Archbishop Fulton Sheen on the Silver Screen

Saturday, July 31, AD 2010

A new documentary on the life of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen will be shown in movie theaters as pre-release screenings.  It will also be available in DVD format (TBD).

A brief synopsis of the film is provided by the distributor (with minor editing):

“Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen: Servant of All” is a one-hour documentary that tells the story of Sheen and the tremendous impact he had on individuals, the Catholic community, the American public, and the world. Divided into five main sections, the film uses still images, video footage and interviews with those who knew Sheen to tell the story of this remarkable man, gifted teacher, missionary, priest, and loyal son of the Church.

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One Response to Archbishop Fulton Sheen on the Silver Screen

  • I ordered the producer’s Small Audience Pack of 10 DVDs and helped host a screening for my Rochester, NY parish.

    There is not much I can add to Sister Burns’ review other than to say that our group really enjoyed this presentation. The content and production values are excellent.

    One slightly amusing incident did occur: When Fr. Jack Whitley, C.S.B. first appeared on the screen both our assistant pastor and myself exclaimed almost simultaneously, “My old English teacher!”

    Fr. Whitley was both an English teacher and the librarian at the Aquinas Institute in Rochester for many years. He is quite a character in his own right and we both had fond memories of him.

The $1 Million Chelsea Clinton Wedding

Saturday, July 31, AD 2010

The estimated cost of Chelsea Clinton’s wedding this evening is $1 million* and that is a very low estimate.

Obscene, simply obscene.

Talk about failing in the cardinal virtues of prudence and temperance.

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22 Responses to The $1 Million Chelsea Clinton Wedding

  • Agreed, Tito, although God knows the Clintons have the money now to spend. Estimates of their net worth as a couple are anywhere from US $40 million-$100 million!

    Actually, I’ve also seen estimates on different news sites pegging the minimum cost of the wedding at US $2 million, and up to $5 million at the high end of the estimates–yikes!

  • The $5 million figure probably included the dowry. I can’t see anyone accepting Hillary as a mother-in-law for less than $4 million.

  • I’ve seen estimates as high as US $12 million, but I stuck to the low estimate in fairness.

  • If the accounting includes the cost of the security detail which follows both Mr. and Mrs. Clinton around, it is less deplorable.

  • I believe Bill Clinton, because he is a former US president, and his family have lifetime secret service protection.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Secret_Service#Former_Presidents_and_First_Ladies

  • I think my wedding, all said and done, cost around $5k… in 2002 dollars. 🙂

  • The Pope’s visit to England may cost England $15 million US and the Vatican donation to Haiti was only $250,000 and in 2009 the Vatican donation to all poor countries was 20 million.
    Let’s not single out the Clinton’s as wasteful or neglecting the poor… because of their wrong abortion position while letting our own habits go unexamined because it is Rome.
    I can’t imagine the expenses John Paul II’s visiting habits entailed on people over the years.

  • What if many of the recipients of the money were teetering on going out of business or unemployment, would this sum still be considered obscene?

  • the Vatican donation to all poor countries was 20 million.

    Not taking your figures as stipulated, I would point out that the Church is highly decentralized and the sum of people employed by the Holy See is fewer than 5,000. I think there are around 2,500 employed in the modest diocese in which I reside.

  • Wow, nice to see someone addressed THE burning issue of the day 🙂

    Should the $5 million cost estimate be correct, that would place the Clinton nuptials in the top five most expensive celebrity/millioniare weddings of all time. Even if it costs “only” $2 million that puts it in the same league as Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes, Madonna-Guy Ritchie, Liza Minnelli-whatshisname, etc.

    Of course, what do you expect from a wedding for 1) an only daughter of 2) a former president AND a current Cabinet official 3) who have lots of friends in Hollywood, D.C., on Wall Street, etc. and 4) whose own wedding was very low key and arranged with only a week’s notice (meaning, Hillary may be trying to give Chelsea the bash she never had).

    The cost does include security, because even though Bill, Hillary and Chelsea themselves have Secret Service protection, a lot of their A-list guests probably have personal security details/bodyguards who will also require accomodations.

    I agree the Clinton wedding seems rather excessive and one need not spend six or seven figures to have a joyous and memorable wedding. (I did it for less than $5,000 in 1994).

    I gotta say though, and I apologize if this comes off as kinda reverse sexist, it’s easy for a guy to say that money spent on a wedding is “selfish” and should have been spent on the poor… one could make the same argument about money spent on classic cars, boats, trucks, or events like the Super Bowl, World Series, Olympic Games, NASCAR races, etc.

  • Have to say the pope’s visit was uplifting to Catholics around the world. Don’t see how Chelsea’s wedding could bring upon the same spiritual uplifting.

  • Misspam
    Christ thought it was fitting to give the young couple at Cana 120 gallons of wine.
    And their names are never mentioned. That’s a lot of wine and it was great quality which in US dollars could well have been $25,000 just for the second stage of the wine drinking.
    As for how permanent an uplifting effect of a papal trip has beyond momentary exciitement,.. that would be impossible to document…wouldn’t it?

  • The other question: the Clintons have never done anything but government, and they’ve wound up with millions of dollars to blow on a wedding. That points out the flaws of our system better than anything else.

    Mark Noonan

  • “the Clintons have never done anything but government”

    What about the speaking fees and book deals they have made? Yes, I realize their public life is the reason they have those speaking and book contracts, but still, it isn’t the government paying those contracts.

    If PRIVATE citizens and groups didn’t care to hear them speak, and private book publishing companies weren’t interested in what they had to say, they would never have made the millions they now have.

    I’m not saying this because I’m any fan of either Bill or Hillary (far from it), just trying to be factual here.

  • My wedding in 1962: $30.00 for fabric to make my own dress; less than $100.00 for wedding cake. Flowers, probably $60.00. Stipend for the priest-? Stipend for organist: $30.00. Celebrated 48 years of wedded bliss this year. Let’s see how Chelsea & hubby last, hopefully a lifetime. I’ve played organ for many weddings in the past. My theory: the number of years of duration of the marriage is in inverse proportion to the number of attendants AND the cost. One could almost tell at the rehearsal if the marriage was going to be permanent. Pouty brides-to-be, mothers insisting on this and that. One bride was determined there was going to be NO NOISE out on the street; the church was located on a busy boulevard. No child would dare whimper or cry at her wedding. Well, everything was perfect until the photographer dashed upstairs to take photos as the couple came down the aisle; her tripod knocked the organ plug out of the wall and all the sound went down, and then back up, when she plugged the organ in. Those Hammonds had a way of ruining everything…I reminded her that SHE was to admit to the dastardly deed.

  • So….
    She’s Methodist, and he’s Jewish.
    Interesting combo.

    I’d say the Jewish will win out.

  • The bride in the most beautiful and most Christian wedding I have ever witnessed wore a pale yellow dress, with seasonal flowers (from her parents’ fields) in her hair; the groom wore a new business suit. There were no decorations, and the reception was at the house of the brides’ parents. The money not wasted on irrelevancies was used to send the couple on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella after they finished university.

  • “I’d say the Jewish will win out.”

    I suspect not. Most Jews in American today are ultra-secular. The Jewish in this marriage probably lost out long ago. Not that the Methodist will win out either.

  • If he only got $4 million for Hilary as a mother in law, I’d say the Clintons got off cheap.

  • OK everyone, enough of the weak moral relativism arguments of the Papacy vis-a-vis the Clintons. That’s insulting enough when you consider that the Clintons are at best crafty politicians.

    Spending $2-5 million on any wedding is beyond ‘hey look at me’ arrogance. It’s pure elitist ghoulish hubris and it’s even funnier coming from those progressive ‘party for the regular people’ types.

    Bill Banon, thanks for the laugh for comparing the dollar value of the wine at Cana. Wasn’t it a MIRACLE that Jesus used good ‘ol water as the input resource hence a much lower cost than the ‘high quality wine’? Perhaps they forgot to teach/discuss basic economics at that Netroots Nation liberal blogger conference?

    Great stuff!

3 Responses to The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

  • In a somewhat condescending tone Baez says the audience should sing along with the na na nas- it’s not that difficult. I would have been like WTH? Apparently the audience felt the same because they didn’t participate. I wonder if the NVA sang along for her…

  • Ms, Baez sings well, a great technical perforamce. But I never could beleive her as the voice of a confederate. A strong point to the other video and gorup is that it feels as a confederate voice.

  • I couldn’t bother with Ms. Baez, but that first video.

    Thanks for making me cry.

    The South will rise again (for states’ rights only not also to enslave anyone this time).

The Varieties of Civil Disobedience

Friday, July 30, AD 2010

The 1849 essay “Resistance to Civil Government”, better known as “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience”, by Henry David Thoreau is one of the most influential writings of the 19th century. Written to expound Thoreau’s ideas on resistance to a U.S. government that at the time permitted slavery and was waging an unpopular war against Mexico, the essay inspired other famous activists, most notably Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, to espouse the notion of changing unjust laws and government policies through active but non-violent resistance.

In this media-driven age civil disobedience seems to have taken on yet another meaning. Today it most often refers to instances in which activists for a particular cause engage in public lawbreaking (usually trespassing or blocking access to public facilities) designed primarily to attract attention and/or provoke authorities into arresting them.

As a result we have actions such as PETA’s public displays of nudity and their attacks upon fur wearers; Greenpeace’s placement of banners in unauthorized locations; anti-war protesters trespassing upon, vandalizing or defacing military installations or missile sites; abortion clinic blockades; gay activists disrupting Catholic Masses; and pro-life activist Randall Terry’s entering the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last fall and tearing up a copy of the 2,000-page healthcare bill, all being characterized as “civil disobedience” in the tradition of Thoreau, Gandhi, and King.

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9 Responses to The Varieties of Civil Disobedience

  • Seems to me that category 3 is part and parcel with another facet of (apparently) the same malaise: doing a walk-a-thon, raising money from friends and neighbors for each mile you walk, for MS, or cancer, or spina bifida, or green rose dust syndrome. There is nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, that walking another mile has to do with the rightness or wrongness or worthiness of the cause. All it says is that I, personally believe in this enough to walk another mile. It calls attention to my personal attitude about the cause, not the inherent rightness of the cause.

