GenCon and the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act

Monday, March 30, AD 2015

Religious Freedom Restoration Act


Recently Indiana passed and the Governor signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  By doing so Indiana joined a majority of states which have such protections for religious freedom. There is also a federal version of the act which was passed overwhelmingly by Congress in 1993 and signed into law by President Clinton.  Here are the operative sections of both the Federal and State Acts:


Government may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person—

(1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and

(2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

And here is the text of Indiana’s RFRA:

A governmental entity may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if the governmental entity demonstrates that application of the burden to the person: (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

Go here for the complete text of the Act.  States enacted their own version of the statute because the Supreme Court in 1997 ruled rightfully that the federal act was not applicable to state laws or local ordinances.

What does this have to do with GenCon, the gaming convention held in Indianapolis that I and my bride have been attending since 1986?

Well, homosexual activists have been busily portraying this statute as a license to discriminate against gays, and the head of GenCon decided to get on this band wagon.  Go here to read the letter by Adrian Swartout.

The ignorance contained in the letter is simply stunning.   Swartout is apparently bone ignorant as to the federal version of the act and how many states have similar acts.  Swartout also is apparently  ignorant of the fact that the Act could only be used if a government seeks to discriminate against an individual or business on the basis of their religion.  The only possible applicability to homosexuals would be if a government sought to take action against a business that discriminated against gays.  The only businesses where such a contention would survive judicial analysis would be those where the owners could demonstrate that their religious beliefs forbid providing a service, such as baking a cake for a gay wedding.   The idea that this statute would have any impact on services provided to convention attendees in downtown Indie is simply farcial.  Of course all the hoopla about the Act has nothing to do with the law or facts, but everything to do with the flexing of political muscles by gay activists.  This tempest also demonstrates that religious freedom is simply not going to be tolerated by those who shriek loudest for tolerance.

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24 Responses to GenCon and the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act

  • What does this have to do with GenCon, the gaming convention held in Indianapolis that I and my bride have been attending since 1986?

    Really??? It’s always been my dream to attend GenCon someday…

    (plots to suck up to Don for lodging)

  • I have three brief responses to hype and hysteria being flung by the gay gestapo and its lying, liberal (I repeat myself again) acolytes, “democracy” ; “The Bill Of Rights”; and “37-year-old Adam Smith is living on food stamps because he criticized Chick-fil-A in a video he posted on YouTube.”

  • As a citizen of the Hoosier State, I have seen lots of contention and hollering but little in the way of intelligent discourse, for reasons that are probably obvious. This, of course, does very little to further my understanding of the situation. I am not blessed with a strong sense of abstract, and am in need of examples, much like learning from parables and acts.
    It is worth noting that this contention is occurring at Easter, when we remember another mob that was led to hysteria by a self-serving core of power-mongers. I pray the conclusion of this contention stops short of that one’s.

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  • Find it kind of notable that you’re the first person I’ve seen quote the act. Everyone else just screams about how it’s going to do this or that…..

  • You mean it’s not a compelling state interest to see to it that very special snowflakes are serviced by the vendor(s) of their choosing, regardless of the desire of the vendor(s) to serve very special snowflakes in the first place?

    I ask you, what’s the point of being a very special snowflake if you can’t always get your way by using the state to bully others?

  • I caught a bit of Stephanopoulos’s interview with Mike Pence on the evening news yesterday, and it occured to me that “tolerance” (“acceptance” by another name) for homosexuality is rapidly become the modern-day equivalent to the pinch of incense offered to Caesar’s genius.

  • I’d have said “active support,” myself….

  • I can see such legislation having far-reaching consequences.

    I wonder how this legislation would apply to (say) the prohibition of shechita, halal and other methods of ritual slaughter of unstunned animals, or to the importation of the products of animals so slaughtered.

    Would it invalidate a ban on the ritual circumcision of minors, or female genital mutilation?

    Would it prevent a ban on the wearing of the hijab or the kippa in public schools or the wearing of the burka in public places?

  • I did give “approval” some thought. You’re certainly correct that the distinctions between “tolerance,” “acceptance,” “approval,” and “support” are collapsing.
    I wonder what word will appear in the Newspeak Dictionary?

  • I wonder how this legislation would apply….

    It all depends on how compelling the state’s interest in prohibiting those activities in the examples you gave is.

  • Wow. Just stumbled across a news report that touches alot of hot button issues around here.

  • “I can see such legislation having far-reaching consequences.”

    Yep to all three questions MPS. Thank God.

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  • Over at the Catholic League, Dr. Donohue reminds us that The Supreme Court in 1997, gave its approval of the RFRA. Probably to undo some of the ill effects of the Court having tried atheism under the penumbra of Freedom of Religion, obliterating and eradicating “or prohibit the free exercise thereof.” of the First Constitutional Amendment. What part of “the free exercise thereof” can atheism or anti-theists as they are beginning to call themselves constitutionally remove without three quarters of the states ratifying any change they impose?
    Atheism is unconstitutional because it is completely opposed to every free person’s, every sovereign person’s choice of “the free exercise thereof.”
    As unconstitutional as atheism is, the anti-theist must be tolerated and the First Amendment must be defended and understood as the freedom extended to all persons who are citizens, or taxation without representation is imposed, which is what is happening now with the Person of God evicted and rendered “persona non-grata” in the public square. Not the state, nor the Constitution gives sovereign personhood. Only God gives sovereign personhood. The state is constituted by sovereign persons to defend and protect the sovereign person.

  • Man and his freedom are created by” their Creator”. Man is PROCREATED by man. The state is constituted by the sovereign personhood endowed by “their Creator.”
    So, what can atheism give to mankind? I mean besides totalitarianism, unequal Justice, enslavement of man’s freedom and the obliteration of the people?

  • Thank you, Don McClarey, for this excellent post.

  • Love thy neighbor as thyself. and the free exercise of religion will have the effect of : You are born, so the unborn must be born. You are circumcised as a male, you wear a burka, so you must allow others the same freedom. You are an atheist, so you must allow others to be theists. FREEDOM

  • I agree that the hysteria surrounding this act is way over the top, but I am curious about an issue raised by some of its opponents, who claim that the Indiana RFRA is NOT quite the same as the federal RFRA or other states’ versions. They claim that the other acts only apply to governmental entities while the Indiana act applies also to private entities. Is there any truth to this assertion?

  • “I agree that the hysteria surrounding this act is way over the top, but I am curious about an issue raised by some of its opponents, who claim that the Indiana RFRA is NOT quite the same as the federal RFRA or other states’ versions. They claim that the other acts only apply to governmental entities while the Indiana act applies also to private entities. Is there any truth to this assertion?”

    Very little. That section is to provide for what happens when a private party seeks to enforce a state law or ordinance against a party asserting the religious freedom statute. Here is the similar provision in the federal act:

    “(c) Judicial relief
    A person whose religious exercise has been burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against a government. Standing to assert a claim or defense under this section shall be governed by the general rules of standing under article III of the Constitution.”

    I would assert that the government, by creating or allowing private enforcement of the discriminatory act, is allowing the private party to stand in for the government and thus the RFRA act would apply against the private party.

    That point has been hotly litigated in Federal court as law professor Josh Blackman points out at his blog:

    “Third, and most significantly, the law provides a defense in a private suit where the government is not a party.The Indiana RFRA offers the following language:

    Sec. 9. A person whose exercise of religion has been substantially burdened, or is likely to be substantially burdened, by a violation of this chapter may assert the violation or impending violation as a claim or defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding, regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity is a party to the proceeding. If the relevant governmental entity is not a party to the proceeding, the governmental entity has an unconditional right to intervene in order to respond to the person’s invocation of this chapter.

