Michelle Obama and Unconditional Love

Wednesday, September 5, AD 2012

 

I stayed up last night to watch the First Lady’s speech. It intrigues me to study how people think, especially people I disagree with. Sometimes it is possible to follow a logical path and clarify where disagreement begins and ends, sometimes I just want to know how bad it is, which is usually when I need my husband to put his hand over my mouth before I…never mind.

So, I sat there propped up in the bed with a glass of Rex-Goliath Giant 47 Pound Rooster Free Range Red and a sleeping toddler next to me to see what the First Lady of the Free World had to say as I waited for my husband to finish up his end-of-the day rituals. Here’s one particular smashery of logic and language that just gets my goat every single time.

She used that lovely phrase unconditional love. I — a Catholic mother who scrubs, chases, sweats, lectures, and pleads for mercy when the truckload of kids and piles of laundry finally break me each day — take that term seriously. In the abortion debate no one who thinks abortion is acceptable is allowed to use that term. In this day and age of political correctness, is it too much to insist on verbal correctness too? Words mean things.

But when Barack started telling me about his family – that’s when I knew I had found a kindred spirit, someone whose values and upbringing were so much like mine.

You see, Barack and I were both raised by families who didn’t have much in the way of money or material possessions but who had given us something far more valuable – their unconditional love, their unflinching sacrifice and the chance to go places they had never imagined for themselves.

Her family gave her unconditional love? Really? It’s true, children are incapable of earning the love of their parents, and love should be given to them without limit, without being subject to any conditions or stipulations. It should be absolute and complete. That term demands no compromise. To place a condition on being loved, is to destroy the notion of unconditional love altogether. It is impossible for a parent to say, “I love my children unconditionally, but only if I want them.” Being wanted is a condition.

If she’s so grateful for the unflinching sacrifice and the chance to go places she never imagined that her family gave her, why then, does she think that mothers in America today shouldn’t do the same for their children? That is exactly what abortion advocate after dissonant abortion advocate stands for – the denial of unflinching sacrifice and unconditional love. Dismembering the tiniest and most defenseless of the children you deem unworthy of life is not an act of love.

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40 Responses to Michelle Obama and Unconditional Love

  • More amazing to me hearing her as an expat US citizen now in Europe was how in God’s name could she claim that Barach was raised with un-conditional love.” That has been part of the search for those who try to probe his human anchors and personality traits. Not to mention the adult Obama and his formation in the extreme social agenda he now espouses.

  • Excellent! I didn’t get to watch her speech but then again I don’t like to watch her.

  • Her story of her upbringing is not unique, many grew up the same way. My dad was military and military not the greatest back in the 50’s and 60’s, but because of the military I did get to see a foreign country before I hit my teens. We lived comfortable in military standares when we were in military housing living on base. We had nice cloths but not designer. I can look back and see the unconditional love my parents showered on my and my siblings and it did not end when we left the nest to venture out on our own. It showed their almost regular phone calls – if the phone rang at 6pm on Thursday it was my mom – and they were always there if you just needed to talk about something. My parents passed on valuable lessons to each of us kids most of which we learned from their own actions.
    Like you Stacy, I cannot figure out how they can express unconditional love when they are such strong starch supporters of abortion. I could only watch a little of the speech last night and had to turn it off, actually switched to the SC-FI channel.

  • I agree that Michelle Obama should not use the term “unconditional love”. I cannot think of truly unconditional love. All love that I know of is conditional. Maybe God can love unconditionally. The Bible suggests that he chooses not to do so. Jacob was loved by God. Esau was hated by God. So it seems that the identity of the person is a condition for God’s love.

    You love your children. You probably do not love all children in the world. Your love is probably conditional upon identity. Existence is also probably a condition. If your children did not exist, it is unlikely that you could love them.

    It seems that unconditional love is impossible for anyone except maybe God, and that unconditional love is not fitting for the Christian, Jewish and Muslim God.

    It may be that conservative Christians have a more minimally conditional love than liberal Christians.

  • You’re trying to argue that people can’t love their children unconditionally, because the loving someone is conditional on them being that someone?

    That doesn’t work. It doesn’t even get to the level of equivocation, it’s just silly, like the argument about “if God can do anything, can he make a rock He can’t lift.”

  • Existence and identity are conditions for that love. Therefore the love is not unconditional.

    If you do not agree, then how do you define “condition” and “unconditional”?

  • Nope, not jumping into your farce.

    Going to guess you didn’t have anything to say in response to the points offered…although it’s a little funny that you chose an outstanding paragraph to argument-form of.

    Her family gave her unconditional love? Really? It’s true, children are incapable of earning the love of their parents, and love should be given to them without limit, without being subject to any conditions or stipulations. It should be absolute and complete. That term demands no compromise. To place a condition on being loved, is to destroy the notion of unconditional love altogether. It is impossible for a parent to say, “I love my children unconditionally, but only if I want them.” Being wanted is a condition.

    Trying to warp that to work for “I love you, but only if you’re you, so that’s not unconditional” is just silly.

  • Stacy – great.
    I wonder too about unconditional love that these two loving parents will certainly want their two daughters to not only receive from them, Michelle and Barak, but also pass on to the future grandchildren.. but remember that this first father of this first family said he wouldn’t want them to have to be burdened with any little bundle of love if they don’t want to.
    they have been called first family — ok. but something in me churned a bit last night when she identified herself as “mother in chief” in that speech… first family maybe, but , “mother in chief ” can apply to her relationship to us – her subjects, or objects.

    Also – “Ive noticed that everyone who is for abortion is already born.” Reagan

  • “on them being that someone?” Thank you Foxfire for picking that inconsistency up.

    “Existence and identity are conditions for that love.” Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights. Human rights exist at the will of our Creator in perfection and unalienable. The word “unalienable” means that it does not matter who I am, if I exist, I have human rights from God, our Creator. Our identity comes from God and my not be subjectively altered by any human being, not for any purpose. Man, with his very small brain, fallibility, does not tell God how to create man.

  • *grin* At least you noticed you transposed the letters!

  • Ace,
        ” Jacob I have loved but Esau I have hated. I made his mountains a waste,
    his heritage a desert for jackals.”. Malachi 1:3.
         That actually refers to two different time periods.  Esau the person was tricked out of his birthright through his own carnality but overcomes his fratricidal hatred of Jacob and becomes happy and his territory flourishes.  Much later in Obadiah’s time (after 583B.C.), God punishes that community ( Mt. Esau) for not protecting Israel and actually stealing from her as she was conquered by the Babylonians…and therein “Esau” is used of those later descendants whose dwellings are then destroyed.  Esau the person was much earlier and he and Jacob reconciled and buried their father together.
          We must not leave out the parts of the Bible whereby God willed Esau’s and everyone’s salvation which willing good to another is love ( Ezekiel 33:11/ I Tim.2:3-4/ 2 Peter 3:9).  
          God even continues to love and will good to the damned to the extent possible: ” Even in the damnation of the reprobate mercy is seen, which, though it does not totally remit, yet somewhat alleviates, in punishing short of what is deserved.”  St. Thomas Aquinas/ Summa Theologica/ 1st Part/ question 21/ art.4/ reply to objection one.  That being the case, God’s love is unconditional even after damnation but His rewards to humans are conditional on their choices.
        Actually “hate” is an anthropopathism in the Bible when used of God. Aquinas showed how “hate” and “wrath” while used of God in the Bible…do not really exist in a Being who is unchanging: “I am the Lord and I change not”…”there is in Him no change nor shadow of alteration”.  Hate and wrath are poetic metaphors of his will according to Aquinas.  In willing a just universe, God indirectly wills punishment and the results of that are painful to some humans who choose badly.
        To switch from love to hate is change; and God is above that.  Since John says, “God is love”, God does not have love as extrinsic to Himself.  He is Love even in the case of Judas.  Who do you think gave Judas the grace to be sorry and throw back the money into the temple?  But God in that love leaves us free to choose Him in our very next action.  Judas, after receiving love from God who helped him be sorry, then was free in his very next act wherein God was still helping him…free to kill himself despite God’s love and help against suicide.  
        

  • Disappointing, Foxfier. I am interested in learning more, but if you are unwilling to entertain new ideas and really engage in a challenging discussion, then I don’t see how I can learn much from you.

    I’ll seek knowledge from others.

  • bill bannon,

    That is a very helpful answer. It raises more questions, but none that are relevant to this particular post.

    I will change my initial statement. It seems as though the Christian God can, and possibly does, love unconditionally, but it seems as though it is impossible for humans to love unconditionally.

    At least, as we currently are.

  • Ace-
    My heart weeps that you find my unwillingness to dance to your trolling “disappointing.”

    Incidentally, failing to agree with your novel interpretation of a well known phrase isn’t a sign of being unwilling to entertain new ideas or engage in a challenging discussion, it’s a sign of recognizing someone that gets entertainment from messing with people.

  • Foxfier, my enjoyment is in learning.

    What do you mean by the words “condition” and “unconditional”? Maybe, your meaning doesn’t include things like existence and identity as conditions.

    What is your meaning? I don’t understand. I’d like to understand.

  • There is nothing more annoying that a willfilly obtuse person who plays passive aggressive wordsmith games.

  • Sure, Paul. I’d agree. But please afford me the charity of believing my misunderstanding to be sincere. If I am misunderstanding something, then it is out of ignorance and confusion, and not out of any desire to play games.

    Please educate me. It seems as though the idea of unconditional love is impossible for us mere mortals. There are these conditions like existence and identity. Or maybe these are not the conditions meant by “unconditional love”?

    Maybe the question is difficult, and its difficulty creates discomfort? Or maybe the answer is obvious, and that is why it seems as though I am playing games? If it is obvious, please tell me what the answer is.

    I’d like to learn.

  • I’d like to know what definition of “unconditional love” encompasses condoning the killing of your own grandchildren so that your daughters are not “punished with a baby”.

  • Jay-
    the one where words don’t mean anything.

  • A way to look at ‘unconditional love’ is without any restrictions, one does not harp on wrong, they don’t hold grudges,it is everlasting – Mary had a unconditional love for her Son, Jesus, even after his death on the cross. Unconditional love can be seen as a willing to die for another – a mother/father would step in front of a car to keep their child from being injured but we would be less likely to do the same for a stranger unless it is a required duty – secret service agent protecting a political figure- even he one dislikes the person they are protecting.
    Conditional love ‘is earned’ – I love that song – but could not love it until I heard it but in a week or two I might ‘love another song’. One can love a new born baby even if it is not theirs but that love will not be unconditional to the baby as you will not be the one raising it.

  • Richard,

    You suggest that unconditional love involves both a kind of love (love without restrictions, does not hold grudges, etc.) and a degree (love to the extent of giving up your life for your beloved). Also, you seem to suggest that unconditional love is a choice. I can choose to love some people unconditionally, but not others. This part seems reasonable.

    It seems that unconditional love is independent of conditions outside your choice to love. It would therefore be possible to love one child because you want to keep him or her, and love that child independently of anything that child or anyone else does. It would be possible for you to choose not to love a child.

    If this is the understanding, why can’t someone who is pro-choice use the term “unconditional love”?

  • Ace, perhaps you interpret “unconditional” to mean “placing no expectations or demands upon the loved one and letting them do whatever they please even if it is harmful to themselves or others.” They aren’t the same. You can unconditionally love your children and still discipline them when they do wrong. You can unconditionally love your spouse but refuse to tolerate some of their bad habits or behaviors in your home. You can unconditionally love a wayward sibling but refuse to enable habits like drug addiction, gambling, etc. by bailing them out or lending them money with no questions asked. It is precisely because you still love them, that you keep up the hard task of saying “no” when it would be easier to either give in or just cut yourself off from them completely.

  • Elaine,

    I would rather say that no conditions are placed upon the love itself. If my brother betrays me, I will be angry with him, and if it is appropriate, I will seek for him to be punished for his actions, but I will still love him. This love is unconditional, because nothing that anyone (including my brother) could do would remove that love.

    This can be the case for a pro-choice woman. She may decide to keep one child and abort another. She may love the child that she keeps unconditionally (nothing the child or anyone else does can remove this love). She does not unconditionally love the child that she aborts.

    Why can’t this pro-choice woman use the phrase “unconditional love”?

  • Elaine-
    he’s mock-interpreting “unconditional” to mean “without any requirement”….including being the person loved.

  • Foxfier,

    The conversation has moved on. I have temporarily adopted Richard’s definition, to see if (a) the definition makes sense and if (b) pro-choice supporters are justified in using the term.

  • ….with a glass of Rex-Goliath Giant 47 Pound Rooster Free Range Red…

    Thanks for the link – I initially thought you had a plate of scrambled eggs covered in ketchup. 🙂

  • Ace, the examples I gave for unconditional love all came from “Psychological Concept Applied in Relationships”. One can always look up the definitions of ‘conditional’ and unconditional love’.
    Elaine gave a good example to your question/statement: “If this is the understanding, why can’t someone who is pro-choice use the term “unconditional love”?”
    Jay – If a person is pro-choice and abort the child are they showing it ‘unconditional love’ or any love at all for that matter. If there was any love for the child she would not abort the child. In the same manner the parents of the woman can still have ‘unconditional love’ for their daughter even though she has destroyed their grandchild which they would of been able to shower with love – the child is not theirs but their granddaughters. So a pro-choice person would not be justified in using the term ‘unconditional love’ for the child she destroys.

    Sorry for late reply but took time to watch the football game.

  • You’re a great mom Stacy! Amen.

  • Richard,

    I don’t find Elaine’s example helpful, because her example involves a concept of love that I do not accept, and that I do not think most pro-choice people accept.

    A woman may abort one of her children, and may raise her other child very well, with discipline, making sure the child eats his spinach and drinks his milk, and would love this child no matter what the child does. She would have unconditional love for one child, and no love for the other child. Since identity is not one of the conditions considered for unconditional love (according to your definition) then a pro-choice person can show unconditional love (as you define it), and is justified in using the term. Why wouldn’t they be justified?

  • I think Ace is right that a mother can have unconditional love for some of her children but not all. A disturbing thought to say the least, but certainly possible.

  • “Rex-Goliath Giant 47 Pound Rooster Free Range Red” Excellent choice, but I’d rather apply it to the rosemary-ginger-seared, bacon-wrapped duck I had earlier. After 8pm, anything other than a caustically dry potato vodka martini keeps me up too late.

    That aside, I wonder if a small primer – which I am neither prepared nor qualified to give – might be in order concerning the four “types” of love that were used in the Hellenistic Greek in which so much of the Bible was written. It seems that “Agape” and “Phila” are being bandied here, with a smattering of “Storge.” The differences can make a difference.

    If not, then thanks for the opportunity to throw out my quick food and beverage review.

  • Great discussion, thanks everyone for the insight.

    Scrambled eggs with ketchup? Never. Tabasco.

    WK Aiken, I’m on it. Good idea about the different kinds of love. Thanks for the food and beverage review!!! 😀

    Ace, it might help if you think in terms of symbolic logic. To say “The statement T is unconditionally true” (I love you), does not call into question the existence of “you.” It necessarily presumes it. Mathematicians would never get anywhere if all they did was sit around going, “Is two really two, dude? Wait, is “is” really “is,” man, whoa heavy!” You get the point…

    Everyone, Ace is a commenter from my blog. Why don’t you introduce yourself a little Ace? Welcome!

  • Stacy, thanks for the welcome!

    yes, I’m a physicist and am from Stacy’s blog. I’m confused but very interested with the Catholic Church, and currently find a lot about it that is promising, especially from Thomas Aquinas.

    I’m still confused about this “unconditionally” idea. You say that it is used like a modal operator? What is its function? It can’t be the same as “necessarily”, I don’t think, because then my objection about the properties of existence and identity is especially relevant.

    If “unconditional love” is the same as “necessarily I love x”, then it should be independent of any property of x, including x’s existence. Or maybe “necessarily I love x implies necessarily x exists”?

    There is a possible world in which my brother does not exist, and in that world I do not love my brother, so it is not the case that necessarily I love my brother.

  • Sometimes I wonder if it is the case that, the less common sense people have, the more they need things like modal logic to figure out facts about the world that are obvious to most people.

    My confusion in this matter is not evidence of any practical intelligence, but may well be evidence of its absence.

    Thanks to Mike and Richard (and of course Stacy) for help with understanding.

  • If a woman “unconditionally loves “ one child and aborts that “unconditionally loved” child’s brother or sister without asking for informed consent, or a negative or a positive, or affirmation or rejection, of the brother or sister from the “unconditionally loved” child, I have to say that the “unconditionally loved” child is not loved at all.
    Please, too, remember that an “informed consent” is only valid from an emancipated person, citizen, as children reach the “age of reason” at seven years, and emancipation at eighteen years, and as abortion is a public issue and the woman must wait eighteen years, the child who is scheduled to be aborted must be quite old.

    Secrecy, and subterfuge are indications that the abortion was not accomplished with “unconditional love” for the other child, children, or husband, or grandparents, or our constitutional posterity. I am inclined to say: “NO”, the woman who is pro-abortion does not have the truth to say “unconditional love”.

  • Ace – sometimes something that is easy to understand for one is a problem for another, your knowledge in the field of science, as well as Stacy’s would leave me scracthing my head. As you look into the Catholic Church you will find many things that one has to take on ‘faith’ as they cannot be proven or given an answer for through science. Love is a very common theme, from books to movies to songs. The book/movie “Love Story” is about a couple who fall in love though they have differences and when the wife gets sick, she tells him he can leave but refuses and stays by her side till she died – that is unconditional love.
    I’m going to share the link to a song that through the lyrics and pictures gives an example of this ‘unconditional love’ also.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiROGpbNaiU

    Going back to a woman who would abort a child and not another, she can only show this ‘unconditional love’ to the child she brought to life, not the one she aborted as she never gave the child a chance to be showered with ‘any form of love’.
    ‘Love is a many splendered thing’ but it is not always easy or to understand.

  • I believe that it is wrongly assumed that after aborting a child and destroying her ability to mother, an unrepentant woman can still love. I believe that a pro-abortion individual cannot be “mother -in-chief, because the woman is not willing to make the sacrifices required of a mother. God is love. For God to stop loving (in an unconditional love) God would stop being God. The same must hold true for human beings made in the image and likeness of God. For man to stop loving unconditionally, man stops being man. For anyone to proclaim “unconditional love” of which only God is capable, without the grace of God, she speaks only a prayer, but does not deliver. And that is OK in a church, but not in the body politic

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Dear Pro-Choice NYer, You Got What You Asked For

Monday, July 30, AD 2012

Dear Pro-Choice NYer,

You wanted to do whatever you wanted to do with your body, and then claim you had a right to kill your own children when you conceived them because it was just so unfair for anyone to expect you to let a child ever use you against your will. You said you needed your choices, and you needed them without judgement or criticism. You tossed God’s law aside and said that your rights come from man’s law, and that worked for you as long as you thought you were getting your way. Motherhood be damned.

Image credit: The Center for Consumer Freedom (http://www.consumerfreedom.com/)

When the New York City abortion rate was reported (God only knows what it really is) to be 41%, meaning that nearly 2 in 5 pregnancies end in abortion, you didn’t even wince. You were proud those women were exercising their so-called right to choose even when the city health officials made condescending excuses that the high rate was due to the “ignorance” and “ambivalence” of women who hadn’t been indoctrinated in the methods of birth control, or who were too stupid and poor to chose stable relationships.

Even decades ago when your feminist and pro-choice philosophies collided over sex-selective abortion right in your own city, you quieted the voice in your head that was screaming, “No. STOP! You should not,” because you feared that making moral judgments would take away the high and mighty right for you to profit from the ambivalent under the guise of caring about women. In a mind-seering display of mental gymnastics you sought to rephrase the question by separating the chooser from the choice, so that you could justify killing girls in the womb even as you condemned misogyny.

Let me tell you something: Truth does not condescend the human person, male or female of any age, nor does it contradict itself. That should have been warning enough, but you were too blinded by the tenets of the reproductive rights movement and the power you thought it gave you.

And now, the man you trusted to guard your pseudo-freedom in New York City has decided to dictate to new mothers how they will feed their own babies. Starting September 3, Mayor Bloomberg will enforce what is being called “the most restrictive pro-breast-milk program in the nation” which requires formula to be locked up and rationed out only if medical professionals can submit a medical reason for needing it. If the mother gets the formula from the state, she also gets a lecture. Why? It seems the people in power don’t really think women can make good choices for themselves or their children, especially the women who give birth.

Sure some of you will support this anti-choice program and justify it based on some feigned concern for the health of newborn babies. Some of you will speak out against it because you see it for the over-imposition of government into private lives that it is. However, I predict that not a single one of you will see the monumental contradiction before you once again.

Like happy and willing slaves, you conceded all your rights to the decisions of the people in power, and now they are dictating that those in charge do what you’ve been fighting against your whole lives – force a woman to let her child use her body. You may justify it as some caring act on the part of the government, but that’s nonsense. Governments don’t care for people; people care for people, and you’ve been advocating for generations that the most extreme bond between the have’s and the have not’s – the bond between mothers and their children – is meaningless unless the individual mother chooses to care for the greedy little thing.

Some people are calling your Mayor Bloomberg a nanny for turning NYC into a nanny-state, but at least nannies care for individual children. I hate to break it to you, Pro-Choice NYer, but you aren’t a child and Mayor Bloomberg and his officials don’t care for you (or the children you decide are worthy of life) individually. This isn’t about caring; it’s about control. It’s Marxism.

This is social materialism, utilitarian ideology about the worth of a human person in the big chemical equation of society. Feeding people taxes the system, just as pregnancy taxes a woman’s body. If it were about caring for the babies, there wouldn’t also exist a law that allowed late-term abortion past the point of viability. There wouldn’t be a law allowing any unborn child to be killed. The same child the state says must be breastfed for it’s health could have been killed the trimester, the month, the week, the day, and the minute before birth with impunity. Wake up! The same people are also busy telling you what you can and cannot eat or drink. They don’t really think you can be trusted to chose wisely for yourself; they see you as objects to be managed.

As pro-life people have said for as long as they’ve needed to use that title, if you promote that one group of humans can treat another dependent group like individual blobs of mindless tissue, don’t be surprised if the day comes when it’s your turn to be grouped as such too. You got what you asked for. Welcome to the world of your choices.

If you want to fix it, start by reaffirming unconditional love between mother and child, and by defending the primary and natural rights of the family.

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37 Responses to Dear Pro-Choice NYer, You Got What You Asked For

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  • Wow. The reach of the government never ends. Unbelievable.

  • Great writ! My heart goes out to the new mothers that cannot breast feed but wish they could. Now these mothers will have to hear from the government.

  • Considering the nagging, false information and borderline bulling I’ve experienced at both hospitals that I gave birth at– I do and did breastfeed willingly, and the ladies were trying to do the right thing, and it didn’t cause actual harm so I didn’t speak up at that point– this is especially bothersome.

  • God brings good out of evil. Next Bloomberg will be outlawing contraceptive pills because the hormones are polluting our drinking water and men’s breast are getting to big to fit in their t -shirts.
    Breastfeeding babies is conducive to spiritual maturity. It is the milk of human kindness made physical nourishment. Babies need to be fondled and caressed at the breast and upon the lap.

  • The same child the state says must be breastfed for it’s health could have been killed the trimester, the month, the week, the day, and the minute before birth with impunity. Wake up!

    Excellent point, one that I had not even considered.

  • The underlying philosophy is very old. As Rousseau says, ““Each man alienates, I admit, by the social compact, only such part of his powers, goods and liberty as it is important for the community to control; but it must also be granted that the Sovereign is sole judge of what is important,” for “ if the individuals retained certain rights, as there would be no common superior to decide between them and the public, each, being on one point his own judge, would ask to be so on all; the state of nature would thus continue, and the association would necessarily become inoperative or tyrannical.”

    His conclusion is well known, “whoever refuses to obey the general will shall be compelled to do so by the whole body. This means nothing less than that he will be forced to be free; [« ce qui ne signifie autre chose sinon qu’on le forcera d’être libre »] for this is the condition which, by giving each citizen to his country, secures him against all personal dependence.”

  • Don’t tell me, let me guess: the “official” rationale behind this is that breastfed babies are healthier and therefore less of a burden on the healthcare system. Which is the same rationale behind anti-obesity and anti-smoking campaigns and other relentless campaigns to stamp out every bad health habit (except those involving sex, of course). What you do with your own body becomes everybody’s business when “everybody” is paying for your healthcare.

  • Elaine Krewer makes a valid point, but I believe this logic goes back much further, to the French Revolution and the levée en masse.

    If, as Holmes J mordantly observed, “the state has the right to drag the citizen from his home and occupation, put him into uniform and march him into battle, with bayonets at his back,” as well as using “directed labour” in essential industries on the significantly named “home front,” then a concern for the nation’s health becomes a matter of strategic and political significance.

    I believe the first hospital built by the US government was for merchant seamen; precisely the class that could be impressed into the navy, in the event of war.

    Stacey Trasancos is right enough; disinterested philanthropy is seldom the motive of government action.

  • “His conclusion is well known, “whoever refuses to obey the general will shall be compelled to do so by the whole body. This means nothing less than that he will be forced to be free; [« ce qui ne signifie autre chose sinon qu’on le forcera d’être libre »] for this is the condition which, by giving each citizen to his country, secures him against all personal dependence.”

    We give citizenship to our country, not the citizens. Citizenship is endowed by the state at birth, and citizenship is the tribute that the sovereign person returns to the state. No person can be forced to be free. FREEDOM is from God and is returned to God though the free will of the person. God owns the person. The general will of the people, the will of the goverment, will not go to hell for any citizen. We have to be responsible for our own choices, and in doing so, a person exercises his free will endowed by our Creator. Rousseau did not beleieve in our Creator, so, Rousseau invented this silliness.

  • God is LOVE. Man must love or be lost to God. No human being comes into existence without the creation of his soul by our Creator.
    The atheist demands proof of the existence of God. God is the Supreme Sovereign Being. God is EXISTENCE. God is BEING. God is beauty. Beauty does not need a reason to exist.
    So, the atheist who falls in love has God.

  • “If, as Holmes J mordantly observed, “the state has the right to drag the citizen from his home and occupation, put him into uniform and march him into battle, with bayonets at his back,” as well as using “directed labour” in essential industries on the significantly named “home front,” then a concern for the nation’s health becomes a matter of strategic and political significance.”

    Only under martial law and it is the Congess who declares war for the people. It is the people who choose to defend themselves, when, where and how.

  • Let us remind the government that we, the people, are their employers and they are our employees. The breastmilk of the mother must not be tainted by tyranny. The nourishment of the infant must be real human milk. Breastfeeding an infant must be voluntary, or it will be bitter.

  • “Rousseau did not beleieve in our Creator, so, Rousseau invented this silliness.”

    Why Mary de Voe imagines Rousseau was an atheist, I do not know – “There remains therefore the religion of man or Christianity — not the Christianity of to-day, but that of the Gospel, which is entirely different. By means of this holy, sublime, and real religion all men, being children of one God, recognise one another as brothers, and the society that unites them is not dissolved even at death.” [Du Contrat Social IV:8]

    He was for banishing those who did not believe in “the existence of a mighty, intelligent and beneficent Divinity, possessed of foresight and providence, the life to come, the happiness of the just, the punishment of the wicked, the sanctity of the social contract and the laws” [ibid]

  • His conclusion is well known, “whoever refuses to obey the general will shall be compelled to do so by the whole body. This means nothing less than that he will be forced to be free; [« ce qui ne signifie autre chose sinon qu’on le forcera d’être libre »] for this is the condition which, by giving each citizen to his country, secures him against all personal dependence.” WHO gives each citizen to his country and by what right is another person given to anyone else? Rousseau my have believed in God but he did not apply his belief to his citizenship. Now, this is not intended to be nasty cause it sounds nasty, but how did Rousseau avoid addressing his own citizenship?

