Tribute to a RINO

Thursday, August 11, AD 2011

As readers of this blog know, I have little use for RINO’s, (Republicans in Name Only), politicians who call themselves Republicans but once in office vote like Democrats.  However, every rule has exceptions and an exception to my antipathy to RINOs is the late Mark Hatfield.  Hatfield died on August 7 of this year, at 89 years of age.  He served in the Navy as a landing craft officer in the Pacific during World War II at Iwo Jima and Okinawa.  He was one of the first Americans to see the ruins of Hiroshima after the surrender of Japan.

Beginning in 1950, he embarked upon a 46 year career in politics as a Republican in Oregon.  He served in the Oregon legislature and was twice elected governor of the state.  He served 30 years in the Senate from 1967-1997.  In office his votes were often indistinguishable from a liberal Democrat.  He was a dove on Vietnam, supported the nuclear freeze, cast the deciding vote in the Senate that defeated a balanced budget amendment and was opposed to the death penalty.  In 1964 he denounced Goldwater conservatives as extremists.  Ronald Reagan, who was a friend of Hatfield, once noted in his diary while he was President that with Republicans like Hatfield, who needed Democrats.  He was a RINO’s RINO.  Of course you know there is a but coming.

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3 Responses to Tribute to a RINO

  • Wonder how he would have stood on Oregon’s “right-to-die” law. Despite his pro-life stance, his other positions, Don, were more than enough to make him a DIP (Democrat in Practice), if I can coin a new acronym. He also was seriously considered as Tricky Dick’s running mate at one time.

    Lastly, as a “Baptist and ardent Christian,” not sure what “ardent” means, but accepting the word, can there be salvation for anyone outside the Catholic Church? Doesn’t the Church teach that this is impossible?

  • He was a vigorous opponent of it Joe. He called Oregon’s assisted suicide law murder.

    Ardent is the opposite of lukewarm, those who Christ spews from his mouth according to the Book of Revelation.

    As for salavation for those not united with the Catholic Church, the Catechism addresses that issue:

    “”Outside the Church there is no salvation”

    846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

    Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336

    847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

    Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.337

    848 “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”338 “

  • Hatfield was a Baptist, but his wife is Catholic. She always had hopes that he would join the Catholic Church.

Close, But No Cigar

Wednesday, August 10, AD 2011

Unions spent north of $30 million* in a recall effort in Wisconsin in order to gain control of the state senate.  Six Republican senators faced recall elections, and the Democrats needed to win three in order to win control of the upper house.  They won two.  What’s more, two senate Democrats face recall elections next week, and the GOP has a good chance to win at least one of those two races.  So, in the end, the unions would have spent $30 million to gain a whopping one seat.  Not a very good return on investment.

Evidently the “news” team at MSNBC was trying to spin this as a victory for Democrats, but that strains credulity past the breaking point.  Of the two seats they won, one was in a fairly Democratic district and the other involved a scandal-plagued senator.  In fact, as Ed Morrissey suggests, this should be seen as a big defeat for big labor.

Next Tuesday, two more recall elections take place for the state Senate, this time two of the fleabagger seats, thanks to the reaction from the GOP to the union’s efforts to recall Republicans.  It’s possible that the unions will go 0 for 3 in 2011 and end up handing back the two pickups they got last night.  The unions will have ended up spending millions to end up right where they began — locked out of Madison — while adding a powerful display of electoral impotence to their brand.  They have discredited themselves with Wisconsin voters in a way that Walker and the GOP couldn’t possibly have planned, the victim of their own arrogance in attempting to overturn elections for no other reason that protecting their own featherbeds.

Markos Moulitsas is pushing the kool-aid that this is a progressive victory over at Daily Kos.  It’s actually kind of cute to see a man so delusional.

Beyond Wisconsin, if we can enjoy a similar “loss rate” in Republican-held districts (picking up 33 percent of them), Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have a huge majority in 2013.

Yes, because the rate of victory in a special election in one state featuring roughly 1/5 of one legislative chamber is clearly a sign of things to come.

It’s going to be a long year, and tens of millions of dollars of Koch money (in addition to hundreds of millions more from Rove and allies) are going to force us to fight like hell for every inch of territory. They won’t cede it willingly or fairly. They’ll do their best to cheat or buy whenever they feel they can’t win fairly.

This is going to be the rallying cry for progressives.  As always, they complain when people besides themselves actually spend money and campaign against their interests.  I get a particular sense of amusement from the bellyaching about the evil Koch brothers, because it’s not like the Democrats have their own deep-pocketed sugar daddy, right?  And really, do guys like Kos want to talk about cheating to win elections?

But I can understand Kos’s wishful thinking.  They were on the precipice of revolution.  That revolution was halted in the fall of 2010.  This election was to mark the turnaround that jumpstarted that revolution.  The good people of Wisconsin were to throw off the shackles of their tyrannical GOP overlords and send a stinging rebuke to the heart of that evil monster Scott Walker. The people would finally join the progressives and take the necessary step to inch them closer to the utopia.

And then the people of Wisconsin sort of yawned and said they’ll keep the government that they have, thank you very much.

Dagger.  So what’s left to do?  Admit defeat?  Acknowledge that maybe the populace isn’t as enamored with your lofty plans as you’d like?  What are you crazy?  No, it’s time to just double down, retrench, and like Homer Simpson  cry out that “It’s still good!  It’s still good!”

Whatever you say, Markos.

*: $30 million figure seems to be a combined spending figure.  Union amount was in the $15 million range, give or take.  Still a lot invested for little return.

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12 Responses to Close, But No Cigar

  • I live in the 12th Senate District, one of two seats up for grabs next Tuesday, and it appears Kim Simac, the Tea Party candidate, has a good chance of beating Jim Holperin, one of the notorious 14 Dems who skipped town back in Feb. Holperin has outspent Simac at least 2-1 thanks to the huge union war chest, but the election is rated a toss-up. If she loses and the Dems take the other contested seat, then they regain control of the Senate by one vote.

  • If she loses and the Dems take the other contested seat, then they regain control of the Senate by one vote.

    That’s not quite correct Joe. Both of the seats up for recall next week are Democrat-held. The best the Dems can do is retain a one-seat disadvantage.

  • From the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel:

    By keeping a majority in the Senate, Republicans retained their monopoly on state government because they also hold the Assembly and governor’s office. Tuesday’s elections narrowed their majority – at least for now – from 19-14 to a razor-thin 17-16.

    Republicans may be able to gain back some of the losses next week, when two Democrats face recall elections.

    Full story can be found here:

  • This was a rout for the Democrats. The unions and the Democrats hand picked these seats to challenge and the unions blew 30 million bucks, all to take two of six, in special off-year elections normally easily dominated by aroused pressure groups like the unions in Wisconsin. And all of this in formerly blue Wisconsion, one of the most union dominated states in the Union. Times truly are changing. Thanks Dems and unions of Wisconsin for helping to underline that point!

  • Of the two Repubs who lost, one shot himself out of the race with an adultery scandal, and the the other barely lost in a heavily Democrat district.

  • Isn’t this the same movement where they used physical intimidation against those trying to recall the fleebaggers, plus the “mysterious” stolen signatures?

  • Who’d-a thunk!

    Seems Tea Party Terrorists are viciously threatening union goon squads.

  • More from Jim Geraghty about Kos’s claim that last night’s election was on GOP turf.

  • To kill some dumb memes:
    1. The Democrats were not selective in choosing recalls. They filed recall petitions against every eligible Republican.
    2. The Obama numbers are deceiving and were largely reflective of national issues, particularly dissatisfaction with the Iraq war. I think two of the districts coinciding with Kagan(D) losing to Ribble(R) after having defeated Green(R). The Walker margins in each of the districts were significant in 2010, averaging 13%.
    3. Joe Green is incorrect. The Democrats can only lose seats in the two races next week. They can’t gain any.
    4. There are no such things as moral victories in politics. The Democrats gained 2 seats they didn’t have when they started yesterday. They could have gained 4. They very easily could have only gained 1. But alas 2 is the number. A retention rate of under 80% is generally not seen as promising by any party. It is very difficult to get a person elected. Keeping a person elected is relatively easy.

  • Trying to paint this as anything but a disaster for the Unions and the Democrats is a hard task MZ and I salute your efforts.

    I tend to agree however with that notorious right wing rag The New York Times:

    “Two Republican state senators lost their seats in recall elections around Wisconsin on Tuesday, but Republicans maintained their control of the State Senate, ultimately handing a defeat to union groups and Democrats who had spent months and millions of dollars trying to wrestle away at least some of the state’s political power.

    The outcome was seen as a victory for Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican whose move to curtail collective bargaining rights for public workers this year set off a firestorm of protests, then counterprotests and finally a summer of unprecedented recall efforts.”

    Mickey Kaus, one of the more insightful bloggers of the moderate Left puts it well:

    “Unions Lose Again in Wisconsin: It looks as if the organized labor movement has failed to recall enough Wisconsin Republicans to regain control of the state senate. That’s a) in an off-year election where union turnout usually makes the difference b) in famously progressive Wisconsin c) after spending many millions d) with a nationwide media and organizing push e) when labor had a galvanizing issue in Gov. Scott Walker’s direct assault on the institutional collective bargaining power of public employees, which led to a dramatic walkout by Democrats.”

  • Don.
    A totally irrelevant comment.

    You’re blogging at 4.04 in the morning?
    The last time I was up that early, I hadn’t got home yet 😉
    Mind you, that was a number of years ago now.
    Regards all, time for bed. (We’re actually on the same day at the moment) 🙂

  • Early to bed and early to rise Don! I am normally in bed by 10:00 PM-10:30 PM and I normally rise between 4:00 AM-4:30 AM, sometimes earlier and sometimes later. On Wednesday morning I didn’t awaken until 5:15 AM when I was roused by my wife waking up!

Biden to the Rescue!

Wednesday, August 10, AD 2011

In these dark days of the credit downgrade of the nation, an economy falling back into recession, a crashing stock market, etc, one man shines out as a beacon of hope:  Veep and Beloved National Clown Joe Biden.  As the Three Stooges lightened the American mood during the Great Depression with their comic pratfalls and buffoonish antics, so Biden lightens the national mood by constantly, and deliberately I am sure, saying the stupidest things imaginable.

When Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford recently returned to Congress after being shot in the head, Biden welcomed her as a fellow  member of the “cracked head club”.  As the nation was still howling at that, he dauntlessly followed up with the gutbuster that the members of the Tea Party were “acting like terrorists“.

Note the master at work.  Joe of course realizes that calling people who organized peacefully, won the Congressional elections in 2010, and whose representatives in Congress are seeking to enact legislation embodying the beliefs they campaigned on as terrorists, is absurd.  He therefore willingly makes himself absurd and a national joke in order to give us all something to laugh about in these dark days.  What a true patriot!

However, in the event that I am wrong and that Joe really meant that tea party members are acting like terrorists, below are depicted the intellectual godfathers of this dangerous movement, and perhaps Homeland Security needs to put them under surveillance pronto:

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19 Responses to Biden to the Rescue!

  • He’s more than a clown, if you want to read a story about how sinister and sick Joe Biden is, have at it:

  • Don, isn’t Joe one of yours?

  • Yep Joe, he is an attorney. He almost got thrown out of law school due to an incident of plagiarism in his first year. He also got poor grades in college and law school. From the start, he was marked for a great political career!

    After Biden was forced to own up to his lawschool plagiarism scandal in 1987, the next year when he was running for President he was forced out after it was learned that he plagiarized during the campaign a speech of Neal Kinnock, then leader of the British labor party, virtually verbatim.

    The man is an ignorant, dishonest piece of work. I do find him truly funny however, in a Three Stooges style.

  • That’s not what I meant, Don. He’s a Catholic, at least nominally. Then again, so are Cuomo, Pelosi and the NY GOP State Senators responsible for putting the gay marriage bill over the top.

    I think you once brought up Jackie Gleason who described himself as a “bad Catholic,” which, I believe you commented on by saying, “Once Catholic always Catholic.”

    As a lapsed Catholic myself, I never understood that, given that I no longer go to mass, confession or otherwise embrace the faith. But it’s there on every “religious preference” form I fill out. Makes me feel hypocritical, to say the least, but I openly admit my doubts whereas the aforementioned “Catholics” consider themselves “faithful” followers.

    My previous mention, BTW, of “smileys” referred to the lack of emoticons that used to show when one wished to add to posts. They are no longer there.

  • “Sinister” is exactly right, Jasper. I don’t give Biden the benefit of laughing him off as merely a buffoon. Oh, he’s a buffoon, alright. But he’s also a Grade “A” abortion-loving @$$h—, as evidenced by the piece to which you linked. I remember all too clearly Biden’s performance during the Bork hearings, in which he ran interference for Planned Parenthood and the rest of the pro-abortion crowd, in torpedoing a nomination that would have eventually led to Roe being overturned – something for which I’ve detested the man for close to a quarter of a century.

    But I hesitate to describe my emotions when I read that piece a few years ago about Biden jumping and crying for joy on a train platform in celebration of the holocaust of the unborn. Or when he threatened to shove his rosary beads down the throats of his critics who believe his pro-abortion advocacy disqualifies him from being a Catholic in good standing. He’s a nasty piece of work, and should not be merely laughed off as a clown. Oh yes, he is a clown, but one of those evil ones like you see in the horror movies.

  • “That’s not what I meant, Don. He’s a Catholic, at least nominally.”

    Nominal is the word Joe. He is a CINO. However, even for Biden there is hope that he can become a real Catholic before his end.

  • Biden voted in favor of a constitutional amendment banning abortion in the early Reagan administration. Yet another Catholic Democrat in Congress who moved from the pro-life to the pro-abort side of the equation, and barely a peep from the relevant Catholic ecclesiastics in Delaware.

  • “As a lapsed Catholic myself, I never understood that, given that I no longer go to mass, confession or otherwise embrace the faith. But it’s there on every ‘religious preference’ form I fill out. Makes me feel hypocritical, to say the least, but I openly admit my doubts whereas the aforementioned ‘Catholics’ consider themselves ‘faithful’ followers.”

    One is either 100% fully, authenticly and orthodoxly (is that a valid adverb?) Catholic, or one is not even remotely Catholic. There are no in-betweens. To be a non-practicing Catholic is to be not a Catholic, for a true Catholic practices his faith as though the final state of his soul depends on it (and as a matter of fact, it does!). Such non-practitioners should call themselves what they are: atheist, agnostic, deist, or whatever else may validly apply, but not Catholic since they don’t practice what it means to be Catholic.

    Now that doesn’t mean a Catholic won’t sin and need to go to Confession (e.g., myself, and I probably need to go more than once a month). However, those who describe themselves as lapsed Catholics are either “blackslidden” (to use a Protestant term) or apostate (which implies a formal disaffiliation). Unrepentent blackslidden or apostate “Catholics” are not going to Heaven were they to die in their state of being backslidden or apostate. Of course, the same is true of me were I to die in a state of unrepentent mortal sin.

    Nevertheless, to feel hypocritical over calling one’s self “Catholic” while in a backslidden or apostate state (I won’t judge which one if any applies) is perhaps a glimmer of gold in amongst the trash: at least one feels some effects of the truth of the situation. So there is hope for Joe Green after all! 😉

  • Darn, Don. As a ‘tweenie,’ I’d like to have it both ways playing Pascal’s Wager. That ‘glimmer’ you refer to is embodied in this quote by Evelyn Waugh, which stays on my desktop whenever the doubts increase:

    “The Roman Catholic Church has the unique power of keeping remote control over human souls which have once been part of her. G.K. Chesterton has compared this to the fisherman’s line, which allows the fish the illusion of free play in the water and yet has him by the hook; in his own time the fisherman by a ‘twitch upon the thread’ draws the fish to land.”

    The Lord is still fishing, and I hope I may be the catch of the day some day. : )

  • “The Lord is still fishing, and I hope I may be the catch of the day some day. : )”

    As long as we live Joe, the Hound of Heaven is always hot on our trail.

  • “The Lord is still fishing, and I hope I may be the catch of the day some day.”

    Just say “yes” to Jesus and go to Confession, Joe. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to be forgiven.

