Monthly Archives: April 2012
One of the more fashionable responses to any Christian’s objection to the legalization of “gay marriage”, or for that matter, any objection to anything blatantly immoral in modern society, is to immediately announce that since the Bible (allegedly) endorses slavery, anything it has to say on any moral issue is completely irrelevant.
I suppose the argument goes something like this for most people in their heads: “so your Bible says that (insert the sin you want to justify here) is immoral, eh? Well let me tell YOU something:
The Bible says slavery is moral. (Premise 1)
Slavery, as we all (allegedly) know is immoral. (Premise 2)
Therefore the Bible endorses something that is immoral. (Premise 3)
Therefore, the Bible is not a legitimate source of moral arguments. (Conclusion)”
Have I got that right? I think I do. So let’s deconstruct these premises and demonstrate why this ever-so popular argument is really just another lazy, uncritical, decontextualized, factually-deficient and hypocritical canard.
Agreeing with something Mark wrote in criticizing Michael Voris? This might just be my last post at The American Catholic.
All kidding aside, I second Mark’s concerns regarding Vorris’s association with E. Michael Jones. As Shea details:
Let us be clear about what is happening here. Marc Brammer and Michael Voris, Folk Hero to the Utterly Undiscerning, will be working hard to mainstream somebody
- whose all-explaining theory of everything blames Jews for every problem that Christendom has had over the past 2000 years;
- whose rhetoric has been condemned by both the Abp of Prague for his outreach to “political extremists, Lefebvrites, nationalists, anti-Semites, Islamists and neo-Nazis.” and by the Catholic League for “outrageously blam[ing] the Jews themselves for the Holocaust and pogroms.” ;
- who has appeared on an Iranian TV show that endorses the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as authentic and charges Jews with harvesting Gentile organs;
- who is BFF with Holocaust Denier’s like Willis Carto and moving in virulently anti-Semitic circles;
- who treats as a respected thinker Robert Sungenis (Sungenis, who is published multiple times by Jones’ Culture Wars, gives Jones’ an enthusiastic thumbs up, and is himself hot on the trail of the Jew conspirators with such hard hitting stories asJim Stone shows Israel Behind Fukashima Disaster
The European Jewish Union Exonerating Everything Jewish
Jewish Child Molesters
Mossad Involvement in 9/11
Jewry’s push for War with Iran
Jewish Atzmon Says Merah Was a Mossad False Flag Agent
and, last but not least, E. Michael Jones: Who is the World’s Real Enemy?(Guess who?)(For a full catalog of Sungenis’ vast corpus of crazy statements about the Jews, go here.)
I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes Mark can exaggerate (I’m being charitable here) others’ viewpoints, but I don’t believe he is doing so here. Jones has a fairly extensive record of what can only be described by any reasonable person as anti-Semitism, and yet Voris is happy to give the man a platform.
I’m sure there will be those that object that Voris himself does not hold these views, and that this is a game of guilt by association. I would counter that providing an open platform to such a person as Jones is beyond reprehensible. People should be able to engage in honest discussion with others who hold differing viewpoints, but this goes well beyond that. There are certain lines that when crossed should disqualify individuals from ever being taken seriously again. When you willingly not only associate yourself with such individuals, but actually provide a forum which grants a certain amount of legitimacy, then you should also be taken to task
And of course leave it to the very first commenter on Mark’s post to play the “but what is anti-Semitism?” game. It’s an insipid attempt to change the discussion and avoid having to address the issue at hand.
I haven’t gotten involved with previous discussions about Voris because I haven’t really seen that much of his work. And I think it’s fairly well-known that I have had my share of disagreements with Mark, to say the least. So I have no personal axe to grind with Voris. But he should be held to account for his decision to associate with Jones.
