PopeWatch: Hammer and Sickle

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Lie down with dogs and get up with fleas was the reaction of PopeWatch to Bolivian President Evo Morales, Hugo Chavez wannabe, giving to the Pope a hammer and sickle upon which Christ is crucified:

 

Hammer and Sickle

 

 

Vatican officials appear to have been flummoxed after Pope Francis was presented with a communist crucifix depicting Jesus nailed to a hammer and sickle by Bolivia’s president Evo Morales.

The gift from the leftwing leader caused an immediate stir among conservative Catholics who said the pontiff was being manipulated for ideological reasons.

The response of the pope was less clear. After being handed the wooden crucifix during a formal ceremony, he examined it for a few seconds before returning it to a Bolivian presidential aide.

His comments were largely drowned out by a flurry of camera clicks, prompting a flood of speculation. While some have claimed he expressed irritation, muttering the words “eso no está bien” (“this is not right”), Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said the pope was more likely to have uttered “eso no sabía bien” (“I didn’t know that”) in bemusement at the origins of the present.

The Bolivian government insisted there was no political motive behind the gift. Communications minister Marianela Paco said Morales had thought the “pope of the poor” would appreciate the gesture.

“That was the intention of this gift, and it was not any sort of maneuver … It was really from great affection” she told the Patria Nueva radio station. Continue reading

When a Kiss Is Not Just a Kiss

lesbians_(1)Hattip to commenter Phillip. Further proof that there are some very sick puppies among the powers that be currently at the Vatican:

In a bizarre sequence of events, the German edition of Vatican Radio published a cover photo of two lesbians kissing, with the caption: “Church’s sexual morality is in motion,” only to be removed, then reposted, then removed again.

Veteran Vatican reporter Edward Pentin, who spotted the picture, tweeted that Vatican Radio had opted for a “remarkable choice of photo” in posting the two women kissing.

The Canadian Voxcantoris site, a conservative Catholic blog that follows Church abuses, managed to capture a screen shot of the image before it was taken down, and noted that a year ago a German Bishop, Stephen Ackermann, made comments on Vatican Radio that were similarly accompanied by a photo of two homosexual men kissing in front of a rainbow flag.

The German edition of Vatican Radio is reputed to be among the more heterodox of the language editions, following the trends among the German episcopal hierarchy. Continue reading

Returning Soldiers: It’s Your America

The Army during World War II had training films for everything including demobilization.  This one, Returning Soldiers: It’s Your America, stars actor Arthur Kennedy who spent his war making training films for the Army Air Corps.  This film told the returning troops an essential truth:  they were coming back different men.  It also reminded them why they had gone through this life changing experience:  America.  Unusually well done for a training film, and I appreciated the device of using a Lincoln penny to convey the meaning of America to the soldier in the film.

At the end of his harrowing combat memoir, aptly entitled To Hell and Back, Audie Murphy, the most decorated US soldier in World War II, I think spoke for a lot of combat veterans when he ended with these lines (They are made more poignant because Murphy would continue to have nightmares about the War for the rest of his life.): Continue reading

PopeWatch: Luis Espinal

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The Pope, after arriving in Bolivia, stopped to pray at the death site of Luis Espinal, a Jesuit murdered by Bolivian paramilitary forces in 1980.  Espinal is being painted in press reports as a reformer who stood against the military dictatorship in Bolivia.  However, PopeWatch came across this little tidbit:

 

 

Father Albo showed a reporter a published photo of a crucified Christ attached to a homemade hammer and sickle, instead of a cross, that Father Espinal kept by his bed.

“He was of the left. This is certain. But he never belonged to any party or pretended to be part of one,” said Father Albo, who said he hopes to present a replica of the hammer and sickle crucifix to the pope.

Father Espinal “gave a lot of importance to the dialogue between Marxists and Christians,” he explained. “It was not pro-Soviet … (it was) the need for the church to be close to the popular sectors. Some understand this, others don’t. To me it is very clear.” Continue reading

Scandalous Priest and Glorious Martyr

 Martyrs-of-Gorkum 2015

 

(I repeat this post every July 9th.  All of us can be saints, even if our sins be as scarlet, if we have faith, love and courage.)