    I am not quite sure that a public march along a set route has the same defects. The whole point of the march is, normally, to make people aware that many, many people take the cause seriously. But it doesn’t pay any attention to any individual thereof – it is only in collection that it matters at all.

  • I agree 100% with the thoughts expressed in the article – and would add this: that the proliferation of the third kind of protest and lawbreaking has made many of us calloused and skeptical of all forms of protest – seeing most as just another attention seeking group and not worthy of interest – and if there is no violence or some other “gimmick” at play the media could hardly care less –

  • Henry David Thoreau has always struck me as one of the most buffoonish and over-rated characters in American history. His aunt paying his taxes for him so his great tax protest lasted one night, his accidental setting of a fire that consumed 300 acres of Walden woodlands, Thoreau contracting the tuberculosis that would kill him as a result of a middle of the night excursion to count tree rings and the pacifist Thoreau writing a pamphlet in which he claimed that John Brown, a murderer, embezzler, cattle thief and congenital liar, was humane are only a few of the many episodes in his life that are worthy of a great satirical novel.

    I am usually adverse to breaking any law unless the consequences of obeying the law are dire. If one is content to live in society, one must observe the rules or anarchy results. When one must disobey the law one must also be willing to pay the price of disobedience. Of course this depends to a certain extent on the government. A freely elected government where basic human rights are protected, has I think a greater claim to observance of its laws than a tyranny that rules by force. However, even in a tyranny most laws: against stealing, murder, traffic laws, etc are a force for order and should be respected. A long train of abuses can bring into play the right of rebellion set forth in the Declaration of Independence, but such a right should never be invoked for light and transitory reasons. Even bad law should normally be put up with until adherence to the law is a greater offense from the standpoint of morality than adhering to it. Saint Thomas More is a good guide in this area:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/03/29/give-the-devil-benefit-of-law/

  • Originally I was going to expound more on Thoreau’s concept of civil disobedience, but upon actually reading his essay I found it to be rather confusing and of little help in defining what appropriate civil disobedience would be. It’s basically a lengthy rant on the evils of government and why Thoreau felt it necessary to demonstrate his lack of allegiance to it. So I just ran with my own thoughts on the topic.

    I note also that the third type of civil disobedience (deliberately trying to get arrested) seems to be more often associated with left-leaning causes like animal rights, pacifism, G8 summit protests, etc. Despite what the MSM says, I don’t believe we have seen much of this kind of action from the Tea Partiers. Pro-lifers like Randall Terry do it some of the time but I believe the majority of regular pro-life protesters who pray at abortion clinics, etc. don’t set out to get arrested.

  • It seems to me that a major purpose of Civil Disobedience, when it iis not simply refusing personal participation in a perceived or real injustice (#1), is to coerce someone in a position of authority to do something they would not do otherwise. Often the target is quite sincere in his belief (perhaps mistaken) that his actions are morally acceptable or even required to fulfill the trust that came with the authority.

    Coercing someone to do something that they believe is wrong is a violation of human dignity. It is sometimes necessary – as in coercing a thief not to practice his trade with the threat and actuality of jail. The Catechism in the sections on the 4th and 5th commandments as detailed discussions which are worth while reading.

    Yes, there are times when Civil Disobedience is necessary to stop an injustice. It is certainly preferable to armed rebellion which is permissible under extreme circumstances. It would seem to me that the test to use civil disobedience is the Classic Just War Doctrine, perhaps with a lower standard of evidence because of the less serious nature of Civil Disobedience. .

  • I wonder if we may not all be called upon to perform our little piece of active, civil disobedience by withholding our participation in systems in which nobody usually accomplishes all of an evil alone. To recall the examples of hiding slaves or perhaps priests in Elizabethan England, our society leans on technology and what I take to be the nearly infinite parcelling out of duties. Many offices, many participants are sometimes required to accomplish some evil. If the authorities are to arrest a priest for preaching the Church’s teaching on marriage or sexuality, there will be a judge somewhere in the mix, the judge will have a clerk, the clerk will work with a sheriff, the sheriff may well delegate the arrest to an under-sheriff, there is a garage where the squad cars are maintainted, there is a clerk in the sheriff’s office, and so on. Nobody will likely be called upon to accomplish such an arrest alone, but many will have their part in just following orders, just doing their job. It is in such work that we may be called upon to render civil disobedience: in dismissing the arrest warrant request, in misplacing the arrest warrant, in failing to fill the squad car with gas, in allowing the arrested priest to be bailed out. These are the sorts of things I can foresee being the arena of civil disobedience in the future. Somebody told me once, “God can change paperwork.” We may have to help Him change it.

  • refusal to be drafted into military service to fight in an unjust war; a parent’s refusal to obey custody laws that would cause his or her child to be placed in the hands of an abusive or dangerous ex-spouse; or a reporter refusing to obey a court order to reveal confidential sources, if there is serious reason to do so (for example, the source’s employment or personal safety may be endangered).

    Those all seem like examples of #1.

  • I classify them as #2 because the laws being broken are not inherently unjust or harmful in ALL cases, they just happen to be so in a particular case. Even a well-written child custody law, for example, can be misinterpreted or abused by a bad judge. The laws that allows contempt of court citations against jailed reporters also exist for good reason but SOMETIMES cause more harm than good. A military draft, I believe, can be justified in certain cases but there may be instances in which it is not.

    I think it is important to distinguish between laws that are inherently evil (like those allowing slavery or commanding worship of false gods) and those that are morally good or neutral most of the time but sometimes have a bad effect. The first kind of law deserves to be defied or disobeyed ALL the time, the second kind does not.

  • Rather late to the party — I’ve been behind in my reading lately — but I think this is a very good analysis and gets at the core of why so many have become jaded with “protest” as a means of political agitation.

4 Responses to CivAnon: There is Help

7 Responses to Stealing From The Poor

  • Poverty comes in many forms. Some of us are in dire “poverty” yet are given even less by many who should know better, thus causing immense suffering.

    There is not sufficient reflection on this reality. As such, it is an occasion of grace for those afflicted………but a yolk upon those who chose to ignore how their actions, in word and deed, injure another, already almost unable to bear their cross.

    Nice post. Thanks.

  • Does the Church teach that you will be judged by your personal charitable/corporal works; that is what YOU DO with YOUR money and your time/talents?

  • Really good article.

  • “However, the investment of superfluous income in secureing favorable opportunities for employment […] is to be considered […] an act of real liberality, particularly appropriate to the needs of our time.”

    In other words, one way (though certainly not the only way) that rich people can help the poor is by starting up businesses that provide jobs for them! Score at least one for the economic conservatives 🙂

    “It will be necessary above all to abandon a mentality in which the poor – as individuals and as people – are considered a burden, as irksome intruders trying to consume what others have produced.”

    Very true; however, that raises the question of whether the growth of high-tax nanny-state liberalism hasn’t done a lot to contribute to the perception of the poor as “irksome intruders trying to consume what others have produced.”

  • Elaine, I agree about the rich starting up a business, but we have to admit that there are many other rich who start up business ventures with not a care for those being employed thereby. I am thinking, especially, of all the CEOs and vice presidents of corporations who think nothing of taking a 1Million or 3M salary, while at the same time causing the company to need to downsize to maximize profits. Truly, a real board of directors should say to such money-grubbing CEO wannabes: “You say that your requested 3M salary is the ‘going rate’ for truly qualified executives. We say that no executive who would ask for such a salary could possibly be morally qualified for the job. We’ll look elsewhere.”

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  • The mega corporations and the excessively compensated executives cannot exist without the incestuous relationship of Big Government and Big Business. Mutual funds are a trick to get people to fund corporations without having any voting rights. The wealth of all is controlled by a very few. This is a problem that must be dealt with or everyone will become a slave, begging the government/corporations for a handout and charity (caritas, love) is not something that corporations or governments can engage in.

    As for our excess wealth, this is a relative area for us to discern. What may constitute excessive wealth in sub-Saharan Africa is not the case in the USA. We have tax obligations that they do not, we have transportation costs that they do not, we have many costs that they do not have and what we have in excess has to be looked at from that perspective. Additionally, money is not wealth. Having a few dollars in money market, CD, etc. is not wealth, it is merely a temporary store of currency that is losing value faster than it can be earned or profited from. a 10,000 sq. ft. home with only two children, that could be excessive – but, a 10,000 sq.ft. home with a dozen children, maybe not.

    This article is excellent because it summarizes Church teaching and, at least to me, it seems to stress the necessity of a free market, restrained government, strong Church and men who desire to lead a life of virtue. Sadly, our culture of duo-opolies intentionally clouds our thinking about such matters. Big Government vs. Big Business, Democrats vs. Republicans, Capitalism vs. Socialism, Thesis vs. Antithesis – all are two paths to the same perdition. We need to break free of this dualistic thinking, making us think we have choices. There is really only one choice: God or man. Hard as it is sometimes, especially with vestiges of ideology trapping my thinking, your’s too I suspect, we need to be more Catholic – we are so far short of the mark following years and years of minimalism.

    It is time for Maximum Catholicity and this article appears to summarize exactly that sentiment. Thanks for the reminder. Can you do it again tomorrow? 🙂

Anne Rice Breaks Up With Christianity

Thursday, July 29, AD 2010

I quit being a Christian. I’m out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of …Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.

And with that announcement, Anne Rice publicly renounced her identity as a Christian on Facebook.

I’m compelled to wonder, however — who is the more preferable and honest of the two?

  • The “Anne Rice”‘s of the world — who recognize their open disagreement with traditional [Catholic / Orthodox] Christianity, and agree that they can no longer identify themselves as such because the moral positions they hold are fundamentally incompatible?
  • The “Nancy Pelosi”‘s of the world, who publicly repudiate various traditional moral positions of [Catholic / Orthodox] Christianity, yet simultaneously proclaim themselves “practicing Catholics” (up and including the reception of the Eucharist), and yet relegate their disagreements as “differences of opinion”?
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39 Responses to Anne Rice Breaks Up With Christianity

  • Anne Rice hands down.

    She may not know a lot about Catholicism, she is at least honest in her beliefs.

