Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 26 years. Small town lawyer. President of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center.

PopeWatch: Amoris Laetitia-the Lean Version-Part 9

 

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Part 9 of our stripped down look at Amoris Laetitia with some commentary by PopeWatch:

241.  Separation in marriage can sometimes be warranted, but must always be viewed as a last resort.

242.  Pastoral care must be shown to the separated, abandoned or divorced, especially those unjustly separated, abandoned or divorced.

243.  It is important that those who have entered into new marriages not be “discriminated” against by the Church.  (Probably the most foolish section thus far in the Exhortation.  The Church constantly discriminates in regard to people based upon their conduct and beliefs.  The Church should be far above the secular pieties currently in vogue at any particular time and place during her passage through this Vale of Tears.)

244.  Speed up the annulment process and make it free of charge.  (Wink, the fix is in when it comes to Catholic divorce annulments.)

245.  Bad impact of divorce and separation on kids.  (It teaches them early on that you can’t rely upon anyone in this Vale of Tears.)

246.  For this reason, Christian communities must not abandon divorced parents who have entered a new union, but should include and support them in their efforts to bring up their children. “How can we encourage those parents to do everything possible to raise their children in the Christian life, to give them an example of committed and practical faith, if we keep them at arm’s length from the life of the community, as if they were somehow excommunicated? We must keep from acting in a way that adds even more to the burdens that children in these situations already have to bear!”  (Translation:  “Ignore the clear command of Christ.  Do it for the kids!”  This is a very mendacious argument.  I have never heard of priests “discriminating” against the children of the divorced or those born out of wedlock.  I have seen priests make extra efforts to make sure that such kids get to Church and catechism.  The idea that there are hordes of priests busily visiting the sins of the parents on kids is a typical example of beliefs that the Pope firmly clings to which simply are not true in reality.) Continue reading

Cruz For Life

 

If pro-lifers want a fighter when it comes to abortion, then Ted Cruz is their candidate:

Cruz was participating in a MSNBC town hall event. During a discussion of abortion, he noted that “virtually none of the network news would show the videos on air”(neither ABC, CBS, nor NBC covered the releases of any of the seven videos released after July 2015). To that, host Chuck Todd claimed “some of it was made up.”

“No it wasn’t,” Cruz shot back, going on to explain, “it is a federal crime – a felony with a 10-year prison term – to sell the body parts of unborn children for profit.” The videos, he continued, “show senior Planned Parenthood officials laughing, sipping Chardonnay, and bargaining, and apparently selling the body parts of unborn children. Listen, even if you’re pro-choice, selling the body parts of unborn children as a commercial endeavor is a horrifying thing.”

The videos reveal a number of officials from Planned Parenthood and StemExpress, a tissue procurement company the abortion giant works with, seemingly discussing multiple federal crimes relating to acquiring and profiting off organs from aborted babies. Despite pro-abortion claims the videos were deceptively edited, two separate forensic analyses (one of which was performed by a Democrat-aligned research firm and commissioned by Planned Parenthood themselves) confirmed the audio of their admissions was not manipulated.

Cruz then called the situation “one of the sad indictments of the Obama Administration.” Continue reading

Bear Growls: Of Bears and Bibles

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Our bruin friend over at Saint Corbinian’s Bear gives a useful overview of Catholic Bibles:

Recently, the Bear joined a Facebook Group called something like “Douay-Rheims Bible.” His first contribution was to note that St. Jerome started by correcting the “old Latin” Bible, which took people like 200 years to get over. What he got back was this:

THE BIBLE DOES NOT NEED TO BE “CORRECTED!!!” IT IS PERFECT FROM GOD IN THE ORIGINUL LATIN!!! SELL YOUR MODERNIST HEARESIES SOMEWHERE ELSE. AND HOW DARE TO CALL YORSELF A “SAINT.” YOR’ PROBLY NOT EVEN A REEL BARE!!!

The Bear still doesn’t know what to make of this. Except that he inadvertently turned over a rock. But it illustrates the fact that Catholics do not get Bible. Granted, they have the correct number of books, but we’re not spoiled for choice compared to our separated brethren.