  • Biden and about 100,000 other progressive idiots ruining America call to mind St. Augustine’s comments/observations in the City of God.

    “The half-wits we have to endure and must answer.”

    “If the wicked refuse to join in the blessed endeavor, they should be loved as enemies are loved in Christian charity, since, as long as they live, there is the possibility that they may come to a better mind.”

  • Don, thought you might post something about the 406th anniversary of Guy Fawkes Gunpowder Plot, a failed attempt by Catholics to take over the English throne.

  • Biden has his mouth so full of his own footwear i find it amazing he can still speak.
    But then, away he goes again, cramming his foot into his mouth and dribbling some idiotic garbage. No wonder his mouth is getting bigger.

    Joe Green.

    Despite what Paul has said, hang onto that litle peice of you that still says “hey, I’m Catholic.” That’s the tiny mustard seed – it just isn’t being watered or fertilized. One day there will be an event in your life that clears away the mist and makes things clear for you. There are many canonised saints in the Church who were much worse than you are.
    To be hanging around a Catholic blog actually says something. Hang in there.

  • Thanks, Don the Kiwi, for your encouraging comments. I think that it is not God who has moved from me, but me from Him.

  • In reference to Guy Fawke’s Day Joe, I have written about it before and I may again when it rolls around on November 5.

  • Some how, Don, I was thinking it was Aug. My bad.

  • I remember it because of the poem Joe:

    November, November, the 5th of November,
    Gunpowder Treason and Plot.
    I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason
    Should ever be forgot.

  • Petty sure there was a saloon in NYC called “Guy Fawkes’.” Not sure. It was over 40 years ago. I was drinking. I needed no reason for it.

    Anyhow, was one GF. There were probably 600 bars in NYC where, any time, you could run into a dozen or so Irish cops, firemen, and/or an IRA men (passing the hat), and Guiness on tap.

The Side of Civilization

Tuesday, August 9, AD 2011

In Homage to Catalonia, George Orwell writes, when describing his feelings when he heard that fighting had broken out between the anarchist workers and the (communist dominated) government forces:

Once I had heard how things stood, I felt easier in my mind. The issue was clear enough. On the one side the C.N.T. [anarchists], on the other side the police. I have no particular love for the idealize ‘worker’ as he appears in the bourgeois Communist’s mind, but when I see an actual flesh-and-blood worker in conflict with his natural enemy, the policeman, I do not have to ask myself which side I am on.

I had a similar feeling fo clarity today when I read this today:

As officers lost control of the streets locals were forced to take the law into their own hands, arming themselves with sticks and chasing looters away from their properties.

In Dalston and Hackney, north-east London, Turkish shopkeepers and their families fought back against looting youths, before spending the night standing shoulder-to-shoulder in an attempt to deter further attacks.

One man said: ‘This is Turkish Kurdish area. They come to our shops and we fight them with sticks.’

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7 Responses to The Side of Civilization

  • I remember the Korean shop keepers. As the cowardly LAPD stood by and watched, they stood up to protect their livelihood from the thugs wanting to turn LA into a war zone.

  • “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!”

    Civilization always rests on what ordinary people are willing to do to defend themselves against the forces of anarchy or oppression. That is why the Founding Fathers gave us the Second Amendment. I haven’t fired a weapon since I was in the Army three decades ago. If a mob were bearing down on my office building to loot and burn it, I think I would pick up some old skills very fast, along with a lot of my fellow business men and women.

  • Mr. Edwards beat me to it. The Brits don’t allow Korean shopkeepers to own AK-47’s.

    In fact, the Brits have prosecuted property owners for defending themselves.

    One gun freedom organization’s new T-Shirt: “A disarm society is a dangerous place.”

  • One, who would not give his name,

    Smart man– if he did, he’d be charged, just like that housewife that dared defend her virtue with a kitchen knife.

    Hats off to anyone that’s willing to hold the line of civilization– even if he’s wearing a sarong. (Ugliest. Kilt. Ever?)

  • No doubt the Kurds acquired their skills during the Sadam Hussein era.

  • Kathy Shaidle has a good picture of a large band of Sikhs defending one of their gurdwaras in London. Smiling for the camera, but armed with everything from baseball bats to chair legs. Apparently, the Sikhs of London have managed to protect all of their temples that way. Oh, and a news presenter for a Sikh TV network drove a group of police to arrest four thugs he’d filmed engaged in their yobbery. Up the Sikhs!

    The English government’s response has been nothing short of disgraceful. I’ve been repeating this a lot, but it still holds–with disorder like that, there should be Challenger tanks in the streets by now.

  • *jawdrop* Given the reputation of the Sikhs, I’m amazed that these mobs were dumb enough to even threaten them! I guess it’s sort of like the CodePink blankers spitting on Marines– attack a high profile target because you believe they won’t respond as they are able to– but how on earth can someone who works that out stand to live with themselves?

The Gods of the Copybook Headings Provide The Commentary

Tuesday, August 9, AD 2011

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

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9 Responses to The Gods of the Copybook Headings Provide The Commentary

  • “when all men are paid for existing and no man pays for his sin”

    I always have a hard time reading poems and I really don’t know why. Well maybe that speaks to something about me. This definately speaks about what is currently going on…

  • This poem needed the date of publication!! So I looked it up:

    Published in October 1919 when the poet was 53 years old, “The Gods of the Copybook Headings” has proved enduringly popular, despite the fact that copybooks disappeared from schoolrooms in Britain and America during, or shortly after World War 2. A copybook was an exercise book used to practice one’s handwriting in. The pages were blank except for horizontal rulings and a printed specimen of perfect handwriting at the top. You were supposed to copy this specimen all down the page. The specimens were proverbs or quotations, or little commonplace hortatory or admonitory sayings — the ones in the poem illustrate the kind of thing. These were the copybook headings.

  • “… and the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire; …The gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!”

    Rudyard Kipling handles the ‘history repeats itself’ idea without going blue in the face.

    This poem so fits the speech above, mixer included. Our problem doesn’t appear to be debt reduction according to the Copybook, because we have to agree to continue to support results of natural disasters, and then there are those high payroll taxes that prevent us from going to market, then … (how unspeakably base to use this) wages of war (for what battery element) in current news as final emphasis.

    I was glad for the mixer problem on the speaker, but not amused for the 10 minutes.

    I worry about long it will be before some handling of debt reduction (balancing the budget for a CHANGE) happens. Would it be forgotten if London’s events (are they related to other 2011 uprisings?) moved across the ocean.

  • Robert-
    I generally have the same issue. Kipling has always been an exception, starting with “Female of the Species.”

  • “Female of the Species.”

    My late formidable mother’s favorite poem!

  • Well said Hank!

    “His vows are lightly spoken,
    His faith is hard to bind,
    His trust is easy broken,
    He fears his fellow-kind.
    The nearest mob will move him
    To break the pledge he gave –
    Oh, a Servant when he Reigneth
    Is more than ever slave!”

  • Ouch– well struck, Hank, Donald. The line about Throws the blame on some one else. is especially painful in light of that “look what happens when you type ‘obama blames’ into google” thing.

  • I am most impressed, Don, that you found this poem to epitomise the “ramblings” of the Obamessiah.
    I have never read much Kipling, apart from some of his militaristic writings, and his Indian conection – Gunga Din etc.
    But I find,
    “That a dog returns to his vomit, and the sow returns to her mire,
    “And the burnt fools finger bandaged goes wabbling back to the fire.”
    particularly poignant.
    I listened to Obama after I had listened to Michele Bachman.
    “WOW” – what a woman. She leaves Obama for dead – and she never had a teleprompter 😉

    The US has to get back to its manufacturing and leading design base that made it famous just a few decades ago. Get the design and efficiency right, the price doesn’t matter. Back in the 60’s 70′ sand 80’s the world loved US products. Sure, the cost of labour is critical, but design, quality and efficiency of scale does make a difference. Get rid af the crazy Union control, take a bit of a dip, and ALL the people will benefit.
    (My 2 cents worth)
    The US rating is now the same as NZ – AA+ – its not all bad. 🙂

Newsweek and the Demonization of Michele Bachmann

Tuesday, August 9, AD 2011

Newsweek, the newsmagazine worth every cent of the dollar it was recently sold for, is running a hit piece against Congresswoman Michele Bachmann this week.  They aren’t especially subtle about what they are doing as the cover indicates:



Here is a photograph of Michele Bachmann by a photographer not employed by Newsweek:

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22 Responses to Newsweek and the Demonization of Michele Bachmann

Our Divine Pope

Monday, August 8, AD 2011

Hat tip to the Midwest Conservative Journal for finding what might be the dumbest thing ever written by a journalist about Catholicism.  Considering the competition, that’s actually saying quite a lot.

Though most in the Coptic Orthodox community send their children to Catholic school, they are not Catholic themselves. The differences are slight — they use the same liturgies, though Orthodox Christians differ from Roman Catholics in their belief that the Pope is a human being, not a divine figure — which has meant Coptic Orthodox children most often are sent to Catholic school.

Approximately one-third of Toronto’s citizenry is Roman Catholic.  Even granting the large number of nominal Catholics, this means that Murray Whyte, unless he has truly lives in a sheltered environment, must encounter a decent amount of Roman Catholics.  Sure, this doesn’t mean that he’s going to know or understand the finer details of our faith, but are you kidding me here?

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11 Responses to Our Divine Pope

  • Paul, Whyte is a member of the liberal MSM. I think the MSM’ers are trained from birth not to understand religion. How else can you explain their continued stupidity? It takes training to be that dmb!

  • Pingback: Our Divine Pope « Feeds « Theology of Ministry
  • Perhaps he believes that Catholics are really closet budhists.

  • When it comes to many members of what is laughingly referred to as the Mainstream media, their religious bigotry is only exceeded by their religious ignorance.

  • “Orthodox Christians differ from Roman Catholics in their belief that the Pope is a human being, not a divine figure”

    Maybe I’m feeling particularly charitable today, but I wonder if this was simply the writer’s extremely clumsy way of trying to say that Orthodox Christians do not believe in papal infallibility, or do not regard him as a divinely INSPIRED figure protected from teaching error by the Holy Spirit. The Orthodox (for the most part, and as I understand it) regard the Pope as a fellow patriarch, the Patriarch of Rome who is “first among equals” with other patriarchs such as Alexandria, Antioch, Moscow, etc. — having no more and no less authority than they do.

    There are times when otherwise intelligent and conscientious people simply don’t know the correct terms to use.

  • “There are times when otherwise intelligent and conscientious people simply don’t know the correct terms to use.”

    As always Elaine you are being the soul of charity. Assuming that he was bone ignorant of Catholicism, one would think that before making such a statement about a religion he knows little about, he would have spent a few minutes curing his ignorance by doing basic internet research. Bigotry, Ignorance and Laziness: the hallmarks of what we have come to expect from much of what passes for modern journalism.

  • Contemplating the sufferings of Orthodox Churches in Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Russia, Asia Minor, the Holy Land: were/are they being “punished” for the Great Schism?

    Are Armenians Orthodox?

  • There is an Armenian Orthodox Church, but be wary of talking of whom God’s punishment falls: read the Book of Job, or the Parable of the Dragnet.

    Also: The Coptic Orthodox refer to the Patriarch of Alexandria as “Pope” (though without any claim to the authority of the Bishop of Rome). Actually, the Patriarch of Alexandria was referred to as “Pope” before the Popes (of Rome) had the title!

    So that might also have confused the author. If they were really, really stupid. And ignorant.

  • Murray Whyte is risking the wrath of God: Father, Son, Pope, and Holy Spirit.

  • Forgive the initial reaction, I thought folks might get a giggle from this:
    the Parable of the Dragnet

    …I should really not read just after waking up from a nap, Joe Friday figured rather heavily in my initial interpretation of that warning. >.< I think the author probably just didn't understand very solidly-- and none of the editors who saw his writing did, either. Would've been much better to say “they use the same liturgies, though Orthodox Christians do not share the Roman Catholic belief in the Pope’s special authority.“

2 Responses to Chart of the Day: Spending Spree

Give Us This Day

Monday, August 8, AD 2011

William Thomas Cummings, pictured viewer’s left in the above photograph, is known for the phrase, “There are no atheists in foxholes.”  This is the story of the priest behind the phrase.

Born in 1903 he studied at Saint Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, California and was ordained a priest in 1928.  Wanting to be a missionary priest he joined the Maryknoll Order.  In December 1941 he was serving as a missionary priest in the Philippines.  On December 7, 1941 he showed up at the American Army headquarters in Manila in white vestments and offered his services as a chaplain.  The commandant of the Manila garrison attempted to talk him out of it.  He was 38, old for a combat chaplain, and he was nursing a back injury.  He was also near-sighted and lean as a rake.  Father Cummings vehemently replied that he was determined to be an Army chaplain.    Commissioned as a first lieutenant, he joined the Army in its epic retreat to the Bataan peninsula, where American and Filipino troops, on starvation rations and wracked with malaria, would make a heroic stand for months against the Japanese Imperial Army.

Believing themselves deserted by the US, the troops sang this bit of bitter doggerel:

We’re the battling bastards of Bataan,

No mama, no papa, no Uncle Sam.

No aunts, no uncles, no cousins, no nieces,

No pills, no planes, no artillery pieces.

And nobody gives a damn.

General Douglas MacArthur, in command of all American and Filipino troops in the Philippines, continually pleaded with Washington for a relief force to Bataan.  Shamefully, some of the messages from Washington indicated that a relief force was being put together.   These were lies.   After Pearl Harbor the US simply lacked the naval assets to successfully reinforce Bataan.  Any attempt to do so would almost certainly have led to a military disaster for America.  MacArthur refused an order that he leave Bataan, and stated that he would resign his commission and fight as a volunteer.  He finally left after a direct order from President Roosevelt, but refused to be smuggled out in a submarine, instead going by PT boat to demonstrate that the Japanese blockade of the Philippines could be penetrated.  After he arrived in Australia he was shocked to learn that there were no plans for the relief of the Philippines.  His main goal throughout the war thereafter was the liberation of the Philippines and the rescue of the American and Filipino POWs.

On Bataan Chaplain Cummings quickly became an Army legend.   On Good Friday 1942 at a Bataan field hospital undergoing bombardment Nurse Hattie Bradley witnessed Father Cummings in action:  More piercing screams. Scores must be dead or dying, she was convinced. She dashed into the orthopedic ward for help. There, panic was on the verge of erupting. Then she saw the chaplain…standing on a desk. Above the roar of the airplanes, the explosions and the shrieks of the wounded, his voice could be heard: “Our Father, who art in heaven…” Calmed by his prayers, the patients quieted.”  Father Cummings did this in spite of one of his arms being broken by shrapnel from a bomb. 

On Bataan he was always with the troops near or on the front line.  He said innumerable Masses, administered the Last Rites to the dying and helped with the wounded.  His field sermons were memorable.  In one of them he made the famous observation that “There are no atheists in foxholes.”  The quotation was passed on in the book “I Saw the Fall of the Philippines” by General Carlos P. Romulo, one of the Filipino troops evacuated from Bataan, which was published in 1942.

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39 Responses to Give Us This Day

  • Don, thanks for posting this. ‘Give Us This Day’ was the title of a book written by Sidney Stewart, a survivor of the Bataan march and three years of captivity in Jap prison camps. In his memoir, Stewart discusses at length the reliance he and fellow GIs had on Father Cummings during those dark times. The book was written in 1956. Here is a link for more info:,Sydney.html
    Along with Escape from Davao, Give Us This Day should be recommended reading for every American.

  • Thank you Joe. I am aware of the memoir, from which I have taken the title of the post, although I have not yet read it. I hope to remedy that before the end of the year.

  • Thank You.

  • Thanks for this. I’m reading “Grunt Padre,” the story of Fr. Capodanno. Fr. Mode recites vignettes about the Maryknollers of that era, including Fr. Cummings and later, Bishop Ford in China. What an astonishing group of men.

  • It brought tears to my eyes to think of our true heros and the horror they have gone through. Thank you for this post – it is inspirational to know men like him existed and exist today.

  • Thank you gentlemen. Recalling the lives of heroic priests such as Father Cummings gives me hope for humanity.