    Madame Speaker on the other hand knows her faith very well and purposely and consciously goes against the teachings of God.

  • Wow. I know the sexual abuse scandal really bothered her but didn’t expect this.

    I think I would probably still prefer an Andrew Sullivan Catholic than the new Anne Rice though. Her lost of faith in the leadership combined with all the time she spends online being both urged by Maureen Dowd Catholics and attacked by Catholic Answers Catholics may have pushed her over the edge.

  • I don’t think that anyone ever accused Nancy Pelosi of being able to write, either.

  • “may have pushed her over the edge.”

    I think this loon has been over the edge for a long, long time.

    http://www.boundlessline.org/2007/08/anne-rices-mean.html

  • Liberal political commitments are more popular and easier to understand than orthodoxy.

    Interesting, though, it sounds like she still thinks of herself as a disciple of Christ? “In the name of…”

  • “…Obama, peace be upon him.”

  • “I’m compelled to wonder, however — who is the more preferable and honest of the two?”

    Ann Rice.

  • I like how you phrased the post so as to minimize negative comments about Ms. Rice, Chris. It highlights that she is – and has been – honest and upfront about her differences with traditional Christianity. The tone of her post suggests frustration and anger; it’s not clear exactly what the source for these are (and what is ‘anti-life’ about Christianity?), but whatever her difficulties are, it would be best to treat her with kindness and charity.

  • It is a complex question. As far as ecumenical efforts go, Pope Benedict has clearly stated that disagreements should be worked out within the context of communion. Ms. Rice’s list of grievances do not strike me as good reasons for leaving communion.

    As far as Nancy Pelosi goes, a lay person disagreeing with the bishops should not a public scandal make. She is a symptom of the larger catholic culture and not its cause. Does anyone doubt that if she resigned her House seat tomorrow that someone just as bad if not worse would take her place?

  • I find the post to be a little rambling. Ok, she likes gays, feminism, and birth control. Not surprising even if it is disappointing. But then she gets kinda weird.

    “Anti-Democrat?” I mean, some would argue but I think it’s weird she thinks Catholics must be Republicans (or can’t be Dems). I mean, many pro-lifers think that (with some good reason) but why she thinks that is odd.

    “Anti-secular humanism” I don’t know what that means; I’m not sure any religion accomodates pure secular humanism. What is she talking about?

    And finally, “anti-science?” How on earth is a Catholic anti-science? That one really confuses me.

    It makes me wonder whether she ever took the time to examine the beliefs she once claimed and are now rejecting. While I think she’s right to not claim Catholicism if she disagrees with it, I wonder what would have happened if she had actually challenged herself with the teachings of the Church.

  • It’s functionally impossible to be a Democrat if you’re pro-life. Besides, being a lib these days means believing in the pseudo-religion of government anyway. It necessarily crowds out other competing beliefs. Libs have made government into their new God.

  • I am praying this is a person that had a very bad day and like a lot of us hit the submit button too soon.

    I have a hard time thinking she will really leave her Christian faith.

  • I would expect that to the extent the tone of her tweet is angry, it’s because the process into and then out of organized Christianity has been difficult for her, and when we are dealing with difficult situations we often resort to anger as a way of reaching a decision — not unlike ending a relationship, where it becomes necessary to convince oneself that the other is bad.

    There are two ways of looking at such things, but I tend to lean towards thinking it’s more honest to renounce a religion if one seriously thinks it false on major issues, rather than claiming to know it better than it does itself.

  • We all know it already, but for the sake of the uninitiated who will probably find their way here to troll:

    * “I refuse to be anti-gay.”

    She refuses to defend the sanctity and true purpose of marriage and sexuality. She aligns herself with perversion.

    * “I refuse to be anti-feminist.”

    She refuses to accept that the political arguments for women’s equality, which have only ever been accepted and integrate en masse in Western Christian societies, do not automatically transpose themselves into a radicalized theology.

    * “I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control.”

    Again, perversion over the true purpose of sexuality.

    * “I refuse to be anti-Democrat.”

    I can’t blame her on that one. The current make-up of the Democrat party means that only those of the most agile and subtle intelligence can reconcile their faith with allegiance to it.

    *”I refuse to be anti-secular humanism.”

    Then she had no business ever being a Catholic. It was because I refused to be a secular humanist that I could become a Catholic again.

    * “I refuse to be anti-science.”

    She refuses to read a history book or the Church’s modern interaction with the sciences and understand the complete bankruptcy of this claim.

    * “I refuse to be anti-life.”

    Secular humanism IS anti-life.

    * “In the name of …Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.”

    No comment.

  • Yes, I changed what I said and removed the comments. I went too far, as I sometimes do, and I won’t try to rationalize it.

  • Wow, this is a real bummer because the book she wrote about her reversion to the faith, “Called Out of Darkness,” was a pretty good book and I found it kind of inspiring.

    She sounded genuine in it, and admitted she had difficulties with certain Church teachings but figured that faith was more a matter of trusting that the popes, saints, Doctors of the Church, etc. knew what they were doing, than a matter of having 100 percent perfect personal understanding and agreement with EVERY point of Church doctrine and morals.

    Now I thought that was a good way to look at it… to realize that faith does NOT mean you have to know exactly where every nut and bolt on the Barque of Peter is located, and understand how every single part operates, it means you get on the boat, and stay on it, once you have determined that it is seaworthy, will get you where you need to go (heaven) and the captain knows what he’s doing. (That’s my metaphor, not hers, just to be clear)

    Her comment about being “anti-gay” probably has more to do with the fact that her son (her only surviving child) is gay than with any conscious “alignment with perversion”.

    Also, I have a book of interviews with her that was published in the mid-1990s, not too long before she returned to the Church. In it she makes some interesting comments about how disillusioned she had become with leftist/feminist “orthodoxy” and how in many ways it was far more repressive and anti-human than even the old fashioned, pre-Vatican II Catholicism she had grown up with. So I don’t know that she’s all that big a fan of secular humanism either.

    I agree with John Henry that she needs charity and understanding more than condemnation at this point, and that we should give her credit for being honest about her convictions.

  • “There are two ways of looking at such things, but I tend to lean towards thinking it’s more honest to renounce a religion if one seriously thinks it false on major issues, rather than claiming to know it better than it does itself.”

    What is interesting is she is not just Catholicism but all Christianity

    She is not announcing she is joning the TEC or some other progressive Christian body where her views would be welcomed.

    So does she see well if Catholcism is wrong then all Christianity is wrong.

    Again I will keep her in my prayers. Something has set her off and people need to reach out to her.

    I think her reconversion was very genuine.

    Oh a side note I would say from what I can tell from the general Christian population and indeed the Catholic population they were respectful of her conversion. In fact I an think of several conservative traditional Catholic blogs right off the bat that were very gracious and Christian to her.

    Again she needs our prayers and I hope Catholics and Christians near her reach out to her

  • She had to choose between the ways of Christ and the ways of the world, and the world won. I pray that this is only one battle, and that she will come to understand that the teachings of the Church are born of love, not hate.

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  • “I’m compelled to wonder, however — who is the more preferable and honest of the two?”

    Whichever will throw herself on the mercy of God on her deathbed.

    Honesty is merely a natural virtue, yes? Should we really prefer the honest apostate to the liar who has faith?

    Pelosi could be piously following the teachings of some dissenting priest or religious sister she encountered in her formative years and mistook for Catholic orthodoxy.

    For her part, Rice has a gay son, so family loyalty is possibly trumping loyalty to her faith.

    Neither should be religious ed teachers, and like the rest of us both deserve correction through competent personal contact when necessary. But why prefer the “noble pagan” to the crooked Christian?

  • It’s not like she’s doing anything groundbreaking here. Lots of people decide that the ‘real Jesus’ just happens to agree with their own stances on .. pretty much everything. Amazing coincidence.

  • “Why prefer the ‘noble pagan’ to the crooked Christian?”

    Remember the parable Christ told of the two sons whose father asked them to work in his vineyard… one said “Yes, I’ll go,” but never did, while the other said “No” but later changed his mind and went. “Which one did what the father wanted?” Christ asked.

  • Should we really prefer the honest apostate to the liar who has faith?

    That does presuppose the liar has faith. The other possibility is the liar is simply a liar and has no faith. But since she is a liar, you never can tell (though it would seem to be rather odd that a simpleton like me can understand the big points of Catholic moral teaching, but the third in line for the Presidency of the US cannot – and my teachers were no better than hers).

    That parable is a bit confusing here. It seem neither is doing the work in the vineyard at this point. Here, one says yes (Pelosi?) but does nothing (in fact, goes out of her way to ruin the vineyard), and the other (Rice) says “no” and….does nothing?

    Anyway, Rice probably just needs time alone to think things out. Pelosi needs a road to Damascus whooping, a divine 2×4 upside the head.

  • The blame falls squarely on the catechists, us included. We’ve failed to persuade her that (a) our intentions are good, and (b) our doctrines are right.

    For example, the Church isn’t anti-gay. It puts forward a holy but tough alternative to the gay lifestyle. We need to demonstrate that we’re not “anti”. Aristotle said that the first step toward persuading someone is to convince him of your good character. There’s a lot of hope for Rice because she seems to strongly believe in Christ’s good character.

  • I agree wholeheartedly with Anne’s decision to disassciate with organized Christianity. So much of the modern message has become anathema to the gospel, and the Church has historically demonstrated a reluctance to discipline itself in ways that reflect the true teachings of Jesus. Did Jesus bash gays as he traveled about in the company of men. Did he rant against making love except for the express purpose of procreation? Did Jesus tell us that women are somehow different and lesser in the eyes of God.

    Could Anne have rejected Catholicism but then wrapped herself in one of the “feel good” versions that preache the virtues of accumulated wealth and evangelical superiority?

    Must you belong to a Christian church, or start yet another dissatified sect, in order to identify and align yourself with the message of Jesus?

    Jesus did not charge us to go out and build an edifice, he didn’t lay out the design for the Vatican, and he never extolled us to jihad (Crusades). He never defended religious persecution (The Inquisition). He didn’t charge us to believe the Earth was the center and only relevant corner of creation (anti-science). And he never told us to place blind faith in religious leaders (Pharisees.papists and Swaggertites).

