Atheist Rally a Bust

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What if they gave an atheist rally and nobody came?  From the blog The Friendly Atheist we find out what happened at Reason Rally 2016 in Washington DC:

 

Where Was the Crowd for the Reason Rally?

No official crowd estimates have been released. But even in the early afternoon, when the crowd was likely at its peak, nothing I saw suggested “15,000 to 20,000” in attendance, as the organizers told Religion News Service. I’d put the range at about half of that, but we’ll see.

Did something go wrong?

Let me say up front that I don’t think this is *that* big of an issue. If the people who showed up had a good time and left the event energized and committed to activism back home, that’s a better gauge of success than some arbitrary attendance figure. But a low turnout still takes a lot of the air out of what was an otherwise great event.

So let’s talk about what may have contributed to that.

 

Continue reading

June 6, 1944: D-Day-FDR Prayer

(The video inserts material not related to D-Day.  I will give it a pass.  D-Day, with the passage of the decades, has become a symbol of the entire US war effort in World War II, an effort which deserves to be remembered.)

 

My fellow Americans: Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.
And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:
Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.
Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.
They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.
They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest-until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war.
For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and good will among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.
Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.
And for us at home – fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas – whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them – help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.
Many people have urged that I call the Nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.
Give us strength, too – strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.
And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.
And, O Lord, give us Faith. Give us Faith in Thee; Faith in our sons; Faith in each other; Faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.
With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogancies. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister Nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.
Thy will be done, Almighty God.
Amen.

June 6, 1984: Reagan’s Speech on the 40th Anniversary of D-Day

 

We’re here to mark that day in history when the Allied peoples joined in battle to reclaim this continent to liberty. For four long years, much of Europe had been under a terrible shadow. Free nations had fallen, Jews cried out in the camps, millions cried out for liberation. Europe was enslaved, and the world prayed for its rescue. Here in Normandy the rescue began. Here the Allies stood and fought against tyranny in a giant undertaking unparalleled in human history.

We stand on a lonely, windswept point on the northern shore of France. The air is soft, but forty years ago at this moment, the air was dense with smoke and the cries of men, and the air was filled with the crack of rifle fire and the roar of cannon. At dawn, on the morning of the 6th of June 1944, 225 Rangers jumped off the British landing craft and ran to the bottom of these cliffs. Their mission was one of the most difficult and daring of the invasion: to climb these sheer and desolate cliffs and take out the enemy guns. The Allies had been told that some of the mightiest of these guns were here and they would be trained on the beaches to stop the Allied advance.

The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers — at the edge of the cliffs shooting down at them with machine-guns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After two days of fighting only ninety could still bear arms.

Behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Scholas Occurrentes

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Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa describes the Pope’s enthusiasm for Scholas Occurrentes:

 

 

 

ROME, June 3, 2016 – More than a dozen public meetings in less than three years, almost always with a steady stream of stars from sports and entertainment. There is no other creature of his for which Francis shows greater affection: the last time was Sunday, May 29, with the pope’s guests being none less than George Clooney and Richard Gere.

This beloved creature of his is called Scholas Occurrentes, schools for encounter. And it came to light in Buenos Aires when he was archbishop there.

This is how the pope described its birth, in one of the video conferences with which he loves to address students of the Scholas all over the world from the Vatican, on September 4, 2014, with the two founders by his side:

“Scholas was born… I was about to say by accident, but no, it was not by accident. It was born from an idea of this gentleman here, José María del Corral, assisted by Enrique Palmeyro. It was born by forming a network of ‘escuelas de vecinos,’ neighborhood schools, to build bridges among the schools of Buenos Aires. And it has built many bridges, and now even transoceanic bridges. It began as a small thing, as a dream, as something that we didn’t know if it would succeed, and today we can communicate among ourselves. Why? Because we are convinced that young people need to communicate with each other, they need to show their values and share their values. Young people today need three fundamental pillars: instruction, sports, and culture.”

