Monthly Archives: August 2010
Travelling in the second half of last week, I had occasion to realize how pervasive the TV news coverage of the “ground zero mosque” has become — perhaps in part because it is doubtless a dream situation for TV news producers: All you have to do is draw 3-4 people into the studio and have them debate the question for twenty minutes, throw in a couple of commercial breaks, and voila! you have another 1/48th of the twenty-four-hour news cycle. I was reminded again of how glad I am to have cancelled the cable TV subscription and never put up an antenna.
As I think about it, this seems to me a made-for-TV controversy in more ways than one. For all the talk about this being the “ground zero mosque”, the location two blocks away will not be visible from the WTC monument itself, and is currently occupied by sacred precincts such as the offices of the University of Pheonix, Marty’s Shoes and the Dakota Roadhouse. This is New York, for goodness sake. A thirteen story building isn’t exactly going to stick out. And the visible symbols of religion closes to Ground Zero will remain St. Peter’s Catholic Church, St. Paul’s Episcopal, and John Street United Methodist. (If anything, it’s a little disappointing the plans for the mosque look rather like a vertical shoebox with abstract patters on it — no minarets here.)
The inaptly named City of Brotherly Love is attempting to license bloggers. If bloggers make any money from their blogs, they will have to pay a $300.00 “business privilege tax” to obtain a business privilege license. (I rather like the Orwellian term “business privilege”, as if the right to buy and to sell was some sort of gift of the State.) Go here to read the details at the Philadelphia Citypaper.
Just how many things are wrong about this? Let us count the ways: Continue reading
In this post I discussed the outrage in Bell, California over “public servant”, yes that phrase often does have a humorous sound to it these days, salaries. The revolt has now spread to Highland Park, Illinois, a fairly wealthy Chicago north shore suburb, population approximately 34,000, with a median family income of $100,000.00 per annum. It is a limousine liberal type of town, which was in the news earlier this year when the assistant district superintendent decided to cancel a girl’s basketball trip to a tournament in Arizona in a transparent attempt to protest the Arizona immigration law. Players and parents were mostly outraged by the decision.
Residents got a whole new reason to be outraged, when they recently learned of the sky high salaries and bonuses paid to Park District officials. Ralph Volpe, head of the Park District, was paid $435,000 in 2008; finance director Kenneth Swan’s salary leaped from $124, 908 in 2005 to $218, 372 in 2008; facilities director David Harris went from $135, 403 to $339, 302 in 2008. Total bonuses paid to these three tireless slaves of the people was $700,000 between 2005-2008. The taxpayers of Highland Park are not amused. Go here to read all about it.
“I think everyone has a secret resentment against God, against our very creation, against the fact of our being what we are. Freud called this the death wish, resentment against being born into this pain-full world.”
Peter Kreeft says something surprising in Back to Virtue: that we need to learn to forgive God. He is quite clear that this is not for any evil or debt he owes us, but for His goodness. As Kreeft says in his book, God loves us more than we would like, and we need to forgive him for interfering with our foolish will again and again”. We need to “forgive him for his blessed but painful surgery on our spirits.”
At first, I thought Kreeft was wrong. Forgive God? Why would we lowly creatures need to forgive God, who is infinite goodness? How absurd! Then, giving the great Peter Kreeft the benefit of the doubt, I thought it over and had a realization of sorts. We need to forgive God lest we hold a grudge against Him. God calls us out of ourselves. He asks us to give up ourselves and our particular desires, and this can be very difficult, even aggravating. Our broken nature rebels against God’s will. We must say with Jesus, “not my will Father, but yours be done,” but we do not want to. We often say, leave me alone to what I want! Christians say this even when they know this is foolishness. We are broken and part of our brokenness is a wrong-relationship with God: we blame him when he is not at fault. Our hearts must be at peace with God. And our hearts, misshapen as they are, cannot be at peace with God unless we forgive him. How ridiculous we are!
My favorite living historian, Victor Davis Hanson, hails the brilliance of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind the “Cordoba Initiative”, the group seeking to build the Ground Zero Mosque.
1. First the name of the group takes advantage of the historical illiteracy among the chattering class elites of our society:
Start with the notion of a “Cordoba Initiative.” In the elite modern Western mind, Cordoba has been transmogrified into a mythical Lala Land of interfaith tolerance. To invoke the city is to prove one’s ecumenical credentials. Just ask our president, who, in his June 2009 Cairo speech, fantastically claimed that the Muslim city taught us tolerance while Christians were launching the Inquisition (1478) — quite a feat two and a half centuries after most of the Muslims of Cordoba had fled, converted, or been cleansed during the city’s fall (1236) to the Christian forces of the Reconquista. But no matter, we got the president’s drift about who was supposedly tolerant and who was not.
Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime & pure, [and] which denounces against the wicked eternal misery, and [which] insured to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.
Charles Carroll of Carrollton, letter to James McHenry, November 4, 1800.
Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the sole Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, was an endlessly fascinating man. He led the fight for Catholic civil rights in Maryland and the new nation. A slaveholder, he supported the efforts to establish a free colony of blacks in Liberia, and sponsored legislation in the Maryland Senate for the gradual abolition of slavery in Maryland, although the bill was defeated. He lived a long and eventful 95 years, dying in 1832, the last of the signers. He will be the subject of many blog posts in the future, but today I want to post on what he is most famous for, the signing of the Declaration.
