Kenneth Minogue: Requiescat In Pace

 

 

In a field dominated by the most complete rubbish imaginable, Political Science, Kenneth Minogue was a voice of reason:

Olympianism is the characteristic belief system of today’s secularist, and it has itself many of the features of a religion. For one thing, the fusion of political conviction and moral superiority into a single package resembles the way in which religions (outside liberal states) constitute comprehensive ways of life supplying all that is necessary (in the eyes of believers) for salvation. Again, the religions with which we are familiar are monotheistic and refer everything to a single center. In traditional religions, this is usually God; with Olympianism, it is society, understood ultimately as including the whole of humanity. And Olympianism, like many religions, is keen to proselytize. Its characteristic mode of missionary activity is journalism and the media.

If Olympianism has the character of a religion, as I am suggesting, there would be no mystery about its hostility to Christianity. Real religions (by contrast with test-tube religions such as ecumenism) don’t much like each other; they are, after all, competitors. Olympianism, however, is in the interesting position of being a kind of religion which does not recognize itself as such, and indeed claims a cognitive superiority to religion in general. But there is a deeper reason why the spread of Olympianism may be measured by the degree of Christophobia. It is that Olympianism is an imperial project which can only be hindered by the association between Christianity and the West. Continue Reading

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Was the Confederate Victory at Gettysburg Inevitable?

For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it’s still not yet two o’clock on that July afternoon in 1863, the brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags are already loosened to break out and Pickett himself with his long oiled ringlets and his hat in one hand probably and his sword in the other looking up the hill waiting for Longstreet to give the word and it’s all in the balance, it hasn’t happened yet, it hasn’t even begun yet, it not only hasn’t begun yet but there is still time for it not to begin against that position and those circumstances which made more men than Garnett and Kemper and Armistead and Wilcox look grave yet it’s going to begin, we all know that, we have come too far with too much at stake and that moment doesn’t need even a fourteen-year-old boy to think This time.  Maybe this time with all this much to lose than all this much to gain: Pennsylvania, Maryland, the world, the golden dome of Washington itself to crown with desperate and unbelievable victory the desperate gamble, the cast made two years ago;

William Faulkner, Intruder in the Dust

Hattip to Sir Winston Churchill.

As we prepare to observe the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg, a question arises as to whether the shattering Confederate victory was inevitable.  I believe it was for the following reasons:

1.  Lee and Jackson-The most formidable military partnership in American military history, Jackson and Lee by Gettysburg had perfected the teamwork that made them matchless on the battlefield.  With Lee providing strategic insight and bold plans, Jackson was the perfect man to execute Lee’s will on the battlefield.  As Lee said of him: Straight as the needle to the pole he advances to the execution of my purpose. When fired upon by his own men by accident in the gloom of night at Chancellorsville, it was fortunate indeed for the Confederacy that although several members of his party were killed and wounded, he emerged unscathed.  Lee and Jackson hoped in their Northern invasion to produce a defeat so decisive that it would destroy Northern morale and end the War.

2.  Jackson and Stuart-The grim Cromwellian warrior of God Stonewall Jackson and the spiritual descendant of the cavaliers, Jeb Stuart, were, surprisingly enough, good friends.  After Brandy Station, Lee was concerned that Stuart was stung by the criticism of the Southern newspapers, and that might cause him to attempt one of his patented spectacular raids, precisely not what Lee desired in the forthcoming invasion of the North.  Lee sent Jackson to talk with Stuart.  Stuart describes the interview in his memoir, one of the classic pieces of literature to come out of the Second American Revolution, Riding the Raid (1880):

Initially I was perplexed as “Stonewall” described the plan of the coming campaign and that General Lee wished to use my cavalry as a coordinated attack force with General Jackson’s corps.  Then I realized this was General Lee’s characteristically polite manner of telling me that I was to follow Jackson’s orders in the coming campaign.  I will not pretend that I was not chagrined although I gave no outward sign of the irritation I felt to my friend “Stonewall”.  As it turned out this was yet another example of the brilliance of General Lee, the greatest soldier of our age.  If not for this order, I would not have been on hand to quickly scatter General Buford’s cavalry during the early morning of July 1, and General Jackson would not have been aware of how distant the Union infantry corps were from the all important high ground south of the town.  After that day I never entertained the slightest doubt as to the decisions of General Lee, even if they ran directly counter to my own opinions.

3.  The Hardluck XI- I have always thought that the XI Corps receives a disproportionate amount of blame for the Union loss at Gettysburg.  Any of the Union corps marching on to the battlefield as the XI Corps did probably would have fared as poorly, however that task fell to the same Corps that had recently been routed by Jackson at Chancellorsville, and hardly two months later they met the same fate at Gettysburg.  It was the luck of the draw that the XI Corps was at the head of the marching order that day and the first Union Corps to reach the field.  With the loss of McPherson’s Ridge, courtesy of Stuart, Jackson was free to march through Gettysburg and launch a furious assault on the XI Corps at noon as it attempted to deploy on Cemetery Hill.  After a half hour of fighting the XI Corps collapsed and headed southeast on the Baltimore Pike.  Seeing Union reinforcements arriving from the southeast, Jackson made no effort to pursue, but contented himself with seizing, completely uncontested, Cemetery Ridge, Little Round Top and Big Round Top and fortifying these immensely strong by nature positions.

4.  George Gordon Meade-Appointed to command the Army of the Potomac just two days prior to the battle, Meade has gone down in history as the man who lost the decisive battle of the War.  It is hard not to have sympathy for him.  He had indicated prior to his appointment that he did now want the job and he now had it under the worst possible circumstances, with no time to put his own stamp on the Army or come up with a plan of campaign on his own.  My sympathy does not extend to his decision to attack the now heavily fortified Confederate positions on July 2, 1863.  Meade had enough experience of the War to realize that a frontal assault on fortifications held by veteran troops of the Army of Northern Virginia was merely a colorful way to commit suicide.  The men making the attacks certainly did, many of them pinning notes with their names and home addresses on them so their next of kin could be informed of their deaths.  After the debacle at Fredericksburg this decision by Meade, albeit under heavy pressure from Washington to do something, was truly unforgivable.  Meade would have done better to withdraw and keep Lee’s army under observation, harassing Confederate foraging parties.  This would have forced Lee to eventually leave his fortified nest due to lack of supplies.  Instead Meade’s attacks cost him 12,000 casualties in exchange for less than 3,000 Confederate casualties.  Jackson favored a counter-attack, but Lee decided that he would wait and see what Meade would do the next day. Continue Reading

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Fortnight For Freedom: Edmund Burke

burke

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have proclaimed a second Fortnight for Freedom from June 21-July 4th, and, as last year, The American Catholic will participate with special blog posts each day.

 

“For I must do it justice;  it was a complete system, full of coherence and consistency, well digested and well composed in all its parts.   It was a machine of wise and deliberate contrivance, as well fitted for the oppression, impoverishment and degradation of a people, and the debasement of human nature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man.”

So wrote Edmund Burke, brilliant writer and member of Parliament, of the Catholic penal laws in the Eighteenth Century.  Son of a Protestant father and a Catholic mother, suspected in his lifetime, probably incorrectly, of being a secret Catholic, Burke was a man who fought during his life for many causes:  reform in Parliament, support for Americans in their fight against oppression by the English government, prosecution of Warren Hastings for his misrule in India, his crusade against the French Revolution, all these and more engaged his formidable intellect and his luminous pen.  However, one cause he championed from the beginning of his career to the end of it:  relief for Catholics in Ireland and England from the Penal Laws.

What were the Penal Laws?  A series of statutes dating from the time of Queen Elizabeth I, and codified and harshened after the so-called Glorious Revolution in England in 1688, to transform Irish Catholics into helots in their own land and to keep English Catholics a despised and helpless minority.  Burke summarized the penal laws nicely in a speech to his Bristol constituents on September 6, 1780:

“A statute was fabricated in the year 1699, by which the saying mass (a church service in the Latin tongue, not exactly the same as our liturgy, but very near it, and containing no offence whatsoever against the laws, or against good morals) was forged into a crime, punishable with perpetual imprisonment. The teaching school, an useful and virtuous occupation, even the teaching in a private family, was in every Catholic subjected to the same unproportioned punishment. Your industry, and the bread of your children, was taxed for a pecuniary reward to stimulate avarice to do what Nature refused, to inform and prosecute on this law. Every Roman Catholic was, under the same act, to forfeit his estate to his nearest Protestant relation, until, through a profession of what he did not believe, he redeemed by his hypocrisy what the law had transferred to the kinsman as the recompense of his profligacy. When thus turned out of doors from his paternal estate, he was disabled from acquiring any other by any industry, donation, or charity; but was rendered a foreigner in his native land, only because he retained the religion, along with the property, handed down to him from those who had been the old inhabitants of that land before him.

Does any one who hears me approve this scheme of things, or think there is common justice, common sense, or common honesty in any part of it? If any does, let him say it, and I am ready to discuss the point with temper and candor. But instead of approving, I perceive a virtuous indignation beginning to rise in your minds on the mere cold stating of the statute.” Continue Reading

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Government, the Biggest Bully of All

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

CS Lewis

 

Fortnight For Freedom: Liberty Song

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have proclaimed a second Fortnight for Freedom from June 21-July 4th, and, as last year, The American Catholic will participate with special blog posts each day.

Something for the Weekend.  Liberty Song.  Written by Founding Father John Dickinson in 1768, the song was sung by patriots in America to the tune of Heart of OakThe video above is the most hilarious scene from the John Adams mini-series where a completely fish out of water John Adams gets donations for the American cause from French aristocrats as they sing the Liberty Song, led by Ben Franklin who is obviously immensely enjoying himself.  It is a good song for Americans to recall, and perhaps especially so in this year of grace, 2013.

 

Continue Reading

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99 Years Ago Today: The Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and His Wife

On June 28th, 1914, the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian empire, fifty-year old Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated in Sarajevo by a 19-year-old Bosnian-Serb nationalist. The assassination began an at first slow-moving diplomatic crisis which would result a month later, July 28th, in Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia.

The assassination plot itself was so badly botched that its success is one of the surprising events of history. A group of Bosnian-Serb nationalists (half of them teenagers) — who wanted Bosnia-Herzegovina to be independent from Austria-Hungary and integrated into a pan-Slavic state — had received bombs, pistols and cyanide pills from officers in the Serbian army sympathetic to their cause. They planned an assassination attempt against the Archduke and his wife and stationed themselves along the route which their open car would travel through the city. Several of the assassins failed to make any move when the car passed and another threw a bomb at the car, however the bomb bounced off the folded convertible hood, fell behind the car, and exploded, disabling the next car in the motorcade and injuring a number of bystanders. The assassin who had thrown the bomb bit a cyanide capsule and jumped off a bridge, but the cyanide only made him sick and the fall wasn’t far and the river nearly dry, so he was quickly arrest by police (though not before members of the angry crowd beat him.) Continue Reading

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Introduction to Gettysburg

Introduction to the movie Gettysburg.  Released on the 130th anniversary of the battle, I will have it playing at my home during the 150th anniversary next week.  Overlong, and historically suspect, especially as to its Longstreet-could-do-no wrong  perspective, it still is a masterpiece.  It captures perfectly the desperate nature of the battle that has become the symbol of that fratricidal conflict.  The late Shelby Foote once said that to understand this country you needed to understand the Civil War.  I concur, and I would also suggest that it is impossible to understand the Civil War without understanding Gettysburg,  a battle which marked the end of Lee’s perceived invincibility and gave Lincoln an opportunity to explain to the people why so many men had to die so their nation might live.

Stay tuned to The American Catholic for several posts in the next few days on Gettysburg and the Civil War.

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Fortnight for Freedom: John Carroll’s Prayer

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have proclaimed a second Fortnight for Freedom from June 21-July 4th, and, as last year, The American Catholic will participate with special blog posts each day.