    In other words, the law provides a defense against a private discrimination suit. For example, Jill and Jane Doe sue a photographer for failing to photograph their wedding under a local non-discrimination ordinance. The photographer than raises the state RFRA as a defense. Even though the government is not a party, RFRA can be raised as a defense in the judicial proceeding. The court would have to determine whether the application of the non-discrimination ordinance substantially burdens the photographers exercise of religion.

    Does the federal RFRA also provide a defense? It depends on what Circuit you’re in. Shruti Chaganti writes in the Virginia Law Review about this split.

    The circuits are split as to whether RFRA can be claimed as a defense in citizen suits—suits solely between private citizens in which the government is not a party. This split is based on an ambiguity in the text: whether the phrase “and obtain appropriate relief against a government” is meant to limit the set of cases in which a “claim or defense” may be raised in a judicial proceeding, or whether the phrase simply signifies an additional right upon which a litigant may rely.

    Some circuits (CA2, CA9, CA8, CADC) hold that RFRA can be raised as a defense:

    Some circuits (hereinafter “defense circuits”) have allowed RFRA to provide a defense in citizen suits, finding the statute’s language and purpose sufficiently broad to create a defense regardless of the parties to the suit.7 Under this reading, an unambiguous version of the text would be modified to say, “A person whose religious exercise has been burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and may obtain appropriate relief (including against a government).”8 This reading makes clear that relief against a government is merely an additional right—a subset of the more generally obtainable relief under RFRA. Thus, “claim or defense in a judicial proceeding” is freestanding and not limited by the “obtain relief” phrasing.

    It is noteworthy that then-Judge Sotomayor dissented on this issue for the Second Circuit in Hankins v. Lyght (2nd Cir. 2006), holding that RFRA could not be raised as a defense. Sotomayor dissented, and wrote “the statute does not apply to disputes between private parties.”

    RFRA by its terms does not apply to suits between private parties.

    Two provisions of the statute implicitly limit its application to disputes in which the government is a party. Section 2000bb-1(c) states that “[a] person whose religious exercise has been burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against a government” (emphasis added). In the majority’s view, we should read this provision as “broadening, rather than narrowing, the rights of a party asserting the RFRA.” Maj. Op. at 103. This interpretation would be questionable even if Section 2000bb-1(c) were the only provision of the statute affecting the question of whether RFRA applies to private suits. When read in conjunction with the rest of the statute, however, it becomes clear that this section reflects Congress’s understanding that RFRA claims and defenses would be raised only against the government. For instance, section 2000bb-1(b) of RFRA provides that where a law imposes a substantial burden on religion, the “government” must “demonstrate[] . . . that application of the burden” is the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling governmental interest (emphasis added). The statute defines “demonstrate” as “meet[ing] the burdens of going forward with the evidence and of persuasion.” 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb-2(3). Where, as here, the government is not a party, it cannot “go[] forward” with any evidence.[8] In my 115*115view, this provision strongly suggests that Congress did not intend RFRA to apply in suits between private parties.[9]

    All of the examples cited in the Senate and House Reports on RFRA involve actual or hypothetical lawsuits in which the government is a party. See S. Rep. No. 103-111 (1993); H.R. Rep. 103-88 (1993). The lack Of even a single example of a RFRA claim or defense in a suit between private parties in these Reports tends to confirm what is evident from the plain language of the statute: It was not intended to apply to suits between private parties.

    This could prove interesting if this issue comes before the Court.

    Other circuits (CA6, CA7) do not permit private defendants to raise RFRA as a defense in private suits.

    Other circuits (hereinafter “nondefense circuits”) have held that the language in the judicial relief section and in the remainder of the statute suggest that RFRA meant to provide a defense only when obtaining ap- propriate relief against a government and therefore cannot apply to suits in which the government is not a party.9 A nondefense view of the text would be modified to say, “A person whose religious exercise has been burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against a government and may obtain appropriate relief.”10 By moving the “ob- tain relief” phrase to the end of the sentence, this rewriting clarifies that “government” is meant to limit the types of cases in which a “claim or defense” can be asserted. This modification limits applicability of RFRA to only those suits in which a claim or defense is raised against a gov- ernment party, thus excluding a defense in citizen suits.

    And wouldn’t you know it, Judge Posner wrote the leading 7th Circuit precedent holding RFRA can’t be raised as a defense. Tomic v. Catholic Diocese of Peoria, 442 F.3d 1036, 1042 (7th Cir. 2006).

    RFRA is applicable only to suits to which the government is a party. See 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000bb-1(b), (c); Worldwide Church of God v. Philadelphia Church of God, Inc., 227 F.3d 1110, 1120-21 (9th Cir.2000); Sutton v. Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, 192 F.3d 826, 834-35 (9th Cir.1999). “A person whose religious exercise has been burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against a government.” 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb-1(c).

    It is hardly to be imagined, moreover, that in seeking to broaden the protection of religious rights, Congress, dropping nary a hint, wiped out a long-established doctrine that gives greater protection to religious autonomy than RFRA does. Indeed a serious constitutional issue would be presented if Congress by stripping away the ministerial exception required federal courts to decide religious questions.

    Judge Sykes did not dissent on 7th Circuit panel. And Judge Sutton did not dissent on Judge Moore’s opinion for CA6.

    In the Elane Photograph case, the New Mexico Supreme Court, interpreting its own RFRA, ruled that it could only be invoked when the government was a party, but not when private parties were sued by state law. The Indiana bill makes clear that the defense can be raised in any case, as have four courts of appeals covering nearly half the states in the Union.

    Interestingly, as noted in this amicus brief by the Becket Fund in the Elane Photography case, DOJ has taken the position that RFRA can be raised as a defense in lawsuits brought by private parties:

    In response, the United States has formally taken the position that religious organizations can assert RFRA as a defense in lawsuits brought by private parties: “[I]f plaintiff were sued by a plan participant or beneficiary in the future, plaintiff, in its defense of such an action, would have an opportunity to raise its contention that the contraceptive coverage requirement violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (‘RFRA’).” Reply in Support of Motion to Dismiss at 3-4, Wheaton Coll. v. Sebelius, No. 12-01169 (D.D.C. Aug. 20, 2012).

    So the most controversial aspect of the Indiana law was endorsed by the Holder Justice Department. [Update: I should stress that at the time, DOJ limited the applicability of RFRA to “religious organizations,” such as Wheaton College. But following Hobby Lobby this position is no longer tenable.]”

  • When there’s are so many states with similar with RFRAs and a Federal one, I have to wonder why single Indiana out? Could it be that this brouhaha is about politically destroying a conservative Republican governor? So that Mike Pence will never be a contender on a national Republican ticket? How better to do it than applying economic pressure on his state which in turns puts pressure on him. Standard Democratic M.O. to pull the race card or rainbow card. In this case it’s the latter.

  • When there’s are so many states with similar with RFRAs and a Federal one, I have to wonder why single Indiana out?

    Because that was then and this is now. Because Democrats need to do something to gin up hatred fear and paranoia in order to keep their donors donating and their voters voting. Because “gay marriage” is in front of the Supreme Court. Any number of reasons.

