Derb the Social Con?

Wednesday, December 1, AD 2010

John Derbyshire is sort of the cranky uncle in National Review’s the Corner.  He’s someone I used to find amusing, but he often goes off the rails when it comes to social and religious issues.  I was prepared to ignore his scathing attack of a George W. Bush op-ed in which the former president defended his efforts to increase funding to fight the spread of AIDS in Africa.  Derb’s not much impressed by Bush’s perceived moralizing, and objects to the public financing of something that he feels should be done through private charity.  It’s a sentiment worthy of debate on its own merits, but I was struck by this comment:

The subsidizing of expensive medications (the biggest part of our AIDS-relief effort, though not all of it) in fact has long-term consequences more likely to be negative than positive. The high incidence of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa is caused by customary practices there. What is needed is for people to change those customary practices. Instead, at a cost of billions to the U.S. taxpayer, we have made it possible for Africans to continue in their unhealthy, disease-spreading habits.

Perhaps the future of sub-Saharan Africa would be brighter if the people of that place changed some of their customs; but now, thanks to us, they don’t have to. (A similar point can be made about domestic AIDS-relief funding, currently around $20 billion a year.)

By “customary practices,” I’m assuming that Derb is talking about both promiscuous sexual activity and rampant drug use.

The reason that this jumped out at me is because it’s a rather familiar argument.  After all, isn’t this an echo of what we argue when we note that the encouragement of condom use in Africa won’t solve the AIDS epidemic there?  Don’t we, too, claim that we need to change cultural practices, not hand out condoms?  In essence, Derb is making a similar argument.  By contributing money, he’s saying,  you’re absolving people of some of the responsibility for their behavior and perhaps encouraging them to continue in that very behavior which leads them to contract the AIDS virus.

Now it’s not exactly the same thing.  Charitable contributions and condom distribution are, to say the least, not morally equivalent.  Also, one of the arguments against condom use is that it simply encourages people to have sex outside of marriage.  Aside from the moral problems associated with this, even “protected” sex is not 100% safe.  Donating money to help people who have already acquired the disease – many through no moral failing of their own – seems to be a rather humane response and should not be scrapped.

Based on the tenor of his post it’s clear that Derb isn’t exactly coming at this from a cultural point-of-view, but is criticizing the program based on an extreme libertarian notion about foreign aid.  It does occur to me, however, that this might be one of those moments, discussed on this very blog in recent weeks, where libertarians and social conservatives can find some common ground. Though Derb’s advocacy of a complete abandonment of any American aid certainly feels harsh and is, I believe, an extreme solution , it seems that he shares our end goal of changing behavior.

On the other hand, perhaps one commenter on the Corner has the right response to Derbyshire’s post:

`I wish to be left alone,’ said Scrooge. ‘Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don’t make merry myself at Christmas, and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned – they cost enough:
and those who are badly off must go there.’

“If they would rather die,’ said Scrooge, ‘they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population…”

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22 Responses to Derb the Social Con?

  • You are absolutely correct; we can debate all we want about whether it is the proper role of government to help people in need (whether in this country or another country) or rather that should be left to private charity alone.

    As Catholics however, what can’t be debated is our obligation to help the poor and the sick. Further more, we cannot simply write off some of the poor or sick, saying that the others would be better off if we let these ones die (Note I am not talking about triage; if our resources for charity are limited, I see no reason not to target that charity to where it will do the most good, I am talking about deliberately with-holding charity). Each individual must be helped to the extent that it is possible for us to help (Note most of us, including myself probably fall far short of that mark, but that should be our ideal).

    Ultimately, some, if indeed most of our charity may do little physical good to those in need. What it might accomplish however is far greater. By allowing ourselves to be conduits of Christ’s love, we let those in need feel Christ’s love in a way that might bring them to salvation.

  • I remember reading similar moral hazard arguments against Pope Clement and the Church of Rome’s sacrament of reconciliation.

    Charitable contributions and condom distribution are, to say the least, not morally equivalent.

    You’re making the wrong comparison. Would charitable contributions for condom purchase be moral? The correct comparison is between STD treatment and condoms. Catholics strive for uncompromising ideals and care for those who fall short of perfection. Derbyshire wants us to strive for uncompromising ideals and chalk up the weak as the price to pay for the advancement of the species. It doesn’t just “feel” harsh. It’s evil.

  • Right or wrong, President Bush was “charitable” with someone else’s $$$ billions. Not mine: my tax money buys weapons.

    And, it is not “charity” when you extract other people’s money at gunpoint.

  • Echoing Shaw, here. It’s not something we could do like flicking a switch, but it would be a VERY good thing to change over to– not in the least because government charity tends to involve a whole lot of fraud!

    My cousin and his wife were volunteers for a Catholic aid program of some sort, so I know they’re out there.

  • I’m basically in Bill and RR’s camp, and I would say that RR’s analogy is a better one that the one I gave. That said, looking over at some of the comments on Derb’s posts (they’ve reached about 60 as I write this, which is about ten times what you get on a typical Corner post) I’m intrigued by the reaction. About half are like T. Shaw and Foxfier and agree with Derb, and the other half seem ready to grab the pitchforks. Again, I disagree with his overall opposition to the aid, but is what he said so beyond the pale? I’m genuinely curious.

    It seems that some of what he said is in fact right on the money, in particular his criticisms of Bush’s statement that this somehow is beneficial to American foreign policy interests, a claim that is dubious at best. And even if you don’t fully support Derb’s libertarian-inspired opposition to foreign aid, as my post indicated, his notion that our efforts are wasted if we don’t ultimately change the behavior is I think something most of us would agree with. Granted Derb’s tone is a bit callous – that’s par for the course – and ultimately he seems a little to eager to punish those people who are clearly victims of other people’s bad behavior. But are these concerns so absurd that they merit the sort of feedback he’s gotten from some quarters? I should add that I don’t particularly care for Derb and almost wish I had an excuse to grab a pitchfork along with the others, but this doesn’t seem that off the wall, even if wrong. Or am I just a meanie myself?

  • Even Jesse Helms supported foreign aid to Africa to treat those with AIDS. Being that far to the right of Jesse Helms on not only a foreign aid issue, but one pertaining to AIDS, ought to give one pause.

  • Is opposition to taxpayer-funded foreign aid really an “extreme libertarian” position?

    Didn’t Pope Benedict just say something recently about how foreign aid often harms the recipients more than it helps them? I don’t recall the details, but I thought he touched on that, and others certainly have. I’m sure Derb is talking about the reality of foreign aid, which tends to encourage corruption, line the pockets of dictators, and interfere with local economies. Perhaps some ideal Catholic version of foreign aid would be a good thing, but that’s not what he’s talking about here.

    This is another one of those arguments that usually goes like this:

    Nice, caring person: “We have to do something.”
    Realist: “But what you’re doing isn’t helping, it’s hurting.”
    Nice person: ” But we have to do something! People are dying/sick/starving!”
    Realist: “But your solutions only make things worse. Here, look at these numbers from your own organizations that prove the harm you’re doing.”
    Nice person: “I can’t believe you want people to die! Racist!”

  • Some of us don’t calibrate our philosophy by what others think on a left-right spectrum.

  • Oh, dear!

    RR said, “Derbyshire wants us to strive for uncompromising ideals and chalk up the weak as the price to pay for the advancement of the species.”

    WOW!!!!!

    “uncompromising ideals” as in: not fornicking everyone and everything in sight?

    “weak” – search and replace: “evil.”

    Give alms out of your substance. That is charity. Tax (steal) from people and give it to the cause celebre du jour: that is politics; no it’s hypocrisy.

  • Aaron B., what you mention is part of what Derbyshire talks about. The problem portion is where he says that treating AIDS victims is bad policy.

    Also, how often does aid never help? Even if some of the aid perpetuates corruption, it doesn’t render the entire aid package harmful. I’d wager that in most countries that receive aid, the good outweighs the bad.

  • Pingback: THURSDAY MORNING EDITION | The Pulp.it
  • RR, the point isn’t whether you’d wager it, but whether it’s true. Also, should we only oppose aid if it “never helps”? How about if it helps 10 people and harms 10 others? Is that acceptable? And do we count those who are harmed in the first place by having the money taken from them, or those who could have been helped by that money in the source country if it hadn’t been shipped away?

    These are open questions, but they can’t even be discussed in polite society today, as is evident from the reactions to Derb’s piece. As soon as you say, “maybe the governments of wealthy nations shouldn’t use their citizens’ money to play social engineer in poorer countries,” that’s immediately translated into, “I hate those people over there who don’t look and talk like me.” Conversation over.

    The Holy Father has suggested that wealthy nations should help developing ones by forgiving their debts. Over 40 ‘developing’ nations have debts to Western countries and the global bankers. This money came with strings that are used to try to mold the recipients in the image of the givers, not just in things like condom distribution, but in everything else, from the way they select their leaders to the way they grow their food. Stopping that, and letting them keep their own cultures and ways of living, would be a better way to help them than treating them like poor Americans.

  • Also, how often does aid never help? Even if some of the aid perpetuates corruption, it doesn’t render the entire aid package harmful.

    The evidence is that foreign aid has an overall negative effect on political and economic development comparable to the “resource curse” (where having lots of natural resources in a country tends to make the people their poorer because it provides governments a means of getting rich besides the prosperity of its citizens). See e.g. here. I would say that this is a decisive argument against development aid. It is not a decisive argument against humanitarian aid, as the aid could still have positive effects that counter-balance the negative effects on democracy and growth. But it is a reason to be cautious. To the extent possible humanitarian aid should be directed through churches and other independent organizations rather than governments.

  • Aaron B., the faux exchange your posted assumes that aid does not help at all. I’d favor aid that does more good than harm. Maybe you believe that aid does more harm than good which is a reasonable view but that’s not what you posted.

    I’m not making up what Derbyshire said. He says that AIDS treatment is bad policy. It’s not possible to have a discussion when you ignore the point of the discussion.

    The Holy Father has suggested that wealthy nations should help developing ones by forgiving their debts. Over 40 ‘developing’ nations have debts to Western countries and the global bankers. This money came with strings that are used to try to mold the recipients in the image of the givers, not just in things like condom distribution, but in everything else, from the way they select their leaders to the way they grow their food. Stopping that, and letting them keep their own cultures and ways of living, would be a better way to help them than treating them like poor Americans.

    I disagree.

  • Since it is that time of year– remember the heifer international (14% to fundraising, 6% to admin costs) or World Vision (9%, 5%, probably protestant) and all their cousins! (BBB charity numbers. Full list here.)

  • Blackadder, thanks. It is important to distinguish between development aid and humanitarian aid. Do you believe development aid has or can be beneficial when there are strings attached? E.g., regular monitored elections, Washington Consensus.

  • Sorry for another post, but I finally found the one I was looking for:
    Catholic Relief Services. They’re 4% fundraising, 3% admin, and their description reads like what *I* wish we could put money into, instead of a gov’t program:

    CRS supports projects designed to help communities in countries throughout Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America identify long-term solutions to poverty and build self-sufficiency. In most programs, CRS collaborates with one or more local partner agencies. The child survival, water and sanitation, and HIV/AIDS education and care projects give priority to the most vulnerable, typically women of reproductive age, infants, and the very young. Approaching farming as a family business, CRS is involved in furnishing assistance that includes processing, storage, and marketing of crops; weed, disease, and pest control; livestock production, fishing, and forestry; and irrigation and soil and water conservation. CRS also helps establish village banks to invest in loans to persons who have little or no access to other credit alternatives. As a means of achieving increased enrollment and regular attendance of children, especially girls, CRS supports school feeding programs. CRS also carries out humanitarian assistance operations in response to natural and man-made disasters, supplying aid in the form of food, medicines, shelter, and other relief supplies. CRS also conducts workshops; sponsors solidarity camps, prepares training manuals, stimulates inter-religious dialogue, and monitors early warning signs to promote the principles of tolerance, conflict resolution, and reconciliation. Furthermore, CRS operates programs in the United States that focus on parish outreach, fair trade, advocacy, and farmer-to-farmer support. These programs inform and engage American Catholics about poverty and injustice overseas, and provide them with the opportunity to get involved as individuals, with their families, and in their schools.

    My dad has been in ag work since he was 14 (with time out for Vietnam and getting his AA) and doesn’t get excited about much…but even offhanded mentions of foreign agriculture practices will get him lecturing.

    He’s STILL learning tricks, because he was taught the basics and how they work (his grandfather was a successful Scott shepherd whose wife helped teach the local Indians how to farm when you can’t just move to the next area over and let the land recover– totally different training style) and encouraged to try to teach himself more.
    (Did you know that when you’re calving in winter, it’s best to feed in the evening? The cows will mostly give birth in the morning, because they won’t miss their feed time. That cut WAY down on the number of calves lost because it was a difficult birth in the cold and dark.)