Well the Obama re-election team has its campaign slogan: Forward! Congrats to commenter cmatt who guessed that would be the slogan:
It’s the perfect slogan. Simple, for the simple minds; sound bitish-y; pretty much devoid of content while sounding positive; implies progress was made, but does not disclose to what we are moving forward; offers abilituy to point to vague accomplishments; cultural tie-in to cute, upbeat animated film. Continue reading
Tomorrow is Victims of Communism Day and I will be having a post on that subject. In a lighter vein on the same subject is the hilarious Cold War comedy One, Two, Three (1961), starring James Cagney and directed by Billy Wilder. It actually foreshadowed the trajectory of the Cold War fairly better than many a serious study. As the film indicates the Soviets simply were unable to produce consumer goods of a high enough quality to keep their people satisfied, and the failure to do so, along with the lack of freedom, ultimately led to the rapid fall in the eighties of the last century of regimes that looked on the surface to be rock solid. Continue reading
In articles, interviews and addresses, U.S. Representative Paul Ryan is defending — not without controversy — his 2013 budget proposal (see “The Path to Prosperity: A Blueprint for American Renewal”) as an application of Catholic social teaching, inspired by his Catholic faith.
In an April 10 interview with CBN News, Ryan responded:
To me, the principle of subsidiarity, which is really federalism, meaning government closest to the people governs best, having a civil society of the principal of solidarity where we, through our civic organizations, through our churches, through our charities, through all of our different groups where we interact with people as a community, that’s how we advance the common good. By not having big government crowd out civic society, but by having enough space in our communities so that we can interact with each other, and take care of people who are down and out in our communities.
Those principles are very very important, and the preferential option for the poor, which is one of the primary tenants of Catholic social teaching, means don’t keep people poor, don’t make people dependent on government so that they stay stuck at their station in life. Help people get out of poverty out onto life of independence.
The U.S. Bishops Conference conveyed their thoughts on the FY2013 Budget and spending bills, which in their words “repeated and reinforced the bishops’ ongoing call to create a “circle of protection” around poor and vulnerable people and programs that meet their basic needs and protect their lives and dignity.”:
Bishops Blaire [chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development] and Pates reaffirmed the “moral criteria to guide these difficult budget decisions” outlined in their March 6 budget letter:
1.Every budget decision should be assessed by whether it protects or threatens human life and dignity.
2.A central moral measure of any budget proposal is how it affects “the least of these” (Matthew 25). The needs of those who are hungry and homeless, without work or in poverty should come first.
3.Government and other institutions have a shared responsibility to promote the common good of all, especially ordinary workers and families who struggle to live in dignity in difficult economic times…
Just solutions, however, must require shared sacrifice by all, including raising adequate revenues, eliminating unnecessary military and other spending, and fairly addressing the long-term costs of health insurance and retirement programs.
In April 16 and April 17 letters to the House Agriculture Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee addressing cuts required by the budget resolution, Bishop Blaire said “The House-passed budget resolution fails to meet these moral criteria.”
Marc Thiessen defended the congressman from “a bishop’s unjust attack” (Washington Post, 4/23/12) along with (Fr. Robert Sirico (of the Acton Institute) — the latter, however, disagreeting with Ryan’s equasion of subsidiarity with federalism.
This past week, U.S. Representative Paul Ryan further presented his case in a column for the National Catholic Register: Applying Our Enduring Truths to Our Defining Challenge, April 25, 2012):
As a congressman and Catholic layman, I am persuaded that Catholic social truths are in accord with the “self-evident truths” our Founders bequeathed to us in the founding ideas of America: independence, limited government and the dignity and freedom of every human person. As chairman of the House Budget Committee, I am tasked with applying these enduring principles to the urgent social problems of our time: an economy that is not providing enough opportunities for our citizens, a safety net that is failing our most vulnerable populations, and a crushing burden of debt that is threatening our children and grandchildren with a diminished future. … [read more]
On April 26th, Paul Ryan gave a lecture at Georgetown University, entitled “America’s Enduring Promise”, in which he once again addressed the challenge of America’s exploding federal debt, which he characterized as “the overarching threat to our society today”:
The Holy Father, Pope Benedict, has charged that governments, communities, and individuals running up high debt levels are “living at the expense of future generations” and “living in untruth.”
