Kenneth Minogue: Requiescat In Pace

Sunday, June 30, AD 2013

 

 

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.

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Was the Confederate Victory at Gettysburg Inevitable?

Sunday, June 30, AD 2013

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.

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13 Responses to Was the Confederate Victory at Gettysburg Inevitable?

Fortnight For Freedom: Edmund Burke

Sunday, June 30, AD 2013

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.”

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3 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom: Edmund Burke

  • I have always admired Edmund Burke and take to heart his admonition that “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men [and women] to do nothing.”

  • I haven’t heard one word mentioned in church about Prop 8, ever, and I attend Mass at two different churches alternating between them throughout the week in O.C. CA. Fortnight of Freedom (FOF) is not something getting down into the pews from the pulpits. There is no grass movement being organized by the clergy or parishioners in the parishes. And highlighting the sainthood of Catholics in the distant past does not resonate with the Catholics of today. Catholics don’t know they are in a war. FOF2 is falling flat just like FOF1 did. And Mr. Obama and the pro-abortion, pro-homosexual marriage, anti-Freedom of Religion Democrat Party is not quivering in their boots because Catholics are securely snuggled up closely to Democrat Party bosom believing all the falsehood that they “care for the poor,” which is the only thing the bishops and the clergy teach regularly from the pulpits that we sheep should be concerned with, according to the bible and the USCCB and State Catholic Conferences lobbying.

    The only “caring:” the pro-abortion party has for the poor is how many votes they can get from them and those others, like Catholics, sympathetic to them. That is why they are always building more and more poor. Today, under Obama and the Democrat Party, 76% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck and are having to pay $4 to $5 for gasoline for years now. That is why President Obama “admires Cardinal Bernardin so much,” he said in 2009 in a roundtable discussion with 8 different Catholic newspaper editors and religion writers; admires him because of his “seamless garment” especially the “social justice” issues. Catholics who are suckers for those “social justice” issues remain in and support the pro-abortion party giving it the elective power to keep the murdering of the unborn babies legal, now totally 56,000,000 after 40 years. Do you think that the destruction of our culture leading to the bishops need to call for a second FOF could have something to do so many babies, created by God, continuing to being murdered because so many Catholics, including the clergy, continue to prop up the sole organization responsible for that happening?

  • “Fortnight of Freedom (FOF) is not something getting down into the pews from the pulpits.”

    Indeed? In my Parish the priest spoke about it last Sunday and there was a bulletin insert about it which appeared in all the parishes in the Peoria diocese. Looks to me Stillbelieve that you need to set up appointments with the two priests in the parishes you attend and also set up an appointment with your Bishop to express your concern about their lack of action in defending religious liberty. Too many faithful Catholics leave all of this up to God or the clergy. We are God’s instruments on Earth and nothing will get better until we get off our hind ends and take action ourselves. It is easy to bemoan evils, it is much harder to take action to remedy and redress them.

Government, the Biggest Bully of All

Saturday, June 29, AD 2013

4 Responses to Government, the Biggest Bully of All

  • The Nanny of the Month was once an elementary school principal, and of an age to be one of the irritating creatures in charge of my elementary school. I do not think the passage of time has improved that lot.

  • Several of my grandsons were suspended for interrupting school fights caused by bullying. Everybody gets suspended. This bill would empower individuals not elected, nor appointed and horribly unqualified to judge the young people and/or adults in any given situation. Are these “judges” to take the testimony of a liar or bully and continue the bullying on a legal level? Who is going to enforce this anti-bullying law? Biased, politically correct morons, useful idiots, or individual persons of integrity, honesty, and they who are statesmen, or are these decent citizens already incarcerated?

  • Time for a few Harden Up pills, methinks.

    PC is a tyranny that feeds on itself.

  • Man up is almost always good advice Don!

Fortnight For Freedom: Liberty Song

Saturday, June 29, AD 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.

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.

 

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

Friday, June 28, AD 2013

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.)

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

  • As Bismarck predicted, when the great European war came it was over “some damned foolish thing in the Balkans”. Ironically Franz Ferdinand had always believed in a cautious approach to Serbia, fearing that harsh action against the Serbs would lead to war with Russia and the ruin of both empires.

  • How beautiful and noble is the family of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

  • Both sons of the Archduke were sent to concentration camps during WWII. Their behavior was exemplary.

  • How beautiful and noble is the family of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

    Ironically, the Emperor was staunchly opposed to the marriage of his heir and a virtual commoner, despite the depth of their devotion, and only relented after international pressure on condition that the marriage would be morganatic and that their descendants would not have succession rights to the throne. Sophie would not share her husband’s rank, title, precedence, or privileges; as such, she would not normally appear in public beside him…[and]… not be allowed to ride in the royal carriage or sit in the royal box in theaters”

    Ironically Franz Ferdinand had always believed in a cautious approach to Serbia…

    The same Serbian military clique tried unsuccessfully to assassinate the Emperor three years earlier. The Archduke was their Plan B. op cit

  • There was more than enough blame to go around between Austria and Serbia. Field Marshal Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf, Chief of Staff for the Austrian Army, had been calling for years for preventive war against Serbia. Idiots, and I mean that descriptively and not pejoratively, in positions of authority in both Serbia and Austria, merrily lit fuses against each for a very long time before they finally got their war and took most of Europe over the cliff with them.

  • In a course back in college, a professor traced the decline of Christianity in the West to WWI. If I still have my notes – one never know what odds and ends can be found inthe filing cabinets around this place – I’ll sketch it out the way he did.

    If memory serves, he explored the losses of life, particularly men, in Europe during the War, connected it to the number of fatherless children after the war, and the vaccuum this created for socialism and communism.

  • Everyone wanted war in 1914

    1. Ever since the Congress of Berlin in 1878, Austria and Germany had been determined to prevent Russian expansion in the Balkans.
    2. Austria knew that, if she allowed herself to be humiliated by Serbia, she could not keep control of her minorities.
    3. Germany saw war with Russia as inevitable and wanted it before Russia completed her rail network and gained the ability to mobilise reserves quickly.
    4. With her prestige already damaged by her defeat in the Russo-Japanese War, Russia knew if she allowed her ally, Serbia, to be humiliated, she could well face revolt in her Western provinces, particularly Poland and the Baltic states, from which the bulk of her tax revenue was derived.
    5. With her stagnant birth-rate and Germany’s growing one, France knew she could not wait another generation, if she were ever to recover the lost provinces of Alsace and Lorraine and avenge the defeat of 1870.
    6. Italy wanted to incorporate Austria’s Italian provinces (Italia Irredenta).
    7. Tirpitz’s naval expansion and the consequent arms race with Germany was ruinously expensive for Britain.