Today there are more than 400,000 Scholas Occurrentes, in about eighty countries on five continents. And since August 15, 2015 they have been a “pious foundation” of pontifical right, established as such by a chirograph of Pope Francis:

> Quirógrafo

The chirograph recognizes their aims as “congruent with the mission of the Church.”

But if one explores the official website of the Scholas, with the programs, objectives, activities, one can find nothing, absolutely nothing that is specifically Christian, much less Catholic: Continue reading

June 6, 1944: The Great Crusade

 

 

SUPREME HEADQUARTERS
ALLIED EXPEDITIONARY FORCE

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

I have full confidence in your courage and devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

(Signed, ‘Dwight D. Eisenhower’) Continue reading

A Jesuit, A Dominican and a Franciscan

 

Aquinas

 

Time for a little Catholic humor, this time using the staple of Order jokes:

A Jesuit, a Dominican and a Franciscan are driving cars and have a terrible pile up.  All three are killed instantly, go to their particular judgments and receive instant admission to Heaven.  Here are their reactions as they view the vistas of the Kingdom of Love Eternal:

Franciscan:  “This is exactly how Father Francis said it would be!”

Jesuit:  “This is exactly how I thought it would be!”

Dominican:  “Hey, wait a minute!  What’s the Jesuit doing here?”

Tell your jokes in the comboxes.

Edward Feser on Islamophobia

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Philosopher Edward Feser at his blog has a very interesting post on the concept of  “Islamophilia” and its twin,”Islamophobia”, a term used commonly to shut up people who note the obvious:  that adherents to Islam commit most acts of terrorism in the modern world:

By the same token, it would be ridiculous to dismiss McCarthy’s claim merely on the grounds that it must reflect nothing more than “Islamophobic” “bigotry.”  Indeed, McCarthy could fling an accusation of “Islamophilic bigotry” back at anyone who would make such a claim.  As I pointed out in the post on liberalism and Islam, there are several factors that predispose political liberals too quickly to dismiss the very suggestion that there might be a connection between Islamic doctrine on the one hand and violence and illiberal politics on the other.  For example, the very workability of liberalism as a political project presupposes that what John Rawls called “comprehensive doctrines,” or at least comprehensive doctrines with a large number of adherents, are compatible with basic liberal premises (and thus “reasonable,” as Rawlsian liberals conceive of “reasonableness”). If it turned out there is a “comprehensive doctrine” with a large number of adherents which is simply not compatible with basic liberal premises, that would be a very serious problem for the entire liberal project.  Hence liberals are bound to be reluctant to conclude that there is any such “comprehensive doctrine,” or to look for evidence that might support such a conclusion. 

Then there is the fact that egalitarianism is one of the dogmas of modern liberalism, just as the divinity of Christ is a dogma of Christianity or the divine origin of the Quran is a dogma of Islam.  Many liberals find it almost impossible to understand how even a mildly negative characterization of some religion, culture, or group could be anything but an expression of unreasoning hatred.  Hence epithets like “bigot” play, within liberalism, the same role that words like “heretic” often do within religion.  They are a means of silencing dissenters and sending a warning to anyone even considering dissent from egalitarianism.  The irony is that plugging one’s ears and screaming “Bigot!” at someone who is trying to present a reasoned argument is, of course, itself a kind of bigotry — perhaps the worst kind, insofar as someone self-righteously in love with the idea that he is the paradigmatic anti-bigot is the least likely of all bigots to see his prejudices for what they are.

Again, see the earlier post on liberalism and Islam for discussion of other aspects of modern liberalism which can predispose many liberals against looking at Islam objectively.  The point for the moment is this.  On the one hand, McCarthy can note that any critic inclined to dismiss his position as mere bigotry should seriously consider that there are reasons why the critic may be himself less objective on the subject at hand than he likes to think he is.  And on the other hand, McCarthy can point to what one finds in Islamic scripture and law, in the history of terrorism during the last few decades, and indeed in the entire history of Islam as evidence in favor of his position.