  • Thanks for this Don. A very touching and inspiring story. I recall seeing the movie “Bataan” back around 1957 when I was at Sacred Heart College. Quite a chilling movie, parts of which I can still recall.
    At this time of year – August 6th Hiroshima day, and August 15th.- Assumption, and the end of hostilities in the Pacific, I am reminded of my youth when, as a late teenager/early 20’s, many of my dad’s friends (dad fought in North Africa and Italy) had fought in the Pacific – mainly the air force. I have always been interested in aircraft, and I would listen with rapt attention to these men as they recounted their exploits. They were then in their late 30’s/early 40’s,- this being the early/mid 60’s – so their memories were vivid, as then it was still quite recent history.
    Your story also reminds me of our Fr. Francis Douglas, killed by the Japanese in the Phillipines in 1943 at age 33years.
    Thanks again.

  • When I read stories like this, I can’t understand why some Catholic commentators get so mad about us a-bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It reminds me of the way hippy-dippy types used to bawl how we were “mistreating ” the VC during the Nam conflict. The Cong and the Japanese both had a policy of treating their captives in an inhumane fashion. Both of them should consider themselves lucky that we did not return the favor in kind. As far as I’m concerned, the Japanese should be thankful that we only a-bombed two cities, instead of invading the mainland and killing far more troops and others than those a-bombs ever could!

  • Interestingly, the number of American POWs who survived German prison camps was, percentage-wise, 10 times higher than those in Jap camps where roughly only 3 percent survived, according to my recollections. Near the end of the war, “kill orders” went out all over the Pacific, leaving relatively few POWs left.

    Further, our treatment of German and Japanese POWs was by contrast humane to the point that they were fed basically the same food our troops got and otherwise were treated as fellow human beings. By contrast, the Japs were the ultimate racists, viewing all Americans as “sub-human.” Also, the Jap culture for centuries taught that to surrender as a prisoner rather than to die was cowardly; hence, their disdain for Westerners. And, lastly, their guards were the dregs of the Imperial Army, misfits and goons for the most part.

  • The Japanese gave good treatment to Russian prisoners taken in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. By World War II a spurious code of Bushido had the Japanese military in its grip and the Japanese treated prisoners with little mercy. Western prisoners had a death rate of 27.1%, seven times the rate of Western prisoners held by the Nazis. Most of the men released by the Japanese were mere skeletons and had survived through incredible tenacity and luck. In regard to China, Japan after the war released 56 Chinese prisoners. The Japanese routinely immediately murdered any Asians who fought against them and were luckless enough to fall into their hands. Millions of Chinese were slaughtered in ways that horrified Nazi observers. The Japanese high command had issued an order that all Western prisoners of war were to be executed immediately if the Japanese Home Islands were invaded.

  • Don, the aforementioned Sidney Stewart was 65 pounds when he was rescued. He was 6-foot-1.

  • BTW, I just started The Rape of Nanking, a pre-WWII horror story of epic proportions. No wonder the Chicoms hate the Japanese so much.

  • “I recall seeing the movie “Bataan” back around 1957 when I was at Sacred Heart College. Quite a chilling movie, parts of which I can still recall.”

    One part of the film that I can recall Don is a meeting between Allied officers and Filipino guerrillas where the officers are warning them where MacArthur’s initial landings are going to occur so that the Filipino civilians can be evacuated. The Filipino guerrilla leader notes that such an evacuation would warn the Japanese that an invasion was coming and that therefore there would be no evacuation.
    Here is a link to a clip from the film. The scene I mentioned begins at 6:56.

    Filipino and American guerrillas fought on throughout the War. By the time MacArthur returned the Japanese had tenuous control of only twelve of forty-eight provinces. The Japanese killed some one million Filipinos during the War but they never conquered them.

  • I couldn’t get through the Rape of Nanking Joe, I was too appalled. I have read a great deal about Man’s inhumanity to Man, but the Japanese Imperial Army in that particular slaughter set a new record in my estimation for putting massive amounts of people to death in ways of unimaginable cruelty. In 2007 100 Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers in Japan denounced the Rape of Nanking as a Chinese fabrication. If that were only the case.

  • The Chinese lost some 10 to 20 million people at the hands of the Japanese, all but some three million civilian deaths. This is a part of the War in the Pacific that has been largely forgotten outside of China, but it should not be.

  • Don, the author, Iris Chang, took so much heat in the book’s aftermath for alleged sloppy research that she fell into depression and finally killed herself. Most scholars and historians appear to find her account credible, but there was a concerted effort — by the Japanese in particular — to find fault with her work. I’m just on the first chapter and so far, yes, it is appalling. As much as I want to avert my eyes from such horrors, I feel I cannot. Evil should be looked square in the eye and, when possible, be fought at every turn.

  • Her suicide was appallingly sad Joe. The historical record is crystal clear in regard to the Rape of Nanking. There were plenty of Westerners in Nanking at the time who recorded precisely what was happening. One of the heroes who saved 200,000-250,000 Chinese was John Rabe, a Nazi businessman. Here is one of many notes that he made at the time:

    “Two Japanese soldiers have climbed over the garden wall and are about to break into our house. When I appear they give the excuse that they saw two Chinese soldiers climb over the wall. When I show them my party badge, they return the same way. In one of the houses in the narrow street behind my garden wall, a woman was raped, and then wounded in the neck with a bayonet. I managed to get an ambulance so we can take her to Kulou Hospital…. Last night up to 1,000 women and girls are said to have been raped, about 100 girls at Ginling Girls’ College alone. You hear nothing but rape. If husbands or brothers intervene, they’re shot. What you hear and see on all sides is the brutality and bestiality of the Japanese soldiers.”

    Rabe was a man of rare courage. He later renounced his membership in the Nazi party. After the War he and his family were living in dire poverty. Though China was wracked by Civil War, the citizens of Nanking hearing about his troubles sent him 2000 dollars and until the Communist takeover sent him and his family a large package of food every month for which Rabe and his family were very grateful. He died of a stroke in 1950, and he is one former Nazi I hope some day to encounter in Heaven.

  • On the tenuous connection of books nearly too depressing to read — have you read Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands yet, Don?

    I started on it last night, and within a few pages was thinking maybe I should go back to the Great War (Storm of Steel is next on my list there) in order to avoid the depression. However, a friend of mine who teaches Polish history tells me that I absolutely must read it, so I guess I shall have to.

    It takes a great deal to make trench warfare look cheerful, but living between Russia and Germany during the 30s and 40s pretty much fits the bill.

  • Darwin, that reminds me of Jerzy Kosinki’s The Painted Bird, a fictional account of Poland during WWII, which reads all too real.

    Don, there was a biopic made about Rabe but don’t know if was released in the U.S. Here’s a link:

  • “On the tenuous connection of books nearly too depressing to read — have you read Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands yet, Don?”

    No Darwin, although it is on my list. Eastern European history always reminds me of Hamlet: it goes on at great length, all the participants seemed to be touched in the head to a certain extent, and everybody ends up murdered!

    Norman Davies, although he is a good bit of a snot like most Brit historians, is my favorite when it comes to Polish history.

    Storm of Steel is a true classic! Ernst Junger who saw some of the most horrifying combat imaginable actually enjoyed the War! An ultra German nationalist he was also an anti-Nazi and was peripherally involved in the the Von Stauffenberg assassination attempt. His eldest son, a naval cadet, was sentenced to a penal battalion for subversion and died in Italy in 1944.

    A writer of true genius, Junger was also a druggie who experimented with drugs most of his life. A year before his death at 102 in 1998 he converted to Catholicism and faithfully received communion regularly thereafter. Junger is one of the more fascinating literary figures of the 20th Century in my opinion.

  • Thanks for the tip Joe. I’ll try to get my hands on it.

  • Don, found it at my local library and have ordered. 74% ‘fresh’ on Rotten Tomatoes.

  • Hey, Don…look what I found:

  • That last one was in German…Here’s the official trailer:

  • Bravo Joe! That trailer has sold me on the film!

  • Re Storm of Steel, which I have yet to read. Check out this review:

    (A brilliant book, a great book. Horrifying in its realistic greatness. Power, nationalistic passion, verve—the German book on the [First World] War. A member of his generation rises to speak about the deeply emotional event of war and performs miracles in presenting his innermost feelings.)

    — Joseph Goebbels, 20 January 1926

  • Yeah, the Nazis assumed since Junger was an uber Nationalist he was one of them. After they took over they learned better when he declined a seat in the Reichstag and declined to head the German Academy of Literature. By 1938 he was under investigation by the Gestapo and banned from writing. He spent World War II as an Army Captain. I have little doubt that he would have been executed by the Nazis, but for the immense prestige that he enjoyed in Germany, and the fact that he kept a low profile.

  • Don, apparently Storm of Steel went through several revisions and translations to “tone it down,” as it were, due to its graphic nature.

    I plan to get to Bloodlands, too. So many books; so little time. BTW The Catholic Thing has an essay today on reading, which TAC followers may find of interest.

  • apparently Storm of Steel went through several revisions and translations to “tone it down,” as it were, due to its graphic nature.

    With the knowledge of a man who just read the introduction to the new Penguine translation last night…

    The first edition was in 1920, and was basically a straight transcription of Junger’s diaries. There was another edition in 1924 which turned it into a polished “literary” version, but still distinctly dark and bloody. Junger revised it again in 1934 and in the process cut out many of the most nationalistic and political passages — this was as it was becoming an international best seller (Junger was already becoming very popular in France) — somewhat to the annoyance of the Nazi’s.

    Junger continued to revise the work up through 1961.

    Actually, the same friend recommended Junger, Bloodlands, and 14-18 (which I just finished), all of which look to be very good (though not exactly cheery) reads.

  • The Japanese, as a whole, have not owned up to their atrocities in the same way the Germans have. With certain noble exceptions–one of which was atom bomb survivor and Catholic scientist Takashi Nagai, who permitted his hauntingly brilliant “Bells of Nagasaki” to be printed with an appendix detailing Japanese atrocities in the Philippines. The Occupation government required this in order for “Bells” to be printed.

    Speaking of which, Bells is must reading, as is Ignatius’ biography of Nagai, “A Song for Nagasaki.”

  • Is his cause up for canonization?

    There are memorials to Fr. Capodanno and Fr. Kapaun at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Wisconsin. This Shrine commemorates the first approved Marian apparition in the U.S.. Approval was very recent.

  • I have seen no evidence of any attempt to have Father Cummings canonized. Maryknoll recognizes him as one of the nine Maryknoll martyrs:

  • Don.
    The movie I was referring to was the previous movie “Bataan” made in 1943 according to the youtube item – not “Return to Bataan” – but seeing The Duke in action was worth the watch.

    Interesting that the comments morphed into WW2 in Germany WRT actions and POW’s – my uncle Joe Murphy – obviously of Irish stock – flew navigator in Lancasters and was shot down 4 times, but escaped only 3 times – (the luck of the Irish?) and was a POW for the last 18 months of the war.
    But my comment is really about a German gentleman I got to meet, and I served (Acolyte) at his Requiem Mass a couple of months ago. I had met Rudi in a retirment home a year before where I take Holy Communion to each week to several residents.
    Rudi Baumgart was born in 1925 in Romania of German parents – his father working in mining there. When He was an infant his family moved to Latvia to a farm his father inherited from his great grandfather. In 1939 when Germany invaded Latvia, Rudi was conscripted into the Wermacht as an engineer on his own insistence. When the Red army invaded Poland, where Rudi was stationed, he returned to Latvia. But Russia also invaded Latvia, and he was conscripted into the Russian army. When war ended, he did not believe a promise made to many German soldiers by the Russians, and he and several other germans escaped back to West Germany. He would never speak of the things he did while escaping to survive – it must have been very traumatic for him.
    He married and eventually made his way to Australia, then to NZ. His marriage broke up in Oz where he left a son and a daughter and worked in NZ where he made many friends and met another woman who he never married, but loved her dearly till she died in 2005. He returned to his Catholic faith through the efforts of a lovely local Catholic woman. On some occasions when I took him Communion, he would clasp the crucifix in his hands, and with tears say that he might not be forgiven for the terrible things he had done in his earlier life. He had been to Confession regularly before I met him, and had been annointed a few times due to his infirmities, and I assured him that Jesus had forgiven him his sins.
    He had a vibrant sense of humour – would often speak to me in German with a grin on his face – did he really translate what he said correctly ? :-). I took him Communion two weeks before he died – the next couple of weeks he would be asleep; he died four days after my last call.
    May God rest your soul. Reqiescat in Pace, Rudi Baumgart

  • A beautiful story indeed Don! I was unaware of the film Bataan until internet research led me to believe that it was probably the film you were referring to. It was notable for two things: giving, for the time, a realistic view of combat, and for a young Desi Arnaz, years before he married Lucille Ball.

    Here is a link to a clip from the film:

  • “Junger was also a druggie who experimented with drugs most of his life. A year before his death at 102 in 1998 he converted to Catholicism and faithfully received communion regularly thereafter.”

    An ex-Nazi and drug dabbler converting to the Faith at the age of 101? I guess there really is hope for us all….

  • “a young Desi Arnaz, years before he married Lucille Ball.”

    Lucy and Desi were married in 1940.

  • You are correct Elaine. Interestingly enough, they divorced in 1944 and subsequently reconciled. It is incredible to me that the marriage survived for two decades.

What Pro-Abort Catholics Must Believe

Sunday, August 7, AD 2011

Hattip to Mathew Archbold at Creative Minority Report.  The poster is funny and devastating.  However, I would find it even more humorous if purported Catholic newspapers didn’t publish articles like this,  or if articles like this were not dead on accurate as to the attitudes of radical nuns or if so many pro-aborts, an example is here, didn’t end up in positions of power within agencies associated with the Church.  The pro-life cause would be so much more effective if so many Catholics in this country were not actively supporting the right to kill unborn kids.

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47 Responses to What Pro-Abort Catholics Must Believe

  • The solution to pro-abort Catholics is Acts 5:1-11, 1st Timothy 1:19-20, and Revelation 2:20-23. Precedence has been set.

  • This is too much, Mac.

    I had to “can” the Ontario bass fishing trip this year, and now you add to it.

    They ever and always say they are not pro-abortion.

    They ‘say’ they are “pro-Obama/pro-socialist justice.” Some (causes and) effects of pro-Obamanation are untrammeled and unregulated abortion and tax dollars funding abortions and artificial contraception.

    CST/pro-abort Catholics are oh-so charitable with other people’s money they stole, er, confiscated, er, taxed.

    “God gave us memory so we could have roses in December.” From the author of “Peter Pan.

  • Here we run into the problem of God’s kingdom versus worldly political entities. The world runs counter to Christian ethics. Chrisianity can work to influence society. But it cannot be held responsible for a society that resists it.

  • “But it cannot be held responsible for a society that resists it.”

    Individual Christians certainly can be held accountable for helping society resist Christian ethics or doing nothing to help stand up for Christian ethics. I truly pity anyone living in our country today, of at least normal intelligence and health, who has to come before God for the particular judgment and has never lifted a little finger to fight against abortion.

  • Donald, people have different callings. People minister in different ways. One does this. Another does that. The different parts analogy that St. Paul used to describe the church explains that people are gifted in different ways for that reason.

  • But we have to face the fact that we live in a dying nation. We’ve reached our peak and are even now in decline. We face the circumstances that are faced during decline. We try to manage it. Spengler said that the task is one of management. You cannot build. But you can manage what’s coming undone. And it needs management.

  • Quite right pat and the pro-life cause can use all of those different callings: volunteers at crisis pregnancy center, counselors for post abortive women, political volunteers, side walk counselors at abortion clinics, women who say the rosary daily for the unborn, marchers for the unborn, adopting the child of a woman who was thinking of an abortion until this option for her baby came into her life, educating people about the reality of abortion, undercover work at abortion clinics, and the list is endless.

  • “But we have to face the fact that we live in a dying nation. We’ve reached our peak and are even now in decline. We face the circumstances that are faced during decline. We try to manage it. Spengler said that the task is one of management. You cannot build. But you can manage what’s coming undone. And it needs management.”