  • Great post Darwin Catholic and excellent comments everyone. It is interesting to note as David points out that the Left saw the carnage as an opportunity (where have we recently heard those words–using crisis as an opportunity before) to push their Big Government anti -God system playing to the heartstrings of the suffering masses. The Church was viewed as too institutional by some and Modernism was already creeping into many seminaries (just as many pontiffs had warned.) What followed was the faithful looking to recent holy figures like St Therese of Lisieux and the mystical as in Fatima and numerous other apparitions (some approved by the Church, some not) to ease their sorrow.

  • I have always tried to discern God’s will during the First World War. Here are some of my theories:

    1. After the war, Germany, Austria and Russia ceased being monarchies, so the war was an indictment of Europe’s crowned heads.
    2. Since Napoleon’s time, France and Germany had been on each other’s throats – Prussia became resentful at France because of the Napoleonic wars, the Franco-Prussian War was Bismarck’s revenge on France, and the First World War was France’s revenge on Germany. So the First World War was punishment for France and Germany’s hard-heartedness. (But even then, the cycle of violence would not end, as the Nazis intended the Second World War to be their revenge on France. Maybe Versailles really isn’t an auspicious place for signing treaties.)
    3. The war was punishment for every nation’s greed.

  • There was more than enough blame to go around between Austria and Serbia.

    True, but then again, regicide instigated by the ruling circles of a neighboring power ups the ante by an order of magnitude, when it comes to the matter of blame games.

    Admittedly, the Serbian crown was not pleased with the assassination, and took measures to reign in the perpetrators, but without success. The history of Serbia and Royalist Yugoslavia is rife with examples of the crown being unable to control the crazy radicals in its midst (or else, getting deposed or assassinated themselves).

    Apparently, enduring and then ending centuries of Ottoman/Muslim occupation leaves deep scarring and trauma in a nation (assuming those scars were not there to begin with), as the Sicilians and Armenians have also learned. Come to think of it, the Irish (and a few people within America’s own borders) might have similar tales to tell.

  • How much of a “world” war was it, though? Europe usually has a major war twice a century, during which non-Europeans (particularly the Turks) take whatever advantages come their way. I’ve always thought that the Napoleanic Wars were the world’s first worldwide war, with the War of 1812 and Latin American independence being being part of the whole. I don’t see WWI as having a bigger scope than that – although there are theatres I don’t know much about. It definitely wasn’t as big as World War Two.

  • A lot of fighting in Africa, and the Middle East. Minor fighting in Asia. America sending millions of troops across the Atlantic. Clearly a world war but not as much of a world war as World War II. I would give the title of World War to the Napoleonic wars, the Seven Years War, the War of the Austrian Succession and the mammoth War of the Spanish Succession where Corporal John demonstrated a rare combination of superb military and diplomatic skills.

  • very interesting post. Some interesting semi- questions occur to me– I say semi-questions because they are not really formed but just related ideas.
    about national-ism and what that actually means compared with national self responsibility, national interest. Also local control, one world government, Christendom

  • World War 1 saw the end of the Age of Empire in Europe. The empires were doomed regardless of present day Catholic admiration for the Habsburgs.

    Prussia, Austria and Russia carved up Poland in the late 18th century and the Polish people revolted several times. The Poles were not the only people tired of the empires.

    I submit that the decline in Christianity in Europe began with the Protestant Reformation. the French Revolution advanced that decline and WWI added to it.

    As France was terribly wrecked by WW1, and they demanded reparations that Germany could not repay, all of the groundwork was laid for WWII. Germany assisted Lenin in getting Russia out of the war. I could go on, but it’s getting late and tomorrow is Monday.

  • Anzlyne

    The fall of the Ottoman Empire saw an Arab revolt against Turkish rule and a Turkish repudiation of Arab influence, (including the adoption of the Roman alphabet and of the Swiss Civil Code and the Italian Penal Code). In other words, national identity on both sides trumped religious identity, as witness the abolition of the Caliphate.

    Again, the fall of the Dual Monarchy saw a great revival of Pan-Germanism in its German-speaking regions. The Balkans, too, were, well, Balkanized

  • One way to look at Chistendom is as a fantasy of sorts, a necessary fairytale.

    Martin Luther ushered in a formal rebellion against authority already well underway. Christendom was already fracturing and, perhaps a better way to think of it, was always fractured. It was the external threat of rising Islam in Iberia and in the Balkans that made the idea of Christendom necessary. Once Europe was exhausted of the Crusades and successful in uniting Spain under a Christian monarch, her attention turned inward and outward, away from Islam.

    Christendom turned inward politically and outward, beyond North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia Minor. Without the external threat, nationalism replaced a general sense of Christianity as the binding force for society and the legitimate authority for the Church in Civil Society. Rebellion against Church authority grew, both within and outside of the Church.

    Reformation and war were the natural consequences. These, in turn, drove nationalism and the establishment of stronger and stronger centralized national governments. That drove war, which drove nationalism, which drove stronger centralized government, and on, and on.

    Lost in the conversation were the many millions of poor, impressed to fight on the one side, taxed into oblivion, most landless, most illiterate, with little prospect for advancement… Fertile ground for new ideas that would elevate their condition to reclaim something of the dignity enshrined in the magnificent palaces built all about them.

    The Church was politically weakened and only a shadow of the civil society authority that she had been. She was driven inward and wisely turned to theology to heal herself. The Counter-Reformation entirely re-cast Christianity as an individual conversation with God through the Body of Christ. The ideas had been perculating for hundreds of years but the Chruch gave them voice. Those ideas were, in turn, applied to the political sphere through Protestant philosophers, leading to 18th Century revolutions in Europe and the rise of Communism.

    Boney was the last hurrah, not og Monarchy-as-such, but og strong, centralized authority focussed outward. Napoleon completed the turn of civil society in on itself, the concerns of others being their concerns alone. Tyranny from an external force became a relic, one that should be resisted by the common man. Thus, the explosion of war in 1917, was entirely different, precisely because it was the common man fighting the common man for an ideology that was personal and seemingly clear.