  • Vulgate — Bear forgot most his Latin
  • Douay-Rheims — archaic language, but Challoner’s version is useful, especially with Haydock’s semi-useful commentary. (You want to talk BIG; must be registered as a deadly weapon in Washington state and Maine.) Published back when Catholics were confident. Not a bad choice at all, although some words will leave you scratching your head. Currently available on sale for $95 from Catholic Treasures. You owe it to yourself to own this beautiful, illustrated edition. Of course, more portable versions are available, too, but without Haydock’s notes, from St. Benedict Press and Lepanto Press, which has an economical, illustrated hardcover. Note that just as Protestants have their KJV-Onlyists, Catholics have their Douay-Rheims Onlyists. Both harmless if you pass on the Kool-Aid.
  • Revised Standard Version (either Catholic edition) — people get upset that Isaiah 7:14 is accurately translated in the 1st Ed. 2nd Ed. panders a bit by trying to make Catholics happier, which fails, because everybody (even Protestants) just knows “it’s a liberal translation.” Even so, the RSV is one of the best all-around choices for Catholics, in the Bear’s opinion. 1st Ed. uses “thees and thous” when addressing the Deity, if you like that sort of thing. Not impressed with translation to “repent” in relation to Judas, though, which recently confused our dear old holy Father.
  • Navarre Bible — very nice, extensive, conservative Catholic commentary (even if St. Jose Maria Escrivá is overrepresented in some volumes). RSV translation with current official Latin on every page. While there is a lovely one-volume, oversized “expanded” New Testament, it otherwise comes in a multi-volume set, e.g. “Pentateuch,” “Minor Prophets,” etc. You won’t be taking this to Sunday School with you. Catholics just don’t do one-volume study Bibles. Otherwise best in show.
  • Ignatius Study Bible — another multi-volume publication done by Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch. Nice; the NT volume is hardcover; others are paperback and the Bear has not read them. Probably the Catholic study Bible most like a Protestant study Bible in format and style, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
  • Catholic Scripture Study International — a whole program designed for group study, with an RSV-CE 1st Ed. Bible. Apologetics material on glossy pages scattered throughout. The program drivers are obviously well-meaning, but the Bear was just not impressed. You might be.
  • Jerome or Collegeville commentaries — Bear calls Modernism, but officially state-of-the-art, Catholic-style, i.e. recycling century-old liberal Protestant theories that the Bible is a forgery written in 1829 by Wilbur T. Birkenback, of Augusta, Maine. (Collegeville? Really?)
  • New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE) — the official Bible of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, one of two “officially approved” for private reading by Catholics in the U.S. The Bear doesn’t know about you, but he can’t think of a single body better qualified to publish an annotated translation of the Bible! Translation itself isn’t bad, but you can’t get it without the notes, in which you will learn things like: because St. Matthew had never heard of Hebrew parallelism, he had Jesus enter Jerusalem riding both an ass and a colt like a circus performer. “The ass and the colt are the same animal in the prophecy [we sure about that, smart guy?] mentioned twice in different ways, the common Hebrew literary device of poetic parallelism. That Matthew takes them as two is one of the reasons why some scholars think that he was a Gentile rather than a Jewish Christian who would presumably not make that mistake” [when he was making up his Gospel]. That’s right, St. Matthew, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, completely blew the whole Palm Sunday scene because he was an ignorant Gentile. Recommended for Catholics who aspire to become atheists. Plus the usual recycling of Wellhausen’s Documentary Hypothesis (Darwin’s Origin of Species of Biblical scholarship) and other “assured results of higher criticism,” e.g. all books of the Bible were forged by people other than whose names they bear, and any prophecies had to have been made after the fact. (Sorry, Cyrus.)

Continue reading

PopeWatch: Amoris Laetitia-the Lean Version-Part 8

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Part 8 of our stripped down look at Amoris Laetitia with some commentary by PopeWatch:

211.  More on marriage prep.  (All of this is mostly well and good, but it fails to comprehend that the average parish priest has a lot more on his plate than just counseling couples who wish to be married.)

212.  Pope argues for simple rather than elaborate and expensive marriages.  (The Pope is completely correct on this.)

213.  Couples in marriage prep should be taught the meaning of each part of the marriage liturgy.

214.  The Pope lays stress on the phrase “till death do we part”.

215.  Quotes approvingly the Kenyon bishops who have complained about young people focused on their wedding day and forgetting about the life long commitment.