    Shipping in tons of food for a long time kills the local farming economy, setting up camps keeps folks clustered together, money will be stolen, food given to existing infrastructure to be distributed non-centrally will usually be stolen, teaching folks a mechanical understanding of ag will fail (especially if it depends on modern US agricultural tools in a place without the support for them), and we (the first world nations) have a bad habit of getting these poor nations hooked, then telling them to do what we say or we’ll stop giving them stuff. (Doesn’t help that those making the decisions are usually the same ones getting rich from us giving them stuff, either.)

    Ugh.

    Sometimes, I really don’t like humans.

  • It strikes me that where Derb’s argument breaks down is on the assumption that subsidizing AIDS drugs will encourage people to be casual about getting AIDS. While it may reduce the danger of actually dying from AIDS, my impression is that the level of care available in Africa from foreign aid is still pretty low, and thus the incentive to not get AIDS is still pretty strong regardless of medication availability.

    Handing out condoms, on the other hand, I think pretty clearly sends the message, “Go have sex, don’t worry about who it’s with, it’s safe!”

    In that regard, I’m not clear you can make the argument that funding AIDS treatment in Africa is keeping other, more positive change from happening in the way that throwing condoms around does. And so although the argument is similar in structure to the pope’s in regards to sending condoms to Africa, I don’t think it has similar validity.

    One can, of course, easily argue as to whether US government funding is the right way to get AIDS treatment to Africa on the basis of a whole lot of practical or prudential basis, but I’m not clear the “social conservative” argument works.

  • Darwin-
    if we were talking about folks with our background and education, yes. But we’re talking about unscientific folks. *Realistically*, the care isn’t amazing; word-of-mouth, you get sick, they treat you, and you can move on.

  • I have long suspected Richard Lowry employed Derbyshire half for philanthropic reasons and half as an addition to the magazine’s stable of humor columnists (albeit as the weakest entry in the latter category). Click on the link below and scroll down, and you will see the factuality of his comments disputed (no surprise that).

    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/category/contentions

  • Thanks for that link, Art. One of the problems with most of the responses against Derb in the comments on the Corner as that most simply rebuked him without really offering any substantive arguments. Wehner’s was one of the more thorough critiques I’ve seen.

    As for why Derb continues to find employment at NR, it’s a bit of a mystery. I suppose it’s nice that NR continues to employ people with radically different viewpoints within conservatism. Even though I’ve had my frustration with NR, it seems to me that there is more ideological diversity there than most partisan magazines like The Weekly Standard, Mother Jones, etc.

Roundup of Catholic Blogosphere Reaction to Pope’s Condom Comments

Monday, November 22, AD 2010

The Pope’s comments in an unauthorized excerpt release from Peter Seewald’s latest book, “Light of the World, The Pope, The Church and The Signs of the Times”, has caused quite a stir.

Basically he said, as an extreme example, if a male prostitute was to use a condom during sex, it was a step towards a better morality.

Pope Benedict wasn’t speaking ex-cathedra.

Nonetheless, the secular media, like clockwork, has declared that condoms are now allowed by all fornicators (not like dissident Catholics were following the teachings of the Church anyways).

So here is a short roundup of the better informed among us:

Pope Approves Restricted Use of Condoms? – M.J. Andrew, TAC

Understanding Pope’s Dilemma on Condoms – Jimmy Akin, NCRgstr

Condoms, Consistency, (mis)Communication – Thomas Peters, AmP

Pope Changed Church Condoms Teaching? – Q. de la Bedoyere, CH

A Vatican Condom Conversion? – Mollie, Get Religion

Pope: Condoms, Sex Abuse, Resignation & Movie Nights – John Allen

What The Pope Really Said About Condoms in New Book? – Janet Smith

Ginger Factor: Pope Approves of Condoms! – Jeff Miller, The Crt Jstr

The Pope and Condoms – Steve Kellmeyer, The Fifth Column

Condoms May Be ‘First Step’ In Moralization of Sexuality – Cth Herald

Pope Did Not Endorse the Use of Condoms – Fr. Zuhlsdorf, WDTPRS?

Did Pope Change Teaching About Condoms? – Brett Salkeld, Vox Nova

(Hat tips:  The Pulpit & Henry Karlson)

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15 Responses to Roundup of Catholic Blogosphere Reaction to Pope’s Condom Comments

Is Bishop Howard Hubbard Cooperating In Evil

Friday, February 5, AD 2010

Formal cooperation in another’s evil act (that is, undertaking to help expressly another to perform an act known to be evil) is itself evil. Davis, Moral and Pastoral Theology (1938), I: 341-342. There are no exceptions to this rule; no supervening circumstances can ever render formal cooperation in evil good.

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21 Responses to Is Bishop Howard Hubbard Cooperating In Evil

  • I really don’t think Peters’ argument is sufficient to conclude that there has been formal cooperation. I’ve addressed this further on my blog.

  • On the other hand, I agree with Dr. peters ananlysis.

  • Here I think you’re correct — this is a foolish and disgraceful thing for a diocese to get itself involved in.

  • Hubbard is big with the homosexual agenda and with recruiting homosexuals for the priesthood.

  • The secular church has been enjoying political power and we should be very wary of the social programs that have been initiated by this bishop. Many of our local politicians got their political careers launched through Catholic charities and some of them with openly homosexual agendas. Remember the Henchmen that were sent out to the critics of howard hubbard, Jessie Jackson, and Al Sharpton all in the name of the Lord. I remember how Catholic charities paid Mary Jo White millions to defend Howard Hubbard. She was in charge of overseeing over 800 N.Y.S. lawyers. These social programs were placed here by Catholic Charities. All on taxpayers money. Oh and by the way, when the government gives up money, any talk of religion is forbidden. Shame on Catholic Charities and the government that supports it.

  • I can take any implied threat as what is to come and you know how easy it is to turn perfectly normal children into drug addicts. All I am saying is that there are ways to get children on drugs and howard knows this. He also knows that without God we are helpless. I take the distribution of needles as an implied threat that will be carried out. prepare for a generation of children on hard drugs. anything for his agenda. Hey Howard why be a coward show us the nightmare you have already imposed on your critics and drop the phoney show. You aint no govenor and you aint no rock star but I know how jealous you are of your betters. Wanna have a public talk with me? Ill make the people hear by the power of God. signed rose above the agony in albany.

  • For all you critics opposed to needle exchange, how do you expect heretics to support themselves if they close his beloved hope house and all the stupid programs he started by stealing money from the true church? How can he continue when he depends on mental health and other government funds because he has sifted all the good will he can out of all of your communities. He works for the government now. No need for any true faith. He can not allow your children to know the truth and the only flock he has consist of homosexual drug users and he wants to allow this for your chidren. Separation of church and state is his biggest fear. He is not interested in the advancement of normal children. The Pope should be arrested for not defrocking Howard J. Hubbard. Respond!!!!! I should sue this man and many catholic families should do the same. he is a shepard but not a good one but he has placed many in positions of political power and I want to be there for his meeting with the Lord.

  • I read Paul’s argument. The gist of it seems to be that material cooperation is avoided by the acceptance of an old needle in exchange for the new one, the theory being that one could prudentially conclude that such an exchange reduces a health risk while otherwise not increasing the risk that the evil of drug abuse would occur. Next he will tell us that it is morally acceptable to pay for a hospital abortion as long as one can prudentially conclude that the mother would otherwise have a more dangerous so-called back alley abortion, since a health risk is averted presumably without increasing the risk of the evil of abortion.

  • Mike Petrik: “I read Paul’s argument. The gist of it seems to be that material cooperation is avoided by the acceptance of an old needle in exchange for the new one, the theory being that one could prudentially conclude that such an exchange reduces a health risk while otherwise not increasing the risk that the evil of drug abuse would occur.

    Right. The prudential discernment lies in deciding whether or not the drug-taker is encouraged in drug-taking by the exchange of needles. It might be so, but not necessarily so (and Edward Peters’ argument relied on the flawed assumption that it necessarily furthered drug-taking.)

    Mike Petrik: “Next he will tell us that it is morally acceptable to pay for a hospital abortion as long as one can prudentially conclude that the mother would otherwise have a more dangerous so-called back alley abortion, since a health risk is averted presumably without increasing the risk of the evil of abortion.

    I won’t tell you that, because it’s plainly wrong. One cannot directly participate in an abortion (which is what choosing to pay for it is) for any reason whatsoever. Abortion is an intrinsic evil (something known with certainty to be evil), whereas the physical exchange of needles isn’t.

  • Paul, I’m afraid I disagree with your application of the analogy. The abortion is the analog to the drug abuse. The provision of the needle is the analog to the provision of money, neither one of which is an intrinsic evil. In each case the provider must reasonably assume that the recipient will use what he has been given to commit an evil act. Also in each case one can assume that the evil act would be committed anyway, which is what invites the donor’s rationalization that he causes no harm. In neither case does that last assumption and its attendant rationalization rescue the provider from his material cooperation problem.

  • Mike Petrik: “The provision of the needle…

    No. In a needle exchange there is no provision of a needle (in the usual sense of the word “provision”). The drug addict already has a needle, ready to be used. What’s being provided is a removal of dirt and potential infection. (The moral situation would be equivalent if what was provided was a service to clean the addicts’ own needles.)

    Mike Petrik: “The provision of the needle is the analog to the provision of money, neither one of which is an intrinsic evil.

    If the money is intended to enable the abortion to take place, then that means there is a direct share in the evil of the abortion — so it’s something known to be wrong, regardless of any reasons for the abortion.

    The same is not true for the cleaning of a needle.

    In one case:
    – someone is paying for an abortion, SO THAT the abortion can take place.

    In the other case:
    – someone is cleaning a needle, SO THAT the addict won’t become ill from it.

    The intentions are dramatically different. In the first case, there is a direct share in an intrinsic evil. In the second, there is the intention to help the addict.

    (The prudential decision is then whether providing the needle encourages the addict to keep taking drugs. It might be so, but not necessarily so.)

  • Paul, volunteering to clean the needle of a drug abuser so that it may be used to abuse drugs more safely is no different than volunteering to clean the surgical instruments of an abortion provider so that they may be used to perform an abortion more safely. Either way, a cooperation with evil problem is present.
    This problem may or may not be formal cooperation depending on the intention of the cooperator, but it certainly is material cooperation. Your better argument is that while it is material cooperation, it is mediate rather than immediate and is furthermore contingent, in which case it can be morally justified with sufficient reason. I encourage you to explore that because the reasoning in your blog is deficient.

  • Paul,
    Furthermore, I do not think Catholic moral teaching reduces “sufficient reason” to an ordinary prudential calculus.

  • In the case of needle exchange there are three distinct ways in which material cooperation with evil might take be taking place:

    (1) In the exchange of the physical needle itself.
    (2) In the absence of dirt and infection in the exchanged needle.
    (3) In increasing the likelihood that the drug addict uses the clean needle, rather than his own.

    I reject (1) as a material cooperation because — provided the exchanged needle is equivalent — there is not the slightest change in the physical properties of the needle itself.

    I reject (2) because the absence of dirt and infection — in itself — does nothing to accomplish the act of drug-taking, which can take place entirely independently of the cleanliness or otherwise. The cleanliness of the needle is, in itself, irrelevant to the accomplishment of drug-taking. (And thus, because it is irrelevant, it cannot comprise a material cooperation).

    In relation to (3), there are three ways in which the likelihood of drug-taking is changed. Either (a) it makes no difference at all (e.g. because the addict is hopelessly addicted). Or (b) it makes the drug-taking less likely to occur (e.g. because the drug-addict is so impressed with the care taken over him that he reevaluates his life). Or (c) the drug addict becomes more likely to take the drug (e.g. because there is one less dangerous obstacle in the way).

    Distinguishing between (a), (b), and (c) is necessarily a matter of prudence, and opinions might differ.

    So, I see no material cooperation in (1) or (2), and no necessary material cooperation in (3).

  • Paul, the cooperation need not increase the likelyhood of the evil act to still be cooperation, just as in my abortion example which you ignore and which your reasoning would permit. The cooperation is the provision of the needle, and that is true even if one recasts the provision as simply the cleaning of the needle. The fact that properties don’t change is not relevant to material cooperation just as is the fact that the abortionist’s instruments properties don’t change. As I said, your better argument is that the material cooperation is mediate and contingent and therefore can be morally justified, but to say that there is no material cooperation simply misunderstands the concept. The following is from Fr. Hardon, but there are many more meaty explanations available. http://www.catholicreference.net/index.cfm?id=34788

  • Mike Petrik: “The cooperation is the provision of the needle, and that is true even if one recasts the provision as simply the cleaning of the needle. The fact that properties don’t change is not relevant to material cooperation…

    You assert this, but with insufficient argument for me to understand why you say that. For material cooperation to occur, the cooperation has to be actually specified.