 

John Carroll, brother of Daniel Carroll who signed the Constitution, and cousin of Charles Carroll of Carrollton who signed the Declaration of Independence, was the first Bishop and Archbishop in these United States.  A friend of Washington and other Founding Fathers, he was a strong advocate of our ongoing experiment in self rule.   In 1791 he wrote this prayer for his new nation which is good to remember in the increasingly perilous times in which we live:

We pray, Thee O Almighty and Eternal God! Who through Jesus Christ hast revealed Thy glory to all nations, to preserve the works of Thy mercy, that Thy Church, being spread through the whole world, may continue with unchanging faith in the confession of Thy Name.

We pray Thee, who alone art good and holy, to endow with heavenly knowledge, sincere zeal, and sanctity of life, our chief bishop, Pope N., the Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the government of his Church; our own bishop, N., all other bishops, prelates, and pastors of the Church; and especially those who are appointed to exercise amongst us the functions of the holy ministry, and conduct Thy people into the ways of salvation.

We pray Thee O God of might, wisdom, and justice! Through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Thy people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality. Let the light of Thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge; and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty. Continue Reading

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Fortnight For Freedom: Lincoln on Liberty of Conscience

 

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have proclaimed a second Fortnight for Freedom from June 21-July 4th, and, as last year, The American Catholic will participate with special blog posts each day.

In our current struggle for liberty we have the finest of American history on our side.  Americans, at their best, have been dedicated to liberty and opposed to attempts by government to take away the freedom that all Americans should enjoy.  One of the champions of freedom who would clearly be against the policies of the current administration in its squalid war against the Catholic Church is Abraham Lincoln.

 

 

In the 1840s America was beset by a wave of anti-Catholic riots.  An especially violent one occurred in Philadelphia on May 6-8 in 1844. These riots laid the seeds for a powerful anti-Catholic movement which became embodied in the years to come in the aptly named Know-Nothing movement.  To many American politicians Catholic-bashing seemed the path to electoral success.

 

Lincoln made clear where he stood on this issue when he organized a public meeting in Springfield, Illinois on June 12, 1844.  At the meeting he proposed and had the following resolution adopted by the meeting:

“Resolved, That the guarantee of the rights of conscience, as found in our Constitution, is most sacred and inviolable, and one that belongs no less to the Catholic, than to the Protestant; and that all attempts to abridge or interfere with these rights, either of Catholic or Protestant, directly or indirectly, have our decided disapprobation, and shall ever have our most effective opposition. Resolved, That we reprobate and condemn each and every thing in the Philadelphia riots, and the causes which led to them, from whatever quarter they may have come, which are in conflict with the principles above expressed.”

Lincoln remained true to this belief.  At the height of the political success of the Know-Nothing movement 11 years later, Mr. Lincoln in a letter to his friend Joshua Speed wrote:

“I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we begin by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except negroes.” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty-to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy [sic].” Continue Reading

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Footnote 7

 

 

Justice Alito, in one footnote, underlines why the Federal judiciary has become an enemy to our most important civil right:  the right to govern ourselves:

The degree to which this question [the traditional view of marriage vs. the consent-based view] is intractable to typical judicial processes of decisionmaking was highlighted by the trial in Hollingsworth v. Perry. In that case, the trial judge, after receiving testimony from some expert witnesses, purported to make “findings of fact” on such questions as why marriage came to be, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, 704 F. Supp. 2d 921, 958 (ND Cal. 2010) (finding of fact no. 27) (“Marriage between a man and a woman was traditionally organized based on presumptions of division of labor along gender lines. Men were seen as suited for certain types of work and women for others. Women were seen as suited to raise children and men were seen as suited to provide for the family”), what marriage is, id., at 961 (finding of fact no. 34) (“Marriage is the state recognition and approval of a couple’s choice to live with each other, to remain committed to one another and to form a household based on their own feelings about one another and to join in an economic partnership and support one another and any dependents”), and the effect legalizing same-sex marriage would have on opposite-sex marriage, id., at 972 (finding of fact no. 55)(“Permitting same-sex couples to marry will not affect the number of opposite-sex couples who marry, divorce, cohabit, have children outside of marriage or otherwise affect the stability of opposite-sex marriages”).

At times, the trial reached the heights of parody, as when the trial judge questioned his ability to take into account the views of great thinkers of the past because they were unavailable to testify in person in his courtroom. See 13 Tr. in No. C 09–2292 VRW (ND Cal.), pp. 3038–3039.

And, if this spectacle were not enough, some professors of constitutional law have argued that we are bound to accept the trial judge’s findings—including those on major philosophical questions and predictions about the future—unless they are “clearly erroneous.” [citations omitted] Only an arrogant legal culture that has lost all appreciation of its own limitations could take such a suggestion seriously.  (Emphasis added)

Power hungry lawyers in black robes, accountable to no one, are the exact opposite of how the Founding Fathers believed their new country would be governed.  Abraham Lincoln, recalling the Dred Scott decision, addressed this issue head on in his first inaugural address on March 4, 1861: Continue Reading

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Sorry Mr. Franklin, We Couldn’t

I was going to provide an analysis of both of the Supreme Court decisions today related to gay marriage, but instead I will focus on Hollingsworth v. Perry, which was concerned with California’s Prop 8. But first a couple of thoughts about US v. Windsor, the DOMA case. The immediate short-term impact of the case is somewhat limited in scope. Federal benefits will be conferred upon same-sex couples who live in states that recognize their partnership as marriage. The long-term impact, however, is much starker, as will be explained in a moment.

Both Justices Alito and Scalia provide blistering dissents, and they should be read in full. They disagree on a technical though not insignificant point about the standing of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, or BLAG (and for the record, I tend to side with Alito). First of all, Scalia properly notes that, despite the rhetoric in Kennedy’s opinion, this was not a federalism case, or at least the case was not decided on federalism grounds. In fact, contrary to exhortations of some so-called libertarians on twitter, this case has the ultimate effect of further eroding states’ rights regarding same-sex marriage. Had this case been decided on federalism (10th amendment) grounds, then the outcome would have been possibly justifiable. But the majority’s reliance on 5th and 14th amendment concerns – effectively relying on the absurd legal doctrine of substantive due process – runs completely counter to the federalism argument, and paves the way for future challenges to state laws that prohibit same-sex marriage.

Justice Scalia recognizes this farce for what it is, and reminds the public of the exchange between these two very same Justices ten years ago to the date in Lawrence v. Texas. Then Justice Kennedy assured us all that striking down anti-sodomy laws would not eventually be used as a rationale for upending traditional marriage, and Scalia scoffed at him in the dissent. Well, guess who’s looking prophetic now. Even left-wing pundit David Corn (gleefully, this case) acknowledges Scalia’s prescience. Kennedy, backed up by the obtuse Chief Justice, assures us that nothing in this decision interferes with state decision-making on marriage. Once again Scalia scoffs, and, sadly, at some point in the future he will no doubt be proven right.

As for the Prop 8 case: my what a tangled web. I have been defending Chief Justice Roberts’s decision (joined, I may remind you, by Antonin Scalia along with three of the Court’s leftists) on the grounds that had the case been decided on the merits, it is quite possible that the same 5-4 majority in Windsor would have held Prop 8 to be unconstitutional, and this would have been the Roe v. Wade of gay marriage. Now, I’m not so sure.

Admittedly, I am somewhat conflicted on the ruling on standing. The majority concludes that the petitioners did not have standing because they were not official delegates of the state, and they did not experience any harm due to the appellate court’s ruling decreeing Prop 8 to be unconstitutional. From a  certain point of view, this is a perfectly acceptable legal holding. Scalia made a very good case in his Windsor dissent for a blanket denial of standing to all non-state petitioners in such cases. Scalia is acting fairly consistently, thus that explains why he voted with the majority here.

That said, the Chief Justice’s opinion is very worrisome, and not just from the standpoint of traditional marriage. As Justice Kennedy (!) explained in his dissent (joined in totality by Thomas, Alito, and Sotomayor), the petitioners here do, in effect, represent the state. In fact the state constitution all but says that when it comes to ballot initiatives, ordinary citizens are agents of the state. I would go a step further and suggest that Roberts offers up a very constrained view of who the state is. According to his logic, the “state” is nothing more than the Chief Executive and the bureaucracy. From a technical legal standpoint this is fine, but the very point of a ballot initiative is to bypass state officials whom the citizenry at large have decided are not acting in their best interests. I have written before about my concerns (to put it mildly) regarding ballot initiatives, but it is illogical to deny that the ballot initiative process changes the normal dynamics of who has legal standing.

The Chief suggests on page 8 of his opinion that once the proposition was approved and enacted, that petitioners no longer had a role in enactment. But if the executive branch of the government refuses to defend the amendment or statute, that leaves the citizens with no legal recourse.

The petitioners relied on the case of Karcher v. May to argue that they indeed had standing, but Chief Roberts denied that the the ruling there was applicable.

Far from supporting petitioners’ standing, however, Karcher is compelling precedent against it. The legislators in that case intervened in their official capacities as  Speaker and President of the legislature. No one doubts that a State has a cognizable interest “in the continued enforceability” of its laws that is harmed by a judicial decision declaring a state law unconstitutional. Maine v. Taylor, 477 U. S. 131, 137 (1986). To vindicate that interest or any other, a State must be able to designate agents to represent it in federal court.

But in a case revolving around a ballot initiative, haven’t the voters themselves become, in essence, the equivalent of legislators?

Roberts’s reticence to grant standing in this case is understandable, and I can see why Scalia would join the majority. In his Windsor defense, Scalia admirably rails against the idea of an omnipotent judiciary that decrees on all constitutional issues just because it wants to. An overly broad interpretation of who has standing empowers the judiciary. But I think this is a rare case in which judicial deference actually damages the workings of the republican process. For good or ill, Californians have favored a much more directly democratic system, and the Court’s majority fails to factor that into its decision-making. By denying standing to the petitioners, the Court has said that citizens have no real redress should state executives defy their expressed wishes.

Which leads me back to my uncertainty over the rationale over the votes cast in these two cases. I’m in the odd position where I disagree with the person who I think has the cleaner motive, but agree with the person whose motives are perhaps suspect. I have no doubt that if this case had been decided on the merits, Chief Justice Roberts would have voted to uphold Prop 8, while I’m not so certain about Kennedy.  Scalia acted consistently with his overall principles, as did Alito (who would have granted standing to BLAG). Thomas offered no opinion in either case, but I suspect his reasoning would be similar to that of Alito, and so he acted consistently on the standing question as did, quite frankly, Sonia Sotomayor. As for the Court’s three other left-wingers – well, they did what they always did and just voted for the right (in their minds) outcome, reasoning be damned.

No matter the rationale for Roberts’s decision, it has ill portents. If Roberts acted strategically, then he abdicated his responsibility to be an impartial arbiter of the law. If he acted earnestly, well, he was simply wrong. More importantly, we’re stuck in a situation where the actual wishes of a democratic majority are trivial concerns compared to the desires of a handful of unelected judges. No matter how they voted today, this is simply untenable, and there is no end to this judicial tyranny in sight.

 

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Head of CCHD Was Treasurer For Pro-Abort Candidate

(This post is from January of 2011.  The Texas State Senator Wendy Davis  who led the filibuster against the Texas law banning abortion after 20 weeks, go here to read all about it, is the same Wendy Davis in this story.  Remember this and never give one thin dime to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.)

 

In a dog bites man story, and an example of good blog journalism, Creative Minority Report has broken the news that the head of the CCHD, Ralph McCloud, while he was head of the CCHD, was the campaign treasurer for pro-abort Wendy Davis in her successful run in 2008 for the Texas State Senate:

While the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) has come under well deserved scrutiny for supporting groups such as ACORN and groups with ties to promoting abortion, CMR has uncovered that Ralph McCloud, while heading the CCHD in 2008, was simultaneously working as a highly placed campaign official for a pro-choice politician seeking to unseat a pro-life politician.

As you likely know, CCHD is the bishops’ anti-poverty program which funds community organizing and economic development projects and has been at the center of a number of controversies. Ralph McCloud was named head of the CCHD in November 2007. In his first year as head of the CCHD, according to public records, McCloud also worked as the Treasurer for Planned Parenthood endorsed Democrat Wendy Davis.

Why would the director of the CCHD, during his tenure as head of an ostensibly Catholic institution act as champion and treasurer of a campaign for a pro-abortion politician seeking to oust a pro-life politician? This is the textbook definition of scandal.