  • Awesome post. You split atoms with your precision.

  • No, no, no, DA Howard, I am the nuclear engineer here. I split atoms in my day job (well, used to; now I just do engineering). 😉

    But Stacy’s post is awesome!

    😀

  • Stacy, thanks for the reflections immersed in genuine Christian belief. I will for sure translate part of your post into Portuguese to share. God bless.

  • Very well written, Stacy. And timely, too, in this election year.
    I wonder if the liberals, especially those on the right, realise that if the Marxists or their sympathisers gain control they (the libs) will be crushed.

  • It seems to me that the abortion genocide is being encouraged by a bunch of lesbians who envy men and who have contempt or desire for girly women. I had an opportunity to visit an abortion clinic to repair a roof. There were gay looking women in the clinic’s waiting room that seemed to be just hanging out, the way guys hang out at bars looking for women. Some of them had shirts that put men down as slimy, dirty, etc. It was an eye opening experience for me. I did not know it was an abortion clinic since I was working for the landlord. I never went back. Has this observation ever been documented before? I would like to know if it was just this clinic or are there others. I have seen some the women that seem to be pushing the abortion issue and maybe its me but they seem more butch. Is it because these women seem to gravitate toward the women issues in general?nCould someone tell me? From a social science standpoint, how does a lesbian population feel about pregnant women and abortions?

  • I love the great Q-Beam of shining light found in the illuminating use of the word marxism. Idolatry of individual rights in the absence of moral truth clearly invites marxism to fill the void.

  • “Past the point of viability?” What the hell does that mean coming from one who presents herself as a Catholic pro-lifer? The quote above seems gratuitous, jarring. I would’ve expected it from the under-informed twenty and thirty-somethings that this piece was hopefully aimed at. Also, as an aside, please don’t type so fast that you’re oblivious to spelling. Too much of it these days on the internet. But, having said all that, your post is sharp and well-done, and i obviously comcur with the points made here. GOD BLESS ALL, MARKRITE

  • So predictable. More encroachment form the biggest corporate body of them all – the Government. This dole & control thing is getting really intolerable. Didn’t the UK in the 1940s attempt to mandate career paths for their citizens? USSR redux? That British mandate was promptly rebuffed, thank God. Don’t be surprised if such government maneuvering someday gets tried here. But, why not? In the spirit of the general welfare and domestic tranquility, it’s for their our own good? Less responsiblity = less freedom.

  • Bill

    Perhaps you are thinking of “Directed Labour,” introduced in the UK under DORA (The Defence of the Realm Act) 1940, whereby workers could be, in effect, conscripted into “essential industries,” or, more often in practice, prevented from leaving them. It remained in place during post-war reconstruction, but was finally repealed in 1951.

    What rendered it largely ineffective is that most “essential industries” had pre-entry closed shop agreements with the Trade Unions, meaning that no one could be hired, who was not already a member of the union. The attempt to introduce “Bevin Boys” into the Lanarkshire coal-fields caused a widespread strike, with the railwaymen “blacking” (refusing to handle) coal from the affected pits. It was only after the attack on the “workers’ fatherland” in July 1941 that the unions gave up their objections for “the duration.”

  • I am a sidewalk counselor at an abortion clinic in New Jersey. We are urban, and have the same population demographics as New York City. Since I am a man, I spend more time talking to the men. Just this past week, Greg (name changed) and his girlfriend were sent to the clinic by the hospital. She had miscarried, and the doctors sent her to the clinic to have the already dead fetus removed. Yeah, I can see the medical logic in that; the same abortionist that kills a child in the womb and evacuates the dead child is medically skilled to perform this procedure. But what a hell hole to send a woman who has miscarried! God help us; what emotional ignorance on the part of the medical professionals that sent this couple to a ghetto of infanticide.

    Greg had to go outside while she was in the procedure. He just could not stand being in there. What made it nauseating was the laughing and humor of the “repeaters”. One young woman was having her fifth abortion. Here, his girlfriend told Greg that she felt worthless about not being physically able to sustain the life, and now this couple was thrown in with the hardcore. The poor guy was numb at first, but when he started talking the pain and the sorrow came out. He and his girlfriend will be OK. They have been together seven years, and now plan to marry and start a family within a context of a Catholic family. We gave him Rachel’s Vineyard literature, and assured him that God loves them both, and that great people, like Dorothy Day, have been in worse and turned it around.

    Msgr. Reilly of “Helpers of God’s Precious Infants” says that for those hardcore, before the woman physically aborts her child, she spiritually aborts it. Often we are not effective to change their choice in the 30-45 seconds we have to talk to them before they enter the clinic. All we can do is try to prevent the next one. I have to say, the 41% abortion rate is chilling. From my own observations, I have to believe that many of these are the 4-5 abortion repeaters that we see. Not every woman who walks into a clinic is sobered by the choice. Worse, many walk out without any personal resolution to change habits or sexual activity.

  • Markrite, I think her comment, “there wouldn’t also exist a law that allowed late-term abortion past the point of viability” was meant to make very clear the fact that the gov’t doesn’t really care about children, by allowing EVEN those that could live survive outside the womb (were they to be born at that point) to be aborted.

    I agree with her making that point, if for no other reason than it shows that ‘if you allow X, then Y and Z must also be allowed’. There are so many Catholic women that, unfortunately, believe in the woman’s right to choose; if they buy into the belief that a ‘fetus’ is not really a baby, then it is difficult to make them understand the Pro-Life position. However, if you can get them to understand that their belief also makes ‘Y and Z’ acceptable, then It may cause them to rethink their position.

    I was one of those who, upon seeing that people were appalled that female babies were specificaly being aborted, immediately made the connection – if you believe that abortion AT ANY STAGE OF LIFE should be legal, you have NO right to have any say in who or what type of baby is aborted. Abortions based on sex, mental abnormalities and even physical characteristics all are fair game.

    It needs to be made very clear that to believe in abortion means allowing all these other things.

    I read a paper recently, I believe th doctors were out of Austria, saying that post birth killing should be legal, if there was some abnormality. They stated correctly that if a country allowed abortion, the point at which it was allowed (up to 4, 5, or 6 months) was merely a line in the sand. They were correct. If we allow taking a life for any reason, then taking a life for any reason must follow.

    Right now we are having this discussion about the unborn. How much longer before the discussion will be about the elderly?

  • Joash M. wrote, “It seems to me that the abortion genocide is being encouraged by a bunch of lesbians who envy men and who have contempt or desire for girly women.”

    Oh, it’s not just contempt. It’s lust.

    “24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error. ” Romans 1:24-27

    While there are some heroic homosexuals and lesbians who try to remain chaste and celibate, living lives in conformance to St. Paul’s admonition that we offer up our bodies as living sacrifices, these militant homosexuals and lesbians are godless, reprobate perverts who need to be relegated back into the closet from whence they came.

  • “I read a paper recently, I believe th doctors were out of Austria, saying that post birth killing should be legal, if there was some abnormality.”

    Can you provide a link or citation to this paper? This is EXACTLY how the Jewish Holocaust started. This information would be useful.

  • Here you go: http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2012/03/01/medethics-2011-100411.full

    Thanks everyone for the comments, I’m reading them from email and truly appreciate it.

  • Paul: “While there are some heroic homosexuals and lesbians who try to remain chaste and celibate, living lives in conformance to St. Paul’s admonition that we offer up our bodies as living sacrifices, these militant homosexuals and lesbians are godless, reprobate perverts who need to be relegated back into the closet from whence they came.”

    There are many, many heroic homosexuals and lesbians who remain chaste and celibate and there are many, many heterosexuals who remain chaste and celibate starting with our leader, Jesus Christ. The evil side likes to pretend that there are few and that they are weird or abnormal, but I tell you there are multitudes, the norm and the blessed. If I do not get to heaven, and the good Lord leaves me on earth, I hope it is with a community of chaste and celibates, for such is the joy of innocence, to have recapitulated our original innocence.

  • Yes, Mary De Voe, as usual you are 100% correct. I wish I could write like you, but often I get too darn mad and fly off the handle. I think it was St. Peter – or maybe St. Paul or both – who said that such anger is not of God. I got a lot of work to do on myself.

  • I think it could be that New York State is pulling these measures as an economic response to the extra burden it will have to carry in medicare. In other words, it is not ideology driving this, but state economic survival in the face of the HHS.

  • Well said, Stacy. The call to “wake up!” runs an unbroken line from Creation, through the prophets, and has culminated in Jesus’ continuing call to awaken to the Kingdom of God when and where we are. You have beautifully articulated this call in your piece; I hear Jesus’ words echoing in yours. Though many of us still sleep, let us pray that we awaken, that we hear and respond to God’s call upon our lives, and that more of us will humbly yet firmly choose to speak the wake-up call of God into the lives of those around us.

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Army Special Forces Medical Sergeant Writes About the Eucharist

Friday, July 13, AD 2012

We are blessed with some inspiring and talented young adults at Ignitum Today; a young mother determined to positively define feminism, an opinionated Victoria Advocate, a couple of teenage writers with Spirit-filled and mature pens, the wise and professional GADEL from Ghana, a mysterious college duo Ink and Quill, a father and mother who just welcomed the birth a daughter with Spina Bifida, a sharp-witted Paul Ryan fan who writes the blog that won Best New Blog at CPAC last year, two Bright Maidens, a husband and wife missionary team in Dominica, a Junior Fellow at First Things, Look! A Black Catholic!, a Canossian Sister, missionary, and nun who dabbles in graphics, music, techstuff, and loves to pray intercessory prayers for you…and the list goes on. That’s only some of the contributors, and I will continue to introduce more of them to The American Catholic audience, they are truly inspiring. We have one major rule – no heresy! – and in spite of what some may think, no, of course we don’t advocate burning heretics, just avoiding heresy as we shine the light of Christ into the world.

I know I’m bragging, but I’m so proud of all of them. Imagine what it’s like to work with such a great group of young adults, and to wake up and read powerful messages like the following on a regular basis. This is from a 27 year old Army Special Forces Medical Sergeant, Ryan Kraeger, a cradle Catholic homeschool graduate stationed on the West Coast. His website is The Man Who Would Be Knight and he blogs here.

But you must read his latest, Hunger and Thirst. Please go read the whole thing, as a commenter said, it will stay with you for the rest of your life. I pray that priests who uphold the teaching of the Church are allowed to remain in service to our armed forces.

And God? God is the Sun! God is the boiling furnace of a thousand times a thousand suns, a blazing inferno (pun intended) of desire for me. God is the Love that exists from all eternity, Love that loved me into existence, Love that loves me into love with the Triune Love.

This is why I go to Communion! Not because I am so in love with God, but because He is eternally in love with me.

As of this writing I am facing the prospect of a very long time in a desert where there are no priests. At first this panicked me, but now I am at peace with it. The God who has worked so hard to bring me to Him (despite my best efforts to the contrary at times) will not abandon me. If it is His will to starve me for a year, or for the rest of my life, then starvation is what is best for me.

What saddens me, though, is the number of people who starve themselves…

Click here to read the rest.

Click here to read the rest.

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4 Responses to Army Special Forces Medical Sergeant Writes About the Eucharist

  • Thank you for sharing this – wonderful insight, especially about those who “starve themselves”. This makes me think about the Good Friday meditations on the last words of Christ, and how priests often preach about social justice in reference to “I thirst”. Would be nice to talk about the dimension of spiritual hunger than the author writes about – how many Catholics (and Christians) willingly starve themselves.

  • “Love that loved me into existence, Love that loves me into love with the Triune Love.

    This is why I go to Communion! Not because I am so in love with God, but because He is eternally in love with me.”
    One Hail Mary

  • Thanks a lot Dr. Trasancos. God bless America. God bless us all. Amen.

Dr. Stenger and the Folly of Free-Thinking

Tuesday, July 10, AD 2012

Are we to believe the New Atheist free-thinkers see themselves as reasonable as rocks?

I was hesitant to write this because I don’t like picking battles with atheists. At first I didn’t see how anyone would take this idea about free will and our judicial system seriously, but it seems some people are. So I offer the following with the hope that if more people know about this discussion, more people can see it for the nonsense that it is. 

Victor Stenger, Ph.D. particle physicist and best-selling author of God and the Folly of Faith has written an essay at Huffington Post “Free Will is an Illusion” and it took an unexpected turn. Certainly, the atheistic consideration of free will is nothing new, but Dr. Stenger also makes a connection between free will, or the lack thereof, and our judicial system in the United States. This position has disturbing societal implications.

Keep in mind, this is the man who popularized the phrase: “Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings.” He has also published such titles as God: The Failed Hypothesis and The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason. Victor Stenger has made it known that he thinks science can prove there is no god, and that he considers religion dangerous to society.

In this Huffington Post essay he references a book by another physicist, Leonard Mlodinow, who says that the unconscious plays a dominant role in human behavior. As Dr. Stenger puts it, “before we become aware of making a decision, our brains have already laid the groundwork for it.” He goes on to say (read carefully), “This recognition challenges fundamental assumptions about free will and the associated religious teachings about sin and redemption, as well as our judicial concepts of responsibility and punishment. If our brains are making our decisions for us subconsciously, how can we be responsible for our actions? How can our legal system punish criminals or God punish sinners who aren’t in full control of their decision-making processes?”

He also references the book Free Will by neuroscientist Sam Harris and title-quotes him in stating that “free will is an illusion.” Dr. Stenger writes, “We don’t exist as immaterial conscious controllers, but are instead entirely physical beings whose decisions and behaviors are the fully caused products of the brain and body.”

So, essentially having established that humans are determinant blobs of matter with no free will, he then makes the case to the Huffington Post readers that “our largely retributive moral and justice systems need to be re-evaluated, and maybe even drastically revamped” if the people in society are going to be able to protect themselves from “people who are dangerous to others because of whatever it is inside their brains and nervous systems that makes them dangerous.”

That is, he is calling for a new system of morality and justice based on the the presumption that no one is ultimately responsible for his actions, and remember, he’s made it clear who he thinks the “dangerous” people are. This is eerily like the argument used to justify abortion, only we’re all blobs of tissue now.

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28 Responses to Dr. Stenger and the Folly of Free-Thinking

  • What they are saying is “science proves there is no God and so your free will is an illusion; so do what I tell you to do”.

  • When a person believes that he is evolved from an ape and is therefore just an ape – an animal subject to the instinct of the wild – then that person debases himself to become an animal and nothing more, hence what Stacy has written above.

    Good post, Stacy!

  • Fascinating.
    Our lunch time conversation with our own family apostate was not too appetizing, and a bit similar to the thrust of this post, in that it denies real choice in behavior, albeit in rats.
    A virus that lives in a cat’s gut, when it gets into a rat, affects the rat’s brain, making the rat not only lose it’s fear of cats, thus more likely to be caught by a cat; but also makes rats more likely to have sex/propagate, providing more meals for cats.
    None of this is quite the same as your atheist’s idea, but it does lay the same groundwork for not being in control of what goes on in our brains or behavior. A virus can influence brain activity that makes the rats ( or the person?) hapless. Extended to humans it can make us not responsible; not really having an intellect to call our own, much less a free will.
    Dr. Stenger’s ideas are such a denial of Truth and Beauty and Freedom. I’m hoping it is heartbreaking enough to bring the atheists and heretics back to the table of Fides et Ratio.

  • If our brains are making our decisions for us subconsciously, how can we be responsible for our actions? How can our legal system punish criminals or God punish sinners who aren’t in full control of their decision-making processes?”

    I am curious as to how a legal system (i.e., the individuals operating therein) punishing criminals is any more in control of the action of punishing and thus responsible for it.

    Of course, one shouldn’t be too hard on this sort of thinking, since it is subconsciously compelled. But then again, being too hard on this sort of thinking is likewise subconsciously compelled, and so on and so forth.

  • way to go jason

  • If atheists believe that they are just animals operating on hardwired instinct in their brains and all this stuff about free will and intellect is self-delusion, then why not treat them like wild animals and lock them up behind cages where they can’t do any harm? After all, that’s what is done with other dangerous animals and none is more dangerous than the human one.

    But who would be the zoo keepers?

  • Freethinking – you get what you pay for.

  • Good post, Stacy.

    No free will went into typing that compliment. It just happened.

  • “In this Huffington Post essay he references a book by another physicist, Leonard Mlodinow, who says that the unconscious plays a dominant role in human behavior. As Dr. Stenger puts it, “before we become aware of making a decision, our brains have already laid the groundwork for it.” He goes on to say (read carefully), “This recognition challenges fundamental assumptions about free will and the associated religious teachings about sin and redemption, as well as our judicial concepts of responsibility and punishment. If our brains are making our decisions for us subconsciously, how can we be responsible for our actions? How can our legal system punish criminals or God punish sinners who aren’t in full control of their decision-making processes?”
    This is the heresy of predestination.
    God gives man sovereign personhood, the sovereignty with which to override our inclinations, also called concupiscence. God gives and creates man, the species Homo sapiens, man of wisdom, a rational, immortal soul, the virtues and grace and Wisdom. To repudiate God, the way the atheist repudiates God, leaves the atheist piecemeal, a consciousness here, a free will there, a subconscious anywhere. Religion is a relationship with almighty God, our Creator and Endower of unalienable rights, Who constantly, in Divine Providence, steers us clear of buildings and brings us success and safety. The atheist, servant to the devil, is jealous of God and the people of God, who enjoy the blessings of Liberty . Remember, the atheist is only one opinion, a badly formed and thoughtless opinion. Jesus Christ said: I testify to myself and my Father in heaven testifies to me.” (Two witnesses establish a judicial fact) The TRUTH of God stands up in a court of law. The atheist does not have any legal standing in a court of law as he has repudiated his unalienable rights.

  • Everybody here, I enjoyed your thinking. Does your subconscious brain know that you are thinking? Great shades of Dr. Strangelove, the real title for: The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason.

  • here’s an excerpt from a nifty article at National Affairs:

    “This concept of choice is articulated near the beginning of ‘The Long Winter’, when Pa gets his first sense that a difficult season is coming as he and Laura observe the thickness of the muskrats’ lodges. Laura wants to know how the muskrats anticipate a hard winter; Pa replies, “God tells them, somehow, I suppose.”

    “Then why doesn’t God tell us?” Laura wanted to know.

    “Because,” said Pa, “we’re not animals. We’re humans, and, like it says in the Declaration of Independence, God created us free. That means we got to take care of ourselves.”

    Laura said faintly, “I thought God takes care of us.”

    “He does,” Pa said, “so far as we do what’s right. And He gives us a conscience and brains to know what’s right. But He leaves us to do as we please. That’s the difference between us and everything else in creation.”

    “Can’t muskrats do what they please?” Laura asked, amazed.

    “No,” said Pa. “I don’t know why they can’t but you can see they can’t. Look at that muskrat house. Muskrats have to build that kind of house. They always have and they always will. It’s plain they can’t build any other kind. But folks build all kinds of houses. A man can build any kind of house he can think of. So if his house don’t keep out the weather, that’s his look-out; he’s free and independent.”

    http://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/lessons-in-liberty-from-laura-ingalls-wilder

  • This guy would have failed a first year philosophy course. The theory self destructs. If there is no free will because our subconscious mind makes us do things, then there can be no real knowledge because it’s our subconscious mind framing the input of our senses and how we think about it. Because there’s no real knowledge, Stenger can’t know that there is no free will. So we have no need to listen to him. The theory is only an artifact of the complex interaction of particles, and so it itself is uninformative and we can disregard it in favor of the workings of our own subconscious minds.

    But in reality, the advocate for this sort of theory is unconcerned about its actual truth, falsehood, or incoherency. It’s only a rationalization for the use of power against Christians. Nothing more, nothing less. The true believer will be unconcerned about whether it is true or false, but how it can be used to bludgeon those he doesn’t like.

  • It never ceases to astonish me how atheists will trot out some remark that they expect to confound believers, blissfully unaware that it is a commonplace of theology.

    “before we become aware of making a decision, our brains have already laid the groundwork for it.”

    The eminently orthodox Dominican theologian, Michael Bañez (1528-1604) argued “Inasmuch as the Divine influence precedes all acts of the creature, not in the order of time, but in that of causality, the motion emanating from God and seconded by free intelligent agents takes on the character of a physical premotion (proemotio physica) of the free acts, which may also be called a physical predetermination (proedeterminatio physica), because the free determination of the will is accomplished only by virtue of the divine predetermination.”

    In Bañez’s view, since God is the primal cause (causa prima) and the prime mover (motor primus), it is concluded that every act and every movement of the thoroughly contingent secondary causes (causae secundae) or creatures must emanate from the first cause, and that by the application of their potentiality to the act.

    Neither Bañez nor anyone else thought that this undermined the doctrine of free will, or, more properly,“free choice,” [liberum arbitrium) as and his opinion (for it is a theological opinion, not dogma) was staunchly defended by the Dominicans against the Jesuits. It was thrashed out threadbare during the Jansenist controversies of the 17th century and was still being ably defended by Père Reginald Marie Garrigou-Lagrange OP until the middle of the last century.

    If Dr Stenger is going to write about free will, is it too much to expect him to have a nodding acquaintance with the literature?

  • Stenger, Mlodinow, and Harris all illustrate that the concepts “will”, “unconscious”, and “making a decision” are imperfectly understood. Like Zeno whose understanding of the concept “infinite” came up short, their misunderstandings lead them into constructing apparent paradoxes that they cannot solve except through a resort to the bizzare and obviously impossible. In Zeno’s case, he denied the possibility of motion despite all common sense and experience. Stenger, Mlodinow, and Harris are also headed down the path of denying common sense and experience.

  • It’s only a rationalization for the use of power against Christians.

    Against anyone not part of the intellectual class, I think.

  • All of which reminds me of Mike Flynn’s line about the new atheists being essentially Calvinists. They end up by refuting themselves, but I guess a part of free-thinking means overlooking contradictions if they are your own.

  • I wonder if the article made anyone else think about Les Miserables. It’s ironic that atheists, who consider themselves to be “humanists,” would seriously revert to a deterministic model in which a person is a perceived threat because they are “defective,” rather than because of their actions. This also brings to mind CS Lewis’ That Hideous Strength – a police state that replaces retributive justice with “rehabilitation,” which, conveniently, is a standard determined not in proportion to the crime, but according to the whim of the State. Only those in power can determine “normal,” “healthy,” and “rehabilitated.” When we deny free will, we create a society based on the Will to Power.

  • Michael,

    Amazing quote – I’m always astounded at how thoroughly all this has, indeed, been thrashed out by great Christian thinkers many centuries ago. Aside from allowing one the fun of tweaking liberals by saying we intellectually peaked with Aquinas and its all been downhill since then, it shows that the pursuit of truth has been relentless among Christians and the half-baked philosophies of the critics are nothing more than a sophomoric attempt to confound the Teacher.

  • Mark

    I sometimes wonder if intense specialisation in one field unfits people for another. Descartes was one of the greatest mathematicians who ever lived, but a disaster as a philosopher. Then again, we have the pantheism of physicists like Einstein, Sir James Jeans and Schrödinger, who managed to combine Hindu mysticism with a form of Neo-Kantianism. A rather different example would be Freud’s venture into linguistics. Great composers have had a tin ear, when it comes to their librettos and, dare I say, theologians have not always distinguished themselves in their ventures into politics or economics.

  • “Sir, we know our will is free, and there’s an end on it.”
    Boswell: Life
    With greater elaboration:

    Boswell: “The argument for the moral necessity of human actions is always, I observe, fortified by supposing universal prescience to be one of the attributes of the Deity.” Johnson: “You are surer that you are free, than you are of prescience; you are surer that you can lift up your finger or not as you please, than you are of any conclusion from a deduction of reasoning. But let us consider a little the objection from prescience. It is certain I am either to go home tonight or not; that does not prevent my freedom.” Boswell: “That it is certain you are either to go home or not, does not prevent your freedom; because the liberty of choice between the two is compatible with that certainty. But if one of these events be certain now, you have no future power of volition. If it be certain you are to go home to-night, you must go home.” Johnson: “If I am well acquainted with a man, I can judge with great probability how he will act in any case, without his being restrained by my judging. God may have this probability increased to certainty.” Boswell: When it is increased to certainty, freedom ceases, because that cannot be certainly foreknown, which is not certain at the time; but if it be certain at the time, it is a contradiction in terms to maintain that there can be afterwards any contingency dependent on the exercise of will or anything else.” Johnson: “All theory is against the freedom of the will; all experience for it.”
    Boswell: Life

  • Boswell falls into a fallacy long ago exposes by Aristotle. He is confusing a logical relationship with a causal one

    What is going to happen tomorrow will certainly happen and nothing I do today can possibly change that. But what I do today can certainly change what would have happened on Monday.

    “For although it be true that a man who is freely sitting cannot at the same time be standing (sensus compositus), nevertheless his freedom in sitting is maintained by the fact that he might be standing instead of sitting (sensus divisus)” as Laurentius Berti, (1696–1766) one of the “later Augustinians” points out. Of course, such arguments were central to the great question of grace and free will, which is why so much ink has been spilt over it. Pascal gives a satirical account of such debates in the first of his Provincial Letters; do not read it for the first time in a library, as I did and was turned out for laughing uncontrollably. Works of theology rarely have that effect, more’s the pity. But do read it in French, if you can.

  • Cmatt,

    “Freethinking – you get what you pay for.”

    LarryD,

    “No free will went into typing that compliment. It just happened.”

    Funny! 😀

  • In case anyone is interested, there’s a discussion on my blog about this article too and it’s quite different because there are several atheists and agnostics who comment there. One atheist already admitted that there “is no freedom.” 🙁

    It’s fascinating to see their reasoning, but a lot of it is just sniping too. Some are asking questions though.

    The discussion here has gotten deeper.

    Michael, There is definitely something to that thought that people should know the limits of their knowledge of a field. Descartes was a disaster as a philosopher. I’ve read before that Newton dedicated more ink to theology than physics, but his theology was so messed up.

    It seems there is a general misunderstanding today for many people about what philosophy and theology even are, or science for that matter. And I think that’s where Dr. Stenger really goes awry. He’s jumping around from science to religion to philosophy to politics kind of like a kid with a new box of crayons who hasn’t learned to stay in the lines yet, scribbling all over the page and calling it a work of art.

    I would love for him to answer the question, “If there’s no free will, then how can there be free-thinking?” That kind of talk so reminds me of my toddler who wouldn’t confess to coloring on the wall. “My crayon did it, not me.” Um, no. Won’t work.

    Anyway…thanks all for the discussion. I am loving reading all the input and really benefit from it. THANK YOU!!!

  • Michael,

    Indeed – each must keep to his own. I don’t go to theologians to build a better power plant and I don’t go to scientists to explain the nature of God. The problem with a lot of our intellectuals over the past few centuries has been attempts to willy-nilly transfer a skill in one area to a totally different area. This is compounded by the fact that over the ages scientists have ceased to be educated sufficiently in non-scientific areas.

  • “Stenger, Mlodinow, and Harris all illustrate that the concepts “will”, “unconscious”, and “making a decision” are imperfectly understood.”

    I feel I am going the way of Zeno and the others on this point. What is the proper understanding of these terms?

    Also, what is so bad about Descartes?