216.  Couples to be married should meditate upon the Bible readings and they should pray together.  (The last is very important indeed, and just not prior to the marriage.  In all marriages there are always some tears, and praying together at the end of the day is a great means to deal with the inevitable sorrows that confront us in this Vale of Tears.) Continue reading

Rise and Fall

John Adams letter to John Quincy Adams, May 18, 1781

Knickerbocker Knock Down

 

That is how Cruz probably feels tonight coming in a distant third in the New York primary, with Trump at 63%, Kasich at 23% and Cruz at 14%.  Trump needed this victory after several weeks of bad news, mostly from the fact that at the state level where delegates are chosen the Trump organization is amateur hour and Cruz is succeeding in having “Trump” delegates picked who will be free to vote for Cruz if Trump does not win on the first ballot.  Trump has cried foul, but he has no one to blame but himself for his lack of state level organizations, and his inability to attract much support from conservative Republican activists, who make up the bulk of participants in the conventions in most states who pick the delegates.

On the Democrat side, Hillary will win her third home state, but the margin may not be very great.  Right now it is a sixty-forty split.

PopeWatch: Amoris Laetitia-the Lean Version-Part 7

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Part 7 of our stripped down look at Amoris Laetitia with some commentary by PopeWatch:

181.   Members of families should remember that they are called to do good in the world as well as in their family.

182.  No family can be fruitful if the members of the family see their family as different or set apart from other families. “Still, some Christian families, whether because of the language they use, the way they act or treat others, or their constant harping on the same two or three issues, end up being seen as remote and not really a part of the community.”  (PopeWatch wonders what “two or three issues” the Pope has in mind.  Perhaps environmentalism, income inequality and pacifism?)

183.  A call for family members to be the most annoying type of social justice warriors.

184.  More of the same.

185. 1 Cor 11:17-34 interpreted as rich v. poor, an interpretation completely alien to the text, but that is how Pope Francis sees the world.

186.  Pope tries the trick of interpreting worthiness to receive communion as to whether you sign on to his leftist view of the world.  (Like most leftists, the Pope tends to regard morality as having the “correct” beliefs on a laundry list of current social justice issues rather  than morality as traditionally understood by the Church.) Continue reading

April 19, 1775: The Shot Heard Round the World

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare,
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1837) Continue reading

Cardinal Burke’s Strange Commentary on Amoris Laetitia

 
(Guest post by commenter Greg Mockeridge)

I remember watching a documentary on Michael Jackson shortly after his death. In this documentary, a journalist had said regarding Jackson’s ever-changing facial appearance, ” Just when I thought Michael couldn’t look any weirder, he would look weirder.” Likewise, Just when I thought the pontificate of Pope Francis couldn’t get any more bizarre, it gets more bizarre.

And the release of the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (AL) added another bizarre twist to the disaster that is this pontificate. I’m not really surprised by the document itself. From what precious little I have read, it seems to be standard Pope Francis writ, some beautiful statements along with incoherent gibberish and laced with a poison pill or two.
What I really find bizarre is this essay from former prefect of the  Apostolic Signatura and now Patron of the Knights of Malta Cardinal Raymond Burke that appeared on the National Catholic Register’s website on Monday April 11th. The first two paragraphs state:

The secular media and even some Catholic media are describing the recently issued post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, “Love in the Family,” as a revolution in the Church, as a radical departure from the teaching and practice of the Church, up to now, regarding marriage and the family.

Such a view of the document is both a source of wonder and confusion to the faithful and potentially a source of scandal, not only for the faithful but for others of goodwill who look to Christ and his Church to teach and reflect in practice the truth regarding marriage and its fruit, family life, the first cell of the life of the Church and of every society.

As to what His Eminence means by “even some Catholic media” is not all together clear. Some have tried to say that the Cardinal is merely referring to the National Catholic Reporter/America Magazine crowd. Regardless of who the good cardinal had in mind by that statement, the upshot of it is that the Pope Francis shills in the orthodox Catholic Media Complex have used Burke’s essay as a club to beat the pope’s orthodox critics over the head. One such example is this attack on Steve Skojec (of One Peter Five fame) from blogger Dave Armstrong. 