 

When July 9 rolls around each year I am always reminded of my personal belief that before our end, perhaps especially for those of us sunk deep in sin, God gives us an opportunity to atone and turn aside from the downward path.

In Sixteenth Century Holland one of the longest wars in history began between Spain and Dutch rebels.  The war was waged on both sides with sickening atrocities.  Among the most violent were the Sea Beggars, Dutch patriots or pirates depending upon one’s point of view.  In June of 1572 the Sea Beggars took the Dutch town of Gorkum, and captured nine Franciscan priests, Nicholas Pieck, Hieronymus of Weert, Theodorus van der Eem, Nicasius Janssen, Willehad of Denmark, Godefried of Mervel, Antonius of Weert, Antonius of Hoornaer, and Franciscus de Roye, of Brussels.  Two Franciscan lay brothers were also captured:   Petrus of Assche and Cornelius of Wyk.

The Sea Beggars also captured the parish priest of Gorkum, Leonardus Vechel of Boi-le-Duc, and his assistant, Nicolaas Janssen.  Also imprisoned were Father Godefried van Duynsen and Joannes Lenartz of Oisterwijk, director of the convent of Augustinian nuns in Gorkum.  Later imprisoned was a Domincan priest Joannes van Hoornaer who bravely came to Gorkum to minister to his imprisoned colleagues and joined them in their captivity,  Jacobus Lacops of Oudenaar, a priest of Monster, Holland, Adrianus Janssen of Brielle, and last, and no doubt he would say least, the subject of this post, Andreas Wouters of Heynoord.

To be blunt, Andreas Wouters had been a lousy priest.  A drunkard and notorious womanizer,  he had fathered several children.  Suspended from his duties  he was living in disgrace when the Sea Beggars captured Gorkum.  This was his cue to run as far away as possible, based on his past history.  Instead, perhaps understanding that God was giving him maybe his last chance to redeem himself, he volunteered to join the captive priests and brothers. Continue reading

Jesuitical 19: Fordham and Gay Marriage

 

 

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Part 19 of my ongoing survey of the follies of many modern day Jesuits.  Jesuit university Fordham disabuses Catholics deluded enough to believe that liberal Catholics have not, by and large, fully embraced the zeitgeist of the secular left:

The New York Times, which wrote up a glowing report of the couple’s marriage, described Hornbeck, as “the chairman of the theology department and an associate professor of medieval and reformation history at Fordham University.”

The article somehow failed to mention that the only course he actually taught last semester was titled “Christianity & Sexual Diversity.”

One wonders how Fordham expects its Catholic theology to be “taught in a manner faithful to Scripture, Tradition, and the Church’s Magisterium,” as required by Catholic discipline, when the head of the department stands in open opposition to the Church’s teaching on marriage.

The wedding ceremony took place just days before the Episcopal Church in America voted to allow same-sex marriage rites in its churches, effectively sacramentalizing sodomy.

Fordham in turn has defended Hornbeck’s “constitutional right to marriage,” saying that his lifestyle choice is irrelevant to his role as a teacher of Catholic Theology.

“While Catholic teachings do not support same-sex marriage, we wish Professor Hornbeck and his spouse a rich life filled with many blessings on the occasion of their wedding in the Episcopal Church,” said Bob Howe, Fordham’s senior director of communications.

“Professor Hornbeck is a member of the Fordham community, and like all University employees, students and alumni, is entitled to human dignity without regard to race, creed, gender, and sexual orientation,” he said.

Howe stressed that same-sex unions are “now the law of the land, and Professor Hornbeck has the same constitutional right to marriage as all Americans.” Continue reading

Jimmy Carter and the Mind of Christ

Hattip to Allahpundit at Hot Air.  Well, in addition to being an anti-Catholic bigot, the worst President not named James Buchanan or Barak Obama has now indicated that Christ would approve homosexual marriage.