    Finally, if everything is determined, then nothing changes. People still believe in free will (and have to), and the same discussions go on. I do not see how, even if somehow there is no free will, anything will change, in terms of ethics or politics.

    —–

    Finally, a strange Pascal’s wager for determinism:

    If determinism is the case and I believe that determinism is the case, then what I believe is true, and I have a more realistic view of the world than I would otherwise have, if I denied determinism. My acceptance of determinism at this time could not have been otherwise.

    If determinism is the case, and I deny determinism, then what I believe is false, and my view of the world is less accurate than it would otherwise be. My refusing determinism at this time could not have been otherwise.

    If determinism is not the case, and I deny determinism, then what I believe is false, but I could chose to change my mind, and come to a deeper understanding of reality.

    It seems then that the default position most likely to align with reality is to accept determinism, because if you are right, it could not be otherwise, but if you are wrong, there is the hope of changing your mind.

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  • The truth is that the only real free-thinkers are Christians. When atheists claim to be free-thinkers, they’re speaking out of pride, not truth. In reality, they aren’t free-thinkers at all, but slaves to their passions and egos.

  • From a purely scientific point of view, atoms which make up molecules which make up our physical world, including our physical bodies, are not living things. So no matter how you arrange the molecules, they in and of themselves do not give life. This means God has to exist and we have to have souls given to us by God in order to have life.

Meet James Fulton, the Alleged Miracle for the Beatification of Fulton Sheen

Tuesday, July 3, AD 2012

As you know, I am a Chief Editor along with Tito Edwards at Ignitum Today, the social network of the JP2 and B16 generations.  One of our contributors, Bonnie Engstrom, wrote back in September 2011 about the riveting survival of her infant son, an alleged miracle that the family believes was through the intercession of the now Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen.  Bonnie informed us last week that this alleged miracle has been chosen as the one to be submitted for review by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and if it is declared a true miracle then Archbishop Fulton Sheen will be beatified.  It has been so exciting to share in this remarkable journey through Bonnie’s writing.  When the pastor at our parish in New York announced this good news from the pulpit last Sunday, I smiled at my husband and thought, “I know the family involved!”  It’s an amazing and glorious story.

You can read more at Catholic News Service and at Bonnie’s website, Learning to Be a Newlywed, but before you read anything else, you need to read her original story when she told us about the day her son, James Fulton, was born.  It is reprinted today at Catholic Sistas with her permission.  Thank you Bonnie.

Say hello to James Fulton

Go read the story at Catholic Sistas!

And while you are there, look around. This is a super group of faithful Catholic women, and the website was created and designed by Martina Kreitzer.

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2 Responses to Meet James Fulton, the Alleged Miracle for the Beatification of Fulton Sheen

Sometimes I Feel Like Sarah Connor

Saturday, June 30, AD 2012

I have to remind myself sometimes to refrain from immersion in current events, politics, and social issues because I swell up with machine-like resolve and start thinking of myself as a Sarah Connor, the fictional mom in the Terminator films who transformed from a timid victim to a hardened warrior on the verge of losing touch with her own humanity. She knew Judgement Day was coming, and her son would have to fight evil mightily. She knew she had to prepare and protect him.

I don’t think I’m the only mom that conjures up such an image. We lay awake at night wondering what kind of battles our children will face as adults. Will they lose faith? Will they be hurt? Will they be warriors? Will they be martyrs? Will they be ready? Are we doing enough to take a stand as Catholics? No kidding, there are nights when I feel compelled to rise and do chin-ups on the door frame to flex some muscle (though I’d faint after three).

I have learned, instead, to pray. As awful as I may think some current events are, this world still belongs to God. If I believe that Christ healed the sick, commanded demons, and died and rose for the salvation of souls, then in faith I need to guard against despair and overwhelming ferocity. Remember what the centurion in Capernaum said to Jesus when he wanted his servant to be healed? He had great faith. “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” He also had humility. That last part reminds me of St. Francis’ advice, “Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society.”

Surely in some ways we do need to become a legend among the resistance, to warn that humanity is doomed to self-destruction if they don’t listen, and to store up a proverbial cache of weapons for our children if there is a rise of the machines; but mostly what we need to do is to accept the graces and abundances offered now in this time of our own lives. We do need to fight, but we can’t let ourselves become so steeled we forget we are human.

Even so, I wouldn’t mind having her deltoids, and I admit I rather like imagining myself standing strong with a steady gaze across the landscape as I prepare to defend and inspire my children, but without the cigarette and Commando rifle.

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13 Responses to Sometimes I Feel Like Sarah Connor

  • Lose the cigarette, but keep the rifle. 🙂

    Good column, Stacy.

  • I just asked my wife, but she said no. She doesn’t feel like Sarah O’Connor. But sometimes I feel kind of like a male version…

  • We shape the future as parents:

    “Sarah Connor: Reese. Why me? Why does it want me?
    Kyle Reese: There was a nuclear war. A few years from now, all this, this whole place, everything, it’s gone. Just gone. There were survivors. Here, there. Nobody even knew who started it. It was the machines, Sarah.
    Sarah Connor: I don’t understand.
    Reese: Defense network computers. New… powerful… hooked into everything, trusted to run it all. They say it got smart, a new order of intelligence. Then it saw all people as a threat, not just the ones on the other side. Decided our fate in a microsecond: extermination.
    Sarah Connor: Did you see this war?
    Kyle Reese: No. I grew up after. In the ruins… starving… hiding from H-K’s.
    Sarah Connor: H-K’s?
    Kyle Reese: Hunter-Killers. Patrol machines built in automated factories. Most of us were rounded up, put in camps for orderly disposal.
    [Pulls up his right sleeve, exposing a mark]
    Kyle Reese: This is burned in by laser scan. Some of us were kept alive… to work… loading bodies. The disposal units ran night and day. We were that close to going out forever. But there was one man who taught us to fight, to storm the wire of the camps, to smash those metal mothers into junk. He turned it around. He brought us back from the brink. His name is Connor. John Connor. Your son, Sarah, your unborn son.”

  • You may recall that in the second Terminator movie, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cyborg has switched sides and is now trying to SAVE John and Sarah Connor from being killed by a different, more advanced cyborg (with the ability to turn into liquid metal and other cool special effects) programmed to kill them.

    Now, here is a comedy sketch from “Mad TV” — a fake “trailer” for a movie called “The Greatest Action Story Ever Told” — in which Arnold goes back in time to save Jesus from being crucified! It’s actually, in my opinion, pretty funny because Jesus keeps trying to explain to the Terminator that he’s SUPPOSED to die for the sins of mankind, but Ahnold doesn’t listen (where have we heard that story before?):

  • Although this is a comedy sketch, I think it does have some relation to the topic of this post, in that as much as we WANT to save our children from all suffering and hardship, we cannot and should not.

  • Although this is a comedy sketch, I think it does have some relation to the topic of this post, in that as much as we WANT to save our children from all suffering and hardship, we cannot and should not.
    How will our children know that we love them?

  • The Judas shootings scene was very funny. Thanks for the laugh.

    As to the subject of the post, I am interested in Colonial and Revolutionary War history and have often considered the reactions of fathers and sons as the world began to spin out of control.

    Colonials knew That the English had not dealt kindly with rebels, particularly commoners. Would-be patriots certainly expected that, unless they won, the English would have punished them mightily.

    I like to think I would have set aside my interests to join what must have seemed to be an almost hopeless cause. It was probably easier to do if one didn’t have a wife and children that would be exposed by one’s action.

    I was 17 when I joined the Navy. At some level I knew I was exposing myself to harm. It was a subject that came up on occasion. It seemed remote though, something that happened to other people. Bravado alone made it easy to say that death was nothing to fear.

    I’m sure many Colonials felt the same, sitting with their mates in a tavern, drinking and singing, it must have been easy for them to damn King George and bravely call out the English army. How for the men with families, crops, shops full of wares, babies on the way, and ailing parents?

    My guess is that men in my position feared war, not for their sake but for those that God put in their charge. And yet they exposed all of that for a cause that must have seemed, at times, hopeless. What kind of men were these? Would I have been one of them? I like to think so but, looking at my bright-eyed and innocent 5 year old, I’m not sure.

    So pray, pray, pray… Not that you will be willing to lay down your life, but the lives and safety of those for whom you are responsible if God calls for it.

  • “How for the men with families, crops, shops full of wares, babies on the way, and ailing parents?”

    Many of them saw service during the war as militia. During the war about 100,000 men saw service in the Continental Army and about 250,000 saw service as militia called out to fight. Fairly impressive for an adult male population of less than a million.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtQgjyaJqkI

  • I do sometimes feel like Sarah Connor, especially when you try to talk to people about things happening in this country and the world, or when you try to talk about what the Catholic Church teaches on moral issues. Many look at you like you’re crazy. They don’t want to see anything, hear anything and they will not speak up and defend anything.

    This part of Mr McClarey’s comment: “Reese: Defense network computers. New… powerful… hooked into everything, trusted to run it all. They say it got smart, a new order of intelligence. Then it saw all people as a threat, not just the ones on the other side. Decided our fate in a microsecond: extermination” is very interesting. Sounds a lot like today, doesn’t it?

    I can’t do much of the physical stuff, but I can speak up and pray and try to live my life like Christ wants us to. Yes, I am a member of the “Church Militant”!

  • I think the willingness to give over one’s children affects number of religious too.

    It is easier to give over a son or daughter to the religious life if you have nine kids than it is when you have one. There is a calculation to be made in how encouraging we are for those entering the religious life. There is a question for most of us on how much sacrifice we are willing to bear. When you have only one son, it is harder to imagine him becoming a priest than when you have five. When you have two children, it is harder to encourage a daughter to enter the religious life.

    I suspect that no small part of God’s plan is letting Him control the number of kids we have. This is probably true, at least in part, because our having children is an essential first step to His evangelization.

  • I very much liked the Patriot Don. Heck, I liked something about every Mel film I’ve seen.

    Satan worked powerful hard to render his talents impotent.

  • We could use more Sarah Connors – men and women, kids and even old ladies in nursing homes who pray. We can chooser to fight on many fronts with whatever gifts and insights we have been given. lLike Churchill’s often quoted comment about all the places we will fight– we have to fight socially, culturally, Spiritually and even physically

    “not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and the oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

  • I’m not sure that, even after all of our fervent prayers and peaceful political action, the Church will not need Sarah and Sam Connors if the current persecution of the Catholic Church continues. We are really only a couple big steps away from the situation the Cristeros found themselves in before they had to fight for their right to worship. Our beliefs are being singled out for elimination by the secularists in society. Remember, we don’t know what God will need us for or when.:-) I guess I’ll be getting in a couple pull-ups and some aerobics, and stay vigilant while praying and remaining forthright in insisting on the right to our beliefs. That’s what I see in Sarah Connor — an understanding of the enemy she faces and vigilance. We just need to be equally vigilant about expressing our joy in the Lord and in the wonderful life He’s given us. We need to keep our humanity and love.

Do the Girl Scouts Really Help Girls?

Thursday, June 14, AD 2012

Founder Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low with two Girl Scouts (1912)

With the bishops in the United States investigating the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) this question seems to be on a lot of people’s minds. Do the Girl Scouts really help girls? In many ways, what they teach goes against how I want to raise my own girls, but I never really thought about why. The Girl Scouts have this whole attitude about them that is just, frankly, not feminine.

I grew up with the “you can be anything a man can be” cultural message, and I took it seriously. As a child, I tried to run faster, climb higher, and make better grades than the boys in my classes. Heck, I even hauled hay and shot rifles (still can) as a teen. When Hillary Clinton made her comment about staying home and baking cookies and having teas, I even remember thinking how proud I was that I was just like that in my twenties. Nope, no standin’ by my man like Tammy Wynette. At that point I was a single mother, and an unstoppable force as a scientist on a career path of success (so I stupidly told myself). Older, wiser, and full of regrets, I have come to regard such messages to young women as dangerous to the institution of the family – and to a young woman’s own sense of happiness and fulfillment.

Enough of the trip down memory lane. Do Girl Scouts help girls now?

Rather than base my opinion only on my personal experiences though, I decided to ask my friend Mary Rice Hasson about it. She is also a mother of seven and a lawyer who serves as a Fellow in Catholic studies at the conservative think tank in Washington D.C., Ethics and Public Policy Center. She is an expert on these issues, particularly on Catholic women’s views of  faith, conscience and family. A LifeNews article cites her as agreeing that the bishop investigation is needed, and then quotes her.

“A collision course is probably a good description of where things are headed,” she said. “The leadership of the Girl Scouts is reflexively liberal. Their board is dominated by people whose views are antithetical to the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

That got my attention. I asked her about the Girl Scouts, and for advice about raising girls in general. I am more interested in guiding principles than details. I was struck by this advice: “My parents raised us girls (7 of us) to believe we could do anything—but to value motherhood and to retain the sense of femininity that flourishes by embracing womanhood, not aping masculinity.” Bingo!

Value motherhood. Be feminine. Embrace womanhood. Do not ape masculinity.

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28 Responses to Do the Girl Scouts Really Help Girls?

  • So girls and women shouldn’t shoot rifles and bale hay because it isn’t “feminine”? Women shouldn’t be leaders in their communities because they’re more suited to being mothers? What about fathers?

    I agree with a lot of your points, but you seem to imply that girls should avoid certain activities just because they’re “not for girls.” If they have a genuine interest in shooting or boxing or politics, why not pursue it?

    And while not all girls are called to be leaders in their communities, others aren’t called to be mothers, either, and may not benefit from learning how to be homemakers.

  • Thanks Kristin! Girls and women should use whatever gifts God has given them, which necessarily means they honor their femininity and appreciate men for their masculinity. It’s possible to shoot a rifle and still be womanly. 😉

  • The reason I don’t support the girl scouts any more is that they promote planned parenthood.

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  • Girls should shoot, do physical work, dream of being a board member and/or be outspoken in class because it’s a good development of who they are, not because they’re told they’re supposed to ape a stereotypical male. Heavens knows that when I got my little .22 rifle, I wasn’t thinking about it as “success”– I was thinking that I could be like my mom, who could take down a jack rabbit from a moving pickup on a bouncy field. (I managed it, too!)

    Heaven knows that when I was outspoken in class and got mocked for it, it’s doubtful Girl Scout’s leadership would’ve objected– I was usually voicing either conservative views or contrary-to-the-narrative facts. (Really bites to be a leftwing manhater when the little loudmouth in front had BOTH grandmothers through college before the second world war, or who insists on correcting you when you say “all” Vietnam Vets are crazy and “all” draftees hate the US, now. In her defense, once she figured out I wasn’t blowing smoke we got along a lot better.)

  • “Girls and women should use whatever gifts God has given them, which necessarily means they honor their femininity and appreciate men for their masculinity.”

    Okay, gotcha. I’m not sure what it means to honor one’s femininity, though. In the eyes of the Church, what is femininity, and how does a woman embrace it?

    “Girls should shoot, do physical work, dream of being a board member and/or be outspoken in class because it’s a good development of who they are, not because they’re told they’re supposed to ape a stereotypical male.”

    *INTERNET HIGH FIVE* 😀

  • The author’s point, as I read it, was that making out as if the only measures of success (not e the word, “only”) are doing those things. Was/is there any mention of motherhood in Girl Scout materials? I’m on my fourth Girl Scout; I haven’t seen anything. Girls should aspire to use their talents for good, in any way that serves God’s purpose for their lives. but teh *lie* that a woman can *have it all*, and be better/faster/stronger than a man, to the point that no man is necessary, ignores the complementarity built into the Man and Woman He Created Tehm (to shamelessly pplagiarize Blessed John Paul II’s title).

    My wife and I have always taught our girls to seek to be the *women* of God they were created to be; that doens’t exclude motherhood, should they be called to marriage. But it DOES include striving to be MEN. They won’t ever succedd at that (the body parts are wrong, I’m pretty sure).

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  • “My parents raised us girls (7 of us) to believe we could do anything—but to value motherhood and to retain the sense of femininity that flourishes by embracing womanhood, not aping masculinity.”

    Sounds much like what I was shown by example by my Girl Scout Leaders back in the 1960s and 1970s. Not only were we expected by our leaders to learn and use all the camping skills our brothers in the Boy Scouts did, but to also be able care for someone sick at home, take care of babies and toddlers, AND plan and prepare a party menu, and to serve it, during a power outage!

    Being a Girl Scout meant that you knew proper behavior, at an awards function, at a Memorial Service, and at a parade. Sadly, after witnessing some of my much younger sister Girl Scouts last weekend (Rock the Mall) I find, we ARE no different than any other youth group.

    We were once “prepared” for adulthood;
    1. Develop to full individual potential.
    2. Relating to others with increasing understanding, skill, and respect.
    3. Develop values to guide actions and to provide the foundation for sound decision-making.
    4. Contributing to the improvement of society through the use of abilities and leadership skills, working in cooperation with others.

    Now? We are told to DISCOVER, CONNECT and TAKE-ACTION. The problem being that so far, there are many girls and adults that have discovered, have connected with others, and our action taking is to take leave of the Girl Scouts USA, Inc.

  • I don’t understand why girls should aspire to be Men rather than Women. There are more differences between Men and women than just bodily features. I can understand girls being taught to act like gentlemen because Gentlemen refers to Men as in Mankind, and the Gentle in Gentlemen doesn’t mean a unwillingness to throw a punch but rather Gentiles who are the ones who run the Villa to make sure that it runs well so Gentlemen are people who make sure society runs well.

  • Stacy it’s interesting that you mention rifles because I have a friend Germany who I as well as others ocassionally skype with (we study the German language) and more recently she got a hunting license which in Germany is pretty tough to get but now she has this huge shotgun so whenever we skype with her you see her pink room with a hello kitty blanket and she say “I shot a boar this weekend.”.

  • Sandra the problem with saying “You can do anything” to a child is that it is false and just bad advice and if you tell a boy that he will say he wants to be a dinosaur.

  • We must not carry the distinction of the sexes to the point of making men and women two different species.

    St Augustine insists that the mind or spirit (mens, anima) is the same in both men and women, who only differ in their bodies. He is very instructive on this and I hope you will excuse some rather lengthy quotations.

    Thus, in his Literal Commentary on Genesis, he says, “Some people have suggested that it was now (Gen 1:27) that the human mind was made, while the human body came later, when scripture says, ‘And God fashioned man from the slime of the earth’ (Gen 2:7); so that where it says ‘he made’ (1:26), it refers to the spirit, while ‘he fashioned’ (2:7) refers to the body. But they fail to take into account that male and female could only be made with respect to the body.”

    And again, he says, “the woman too, who is female in the body, she too is being renewed in the spirit of her mind, where there is neither male nor female, to the recognition of God according to the image of him who created her (Rom 12:2, Eph 4:23, Col 3:10, Gal 3:28)”

    He also points out that mind itself has a masculine and a feminine side, “the human mind, in which the human being is made to God’s image and which is a kind of rational life, has two functions: the contemplation of eternal truth and the management of temporal affairs; and that thus you get a kind of male and female, the one part directing, the other complying; it is still the case that the mind is only rightly called the image of God in that function by which it adheres in contemplation to the unchangeable truth. It is to symbolize or represent this point that the apostle Paul says that it is only the man who is the image and glory of God; ‘but the woman’, he says, ‘is the glory of the man’ (1 Cor 11:7)”

    St Augustine is always keen to demonstrate the agreement between Reason (as exemplified by his beloved Plato) and Faith.

  • The message GSUSA wants to convey is what is helpful: that you, a girl/young woman, are alike in dignity with boys/young men, and your gender will not automatically preclude you from participating in society to the best of your abilities with your God-given talents whatever they are. Many character traits and actual skills are gender neutral. If boys grew up knowing how to cook, they could better serve their wives and children should something happen and the feminine arts can’t be attended to by the wife/mother. And if girls grow up learning practical skills like customer service with people who are not related to them, they can feel confident they can function as independent adults, because in this broken world, there are very few valiant white knights around who are providers worth standing by. (Of course, now it seems necessary to hedge against critique and admit what is implicit in the previous line is the disagreement with the notion that letting women know how to provide for themselves creates the slacker man. Taking St. Augustine’s thought as correct, both adults have the same level of mind and ability, and ergo shouldn’t use the other sex’s use of the intellect preclude his ability to use his.)

    The area where Girl Scouts now fails girls and young women is in the application. I agree with the post that it is not helpful to not affirm all choices (motherhood, religious consecration, being happy with “stereotypical” womanly things like cooking and knitting, etc.). That being said…why does it have to be one or the other (only selling cookies vs. only baking cookies)? It certainly seems more holistic to children’s discernment of talents and ways to be God-serving people to find what works for each individual child.

    There is a profound problem of girls/young women and their concepts of self esteem, value, and capabilities – which leads to earlier sexual activity – which leads to larger socioeconomic problems. So it is not wrong to try to find a group that inspires commitment, time away from randy teen boys, service to one’s community, and a sense of worth about yourself (which helps delay sexual activity). But as the post says, the Girl Scout leadership is going about it all wrong. If more Catholics got involved with promoting groups that fostered all the above, but embraced the totality of the feminine genius, we could be the change we seek.

  • Michael I think the word you meant to use is genera not species because species means looks and I am willing to assume that you meant something deeper than looks, species comes from the Latin word specarae which is where the words circumspection, spectacles, and inspector come from. i am not implying that Men and women have different types of souls but rather different bodies, different minds, and different roles in a family, as well as society. I also think the story about woman come from the man’s ribs keeps us from being matriarchal because otherwise we would just realize that men came from women due to women giving birth.

  • I did not mean mind but rather brain.

  • Michael are the quotes you quoted from the Latin St. Jerome Bible? because there are noticeable differences between the Latin Bible and the New American Bible.

  • Michael when you said that both the man and women have both feminine and masculine qualities did you take into account that Men should act like Men and appreciate Women by having some understanding of how great they are in their way of thinking and vice versa? I truly think that one of the reasons why all Men have to a certain extent be sissy-boys and all Women to a certain extent be tom-boys is because otherwise we wouldn’t be able appreciate the beauty of the other sex, Men would otherwise not appreciate the way women jump from one thing to another which make it hard for boys to talk to girls.

  • Stacy, well said.
    Proverbial Girlfriend:
    “The message GSUSA wants to convey is what is helpful: that you, a girl/young woman, are alike in dignity with boys/young men, and your gender will not automatically preclude you from participating in society to the best of your abilities with your God-given talents whatever they are. Many character traits and actual skills are gender neutral.” No, the GS message does not take into account “God given” talents or God’s plan for us. The GS message is actually narrower than the Church’s message for girls and women. The GS have one outcome that is considered successful, the church has many and that success is God’s plan for us.
    My daughter and I are in American Heritage Girls which is a Christ centered scouting organization for girls. The program focuses on building virtue and service to God, family, community. We do that through many different activities including outdoor skills like camping, fire building, hiking etc. And “indoor” skills too. AHG has a memorandum of understanding with Boy Scouts that allows us to use facilities and attend programs. AHG is taking advantage of the successful model and programs of Boy Scouts and adapting it for girls. Girls do benefit from non “traditional” activities like camping and shooting. 1. they learn both the specific skill (fire building), 2. they develop perseverance and discipline by sticking with the task, 3. they learn things boys know which are fun to know and 4. they develop their own interests along the way which might be camping, hiking, and a love of the great outdoors that they would not otherwise have without the exposure. More “traditional” skills are also developed. Girls need to know how to cook and sew and all that good stuff too. All these activities takes place in the context of our values as Catholics recognizing that all our gift and talents come from God and we give them back to God through our service withing the troop, family, church and community. Our troop scripture verse is 1 Cor. 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” You will not get the Christ centered approach in GS. In GS you will walk away with thinking that you control the universe.
    BTW, boys in Boy Scouts will learn to cook. Otherwise they go hungry when camping. As Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts my sons learned meal planning, shopping and cooking (camp and home).

  • I often hear radio spots during “cookie season” about how selling cookies is preparing some scout for managing money and a career in business. Sorry, it’s a lie, like so much we’ve talked about here (the only money handling the girls do is to take it from the cookie buyer and hand it to Mom–the moms are held accountable for all the money, not the girls). If the Girl Scouts can’t be honest about their signature event, how can we believe anything they say about the appropriateness of their goals, let alone how their actions supposedly support those stated goals.

  • Valentin

    In fact, the Vulgate frequently uses genus and species synonymously, as in Genesis 12,
    “et protulit terra herbam virentem et adferentem semen iuxta genus suum lignumque faciens fructum et habens unumquodque sementem secundum speciem suam”

    I was translating from St Augustine’s De Genesi ad litteram, mainly from chapter 22 and I did not check St Augustine’s scriptural quotations against any version, Latin or English

    The distinction between “made” (fecit) and “fashioned” (finxit) is based on “ Et finxit Deus hominem de limo terrae” and the quotation from St Paul is partly in indirect speech “Paulus apostolus virum tantum dicit imaginem et gloriam Dei: ‘Mulier autem,’ inquit, ‘gloria viri est ‘”

    St Augustine develops his point about the male and female aspects of the mind at some length in the De Trinitate, book XII. His distinction between the contemplative and active functions (illa parte consulente, hac obtemperante).

    He always uses “homo” in its usual Latin sense of “human being,” thus, glossing “faciamus hominem,” he says “secundum id quod et femina homo erat, habebat utique mentem suam eamdemque rationalem, secundum quam ipsa quoque facta est ad imaginem Dei – According to which the woman was a human being (homo) and they both had the same rational mind, whereby she was made in the image of God”

  • I’m sure the women of Israel during the Exodus would have been startled to learn that camping was a traditional male skill.

    “Yup, dear, God says you have to set up the tent tonight! Rebecca and I are checking into a hotel in Canaan, because all this wilderness stuff is a man’s job. See you in forty years!”

    As for killing animals, that’s a female skill as soon as something shows up in our ecological niche that looks like food or could kill babies.

  • The question at hand is “Does girls scouts really help girls?”. Let us rephrase the question “Does feminism help girls?”.

    We choose the lacy veil!

    We can teach the kids to start fires, hunt, fish, camp and farm without GS.

    There are many other leadership opportunities for girls to participate in where they will learn to work together, as a team with the opposite gender. This is a much more valuable life skill.

  • Ok, the woman who wrote this article has a phd. She refers for advice to her friend who is a lawyer at a conservative think tank. She is also a woman. So education for these two women is good but our girls should just learn to cook and clean? so by their standards they aren’t feminine.

  • well said Claire….

  • Back when Catholic schools excelled in reading comprehension, the Girl Scouts was a wholesome organization.

  • @Claire,
    The article doesn’t say you shouldn’t learn and be educated. She is questioning why the girl scouts do not hold motherhood as a goal to be achieved by young girls. It should be held at just as high an esteem as the business women. There is absolutely nothing in the article that says girls should just learn to cook and clean.

    I would also say from reading the article that she is a professional who has experienced both worlds and finds motherhood to be more rewarding then business world. Hooray…every young girl who feels called to motherhood should do so and society needs to support them in their “career path”! They deserve the recognition and esteem as the business professional…(really they deserve more)

Sex should NOT BE a MORAL ISSUE, it should be a PRACTICAL ISSUE

Wednesday, June 13, AD 2012

The woman formerly known as beautiful and author at Huffington Post, Shannon Bradley-Colleary, had an article recently with the declarative title “Abstinence Got Me Pregnant.” It’s a “family planning” story meant to demonstrate that people should not be expected to follow a moral code when it comes to sexual intercourse, and probably many women (who don’t think about what words mean) can relate.