    Spengler, I assume you are referring to the author of the turgid and unreadable Decline of the West, was an idiot. I made it through his tome and regretted every hour I wasted doing so.

    There is nothing inevitable about the fate of a society, anymore than there is about the fate of an individual. Our actions largely determine our fate for most of us.

  • Well, I think we’re in agreement except for the rosary. I believe that that’s rooted in medieval tradition: it stems from the iconography of the rose and the cult of Mary. It developed into a devotional strategy, since beads are universal and helpful for concentrating. I certainly have nothing against using beads. But I have great reservations regarding prayer to Mary or any other deceased saint. I see no warrant for it in Scripture, and I see in fact a potential danger present: prayers to saints beyond the grave could too easily become communication with the dead. Too dangerous.

  • And starting with Archbishop Timothy Dolan and the rest of the USCCB, our Bishops can start piublically kaing an example of pro-abortion pseudo-Catholic politicians like Andy Cuomo, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, and the rest. Instead, those like Bishop Hubbard eulogizes such people. When he did what he did to support Cuomo, he effectviely sabatoged every effort that Archbishop Dolan tried to make to convince Cuomo not to support gay marriage in NY State. How can what we do have any positive effect when Bishops like Hubbard are still heads of USCCB offices, and not punished for what they have done?

  • I agree that actions determine outcomes. Free-will, decisions, yes….THe problem is that on a national scale it’s harder to turn itself around—that’s dependent upon so many individuals who each need to do their own part. I appreciate Toynbee for his insight into how Christianity can revive an entity. But I don’t see it happening now.

  • Pat in reference to the rosary, are you a Catholic? Veneration of the Blessed Virgin is basic Catholic doctrine. Pope Leo XIII wrote 11 encyclicals on the rosary. Here is a link to one of them:

    A hallmark of Catholicism has always been the veneration we give to the Queen of Heaven.

  • How would one know to whom or what one is praying? Simply too dangerous. I know that veneration of Mary is endorsed by Rome. I believe that’s been a slow development over the centuries in what is called tradition. I don’t believe it can be supported or squared with the Scriptures.

  • “I appreciate Toynbee for his insight into how Christianity can revive an entity. But I don’t see it happening now.”

    Toynbee had some useful insights, I think I can safely say that after reading all 12 volumes of his Study of History, but his look at civilizations around the globe was an ultimately ill-fated attempt to derive universal laws of civilization from the experience of Western civilization. His idea of Universal Churches supplying a bridge between civilizations, Greece and Rome to the modern West, is intriguing but is not either universal in application or predictive for the future.

    How societies develop is largely a function of the decisions made by the men and women who inhabit them. One individual can have an enormous impact, for good or ill. Nothing is written in a book of fate until we write it.

  • Even high Anglicans and Anglo-Catholics do it. I would never. The pattern throughout Scripture is dialogue between God and His people (and among His people of course). But we don’t find peopel communicating across earthly barriers unless it’s with the triune God who stands over and above creation. Never does one communicate across those barriers to another aspect of creation.

  • My knowledge of Toynbee is very limited. But it sounds very believable. Most works written on that level betray a Western perspective, no matter how epic or groundbreaking or unusually objective they may appear at first glance.

  • “I believe that’s been a slow development over the centuries in what is called tradition.”

    You are incorrect in that assumption. The veneration of Mary dates from the earliest days of the Church.

    “The first thing which kindles ardor in learning is the greatness of the teacher. What is greater than the Mother of God? What more glorious than she whom Glory Itself chose?”

    Saint Ambrose 377 AD

  • “Never does one communicate across those barriers to another aspect of creation.”

    Fatima and other Church approved examples of Marian appartions would indicate otherwise. Do you say the Hail Mary pat? I ask that not to slam you, but if you are a Catholic, I would think that many of the basic aspects of the Faith would cause you to feel uncomfortable, considering your views regarding the Mother of God.

  • Yes, but such things didn’t crystallize into dogma until very much later. Augustine and Ambrose, obviously, and other Patristics spoke of her int hese terms. More often than not, though, I believe they were trying to make some broader theological point. As far as prayer to and veneration of her, I think the cult of Mary came later. The associations surrounding Mary build with time.

  • Pat,

    Please read:

    Praying to the Saints at Catholic Answers

    “Mary, Saints, Worship, and Salvation: Do Catholics Worship Mary?” at Steve Ray’s “Defender’s of the Catholic Faith”

  • As for Fatima, Garabandal, etc., I don’t believe those experiences were correctly understood. I fear that people were either mistaken or misled in those matters. Again, it comes down to whether you accept tradition wholesale or whether you weigh it against Scripture to see whether it accords.

  • I think that within the biblical narrative, Mary is a background figure, as is Joseph and other relatives. They occasionally come into prominence at certain points throughout the story. Then they recede into the background once again. We find no mention of these poeple in the epistles. The focus is on the prime players, apostles, etc.

  • What’s key here is that God revealed himself fully in Christ. The Holy Spirit was sent forth at Pentecost. The church is alive in teh world. And we learn in teh N.T. who the key players were, and who some of the helpers were, too. Mary is never again mentioned. Nor Joseph. Nor any of Jesus’ other earthly relativesw. So we have a Triune God and we have His Church. We have the Holy Spirit in the world. That’s the picture we get.

  • In regard to the Blessed Virgin pat, Pope Pius XII in his encyclical Ad Caeli Reginam, gives a good overview of the intense veneration that the Church has always had for her:

    “Since we are convinced, after long and serious reflection, that great good will accrue to the Church if this solidly established truth shines forth more clearly to all, like a luminous lamp raised aloft, by Our Apostolic authority We decree and establish the feast of Mary’s Queenship, which is to be celebrated every year in the whole world on the 31st of May. We likewise ordain that on the same day the consecration of the human race to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary be renewed, cherishing the hope that through such consecration a new era may begin, joyous in Christian peace and in the triumph of religion.”

    Veneration of Mary and Catholicism are inextricably linked.

  • Yes, it’s a pronouncement. I stand in disagreement with it. Mary became an idea. She has a history. There’s a devotion, a cult, an understanding attached to her that’s not Scripturally derived. I just don’t know what to say. I simply can’t believe it in good conscience.

  • In the O.T. certain pagans baked cakes devoted to “the Queen of Heaven.” So what I can say is that it’s a pagan category. It’s not a Christian one. We learn from Scripture that God / Jesus Christ is King. We don’t find that Mary is Queen. That label is never attached to her. It’s jsut not a Christian concept. It came later. It was an idea that caught on for various reasons. But it’s not scripturally derived. It’s origin lies in tradition.

  • Patristic writers wrote in terms of analogy and utilized typology. So you find comparisons between the Old and the New. Sometimes that arises with regard to Eve and Mary. I think this morphed into something else later on. What you eventually find is a devotional stance toward Mary that probably wasn’t anticipated but that’s anachronistically thought about.

  • “We find no mention of these people in the epistles.”

    Actually Mary is mentioned in Galatians 4:4. She is of course also mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles and in the Book of Revelation. Saint Iraneus, a disciple of Saint Polycarp, who was a disciple of Saint John, to whom Christ from the Cross committed the care of His mother, says of Mary:

    “The Lord, coming into his own creation in visible form, was sustained by his own creation which he himself sustains in being. His obedience on the tree of the cross reversed the disobedience at the tree in Eden; the good news of the truth announced by an angel to Mary, a virgin subject to a husband, undid the evil lie that seduced Eve, a virgin espoused to a husband.

    As Eve was seduced by the word of an angel and so fled from God after disobeying his word, Mary in her turn was given the good news by the word of an angel, and bore God in obedience to his word. As Eve was seduced into disobedience to God, so Mary was persuaded into obedience to God; thus the Virgin Mary became the advocate of the virgin Eve.

    Christ gathered all things into one, by gathering them into himself. He declared war against our enemy, crushed him who at the beginning had taken us captive in Adam, and trampled on his head, in accordance with God’s words to the serpent in Genesis: I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall lie in wait for your head, and you shall lie in wait for his heel.

    The one lying in wait for the serpent’s head is the one who was born in the likeness of Adam from the woman, the Virgin. This is the seed spoken of by Paul in the letter to the Galatians: The law of works was in force until the seed should come to whom the- promise was made.

    He shows this even more clearly in the same letter when he says: When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman. The enemy would not have been defeated fairly if his vanquisher had not been born of a woman, because it was through a woman that he had gained mastery over man in the beginning, and set himself up as man’s adversary.”

  • All that sounds agreeable enough. But I’m not sure how it establishes veneration of Mary or lays the groundwork for the Marian cult. I just don’t see it. Through Mary came Christ who brought us victory. Yes, that’s extraordinary. I just fail to see how that results in veneration, devotion, and cultic practice surrounding her.

  • Surely there was the comjparison made by St. Paul between Adam and Christ. THere is Jerusalem below in bondage and that which is above who is our Mother–she’s free. And many other similar analogies drawn. Typology is always big in certain circles. The ante-types and types are good as far as they go. The mistake we sometimes make is to dogmatize them. Instead, we should appreciate the insights they afford us and move on.

  • Typology and analogy in reference to Mary pat do not get to the core of Catholic devotion to Mary. As Christ loved His mother, so do we. Imagine the privilege granted to her to be the Mother of God. Someone so honored by God is entitled to every ounce of veneration we humans can muster.

  • This link on whether Fatima is mandatory for Catholics by a Carmelite teacher at Loyola might be helpful for Donald and Pat:

  • I think the Immaculate Conception, the Assumption,the Rosary, etc. are based in Theological Truth and have been ratified by Infallible Teachings of the Popes.

    The Assumption s one of the Glorious Mysteries of our redemption in the Rosary.

  • Pat,

    Please watch this 11 minute video:

    The Truth About Mary and Scripture: MUST SEE!

  • Be careful of making the rosary mandatory as though it had the status if the IC and Assumption.
    Here from the link above:

    Very instructive in this regard is the advice of Pope Paul VI in his greatest Marian letter (February 2, 1974, Marialis Cultus, on the promotion of devotion to Mary). The letter explains the strong place of our Lady in the revised liturgy and then has a further section on the Rosary and the Angelus. We recall the role of the Rosary at Lourdes, LaSalette and Fatima. At the end of his warm pages about the Rosary Pope Paul wrote — it is surely applicable also to Fatima and other apparitions, that they must not be used to restrict the legitimate freedom of loyal sons and daughters of the Church: “In concluding these observations, which give proof of the concern and esteem which the Apostolic See has for the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin, we desire at the same time that this very worthy devotion should not be propagated in a way that is too one-sided or exclusive. The Rosary is an excellent prayer, but the faithful should feel serenely free in its regard. They should be drawn to its calm recitation by its intrinsic appeal”

    In short there may be people who do not acclimate to the repetitive nature of the rosary and are more given like perhaps Pat to talking to God. James Joyce, I think in “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” sees Mary as more approachable for some humans.

  • No one is required to pray the Rosary, but I truly feel pity for those who do not:


    971 “All generations will call me blessed”: “The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship.”515 The Church rightly honors “the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of ‘Mother of God,’ to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs. . . . This very special devotion . . . differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration.”516 The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an “epitome of the whole Gospel,” express this devotion to the Virgin Mary.517 “

  • Pope Benedict on the Rosary:

    “Dear Brothers and Sisters,

    At the conclusion of this moment of Marian prayer, I would like to address my cordial greeting to all of you and thank you for your participation. In particular I greet Cardinal Bernard Francis Law, Archpriest of this stupendous Basilica of St Mary Major. In Rome this is the Marian temple par excellence, in which the people of the City venerate the icon of Mary Salus Populi Romani with great affection. I gladly welcomed the invitation addressed to me to lead the Holy Rosary on the First Saturday of the month of May, according to the beautiful tradition that I have had since my childhood. In fact, in my generation’s experience, the evenings of May evoke sweet memories linked to the vespertine gatherings to honour the Blessed Mother. Indeed, how is it possible to forget praying the Rosary in the parish or rather in the courtyards of the houses and in the country lanes?

    Today, together we confirm that the Holy Rosary is not a pious practice banished to the past, like prayers of other times thought of with nostalgia. Instead, the Rosary is experiencing a new Springtime. Without a doubt, this is one of the most eloquent signs of love that the young generation nourish for Jesus and his Mother, Mary. In the current world, so dispersive, this prayer helps to put Christ at the centre, as the Virgin did, who meditated within all that was said about her Son, and also what he did and said. When reciting the Rosary, the important and meaningful moments of salvation history are relived. The various steps of Christ’s mission are traced. With Mary the heart is oriented toward the mystery of Jesus. Christ is put at the centre of our life, of our time, of our city, through the contemplation and meditation of his holy mysteries of joy, light, sorrow and glory. May Mary help us to welcome within ourselves the grace emanating from these mysteries, so that through us we can “water” society, beginning with our daily relationships, and purifying them from so many negative forces, thus opening them to the newness of God. The Rosary, when it is prayed in an authentic way, not mechanical and superficial but profoundly, it brings, in fact, peace and reconciliation. It contains within itself the healing power of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, invoked with faith and love at the centre of each “Hail Mary”.

    Dear brothers and sisters, let us thank God who has allowed us to live such a beautiful hour this evening, and in the following evenings of this Marian month, even if we will be far away, each in their own family and community, may we, just the same, feel close and united in prayer. Especially in these days that prepare us for the Solemnity of Pentecost, let us remain united with Mary, invoking for the Church a renewed effusion of the Holy Spirit. As at the origins, Mary Most Holy helps the faithful of every Christian community to form one heart and soul. I entrust to you the most urgent intentions of my ministry, the needs of the Church, the grave problems of humanity: peace in the world, unity among Christians, dialogue between all cultures. And thinking of Rome and Italy, I invite you to pray for the pastoral goals of the Diocese, and for the united development of this beloved Country. To the new Mayor of Rome, Honourable Gianni Alemanno, who I see present here, I address the wish of a fruitful service for the good of the city’s entire community. To all of you gathered here and to those who are linked to us by radio and television, in particular the sick and the infirm, I gladly impart the Apostolic Blessing.”

  • The Gospels commend Mary for her faithful obedience. The patristic writings reflect a typological approach: as St. Paul drew the comparison between the first and second Adams, the two Jerusalems, and several other things, so patristic writers often compared Eve with Mary. This became a link in the development toward a Marian theology. But Marian veneration and devotion cannot be supported by Scriptural references. That would merely result in prooftexting.

    Veneration of Mary, and Marian devotion, would serve to detract from the worship of and reliance upon the God who manifests as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. After Jesus ascended and the time of Pentecost arrived, the Comforter was sent; that was the arrangement.

  • The prophecy to Eve was fulfilled when Christ came (who crushes the serpent under our feet). The woman of Revelation who flees to the desert for protection is emblamatic of the people of God. The woman with stars surrounding her head and the moon under her feet is once again the church. We learn that the church is the bride of Christ. But to see Mary in that symbolism just doesn’t make sense. It’s anticlimactic.

    St. Paul speaks of the Jerusalem which is above, which is free and is our mother. Zion gives birth. The saints are registered in heaven. It’s the great assembly of God. Paul contrasts this with earthly Jerusalem who is in bondage. The focus is spiritual now.

  • And that’s key. We learn in one of the epistles that “God will soon crush Satan under our feet.” Whose feet? The people to whom the epistle was addressed. Who was that? The church. He’s crushed under the feet of the saints. So the woman who stands upon the serpent and crushes him is God’s people, the church (and this happens of course because of the victory of Christ and not because of anything the people have done in and of themselves). Yes, God became incarnate through the virgin Mary, but that’s to go backwards in time.

  • Pat,

    Your arguments against veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints are not consistent with what the early Church Fathers taught. Please see:

    The Intercession of the Saints

    No offense intended, but you seem to use Scripture as a Protestant would, placing your own interpretation on it outside of what 2000 years of Sacred Tradition and the teaching of Magisterium of the Church have to say.

    2nd Peter 1:20-21 says that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of private interpretation. In other words, your personal opinion and certainly mine also (and especially), outside of what Holy Mother Church has to say, is invalid.