    In that sense, it was the first World War, not because of where it was fought or by which combatents but because it was individualized across all strata of society, everywhere in Europe. Thus, the destruction it wrought was individualized too, personalized, if you will, ushering in the ages we have now.

    We live in a time of Man abandoning formal social structure because it has failed us, generation after generation. Each articulation seemd to present an answer, only to fail. Thing is, Man is a social animal and, try as we might, we can never be ourselves alone. A new articulation will emerge but, until it does, chaos must reign.

    The Church will articulate the next structure under which Man lives. The question is whether She will be articulating a structure established by others or will establish the structure by articulating it.

  • David Spaulding

    The all-important fracture was not the Reformation, but the Great Schism. The emergence of Russia as the great Orthodox power and the natural guardian and protector of the Orthodox Slavs, convinced both Britain and France of the need to shore up, at all hazards, the decaying Ottoman power. For more than half a century before 1914, the great fear had been a Russian occupation of Constantinople and the emergence of Russian client states in the Balkans. This was also the reason for the protectorate in Egypt and the Sudan.

    Britain, in particular, anxious about her sea-route to India had actually welcomed the growing power of Prussia as a bastion against the Slav, only to realise, almost too late, that they had backed the wrong horse.

    Hence, too, the need to establish British and French spheres of influence in the Middle East after the collapse of the Ottoman power

  • I think David’s right, in a way. Christendom was an ideal. Compared to what’s followed it, it was a pretty good ideal. It was a norm – remember those? like faithful hetero marriage? – that people didn’t necessarily achieve, but everyone looked to with an understanding that we should try to attain it.

    It’s a truism that the strongest argument against monarchy is the actual guy who becomes king. The great states of Christendom, France, the Holy Roman Empire, Venice, et cetera, were always a poisoned beverage away from having a lousy ruler. Along with internal struggles, there was always competition between the states, and rivalry between the state and the Church. Or between the Church thinking it was a state and a state thinking it was the Church. And the heresies – Luther’s was bigger than most, but the Church was constantly in battle against them.

    World War I marked the end of the powerful monarchs, but not the end of the internally and externally powerful ruler. There’s very little about Castro and Stalin that couldn’t be found in the average caliph or inbred royal.

  • Pinky

    It is worth recalling Pascal’s defence of monarchy: “The most unreasonable things in the world become most reasonable, because of the unruliness of men. What is less reasonable than to choose the eldest son of a queen to rule a State? We do not choose as captain of a ship the passenger who is of the best family.

    This law would be absurd and unjust; but, because men are so themselves and always will be so, it becomes reasonable and just. For whom will men choose, as the most virtuous and able? We at once come to blows, as each claims to be the most virtuous and able. Let us then attach this quality to something indisputable. This is the king’s eldest son. That is clear, and there is no dispute. Reason can do no better, for civil war is the greatest of evils.”

  • The twists and turns od these discussions makes The American Catholic enjoyable.

    I never heard a defense of monarchy before. What an interesting idea.

  • “-national identity on both sides trumped religious identity-” seems like that would be true every time. it worked so well for Henry VIII.
    Although I would like to think religious sense precedes the geo political urge of a people, when National identity is formed around shared family/tribe/ and shared land or place It seems religion always gets subsumed into the state–

  • Even with the caesar/pope idea eventually the Caesar wins. Didn’t that Schism have more to do with cultural identity than actually with dogma- and having a very real shared outside enemy was not enough to heal that fracture-

Introduction to Gettysburg

Friday, June 28, AD 2013

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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3 Responses to Introduction to Gettysburg

  • “Spoiler alert” . . .

    I’m kidding.

    Summer 1862 the Peninsula – drove McClellan from Richmond BUT the Federals reached safety at Harrison’s Landing on the James River.

    August 1862 – Second Manassas – Pope’s army escaped critical damage by retreating to the DC defenses.

    September 1862 – Antietam – Lee’s narrow tactical victory – too weakened to force a showdown. Lee surrendered the strategic initiative until June 1863. He learned (McClellan testimony) about the “lost order” and thought without that he could win in an invasion

    December 1862 – Fredericksburg, Lee easily defeated the Federals. Big victory, but Federals escaped across the Rappahannock River. Lee said “. . . had gained not an inch of ground and the enemy could not be pursued.”

    May 1863 – Chancellorsville, Lee again beat the Federals – against longer odds, but less easily. However, it was done at high cost. Lost Jackson and 13,500 casualties – Rebel KIA slightly exceeded Union KIA.

Fortnight for Freedom: John Carroll’s Prayer

Friday, June 28, AD 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.

 

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.

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Fortnight For Freedom: Lincoln on Liberty of Conscience

Thursday, June 27, AD 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.

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].”

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16 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom: Lincoln on Liberty of Conscience

  • The problem, Donald, is that the sodomites and lesbians and their supporters will use the following sentences said by Lincoln to claim that we, in supporting the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman, are declaring that sodomites and lesbians are NOT created equal to the rest. Never mind that that clearly isn’t the case, or that they (being evolutionists who think man is an animal descended from apes) don’t even believe in creation. They will and do cry foul, declaring we are being as discriminatory to the sodomite and lesbian (whose behavior they sanitized with the phrases homosexual or gay) as the Know-Nothings were to blacks and Catholics so long again.

    “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.'”

  • You will oblige me please Paul not to use terms like sodomites in future on this blog. It does nothing except play into a stereotype of those of us who should love the sinner while hating the sin. I find it as useless as the appropriation of the term gay by those who wish to turn a sin into a way of life. It also plays into the hands of those who have turned this into a matter of identity politics. All of us are much more than our sins, and the idea that those afflicted with this particular sin are defined by it to the exclusion of all else about them is not our position but rather the position of those who seek political capital by turning a sin into a civil right, which was actually also the position of the slaveholders of Lincoln’s time, in regard to the right to own other people as chattel.

  • I shall comply, Donald.

    There is a difference between a homosexual who is trying to remain celibate and deal with this cross, and the militant variety who is trying to force the rest of society to approve as laudable what he does. The former is like an alcoholic who goes to 12 step meetings, but may relapse on occasion because recovery isn’t always a smooth road. The latter is despiteful and intolerant, committed to the disease that has overtaken him and desirous of forcing it on the rest of society. It is of him that St. Paul uses the even less flattering terms μαλακός and ἀρσενοκοίτης in 1st Corinthians 6:9-10 (see the Douay-Rheims or KJV for an unsanitized translation).