    If I have a dollar bill, and you have a dollar bill, and we exchange these dollar bills, what will you be able to buy after the exchange that you could not buy before? Nothing whatsoever. The exchange does nothing to help you accomplish any act, and so (by itself) it cannot possibly be an act of cooperation. Now it might be that the exchange somehow alters your thinking — and if I can anticipate that, then on that basis there might well be some kind of cooperation.

    As far as I can tell, you disagree with something about the argument in the preceding paragraph. But I don’t know what.

  • Will you please explain to me what any of this has to do with church business or don’t any of you know?

  • This is inside Church politics so to speak.

    Are you familiar with Canon Law?

  • I am aware of theology and I woulld like to know why you think you can ignor it. Jesus instructed us completely on these matters. he said a thing or two about luring little ones into sinful behavior and giving out condoms to unmarried children and needles to drug adicts could well lure them into sinful lifesyles that could cause them to live horrilble lives. But they should not despair because Jesus will come after the ones that are teaching them that its O.K. today. Hey when do you think the church will be able to openly disuss race in this country? I seem to remember lots of children sent out by drug dealing nasty pimps. Could this have been a form of racism or do ya think those nasty drug dealing pimps were loving those children? Again what is your argument? Should we just go along with this abuse of power and let these agendas continue to slaughter the spirits and bodies of children? Save lives without honor? The church is supposed to be a sanctuary and we will get that back for the the sake of all Gods children. I think this Bishop needs to get out of the political business and get back to the job he was suppose to do, such as the true teaching of the one true faith. Its ok for children to hold these nasty homos and drug dealers accoutable for the crimes. And its ok for parents to say homosexuals have no business near children. Do you know that children have a right not to agree with the homosexual agenda? Why should it be force upon them in schools.

  • Hey guys, long time lurker here so thought I would finally post. I’m a little shy because I’m a girl and it seems there are mostly guys here but I wanted to know why it seems you guys don’t have lives. Are the guys with very high post counts really better posters than the ones with less?

  • hey Lisa, some people are seeking everlasting life. I children are expected to keep up the perverted lifestyles of the people making obsene moral judgments then the children are going to need to be self medicating and hubbard is right. Need to get a decent life for the sake of the children.

What does President Barack Obama actually MEAN?

Wednesday, May 20, AD 2009

For consideration: an excerpt from President Barack Obama’s commencement speech at Notre Dame:

The soldier and the lawyer may both love this country with equal passion, and yet reach very different conclusions on the specific steps needed to protect us from harm. The gay activist and the evangelical pastor may both deplore the ravages of HIV/AIDS, but find themselves unable to bridge the cultural divide that might unite their efforts. Those who speak out against stem cell research may be rooted in an admirable conviction about the sacredness of life, but so are the parents of a child with juvenile diabetes who are convinced that their son’s or daughter’s hardships can be relieved.

The question, then — the question then is how do we work through these conflicts? Is it possible for us to join hands in common effort? As citizens of a vibrant and varied democracy, how do we engage in vigorous debate? How does each of us remain firm in our principles, and fight for what we consider right, without, as Father John said, demonizing those with just as strongly held convictions on the other side?

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18 Responses to What does President Barack Obama actually MEAN?

  • I didn’t interpret the president as naively asking us to put aside our differences and just get along. His point in these words was 1) to acknowledge that we do have serious differences – conflicting and irreconcilable differences – in how we understand justice and over what means we advocate in building a just society and 2) ask how we can work through these conflicts without putting aside our differences or demonizing the other. His answer to this question is implied in the first quoted paragraph: we work through these conflicts while recognizing that the other really is concerned for justice, even if we think that the other’s conception of justice is gravely wrong. To be sure, this is a difficult road in our pluralistic and postmodern society. We disagree not only about particular actions and behavior, but over the very meaning of justice and how justice should be applied.

  • The soldier and the lawyer may both love this country with equal passion, and yet reach very different conclusions on the specific steps needed to protect us from harm.

    this is a none to subtle slur against those who offer their lives to protect our nation. It is implying that the soldier is a war-monger, and the lawyer a peace-monger. Soldiers do not make policy, they do not decide when war is necessary. When war is necessary then all who are able must fight.

    In fact, without soldiers, efforts at peaceful conflict resolution are completely useless.

  • I can see the soldier and lawyer disagreeing on the steps necessary to protect the nation. I just think that when the lawyers mess it up they join the soldiers in the fight. Solidarity and all.

  • Phillip,

    and I can see the tinker and the tailor disagreeing. So what? There’s nothing about the profession of soldiering that makes one pro-war, and that’s what Obama is implying. Lawyers resolve problems “peacefully”, soldier’s resolve them “violently”.

    It’s a false dichotomy.

  • Kyle,

    Thanks for commenting. I comprehend the President’s advice about ‘not demonizing the other’ and call for a civil discussion. Those familiar with my own blog will understand I’ve long been an advocate for a more civil and charitable discussion.

    But I admit what gets to me — not only here but throughout the campaigning — is the talk of “working through these conflicts” and “join hands in common effort”. What does this actually mean with respect to abortion and ESCR?

    Granted, we can perhaps say that our President may want abortion to be “safe, legal and rare’ — but he will maintain that the “right” be preserved to commit abortion and will strive to repeal any legal restriction put up by those who conscientiously stand for protection of life.

    We can concede that those advocating embryonic stem cell research are motivated by a noble aspiration (to end sickness and suffering); but our President has insisted nonetheless that embryonic stem cell research continue — and at the financial expense of those who believe it to be a grave evil.

    What “common effort” can actually be accomplished with respect to these matters, when two clearly conflicting principles are at play?

  • Let’s not forget that this president at the same time as he authorized funding of baby-killing embryonic stem cell research, he cut off funding for actually successful and non-baby-killing adult stem cell research…. common ground? Give me a break.

    While in dialogue we at times must be “diplomatic”, we need to speak truth to power as it were and not allow the opposition to dehumanize the victims by conceding to their erroneous language.

  • I do not believe that Obama has any interest in justice for the unborn. He regards their lives as worth less than nothing if their mothers decide to abort them in the womb. His idea of a compromise is hot air for the pro-lifers and “abortion now, abortion forever” for the pro-aborts. His calls for dialogue on this issue are deeply duplicitous and purely an attempt to divide and weaken the pro-life cause.

  • Matt,

    Chill. My point wasn’t that soldiers were pro-war. Most I’ve known,(and I was in the Navy for seven years active and 14 reserve) are not. My point was that lawyers (and others) are quite capable of screwing up the safety of the nation and that soldiers were then obliged to suffer to restore it. I just wish that those lawyers would have to bear the suffering along with soldiers.

  • Phillip,

    You’re right, but I don’t believe that’s what Obama is thinking.

  • Oh I don’t either. I think he’s a Chicago politician and and first-rate liar. But there you have it.

  • “I think he’s a Chicago politician and and first-rate liar.”

    As an Illinois downstater I was brought up to believe there is no difference between those two categories!

  • I defer to your experience Donald.

  • Chris,

    Good questions. Obama seems to think that we can work through these conflicts while he implements policies that don’t just require us to tolerate what we hold to be evil, but require us to participate in those evils. That doesn’t strike me as a common ground approach. Either we as a society fund ESCR through our taxes or we don’t. There is no middle ground there. Regarding abortion, each side can at least work to reduce the number of abortions, but here as well we see issues with no middle ground: funding abortions, for instance.

    Personally, I think a good place to start is for both sides in these difficult conflicts to approach the conflicts and those involved assuming good motives, namely, a shared concern for justice. I’m of the opinion that legal victories in these conflicts last only as long as there is a consensus in the public to support them, so if we want to outlaw abortion and other practices, then we have to build that consensus. In my view, that consensus cannot be built when we’re demonizing one another and assuming the worst motives.

    Of course, there’s no magic trick to building consensus. I don’t expect it to happen, actually, but I hope for it.

  • Either we as a society fund ESCR through our taxes or we don’t. There is no middle ground there. Regarding abortion, each side can at least work to reduce the number of abortions, but here as well we see issues with no middle ground: funding abortions, for instance.

    Precisely. My concern is that sometimes this “come, let us dialogue together” is, whatever the noble motives of the advocate (in this case our President) is tantamount to an embrace of relativism.

    And it makes me wonder if Obama’s truly considered that the Church’s teaching that “no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being” is as absolute as, say, opposition to slavery.

    It’s simply not something that a Christian will negotiate away through dialogue, no matter how civil. We can “dialogue” about this conviction with President Obama or NARAL or whoever until we’re blue in the face, but when it comes down to practical policy — something’s got to give.

    In my view, that consensus cannot be built when we’re demonizing one another and assuming the worst motives.

    I’ll concur with you there. Thanks for responding!

  • Kyle,
    Civil rights laws and the judicial decisions that advanced them were forged without a social consensus. They were necessary anyway, because they were right. While they certainly did not serve to immediately alter hearts and minds, they did contribute to that phenomena over time. Indeed, Roe itself was a lawless judicial decision that flew in the face of laws reflecting popular opinion; and over time it contributed to public acceptnce of abortion. In any event, social consensus is legally irrelevant as long as their is a constitutional barrier, however contrived and phony, to legal change

  • Mike,

    I don’t deny the effect that law can have on shaping people’s beliefs, but for laws to remain on the books in a democratic society, they must, in the long run, have the support of the people. If the people remain divided or against a law, then that law is not long for the world. Consider how easily President Obama swept away recent pro-life legislative gains. On the abortion issue in particular, we are going to see a lot of back-and-forth until the country generally comes to see the issue one way or another.

  • Kyle, the back and forth you describe is minor because of Roe. Roe stacks the deck against the democratic process. While that process would produce very imperfect results, those results would be far superior to those that Roe permits at this time. More specifically, the state of the abortion laws in this country is far more pro-abort than is the state of public opinion, precisely because Roe does not allow public opinion to be expressed in law via the democratic process.

    I fully agree that persuasion is important and that persuasion requires that one normally assumes good faith on the part of opponents. But it does not follow that repealing Roe would be feckless or unimportant. That simply could not be more wrong.

    Finally, it is naive to assign good faith to all. What Obama did in Illinois to sabotage the state’s Born Alive Act cannot be explained away as simply good faith disagreement. He lead the effort to ensure that children born as a result of an attempted abortion procedure would not be entitled to ordinary care unless the attending physician pronounced the child “viable.” In other words born children, who in the eyes of a single doctor are not viable, may lawfully be discarded as trash. He justified this effort by citing his concern for Roe, a concern that in this context is so stupid on so many levels that it must be regarded as insincere. Sincerity is a prerequisite to the good faith you value. It is not universally present.

  • I didn’t say that we should always assign good motives; I said we should assume them when we approach these conflicts. Of course, our assumptions may be later proved or disproved.

    For the record, I don’t think overturning Roe would be feckless or unimportant.

Res & Explicatio for A.D. 5-13-2009

Wednesday, May 13, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

Here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:

1.  Mark Shea has accused the pro-life anti-abortion torture defenders for creating the ‘nightmare’ of Patriot Act abuse.  A homeschooled kid was arrested under suspicion of sending death threats to President Obama via his computer.  It seems as if someone hijacked his IP address to issue those death threats.  As of now he is in jail and hasn’t been allowed to meet his family nor lawyers.

To read Mark Shea’s posting on this click here.

2.  Child molesters in the Church again?  Nope, but the mainstream media isn’t picking up on the story of a Los Angeles school district ‘repeatedly’ returning child molesters to the classrooms.  In a front page story on May 10 the Los Angeles Times reported that the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) “repeatedly” returned teachers and aides credibly accused of child molestation back to classrooms, and these individuals then molested children again.  The major networks, MSNBC, and CNN have failed to pick up on this story.

For the full story by Dave Pierre of NewBusters click here.

3.  It seems that Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.  Which is directly contrary to Pope Benedict XVI’s (as well as the Magisterium’s teaching) statement that condoms were not the solution to the problem of AIDS.  Fr. Jenkins, the President of Notre Dame, is a board member of Millennium Promise which promotes condom use to fight the spread of AIDS.

For the article click here.

[Update I:I want to make an addendum that so many of you insist I make.  I want to also add that Fr. John Jenkins seems to support abortion as well as condom usage.

Millenium Promise, the organization that Fr. John Jenkins is a board member of clearly states on their very own website the following:

(http://www.millenniumpromise.org/site/DocServer/Millennium_Development_Goals_Report_2008.pdf?docID=1841)

Which can be found on the main webpage of Millenium PromiseEmphasis mine.:

Page 84 of Millenium Villages Handbook on condom usage:

Budget and Procurement. The budget for the HIV/AIDS response depends on a number of factors. On the treatment side, the major budgetary concern is the provision of ARV drugs to those in need. Beyond ARV costs, other costs include staffing, other medication, CD4 counts, prevention programming, condom provision, nutritional supplementation, and VHW support.