  • The Constitutional First Amendment: “or prohibit the free exercise thereof.” What part of “or prohibit the free exercise thereof” do these loudmouthed, dumber than doorknobs not read?

  • “Because Democrats need to do something to gin up hatred fear and paranoia in order to keep their donors donating and their voters voting. Because “gay marriage” is in front of the Supreme Court. Any number of reasons.”

    So true. The constitutionality of same-sex marriage is before the US Supreme Court in late April. The decision should be handed down in June. The PR campaign for gay marriages has started with lies, hysteria, paranoia and boycotts.

Greece v. Galloway

Tuesday, May 6, AD 2014


Yesterday, in Town of Greece v. Galloway, the Supreme Court reached the stunningly obvious conclusion, under the text of the Constitution, the views of the Founding Fathers and the historic practice in this country, that prayers prior to town meetings are not unconstitutional under the First Amendment.  Go here to read the text of the opinion.  Of course the four liberals on the court, for whom the text of the Constitution is so much Play-Doh, dissented.  I was going to write a post on the decision, but Christopher Johnson,  a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels for the Church so frequently that I have named him Defender of the Faith, has beat me to it:




I’m not a lawyer, I just pretend to be one on the Internet so I apologize if there’s too much technical jargon in this post.  But yesterday, CNN’s Daniel Burke reported that the United States Supreme Court told people who claim that the mere sight of a Christian cross compels them to become Christians or who claim to break out in a cold sweat whenever they hear someone say “Jesus Christ” to grow a pair and man the hell up:

If you don’t like it, leave the room.

That’s the essence of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s advice for atheists and others who object to sectarian prayers before government meetings.

In a 5-4 decision written by Kennedy, the Supreme Court allowed Greece, New York, to continue hosting prayers before its monthly town board meetings – even though an atheist and a Jewish citizen complained that the benedictions are almost always explicitly Christian.

Many members of the country’s majority faith – that is, Christians – hailed the ruling.

Considering the intellectual vacuity of court rulings on the Establishment Clause over the years, any schadenfreude yesterday, Chris?  Yeah, a little bit.  I’d use “wailing and gnashing of teeth” here but that’s Biblical and I don’t want to offend anyone.

Many members of minority faiths, as well as atheists, responded with palpable anger, saying the Supreme Court has set them apart as second-class citizens.

Groups from the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism to the Hindu American Foundation decried Monday’s decision.

“The court’s decision to bless ‘majority-rules’ prayer is out of step with the changing face of America, which is more secular and less dogmatic,” said Rob Boston, a spokesman for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which litigated the case.

If you don’t like it, step out of the room for a few moments.

But what about people who like their local government meetings to be religion-free?

“Should nonbelievers choose to exit the room during a prayer they find distasteful, their absence will not stand out as disrespectful or even noteworthy,” Kennedy writes.

Elections matter, folks.  Because they can result in stupid people getting lifetime jobs.

[Justice Elena] Kagan, writing for the dissenting minority, sharply disagreed.

She suggested that the five justices who formed the majority – all of whom are Catholic – don’t understand what it’s like to belong to a minority faith in America.

Did Burke happen to mention that the majority in this case was Roman Catholic?

The Supreme Court’s Catholic majority seems to think that, because many prayers before government meetings take on a ceremonial aspect, the actual content of the prayers doesn’t really matter, Kagan continues.

Just checking.

In essence, she said, the majority is arguing “What’s the big deal?” and making light of religious differences while conferring a special role on Christianity.

“Contrary to the majority’s apparent view, such sectarian prayers are not ‘part of our expressive idiom’ or ‘part of our heritage and tradition,’ assuming that ‘our’ refers to all Americans. They express beliefs that are fundamental to some, foreign to others – and because of that they carry the ever-present potential to divide and exclude.”

Ellie?  Have you ever actually read the Establishment Clause?  It says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”  That’s it.

There’s nothing in there about division or exclusion or any of the rest of that hippie crap.  Put it another way.  What if that town board brought in a Muslim to offer a prayer one evening, he opened with “In the name of Allah, the compassionate, the merciful” and mentioned Mohammed a time or two, using that “peace and blessings be upon him” line?

Know what I would do if that happened, Ellie?

Absolutely nothing.

I wouldn’t make a scene or anything.  But I wouldn’t pray.  I’d sit there quietly and respectfully until the gentleman finished and then I guess we’d proceed with town business.  The fact that a Muslim publicly prayed while I was in the room neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg, as Mr. Jefferson once put it.

And it certainly doesn’t constitute an establishment of the Muslim religion in that town, Ellie, your tortured reading of the First Amendment notwithstanding.

One more thing.  Atheists?  What is the deal with you people?  Why do you always turn up in stories like this?  You don’t believe this stuff or at least you claim that you don’t so why legally force people who disagree with you to keep quiet?  What difference does it make to you if someone publicly expresses concepts that you find absurd?

Sounds REAL insecure to me.

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25 Responses to Greece v. Galloway

  • “One more thing. Atheists? What is the deal with you people? Why do you always turn up in stories like this? You don’t believe this stuff or at least you claim that you don’t so why legally force people who disagree with you to keep quiet? What difference does it make to you if someone publicly expresses concepts that you find absurd? Sounds REAL insecure to me.”

    There is no “God”. And I hate him. ~ Atheists

  • “stunningly obvious conclusion” – Not quite so stunningly to four of them, credentialed cretins.

  • It feels like they are throwing us a bone. That they are may sing wincing a bit at their own record. That they know the continuing trajectory and don’t see that they can really do anything about it and cannot or will not muster the intellectual arguments to Really change the trend, hence the graceless throwing of the bone. A bit of salve.

  • The Supreme Court has no group mentality Anzlyne. Rather it consists of two factions with Kennedy as the effective arbiter. If you think that is a sad way for a great country to run its affairs, you are absolutely correct.

  • Liberals would allow public prayer to Allah, Buddha or even Zeus or Odin, but never to Jesus Christ.

    Liberalism is a sin:

  • “people who claim that the mere sight of a Christian cross compels them to become Christian”
    Atheists, or people who adhere to atheism, deny the immortal, rational, human soul; the human being composed of body and metaphysical soul. In denying the human being as he is created by “our Creator”, atheism denies all human rights, alienable and unalienable, but especially the practice of free will, that part of the man who most resembles and images the Supreme Sovereign Being, WHOM atheism denies. To allow man to practice his freedom identifies the human being, exercising the unalienable civil right to freedom, in this particular case, freedom of religion, man’s response to almighty God for his freedom; identifies the human being exercising the free will endowed to his soul by God, but not by the state, as a creature of God, making of the atheist, a fool, and of atheism, a trick of the devil, who does indeed believe in God, his Creator.
    The state, constituted by the citizen with his God-given sovereign personhood, cannot, by reason of the rational soul, own the citizen, the sovereign person, except by consent of the individual who makes his free will choice in freedom, never through coercion, makes a free will consent to serve the state, as statesmen.

  • In the British Houses of Parliament, prayers are read before each day’s business.
    There is a charming custom that those members present may reserve their seats on the benches during the rest of the day by leaving their Order Papers on them, which others may not. If there is a major debate in the afternoon or evening, Prayers tend to be very well attended.

  • Our founding principles inscribed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution for the United States of America must be taught in all schools. Education into the real freedoms of man ought to be in the hearts and minds of each and every person. If the atheist does not like it he may go someplace else. The USSR did not allow Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the atheist, entrance. Only one dictator to a gulag.
    Yes, God created time for evolution to evolve, and God created man for Himself…and man created the Supreme Court to dispense God’s Justice and Truth. Atheists who do not believe in Justice and Truth need not apply.