The author describes how she was raised by religious parents and a father that scared off boys while cleaning his gun, how she fell in love in college and “relinquished” her virginity unexpectedly on Cheez-It crumbs behind a couch in an off-campus apartment while “roommates farted and belched like cannon-fire in adjacent rooms,” how she began taking birth control pills and used them for the next five years as a “serial monogamist,” how after she had her heart broken and broke a few herself she decided to take a “leave of absence” and become abstinent, how a broken-hearted young man still pursued her with roses, poetry, and silly declarations of love, how she got pregnant and to her relief miscarried so she was “spared, making a choice” that might “haunt” her for the rest of her life, and finally how some ten years later she gave birth to two daughters with her husband “at just the right time, with exactly the right partner.” What does she credit for things working out well? Birth control, because abstinence got her pregnant.

Her point: “…sex should NOT BE a MORAL ISSUE, it should be a PRACTICAL ISSUE.” [Emphasis hers.]

She plans to take her daughters to Planned Parenthood when they are in high school because although she hopes “they will only give themselves to men who cherish them” she believes it is better to be “practical” and dispense with any “moral imperatives” so they won’t ever experience shame or blame. She concludes, “Knowledge is power.”

Take a deep breath, relax your face muscles, and let’s examine the logic of this statement because this is a serious issue that needs to be clarified. I once thought this way too, until I realized 1) everyone needs a moral code, and 2) words mean things.

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18 Responses to Sex should NOT BE a MORAL ISSUE, it should be a PRACTICAL ISSUE

  • “I once thought this way too, until I realized 1) everyone needs a moral code, and 2) words mean things.”

    Because they twist on a moment’s notice words to mean anything they want words to mean, those words hence mean nothing to godless liberal progressive Democrats.

    And let’s face it. The Planned Parenthood types are godless liberal progressive Democrats (with a liberal sprinkling of RINOs thrown in for good measure).

    These people have no moral code. They are governed by liberal – ISM.

    I – Self – Me.

    Sorry. I am feeling my mean, divisive, intolerant and unkind oats right now.

  • Paul, I get the same way when it comes to confusing children. Sigh.

  • “I get the same way when it comes to confusing children.”

    You said it all right there in that one statement, Stacy.

  • Sorry, but morals aren’t always practical in the short run. In fact, they’re downright inconvenient sometimes.

    “You take your pet to the vet to get fixed, not your daughters.”

    I can see why some people get confused, though, if they treat Whiskers and Spot like their children.

  • “I can see why some people get confused, though, if they treat Whiskers and Spot like their children.”

    This leads right into Bonchamps previous post “Zoophilia: Why Not?” at http://the-american-catholic.com/2012/06/11/zoophilia-why-not

    Kristin, you’re onto something here! Sadly, it ain’t good. 🙁

  • ‘Abstinence’ didn’t get her pregnant. Failure to practice ‘abstinence’ did.

  • I read the HuffPo article. Pretty stupid. I know the title was meant ironically, but as the author makes clear, her lack of abstinence got her pregnant. She also seems to think that taking the birth control pill protected her from STD’s. (Great job there, Planned Parenthood! Knowledge is power!)

    My favorite line from the article is this: “I think ‘abstinence only’ flies in the face of nature and the biological imperative.” It sure does, lady. So does contraception. Then again, so does waiting until you’re in your thirties to have kids. So does waiting until you’re 19 to have sex. Pretty much anything you do besides childbearing and foraging flies in the face of nature and the biological imperative. Now, if no one minds, I’m going to pee in all four corners of my apartment, then kill and eat my neighbor’s cat, because that’s what nature tells me to do.

  • The author describes how she was raised by religious parents and a father that scared off boys while cleaning his gun, how she fell in love in college and “relinquished” her virginity unexpectedly on Cheez-It crumbs behind a couch in an off-campus apartment while “roommates farted and belched like cannon-fire in adjacent rooms,”

    And to which literary publication was this submitted ‘ere the author elected to submit it to the gullable (and less aesthetically particular) folk at Huffington Post?

  • Inigo Montoya.

    Good movie. How’s the author of the article related to Vizzini? Grand-niece?

  • You nailed it Art! That is some wretched writing even by the low standards of Huff Po.

  • Running a business should NOT BE a MORAL ISSUE, it should be a PRACTICAL ISSUE. There are lots of ways to manage employees, and I believe that our sons and daughters should be taught all of the options out there. Personally, I think that employers should give their workers fair pay, but if my daughter decides to force illegal immigrants to work sixteen hour days at minimum wage, then I want her to know how to evade the authorities and “take care of” potential whistleblowers.

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  • Is “conscience,” in the modern sense of moral judgment a necessary category? Well Aristotle did very well without it. Perhaps, we should go back to speaking of “practical reason,” for my reason is myself and expresses itself in action. Moreover, it is axiomatic that acts of the understanding are specified by their object, so this may serve to remind us that good and bad choices are no more equivalent than apprehension and misapprehension, truth and error are equivalent species of an identical genus; rather, bad choices are what Aristotle called paralogisms (???????????? = Unreasonable or fallacious).

    The good choice, “This – being such – is to be done,” is intelligible, because intelligent; the act of the bad will is a surd, ultimately unintelligible. True enough, we can often trace its causes to instinctive or dispositional factors, but it remains logically incoherent.

  • Well said. Like many I was brought up an Irish strict catholic, but in my twenties and early thirties I had a number of sexual partners. I also had my heart broken by women and found it difficult to cope with broken relationships. Much changed when I met my wife and I found God again. The relationship between sex and intimacy has shown to be confusing for many young people. I also think many girls are forced into sexual intercourse through little choice and low self-esteem.

  • I also think many girls are forced into sexual intercourse through little choice and low self-esteem.

    And most importantly, from no societal support. We toss men in women into coed colleges, don’t monitor anything that goes on there, and then wonder why our children have become tramps.

  • No one has spoken of the very real suffering that comes from sexually transmitted diseases — ones that even with using condoms 100 percent of the time 100 percent the way they were intended, will still not protect you from some of the nastiest STDs, that you then must carry into every relationship you have afterwards, including the one where you are married and having those children you wanted at the perfect time you wanted them. I’m sorry, but this mother appears to be clueless about the real dangers of the world that are out there now and that her daughters have to deal with.

  • James – “The relationship between sex and intimacy has shown to be confusing for many young people.” Yes.

    As kids we were told that when a mommy and daddy love each other very much, they give each other a special hug and make a wish. Then we go through biology and health class, watch the TV and the internet, buy into popular culture, get involved in bad relationships, make decisions even we can tell are wrong, watch our friends get divorced and remarried repeatedly, finally find someone we love, read theology, and finally figure out that the only working model for a male/female relationship is “when a mommy and daddy love each other very much, they give each other a special hug and make a wish”.

  • No one has spoken of the very real suffering that comes from sexually transmitted diseases — ones that even with using condoms 100 percent of the time 100 percent the way they were intended, will still not protect you from some of the nastiest STDs, that you then must carry into every relationship you have afterwards

    And if you remember International Planned Parenthood’s pamplet, “Healthy, Happy and Hot” (the distrubution of which involved a UN meeting and Girl Scouts), they explicitly deny that someone is obligated to reveal STD’s they have to intended sex partners.

Expert Advice on “Breastfeeding” Without Controversy

Friday, June 1, AD 2012

This is in response, sort of but in general whether you’re in the military or not, to this photo, and others, mentioned at Huffington Post, and elsewhereGo ahead, gawk and wince.

Nursing doesn’t have to be controversial. Too often the conflicts over breastfeeding in public turn into a debate about whether the woman has a right to expose herself in public or not. One side says it’s natural and the woman is justified, the other side says she isn’t because, frankly, it makes people uncomfortable.

When I was younger, I was in the first category, a me-first mentality and the media seems to encourage that mindset. “Look what a great mom I am!” For me, that need to show-off was a compensation for the compromises and insecurities of trying to appear liberated. As I nurse this seventh child now, I realize my approach to nursing has changed, drastically. [1] Age? Experience? Faith? (Exhaustion?) A lot of reasons.

First, that compulsion to prove myself vanished. I’m happy, confident, and proud in my home, and if I must go somewhere, then I am prepared to find an enclave. Nursing, like it or not, is private, and a woman is not oppressed if she has to excuse herself to feed her child. It’s a considerate gesture, an act of propriety, to acknowledge those around you — basic good manners. [2]

Second, because it will happen, when I have no choice but to nurse in front of other people, I do it discretely. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, and a woman’s attitude can put others at ease. Cover up with a blanket, focus on the baby, and do what needs to be done. This may seem insignificant, but refraining from eye contact will do much to maintain a little private bubble. [3] Chances are, no one will even notice, and your mini-withdrawal will put them at ease if they do. Once the baby’s situated, carry on. People don’t mind knowing you are nursing, it’s the risk of exposure that makes them nervous. Understandably so. Nursing is intimate.

Third, I simply let myself enjoy it. It’s not a competition and babies grow too fast anyway. These are precious moments. So what if you have to make temporary sacrifices? So what if you have to learn, by sometimes failing, to navigate uncomfortable scenarios graciously?

Last, using a more appropriate word helped me orient my thinking. “Breastfeeding” sounds so utilitarian. I prefer to call it “nursing” which implies loving care. Moms nurse the child in the womb, and into adulthood. Every stage comes with its challenges and joys, so let the first years be intimately special, and leave the controversy for another day. [4]

In other words, lighten up. You don’t need publicly published professional photography to capture the moment and rankle a non-issue.

 

What? Did you think I've violate what I just said with a photo of a bare-chested woman?

 

[1] More like, all pretense has been beaten out of me.

[2] No one posts pictures of changing poopy diapers.

[3] Shooting daring glances at strangers is a bad idea.

[4] Like those things Mr. Donald R. McClarey pointed out.

 

Image credit: Microsoft Powerpoint

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42 Responses to Expert Advice on “Breastfeeding” Without Controversy

  • “Cover up with a blanket, focus on the baby, and do what needs to be done. This may seem insignificant, but refraining from eye contact will do much to maintain a little private bubble.”

    You know, as a practical matter, unless you’re literally hiding in a corner, I don’t think this is actually true. I think it makes you *more* noticeable, if you happen to be out in public, to be “focusing on the baby” (not to mention that it’s not possible both to cover up with a blanket and focus on the baby unless the blanket is over your own head).

    I’m nursing my fourth child — I’ve been a nursing mother for almost 12 years straight now — and learning how to breastfeed casually and comfortably AND without showing a lot of skin was definitely a learning curve. I’m sure I was horrible at it when I was nursing my first newborn, and I have a terrible memory of leaking milk all over the grocery store once. But anyway, if I’m seated and have a small baby tucked well into a baby sling that provides its own cover, I find that once I get set up so to speak, the key to not being noticed is to NOT look at the baby — just look people in the eye and act normally. Most people assume, I think, that the baby is sleeping. OTOH, whenever I tried to fuss with one of those cover-up thingies I always felt like I had a big flashing sign over my head that read “THIS LADY HAS HER BOOB OUT UNDER HERE.” So I quit ’em.

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  • I love the idea of appropriate wording. I too call it nursing most of the time. It is an apt term.

    I’m still nursing my third child and have had changes in my attitude toward nursing in public over the years, but I think our attitudes are going in the opposite direction. When my oldest was born, I never nursed in front of anyone except my husband, mother, and sister. If anyone else was around, I would retreat somewhere else. It got old fast. I felt pretty lonely. If we were out in public, I would find sitting rooms in the bathroom or some place extremely private. Again lonely. Once while in the sitting room of the bathroom in a department store, I got treated to two women (old enough to know better) completely grossed out by my nursing. They just couldn’t believe anyone would do something like that especially in public (public being the restroom but not in a stall). So after that and over time I pretty much developed the attitude of ‘screw it.’ Not screw it to discretion or good manners and taste, but screw it to other people’s hang-ups. I decided to be discreet and nurse where ever I felt it was appropriate and not feel like I had a moral responsibility to go hide in a closet.

    I think a friendly confident attitude is the key to making everyone at ease when nursing in public. You shouldn’t have a defiant attitude daring someone to question you, a la TIME magazine, but you also shouldn’t be so uncomfortable that you project the attitude of “I am doing something weird and perhaps wrong here so please, please, please don’t look at me.” If you do your very best not to flash the world and not make a scene, I think you have fulfilled your moral obligation.

    I agree with bearing that a woman with a cover-up is usually more noticeable than the discreet non-covered nurser. I know I notice more. Especially with a baby unaccustomed to having a blanket on his head and very unhappy about it. Also I hate it when people compare nursing to dirty diapers. Not the same. Breastmilk is not hazardous waste.

  • Thank you for that advice! That last part was funny, yeah, I get what you mean. 😀

  • Loved the article. Breastmilk is not dairy. Diapers are slightly less gross.

  • There’s no reason that a child should be forced to have lunch in a public restroom … it’s not like any of us would chose to do so!

  • Fr Levi

    I recall a lady, who was helping me with the lambing, breaking off to nurse her baby on a straw bale in the corner of the lambing-shed. I remember thinking to myself, “That child will never suffer from allergies”

    Really, it astonishes me that anyone would feel squeamish about a child being nursed.

  • I have, on a few occasions, approached women who were discreetly nursing, in order to ask directions or some other innocuous thing, only to realize when I’m right in front of them what was happening. They were so good at simply not advertising their preoccupation that I didn’t even begin to notice. Most times, as well, they were quite comforatble in responding to what I was asking.

    I’ve never approached anybody doing what the soldier women were doing.

  • I’ve never approached anybody doing what the soldier women were doing.

    Both of them? I’ve looked at the picture and the woman with twins is quite exposed, but I have never had twins so it might be impossible to discreetly nurse twins. I don’t know that may be the best that can be done. Given that, I don’t think I would nurse twins in public if that is the best possible outcome because she really is very exposed and I would be very uncomfortable with it.

    But the woman on the right looks very discreet. Maybe she could have straightened her shirt there a bit, but I don’t see any flesh so that qualifies as a good job in my book. If the woman on the right is lumped in with the others as inappropriate public nursing, then, to me, she is an example of how nursing mothers should not be responsible for other people’s hang-ups.

  • I nursed my daughter until she was about eighteen months old. Never had any issue doing it in public, although I absolutely covered myself during. I’ve found that most people either don’t notice or don’t care so long as your breasts aren’t hanging out.

  • I’m with Bearing. If you have the knack for nursing with no flesh showing, the most discreet thing is to act like you’re just holding your baby. I’ve watch a pro mom do this (in her kitchen, when I *knew* she had just taken a fussy baby and put it to a breast), and had to mentally remind myself she was nursing, just because, well, looks like mom holding sleeping baby.

    I think the obvious retreat, blanket thrown over baby, etc., only draws attention to what is happening. Good second choice if you can’t physically manage to breastfeed discretely, but it’s a second choice.

  • Fittingly, about a week ago I was at the local Army BX and a lady was nursing in the baby area. I didn’t realize that was what she was doing when I called the Toddler Terrible back from her, just figured she was getting a feel for the baby blanket.

    FWIW, no, the ladies should NOT have been photographed in uniform to promote something or other for a non-military source. It’s beaten into your head as military, you do NOT use the uniform for ANYTHING that’s not military.

    The rule I use for nursing is “get what must be done done without hurting anybody.” And yes, flashing your boobies at a gazillion folks who just wanted to go shopping is a form of harm. Basic freaking manners, ladies. Nobody wants to see your boobies unless they’re married to you. I may be only on baby #2, but try to act like a civilized human. Someone gives you crud in spite of it? That’s their problem. They’re punished enough by being blankers.

  • WK Aiken, “I’ve never approached anybody doing what the soldier women were doing.” Exactly!

  • Jenny,

    “Given that, I don’t think I would nurse twins in public if that is the best possible outcome because she really is very exposed and I would be very uncomfortable with it.”

    That’s what I thought too.

    “But the woman on the right looks very discreet.”

    I think if the photo had only been of that woman, the photo never would have even been controversial.

    Thanks for your comment.

  • Mandy P,

    “I’ve found that most people either don’t notice or don’t care so long as your breasts aren’t hanging out.”

    Yep. 😀

    Jennifer Fitz,

    “Good second choice if you can’t physically manage to breastfeed discretely, but it’s a second choice.”

    Exactly.

    These are great comments. Thank you.

  • Foxfier,

    “FWIW, no, the ladies should NOT have been photographed in uniform to promote something or other for a non-military source. It’s beaten into your head as military, you do NOT use the uniform for ANYTHING that’s not military.”

    Thank you for saying that.

    “The rule I use for nursing is get what must be done done without hurting anybody.”

    Perfect and AMEN. Yes, and if you are doing your best and someone gets offended anyway, it’s a YP not an MP (your problem/my problem). 😉

  • Yall must be a lot more refined than I am. 🙂 You have voiced my general idea much more charitably than I put it. My goal is to do the best for everyone involved in the situation. This includes me, the hungry baby, anyone nearby, and passing strangers. The person not on my priority list is the one who is disgusted by the very notion of a nursing baby.

    I won’t speak to the appropriateness of getting photographed in uniform. I don’t have any military experience so if you say it is not allowed to be photographed without permission, it is not unreasonable for these women to be punished for not seeking permission. I will say that in general it should not be required for women to change out of uniform to nurse their babies. Can you imagine having to change 8 to 12 times a day? Not reasonable. It does make me wonder if there are any military issue nursing shirts. They have maternity clothes, right?

    Funny story: I went to a baby shower when my son was about six weeks old. The expectant mother had a male relative (in his 50s?)who somehow got on the subject of nursing. He was absolutely repulsed by it. He loudly and with hostility declared that nursing was disgusting and it absolutely should not be done in public and he once saw a woman nursing at an airport and wanted to hit her in the face. And while this joyful man was blessing us with his opinions, I was sitting across the room from him nursing my baby and he had no idea.

  • They’re not going to get punished, the pictures just can’t be used. If they did it again they’d be punished, or if they’d embarassed the command or military. If the headline I’ve seen about “military mom ‘proud’ in spite of rebuke” is correct, she might get punished, but that’s because she’s hurting the chain of command. You don’t make a big public deal about how your chain is wrong to tell you something isn’t allowed, ESPECIALLY if they didn’t punish you when they could have. Of course, if she had any sense she wouldn’t have done it in the first place….

    You can nurse in uniform, the sticking point is that when you’re in uniform you’re representing the military. While you’re nursing, you’re technically out of uniform because it’s not in proper order. With every uniform I can think of, if you’re in a private area it’d make the most sense to take off the blouse (button-down shirt thing) and lift the undershirt. The lady I saw in the BX didn’t do that, but she didn’t have a private place, either– did the indian-style seat, drape a blanket over thing. No idea how she managed it, looked normal enough I didn’t realize what was going on immediately and once I figured it out I didn’t look again.
    There just aren’t a lot of times when you’d have to nurse in uniform– when you pick your baby up from care, if you do some shopping on base after work, that sort of thing.

    And yes, there are military maternity clothes. They’re ugly as sin, but that covers most of the unique female uniforms. ^.^ No nursing outfits that I know of, you’re supposed to be back in normal uniform not too long after giving birth. (I can’t remember if it’s when maternity leave ends, or six weeks after that.) There are lots of reasons I didn’t want to be a military mom!

    The AP article says that Captain Keith Kosik mentioned they won’t be disciplined, you just can’t use the uniform to promote causes. If the ANG is like the Navy, though, the women are REALLY going to get hell from their co-workers, though, because they’re going to have to have ANOTHER training day about not using the blanking uniform when speaking publicly. In addition to the yearly blessed training. Yay, wasted time! Hopefully they get away with just doing whatever the zoomies call quarters, though.

  • I don’t know why so many people are so skiddish about breasts in the US in Europe and Brasil people aren’t constantly trying to make them big but are also not trying to worry to much about them because the men there think of Breasts as baby feeders.

  • The milk of human kindness has been withheld from a whole generation.

  • Jenny

    A delightful story!

    Such attitudes seem to be more widespread than one would imagine. Here in Scotland, we actually have the Breastfeeding etc. (Scotland) Act 2005 that provides “it is an offence deliberately to prevent or stop a person in charge of a child from feeding milk to that child in a public place or on licensed premises.” “’Feeding’ includes— (a) breastfeeding; and (b) feeding from a bottle or other container.”

    Not only that, but the Act imposes a duty on the executive: “The Scottish Ministers shall make arrangements, to such extent as they consider necessary to meet all reasonable requirements, for the purpose of supporting and encouraging the breastfeeding of children by their mothers.”

    What is really shocking is that such legislation should be necessary.

  • Ever hear the expression, there’s a time and place for everything. The breasts are considered a private part of the woman’s body and should be used discreetly when nursing. A woman pulled out her breast in church and shoved it into her baby’s mouth. It was not discreet and very distracting. Sorry, but we don’t wear blinders in church and there was a “cry room” where she could have done this. It’s not that anything is wrong with breastfeeding, it’s a matter of propriety. Did you ever think that there may be young men battling issues of chastity or, conversely, dirty old men fantasizing about women’s bodies when they see this. Eliminating is also a natural function; will this be allowed in public as well?

  • Bearing, YES, exactly! You are SO more obvious with a blanket over the baby and mine would always tear it off only to leave me more exposed than I would be if I would have just discreetly nursed them.

    I don’t think we are doing anyone a service by leaving the room everytime a baby needs to nurse. We are treating nursing as being unnatural and as something to hide.

    This conversation, like the being excessively modest in dress one, can actually have the reverse effect. It can actually objectify women more and encourage wrong beliefs that breasts are purely sexual objects

  • I don’t think we are doing anyone a service by leaving the room everytime a baby needs to nurse. We are treating nursing as being unnatural and as something to hide.

    No, we’re treating publicly visible boobs as something to hide, out of recognition that the baby-food source also has a sexual aspect.

    Who cares if it’s obvious you’re nursing, so long as you’re not making a production of it?

  • First off, I was never breast fed because I was adopted at birth. As I understand it, it is possible to milk the breasts and store the milk in bottles for later use. Perhaps these can be used out in public and the actual breast feeding can be done in the privacy of one’s home. Also Michelle Duggar as successfully breast fed in public using a very special covering–not sure what’s it’s called or who makes them but I’m sure there is a way to find out.

  • “No, we’re treating publicly visible boobs as something to hide, out of recognition that the baby-food source also has a sexual aspect.”

    As Valentin pointed out, breasts having a “sexual aspect” is a (mostly uptight American) cultural thing and maybe it’s time to change that conotation by educating the misinformed public as to what breasts purposes are.

    “Who cares if it’s obvious you’re nursing, so long as you’re not making a production of it?”
    Exactly! So why would one leave the room or put on a “knocker blocker” when one can simply nurse discreetly.

    Iroy: Not all mothers can pump. I was one of them. Do you eat solely in the privacy of your own home?

  • “As I understand it, it is possible to milk the breasts and store the milk in bottles for later use. Perhaps these can be used out in public and the actual breast feeding can be done in the privacy of one’s home. Also Michelle Duggar as successfully breast fed in public using a very special covering.”

    I don’t want to be critical of this viewpoint but maybe I can offer something to help you understand. More and more, I’ve come to think more education is needed when it comes to breastfeeding (I see nothing wrong with that word. Breastfeeding, nursing, feeding — I often tell someone I’m feeding my baby). I think society needs to be more supportive and accepting of breastfeeding moms, especially those with little babies but, yes, todlers too, and I think we need more education for that.

    Specifically in regards to using bottles, yes, you can pump milk and store it in bottles, but I feel no woman should think she needs to pump and feed from a bottle when she is in public. First of all, some babies do not like bottles. I may not have tried much with my kids, especially my second, but I’ve even heard stories of babies who won’t take a bottle despite strong efforts. A mom shouldn’t have to force her baby to eat from a bottle when that baby wants to actually nurse. It’s different to take a bottle vs. to nurse. Second, a nursing baby is in control over how much he or she eats. The baby can nurse until done. With a bottle, either you have too much or not enough and it’s very easy to overfeed a baby with a bottle as they might just keep eatting even when full. Third, breastfeeding follows a rule of supply and demand. A mom’s body learns to make milk depending on how much the baby eats. If a mom has to use bottles when out in public, she’s kind of missing a feeding and possibly messing with her supply. Of course, to get milk for a bottle, she has to pump and that helps with supply, too, so maybe a moot point, but I kind of think there’s a difference. Not to say a woman can’t pump and feed baby a bottle when she’s not around, of course that’s great, but all the time when’s she’s out can’t be good. I’m sure some women do it because they feel more comfortable or think they need to because of what people will think, or it’s easier, but I just think that is sad.

    Nursing covers, that’s been mentioned a little. My first hated it. He’d scream and draw even more attention to us. And it is hard to see what you’re doing. I also think it’s a big sign that says hey, look at us over here. I’ve never bothered with my second.

    That being said, I also try to go someplace where we can be alone if possible. Sometimes I don’t like that because yes, it takes you away from the social gathering. Sometimes I like it because it’s nice to get away and have some quiet relaxing time. But I only do that because I have a very distracted nurser. I thought my first had some distraction problems, but I still could discreetly nurse him in church, on a park bench, at a restaurant, for the most part that I remember. It’s more of a scary thought with my second. We manage OK when we have to at playdates and I might try somewhere in public. Recently I fed him in the bathroom of a ballpark and I felt kind of uncomfortable there but was trying to be comfortable. I wish I could have been more comfortable to feed him in the stands because the bathroom also is not an ideal place, so super loud with all the flushing and water running and people coming and going. Like someone else said, I hope it is a practice thing and I’ll get better at it, too. I try my best to be discreet and I worry about it, but it’s what I have to do. It’s best for my baby. It’s best for me. I want to be respectful of people, but people also should not be so judgemental either. I’ve learned a lot through my experiences and I’ve done things differently that I thought I would (nurse an 18 month old? What? How wierd. I don’t think that now.) I’m in a rush to finish this up as my kids are up now but I hope I got some of my point across clearly.

  • As Valentin pointed out, breasts having a “sexual aspect” is a (mostly uptight American) cultural thing and maybe it’s time to change that conotation by educating the misinformed public as to what breasts purposes are.

    Yeah, because that is an incredibly polite reaction– wonderfully caring, and I’m generally swayed to a different way of thinking by people deliberately taking actions that are offensive to myself and the population at large. Including, for bonus points, those who DO support reasonable, polite breast feeding.

    FYI, turning feeding your kid into “educating” those “uptight” people who notice that breasts are sexual (I am not going to believe a random comment’s claim over what I already know) is making a production of it. Never mind if aspiring to become Europe in our social-sexual expectations is desirable.

    Michelle –
    neither of my girls like nursing covers, and it’s a booger to find one that would fit me, anyways. If there’s a nursing room, I’ll use that– just avoids distractions for the baby and discomfort for the adults, plus corrals the older kids. A blanket, though, can block line-of-sight if you can find a quiet corner, and a loose T-shirt does the rest. If there’s room, a stroller can strategically block sight, too.

    Iroy- besides the other problems, including how do you warm it up, some women’s milk doesn’t store well.

    There are a lot of tactics that you can use to make feeding your baby easy on everyone; some will work well for this woman but not for that, and even between kids it changes. There’s give and take involved, just like in any other human interaction.

  • I like the mother in the picture you put up. She has beautiful, long, red hair. 🙂 Her child takes after her too.

  • I nursed three kiddos, each til they were two years old. I’ve nursed in every conceivable setting and circumstance, and I never once had any trouble from the folks around me. If you don’t make a big deal out of it, and you use discretion when baby is latching on, and you keep yourself from being exposed, there’s no reason a woman should be made to leave the room or the plane or the restaurant or the office or the bus or the theater or church or wherever!