    Jesus told us to love one another. He told us to give to the poor and the needy. He told us to trust in His message and all would be revealed by the Spirit of God.

    I am a baptised Catholic that utterly rejects Catholicism and both organized and disorganized Christianity. I prefer to get my doctrine unfiltered by men with a selfish or heretical agenda. I prefer the simple uncomplicated truths that Jesus taught.

  • I am a baptised Catholic that utterly rejects Catholicism and both organized and disorganized Christianity. I prefer to get my doctrine unfiltered by men with a selfish or heretical agenda. I prefer the simple uncomplicated truths that Jesus taught.

    In the end the rejection of historical Christianity is a rejection of Christ. It is rather shallow and immature to think that your personal recreation of Christianity is ‘unfiltered by…a selfish or heretical agenda.’ At best you have replaced the selfish or heretical agendas of others with one of your own creation. Chesterton wrote that joining the Church freed him from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age; your comment is childish both in this sense and in the sense that only naivete could account for your uncritical self-confidence.

  • Pinky,
    I think you are too easy on her. I happen to know for a fact that folks have tried to catechise her and reason with her on Church issues, but she is exceedingly stubborn. In particular, when Sister McBride was excommunicated Rice went ballistic. When Church teaching was meticulously explicated re the intentional taking of an innocent human life she simply ignored all reasoning that disturbed her comfortable consequentialist views. And I do mean ignore. No engagement; no effort; just blind outrage. Did I say blind?

  • And tell us, Marc, how it is that you know of the “simple uncomplicated truths that Jesus taught”? Did He mystically appear to you in a dream and teach you these truths? Did a book containing these truths miraculously fall out of the sky and into your possession one day?

    The Bible didn’t just write itself. To the extent we know anything about Christ and the “simple uncomplicated truths” that He taught (and, in fact, some of Christ’s teachings are ANYTHING BUT “simple” or “uncomplicated” – see, e.g., divorce, remarriage, and adultery), it is because of the work of the Church. Some people may like to pick and choose which teachings of the Church they want to follow, but they should at least admit that that is what they are doing, and not pretend that they have some special insight into the “simple uncomplicated truths” of Christ apart from what the Church has taught for 2000 years.

  • I will pray that Anne Rice sees the error of her ways, along with those who agree with her. Earlier this year I wrote an article on this site entitled; “The Coming Open Rebellion Against God.” I believe this is another step in that direction. Anne’s ego, along with those who defend her, seems to suggest that they know better than the Church. How ridiculous, Jesus Himself said to the Apostles; He who Hears You Hears Me, He who Rejects You Rejects Me (Luke 10:16.)

    We fail to remember that even before Calvary many of Jesus’ followers left Him. It started with John 6 when most of His followers rejected Jesus after His disocourse (the longest in the Bible) on the Eucharist. Judas’ biggest sin was pride, thinking he knew better than everyone. We might recall that Judas got upset with Jesus when the pentient woman poured the expensive perfume over Him. Judas thinking because he hung around in the most well to do circles, he was naturally smarter than everyone. Sadly the sin of pride remains very alluring to many, especially today. Jesus gave us the Magesterium and popes (the Teaching Authority of the Church) which is unsettling those whose sin of pride tells them, they are so smart. I hope and pray that this sin is eradicated so the likes of Anne Rice and her defenders can truly see the wisdom of God and His ways.

  • I am a baptised Catholic that utterly rejects Catholicism and both organized and disorganized Christianity. I prefer to get my doctrine unfiltered by men with a selfish or heretical agenda. I prefer the simple uncomplicated truths that Jesus taught.

    Except that your declaration is manifestly untrue. As with every person I’ve seen issue encyclicals like yours, you haven’t abandoned organized religion, you’ve simply chosen to shrink it to a membership of one–yourself. You are simply the Pope of the Church of Marc Stephens, and you thunder with even more magisterial self-assurance than the Syllabus of Errors. Yours isn’t a declaration of liberation from organized religion–it’s a proclamation of your own infallibility.

  • Both are headed to the same place.

    Ms. Rice is, at least, open and candid; and not dangerous to our country and our way of life.

  • Her most recent post: ” My faith in Christ is central to my life. My conversion from a pessimistic atheist lost in a world I didn’t understand, to an optimistic believer in a universe created and sustained by a loving God is crucial to me. But following Christ does not mean following His followers. Christ is infinitely more important than C…hristianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been, or might become.”

    and personally I think she has a point. Christ is more important than Christianity in terms of an organization. We should all strive to be followers of Christ more than adherents to a system.

  • Also, we’re not to judge either Anne Rice or Nancy Pelosi or anyone else. Faith or lack therof is between that person and God.

  • Mike, yeah, I probably am going too easy on her. It was a visceral reaction. Any time the question “who’s the worst Catholic” is asked, the answer is supposed to be “me”.

  • No, we have every right to condemn public attacks on the Church.

    We’re not to judge a person’s SOUL. Their ARGUMENTS should be laid to waste with all of the terrible judgment we can muster.

  • IMAO, most writers don’t understand religion enough to talk about it sensibly. They seem to reduce everything to words. So to many of them, leaving a religion is more like throwing away old clothes or deciding you’re sick and tired of the color red. Of course, those decisions can be over dramatized with the right words as well.

  • Ms. Rice’s diatribe angers me. She reaches an immense audience from her pulpit and the opinions of many people are formed by what she preaches. Many souls were edified and brought back to the Church through her beautifully-written books about Jesus. How is she going to make reparations to the sheep that she formerly nourished with her writings about Jesus? Has the Rosary she brandished in many photographs been relegated to a bureau drawer? Had she been faithful in reciting the Rosary, it would have been a shield against the corruption she spoke about Christianity, thereby diminishing not only the Church, but Our Lord Jesus. This isn’t just about Ms. Rice’s soul. I think her diatribe was evil and self-centered and has the potential to kill the very souls that she was attempting to save. It’s just despicable.

  • Agreed Moe. She deserves rebuke, not coddling.

  • “Behold, there went out a sower to sow: And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the birds of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, some a hundred. He said unto them, He that has ears to hear, let him hear.

    “And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable…. And he said unto them, The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.”

    It seemed apropos.

Victory! Dr. Ken Howell Reinstated at the University of Illinois!

Thursday, July 29, AD 2010

Dr. Kenneth Howell, the adjunct professor at the University of Illinois who was fired for teaching Catholic doctrine regarding homosexuality in a class on Catholicism has been reinstated by the University.  Here is the press release from the Alliance Defense Fund that represented Dr. Howell:

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana confirmed to Alliance Defense Fund attorneys Thursday that it will once again allow popular professor Dr. Kenneth Howell to teach on Catholicism after recently firing him for explaining the Roman Catholic Church’s position on human sexual behavior to members of his class.

ADF attorneys representing Howell sent a letter to university officials on July 12 explaining that the university’s actions violated his rights protected by the First Amendment and asked that he be reinstated.

“A university cannot censor professors’ speech–including classroom speech related to the topic of the class–merely because certain ideas ‘offend’ an anonymous student. We greatly appreciate the university’s move to put Professor Howell back in the classroom, but we will be watching carefully to make sure that his academic freedom is protected throughout the university’s ongoing process,” said ADF Senior Counsel David French.

A letter from the University of Illinois Office of University Counsel admits no wrongdoing on the part of the university but states, “The School of Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics will be contacting Dr. Howell to offer him the opportunity to teach Religion 127, Introduction to Catholicism, on a visiting instructional appointment at the University of Illinois, for the fall 2010 semester. Dr. Howell will be appointed and paid by the University for this adjunct teaching assignment.”

The letter then adds that a university committee will continue its investigation of Howell’s situation.

Howell, who had been teaching at the university since 2001, was relieved of his teaching duties based in part on an anonymous complaint sent via e-mail to university officials. The e-mail was sent by the friend of an anonymous student who claimed to be “offended” by a May 4 e-mail Howell sent to students elaborating on a class discussion concerning Catholic beliefs about sexual behavior.

The May 4 e-mail from Howell addressed a May 3 lecture in which he explained how the Roman Catholic Church distinguishes between same-sex attraction and homosexual conduct. He accurately stated the church’s teaching that homosexual conduct is morally wrong, framing the issue in the context of natural moral law.

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19 Responses to Victory! Dr. Ken Howell Reinstated at the University of Illinois!

  • A letter from the University of Illinois Office of University Counsel admits no wrongdoing on the part of the university

    I don’t believe the University learned its lesson about free speech.

  • They learned a more important lesson Tito. Catholics are dangerous, they fight back.

  • This is great news, and am I reading this right, that the U of I agreed to pick up paying his salary (instead of having the Diocese of Peoria pay it)?

    Also, note that his prospective teaching position is in the School of Linguistics and Culture instead of the religion/philosophy department. Perhaps the earlier flap was more due to a personality clash with the religion department chair than anything else.

  • “Also, note that his prospective teaching position is in the School of Linguistics and Culture instead of the religion/philosophy department.”

    So, does this mean that the University of Illinois sees Catholicism as a “cultural” phenomenon rather than as a religion?

  • I am still trying to come to terms with why a secular university would have a religion department anyway. I am certainly not against religion being taught, and it is a fascinating area, but if religiously affiliated universities have a hard time teaching it correctly (*cough* Notre Dame/Georgetown/San Diego *cough*), how well will a secular university do it? And who decides what is “authentic Catholic teaching” in a secular university?

    Is there a way for the Church to protect its brand integrity, so to speak?

  • So, does this mean that the University of Illinois sees Catholicism as a “cultural” phenomenon rather than as a religion?

    LOL, I can see the new course syllabus now:

    1. Kitsch and Paraphernalia
    2. Narratives of Catholic School Discipline
    3. Pre- or Post-Vatican II: Felt Banners?
    4. Ethnic Interpretations: Drunken Brawls on Friday, Confession on Saturday, Mass on Sunday
    5. The BVM: More Than a Car Decal?