  • “or prohibit the free exercise thereof.” affirms the human being in his freedom, confirms the human being’s freedom as separate from the state, defines the individual human being as a moral being, as the state must prosecute crime, “the free exercise thereof ” is acknowledgement by the state that man is created a moral being, a righteous being.

  • The religion clauses reach in different directions and are necessarily a bit vexing. Their imprecision, while appropriate for a constitution, is always going to give rise to debate regarding boundaries and their contours, some of it quite reasonable. But the irony that has always been obvious to me is how the rather narrowly phrased establishment clause has been so expansively interpreted while the comparatively broad exercise clause has so often been given a cramped understanding.

  • I know you are right Donald. No real group think. I guess there’s a real identifiable difference in the way liberals and conservatives think. I mean their “method” of thinking. but maybe just common sense won the swing vote this time ?

  • Or maybe that swing voter just threw us a bone

  • For believers this is good news. It is the latest decision from SCOTUS [no relation to Blessed Duns Scotus btw lol] concerning the delicate relationship between “Church and State”. Thw tradition of the Court concerning the First Amendment has been all over the place, and probably will in the future. This, however, was a positive development.

  • “Judicial liberals are simply unable to understand they are judges and not legislators. Their views on good or bad public policy are simply irrelevant.”

    I can recall Catholic judges and at least one Jewish judge sitting as Lord Ordinary in Teind Causes. Until 2004, the Teind court dealt with matters relating to church teinds (tithes) and stipends (the financial burden on land payable to the Church of Scotland). The judges of the Court of Session sat in the Teind Court on a rota. No one imagined for a moment that their personal affiliations were of any relevance whatsoever.

  • “….our public institutions belong no less to the Buddhist or Hindu than to the Methodist or Episcopalian.” Kagan

    This may be one of my dumber questions but: is that true? do minority opinions matter just as much in a democracy? does the majority rule?

  • I don’t mean do they MATTER… of course we care about them. I just mean are they just as important when setting up civic procedures and protocols etc as what the majority of people choose. I don’t think Kagan is right on this.

  • Kennedy: “Government may not mandate a civic religion that stifles any but the most generic reference to the sacred any more than it may prescribe a religious orthodoxy.” I agree with his warning here- yes- there is a danger of this “civic religion” being established.

    In 1992 Kennedy said that Christian prayer at a high school graduation is unconstitutional. After Monday’s opinion he said that civic meetings are different from high school commencement because of the age of the audience and the freedom to leave if they do not like the prayer. Seems like a weak justification for his change of heart, but thank God for it.

    Could it be that the swing voter is “evolving” ?

  • Godless liberal Democrats will always support a Muslim or a Hindu or a Buddhist, but not a Christian and certainly not a Catholic Christian, even and especially if the Justice making the decision is a so-called Catholic Christian like Kagan or Sotomeyer. In the eyes of a Democrat, individual rights matter for everyone but a Christian. Nothing has changed since the Democrats advocated slavery in the 19th century.

  • Atheists should shut up and leave the rest of us alone. I find atheism repugnant and so many of its adherents are obnoxious.

    Atheists point fingers at Christians and, as William Bennett once said, “beat us over the heads with our own virtue”.

    Dostoyevsky (sic) put it very well in The Brothers Karamazov. If there is no God then there is no right or wrong. When Man decides for himself what is right or wrong Man will find ways to justify evil and call it a choice.

    Atheists really don’t like it when guilt by association is plastered all over atheists.

  • What I don’t get-on the surface-is why they get so upset at God etc. If He and all the rest are myth, etc why hould they care? Do we get upset at the tooth fairy or Easter bunny?

    However, on the deeper level, they know well why they care. Atheism is in fact a morphed variation of the most ancient of religions: pantheism [root of polytheism—>paganism etc] They might sound different, look different, but they actually are the same crowd we were facing in the first three hundred years of our history in the Roman Empire (including Emperor worship) and later in the rest of Europe. In short… they’re baaaaaacccccckkkkk!

  • In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court went looking for the human “person” to not abort, but did not find the person to not abort. The Constitution must be taken as a whole and not made piecemeal. Any member of the human species is a human being, embraced or tolerated, the human being is an entity unto himself and the Law of the Land is every bit one person’s as it is all persons’. E Pluribus Unum”
    The newly conceived has constitutional law on his side in behalf of his unalienable human rights. All generations to be conceived have constitutional law on their side. How can next year’s generation have constitutional law on their side but not this year’s generation? Roe v. Wade was and still is mob rule.
    The sovereign person constitutes the government with his sovereign personhood from the first moment of his existence. Since the state did not create the human being’s existence, the state cannot claim right to destroy human existence. The individual worships God in thought, word and deed and his freedom to love God is inscribed in our First Amendment.
    Roe v. Wade never proved that the newly begotten was not loving God and thereby not fulfilling his First Amendment civil rights. For an individual, the newly begotten, yet unborn, loving God is exercising his freedom of religion and his right to speak and assemble peaceably with God. As he grows arms and legs, he is peaceably assembling. No pun intended.
    In the final analysis, it is the school shootings after the removal of “Thou shalt not kill”, Ten Commandments, that has energized the Supreme Court to return God to the public square.

  • “Should nonbelievers choose to exit the room during a prayer they find distasteful, their absence will not stand out as disrespectful or even noteworthy,” Kennedy writes.”
    The person elected to chair any public meeting is the person delegated to choose and say the prayer. If a Muslim is elected, the body will hear a Muslim prayer. Why do our judges have such impervious ignorance?
    The atheist chooses his position in this matter and must live his choice. Nobody makes of him a second class citizen. Framing himself as a victim, the atheist is starting to get wearisome.

  • Mary De Voe,

    Your reasonings & logic are superb! Here! Here!

    ( you wouldnt happen to have a single son over 40 would you?) 😉

  • “In the final analysis, it is the school shootings after the removal of “Thou shalt not kill”, Ten Commandments, that has energized the Supreme Court to return God to the public square” Great point Mary De Voe

  • About atheists:

    This malarkey will continue until the courts, which have already made ‘secular humanism’ a de facto religion for the purpose of conscientious objection to military service, decide to make ‘secular humanism’ a religion for the purpose of the establishment clause. The atheists would howl: “Atheism is not a religion!” Perhaps not in a theological sense, but there is no doubt that atheists want atheism to be the state religion of this country. Sorry guys, the legal precedent is already there, you wanted your belief system to be treated as equivalent to a religion to escape conscription, so there is no reason why your belief system cannot be treated as the equivalent of a religion in the Constitutional prohibition of a state religion. PDQ.

Of Bible Verses, Cheerleaders and the Constitution

Thursday, May 9, AD 2013

4 Responses to Of Bible Verses, Cheerleaders and the Constitution

  • These cases are just absurd. Do the rule of procedure require the ‘public interest’ shysters and their straw plaintiffs to pay the court costs and the defendants’ legal bills?

  • Unless there is a provision under a statute awarding fees and costs Art, a court would have to find that a suit was completely without merit before assessing fees and costs. I agree with you that these types of suits where activist groups drum up a straw plaintiff would be brought far less frequently if the losing party had to cough up fees and costs routinely for the prevailing side.

  • Donald R. McClarey,
    Agreed. I noone would complain if the cheerleaders put up a Mark Twain quote. Why should the court waste its time on this? Its not as if courts are despirate for cases.