 
But contrary to what Mr. Armstrong asserts in his post, the Cardinal has not come out “strongly in support” of the apostolic exhortation. He utters not a word of praise (or criticism for that matter) of AL. He merely says, repeatedly, that the document is not magisterial. 

Continue reading

PopeWatch: Amoris Laetitia-the Lean Version-Part 6

 

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Part 6 of our stripped down look at Amoris Laetitia with some commentary by PopeWatch:

151.  Sexuality is only enhanced by the training of passions that go on in a good marriage.

152.  Erotic love in marriage is a gift from God that enhances the relationship of husband and wife.

153.  Sexuality is poisoned by the mentality of use and discard.  (“I’m going to trade in a forty for two twenties.”)

154.  The physical act of sex in marriage unaccompanied  by love can become a source of misery and manipulation.

155.  Sex as a goal by itself within marriage is destructive of the marriage unless it is accompanied by love.

156.  The Bible rejects every form of sexual submission.  (The Pope does his best to make the Biblical statements on marriage mesh with 21rst Century ideas of equality of the sexes.  The Sacred Authors of course weren’t interested in egalitarianism, one of the central shibboleths of our time, but rather in giving instructions for living a Christian life that would endure in the face of changing societal fads and intellectual prejudices.)

157.  Sexuality is an essential element of a marriage.

158.  A nod to Christian virgins.

159.  Virginity is a form of love and a foreshadowing of how we will live in Heaven, where people are not married or given in marriage.

160.  No basis for playing marriage off against virginity in determining which is more pleasing to God.

161.  Virginity and marriage are complementary in highlighting different aspects of the Christian message.

162.  Celibacy can risk becoming a comfortable single life, while married couples can display heroic virtues.  (Several priests that I have talked to over the years have rejoiced that Catholic parishioners  are unable to subject them to the indignity of trying to set them up with a date with single women in the parish, something that single Protestant ministers are frequently subject to, often with darkly humorous outcomes.) Continue reading

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Milton Friedman

 

There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money. Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost. Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch! Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get. And that’s government. And that’s close to 40% of our national income.

Milton Friedman, 2004

After Tax

 

Death and taxes and childbirth! There’s never any convenient time for any of them!

Scarlet O’Hara, Gone With the Wind

The Year Of the Missing Federal Income Tax

1942 was the year of the 1942 revenue bill, perhaps the largest tax increase in American history.  Thirteen million more Americans would find themselves paying federal income tax.  This was out of a population of 130,000,000 and where, prior to the War, most families had only the father of the family as a breadwinner.  Only the War made such a radical expansion of the federal income tax politically feasible.  In 1943 wage withholding of taxes would begin.  The problem was that all of these new federal taxpayers would be trying to meet their 1942 tax obligations as their checks were being subject to federal income tax withholding, a train wreck in the making.  Beardsley Ruml, chairman of the New York Federal Reserve Bank and chairman of R.H. Macy and Co. hit upon an ingenious solution:  forgive the federal income tax owed for 1942!  Ruml compared it to daylight savings time, moving”the tax clock forward, and cost the Treasury nothing until Judgment Day.  One  wag completed the thought that on Judgment Day, “no one will give a damn.”  President Roosevelt was reluctant, viewing the forgiveness as a windfall to wealthy Americans used to paying income tax, but the idea was overwhelmingly, unsurprisingly popular in Congress and with the American people, and the tax debt for 1942 was duly forgiven.

The Pope’s Candidate

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Well, Bernie Sanders, pro-abortion Senator from the Peoples Republic of Vermont,  has had his moment at the Vatican, courtesy of the fact that he and the Pope both embrace the pernicious superstition known as socialism:

 

Someone was listening. On Friday, Mr. Sanders was scheduled to fly to Rome to address the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, in effect the Vatican’s in-house think tank on social, economic and environmental issues.

“We invited the candidate who cites the pope the most in his campaign, and that is Senator Bernie Sanders,” said Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, the academy’s chancellor.