According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s website, “the CCHD fully upholds the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of human life from conception through natural death.” But acting as Treasurer for a pro-choice politician means that every single yard sign, every press release, every brochure or pamphlet of the Davis campaign had Ralph McCloud’s name on it. So in short, while heading up the CCHD, McCloud was very publicly working against the stated goals of the organization he oversaw.

Isn’t that a bit confusing to Catholics? Isn’t that in itself a scandal to the faithful?

McCloud himself labeled questions about another CCHD employee John Carr’s commitment to the pro-life cause “very disturbing allegations” which he believed were unfounded. CMR believes it to be equally disturbing that McCloud would work for a campaign garnering donations from Annie’s List (a pro-choice PAC), Planned Parenthood and ACORN. So pro-choice was the Davis campaign that in fact, Annie’s List, raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Davis in 2008 while McCloud worked as Treasurer. The group even gave a spirited endorsement of the pro-choice Davis, who succeeded in defeating her pro-life opponent.

Continue Reading

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Pro-aborts and Democracy

Wendy Davis, two term Texas pro-abort State Senator, got her fifteen minutes of fame last night with a 11 hour filibuster against a proposed Texas statute to ban abortion after 20 weeks and to tighten regulations on abortion mills.  After her filibuster was ruled out of order, a mob of 400 pro-abort observers engaged in chanting, screaming and generally raising hell to delay the vote on the bill, which passed 19-10, until just after midnight, killing the bill since the legislative session ended at midnight.  (Unsurprising, considering media bias on abortion, how few of the stories covering this event bothered noting the lop-sided nature of the final vote.)  Nothing daunted, pro-life Governor Rick Perry has called the legislature back into session:

Gov. Rick Perry today announced a Special Session of the Texas Legislature will begin at 2 p.m. Monday, July 1.

“I am calling the Legislature back into session because too much important work remains undone for the people of Texas. Through their duly elected representatives, the citizens of our state have made crystal clear their priorities for our great state. Texans value life and want to protect women and the unborn. Texans want a transportation system that keeps them moving. Texans want a court system that is fair and just. We will not allow the breakdown of decorum and decency to prevent us from doing what the people of this state hired us to do. Continue Reading

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DOMA Overturned, Prop 8 Case Dismissed for Lack of Standing

Unsurprising results. Here is the DOMA decision, and here is the Prop 8 decision.

Both were 5-4 decisions. Kennedy delivered the opinion of the Court on DOMA, Roberts on Prop 8.  The lineups were slightly different. The dissenters on DOMA were Roberts, Alito, Scalia, and Thomas, and on Prop 8 Kennedy, Thomas, Alito, and  . . . Sotomayor. Prop 8 fell because of standing and not on the merits of the legal issue, so the Court lineup actually doesn’t say much on that one. Of course the end result is that California will now recognize same-sex marriage.

I’ll be back much later with a full analysis. What the Windsor (DOMA) case means is that the federal government cannot prohibit states from recognizing same-sex marriage, and those married in states allowing SSM must receive federal benefits. States are still free to not recognize same-sex marriage, but Kennedy’ s use of the Equal Protection Clause to underpin his argument means that the handwriting is on the wall. Scalia’s dissent is a must-read, but Alito’s is perhaps more significant – particularly footnote 7.

In the meantime, here’s some happy reading for you to ponder for the rest of the day.

Update: I think my explanation of the DOMA decision’s results is a little shaky. This was never about what the states could do, but it simply relates to granting federal benefits to same sex couples who claim to be married.

 

 

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Fortnight For Freedom: We Need to Wake Up

 

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have proclaimed a second Fortnight for Freedom from June 21-July 4th, and, as last year, The American Catholic will participate with special blog posts each day.

 

 

 

This column written on May 24 by Archbishop Chaput underlines the threat to American liberties that currently exists:

ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT’S WEEKLY COLUMN: RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND THE NEED TO WAKE UP
 

“IRS officials have, of course, confessed that they inappropriately targeted conservative groups — especially those with ‘tea party’ or ‘patriot’ in their names — for extra scrutiny when they sought non-profit status. Allegations of abuse or harassment have since broadened to include groups conducting grassroots projects to ‘make America a better place to live,’ to promote classes about the U.S. Constitution or to raise support for Israel.
“However, it now appears the IRS also challenged some individuals and religious groups that, while defending key elements of their faith traditions, have criticized projects dear to the current White House, such as health-care reform, abortion rights and same-sex marriage.” Terry Mattingly, director, Washington Journalism Center; weekly column, May 22

Let’s begin this week with a simple statement of fact.  America’s Catholic bishops started pressing for adequate health-care coverage for all of our nation’s people decades before the current administration took office.  In the Christian tradition, basic medical care is a matter of social justice and human dignity.  Even now, even with the financial and structural flaws that critics believe undermine the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the bishops continue to share the goal of real health-care reform and affordable medical care for all Americans.
But health care has now morphed into a religious liberty issue provoked entirely – and needlessly — by the current White House.  Despite a few small concessions under pressure, the administration refuses to withdraw or reasonably modify a Health and Human Services (HHS) contraceptive mandate that violates the moral and religious convictions of many individuals, private employers and religiously affiliated and inspired organizations. 
Coupled with the White House’s refusal to uphold the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, and its astonishing disregard for the unique nature of religious freedom displayed by its arguments in a 9-0 defeat in the 2012 Hosanna-Tabor Supreme Court decision, the HHS mandate can only be understood as a form of coercion.  Access to inexpensive contraception is a problem nowhere in the United States.  The mandate is thus an ideological statement; the imposition of a preferential option for infertility.  And if millions of Americans disagree with it on principle – too bad. Continue Reading

6

The Shelby Decision and Uncle Toms

This is, in a sense, a two-part post. The first part examines the decision handed down by the Court in Shelby v. Holder, and the second looks at the hysterical over-reaction.

The decision itself is fairly restrained. In a 5-4 decision, with Chief Justice Roberts delivering the opinion of the Court, the Court ruled as unconstitutional Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Actually, it really just ruled that Congress’s application of a 48-year old formula for determining which states and counties had to seek clearance from the federal government for any changes in its voting laws was lo longer justified. States subject to pre-clearance were those states which had poll tests and other restrictive measures in place at the time of the law’s enactment, and which also had enormous gaps in white versus black voter participation. This formula has remained unchanged for nearly half a century.

As the Chief explained in the ruling, the Court permitted a very wide abrogation of state authority in its decision upholding the Voting Rights Act (Katzenbach v. Morgan). The Court permitted what it termed “an uncommon exercise of Congressional power” due to “exceptional conditions.” As the Chief further explained, those exceptional conditions no longer applied, and indeed in those states and counties subject to pre-clearance there has been increased racial parity in terms of registration and participation. In fact, if one were to construct a list of states that should be subject to pre-clearance based on disparities in voter participation, there would be more justification in including Massachusetts instead of, say, South Carolina.

Justice Ginsburg in her dissent quips, “In the Court’s view, the very success of  Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act demands its dormancy.” By the standards established by the dissenters, the formula established in Section 4 could never be deemed unconstitutional. Further, as Chief Justice Roberts says in his opinion:

The dissent treats the Act as if it were just like any other piece of legislation, but this Court has made clear from the beginning that the Voting Rights Act is far from ordinary. At the risk of repetition, Katzenbach indicated that the Act was “uncommon” and “not otherwise appropriate,” but was justified by “exceptional” and “unique” conditions. 383 U. S., at 334, 335. Multiple decisions since have reaffirmed the Act’s “extraordinary” nature. See, e.g., Northwest Austin, supra, at 211. Yet the dissent goes so far as to suggest instead that the preclearance requirement and disparate treatment of the States should be upheld into the future “unless there [is] no or almost no evidence of unconstitutional action by States.”

Ultimately, the decision is of somewhat limited scope:

Our decision in no way affects the permanent, nationwide ban on racial discrimination in voting found in §2. We issue no holding on §5 itself, only on the coverage formula. Congress may draft another formula based on current conditions. Such a formula is an initial prerequisite to a determination that exceptional conditions still exist justifying such an “extraordinary departure from the traditional course of relations between the States and the Federal Government.” Presley, 502 U. S., at 500–501. Our country has changed, and while any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.

Of course this hasn’t stopped the left from completely over-reacting. A post on the Corner compiled the most over-the-top reactions. Melissa Harris-Perry’s tweet of “Damn, that citizenship thing was so great for awhile,” certainly was cute, but no one is touching Minnesota state rep. Ryan Winkler, who tweeted, “SCOTUS VRA majority is four accomplices to race discrimination and one Uncle Thomas. Marriage decision may blur Court’s backsliding.” Winkler soon deleted that tweet, and followed up with this whopper:

Uh huh.

It’s difficult to determine the most disgusting part of this exchange. Either Winkler is historically illiterate or a liar, though of course nothing necessarily precludes both being true. What’s worse, this white legislator from one of the whitest states in the Union seems to think he knows better than a black man raised in the South about how to deal with racial prejudice. Moreover, whitey has declared himself the judge of authentic blackness. Charming.

Finally, and I realize this is something of a nitpick, but the very term “Uncle Tom” is offensive not just because it carries with it the implicit notion that all African-Americans must think and act a certain way, but because the term itself is based on a character in a historical novel who was the opposite of what the term is meant to imply. I have a feeling that no one who has ever used the phrase has actually read the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, because if they had they would have a hard time justifying referring to the character as a race traitor. Then again, we live in a world where Al Sharpton is given legitimacy as a political analyst on a cable news network, so perhaps I underestimate the stupidity of large swathes of the American public.

Saving Lincoln

Well this is interesting.  A film about Lincoln told from the perspective of Ward Lamon, Lincoln’s friend and self-appointed bodyguard for Lincoln who appointed him as United States Marshal for the District of Columbia.  The film uses computer graphics to place the film within period pictures.  An independent film, it received funding via Kickstarter.  Go here to view the film’s website.  I find the concept interesting, albeit gimmicky.  I will have a full review after I view the film.  It just arrived from Amazon so look for the review in a few days. Continue Reading

21

What’s in an empty chair?

 

There is quite a diversity of opinion being expressed about this photograph:

empty chair

Taken on Sunday, June 22 just prior to a concert—a performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony—to celebrate the Year of Faith, the Pope’s chair is empty “due to other commitments,” specifically, “commitments that could not be postponed.”

According to the Associated Press, health wasn’t the cause, as Pope Francis appeared fit and relaxed earlier in the day.  That said, Associated Press also reported:

Unlike his predecessor Benedict, who was well-known as a music lover, Francis has shown scant interest in music, liturgical or otherwise.

Then, too, Sandro Magister has reported “papists” in the Curia attributing the following words to the Pope: “I am not a Renaissance prince who listens to music instead of working.”

That’s the stuff of papal palace intrigue that’s intended to communicate what Pope Francis really is thinking…or to impugn his character.

What if Pope Francis doesn’t want to live the lifestyle of a Renaissance prince?  What if he personally abhors concerts of classical music?  In the big scheme of things, none of that really matters, except perhaps for “Curiaistas” who have something to gain or lose if and when Pope Francis does reform the Curia.

Yet, let us not forget what the Pope’s absence communicated to the conductor as well as to all of those musicians and vocalists who practiced for hours precisely because he is the Pope and they admire him.  After all, this is the Successor of St. Peter and Bishop of Rome, not Bishop Joe Schlub of some diocese located somewhere in Lower Slobovia.  A lot of people watch and interpret a pope’s conduct for what it may signal about his and the Church’s intentions.

If there isn’t a better reason than the two already provided, The Motley Monk counts himself among those whom the Pope’s conduct “bewildered…even some of his most convinced admirers.”

The Pope has sent a message.  Whether it has the grandeur of “a solemn, severe peal,” as Sandro Magister quotes Church historian Alberto Melloni observing, it is clear this pope believes some things are more important—and very well may be more important—than a concert of classical music where he is scheduled to be the guest of honor.

“Mind your manners,” The Motley Monk’s Mom used to tell him, especially when he didn’t want to do something he was required to do and for reasons he didn’t very much appreciate.