  • Taxes are owned by the taxpayers even while being administered by the administration. All public square, land and waterways are owned in joint and common tenancy by each and every citizen. Government does not own the public square, the people do and the people are a free people. with a free will and a free soul endowed by our Creator. Anyone who rejects our founding priciples, rejects his country, his citizenship and commits treason.

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

Wednesday, May 23, AD 2012

True Leadership

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Margeaux Graham


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

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

  • This is silliness on stilts!

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

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

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

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

    I do have to question this, however:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Her mother has every reason to be proud.

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

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

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

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

  • Art: good points.

  • Quibble here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Stacy,

    No problem! 🙂

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Pinky,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Defender, You are awesome! Thank you.

    Credits, recognition, scholarship, etcetera!

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

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

    Go Margeaux!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    May God have mercy on this once great nation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Hire a lawyer! Sue the pants off them!

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

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

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

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

    You go, girl!!

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  • I am shocked that the American Legion would be so obtuse… At an event promoting love of God and country no less! Brava, Margeaux! You are making our country safe for Catholics!

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

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

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

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

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

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

    I have no doubt the ALA will rectify this problem.

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

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

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

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

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

    Without her parents’ knowledge or consent.

    Pods! They’re pods!

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

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

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

  • Margeaux and her family should contact an attorney,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Bite your tongue Art! 🙂

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

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

  • Patrick Lahey and Arkasha,

    Point taken.

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

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

    Thank you!

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

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

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

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

    This is my hope, anyway.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Matthew 7:5

  • John,

    I’ll try to answer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Hate.

    What rubbish.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Worse and worse.

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

    Oh, yeah. A jury is gonna love this!

    Six figures in damages. Maybe high six figures.

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

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

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

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

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

    Consider the following:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thank God for Margeaux.

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

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

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

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

    2 Timothy 4:7

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

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

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

  • I just believe in finding solutions.

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

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

  • Way to go Margeaux!
    What an inspiration.

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

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


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

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

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

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

    The Cathedral is right next to the Universities’ President’s house, with Sunday services a-plenty. Even Google has it pictured within the colored area of the Universities’ campus.,+tallahassee&hl=en&ll=30.446588,-84.297688&spn=0.001727,0.002824&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=51.488837,92.548828&t=m&hq=st+thomas+more,&hnear=Tallahassee,+Leon,+Florida&z=19

    The name of the Cathedral?


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

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

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

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

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

    Ash Wednesday 2011 aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, CVN72:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Jackie Ihnenfeld
    Director, Florida Girls State

    Sent from my iPhone”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Thanks, Ioannes, for the photos.

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

    God bless you and enjoy going to Mass. 🙂

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

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

    Not good enough!

    No! No!

    The AL owes you and Margeaux an apology . . . instantly . . . and their assurances . . . . instantly and without qualification . . . that your signed letter giving your permission for your minor child to walk across the street to Sunday Mass will be honored.

    Not “reviewed”; not “we’re looking into it”; not “well, maybe” !

    How dare they attempt to prohibit a minor child under their supervision from fulfilling her religious obligations?

    This is not a case of “the volunteers didn’t understand”, “some of the underlings didn’t get it.”

    This is a case of top management . . .and I mean TOP . . . holding a disdainful and contemptuous attitude toward those young people who may be coming to them with religious obligations to fulfill.

    That’s what this is about!!

    And on Memorial Day weekend I hear about this.

    I have an uncle buried in Arlington National Cemetery. A Navy Pilot who went down off the U.S.S. Enterprise in the early 1960s.

    If he were alive to hear about this today, Uncle Ed, a devout Catholic, would be aghast and ashamed of what the American Legion has come to represent.

    “Are they Soviets?” he would ask “Are they Communists?”

    Margeaux, you know what? I wouldn’t blame you if you walked away. Sign up with a TRULY elite and prestigious organization, one that doesn’t tyrannize over, harass, and make things difficult for young people of faith.

    Who needs that kind of rubbish?

    As for me, my regard for the AL is now going out the door in a 30-gallon Hefty bag sealed up with a tie-tie.

    I have no idea who these characters in the AL are but they sound more like they’re channeling the former Soviet Union than anything “American”.

    I’d steer clear of them, Margeaux. They’re not “prestigious” and they’re not “elite”. They’re losers.

  • Outrageous!

    Absolutely outrageous!

    And all people of faith should be utterly outraged!

    Mom, you and Dad should be on the phone with an attorney yesterday!!!

  • Mary, no more chats with anti-Catholic bigot Ihneneld!

    Give her the name and phone number of your attorney, and say, “Let our attorney know as soon as your board has reviewed the matter. He will let you know what further actions we may decide to take.”


  • Here is what a genuinely classy and elite and American operation says when presented with a young person who will be under the supervision over a Sunday, and indicates that she will need to be excused for religious exercises.

    And from the Get-Go:

    “Sure! I’m sure something can be worked out”


    “Your church? Sunday? Well, I suppose so. Church? Yes, that’s important, isn’t it? We’ll figure out how we can make that work.”


    “Of course. Participants who wish to go to church, mosque or synagogue over the weekend will need to have permission letters from their parents stating when and where they will be going, and how they will travel. We prefer a pre-paid taxicab.”

    Preferably, the latter.

    And if the volunteers somehow missed that, or didn’t get that, or didn’t hear that, or weren’t told, then Bigot Ihnenfeld should have sung it to you, Mary, from the rooftops, from the first moment you spoke together.

    Instead, you got this baloney song-and-dance about “oh, gee, someone else has to, gee, I don’t know.” As she twirls the end of her pigtail and kicks some dust with the toe of her Keds sneaker.

    If you buy that, I have . . . not a bridge . . . Ihnenfeld’s already got that wrapped up . . . but a tunnel in Brooklyn to sell you.

  • What a great young lady. It’s called “real commitment to Christ.” The supposed role models should learn something about it!

    I hope her stand changes their outrageous policy.

    Anyone who understands what the Mass is, and Who it is that we receive in Holy Communion, would understand that NOTHING is worth missing Mass for. To faithfully worship God on His day and worthily receive Holy Communion is more important than anything else one can do–those who don’t get this, have not really understood the Faith!!

  • You know, I’ve been thinking: I could be wrong. I could have this issue all backwards.

    Maybe it’s not “young people of faith” whom this organization holds in contempt.

    After all, AL officials have pointed out that young participants of faith are free to “sacrifice” their religious observances. You know, as they would a hockey game, or a scout picnic.

    However, if it is the wish of the parents that their minor child should attend religious services of their own denomination during that program . . . and the parents also wish that their minor child not be refused permission to participate in the program or be otherwise discriminated against, then we have a case of the AL not holding young people of faith in contempt . . .

    . . . . they hold parents of young people of faith in contempt.

    Or maybe they hold the young people and the parents in contempt.

    I may have to rethink what I had written above. It may be worse than I thought.

  • @Marion

    We have received an apology from both the member who wrote to us and Mrs. I

    I am not sure where you are getting your info but I spoke with Mrs. I… The lady I spoke with was not an anti-catholic bigot. She is a volunteer who was unaware of the teachings of the Catholic Church. Unfortunately for the last 10 years this program has run over a weekend, she said they have many Catholics who participate and no body has ever questioned this problem in the past. She listened to our concerns and explanations as to why with an open mind. She asked us for our suggestions. Her/their knowledge of church teaching had been formed by the example of Catholics who were not following Church teachings.