We in this country still have a window of time before a debt-fueled economic crisis becomes inevitable. We can still take control before our own needy suffer the fate of Greece. How we do this is a question for prudential judgment, about which people of good will can differ.
If there was ever a time for serious but respectful discussion, among Catholics as well as those who don’t share our faith, that time is now.
Ryan’s appearance at Georgetown was prefaced by a scathing letter from some 80 members of the faculty irate over his alleged “continuing misuse of Catholic teaching to defend a budget plan that decimates food programs for struggling families, radically weakens protections for the elderly and sick, and gives more tax breaks to the wealthiest few.” An organized protest of Ryan on the actual day of the event was distinguished by a notable lack of participation. Continue reading
The Road we Traveled is an Obama campaign video directed by Davis Guggenheim who directed Al Gore’s mendacious An Inconvenient Truth, and narrated by Tom Hanks, taking a break apparently from starring in Catholic bashing Dan Brown flicks. The film gets the Science Fiction Mystery Theater 3000 commentary from Andrew Klavan and Bill Whittle in the video above. The Obama campaign should thank Whittle and Klavan: at least someone will actually watch this piece of agit-prop drek now.
The largest city of the Confederacy, New Orleans also controlled all shipment from the Mississippi and into the Mississppi. Even a cursory look at a map would indicate that New Orleans was a crucial city for the Confederacy and a crucial target for the Union. In early 1862 the Union assembled a force to take this prize: 18,000 soldiers commanded by Major General Benjamin Butler, and a naval armada under Flag Captain David G. Farragut, 6o years old, but possessed of energy that few men in their twenties possess, and a veteran of over half a century of service in the Navy.
In Mid-March Farragut began moving his fleet into the mouth of the Mississippi. The approach to New Orleans up the Mississippi was guarded by two Confederate forts: Jackson on the west bank and Saint Philip on the east bank. The Confederate defenses were aided on the river by three ironclads: the CSS Manassas, the CSS Mississippi, and the CSS Louisiana, backed up by an improvised fleet of converted merchant vessels, gunboats and rams, none of which stood any chance against the might of the Union fleet. If Farragut’s force was going to be stopped, it would have to be by the forts.
From April 18-April 23 the forts were bombarded by 26 mortar schooners under the command of Farragut’s foster brother Captain David Porter, with whom Farragut had an uneasy relationship. Porter had used his influence in Washington to require Farragut to give him the chance to reduce the forts by bombardment. Farragut was sceptical and he was right. Although the bombardment was fierce, the forts remained in action. On the 24th, Farragut successfully had his ships run past the forts, destroying the Confederate fleet in the process. Almost defenseless New Orleans surrendered to the fleet after three days of negotiation on April 29. Butler’s army took the forts bloodlessly on the 29th, aided by a mutiny of the Confederate troops at Fort Jackson. The richest strategic prize of the War fell to the Union swiftly, and with amazingly few casualties. Farragut was promoted to Rear Admiral for this feat, the first admiral in US history. The Union took a large step to victory with the fall of the Crescent City. Continue reading
Advisory to the video above due to strong language and high idiocy content. Hattip to Jazz Shaw at Hot Air. Dan Savage, anti-Christian bigot, homosexual activist and all around jerk, is the de facto anti-Bullying tzar of the Obama administration. He was the featured speaker at a High School Journalism Convention where he was supposed to talk on anti-bullying initiatives in schools. Instead, he decided to vent his extreme hatred of Christianity and Christians:
Barack Obama and Joe Biden may be having second thoughts about assigning Dan Savage as their de facto “Anti-Bullying Czar” this year. According to Fox News, the sex advice columnist – Savage Love – and gay rights activist who founded It Gets Better seems to either have a hard time understanding the definition of bullying or has some serious issues with irony.