    St. Paul writes in 2nd Thessalonians 2:15 that we are to hold onto the Traditions taught by the Apostles (and obviously their successors, though he didn’t explicity state that). It is that Tradition which helps to guide us in reading and studying Scripture. Doing so from the standpoint of Sola Scriptura is erroneous. Indeed, the Church determined by the power of the Holy Spirit what would be in the Canon of Holy Scripture and what wouldn’t be, so why when it comes to the veneration of the Saints and the Blessed Virgin Mary do we say She erred, but not in the case of the determination of what would be in the Canon of Sacred Scripture?

    Consistent with this, St. Paul also states in 1st Timothy 3:15 that it is the Church which is the pillar and foundation (or bulwark) of truth, whereas most Protestants would ascribe that to their own private interpretation of Scripture.

    We can see from this then that we have a stool whose legs are Scripture, Tradition and Church that reveal to us what is Truth. Take any of those legs away (as Martin Luther and John Calvin did), and the edifice falls over. Your comments essentially take away two of those legs when it comes to a 2000 year old pious Christian practice (praying to the Saints and the Blessed Virgin Mary) while ignoring the requirements of the third regarding the former two.

    The bottom line is that veneration of the Saints and Mary (NOT worship) has been an authentic Christian practice since earliest times, certain well before the Middle Ages. You will see that from the text on the web page to which I provide the link above. Again, no offense intended – I am just trying to explain a difficult subject and the right words sometimes fail me.

  • Thanks for the explanation. It was probably the best and most thorough that one could offer. Yes, tradition is a leg, but only one leg, and not the central, supporting one. All else must square with Scripture, not a private interpretaiton of it, but an interpretation that’s orthodox—accepted widely and passed down as correct. So we have a triune God, the resurrection, baptism, the Eurcharist, etc. We have a general orthodoxy. But when traditions arrive that don’t square with the orthodoxy or when they represent something radically novel so as to alter the original sense, they do not have to be accepted. The perpetual virginity of Mary cannot be proven by Scripture. Her bodily assumption cannot be proven by Scripture. An absense of sin cannot be proven and would in fact call for a different sense of orthodoxy regarding original / actual sin. These are all additional traditions that represent a radically new vision of Mary. Prayer, devotion, and veneration of Mary are bound up with that new vision, a profound departure from the earlier sense. It was a very gradual development, so it’s not that recognizable.

  • The Church made Scripture pat, not the other way around. The New Testament is a creation of the Church founded by Christ, it does not create the Church. Any interpretation of Scripture at odds with the teaching of the Church is an erroneous one. Scripture for Catholics derives its authority from the Church. The Church derives her authority from Christ and not from Scripture.


    105 God is the author of Sacred Scripture. “The divinely revealed realities, which are contained and presented in the text of Sacred Scripture, have been written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.”69

    “For Holy Mother Church, relying on the faith of the apostolic age, accepts as sacred and canonical the books of the Old and the New Testaments, whole and entire, with all their parts, on the grounds that, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author, and have been handed on as such to the Church herself.”70

    106 God inspired the human authors of the sacred books. “To compose the sacred books, God chose certain men who, all the while he employed them in this task, made full use of their own faculties and powers so that, though he acted in them and by them, it was as true authors that they consigned to writing whatever he wanted written, and no more.”71

    107 The inspired books teach the truth. “Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures.”72

    108 Still, the Christian faith is not a “religion of the book.” Christianity is the religion of the “Word” of God, a word which is “not a written and mute word, but the Word which is incarnate and living”.73 If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, “open [our] minds to understand the Scriptures.”74


    109 In Sacred Scripture, God speaks to man in a human way. To interpret Scripture correctly, the reader must be attentive to what the human authors truly wanted to affirm, and to what God wanted to reveal to us by their words.75

    110 In order to discover the sacred authors’ intention, the reader must take into account the conditions of their time and culture, the literary genres in use at that time, and the modes of feeling, speaking and narrating then current. “For the fact is that truth is differently presented and expressed in the various types of historical writing, in prophetical and poetical texts, and in other forms of literary expression.”76

    111 But since Sacred Scripture is inspired, there is another and no less important principle of correct interpretation, without which Scripture would remain a dead letter. “Sacred Scripture must be read and interpreted in the light of the same Spirit by whom it was written.”77

    The Second Vatican Council indicates three criteria for interpreting Scripture in accordance with the Spirit who inspired it.78

    112 1. Be especially attentive “to the content and unity of the whole Scripture”. Different as the books which compose it may be, Scripture is a unity by reason of the unity of God’s plan, of which Christ Jesus is the center and heart, open since his Passover.79

    The phrase “heart of Christ” can refer to Sacred Scripture, which makes known his heart, closed before the Passion, as the Scripture was obscure. But the Scripture has been opened since the Passion; since those who from then on have understood it, consider and discern in what way the prophecies must be interpreted.80

    113 2. Read the Scripture within “the living Tradition of the whole Church”. According to a saying of the Fathers, Sacred Scripture is written principally in the Church’s heart rather than in documents and records, for the Church carries in her Tradition the living memorial of God’s Word, and it is the Holy Spirit who gives her the spiritual interpretation of the Scripture (“. . . according to the spiritual meaning which the Spirit grants to the Church”81).”

  • I’ve believed all of that. On Truth and Inspiration of Scripture, and on the Holy Spirit as Interpreter, sounds correct. But regarding 113, cannot the church err? Cannot the church miss the Spirit’s interpretation of the living Word? These things happen all the time. That’s why I believe traditions must be checked to see whether they accord with Scripture (an enlightened understanding of it by way of the Spirit of God).

  • The New Testament developed within the church. But whatever comes after it must accord with it to be accepted. And it can never be equal in status to the canon that reached its close.

  • Veneration and worship are different.

    113 2. from the 5:52 post:
    It Is perfect to help you get the mentality or ideas (of cult/ worship, the church ‘erring’) together with the heart and by the grace of the Holy Spirit to understand veneration.

    … Sacred Scripture is written principally in the Church’s heart … her Tradition the living memorial of God’s Word, …

    113 2. Read the Scripture within “the living Tradition of the whole Church”. According to a saying of the Fathers, Sacred Scripture is written principally in the Church’s heart rather than in documents and records, for the Church carries in her Tradition the living memorial of God’s Word, and it is the Holy Spirit who gives her the spiritual interpretation of the Scripture (“. . . according to the spiritual meaning which the Spirit grants to the Church”81).”

  • Patty, while that’s in some sense true, I think we have to understand what that means. The church = the people of God. We read the Scripture guided by the Holy Spirit who interprets spiritual truth for us. So there is a collective voice or understanding. However, the people of God stand amidst others in this life — the parable of the wheat and tares gets something like that across. So to locate the collective understanding in “the heart of the church” is no easy task. We need to acquire patterns of discernment. So it is with our understanding of biblical characters. In the book of Hebrews we find a list of people who have often been termed heroes of the faith. They were all commmended. And that, I believe, is the category to which Mary belongs. Like Abraham, Noah, Moses, Rahab, etc., she believed and acted obediently as a result. A pattern of discernment would also recognize that that list is ongoing: Christians who live and die around the world today for their faith, not shrinking back but accepting trials, tribulations, and persecution couragously find their place in that “heroe’s hall of fame”. David Livingstone, Coorie Ten Boom, Cassie Bernall, and so on, all died in faith having lived obediently regardless of the cost. There is no rank here. There is no saintly hierarchy. They were each faithful to what they were assigned, and they each receive that commendation, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

Vacations and Reality

Sunday, August 7, AD 2011


I divide the causes of human laughter into Joy, Fun, the Joke Proper, and Flippancy. You will see the first among friends and lovers reunited on the eve of a holiday. Among adults some pretext in the way of Jokes is usually provided, but the facility with which the smallest witticisms produce laughter at such a time shows that they are not the real cause. What that real cause is we do not know. Something like it is expressed in much of that detestable art which the humans call Music, and something like it occurs in Heaven—a meaningless acceleration in the rhythm of celestial experience, quite opaque to us. Laughter of this kind does us no good and should always be discouraged. Besides, the phenomenon is of itself disgusting and a direct insult to the realism, dignity, and austerity of Hell.

Fun is closely related to Joy—a sort of emotional froth arising from the play instinct. It is very little use to us. It can sometimes be used, of course, to divert humans from something else which the Enemy would like them to be feeling or doing: but in itself it has wholly undesirable tendencies; it promotes charity, courage, contentment, and many other evils.

                                                                 CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

My family and I had a great time on our vacation.  Gen Con was grand as it always is, and, as the picture at the top of the post indicates, I made a new friend!  (I am the one who is not green.)

During vacations I attempt to studiously ignore the news, forget about the Law, and focus in on my family and fun.  I find that a bit difficult to do, as I always take a great deal of interest in the noteworthy events of the day, and my legal practice tends to be fairly consuming of my time during non-vacation periods.  Fortunately my family I also find fascinating, and after a day or two I am in full vacation mode and everything but my family fades into the distance for a time.

Alas, vacations always end.  When I go back to my office on Monday, I know that I will have many messages to return, and a full schedule of appointments and court appearances to deal with.  Back home with the internet, I will spend at least an hour each day getting up to speed with current events, and writing my blog posts, and my life proceeds in its familiar non-vacation manner.

It would be easy for me to think that the vacation was a temporary illusion and the way I normally spend my life the reality, but this is incorrect.  God gives us this life as an entirety and it is not for us to divide it.  Our different activities each year and each day are merely facets of the time on this planet we have as a free-will gift from our Creator.  What we do with the time, good and bad, is up to us, but no portion is less our reality than any other portion.  It is our task to enfuse everything we do with love of God and love of our neighbor.

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15 Responses to Vacations and Reality

  • Oooh, lucky bum! Hope you saw some awesome costumes.

  • Indeed we did Foxfier. A ten foot Abraham Lincoln, the obligatory hordes of Star Wars Storm Troopers, a group of drow, endless Medieval knights and ladies, a hillbilly orc, etc. One could have a fine time at Gen Con just observing the passing parade of humanity in ingenious disguises!

  • Great pic, Don! Nice to finally put a face with the name.

    “It would be easy for me to think that the vacation was a temporary illusion and the way I normally spend my life the reality, but this is incorrect. God gives us this life as an entirety and it is not for us to divide it. Our different activities each year and each day are merely facets of the time on this planet we have as a free-will gift from our Creator. What we do with the time, good and bad, is up to us, but no portion is less our reality than any other portion. It is our task to enfuse everything we do with love of God and love of our neighbor.”

    Well said, Don.

  • Thank you Jay. I was concerned whether posting a picture of myself might violate the cruel and unusual section of the Constitution, but I decided to risk it!

  • Oooh, Gen Con, I’m jealous!! My husband and I went twice when it was still in Milwaukee (pre-kids) and had an absolute blast. He’s gone once to Indy (as a judge) but I’ve never been since it moved, and we’re hoping to go again someday when the kids are older.

  • Joanna, my wife and I began attending Gen Con in 1986 in Milwaukee and have attended each year since. (Actually my wife missed 1991, as she was heavily pregnant with our twin boys at the time and did not feel up to it.) It really is a great event for kids.

  • Wait, that can’t be you! Where’s the beard and the uniform coat?

  • I loaned them to General Rosecrans! 🙂

  • My husband thought about taking my son this year until he found out how much it was to go for just a day.. is it worth the expense for someone who has never been? Or is it worth the expense because it is a tradition for your family?

  • My family and I have always been intensively interested in games: boardgames, role playing games, computer games, so Gen Con is a natural fit for us. If someone is not so interested in games, it might not be worth the expense. My advice would be to read up about it on the internet and to look at some of the many videos about Gen Con on youtube. Our trip to Gen Con is our main vacation each year, so we allot the money for it in our annual budget.

    Here is a link to the badge costs this year for attendance at the convention:

    There was a special family of four admission for Sunday, today, of $40.00, and I would recommend that first time attendees take advantage of this to see if it is something they would be interested in.

  • When I think of vacations, I’m reminded of the Sabbath rest. In resting, we recognize our creaturehood with all of the limitations that implies. We look to God in reliance and thank him for his goodness. We renew ourselves as we seek to go forward operating on the Creator’s resources.

  • I find that short weekend getaways that involve traveling about 50-100 miles from home work best for us, and I find them most refreshing. This weekend, at the insistence of my daughter, we spent 1 1/2 days and 1 night in the Peoria area, where we used to live, revisiting some haunts we hadn’t seen in a while. It doesn’t bust the budget, and the amount of travel involved is just far enough to be a break from home without being so long as to be exhausting.

  • Thanks for the explanation on who is who in the photo, Don. 😉
    I’m sure you deserved (and needed) your time away from the office with family.

    I agree with your article WRT reality, with this proviso. Even though this world is a reality, it is not the ultimate reality. This world is to pass away – so it is partial reality. Our true reality is that for which we were created – this reality is a passage and a test for the true reality.
    Enough (too much maybe) philosophising for today 🙂 God bless.

  • True Don, our ultimate home is in the next world. However, as you point out, what we do in this world establishes where our destination ultimately lies in the next world.

  • Vacations are definitely needed for any working man (or woman). Welcome back Don!


Friday, August 5, AD 2011

Congrats.  You’ve managed to do what even Jimmy Carter couldn’t accomplish.

The United States lost its top-notch AAA credit rating from Standard & Poor’s on Friday in an unprecedented reversal of fortune for the world’s largest economy.

S&P cut the long-term U.S. credit rating by one notch to AA-plus on concerns about the government’s budget deficits and rising debt burden. The move is likely to raise borrowing costs eventually for the American government, companies and consumers.

“The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government’s medium-term debt dynamics,” S&P said in a statement.

Maybe we should have listened to those tea party “terrorists.”

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66 Responses to Failure

  • Maybe the Tea Party Terrorists should’ve listened to the Gang of 6.

  • Ouch.

    Kinda been expecting that since our debt went over last year’s GDP, but ouch.

  • Surely John Boehner or Harry Reid deserve the lion’s share of the blame here. Reid for refusing to raise the debt ceiling last year, and handing Boehner the (stupid and reckless) opportunity to destroy our credit rating; Boehner and the Congressional republicans for risking so much for so little – the deal they got addressed none of the underlying issues. Obama is a terrible negotiator, but then its difficult to negotiate with people as reckless as a
    Boehner and the ‘no more revenue, no matter what’ sloganeers.

  • John, are you kidding me? You’re blaming the Congressional Republicans when they’re the only ones that proposed a deal that actually meaningfully cut spending? And you’re blaming the Republicans when President Obama an Harry Reid refused to back that plan?

    You also seem to be implying that one of the reasons S&P downgraded was because we came so close to hitting the deadline, and for that the GOP is to blame. In a sense, yes, the acrimony did indicate to S&P that Washington would not reach a meaningful agreement on serious reform. But to blame Boehner and the tea partiers for that is absurd. S&P clearly wanted serious cuts, and they didn’t get them, and only one side was offering them.

    And speaking of sloganeering, maybe you’d like to write reckless one more time.

  • Actually, Boehner does get some blame – for not standing his ground. Then again, since I was one of the ones backing the deal, maybe I can partially blame myself.

  • Paul-
    last I heard, credit guys didn’t much care about the deal– they’ve been saying for weeks that none of the deals were big enough for them, and the financial experts were pointing out even longer that we wouldn’t actually have to default on our debts– the money coming in was enough to pay for debts, just not for continued spending. (Not that this ever hit the news…)
    I do recall hearing that if Obama would give assurance that, should the US go bankrupt, it would follow normal bankruptcy law and precedent, it would save our rating for now. I never heard of any such assurances being offered. The shafting of GM’s bond holders in favor of the unions apparently left a bad taste in folks’ mouths.

  • Could you imagine how hard it was for Boehner to negotiate with Obama and Harry Reid? Must have been like talking to a brick wall. The Dems deserve a majority of the blame since they refused to even debate on the two bills that passed the House. Cut, Cap, and Balance was the only plan that had a chance of meeting S & P’s standards for keeping our AAA rating – Obama is far worse and more radical than Jimmy Carter.

  • Time for a change Mr. Barry O’Bumma, you sunburnt Irishman you. 😉

  • Great picture.
    Failure is in his marrow.