Page 85 of Millenium Villages Handbook on condom usage:

Communication for Preventing Disease and Changing Behavior: Behavior change communication plays a key role in preventing the spread of HIV and must be seen as a central element in any response to HIV/AIDS. This core intervention includes education, awareness building, advocacy, condom distribution, and education (both male and female), rights building, and voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) promotion among other activities.

Page 92 of Millenium Villages Handbook on condom usage:

Contraception and family planning: Family planning and contraception services are critical to allow women to choose family size and birth spacing, to combat sexually transmitted infections, including HIV infection, and contribute to the reduction of maternal morbidity and mortality. Services include: (1) Counseling; (2) Male and female condoms; (3) Pharmacologic contraceptives including oral, transdermal, intramuscular, and implanted methods; and (4) IUDs

Page 92 of Millenium Villages Handbook on abortion:

Abortion services: In countries where abortion is legal, safe abortion services in controlled settings by skilled practitioners should be established. In villages with a nearby district center with sound surgical capacity, these services can be referred. However, in instances where no district center or alternate post for safe abortion practices is accessible, abortion services can be offered at the village level, provided that sufficient surgical capacity exists.]

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88 Responses to Res & Explicatio for A.D. 5-13-2009

  • It is unfortunate, but unsurprising, that Mr. Shea’s response to the evidence that there is more to the story – in fact, that the underlying premise is 100% false – is to retort, “But Charles Krauthammer is eeevil.” Well, perhaps, and I’m no supporter of Charles K’s stance on torture, but that doesn’t make the story one is relating any more true.

  • I’m a bit surprised by his statement, but that is what he wrote and I printed it word for word. I can understand his passion, but to paint a whole swath of good Catholics as part of the problem in abusing the Patriot Act is a bit much.

  • Yeah, it sounds like on Shea’s story, the kid was arrested on a standard federal warrant (no Patriot Act invocation), the charge is that he repeatedly called in false bomb threats to schools in return for money from students (who wanted the day off), and he’s a known internet prank caller — though his mother disputes that he ever made bomb threats, and he has in fact been charge and appeared in court several times along with a state appointed attourney.

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/05/teenage-bomb-threat-suspect-was-an-internet-prank-phone-call-star/

    So nearly everything Shea is basing his post on is wrong, but aside from that…

    I hope this isn’t a sign of Bush derangement syndrome morphing seamlessly into Obama derangement syndrome. There are enough real bad things to decry about the current administration without people insisting that homeschoolers are being scooped up by a Patriot Act weilding Obama and imprisoned without charge.

  • Very good news from Egypt, though. Especially as per the discussion we were having on that topic last week.

  • These comments on Mark’s blog sum up the problem with his post:

    Some kid gets arrested because of a law passed in 1939 which, sensibly enough, makes it illegal to make bomb threats by phone. His mother believes him to be innocent and says that this law passed in 1939 is somehow connected to the Patriot Act. Obviously she’s partial in this, and doesn’t know anything about the law, and is upset by the charges against her son. But what’s Mark’s excuse? What would make Mark spread the lie that this is about the Patriot Act, or uncritically repeat the kid’s mother’s assertions of his innocence?
    Thomas | 05.10.09 – 11:00 am | #

    ——————————————————————————–

    I do not like cops or the government. However, from the press release issued by the Department of Justice, the kid was arrested under Title 18, USC Sec 844(e). The press release also states that the charge is unrelated to the Patriot Act. A Federal Warrant was issued which means a Judge signed off on it.
    Rafael | 05.10.09 – 1:18 pm | #

    I am saddened by this article from mark Shea. If time had been taken to read three or four “current” articles on this situation, one would clearly see that the Patriot Act was not used in this instance, that long standing law was utilized, that the initial stories from the mother have been retracted and further that the quote from Charles Krauthammer (sp) has nothing to do with this case and that the quote used actually misrepresents the article that it is taken from. I enjoy Mark Shea’s articles on theology and catholic belief but this article is shameful for its lack of research and representation of incorrect facts as truth.
    Mike in Lebanon Kentucky | 05.11.09 – 11:30 am | #

  • It seems that Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.

    This does not seem to be supported by the linked to article. Father Jenkins apparently sits on the board of an organization that supports the Millennium Development Goals. Well, the Vatican also supports the Millennium Development Goals. If the fact Father Jenkins sits on a board that supports the MDG means that he believes in promoting condom use to fight AIDS, then logically one would have to conclude that the Vatican also supports this, which is absurd.

  • Darwin,

    Yes that story from Egypt is heart-warming. The judge could still rule against the convert, thus denying his right to a new ID card showing him as a Christian. But the convert has all his paperwork in order, so it will be interesting how the judge rules and what reasoning he uses to deny his request to change his ID card to show that he is a Christian and not a Muslim.

  • Thomas,
    Furthermore, it is possible that the mother may not be as innocent as we might otherwise assume:
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,519570,00.html

    Mike,
    Yes, Mark has a short trigger. He has sound moral instincts, and I’m sure he is a good egg, but he routinely lets himself get offended before he has all the facts. And as the facts come in he shifts to painting straw men with a very broad brush and then proceeds to vigorously argue with them. It is torturous to observe, and since I oppose torture I seldom visit there anymore.

  • Blackadder,

    The Vatican supports the MGD, but the Vatican is not on the Millennium Promise as a board member.

    Logically you don’t make sense.

  • Vatican is not on the Millennium Promise as a board member.

    That’s true but irrelevant. The supposedly bad thing about Father Jenkins being on the board of Millennium Promise is that the organization supports the Millennium Development Goals, which the Vatican also supports.

  • BlackadderIV,

    Yes, it is true that both the Vatican [ed.-actually, the Vatican doesn’t support MGD after further research] and Fr. Jenkins support the Millennium Development Goals, but the Vatican is not on the board of Millennium Promise and Fr. Jenkins is.

    Hence since Millennium Promise pushes condom use to prevent the further spread of AIDS and that Fr. Jenkins is a board member, then Fr. Jenkins by default supports condom usage.

    That in itself creates a scandal, even if the perception of a scandal is apparent, then Fr. Jenkins should not be a board member at all.

  • Hence since Millennium Promise pushes condom use to prevent the further spread of AIDS

    What is the evidence that Millennium Promise pushes condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS? The only evidence cited in the article is that the group supports the MDG. Clearly this is not good evidence, as the Vatican itself supports the MDG.

    Maybe Millennium Promise supports condoms. Maybe it supports Satanic child sacrifice. Who knows. All I know is that the linked to article provides no evidence in support of the claim that the group (and by extension, Father Jenkins) does support condoms.

  • BlackadderIV,

    The Vatican clearly does not support the MGD’s. You know it and I know it. The Vatican would not support condom usage and abortion. Besides, nowhere in the article does it say that the Vatican supports MGD’s.

    Fr. Jenkins on the other hand by his being a board member MP that supports condom usage and abortions, has not distanced himself from those MGD’s that support it.

  • Tito:

    I agree with Blackadder on this one. The article provides a weak link, too weak to charitably launch a criticism that assumes Jenkins is weak on contraception.

  • Michael Denton,

    As a board member of a pro-life organization I would not want my organization endorsing causes that go counter to Catholic teaching. I would resign or work towards amending the predicament.

    Fr. Jenkins has compromised himself by being a board member of said group. Fr. Jenkins is also president of Notre Dame, so we can assume he is very careful about what organizations he is a member of. He holds a high profile position and should be careful as a representative of the Catholic Church and her teachings. By being a board member he gives unwarranted assurances that it is o.k. to pass out condoms and procure abortions for whatever reasons.

    We can debate where the link is weak or not.

    The fact remains that it is causing scandal by his mere association, even more so now that he has made the monumental blunder of not only inviting the most pro-abortion president to speak, but also giving him an honorary degree in which creates more scandal.

  • The Vatican clearly does not support the MGD’s. You know it and I know it. The Vatican would not support condom usage and abortion. Besides, nowhere in the article does it say that the Vatican supports MGD’s.

    The title of the article from Zenit I linked to is “Holy See Promotes Millennium Goals at U.N.” The first sentence of the article states “The Holy See urged the United Nations to deliver on the Millennium Development Goals, saying that ‘it is an obligation in justice.'” I’m not sure how you can say that “nowhere in the article does it say that the Vatican supports MGD’s.”

    Fr. Jenkins on the other hand by his being a board member MP that supports condom usage and abortions

    Again, there’s no evidence that Millennium Promise does support condom usage and abortions. If you can produce some evidence that it does so, then okay, you’d have a point about Jenkins being a board member. But one shouldn’t accuse Father Jenkins (or anyone else) of supporting condom usage or belonging to an organization that supports condom usage unless one has some evidence that these claims are actually true.

  • BlackadderIV,

    I don’t have the link to the Zenit article you are referencing.

    The mere fact that MP supports MGD is enough to cause scandal. Even the perception of support is enough to cause scandal.

    Clearly you and I disagree on whether Fr. Jenkins supports condoms and abortion.

    We can leave it at that.

  • Tito,

    The link is here.

  • Here’s part of the article if you are having trouble with the link:

    NEW YORK, SEPT. 18, 2005 (ZENIT.org).- The Holy See urged the United Nations to deliver on the Millennium Development Goals, saying that “it is an obligation in justice.”

    Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, stressed the importance of the development goals, which include eradicating half of the world’s poverty by 2015, in his address to the U.N. General Assembly on Friday.

    “It remains an obligation in justice in the service of human dignity to attain and even to surpass the Millennium Development Goals, thereby establishing an essential pre-condition for peace and collective security, and for the elimination or substantial reduction of the threat from terrorism and international crime,” he said.

  • BlackAdderIV,

    Thank you for the link.

    It seems the Vatican is clearly backing the MGD’s in rectifying the situation of the poor. That’s what I read in the article.

    I do see where you are coming from and I do agree with it to an extent. But assuming you are correct, Fr. Jenkins is still causing scandal by the mere appearance of support of condom use.

    Thank you for the vibrant discussion. You never fail to offer a positive and constructive debate.

  • Btw, where did the stuff about abortion come from? You started out by saying that Father Jenkins supported condom use to fight AIDS, and then at some point started adding “and abortion” to the end of your claims that Father Jenkins supports condoms. What’s up with that?

  • Tito:

    Since you say:

    But assuming you are correct, Fr. Jenkins is still causing scandal by the mere appearance of support of condom use.

    I think that then you should alter these claims in the original post:

    It seems that Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.

    and

    Fr. Jenkins, the President of Notre Dame, is a board member of Millennium Promise which promotes condom use to fight the spread of AIDS.

  • But assuming you are correct, Fr. Jenkins is still causing scandal by the mere appearance of support of condom use.

    I don’t think scandal can be properly based on false accusations made against someone. Suppose I said that the American Catholic blog supported condoms, and repeated the claim a bunch of times. Would that mean that you should resign from the blog, because even the mere appearance of support of condom use was causing scandal? I don’t think so.

  • I continued reading the MGD and it shows that abortion is a contentious issue within the UN in further developing the MGD’s to include abortion.

    What’s up with your hostility?

  • Michael Denton,

    No such thing will be done.

  • BA,

    There is a clear link between the MGD and MP. You can debate until your face turns blue, but you can’t argue with facts.

  • I think Tito might have picked up on one of these articles:

    http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/index.php?s=228024285a02e66b8f754d589f7b900a&showtopic=93977&mode=threaded

    A further issue of concern is Millennium Development Goal #5 which is to “Improve Maternal Health.” In 2005 there was an enormous campaign to change MDG#5 to include women’s reproductive health – a code word for abortion. This campaign failed, but there is still an ongoing power struggle over this issue. Some organizations such as UNICEF and UNFPA have issued public documents stating that women’s reproductive health is indeed now included as part of the Millennium Development Goals.

    Since those seeking to incorporate abortion rights in the MDG failed in their efforts, it seems unfair to include abortion in the litany of accusations against Fr. Jenkins. That said, MDG#6 is pretty clear in its promotion of contraception.

  • I continued reading the MGD and it shows that abortion is a contentious issue within the UN in further developing the MGD’s to include abortion.

    It’s contentious, but for now abortion is not part of the MDGs. On that particular score, it thus unfair to imply that Fr. Jenkins has an abortion problem.

  • No such thing will be done.

    Y’see, Michael, Tito is infallible.

  • Michael I.,

    What are you studying again?

    Paul & BA4,

    I see where abortion hasn’t quite made it on the MGD agenda so I’ll refrain from accusing Fr. Jenkins on that point. Though he is still causing scandal for supporting condom distribution which is contrary to Catholic teaching.

  • Though he is still causing scandal for supporting condom distribution which is contrary to Catholic teaching.

