I am not much of a baseball fan, but I have always remembered Cubs centerfielder Rick Monday saving the flag from two loons who sought to burn it on the field during a game on April 25, 1976 between the Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Field. When Monday came to bat the next time in the game he received a standing ovation from the crowd. The Dodgers went on to win the game 5-4 in ten innings, but Rick Monday, nonetheless, went home a winner.
Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently for the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, suggests that if you are not nervous about Jihad, you probably should be:
You might want to look into the idea:
Columbus [Indiana] Police said they’ve never had anything like it – three churches vandalized in the same night.
Someone spray painted them on the outside. It’s the words used, though, that have some people asking if this was more than a prank.
“It was just one word. It said ‘Infidels!’” Father Doug Marcotte said of what was spray painted on Saint Bartholomew’s Catholic Church in Columbus overnight Saturday.
Parishioners saw that, along with the word “Qur’an 3:151″ on their way into mass Sunday morning.
“It’s certainly not a warm and fuzzy verse. It talks about the infidels, their refuge being the fire,” explained Father Marcotte.
Specifically, that passage of the Qur’an reads: “We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve for what they have associated with Allah of which He had not sent down [any] authority. And their refuge will be the Fire, and wretched is the residence of the wrongdoers.”
Saint Bartholomew’s wasn’t the only Columbus church vandalized.
“It’s really bizarre and the fact that they hit two other Christian Churches. It’s not like we’re all in a line. So why did they pick the three of us?” asked Father Marcotte.
Outside East Columbus Christian Church and Lakeview Church of Christ, members there found the same kind of graffiti Sunday morning. Continue Reading
Yonder are the Hessians. They were bought for seven pounds and tenpence a man. Are you worth more? Prove it. Tonight the American flag floats from yonder hill or Molly Stark sleeps a widow!
General John Stark prior to the battle of Bennington, August 16, 1777
The above photo epitomized the American spirit in the wake of the 9-11 attacks. Who could object to it?
This iconic picture of firefighters raising the stars and stripes in the rubble of Ground Zero was nearly excluded from the 9/11 Memorial Museum — because it was “rah-rah” American, a new book says.
Michael Shulan, the museum’s creative director, was among staffers who considered the Tom Franklin photograph too kitschy and “rah-rah America,” according to “Battle for Ground Zero” (St. Martin’s Press) by Elizabeth Greenspan, out next month.
“I really believe that the way America will look best, the way we can really do best, is to not be Americans so vigilantly and so vehemently,” Shulan said. Continue Reading
Click on the above map to be able to read it. The original of the map is here. Tito had a post yesterday here with a map depicting how America views Europe. Ambrose “Bitter” Bierce in the 19th Century said that war was God’s way of teaching Americans geography. Unfortunately, the lessons do not appear to stick. However, the Europeans are often not that better informed about us.
For example, I have always enjoyed reading the English historian Paul Johnson, and have read almost every book he has written. Therefore, I was dismayed when reading his history of the US to encounter quite a few factual errors, including his inability to distinguish between Albert Sydney Johnston and Joseph Johnston in the Civil War, and his apparent belief that it was the Texas Rangers and not Army Rangers who landed at Utah Beach on Normandy.
This is a somewhat humorous map of how Americans view Europe.
A Geography of Prejudice is one way of calling what Yanko Tsvetkov created.
I found this piece from the English-language edition of Der Spiegel by University of Hamburg economics professor Thomas Straughaar very interest, in part because it reads very much as written by someone who is looking at American history and culture from the outside, yet trying to understand it for what it is. A key passage from the second page:
This raises a crucial question: Is the US economy perhaps suffering less from an economic downturn and more from a serious structural problem? It seems plausible that the American economy has lost its belief in American principles. People no longer have confidence in the self-healing forces of the private sector, and the reliance on self-help and self-regulation to solve problems no longer exists.
The opposite strategy, one that seeks to treat the American patient with more government, is risky — because it does not fit in with America’s image of itself.
The debate over the so-called Ground Zero mosque near the former site of the World Trade Center in New York has raised public interest in, and opposition to, other proposed or recently built mosques and Islamic centers throughout the country.