  • You’re blaming the Congressional Republicans when they’re the only ones that proposed a deal that actually meaningfully cut spending?

    The Gang of Six plan cut spending more than the Boehner plan.

    If you read the S&P report, it’s clear that Congressional intransigence, not insufficient spending cuts, was the reason for the downgrade.

  • Blaming the Republicans in Congress for the credit downgrade is truly laughable. But for the 2010 elections, by now the Dems would have passed stimulus II, sent another trillion dollars down the rathole, and there would be no plan at all for any budget cuts. The simple truth is that most Republicans in Congess do want to make sharp cuts in Federal spending and most Democrats do not want to do anything about Federal spending except to raise taxes and increase it. This credit downgrade is purely the product of the American people placing the Democrats completely in charge of the Federal government from 2008-2010, with completely predictable results.

  • The Gang of Six plan cut spending more than the Boehner plan.

    Which Boehner plan? The original cut, cap and balance plan, or the second one that passed last week?

    If you read the S&P report, it’s clear that Congressional intransigence, not insufficient spending cuts, was the reason for the downgrade.

    That’s rather tortured reasoning. It’s not that Congressional squabbling in and of itself was the reason for the downgrade. The debt ceiling fight only showed that our political branches couldn’t agree to develop the sort of reforms S&P felt we need in order to alleviate the debt crisis. If the debt ceiling had been raised months ago without a peep and with the same lack of substantive reform, it’s pretty obvious that the downgrade would have come.

  • Our economic problems have been created in Washington, by Washingtonians (I called them Washingtwits when I lived and worked there). Entrenched politicians on both sides of the aisle, but most of them Democrats, caused these problems. The banks and mortgage lenders who jumped in headfirst into subprime mortgages share blame, but they often did so at Washington’s insisting that uncreditworthy people (Democrat voting blocks) be given mortgages.

    We never hear anymore how much money gets funneled into FNMA and Freddie Mac to keep them afloat.

    Obumbler has a fixation on the tax cuts passed under the Bush Administration. He wants them gone. He doesn’t care what damage they do, nor do any of Obumbler’s supporters.

    The porkulus bill, the cash for clunkers, the GM and Chrysler bankruptcies, the insidious “health care reform” law……all these things have made a slumping economy worse.

    There are polls after polls showing Obumbler’s approval ratings, how Obumbler would do against Republican ______(fill in the blank) but I think Obumbler is toast.

    Ohio, Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida all elected Obumbler in 2008. They will not elect him again in 2012. Obumbler may lose more states that he won in 2008.
    Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and New Hampshire are possibilities.

    I hope and pray the nation survives until a real leader takes office and Obumbler is banished from Washington forever, and I hope he takes a truckload of Democrats with him.

  • Geithner needs to resign.

    The criminal dem Congress wasted two years (820+ days) without enacting a lawful budget.

    “Cut, cap, and balance” was enacted by the House. It is a start. It needs to be sent up again.

    The Ryan budget passed the House. It should again be presented to the gangster senate.

    Obama’s/Reid’s idiotic debt ceiling debacle (I again repeat myself a couple of times, also too) sets a $10 trillion rise in the national debt over the next ten years as opposed to a $12 trillion rise.

    S&P is making measured judgments on the US capacity to repay (realistically estimated future revenues, expenses, liabilities) according to terms, and (I think) is being liberal in solely dropping the obamidiots’ rating to AA+.

    Obama promised hope and and change. We got it.

    Obama-worshiping ideologues: meet reality.

  • Let me use an illustration to explain this. Imagine that Congress had raised the debt ceiling months ago, and they did so without any action regarding the deficit – you know, the thing that President Obama wanted Congress to do in the first place. Would we have been downgraded then? Almost certainly so.

    Conversely, imagine if there had been the exact same acrimonious fight that brought us to the wire Tuesday. But instead of a fig leaf plan, Congress agreed to substantial cuts that all interested parties agreed weren’t gimmicks. We’ll use the $4 trillion figure that seems to be popular. Would we have been downgraded? Almost certainly not.

    The fight and the politicking weren’t the problem according to S&P. This was all a manifestation of the larger problem, Washington’s inability to meaningfully address the debt issue. In fact, if the debt debate itself were the cause of our downgrade I’d suggest that S&P should not be taken seriously any longer as a financial institution.

    In other words, it was the outcome of the debate and not the debate itself that caused S&P to downgrade us.

  • what even Jimmy Carter couldn’t accomplish.

    Jimmy Carter had the strongest aversion to public sector borrowing of any president in the last 50 years. That is a very peculiar reference.

    Kinda been expecting that since our debt went over last year’s GDP

    For the record, north of a third of the debt is held by the Social Security Administration and the Federal Reserve.

    blaming the Republicans in Congress for the credit downgrade is truly laughable.

    The Republicans were willing to put their cards on the table while the President was being unserious and the Senate majority was tabling and rejecting everyone’s ideas while offering nothing of its own. However, it was an error for the Republican caucus to refuse to consider any tax increase, even one financed strictly by removing deductions and special exemptions. Federal revenue collections (as a proportion of domestic product) have not been this low in decades.

  • Washington’s inability to meaningfully address the debt issue. In fact, if the debt debate itself were the cause of our downgrade I’d suggest that S&P should not be taken seriously any longer as a financial institution.

    Much of that inability can be attributed to the mechanics of the legislative process. However, nowhere in the TEA party discourse do you see any detectable interest in institutional restructuring – quite the contrary, in fact.

  • In other words, it was the outcome of the debate and not the debate itself that caused S&P to downgrade us.

    No, it was both. Don’t take my word for it:

    The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as
    America’s governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective,
    and less predictable than what we previously believed. The statutory debt
    ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips…

    And the Republican’s steadfast refusal to agree to any additional tax increases was a large part of what created the disappointing outcome of the debate. The fundamental problem is entitlements; rather than addressing this, the Republicans chose to threaten U.S. Bondholders with default, convinced the S&P and others that they were completely unwilling to sign off on the revenue increases that will be necessary to meet U.S. obligations, and walked away championing a bunch of minor spending cuts.

    Reckless (and stupid).

  • Face it, America’s doing its Ancient Rome collapse; history always repeat. What’s remarkable is that the USA has last this long. And Lincoln was right: The collapse will come from the vandals within.

  • and, as we see it, the resulting agreement fell well short of the comprehensive fiscal consolidation program that some proponents had envisaged until quite recently.

    It’s the result, not the process.

    The fundamental problem is entitlements; rather than addressing this,

    Is this supposed to be a joke? Have you been asleep for the past six months? Are you so brainwashed by DNC talking points that you actually are arguing that the GOP didn’t attempt to tackle entitlements?

    Reckless (and stupid).

    So let me get this straight. Obama triples the deficit through reckless (see, I can use that word, too) spending, refuses to enact real cuts to entitlement programs, and yet the GOP is at fault for refusing to agree to tax increases that would barely make a dent in the deficit but could hinder economic recovery efforts.

    Yeah, there’s stupidity here, but it isn’t who you think it is.

  • @John Henry

    Was that from an opinion column or from the actual press release from S & P? Linkage?

  • Are you so brainwashed by DNC talking points that you actually are arguing that the GOP didn’t attempt to tackle entitlements?

    When it came to making a choice between agreeing to revenue increases and addressing entitlements, the Republicans demonstrated which they cared more about.

    Obama triples the deficit through reckless (see, I can use that word, too) spending, refuses to enact real cuts to entitlement programs, and yet the GOP is at fault for refusing to agree to tax increases that would barely make a dent in the deficit but could hinder economic recovery efforts. Yeah, there’s stupidity here, but it isn’t who you think it is.

    In the big picture, there’s stupidity all around – this isn’t a children’s cartoon. It was stupid for Reid not to raise the debt ceiling last year. The Affordable Care Act was unwise given the unsustainable trajectory of Medicare costs. But on this particular issue, the Republicans claim the crown.

    Both parties are afraid to tackle entitlements. But any real reform has to include revenue increases; if you take those off the table at the outset, there will be no reform. Moreover, there was no need to threaten U.S. bondholders with default – and, yes, absent that threat, I doubt we would have been downgraded – without any substantive benefit. Congressional Republicans decided to send the following messages to the financial markets:

    1. We are perfectly willing to default on our obligations to you in order to prevent agreeing to any new tax increases.

    2. We are unwilling to seriously address our structural problems on entitlements unless the deal takes tax increases off the table.

    3. We are so myopic as to jeopardize our rating in exchange for a set of cosmetic and largely irrelevant cuts.

    And the bond markets took those messages as a sign that the U.S. cannot necessarily be relied upon to address its problems. Now, sure you can always say that Obama and the Senate should have just completely capitulated and that, therefore, it’s his fault, but the here’s Mitch McConnell talking about the Republican strategy:

    But at the Capitol, behind the four doors and the three receptionists and the police guard, McConnell said he could imagine doing this again.

    “I think some of our members may have thought the default issue was a hostage you might take a chance at shooting,” he said. “Most of us didn’t think that. What we did learn is this — it’s a hostage that’s worth ransoming. And it focuses the Congress on something that must be done.”

    It appears to me that the lesson here is that some of the hostages (i.e. U.S. bondholders and the rating agencies) didn’t enjoy the experience, and are uncomfortable with what it suggests about U.S. political institutions.

  • The fundamental problem is entitlements; rather than addressing this,

    The federal deficit went from 1.2% of domestic product to 9% in the space of four years. The demographic profile of the population did not change that much in that interval. What you did have was a partial implosion in revenue collections and a large expansion in spending electives.

  • The Democrats are the ones who kept the American people hostage by demanding that there must be tax increases on those who actually earn their own money due to their ideological rigid belief that spreading the wealth makes the world go round. Spreading the wealth only creates dependency on the government – others’ money, taxpayers’ money. Tax revenues equals tax increases, not more profits which Democrats despise which brings in more revenue to the government.

  • For an idea of how we got in this state: the local news has been full of doom and gloom because a local shelter group that runs tent cities in the Seattle area “unexpected lost funding.” From FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. I was shocked that FEMA was still sending money over here, when the big flooding they had was at least three years back and that was the only big disaster I could think of.
    Turns out that they’d been getting at least $44k a year from FEMA for the past fifteen years for, um, existing, basically. That’s a long emergency. (They lost it because Seattle has an above-average economy, and FEMA raised theirs standards to 10% unemployment to get the money.) The group isn’t very public about what they spend money on, but last year when they were demanding more money from the city of Seattle they mentioned that in August ’10 they were $17k in debt for buying bus tickets for homeless people to get to their shelters. City cut $23k because even an above-average economy isn’t that good.

    (For those wondering: when they made a big announcement that they’d be shutting down all shelters and the tent cities, St. Joe’s Parish donated $50k. They announced that would get them through the end of the week and they might be able to stay a bit longer with more donations. Makes me wonder how much their board gets paid….)

  • When it came to making a choice between agreeing to revenue increases and addressing entitlements, the Republicans demonstrated which they cared more about.

    No, they wouldn’t accept tax increases.
    Big assumption that raising taxes will result in more revenue, especially in the long term.

    Of course, I’d be willing to let tax hikes be called “revenue increases” if we get to call regulations and gov’t agencies “growth restrictions and job destroyers”.

  • The credit downgrade is merely the first manifestation of the government running into the wall of debt that has been created. The status quo of tax, borrow and spend is not long for this world and the party of government, the Democrat party, is going to be in full melt down by the time this process is fully played out. We have two main economic problems in this country: an economy that is flat on its back and a government that has reached the limit of its capacity to borrow without greatly harming our economy. The Obama administration and the Democrats in Congress are completely clueless now that an FDR style New Deal has predictably failed. Another year and a half of futile floundering is the very best that we can hope for from these utter fools.

  • Actually, I think that prior to the war, the Roosevelt Administration was much more circumspect about public sector borrowing than this one. Also, we have no analogue today to the Works Progress Administration and like agencies.

    I suspect the real motor of the President and Reid, et al is a mutually re-inforcing brew of servicing their clientele above all (remember Sen. Harkin’s ‘rallying the stakeholders’? the odious GM deal?), manufacturing ad campaigns (granny over the cliff) and sticking the opposition with the blame for whatever goes wrong.

    The thing is, for the Republican caucus to repair matters (beginning 18 months hence), they have to start thinking and acting like people who make real choices within real constraints and with a sense of the real consequences. They just ain’t there yet.

  • Per capita federal spending Art under FDR increased by 74% from 1933-1940 with almost nothing to show for it in the way of improved economic performance.
    As Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau wrote in his diary on May 9, 1939:
    “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong…somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises…I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started…And an enormous debt to boot!”

    Obama did not need to create a WPA as government control and involvement in the economy was already much greater in his day than it was in FDR’s time.

    In regard to the Republicans in Congress they understand the big thing that is needed immediately: slashing government spending. That and a rapidly growing economy are the only two things that will end this Great Recession, and the Obama administration is dedicated to keeping government spending as high as possible, and its policies are directly antithetical to robust economic growth.

  • Courtesy the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis..

    Change in real gross domestic product, 1933-41: +90.6%

    Ratio of federal expenditure to domestic product:

    1933: 4.1%
    1934: 5.0%
    1935: 4.6%
    1936: 6.7%
    1937: 5.5%
    1938: 6.6%
    1939: 6.5%
    1940: 6.4%
    1941: 14.2%

    Federal budget balance as a proportion of gross domestic product:

    1933: -1.6%
    1934: -3.3%
    1935: -2.6%
    1936: -3.8%
    1937: +0.2%
    1938: -1.5%
    1939: -2.3%
    1940: -0.3%
    1941: +1.7%

    Again, the economy recovered quite nicely. The labor market remained injured. You will notice two surplus budgets in nine years, with no deficit exceeding 4% of domestic product.

  • Imagine that Congress had raised the debt ceiling months ago, and they did so without any action regarding the deficit – you know, the thing that President Obama wanted Congress to do in the first place. Would we have been downgraded then?

    Not according to S&P.

  • Foxfire,

    The Gang of Six proposal would have reduced the top tax rate to 25% while closing loopholes. This was considered to be an outrageous tax increase.

    The debt ceiling fiasco may be one of the greatest unforced errors in American political history. But it’s not too late to make things right. My advice to Republicans who want to get America’s AAA credit rating back is that they get behind something like what Charles Krauthammer proposed yesterday at National Review.

  • Blackadder-
    the Gang of Six proposal did things other than that, as well as (last I heard, about the 20th) having the weakness of not actually being written up for a vote. (Yay, proposal sheet with lots of promises. How unusual!) Did they ever submit an actual bill?

    The proposal had 500B in spelled-out cuts with a promised 1.7T to come later; in contrast, the CC&B bill had 5.8T spelled out cuts. (With the usual weakness that it depends on the next batch of pols changing it.) That the Go6 specifically targeted “discretionary spending” for the big cuts– AKA, “Stay away from entitlements”– was a rather big red flag that it was more of the same, not a change.

    Tax reform is a great idea– I’m all for making the tax code simpler and harder to manipulate for political gain, especially in things like industry specific credits, taxes, rates, write-offs, etc.
    Chances of something changing that passing? About the same as removing the “good” discrimination in federal spending, the EPA becoming sane, or survival rates of a snowflake in a firepit.

    I saw Krauthammer’s article and rather liked it as well. It wouldn’t pass because it would require the Dem pols to weaken the goodie-bag they use to buy votes.

  • This blogpost is collecting folks’ suggestions for why things are so bad right now.

    Lot of it boils down to lack of trust– same problem as with all the promises of $3 in tax cuts for $1 in tax increase and such; fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice….

  • “Again, the economy recovered quite nicely.”

    Considering that the unemployment rate was 15% in 1940 Art, I do not think that is an accurate statement.

    FDR’s large tax increases helped prolong the Great Depression and probably triggered the 1937 Recession in the Depression.

  • Considering that the unemployment rate was 15% in 1940 Art, I do not think that is an accurate statement. FDR’s large tax increases helped prolong the Great Depression and probably triggered the 1937 Recession in the Depression.