    As to this: [2] No one posts pictures of changing poopy diapers.

    I have to disagree with the analogy. No one posts pictures of adults using the restroom either (that would be unthinkable!), but we happily take pictures of each other at mealtime and share them publicly. Eating is a great part of the human experience and a great way of bonding with friends and family. There is nothing shameful about a baby eating the way babies were designed to eat. It should not be treated like something to be embarrassed by. It’s not the same thing as a diaper change.

  • Christopher Michael says:
    Thursday, June 7, 2012 A.D. at 5:38pm
    I like the mother in the picture you put up. She has beautiful, long, red hair. Her child takes after her too.
    ..but she and her child do not have rational, immortal souls

  • Marg there is a difference between feeding your child during the mass and on the park bench. Further more not as many people consider breasts as private parts in Brasil where Men think of them as baby feeders not play things like certain cads would.

  • Foxfier I was just pointing out much it it seems so babyish for men to yearn for breasts in the US. Further more sexual and erotic are two distinct things a boy feeding from his mothers breast is doing something sexual but not erotic. Sexual has to do with the difference between Men and Women and Boys and Girls. Erotic has to do with love for somebody you might become one with or are one with in the circumstance of marriage.

  • Marriage and procreation seem pretty important in more than just a private way considering that someone is going to enter into society, your wife will enter your family and your parents will become grandparents.

  • Foxfier if someone is raised in a large family they generally are not afraid around large groups people especially when feeding from their mother.

  • Foxfier I agree that it is rude for someone to say that the US is uptight especially since I know that quite a bit of both women slightly lesser men in the USA are both perfectly chaste and lighthearted about such a topic.

  • I’m with Foxfier: you city folk are way too uptight. When I want to nurse li’l Baby Darryl Lee, I just untie my checked cotton halter top and let him go to town, no matter where we are – cornfield, barn, kitchen, Grandma’s house, the general store, or even on our twice a year trip to the big city.

    On our last trip, Darryl Lee was hungry while we were riding on that there subway train. There I was, big as life, top open, feeding him, didn’t give a hoot, and the lady across the aisle kept giving me funny looks. Finally I said to her, “what’s the matter, lady? Hain’t you never seen a Momma nursing her baby afore?”

    You know what she said to me? “Sure, lady. Just not while she’s spittin’ chawin’ terbacky!”

    Does she expect me to throw away a perfectly good plug just because my baby wants his lunch?

    I bet she expects me to try to hide what I’m doing from folks, too. “Dis-crete”, they call it. Discrete, heck. I can’t be bothered! These city folk are uptight, uptight, uptight! What’s good enough for the hogs back home to see, is good enough for them, the way I figger it!

  • Valentin-
    the very laws of Brazil suggest that they are, indeed, recognized as sexual. (I know various parts of Europe also recognize the female chest as sexual, but somehow that never matters when talking about “Europe” as a collective. The UK is most famous for it.)

    A baby nursing is not “sexual” in the normal course of things, and “sexual” encompasses “erotic” as well as simple sex differences. (I’m not linking dictionary.com for all of those, folks are capable of looking it up themselves.)

    Frankly, none of the insults offered do anything to excuse disregarding basic manners in regard to either men who struggle with temptation when faced with a woman’s naked chest, nor to people in general who are uncomfortable with acultural nudity.

  • Yes, categorizing Americans on a whole as uptight is wrong. My sincere apologies.
    I do believe, however, that those who are offended by a mother feeding her baby are certainly uptight.
    How do we expect breastfeeding to be the acceptable norm when women and men have never seen a mother feeding her baby. It’s a sad situation that breastfeeding is so taboo, that often, the first time a woman experiences breastfeeding is when she attempts at nursing her own baby. And we wonder why only 25% of US babies are breastfed at 6 months. http://kellymom.com/fun/trivia/bf-numbers/
    Right on, take this as another random comment. I’ll do the same.

  • I do believe, however, that those who are offended by a mother feeding her baby are certainly uptight.

    That’s not what offends most people– it’s flipping out a part of the body that is covered in polite society to do so, especially when it’s not needed. Accusing people of being against feeding a baby when they’re objecting to the things done in the process is flatly dishonest.

    I don’t wonder why not everyone nurses their babies past 6 months– besides lifestyle angles such as mom going back to work, look at the history. A dear friend discussed it with me and mentioned that doctors had scolded her and ordered her to use formula, because that was better for the baby. Her kids now have teenage kids, so it’s probable that those who are a bit older had mothers in a similar situation.

    Breastfeeding is not taboo, no matter how much modern martyers-in-their-own-minds want it to be. Women like that idiot in Target that staged a “nurse-in” because she was “harassed”– when the Target employees first offered her a more comfortable place to nurse than setting on the floor, and when she told them to just ignore what she was doing, treated her exactly like every other customer and asked if she needed anything every few minutes. That is their policy for all “guests.”

  • Uptight.

    Well, I’m uptight I guess. I don’t want to see strangers with significant dandruff brushing it away, or talking about it. I don’t want to hear about a stranger’s dandruff shampoo and how well it works. I find the sight of strangers brushing their hair, running their fingers through their hair in public – repellent (beyond a quick touch-up) I don’t want to see a close-up of a strangers’ eye infections or hear about treatment of or symptoms of eye infections, or eye surgery. I don’t want to see people putting on make-up or curling their eyelashes or tweezing their eyebrows. I’ve sat next to someone who was endlessly picking at tiny, barely visible pimples on her arms, and I had to get up and move. It was gross. I don’t want to see or hear about bad teeth. I don’t want to see or hear about peoples’ gum infections or gum surgery. That’s gross.

    Overhearing strangers’ public discussions of waxing or shaving is distasteful. As soon as the words “bikini area” or “pubic” are mentioned, I am out of there. Observing strangers publicly demonstrating how many inches of flab they may pinch – under the upper arm, or at the love-handle area is disgusting.

    Seeing strangers clip their nails in public is unpleasant – if more than just a quick snip snip to repair a break. Less so, but also unpleasant is the sight of public nail filing. I’ve heard of strangers clipping and filing their toenails in the subway that serves the area where I live. Stomach-churning . . . as is public scratching, public nose picking, tooth-picking, flossing (other than an extremely quick and discrete touch-up in an emergency)

    I don’t want to see PDAs. I don’t want to see or hear about strangers’ sex lives in public. I find the sight of couples making out on the subway excruciating. Get a room! An adult religion teacher was once sharing with his 10th grade students the Church’s teachings on what is and is not acceptable for a dating couple to indulge in, and he shared with the class the details of some of his own early forays into romantic experimentation when he was their age. Almost in unison, the class screamed: “ Eeewwwww-wwww-wwww! T-M-I!”

    T.M.I. Too much information. I don’t want to hear the details about your gastric bypass surgery, your facelift, your pelvic infection, your psoriasis, your strep throat, your gallbladder surgery. It’s OK to mention them, but to present the gory details that, as the kids say, is: “Eww-www!”

    I don’t mind being around people who eat politely, small bites, chew with their mouths closed, wipe their mouth when needed. I can’t stand to be around anyone chewing with their mouth open, spitting food back onto their plate, stuffing their mouths, having clumps of food smeared on their lips and chins, seeing particles clinging to mustache or beard hairs (excuse me, I think I just made myself nauseous.)

    A nursing Mom who retreats to a quiet corner (still out in public, though is fine) and stays covered while baby nurses is being a good Mom and also a considerate member of society.

Question: If they trust women, why don’t they trust mothers?

Wednesday, May 30, AD 2012

SHOCKER: Teens need their mothers. Mothers can help their daughters. Even in crisis.

There’s an article forthcoming in the journal Economic Inquiry by Professors of Economics, Joseph Sabia and Daniel Rees, that shows parental notification or consent laws are associated with a 15 to 25 percent reduction in suicides committed by 15- through 17-year-old women. The researchers analyzed National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health data collected from 1987 to 2003 and found results that are consistent with the hypothesis that laws requiring parental involvement increase the “expected cost of having unprotected sex,” and, consequently, protect the well-being of young females. (Hey, they’re economists.)

Here’s the reasoning, taken from this paper by the same authors.

  • Researchers have already found, using state-level data from 1981 through 1998, that parental involvement laws reduced teen gonorrhea rates 12 to 20 percent among teen females. (Klick and Strattman, 2008)
  • Other recent studies provide evidence that female adolescents who become sexually active at an early age are more likely to suffer from the symptoms of depression. (Hallfors et al. 2004; Sabia and Rees 2008)
  • Research has shown that multiple sex partners increased the likelihood of substance abuse. (Howard et al. 2004)
  • It is also been found that adolescent females who had multiple sex partners were 10 times more likely to develop the symptoms of major depression than those who remained abstinent. (Hallfors et al. 2005)
  • There was no evidence of a similar relationship between male multiple partners and adolescent depression. (Hallfors et al. 2005)

So the hypothesis is: If parental involvement laws discourage minors from risky lifestyles that affect their physical health, then they would promote emotional health of teenage females as well. Analyzing suicide rates will give an indication since there have been many studies that link depression and suicide. The national suicide data was analyzed and that’s exactly what they found – a supporting correlation. Parental involvement laws correlate with fewer suicides. Further in support, there was no evidence of a similar relationship among male adolescents, and no correlation between parental involvement laws and suicide for older women because, well, neither group would be affected by those laws.

Makes sense, right? You’re probably thinking, “Did we need to pass those laws, wait and see what happened, and then count suicides?” No, we didn’t, and there’d be at least some justice if the people opposing those laws would take notice.

You’d think someone who really cares about women would be able to take an objective view of this data and consider it as an appeal to our collective conscience. You’d think someone who parrots, “Trust Women!” would be consistent enough to also trust mothers who are raising teens. When the state comes between teens and their parents, it just follows that the adolescents will not be as close to their parents as they ought to be.

This only affirms what we already know. Parents of teen girls can be trusted – should be trusted for the psychological benefit of a daughter in crisis. The abortion advocate community doesn’t seem as concerned about young women, though, as they are about politics and agendas. They instead say that people just want to make it harder for teens to have abortions, and that teens have a “fear of abuse” from unrelenting parents. Oh, and they’ll say something about how correlation doesn’t equal causation, revealing that they either are ignorant of analytical methods or, even worse, knowledgeable of them but dishonest when the results don’t fit their predetermined conclusions. Some will even say that teen women should be trusted to make their own decisions even when the decision for these desperate young women is to end their own lives. Of course, we all know why Planned Parenthood doesn’t want the parents involved. Ac$e$$ to abortion.

So I have a little hypothesis of my own. I predict (but would love to be proven wrong) that not a single abortion advocate will come forward and honestly reassess parental consent laws even though there is no body of data to support their premise. Could they admit that maybe, just maybe, the default condition is not that most parents of teens are abusive. Imagine!

If they trust women, why can’t they trust mothers and fathers? Where does this automatic distrust of parents come from anyway? Perhaps there’s a cost associated with believing that a mother has the right to kill her own child in the womb, and that cost is faith in people to love their children unconditionally at any point in life, even during difficult times.

H/T:  Michael J. New at National Review

Image: Microsoft Powerpoint

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5 Responses to Question: If they trust women, why don’t they trust mothers?

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  • Informed sexual consent, legal maturity, begins at emancipation, like voting, driving a car and signing any kind of contract. All persons’ unalienable, endowed civil rights are held in trust for them by God, by their parents and finally by the state, in this order. A minor person becomes a ward of the court if their parents neglect or abuse their civil, unalienable rights. The court acts “in loco parentis” in the best interest of the child. A minor child, without legal informed sexual consent to give becomes pregnant. Because of her pregnancy, the court declares that the legally minor, un-emancipated pregnant child to be emancipated by the very proof that the child is a minor and incapable of making legal decisions for herself, or of giving informed sexual consent, or valid consent to any surgical operation. The court overrides any parental notification by legally kidnapping a minor child by making the minor, pregnant child a ward of the court by declaring the child emancipated by the fact of her pregnancy without proper notification of the child’s parents, who have a naturally vested legal interest in the child. The court does this to a child who may be pregnant and does so to abort the child’s parents’ grandchild.
    Overriding naturally vested parental rights entrusted to parents innocent of any proved wrongdoing is contrary to American jurisprudence and constitutes legal kidnapping by the state, false imprisonment and restraint.

  • A great post.

    “Where does this automatic distrust of parents come from anyway?”

    I think maybe distrust of parents comes along with the strengthening of the “youth culture”. Maybe some of it comes from whole gnerations going to public schools and getting together with their peer posses. When they were educated at home things were a bit different and maybe mom and dad ‘s opinion had a stronger influence.

    Charles is in charge. Two year olds are in charge.
    The two First Children of the POTUS are in charge. What do you decide about gay marriage girls? Ok.

    Children are a target market; recognized at economic deciders in families. TV and movies are more and more juvenile because that is who the customers are.

  • To be fair, there are some appalling parents out there, and many girls who have abortions got into trouble in the first place because they didn’t have trustworthy parents. But.

    But for the pure and simple public health and safety of minors, parental consent needs to be secured for any kind of serious medical event, much less for abortion. If I were pro-choice, I’d want parents to at least have as much control over abortion as over teeth cleaning.

  • I think parents who prove that they can be trusted have children who trust them. I’ve seen people with open and loving relationships and it comes from parents willing to listen instead of lecturing. If you want that kind of relationship with your child that they will come to you, you need to be the kind of person that someone would want to go to for advice. Anyone, not just your child. If you have proven yourself to be judgmental, you cannot blame a child for not going to you for advice, or with their problems. after all, would YOU go to a friend with your problems if you knew rather than listen to you they were going to force their values on you rather than take yours into account?

Sons of Cain: St. Michael, Knights of Longinus, and Bohemians

Saturday, May 26, AD 2012

Can you answer the Teaser Questions at the end?

When I asked my political science and history buff, numerical mechanics expert, Special Ops retired military officer husband to recommend his favorite author so I could read it, it was a wifely effort to show love, to get to know him better. He answered, “Tom Clancy,” and handed me Debt of Honor and Executive Orders, an overwhelming 2,500 page paperback brick stack. My eyes bugged out.

But hey, I’m committed, so I read Tom Clancy’s masterpiece tale, and my hesitation turned into enthusiasm. The technical world of national warfare, really the pitting of good and bad individual leaders against each other, was fascinating and caused me to rethink the meaning of pacifism. Through the characters, I developed an appreciation for the courage and humility required of good leaders. Tom Clancy is a master at teaching through storytelling because his novels are exhaustively researched, reality-based fiction. The two-part story (only part of a bigger series) centers around a terrorist attack in which a hijacked Boeing 747 is flown directly into the U.S. Capitol during a joint session of Congress, decapitating the government. It is interesting to note that the books were published four and six years before September 11, 2001. Many people wondered about the prophetic nature of the book because it turned out to be more real than anyone anticipated. Tom Clancy understands the mentality of his characters, deeply.

Reading Val Bianco’s novel, Sons of Cain, was kind of like that, except Mr. Bianco brings a spiritual fullness to his work that makes it eternally pertinent. It is not nearly as tedious as working through a Clancy military novel, but the progression of the story ushers the reader into a life-changing experience, beckoning a more thoughtful dive into current world events and what goes on the minds of those who cause them. It makes spiritual warfare tangible and present, yet with an inspiring catechetical quality. I no longer wonder how to think of angels and demons, and I can almost see the “spiritual space” in the battle of good and evil when I consider how and why certain events happen the way they do. Are there large and terrible demons with their claws dug deeply in the heads and abdomens of men, preying on their minds and souls, coercing them to malice and perceived power, even as it makes them feel sick? Think about it!

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16 Responses to Sons of Cain: St. Michael, Knights of Longinus, and Bohemians

  • “Watching him now, she understood that he had been protecting this bread and wine as much as he was her.” “Watching him now, she understood that he had been protecting the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, under the appearances of this bread and wine as much as he was her.” It is Jesus Christ Who gives us the power to command demons and their minions. It is Jesus Christ for Whom the Angels battle Satan.

  • Five: Thomas, Scalia, Roberts, Alito and Kennedy. Pope Leo XIII. The miracle of the Sun. “My God, My God, Why have You forsaken me?” Dismus. Longinus cast the spear into Jesus Christ’s side, and was converted by the Blood of Christ. Two. Individuals who forfeit their humanity for success.

  • Good writing, I mean of Stacy Trasancos

  • Kindle, $5, boom. Mine. Starting . . . now.

  • Very fun read. I enjoyed it and am looking forward to some more from Val Bianco.

  • Mary,

    “Watching him now, she understood that he had been protecting the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, under the appearances of this bread and wine as much as he was her.”

    AMEN!

    In the story at this point, the narrative is through the eyes of a young woman who is in the beginning stages of reverting back to her childhood faith. She has just been rescued by this priest and is amazed at his reverence for God’s gifts.

    Oh…I’d better not say too much. 😉

    Thank you, Mary!

  • Thank you, Stacy Trasancos: “Watching him now, she understood that he had been protecting this bread and wine as much as he was her.”
    “Watching him now, she understood that he had been protecting this bread and wine, Whom she would later come to realize is the Real Presence, as much as he was her. (or maybe more?) Calling Jesus bread and wine after consecration does not make sense to me. Let us leave it at that. OK?
    God bless you.
    Mary

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  • Well, Mary, if you read the entire Chapter, you will find that there is absolutely NO question about the True Presence. It is, in fact, celebrated throughout the entire novel. It is, after all, the absolute core of our faith. You did very well on the questions: Missed a SC Judge, Quite a few more Oct 13 events, missed a State on Physician Assited Suicide. Perfect on all the rest.

    SONS OF CAIN will receive the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval in June, so if you ever decide to give it a look, please rest assured that it is faithful to Church teaching. Thank you for your input, Mary. God Bless you and I hope you have a nice weekend.

  • I must admit upfront that I did not read this article. However, the title of the book caught my attention and I comment strictly from a biblical exegesis point of view.

    If you follow the lineage in the early chapters of Genesis, you may notice that the line of Cain does not follow through. Biblically, we are not “Sons of Cain” but sons of Seth.

    Maybe symbolic Sons of Cain in our sinfulness and lack of respect for our brother, but I just thought I would take this opportunity to do a little Bible trivia.

  • Peter Trahan, why would you ever comment about something you are not educated on? Take 5 minutes and read the article. Any good Catholic knows we aren’t actually sons of Cain.

  • The last sentence in the last quote of the review — is in reference to the title.

    Oh, please!!! Don’t make me give away too much. Just read the book. It’s got lots of accurate and good trivia!

    There’s even a demon named Citereh. Anyone get that name??? 😀

  • “Heretic” spelled backwards.

    As interesting as this book seems, THAT particular bit seems cheesy as heck.

  • Kristin, Haha. OK. That was funny, sorry. 😀

  • Ha ha, Kristin, don’t knock it til you’ve tried it. If you decide to read the book, contact me and I’ll send you a copy. I promise, it is a lot of things, but “cheesy” is one adjective I’ve not heard yet. Thanks for your comment, though.

  • I downloaded the book and read it.

    It is, in many ways, a good read. I will likely read it again to get the full feel for what the author is trying to do. And to ensure that the criticisms (such as I have below) are valid.

    With that said, one of the difficult times I had with the novel was attempting to figure out the personal point of view from which it is written. Who is the narrator who is with the Pope in his vision, who has spiritual sight beyond the holy men in the book such that the narrator is fully aware and sightful of all good and evil presences in play at any time? In short, is the narrator claiming angelic sight or to be God?

    Although J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were great friends for many years, as I recall, one of Tolkien’s criticisms of the Screwtape Letters (ironically dedicated to Tolkien) was that it was far too involved “voicing” evil – basically, too far into trying to understand evil. At one moment in Sons of Cain, the author (rightly) notes the dangers of things like the ceremonies taking place in the woods – talking to gods is like opening the door to evil. However, isn’t trying to give evil a voice not unlike this in some way? Using one’s imagination to delve deeply into the nature and operation of evil?

    As Elrond noted in Lord of the Rings: “It is perilous to study too deeply the arts of the enemy, for good or for ill.” In that and many similar warnings, I think we hear the voice of Tolkien speaking, and I think it is a good consideration for authors and the rest of us as well.

Go Margeaux! Victorious in Defense of the Eucharist

Friday, May 25, AD 2012

Margeaux Graham is really a quite reserved young woman, confident, articulate and anticipating the future that lays before her in a nation where women have the opportunity to become influential political leaders. She doesn’t sensationally seek the spotlight, and genuinely desires to adhere to reasonable codes of conduct in a democratic society. She takes sincere pride in her academic achievement. As a Catholic, she also refuses to compromise her obligations. This is her first priority, and now this priority has caused a conflict she must face. At a time in our country, and in our world, when threats to religious freedom plaque the media daily, this young woman’s simple and sincere willingness to challenge long-standing, but very flawed, policies and practices is inspiring.

What if everyone refused to dismiss the Eucharist with such boldness?

A Recap. It all started when Margeaux was selected to attend a prestigious Girls State session by the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) in Florida. She was chosen as a delegate based on her outstanding scholastic ability and her desire to learn more about how our government works. The session is a 9-day experience where the girls participate in a mock democratic government that fosters civic leadership and stimulates, in the words of the Director, a “desire to protect the privileges and responsibilities of our democratic form of government.” It is a high honor to be chosen for participation.

In preparing for her trip, to her surprise, Margeaux was told that she could not attend Mass on Sunday, and that her only option would be to attend the “non-offensive” non-denominational service offered for all participants. This was motivated at least in part by a concern for safety, understandably. The organizers do not permit the girls to leave the session alone for any reason. So Margeaux’s mother, willing to accommodate this reasonable concern, sought help from a sympathetic member of the local American Legion. She offered to come take her daughter to Mass, or to have someone arrange for a priest to celebrate Mass at the conference site. But — this accommodation was rejected. Margeaux then wrote the letter reprinted in the last article to the President of the state ALA chapter, explaining that she must decline the invitation, and the academic and civic honor extended to her, if it meant that she had to neglect her obligation to attend Mass.

Discussions are still underway and they are praying for a favorable outcome. The intent is not to disparage anyone, only to defend a teen’s right to attend Mass and to develop as a leader in our country. The accommodation being requested in perfectly reasonable, and defensible by the constitutional and civic rights guaranteed to citizens of the Unites States. A young woman should not be discriminated against because she is a faithful Catholic.

In the meantime, Margeaux has responded to the state officer who scolded her and told her God would understand if she skipped Mass. Margeaux is taking a stand, not so much over being accommodated, but at the insult to the Eucharist. This high school junior minces no words and flat out, boldly defends the source and summit of the Christian life. I hope someone at a Catholic university is able to help her with her future endeavors. With the exception of the first sentence, you might consider reading the opening paragraph out loud!

 

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32 Responses to Go Margeaux! Victorious in Defense of the Eucharist

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  • A truly courageous young lady who should be an example to us all. May God bless her always.

  • This is truly inspiring to see a young person take such pride in the Eucharist, to take pride in Christ our God. I will be praying for you, Margeaux, and your family.

  • You Go Girl. Proud to call you a former student!

  • Excellent response the ALA officer seemed to really insult the faith to an activity which any American high school can do. As though offering gifts to the most high can be substituted with a track meet alone.

  • What an memorable line “You must remember to fire bullets but God decides where they land.

  • What a well written letter. I hope it convicts the ALA Florida officer to advocate for the religious rights of all the girls and to attend Mass with the Catholic girls. Thanks for updating us on this.

  • @Valentin
    That line is one of the best one’s in the movie, it did not hit me till I read your post, how it can apply to our faith even when we are not in a military battle. We pray that Christians from all faith walks will look at Margeaux’s example and make a stand, by firing their bullets against the culture of death. Whether the Christian is Catholic or Protestant we can all begin by not allowing the secular world to take the Lord’s day away from us.

    This movie will inspire people from all walks of life to Stand firm for their beliefs. It is an amazing movie about noble men and women who are will to put their lives on the line to defend their bride, the Church. We need to do everything we can to pack the theaters opening weekend, June 1.

  • oops I meant “lines” not “ones”…shouldn’t be typing before my morning coffee

  • You are an inspiration, Margeaux.

  • So let me see if I get this straight. The organization pays for folks to go to this, and they go free of charge. Hard working people donate money to send these young girls to Girls State, and you lambaste the organization? For not making accommodations?

    Couple of questions, how many have you have ever donated?
    How many of you volunteer your time there?
    Presumably if someone was Rastafarian, you would argue that they also need religious accommodation.
    As allowing her to leave the campus to go elsewhere, presumably you are willing to pay the higher liability insurance, right?
    Agnostics and Atheists should not be required to attend, right?

    You are asking for accommodations for someone who pays nothing to attend a function, and who is under no obligation whatsoever to go. I can’t help but think this is essentially the Catholic view on the health care law in reverse. A private organization being forced to pay extra to make accommodations for someone who doesn’t need to attend in the first place.

  • “Margeaux, Thank you for your letter. It is beautifully written and I admire your strong belief system. I certainly in no way am trying to compare your sacrifice to the others I referenced in my email, though I see where you took it that way. I apologize for that.” She went on to say: “We are a membership based private organization and our members are our voting body. The policies and practices of our program will be discussed at the 91st Annual Convention to determine if a solution can resolve this issue to the satisfaction of everyone.” “and I admire your strong belief system” Atheism is a “belief system”. This is how the Supreme Court and Madalyn Murray O’Hair removed our First Amendment civil rights to acknowledge God in the public square. Religion is a belief in God and man’s response to the gift of Faith from God. Religon is a relationship with God. So is atheism, but by denying God, the atheist actually affirms the existence of God, and that is good for the atheist. It is only when the atheist imposes his choice on the rest of society using our First Amendment civil rights does it become tyranny. Margeaux, get a lawyer. Your “strong belief system” doesn’t mean a hill of beans to the politically correct atheists, and this is who you are dealing with. Get a lawyer to preserve your First Amendment civil rights and ours too.

  • Dear Margeaux,
    May God bless you in your efforts to live a faith-filled life. You are a courageous young woman and all who know you must be proud of your stance, especially the One who knows you best, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

  • Just a quick question for Mary and Margeaux….since the Cathedral is right across the street (or quite close by) why doesn’t she just simply…walk across the street and go? I’m starting to wonder if perhaps other faithful Catholics who attended did that very thing. Perhaps they simply ignored the Protestant service and went to their own without thinking of mentioning the problem. Maybe it never occurred to them. Again – as I mentioned on my comment on the other post – that is what I would have done. I would have called a cab or walked to Mass without permission.

    I’m not saying that your bringing it up to the leadership of this program is a bad thing. On the contrary, they need to know and make accommodations.

    Could you simply go to the event and ….walk off and go to Mass when you need to go to Mass?

  • Atheism is the most vicious “strongly held belief system” in creation. Firstly, because it denies the creature his acknowledgement of “their Creator” a fundamental truth inscribed in our founding principles by our founding fathers, in the Declaration of Independence and in the Preamble, the reason, for our U. S. Constitution. “The blessings of Liberty” are not endowed by the state. Secondly, because it denies every creature his free will to FREEDOM to choose to follow their vocation, that is, their calling in response to their “Creator” which is what freedom of religion IS, A RESPONSE TO THE GIFT OF FAITH FROM GOD. Atheism has no place in America because it contradicts our founding principles and because citizens are free men. Atheists are free to believe whatever they choose to believe. What they are not free to do is to impose their choice upon any other person, which is what is very subtle happening here.
    Atheism is probably the most disingenuous position to which to ascribe. The creature is given being by the Supreme Sovereign Being (there can be only one Supreme Sovereign Being, as two would preempt each other). Every second of existence enjoyed by the atheist is created for him by “their Creator”, every breath the atheist takes is created for him by “their Creator”. Yet, the human being, who claims atheism as a ”strongly held belief system” looks into the mirror and denies that he is a creature of God.