In areas where Muslim migration or immigration has been significant, some citizens have attempted to discourage construction of new mosques. Few come right out and cite the threat of terrorism; more often they seem to resort to time-honored NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) tactics such as creative interpretation of zoning ordinances, claims of decreased property values, or claims of real or potential problems with traffic, noise, etc.
Before I go any further, I want to make it clear that I understand the need to be vigilant regarding the potential for violent subversion, as well as the dangers of taking such a politically correct approach to militant Islam that people hesitate to report obvious suspicious activity for fear of being labeled bigots (as seems to have happened in the Fort Hood massacre case).
[Update I: I have streamlined the following post to be easily readable to the average layman, but informative enough for a lawyer or law professor to learn a bit more on the similarities and differences between Sharia and U.S. Law]
Is Sharia compatible with the U.S. Constitution?
The simple answer is of course “no”.
But lets take a look at some aspects of Sharia Law and where it may or may not conflict with the U.S. Constitution. (For disclosure I am not a lawyer nor a legal expert in Sharia or U.S. Law.)
First, what is Sharia?
Wikipedia states Sharia refers to the sacred law of Islam. All Muslims believe Sharia is God’s law, but they have differences between themselves as to exactly what it entails. Which will be difficult to discern what to apply when, but we’ll labor along for the sake of discussion.
In Western countries, where Muslim immigration is more recent, Muslim minorities have introduced Sharia family law, for use in their own disputes. Attempts to impose Sharia have been accompanied by controversy, violence, and even warfare (Second Sudanese Civil War).
The recent incidents at the Arab International Festival have reinforced the poor image of Sharia inside the United States and its incompatibility with American culture and law.
The following is a truncated version with a couple of modifications (eliminating repetitious ibids and links) of multiple Wikipedia entries [with my comments]:
Legal and Court Proceedings:
Wikipedia states that Sharia judicial proceedings have significant differences with other legal traditions, including those in both common law and civil law.
1. Sharia courts do not generally employ lawyers; plaintiffs and defendants represent themselves.
If you read the comments here at TAC, no doubt you’ve seen the accusation that America suffers from a Calvinist dualism that sinisterly causes all of American conservativism’s woes like it was the Catholic Church in a Dan Brown novel. While these claims are exaggerated, there’s a bit of truth in the idea that when compared to Europe, we’re a little more dualistic.
The Vatican released a working paper during Pope Benedict XVI’s pilgrimage to Cyprus to prepare the way for a crisis summit of Middle East bishops in Rome. What I take away from this- along with the Holy See’s call for lifting the blockade of Gaza- is something of a vindication for my more raw views urging for a sea change in American Catholic opinion and action regarding the overall situation in the Middle East, and in Israel-Palestine in particular.
I found this article by Andrew Hough of London’s Daily Telegraph quite interesting since it touches on the Lost Colony which is sometimes called the Roanoke Colony in present day North Carolina.
The Lost Colony is the first English attempt of setting up a settlement in the new world, ie, present day America.
The following is the article on the residents of Devon, England, laying claim that they were the original colonists of this Lost Colony:
Andy Powell, mayor of Bideford, north Devon, wants to use DNA testing to prove residents from the port town settled in the US three decades before the Pilgrim Fathers sailed there.
Mr Powell is trying to raise money for the research, which he hopes will prove his town’s “pivotal” role in the history of modern America.
He hopes advances in the science will enable scientists to link people from Bideford with descendants of a lost colonist.
His attempts centre on the story of the “lost colony”, where in 1587 Sir Walter Raleigh organised a colonial expedition of settlers including John White, a governor.
I am a pretty big fan of the Catholic Worker movement and Dorothy Day. I see strengths in both liberal and conservative tendencies, and find both indications in my reading of the official documents and speeches/letters of our Catholic Hierarchy on political matters.
The following article is one that was published in the Houston Catholic Worker Newspaper back in 2008. The author, Dawn McCarty is a frequent writer and volunteer at the Worker House in Houston. She seems to combine the head and heart in her approach to the issue of illegal Mexican immigration into the U.S. I offer her analysis for your commentary:
Here is the State of the Union Speech that will never be delivered:
“Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, Distinguished Guests, my fellow Americans. Each year it is a duty of the President to report on the State of the Union to the Congress. Often these speeches have been mere feel good exercises, frequently containing little of substance. Tonight is going to be different. Tonight it is time for blunt truth.