 

“I don’t have any verse and scripture” to back that up, he allows, but he’s got a good feeling about it. And why not? “Jesus” is really just a stand-in in this question for morality writ large, right? If you support SSM you think the practice is moral (I should hope), and if you’re a Christian who believes something is moral, almost by definition you need to believe Jesus thinks so too. There’s nothing doctrinal about this, by Carter’s own admission. It’s just “I feel strongly this is right, ergo God must as well.” Continue reading

PopeWatch: Scandalous

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A signal of what to expect from the Synod?

 

Even if a pastoral proposal for helping a Catholic family with problems seems scandalous at first, it is possible God could use that proposal to bring healing and holiness, Pope Francis said.

Encouraging and celebrating family life during a Mass July 6 in Guayaquil, Pope Francis asked people to pray for the October Synod of Bishops on the family, and he tied the synod to the Jubilee of Mercy, a yearlong celebration that will begin in December.

The synod will be a time for the church to “deepen her spiritual discernment and consider concrete solutions to the many difficult and significant challenges facing families in our time,” the pope said.

Celebrating Mass with as many as 1 million people gathered under the hot sun in Los Samanes Park, Pope Francis asked them “to pray fervently for this intention, so that Christ can take even what might seem to us impure, scandalous or threatening, and turn it — by making it part of his ‘hour’ — into a miracle. Families today need this miracle!”

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters Pope Francis was not referring to any specific proposal discussed in anticipation of the synod; one of the most common — and most debated pastoral suggestions — was to develop a process or “penitential path” for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics who want to receive Communion but have not received an annulment.

The pope, Father Lombardi said, hopes the synod “will find a way to help people move from a situation of sin to a situation of grace.” Continue reading

Bingo

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Co-blogger Darwin has a remarkably clear sighted post at his blog which lays out just how the Church will come under attack in the wake of the Supreme Court decision mandating gay marriage:

 

There’s a group out there which is very, very determined to win cultural and moral legitimacy for homosexual relationships, and to punish those who do not share those beliefs. Currently that group is at the cultural helm. In time, it will crumble and lose its ascendancy simply because it is not compatible with the realities of human nature. However, until that happens, the marriage equality group will not be satisfied by seeing Catholic priests stop signing civil marriage licenses, while continuing to celebrate religious marriage ceremonies only for opposite sex couples.  They’re not stupid, and it’s recognition they want, not getting priests to stop signing a form for straight couples.  Nor would “separating” civil and religious marriage be coherent from a Catholic point of view. Indeed, a non-Catholic couple who get married in front of a city clerk are (absent obstacles such as already being married to someone else or being of the same sex) viewed by the Church as being married, since the Church does not recognize there as being two levels of marriage.  So the idea of “getting out of the civil marriage business” fails to protect us from the looming threat, while at the same time abandoning our Catholic principles as to the nature of marriage.  There is no reason to do it. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Dictators

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 The Pope thanked President Rafael Correa for the “congruity” of his thoughts with his own. In his speech, he recalled the steps the country has taken towards renewal, quoting the Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium” and the “Laudato Si’” encyclical, speaking about “Latin America’s great social sin, which is that of injustice”. He also stated that “the fair distribution of wealth must be demanded”. The Pope congratulated Correa “on the accomplishment” of his mission. A mission which is by no means easy for a left-wing head of state who has criticised the gender ideology, is proposing the establishment of an international body for environmental justice and is implementing social inclusion policies. And who aims to introduce two laws on capital gains tax and inheritance, a sort of “property tax” that is contested both by rich property owners and by the middle class which fears it will lose properties purchased for their children. Correa’s opponents are launching demonstrations all around the country but have stated that they do not intend to disturb the papal visit. 

From Vatican Insider by Andrea Tornielli

 

 

The Pope is in Ecuador, part of his eight day swing through Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay, what Pope Francis calls forgotten countries.  Both Ecuador and Bolivia have left wing presidents who model themselves after the late Hugo Chavez of Venezuela:   Rafael Correa of Ecuador  and Evo Morales of Bolivia.    The statist policies they embrace seem quite similar to what the Pope endorses in the Green Encyclical.  They both have deserved reputations for using the power of the state against critics, as noted in a story in the Wall Street Journal:

 

Pope Francis’ journey to Ecuador, which kicks off on Monday, “is to cultivate the virtues of the people and not to politicize his presence,” Quito Archbishop Fausto Trávez said late last week in public remarks.