  • Could you simply go to the event and ….walk off and go to Mass when you need to go to Mass?

    If you have a gander at the site of the American Legion Auxilliary of Florida you find the pdf files which contain the application and the rules of the gathering. It ain’t summer camp. The participants in Florida Girls’ State are required to attend all scheduled events and forbidden to leave the buildings ‘alone or without a staff member present’. I would have to commend Mrs. Graham and her daughter for their patience. I would have been tempted to tell the biddies that run this thing to pound sand. (Memo to John: that is not ‘hate’, it is ‘disdain’).

  • “The participants in Florida Girls’ State are required to attend all scheduled events and forbidden to leave the buildings ‘alone or without a staff member present’.”

    And rightly so. This is not, as you say, “summer camp”, nor is it a pajama party. If it’s to be a serious and demanding event, these minors should be supervised by an adult representative of the program at all times; participants and should not be allowed to indulge in random and chaotic comings-and-goings at whim.

    Far from it.

    I have no problem with strict rules.

    These program sponsors have set strict rules.

    I understand that.

    The Catholic Church has strict rules, too.

    So do Catholic parents have strict rules.

    And young Catholic men and women have strict rules, in communion with the Church.

    And among these rules are that all Catholics between the ages of 7 and 75 are obligated to attend Holy Mass on Sundays and on Holy Days, unless prevented for grave reasons. Grave reasons: you’re in labor; your wife is in labor; you have a 102 degree fever; you’re snowed in; you’re stuck at the airport and can’t leave or you’ll miss your chance to catch the last plane out, etc. A game, a program, a sporting or theatrical event or other optional event, does not rise to the level of “grave” reason, not when there’s a Catholic cathedral right across the street, and the only reason you can’t go, even with a signed letter from your parents giving you permission is that some pompous and officious gorgons have decided to be needlessly tyrannical about it.

    No, I have no problem with strict rules.

    Here’s my problem:

    I have a problem with the ALA shutting out Mom’s and Dad’s wishes concerning their minor child, of the proceedings. That’s needless arrogance. I have a problem with the ALA shutting a participant’s strictly binding religious obligations out of the proceedings. I have a problem with the ALA’s disrespectful and negligent failure to have a plan in place to accomodate the strict requirements of the religious obligations of the various participants who may be attending.

  • I will offer you a hypothesis, Marion:

    The disposition of the organizers is manifest in the ‘strict rules’. They insist on governing the movements of late adolescents as if these youths were in elementary school or in an insane asylum. If that’s what you want, its yours. What you are going to get is a mixture Sandra Bullbleep, Ed.D. and Nurse Ratched.

  • Art Deco. . . or as if they were novices in a very strict convent located in a tough metropolitan neighborhood . . . ?

    Completely OK by me.

    Accomodate religious observances.

  • Art Deco . . . when I was at a six-week summer program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the program was tough, rigorous, demanding, but there weren’t strict rules; you were expected to produce results, or it was clear that you were the one missing out. As if you weren’t up to the program. We had folks from Australia, Asia, as well as all parts of the U.S. – one or two goofed off, couldn’t keep up and dropped out.

    Their loss.

    The rules were that you couldn’t work while in the program, and had to come to all classes. That was it.

    At the time that our final project was being reviewed,a relative of mine, whose family lived three states away, passed away. I informed Harvard that I would be gone on the day of the final project review for the funeral. They said OK. When I returned, I was given a special “make-up” day for my project, and did well!

  • @Ann Margaret Lewis
    If she would have left the “designated area” she would have been sent home. The event starts on a Friday so it would have only been on the 3rd day of the event. Before any of the real activities would have begun.

  • Hm. Wow. Okay. Praying for a good resolution here.

  • Whether the ALA finally does the right thing and accommodates Margeaux’s appropriate request or not, Margeaux has already won a great victory simply by exposing the ignorance and arrogance of the organizers. A bit of advice to Margeaux: keep all the documention to submit with your college applications. Major universities throughout the country will be fighting to get you to attend their school.

  • Art Deco. . . or as if they were novices in a very strict convent located in a tough metropolitan neighborhood . . . ?

    They were not, Marion, nor is there any point in treating them as if they were under a rule.

    I can see them insisting on the girls attending all scheduled activities, but these youths appear to have been confined to quarters at all other times and the organizers responded obnoxiously and stupidly to a mother and daughter who asked for a perfectly reasonable dispensation.

    I do not know what is going on in the heads of these women, but I have encountered similar behavior. There are people in this world who are not particularly goal-oriented, who have trouble making ordinary risk assessments and time estimates, and who retain a certain juvenile willfulness throughout their life manifest in feeling a sense of injury when people fail to defer to their preferences (even when those preferences are not means to any reasonable end and are inconveniencing a half-dozen others). I would wager that if you looked under the rock you would find people like this seem to collect in school bureaucracies. Got one of these characters in my office.

  • @Not there yet
    When Margeaux decided to make a stand, that is what we were hoping for. She really sacrificed a lot academically by standing up for her rights to attend Mass. But we believe that God has more power than ALA and he will provide. The perfect university for her will be a good solid Catholic University that offers a music major.

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  • Art Deco, your speculations are insightful and thought-provoking.

    I am positing, however, that even given legitimate reasons for perfectly competent program designers to run so remarkably tight a ship as these program designers seem to, (for example, a very demanding and jam-packed 6 AM – 10 PM schedule, coupled with an alarmingly tough neighborhood right off campus, necessitating – in their view their insistence that the students attend all events and remain under program supervision at all times), all of which may or may not be true in this case, the main point remains:

    This student wishes to attend the customary and brief Sabbath-day observances at a nearby house of worship of her religious faith; her parent concurs in that wish, and will have given her written permission for her daughter to do so, and will have informed the program of the details of daughter’s whereabouts and method of transportation.

    Among any group of normal, competent, and reasonable adults, even under the circumstances necessitating strict supervision, the wish to attend brief religious services, the parent’s written permission giving all pertinent details, and the pre-arranged transportation to and from campus should have elicited from the program architects their unhesitating assent!

    That it did not do so in this case may speak to any number of failings and shortcomings on the part of the program designers, none of which I have sufficient data to identify, nor is their identification particularly necessary. Because their actions in maintaining a persistent pattern of denying and refusing this student a reasonable accomodation to attend the religious exercises of her faith, obligatory by her faith, with her parent’s permission, arising from whatever conscious or unconscious traits or motives, amounts to an act of religious discrimination and should be actionable under the law.

    Even so, Art Deco, what you have written about some of the characters you have encountered seems more and more, as I think about it, to fit these circumstances.

  • For the record, many years ago, I attended a program at an off-campus residence run by Opus Dei, Catholic personal prelature. It was in a great city, and the residence faced a beautiful main thoroughfare, but the rear of the residence faced a very tough neighborhood, which was quite dangerous. We heard often heard screaming at night in the street out back. So the residence was alarmed and the windows barred, and exterior lights and security cameras were placed everywhere, and we had to be buzzed in at the entrances. And for very good reason. There were very strict rules about where and when the students could go. Understandable

    Even so, I know for certain, that if a student of the Jewish or Muslim faith had been present, and had wanted to arrange to evening services, and to be excused from some program event or other, that these Opus Dei folks would not only have accomodated her, but would have called her parents to get the address of the house of worship they wanted her to attend. They would have been very proactive about accomodating her, and very respectful.

    That’s Opus Dei, who are very strict, and in a tough neighborhood, and very hands-on for good reason. They would have been very accomodating, I know they would.

  • Margeaux for president!

    How comforting it is to see how the atheist actually thinks they have no belief, when not believing in God constitutes a belief in and of itself. It goes to show how limited in understanding the atheist mind is an It is for good reason that the founding fathers did not seek to establish the NO God instead of a free market of beliefs under God, for the establishment of the atheist belief would be the imposition of a thought upon all others. Alas for the atheist, our founding fathers were conscious of the “self evident truths” that the atheist fails to see.

  • God Bless Margeaux Graham! This articulate young Catholic is an inspiration to us all!

  • Yet another example of how the phrase of “God and country” is being thrown cavalierly about as if it actually means something. Add to this “freedom,” “liberty,” “honor,” “hero” and a whole host of other words that used to actually mean something. What Margeaux has shown is that words like these mean nothing without the actions to back them up. The American Legion Auxiliary is missing the entire point: instead of criticizing her, they should have applauded her willingness to stand up for the ideals that they only pay pathetic lip service to.

    Well done, Margeaux! If you continue to live your values, your life will bring you far worthier rewards than the Florida State Girls program.

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Margeaux’s Stand: Catholic Teen Defends Her Right to Attend Mass

Wednesday, May 23, AD 2012

True Leadership

“The American Legion Auxiliary is the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization. Through its nearly 10,500 units located in every state and some foreign countries, the Auxiliary embodies the spirit of America that has prevailed through war and peace. Along with The American Legion, it solidly stands behind America and her ideals.

Well?

While the nation discusses and debates the attacks on religious freedom, a high school junior in Florida has put her academic reputation on the line to stand up for her faith. Margeaux Graham was selected this year to participate in a prestigious 9-day leadership event in her state’s capital. The American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) of Florida has an annual “Girls State” program whereby the participants “learn how to participate in the functioning of their state’s government in preparation for their future roles as responsible adult citizens.” It is a “nonpartisan program that teaches young women responsible citizenship and love for God and Country. They are awarded 3 college credits and rare notoriety in the college application process.

Margeaux is a faithful Catholic. That is, she takes her obligation to attend Mass as just that — her obligation. When she inquired about nearby Catholic churches to plan where she would attend, she was told by the staff that the only opportunity any of the girls would have to participate in a Sunday service is to attend the “non-offensive”, non-denominational service offered for all at the conference. The event takes place at the University of Central Florida Florida State University and the cathedral is nearby the campus. [see update] A member of the national American Legion even contacted the Auxiliary to arrange for a priest to celebrate Mass on campus, and this accommodation was denied.

So Margeaux took action herself. She wrote to the organizers declining the invitation, with firm resolve, unless she was allowed to attend Mass. This is her letter, reprinted with permission. Mind you, she is a high school junior.

 


TO: American Legion Auxiliary Unit #21
FROM: Margeaux Graham
RE: Girls State 2012
DATE: May 7, 2012

I am regretfully writing this letter to formally inform you that I will be unable to attend Florida Girls State in June. I am extremely honored that you found me worthy to represent American Legion Auxiliary unit #21 and am devastated that I cannot participate. I attended orientation on May 6, 2012 and was informed by [name private] that I would not be allowed to attend Mass on Sunday.

My faith is very important to me, as it has been to countless Americans. This country was founded on the principles of religious and personal freedom, the fundamental rights that either you or your loved ones fought to protect. It is disheartening that the Florida Girls State program is structured in such a way that it prohibits participation of young women who have a strong conviction for their religious practices.

The only opportunity to participate in a Sunday service is presented in a “non-offensive”, non-denominational service. As a Catholic Christian I find it offensive that I am not allowed to attend Mass and am perplexed as to how this service could accommodate the beliefs of other religious groups, such as Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and all Christian religions. I am disappointed to see the lack of respect for religious creed from the Florida Girls State program by limiting participants to only one religious paradigm.

Miss [name private] made it quite clear that I had to choose between my faith and Florida Girls State. I was looking forward to attending with great zeal, the knowledge, experience, and friends gained would have been invaluable. My faith has made me who I am, it has shaped me into the young woman that you chose as your delegate, for me to deny my faith would be hypocritical. Words cannot express my disappointment that the Florida Girls State program is designed to only accommodate delegates who fit into a pre-determined religious belief system or none at all.

Margeaux Graham


 

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175 Responses to Margeaux’s Stand: Catholic Teen Defends Her Right to Attend Mass

  • This is silliness on stilts! The American Legion Auxillary should recall that the military supplies chaplains because of the importance of religious duties. Additionally this gives them terrible press instead of making a simple reasonable accomodation for this young lady. Stupidity always offends me and the attitude of the Auxillary officials in this case wreaks of stupidity.

  • This is silliness on stilts!

    Think of the source. The woman in question who wrote that smarmy letter organizes boondoggles for a living.

    A curt response from Miss Graham informing said state officer that attendance at Mass is obligatory (“in case you’ve forgotten”) and that jaunts like Florida Girls State rank in any serious person’s list of priorities behind prayer and worship, family duties, employment, school work, and exercise might but this broad in her place for a while.

  • This is the first time I have ever been embarrassed to be an American Legion member.

  • I certainly applaud this young woman and wish her the best. The attempt to corral people into a “non-offensive” worship service is creepy and bizarre, to say the least.

    I do have to question this, however:

    “Yet, they are using coercive force to violate this young woman’s fundamental constitutional and civil right to worship, guaranteed to her by the First Amendment.”

    I don’t see it that way. They aren’t using coercive force. They’re establishing a condition for participation in their event. I’m fairly certain they’re allowed to do that, no matter how repugnant we find it, and that it doesn’t rise to the level of “coercion” or a violation of the young woman’s rights. She is free not to attend, free to publicly protest this abhorrent treatment, and hopefully garner enough support to put sufficient public pressure on this organization to change its ways.

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  • The worst threat to the faith of Catholics in America are other self-identified Catholics.

    Part of the rebuttal needs to be to point out that arrangement nicely *privileges* (not accommodates, but flat-out privileges) Protestants, who have their needs met, but no one else. A reminder to the Legion that the military is still disproportionately Catholic wouldn’t hurt, either.

    And, yes, it is a discriminatory act–it conditions participation in an activity that is supposed to be open to participants regardless of creed with a requirement that one is not able to observe one’s creed. Whether it is actionable or not, I’m not certain. It’s not like a Methodist camp open only to Methodist youth, for example, where such a requirement would not be a problem.

    It is certain that the Florida AL has certainly bought itself a PR nightmare far worse than any suit.

  • When our son attended Boys State, we were allowed meet him at the gate, take him to mass, and return him to the facility where the event was held. The local auxiliary was very accommodating and Nick’s sponsor commended him for making his faith a priority ( he was not Catholic).

    It is appealing to see the officer making personal attacks on the girl and her mother, and equating mass with a track meet. I am nearly speechless , but I’m glad Ms. graham is not. I hope she is selected as a congressional page and eventually runs for office. Or that she becomes a religious sister and joins her community in praying for our country. Or that she becomes a wife and mother who raises up the next generation of clear thinking, passionate, convicted U.S. citizens.

    Her mother has every reason to be proud.

  • Part of the rebuttal needs to be to point out that arrangement nicely *privileges* (not accommodates, but flat-out privileges) Protestants, who have their needs met, but no one else. A reminder to the Legion that the military is still disproportionately Catholic wouldn’t hurt, either. And, yes, it is a discriminatory act–it conditions participation in an activity that is supposed to be open to participants regardless of creed with a requirement that one is not able to observe one’s creed.

    One cannot practically be comprehensively accommodating. Any sort of common activity is likely to be abrasive to someone in some degree. The trouble here is that they appear to have made no efforts to be accommodating nor to explain any logistical problems with being accommodating. Instead, this institutional apparatchik attacks the girl and her mother for their priorities.

    I should note that the people being accommodated are not ‘Protestants’ but rather 1.) low intensity Baptists and 2.) Protestants whose observance is haphazard. Protestants in liturgical denominations are not being accommodated; the Orthodox are not being accommodated; &c.

  • Pretty obvious to me what’s behind this. The Masons want to create a voodoo religion that makes all religious thinking “equal” so that they may then simply brainwash people into thinking no religion is necessary….and then a purely secular One World Government will rule anything at all for any reason at all….which the elites running the show will determine themselves. Just like Mr Obama is doing with the HHS Mandate.
    Catholics have already found God, and aren’t looking for another. Margaux Graham gets that, and has a right to live that belief , guaranteed by the Fist Amendment. In living out her faith, she is actually blessing Girl’s State. By dliberately eliminating the Freedom guaranteed under the First Amendment, the petty officials of Girl’s State are cursing themselves.

  • Art: good points.

  • Quibble here:

    I’m from Central Florida, went to the University in question, and lived literally across the street from the campus for several years. It’s UCF, not UFC. And this piece is not accurate in stating that the “cathedral” is right across the street from the university. It’s not a cathedral. And it’s several miles down the road from the campus. Probably a ten minute drive with traffic. But certainly not within a reasonable walking distance considering the distance, the fact that the university itself (which is quite large, and even getting to University Blvd from the dorm area is a good mile at least, so it’s not like walking out the front door onto the street) is located on a major roadway that’s not known for safe pedestrian traffic, and to get to the church requires crossing a MAJOR intersection that crosses a highly trafficked highway.

    Now, they should certainly accommodate this young lady. A non-denominational service is most definitely not the same as a Catholic mass and it’s incredibly ham-handed of the hosting group to suggest that this “service” would be sufficient. If they can’t get her ten minutes down the street to the church for mass then I don’t see why it’s a problem for the priest they contacted to say mass on campus. It’s silly that they can’t accommodate this young lady. But let’s not over-exaggerate the situation in her favor, either.

  • You guys recently featured the story from The Onion that every possible presidential candidate in 2040 had already disgraced themselves. It’s good to be reminded that there are some great kids out there.

    (BTW – Off subject, I love this site, but it’s taking about a minute to load the home page, on both my home and work computers. It’s been getting worse over the past few weeks. Verifying that Onion article took me five minutes. Yes, I’m using Windows Explorer, but I don’t have any other options on my office machine.)

  • Mandy P, THANK YOU. I edited that sentence. Thanks for catching the typo too. Really appreciate it! You are right, we shouldn’t exaggerate.

    Appreciate the other comments too. Hope to have a good follow-up soon.

  • I am absolutely stunned that the America Legion could be so bigoted!

    Let us hope the National Oranization will act to address this religious
    hostility in public and fast.

  • Stacy,

    No problem! 🙂

    And really, I have no idea why the Legion can’t accommodate this young lady. It’s my understanding that there’s a Catholic group on campus, so either finding a mass on site or getting her to the one nearby is just not a big deal. Why the ALA is being so rigid about it is beyond me.

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  • Not sure if you wanted to keep the woman’s name private, as you did above, but it seems to be listed again towards the end of the letter. Great story, thanks for posting.

  • Sorry, Bonchamps you are wrong. The American Legion claims to be American. Either they are American and ought to apologize for their ignorance or they need to remove the title American.

  • Agree with Art Deco entirely.
    Actually, I’m even inclined to give the organization some slack in terms of what types of accommodations are practical. But the response from ALA Florida Officer (Catholic) was discouraging and infuriating beyond measure. She needs some serious fraternal correction.

  • “Why the ALA is being so rigid about it is beyond me”. The ALA may be frozen to the bottom of hell, else they would have known that there was a Catholic presence on campus and wholly made arrangements for Ms. Graham. After all, that is their job. A little respect.

  • Took me a whole, what, ten minutes to open up the site and find out that they’ve got Mass at the student union building at 7pm.

  • Pinky,

    What browser are you using? I use Chrome and though it’s loading a slight second slower than other sites, it otherwise is fine for me.

  • Somebody call Sandy Koufax. I’m sure he could say something poignant to the Legion.

  • Paul – Internet Explorer. 66 seconds just now to load the home page. If it’s just the firewall at my office getting stuck on something I wouldn’t complain, but it’s been noticably slower from my home computer too.

  • “Yet, they are using coercive force to violate this young woman’s fundamental constitutional and civil right to worship, guaranteed to her by the First Amendment.”

    That is absolutely untrue, and stating so is as bad as what this program is doing in denying the girl the right to attend Mass.

  • As a Protestant, I’m right behind her.

  • Arkasha, I know it’s strong wording, but it fits. Coerce means to constrain by authority resting on force; to constrain to compliance or obedience by forcible means. Force refers to, in this context, might or power, not physical. The superior used intimidation to coerce a young woman to violate her conscience or be rejected from an honor she earned. I appreciate that you disagree, but I stand by it.

  • This is Margeaux’s mom, keep in mind this is the Florida State ALA, we contacted the National office and received a supportive letter from them, also, the school is Florida State University. Sorry I think that was my mistake.

  • I just corrected it, Margeaux’s Mom! THX

  • I have forwarded this article to Ave Maria University Dean of Students Dan Dentino. I pray that he will be able to pull some strings and get this courageous young lady her three college credits.

  • Defender, You are awesome! Thank you.

    Credits, recognition, scholarship, etcetera!

    Seriously, she is showing people how to stand up for your faith in a tactful, peaceful, yet firm way. We need more of this.

    Also, it might interest some readers here to know that I also received a couple of inquiries about marriage prospects from parents of sons. 😉

    Go Margeaux!!!

  • OK, I’m going to do some profiling, here, so if any of you are queasy about such things, turn away now. “The adult role model went on to say that she knows God understands and accepts her decision to work this program each year even if it means she must miss Mass.” The profile indicates that the adult role model uses the “God understands” phrase not only to justify missing Mass, but to justify other things as well. Things such as her voting for the most liberal, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual marriage, in general the most pro-socialist candidates in any particular election. And it does not make her any less of a Catholic, just ask her.

  • This kind of coercion goes on Sunday mornings for T- ball games. There are lots of other ways society ignores the Sabbath and expects Christians to just go along because Christian parents, just like other parents, also want their children to participate in all these neat and nifty activities.
    Why do they schedule all these things for Sunday morning and we all go along with it– forgetting the 3rd commandment.
    Can’t Boys and Girls State schedule free personal time at least until noon on Sunday and still provide these gifted young people with an awesome learning experience?

  • Something to keep in mind the girl state program is sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary. The third party that called on our behalf was a member of the American Legion who works with the boy state program. The Florida boys state only runs 7 days so they do not have the same problem.

  • The thing that made my jaw drop was the letter from the supposed Catholic so dismissive of the Sunday Mass obligation as something one could “sacrifice”. That is one of the precepts of the Church. The Mass is the source and summit of the Christian life, the re-presentation of the one saving sacrifice of Christ, now risen and lives forever. This young woman has her priorities straight and is really to be commended. There is also a lesson here for all Catholics, that when traveling one should have a plan in advance how one is going to get to Sunday Mass.

  • Makes you wonder if they’ll be serving pork to their Jewish and Muslim attendees and telling them that “everyone else is eating it, so you should be fine!” Shameful.

  • The time is coming when confrontation against the forces of liberalism won’t be as peaceful as this.

    May God bless this young lady, and may God’s justice prevail upon “The American Legion Auxiliary.” Indeed, the “ALA Florida Officer” who identifies him/herself as Catholic is no more Catholic than Ananias and Sapphira who lied to the Holy Spirit in Acts 5:1-11, no more Catholic than that sex pervert in 1st Corinthians 5, no more Catholic than blasphemers Hymenaeus and Alexander in 1st Timothy 1:19-20, no more Catholic than that idolatrous hedonist Jezebel in Revelation 2:20-23. And without repentance, that is exactly how he/she will be dealt with on that Great and Terrible Day.

    May God have mercy on this once great nation.

  • Someone needs to tell the auxillary and that Catholic officer–the US Constitution doesn’t protect track meets, dance competitions, and/or summer camps. The US Constitution does protect her ability to go to the church of her choice.

  • I sympathize with Margeaux, I myself have to deal with my Feminist Nazi mother constantly giving me flack about being Catholic and going to mass. The Truth is that the Mass is the one place where you truly can offer all your gifts to God the Father because you become a part of his only Son’s body.

  • This so called “Catholic” guy working as Florida acts like politics is more important than coming to know the Existence from which all being flows as though politics were more important than good Himself.

  • I hope Margeaux came up with a goodhearted clever response.

  • No, she is being neither coerced nor forced. I sympathize with the girl, but creating an attack on faith where none exists cheapens coercion and force, as well as the denial of freedom of religion, where they really exist. In a pluralistic society, not everyone’s preferences can be accommodated at all times. The girl is free to choose to attend or not attend. I’m of a minority religion. If I held my breath waiting for society to bend to my religious beliefs, I’d asphyxiate right quick. ButIi’m not being discriminated against just because a voluntary program doesn’t go out of its way to accommodate my religious beliefs. Being barred from practicing my faith, or being forced, without choice, to violate my religious faith, would be religious discrimination. But none of those things are happening here.

  • Arkasha One of the problems with the reply to Margeaux’s letter was that a “Catholic” was lying about the faith.

  • Another issue I see is that there is discrimination against Catholics here but if I want to run a business and a Buddhist wants to be hired by me I can’t legally say “No I think Buddhists are too self destructive and dull.”.

  • I’m a member of the American Legion (not the ladies Aux) and I find the response from the State Official MORE disturbing. We have to remember that this woman may be one of those CINO (Catholic in name only) and that she really does not understand why a practicing Catholic that is true to Mother Church, cannot slough off Mass for one weekend. She must evidently do it and do it often that this is NOT an issue anymore. “Bless her heart”

    May Our Lord bless Margeaux Graham, and may she be strengthen and supported by our prayers.

  • ” creating an attack on faith where none exists cheapens coercion and force, as well as the denial of freedom of religion, where they really exist. In a pluralistic society, not everyone’s preferences can be accommodated at all times.”

    The problem is this isn’t just any organization or any event. It’s an organization that represents those that fought for our freedom and an event to teach American ideals and leadership. Contradicting First amendment principles may be fine for the Little League, Walmart, or the local Dance studio, but this is one organization and event that should see an opportunity to put into practice what their members put their lives at risk for….

  • Margeaux reminds me of St. Thomas More when he said: “I die the King’s good servant, but God’s first.”

  • I sympathize with the girl, but creating an attack on faith where none exists

    Read the state official’s missive, Arkasha. She was attacking this girl and her mother for giving priority to Sunday worship over the legion’s weekend boondoggle.

    We have to remember that this woman may be one of those CINO (Catholic in name only

    Or the lectrix in jeans, sneakers, and a cardigan.

  • When I served in the US Army I was never denied my right to attend mass on Sunday, even in basic training. Our military acknowledges the right of soldiers to worship according to their religious creed, it’s sad that the American Legion has forgotten that.

  • I’ve heard this happening with Boy Scout camping trips where they are just too far away from any Catholic Church to get there for Sunday Mass. One thing you can do if there is no way out is ask your parish priest for a dispensation. Not that that deals with this organization’s insensitivity or lack of respect, but the Catholic Church does realize that sometimes it is very difficult to get to Sunday Mass on particular Sundays and so they do allow for occasional misses for very justified reasons.

  • Chariots of Fire – The Catholic Version
    What REALLY gets me is the arrogant asinine so-called ‘Catholic’ woman who responds. She ‘unloads her thoughts with a square shovel’ if you catch my meaning.

  • “The girl is free to choose to attend or not attend.”

    The other problem I see, Arkasha, is that they invited her in the first place. They wanted her there, but not badly enough to make a relatively simple accomodation, I guess? If they couldn’t do that then what are they thinking inviting anyone? And now the state officer is condescending to her because she won’t miss something obligatory for something voluntary (she did, in fact, decline to attend!).

    Mass is not a track meet or dance competition. Receiving our Lord will always outshine any human honor, no matter how “elite.”

  • May you be strong to live the convictions and baptism of your faith. May God always guide you Margeaux. I will pray that the decision is for you to be allowed to attend a Catholic Mass. For we know that Jesus in Eucharist is our Source and Summit. God bless you.