America is a great and strong nation, but in many ways the State of our Union is troubled. We have the worst economy in the last three decades. Signs of recovery are few. I could attempt to assess some responsibility for this poor economy to my predecessor, but that would be pointless. You, the American people, are not interested in blame. What you are interested in is improving the economy, and so far, under my watch, that has not happened. I, in good faith, attempted to stimulate the economy through a massive stimulus bill. Thus far the results have been meager for the amount of money spent. Time for a course correction. Beginning tomorrow I am going to hold meetings with the Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress. The economy is my number one priority, as it rightly is yours, and I am open to all ideas, from whatever source, to jumpstart the economy and return us to the path to prosperity. If taxcuts and spending cuts are necessary to get the economy moving, so be it. Whatever works is my watchword on this key issue. To quote another President from Illinois, “The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present.” I am a Democrat, by the standards of many Americans a Liberal Democrat. I’m proud of this, but I will not allow my adherence to certain beliefs to stand in the way of improving the economy. Time for us all, past time, Republicans, Democrats and Independents, to work together to get out of this recession. This is my chief concern and I will do whatever it takes to accomplish this task.
Isn’t it obvious that most of our American ancestors came over from Europe because they wanted life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? They fled totalitarian regimes, socialist governments, and anti-Christian repression for the freedom that is afforded all Americans.
We have the best health care in the world precisely because it is not operated by the government. Private industry drives innovation, government regulation or government-run health care eliminates innovation, awards bureaucrats, and ultimately leads to marginal health care in the long run.
We are Americans, not Europeans. Yet President Obama, Congressional Democrats, and well-meaning liberals and progressives want to emulate European health care programs. What Europeans have is not necessarily right nor good.
[Updates at the bottom of his post]
Governor Sarah Palin recently announced her resignation as governor of the great state of Alaska and there has been a flurry of analysis of her motives, her character, and her future plans. Some of this analysis were sincere, others were borderline antagonistic.
This is all occurring in the midst of an Obama presidency steering both Democratic controlled chambers of Congress that have substantially increased spending and enlarged the government to the detriment of our freedoms. Couple this with the lack of a clear Republican plan to challenge all of this, the American people are in need of a leader to guide us out of this wilderness.
I believe Governor Palin can and should play this important role. She stated in her final address as governor of Alaska that she wants to do what’s best for her state. If she is a person of principle and a patriot then it is logical to presume that she wants what’s best for America. And what’s best for America right now is to have a strong and vigorous counterweight to the liberal agenda of President Obama and his enablers in the Congress.
The plan that Governor Palin should pursue is to proactively lead Americans to take back Congress as part of the pact with America. She should do what then House Leader Newt Gingrich did in 1994 with the Republican Party’s Contract with America that gave the Republicans control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years.
Part 7 of my continuing series commenting upon the follies of modern day Jesuits. None of the following of course applies to Jesuits who are orthodox in their faith and are often among the harshest critics of the antics perpetrated by their brethren. An editorial in America, the Jesuit magazine, expresses concern about the dangers of polarization in the Catholic Church in America. Father Z, the Master of the Fisk, in one of his finest efforts, gives the editorial a fisking to remember here.
On June 14 we celebrate Flag Day — to commemorate the adoption of the flag of the United States, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777.
Read the proclamation of President Obama on Flag Day and National Flag Week (June 11, 2009).
It may seem like overkill to write a multi-part book review, but historian Thomas F. Madden’s new Empires of Trust: How Rome Built–and America Is Building–a New World explores a thesis I’ve been interested in for some time, which has significant implications for our country’s foreign policy and the wider question of what our country is and what its place in the world ought to be.
The US has been often accused, of late, of being an empire. Madden effectively accepts that this is the case, but argues that this is not necessarily a bad thing at all. Among his first projects is to lay out three different types of empire: empires of conquest, empires of commerce, and empires of trust.