  • This article might give you some pause:

    “The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign announced Thursday that it is ending an unusual relationship under which an independent Roman Catholic center has for decades nominated instructors to teach Catholic thought at the university and paid their salaries . . . A lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund, a group that defends religious students and faculty members, and that is representing Howell, said that the organization was much more concerned about his continued teaching than about the link between the university and the Newman Center.”

  • Not at all. The relationship between the University and the Newman Center in regard to the teaching of classes about Catholicism is of small importance to me. The issue for me was always about the firing of a professor for reasons that clearly rested in anti-Catholic bigotry. The University has backed down on that point, and we will see what happens to Dr. Howell at the end of next semester and fight that battle at that time.

  • I agree with Don.

  • What do you think about The Anchoress’ comments:

    This rehire–with the school, not the church employing him–does one of two things:

    1) Makes it easier to eliminate the class in future

    2) Gives the school control over what Howell can or cannot teach, which would be fatal to the class, and disturbing to our constitutional future, as it suggests the sort of business we’re seeing in the UK, where simply declaring Christian doctrine (whether doing it badly or well), or even simply offering prayers will be enough to get one fired or arrested.

  • And these comments, via Insight Scoop, from Dr. David Delaney: “[I]t seems obvious to me that even if Ken does teach in the fall, there is no way that he can stay there for very long on a paltry $20k a year. Even if he does choose to accept the resolution, without tenure and without an agreement with the Newman Center, Ken will have no recourse if they simply discontinue his classes without providing him a reason. In any case, it is nearly certain that someone other than Ken will be teaching classes on Catholicism at the U of I in the near future, or as the UI associate chancellor for public affairs called it, ‘the theory of Catholicism.'”

  • The relationship between the Diocese and the University regarding the teaching of for credit classes on Catholicism paid for by the Diocese was never the issue. The issue was the firing of Dr. Howell for anti-Catholic reasons. Whether it is a good thing for a Diocese to fund courses on Catholicism at a public university is debatable. Frankly, I would think the money could be better spent with the courses being taken at the Newman Center under the auspices of a Catholic college with a reciprocal agreement with the U of I regarding recognition of earned credits. Instruction at a public university regarding Catholicism obviously risks the dilution of the instruction, as was attempted here by the firing of Dr. Howell. Catholic students, and non-Catholic students seeking instruction on Catholicism, might well do better receiving instruction free of any influence of the University of Illinois. Reasonable people can differ on that subject. What is not debatable is that Catholics need to raise a furor whenever a Catholic loses his or her job simply because he or she is a faithful Catholic. To me that is what this whole battle was about, and the reversal of the firing is the victory.

  • Yeah, I guess you’re right about that. I don’t meant to nag and I certainly agree about the value of “raising a furor.” I’m just pessimistic about universities in general and their effect on the culture: speech codes, the Martinez decision, application of ill-defined ethics standards, etc. I have trouble thinking this isn’t a net loss down the road.

  • In regard to colleges and universities in general Tony you have every right to be pessimistic. However, the days of the old brick and mortar unversities I think are numbered. With the effortless diffusion of knowledge over the internet, I think how higher education is done 20, perhaps ever 15, years from now will bear little resemblance to how we do it now. Higher education could be done for a fraction of what it costs now and in less time. Eventually simple economics will force the change. Like newspapers, current colleges and universities are on their way to the tar pits. Overall I think this will be a healthy development both for education and for intellectual freedom.

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  • Dr. Ken,

    Your course is called Religion 127. May I suggest it be changed to Religion (Psalm) 127:1 with the subtitle as follows: “Except the LORD shall build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the LORD shall keep the city, the watchman waketh in vain.” (Webster 1830) Substitute “institution” for both house and city in the above for the ideal university in a nation that was founded “…under God…”

    Continue to fight the good fight for all of America.

    Dave Wade

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Sneak Peak At There Be Dragons Movie Trailer

Thursday, July 29, AD 2010

UPDATE at the BOTTOM

The famous director of the movies The Mission and The Killing Fields, Roland Joffe, has just released a trailer teaser to his new film he is producing that encapsulates the early life of Saint Josemaria Escriva.

The film is about a news reporter investigating the life of his father where he discovers that his father was a lifelong friend of Saint Josemaria Escriva.

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9 Responses to Sneak Peak At There Be Dragons Movie Trailer

Intolerance in the Name of Tolerance

Thursday, July 29, AD 2010

Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.  In modern society those who prate the most about tolerance often tend to be the most intolerant.   Case in point, what is happening to Jennifer Keeton, a grad student at Augusta State College, studying to be a school counselor.  She is a Christian and believes that homosexual conduct is wrong.  Her faculty has decreed that she must undergo “sensitivity” (read re-education a la the Red Chinese) training to alter her views on homosexuality.  It was suggested that she go to a local gay pride march among other activities.

The Alliance Defense Fund, the same group representing Dr. Ken Howell, who ran afoul of the thought police at the U of I, is representing Keeton.  Go here to read about the lawsuit they have filed on her behalf.

Shockingly, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by a grad student, Julea Ward, at Eastern Michigan University who was faced with precisely the same situation facing Keenan.  Go here to read the details at the blogprof.  Go here to read the Alliance Defense Fund’s, which represented Ms. Ward, overview of the case and their intent to appeal the decision.

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17 Responses to Intolerance in the Name of Tolerance

  • This society is in for a rough ride and it may be a good thing. We will have to see.

  • Professional schools are becoming notorious for this kind of thing. Future educators, doctors, lawyers, and counselors beware!

  • Things haven’t really changed that much from what I recall. Liberal college profs (a bit redundant) always try to push their view and punish those who disagree. Professors did not really want you to think, they just wanted you to spit back what they vomit out to you. Most were there just for a piece of paper to get a job anyway, so it went in one ear, onto the test paper, and out for good. So much for their “indoctrination” attempts.

  • First, ‘it’ was illegal.

    Then, “not that there’s anything wrong with ‘it’.”

    Then, ‘it’ became sacrosanct.

    Next, ‘it’ will be mandatory.

  • Wow, nice strawman you set on fire. The standard is not that counselors cannot hold a negative opinion of their clients’ behaviors.

    The person in question holds the belief that homosexuality is a personality disorder along the lines of sociopathy. This is counter to current views in the psychiatric community. Persons wishing to graduate from a counseling program must evidence that they understand and work within the psychiatric community. She is more than welcome to be christian or prolife or conservative, but defining something as a personality disorder that is not a personality disorder disqualifies her from receiving accreditation from this program.

    As for “it” will be mandatory, give me a break! I promise you that gay stormtroopers in lavender uniforms will not be breaking into your bedroom to force you to have gay sex and abortions until 2013 at the earliest. Calm down.

  • The pschological communicty did view homosexuality as a disorder until the (?) 80’s. Changed their view not so much on solid evidence as changing social norms. Much the same as medical societies opposed abortion until it became the social norm.

    Up till now, medical societies respected the conscience of individuals in regards to abortion and contraception. This is changing now, particularly with the support of the Obama administration. May very well be that the psychological community also will seek to impose their perspectives on practitioners.

    Though with the Nov. elections, the political ability to affect this will probably change. So it won’t be 2013. Likely later when the Dems have a solid majority again.

  • The person in question holds the belief that homosexuality is a personality disorder along the lines of sociopathy. This is counter to current views in the psychiatric community. Persons wishing to graduate from a counseling program must evidence that they understand and work within the psychiatric community.

    Do you think that prior to 1970 people who didn’t believe that homosexuality was a psychological disorder shouldn’t have been able to be psychiatrists?

  • Personal Failure: How can you make such a promise?

    Anyhow, it was a joke. They can take our money. They can take our lives. They can’t take our religion.

    Anyhow, anyhow, gay stormtroopers will have to fight their way past the pooch – slobbering all over their trendy clothes.

  • “…slobbering all over their trendy clothes.”

    Well that should stop them. 🙂

  • This is counter to current views in the psychiatric community.

    In order to diagnose someone as ill, you have to have a conception of what it means to be well, which requires an assessment of proper dispositions and behaviors. The question arises as to why the norms favored by the current cohort of the mental health trade are properly enforceable on the rest of the society through state licensing. Why cannot state legislatures properly declare their own norms? (Or, perhaps, shut down the licensing boards and incorporate into law the idea that the ministrations of these characters will be compensated by re-imbursements from insurers when clergymen are so compensated).

  • The standard is not that counselors cannot hold a negative opinion of their clients’ behaviors.

    That is exactly the standard they’re employing. Can you imagine a school coming up with a re-education plan for someone who thought that gender identity disorder is no such thing? Yet it’s on the DSM-IV list.

  • The APA reclassification was due to political pressure, not any change in the medical facts. Much like the ACOG position on the necessity for late term abortions.

  • College counseling programs rely for foundational medical and scientific credibility on the 1973 decision by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to remove homosexuality as a mental disorder from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).

    Removal followed a two year campaign Newsweek described as ongoing disruptive, chaotic attacks on psychiatrists and physiologists. Yet throughout these disruptive attacks, no academic papers were presented at conferences refuting any research previously done. Eventually attacks forced sufficient abstentions and apprehensive responses for a third of APA’s 17,000 plus membership to vote removal.

    After this decision a new task force was established to ensure perpetual sanctity for the APA action. No research papers would again arise to confirm initial therapy success rates of 30% to 60 %, substantiating that 7 of 10 homosexuals could eventually walk away from the lifestyle forever. This task force would set peer review standards mandating pre-ordained theses, acceptable flexibility in design definitions, and acceptable human data points. Psychology and Psychiatry chose to abandon scientific rigor in exchange for popular societal and political acclaim.

    Psychology and Psychiatry have always had a tenuous hold on claims they were sciences with the standing of Chemistry and Physics. On the scale of intellectual rigor, their research more often resembles oral history, and seldom, if ever, approaches the determinism found in a Chemistry laboratory.

    Developments in statistics should have enabled them to a least determine there is a marginal or significant propensity for a particular disorder, for its behaviors, and for selecting methods of treatment. Responsible research would also acknowledge those pesky humans, who in spite of their genetics and upbringing, decide to live positive lives without APA professional help.