Hopefully, Pope Francis has written personal notes expressing his regret to all of those who were to perform for him.  That’s what The Motley Monk’s Mom would make him do…“or else, Mister!”

 

 

To read the AP report, click on the following link:
http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/06/22/pope-misses-vatican-concert-due-to-other-commitments/#ixzz2XEASs4aT

To read Sandro Magister’s report, click on the following link:
http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1350544?eng=y

6

Fortnight For Freedom 2013: It is Good to Have a Bishop Who is a Fighter

 

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have proclaimed a second Fortnight for Freedom from June 21-July 4th, and, as last year, The American Catholic will participate with special blog posts each day.

 

 

I doubt if any Bishop has fought harder against the threat to religious liberty in this country than my Bishop, Bishop Daniel Jenky of the Peoria diocese.  A great jovial bear of a man, he has been sounding the tocsin about this for some time, and has taken a lot of heat for his stance.  The video at the beginning of this post shows a petition against Jenky being delivered last year after Bishop Jenky criticized Obama and mentioned past leaders of nations who have persecuted the Church.  The group behind the petition was a George Soros supported left-wing front group called Faithful America.  Go here to read all about the group.

Prior to the election last year he had a letter read from each pulpit in the diocese warning against the threat to religious liberty.  As a reaction to the threat to religious liberty he has ordered that the Saint Michael Prayer be read after every Mass.

Criticism of him has not deterred him from speaking out one whit, as he demonstrated by the following letter that was inserted in all parish bulletins last Sunday:

 

 

Dear Catholics of the Diocese of Peoria,

There has always been anti-Catholicism in the United States of America. Some organizations and lodges, some denominations, the Know Nothings, the Ku Klux Klan, and especially some powerful elements of the American academic and cultural elites have long despised our Faith and our religious convictions.

Guided by the First Amendment, however, the Federal Government has, up until now, upheld freedom of religion as a fundamental right for all Americans, including Catholics. The First Amendment not only forbids the establishment of a “state religion,” but also provides that citizens may freely practice their own religion without governmental interference or control.

The HHS mandate of Obama Care, which is scheduled to go into effect this August, clearly violates this guarantee of religious liberty. By means of governmental coercion, they would try to force Catholics in our own institutions to fund practices such as abortion which our Church holds to be intrinsically evil and gravely sinful. Contrary both to the Constitution and to long established political precedent, this new mandate for our schools, hospitals, and charitable organizations would in effect reduce American Catholicism to a legally disfavored religious entity. This deliberate and bigoted step is clearly agenda driven by the extreme radical secularism of the current administration. Continue Reading

2

Lest We Forget

Benghazi Heroes

 

The Battling Boys of Benghazi

We’re the Battling Boys of Benghazi,

no fame, no glory, no paparazzi,

Just a fiery death in a blazing hell,

defending the country we loved so well.

It wasn’t our job, but we answered the call,

fought to the consulate, and scaled the wall.

We pulled twenty countrymen from the jaws of fate,

led them to safety, and stood at the gate.

Just the two of us, and foes by the score,

but we stood fast, to bar the door,

Three calls for reinforcement, but all were denied,

so we fought and we fought, and we fought till we died.

We gave our all for our Uncle Sam,

but Barack Obama didn’t give a damn.

Just two dead SEAL’s, who carried the load,

no thanks to us — we were just “bumps in the road.”

Anonymous Marine Officer Continue Reading

6

Guess who’s back professing…

 

On February 25, 2013, Deandre Poole—an adjunct instructor of communications at Florida Atlantic University (FAU)—engaged his class in an exercise to teach them about the power of certain words and the way that power is based on cultural values. Following the textbook’s instructions, Poole had students write the name “Jesus” on a piece of paper, place the paper on the floor, and step on it.

The exercise offended one student, who exchanged words with Poole.  In turn, Poole reported the student to FAU academic administrators not for his reaction, but the way he treated Poole. When this student went public with his grievances, some media outlets sympathetically portrayed him as facing FAU charges for refusing to “stomp on Jesus.”

The protest sparked interest in the story.

Florida’s Governor, Rick Scott, weighed in.  He wrote FAU’s President calling the lesson “offensive, even intolerant” and requested a report concerning policies “to ensure this type of ‘lesson’ will never occur again.”  U.S. Senator Marco Rubio also weighed in, asking why the student was suspended for “respectfully expressing his religious and conscientious objections” to the classroom exercise.  The Motley Monk posted about the matter here at “The American Catholic.”

Poole denied using the word “stomp” and FAU academic administrators denied punishing any student.  Yet, Poole was placed on leave and barred from campus, FAU citing threats against him, presumably from all of those right-wingnut, gun-toting Christian zealots.

As it’s said, “the rest is history.”

“Really, what does it matter now?” Hillary Clinton would ask.

According to Inside Higher Ed, FAU academic administrators have rehired Poole.  Furthermore, they stated that Poole had done nothing wrong and any decision about the future use of the exercise would be based upon a FAU Faculty Senate investigation.

What’s that mean?

Those administrators have reneged on their previous statement that the exercise would not be used again:

Based on the offensive nature of the exercise, we will not use it again and have issued an apology to the community.  It was insensitive and unacceptable.  We continue to apologize to all the people who were offended and deeply regret this situation has occurred.

Why did FAU’s academic administrators back down?

Perhaps it’s for the reason that the FAU Faculty Senate report finds Poole’s classroom exercise entirely appropriate.  The report then took aim at senior FAU administrators, writing how—by not defending Poole—they “dismally failed” to protect academic freedom.  What irked members of the Faculty Senate, in particular, is the extent to which external political pressure (read: Republican conservatives) influenced decisions that were based upon early media reports concerning what transpired but did not happen as reported.

Poole says “I’m ecstatic,” adding:

I regret the misinformation that was out there and the way the story was characterized.  I wish everyone had all the information to form a more reasonable conclusion…. Members of the public need to be reminded that a university is an institution of higher learning, and is supposed to be a safe place for engaging in controversial issues.  If we can’t have these conversations at the university, where else are we going to have them?

In the name of protecting academic freedom, then, “stomping” on Jesus’ name is absolutely “out” at FAU.  “Stepping” on Jesus’ name is definitely “in.”

Why?

For students to understand better the power of certain words and the way that power is based on cultural values.

Believe it or not, people are going to pay tuition for this communications lesson, one that can be learned for free.  Just state  in public something that’s not politically correct.

Today, this is what passes for “higher education.”

Others might call it a denying “freedom of speech.”  Or, better yet, a “racket.”

 

 

 

To read The Motley Monk’s previous post about the FAU incident, click on the following link:

http://the-american-catholic.com/2013/03/25/who-really-deserves-to-be-stomped-on/

To read the Inside Higher Ed article, click on the following link:
http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/06/24/florida-atlantic-rehires-adjunct-center-controversy-over-class-exercise#ixzz2X8aQkOOL

13

Jimmy Carter, Ex-President and Anti-Catholic Bigot, Attacks Pope John Paul II

(In light of Carter’s latest tirade against the Catholic Church, I thought TAC readers would like to see this post from March of last year.)

 

Bad enough that James Earl Carter, Jr. is the worst president this country has had not named James Buchanan or Barack Obama, but he is also an anti-Catholic bigot as his latest mind droppings amply demonstrate:

Former US President Jimmy Carter has disclosed that he had angry exchanges with Pope John Paul II about liberation theology and about the ordination of women.  

The former president said that he complained to the Pontiff about the Church’s “perpetuation of the subservience of women” while Blessed John Paul II was visiting the US in 1978, and “there was more harshness when we turned to the subject of ‘liberation theology.” Carter said that he classified the Pope as a “fundamentalist,” placing him in that category along with Iran’s late Ayatollah Khomeini.  

In the same interview Carter said that “it is very fine for gay people to be married in civil ceremonies,” although he suggested—“maybe arbitrarily”—that churches should not be required by law to solemnize same-sex unions.  

Carter made his remarks as he introduced a new edition of the Bible with his own study notes, helping readers to follow his understanding of the Scriptures. 

Jimmy, here is a clue for you.  No one cares a rat’s nether regions about what you think about anything.  You were a completely incompetent president and the American people have tried their best to forget you.  You were such a wretched president that even in your own party you are a non-person, and it difficult to embarrass Democrats over anything.  Pope John Paul II was a magnificent pope.  Here is a list of just a few of his accomplishments, although it will take centuries for historians to fully assess his almost 27 year-long papacy, but here are some of the factors that I think they will note.

1.  He largely stopped the post Vatican II chaos-After Vatican II the impulse to transform the Church into an institution fully reflecting the current views of cultural elites in the West wreaked much havoc.  Paul VI, a good and holy man, drew a line in the sand with Humanae Vitae, but he lacked the stomach and the will to fight it out with those who would have transformed the Catholic Church into what the Anglican Church is now:  a dying institution, adrift from any allegiance to traditional Christianity, and fully in accord with the mores and beliefs of the secular elite of the West.  Many were rubbing their hands with glee after the death of Pope Paul, in confident assurance that a new liberal pope would complete the transformation of the Church into something akin to Unitarianism with fancy dress.  Instead they got John Paul II, a Polish fighter who had stood toe to toe with the atheist rulers of Poland and was not the least frightened or impressed by the forces that sought to neuter Christ’s Church.  The chaos and low morale of the Church could not be completely reversed in one papacy, but John Paul II began the process and made a huge amount of progress.

2.  Presiding at the Funeral of Communism-During World War II, both the Nazis and the Communists slaughtered a huge number of Polish priests, viewing them as deadly enemies.  How very right they were!  The Polish Church, in the midst of one of the worst persecutions sustained by the Catholic Church in the last century, never lost faith that the Church and Poland would both ultimately outlast the totalitarian regimes and emerge triumphant.  John Paul II was the embodiment of this robust confidence that Communism, like Nazism, was merely a brief historical aberration that could and would be defeated.  The rise of Solidarity was completely predictable to him, and his embrace of it made a crackdown by the Polish Communist regime, and its Kremlin puppet masters, impossible.  John Paul II and Ronald Reagan in the Eighties brought about the largely peaceful collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe and laid the groundwork for its collapse in the former Soviet Union.  The heirs of Joseph Stalin learned to their sorrow that the type of power wielded by a skillful and determined pope cannot be counted in divisions but rather in human hearts.

3.  Culture of Life-In the teeth of an overwhelming movement among Western elites to jettison the belief that human life is sacred, John Paul II rededicated the Church to that proposition and waged a long uphill struggle throughout his papacy against abortion and euthanasia.  Like Moses, John Paul II did not live to see the victory in this fight, but ultimately we will win, and his brave stand at a crucial moment in history will be one of the reasons why.

4.  Pope of the people-With modern means of transportation, a vigorous Pope can treat the whole world as his diocese by globe-trotting and that is precisely what John Paul II did.  In the Nineteenth Century, modern means of communication, the telegraph, photography and newspapers, were skillfully used by Pius IX to forge a personal contact between the Pope and average Catholics.  Pope John Paul II took this a step farther by bringing the Pope to the average Catholic.  A masterful stroke and superbly executed. Continue Reading

1

Fortnight For Freedom 2013: Saint Thomas More

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have proclaimed a second Fortnight for Freedom from June 21-July 4th, and, as last year, The American Catholic will participate with special blog posts each day.

It almost seems trite to cite Saint Thomas More as standing for the liberty of the Catholic Church.  The tale of his brave stand against Henry VIII is so familiar that we forget how remarkable it was.  57 years old at the time of his death, an old man by the standards of his time, Saint Thomas More was not a cleric or a soldier.  He had no special reserves of training to call him to steel him to the sacrifice of his life over a matter of principle.  He was a lawyer, a scholar and a writer.  A former judge and government official he never sought such positions, preferring a quiet life. He was a man of the study rather than someone who was called upon by his profession to risk his life for what he believed in.  He loved life and the family that was so dear to him.