Really? So you picked a raunchy sex advice columnist who publishes a column called “Savage Love” as your ambassador to help out at risk children. What could possibly go wrong? Well, here’s what can possibly go wrong.
As many as 100 high school students walked out of a national journalism conference after an anti-bullying speaker began cursing, attacked the Bible and reportedly called those who refused to listen to his rant “pansy asses.” …
Savage was supposed to be delivering a speech about anti-bullying at the National High School Journalism Conference sponsored by the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association. But it turned into an episode of Christian-bashing.
Rick Tuttle, the journalism advisor for Sutter Union High School in California, was among several thousand people in the audience. He said they thought the speech was one thing – but it turned into something else.
“I thought this would be about anti-bullying,” Tuttle told Fox news. “It turned into a pointed attack on Christian beliefs.”
Tuttle said a number of his students were offended by Savage’s remarks – and some decided to leave the auditorium.
“It became hostile,” he said. “It felt hostile as we were sitting in the audience – especially towards Christians who espouse beliefs that he was literally taking on.”
The speaker, in a supposed attempt to encourage young people to behave in a civil fashion toward each other, immediately launches into a diatribe against Christian values. When some of the students – particularly a few of the young ladies – become offended, he berates them and engages in hostile name calling. This is the keystone of the anti-bullying campaign? Continue reading
America means freedom and there’s no expression of freedom quite so sincere as music.
Something for the weekend. Glenn Miller and the Army Air Corps Band give a very lively version of James M. Cohan’s Over There. The rendition of the song is made poignant by our knowledge that Major Glenn Miller would never come back from Over There, dying on December 15, 1944 when the plane he was flying in was lost over the English Channel. Miller, too old to be drafted at 38, was rich and famous as a band leader in 1942 and could have sat out the War in safety and comfort without reproach. However, Miller was above all a patriot. He first tried to join the Navy and was turned down. He then joined the Army Air Corps, commissioned as a Captain, and was placed in command of the Army Air Corps Band. His goal was to present music that the troops would enjoy, frequently to the dismay of senior officers who usually had little love for Big Band era music. Miller and his Band helped raise the morale of American troops and civilians alike, not an easy task in a War as bloody as World War II, especially among Army Air Corps troops in Europe with their high casualties. May his soul rest in peace. Continue reading
Father Wilson Miscamble, a priest of the Congregation of the Holy Cross and a history professor at Notre Dame defends Bishop Jenky from the attacks of members of the Notre Dame faculty:
Do you know Bishop Jenky?
I do, indeed. He’s, of course, a member of the Congregation of Holy Cross, and I’ve known him since I came to the order as a seminarian 30 years ago. He’s a terrific priest and a great bishop.
Have you worked with him closely?
He was the rector of Sacred Heart Basilica in my younger days as a priest here on campus and was the superior of the Holy Cross community here during my early days on campus. That was in the late ’80s and early ’90s, when I was part of the community of which he was local superior.
But then he was taken away from us and made auxiliary bishop here in Fort Wayne-South Bend, and then was made bishop of Peoria about 10 years ago. So, for the last 15 years or so, I’ve seen him periodically. He comes back to visit, and so on.
What do you think of this brouhaha over his remarks?
I have found the reaction of my faculty colleagues quite embarrassing — embarrassing because these academics disgracefully misused Bishop Jenky’s words by taking them out of context. It has been a little disappointing, to say least. Bishop Jenky was making remarks about the religious-liberty issue, and some of my colleagues implied that Bishop Jenky was suggesting that President Obama was on his way to adopting the entire Hitler-Stalin agenda. It’s a mischaracterization that is unworthy of supposedly serious scholars.
You’re a historian, albeit your specialty is American history.
I am a historian, and I challenge the signatories to this letter criticizing Bishop Jenky to point to one part of his homily that is historically inaccurate.
Is he historically accurate?
Absolutely. By the way, Bishop Jenky was a history major when he was an undergraduate here at Notre Dame. He’s read quite a bit of history in his day. And he is a good student of it.