    This will be brought before their board for review, and she re-assured us that she would keep us informed on the matter. We have complete faith and confident that God is over seeing this entire matter. We do not need to get angry or aggressive. We need to maintain a heart of love and compassion and allow the Holy Spirit to do his work.

    I am so proud of Margeaux and her attitude, she is wise beyond her years. Margeaux did choose the elite group. She chose Christ and His Church. We do not have to worry, He will provide, He hasn’t let us down yet.

  • @Marion,
    Your second comment…..AMEN…

  • OK, Mary, good luck with that, and God bless you and Margeaux.

  • Marion Mael Muire: Good work.

  • Marion Mael Muire: You have done the work that the American Legion Auxiliary is supposed to do.

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  • Mary De Voe, thanks for your kind remarks. They are appreciated.

    I would be doing a disservice to my Catholic ancestors who suffered persecution and discrimination, if I didn’t say that I hope certain heads will roll at the AL over this matter.

  • “a track meet or dance competition…”

    Ah, so in the view of the American Legion, the holy sacrifice of the Mass — instituted by Christ Himself as the perfect way of adoring Almighty God — is comparable to a track meet or a dance competition. Further, failing to to blur the distinction is a sign of an inability to make a sacrifice. What a telling insight about the American Legion, who seems to think it is more important than God.

  • I guess so Sean. My thoughts are that None of those activities, like dance or sports competitions should even be scheduled on a Sunday. No matter how great the organization is sponsoring it. We as Catholics esteem the Holy Sacrifice as no other, but also other Christians should be allowed their services and attempts to keep the day Holy – a day set apart by God.
    There used to be strong societal proscriptions against even shopping for a gallon of milk on Sundays. Ach! (as another friend poster is wont to say)

  • She should go to Girls’ State, and leave the events for Catholic Mass nearby. Then, if punished or penalized, she can defend herself and/or sue. But she should go, with every intention of fulfilling her obligations. Preemptively backing out is sacrificial of her, but not brave.

  • To intentionally miss Sunday Mass or a Holy Day of Obligation is a mortal sin. God doesn’t understand our willful choice to disobey his commandments. The Catholic woman who wrote back to this this fine, upstanding and devout young lady back, is in a state of mortal sin if she has intentionally missed Sunday Mass or Holy Days of Obligation. One unrepented mortal sin can send a person to eternal hell. For her to tell her that “sacrifices” are to be made in life, that there are choices in life and God understands her choice to disobey the Third Commandment bespeaks of the sickening apostasy of people’s faith in this day and age in the USA, the pick and choose faith that only makes us comfortable. This person is not only is guilty of mortal sin but is actually encouraging others to follow her down the road to perdition. What prideful and disgusting arrogance to the sovereignty of God. We are a very spoiled and arrogant people. So many of our fellow Catholics throughout the world suffer each day because their government forces them to hide their faith under penalty of jail, torture or death, yet they freely and willingly go to underground Masses in homes, undercover of darkness or even the wilderness because their love for Jesus Christ and His Bride the Church, because they know in their heart that God comes first in all things, because they love the Eucharist and are willing to die to receive it, because the Blessed Virgin is their Mother and they follow her wherever she goes. And this so called leader of the ALA who claims to be Catholic is trying to make Margeux fell guilty about exercising her right not only as an American citizen but, more importantly, her Baptismal and canonical obligation to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Divine Liturgy commentating of the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Disturbing and despicable.

  • No permitting this young lady to attend Mass because you think your leadership conference is more important is wicked and evil. She is showing true leadership by doing what she knows is right,even if it means being “punished” for it. Sure makes you people look like a bunch of clowns.

  • Thank you Miss Graham for being a true example of a Catholic living your faith, not just calling yourself Catholic in name only. I just shared your story with my young daughter and she thinks you are a heroine. So do I. We are in desperate need of young women and men like you in this culture. Please keep fighting, praying and being who God made you to be. As a Catholic mother I am so proud of you and of your mother. Courage! God Bless you.

  • My first thought was, gutsy kid. Way to stand firm on what you know is right. Second thought, why is the person responding saying anything aside from, that’s our arrangement, it doesn’t accommodate you and we have no plans to accommodate you, sorry it didn’t work out. But instead my second thought was shock and disgust at the claim of a sacrifice, as if obligations to faith are like indulging in some ice cream. I’m speechless that someone would attempt to undermine a determined young lady and even go after her faith, convictions or family to get some silly point across. Wow! Standing up for her values is in itself something we need more of. Misunderstanding the faith you claim to be a member of to the point Sunday mass is an option we could use less of.

  • Because of the VFW’s unexplained connections with labor unions — and the VFW was very defensive about this — I dropped my membership with them. I am very sorry to hear that apparently the American Legion, too, may be succumbing to fashionable anti-Americanism. I will certainly write them a polite but firm letter in this matter.

    Margeaux is demonstrating love of country far more truly than the American Legion is.

  • @Mack
    Each AL is Independent. The position in Florida is not reflective of every state and every AL. We actually had support from the AL…It was the auxiliary.

    Also keep in mind, the ALA has apologized and will be reviewing their policy. Be sure you read the follow to this story. For that we are grateful. Do not hold the actions of one or two people against the entire organization, especially when they have apologized and are working to make a change.

  • How ironic that religious freedom is one of the rights she should be learning about at Girls’ State and yet she is being denied it. Sounds like her case is one that should be up for discussion by the entire group of girls. I think this year’s Girls State should go through the process of setting up a law to further define what is defined as a crime against religious freedom.

    BTW, it is wonderful to see how many really good people are defending the faith.

  • Laura,
    Mrs. I actually said that she desires Margeaux could go and do exactly that.

  • The American Legion Aux. is doing what it needs to be doing to save its bacon. Discrimination against Catholics will ingratiate the AL Aux to Obummer, who they need to get $$$$$$$ and avoid prosecution.
    Follow the money.
    Also, no-one is denying the girl any freedom. The AL Aux has their rules. If you don’t like them, don’t go. Which the girl, obviously, won’t.
    God shipped out from the Am. Legion long ago.

  • Just for the record, I am hopeful that this matter can be worked out satisfactorily.

    However, for the record, I am not buying that any reasonable, well-meaning organization working with academically gifted young people should have in place a policy that the young people are not to be excused from the program, on a Saturday or a Sunday for a brief hour or two to attend religious exercises at a nearby house of worship, on a pre-arranged basis, with their parents’ permission, particularly if it is the wish, desire, and intention of the parents of the minor child, that the religious exercise is to be attended.



    Here’s what the answer should have been on Day One: “Of course, Mrs. Graham, sorry that the volunteer didn’t understand that it was your wish, and that Margeaux had your permission.”

    Parents are the ones who ultimately call the shots for every blessed moment of every blessed day that their minor children spend their time! Including the time minor children are spending in soi-disant elite programs. Parents call the shots, not the program, especially in serious or obligatory matters, and in matters that involve an hour or two and take place very close by.

    What if this minor child had some ongoing disability, such as a severe problem with her knee and ankle, and was undergoing therapy three times a week? And the parents informed the program that their minor child was perfectly up to participating in the program, but it was imperative that she be excused to meet with a therapist anywhere, such as in her dormitory room for a 45-minute therapy session to have a supervised workout, and needed to be briefly excused for this proceeding two or three times during the program. Do you think that anyone higher than a staff volunteer would need to say, “gee, I don’t know, we’ll have to review the matter . . . ” . . . ?