    And yes, St. Paul puts adulterers (μοιχός), fornicators (πόρνος), drunkards (μέθυσος) and many others in the same category. And he reminds us in verse 11: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

    I agree: love the sinner (because we are all sinners), but hate the sin (which so easily besets any of us).

  • Thank you Paul. I am afraid that I am afflicted with the deadliest of sins, the sin of pride, and therefore I have sympathy for those who struggle with lesser sins.

  • You and me, both, Donald. I look at the laundry list of sins that St. Paul provides in 1st Corinthians 6:9-10. I am not guilty of three in the list (μοιχός, μαλακός and ἀρσενοκοίτης). Sadly, I cannot say the same of the rest.

    🙁

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  • Can someone explain to me what this new Fortnight for Freedom is supposed to accomplish? The bishops have shown themselves to be unwilling to put any real pressure on the government, especially supposedly Catholic politicians, so all this is doing is reminding Obama and company that they have nothing to fear from the bishops. The way things stand now, the bishops are just making themselves, and us by extension, look foolish.

  • Actually Cardinal Dolan recently helped spearhead the defeat in the New York Senate of Governor Cuomo’s radical pro-abort bill. That is not chopped liver.
    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/cuomos-abortion-expansion-act-dies-in-ny-state-senate/

    My Bishop, Daniel Jenky of Peoria, is continually speaking out, and taking a lot of heat for doing so.

    Although I am quite willing to criticize Bishops and Cardinals in this country, and there is much to criticize and I do so frequently, the problem is not primarily them. The problem is that too many Catholics in this country, to be very blunt, do not give a damn about their religion, and are quite content to vote for pro-abort candidates and candidates who are in effect at war with the Church. I would like to see all pro-abort politicians excommunicated, but I think the political impact would be close to nil. Infidelity in the clergy is a problem, but the much greater problem is a laity that is, in far too many cases, ignorant of their Faith or actively opposed to it.

    The only solution to this problem is to tirelessly preach the truth whether people wish to accept it or not. The Fortnight For Freedom is part of that process. It isn’t a magic wand, but it is a start.

  • Hear! Hear!

    “The problem is that too many Catholics in this country, to be very blunt, do not give a damn about their religion, and are quite content to vote for pro-abort candidates and candidates who are in effect at war with the Church….the much greater problem is a laity that is, in far too many cases, ignorant of their Faith or actively opposed to it.”

    There is a woman – very nice and kind and hard-working and goes to Mass regularly – who some time ago asked for my opinion about the Bishops’ public stance against same-sex marriage and abortion. She wanted more than just an off-the-cuff response. So I gave her a six page write up, quoting appropriate parts of the Catechism and the Bible, using what limited knowledge I have of the Greek to point out certain specific things St. Paul wrote in his epistles. I gave it to her and waited two weeks. Not having received a response, I asked her if she had read what I had provided. She said she got to the third page and stopped reading, and that she has a different opinion. I asked her if she had talked with her priest about these things. She said no, and repeated that she had a different opinion. In other words, when the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Sacred Scripture were presented to her, she rejected what they said and held to a different opinion. I suspect that this feeling is widespread among Roman Catholics. As for Protestants, I give them the straight Scripture and often they too have a different opinion. So it isn’t just Romans who have this problem.

  • “The problem is that too many Catholics in this country, to be very blunt, do not give a damn about their religion, and are quite content to vote for pro-abort candidates and candidates who are in effect at war with the Church. I would like to see all pro-abort politicians excommunicated, but I think the political impact would be close to nil.”

    But the excommunications themselves would shake things up, and maybe make those sleepwalking Catholics wake up. Even if they found the excommunications offensive and decided to leave the Church, that would actually be a positive. At the very least, we would no longer have to suffer through Pelosi asserting what a devout Catholic she is.

    “The Fortnight For Freedom is part of that process. It isn’t a magic wand, but it is a start.”

    A start towards what? What did the first Fortnight accomplish?

  • It accomplished quite a bit judging from the decrease in Obama’s Catholic vote at the polls in November. His support among white Catholics dropped by seven percent to forty percent. He barely won the Catholic vote by capturing 76% of Hispanic Catholics. It increased awareness of the contempt that this administration has for American liberties. No one will follow the truth if they never hear of it. The Fortnight for Freedom conveyed effectively I think the message of the persecution that faithful Catholics are beginning to be subject to. Would you have the Church stand mute in the face of these outrages?

    As for excommunication you make the unwarranted assumption that Catholics who routinely vote for pro-aborts would care. They would not. I would be all in favor of mass excommunications of pro-abort politicians, but without a sustained education effort by the Church, like the Fortnight for Freedom, it is merely a useless gesture as far as its practical utility. Too many conservative Catholics think of it as a panacea. Forty years ago excommunicating Catholic pro-abort politicians would have had a major impact on many Catholics, but not today. I might also note that if the Catholic Church in America started to excommunicate pro-abort Catholic politicians, it would stand alone, since I do not believe that is happening anywhere else. As I said, I would be all for it, but I think the real need is sustained education and political involvement. Too many Catholics aren’t very good at either, at least those who attempt to defend the sanctity of human life and the freedom of the Church.

  • “It accomplished quite a bit judging from the decrease in Obama’s Catholic vote at the polls in November. His support among white Catholics dropped by seven percent to forty percent.”

    That is certainly a good thing, but it did nothing to alter the government’s behavior. If these Fortnights for Freedom are meant to protect our freedoms, I see no evidence they have helped, or will help.

    “He barely won the Catholic vote by capturing 76% of Hispanic Catholics.”

    You mean the demographic the bishops are feverishly working to dramatically increase in numbers? More genius strategizing at work.

    “Would you have the Church stand mute in the face of these outrages?”

    Completely to the contrary, I think the Church needs to be far more militant. Cardinal Dolan and most of the rest of the bishops appear to operate under the delusion that if they are nice and conciliatory towards politicians, the politicians will be nice and conciliatory to the Church. In reality, the politicians see weakness and feel they can get away with trampling the Church’s rights.

  • “If these Fortnights for Freedom are meant to protect our freedoms, I see no evidence they have helped, or will help.”