    Instead, Psychology and Psychiatry have chosen to abandon all pretense of scientific rigor in exchange for popular societal and political acclaim. The barriers erected to meaningful research about homosexuality remind me of Genesis 3:23-24. In these verses the Lord God banished humanity from the Garden of Eden and placed an angel in the Garden to keep humanity away forever. By their actions, Psychology and Psychiatry appear to consider the accoutrements of a religion to be more attractive than those of a science.

    When Jewish, Christian, and Muslim believers seek counseling degrees they find their Constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion threatened by college departments. For many followers of desert religions, who seek degrees homosexual behavior is unacceptable. Instead it resides among the myriad sins entrapping humanity that lives in a fallen world with a fallen nature. These college professors cannot accept any position, which might contradict their embrace of what is essentially a secular humanist religious position.

    For believers foundational scholarship concludes homosexual relationships separate believers from God. The Old Testament, holy to “People of the Book”, speaks of the character, identity, and purpose of God in a manner, which continuously addresses homosexuality. God is spoken of as masculine, and all humans become feminine in relation to Him. In addition to creating all things, God created the single institution of heterosexual marriage as the earthy manifestation of the relationship of absolute unity and love He seeks with each person. Classical Semitic theology emphasizes searching for and identifying with God in the spiritual dimension. Spiritual life for these, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim believers means any subsequent reasoning from scriptures must proceed from that basic understanding in order to be a valid derivation. Therefore after this ruling, when believers reject homosexuality in counseling rolls or in common life expressions, they become guilty by popular acclamation of at least cultural prejudice, if not criminal behavior.

  • This has been going on for years: what you can’t pass in law because of constitutional rights and protection create in policy and enforced that as law bypassing constitutional representation, rights, and protection. If it interes with inaliable rights and liberties the policy should not be permitted to stand and incur tort. Policies are judicially standing without civic representation. You see this in police enforcement, schools, jobs, etc…the courts are using this avenue to circumvent our executive branches of govt. to create policies and illicitly enforcing them as laws in our judicial branches…this stinks of treason and Masonic manipulations. So the court dismiss or refuse to hear the case a departmental policies are created in the private sector by individuals without representational election becomes law…ludricrous…

  • Last time a society became tolerant of those engaged in Sodomy, Hitler and his SA (that’s German for Sodomite Army) were elected.

    Tolerance is merely the nice way to get you to go along with evil. I for one am happily intolerant – what are you gonna do about it?

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Obama Zombies

Thursday, July 29, AD 2010

Hattip to Southern Appeal.  Hard to believe that the above video is actually pro-Obama rather than  a spoof.  It is produced by Campus Progress, a George Soros funded leftist group.  An odd thing about the video is the riff on Michael Jackson’s Thriller, a song that came out in 1982, long before most college students were born.  This would be rather like a leftist campus group in 1968 using “Big Band” music from 1940 to make a political ad.  Oh well, I guess it is easier to make a fairly useless video for Obama than dealing with the fact that young people searching for jobs that simply are not there are increasingly soured on the South Side Messiah.

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2 Responses to President Obama At The Top Of His Game

  • Oh, please! The president is working on THE most important issues: blame George W. Bush and saving the people from tax cuts for the rich.

    All that other stuff is trivia compared to Bush!!!! and tax cuts for the rich!!!!

    NO, wait!!!

    I forgot to include bank executives’ obscene bonuses!

    My sixth sense: I see racist people.

    /sarc/ OFF

  • The illustration looks like the white house cookies on a plate to me…too old and wise for tea parties! Obama acts are typical elitist…the tea party is elitist too except with a superiority complex…both profiteering at the expense of the American People with greed, godless, and culture of death policies. American People where are the Holy Men of this Nation???and Why do you Kings dared to Plot Against God and His People??? Unlike any other Republic, it was known before it was born, and it was kniitted from the Womb to give Glory to God, Always! It’s shores and rivers are consecrated to the Mother of God! Its Flag, its Union, its Existence defended by His Appointed Angels…those who tread upon Her Heritage and Inheritance shall answer to God!

Margaritaville Christianity; God's Way Or Our Way?

Wednesday, July 28, AD 2010

As Europe emerged from the Dark Ages, a growing populace happy for good news and grateful for these positive turn of events in their lives openly and without apology made the Catholic faith the center of their lives. They believed in the Word of God, even if they couldn’t read or write. They hung on to every word of those who could read. Even during the workday, if at all possible those working in the fields would briefly slip into town to see the priest raise the Host during the Consecration at Mass. Though their lives were full of toil and often misery (they weren’t allowed the liberty of attending daily Mass) the people of this era used any opportunity they could to make religion a part of their daily life.

Fast forward a thousand years and we can certainly see that daily life has shifted some 180 degrees. Many of the elite often snicker or poke fun at those who are serious about their faith. Even those who are considered serious in their faith pursuit, often hide the true extent of their faith, for fear of being called a holy roller.

The secular talking heads tell us that we should be more like the modern world we are trying to help and change. Religion should be more like the popular culture they tell us. We should try to glean words of wisdom from thinkers like Voltaire, Marx, Freud and Alinsky and entertainers like Madonna, Lady Gaga or even Jimmy Buffet. Yet, have these secular talking heads ever taken their own advice? Have these leftists ever thought, “why was Pope John Paul II, Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher so popular? What could we learned from them? “ (For more on this read my column, If You Like What The Political Left Has Done To Politics, Look At What The Religious Left Has Done To Religion (Left It In Tatters) along with my article, The Construct of Rebellion.

Some might say wasn’t Jesus somewhat of a cultural outcast, like modern day pop culture figures? Well Jesus certainly enjoyed some fun; otherwise he wouldn’t have been at the wedding feast performing his first miracle by turning water into wine no less. However, he was hardly the type of person that endorsed the “its Five o Clock somewhere lifestyle.” He forgave the woman caught in adultery, but told her to “sin no more.” Incidentally, she probably had more clothes on than some who show up at church on Sunday. However, that’s another story.

Our educated world makes excuses for the behavior of those pop stars like Lady Gaga who make edgy and sacrilegious videos and show up in public (at the New York Yankees club house) clad only in undergarments. Those illiterate peoples that lived in Europe one thousand years ago were smart enough to know that despite the corruption they knew existed in the Church, they were far better off listening to the Teachings of the Church than the whims of the world in which they lived. They and their forbearers had witnessed violent feudal warlords that had plunged Europe into centuries of horrific darkness; a darkness that we face today if we listen to the sirens of militant secularism who want us to return to the dying days of Rome.

We often forget it was in those dying days of Rome that many of the elites longed for the days of their elders, when Christianity was outlawed and orgies were commonplace at homes of the movers and shakers of Roman high society, and violent spectacles took place at the coliseum. Today their descendants are gaga over the likes of Lady Gaga, and treat abortion as if it were some sort of coming of age ritual.

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20 Responses to Margaritaville Christianity; God's Way Or Our Way?

  • It’s odd you pick Margaritaville for the title of this post. As you may recall, the lyrics are a not so subtle progression of the singer realizing/admitting that his woes are due to his own fault. A confession, at least, if not a full repentance. That is closer to Christianity than many of the other things you (rightly) point out.

  • If anything, Margaritaville strikes me more as a purgatory than heaven.

  • Matt, the reason I selected Margaritaville as the title was due to the e-mail I received from the woman I mentioned in the article. There really is no disrespect intended to Jimmy Buffett, only to those who look at the mythical Margaritaville as some sort heavenly location. As I indicated in the article, I enjoy Jimmy Buffett’s music and not only have some of his cd’s, but even some albums and dare I say 8 tracks! I agree with you that the lyrics to Margaritaville, as well as others like Son of A Sailor and Come Monday are more introspective than some might otherwise assume.

  • 8 tracks!! Do you still have the equipment to play them?

  • Too bad the pastor likened heaven to Maragaritaville. Although there is plenty of material in the Bible and Church history itself to work with, if he had to use Margaritaville, seems he could have done a much better job focusing on its introspection. But then, I assume this pastor of a mega-church probably does not believe in Purgatory, which would have been a more appropriate comparison.

    I am personally not a big fan of trying to use contemporary pop culture to illuminate Church teaching (particularly since most of pop culture is garbage) but I suppose it can be done with the rare gems that are around and by someone who truly understands what he is doing.

  • My old stereo, complete with 8 Trak died years ago, but I do have a friend that has an operable 8 Trak player (sort of!)

    As for the entertainment based mega churches, I do believe it is the last stopping off point for Catholics & Evangelicals on their way to total isolation from recognizable faith practices. While we have lost too many Catholics to these churches, Evangelicals are in even worse shape as many of their flock have left serious churches for entertainment based mega churches, never to return to an open practice of their faith. One only need look at small towns in rural America where beautiful old mainline churches seemed weathered and beaten, because many left them after their theology and social views took a sharp left turn in the 1970s. The next stop for these folks was often the non denominational church, followed by the entertainment based mega church. When all the bells and whistles were exhausted, many went home.

    Joel Osteen and even Rick Warren have had to make special financial appeals. This reminds me of an e-mail I received shortly after my book, “The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism came out.” Someone e-mailed me as to how exciting Joel Osteen’s services were, and then went on to poke fun at the “boring Catholic Mass,” or so they thought. The e-mailer concluded, “we have fireworks after our service, do you?” I was tempted to say, “not even at gunpoint.” However, I thought that perhaps some liberal Catholic parish might have done this so I held off.

  • This is funny – a few years ago I walked into a liberal Catholic church and was greeted by a huge picture of what looked like to me as Jesus the beach bum. I dubbed it “Jesus of Margaritaville.”

  • Wow Jane that’s wild. My view about liberal Catholic churches is once you think you have seen it all, something like this pops up. Once on vacation, I remember hearing a priest give a homily in which I wasn’t sure if he was talking about Jesus or Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. However, judging from his tie dye vestements, maybe he thought they were one in the same.

    For the longest time the liberal establishment shunned the mega churches for they perceived them to be part of conservative America. However, following the news that some of the same mega churches that went heavily for GW Bush in 2004 went for Barack Obama in 2008. Now it seems these mega churches aren’t all bad to the discerning liberal in mainstream media or his liberal Catholic follower.