He lived in a time of cowardice and betrayal when almost all his contemporaries in England bowed to Henry and acclaimed him Supreme Head of the Church in England.  Fear was the main motive, followed by ambition, and indifference or hatred of Catholicism.    Almost everyone was submitting except a few hardy souls like Bishop Fisher.  More did not want to die and he was quite willing to be quiet, but he would not swear allegiance to what he knew to be false, and for this stance he died, and his beloved family reduced to poverty.  One of the most important attributes of freedom is that it allows us to be true to our consciences,  and not to be forced by violence to say what we know to be lies.  Saint Thomas More was unwilling to surrender his freedom to follow the dictates of his conscience, even at the cost of his life. Continue Reading

27

The Left’s Astroturf War Against the Catholic Church

Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently for the Church that I have designated him Defender of the Faith, has a barnburner of a column over at his blog Midwest Conservative Journal:

 

Gay conservative Kevin DuJan lets the cat out of the bag:

John Nolte at Breitbart.com just published a hard-hitting piece that’s worth your very valuable time…exposing Barack Obama’s commitment to the institutional Left’s Alinskyite objective of “dismantling, undermining, and toxifying the Catholic Church”; this article’s one of those that I’ll probably quote from for years to come, because I’ve never seen this articulated so succinctly before.  Dismantle. Undermine. Toxify.  That is precisely what Leftists have been attempting in their decades-long war against the Catholic Church. Kudos to Nolte for precisely encapsulating so much evil into three small words…which I hope you’ll join me in making everyday vocabulary from this point forward.

What John Nolte probably doesn’t know firsthand, though, is that the Left’s weapon of choice against Catholics is normally gays…who serve as a Gaystapo goon squad that is revved up into frenzies of hatred against Christians in general (but Catholics quite specifically).  If you observe the institutional Left’s strategic moves long enough, you’ll see it’s almost always gays who are bused in to block the entrances to cathedrals or churches and scream expletives at parishioners heading into mass; this is, of course, the toxification aspect of the Leftists’ agenda…since they are attempting to make going to Catholic mass so unpleasant an experience for believers that they’ll potentially start staying home, just to avoid being screamed at by obnoxious gays out on the street (most of whom, in the video above at least, are actually members of the Chicago Teachers’ Union…more on that later).

The Left uses the Gaystapo against the Church (with gays screaming “Bigots!”) in much the same way that Democrats trot blacks (led, of course, by the likes of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Henry Gates) in front of cameras to accuse conservative businesses, Republican politicians, or any of the Democrats’ other perceived “enemies” of being “Ray Ciss”. This is stage crafting coordinated by the DNC, with gays and blacks serving as useful idiots and foot solders for the institutional Left.

It’s a long article and there’s lots of video at the link.

Is this what Catholics have to look forward to?  Sure, if this country’s gays are titanically stupid.  For my part, nothing would get me into the Catholic parish directly across the street from where I live faster than hearing that I would be greeted by wild-eyed hordes of marauding gays as I walked in the door.

Of course, the Archdiocese here would probably discourage me from coming quite strongly, what with the fact that as I walked in, I would point and laugh at the assembled homosexuals, perhaps drop an F-bomb or two, physically react to any physical assaults on my person and break out an Anglican apology (I’m sorry if you were offended…) later if anyone called me on it.

You get the idea.

John Nolte, in the Breitbart.com post DuJan linked to above, overstates the case a bit.  Would the left really like to “demystify, undermine and toxify” the Roman Catholic Church?  Undoubtedly.

Why?  Because at the present time, the Roman Catholic Church is the single largest and most influential worldwide organization standing in the way of the leftist agenda.  I certainly don’t mean to suggest that strong opposition to the left does not also exist in Protestantism or Orthodoxy; it most certainly does.  But Protestantism is too fragmented and Orthodoxy still too exotic and foreign to put up the kind of fight that only the Catholics can currently wage.

I’m not making a judgment, I’m simply stating a fact.  Think of it like this; once you take Helm’s Deep, all you have left to do is to quietly wait for the rest of Middle Earth to fall into your hands. Continue Reading

1

Fortnight for Freedom 2013: Our Reliance

Lincoln and Liberty

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have proclaimed a second Fortnight for Freedom from June 21-July 4th, and, as last year, The American Catholic will participate with special blog posts each day.

This quote suitable for framing from Abraham Lincoln reminds us that the love of liberty placed in each human soul by the hand of God is the chief defense of our freedom:

 

Now, when by all these means you have succeeded in dehumanizing the negro; when you have put him down, and made it forever impossible for him to be but as the beasts of the field; when you have extinguished his soul, and placed him where the ray of hope is blown out in darkness like that which broods over the spirits of the damned; are you quite sure the demon which you have roused will not turn and rend you? What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence? It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling sea coasts, the guns of our war steamers, or the strength of our gallant and disciplined army. These are not our reliance against a resumption of tyranny in our fair land. All of them may be turned against our liberties, without making us stronger or weaker for the struggle. Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, every where. Destroy this spirit, and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors. Familiarize yourselves with the chains of bondage, and you are preparing your own limbs to wear them. Accustomed to trample on the rights of those around you, you have lost the genius of your own independence, and become the fit subjects of the first cunning tyrant who rises.

Abraham Lincoln, September 11, 1858, Edwardsville, Illinois Continue Reading

Fortnight For Freedom 2013: Yankee Doodle

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have proclaimed a second Fortnight for Freedom from June 21-July 4th, and, as last year, The American Catholic will participate with special blog posts each day.

Something for the weekend.  Yankee Doodle.  Originally sung by British officers to disparage American troops who fought beside them in the French and Indian War, it was seized upon by Patriots, given endless lyrics, and cheered the patriot troops and civilians during the eight long years of the Revolution.  After Lexington and Concord it was reported by Massachusetts newspapers that the British were suddenly not as fond of the song:

“Upon their return to Boston [pursued by the Minutemen], one [Briton] asked his brother officer how he liked the tune now, — ‘Dang them,’ returned he, ‘they made us dance it till we were tired’ — since which Yankee Doodle sounds less sweet to their ears.”

James Cagney did an immortal riff on Yankee Doodle in the musical biopic of composer and actor George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942):

Yankee Doodle plays in the background as Cagney at the end of the film, entirely impromptu, dances down the White House staircase:

Continue Reading

52

Fortnight For Freedom 2013

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have proclaimed a second Fortnight for Freedom from June 21-July 4th, and, as last year, The American Catholic will participate with special blog posts each day.  Why the Fortnight for Freedom?  To be very blunt because we have an administration in Washington that has only contempt for American liberties.  Each day increases our knowledge of the extent of this contempt.  If these miscreants prevail the only liberty that Americans have will be to shut up and do what Unholy Mother State says.  These men and women are at war with how the Church traditionally has viewed the State and would instead implement by their policies, perhaps, many of them, unconsciously, a State that would embody this slogan of Mussolini:  All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.  This is fundamentally anti-Catholic and anti-American and that is why a Fortnight for Freedom to recommit ourselves to that freedom which is our heritage both as Catholics and as Americans is essential.

14

John Adams: Prophet?

Suppose a nation, rich and poor, high and low, ten millions in number, all assembled together; not more than one or two millions will have lands, houses, or any personal property; if we take into the account the women and children, or even if we leave them out of the question, a great majority of every nation is wholly destitute of property, except a small quantity of clothes, and a few trifles of other movables. Would Mr. Nedham be responsible that, if all were to be decided by a vote of the majority, the eight or nine millions who have no property, would not think of usurping over the rights of the one or two millions who have? Property is surely a right of mankind as really as liberty. Perhaps, at first, prejudice, habit, shame or fear, principle or religion, would restrain the poor from attacking the rich, and the idle from usurping on the industrious; but the time would not be long before courage and enterprise would come, and pretexts be invented by degrees, to countenance the majority in dividing all the property among them, or at least, in sharing it equally with its present possessors. Debts would be abolished first; taxes laid heavy on the rich, and not at all on the others; and at last a downright equal division of every thing be demanded, and voted. What would be the consequence of this? The idle, the vicious, the intemperate, would rush into the utmost extravagance of debauchery, sell and spend all their share, and then demand a new division of those who purchased from them. The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If “Thou shalt not covet,” and “Thou shalt not steal,” were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society, before it can be civilized or made free.

John Adams, Defense of the Constitutions of the United States, 1787

67

Has post-Vatican II catechesis of Catholic youth failed?

 

In Fall 2012, an unnamed parish in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (presumably its pastor) hired the Villanova University economist and Director of its Center for the Study of Church Management, Charles Zech, to survey lapsed Catholics (presumably the parish’s lapsed members).  The survey’s purpose was to discover their reasons for leaving the practice of the Catholic faith.

The study’s findings—methodological questions and generalizations aside—were (yawn) unsurprising:

  • the sexual abuse scandal;
  • dissatisfaction with the parish, Archdiocese, and Vatican; and,
  • most who leave join Protestant denominations.

Interviewed by NBC’s local television affiliate, Zech noted that parishes do have some power to keep disgruntled Catholics from leaving.  Most important is what Zech identified as the “quality” of the liturgy:

Liturgies are really important.  I’m not sure that parish staff and clergy understand how important liturgies are to people, that they have good music and the liturgy be meaningful.  People who feel they are not being fed by a meaningful liturgy—they’ll go where they are being fed.

That’s a very interesting observation.  “Good music” will keep potentially disgruntled congregants from leaving?  If so, then it would be interesting to learn exactly what kind of music is most likely to keep in the pews those apparently many congregants who disagree with Church teaching?  Might it be Gregorian chant?

The Motley Monk doubts that is what Professor Zech is suggesting.  But, for the 189 respondents who have left the Church, how the music makes them feel appears to be primary.

More important to The Motley Monk is another of Zech’s observations concerning the study’s secondary findings:

People who are going to leave the church over the scandal and the church’s handling of it have already left.  So people leaving the church today are leaving for other reasons.  A growing reason we found out was the church’s attitude toward homosexuals and gay marriage.  A lot of younger people object to the church’s teaching on that.

Although Zech’s survey is neither reliable nor valid—meaning its findings, though accurate, cannot be generalized to the larger population due to sampling methodology—this finding may lend support to what other, more reliable and valid studies—like the Pew Research studies of faith and religion—have been noting and may very well be a trend.  Namely, the nation’s young people don’t particularly care about the moral questions and answers to those questions concerning homosexuality and so-called “homosexual marriage.”

If this finding is accurate, this is not good news for Church officials.  The nation’s Catholic youth are no different in attitude toward homosexuality and so-called homosexual marriage than are the nation’s youth in general, despite the Church’s vigorous and very public opposition.   Are the nation’s bishops and pastors to believe that improving the quality of music will keep this generation’s young Catholics practicing their faith?

Again, if this finding is accurate, it suggests that post-Vatican II catechesis of the nation’s Catholic youth—whether in the Catholic high schools or parish-based CCD programs—has failed to form the consciences of Catholic youth to appreciate what Pope John Paul II called “The Splendor of Truth.”  Instead, the secular, materialist, and consumerist “Culture of Death” has achieved results that may be nothing short of spectacular.

Yes, the Sirens are singing anew.  And that’s apparently what lapsed Catholics want and, presumably, what parishes should provide them, according to Zech’s study, if they are going to keep disgruntled members from leaving.

Yet, The Motley Monk would note,  this is a noxious prescription.  As Walter Copland Perry has observed:

Their song, though irresistibly sweet, was no less sad than sweet, and lapped both body and soul in a fatal lethargy, the forerunner of death and corruption.

 

 

To read the NBC article, click on the following link:
http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Poll-Catholic-Church-View-on-Same-Sex-Marriage-Causing-Parishoners-to-Flee-211962881.html

16

Prayer in Time of Grief

 

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

 

 

 

Hattip to A Catholic Mom in Hawaii.  Since the death of my son Larry I have found this prayer by Father Robert Fox to be of comfort:

God of life and death, You have taken a beloved one from me.  My heart is very heavy.  I recall that Your Son, Jesus Christ, became man in all things except sin and that He groaned in sorrow at the death of His friend, Lazarus.  I unite my grief with Yours dear Jesus, as You stood at the tomb of Lazarus.