  • “Receiving our Lord will always outshine any human honor, no matter how “elite.””

    That’s fine. But it’s not anyone else’s obligation to accommodate that during a voluntary program.

    I think what Girls State is doing is wrong. And I think the girl was right in writing to them and telling them why she declined. She had a choice to make, and she made it. More power to her.

    But I stand firm in my belief that this is NOT force or coercion, and I also believe that referring to it as such cheapens the struggle of people who are facing real force and coercion in their daily lives.

    And in the immortal words of Forrest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that.”

  • Hire a lawyer! Sue the pants off them!

    Margeaux and her family should contact an attorney, and the attorney should notify the event organizers that Margaux has, with her parents’ permission, decided to attend, and that Margeaux will be absent on Sunday morning to meet her obligation as a faithful Catholic to attend Mass at a Church located on such-and-such an address, and will be travelling in a cab operated by such-and-such a taxicab company from such-and-such time to such-and-such time.

    Ahead of the event, Margeaux and her parents can locate a Catholic church as close as possible to where she will be staying. (The article refers to the event as taking place in “the state capital” – Tallahasee, it would seem, where Catholic churches are available. Margeaux and her family can find the address of, directions to Mass times of the nearest church at www. masstimes.org.) She should select the earliest possible Sunday Mass, and she and her parents should arrange for and pre-pay a taxicab to pick her up and return her from the event to the church.

    In his letter to the event organizers, the attorney can provide all the necessary details.

    The letter from the attorney should be worded in such a way as to leave no doubt that if the organizers refuse this arrangement, or penalize Margeaux or make matters difficult for Margeaux in the slightest way over her fulfilling her Sunday Catholci, that there will be nothing left but a smoking crater where their headquarters used to stand (metaphorically speaking, of course – the smoking crater would be lawsuit-wise and publicity-wise).

    You go, girl!!

  • Pingback: Margeaux’s Stand: Catholic Teen Defends Her Right to Attend Mass | Defenders of the Catholic Faith | Hosted by Stephen K. Ray
  • I am shocked that the American Legion would be so obtuse… At an event promoting love of God and country no less! Brava, Margeaux! You are making our country safe for Catholics!

  • I think Marion has the right idea, maybe not so much with the lawyers unless her invitation is revoked on this point.

    She should respond to that state officer that breaking a commandment (missing Mass) is not a valid sacrifice, but a sin. And for one hour out of an extensive program, she will simply not be present. And she should quote the Constitution, the ALA ideals, anything that grants people the right to free exercise of religion without fear of punishment or retribution (loss of credits, etc.) and CC someone higher than that state officer.

  • In my limited experience, sometimes insurance requirements are such that youths are not allowed to leave supervised areas without adult presence, even if the girl is 17.

    If so a simple arrangement involving written consent from the parents to let her catch a taxi-cab for mass and back could be agreed to.

    Lord willing this is all a simple misunderstanding of the ALA coordinators of that one event, based on a misreading of safety requirements. I don’t doubt a simple solution can be come to, perhaps the young Ms. Graham can invite the coordinator to mass with her.

    The ALA in my region have been very active and very supportive of local Christian and Catholic groups in their ministry to returning veterans and veterans ill or dieing. According to ALA’s about us page their values include “Service to God, our country, its veterans and their families,” “Personal integrity and family values,” and “Respect for the uniqueness of individual members.”

    I have no doubt the ALA will rectify this problem.

  • The requirement was not coercive; the event wasn’t life or death. But it’s one thing that Margeaux cannot now put on her CV, one foregone opportunity to network with the next generation of leaders. Faithful Catholics, move to the back of the bus.

    Just more QUANGO anti-Christian bigotry. And I just love how there was not time for attendees to attend Mass but time was made for a “non-offensive” service. Such arrogance offends me.

  • Margeaux’s mom, if you’re still reading, is a compromise an agreeable solution to you? Would the national representative who started to arrange a priest to say Mass at the event instead be willing to order the state chapter to allow for Margeaux to attend Mass outside of the event’s hours (even if it’s 6 pm or 10 pm), and everyone’s parents sign a hold-harmless waiver for this excursion?

    It should not be so difficult to address everyone’s needs: the organization to have full and protected participation and the students to exercise the right to freedom of religion.

  • I’ll bet if, while attending the event, Margeaux confided to one of the organizers that she had just learned that previous weekend that she was pregnant, and wanted to leave for a couple of hours during the event to go to the local Planned Parenthood clinic to undergo an abortion, and that without her parents’ knowledge or consent, that not only would the event organizers NOT raise any objection, but that at least one would volunteer to drive her to and from the Planned Parenthood of her choice!

    Without her parents’ knowledge or consent.

    Pods! They’re pods!

  • Errata: I should not have proposed the hypothetical above using Margeaux’s name.

    I apologize. I should have said, “if a young woman attending the event asked to be excused for a couple of hours to go have an abortion . . . “

  • As a new Catholic convert (Easter Vigil, 2012), I’m extremely impressed, inspired, and touched by this young woman’s fortitude and resolve. She serves as a shining example for all of us that aspire to embrace our Catholic faith and live within the tenets of God’s beautiful Church. Thank you, Margeaux, for helping me realize how I must set my priorities as a I make travel plans this summer. God bless you!!

  • Margeaux and her family should contact an attorney,

    Ach. There is more then enought of that in this world.

    In my limited experience, sometimes insurance requirements are such that youths are not allowed to leave supervised areas without adult presence, even if the girl is 17.

    Well, if that is the case, the ‘state official’ in question certainly chose an obnoxious and circuitous way of making that known.

  • Thank you so much for bringing us this important news to the web. However, I have to agree with those who contend that you are stretching it a bit to say that they are coercing her. I think there is a much better case to be made for anti-Catholic discrimination. The ALA has structured their program in such a way that it becomes impossible for a faithful Catholic to attend it. They thereby discriminate against faithful Catholics.

  • ButIi’m not being discriminated against just because a voluntary program doesn’t go out of its way to accommodate my religious beliefs.

    They accommodated one set of people and not the other, so they are discriminating. Whether it is legally permissible, should be legally permissible, is prudent to do so, or is right to do so is another question.

  • Margeaux had responded with a pretty aggressive letter to the “Catholic” rep that had emailed her. A couple of local papers have done stories and the National office has called them. The state director is supposed to be calling Margeaux tonight to discuss the situation. I am expecting a happy ending.

  • “Ach. There is more then enought of that in this world.”

    Bite your tongue Art! 🙂

  • I’ll bet if,…Without her parents’ knowledge or consent.

    I would not make that wager with regard to this particular organization, but would not put it past a generic women’s association (e.g. the Girl Scouts) or a soi-disant educational agency (e.g. the two associations who hired Dan Savage to deliver a key-note speech to a convention of high school yearbook staffs).

  • Patrick Lahey and Arkasha,

    Point taken.

    After giving it some thought, I will concede that point because I don’t want to take the focus off of Margeaux and I understand what you are saying. I suppose it’s a matter of perspective, so let me at least explain mine. My husband used those words, and he is a Cuban exile, well sort of. He was 2 when his parents and grandparents brought him here on a Freedom Flight and left two generations of wealth earned in a free country behind completely. He was raised to see things a certain way. I’ll let it go and refrain from using those words in the next article (coming soon!), but I wanted you to know where I was coming from when I chose them.

    I promise — no more talk of coercive force. 🙂 I like the way Patrick put it.

    Thank you!

  • I understand that to miss an obligatory Mass on purpose…was a mortal sin. Why would the AL insist this young woman purposely miss Mass and call it a sacrifice? Jesus Christ is the one who made the sacrifice so we could have eternal. Someone call the press!

  • “Why would the AL insist this young woman miss Mass and call it a sacrifice?”

    She’s not going to miss Mass, or miss the event. She’s going to the event and to Mass on her own time, with a signed permission letter from her folks.

    Or the AL will be sued back to the Stone Age.

    This is my hope, anyway.

  • Allusion had been made to this event and the sponsoring entity as “prestigious” and “elite”.

    A truly prestigious, elite, and classy group would have the sophisticated outlook and the magnanimity of spirit to say to any young person, “you have an obligation engendered by your faith? How can we help you to meet that obligation?”

    That’s how a “prestigious” and “elite” group of people operate.

    As opposed to faux-prestigious and faux-elite groups, who are operate as we see here, as know-nothings, petty tyrants, and/or clueless losers.

  • I applaud standing up for your religion, but may I ask if Margeaux spoke with her priest for guidance or even of asked for dispensation? I recently read an article about th Our Lady of Sorrow’s baseball team forfeiting the state championship because of respect for their beliefs. They did so graciously, because they felt it was in the best interest of thier boys. If Margeaux believes it is in her best interest to take a step back for this program… Do so graciously.

  • What a wonderful girl! I am so impressed with her devotion and maturity.

    And it is such a shame that this is even happening. I keep thinking that nothing will surprise me anymore, but every time I hear a story like this I do find myself shocked at the double-standards and utter intolerance of religion in this country.

  • “If Margeaux believes it is in her best interest to take a step back from this program . . . Do so graciously.”

    Be “gracious” about being on the receiving end of religious discrimination?

    Yeah?

    No.

    No red-blooded American person of faith should take any injustice “graciously”.

    There’s another word for what it would be to do so, and it’s not “graciousness”.

  • Faith is personal and we all make sacrifices for our faith. I don’t call the local television station when they air something I find to be morally offensive…I simply change than the channel and choose to watch something else. If you find the organizations practices don’t coincide with yours…change the channel. That being said I took the time to read the other comments and find the hate and vitriol to be horrendous. These hate filled comments are the exact reasons why I find my church to be ostracized more and more everyday….by the way my question was not answered Did she seek guidance from her priest or ask for dispensation? Could all of this have been avoided? Most priest have the wisdom of Solomon and would have nipped this in the bud with dispensation.

  • If she were muslim and asking for time to pray to Mecca you can bet they would fall all over themselves to accommodate her.

  • These hate filled comments are the exact reasons why I find my church to be ostracized more and more everyday….by the way my question was not answered Did she seek guidance from her priest or ask for dispensation? Could all of this have been avoided? Most priest have the wisdom of Solomon and would have nipped this in the bud with dispensation.

    John, there is no manifest ‘hate’ in the comments above. Either that word does not mean what you think it means or you cannot recognize the object when you see it.

  • Ah, “graciously” fail to stand up for the Church.

    Perhaps, John, if you bothered to act like you were actually offended by things they do that are morally offensive, they might take note.

    But it’s so much easier to just keep quiet and leave.

  • “May God bless this young lady, and may God’s justice prevail upon “The American Legion Auxiliary.” Indeed, the “ALA Florida Officer” who identifies him/herself as Catholic is no more Catholic than Ananias and Sapphira who lied to the Holy Spirit in Acts 5:1-11, no more Catholic than that sex pervert in 1st Corinthians 5, no more Catholic than blasphemers Hymenaeus and Alexander in 1st Timothy 1:19-20, no more Catholic than that idolatrous hedonist Jezebel in Revelation 2:20-23. And without repentance, that is exactly how he/she will be dealt with on that Great and Terrible Day” = hate

    ” The profile indicates that the adult role model uses the “God understands” phrase not only to justify missing Mass, but to justify other things as well. Things such as her voting for the most liberal, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual marriage, in general the most pro-socialist candidates in any particular election. = vitriol.

    Matthew 7:5

  • John,

    I’ll try to answer.

    This is something more serious than entertainment, it is something M. aspired to and accomplished on her merits. Her obedience endowed her with such merits.

    Did she seek guidance? Yes. I don’t know whether it was from her priest, but I do know that her family regularly attends Mass and she has been catechized to understand the weight of the obligation to honor the Holy Eucharist.

    Her mother also offered to drive to the conference and escort her to Mass. Arrangements were offered for a priest to come to the campus, to the “non-offensive” service and celebrate the Mass privately for Catholics.

    This was all rejected. Margeaux is not looking for a fight, she just refuses to subject her faith to academic honor — an honor that she in fact earned.

  • I gave a magazine a piece of my mind that they won’t likely forget when they printed a very ignorant story involving a Catholic priest. It may have been read by up to 5 million people, so the damage was done.

    Changing the channel has an impact because somebody is calculating ratings based on the number of viewers, so you are expressing your opinion, even if you think you are doing so in a very passive way.

    Any actual priests here who could answer the question of whether they would grant a dispensation for an activity that is voluntary, as so many have pointed out, *and* that is Catholic-unfriendly?

  • John, quite simply, that is your opinion. My opinion is that the truth is not always nice, but that doesn’t make it hate.

  • Thank you for your responses and it looks like I touch a nerve where I simply meant to offer a different perspective….the tv reference was simply a metaphor. And I also understand a perceived slight is still as slight, seeing that perception is reality. I bid you a good night and God bless you as I am blessed every day.

  • Hate.

    What rubbish.

    Was it “hate” that motivated Rosa Parks to refuse to move to the back of the bus when ordered to do so by the white patrons who wanted her seat? By John’s reasoning, Mrs. Parks should have “graciously” gotten up and moved.

    Was it “hate” that motivated singer Marian Andersen to object to being denied the opportunity to perform at the DAR Constitution Hall? By John’s reasoning, Mrs. Andersen and her supporters should have “graciously” advocating sweeping the matter under the rug.

    No, no, no, . . . no, and no!

    When there is an injustice, you don’t walk away, you don’t take it, you don’t say “please, sir, may I have another!”

    Pusillanimity is not one of the virtues, natural or supernatural.

    When injustice is perpetrated against you, you shout it from the rooftops. You fight back. You make it hard for the evildoers.

  • At the same time that we should be ready to stand steady for our principles, we can also remember that Christians are known by their love.. John 13:35. I think Margeaux stood up for herself and her faith very well. A good example of Christian behavior is sometimes our best way to evangelize (and to change the culture). The best way to get rid of an enemy is to convert them into a friend.

  • Her mother also offered to drive to the conference and escort her to Mass. Arrangements were offered for a priest to come to the campus, to the “non-offensive” service and celebrate the Mass privately for Catholics.

    Worse and worse.

  • A consistent pattern of refusing several reasonable and legitimate offers by this minor child’s parents to make it possible for their minor child to participate in a 45 minute religious service which her religious faith obligates her to attend . . . ?

    Oh, yeah. A jury is gonna love this!

    Six figures in damages. Maybe high six figures.

  • John,
    No we did not seek dispensation. I do agree with you that the hatred comments are not necessary and both Margeaux and I find those statements offensive.

    However, we do need contact the TV and radio station when you see offensive things they would change their programming. We have many times seen companies change their policy or their programming when we let them know we were offended. After you let them know if they do not change, then you change the channel.

    As Catholics and Christians we need to stand up to the Culture of Death. If Marg

  • Hello everyone this is Margeaux. I greatly appreciate all of the support I am getting, you all rock! In response to some of the comments, I am not trying to be hateful, nor am I trying to attack the legion in any way shape or form. I am simply trying to address an issue that is present in an old policy that needs to be changed. This is not to be blamed on the people running the program, they are only volunteers. Yes, some were unfriendly but this is not to be blamed on the whole. One can never be certain of what another is going through at any given time and all Christians need to try and give some understanding to the personal life of others. I am extremely disappointed in anyone that would purposely send hateful emails to the personnel of the Florida Girls State program. I just had a long conversation with the Girls State director Jackie Ihnenfeld, and guess what, she was human and very kind, loving, and compassionate. We discussed where the problems arose and she reassured me that they would be addressed. My belief and respect for the American Legion Auxiliary has been restored.

  • @ John – “That being said I took the time to read the other comments and find the hate and vitriol to be horrendous. These hate filled comments are the exact reasons why I find my church to be ostracized more and more everyday…”

    Consider the following:

    “You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.” Deuteronomy 12:31. We have done exactly that by murdering the unborn.

    “You shall not set up a sacred pillar, which the LORD your God hates.” Deuteronomy 16:22. We have done exactly that by putting Caesar first and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass second. That’s our “sacred pole to Asteroth”.

    Shall I go on with what the Lord God Almighty hates? Sexual depravity, infanticide of the unborn, idolatry, adultery, fornication, homosexual sodomy….

    I was the one who quoted the passages about Ananias and Sapphira, the sex pervert at Corinth, Hymenaeus and Alexander, and Jezebel at Thyatira. God loves His holy people so much that He will tolerate wickedness only so long, and then He will smash the wicked into nothingness if they continue in unrepentance. One cannot have the love of God without the justice of God. St. Faustina’s Divine Mercy Diary is full of that theme. So let us take the plank out of our own eye – the plank of apathy and hypocrisy and false luvy-duvy piety – so that we can SEE to remove the dust from our brother’s eye. Or would we rather he stay in sin and go to hell?

    BTW, I love Psalm 58 – The Just Judgment of the Wicked

    To the Chief Musician. Set to “Do Not Destroy.” A Michtam of David.

    1 Do you indeed speak righteousness, you silent ones?
    Do you judge uprightly, you sons of men?
    2 No, in heart you work wickedness;
    You weigh out the violence of your hands in the earth.

    3 The wicked are estranged from the womb;
    They go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.
    4 Their poison is like the poison of a serpent;
    They are like the deaf cobra that stops its ear,
    5 Which will not heed the voice of charmers,
    Charming ever so skillfully.

    6 Break their teeth in their mouth, O God!
    Break out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord!
    7 Let them flow away as waters which run continually;
    When he bends his bow,
    Let his arrows be as if cut in pieces.
    8 Let them be like a snail which melts away as it goes,
    Like a stillborn child of a woman, that they may not see the sun.

    9 Before your pots can feel the burning thorns,
    He shall take them away as with a whirlwind,
    As in His living and burning wrath.
    10 The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance;
    He shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked,
    11 So that men will say,
    “Surely there is a reward for the righteous;
    Surely He is God who judges in the earth.”

  • Margeaux’s statement makes my comment inapplicable to the ALA. However, it still applies to Obama’s Democrats who currently run this nation.

    Thank God for Margeaux.

  • Thank you for your responses and it looks like I touch a nerve where I simply meant to offer a different perspective

    Hint: accusing people of being “hateful” and the reason that the Church is under attack is rather graceless, especially when it’s followed up by supposed shock that anyone takes offense to such a thing. Clumsy attempts to brow-beat people into a preferred perspective do tend to get on peoples’ nerves.

  • You go girl, stand by your faith and God will reward you many times over. When I hear of a young person in another generation who places God ahead of ambition it makes me feel that there is hope for us all.

  • I just believe in finding solutions. I also have faith in my fellow man and believe most want solutions too…not Arguements. And the fact that you are still sniping at me rather than apologizing to the people you were condemning to Dante’s Inferno and threatening to sue….that’s the problem. Mary and Margeaux, I wish you all the best and God bless.

    2 Timothy 4:7

  • We are called to have faith in God, not man, and it is God at work in Margeaux. Indeed, St. Paul fought the good fight because he placed God, not man, first.

    BTW, he was the one who wrote that “hateful” message about that sex pervert at Corinth and that other “hateful” message about Hymenaeus and Alexander. How convenient to quote 2nd Timothy 4:7 while ignoring what St. Paul did to qualify in fighting the good fight. PS, by 2nd Corinthians 2:5-11, the sex pervert had repented because he was harshly dealt with.

    Go, Margeaux, go! Be another St. Paul!

  • I just believe in finding solutions.

    By giving up and insulting those who don’t do the same?

    Perhaps, if you don’t want arguments, you could try not opening up by making false accusations and blaming those who disagree for what’s wrong in the world.

  • Way to go Margeaux!
    What an inspiration.

    I wonder, if the event lasts 9 days, that means it would be TWO weekends without Mass—even with the Cathedral right in front! Wow…

    And the reply of the officer is most alarming: “And yes, it means girls are unable to go to the church of their choice on Sunday or what ever their day of worship is.”

    Wow!!!

  • “she was told by the staff that the only opportunity any of the girls would have to participate in a Sunday service is to attend the “non-offensive”, non-denominational service offered for all at the conference.” NON-OFFENSIVE” means that Catholic Mass is offensive. Insulting and dangerous.
    Marion Mael Muire: A lawyer insures that their complaint will be taken seriously and that they have a legitimate complaint and will not be dismissed EASILY. It is a First Amendment civil rights freedom case of being ignored and dismissed without just cause, and discriminated against because of her religion being Catholic.

  • Eleanor Roosevelt ended her membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution when Marion Anderson was discriminated against because of her color. My daughters were never enrolled because of this.

  • So, The event starts on a Friday and ends on the following Saturday.

    That means it would be the first Sunday that she would not be allowed to attend a Mass.

    The Cathedral is right next to the Universities’ President’s house, with Sunday services a-plenty. Even Google has it pictured within the colored area of the Universities’ campus.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=st+thomas+more,+tallahassee&hl=en&ll=30.446588,-84.297688&spn=0.001727,0.002824&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=51.488837,92.548828&t=m&hq=st+thomas+more,&hnear=Tallahassee,+Leon,+Florida&z=19

    http://www.fsucatholic.org/index.cfm?load=page&page=154

    The name of the Cathedral?

    ST. THOMAS MORE!

    Also, Rule # 6 of the actual event states that the ‘Citizens’ are to respect each other’s creed among other things.

    I Can’t believe the official actually thinks Mass should to be sacrificed akin to a recital or track meet.

    Tell that to a Marine (40% percent Catholic btw) sacrificing his life for country, when even in the mountains of Afghanistan, Mass is celebrated.

  • “nonpartisan program that teaches young women responsible citizenship and love for God and Country”

    Imagine that officer telling young women serving in the armed forces that Mass must be sacrificed like a track meeting or recital…

    Ash Wednesday 2011 aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, CVN72:

    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-qHBhq6QRh_4/TfektU3BY0I/AAAAAAAAAiQ/00en1yDXbHg/s512/Ash%2520Wednesday%25202011%25201.JPG

    ——
    SHA-WALI-KOT, AFGHANISTAN – U.S. Army chaplain Carl Subler celebrates a Catholic Mass for soldiers on March 5, 2010 at an American small combat outpost in Sha-Wali-Kot in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan. Military chaplains travel the battlefield throughout Afghanistan, providing a backbone of support for thousands of soldiers struggling with the difficulties of war and year-long deployments away from home. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images):

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-NEnDdBHyWyE/TfIWP7U545I/AAAAAAAAAio/5v56G9CZWO0/s912/091212-F-GQ530-034.jpg

  • Mary, you got the DAR/Eleanor Roosevelt story all wrong. When Marian Anderson sought the use of DAR Constitution Hall, the organization WANTED to allow her to perform, but was constrained by the law in effect in the District of Columbia in 1939 that made it illegal for the DAR to grant the permit. Jim Crow was law in DC at that time. The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution sought the assistance of its most influential member, the First Lady, to persuade the government of the District to either repeal the law, or at least to allow a special dispensation for Ms. Anderson. Instead of interceding, Eleanor Roosevelt stabbed the DAR in the back by making a public resignation and painting the NSDAR as the “bad guy,” a lie that persists to this day.

    Sadly, by buying into Mrs. Roosevelt’s subterfuge, you have denied your daughters not only their birthright, but also a valuable experience. Fortunately for them, however, it is not too late. I highly encourage you to reconsider.

  • I blame 30 years of woefully deficient Catholic religious education, which has left most American Catholics not even realizing that missing Mass on Sunday, except under the most extreme circumstances, is a mortal sin.

  • Another godless Democrat lie is exposed to the light of day:

    “…you got the DAR/Eleanor Roosevelt story all wrong. When Marian Anderson sought the use of DAR Constitution Hall, the organization WANTED to allow her to perform, but was constrained by the law in effect in the District of Columbia in 1939 that made it illegal for the DAR to grant the permit. Jim Crow was law in DC at that time. The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution sought the assistance of its most influential member, the First Lady, to persuade the government of the District to either repeal the law, or at least to allow a special dispensation for Ms. Anderson. Instead of interceding, Eleanor Roosevelt stabbed the DAR in the back by making a public resignation and painting the NSDAR as the ‘bad guy,’ a lie that persists to this day.”

  • Interesting how quickly they respond with allegations of “hateful” when anyone challenges their view of the world….

    Here is the response I received when I sent an email pointing out that Mass is mandatory.

    “Thank you for our email, but clearly you have received mixed information. The details included in your email are neither accurate nor worth the time it would take to clear up.

    I am sorry that one-sided information has upset you, but as a responsible citizen of our country, I encourage you to dig a bit deeper and inquire about additional information before sending such hateful emails to a volunteer.

    Jackie Ihnenfeld
    Director, Florida Girls State

    Sent from my iPhone”

  • Ginny. I think not. And it may be as you say. The DAR ought to have stood for TRUTH, Justice and the American Way. What are they good for?

  • @KATHY FROM KANSAS
    AMEN! That is really the greater issue here. That doesn’t mean we should sit around and point our fingers and blame individuals for the past. Everyone of us have done or said things that we should not have in our lifetime. The important thing is that we repent and learn from our mistakes. Yes, that means leaders of the church who had good intentions made mistakes.

    Pope John Paul II empowered the laity to roll up our sleeves and get to work cleaning up this mess. Pope Benedict has encouraged us to carry on. We do not do this by slinging mud and attacking individuals. We need to direct our attention towards the issues not the people. We must take a stand for the culture of life every chance we can. But it needs to be done through a culture of love.

  • ionnes thank you so much for those photos. Pictures like those ARE worth thousands of words. Those photos laid along side the words of the woman from the American Legion Auxiliary in Florida point out the incoherence in our society concerning our national ideals.

    The fabric of America, which in warp and weft maintains and promotes personal religious freedom- is torn. The Florida lady elevates what she thinks is tolerance or multi-culturalism, believing that somehow personal sacrifice of personal religion helps get liberty and justice for all. The soldiers in your photos who exemplify personal sacrifice are shown freely honoring the Sacrifice of the LORD, while on duty.

    The photos, shown in contrast to the words of the Florida lady could make an Exhibit A in an article written by a press full of free curious truth-seeking journalists for an interested truth-seeking populace. In times past there might have been a “LIFE” (or such) magazine cover story which might have done that.

  • in times past there might have been a “LIFE” (or such) magazine cover story which might have done that

    oh the dangers of anachronism– actually in the era of the “LIFE” magazine there would not have been such a large constituency who were so automatic about the multicultural trump of the individual as is the Florida lady.. I should have said, if “LIFE” were in print TODAY — and there were such a free and curious press and populace.

    I wish those kinds of photos would have been on NBC news on Ash Wednesday, or FOX just to remind us all.

  • @Peter
    Margeaux and I had nice long chat with Mrs. Inenfeld last night. There are two sides to every story. We were both working with the information that we had.

    For example: she personally did not know that I was willing to drive to Tallahassee and pick her up and take her to Mass.

    Another example: We had sent an email a month earlier inquiring about this and did not get a response. Turns out that email landed in the mail box of some one who had just had a baby. I can appreciate what it was like to be a new mom, I am sure her email box was overflowing. I have personally overlooked many important emails because they had gotten buried in the pile. It was in innocent mistake.

    I am sure from their perspective they felt this was an attack from an angry opponent….just as from our perspective we felt it was an attack on our faith and discrimination.

    As Margeaux stated last night in her post…they are working with policy and procedures that have been established by their organization. Mrs. Ihnenfeld reassured us that this issue will be brought up for review. Margeaux will be writing to explain the churches stand on this and why it is important.

    It would be great for everyone to pray this Pentecost Sunday for tongues of fire to fall upon her and guide her fingers as she types.