Why do you think they would take his remarks out of context?
Well, this is to engage in speculation, and I probably shouldn’t go down this path myself; one should be cautious. But I think this very poorly crafted letter says more about the rather predictable and ideological bias of the signatories than it does about Bishop Jenky’s courageous homily.
But do you feel that he might have overstepped any kind of line?
No. His homily was a courageous homily which pointed to a pattern of behavior of a number of regimes to limit religious freedom and to attack religious institutions. Continue reading
My beloved State of Illinois is a shining example of what not to do if a state wishes to be prosperous, cursed as it is with probably the worst state government in the Union. George Will sums up the state of my State in a column this week:
After trying to tax Illinois to governmental solvency and economic dynamism, Pat Quinn, a Democrat who has been governor since 2009, now says “our rendezvous with reality has arrived.”
Actually, Illinois is still reality-averse, so Americans may soon learn the importance of the freedom to fail in a system of competitive federalism.
Illinois was more heavily taxed than its five contiguous states (Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin) even before January 2011, when Quinn got a lame duck Legislature (its successor has fewer Democrats) to raise corporate taxes 30% (from 7.3% to 9.5%), giving Illinois one of the highest state corporate taxes, and the fourth-highest combination of national and local corporate taxation in the industrialized world.
Since 2009, Quinn has spent more than $500 million in corporate welfare to bribe companies not to flee the tax environment he has created.
Quinn raised personal income taxes 67% (from 3% to 5%), adding about $1,040 to the tax burden of a family of four earning $60,000. Illinois’ unemployment rate increased faster than any other state’s in 2011.
Its pension system is the nation’s most underfunded, and the state has floated bond issues to finance pension contributions — borrowing money that someday must be repaid, to replace what should have been pension money it spent on immediate gratifications.
Go here to read the depressing rest. Illinois is now rated A2 by Moody’s, the lowest credit rating of any state. When it lowered Illinois’ bond rating Moody’s made the following observation:
Illinois’ general obligation bond rating was lowered to A2 from A1 on January 6 because of the state’s failure last year to implement solutions to its largest credit challenges: severe pension under-funding and chronic bill-payment delays. It remains to be seen whether the state has the political will to impose new pension reforms and other measures that restore fiscal strength in the near term.
Not a chance. No serious reforms will be undertaken until State payroll checks begin to bounce. Illinois has the worst, most feckless political class in the country. Louis XV, he of apres moi le deluge, was a dedicated reformer compared to the idiots, crooks and empty suits who misgovern the Land of Lincoln.
I have a long weekend and very busy next-week ahead of me, so I won’t be here posting and commenting for a few days. Until then, enjoy this music! Amadeus is one of my favorite films, and Mozart one of my favorite composers. Here is the full finale of the opera that had “too many notes.”
Have a wonderful weekend TAC!
I have to say, I’m not the biggest fan of the GOP or most of its politicians. Of course I consider the party to be marginally better than the Democrats on most issues, and so if I grace the polls with my presence, I tend to prefer GOP candidates. But this is hardly a ringing endorsement. Nor can I possibly count my political support for Ron Paul as support for the GOP, since he rejects significant parts of the party platform, rhetoric and practice.
Paul Ryan, however, is someone I have begun paying attention to. Since he has invoked Catholic Social Teaching (CST) as the basic foundation of his approach to the federal budget, he has become quite the person of interest among combatants in the Catholic media and blogosphere.
Ryan recently penned a column which appeared in the National Catholic Register titled “Applying Our Enduring Truths To Our Defining Challenge.” It is worth reading. I will quote some of the highlights here. His main point:
As a congressman and Catholic layman, I am persuaded that Catholic social truths are in accord with the “self-evident truths” our Founders bequeathed to us in the founding ideas of America: independence, limited government and the dignity and freedom of every human person.
Absolutely! Human dignity and freedom are indivisible; every assault on a legitimate right or liberty is an affront to human dignity. It is no coincidence that those philosophers who have most despised liberty have also most despised man himself, viewing him as little more than a machine comprised of pleasure and pain receptors.