    Even though I do agree that there’s an undeniable link between the Millennium Project and the Millennium Development Goals, and as a board member Fr. Jenkins is at least tacitly responsible for the end product, this still might be an over-reach. What was/is Fr. Jenkins role in developing those goals? Did he push back against MDG #6? Did he decide to continue to support the MDGs despite of this provision? And what of the Vatican’s seeming support?

    I don’t completely dismiss your concerns, but I think this matter deserves further serious exploration before we declare Fr. Jenkins to be a supporter of condom distribution.

  • I don’t completely dismiss [Tito’s] concerns, but I think this matter deserves further serious exploration before we declare Fr. Jenkins to be a supporter of condom distribution.

    Agreed.

  • I don’t completely dismiss [Tito’s] concerns, but I think this matter deserves further serious exploration before we declare Fr. Jenkins to be a supporter of condom distribution.

    Likewise, agreed.

  • I agree with the previous three commenters.

    Tito:

    You are out of line if you don’t retract. You have asserted that a priest openly rejects the teaching of the Church on contraception. This would be a very serious sin if true, and is a very serious charge, especially against a priest, and especially against a priest of high prominence.

    You, by your own admission, lack the evidence for such a charge. Perhaps Jenkins does support them, but you have not one bit of evidence other then “he’s on a group which is associated with this group that includes contraception.” You need much stronger evidence then that to accuse someone, particularly a Catholic priest, of such wrongdoing as you accuse.

    If you do not update the post with a correction, this post is calumny [ed.-if you continue to slander me you will be placed in moderation].

  • John,
    I agree as well. I do not think that being a board member of an organization that does has perfectly sound purposes but also supports condom distribution automatically makes one a supporter of condom distribution. For all we know Fr. Jenkins opposes condom distribution and has faithfully registered his objections at board meetings. One is not required by Catholic teaching to resign from each and every organization that takes actions or positions inimical to Church teaching — that is a prudential decision. That is exactly why we can have pro-life Democrats, and indeed it is good that we do. I have served on the local United Way board off and on for 15 years notwithstanding the fact that the local Planned Parenthood agency as a grantee. If fact, I have been instrumental in ensuring that donors can elect to direct their donations so as to exclude Planned Parenthood and helped devise the accounting procedures that give that actual effect. We cannot resign from the world. While one might argue that it is imprudent for Fr. J to remain a board member for reasons of potential confusion or scandal, that is a prudential calculus that belongs to him. The fact that he has chosen to remain a board member is very weak evidence that he actually supports condom distribution.
    All that said, perhaps Tito has other evidence and I missed it (in a hurry — lots to do).

  • Michael Denton,

    You will be guilty of slander if you continue with your uncharitable and dishonest accusations against me.

    I will not repeat what I’ve already explained why Fr. Jenkins seems to promote condom usage. Your obtuseness will not be tolerated if you continue with your behavior. This is your first and only warning. If you continue you will be placed on moderation.

  • Mike Petrik,

    By the simple fact that you are a board member of United Way makes you in formal cooperation with evil. United Way funds abortions and it is something not to be proud of. [ed.-I was wrong here, United Way operates independently at the local level.]

    I can see why there is hostility to my position. You clearly are going against church teachings.

    You cannot be publicly for abortion, but privately against it. Just like many typical ‘pro-life democrats’.

  • Everyone,

    That is the problem with complacency and nuance. By giving excuse after excuse to why Fr. Jenkin’s is on the board for an organization that promotes condom usage and quite possibly abortions is to fall into relativism.

    [ed.-edited for charity] Too many good and well-meaning Catholics make excuses for those Catholics that continue to drift away from Catholic teaching to the point that they are completely in camp with evil. Such as Fr. Jenkin’s honoring the most pro-abortion candidate in the history of the United States and Mike Petrik sitting on the board of an organization for 15 years that funds abortions is inexcusable.

    We need to change the culture, not be changed by it.

  • There is a clear link between the MGD and MP.

    First, it really should be MDG, not MDG. It’s Millennium Development Goals, after all, not Millennium Goals Development.

    Second, I’m not arguing that there’s no link between Millennium Promise and the Millennium Development Goals. That is very clear. The question is whether supporting the Millennium Development Goals means supporting condom use. Given the fact that the Vatican (which certainly does not support condom use) supports the Millennium Development Goals, I would argue the answer to this question is no.

    The specific MDG in question is number six, which is to “[c]ombat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases.” Whatever some UN bureaucrat might say on the matter, isn’t it obvious that one could support that goal without supporting the use of condoms as a means to prevent the spread of AIDS?

  • BlackAdder4,

    I agree with your statement that you can support the goal without supporting the use of condoms as a means to prevent the spread of AIDS.

    What I say is that due to Fr. Jenkins actions of late he has brought the light of scandal upon himself. If he has done this, he may have made other mistakes as well. One of them being that he is a board member of MP. Assuming that he is there for the correct reasons, he is still causing scandal by bringing attention to such a scandalous position.

    And I do like MGD (Miller Genuine Draft), but yes, I was referring to MDG. Thank you for the fraternal correction.

  • Tito,

    No doubt Father Jenkins has made many mistakes and is open to criticism on many fronts. That doesn’t mean that one has free reign to accuse him of whatever one wishes.

    This doesn’t have to be difficult. You didn’t look into a matter very carefully, and ended up making a charge against Father Jenkins that isn’t supported by the evidence. Okay, it happens. The thing to do when this is pointed out to you is just to own up to the mistake, retract the charges, and move on. Retrenchment on such a matter will only serve to further damage your credibility.

  • Tito:

    Mike Petrik making excuses for those who actually support the very things you mention?

    My dear friend, you seem to be conflating one’s residence within a certain organization/entity with direct allegiance & support of the very activities it purportedly sponsors.

    If that were indeed the case, that this Guilt by Association automatically renders a person culpable of the very crimes you seem wont to prosecute him for, then that would make any citizen of the United States who pay their taxes guilty of similar crimes, given that the U.S. government provides monies to national abortion programs (and, even now, in light of Obama’s fierce Pro-abortion Crusade, it would seem globally as well); and, therefore, by that very same logic you’ve applied thus, makes every tax-paying U.S. citizen guilty of formal cooperation with evil, too.

    You’re better than this — or, at least, I should hope.

  • BlackAdder4,

    Again we can agree to disagree.

    I made no mistake and will not retract my facts on the matter.

    e.,

    Fr. Jenkins causes scandal by his mere association of such an organization.

  • Tito,

    The claim that “Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS” is unsubstantiated, and I agree with Michael Denton’s recommendation that it should be retracted.

  • Christopher,

    I made no mistake and will not retract my facts on the matter.

    You have your opinions on the matter which are incorrect. Fr. John Jenkins is causing a scandal by his board membership to an organization that supports the promotion of condom use.

  • I think that the baseless of Tito’s accusation has been demonstrated to the satisfaction of everyone but Tito, and demonstrating it to his satisfaction does not seem to be possible, so I’ll leave the conversation here.

  • BlackAdder4,

    Just because your unsupported accusations are supported by others doesn’t make it right.

    You are not satisfied unless your able to smear me which is uncharitable to say the least.

    The conversation would have been better served if you hadn’t participated in the first place.

  • Re: Millenium Promise

    Millennium Villages Handbook

    Abortion services: In countries where abortion is legal, safe abortion services in
    controlled settings by skilled practitioners should be established. In villages with a
    nearby district center with sound surgical capacity, these services can be referred.
    However, in instances where no district center or alternate post for safe abortion
    practices is accessible, abortion services can be offered at the village level,
    provided that sufficient surgical capacity exists

    Contraception and family planning: Family planning and contraception services
    are critical to allow women to choose family size and birth spacing, to combat
    sexually transmitted infections, including HIV infection, and contribute to the
    reduction of maternal morbidity and mortality. Services include: (1) Counseling;
    (2) Male and female condoms; (3) Pharmacologic contraceptives including oral,
    transdermal, intramuscular, and implanted methods; and (4) IUDs

    So, while the absolute evidence is not in the articles, it is clearly in their approach.

    The insidious use of euphemisms like “prevention services”, “maternal health”, “reproductive health” etc. does not change the reality of what Millenium Promise is doing. None of us should be so naive as to believe they are being moral.

  • Off topic (and perhaps simply for comic relief at this point), is the icon typically used in Tito Edward’s posts a painting of the very man featured in the icon in blackadderiv’s posts?

  • Tito,

    Paul Zummo’s questions stand, and I note you have not bothered to respond:

    What was/is Fr. Jenkins role in developing those goals? Did he push back against MDG #6? Did he decide to continue to support the MDGs despite of this provision? And what of the Vatican’s seeming support?

    Until you actually provide evidence to substantiate your accusation, the claim that Fr. Jenkins personally support condom use is groundless.

    That you preface your claim with “it seems” indicates your own uncertainty in making the accusation.

  • Everyone,

    I am adding substantial evidence of Millenium Promise‘s goals for condom usage AND abortion to the posting.

    It will take a little while since Millenium Promise‘s handbooks have this burried in over 200 pages of “nuance”.

    Christopher Blosser,

    You continue to ignore my statement that Fr. Jenkins gives cause for scandal. [ed.-off topic]

  • e.,

    I use El Greco’s ‘Conde Ordaz’ picture.

    I’m not sure what Black Adder use’s but it’s not what I use.

  • Tito:

    Personally, I believe the charitable thing to do at this point is for you to retract your accusation.

    Although I can see your point concerning how the opinion of the mob does not automatically render theirs correct (argumentum ad populum); still, I can’t see how the accusation you’ve made against Jenkins can seriously be considered as anything but baseless at this point.

    While Jenkin’s own actions during the past months may appear downright reprehensible, I don’t think that faithful Catholics such as yourself should sink so low to the point of what appears to be calumny.

    As I’ve attempted to explain before, I don’t quite think that Jenkins simply being a board member automatically renders him guilty of personally perpetrating the very crime of which you seem to have prematurely prosecuted him for, no more than I would deem you — for simply being a tax-paying U.S. citizen — guilty of supporting national programs for abortion being that such programs are prominently financed by taxpayers’ monies.

  • Christopher,

    Until you actually provide evidence to substantiate your accusation, the claim that Fr. Jenkins personally support condom use is groundless.

    with respect, where exactly does Tito make the claim you are claiming he did? It is your own accusation which is groundless. Tito only claimed that Fr. Jenkins SEEMS to support condom use since he’s on a board of an organization, that despite suggestions to the contrary DISTRIBUTES CONDOMS and PROVIDES ABORTIONS.

    That you preface your claim with “it seems” indicates your own uncertainty in making the accusation.

    No, it’s a statement about APPEARANCE, in being on the board of an organization it APPEARS or SEEMS one is in support of their activities.

    Being on the board of an organization which spreads evil is clearly scandalous, if not outright material cooperation with evil, even if one does not personally support those evils.

  • Matt,

    “Being on the board of an organization which spreads evil is clearly scandalous, if not outright material cooperation with evil, even if one does not personally support those evils.”

    Are you quite serious about this?

    Do you also apply this same sort of logic to executive-level, middle management or even ordinary employees of companies, too? To even citizens of countries that happen to provide such monstrous support for abortion that they themselves do not personally advocate?

  • While we’re at it. Until the Church declares the particular techniques defended by some to be torture, it is completely uncharitable to refer to refer to those who defend them as “torture defenders”. The argument is clearly about the definition of torture, not whether or not we should be using torture, which, we should not, and most everyone in the debate agrees.

  • In regard to Mike Petrik there is no firmer pro-lifer.

    In regard to accusations, there should be evidence presented. As to Jenkins I think in order to claim that he supports condom use we need more than he is present on the board of Millenium Promise. I do agree with Tito that it strikes me as a fairly dubious organization.

  • I want to make an addendum that so many of you insist I make. I want to add that Fr. John Jenkins seems to support abortion as well as condom usage. I have added this to the original post as an addendum.

    Millenium Promise, the organization that Fr. John Jenkins is a board member of clearly states on their very own website the following:

    (http://www.millenniumpromise.org/site/DocServer/Millennium_Development_Goals_Report_2008.pdf?docID=1841)

    Which can be found on the main webpage of Millenium Promise. Emphasis mine.:

    Page 84 of Millenium Villages Handbook on condom usage:

    Budget and Procurement. The budget for the HIV/AIDS response depends on a number of factors. On the treatment side, the major budgetary concern is the provision of ARV drugs to those in need. Beyond ARV costs, other costs include staffing, other medication, CD4 counts, prevention programming, condom provision, nutritional supplementation, and VHW support.

    Page 85 of Millenium Villages Handbook on condom usage:

    Communication for Preventing Disease and Changing Behavior: Behavior change communication plays a key role in preventing the spread of HIV and must be seen as a central element in any response to HIV/AIDS. This core intervention includes education, awareness building, advocacy, condom distribution, and education (both male and female), rights building, and voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) promotion among other activities.