    I just gave you the evidence. The problem last year was too many conservatives who stayed home and a Mitt Romney campaign so confident of victory that they went into defense mode after the first debate.

    “You mean the demographic the bishops are feverishly working to dramatically increase in numbers? More genius strategizing at work.”

    Now we get to the nub of the matter. Since you disagree with the Bishops on immigration, as do I, that means that the Fortnight to Freedom is worthless. That simply is not logical. Additionally it betrays a hopelessness in regard to the Hispanic vote that long term is not warranted:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/06/28/the_gop_and_hispanics_what_the_future_holds_119011.html

    We have been down this road before. Italian Americans were supposed to be a bastion for the Democrats and for a while they were. With increasing prosperity more of them voted Republican. Since 1968 the two parties have divided the Italian-American vote. I suspect Hispanics are following a similar trajectory.

    “Cardinal Dolan”

    The same Cardinal Dolan who led the successful fight against Cuomo’s abortion bill in the New York State Senate? Confusing affability with ineffectiveness is a common error, but still an error. At any rate I would think you would be calling for more efforts like the Fortnight For Freedom rather than lamenting it.

  • “I just gave you the evidence.”

    No, you told me that the white Catholic vote for Obama dropped (which is a good thing), but the government’s confrontational position with regard to the Church was not changed at all.

    “Now we get to the nub of the matter. Since you disagree with the Bishops on immigration, as do I, that means that the Fortnight to Freedom is worthless.”

    No, the Fortnight for Freedom is worthless because it had no effect upon the politicians who are attempting to take away our freedoms. The bishops’ self-immolation act on immigration is really a separate issue, but since you supplied the statistic I couldn’t resist commenting on it.

    “We have been down this road before. Italian Americans were supposed to be a bastion for the Democrats and for a while they were. With increasing prosperity more of them voted Republican. Since 1968 the two parties have divided the Italian-American vote. I suspect Hispanics are following a similar trajectory.”

    A different America and a different Church.

    “The same Cardinal Dolan who led the successful fight against Cuomo’s abortion bill in the New York State Senate? Confusing affability with ineffectiveness is a common error, but still an error.”

    All right, I guess I have to concede that NY’s hideous abortion laws did not become even more hideous largely through the efforts of Cardinal Dolan. However, I think the Cardinal has to develop a more confrontational approach on some issues. I have visions of him yucking it up with Hillary at the Al Smith Dinner three years from now, and that kind of thing can’t happen anymore. It would send a powerful message if Bobby Jindal, or Paul Ryan or Scott Walker was invited to the Dinner, and Hillary was not, but I can’t imagine Dolan doing that.

    “At any rate I would think you would be calling for more efforts like the Fortnight For Freedom rather than lamenting it.”

    We need to do a lot more than the Fortnight, so I see this as more of a nice gesture than an actual effort to defend the Church.

  • The US Constitution prohibits a religious test for public office, including the public office of citizenship. The HHS Mandate and its violation of conscience is demanding that citizens prove their religioius piety, holiness and in the public domain their worship of God to be allowed exemption. Being an American citizen is insufficient and no longer reason to be free.

  • @Donald Mc Clarey: ” Forty years ago excommunicating Catholic pro-abort politicians would have had a major impact on many Catholics, but not today.”

    Let us try it. What have we got to lose? Our infant children might notice. Little old ladies might come out more often knowing that the Catholic Church will be there to sustain them in their will to live. Excommunicating sinners may even enlighten their journey back to God.

Footnote 7

Thursday, June 27, AD 2013

 

 

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:

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7 Responses to Footnote 7

  • Well, if we must have judicial tyrants, I pick Justice Alito for Supreme Leader. Excellent footnote. How is a prediction of the future of marriage a “finding of fact?”

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  • I went to Temple Law and found it disturbing that conservatives were so easy to pick out. The contrast in language and thinking between the distinct minority conservative student and the majority progressives was unsettling in the first year of school.

    Courses like business and tax law are driven by fairly neutral concepts and most of my professors were adjunct, real world lawyers. It was easy to stay on point and hard to stray into progressive turf. However, family law, con law, and civil rights law are subjects dominated by the Left and taught by professors whose reputation is built by their having clerked for a judge and maintained by their law articles.

    For most students, the transition from high school, to college, to law school is seamless. Accepting what you are told, memorizing the phrases the teacher repeats often and learning the materials as written is enough. Thinking is not a skill taught, expected, or desired by teachers at any of those levels. So, if you go straight to law school after college, your mind will be twisted into a progressive pretzel whether you went to law school as a liberal or not.

    Conservatives in my class were all “non-traditional” students with careers and, in many cases, family. Most were middle-of-the-pack students, devoting just enough time to studies to get by. We added little to class though because the classes that were grounded in business don’t draw on experience and the ones driven by opinion were openly hostile to everything our experience taught us was true.

    We sat left middle or right center in every class, exasperated sighs haphazardly interrupting the unceasing chatter of self-congratulating flatulance that fills a law school classroom during a con-law class or yet another dreary, professorial tirade about the necessity of modern divorce law as a remedy to thousands of years of women’s oppression. Actual education happened from time to time too of course. I think fondly of Professor Mikochic as a First Amendment professor for example. He entirely reordered my thinking about Free Speech because he assigned copious, carefully ordered readings and drew a map between them that was inspiring and eye-opening. Most classes were not thus

    Footnot 7, to my mind is the natural and inevitable outcome of the dilution of the law. Too many law schools and students spreads the skilled professors out and brings up hacks who shouldn’t be teaching. It also brings too many students in who shouldn’t be there because they lack the skill and/or desire to be a lawyer and because they lack the preparation for becoming a good lawyer.

    If we don’t fix the law as a profession things will only get worse and I see no evidence that our profession is prepared to deal with the rotten tendrils of the rotten root that played itself out this week.

  • It is worth noting that neither the Law of 9 November 1791, which introduced mandatory civil marriage, nor the Code Napoléon contain any definition of marriage. However, generations of jurists have found a functional definition in Article 312, “The child conceived or born in marriage has the husband for father,” including the four most authoritative commentators on the Civil Code, Demolombe (1804–1887), Guillouard (1845-1925), Gaudemet (1908-2001) and Carbonnier (1908–2003), long before the question of same-sex marriage was agitated.