Proving once again that nothing must be outside of the control of Leviathan, the Obama Labor Department has proposed the following:
A proposal from the Obama administration to prevent children from doing farm chores has drawn plenty of criticism from rural-district members of Congress. But now it’s attracting barbs from farm kids themselves.
The Department of Labor is poised to put the finishing touches on a rule that would apply child-labor laws to children working on family farms, prohibiting them from performing a list of jobs on their own families’ land.
I have lived in rural Illinois all of my life. My family was not fortunate enough to own a family farm, but I did agricultural labor for cash from the sixth grade on up, through the summer after my first year in law school. I found out three things from this experience: 1. I loved earning money; 2. Farm work was hard and I didn’t want to be doing it for the rest of my life; 3. Showing up on time and working hard was 90% of doing well on a job. I benefited quiet a bit from those simple lessons, in addition to getting a lot of exercise and gaining respect for how hard it is to make a living from farming. Now the federal government has decreed that kids, even in many cases on farms of their own families, should not have these opportunities. The only possible response to this is for me to once again summon the shade of the late Ray Walston: Continue reading
“A few days after the liberation of Rome, Lieutenant General Mark Clark, Commander of the Fifth Allied Army, paid his respects to the Pope: “I am afraid you have been disturbed by the noise of my tanks. I am sorry.” Pius XII smiled and replied: “General, any time you come to liberate Rome, you can make just as much noise as you like.””
The show What’s My Line makes a rather good time capsule for informal looks at major figures in mid twentieth century American history. On February 19, 1956 General Mark Clark, commander of the US Fifth Army in the Italian campaign during World War II, and commander of the United Nations forces in Korea from May 12, 1952 to the truce ending the conflict., appeared on the show.
It is an ironic commentary on the relative obscurity of the Italian campaign during World War II that the panelists were unable to guess his identity. Clark was nominated by President Truman to be the first ambassador of the United States to the Vatican due to his excellent personal war time relationship with Pope Pius XII. Opposition by Protestant groups and powerful Senator Thomas Connolly of Texas caused Truman to shelve the plan. Continue reading
In a prior post, which may be read here, I detailed a speech by Bishop Daniel Jenky of the Peoria Diocese, my Bishop, in which he blasted the attack of the Obama administration on religious liberty. Bishop Jenky is a graduate of Notre Dame and was ordained as a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross, the Catholic religious order which runs Notre Dame. Bishop Jenky is quite fond of Notre Dame and often speaks of his days there. He serves on the Board of Fellows of Notre Dame. Professor Charles E. Rice, Law School Professor Emeritus at Notre Dame, details what happened at Notre Dame after Bishop Jenky’s speech:
On April 14, Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C., of Peoria, Illinois, delivered a courageous homily at Mass during “A Call to Catholic Men of Faith.” Bishop Jenky said, “This fall, every practicing Catholic must vote, and must vote their Catholic consciences, or by the following fall our Catholic schools, our Catholic hospitals, our Catholic Newman Centers, all our public ministries—only excepting our church buildings—could easily be shut down. Because no Catholic institution, under any circumstance, can ever cooperate with the intrinsic evil of killing innocent human life in the womb.”
Forty-nine members of the Notre Dame faculty denounced Bishop Jenky in a Letter to the University President, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Richard C. Notebaert. The Letter called on them to “definitively distance Notre Dame from Bishop Jenky’s incendiary statement.” The signers, said the Letter, “feel” that Bishop Jenky should resign from the University’s Board of Fellows.
The faculty Letter claims that Bishop Jenky “described President Obama as ‘seem[ing] intent on following a similar path’ to Hitler and Stalin.” They accuse Bishop Jenky of “ ignorance of history, insensitivity to victims of genocide, and absence of judgment.” The astonishingly simplistic and defamatory character of those accusations can be appreciated only by looking at what Bishop Jenky actually said: Continue reading