    Pray that through this we shall decrease and He shall increase!

  • Thanks, Ioannes, for the photos.

  • Hi, Margeaux,
    I’m so happy the folks are working it out with you. I have to admit, had I been in the same situation….and your age…I would have done one of two things. I would have researched where the nearest Mass was and what time (on campus or off) and I would have simply called a cab or walked to Mass, leaving the event without permission. I would have just gone. Oh, I might have made sure someone knew I was going, but if they said I couldn’t go I would have gone anyway. And…I would have probably found a bunch of fellow Catholic attendees to go with me en masse to Mass. I’m a little rebellious and independent that way, I suppose and a bit of a ring leader. =) My mom always said i was a little too independent that way. Your way of handling this is probably better in this day and age considering how dangerous things can be. They were probably as dangerous in my day, but I was too stupid to realize it.

    God bless you and enjoy going to Mass. 🙂

  • Correction – I said I would have done “one of two things” – I meant to say I would have done two things. (sigh).

  • “Mrs. Ihnenfeld reassured us that this matter will be brought up for review.”

    Not good enough!

    No! No!

    The AL owes you and Margeaux an apology . . . instantly . . . and their assurances . . . . instantly and without qualification . . . that your signed letter giving your permission for your minor child to walk across the street to Sunday Mass will be honored.

    Not “reviewed”; not “we’re looking into it”; not “well, maybe” !

    How dare they attempt to prohibit a minor child under their supervision from fulfilling her religious obligations?

    This is not a case of “the volunteers didn’t understand”, “some of the underlings didn’t get it.”

    This is a case of top management . . .and I mean TOP . . . holding a disdainful and contemptuous attitude toward those young people who may be coming to them with religious obligations to fulfill.

    That’s what this is about!!

    And on Memorial Day weekend I hear about this.

    I have an uncle buried in Arlington National Cemetery. A Navy Pilot who went down off the U.S.S. Enterprise in the early 1960s.

    If he were alive to hear about this today, Uncle Ed, a devout Catholic, would be aghast and ashamed of what the American Legion has come to represent.

    “Are they Soviets?” he would ask “Are they Communists?”

    Margeaux, you know what? I wouldn’t blame you if you walked away. Sign up with a TRULY elite and prestigious organization, one that doesn’t tyrannize over, harass, and make things difficult for young people of faith.

    Who needs that kind of rubbish?

    As for me, my regard for the AL is now going out the door in a 30-gallon Hefty bag sealed up with a tie-tie.

    I have no idea who these characters in the AL are but they sound more like they’re channeling the former Soviet Union than anything “American”.

    I’d steer clear of them, Margeaux. They’re not “prestigious” and they’re not “elite”. They’re losers.

  • Outrageous!

    Absolutely outrageous!

    And all people of faith should be utterly outraged!

    Mom, you and Dad should be on the phone with an attorney yesterday!!!

  • Mary, no more chats with anti-Catholic bigot Ihneneld!

    Give her the name and phone number of your attorney, and say, “Let our attorney know as soon as your board has reviewed the matter. He will let you know what further actions we may decide to take.”

    B*stards!

  • Here is what a genuinely classy and elite and American operation says when presented with a young person who will be under the supervision over a Sunday, and indicates that she will need to be excused for religious exercises.

    And from the Get-Go:

    “Sure! I’m sure something can be worked out”

    or

    “Your church? Sunday? Well, I suppose so. Church? Yes, that’s important, isn’t it? We’ll figure out how we can make that work.”

    or

    “Of course. Participants who wish to go to church, mosque or synagogue over the weekend will need to have permission letters from their parents stating when and where they will be going, and how they will travel. We prefer a pre-paid taxicab.”

    Preferably, the latter.

    And if the volunteers somehow missed that, or didn’t get that, or didn’t hear that, or weren’t told, then Bigot Ihnenfeld should have sung it to you, Mary, from the rooftops, from the first moment you spoke together.

    Instead, you got this baloney song-and-dance about “oh, gee, someone else has to, gee, I don’t know.” As she twirls the end of her pigtail and kicks some dust with the toe of her Keds sneaker.

    If you buy that, I have . . . not a bridge . . . Ihnenfeld’s already got that wrapped up . . . but a tunnel in Brooklyn to sell you.

  • What a great young lady. It’s called “real commitment to Christ.” The supposed role models should learn something about it!

    I hope her stand changes their outrageous policy.

    Anyone who understands what the Mass is, and Who it is that we receive in Holy Communion, would understand that NOTHING is worth missing Mass for. To faithfully worship God on His day and worthily receive Holy Communion is more important than anything else one can do–those who don’t get this, have not really understood the Faith!!

  • You know, I’ve been thinking: I could be wrong. I could have this issue all backwards.

    Maybe it’s not “young people of faith” whom this organization holds in contempt.

    After all, AL officials have pointed out that young participants of faith are free to “sacrifice” their religious observances. You know, as they would a hockey game, or a scout picnic.

    However, if it is the wish of the parents that their minor child should attend religious services of their own denomination during that program . . . and the parents also wish that their minor child not be refused permission to participate in the program or be otherwise discriminated against, then we have a case of the AL not holding young people of faith in contempt . . .

    . . . . they hold parents of young people of faith in contempt.

    Or maybe they hold the young people and the parents in contempt.

    I may have to rethink what I had written above. It may be worse than I thought.

  • @Marion

    We have received an apology from both the member who wrote to us and Mrs. I

    I am not sure where you are getting your info but I spoke with Mrs. I… The lady I spoke with was not an anti-catholic bigot. She is a volunteer who was unaware of the teachings of the Catholic Church. Unfortunately for the last 10 years this program has run over a weekend, she said they have many Catholics who participate and no body has ever questioned this problem in the past. She listened to our concerns and explanations as to why with an open mind. She asked us for our suggestions. Her/their knowledge of church teaching had been formed by the example of Catholics who were not following Church teachings.

    This will be brought before their board for review, and she re-assured us that she would keep us informed on the matter. We have complete faith and confident that God is over seeing this entire matter. We do not need to get angry or aggressive. We need to maintain a heart of love and compassion and allow the Holy Spirit to do his work.

    I am so proud of Margeaux and her attitude, she is wise beyond her years. Margeaux did choose the elite group. She chose Christ and His Church. We do not have to worry, He will provide, He hasn’t let us down yet.

  • @Marion,
    Your second comment…..AMEN…

  • OK, Mary, good luck with that, and God bless you and Margeaux.

  • Marion Mael Muire: Good work.

  • Marion Mael Muire: You have done the work that the American Legion Auxiliary is supposed to do.

  • Pingback: Go Margeaux! Victorious in Defense of the Eucharist | The American Catholic
  • Mary De Voe, thanks for your kind remarks. They are appreciated.

    I would be doing a disservice to my Catholic ancestors who suffered persecution and discrimination, if I didn’t say that I hope certain heads will roll at the AL over this matter.

  • “a track meet or dance competition…”

    Ah, so in the view of the American Legion, the holy sacrifice of the Mass — instituted by Christ Himself as the perfect way of adoring Almighty God — is comparable to a track meet or a dance competition. Further, failing to to blur the distinction is a sign of an inability to make a sacrifice. What a telling insight about the American Legion, who seems to think it is more important than God.

  • I guess so Sean. My thoughts are that None of those activities, like dance or sports competitions should even be scheduled on a Sunday. No matter how great the organization is sponsoring it. We as Catholics esteem the Holy Sacrifice as no other, but also other Christians should be allowed their services and attempts to keep the day Holy – a day set apart by God.
    There used to be strong societal proscriptions against even shopping for a gallon of milk on Sundays. Ach! (as another friend poster is wont to say)

  • She should go to Girls’ State, and leave the events for Catholic Mass nearby. Then, if punished or penalized, she can defend herself and/or sue. But she should go, with every intention of fulfilling her obligations. Preemptively backing out is sacrificial of her, but not brave.

  • To intentionally miss Sunday Mass or a Holy Day of Obligation is a mortal sin. God doesn’t understand our willful choice to disobey his commandments. The Catholic woman who wrote back to this this fine, upstanding and devout young lady back, is in a state of mortal sin if she has intentionally missed Sunday Mass or Holy Days of Obligation. One unrepented mortal sin can send a person to eternal hell. For her to tell her that “sacrifices” are to be made in life, that there are choices in life and God understands her choice to disobey the Third Commandment bespeaks of the sickening apostasy of people’s faith in this day and age in the USA, the pick and choose faith that only makes us comfortable. This person is not only is guilty of mortal sin but is actually encouraging others to follow her down the road to perdition. What prideful and disgusting arrogance to the sovereignty of God. We are a very spoiled and arrogant people. So many of our fellow Catholics throughout the world suffer each day because their government forces them to hide their faith under penalty of jail, torture or death, yet they freely and willingly go to underground Masses in homes, undercover of darkness or even the wilderness because their love for Jesus Christ and His Bride the Church, because they know in their heart that God comes first in all things, because they love the Eucharist and are willing to die to receive it, because the Blessed Virgin is their Mother and they follow her wherever she goes. And this so called leader of the ALA who claims to be Catholic is trying to make Margeux fell guilty about exercising her right not only as an American citizen but, more importantly, her Baptismal and canonical obligation to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Divine Liturgy commentating of the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Disturbing and despicable.

  • No permitting this young lady to attend Mass because you think your leadership conference is more important is wicked and evil. She is showing true leadership by doing what she knows is right,even if it means being “punished” for it. Sure makes you people look like a bunch of clowns.

  • Thank you Miss Graham for being a true example of a Catholic living your faith, not just calling yourself Catholic in name only. I just shared your story with my young daughter and she thinks you are a heroine. So do I. We are in desperate need of young women and men like you in this culture. Please keep fighting, praying and being who God made you to be. As a Catholic mother I am so proud of you and of your mother. Courage! God Bless you.

  • My first thought was, gutsy kid. Way to stand firm on what you know is right. Second thought, why is the person responding saying anything aside from, that’s our arrangement, it doesn’t accommodate you and we have no plans to accommodate you, sorry it didn’t work out. But instead my second thought was shock and disgust at the claim of a sacrifice, as if obligations to faith are like indulging in some ice cream. I’m speechless that someone would attempt to undermine a determined young lady and even go after her faith, convictions or family to get some silly point across. Wow! Standing up for her values is in itself something we need more of. Misunderstanding the faith you claim to be a member of to the point Sunday mass is an option we could use less of.

  • Because of the VFW’s unexplained connections with labor unions — and the VFW was very defensive about this — I dropped my membership with them. I am very sorry to hear that apparently the American Legion, too, may be succumbing to fashionable anti-Americanism. I will certainly write them a polite but firm letter in this matter.

    Margeaux is demonstrating love of country far more truly than the American Legion is.

  • @Mack
    Each AL is Independent. The position in Florida is not reflective of every state and every AL. We actually had support from the AL…It was the auxiliary.

    Also keep in mind, the ALA has apologized and will be reviewing their policy. Be sure you read the follow to this story. For that we are grateful. Do not hold the actions of one or two people against the entire organization, especially when they have apologized and are working to make a change.

  • How ironic that religious freedom is one of the rights she should be learning about at Girls’ State and yet she is being denied it. Sounds like her case is one that should be up for discussion by the entire group of girls. I think this year’s Girls State should go through the process of setting up a law to further define what is defined as a crime against religious freedom.

    BTW, it is wonderful to see how many really good people are defending the faith.

  • Laura,
    Mrs. I actually said that she desires Margeaux could go and do exactly that.

  • The American Legion Aux. is doing what it needs to be doing to save its bacon. Discrimination against Catholics will ingratiate the AL Aux to Obummer, who they need to get $$$$$$$ and avoid prosecution.
    Follow the money.
    Also, no-one is denying the girl any freedom. The AL Aux has their rules. If you don’t like them, don’t go. Which the girl, obviously, won’t.
    God shipped out from the Am. Legion long ago.

  • Just for the record, I am hopeful that this matter can be worked out satisfactorily.

    However, for the record, I am not buying that any reasonable, well-meaning organization working with academically gifted young people should have in place a policy that the young people are not to be excused from the program, on a Saturday or a Sunday for a brief hour or two to attend religious exercises at a nearby house of worship, on a pre-arranged basis, with their parents’ permission, particularly if it is the wish, desire, and intention of the parents of the minor child, that the religious exercise is to be attended.

    THIS SHOULD BE A NO-BRAINER!!

    THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN A NO-BRAINER FROM THE GET-GO!

    Here’s what the answer should have been on Day One: “Of course, Mrs. Graham, sorry that the volunteer didn’t understand that it was your wish, and that Margeaux had your permission.”

    Parents are the ones who ultimately call the shots for every blessed moment of every blessed day that their minor children spend their time! Including the time minor children are spending in soi-disant elite programs. Parents call the shots, not the program, especially in serious or obligatory matters, and in matters that involve an hour or two and take place very close by.

    What if this minor child had some ongoing disability, such as a severe problem with her knee and ankle, and was undergoing therapy three times a week? And the parents informed the program that their minor child was perfectly up to participating in the program, but it was imperative that she be excused to meet with a therapist anywhere, such as in her dormitory room for a 45-minute therapy session to have a supervised workout, and needed to be briefly excused for this proceeding two or three times during the program. Do you think that anyone higher than a staff volunteer would need to say, “gee, I don’t know, we’ll have to review the matter . . . ” . . . ?

    Nope. Not if the have their act together.

    It would be, “Sure, Mrs. Graham. This is important, and we will see to it that Margeaux has no problem participating in the medically necessary therapy that you have arranged for her to undergo while she is under our supervision.”

    If they had the competence and the good intentions of even the average well-run business outfit, such as, oh, say, and automotive garage or ice cream shop, this would be a no-brainer. Minor child, serious matter, parents’ wish and written permission, arrangements all set up ahead-of-hand – badda bing! badda boom!

    Not a problem! You’ve got it, Grahams.

    That’s how a well-run and competent operation runs.

    Do they even know what time it is? Do they know where they are located on the map of Tallahasee, Florida? If there were a civil emergency, do they have a plan in place? Would they know how to change a tire if they had a flat?

    Bah!

    If the Grahams asked these AL Auxiliary folks: may we know briefly your plans for handling any civil emergency that might come up while our daughter is in your care with your program, would the AL Auxiliary folks say, “No, we really have no such information; that’s not our policy to tell parents anything about our emergency preparedness; we can’t help you; we’ll have to review that with our board.”

    Bah! Clueless, clueless.

    Which makes me say, no, no organization with the slightest pretenstions to having an “elite, presigious” program can possibly be that helpless, unable to function, and incompetent.

    It’s all very well and good that they are “apologizing” and “reviewing”, but I’m wondering, if a famous Florida sinkhole were to open up in the middle of the front plaza where this event is taking place during the course of the program, would these program organizers just . . . walk the girls right into its crumbling edges because to alter their path would require a review?

  • “Dear Mrs. Graham, we’re sorry for being utterly and completely bereft of any idea whatsoever of how to operate as reasonable adults.

    Entrust your daughter to us for nine days anyway.

    Thank you. And again our apologies for being two fries short of a Happy Meal.

    Sincerely,

    The American Legion Auxiliary of Florida.”

    That’s the wording I want to see on their apology.

  • OK let us clear up this whole “personal issue”, if you are going to be Catholic you have to be fully Catholic that means at work, at home, at the bar, at a party, and in public. If somebody wrongly accuses you or lies in public you can bring it up in public, I certainly think it is probably wise not to bait the Nazis but if possible bringing such a thing to bear might aid in finding a solution to the problem because pussy footing does not help in asking people why they did something.

  • SO……..the Cathedral is across the street from this young woman’s classes of 9 days. A Cathedral should have a Mass, at least one on Sunday, unless the Cathedral is under some sort of renovation.

    Would not an hour on Sunday be permitted so anyone who wants to attend their respective religious program be allowed? So all the girls attending could go to a religious program of their liking. Does not the leadership program have some sort of religion component in the syllabus? What planet are we on here!

    Patricia in St. Louis, MO

  • Contact the Legion – Boycot the Legion

  • I wish we could click like next to the comments….

    The last two address core of the issue here. If they are going to run over Saturday and Sunday then they should accommodation all religious sects. Respect of religious creed is a critical element of there mission. Their protestant service is actually planned by their girls and executed. Which means that they have time allotted for the girls to work on this. They could make that an educational element of their program in some way shape or form. Really the easiest solution for this matter is to run from Sunday to Saturday like the boys state does. Catholics could go to mass on Saturday before and they are home for mass on Sunday.

    According to them they have a high number of Catholics and Catholic High schools that participate each year and this is the first time that it has come up. It is discouraging to hear that so many Catholics have ignored this for so many years.

  • “According to them they have a high number of Cahtolics and Catholic high schools that participate each year, and this is the first time that it has come up.”

    Indeed.

    My, my! What a surprise!

    In’t that Margeaux Graham jis’ the meanist an’ the orneriest gal you’d ever want to meet?

    Makin’ a dust-up like this? About her goin’ ta her Papist Church on Sunday?

    Ah jes’ don’ know what this world is comin’ to; I really don’t!

    Let’s tell ‘er – ah know – let’s tell ‘er she’s th’only one! We’ve nevah had this come up before with all the many, many Papists who’ve come through here.

    That’ll flap her flippers real good. Spiteful li’l thang!

    That was one possibility.

    All right; maybe they really had never heard of any Catholics coming through the program wanting to attend Holy Mass. Maybe that’s all true. However, that raises a new question: shouldn’t it have been necessary to have some board review the decision to release this piece of information about Catholic participants in prior years, and “then get back to us” . . . ?

    Or maybe:

    (1) this is the first year that the program has run over the course of the entire weekend; perhaps in previous years the girls’ program ran from Sunday to Saturday, as the boys’ state does. So any faithful Catholic female participants were in previous years free to to assist at Holy Mass before reporting in to participate fully in the program.

    (2) in previous years, the girls’ program did run nine days, and in previous years, when faithful Catholic families learned that their minor children would be precluded and hindered from participating in the program AND meeting their Sunday obligations, as their parents wished, the parents decided not to have their daughters participate.

    Everything I hear out of this crew sounds more and more dodgy to me.

  • Catholics should be VERY PROUD of Margeaux for stanching up. God bless her. All the officials, including the “Catholic” traitor–are wrong. Our country is in a Battle for religious freedom.

  • According to them they have a high number of Catholics and Catholic High schools that participate each year and this is the first time that it has come up. It is discouraging to hear that so many Catholics have ignored this for so many years.

    I will wager them’s making this part up.

  • Let’s see: this director of the program says she didn’t know that Catholics are obligated to attend Catholic services on Sunday; didn’t know that Margeaux’s mother had offered to drive to Tallahasee to convey her daughter to Mass; didn’t know that Margeaux’s parents had tried to follow up with an email . . .

    Didn’t know, didn’t know , didn’t know. . .

    But here’s one thing she knows: she knows that there are many Catholics who have participated in this program, and this difficulty about Mass has never come up before.

    That she knows.

    If this lady happened to comment to me that the sun was shining outside, I’d look out the window for myself before putting away my umbrella.

  • Thank you for your responses and it looks like I touch a nerve where I simply meant to offer a different perspective…

    No, you came here to vent, call people names and feel superior to those tax collectors over there.

    Have a nice day.

  • I just believe in finding solutions.

    Ow.

    Need help getting my eyes to roll back down….

    Ow ow ow…

  • Dear Mary & Margeaux,

    I hope they do resolve this situation to a happy satisfaction. Providentially, the Holy Spirit novena has been going on these past 9 days. Happy Pentecost! Perhaps this cross was necessary for you to endure to bring the message of the LIVING Holy Spirit to this other uninformed (and a bit insulting) Catholic volunteer who clearly doesn’t understand her faith as well as for other future Catholic participants. If we have crosses, they are gifts from God He entrusts to our care to awaken His love in us as well as all of His other children. Perhaps this has made such a stir and with your charity, will cause others to reflect deeper on the seriousness with which people do take their faith. If people are free to be lukewarm, they must certainly be free to be devout.

    Of all the things troubling about how this was handled, it most sad that this woman would seek to minimize in stating this is the first time in 10 years it has been an issue, as though the problem is with you and not their format. It matters so little that you are the first to bring it up. It is a problem. It needs addressing. Period. End of Sentence. You are not the freak here for taking your faith seriously or making waves. You are faithful to the Church and trying to be to your country as well. It is commendable and admirable. If it is singled out, then know you are in good company with the saints, as another pointed out with St. Thomas More (had that feeling as well). I will ask his intercession since not only is he the patron of legal issues, which this is not, but also the first to start the trend in all of England and then onto Europe of educating his daughters in Latin and other topics formerly reserved only for sons and thereby the education of all women. Your daughter reaps these results, as do all of our daughters in the Western World, for his courage, faith and love. He will help you as you clear this matter.

    But the insults she gave to you as a mother, Mary, well that is hard to fathom b/c it is in print. It is one thing to accept a person’s rejection of attendance and yet another to add insult ontop of the obvious injury. This was in poor taste and reflect a lack of basic civility that seems par for the course with one who likewise belittles her own faith. You have made her uncomfortable and so she has lashed out and who knows, perhaps in the end, you will awaken her. She would not have needed to insult Mary’s ‘negative impact’ upon her daughter had she not felt threatened and convicted of her own lukewarm approach to her faith. She could’ve simply written it off and not needed to make these personal attacks. And yet in this month of May, the month of Mary, it is more than obvious she insults her Heavenly mother all the more than you as she derides your role as a mother and therefore all of motherhood, including her own earthly mother. Even if she thought these things, it is another thing to write them as a reflection of her own poor character and that reflects poorly of her understanding of mothers. I will pray for this woman in my rosary.

    As for attending mass if you do happen to go, (wow! I just looked up the Co-Cathedral and did not realize it was St. Thomas More–ha!), I hope it is a morning mass. We went one time to the student 6pm mass as we were on the road and running late (drive every year through Florida) and it was not a good experience; a bit scandalizing truth to be told. It was more of the students and less of the priest and so hopefully the morning mass will be different. We just vowed never to stop in again though we go to St. Louis sometimes off of I-10.

    Peace be with you and I pray this gets resolved shortly. It sounds like you are on the path!

    Kerrie

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  • Kerrie,
    Thank you for your kind words, they are appreciated. I hope you read the second article, it has Margeaux’s response to their letter, she did a great job. I am a middle child of 9, needless to say I have pretty thick skin. We believe that God had a bigger plans for Margeaux then attending Girls State, we are looking forward to opportunities that await her.

    God Bless,
    Mary

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  • Marion (Mael Muire)…..glad your on our side! 🙂

    Thank you to Margeaux and her mom for taking this to where it needed to go. God Bless!

  • johnnyc wrote, “Marion (Mael Muire) . . . glad you’re on our side!”

    Thanks, . . . I think, johnny . . . Listen, I appreciate our faithful Catholic young people so much and want to do all I can to support them. Some people in my age group like to say that the Church’s future is over; it’s finished; the young aren’t faithful anymore . . . etc. I don’t see that at all. I see a good number of faithful Catholic young people who are devoted to Christ . . . they are my heroes. And I thank God for them.

  • I’m very glad Margeaux is a witness to the importance of the Eucharist. And I’m very very glad she is proceeding in both strength *and* charity. Some of the almost knee jerk attack and ‘circle the wagons’! response we Catholics often have to stuff like this can be a poor witness to our faith. We have to take a stand, and hold our ground, but do so in CHARITY and not always assume the worst. Faith and Reason.

    It’s very sad Margeaux is the first Catholic to do this in the program’s experience. What a shame. But I’m glad she’s done this simple and basic thing- it needed to be done.

  • It’s very sad Margeaux is the first Catholic to do this in the program’s experience.

    I would not assume the organizers are telling the truth about that.

  • That’s fine. But it’s not anyone else’s obligation to accommodate that during a voluntary program.

    Except that they already do, with their “inoffensive” accommodation of low-church Protestants. Some animals are more equal than others in Girls’ State.

    The military is also a voluntary activity, at present, but “inoffensive” sops to broad churchers only wouldn’t cut the mustard. Yes, I do recognize that the military is an arm of the state subject to the Constitution (albeit in a special way), but all analogies limp.

    No, it’s not what Christians are enduring in Muslim lands, or in China, but it’s still a good idea to at least recognize discrimination when it delivers an uppercut.

  • “It’s very sad that Margeaux is the first Catholic to do this in the program’s experience.”

    “I would not assume the organizers are telling the truth about that.”

    In all charity, I would like to suggest that instances in which faithful Catholics had inquired about an accomodation in the form of permission to depart the premises to attend Holy Mass, with their parents’ written knowledge and consent, and had met with refusal by the program, may not have communicated themselves to this particular spokesperson, and if they did, the spokesperson may have experienced a transient and inexplicable spell of forgetfulness with regard to them.

    That much more fortuitous for all concerned, then, that Margeaux’s valor has brought this question to an ineffable forefront.

  • With the college Catholic group having Mass there, at 6pm on a Sunday? Yeah, I’m pretty sure anybody else worried about it just went. Never made any high-level waves because whoever is chaperoning wasn’t going to insist that the girls miss Mass when it’s right there, and didn’t mention it to anyone above them who might get angry because it’s a technical violation. Pretty common in the enlisted areas. ^.^

  • Bravo for Margeaux’s faith coming first! Bravo for one so young to do this! I would make the exact same chice as Margeaux if I had to — and write the same letter. Shame on those who require faith-filled students like Margeaux to have to choose between their faith and a civil commitment.

  • May Margeaux’s future be blessed! She is an exceptional person, truly understanding that Holy Mass is our Lord’s real presence and sacrifice for us. And acting accordingly!

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  • Doc Kimbel; where in the world did you come up with the Mason’s having anything to do with this issue? As a Mason, I am offended by your remarks, and as a Paid Up For Life member, and twice Past Commander of my local American Legion Post, I find you to be less than honorable, lacking in knowledge of the topic, and totally unbelievable. The young lady should get a medal for taking her stand, and young people across this country would be wise to head her words of wisdom.

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  • After she accused Margeaux’s mother of creating a “negative impact” on her daughter, the officer went on to scold, “Life is full of choices and she will be faced with many in her lifetime. One of life’s lessons is she can’t go through life blaming others for the decisions she makes.”

    Wow really? an adult responded with insults? I am sorry but who is the adult & the child? or better who is the Christian & not? . . . I cannot believe the condescending & insulting reply the director gave to this girl. Margeaux gave a good rising above it, well thought out letter & this is the immaturity she gets in return? . . . news flash to this director Mass every Sunday is a “HOLY DAY OF OBLIGATION” & we are to “Sacrifice” things of the world & of man to attend “Mass” the Holy Sacrifice not the other way around! I can’t stand watered down, liberal Catholics! they are an insult to the entire Roman Catholic Church & also all Eastern Orthodox churches too! How dare she put some man made organization before God! & have the nerve to make such a statement. newsflash to this director…NO ONE NEEDS this organization or what they offer on a college resume to get a good solid education! biggest bunch of BULL! I am sorry but this woman to me & to many Catholics is not really Catholic! If she really were, her response would have reflected alot more of Christ’s love than what she exhibited in her response! Her response says ALOT! I don’t understand why these students or girls can’t be given sundays off! If I were Margeaxu’s mother I’d have a whole lot to say to this woman along with a law suit! & you damn sure bet I’d go to the news & demand an apology to my daughter for speaking to her like that! that was completely uncalled for by the director! if I were a priest & knew this director & knew of the situation I would deny her communion over it! its insulting ….to the Eucharist!