortion….

    Which it didn’t then and won’t now.

    I’m of the opinion that The American Catholic Church is really split…many proclaim themselves to be Catholic and are more Republican than really Catholic.

    And some are really Catholic.

    I don’t know about you, but I was brought up to believe that being a Christian was more than abortion…

    Did not Jesus say “Feed my Sheep”? Did he not say that if a man has no “cloak” to give him yours? Did he not say to give your money to the poor?

    Do we not sing a song “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me”?

    Yes we sing that song and Pope John Paul II talked about
    “A Consistent Ethic of Life”?

    So remember…

    Your vote is an action and actions speak louder than words.

    Is it better to vote for one who says they are pro life but clearly discounts everything else that Jesus has said?

    For the record, I believe in a “Consistent Ethic of Life” and I am a practicing Catholic and a Democrat.

    One final note…

    When I left St. Ignatius I could hardly believe that any priest or deacon could have said such a thing. Clearly sometimes priests forget that they live by charity.

    The Deacon in question…his other job..is a

  • Tito,

    I will not remain here and will never bother you again.

    Say a Chaplet of Divine Mercy

  • P. Edward Murray,

    You are more than welcome to say your peace, but please say it in charity.

    It seems you are the one struggling with your Catholic identity vs. being a Democrat.

    As for me I am not a Republican nor do I vote a clean GOP ticket.

    I’ve donated all of my money to the local democratic party and have voted for many democrats, yet I vote as a Catholic, not as a republican nor democrat.

    The life of a human being, especially an innocent child, is the utmost important issue.

    If you feel that getting a free bottle of aspirin forcibly paid by someone else is more important than the life of an innocent child, then that is between you and God.

    I’ll put you and your family in my evening prayers.

  • Catholic Anarchist,

    Your disrespectful comments and vicious attack on the writers of this website will not be tolerated.

    It is comments like yours that the American people are fed up with the way you and your ilk demonize those that protest President Obama’s health care bill.

  • “He chastised those that would dare say the Public Option would eventually take over the Health Insurance Industry.”

    A Kool-Aid stand was set up in the lobby for those who have yet to see the light. Name ONE government program that has ever gotten smaller.

    Buehler…BUEHLER…ANYBODY ?

  • “Any Catholic that cannot see the good in [ObamaCare] isn’t Catholic!”

    “I’m of the opinion that The American Catholic Church is really split…many proclaim themselves to be Catholic and are more Republican than really Catholic.”

    “For the record, I believe in a “Consistent Ethic of Life” and I am a practicing Catholic and a Democrat.”

    Taken at face value, these comments add up to saying, essentially, that one must be a Democrat in order to be a “real” Catholic (never mind the Democrat-sponsored legalized murder of all those dead babies).

    “Any Catholic that cannot see the good in [ObamaCare] isn’t Catholic!”

    So, then, unless you support this particular version of health care reform, prepare yourself to be denied the Catholic funeral that that paragon of Catholic virtue Teddy Kennedy received.

    “I’m of the opinion that The American Catholic Church is really split…many proclaim themselves to be Catholic and are more Republican than really Catholic.”

    Mightn’t there be an even greater number that proclaim themselves to be Catholic that are more Democrat than really Catholic? There’s a whole generation of Catholic Democrat politicians, for example, that ignore Church teaching on fundamental issues such as abortion, euthanasia, and marriage. It’s funny: I see very few pro-life Catholics who proclaim themselves members of the Republican Party as readily as this gentleman proclaims himself a Democrat. Tito’s not a Republican. I’m not a Republican. And even those who are self-proclaimed Republicans tend to be willing to vote against the party when it comes to a “pro-choice” candidate (witness Catholics Against Rudy). Sad that we don’t see that same commitment from Catholic Democrats.

    “I don’t know about you, but I was brought up to believe that being a Christian was more than abortion… Did not Jesus say “Feed my Sheep”? Did he not say that if a man has no “cloak” to give him yours? Did he not say to give your money to the poor? … Do we not sing a song “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me”? … For the record, I believe in a “Consistent Ethic of Life” and I am a practicing Catholic and a Democrat.”

    It’s ironic that whevever someone proclaims themselves to have a “consistent ethic of life”, it is almost ALWAYS the unborn who get short shrift, whose right to life is given a lower priority than whatever other policy issues happen to more closely coincide with that person’s own preferences. They proclaim a concern about “the least of these our brothers” without a hint of irony that they’re leaving out of the equation (or at least minimizing) the least of the least of these – the unborn.