Monsignor Sánchez Sorondo, an Argentine who is close to the pope, said that Mr. Sanders’s focus on climate change and his attention to poor people on the margins of society were “very analogous to that of the pope.” He said that made the Vermont senator an obvious person to invite to Friday’s conference, which celebrates the 25th anniversary of an encyclical by Pope John Paul II about the potential pitfalls of the market economy after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

In his speech Sanders wrapped his socialist politics in a patina of Catholicism, something highly congenial to the powers that be at the Vatican:

But as both Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis have warned us and the world, the consequences have been even direr than the disastrous effects of financial bubbles and falling living standards of working-class families. Our very soul as a nation has suffered as the public lost faith in political and social institutions. As Pope Francis has stated: “Man is not in charge today, money is in charge, money rules.” And the Pope has also stated: “We have created new idols. The worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly humane goal.”

And further: “While the income of a minority is increasing exponentially, that of the majority is crumbling. This imbalance results from ideologies which uphold the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation, and thus deny the right of control to States, which are themselves charged with providing for the common good.”

Pope Francis has called on the world to say: “No to a financial system that rules rather than serves” in Evangeli Gaudium. And he called upon financial executives and political leaders to pursue financial reform that is informed by ethical considerations. He stated plainly and powerfully that the role of wealth and resources in a moral economy must be that of servant, not master.

 

 

 

Go here to read the rest.  After giving this speech, Sanders had a brief meeting with the Pope.  The Pope, with his usual charm, attacked critics who thought it political that he would meet with a presidential candidate during a presidential election year:

Pope Francis says a brief meeting with Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders just “good manners” and not political interference.

They met early in the lobby of the Pope’s residence before he left to meet migrants on the Greek island of Lesbos.

“If anyone thinks that greeting someone is getting involved in politics, I recommend that he look for a psychiatrist,” Pope Francis added.

 

Like much that has gone on in this Vatican, this type of overt involvement by a Pope in an American presidential election is unprecedented.  It is also hilarious as the economic policies embraced by Sanders, like those of the Pope, would only produce disaster if he managed to get elected.  It is not an accident that the State which sends him to Washington has a very poor economic outlook: Continue reading

Bear Growls: Saint Skank?

 

 

Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear has a bone to pick with the Pope and his use of a famous passage in scripture:

 

Fortified by a cheap-vodka martini and ten milligrams of diazepam (note to self: do NOT run out of tranquilizer darts before tackling another episode of Amoris Laetitia) let’s do one more briefly. Paragraph 38:

Yet we have often been on the defensive, wasting pastoral energy on denouncing a decadent world without being proactive in proposing ways of finding true happiness. Many people feel that the Church’s message on marriage and the family does not clearly reflect the preaching and attitudes of Jesus, who set forth a demanding ideal yet never failed to show compassion and closeness to the frailty of individuals like the Samaritan woman or the woman caught in adultery. 

By now you know how to play this game at home. The good news is that marriage is doing okay in Africa. The bad news is that everywhere else we’ve been “wasting pastoral energy” (the Bear suspects this is a euphemism for something not mentioned in polite company, but isn’t sure). Anyway, for the slow learners, on one hand we have the terrible tragedy of being on the defensive, and wasting our precious bodily fluids, or whatever, and, on the other hand, “finding true happiness.” (See Gospel according to Disney.)

Helen Keller said “true happiness is found in fidelity to a noble purpose.” Pope Francis says true happiness is found in trading up.

Welcome to the new patroness of marriage, St. Skank. Yeah, the Bear knows Jesus forgave her and he’s okay with that, but when you make it into the Bible as “the woman caught in adultery,” people aren’t going to remember you for your wonderful goat sausage recipe. Maybe she really didn’t sin anymore — sorry, Bear means fail to lead an even more worthy life. The Bear hopes so. But whether she did or didn’t is beside the point, isn’t it? Of course she committed adultery. She was frail. She had limitations. Jesus doesn’t really care that much, and neither should we.