    Domestic product began to increase rapidly in the spring of 1933. By 1941, levels of output and output per capita were higher than they had been in 1929. (Please note, real output increased by 90% during a run of years when population increased by about 7%). However, there were chronic imbalances and structural flaws in the labor market that you see in countries which have had prolonged periods of unemployment. A more recent and less intense example would be the British experience after 1979. Unemployment rates were at their peak in early 1986, three years after economic growth had resumed. It took over a dozen years for them to return to their antecedent norm.

    One other thing, the 15% classified as unemployed in 1940 included the comprehensively unemployed and those on the rolls of the WPA and like agencies. IIRC, the comprehensively unemployed were more like 7% of the workforce.

  • The Krauthammer plan is the Gang of Six plan reworded. Zero chance the Tea Party will allow it.

  • The WPA had a policy Art of giving one make work job to every family where the breadwinner, almost always the husband, could not find a real job. At its height in 1938 it “employed” three million Americans. It strains credulity to call these individuals unemployed. This was actually a sign of just how bad unemployment was during these years.

    The 15% unemployment rate in 1940 is worse than it sounds due to a much lower female participation in work outside the home than is the case today.

    1941 is a poor date in assessing the New Deal as the massive military buildup for World War 2 was well under way that year. Actually it got under way in 1940 which makes the 15% unemployment rate that year truly stunning.

  • If you will repair to the figures above, federal expenditures as a ratio of domestic product were similar over the period running from 1936 to 1940, but quite different in 1941. IIRC, military conscription was instituted in September 1940.

    Certain things the Roosevelt Administration did exacerbated the trouble in labor markets: an abortive attempt during 1933-35 to impose cartels across the whole economic landscape, attempting to enforce an inflated minimum wage, and promotion of trade and industrial unionism. Things could have been better, but things can still be bad even when the government is promoting flexibility in labor markets. The experience of the Conservative ministries in Britain after 1979 is sadly relevant.

  • The Krauthammer plan is the Gang of Six plan reworded. Zero chance the Tea Party will allow it.

    I suspect just about any Republican inaugurated in January 2013 will find that much of the House Republican caucus is deadweight.

  • Looks like while youse were dithering about taxing evil rich people, tea party terrorists quietly took over Red China.

    The Reds are telling Uncle Sam to spend less on the military and socialist political power purchases.

    N.B., they aren’t shrieking about higher taxes. They’re realists, not ideologues. They want to be repaid and they want a vibrant US market to sell their stuff. Seems Obie and his gangsters don’t share those goals.

  • From the S&P statements before hand and in the downgrade announcement itself, I think Blackadder and John Henry pretty much have this one right: Although there are certainly long term unsustainable issues with US spending in relation to our willingness to raise taxes, we would not have been downgraded a this time except that this episode made it clear that:

    a) Both parties were willing to take us right to the brink of default in order to try to get their way and

    b) Even through this roller coaster ride we didn’t actually get a plan that solves our long term problems at all.

    If the ceiling had been raised quietly without any addressing of the long term issues, we might have been downgraded years hence it we continued on this trajectory, but not now. If we’d had all this brinksmanship but at least some out with a deal that made sure this wouldn’t recur every couple of years, that probably would also have kept us being being downgraded.

    It was the fact that significant parts of both parties were fairly sanguine about voluntarily defaulting, combined with the fact that no significant change in budget trajectory came out of the deal, that landed us where we are.

    (Which, just to be clear, is not yet actually a bad place. We have to get downgraded by two out of three agencies before the sky starts falling.)

  • “If the ceiling had been raised quietly without any addressing of the long term issues, we might have been downgraded years hence it we continued on this trajectory, but not now.”

    I doubt that is correct. S&P was threatening to downgrade the US credit rating back in April unless the US was able to slash the deficit:

    The problem here isn’t brinkmanship, but rather that one party in this country can see the nation heading over a fiscal cliff, and the other party is shutting their eyes and pretending that we can go on as we have gone on. We can’t, and I salute the House members of the GOP who have brought a cold dash of reality to this debate.

  • “The Gang of Six proposal would have reduced the top tax rate to 25% while closing loopholes. This was considered to be an outrageous tax increase. ”

    What were the loopholes to be closed?

    “Lot of it boils down to lack of trust– same problem as with all the promises of $3 in tax cuts for $1 in tax increase and such; fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice….”

    What specific speding cuts were promised?

  • ” . . . long term unsustainable issues with US spending in relation to our willingness to raise taxes”

    ROTFLMAO! The S&P down-grade says, “US cannot possibly raise enough tax revenues to repay the planned debt according to term. The credit rating is subject to future downgrade. (See the sixth bullet point in the exec summary). It is impossible. Spending must be reduced.”

    Progressives seem willing to remove the Bush tax cuts for the hated rich. It will not be enough.

    In fact, assume all personal exemptions and all itemized deductions are ended, that effectively raises the Alt. Min. Tax rate for hated rich guys from 26% to 100%; and they raise the marginal tax rate on all personal income over $250,000 to 100%. The overweaning government would realize about three months’ worth of its galactic spending.

    You choose.

    Cornell U. Law Prof Wm. Jacobson:

    “Democrats own the downgrade. They fought Republicans and Tea Party supporters every step of they way, and forced a deal which was insufficient. They played . . . politics against arguments that we needed to drastically change our spending habits.”

    Or, NYT lib lunatic, economic poseur (conscience of a communist) Pavlov Krugman:

    “Yes, it is the madness of the right: if not for the extremism of anti-tax Republicans, we would have no trouble reaching an agreement that would ensure long-run solvency.”


  • What specific speding cuts were promised?

    Exactly. -,-

  • I would counter he is hardly a failure. This is a man who is an ideologically hardened statist whose worldview is that government is the solution to all problems ever encountered by mankind in the history of the world. He is the ultimate example that when you have a hammer, all the world’s a nail.

    Hence his smashing of the US economy with his ideological hammer is in fact a product of intent and design. He has succeeded by this measure, spectacularly.

    It is also why one American patriot followed up Obama’s inauguration with the prescient and impassioned prayer:

    “I hope he fails”.

  • I would point out that the Tea Party Republican’s Cut, Cap, and Balance does not lay out ANY specific cuts. It only lists items that cannot be cut (Medicare, Social Security, VA, and defense). In other words over 80% of the budget is off limits.

    But here’s the real fun part about the Cut, Crap, and Imbalanced bill, it requires a balanced budget cut doesn’t even propose to cut enough to balance the budget. Because it can’t be done. It’s an implicit recognition that taxes need to be raised. And yet the bill also makes it more difficult to raise taxes by requiring a 2/3 majority. Because apparently, taxes are raised too easy as it is.

    The cuts in the bill that actually passed into law is of similar specificity though it doesn’t exempt defense.

    The Gang of Six proposal lists some specifics, most notably cuts to Medicare.

    But all this is pointless. Those told to oppose the Gang of Six plan dutifully did so and will not allow facts to penetrate their heads. And then they wonder why the Tea Party Republicans are the butt of jokes.

  • Any tax reform is DOA. Even the far-right Republican’s own FairTax eliminates deductions so would be unaccepted to the TPR’s. The only way to get tax reform is to exorcize the TPR’s from Congress. Since that isn’t happening anytime soon, we have to concentrate on spending cuts alone for now. Of course, even then our choices are limited. Neither party wants to be the party that cut Social Security or Medicare going into an election.

    I suspect just about any Republican inaugurated in January 2013 will find that much of the House Republican caucus is deadweight.

    The problem is that every Republican candidate except Jon Huntsman has signed Norquist’s pledge which precludes any passable tax reform. No president is going to repeat the mistake of Bush I. Republicans will likely control both houses in 2013 so Obama wouldn’t be able to accomplish much either. Huntsman or bust.

  • Dulce taxes inexpertis.

  • The problem is that every Republican candidate except Jon Huntsman has signed Norquist’s pledge which precludes any passable tax reform.

    For the record, the deal as of 1 July was as follows:

    “All the Republican candidates for president have either signed the pledge or told me they intend to [sign it], with the exception of Huntsman. Huntsman’s staff has told the press he is not signing any pledges. However, they’ve also asked to come and meet with me about stuff in general,” said Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, to me on Thursday.

    You are referring to Norquist’s claims on press release. The only signatures Norquist’s outfit can actually claim at this point are Ron Paul’s (granted four years ago when the fiscal situation was quite different) and Mitt Romney’s. You imagine Gov. Romney’s assurances to Norquist are any more immutable than his assurances to anyone else?

  • RR,
    Don’t confuse Tea Party with Norquist. While latter fights any revenue increase tooth and nail, Tea Party is all about cutting spending with no particular brief on taxes.

  • That may be true of the grassroots but as far as I can tell, any Tea Partier of consequence, is also a Norquistador.

  • “If it were not for the Tea Party, they’d have dropped us to BBB.” Truth from Rick Santelli.

  • From that comment, RR, it is clear that you don’t exactly have your finger on the pulse of the Tea Party because Norquist is far from the most popular figure within the grassroots, and that’s putting it mildly.

  • Tea Party is all about cutting spending with no particular brief on taxes.

    One might hope.

  • Paul Zummo, I said that may be true of the grassroots. But the TPR’s in the House, at the Heritage Foundation, and NRO are Norquistadors.

  • Eh, my reading of NR and Heritage indicates they’re not too crazy about him either.

  • Bah, Norquist is just doing the usual politician thing of hitching his name to a currently popular movement.
    It’s the same way libertarians who don’t personally care about social issues, or who are socially liberal, will insist that the TEA party agrees with them– or at least doesn’t care about social issues.

  • Good find, Don! Guilt by alleged association was so much easier before Al Gore invented the internet.

  • True Jay. We all owe Gore so much! 🙂

Voting for Polytheists

Thursday, August 4, AD 2011

Jimmy Akin must have had a bet with someone who dared him to write a post that got more comments than the Fr. Corapi stuff.  This may not beat the Corapi story, but this should get . . . interesting before all is said and done.

Jimmy’s post is titled “Should America Elect a Polytheist Who Claims to Be a Christian?”  If you’re not sure who he is referring to, I’ll let him explain:

In various races, we might be asked to vote for candidates who are Mormon.

While they may be very nice people and may even share many values with Christians, Mormons are not Christians. They do not have valid baptism because they are polytheists. That is, they believe in multiple gods. This so affects their understanding of the baptismal formula that it renders their administration of baptism invalid and prevents them from becoming Christians when they attempt to administer the sacrament.

Unlike other polytheists (e.g., Hindus, Shintoists), Mormons claim to be Christian.

Casting a vote for a Mormon candidate thus means casting one’s vote for a polytheist who present himself to the world as a Christian.

He goes on to argue that voting for a Mormon in a national election poses grave concerns.

It would not only spur Mormon recruitment efforts in numerous ways, it would mainstreamize the religion in a way that would deeply confuse the American public about the central doctrine of the Christian faith. It would give the public the idea that Mormons are Christian (an all-too-frequent misunderstanding as it is) and that polytheism is somehow compatible with Christianity.

In other words, it would deal a huge blow to the American public’s already shaky understanding of what Christianity is.

That means it would massively compromise a fundamental value on the scale of the abortion issue.

Jimmy writes that he’d sit out an election between a Mormon and a pro-abortion candidate.

Before stating my disagreement with Jimmy, let me point out where is he is right:

Continue reading...

42 Responses to Voting for Polytheists

  • I would vote for Mitt Romney, a Mormon, in a battle against Barck Obama. Romney isn’t the best pick of the litter, but Obama by far is among the worst.

  • “I don’t think there will be a sudden uptick in Mormon recruitment efforts because there is a Mormon in the White House”

    Well, was there a sudden uptick in conversions to Catholicism during the JFK Administration? I suppose that would be difficult to determine since the “Camelot” years also coincided with the papacy of the very popular Pope John XXIII, not to mention the start of the Second Vatican Council. Sorting out which event had the greatest impact on attracting non-Catholics to the faith might be impossible at this late date.

    Also, given that the influence of JFK and family upon the Catholic Church in America was NOT all good, for reasons discussed numerous times on this blog, it’s possible that the election of a popular Mormon president might prove to be a bad thing for Mormonism in the long run. It might encourage them to go more “mainstream” and lose some of their distinctiveness.

  • “With abortion, we have government sanctioning the killing of innocent human life. Barring a sudden mass conversion, I can’t see a Mormon presidency having anywhere near the same impact on our culture as the terrible crime of abortion.”

    That’s right Paul….

  • I wouldn’t vote for a Mormon or a moron especially when they’re one in the same.

  • In strict point of fact, are Mormons really polytheists, though? Yes, there is that divine progression idea, but it was my understanding that Mormons only worship God the Father. They don’t pray directly to Jesus, as I understand it, either–offering prayers in Jesus’ name. I’ve read LDS theology described as “monolatry”–acknowledging other gods’ existence, but worshiping only one.

    But I freely acknowledge my knowledge of the topic is very limited.

  • Joe,

    I have several Mormon friends in the industry where I work. Not a one of them is a moron. In fact, I have had theological discussions with them. true, when I start getting too deep into unique aspects of their religion (e.g., Jesus is brother of Satan, God the Father had sex with the Blessed Virgin Mary, we can all ascend to become gods of our own worldfs, etc.), the conversation gets cut off with some remark about my unpreparedness to understand the sacred mysteries and I should open my mind to the Holy Spirit (which in their view is simply another god). But never has any Mormon treated me with the disrespect of saying that all Catholics are morons (though one may make a case that many liberal Catholics seem to act that way).

  • @Elaine:
    There is a difference between JFK and Mitt Romney. You should check out both of their speeches, where they speak about how their religion influences their politics. (both are rather famous, and from experience they make great college papers to write on). JFK didn’t combine the two, and was a staunch Separationist. Mitt Romney is much less so.

    I think it would be a mistake to simply say there wouldn’t be a large effect. My best friend in high school was Mormon, and when Mitt Romney was running for President, it did embolden him! I think a Mormon president WOULD increase the evangilization efforts of the Mormon ecclesial community. Maybe my experience is tainted because of exposure to a small group of Mormons, but I’m not so sure. If you’ve ever met an ‘on fire’ Mormon, you know how a symbolic victory like a Mormon president would effect them (at least in my experience).

  • Paul, if you’re using the ‘some of my best friends are Mormons argument,’ fine, but as religions go it’s flat-out weird. All the founders including head honcho Joe Smith were into group sex, a.k.a, polygamy, still practiced by some.

    Jesus in America? The Book of Mormon? Pearl at Great Price? Pre-mortal existence? Joe Smith having face-to-face meetings with the Apostles and the Angel Moroni, who gave him the ‘golden plates’? Cue in the Twilight Zone music.

  • Sometime ago Mormon Elder oaks gave an interview on PBS. My comments on that interview are here:

    The link to the interview transcript itself is broken, so you’ll have to hunt and peck through the LDS on-line library to find it. Sorry. 🙁

  • I’ll grant the possibility that I downplayed a potential small uptick in Mormon evangelization efforts, but I just don’t see it is as being as big of a concern as Jimmy Akin is making out. Conversely, will a Mormon president actually water down Mormonism, as some are speculating? That’s also doubtful. Of course those living in compounds with multiple wives already think the religion is watered down, but that’s probably best left for another discussion.

  • Also, one thing I didn’t really address sufficiently in the post was the degree to which a Mormon president would further legitimize Mormonism in the mainstream population’s eyes as a Christian faith. If you ask most people they probably already view Mormonism as basically a Christian denomination, and those that don’t really aren’t going to be persuaded with a Mormon in the White House, or at least not to the degree that Jimmy is speculating.

  • Yes, Joe, you’re correct.

    Joseph Smith’s Mormonism is as weird and heretical as Charles Taze Russell’s Jehovah Witness or Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science.

    I have a friend born and raised as a Jehovah Witness (non-practicing right now, but she is a believer) who works at a company that is involved in supplying engineering expertise for digital instrumentation and controls equipment to a nuclear steam supplier company (that will remain nameless). She is about the smartest engineer (woman or man) with whom I have ever worked.

    As for Christian Scientists, I have met none, but a brief observation of their organization indicates that they are left wing liberals, so it’s likely that I would have little use for them. But I may be wrong, so I shouldn’t judge without first hand facts.