    I agree that we should all have a consistent ethic of life. That universal access to health care – in whatever form it is delivered – is part of that consistent ethic. But as long as our culture accepts a legal regime that fails to recognize the inherent humanity in the least of the least of these our brothers, such a consistent ethic of life is impossible. And, quite frankly, a government that provides legal cover for the murder of the innocent is unfit to run anything remotely resembling health care.

    And besides, how dare anyone believe that their other policy priorities somehow take precedence over the very right to experience life that is endowed by the Creator upon the unborn? With apologies to Charles Dickens, it may be, that in the sight of Heaven, the millions of poor children in the womb have a higher priority in seeing the light of day than does someone in having the government pay for their “free” health care. So, yes, let’s have a consistent ethic of life, but let’s get our priorities straight about what that means, and stop using it as a tool for ignoring abortion in favor of a particular party’s big government agenda.

  • “It is comments like yours that the American people are fed up with the way you and your ilk demonize those that protest President Obama’s health care bill.”

    Tito. I know. You’re going to start thinking I’m singling you out. But…the reverse happens just as frequently and just as viciously. And at least on this blog, the latter tends to be quite tolerated.

    Jay,

    I agree. Catholic Democrats really do not live up to their vocation as Catholics. Many are cowards. Many use the “seamless garment” as cover for voting for pro-choice candidates without even resisting pro-abortion legislation while performing some sort of intellectual gymnastics to distract attention from such a reality. But really, we are told that they are really pro-life because they are reducing the number of abortions by expanding access and/or funding to it.

    But…I think concerns that “other issues” — and I’m not talking about everything else on the “progressive” agenda — are unfortunately neglected, or voting for pro-life Republican candidates, which some Catholics imply is mandatory (even you choose to try to opt to not vote for anyone at all over voting for a Democrat), might strike your conscience as endorsing a number of policies that you simply do not agree with and do not believe is good for our country.

    In a sense, there is a sentiment that I don’t totally endorse — but I am very sympathetic to — is that many left-leaning Catholics feel boxed in. It is practically non-negotiable that you support a party that you fundamentally do not agree with and whom we tend to be suspicious about in regard to their commitment to actually stopping the evil of abortion — and I’m not saying the Democrats are the solution. I’m not trying to draw failure of one side to excuse the other. I am merely saying, these concerns — valid or not — usually are dismissed or there is a legitimate sentiment that right-leaning Catholics either totally reject such considerations or really don’t care. Whether that’s true or not is one thing, but it can seem that way. I repeat: it can seem that way. I’m not sure.

    But to the plight of an orthodox pro-life Catholic Democrat, I am very sympathetic. Obviously, I am one. I did not vote for Obama, but if he were pro-life, I probably would have campaigned for him.

  • If Obama were pro-life (and I mean TRULY pro-life, not Harry Reid “pro-life”), I would probably vote for him, just to reward the Democrats for nominating a pro-lifer.

    If the Democrats ever wised up to the fact that being pro-life was actually a political benefit to them, then we could really do something to end abortion in this country, and Democrats would likely become a permanent majority.

  • Eric,

    I know you personally so don’t worry, your intentions are pure and I need someone like you (I have many) to help keep me on the straight and narrow.

    Your comments and critiques of me are appreciated and spiritually humbling.

    🙂

    …and yes, it does go both ways, though for the moment, in my humble opinion, the GOP, conservatives, independents, and moderates are getting more of it than the liberals and democrats.

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

  • Obama spent a rather long time last night composing what I believe will be remembered as the epitaph for ObamaCare. I have never seen a more inept performance by a President addressing a joint session of Congress. He is approaching lame duck status in his first year in office with his party in overwhelming control in both chambers of Congress. In the teeth of an economic and fiscal crisis of vast proportions there is effectively no one directing the ship of state. God help us.

  • Picking up my mother from her weekly Adoration, I noticed some flyers saying that this health care would include abortion….

    Which it didn’t then and won’t now.

    With respect, Mr. Murray, that’s simply not true. It did, and it does, as Michigan Representative (and Democrat) Bart Stupak recognizes.

    http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1918261,00.html

    But you are absolutely right that health care is a human right, and you should have coverage. I just wish the pro-abortion pols would stop jeopardizing the possibility of health care reform with their games.