Good luck with that. President Rafael Correa has spent weeks appropriating the pope as his government’s very own 21st century socialist icon. So unless the Holy Father finds a way to signal Ecuadoreans otherwise, the visit is likely to leave the impression that the church is in solidarity with the repressive Correa machine.

That would be bad. But it could get even worse, depending upon what transpires during the pope’s visit to Cuba in September.

In early June, Havana Cardinal Jaime Ortega declared that there are no political prisoners on the island. That offended Cuba’s human-rights community, which estimates that the regime holds some 70 prisoners of conscience. The church doesn’t seem to want to know about them.

Last week, in yet another sign that the church wants to distance itself from the Cuban struggle for justice, a Catholic priest banned the women’s human-rights group known as the Ladies in White from attending Mass at his Cienfuegos parish dressed in white on the grounds that other parishioners object.

These events came in the same month that Francis hosted Raúl Castro at the Vatican. Castro used the photo op, which went viral, to claim legitimacy for the bloody 55-year-old dictatorship.

Now the Holy Father is walking into a political mine field in Ecuador—the first stop on a nine-day tour that includes Bolivia and Paraguay. In Ecuador he will celebrate open-air Masses in Guayaquil and Quito, have lunch with a Jesuit community, visit the Catholic University, and make a private visit to a historic Jesuit church.

The pope will also meet with Mr. Correa, who undoubtedly will have plenty of photographers on hand. In a republic that protected civil liberties, the meeting would be seen as nothing more than standard protocol. But in Correa’s Ecuador, where the government rules through intimidation and is increasingly unpopular, the meeting will be used for politics. This means that it is likely to overshadow the rest of the visit, possibly damaging not only the pope but also the church.

As Archbishop Trávez indicated, the trip has been framed by the Vatican as part of its mission of evangelization. Most South Americans are nominally Roman Catholic but the number who practice is much lower than it once was. “The joy of the church is to go out to seek the sheep that are lost,” Pope Francis said in a homily in Rome in December.

But this pope is very political and his politics, if we take him at his word, favor statist solutions to poverty. In terms of appearances that puts him on the same side of many policy debates as the region’s socialist tyrants. Continue reading

July 7, 1865: Hanging of the Lincoln Conspirators

The four Lincoln conspirators sentenced to death were executed one hundred and fifty years ago.  By far the most controversial execution was that of Mary Surratt, the only woman ever to be executed by the Federal government.  Although I have no doubt that she was involved in the conspiracy, her involvement was peripheral in nature and she should not have been executed.  Three days before his death, Andrew Johnson, in an account that should be read with a grain of salt, purportedly gave his opinion of the execution of Mrs. Surratt (The spelling errors are in the original account):

“While Mr. McElwee, explained that he was not attempting to quote the exact words of Mr. Johnson, he gives the substance of the political conversation.

‘The execution of Mrs. Surrat [sic] was a crime of passion without justice or reason. She knew no more about the intentions of Booth and his associates than any other preson [sic] who chanced to know Booth or Asterot. They had simply boarded as others had done, at her boarding house. She was entitled to trial in open court and the record of that trial preserved, but her executioners knew the records would condemn them if they kept till passion had subsided and they were estroyed’ [sic].

‘Is there no record of the condemnation and execution of Mrs. Surratt?’

‘No Sir, the records were immediately destroyed. They were not even kept until John was arrested and tried.’

‘If she was not guilty, why did you not interpose executive clemency?’

‘If I had interfered with the execution it would have meant my death and a riot that would have probably ended in war.’

‘Was there any appeal made to you for mitigating the sentence as reported after the execution.’