O Virgin Mother, you know what it was like losing your husband Joseph, and then your child.  dying suspended between earth and heaven, with a sword piercing your sweet soul.  To you do I come in sorrow, begging strength from your intercession, from you who fully understand what it is like to lose one so dear and close.

Share with me, dear Mother of God, the courage, the strong faith that you had in the future resurrection.  Even after Jesus came back to life and ascended into heaven, you knew you were to be left alone for many years before your own assumption into heaven. You comforted the Apostles as their Queen and Mother during those years. Grant comfort to me now as I sorrow in pain at the loss by the separation that has come as a result of the sin of our first parents and my own sins. Wipe away my tears with the merciful love of your Immaculate Heart as you unite me with my loved one through the grace of the Sacred Heart of your Son Jesus Christ.  Amen. Continue Reading

52

Democrat Nightmare Come True

In regard to the colored people, there is always more that is benevolent, I perceive, than just, manifested towards us. What I ask for the negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice. The American people have always been anxious to know what they shall do with us… I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! … And if the negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! If you see him on his way to school, let him alone, don’t disturb him! If you see him going to the dinner table at a hotel, let him go! If you see him going to the ballot box, let him alone, don’t disturb him! If you see him going into a work-shop, just let him alone, — your interference is doing him positive injury.

January 26, 1865-Frederick Douglass, abolitionist and Republican

 

 

State Senator Elbert Lee Guillory (R.La) is at the cutting edge of a trend that is beginning in the South of black elected officials switching to the Republican party.  His statement of why he has become the first Black Republican Senator in Louisiana since Reconstruction is quite eloquent:

 

Hello, my name is Elbert Lee Guillory, and I’m the senator for the twenty-fourth district right here in beautiful Louisiana. Recently I made what many are referring to as a ‘bold decision’ to switch my party affiliation to the Republican Party. I wanted to take a moment to explain why I became a Republican, and also to explain why I don’t think it was a bold decision at all. It is the right decision — not only for me — but for all my brothers and sisters in the black community.

You see, in recent history the Democrat Party has created the illusion that their agenda and their policies are what’s best for black people. Somehow it’s been forgotten that the Republican Party was founded in 1854 as an abolitionist movement with one simple creed: that slavery is a violation of the rights of man.

Frederick Douglass called Republicans the ‘Party of freedom and progress,’ and the first Republican president was Abraham Lincoln, the author of the Emancipation Proclamation. It was the Republicans in Congress who authored the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments giving former slaves citizenship, voting rights, and due process of law.

The Democrats on the other hand were the Party of Jim Crow. It was Democrats who defended the rights of slave owners. It was the Republican President Dwight Eisenhower who championed the Civil Rights Act of 1957, but it was Democrats in the Senate who filibustered the bill.

You see, at the heart of liberalism is the idea that only a great and powerful big government can be the benefactor of social justice for all Americans. But the left is only concerned with one thing — control. And they disguise this control as charity. Programs such as welfare, food stamps, these programs aren’t designed to lift black Americans out of poverty, they were always intended as a mechanism for politicians to control black the black community. Continue Reading

6

Quotes Suitable For Framing: Saint John Fisher

 

 

I am jumping the gun a bit as the feast day the great bishop of Rochester shares with Saint Thomas More is June 22, but any day is a good day to recall the eloquence, faith and learning of the martyr Saint John Fisher.  In his essay on Psalm 101 Saint John has a passage which I have always regarded as a summary on the vanity of a search for worldly power for its own sake:

Where are now the kings and princes that once reigned over all the world, whose
glory and triumph were lifted up above the earth? Where are now the innumerable
company and power of Xerxes and Caesar? Where are the great victories of
Alexander and Pompey? Where are now the great riches of Croesus and Crassus? But
what shall we say of those who once were kings and governors of this realm?
Where are they now whom we have known and seen in our days in such great wealth
and glory that it was thought by many they would never have died, never have
been forgotten? They had all their pleasures at the full, both of delicious and
good fare, of hawking, hunting, also of excellent horses and stallions,
greyhounds and hounds for their entertainment, their palaces well and richly
furnished, strongholds and towns without number. They had a great plenty of gold
and silver, many servants, fine apparel for themselves and their lodgings. They
had the power of the law to proscribe, to punish, to exalt and set forward their
friends and loved ones, to put down and make low their enemies, and also to
punish by temporal death rebels and traitors. Every man held with them, all were
at their command. Every man was obedient to them, feared them, also honored and
praised them, everywhere now? Are they not gone and wasted like smoke? Of them
it is written in another place, mox ut honorificati fuerint et exaltati, dificientes quemadmodum fumus
deficient (when they were in their utmost prosperity and fame, they soon
failed and came to nothing, even as smoke does) (Ps. 36:2). St. James compares
the vanity of this life to a vapor, and he says it shall perish and wither away

as a flower in the hay season. (James 4:15). Continue Reading

3

IRS Scandal: Holly Paz

Holly Paz, a former IRS Supervisor in Washington has some interesting things to say:

A Washington-based IRS supervisor acknowledged she was personally involved in  reviewing Tea Party applications for tax-exempt status as far back as 2010, Fox  News confirms — a detail that further challenges the agency’s initial claim  that the practice of singling out those groups was limited to a handful of  employees in Ohio.

Congressional sources confirmed to Fox News that Holly Paz, who until  recently was a top deputy in the division that handles applications for  tax-exempt status, told congressional investigators she reviewed 20 to 30  applications. Some requests languished for more than a year without  action.

The account undercuts the narrative that senior officials only learned of the  practice after it had already started in the Cincinnati office.

Details of Paz’s role were first reported by The Associated Press. Still, Paz  provided no evidence that senior IRS officials ordered agents to target  conservative groups or that anyone in the Obama administration outside the IRS  was involved.

Instead, Paz described an agency in which IRS supervisors in Washington  worked closely with agents in the field but didn’t fully understand what those  agents were doing. Paz said agents in Cincinnati openly talked about handling  “tea party” cases, but she thought the term was merely shorthand for all  applications from groups that were politically active — conservative and  liberal. Continue Reading

4

IRS Scandal: Our Nomenklatura

Nomenklatura

In the old Soviet Union and its Eastern bloc satellites, those who administered the country through the vast byzantine bureaucracies that sprang up were referred to by dissidents as the nomenklatura.  In Marxist terms they were a privileged class, living off the work of others, ruling them and using their positions for their benefit and to attack those who oppose them.  Jay Cost wonders if we have not developed such a system in the US:

 

 

More reforms would follow over the years, giving rise to the (supposedly) apolitical bureaucracy that we have today. Indeed, the professionalization and autonomy of the bureaucracy was a prerequisite for the modern liberal state, which claims moral legitimacy through the disinterested application of “scientific” principles of management. It wouldn’t have been possible if the percentage of political appointees had not been scaled drastically downwards between the Civil War and the Great Depression.

That is how America ultimately addressed the principal-agent problem of the bureaucracy: We would hire only qualified people, free them almost entirely from politics, and insist they employ this new “science” of administration.

But is this solution still satisfactory? Today there is one member of Congress for approximately every 5,150 civilian members of the executive branch. How can the people’s representatives possibly keep track of all those bureaucrats? And if they cannot keep track, what is to stop the worst fears of Andrew Jackson from being realized? His “rotation in office” did not turn out to be a salutary alternative, but that does not negate his critique of the status quo. A bureaucracy that is too insulated from the people runs the risk of antirepublican corruption, regardless of whether it is staffed by “gentlemen” or those with master’s degrees in public administration.

The targeting of conservative organizations by the Internal Revenue Service suggests that this risk is not insignificant. Career bureaucrats there—presumed to be above politics—unduly went after Tea Party groups, effectively denying them their constitutional right to equal protection, for years. All the while, Congress did nothing. The agency’s inspector general failed to blow the whistle in a  timely fashion. The media overlooked the many transgressions. And now, the bureaucrat in charge of the division, Lois Lerner, has lawyered up, taken the Fifth Amendment, and thus will slow the investigative process to a crawl.

This does not appear to be an isolated incident, either. Last month, National Review reported that a longtime colleague of Lerner has known for decades that she harbored suspicions of conservative groups. The Weekly Standard has reported that while at the Federal Election Commission, she harassed the Christian Coalition in a similar manner. Far from being reprimanded for this, she was promoted—during a Republican administration, no less! Recent reports, moreover, suggest that the Environmental Protection Agency has been making conservative groups pay Freedom of Information Act fees while waiving them for liberal organizations.

The Declaration of Independence vested all sovereign power in the people alone, while the Constitution established a government to manage that power in a republican fashion. While the people still swear fealty to the founding ideals, they have not put much thought recently into the problems the Founders tackled. As society has become more complex, the government has, too; Americans have not reexamined the structure of government, in an age in which it accounts for more than 20 percent of the national economy, to ensure it still reflects the republican spirit. In fact, there has not been a serious public discussion about the organization of the bureaucracy since the 1880s, even as it has doubled in size many times over. And so today, it is a vast enterprise of millions of workers, with precious little oversight from the people’s elected representatives. Continue Reading

11

The Pope, The Clown and The Cross

 

skelton_pope

(I originally posted this on September 28, 2009 and it has always been one of my favorites.  I am reposting it now since I assume many current readers of the blog have not read it, and, with the recent death of my son, Larry, it now has a special meaning for me.)

 

 

 

In 1957 comedian Red Skelton was on top of the world.  His weekly comedy show on CBS was doing well.  He had  curtailed the drinking which had almost derailed his career.  Not too shabby for a man who had started out as a circus and rodeo clown and who was now often called the clown prince of American comedy.  He and his wife Georgia had two beautiful kids:  Richard and Valentina Maria.  Then the worst thing in the world for any parent entered into the lives of Red and Georgia Skelton:  Richard was diagnosed with leukemia.  Unlike today, a diagnosis of leukemia in a child in 1957 was tantamount to saying that Richard was going to die soon.  Red immediately took a leave of absence from his show.  CBS was very understanding and a series of guest hosts, including a very young Johnny Carson, filled in for Skelton during the 1957-1958 season.

Red and his wife made two decisions.  First, they decided not to reveal to their son how ill he was;  if  worse came to worst they wanted him to enjoy the time he had left.  The boy’s leukemia was temporarily in remission and outwardly he appeared healthy.    When the boy saw “The Last Days of Pompeii” on TV and was fascinated by it, his mom and dad made their second decision.  They were going to take him and his sister to Europe so the boy could see Pompeii and other parts of Europe and the world, and to allow the parents to consult with foreign physicians and also to conduct a pilgrimage for their son.  The Skeltons were Protestants, indeed, Red was an active Mason, but they had chosen to educate their kids at a Catholic school and Richard was very religious, his room filled with religious pictures and statues.  Like many Christians of whatever denomination, in their hour of utmost need the Skeltons decided to seek aid of the Catholic Church. Continue Reading

18

What President Palin Would Not Have Done

MadamePresident

Oh, this is too brilliant. Hattip to House of EratosthenesMoneyrunner at The Virginian has a list of things a President Palin would not have done:

Palin would not have dismissed the Black Panther intimidation lawsuit that the government had already won.

Palin would not have seized two auto companies and give them to her cronies in and out of the UAW.

Palin and her supporters would not be claiming that her opponents were racists for disagreeing with her policies.

Palin would not have tried to block Boeing from building a factory in South Carolina as a gift to her union buddies in Washington state.

Palin would not have toured the world apologizing for America.

Palin’s Homeland Security Department would not have classified patriots as security threats.

Palin would have expanded oil and gas exploration on federal lands instead of reducing it, make the US even less dependent on foreign oil.

Palin would not have allowed the Pigford suit to be settled that gives billions of dollars to “farmers” that never farmed.

Palin would not have shipped thousands of guns to Mexican drug cartels so that they could be found next to the bodies of murdered Mexicans and American agents.

Palin would not have encouraged the IRS to harass Tea Party groups.

Palin would not have encouraged the IRS to illegally reveal the names of contributors to conservative groups to Liberal organizations so that contributors could be harassed.

Palin’s IRS would not ask groups seeking 501(c)4 status about their prayer life.