  • I think there are flaws in Obama’s proposal, I would prefer that any public option only be state- or region-level co-ops, and I’m sceptical of its ability to control healthcare costs as long as most healthcare is fee-for-service. But overall, I think it has a lot of good in it. I wish some pro-life Republicans like Chris Smith would tell Obama that they’d vote for it if it includes the Stupak amendment. With around 20 pro-life Republicans in the house supporting it and the 20 Dems who wrote the letter on abortion and healthcare, that would be enough to pass it and give it some bipartisan credentials, which Obama wants, and it would protect life.

  • You’re right about that, Zak. If the Dem leadership would be willing to maintain the status quo of no federal funding for abortion by including the Stupak amendment, then health care reform would pass with bipartisan support and the blessing of the USCCB.

    I think it telling, however, that the administration that promised to find “common ground” on abortion is not even willing to maintain the Hyde Amendment status quo, despite its being the overwhelming majority view of the American people that tax dollars should not pay for abortions.

  • I think Zak is in the ballpark with the co-ops, but as a Catholic I would rather forget the state/regional level (implies government run) and take it a step further and suggest the the Catholic Church take the lead and reclaim the moral high ground by establish CATHOLIC Co-ops at the diocesan/parish level.

    There are the beginnings of such a move in the diocese of San Antonio TX by the Catholic Medical Association – see:

    http://www.cathmed.org/issues_resources/blog/new_guild_in_san_antonio_forming/

    Imagine a network of Catholic medical clinics around the country (and world) like the Tepeyac Family Center

    http://www.tepeyacfamilycenter.com/

    and Divine Mercy Pharmacy

    http://www.dmcpharm.com/

    Also – Catholic hospitals (like many colleges) need to reclaim their Catholic identity.

  • JB, I like that idea.

  • What these folks who keep talking about a consistent ethic of life don’t seem to get is this very simple concept:

    A consistent ethic of life begins with life.

  • Jb,

    a step further and suggest the the Catholic Church take the lead and reclaim the moral high ground by establish CATHOLIC Co-ops at the diocesan/parish level.

    A fantastic idea. Unfortunately the current regulatory environment (ie. massive government intrusion) makes such an idea very difficult to implement.

  • Matt,
    I don’t know if it would be hard for a diocese to set up a healthcare coop that Catholics could buy into except for government demands to cover certain things. The trouble I see is when the co-op refusedto pay for contraception and gets in trouble with the government like Belmont Abbey College. One fears the government might also eventually mandate that insurance plans participating in its exchanges cover abortion too.

  • Zak,

    agreed, but there’s a lot of other issues in the state level regulations as well regarding non-discrimination and covered procedures, etc.

  • Matt – what came to me as I read your response is to reaffirm what I said about reclaiming the high ground.

    The battle cry of the feminist movement all these years has essentially been “this is MY body” – (sounds vaguely familiar), The regulations (and health care “reform”) have been a steady march towards telling people of faith that “your body has to follow our rules” regarding contraception and abortion – especially when we’re paying the bills.

    Their “solutions” to every problem is always more and more of the same thing that got us into the problem in the first place, and things continue to get worse. It’s like a person that beats their head against the wall every day because it feels so good when they stop.

    I believe that places like the Teyeyac Family Clinic and DM Pharmacy were raised up by God to say to the world “we’re getting off this merry go round”, and the result speak for themselves.

    Many of the Dr’s across the nation that have stopped prescribing contraceptives and referring / performing for abortion have initially seen their practices suffer – only to come roaring back stronger than before.

    To me – the logical place to put these kinds of places is where the people are – in the diocese. That’s how the non-profit Catholic Hospitals got their start – we need to get back to our roots.

    God will do the work if he can just find a “few good men (and women)” to enlist. Now is the time to be bold – not timid. Remember the walls of Jericho !

  • Jay,

    I’m not sure if the absence of abortion would win the bill any new votes. As far as I can tell, people object for various other reasons. But you might be quite right.

    In regard to insurance, I’ve always thought the Knights of Columbus should offer health insurance. I think Catholics would buy it in swarms.

  • In regard to insurance, I’ve always thought the Knights of Columbus should offer health insurance. I think Catholics would buy it in swarms.

    Amen, brother knight.

    Though at this point they are probably effectively barred from it by the fact that you can’t offer health insurance across state lines. If that were removed, and voluntary associations could form pools in the same way as employers, I would think we could see a huge amount of positive change right there.

  • Eric, Darwin… I agree, the KofC seems like an excellent means of offering health insurance. As Darwin aptly noted, they are prevented from doing so by the regulations preventing insurance across state lines. Additionally, removing health insurance coverage as an employment benefit would serve to assist in this endeavor. Voluntary associations with interstate portability… sounds like a winner to me.