‘No appeal reached me. Her daughter forwarded one, but it was suppressed by Secretary Stanton. I heard of it afterward but never saw it. It was murder founded on perjury and executed to gratif pyassion [sic]. The chief witness afterwards confessed to his perjury.'” Continue reading

Germans and Robot Ants: What Could Go Wrong?

 

Uh-Oh:

 

Festo has created a fleet of bionic ants capable of working together, as well as function on their own, in order to complete tasks, just as their real-life counterparts do, according to Business Insider. The objectives for these ants will focus on automating factories.

These tiny machines, developed under the company’s Bionic Learning Network, were born through the process of biomimicry, which combines nature and robotics to create machines.

Festo said back in March that the insects are built with 3D-printed plastic powder melted by a laser, as well as 3D printed circuitry. Their legs are ceramic and their pincers are flexible actuators that can move quickly without using much energy.

Other features include a stereo camera and floor sensor that work together to help the ant figure out its location and identify objects that it needs to grab. The robot also comes with an antennae that charges its lithium batteries.

The ants are tasked with objectives such as transporting large, heavy loads that they wouldn’t be able to lift on their own. Continue reading

Jefferson on the Declaration

 

On May 8, 1825, near the close of his life, in a letter to Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson discussed the Declaration of Independence:

 

Of the paper you mention, purporting to be instructions to the Virginia delegation in Congress, I have no recollection. If it were anything more than a project of some private hand, that is to say, had any such instructions been ever given by the convention, they would appear in the journals, which we possess entire. But with respect to our rights, and the acts of the British government contravening those rights, there was but one opinion on this side of the water. All American whigs thought alike on these subjects. When forced, therefore, to resort to arms for redress, an appeal to the tribunal of the world was deemed proper for our justification. This was the object of the Declaration of Independence. Not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take. Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion. All its authority rests then on the harmonizing sentiments of the day, whether expressed in conversation, in letters, printed essays, or in the elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, &c. The historical documents which you mention as in your possession, ought all to be found, and I am persuaded you will find, to be corroborative of the facts and principles advanced in that Declaration.

Let’s Pretend and the Gods of the Copybook Headings

Well, the Greeks rejected austerity measures in a referendum yesterday 61% to 39%.  This should mean that Greece leaves the Eurozone but I doubt it.  My guess is that the powers that be in the EU, afraid that the whole Euro edifice will crash, along with their phony baloney jobs, will craft together some sort of last minute mini-bailout to keep the Greeks in the Eurozone for a bit longer, making the ultimate collapse of the Eurozone that much more devastating.  What all of this portends of course is the end of an era that is much larger than what happens to a minor Mediterranean economy, or even of the European economy.  We are saying farewell to the era of Let’s Pretend.

Let’s Pretend began back in the ’60’s of the last century when it became a common belief among the intelligentsia of the West that the usual rules, what Kipling called the Gods of the Copybook Headings, that had governed human affairs since the dawn of Man no longer applied.  We are clearly in the end game of this rubbish on stilts as reality keeps intruding.  Summoning money out of thin air eventually comes to a crashing end, welfare states eventually collapse under their own weight, free sex burdens society with kids growing up fatherless and with adults that never grow up at all, imposing a common currency on nations with separate economies, banking systems and disparate cultures is delusional, and the list of collective flights from reality could go at great length.

 

In this end game we have the proponents of our Let’s Pretend Culture assuring us that sex is merely a made up distinction and that marriage includes joining men to men and women to women.  Rather than ushering in a brave new world, this is a dying gasp of an exhausted project of reality denial.  Of course we are not the first generation to engage in such a project.  The lamentable chronicle of human folly and crime is replete with examples of societies collectively taking leave of their senses for a time.  However, reality always wins in the end, and the return of reality is usually attended with the shedding of many human tears and the shedding of much human blood. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Contradictions

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Pope Francis gave another hint that he may eventually resign like the Pope Emeritus:

He added: ‘There should be a time limit to positions [in the Church], which in reality are positions of service.’

Making clear his comments were not confined to the clergy, Francis added: ‘It is convenient that all [positions] in the Church should have a time limit. 