  • Great article. I get frustrated when I read in the news about “Catholics” who want to change our faith and interpret the gospels to their own liking. I think it comes down to obedience. These “teens” have never grown up. You can’t tell them what to think, how to dress, who their friends should be, etc. Plus they are just lying to themselves about the good they are doing when actually they are causing great harm.

  • This morning three young girls in tee-shirts and short shorts took up the offeratory. But normally it seems it is the older men who mostly wear shorts to church. And here in the mountains, you would not think you would find attire more suited to the beach but you do.

    Yes, I have had the sad experience of a world traveler pastor who with his men friends went to Hawaii beaches, Las Vegas, etc. He decorated the church with a bunch of hanging fabric and told us how Jesus ate and drank Hiw way through the Gospels and how we are to enjoy life ‘abuntandly’. He dog has been at the altar and jumped in the baptismal pond during a baptism once. Everyone seems to find it amusing as well as the sometimes off color jokes. One finds mroe reverence and a non=denom entertainment church sometimes.

    Considering the lack of catechesis for 40 years and the ‘liberal’ (unfaithful) bishops who stay in power until either age or the civil authorities remove them, it is something that a remnant remains. But then our church WILL last until the end of time, irregardless of what we sinners do.

  • Very interesting article and comments. I have spent the better part of the last 15 years writing letters to priests, bishops, “Catholic” newspapers, etc., and in general making myself persona non grata to those in my home parish and diocese in New York. Be that as it may, I certainly didn’t write to become popular or well-liked, merely to beg them to consider that they may be failing those of us on the other side of the altar, and how hungry we were for something more than they were offering. What should one do in these instances? I remember that we are called to humility, to refrain from judging others, but when we sit week after week, listening to wishy-washy homilies, never hearing enough about the fact that we are sinners, struggling, or authentic Catholic teaching, seeing EM’s step into the sanctuary in shorts, sloppy pedal pushers, tee shirts, short skirts, skimpy tops, etc., and young people in skirts that barely covers their buttocks, or short shorts, taking up the collection, etc., and you just sit there thinking “what is wrong with people”. Well, here’s what’s wrong….as was mentioned previously, a whole generation of Catholics who were not properly catechized, who are now raising children, who, through no fault of their own, don’t get it. How do you undo years of weak-kneed, spineless bishops, (not all but some) who were more concerned with the bottom line, their standing in the community at large, etc., then to be shepherds to their flocks? How to undo this? It has taken every ounce of self-control I could muster to keep silent, when I sit a row behind a female EM, with a husband couple of young children with her, as she chews gum all throughout Mass, only to get up onto the altar to give us Communion, and she in tight “walking shorts”, and sleeveless tops….I should not have to be distracted from my prayer by this, nor feel the urge to say something to her about her manner of dress or her gum chewing….that should come from the pastor, but needless to say the pastor at this particular church in the diocese of Raleigh, NC, is more concerned with being well-liked and thinking what a great parish he’s got and how wonderful he is, and singing his homily every Christmas at midnight Mass, projecting every baptism, at every Mass, onto the ceiling of the Church, and parading each baby held in the air, up and down the aisles; its all about bells and whistles, and so not about the state of our souls, or a deepening of our spirituality. At 60 years of age, I have almost given up hope, I attend Mass, but look for nothing from it besides the Eucharist, and fullfilment of my obligation, and I watch my grown children, who were raised to love the faith, with reverence and respect, wonder what in the world is going on here, what has happened to the Catholic church. I realize more than ever, we are pretty much out here on our own, and we should learn not to depend upon anyone other than Christ himself.

  • David, the article is a bit long….the problem range from having the cake and eating it too…to Catholics having an identity crisis…they want to identify with the world and its spirit, they don’want to abandon self and self-interest, they do not want to acknowledge their faults and
    sinfulness, they don’t want to imitate Christ nor do they want to imitate Mary the Mother of God. Once all the interior spirituality is suck out of the soul they are left with this empty hull, a graceless void, that will now be filled with the errors of modernisms…dead, dried branches separated from the vine…good for nothings other than to burn. What is the remedy: renewal of theit baptismal vow through consecration to Mary, returning to sacraments of confession for starter…limit your worship at institutions with the 4 legitimate marks of Christ’s True Church: One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic…and upholds the pillars of Faith via: Holy Scripture, the Magesterium, and Oral Tradition. These duplicious, heretics hide behind the rubrics of the Catholic Church do so much harm.

  • Interesting post. I left the Roman Catholic Church for the Byzantine Catholic Church because of the abuses in the liturgy. After suffering liturgical dances, heretical (and unsingable) hymns, invented eucharistic prayers, sermons on the need for “vacations”, extraordinary ministers of communion handing out the Eucharist like mere crackers (without reverence or knowledge of what they were doing) I couldn’t take it anymore. The Lord led me to the local Byzantine Rite Church — I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.
    I was raised in the Latin Rite, but the Novus Ordo is pure torture to me now. Give me a Tridentine Liturgy or the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom/St Basil any day over the watered down liturgy of the Novus Ordo. It’s no wonder that so many Catholics have left the Church in the last 40 years. We’ve been wandering in the desert for that long. I only hope the Latin Rite will reform itself and go back to the Tridentine mass. There was (and is) nothing like it for worshiping the immutable, omnipotent God.

  • These souls move from one pleasure to the next and pay heed to whomever tickles their ears. Suffering and sacrifice has no value, consider something to avoid at all costs, and an annoyance and an inconvenience. This darkness makes them foolish and blind for if they encounter a faithful soul’s correction their either mock, flee, ignore, or take offense…and always always always attack the church, its priests, its Pope and its Teachings, and Scandalize the souls of the faithful first, the innocent second, and the ignorant last…they are the poison arrows and darts hurl at the Church from within. To often the impact of these individuals are minimized to sighs and complaints while casualties of souls occurs because of them. They have trully loss their Catholicity…its a wonderment why do they stay…

  • I’ve worshipped with the Byzantine Mass very, very beautiful…what stuck me most is the humilty of responses and acknowledgement of one sinfulness and repeated prayers for mercy and forgiveness from God…the entire Mass is sung…I will stay with the Latin Rite but my second love is the Byzantine…I hear a Maronite rite will be coming to my city soon…I hope to experience that Mass soon…it is wonderful the beauty of the different rites in union with the Pope and these poor soul forgo this beauty to attend non-denominational gyms.

  • The mention of the Sisters of St. Mary in Ann Arbor brings to mind the recent salutatorian speech in Latin, which wowed the crowd, by a Harvard grad who will be joining the convent. Perhaps Lady Gaga draws a bigger response, but we all know where the path that is wide and easy leads to.

  • Mr. Hartline,

    I admittedly only skimmed your article due to its length. However, I have to heartily and emphatically disagree with you about something you said in the last paragraph ‘There’s nothing wrong with having a cold one or listening to Jimmy Buffet’. The second part of this sentence is where I take issue. I too rather enjoyed Jimmy Buffet. But not too long ago, I made a conscious effort to throw away every last tape and CD of his I owned into the trash. The reason? Buffet promotes rampant promiscuity, lewdness, and drunkeness in many of his songs. As I’m sure you’ll agree, this is completely antithetical to our Catholic faith and morality. It may be ‘fun’ music, of which I listened to it for many years, but it ultimately debases the dignity of women and the beauty of sexual intimacy as God intended between husband and wife. God bless you.

  • Great article and comments! Dave, I used to read The Catholic Report almost every day and I loved your writings there! You might remember that I’m the blind guy who works in Christian radio and we used to correspond occasionally. I know you have good reasons for discontinuing The Catholic Report, but I hope that God will lead you to bring it back someday.

    As usual, your comments are right on target and I agree completely. That’s why I love priests like Father John Corapi. I wish there were more priests like him at our parishes. I would love for Father Corapi to speak at the National Prayer Breakfast or a similar event. Unfortunately, we had to endure Obama’s liberal secular rants and Secretary of State Clinton really made my blood boil when she spoke! Can all of you imagine what it would be like if Father Corapi spoke at one of these events? The way he and others like him preach the truth would make a lot of people squirm but more importantly, it might lead to some conversions.

  • Victor, so good to read your comments. I remember you well. I pray for you and all of the fine folks who were apart of the Catholic Report. Life keeps me busy with faith, family, employment and writing articles. The fact that the so many people are upset at the Church shows that the Church is doing what is necessary. We stumbled for a while, but as with other times in Church History the stumbles are often followed with great bursts of faithful evangelization.

  • I agree with the poster who threw out his buffett cd’s. He is an ex-Catholic and often ridicules the church and specifically altar boys. His music is a scourge that has taken millions down the wrong path in life. He even idiotically blamed bush for the recent gulf oil spill.

A Story in Graphs

Wednesday, July 28, AD 2010

Once upon a time there was a country — it had its problems as any nation does, but it did well enough. Its people prided themselves on working hard, and they were comparatively well off: less so than the UK, more so than Spain and Italy.

They’d had the good fortune to have none of their infrastructure destroyed during World War II, and after the war they experienced a boom as an exporter. Things slowed, however, in the late 60s and early 70s. Some said this was because the rest of the world got better at growing their own food and manufacturing their own goods. Others said it was because they allowed too much immigration. Some said it was because the welfare programs they created in the 60s ate away at the motivation to work hard.  Others said it was because unions became weak. Whatever the reason, their average income in inflation adjusted terms grew much more slowly than it had, and there was a good deal of discontentment and disagreement as to what to do about it all and who was at fault. Here’s a graph of their average family income in inflation-adjusted US Dollars.

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11 Responses to A Story in Graphs

  • You might want to add something else to your little graph there. In the 1950s, the highest nominal tax rate (the tax rate that would have affected the 80th percentile, but not the 20th) was 90%. It has fallen significantly as supply side economics and other such silliness were applied, and today, that same tax rate is a little less than 40%. Apparently, allowing the rich to keep their money and stash it in the Cayman Islands isn’t as good for the US GDP as conservatives might think.

  • PF,

    Actually, the top marginal income tax rates didn’t affect the 80th percentile either. For instance, in 1950, income over 200k was taxed at 90%. This data, however, is inflation adjusted to 2008. If you inflation adjust 200k in 1950 to 2008, it’s $1.7 million. However, the 80th percentile of income was only $41k (in 2008 dollars). If you adjust that back to 1950 dollars this is $4,600 which would put you in the 26% tax bracket for 1950.