An empire of conquest is one spread by military power, in which the conquering power rules over and extracts tribute from the conquered. Classic examples would include the empires of the Assyrians, Persians, Mongols, Turks, Alexander’s Hellenistic empire, Napoleon’s empire and to an extent the Third Reich, Imperial Japan and Soviet Union. Empires of conquest are spread by war, and conquered territory is ruled either by local puppet rulers or by a transplanted military elite from the conquering power.
An empire of commerce is interested only in securing enough of a political foothold in its dominions to carry on trade, and is less concerned over political control or tribute. Examples would include the British and Dutch empires; in the ancient world the Pheonicians and Athenians; and later, medieval Venice. Empires of conquest are typified by a network of far-flung colonies directly controlled by the home country, at locations which are strategic for exploiting natural resources or trading with regional powers. They are less focused on conquering large swathes of territority than with controlling enough of a foothold (and enforcing enough stability in the surrounding area) to carry on their commerce.
The book, however, is primarily concerned with a third type of empire, the empire of trust, of which Madden gives only two examples: Rome and the United States. The term “empire of trust” itself requires some unpacking.
UCLA professor Peter Baldwin pens an interesting priece for the UK’s Prospect in which he argues that the differences between the US and Europe are not as great as is often claimed. Baldwin’s point of view strikes me as left of center, but his argument (mainly a comparison of statistics to see how the US really measures up to various EU countries on questions like poverty, education, environmentalism, etc.) is fairly non-ideological and the overall result is interesting.
Left open ended (though he provides a few thoughts on the matter) is the question of why both Americans and Europeans like to perceive such strong differences between themselves, and what exactly that means about the two cultures.
According to a recent study, the percentage of Americans who profess no religion has been increasing over the last 20 years:
The Catholic population of the United States has shifted away from the Northeast and towards the Southwest, while secularity continues to grow in strength in all regions of the country, according to a new study by the Program on Public Values at Trinity College. “The decline of Catholicism in the Northeast is nothing short of stunning,” said Barry Kosmin, a principal investigator for the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS). “Thanks to immigration and natural increase among Latinos, California now has a higher proportion of Catholics than New England.”
In broad terms, ARIS 2008 found a consolidation and strengthening of shifts signaled in the 2001 survey. The percentage of Americans claiming no religion, which jumped from 8.2 in 1990 to 14.2 in 2001, has now increased to 15 percent. Given the estimated growth of the American adult population since the last census from 207 million to 228 million, that reflects an additional 4.7 million “Nones.” Northern New England has now taken over from the Pacific Northwest as the least religious section of the country, with Vermont, at 34 percent “Nones,” leading all other states by a full 9 points.
Okay, maybe not.
But one of his characters was more intellectually- and existentially-consistent that many (or even most) Americans of any religious affiliation, including Catholics. I’m talking about the hitman Vincent in the 2004 film Collateral, starring Cruise and Jamie Foxx and directed by Michael Mann.
“From the dawn of the Republic, America’s quest for freedom has been guided by the conviction that the principles governing political and social life are intimately linked to a moral order based on the dominion of God the Creator. The framers of this nation’s founding documents drew upon this conviction when they proclaimed the “self-evident truth” that all men are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights grounded in the laws of nature and of nature’s God. The course of American history demonstrates the difficulties, the struggles, and the great intellectual and moral resolve which were demanded to shape a society which faithfully embodied these noble principles. In that process, which forged the soul of the nation, religious beliefs were a constant inspiration and driving force, as for example in the struggle against slavery and in the civil rights movement. In our time too, particularly in moments of crisis, Americans continue to find their strength in a commitment to this patrimony of shared ideals and aspirations.
I live in a small town, Dwight, Illinois, about 35 miles southwest of Joliet. It is a lovely place, about 4400 people, set in the midst of a sea of corn and soybeans. My wife and I moved here in 1985 and have been very happy. Soon after we moved to Dwight I joined the local Rotary Club. There I met Jim Oughton and his brother Richard Oughton. Both had served in WW2, Jim as a naval officer, and Dick as a marine fighter pilot. They were also the two richest men in town, the scions of a family that had been the wealthiest family in town for well over a century.
We are twelve Christians who love our Catholic faith looking to engage the world through our writings to better express the teachings of Jesus for the betterment of the common good. American Catholic is the outward expression of this engagement with the world.