    Page 92 of Millenium Villages Handbook on condom usage:

    Contraception and family planning: Family planning and contraception services are critical to allow women to choose family size and birth spacing, to combat sexually transmitted infections, including HIV infection, and contribute to the reduction of maternal morbidity and mortality. Services include: (1) Counseling; (2) Male and female condoms; (3) Pharmacologic contraceptives including oral, transdermal, intramuscular, and implanted methods; and (4) IUDs

    Page 92 of Millenium Villages Handbook on abortion:

    Abortion services: In countries where abortion is legal, safe abortion services in controlled settings by skilled practitioners should be established. In villages with a nearby district center with sound surgical capacity, these services can be referred. However, in instances where no district center or alternate post for safe abortion practices is accessible, abortion services can be offered at the village level, provided that sufficient surgical capacity exists.]

  • Tito, look at it this way. From another thread:

    The way Fr. Z links homosexuality with “rats” and the “devil” is scandalous and inappropriate for a priest of Jesus Christ.

    To which was replied:

    This is what Father Z wrote:

    “While it is true that the laborers in the Lord’s vinyard should be perfect enough in their spirit of dedication never to have to need any praise or thanks, they remain human beings. Furthermore, they are also under constant attack by the enemy of the soul.

    It takes but small crack for a rat to slip into a house. It takes hardly anything at all for the devil to insinuate his venom into a man’s daily reflections.”

    Would you agree that it was incorrect and wrong for the first person to say what he did? I think so. If you do, then please step back and see how what you’re saying about Fr Jenkins is similar (and I’m not sying Fr Jenkins isn’t wrong on a number of issues, but justice is justice).

  • e.,


    Matt said: being on the board of an organization which spreads evil is clearly scandalous, if not outright material cooperation with evil, even if one does not personally support those evils.”

    e. said: Are you quite serious about this?

    Absolutely. To clarify, I’m not talking about mundane evil, but the profound evils of abortion and contraception.

    Do you also apply this same sort of logic to executive-level

    Most probably yes.

    , middle management or even ordinary employees of companies, too?

    To a lesser extent, but yes in those cases too. This can be excused if there’s no direct involvement, and the individual has no choice to make a living for their family but to be employed at the organization. It would also depend on the amount of evil being spread. Let’s say Coca-Cola on the lower level, Proctor & Gamble in the middle, and Planned Parenthood at the highest. This group seems to be somewhere between P&G and PP in it’s promotion of evil.

    To even citizens of countries that happen to provide such monstrous support for abortion that they themselves do not personally advocate?

    Not to a substantial extent because citizenship is not a voluntary assocation. If the evil activity becomes so substantial that the nation is wholly corrupt, and there are alternatives we should leave, but in our current circumstances, I don’t see that as the case. There is still a “Culture War” going on, and really no safe haven elsewhere, we have no choice but to stay and fight.

  • Mr. McClarey,

    RE: Mike Petrik, I agree.

    RE: Tito’s suspicion about the organization, I agree.

    RE: Jenkin’s purportedly supporting those particular measures as detailed therein; that remains to be seen.

    Personally, even seeming to act on behalf of Jenkin’s is the last thing I’d ever countenance; however, given the subtle workings of certain boards I happen to be acquainted with, given its own “political” workup and their various agendas which not all unanimously agree to, this very detail would leave me initially skeptical.

  • Fr. Jenkins is on the board of a pro-abortion and pro-condom organization of Millennium Promises which at minimum gives scandal.

    I have not accused Fr. Jenkins of being personally for condom usage (or abortion). But I have said he seems to be promoting these evils by associating himself with a pro-abortion and pro-condom organization.

    Notwithstanding all the evidence that I have provided that many of you have chosen to ignore.

  • It would seem that self-described “pro-life Democrats”, by virtue of their being Democrats, are actually pro-abortion.

  • Tito:

    “But I have said he seems to be promoting these evils by associating himself with a pro-abortion and pro-condom organization.”

    Respectfully, the very same can be said almost about any one of us.

    If a person can automatically be condemned as being somebody who “seems to be promoting these evils by associating himself with a pro-abortion and pro-condom organization”, then a person who simply works for a corporation who also happens to do the same can likewise be condemned as such.

    Now, to be fair, Jenkins may well be guilty of having actually supported those very measures detailed in the handbook; however, as it stands, there is yet to be convincing evidence of the sort that would actually corroborate such a claim — even a claim as tentatively articulated as “he seems to be promoting these evils by associating himself with a pro-abortion and pro-condom organization”.

  • e.,

    Yes, I see your reasoning.

    The difference is that Fr. Jenkins is a Catholic priest. One who is the president of a world-renowned Catholic university. One that can be argued made a mistake of offering an honorary degree and an invitation to speak to Notre Dame’s graduates. He is now under the microscope because of his questionable actions. One can rightly say “is this a pattern of behavior?” Someone who goes contrary to Church teachings?

    It is only fair to ask if his example is giving scandal to others. His mere association with Millenium Promise gives credence that it’s ok to abort and use condoms since such a prominent Catholic is on a board of a UN NGO!

  • Just so we’re clear, my point was that Krauthammer says that if we have “the slightest belief” that torture will save “an innocent”, then this kid should, by Krauthammer’s own logic, be tortured. Obviously, the Feds have “the slightest belief” that his alleged bomb threats have some sort of substance to them or they wouldn’t still be holding him. So by Krauthammer’s logic it is a “moral obligation” to torture the kid, lest by some oversight he or his compatriots actually kill innocents. The post isn’t really about the Patriot Act: it’s about the logic of the rhetoric that is being put forward by major pundits and representatives of allegedly “conservative” thought. By Krauthammer’s standards, the Feds were actually neglectful of their moral obligations when they didn’t instantly start torturing him. Suppose the threat had been real!

  • With all due respect… (That being the general precursor to rhetorically laying into someone.)

    Obviously, the Feds have “the slightest belief” that his alleged bomb threats have some sort of substance to them or they wouldn’t still be holding him.

    Actually, that’s not clear at all. Calling in bomb threats is illegal even if they’re known to be false. From what I’ve seen, it’s pretty clear that he’s being prosecuted for making fake bomb threats, not on the suspicion that he was really going to bomb anything.

    it’s about the logic of the rhetoric that is being put forward by major pundits and representatives of allegedly “conservative” thought. By Krauthammer’s standards, the Feds were actually neglectful of their moral obligations when they didn’t instantly start torturing him. Suppose the threat had been real!

    I’m not really clear that his is put forward by “major pundits” or “representative of allegedly ‘conservative’ thought” either. Sometime along these lines was said by Krauthammer (a quirky sort of fellow himself, politically) once. I strongly doubt that, if ask, he would give the interpretation to his words that you are giving. And if one went around the country asking pundits and ordinary citizens the number (even among Fox News watchers) who would assert that the government has a moral obligation to torture anyone it has the least suspicion of being about to bomb innocent people is pretty clearly vanishingly small.

    I don’t think that your admirable witness against consequentialist arguments for torture is helped by assembling what amounts to a fairly preposterous straw man. Your arguments themselves are better than that.

  • Once again the clown Mark Shea has bombed. Certainly even now he’s scouring online archives, Krauthammer’s rubbish bin, Halliburton dumps, anything at all in a desperate attempt at uncovering some comeback lines. In this valiant Hamburger Hill like effort at misdirection he’ll be well advised to decline any offer of relief from Mr Comerford, the Walter Mitty of the blogosphere.

  • Ivan,

    Without the rudeness please?

  • Ditto Ivan’s remarks.

    Shea has sunk so low, he has himself become a self-parody; simply allow the guy to dig his own grave and he will… eventually.

  • Shea is no clown and needs no defense from the likes of e. and Ivan. They are best ignored.

  • Mark, Darwin Catholic

    I apologise for writing “the clown…”. I regretted that once it was posted.

  • “I apologise for writing ‘the clown'”

    Yeah, ‘Bozo’ would’ve been more apt where Shea is concerned!

    (apologies, Darwin Catholic — only messin’).

  • Christopher,

    Christopher Blosser Says:
    Wednesday, May 13, 2009 A.D. at 2:27 pm

    It would seem that self-described “pro-life Democrats”, by virtue of their being Democrats, are actually pro-abortion.

    You know that’s not what I or Tito said, so it’s simply a strawman.

    Since you asked though, membership in the Democrat party is material cooperation with evil and may be scandalous. Whether this is sinful or not would depend on a number of factors. Particularly to the degree one avoids apparent or actual support of the platform or pro-abortion candidates.

    Now, simple membership in a party is not the same thing as being on the board of an organization, which is done specifically to lend credibility to the cause and/or as a reward for faithful support. I have not heard Fr. Jenkins actively rejecting the approach of the group he is on the board of, and it’s likely that he would not be on that board if he was. As a prominent Catholic priest lending credibility to an organization which substantially spreads evil, he is giving scandal.

  • Matt,

    If Tito had expressed concern about Fr. Jenkin’s presence “lending credibility” to an organization that promotes condom use, I would be in complete agreement with him.

    In fact, I don’t think you would find a number of his colleagues voicing their dissent as happened on this post.

    But you and I both know he didn’t frame the argument in that manner.

    Rather, he publicly speculated that “Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.”

    One is an expression of charitable concern, voiced in a respectful manner.

    The other is a deliberate misrepresentation and an unsubstantiated charge.

  • Christopher Blosser,

    If Tito had expressed concern about Fr. Jenkin’s presence “lending credibility” to an organization that promotes condom use, I would be in complete agreement with him.

    That’s good.

    In fact, I don’t think you would find a number of his colleagues voicing their dissent as happened on this post.

    But you and I both know he didn’t frame the argument in that manner.

    Rather, he publicly speculated that “Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.

    Chris, that is one of the most aggregious attempts at changing the substance of a persons statement by quoting out of context I’ve seen in awhile. All you had to do to present your Christian brother’s statement in a more reasonable light is to quote the WHOLE sentence, instead of slicing it up for your own purposes.

    What Tito actually said:
    It seems that Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.

    seem
    ??/sim/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [seem]

    –verb (used without object)
    1. to appear to be, feel, do, etc.: She seems better this morning.
    2. to appear to one’s own senses, mind, observation, judgment, etc.: It seems to me that someone is calling.
    3. to appear to exist: There seems no need to go now.
    4. to appear to be true, probable, or evident: It seems likely to rain.
    5. to give the outward appearance of being or to pretend to be: He only seems friendly because he wants you to like him.

    There is an appearance of support.

    One is an expression of charitable concern, voiced in a respectful manner.

    And that is what Tito was trying to do, regardless of whether or not he expressed it exactly as you wanted.

    The other is a deliberate misrepresentation and an unsubstantiated charge.

    And that is what CHRISTOPHER BLOSSER did by misquoting Tito’s statement.

  • Christopher,

    “Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.”

    I said “seems”, not “believes”.

    I believe you misquoted me. Or it seems you misquoted me. See the difference?

    Which changes the entire context of what I wrote.

  • Tito,

    I thank you and Matt for proving my point.

    Let’s examine your sentence as a whole:

    “It seems that Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.”

    We can see from this:

    1) Tito is uncertain that Fr. John Jenkins actually BELIEVES in the promotion of condom use.

    2) He qualifies it with “it seems”

    3) But in the simple fact of doing so, he plants the thought in the public realm and casts aspersion on Fr. Jenkins.

    Again, if Tito had framed the argument in such a manner as:

    1) Fr. Jenkins is a member of the board of an organization that endorses the Millenium Goals
    2) Said organization has been known to advocate contraception in the fulfillment of the “goal”
    3) Fr. Jenkins lends the appearance of advocacy to this by his being on the board

    I would have little objection, because rather than rumor-mongering, you instead extend the invitation to Fr. Jenkins for clarification, and treat him with Christian charity such as every Catholic deserves.

  • Christopher Blosser,


    I think you and Matt for proving my point.

    Let’s take your sentence as a whole:

    “It seems that Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.”

    We can see from this:

    1) Tito is uncertain that Fr. John Jenkins actually BELIEVES in the promotion of condom use.

    2) He qualifies it with “it seems”

    3) But in the simple fact of doing so, he plants the thought in the public realm and casts an unsubstantiated charge against Fr. Jenkins.

    Are we clear on why I object to this?.

    Tito didn’t plant the thought in the public realm, Fr. Jenkins did by being ON THE BOARD OF A PRO-CONDOM, PRO-ABORTION ORGANIZATION, which is a further complication of his support for honoring a rabidly pro-abortion politician and rejecting the correction of his own bishop. Tito brought it up for discussion on the blog, it was always in the public realm. Tito revealed nothing.