    Interesting question though.

    Historical tax tables:
    http://www.taxfoundation.org/publications/show/151.html
    Inflation calculator:
    http://www.coinnews.net/tools/cpi-inflation-calculator/

  • Exactly right, Darwin. Leaving aside the rather obvious noxiousness of a 90% income tax rate, that rate actually hit very few families. Inflation adjusted, income tax rates are higher today for virtually all high income earners, which is not to say that this somehow provides a contrary explanation for the phenomenon you describe — that is doubtful. But facts will never dissuade class warriors. Their personal failures are always the fault of someone more successful — you can count on it.

    Another partial explanation for the phenomenon described in the graphs is the sexual revolution, which increased both ends of the income spectrum. High income households include many two-income professionals (something pretty rare until the late 1970s) — doctors don’t marrry plumbers. And low income households are disproportionately composed of a single female with children, a very costly and very modern phenomenon.

    Another related observation: inflation adjusted income statistics do a very imperfect job of actually describing changes in standard of living, which changes are actually quite pronounced for households at every level. Even households at the 20% level live in much better conditions than the modest inflation adjusted income increase would suggest. More own homes; both apartments and homes are larger and usually have air conditioning; computers, televisions, microwaves, mobile phones, etc. are plentiful; and a much greater percentage of low-income families own cars. Even food is much cheaper (inflation adjusted) with unbelievably greater variety. Moreover, the percentage of meals the average member of a 20% household eats outside his own home would be unimaginable to that person’s counterpart in 1950.

  • You need to be careful with this sort of information to verify what is being measured and what is being excluded. Some data series fail to take into account fringe benefits, or measure only wages and not salaries, or exclude the value of government benefits like Medicaid. Variation over time in the size of households is often not accounted for either. I have heard also criticisms of the Census Bureau as a producer of economic statistics (not its core mission). The Bureau of Economic Analysis or the Bureau of Labor Statistics might be a better bet.

  • allowing the rich to keep their money and stash it in the Cayman Islands isn’t as good for the US GDP as conservatives might think.

    1. How many people are doing that?

    2. Of what do the loan portfolios of banks domiciled in the Caymen Islands consist?

  • AD,
    I predict you will not receive a helpful answer. The facts, I’m afraid, are not compatible with the class warfare narrative. More self-affirming to ignore them and continue on in smug moral superiority, however delusional.

  • “There are plenty of theories as to why this could be: immigration, technology, less unionization, welfare, low taxes, businesses being eeeeeeevilllllll, etc.”

    Because labor and capital are disunited. That is the fundamental reason. Nearly 40% of the stocks in this country are owned by the top 1% of income earners. The next 40% is owned by the next 9%. The bottom 90% owns about 20%. And there is a similar story with respect to business equity, financial securities, trusts, non-home real-estate – everything related to investment.

    Large incomes are derived from ownership of property. Small incomes are derived from wages. Every CEO has a salary, but it is a minuscule fraction of his income when set against dividends. Thomas Montag, the “global banking and markets” executive at Bank of America, had an income in 2009 of over 29 million dollars.

    Only 600,000 of that, or a little less than 3% was in salary. 97% of that 29 million was derived entirely from stock awards. Now this is an extreme case, but on average the compensation of CEOs, as I’ve seen, breaks down in similar ways – most of their income is derived from stocks, and comparatively little from salaries.

    These are simple facts, not cries of envy or to redistribute the wealth. Narrowing the income gap means narrowing the property gap.

  • Joe, the income and property gap distinction is not that elegant. The stock grants to CEO’s for instance is all wage income as a practical matter. It is true that the truly super rich earn most of their income from investments, but most high income earners do not. The pattern is disarmingly common. People work for compensation for many years in order to build wealth that will eventually allow them to generate most of their income from invested assets. CEOs are no exception. Warren Buffett counter-examples are pretty rare. Somewhat more common are those who inherit wealth, though they normally do a pretty good job of diluting and dissapating it over a few generations.
    I can see the attraction in trying to unite labor and capital via ESOPS etc, but there are potentially serious pitfalls. It is normally imprudent to place most or all eggs in one investment basket, which is what entrepreneurs and small businessmen are willing to do — and they make up most of the wealthy in this country (which does not remotely mean most of them achieve wealth). The willingness to take risk and the ability to successfully manage it through entrepreneurial skill is not equally shared among all workers. Most people are better off accumulating wealth through long-term diversified investments substantially disassociated with their workplace.

  • on average the compensation of CEOs, as I’ve seen, breaks down in similar ways – most of their income is derived from stocks, and comparatively little from salaries.

    I believe this is largely a function of the minutia of the tax code, which taxes compensation at a higher rate if it comes from stock than if it comes as salary.

    If someone is employed at a publicly traded company, nothing prevents him from immediately converting as much of his wages as he wishes into company stock. If he converts it all to stock, this is functionally equivalent to what he would have gotten in compensation if he had been paid in stock in the first place. That so few people do this suggests that they prefer being paid in wages (you might say that this is just inertia, but suppose for a moment that Bank of America decided to start paying its employees with stock; if this happened, my guess is that a) the employees would not be happy about it, and b) upon receiving their stock they would immediately convert all or most of it to cash).

  • BA,
    Yes, the reason CEO comp is stock heavy is simply because boards want CEO comp tied to company fortunes and there are some tax advantages in doing so. There is an intuitive appeal to ensuring that CEOs pay is tied to investor fortunes, but it does have some perverse consequences including an emphasis on short-term thinking as well as the potential for huge comp packages beyond what may be intended or anticipated. Many public company boards struggle with this.

  • A good analysis, but I think that the reason for our relative decline starting in the early 70’s comes from the fact that our tax and regulatory system became increasingly hostile to wealth creation. And it was the big corporations, big government and big unions who wanted it this way – it protected established wealth and power.

    A genuinely free market means a continual and rapid over turn of the socio-economic elite. This sort of thing is not desired by those at the top – and, so, they’ve made it harder and harder for anyone to do anything which might create sufficient new wealth to allow entry in to the upper reaches of society. The only people who have been able to continue rising are those in entertainment and sports (you might want to consider that while baseball stars and movie idols were popular 70 years ago, they didn’t for the most part hob nob with the elite…that is something which only happened when such persons started raking in the many millions of dollars necessary to purchase entry).

    Getting back on track really involves no more (and no less) than breaking the chains on the economy. Just allow people to work as they will, and things will go back to the old, American norm.

Take it out of Petty Cash

Wednesday, July 28, AD 2010

 

Thurston Howell III John Kerry agreed yesterday to pay 500k in sales tax  on  his yacht Isabel, which, as I detailed here, he had previously moored in Rhode Island in a transparent attempt to avoid these taxes.  Of course, I and the flying pig below are both convinced that Kerry would have paid the taxes even without the resulting furor when his tax avoidance scheme surfaced.

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3 Responses to Take it out of Petty Cash

  • In addition, this tone deaf ‘Hero of the Libolution’ had the tub built in Panama (I think). Next time he’s screams about globalization . . .

    Nice support for the American working person!

  • I didn’t know champaign socialism was so expensive.

    Wonder how much you could do “to save the planet” with 7.5m USD.

    I reflect that both he and the little gore could have become President of the United States and I know that Providence is at work.

  • Hey!

    Even if your wife has $700,000,000 lying around, $500,000 is a lot of do-re-me!

    And, he saved a lot of jobs in New Zealand where the tub was built.

    E.G., your carnalic social justice politician at work.

The Bell Revolt

Wednesday, July 28, AD 2010

Bell, California is the latest flashpoint in a growing taxpayer revolt.  A blue collar, mostly Hispanic town of 38,000, 10 miles southeast of Los Angeles, local residents were in a state of shock, which rapidly turned to blazing anger, after they learned that the Chief Administrative Officer of Bell, Robert Rizzo, “earned” a salary of $787, 637 per annum with annual 12 percent raises, the police chief Randy Adams “earned” $457,000 a year, while the Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia had to make do with a paltry $376, 288 each year.  The part time members of the city council each “earned” almost 100k a year.

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9 Responses to The Bell Revolt

  • The $800 billion stimulus is working! The unemployment rate among guvmint workers is 0%.

    They must raise taxes on the EVIL rich: these guys need better raises.

    Big government! Big salaries!

  • “richly reward friends and insiders”

    And union members, of course. However, those government employees who are neither friends, insiders, or union members (and there are some, although they are a shrinking group) are the ones who inevitably end up being punished for the sins of all the others, via furlough days, layoffs, pay cuts, reductions in benefits, etc. Their unemployment rate, while lower than average, is not “zero.”

    I’m not arguing against necessary austerity measures, just saying they need to be fairly applied — there should not be one class of federal/state/local employee that is subject to all the cuts while another class is exempt.

  • these type of transparently fraudulent arrangements are part and parcel of the way Big Government does business

    Except that the City of Bell is not what is usually meant by Big Government. In theory, as Catholics we should look more favorably on forms of local government — subsidiarity and all that. In practice, city politics is probably more corrupt than anything at the federal level.

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  • Update: Rizzo, Adams, Spaccia and 5 other city officials have been arrested on charges of misappropriating public funds and other corruption charges. Bond for Rizzo was set at $2 million, I believe. Apparently some really, really massive corruption was going on there.

  • I’ve been following the latest developments also Elaine. It should be interesting to see if these criminal prosecutions ultimately uncover evidence that leads to prosecutions at other levels of government. I would suspect the former officials indicted probably have pretty tales to tell about other people in government.

  • there should not be one class of federal/state/local employee that is subject to all the cuts while another class is exempt.

    I would like to be lumped with those very resistant to layoffs of soldiers, uniformed police, prison guards, and firefighters.

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  • petition_federal_pay_reform

    1.The Max wage and benefits for a Elected Congressional service member is to be equal to a U.S.A. military service members Wage and benefits for equal years served.
    2.The max wage and benefits for Government employee shall not exceed the average non-union American Wage and benefits.

    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/federal_pay_reform/

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