Palin would not have passed a national health care bill that is a 2000 page “train wreck” and that threatens to destroy America’s health care system. Continue Reading

4

Hail Columbia and The Man Without a Country

Something for the weekend.  Yesterday being Flag Day I thought our first, unofficial, national anthem would be appropriate:  Hail Columbia.  Composed in 1789 by Philip Phile for Washington’s first inaugural, and originally entitled The President’s March, lyrics were supplied by Joseph Hopkinson in 1798.  Hail Columbia functioned as the unofficial national anthem of the United States up until the 1890s.   From 1947 here is Bing Crosby narrating a radio dramatization of Edward Everett Hale’s, a great nephew of Nathan Hale, classic story of love of country, The Man Without a Country: Continue Reading

35

Lying Worthless Political Hack = Gosnell

The Lying Worthless Political Hack, a/k/a Nancy minority leader of the House, has never been noted for either intellectual or verbal coherence but she outdid herself in her response to a question by John McCormack of The Weekly Standard:

At a Thursday press conference, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi condemned a bill that would prohibit abortions during the final four months of pregnancy with an exception for when the life and physical health of the mother is at risk.

Asked what the moral difference is between what Dr. Kermit Gosnell did to babies born alive and aborting those same infants moments before birth, Pelosi refused to answer.

 

 

THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Madam Leader, you mentioned the bill that passed out of the House Judiciary committee. Members who have proposed that bill have done that in the wake of this murder trial in Philadelphia.  They argue that there really isn’t much of a moral difference between what someone like Dr. Gosnell did to infants born at 23, 24, 25 weeks into pregnancy, and what can happen [legally] at a clinic down the road in Maryland where a doctor says he’ll perform an elective abortions 28 weeks into pregnancy. So the question I have for you is what is the moral difference between what Dr. Gosnell did to a baby born alive at 23 weeks and aborting her moments before birth?

PELOSI: You’re probably enjoying that question a lot, I can see you savoring it. [Laughter in press corps] Let me just tell you this.

TWS: Could you answer the question?

PELOSI: Let me just tell you this. What was done in Philadelphia was reprehensible and everybody condemned it. For them to decide to disrespect a judgment a woman makes about her reproductive health is reprehensible. Next question.

TWS: So what’s the moral difference? I just asked a simple question. … What’s the moral difference then between 26 weeks elective abortion and the killing of that same infant born alive. This is the issue that they’re trying to–

PELOSI: This is not the issue. They are saying that there’s no abortion. It would make it a federal law that there would be no abortion in our country. You’re taking the extreme case. You’re taking the extreme case. And what I’m saying to you what happened in Philadelphia was reprehensible. And I do not think you.

TWS: [Inaudible]

PELOSI: I’m not going to have this conversation with you because you obviously have an agenda. You’re not interested in having an answer.

TWS: [Inaudible]

PELOSI: I’ve responded to you to the extent that I’m going to respond to you. Because I want to tell you something. As the mother of five children, my oldest child was 6 years old the day I brought my 5th child home from the hospital, as a practicing and respectful Catholic, this is sacred ground to me when we talk about this. I don’t think it should have anything to do with politics. And that’s where you’re taking it and I’m not going there.

TWS [after tape ends]: It was a simple question. You didn’t answer. Continue Reading

15

Potty Discrimination

 

 

Adam Winkler in The New Republic, warns us against the evils of potty discrimination:

 

Restrooms are one of the last explicit vestiges of segregation on the basis of sex. In a nation evolved enough to allow women to serve in combat and have women on the presidential ticket, we still maintain strict and outdated rules that discriminate in who can use which restroom. Even at liberal law schools like UCLA, where I teach, the bathrooms are all clearly marked for gender uses in a way that no one would accept for race: there are rooms labeled specifically for men and others specifically for women.

Most people don’t question this form of separate-but-equal, perhaps because there don’t appear to be inequalities engendered by gendered bathrooms. (This, despite the fact that there often seem to be much longer lines to use women’s rooms.) The controversy over transgender students, however, may force us to reconsider our sex-specific bathrooms. As our society becomes more tolerant of gender differences, especially in the context of transgender people, the issue will continue to arise. More and more people, even children, are comfortable admitting their gender identity, even if it isn’t the one that matches their biological gender at birth, and parents are increasingly willing to fight school policies that prevent their children from using appropriate facilities.

We don’t necessarily need to eliminate gender-specific bathrooms to solve the problem—or even create a third (and fourth) category of bathroom. We can simply allow transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. In the school setting, this can be easily accomplished by having parents with transgender children choose which bathroom their kids will use. Especially for underage schoolchildren, this shouldn’t pose a threat to anyone. (And if the idea of a transgender person using your bathroom makes you uncomfortable, consider that that you share a bathroom with gays or lesbians all the time—and probably don’t even notice it.) Continue Reading

2

Report From the Aleutians

If there is a forgotten theater where American troops fought in World War II, it is most definitely the Aleutians.  The Japanese took Attu and Kiska, islands in the Aleutian chain,  in June of 1942, to forestall the Aleutians being used as a base for a move on the Japanese Home Islands from the Aleutians.  Due to the rugged weather conditions, the US had never seriously entertained using the Aleutians as a staging area for future offensives.  However, Attu and Kiska were American territory, and national pride, as well as alarm from the Alaskan territorial government, made inevitable an American campaign to take back the strategically worthless islands. Continue Reading

44

When speaking off the cuff: What does Pope Francis really mean?

 

Once again, there’s a media frenzy.  This time it’s been generated by Pope Francis who allegedly has spoken of the existence of a “gay lobby” in the Curia.  Rumors had been circulating and, it was alledged, confirmed in a “secret” report Pope Benedict XVI prepared for his successor prior to the conclave.  Some in the media also believed the “Gang of Eight” cardinals selected by Pope Francis would address the issue.

The details of what Pope Francis said “off the cuff” to the Conference of Latin American Religious (CLAR) on June 6 are well documented elsewhere, the most oft-cited being “In the Curia…there are holy people….[but also] a current of corruption.”  According to notes taken at the meeting and released by some who were present concerning the secret report, the Pope said: “The ‘gay lobby’ is mentioned, and it is true, it is there….We need to see what we can do….”

All of this has become even more complicated with the Catholic News Agency (CNS) reporting today that CLAR officially states that the Pope’s assertion “cannot be attributed with certainty to the Holy Father” (italics added).

Hmmm…

As important as those statements rightly or wrongly attributed to Pope Francis and disclosed to the media may be, other statements—some of potentially greater significance—have not been as widely reported.

For example, La Stampa states that Pope Francis also told CLAR’s leaders to “keep moving forward” and not be “afraid to take risks by approaching the poor and new emerging figures across the continent.”  That sounds fine.  But, place that statement in its larger context:

Perhaps even a letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine (of the Faith) [CDF] will arrive for you, telling you that you said such or such thing….But do not worry. Explain whatever you have to explain, but move forward….Open the doors, do something there where life calls for it. I would rather have a Church that makes mistakes for doing something than one that gets sick for being closed up….

It takes time for the contours of a papacy to take shape.  Early into this papacy, much has been made about the Pope’s first appearance at St. Peter’s Basilica and his humility.  This “pastoral” Pope has washed feet, kissed babies, visited parishes, and heard confessions.  This “Pope of the People” has eschewed living in the Apostolic Palace and is now chauffeured not in a Mercedes Benz but a Volkswagen.

The media loves all of this…and hopes for more, interpreting this Pope’s actions as symbolic of what many in the media long for: A Roman Catholic Church that is more open to and accepting of the forces of what some in the media define as “progress.”

In an attempt to understand more clearly the overall direction the Holy Father intends to steer the ship of the Church in today’s murky waters, The Motley Monk reads the daily homilies Pope Francis has been delivering at St. Marta’s as these are reported by ZENIT.

Overall, the Pope preaches in a style reminiscent of the early Church Fathers, dotting his homilies with folksy applications of scripture to this generation’s moral challenges.  He invokes little, if any, “hierarchical” language. Instead, it’s much more “lateral.”  There’s no insensitive reiteration of Church teaching “from on high,” but a sensitive response on the part of a pastor who knows his people—having heard their confessions—and speaking candidly about what is afflicting them and keeping them from the Kingdom of God.

In sum: Anecdotes that make the daily Scriptures strike home.

The problem: Others can apply those anecdotes in ways the Holy Father may not have intended.

For example, take the Pope’s statement “do something where life calls for it.”  This statement has the potential to open the door to a host of unintended interpretations, especially when what has preceded it is “Explain [to CDF] whatever you have to explain, but move forward….”

Don’t overlook this particular statement because, The Motley Monk is sure, Pope Francis means it.

The question is: What precisely does the Pope mean?

In a homily to his congregation, a pastor can say “I would rather have a Church that makes mistakes for doing something than one that gets sick for being closed up….” The members of the congregation would understand exactly what is meant.  Plus, that seems to be sound pastoral teaching.

But, the papacy differs from the local pastorate.

Yes, the pope is the Universal Pastor.  Yet, he is also the “Rock,” charged personally by Christ with safeguarding Church teaching.  It’s one thing for a local pastor to translate the Beatitudes into acts of compassion for those who live on the margins and to challenge the members of one’s congregation to err in favor of compassion rather than to dictate moral positions.  It is an entirely different matter if a pope were to intimate—even in private—that bishops should err on the side of heresy and “Explain whatever you have to explain [to CDF], but move forward… (wink).”

Pope Francis certainly does not mean that.

But, some in the media would have him mean that, and are calling upon the Pope clarify precisely what he means.  It’s a “lose-lose” proposition, one that will center upon the legitimacy of and the Pope’s stance vis-a-vis Church teaching.

During the 20th century and early into the 21st, the Holy Spirit has blessed the Church with extraordinarily good, if not saintly popes.  The contours of this papacy have yet to be clearly defined.  As Pope Francis learns to navigate the Church  to confront directly this generation’s moral evils which the media may tout as “progress,” Catholics should pray that the Pope teach as Jesus did, “with authority” that stuns those today in his hearing who “are sick for being closed up” in their secular ideologies and unwilling to listen to the Truth, as the Church teaches it.

 

 

To read the article in LaStampa, click on the following link:
http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/the-vatican/detail/articolo/gay-gay-gay-francesco-francis-francisco-25578/

To read the CNA account, click on the following link:
http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/latin-american-religious-backtrack-on-pope-and-gay-lobby/

3

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Benjamin H. Hill on Robert E. Lee

An interesting character in his own right, a Confederate senator from Georgia during the Civil War and a powerhouse in Georgia politics his entire life, Benjamin H. Hill in a speech in 1874  uttered this statement on Robert E. Lee that captures that very great man perfectly:

“When the future historian shall come to survey the character of Lee he will find it rising like a huge mountain above the undulating plane of humanity, and he must lift his eyes high toward heaven to catch its summit. He possessed every virtue of other great commanders without their vices. He was a foe without hate; a friend without treachery; a soldier without cruelty; a victor without oppression; and a victim without murmuring. He was a public officer without vices; a private citizen without wrong; a neighbor without reproach; a Christian without hypocrisy and a man without guile. He was a Caesar without his ambition; Frederick without his tyranny; Napoleon without his selfishness; and Washington without his reward. He was obedient to authority as a servant, and royal in authority as a true king. He was gentle as a woman in life; modest and pure as a virgin in thought; watchful as a Roman vestal in duty; submissive to law as Socrates; and grand in battle as Achilles.”

15

The Illusion of Security

One Child

 

 

 

Lauren Sandler, a proponent of having one child, writes a predictable piece in a predictable news magazine, Time, about he joys of stopping at one child.

She’s on to something. According to the USDA, a child born in 2011 will cost an average of $234,900 to raise to age 18. If your household income is over $100,000, you can raise that number to about $390,000. Yes, there are some savings after the first child — you don’t have to buy another high chair! — but it’s not as though you get a huge volume discount on subsequent offspring. There are also opportunity costs of a mother’s loss of income from parental leave, scaling back hours or dropping out of the workforce entirely. No wonder, according to the USDA, two-parent households with two children devote over one-third of their income to their kids. Add it all up and there’s a strong economic case for stopping at one child.