    Nope. Not if the have their act together.

    It would be, “Sure, Mrs. Graham. This is important, and we will see to it that Margeaux has no problem participating in the medically necessary therapy that you have arranged for her to undergo while she is under our supervision.”

    If they had the competence and the good intentions of even the average well-run business outfit, such as, oh, say, and automotive garage or ice cream shop, this would be a no-brainer. Minor child, serious matter, parents’ wish and written permission, arrangements all set up ahead-of-hand – badda bing! badda boom!

    Not a problem! You’ve got it, Grahams.

    That’s how a well-run and competent operation runs.

    Do they even know what time it is? Do they know where they are located on the map of Tallahasee, Florida? If there were a civil emergency, do they have a plan in place? Would they know how to change a tire if they had a flat?


    If the Grahams asked these AL Auxiliary folks: may we know briefly your plans for handling any civil emergency that might come up while our daughter is in your care with your program, would the AL Auxiliary folks say, “No, we really have no such information; that’s not our policy to tell parents anything about our emergency preparedness; we can’t help you; we’ll have to review that with our board.”

    Bah! Clueless, clueless.

    Which makes me say, no, no organization with the slightest pretenstions to having an “elite, presigious” program can possibly be that helpless, unable to function, and incompetent.

    It’s all very well and good that they are “apologizing” and “reviewing”, but I’m wondering, if a famous Florida sinkhole were to open up in the middle of the front plaza where this event is taking place during the course of the program, would these program organizers just . . . walk the girls right into its crumbling edges because to alter their path would require a review?

  • “Dear Mrs. Graham, we’re sorry for being utterly and completely bereft of any idea whatsoever of how to operate as reasonable adults.

    Entrust your daughter to us for nine days anyway.

    Thank you. And again our apologies for being two fries short of a Happy Meal.


    The American Legion Auxiliary of Florida.”

    That’s the wording I want to see on their apology.

  • OK let us clear up this whole “personal issue”, if you are going to be Catholic you have to be fully Catholic that means at work, at home, at the bar, at a party, and in public. If somebody wrongly accuses you or lies in public you can bring it up in public, I certainly think it is probably wise not to bait the Nazis but if possible bringing such a thing to bear might aid in finding a solution to the problem because pussy footing does not help in asking people why they did something.

  • SO……..the Cathedral is across the street from this young woman’s classes of 9 days. A Cathedral should have a Mass, at least one on Sunday, unless the Cathedral is under some sort of renovation.

    Would not an hour on Sunday be permitted so anyone who wants to attend their respective religious program be allowed? So all the girls attending could go to a religious program of their liking. Does not the leadership program have some sort of religion component in the syllabus? What planet are we on here!

    Patricia in St. Louis, MO

  • Contact the Legion – Boycot the Legion

  • I wish we could click like next to the comments….

    The last two address core of the issue here. If they are going to run over Saturday and Sunday then they should accommodation all religious sects. Respect of religious creed is a critical element of there mission. Their protestant service is actually planned by their girls and executed. Which means that they have time allotted for the girls to work on this. They could make that an educational element of their program in some way shape or form. Really the easiest solution for this matter is to run from Sunday to Saturday like the boys state does. Catholics could go to mass on Saturday before and they are home for mass on Sunday.

    According to them they have a high number of Catholics and Catholic High schools that participate each year and this is the first time that it has come up. It is discouraging to hear that so many Catholics have ignored this for so many years.

  • “According to them they have a high number of Cahtolics and Catholic high schools that participate each year, and this is the first time that it has come up.”


    My, my! What a surprise!

    In’t that Margeaux Graham jis’ the meanist an’ the orneriest gal you’d ever want to meet?

    Makin’ a dust-up like this? About her goin’ ta her Papist Church on Sunday?

    Ah jes’ don’ know what this world is comin’ to; I really don’t!

    Let’s tell ‘er – ah know – let’s tell ‘er she’s th’only one! We’ve nevah had this come up before with all the many, many Papists who’ve come through here.

    That’ll flap her flippers real good. Spiteful li’l thang!

    That was one possibility.

    All right; maybe they really had never heard of any Catholics coming through the program wanting to attend Holy Mass. Maybe that’s all true. However, that raises a new question: shouldn’t it have been necessary to have some board review the decision to release this piece of information about Catholic participants in prior years, and “then get back to us” . . . ?

    Or maybe:

    (1) this is the first year that the program has run over the course of the entire weekend; perhaps in previous years the girls’ program ran from Sunday to Saturday, as the boys’ state does. So any faithful Catholic female participants were in previous years free to to assist at Holy Mass before reporting in to participate fully in the program.

    (2) in previous years, the girls’ program did run nine days, and in previous years, when faithful Catholic families learned that their minor children would be precluded and hindered from participating in the program AND meeting their Sunday obligations, as their parents wished, the parents decided not to have their daughters participate.

    Everything I hear out of this crew sounds more and more dodgy to me.

  • Catholics should be VERY PROUD of Margeaux for stanching up. God bless her. All the officials, including the “Catholic” traitor–are wrong. Our country is in a Battle for religious freedom.

  • According to them they have a high number of Catholics and Catholic High schools that participate each year and this is the first time that it has come up. It is discouraging to hear that so many Catholics have ignored this for so many years.

    I will wager them’s making this part up.

  • Let’s see: this director of the program says she didn’t know that Catholics are obligated to attend Catholic services on Sunday; didn’t know that Margeaux’s mother had offered to drive to Tallahasee to convey her daughter to Mass; didn’t know that Margeaux’s parents had tried to follow up with an email . . .

    Didn’t know, didn’t know , didn’t know. . .

    But here’s one thing she knows: she knows that there are many Catholics who have participated in this program, and this difficulty about Mass has never come up before.

    That she knows.

    If this lady happened to comment to me that the sun was shining outside, I’d look out the window for myself before putting away my umbrella.

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

    No, you came here to vent, call people names and feel superior to those tax collectors over there.

    Have a nice day.

  • I just believe in finding solutions.


    Need help getting my eyes to roll back down….

    Ow ow ow…

  • Dear Mary & Margeaux,

    I hope they do resolve this situation to a happy satisfaction. Providentially, the Holy Spirit novena has been going on these past 9 days. Happy Pentecost! Perhaps this cross was necessary for you to endure to bring the message of the LIVING Holy Spirit to this other uninformed (and a bit insulting) Catholic volunteer who clearly doesn’t understand her faith as well as for other future Catholic participants. If we have crosses, they are gifts from God He entrusts to our care to awaken His love in us as well as all of His other children. Perhaps this has made such a stir and with your charity, will cause others to reflect deeper on the seriousness with which people do take their faith. If people are free to be lukewarm, they must certainly be free to be devout.

    Of all the things troubling about how this was handled, it most sad that this woman would seek to minimize in stating this is the first time in 10 years it has been an issue, as though the problem is with you and not their format. It matters so little that you are the first to bring it up. It is a problem. It needs addressing. Period. End of Sentence. You are not the freak here for taking your faith seriously or making waves. You are faithful to the Church and trying to be to your country as well. It is commendable and admirable. If it is singled out, then know you are in good company with the saints, as another pointed out with St. Thomas More (had that feeling as well). I will ask his intercession since not only is he the patron of legal issues, which this is not, but also the first to start the trend in all of England and then onto Europe of educating his daughters in Latin and other topics formerly reserved only for sons and thereby the education of all women. Your daughter reaps these results, as do all of our daughters in the Western World, for his courage, faith and love. He will help you as you clear this matter.