    In 1998, a colloquium of 154 Professors of Civil Law, including Philippe Malaurie, Alain Sériaux, and Catherine Labrusse-Riou unanimously endorsed this interpretation of the Civil Code. This led to the introduction of civil unions (PACS) for same-sex and opposite-sex couples in the following year.

    Filiation has never been regarded as other than central to civil marriage, ever since the Roman jurist, Paulus wrote “.pater vero is est, quem nuptiae demonstrant.” (Marriage points out the father) [Dig. 2, 4, 5; 1]

  • The definition of marriage is: “two become one” in body and soul, possible only when the two follow the laws of nature and nature’s God. Even “civil unions” lack , are deprived of physical and spiritual “union”. Stripping our language of meaning and emasculating our civil rights, the devil is the only one who cannot become one with another soul through covenant, every other person indeed can. Jesus Christ is one with the Blessed Trinity. Man is one with a woman through covenant. The devil cannot become one with a lie. The devil is duplicitous, already lying out of both sides of his mouth. That some gay marriages have been recorded only means that some citizens have succumb to a lie.

  • God gives authority to the government to govern the people. Jesus said to Pilate “you would have no authority over me if it had not been given to you from above.” A people claiming authority over the government is a people opposing God. The people are subject to the state. The people have the right to resist state action that is contrary to their duties to God. A people that claim the authority of government comes from the people is a bit like the children claiming that their parents authority to govern them comes from the children. Since authority comes from God and not the people if the majority of the people wanted gay marriage, the government could not be required to legalize same sex marriage.

  • “The people are subject to the state”

    Rubbish on stilts. States come about in a myriad of ways and have an enormous range of how they are constituted. I doubt seriously if God intended us to give blind obedience to these creations of Man except when they happen to run afoul of the Catholic faith. I believe like Mr. Jefferson that our rights come from God. As to the State, it usually has a much less exalted pedigree.

    “10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who asked him for a king. 11 And he said, “This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. 12 He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. 14 And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. 16 And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men,[a] and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. 18 And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day.”

    19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, “No, but we will have a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.”

    21 And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he repeated them in the hearing of the Lord. 22 So the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed their voice, and make them a king.”

    States are a necessary evil due to the sad fact that men are not angels, but there is nothing divine in their origins or operations. What is divine is the fact that Man was made in the image of God and that fact alone limits, or rather should limit, the power of the State.

Sorry Mr. Franklin, We Couldn’t

Wednesday, June 26, AD 2013

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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5 Responses to Sorry Mr. Franklin, We Couldn’t

  • I think the style of rhetoric in Kennedy’s DOMA decision makes it pretty clear what his opinion is. Unless he puts states’ rights on the absolute highest pedestal, but it seems very weird to declare the issue illegitimate and prejudiced and limit that view to the federal govt.

  • “[T]he Court has said that citizens have no real redress should state executives defy their expressed wishes.” Except to vote them out of office; they can always do that, if they feel strongly enough.

  • “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Herewith is the First Amendment. DOMA and Proposition 8 are peaceable assembly. Same sex so-called marriage is not equl Justice because the fraud involved in male brides is mob mentality. Proposition 8 judged by Vaughn Walker, a closet practicing homosexual with a vested interest, without the decency to recuse himself is a fraud. Government perpetuated fraud is tyranny.

    God is Justice. Atheism has no standing in a court of law.

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Head of CCHD Was Treasurer For Pro-Abort Candidate

Wednesday, June 26, AD 2013

(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.

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10 Responses to Head of CCHD Was Treasurer For Pro-Abort Candidate

Pro-aborts and Democracy

Wednesday, June 26, AD 2013

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.

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16 Responses to Pro-aborts and Democracy

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  • Abortion should not be allowed at any stage….abortion is murder…when will people realize that what is inside the belly of a woman is an actual person and not just a bunch of worthless cells..that unborn child has a right to life just as much as all of us…Obama is a murderer…he is no better than all the Gossnells out there…all these people out there who are pro choice must wake up and ask themselves the reason why they are even alive today…they should consider themselves lucky that their mum didnt abort them…

  • “thou shalt not kill”…what part of this does women not understand? What part about adoption vs. abortion do women not see as a reasonable alternative? When a woman wants a baby, life is grand and every development is awesome, but when a woman dosen’t want a baby and is filled with fear, she sees no alternatives but to abort.

  • Sounds like the “Occupy Wall Street” crowd moved south and west.

  • These kind of thugocracy tactics are the ultimate enemy of democracy. No sooner did I read about how this unruly mob tried to force their fanatical minority opinion over the democratic process than my gut reaction was: They want a rumble in the gallery? We can give them that.

    Not the best instinct, perhaps, but one that made me feel a historical sympathy for fellow Catholics in times and places like 1930s Spain.

  • Folks,

    Democracy is literally the whole problem. While I am certain no one is using that term to mean the following, in its purest sense it means that a simple majority rules regardless of the objections of the minority. It is essentially two wolves and one sheep voting on what’s for dinner. It makes laws subject to the capricious whims of an erratic and impulsive majority. It has no respect for an individual’s right to life, liberty or the fruits of his labor when a majority vote over rules. The United States was founded as a Christian Constitutional Republic where law and its rule were based on the sound Judeo-Christian principles of morality and virtue, and where the individual was protected from both dictatorial strongmen in power and a majority vote that would seek to remove the individual’s human rights. However, what we are seeing today is not a Republic but the transformation of the nation into a national democracy. That is the problem for democracy is but one side of the coin whose other side is socialism. Democracy in its purest sense is as totalitarian as dictatorship because that is what it is: dictatorship by the majority. And 1st Samuel chapter 8 gives us an invaluable lesson in democracy for it is rejection of God by the elevation of human decision-making into the divine where laws can be changed at will to suit the degeneracy of an evil and adulterous generation.

  • “They want a rumble in the gallery? We can give them that.”

    Precisely my reaction Darwin. I always prefer reasoned debate and proper order. However, I am never going to allow my adversaries to play my side of any matter for chumps.

  • “Democracy is literally the whole problem. While I am certain no one is using that term to mean the following, in its purest sense it means that a simple majority rules regardless of the objections of the minority. It is essentially two wolves and one sheep voting on what’s for dinner. It makes laws subject to the capricious whims of an erratic and impulsive majority.”