And yet the world will tell you — from grandmothers to sitcoms to strangers in the supermarket — that money shouldn’t be a factor in deciding to have more children. If you express concern about how much children cost, then you’ve clearly got your priorities wrong. You’ll make it work, they tell you. Don’t be selfish. (I wrote about this and other stereotypes of parents with singletons in a cover story for TIME.)

Having raised three children I can say that for my family the 234,900 per child figure was way off base, unless one adds into the mix the lost funds of my wife not having a job during much of the time that the kids were growing up.  Of course that is the wrong way to look at it.  My wife and I did not get married in order to see how much stuff we could accumulate during our lives.  We got married because we loved each other and hoped that our love would be blessed with children.  My wife worked harder than I had to in our efforts to raise our kids, and I often told her that she had the important job in our house and I worked merely to facilitate her efforts for the kids.

In this vale of tears we have no guarantees as to our economic success, no guarantees as to how many, if any, kids we will be blessed with and no guarantees as to how they will turn out.  Every minute of our lives we are working without a net.  I often plan and calculate various aspects of my life to ensure the best outcome that I can, but I realize that the most important parts of my life are often completely out of my control.  It takes quite a bit of faith to endure the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” that come our way in this world and to realize that we always and everywhere are dependent upon the mercy of God to see us through.  Modern men and women mostly do not accept this.  They think that they can eliminate risk and turn our journeys through this life into a cocoon where we will have endless fun, accumulate lots of material items and never hear of such things as pain and sacrifice.  Such is not, and never will be, our mortal lives.

A much more accurate reflection of our lives is contained in the closing prayer of the Rosary: Continue Reading

18

Is the Church pro-civil unions?

 

In Chiesa Express Online, Sandro Magister scoops stories for Catholics in much the same way Matt Drudge does for political junkies in his Drudge Report.  In the end, the news and analysis sometimes aren’t “the whole truth and nothing but the whole truth” because they are reported in real time as the stories continue to develop.

Sandro Magister’s report today is a stunner and, if the story develops as Magister’s account suggests it may, will end up being a blockbuster of a scoop, reverberating globally for proponents of “civil unions”…supported by the Church.

The bottom line?

Magister cites the New York Times article which reported that then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio—when the passage of a “homosexual marriage” law was being debated in Argentina—“was in favor of a compromise solution that would have legitimized civil unions for homosexuals.”

To be fair, Bergoglio also wrote that the new law was a product of “the envy of the devil, through which sin entered into the world: an envy that seeks astutely to destroy the image of God; that is, the man and woman who receive the command to grow, multiply, and rule the earth.”  But, Bergoglio wrote that in a letter sent to four convents of cloistered nuns.

Complicating this story are some high-ranking prelates who have sided with the proponents of civil unions.  Read the post for the details, the most troubling being the Archbishop-Emeritus of Mechelen-Brussels, Cardinal Godfried Daneels, who has stated that the Church “has never opposed the fact that there should exist a sort of ‘marriage’ between homosexuals, but one therefore speaks of a ‘sort of’ marriage, not of true marriage between a man and a woman, therefore another word must be found for the dictionary.”  Daneels concluded: “About the fact that this should be legal, that it should be made legitimate through a law, about this the Church has nothing to say.”

The problem: The Pope’s silence on the matter—evidently because he is more concerned about “the oppression of the poor and defrauding workers of their wages—rather than….the sin of the sodomites,” according to Magister.  He notes:

But to react to the challenge he relies more upon the prayers of the cloistered sisters than upon public proclamations, solemn declarations, or demonstrations in the street.

Until today there are no signs that as bishop of Rome he may wish to change this line of conduct.

Then, too,  the Vatican’s spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, has stated:

[One must] clearly emphasize that marriage between a man and a woman is a specific and fundamental institution in the history of humanity. This does not change the fact that there could be some recognition of other forms of union between two persons. (italics added)

When asked what about Pope Francis’ reaction, Fr. Lombardi said: “It is the pope who must speak, I will let him talk.”

So, is the Pope open to and will the Church work out an accommodation concerning civil unions?

That’s not the primary question of interest to The Motley Monk, although it probably is focal for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.

“What is going on here?” is The Motley Monk’s primary question.

Let there be no doubt that proponents of “homosexual marriage” will do everything in their power to advance their cause by besmirching Church teaching concerning marriage and family life.  One favorite tactic involves depicting the Church as anachronistic and insensitive to the experience of human beings with “same-sex attraction.”  Another favorite tactic involves marginalizing the Church by “exposing” the hypocrisy of the episcopate and of clerics in general, pointing out that many of them are not only homosexual but actually side with the proponents, yet live in fear of retribution if they speak their minds freely.

But, this “exposé” of then-Cardinal Bergoglio’s supposed support for some kind of compromise concerning civil unions, might reveal an attempt on the part of the proponents of “homosexual marriage” to bully now-Pope Francis by conflating two different ideas—social justice and so-called “homosexual marriage”—in an effort to get the Church to legitimate civil unions as a first step toward the latter.

If true, the Pope must tread very carefully.  He is on the record as favoring a compromise solution that would have legitimized civil unions for persons of the same sex.

How will the Holy Father address this matter?

 

 

To read Sandro Magister’s post, click on the following link:
http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1350534?eng=y

 

9

June 11, 1863: Raid on Darien, Georgia

The video clip above from the movie Glory depicts the raid on Darien, Georgia.  Commanded by an old Jayhawker, Colonel James Montgomery, the commander of the 2nd South Carolina, go here to read about him, with the participation of the 54th Massachusetts, the raid degenerated into the looting and burning of Darien, much to the disgust of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, commander of the 54th.  Here is letter to his newly wed wife in which he details his opinion of the raid: Continue Reading

9

IRS Scandal: Agent Sherry Wan Lays Down the “Law” to Pro-lifers

 

The IRS scandal is deepening as a new tape has been released today showing a disturbing phone call the Internal Revenue Service placed to a non-profit organization.

Alliance Defending Freedom, a pro-life legal group, made the audio available today of IRS officials telling a group that provides support to women in abusive pregnancy situations to keep its faith to itself. In the recorded phone conversation, an IRS agent lectures the president of the organization about forcing its religion and beliefs on others and inaccurately explains that the group must remain neutral on issues such as abortion.

ADF is providing legal representation for the group — which did not receive its tax-exempt status until last week after waiting nearly two and a half years after applying for it.

“The IRS is a tax collector; it shouldn’t be allowed to be the speech and belief police,” said Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley. “The current scandal isn’t new but has merely exposed the abuse of power that characterizes this agency and threatens our fundamental freedoms.”

ADF tells LifeNews that, in January 2011, Pro-Life Revolution, which operates from Texas under all three purposes for whcih religious groups can obtain nonprofit status, filed an application for tax-exempt status with the IRS. Four months later, the IRS sent a letter requesting “more information” and an explanation of how the organization’s activities are educational or charitable even though IRS rules specify that an organization need only operate for “one or more” of the three exempt purposes. President of Pro-Life Revolution Ania Joseph nonetheless replied and answered the IRS’s questions.

ADF indicates Joseph received a call from IRS Exempt Organization Specialist Sherry Wan in March 2012.

Wan told her that, in order to obtain a tax exemption, “You cannot force your religion or force your beliefs on somebody else…. You have to know your boundaries. You have to know your limits. You have to respect other people’s beliefs.”

In February of this year, the IRS requested additional information in another letter and attempted to apply a standard for tax exemption to Pro-Life Revolution that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held to be unconstitutional in 1980. Alliance Defending Freedom pointed this out in a letter responding to the IRS, which finally granted tax-exempt status to the organization in a letter received Thursday. Continue Reading

5

Candles In The Dark; The Father Richard Ho Lung Story Written By Joseph Pearce

Ever since the phenomena that was the final years of Mother Teresa, the faithful are always looking for the next jaw dropping saint, while those less theologically inclined and more enamored with pop culture are always looking for a saint with peculiar angle.  In Father Richard Ho Lung the Jamaican priest whose family was ethnic Chinese; they have that and more. They have a future saint who lives among the poorest of the poor in Kingston, and a man who at one time competed with Bob Marley on the Jamaican music charts.

In Father Richard Ho Lung they have a priest who developed something called the Caribbean Mass which appealed to the rank and file as well as many progressive oriented Catholics in the western world. However the same priest appeals to adherents of orthodoxy with his stern lectures on morality, and the need to care for the poor, unborn and mentally handicapped. He does more than give lectures, the religious order he helped found personally cares for all of the aforementioned.

Candles In The Wind, The Father Richard Ho Lung Story is told to us by Catholic author Joseph Pearce ( St. Benedict Press) who is most often associated with his knowledge of famed English authors like CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien and William Shakespeare. Some of us enjoy endeavoring in Pearce’s quest to prove that Shakespeare was secretly Catholic. There is nothing secret about Father Richard Ho Lung and through the gifted narrative of Pearce we see the life of the man from his own impoverished days in Kingston to his rising star status of today. Continue Reading

16

Illegal Immigration and Injustices

Last week Jason Hall posted a column at the Catholic Stand that somewhat snarkily takes on the question of why illegal immigrants don’t just come here legally. Jason rightfully points out that it’s not exactly a piece of cake to legally immigrate to the United States. The process is terribly cumbersome, and it takes years for most people to finally gain legal residence, and that’s the case for people who have more connections and resources than the typical migrant worker.

That being the case, while Hall’s column does a good job at highlighting the inefficiencies of the immigration system, what it does not do is provide justification for the comprehensive immigration reform proposal being discussed in the Senate. As I said in the comments to his post, the question of whether the current process of legal immigration is cumbersome  is not germane to the question of what to do with those individuals who have nonetheless entered the country illegally.

Now some have addressed this by stating that the current system is unjust, and therefore those who have entered the country illegally should not be punished for breaking an unjust law. I should emphasize right up front that Hall himself does not state this, at least in the column, but I have heard other immigration reform supporters make this claim. There are a couple of problems with this argument.

First of all, as admittedly burdensome as the immigration process is, that alone does not make the system unjust. Yes, it’s a bureaucratic mess, but unjust? I am not quite sure that an excess of red tape is an injustice that justifies blatant disregard for American laws and the violation of our sovereign border.

Furthermore, if our system were unjust, those who have immigrated illegally are in fact themselves guilty of committing an injustice, and any legislation that effectively rewarded their behavior would be an even graver injustice. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people have begun the process of legally immigrating. The current proposal would effectively grant legal status to millions of people who cut in line, and would do so with minimal punishment. So now some ten million people would have been granted legal privileges ahead of those who respected the laws of this country. Moreover, the already over-loaded immigration bureaucracy would undoubtedly be stretched to even greater degrees in the process of legalizing or normalizing the statuses of those here illegally. I have a hard time believing that the overall immigration process would be smoothed out by such a dramatic change.

There are no easy solutions to this mess, and there are legitimate arguments to be made on behalf of some kind of comprehensive immigration reform plan. Of course it’s hard to avoid the feeling that we’re being sold a bill of goods by disappointingly dishonest politicians. But if we’re going to lament having a broken system, perhaps it’s time to acknowledge that those we are trying to help played a large part in breaking it in the first place.

10

IRS Scandal: Union of Party and State

 

Content advisory as to the video, included because I am heartened by Jon Stewart’s outrage in regard to the IRS scandal.

As usual, Mark Steyn gets to the heart of the matter in regard to the IRS Scandal:

When the state has the power to know everything about everyone, the integrity of the civil service is the only bulwark against men like Holder. Instead, the ruling party and the non-partisan bureaucracy seem to be converging. In August 2010, President Obama began railing publicly against “groups with harmless-sounding names like Americans for Prosperity” (August 9th, a speech in Texas) and “shadowy groups with harmless-sounding names” (August 21st, radio address). And whaddayaknow, that self-same month the IRS obligingly issued its first BOLO (Be On the Look-Out) for groups with harmless-sounding names, like “tea party,” “patriot,” and “constitution.”

It may be that the strange synchronicity between the president and the permanent bureaucracy is mere happenstance and not, as it might sound to the casual ear, the sinister merging of party and state. Either way, they need to be pried apart. When the state has the capability to know everything except the difference between right and wrong, it won’t end well. Continue Reading