Of course, that does not by itself demonstrate that McCarthy is right.  But any critic of McCarthy plausibly faces a “falsificationist challenge” of a sort that parallels the falsificationist challenge Antony Flew once raised against theists (a challenge I discussed in the earlier post on the logic of falsification).  Paraphrasing Flew, the challenge might be stated as follows:

What would have to occur or to have occurred to constitute for you a disproof of your claim that there is no special connection between Islam and terrorism, or between Islam and illiberal politics?

In other words, if evidence of the sort McCarthy cites does not establish his claim, what evidence will the critic admit would establish it?  Unless the critic can offer a serious response to this question, he cannot plausibly claim that it is he rather than McCarthy who is free of prejudice. Continue reading

Father Ranger

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The men of the 5th Ranger Battalion could barely keep from laughing when they first saw their chaplain, Lieutenant Joe Lacy, a week before D-Day.  These were young men, in peak physical condition.  Father Joe Lacy was old by Ranger standards, knocking on 40, overweight by at least 30 pounds, wearing thick glasses and short, 5 foot, six inches.  He was described by one Ranger as “a small, fat old Irishman.”  No way would he be able to keep up when they  invaded France.

 

On the trip across the Channel to France,  Chaplain Lacy told the men:  “When you land on the beach and you get in there, I don’t want to see anybody kneeling down and praying. If I do I’m gonna come up and boot you in the tail. You leave the praying to me and you do the fighting.”  A few of the men began to think that maybe this priest was tougher than he looked.

On June 6, 1944 at 7:30 AM,  LCA 1377 landed the Rangers on Omaha Dog Green Beach, the first landing craft to land on that section of Omaha Beach.  Father Lacy was the last man out just before an artillery shell hit the fantail.  Everything was chaos with the beach being swept by German artillery and small arms fire.  Wounded men were everywhere, both on the beach and in the water feebly trying to get to the beach.  Father Lacy did not hesitate.  With no thought for his own safety he waded into the water to pull men out of the ocean and onto the beach.  He began treating the wounded on the beach and administering the Last Rites to those beyond human assistance.  On a day when courage was not in short supply men took notice of this small fat priest who was doing his best under fire to save as many lives as he could.  While his battalion led the way off Omaha Beach, and sustained 50% casualties doing so, Father Lacy continued to tend their  wounded and the wounded of other units.  For his actions that day Father Lacy was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest decoration for valor, after the Medal of Honor, in the United States Army.

Here is the text of his citation: Continue reading

Mobs

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How I despise Donald Trump.  Leftists are doing their very worst however to make me have sympathy for his supporters.  The lady above in San Jose, California last week had the temerity to think that in America, an ostensibly free country, she could go to a Trump rally without being assaulted by a violent anti-Trump mob.  She learned better.   Go here to read about it.  The Democrat Mayor of San Jose surrealistically blamed Donald Trump and his supporters for the violence the next day. Continue reading

Priorities

 

From Matt Archbold at Creative Minority Report:

 

Networks Give 6 Times More Coverage to Harambe than 21 Christians Beheaded by ISIS.

 

Newsbusters reports that the Networks covered the death of a Gorilla 6x More Than ISIS beheading 21 Christians. But to be fair, the networks didn’t think the gorilla deserved it.

Everyone knows the name “Harambe” now.

Here are the names of the 21 Christians.

Milad Makeen Zaky
•Abanub Ayad Atiya
•Maged Soliman Shehata
•Youssef Shukry Younan
•Kirollos Boshra Fawzy
•Bishoy Astafanous Kamel
•Samuel Astafanous Kamel
•Malak Ibrahim Sinyout
•Tawadros Youssef Tawadros
•Gerges Milad Sinyout
•Mina Fayez Aziz
•Hany Abdel Mesih Salib
•Samuel Alham Wilson
•Ezzat Boshra Naseef
•Luka Nagaty Anis
•Gaber Mounir Adly
•Essam Baddar Samir
•Malak Farag Abrahim
•Sameh Salah Farouk
•Gerges Samir Megally
•Mathew Ayairga (from Ghana)

Continue reading

PopeWatch: Emeritus

 

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From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:

 

Catholic blogger Nicholas Robison, best known for his blog, More Catholic Than Jesus, announced today that he has officially assumed the role of Savior of the world, ending Jesus Christ’s illustrious and often controversial reign.