    I will say this: I have far more in common with a conservative Mormon who believes in the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman than I do with any liberal Democrat “Catholic” who thinks it’s OK to vote for abortionist Obama because he says he supports social justice and the common good.

  • I think that we’re forgetting that Jimmy Akin NEVER suggested voting for a liberal politicians instead of a Mormon. INSTEAD, he was suggesting not voting at all. So it’s not really an issue of voting for a “conservative Mormon who believes in the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman” or a liberal Democrat. It’s about whether voting for a Mormon would be more detrimental than voting for a liberal Democrat.

    It must be remembered that there are more than two options.

  • Setting religion aside, which is impossible to do since one’s beliefs shape one’s politics to a degree, for the sake or argument, keeping things on a secular plane, Mitt’s track record is uninspiring. Yeah, he made tons of money (so does George Soros), but consider his sorry reign over the People’s Republic of Massachusetts and enactment of RomneyCare, which is Obamacare, writ small. Mitt’s father, George, admitted he was “brainwashed” and one wonders whether the bad genes got passed down.

    As an agnostic who keeps an open mind about all things, secular or spiritual, I’d prefer a thinking man in the White House rather than one who subscribes to the bizarre LDS beliefs, rigid as they are (now we’re back to religion).

  • If I have to vote for Mormon Romney in order to defeat Barack Hussein Obama, then I shall do that. It’s really that simple.

  • @Paul:
    I doubt that it would come down to your singular vote.

  • Of course it wouldn’t, Brett. But it is my vote. And at least by casting it that way I would be able to say that I voted AGAINST Barack Hussein Obama. Maybe my vote doesn’t count for much in the great scheme of things, but if we all feel that way, then what’s the sense anyways?

    Obama has got to be defeated. There is no other option. He must be removed from the White House. If that means a Mormon, then so be it.

  • I agree with you that Obama should be voted out of office. The two issues you raised:
    1. It is pretty interesting what the worth is of one vote. One vote rarely matters, but many ‘one votes’ does matter. My reaction to your one vote was from the fact that you said “If I HAVE to vote for Mormon Romney in order to defeat Barack Hussein Obama, then I shall do that” (emphasis mine). I was just stating that I doubt you will HAVE to vote for Romney in order to vote out Obama.

    2. Not voting at all means that you sort of voted for NEITHER candidate (have your cake and eat it too). There is, of course, always a write in. Because one vote probably won’t matter, you could write in a candidate! Then you voted against Obama while at the same time did not vote for Romney.

    Of course, all of that is relevant ONLY if you think Mr. Akin is right. If you think he’s wrong then the entire issue of you voting for Romney is irrelevant.

  • “Jimmy writes that he’d sit out an election between a Mormon and a pro-abortion candidate.”

    If that Mormon happens to be Mitt Romney, then I’ll be sitting out the election along with Jimmy. I won’t vote for Romney under any circumstances. He’s a fraud.

    And it has nothing to do with his religion. I could probably bring myself to vote for Romney’s co-religionist, Jon Huntsman, despite the fact that Huntsman is allegedly the one who is the “moderate” stalking horse. Huntsman, unlike Romney, has at least governed as a conservative before deciding to seek the GOP presidential nomination.

  • That is pretty poor rationale Akin gives for his decision to vote against Romney:

    “I could see, for example, voting for a pro-life Hindu over a pro-abortion monotheist. But a Hindu does not claim to be a Christian and thus does not risk confusing people about the core doctrine of Christianity the way Mormonism does.”

    The connection betweeen a sitting president’s religion and increased confusion about Christian beliefs is very tenuous and would never make my list of top items to consider when selecting a candidate.

    I, on the hand, am determined to vote against Romney because of one very specific lapse in judgment:

  • I’m just curious as to whether Catholics would vote for a Jewish president, given that Jews flatly reject Christ as the Messiah. Seems to me this would be the biggest ‘deal-breaker’ of all. At least Obama pays lip service to Christianity. What say you all? I ask this question strictly as a neutral, objective observer. Thank you for your comments. As always, TAC provides a forum for intelligent discourse, which this troll truly appreciates.

  • I certainly would have no problem voting for a Jewish candidate. If Eric Cantor ran for President, I’d vote for him in a heartbeat.

    As far as this is connected to Jimmy Akin’s post, remember that his issue is that Mormons present themselves as Christian when they are not (at least in his reckoning). There would be no similar issue with a Jewish presidential candidate.

  • Paul, I’m shocked. Does not the Bible say ‘Do not be yoked with unbelievers’?

  • Hi, Joe! The reference of not being unequally yoked was to marriage.

    In today’s environment, however, to be yoked with a liberal Democrat “Catholic” is to be unequally yoked. I suppose I could do what the Jehovah Witnesses do and eschew all secular contact.


  • Isn’t there similar doctrines in Mormon ideology as in Islamic fundamentalism? Ie. The take over of the Government system to install a theocratic regime? In the Islamic doctrine there is in place Taqita (Spelling is incorrect for sure) but that allows the individual to outright lie during DAWA to get whatever advantage they will need. With that thought being transferred to Mormonism – is it smart to elect a Mormon president. Well I am skeptical for sure…

  • I think you meant Taqiyya. Taqita is a tasty fried crispy corn meal shell with spicy meat. 😉

  • I am with Jimmy– Mormonism is so incoherent and a grownup thinker who professes it is not who I want to be thinking about how to govern us… thankfully I don’t think we will be reduced to the choice of Romney. I am still hoping Rick Santorum will catch the attention of the good citizens of this country.

  • A Mormon president would be catastrophic for Mormonism. The hard left is still smarting from the Proposition 8 victory in California, and they blame the Mormons. They’re taking out their anger on the religion, and it’s going to get worse. Both Romney and Huntsman have distanced themselves from the doctrines of Mormonism. How quickly will Mormonism crumble when its ‘doctrines and covenants’ become water-cooler talk?

    Remember that the American religious ideal is to believe something you really don’t believe in, keep it to yourself, and be a nice person. That’s what most people consider to be good morality. Most people don’t think like most TAC regulars. They’ll be perfectly happy with a Mormon who doesn’t believe in Mormonism, but has a good family life and likes apple pie. So American pragmatism will kick in. “Who cares if the church he goes to teaches some weird things? Religion is a thing you are, not a thing you believe.” That kind of thinking undermines Catholicism, and we’re protected by the Holy Spirit. Protestantism is less protected, and suffers from that kind of thinking moreso. Think about how it’s got to be undermining Mormonism.

    A good shake-up and Mormonism could become like Freemasonry: weird anti-Catholicism in old Europe, but an excuse for charity bake-sales and business networking in the US.

  • Mormonism is nutty. That said, despite believing they can be gods of other planets, Mormons seem to be just as good at running companies, organizations, and governments as everyone else — moreso, at times. Moreover, they claim to be Christians but I don’t know of any Christians who agree with them. If a Mormon candidate was qualified and I agreed with him/her on the issues, I would vote for him or her.

  • Gail nailed it.
    I would only add that I would look to any candidate’s record as to judgment, intelligence and morality before I would examine his religion. Regarding morality, the many Mormons I know live exemplary lives when measured by natural law. While I agree that their religious beliefs may strike an informed Christian as eccentric, not much less really than the belief in a virgin birth, transubstantiation, purgatory, miracles, three persons composing one God, etc. would strike an informed agnostic. Reason alone, without faith, renders us all agnostics. Faith makes all things possible, and as long as internally consistent all religions are leaps of faith rather than reason.

  • Pinky wrote

    Remember that the American religious ideal is to believe something you really don’t believe in, keep it to yourself, and be a nice person. That’s what most people consider to be good morality. Most people don’t think like most TAC regulars. They’ll be perfectly happy with a Mormon who doesn’t believe in Mormonism, but has a good family life and likes apple pie. So American pragmatism will kick in. “Who cares if the church he goes to teaches some weird things? Religion is a thing you are, not a thing you believe.” That kind of thinking undermines Catholicism, and we’re protected by the Holy Spirit. Protestantism is less protected, and suffers from that kind of thinking moreso. Think about how it’s got to be undermining Mormonism.

    It’s my understanding that this is already happening to some extent, especially in areas where the majority of people are Mormon. Not a small number of these Mormons don’t particularly believe in Mormon theology but enjoy the family and social atmospheres that Church membership brings, so they stay in it, kind of like “cultural Catholics” (sigh…).

    It’s perfectly within the right of a Catholic voter to abstain from voting for a particular office because he or she finds all candidates to be morally objectionable. Having said that, I’ve always found arguments like Akin’s to be fairly unpersuasive. No matter who votes or doesn’t vote in 2012, the next president is either going to be Obama or his Republican opponent. No other outcome is reasonable. Given how awful Obama has been as president, both morally and otherwise, I’ll apply the principle of double-effect and vote for the Republican, holding my nose if necessary.

  • I am no fan of Romney, but Akin’s post strikes me as silliness on stilts. The religion of Romney, a religion he was born into, says nothing about his ability to do the job of being President. The idea that having a President who was a Mormon would foster conversions to Mormonism are as ridiculous as a claim in 1960 that electing JFK would foster conversions to Catholicism. Certainly the election of Obama has not led to a groundswell of conversions to the United Church of Christ, just as the election of Reagan did not lead to conversions to the Disciples of Christ. Akin’s post sails too close to religious bigotry for my taste as he seems to be stating that he would never vote for a Mormon for President, and would indeed sit out an election between a Mormon and a pro-abort. That is rubbish, and precisely the type of attitude that anti-Catholic bigots have used against Catholics down through the centuries. Personally I regard Mormon theology as hogwash, just as I would assume that a believing Mormon would regard Catholic theology as hogwash. That fact does not cause me to therefore refuse to vote for a Mormon candidate if I agree with his or her position. In regard to Romney I regard him as an oportunistic weathervane, and I will be working next year to deny him the nomination, but his religion will have nothing to do with my opposition.

  • We know far more dirt about Romney than we do about Obama.

    Can someone explain to me why Akin, et al go to such lengths to detract guys like Bush, Perry, Romney, but give Obama and 20,000 uber abortionists/gay privileges fanatics/class hatred merchants “passes”?

    Is it publish or perish?

    Are they feverishly contorting themselves to ease their consciences for advancing for abortion and hatred?

  • @McClarey:

    There is a HUGE difference between Mormonism and Catholicism that makes your comparisons between the two problematic. Specifically, Mormonism is in a position that having a Mormon president WOULD bolster evangilization efforts and embolden Mormons even more. Neither the Catholic Church, the United Church of Christ, or the Disciples of Christ were in a position from which having a president of the same religion would embolden them. Mormonism is a much different story.

    So, the fact that Mormon and Catholic evangilization is so different allows for the good posibility that a Mormon president would lead to conversions whereas a Catholic president would not. The difference in evangilization, as well as the general attitude and history of both groups, leads to this.

    I think people have become so angry and set against Obama that they idea of ANYTHING BUT voting against him seems ridiculous and impossible. Heck, even if the Republican nominee came out saying that he was more pro-choice than Obama and was totally anti-Catholic, there would still be people defending the Republican nominee.

  • Brett this raising of a Mormon bogeyman is ludicrous. The problem for Catholics in this country regarding religion and politics is not Mormonism, but the vast number of Catholic politicians who embrace causes directly antithetical to the teachings of the Church. Akin’s article, to be quite blunt about it, is one of the stupidest things I have seen written by any Catholic blogger not a member in good standing at Vox Nova.

  • Neither I nor Mr. Akin is proposing any Mormon bogeyman. All that he proposed is that if a Mormon is elected, it would strongly embolden and encourage Mormon evangilization efforts. A read of Mormon history and current evanglization efforts would show that, in fact, it WOULD provide legitamacy to Mormonism.

    Mr. Akin is not saying that a Mormon president is THE problem facing Catholics in regards to religion and politics, but rather it is A (not THE) problem facing America in general.

  • Disagree Brett. Akin views the Mormon bogeyman with such alarm that he is willing to sit out an election between a pro-life Morman and a pro-abort opponent. That indicates to me that he views that to be more important than fighting for the pro-life cause. This whole attempt by Akin to rouse anti-Mormon hysteria reminds me of the election of 1800 where Thomas Jefferson’s opponents charged, correctly, that he was not a believer in Christianity. The election of Jefferson did not lead to a growth in atheism and agnosticism, and neither would the election of a Mormon lead to a surge in conversions to the Mormon faith. The whole idea is complete rubbish as even a cursory examination of American history would demonstrate.

  • If you want to talk about ‘cursory examinations’, then I suggest a cursory examination of Mormonism, specifically Mormon evangelization efforts. If you notice, whenever a significant event happens that helps legitimize Mormonism, it is greeted by an uptick in Mormon converts and evangelization efforts.

    Furthermore, you give bad examples when you try and show that other presidents have not led to converts to their respective religions. A cursory examination of Mormon evangelization history would show you that it is MUCH different than Catholic. The same would be said for atheist and agnoticism (the fact that you would even compare the two shows a lack of such a cursory examination).

    I do, however, see that this is quickly becoming a simple repeat, with nothing being added by either of us in regards to the issue at hand. So, if you want, I can give you the last word.

  • Actually Brett I am quite familiar with Mormon history. If you care to, go to my American history blog, Almost Chosen People, and you can read several posts that I have written about the Mormons. The Mormons are not a threat in any way to Catholics in this country. Electing a Mormon as President would do no damage to the Faith or cause great numbers of Catholics to be pounding on the doors of Mormon Temples seeking admission. What truly does damage to the Faith in this country is that too many Catholics in positions of power in this country, inside and outside of politics, give every indication of not really believing in what Catholicism teaches.

  • Akin’s article, to be quite blunt about it, is one of the stupidest things I have seen written by any Catholic blogger not a member in good standing at Vox Nova.

    Ow~! I just quit reading that blog last month (not so much because I thought it was stupid, but because for other reasons). Just a coincidence, I suppose.

  • What truly does damage to the Faith in this country is that too many Catholics in positions of power in this country, inside and outside of politics, give every indication of not really believing in what Catholicism teaches.


    I think the biggest problem with Romney is not LDS theology about the Godhead, but his record of going against the usually-laudable moral teachings of his church on social issues.

The New York Times Has All The Answers!

Thursday, August 4, AD 2011

You are correct Klavan on the Culture!  The New York Times does have all the answers, and most of them are wrong!  Ad revenues for the print New York Times have been declining for years and the Old Gray Lady is about as profitable as a Soviet Tractor Plant circa 1986.  However, the Newspaper of Record has a plan.  It seems there is this thing called the internet, and the New York Times will get suckers subscribers to pay for access to New York Times content.

This was tried before by the Times and it  was a dismal failure, but this time it will succeed for sureAnd if it doesn’t, the fish wrap industry is just waiting to be conquered!

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4 Responses to The New York Times Has All The Answers!

Knights of Columbus to Take Over JP II Center

Wednesday, August 3, AD 2011

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson (and member of my council) announced today at the Supreme Convention in Denver that the Knights of Columbus are acquiring the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, DC.

“True to Pope John Paul II’s vision, and using the story of his life as an inspiration, the shrine will be an opportunity to evangelize and spread the Good News of the Gospel through a New Evangelization,” Anderson said in a public statement.

“Because of his tireless evangelization efforts, an entire generation of Catholics has become known as the ‘John Paul Generation,’ and, certainly, we are honored to continue to spread his profound and powerful message of hope for our country, our continent and our world.”

Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit confirmed that the Knights will provide a $20 million cash payment to the Detroit Archdiocese, which had poured $54 million into the cultural center, a project marked by cost overruns that continued to require large-interest payments from the Detroit Archdiocese.

Wonderful news for a site that was really struggling.

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One Response to Knights of Columbus to Take Over JP II Center

  • I bet Archbishop Vigneron and the folks in Michigan are breathing a big sigh of relief. I know I am for them. Sometimes it’s enough to just stop the bleeding. It works well this way because the KofC are on the hook for a cost that is much more appropriate for what they got in return. Not to mention it will be a national charitable organisation in charge so the support will be spread from around the country and by people with an active interest in the center. A win-win I think.