    Our problem is a lack of democracy Paul. If the votes of the majority had been heeded on any number of questions over the past half century this country would be much better off. The Founding Fathers devised a wonderful system to guard against government excess. Where our system has gone off kilter since World War II is in the growth of power of the federal courts and the federal agencies of the executive branch.

  • Kristallnacht, people’s filibuster, potayto, potahto

  • Oh wow, a religious site that’s against abortion, what a shocker. Stop trying to force your religious beliefs on people. Unlike fetuses, women are people and they have a right to decide what goes on in people’s bodies. Why are you against such a basic human right?

  • Fetuses aren’t people? Do tell. Flunked elementary biology, did you? This may also come as a shock to you, but about half of the fetuses slain are female. But they don’t count in your mind do they? Any other groups you feel free to kill since you do not regard them as “persons”? You are part of a very long and dishonorable tradition in the lamentable chronicle of man’s inhumanity to man.

  • “…women are people and they have a right to decide what goes on in people’s bodies.”

    So why didn’t the woman and the man whom she was with make that decision prior to engaging in sexual intercourse? If I do not want a baby, then I should refrain from sexual intercourse. God did not make any of us animals. He made us in His image and likeness, and He expects and requires that we act like it instead of demeaning ourselves into behavior that would shame an animal. A woman is to be respected and held in highest esteem, and not be treated as a mere object of sexual gratification. But that is exactly what this abortive and contraceptive culture does, to the damnation of the would-be mother and the death of the living person inside her womb.

  • “Stop trying to force your religious beliefs on people.”

    Opposition to abortion isn’t a religious belief. That being said, the right to life, or any human right, is pretty hard to defend without some Christian, post-Enlightenment framework. Societies without such a framework tend to let human rights fall by the wayside.

  • From the first fertilized cell, the human being has come into existence and science has proved his individuality by his unique DNA. His will to live and pursue his destiny as a member of homosapiens is to be respected if anyone wishes to be respected.
    Aaronieru: Religious beliefs and scientific facts on this issue support the truth. Perhaps you can tell my why Roe gave the unborn child into the custody of the woman who intended to kill him? Does the court endow sovereign personhood and unalienable rights? or is the state constituted by the sovereign personhood of the human being to protect the right to Life, Liberty and our destiny, virginity innocence and all the other virtues to deliver Justice? or is injustice your vice?

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DOMA Overturned, Prop 8 Case Dismissed for Lack of Standing

Wednesday, June 26, AD 2013

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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23 Responses to DOMA Overturned, Prop 8 Case Dismissed for Lack of Standing

  • Busy day in the law mines so I do not have time to comment except to say that under the full faith and credit clause DOMA was always of dubious constitutionality. It was a successful tactic in the nineties by the left to derail the strong push to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and that chicken has come home to roost. The Court sidestepped proposition 8 because Kennedy is not willing, yet, to impose gay marriage on the entire nation by judicial fiat. (There are very weird lineups in that case in the majority and the dissent, so my last statement may be completely wrong.) More from me after I have had a chance to read the decisions this evening.

  • All:
    God save your majesty!

    Cade:
    I thank you, good people—there shall be no money; all shall eat
    and drink on my score, and I will apparel them all in one livery,
    that they may agree like brothers, and worship me their lord.

    Dick:
    The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.

    Cade:
    Nay, that I mean to do.

    Henry The Sixth, Part 2, Act 4, scene 2, 71–78

  • I actually WAS hoping there was a silver lining in the link. Turns out it is more depressing an idea than the post itself.

    Satan has been having a field day in the West since the early 1900s and it feels like many bad roads are converging.

  • Twitter: @GPollowitz:

    “Future Bill Clinton quote: ‘I always thought DOMA would be overturned, that’s why I signed it into law'”

  • Well I haven’t read the Prop 8 case yet, but perhaps your silver lining is that it is good that it wasn’t decided on the merits, because if it had been decided on the merits the decision could have been very Roe-esque.

  • Matthew 10:15

    Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.

    Luke 10:13-15

    Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will be brought down to Hades!

  • “We shall go before a higher tribunal – a tribunal where a Judge of infinite goodness, as well as infinite justice, will preside, and where many of the judgments of this world will be reversed.” Thomas Meagher

    “How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.” Abraham Lincoln

  • I don’t know if it’s accurate, but I’ve read a couple of things indicating that the Full Faith and Credit clause has never been applied to states recognizing marriages in other states. If that’s true, it would mitigate the impact of this decision (for now).

  • DOMA was always constitutionally problematic. No one should be shocked by it being overturned.

    The silver lining, if any exists, is that we live to fight another day at the state level on the defense of marriage. By punting on the Prop 8 case, the Court did not do what many same-sex “marriage” advocates had hoped it would do, which is to constitutionally enshrine SSM as a secular-left sacrament the way it did with abortion in Roe v. Wade.

  • “How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.” Abraham Lincoln

    That is a great quote, one I’ve never heard before. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Spot on, T. Shaw! SCOTUS could issue a ruling declaring that a tail is a leg, but that wouldn’t make it so.

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  • Jay,

    Excellent analysis, I agree completely.

  • The bishops have issued a statement (http://www.usccb.org/news/2013/13-126.cfm) declaring today to be “a tragic day for marriage and our nation.” Well and good, but it means next to nothing unless they put some teeth in it. It’s time for them to draw a line in the sand. It’s also time for a pastoral letter on the subject.

  • The failure of our Bishops to speak is utterly demoralizing.

    Casey’s website displays his unfettered support for gay marriage. Pelosi and Biden seem to oppose every social position the Church has taken. Yet nothing happens. We have Dolan’s diocese paying for abortions through healthcare while the USCCB proclaims the same policy at a national level to be unconscionable. Our schools knowingly hire homosexual teachers, only to have the bishop of those diocese act surprised and dismayed when they lose in court due to inconsistent application of policy.

    For God’s sake… Well, for ours, actually… Can our hierarchy get their act together!?

  • One of the probably-a-trolls over at Ricochet (the COC keeps ’em from being obvious) decided to throw an utter fit over the “how many legs does a dog have” thing, accusing the editors of ignoring slanderous comparisons of homosexuals to dogs….

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  • I have been on vacation with my family this week. It is the first one in five years and I really needed it. I am amazed at all of the HIV billboards I see in Miami Dade. It is nauseating.