The stunning news comes after years of speculation from Catholic websites that Jesus Christ was no longer able to handle the rigors of the office.

“We just feel like it’s gotten pretty obvious since the Council that He’s no longer up to the task,” roommate and spokesman for Robison, Clyde Barnes, told the press. “A whole series of bad appointments, providential allowances of culture decline, and disastrous permissions of evil have convinced us that we need a fresh approach at the very top level. He’s, frankly, been a big disappointment since Vatican II and, though we respect Jesus’ many contributions to Church history, we just think it’s time for him to be put out to pasture and let a more steady hand take the wheel.”

 

Barnes went on to say that Robison’s first order of business as savior would be to guide Pope Francis into early retirement where he would “be free to speak off-the-cuff to himself all he wanted without any repercussions,”  and that this decision would “inevitably usher in a new age of orthodoxy once he had been replaced by Cardinal Burke.”

At press time, Robison has announced that Jesus will henceforth go by the title Jesus Emeritus Christ, and that he will remain in Paradise to live out an eternal life of contemplation. Continue reading

Jerusalem

 

Something for the weekend.  Jerusalem sung the cadet glee club of West Point.  I hadn’t realized this hymn was of such recent vintage.  The lyrics come from that half-mad, half prophet British poet of the late Eighteenth and early Nineteenth centuries William Blake.  It was in the bloody year for Britain of 1916 that Sir Hubert Parry wrote the music to produce the hymn that helped sustain the British in many a dark hour in the last century. Continue reading

Potty War: Massachusetts Declares War on Reality

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Courtesy of the second most Catholic state in the Union:

 

Though opponents chanted “No” outside their doors earlier in the day, the Massachusetts House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to pass a transgender public accommodations bill on Wednesday

The 116-36 vote was announced just before 6 p.m. to resounding applause inside the House chamber, following a long day of debate and attempts to amend the bill.

Like a similar bill passed by the state Senate earlier this month, the legislation would offer transgender people protections from discrimination at public accommodations like restaurants and malls, and allows people to use the restroom or locker room that matches their gender identity. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Priorities

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As if any further evidence was needed that the powers that be at the Vatican put the fight against abortion dead last in priority:

 

As Catholic parents we would have nothing to do with a school that chose a pro-abortion and same-sex “marriage” activist like George Clooney as an ambassador. Sadly, if we are to maintain integrity, we must now say the same of the pope’s own educational charity.

On Sunday, Pope Francis presided as the pontifical foundation he founded, Scholas Occurrentes, awarded an Olive Medal for Peace to George Clooney, Richard Gere, and Salma Hayek at a publicized Vatican event. All three Hollywood celebrities have a history of advocacy against the Church’s moral and social teachings.

As Catholics we rightly cringe to speak ill of the pope. But for anyone who has ever lamented the scandal of Catholic institutions honoring or giving a platform to public opponents of Church teaching, there is simply no dismissing the fact that this too is a grave scandal. Advocates of the Catholic cause today cannot ignore the reality of our situation right now. We have to grapple with it.

The awards

The awards were given at the VI World Congress of Scholas Occurrentes, a foundation of pontifical right founded by Pope Francis in 2013. The charity is a network of schools intended to help children socially integrate within their cultures through the use of technology and the arts.