I figure it’s time for me to finally put down in a sort of structured way what I think about this “ground zero mosque” controversy, beginning with the admission that I know it isn’t “only” a mosque, but a mosque is a part of what will hereafter be referred to as that “construction project.”
Next, I might simply wrap it up by saying I think that Charles Krauthammer, a man with whom I typically find little to agree with, is absolutely right in his assessment of the entire situation, while Ron Paul, a man with whom I typically find much to agree with, is almost entirely wrong in his own assessment, which makes repeated appeals to property rights.
Let me give you Krauthammer’s thesis, which is also a reply to this sort of argument, and which has been my own since the first day I heard about this:
No one disputes the right to build; the whole debate is about the propriety, the decency of doing so.
In my own readings and heated debates, the refrain I hear from the defenders of this construction project is the same as Obama’s: they have a right. What this argument boils down to is this: “we are doing this because we can, because you have no legal standing to stop us, and all of your complaints are irrelevant.”
Something for the weekend. Rule Britannia. I grew up with a bit of a love-hate relationship with Great Britain and her now vanished Empire. On my father’s side the family had been in America since before the Revolution, except for the Cherokees who had been here I assume for 30,000 years, and the family could have cared less about Great Britain one way or the other. On my mother’s side however things were different and more complex. My mother, an immigrant who became a naturalized citizen, was proud Newfoundlander Irish. Her Great-Grandfather, who regarded pews and kneelers as perfidious Protestant innovations and would kneel on bare stone floors into his eighties in the back of the church he attended during Mass, had come to Newfoundland from Ireland and kept alive in my Mom a memory of Ireland. She played in our home as I was growing up all the old Irish rebel songs, and part of the heritage I imbibed did not stint on remembering the grievances of the Irish against the English. On the other hand, my Mom loved Queen Elizabeth II and from my Mom I developed a life long interest in British history and politics. My Great-Uncle Bill on my mother’s side served in the infantry in the Royal Army from 1939-1945 joining up, he said, “Because someone has to teach the Limies how to fight!’
Therefore on this blog I happily play both the Irish rebel songs and an occasional salute to the land of the Queen my sainted mother loved. In regard to the vanished Empire, I am fully cognizant of the wrongs that were committed by it, but I believe perhaps this section from The Life of Brian might be applied to the British, as well as the Roman, Empire, in some ways. Continue reading
Miss Kay Hagan is doing a poor job of defending the “merits” of ObamaCare to a mother who has sick children. In addition to her sick children, her and her husbands benefits have been cut down or eliminated in order to comply with ObamaCare.
Yet Miss Hagan insists on pushing for more European style socialism.
(Hat Tip: Culture War Notes)
At The American Catholic we stay current on all the latest hot controversies in American History. None perhaps are hotter than Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Who knew that the Great Emancipator was also the Great Vampire Eradicator? Or was he? Our team of crack investigators have uncovered the below video in which Seth-Grahame-Smith, the author of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter admits that his book is fiction! What a scandal! Or is this a mere attempt to throw people off the trail from learning the truth behind the myth of Lincoln? Paranoid minds want to know!
Hattip to Pauli at Est Quod Est. A rising political storm is coming.
[This is Tito Edwards, I have current updates on the status of RealCatholicTV here.]
According to CatholicCulture.com, “while thoroughly approving many of the fine videos made available through “RealCatholic TV” site,” caution is recommended to the viewer for two reasons:
An apparent animus against the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, contrary to the clear mind of the Church; and a tendency to over-simplify complex cultural, ecclesiastical and theological problems, leading sometimes to the assertion of mere opinion as the “real Catholic” position.
In a recent episode, Michael Voris lays out the “Real Catholic” position on “Jews and Judaism” — a rather complex theological topic, as most people are aware. According to Voris:
The Jews who accepted him became the Church. The Jews who rejected Him .. having voted themselves OUT of the covenant .. went off and started a man made religion. Rabbinical Judaism (today’s Jewish religion) is to authentic Judaism what Protestantism is to Catholicism.
What do our readers think?
(HT: Mark Shea).
“The questionable things of this world come to grief on their nature, the good ones on their own excesses. Conservative respect for the past and its preservation are indispensable conditions of a sound society, but to cling exclusively to tradition, history, and established customs is an exaggeration leading to intolerable rigidity. The liberal predilection for movement and progress is an equally indispensable counterweight, but if it sets no limits and recognizes nothing as lasting and worth preserving, it ends in disintegration and destruction. The rights of the community are no less imperative than those of the individual, but exaggeration of the rights of the community in the form of collectivism is just as dangerous as exaggerated individualism and its extreme form, anarchism. Ownership ends up in plutocracy, authority in bondage and despotism, democracy in arbitrariness and demagogy. Whatever political tendencies or currents we choose as examples, it will be found that they always sow the seed of their own destruction when they lose their sense of proportion and overstep their limits. In this field, suicide is the normal cause of death.”
From A Humane Economy, p.90
In one paragraph, this man has encapsulated everything I believe.