    I hope Texas does secede. If not, I may move my family to Poland. This abortion and homosexual garbage has to end.

  • Trolls need to shut off debate because all they have are ad hominems, distortions, fabrications, and “SHUT THE EFF UP!”

  • The goblins gay undoubtedly will “heart” this from “Never Yet Melted” blog, “Life in a Nation Governed by 15-year-old Girls.”

    Conclusion:

    “We obviously live in a society led around by the nose by an elite which is too stupid to live. Any appeal to emotion and sentimentality will reduce even the learned Supreme Court Justice, nominated by a Republican and entrusted by Fate with the deciding vote, to the intellectual condition of a pubescent female in early high school who has been reading “Black Beauty.”

  • Proposition 8 is peaceable assembly to petition the government for redress. Any and every citizen has the standing to appeal it, pro se, and not be denied our First Amendment civil rights. Denying a citizen access to Justice because of technicalities is denying Justice to all. Justice delayed is Justice denied.

  • DOMA overturned. Let the gay agenda prove that they have the ability of two becoming one and claiming the definition of marriage of two becoming one. I say that I am wealthy but that does not raise my bank account not one red or rainbow cent.

  • The consummation of two human beings, body and soul in the presence of God is the sacred state of Matrimony. In the fact that same-sex individuals cannot ever consummate their love for each other, leaves the disparaging fact of their commitment being undone, only half accomplished. No amount of constitutional investigation or encouragement will change the fact that same-sex couples cannot couple or consummate their relationship in the presence of God. Therefore, there is no marriage for gays to be constitutionally protected. Since gays have consistently rejected same-sex unions, it appears that gays are willingly complicit in rewriting our constitution without ratification by the people.

Fortnight For Freedom: We Need to Wake Up

Wednesday, June 26, AD 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.

 

 

 

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.

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9 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom: We Need to Wake Up

  • And now, a Supreme Court that is majority Catholic, has gone against Church teaching and enshrined gay marriage into federal law.

    We aren’t welcome in America anymore.

  • The person who pays the piper calls the tune. If the Federal Government is going to pay for people’s health care, and if the majority of the tax payers who fund the Federal Government are just fine with contraception–most probably can’t imagine life without it–then contraception (and backup abortion) are going to be covered. What part of this do our bishops not understand?

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  • The part they don’t understand is the part where they have to let the goverment dictate the theology of the church, the part where we have to lose our First Amendment rights.

  • The bishops have been very supportive of all sorts of government (tax payer) funding for this thing and that thing. Health care especially. It should come as no surprise that the government would require contraception/abortion coverage. It has been shown time and again that with government money comes government strings…and yes, if you take it, you will eventually be required to leave your morality (among other things) at home. Sad fact, but true. If you want to do things your own way, then do not accept government/tax payer monies.

  • I am against dependence upon the State for many reasons DJ but the fact that the Bishops, mistakenly in my view, have looked for government intervention to aid the poor, does not negate their opposition to the infringement on liberty by the current administration. We have had a welfare state in this country since the New Deal without such infringement. The problem with the current administration is that the Democrat party plays identity politics by bashing the Catholic Church and, to a lesser extent, other Christian groups.

  • I firmly disagree with both contraception and abortion and absolutely support the bishops opposition. We should all be opposing it. But that doesn’t change anything–with government money comes government strings, and the sad fact is most people in this country are okay with contraception/abortion, or at least are not sufficiently motivated to put an end to it. The fact that now it is government mandated as part of “medical cared” should be no surprise–we were in fact warned about this in Humanae Vitae back in the late 60’s, that government would eventually resort to such things.

  • “bishops’ opposition” and “medical care.” Not enough coffee yet this morning I guess.

The Shelby Decision and Uncle Toms

Tuesday, June 25, AD 2013

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.

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6 Responses to The Shelby Decision and Uncle Toms

  • “What? You mean there are racial overtones to an affluent white man representing an affluent white district in a lily-white state (where the term “people of color” refers to Danes) calling out an African-American man as an “Uncle Tom” for not behaving the way an affluent white man believes an African-American is “supposed” to act?”
    ~ Ryan Winkler – D(ouchebag) F(or) L(eftism), MN

  • dunno it sorta seems like a reverse-engineering of the liberal approach to the Constitution, i.e. having a seemingly broad definition of what counts as unconstitutional as far as legislation, as opposed to just blocking/reversing broad liberal judicial decisions. Though it is funny to see liberals appropriating conservative rhetoric about judicial activism for this and when they thought Obamacare was going down.

    as far as “Uncle Tom,” the term is what it is at this point whatever it originally meant. Since it has a defined meaning similar to being a shill I don’t think it’s inherently offensive (not on the level of other slurs anyway) even though people toss it around lazily.

  • A white man calling a black man an “Uncle Tom” is inherently racist. It means “Hey, ‘black’ man, you’re not behaving the way I – a white man – thinks a black man should behave.”

  • The idea that Congress could pass legislation taking away a measure of self government from only certain states always was an affront to the equal protection afforded by the fourteenth amendment, and the Court, as it did today, overlooked the obvious in not striking down the entire statute, however well-intentioned and needed the statute was in many parts of the South half a century ago. Now it is merely a relic of a bygone era. Although of deep emotional significance to liberals, perhaps as a memory of the brief period they did not embrace racial discrimination, the Court gutting the statute has as much practical significance as the Court striking down letters of marque and reprisal.

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  • Law rarely goes away merely because the conditions predicate are no longer true.

    Discrimination laws and the agencies that oversee them continue to expand while the incidents of actual discrimination become fewer and fewer. This ruling is unsatisfactory but the Court could have done little else – the offenses necessitating federal oversight being so grave and the underlying symbolism that the Voting Rights Act engenders in Americans. Actually, it is rather brave and surprising that the Justices took this step.

    What isn’t surprising is Justice Thomas’ position.

    I always ask anyone who is criticizing Justice Thomas whether they have read his autobiography. Either I am told “no, did he write one” or “yes, what a whiner.”

    I have read the autobiography several times. His story is comelling and the blueprint for his choices on the Bench is startlingly clear. The autobiography deals effectively with the Uncle Tom usage debated above since it was written by a very smart man, wholly aware that that mean-spirited, demeaning term was a cross he would have to bear the weight of long after he dies.

Saving Lincoln

Tuesday, June 25, AD 2013

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.

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