Is the Bear the only one to realize that — contrary to artistic representations of a chastened and disheveled woman — the whole point of the story is not to feel sorry for her, like she had just got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time? The point is that Jesus was willing and able even to forgive what was, in those days, an almost unimaginably horrible offense and betrayal. A capital offense like murder today. Think about her poor husband, if you want to feel sorry for someone. The rest of his life he was known as “that guy whose wife committed adultery with Abner, poor schmuck.” Maybe that’s why Jesus warned her not to sin any more (a fact conveniently omitted from your Pope’s accounts). Continue reading

James Otis: Forgotten Founding Father

 

“The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the crown. It may be frail – its roof may shake – the wind may blow through it – the storm may enter – the rain may enter – but the King of England cannot enter.”

William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, March 1763, in his speech against warrantless searches allowed under the proposed Excise Bill before the British Parliament.

James Otis had a glittering career ahead of him.  At the age of 35 in 1760 he was Advocate General for the Admiralty Court in Boston.  His wife Ruth was heiress to a fortune worth ten thousand pounds.  He threw it all away and resigned his post to represent pro bono, he refused the fee they wished to pay him saying that in such a great cause he despised all fees, colonial merchants subject to writs of assistance.  A writ of assistance was a court order that allowed British officials to search at whim houses and businesses of those suspected of smuggling without obtaining a search warrant.  These writs were in effect for the lifetime of the King during whose reign the writ was issued.  Bearers of writs of assistance were not responsible for any damage caused by their searches.  Otis viewed the writs to be a violation of Magna Carta, English case law and the traditional English legal doctrine that an Englishman’s home was his castle.

In a  five hour address that captivated listeners at the Boston State House on February 24, 1761, James Otis denounced the writs of assistance:

Your Honors will find in the old books concerning the office of a justice of the peace precedents of general warrants to search suspected houses. But in more modern books you will find only special warrants to search such and such houses, specially named, in which the complainant has before sworn that he suspects his goods are concealed; and will find it adjudged that special warrants only are legal. In the same manner I rely on it, that the writ prayed for in this petition, being general, is illegal. It is a power that places the liberty of every man in the hands of every petty officer. I say I admit that special Writs of Assistance, to search special places, may be granted to certain persons on oath; but I deny that the writ now prayed for can be granted, for I beg leave to make some observations on the writ itself, before I proceed to other Acts of Parliament.

In the first place, the writ is universal, being directed “to all and singular justices, sheriffs, constables, and all other officers and subjects”; so that, in short, it is directed to every subject in the King’s dominions. Every one with this writ may be a tyrant; if this commission be legal, a tyrant in a legal manner, also, may control, imprison, or murder any one within the realm. In the next place, it is perpetual; there is no return. A man is accountable to no person for his doings. Every man may reign secure in his petty tyranny, and spread terror and desolation around him, until the trump of the Archangel shall excite different emotions in his soul. In the third place, a person with this writ, in the daytime, may enter all houses, shops, etc., at will, and command all to assist him. Fourthly, by this writ not only deputies, etc., but even their menial servants, are allowed to lord it over us. What is this but to have the curse of Canaan with a witness on us: to be the servants of servants, the most despicable of God’s creation?

Now, one of the most essential branches of English liberty is the freedom of one’s house. A man’s house is his castle; and whilst he is quiet, he is as well guarded as a prince in his castle. This writ, if it should be declared legal, would totally annihilate this privilege. Custom-house officers may enter our houses when they please; we are commanded to permit their entry. Their menial servants may enter, may break locks, bars, and everything in their way; and whether they break through malice or revenge, no man, no court can inquire. Bare suspicion without oath is sufficient.

Otis lost the case, but his bold stand was considered the start of the American independence movement.  John Adams was present during the speech and later wrote:

“The child independence was then and there born,[for] every man of an immense crowded audience appeared to me to go away as I did, ready to take arms against writs of assistance.”

In the years to come he helped popularize the phrase, “No taxation without representation.”  Mental illness cut short his services to the American cause, illness exacerbated by his receiving a blow to his head from a British customs inspector in 1769.  In years to come he would have alternating periods of madness and lucidity.  His wife Ruth, although her personal political sympathies were Tory, loyally stood by her husband and cared for him.

Otis did not let his madness stop him from bearing arms.  Hearing the artillery bombardment preparatory to the battle of Bunker Hill, he snuck out of his house, got a rifle, and joined the American troops on Breed’s Hill.  After the battle he walked home. Continue reading

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