‘There are no leaders for life in the Church. This occurs in some countries where a dictatorship exists.’ Continue reading

July 4, 1986: President Reagan on the Declaration of Independence

 

My fellow Americans:

In a few moments the celebration will begin here in New York Harbor. It’s going to be quite a show. I was just looking over the preparations and thinking about a saying that we had back in Hollywood about never doing a scene with kids or animals because they’d steal the scene every time. So, you can rest assured I wouldn’t even think about trying to compete with a fireworks display, especially on the Fourth of July.

My remarks tonight will be brief, but it’s worth remembering that all the celebration of this day is rooted in history. It’s recorded that shortly after the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia celebrations took place throughout the land, and many of the former Colonists — they were just starting to call themselves Americans — set off cannons and marched in fife and drum parades.

What a contrast with the sober scene that had taken place a short time earlier in Independence Hall. Fifty-six men came forward to sign the parchment. It was noted at the time that they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors. And that was more than rhetoric; each of those men knew the penalty for high treason to the Crown. “We must all hang together,” Benjamin Franklin said, “or, assuredly, we will all hang separately.” And John Hancock, it is said, wrote his signature in large script so King George could see it without his spectacles. They were brave. They stayed brave through all the bloodshed of the coming years. Their courage created a nation built on a universal claim to human dignity, on the proposition that every man, woman, and child had a right to a future of freedom.

For just a moment, let us listen to the words again: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Last night when we rededicated Miss Liberty and relit her torch, we reflected on all the millions who came here in search of the dream of freedom inaugurated in Independence Hall. We reflected, too, on their courage in coming great distances and settling in a foreign land and then passing on to their children and their children’s children the hope symbolized in this statue here just behind us: the hope that is America. It is a hope that someday every people and every nation of the world will know the blessings of liberty.

And it’s the hope of millions all around the world. In the last few years, I’ve spoken at Westminster to the mother of Parliaments; at Versailles, where French kings and world leaders have made war and peace. I’ve been to the Vatican in Rome, the Imperial Palace in Japan, and the ancient city of Beijing. I’ve seen the beaches of Normandy and stood again with those boys of Pointe du Hoc, who long ago scaled the heights, and with, at that time, Lisa Zanatta Henn, who was at Omaha Beach for the father she loved, the father who had once dreamed of seeing again the place where he and so many brave others had landed on D-day. But he had died before he could make that trip, and she made it for him. “And, Dad,” she had said, “I’ll always be proud.”

And I’ve seen the successors to these brave men, the young Americans in uniform all over the world, young Americans like you here tonight who man the mighty U.S.S. Kennedy and the Iowa and other ships of the line. I can assure you, you out there who are listening, that these young are like their fathers and their grandfathers, just as willing, just as brave. And we can be just as proud. But our prayer tonight is that the call for their courage will never come. And that it’s important for us, too, to be brave; not so much the bravery of the battlefield, I mean the bravery of brotherhood.

All through our history, our Presidents and leaders have spoken of national unity and warned us that the real obstacle to moving forward the boundaries of freedom, the only permanent danger to the hope that is America, comes from within. It’s easy enough to dismiss this as a kind of familiar exhortation. Yet the truth is that even two of our greatest Founding Fathers, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, once learned this lesson late in life. They’d worked so closely together in Philadelphia for independence. But once that was gained and a government was formed, something called partisan politics began to get in the way. After a bitter and divisive campaign, Jefferson defeated Adams for the Presidency in 1800. And the night before Jefferson’s inauguration, Adams slipped away to Boston, disappointed, brokenhearted, and bitter. Continue reading

America the Beautiful

 

A stirring rendition of America the Beautiful by the Hillsdale College choir.  Added bonus, a lecture by Professor Gerard Wegemer given by Hillsdale College on Thomas More on Liberty, Law and Statesmanship.

 

Thought for the day.  As my family and I were out and about on this 239th Birthday of the Nation, I saw this on an electronic billboard of a business:  Home of the Free, Because of the Brave.  I very much suspect that if we wish to retain our freedom, it will require a great deal of bravery from a great many of us in the years to come.

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