Crux reports that the organization gave the three Hollywood actors the Olive Medal in recognition of their activism against climate change, war, and terrorism. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the three will now act as ambassadors for the charity’s arts projects. Continue reading

Saint Blogs and Character Assassination

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I promised myself I would not post on the gorilla-gets-killed-because-of-kid story.  First, because it seemed to me to be a no brainer:  kid gets away from parents into a gorilla gage and a gorilla is near him.  Of course you shoot the gorilla.  Sad that it happened but nothing to raise a hue and cry about.  Second, because all the hullabaloo that it caused I took as further evidence as to the fact that all too many people have way too much time on their hands, and I thought that self-evident fact of modern life needed no commentary from me.  However, David Griffey at Daffey Thoughts brings to light a new facet of this story involving blogger Simcha Fisher :

 

Apparently Simcha posted a Facebook article in which she said that the parents of the boy whose actions led to the killing of a gorilla in the Cincinnati Zoo might not be guilty of any wrong doing.  Sometimes kids act out and it’s not the parent’s fault.

Fair enough.  Sometimes they do.  Sometimes they don’t.  For my money, a little accountability in our day and age might do us adults some good.  That does’t mean, of course, that the parents in question are guilty.  Most of the comments followed that line of non-accountability, a line not exactly uncommon nowadays.  But a couple bucked the trend, including Melissa Cox, the aforementioned judicial candidate.

Now my approach to Facebook is ‘don’t’.  It was Mark Shea’s page that broke me.  When he and some of his readers descended on me and mocked and belittled me because I agreed with one of them (yeah, I agreed with one of the readers who then turned and let loose with both barrels), I figured it was time to get a real life.

Apparently Ms. Cox is made of stronger material than me, or is more patient, or maybe even naive.  I don’t know. She stayed and tried to make the claim that yes, the parents might be guilty of wrong doing.  When pushed, she admitted she wasn’t there.  Apparently there were some bystanders who were there who frequent Simcha’s Facebook page.  In reaction to that, Ms. Cox explained that there could be many factors behind why a parent might or might not be guilty: Drugs. Alcohol. BAM!

That was what done her in.  By bringing up those examples, she was accused of falsely accusing the parents of being drug addicts and alcoholics.  Simcha and others swooped in and laid layer after layer of condemnation and contempt on Ms. Cox for being judgmental and sinning by bearing false witness against the parents.  I don’t know the full extent of the discourse, because eventually Ms. Cox left and deleted, or blocked, her statements.  Those I did see were kept by some of the readers:

As the comments continued to pile on, a growing number of readers shook their heads at just how much of a disgrace Ms. Cox was to the legal  profession.  Soon Simcha floated the idea that she might have brought the drugs question up because the parents are Black (and you know what that means). Naturally others ran with the race card.  During that time a bright light came on.   While Simcha stated she didn’t want to ruin anyone’s career, she and others  then converged and began shouting out to different individuals from Ms.Cox’s district; calling on reporters to dig up dirt and rake up some muck, calling for articles to discredit her and work to wreck her life, her career, her livelihood:

Simcha Fisher Rebecca Kavan If you are interested in pursuing this, Damien says you should contact the Detroit Free Press and let them know you have a tip, including screenshots, of some nutso stuff that judicial candidate and prosecutor Melissa Cox said on Facebook and then deleted. You could contact Charlie LeDuff, who is a muckraker and might be interested. This is stuff that should disqualify her to be a judge.    (Emphasis mine)

Continue reading

A Truly Foolish Article

 

 

Rachel Lu over at National Review Online pens one of the stupidest pieces I have seen in many a moon in which she uses Saint Thomas More to explain why she can’t support Donald Trump.  Go here to read it.  As faithful readers of this blog know, I am not going to vote for Trump and I am an admirer of Saint Thomas More, but I view her article as rubbish.  Saint Thomas More was a member in good standing for almost all of his life of the Tudor power structure, and a faithful friend and servant of King Henry VIII.  Long before his break from Rome Henry displayed the worst characteristics of Trump:  egotistical, licentious, an ignorant blowhard on every subject under the sun, impulsive and the list could go on at great length.  None of this I am sure eluded the notice of one of the sharpest men to ever live.  Yet More chose to serve him.  Why?  Presumably because More did not want a return to the type of dynastic wars of the Wars of the Roses, and because he hoped that the King, and England, would benefit from wise counsel. Continue reading

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