    Are you HONESTLY denying that Fr. Jenkins position on that board implies support for it’s operations in the absence of strong evidence to the contrary, especially in light of his decision to reject the instruction of his bishop and honor a pro-abortion/condom politician?

  • Christopher,

    We are splitting hairs at this point.

    For me I take people at their word and I believe what you are saying is sincere. I take your fraternal actions to heart, but we’ve exhausted this debate well enough.

    Pax vobiscum.

  • Matt,

    I’ve stated my case. I’m done with this.

  • It “seems” that Tito does not fully understand the concept of material cooperation, but pontificates on it with great confidence anyway.
    It “seems” that Tito has no idea how United Ways are organized or governed, but pontificates on them with great confidence anyway.
    It “seems” that Tito feels he can reach factual conclusions with great confidence simply by taking bizarre inferential liberties.
    It “seems” that Tito thinks that he is entitled to make all manner of unfair accusations, most especially if he qualifies them with “seems.”

  • Mike,

    I’ll concede that you aren’t in material cooperation, but in remote material cooperation with abortion.

  • I’ll concede that you aren’t in material cooperation, but in remote material cooperation with abortion.

    No more than any of us who live in this society.

    Tito, are ad hominem attacks wrong? If so, how does “It seems that Fr. John Jenkins believes in the promotion of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS” differ from what Mike said? Best I can tell, the only difference is that while Mike slipped in “it seems”, his observations can actually be connected to your own words, whereas there is much less to go on regarding Fr. Jenkins.

  • As far as the rest of your ad hominem attacks, you need to think twice before you post or you will be banned.

    Tito: You really need to relax. You have now generated into ad hominem and ridiculous charges against someone who is merely pointing out the spuriousness of your charges. If you feel like lashing out against and banning Mike and anyone else who shows even the slightest hint of disagreeing with you, then frankly I have no use in visiting this site anymore myself.

  • Rick,

    If you want to delve into moral relativism, be my guest.

    It is scandalous that a prominent Catholic priest is a board member of an organization that actively promotes condom usage and abortion.

    But if you want to mock me and what I wrote I am fine with it. You can attack the messenger, but the fact remains that Fr. John Jenkins is a board member, not a volunteer on a Sunday morning passing out flyers, but a board member that has the authority to debate the direction of an organization that actively promotes moral evils contrary to Catholic teaching.

    Go ahead and attack me, but you won’t distract from this very fact.

  • Everyone,

    We all need to cool down about this (me included).

    So I am closing down the comments for this thread.

    We all need to think twice before posting comments and remember that we are all children of Christ. It would behoove all of us to be more charitable in how we treat each other.

    I appreciate fraternal correction, but that can’t be used as a weapon to bludgeon someone you disagree with.

    Pax!

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66 Responses to Farewell (and thanks) to President George W. Bush

  • ” I should like to thank him for his unapologetic confession of Christian faith, and for his testimony to the importance that prayer plays in his life. And I should like to thank him for not giving a hoot about the mockery that such a witness draws from a secularized mass media, from American high culture, from cranks like Michael Moore, and from Euro-secularist snobs who spent eight years sneering at the evangelical cowboy in the White House while their continent was dying from spiritual boredom.”

    Amen!

  • Amen. I suspect a lot of people will miss him when he’s gone. A big key word in his 200 campaign was “dignity”, and he and Laura have certainly lived up to that promise. I pray that Obama’s inevitable “Lewinski moment” will happen in the first term so that people return to their sense and kick him out in 2012. (I’m not implying that his big(gest) blunder will be a sexual sin, but there is bound to be some major mistake that will reveal his weakness and ineptitude.)

  • “2000 campaign”, I meant.

    Also, I shouldn’t say that I pray for Obama to fail and be shamed and ruined. First I pray for his conversion. But I also do hope that if he proves to be as unqualified as I think he is, that he’ll only get one term.

  • While Bush certainly made mistakes (the bailouts steamed me), I believe history will be much kinder to him than his current critics are. If Iraq becomes a stable functioning democracy – it’s too early to tell at this point -the anti-war left will be seen by future generations in the same light as we view the Copperheads of Lincoln’s day. Of course, they realize that too, which is why they have done everything in their power to bring about our failure there.

    I don’t regret having voted for Bush in ’00 and ’04. Despite the mistakes he made, he has far more integrity and class than most of his critics.

  • His departing speech and particularly the declaration of a national right to life day were fantastic. I wish he had not had so many of the management and public relations errors that caused his popularity to drop so low, I suspect history will judge him more objectively than the latest polls.

    God Bless,

    Matt

  • Yeah…Katrina was definitely just a p.r. and management error, as was Iraq, torture, Valerie Plame, Gitmo., WMDs, ‘Mission Accomplished, the DOJ scandal, the suspension of habeas corpus…

  • Mark,

    Katrina – pr mostly. The dikes collapsed because the corrupt Louisiana (principally democrat) leadership didn’t use the federally allocated funds to maintain them, but for other politically and personally motivated projects. The evacuation didn’t take place because the democrat mayor and governor failed to act. As Bush pointed out nearly 30,000 were rescued by FEDERAL assets, only after the democrat governor finally agreed to federal intervention. And finally, can you really blame Bush for New Orleans being the greatest festering stinkhole of the entitlement constituency in the country?

    Iraq – bad management mostly, but PR too (mission accomplished banner), probably Rumsfield is the main culprit, things were later sorted out under Gates using General Petraeus brilliant strategy.

    torture, – no torture occurred under the approval of the administration, but enhanced interrogation techniques approved by the leaders of both parties in congress resulted in saving countless American, Iraqi, Afghan and other lives here and abroad.

    Valerie Plame, – pr, this was a nothing issue, her exposure by a Richard Armitage (not particularly close to Bush or Cheney) while despicable was not even a crime.

    Gitmo., – non-issue, it’s really much nicer than an Afghan or Iraqi prison, they eat better than most US prisoners.

    WMDs, – in Syria. Actually over 800 chemical weapons were found in Iraq, just not the major programs that were expected by THE WHOLE WORLD.

    ‘Mission Accomplished, – pr. Actually the banner was not erected by the president or his staff, but understandably exuberant navy personnel

    the DOJ scandal, – huh?

    the suspension of habeas corpus… – non-issue, terrorists should not be protected by laws designed for domestic criminals. In any event the terrorists are treated quite nicely relative to their acts.

    God Bless,

    Matt

  • Matt you are an utterly sick human being.

  • Matt,

    The sad thing is, as with many writers here, you are not even getting paid to push such ideologically-drenched nonsense.

  • Catholic Anarchist why don’t you attempt to respond to Matt’s arguments rather than engaging in a feeble insult? This blog is for debate on ideas and not for back and forth flaming which is monotonous and boring.

  • Same thing for you Mr. DeFrancisis. Debate the ideas or find other venues to vent.

  • I can’t say I’m a fan after 8 years, and while I’m dreading the Obama Administration I feel a certain sense of freedom defending conservative/classically liberal ideas now with Bush out of office.

    The subject of abortion is the one area I was pleased and content with Bush, though to this day I still think the courts can be stripped of authority on the issue.

    – Two unjust and undeclared wars and a failure to capture Osama Bin Laden. Inexcusable. War should have been formally declared upon Al-Queda, making it the first formal declaration since WWII. It would have set the mission and defined victory, but unfortunately we had (and still have) a cowardly Congress and an authoritarian view of the presidency.

    – A failure to turn the world’s good will after 9/11 into workable solutions with Iran and Middle East. Iran, having two nuclear neighbors could have become an ally as oppose to a source of continued antagonism.

    -Torture (or ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’), wire tapping and the suspension of habeas corpus… once again a failure to recognize the long term repercussions of these acts in favor of short term successes.

    – The Bailouts. Whats the point of having free market principles if you don’t actually follow them? Bush and the Republicans revealed through bailing out Fannie and Freddie, the banks, the auto industry, etc. that their economic philosophies were merely tools to differentiate themselves to voters. It was a marketing tool to be chucked whenever the going got tough in order to look as if they were ‘acting’ to solve the problem. In good time, we will feel the effects of their inflationary acts, which Obama will only make worse exponentially. I can’t say with confidence the dollar will be around in 20 years.

    So while I have an appreciation for Bush’s handling of abortion and his warm welcoming to Catholics, I can’t in good conscience also consider his time in office as successful or even a good example of a moral use for executive power.

  • Don – Matt did not make an argument.

  • Calling a person who defends Gitmo and torture a “sick human being” is an ontological statement, not an “insult.”

  • Donald,

    You choose to allow such stinkwater at your site, which is indicative of the level of all Matt’s posts:

    “And finally, can you really blame Bush for New Orleans being the greatest festering stinkhole of the entitlement constituency in the country?”

    I am sorry if I cannot restrain myself and call it for what it is.

  • Anthony,

    Iran, having two nuclear neighbors could have become an ally as oppose to a source of continued antagonism.

    Iran? When I was in 3rd grade the current president of that rogue nation invaded sovereign US territory of the embassy, and took American citizens hostage. It’s animosity towards the US doesn’t originate with George Bush, it’s ruling ideology clearly precludes it from becoming an ally.

    Some of your other points make sense, especially with regard to the bailout… I might add the amnesty bill.

    God Bless,

    Matt

  • Thank God. Goodbye George W. Bush. I will hardly miss him. One horror out of office, a new one in.

    – Eric from Washington D.C.

  • Matt,

    Well some would argue that Iran’s taking of the hostages was long overdue ‘blowback’ for the U.S’s interventions of the 1950s. I can’t comment further than that, because…well I wasn’t even alive then.

    My comment was made more in terms of a missed opportunity. In the days after 9/11 the world was shocked, including Iran- which at the time had a slightly more moderate head if I recall. That could have been exploited. It was an opportunity for diplomacy, not bullying. Thats my point.

  • I think Mark and Michael I. were a little intemperate. But, seriously, Don, did you read Matt’s list of defenses? Do you think this type of partisan nonsense lends itself to discussion:

    no torture occurred under the approval of the administration, but enhanced interrogation techniques…resulted in saving countless…lives…

    Iraq – bad management mostly, but PR too (mission accomplished banner), probably Rumsfield is the main culprit, things were later sorted out under Gates using General Petraeus brilliant strategy.

    They might as well debate Ann Coulter.

  • Anthony,

    Regardless of any “provocations” of the embassy hostage taking, it still stands that hatred for America by the Iranian government started with the takeover by radical Islam of the once pro-western nation. If you examine the ruling ideology of the Mullah’s who are the real power in Iran, that is islamic-fascism, and a belief in the return of the 13th Imam brought about by global conflict, they may be contained but they can’t be an ally. Don’t forget about their long history of supporting terrorist organizations Hezbelloh and Hamas et al. Remember the Beirut barracks bombing?

    God Bless,

    Matt

  • John Henry,

    So you’re saying it’s ok to denigrate a poster if you agree with their position, but if you don’t then you call on them to stop? That’s my only history with you, is ignoring personal attacks by others against me, and then asking me to stop responding? You need to learn a thing or two.

    Matt

  • ‘the suspension of habeas corpus… – non-issue, terrorists should not be protected by laws designed for domestic criminals. In any event the terrorists are treated quite nicely relative to their acts.’

    news flash, matt. we have not nearly established that all in this legal category were indeed terrorists. and SC thought otherwise.

    “Gitmo., – non-issue, it’s really much nicer than an Afghan or Iraqi prison, they eat better than most US prisoners.”

    stunning callousness. what else can i say? if i were with your degree of dullness to basic human rights, i’d wish a relative of yours was declared an enemy combatant…

    “Valerie Plame, – pr, this was a nothing issue, her exposure by a Richard Armitage (not particularly close to Bush or Cheney) while despicable was not even a crime.”

    no. the Republican special prosecutor ended by saying there is a cloud over the head of Dick Cheney, because of Libby’s perjury and obstruction of justice. let’s see if Bush outright pardons him, after having already commuted his sentence.

    “Iraq – bad management mostly, but PR too (mission accomplished banner), probably Rumsfield is the main culprit, things were later sorted out under Gates using General Petraeus brilliant strategy.”

    no. unjust war from the start, as Mother Church says, and a disaster for international diplomacy and human life/dignity. and only has inflamed more the situation with Iran.

    “Katrina.”

    the last part of your comment showed how you really do not respect all of God’s children, you dememted and racist man.

    “DOJ scandal ?”

    read the newspaper.

  • “So you’re saying it’s ok to denigrate a poster if you agree with their position, but if you don’t then you call on them to stop? That’s my only history with you, is ignoring personal attacks by others against me, and then asking me to stop responding? You need to learn a thing or two.”

    Matt – I am probably in agreement with you more than ‘them’ on issues. In this forum, you are probably going to be defended more than they, so in this case I defended them. I apologize if you feel that I have been unfair. I was very offended by your aggressiveness and general tone of incivility towards Eric in several other threads, and that probably prompted my response here. In any case, I’ll refrain from attempting to referee this particular thread, as Donald and Chris are more than capable of doing so.

  • partisan nonsense

    dememted and racist

    These are accurate comments.

  • I think Mark and Michael I. were a little intemperate.

    Gee, you think.

    Matt you are an utterly sick human being.

    dememted [sic] and racist man

    Yes, certainly anyone who thinks that new Orleans might just be a tad corrupt deserves such denigration.

    I think Matt overdid his defense of George Bush, but nothing he wrote justified that.

    But I guess if Mark and Michael cease writing here, the comboxes would be a little less interesting.

  • “The dikes collapsed because the corrupt Louisiana (principally democrat) leadership didn’t use the federally allocated funds to maintain them, but for other politically and personally motivated projects.”

    Now you are just making things up. The federal monies were not sufficiently there…

    “Yes, certainly anyone who thinks that new Orleans might just be a tad corrupt deserves such denigration. ”

    Matt said for more than that, and you (should) know it.

    Do pro-life people really hang out here? And you wonder why your cause has been so ineffective.

  • Matt,

    Despite the snideness (with which I disagree), I think Matt has raised some legitimate points:

    Yes, many of the errors made in the conduct of the Iraq war can be attributed to those who did the original planning (chiefly Rumsfeld). Some of these wrong decisions were documented quite well in Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq.

    Matt also notes that “no torture occurred under the approval of the administration, but enhanced interrogation techniques approved by the leaders of both parties in congress” — it is a valid point that practically every technique was done with bi-partisan knowledge from the senior members of Congress. As the Washington Post reports:

    “In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA’s overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.”

    ( Hill Briefed on Waterboarding in 2002 December 9, 2007).

    It would be unfair, then, for critics to single out the President / VP for their approval of these techniques without indicting those who were also privy to them.

    Curiously, Matt’s defense of Abu Ghraib stands (reminiscent of Rush Limbaugh) stands in sharp contrast to President Bush himself, who condemned it as “a shameful moment when we saw on our TV screens that soldiers took it upon themselves to humiliate Iraqi prisoners — because it doesn’t reflect the nature of the American people, or the nature of the men and women in our uniform.”

    Katrina received 78 percent more in welfare than the national average — in The Unlearned Lesson of Katerina, Robert Tracinski makes a case that “the disaster in New Orleans was caused, not by too little welfare spending, but by too much. Four decades of dependence on government left people without the resources–economic, intellectual, or moral–to plan ahead and provide for themselves in an emergency.” (Lest we put the blame squarely on federal negligence, see Facts Drown In Press Coverage [of Katrina] Investor’s Daily August 29, 2006).

    Matt — You raise some good points, but it would bolster your case to provide more substantial arguments. The brevity and snideness of your replies make it all to easy to dismiss them as ‘partisan nonsense.’

    Michael I. and Mark DeFrancisis — no doubt you would take offense if anybody dismissed your remarks out of hand and resorted to cheap insults; you should hold yourselves to the same standard of decency.

    Everybody: by all means disagree with each other, but please engage each other like adults and conduct yourself with civility.

  • Christopher,

    Curiously, Matt’s defense of Abu Ghraib stands (reminiscent of Rush Limbaugh) stands in sharp contrast to President Bush himself, who condemned it as “a shameful moment when we saw on our TV screens that soldiers took it upon themselves to humiliate Iraqi prisoners — because it doesn’t reflect the nature of the American people, or the nature of the men and women in our uniform.”

    With regard to the Abu Ghraib case where American soldiers humiliated themselves and Iraqi prisoners I wholeheartedly agree with you and President Bush. That is not the same scenario at Guantanamo Bay, where, while certainly periodic excesses occured, as they do in all incarceration systems, there was no widespread abuse (except of the truth by liberals parroting the Michael Moore talking points).

    You raise some good points, but it would bolster your case to provide more substantial arguments. The brevity and snideness of your replies make it all to easy to dismiss them as ‘partisan nonsense.’

    A fair point, but when I get a broadside of one word liberal talking points, such as “justice department scandal”, it’s hard to even know precisely the basis for criticism let alone a well thought out response for each one.

    Thanks for illuminating some of my responses with cold hard facts, I probably should have made more substantive responses as you did.

    God Bless,

    Matt

  • ps. to clarify my huh, on DOJ scandal, I was trying to figure out if this is the case where a substantial portion of the US attorneys were dismissed by Bush after several years under him when he became dissatisfied with their priorities, in contrast with Bill Clinton who had not spent a single night in the White House when he dismissed all of them.

    How long do you think Bush’s appointees will last under the One? Aside from Fitzgerald who has made himself bulletproof.

    God Bless,

    Matt

  • Everybody: by all means disagree with each other, but please engage each other like adults and conduct yourself with civility.

    I never have and never will take this blog seriously enough.

  • I never have and never will take this blog seriously enough.

    Michael,

    I will keep this in mind as I respond to your self-admitted trolling in the future.

  • Calling a person who defends Gitmo and torture a “sick human being” is an ontological statement, not an “insult.”

    Really? Please explain, how that is an ontological statement.

  • “Everybody: by all means disagree with each other, but please engage each other like adults and conduct yourself with civility.”

    Bravo!

  • I will keep this in mind as I respond to your self-admitted trolling in the future.

    Do so. And I will similarly keep in mind your ongoing association with this disgusting, racist, nationalist blog when you post elsewhere.

    Really? Please explain, how that is an ontological statement.

    Torture is intrinsically evil.

  • Michael,

    Torture is intrinsically evil.

    While that may be your personal opinion, and it is not without some support, it is not in any sense definitive, I am free to disagree with your conclusion in good conscience. Secondly, the very definition of torture is at question as well, and there is certainly no magisterial authority which definitively declares the practice of waterboarding (as authorized by Pres. Bush) is torture as such.

    Even if waterboarding is torture, this particular application (to extract information in order to prevent further acts of terrorism) is not listed in the catechism or any other authoritative document:

    CCC 2297:
    Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity.

    Since the catechism qualifies it’s condemnation of torture, it seems that you are stretching to insist that it is “intrinsically evil”, and anyone who dissents from this position is a “sick human being”.

    As offensive as some of these interrogation methods may be, bear in mind that the Church does permit the state incredible leeway to defend itself against unjust aggressors. The use of blades, bullets, and bombs can cause incredibly horrific suffering, grotesque wounds, and ultimately death. These weapons can be used legitimately against enemy soldiers who bear no moral culpability for their own actions. The Church teaches that these same weapons, subject to the principles of double effect, can be used even where innocent civilians would be injured or killed.

    Fr. Brian Harrison, professor at the Pontifical University of Puerto Rico as published an excellent and detailed article regarding this question in the Roman Forum.

    Part I
    Part II

    God Bless,

    Matt

  • Matt – The Church teaches that torture is intrinsically evil. Authoritative Church teaching exists outside of your Catechism. You should explore a little bit.

  • Michael,

    can you respond to the arguments I made, or no? It might help you to explore a bit, perhaps give Fr. Harrison’s article a read.

    God Bless,

    Matt

  • Matt,

    Are you a seminarian? Just wondering…

  • Which argument? The “it doesn’t say that in the catechism” bit that you said. Do you consider that an “argument”?

  • Michael,

    “or any other authoritative document”

  • So Michael, does that mean that every person who says anything in support of abortion rights, like say Pres. – elect Obama, is a “sick human being”? Because what you are saying here is that it is an “ontological statement” to call someone a “sick human being” simply because they say something that could be interpreted as support of an intrinsic evil. Your lack of charity towards those you disagree with politically will win no converts. Perhaps you should spend less time talking ontology and more time reading about the virtues we are expected, as Catholics, to be developing in our personal lives in order to grow in holiness and reach our home in heaven.

  • Matt – You (wrongly) will dismiss any document I produce as “non-authoritative,” so what is the point?

    Jessie – I wish for one minute that you people could consider the willful murder of human beings without always needing to compare those deaths with the murder of the unborn. It shows that you really refuse to take them seriously as human persons, and use them merely as comparison points for your own pet issues. But do I think “every” person who says “anything” about abortion rights is a sick human being? Probably not every person, but certainly many of them are. I would want to look at specific cases and arguments. Just as I would not say “every” person who says “anything” positive about the united states, its imperialistic tendencies, its warmaking practices, etc is a sick person. What I have done is to look at Matt’s particular “arguments” (er, statements really — they ain’t arguments) which intentionally refuse to take seriously non-american human lives and to — rightly, I think — call him a sick person.

  • I wish for one minute that you people

    t shows that you really refuse to take them seriously as human persons

    Indeed.

  • With the way certain people write here, I think Michael I. is being merely frank.

  • “you people”?

    Who you calling “you people”?

    Huhhh.

  • [Deleted due to inflammatory remarks]

  • Tito – Don’t worry. You are most certainly included when I refer to “you people.”

  • Michael I,

    In light of your blatantly false witness regarding my concern for “non-Americans” it might be pertinent for me to point out that I am in fact a Canadian, as is my whole family, except for my wife.

  • “Now you are just making things up. The federal monies were not sufficiently there…”

    Speaking as a Louisiana Resident it appears to me Bush is still fairly popular here which shows what many people thought about putting Katrina on all his shoulders. In the end if it happend under Clinton (which he cam eclose to doing but for a last minute turn and a Republican Governor at the time it would have been the same thing.

    Blame where there is blame goes out into a thousand different election including the American people that are ingnoring the root problem. I hoe and pray those lessons are recalled but I am doubtful

  • Matt,

    I thought Father Harrisons article was pretty good and pretty straightforward. I think he did a good job of stating what is up to legitmate debate

  • Michael I.,

    It was a movie reference to Tropic Thunder (a joke).

    Hope your New Year is going awesome for you!

  • In light of your blatantly false witness regarding my concern for “non-Americans” it might be pertinent for me to point out that I am in fact a Canadian, as is my whole family, except for my wife.

    It really makes no difference. Sounds like you must have a fascinating story, then, if you have the death-dealing politics that you do. I’ve lived in Canada for a while now and believe it or not there are Canadians who have embraced the idealized image of america and buy into american exceptionalism. So what’s your story, and how did you come to accept the americanist gospel? Are you a dual citizen? Live in america? Working toward your u.s. baptism? Or have you already been baptized and confirmed?

  • It was a movie reference to Tropic Thunder (a joke).

    Not familiar with the reference.

    Hope your New Year is going awesome for you!

    It’s going totally awesome, thank you. I hope you’re having a bitchin’ new year yourself.

  • Michael,

    I trust you have renounced your US citizenship to cleanse yourself of the taint? Oh, and don’t forget Canada has cooperated with the “evil” empire for decades in many of the actions you decry:

    Here‘s a link for details of the process.

    Good luck with that.

  • Matt – I’m well aware of that, and have blogged about it.

    [Edited due to inflammatory remarks]

  • Michael,

    don’t just blog about it, do it, do it, do it.

  • I’m not sure it does much good to point this out, but all you’re succeeding in doing at this point, Michael, is making yourself and your beliefs looks silly and aggressively unattractive. If that’s not your primary aim at the moment, you might want to consider changing tactics or just give it a rest for a while.

  • I must not have been clear enough for you. I don’t intend to become Canadian, nor do I intend to remain in Canada. I have blogged about Canada’s sometimes cooperation with the u.s.

  • Brendan – I’m sorry you think that my belief in the absolute evil of torture is “silly.”

  • Michael:

    So how’s that doctorate coming? Getting a lot of work done?

  • Michael,

    Your incivility is silly; not your beliefs.

  • Your incivility is silly; not your beliefs.

    Sounds like there is a difference of opinion among you.

    So how’s that doctorate coming? Getting a lot of work done?

    I’m on track. Thanks for asking!

  • Michael,

    I said that your behavior was making your beliefs look silly, not that your beliefs were silly.

    I don’t think that your belief in the absolute evil of torture is silly, but your behavior is certainly going a ways towards making it look like it is silly people who adhere to that view — which does the truth a disservice.

  • I would like to thank this tremendously prolife president for his good humor.

    Defending the execution of Carla Faye Tucker with an hilarious impression.

    Or the great humor he showed at White House Press dinners. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKX6luiMINQ

    Don’t worry guys you will be getting at least 4 more years of the same. Look at who BO has appointed thus far nothing but people who were war hawks and who were advocates of and voted for the Patriot Act, FISA, the Iraq fiasco. Yes, if you liked the destruction of the constitution and individual liberty that took place during the Clinton and Bush years then you will love Obama. If you liked the intrnational interventions and wars that took place during the Clinton and Bush years you will love Obama.

    The more things “Change” the more things stay the same.

  • hmmm….

    Freed by U.S., Saudi Becomes a Qaeda Chief

    it would seem we aren’t being overly diligent about keeping terrorists locked up after all…