    But the insults she gave to you as a mother, Mary, well that is hard to fathom b/c it is in print. It is one thing to accept a person’s rejection of attendance and yet another to add insult ontop of the obvious injury. This was in poor taste and reflect a lack of basic civility that seems par for the course with one who likewise belittles her own faith. You have made her uncomfortable and so she has lashed out and who knows, perhaps in the end, you will awaken her. She would not have needed to insult Mary’s ‘negative impact’ upon her daughter had she not felt threatened and convicted of her own lukewarm approach to her faith. She could’ve simply written it off and not needed to make these personal attacks. And yet in this month of May, the month of Mary, it is more than obvious she insults her Heavenly mother all the more than you as she derides your role as a mother and therefore all of motherhood, including her own earthly mother. Even if she thought these things, it is another thing to write them as a reflection of her own poor character and that reflects poorly of her understanding of mothers. I will pray for this woman in my rosary.

    As for attending mass if you do happen to go, (wow! I just looked up the Co-Cathedral and did not realize it was St. Thomas More–ha!), I hope it is a morning mass. We went one time to the student 6pm mass as we were on the road and running late (drive every year through Florida) and it was not a good experience; a bit scandalizing truth to be told. It was more of the students and less of the priest and so hopefully the morning mass will be different. We just vowed never to stop in again though we go to St. Louis sometimes off of I-10.

    Peace be with you and I pray this gets resolved shortly. It sounds like you are on the path!


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  • Kerrie,
    Thank you for your kind words, they are appreciated. I hope you read the second article, it has Margeaux’s response to their letter, she did a great job. I am a middle child of 9, needless to say I have pretty thick skin. We believe that God had a bigger plans for Margeaux then attending Girls State, we are looking forward to opportunities that await her.

    God Bless,

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  • Marion (Mael Muire)…..glad your on our side! 🙂

    Thank you to Margeaux and her mom for taking this to where it needed to go. God Bless!

  • johnnyc wrote, “Marion (Mael Muire) . . . glad you’re on our side!”

    Thanks, . . . I think, johnny . . . Listen, I appreciate our faithful Catholic young people so much and want to do all I can to support them. Some people in my age group like to say that the Church’s future is over; it’s finished; the young aren’t faithful anymore . . . etc. I don’t see that at all. I see a good number of faithful Catholic young people who are devoted to Christ . . . they are my heroes. And I thank God for them.

  • I’m very glad Margeaux is a witness to the importance of the Eucharist. And I’m very very glad she is proceeding in both strength *and* charity. Some of the almost knee jerk attack and ‘circle the wagons’! response we Catholics often have to stuff like this can be a poor witness to our faith. We have to take a stand, and hold our ground, but do so in CHARITY and not always assume the worst. Faith and Reason.

    It’s very sad Margeaux is the first Catholic to do this in the program’s experience. What a shame. But I’m glad she’s done this simple and basic thing- it needed to be done.

  • It’s very sad Margeaux is the first Catholic to do this in the program’s experience.

    I would not assume the organizers are telling the truth about that.

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

    Except that they already do, with their “inoffensive” accommodation of low-church Protestants. Some animals are more equal than others in Girls’ State.

    The military is also a voluntary activity, at present, but “inoffensive” sops to broad churchers only wouldn’t cut the mustard. Yes, I do recognize that the military is an arm of the state subject to the Constitution (albeit in a special way), but all analogies limp.

    No, it’s not what Christians are enduring in Muslim lands, or in China, but it’s still a good idea to at least recognize discrimination when it delivers an uppercut.

  • “It’s very sad that Margeaux is the first Catholic to do this in the program’s experience.”

    “I would not assume the organizers are telling the truth about that.”

    In all charity, I would like to suggest that instances in which faithful Catholics had inquired about an accomodation in the form of permission to depart the premises to attend Holy Mass, with their parents’ written knowledge and consent, and had met with refusal by the program, may not have communicated themselves to this particular spokesperson, and if they did, the spokesperson may have experienced a transient and inexplicable spell of forgetfulness with regard to them.

    That much more fortuitous for all concerned, then, that Margeaux’s valor has brought this question to an ineffable forefront.

  • With the college Catholic group having Mass there, at 6pm on a Sunday? Yeah, I’m pretty sure anybody else worried about it just went. Never made any high-level waves because whoever is chaperoning wasn’t going to insist that the girls miss Mass when it’s right there, and didn’t mention it to anyone above them who might get angry because it’s a technical violation. Pretty common in the enlisted areas. ^.^

  • Bravo for Margeaux’s faith coming first! Bravo for one so young to do this! I would make the exact same chice as Margeaux if I had to — and write the same letter. Shame on those who require faith-filled students like Margeaux to have to choose between their faith and a civil commitment.

  • May Margeaux’s future be blessed! She is an exceptional person, truly understanding that Holy Mass is our Lord’s real presence and sacrifice for us. And acting accordingly!

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  • Doc Kimbel; where in the world did you come up with the Mason’s having anything to do with this issue? As a Mason, I am offended by your remarks, and as a Paid Up For Life member, and twice Past Commander of my local American Legion Post, I find you to be less than honorable, lacking in knowledge of the topic, and totally unbelievable. The young lady should get a medal for taking her stand, and young people across this country would be wise to head her words of wisdom.

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  • After she accused Margeaux’s mother of creating a “negative impact” on her daughter, the officer went on to scold, “Life is full of choices and she will be faced with many in her lifetime. One of life’s lessons is she can’t go through life blaming others for the decisions she makes.”

    Wow really? an adult responded with insults? I am sorry but who is the adult & the child? or better who is the Christian & not? . . . I cannot believe the condescending & insulting reply the director gave to this girl. Margeaux gave a good rising above it, well thought out letter & this is the immaturity she gets in return? . . . news flash to this director Mass every Sunday is a “HOLY DAY OF OBLIGATION” & we are to “Sacrifice” things of the world & of man to attend “Mass” the Holy Sacrifice not the other way around! I can’t stand watered down, liberal Catholics! they are an insult to the entire Roman Catholic Church & also all Eastern Orthodox churches too! How dare she put some man made organization before God! & have the nerve to make such a statement. newsflash to this director…NO ONE NEEDS this organization or what they offer on a college resume to get a good solid education! biggest bunch of BULL! I am sorry but this woman to me & to many Catholics is not really Catholic! If she really were, her response would have reflected alot more of Christ’s love than what she exhibited in her response! Her response says ALOT! I don’t understand why these students or girls can’t be given sundays off! If I were Margeaxu’s mother I’d have a whole lot to say to this woman along with a law suit! & you damn sure bet I’d go to the news & demand an apology to my daughter for speaking to her like that! that was completely uncalled for by the director! if I were a priest & knew this director & knew of the situation I would deny her communion over it! its insulting ….to the Eucharist!

An Administration at War With Our First Freedom

Thursday, March 1, AD 2012

“Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm.”

James Madison, Federalist 10

The video above is from the Heritage Foundation and incisively sets forth how ObamaCare is at war with religious liberty.  The Founding Fathers made it clear that they viewed freedom of religion as being at the core of the framework of what they were seeking to accomplish:


“We have abundant reason to rejoice that in this Land the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition, and that every person may here worship God according to the dictates of his own heart.  In this enlightened Age and in this Land of equal liberty it is our boast, that a man’s religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest Offices that are known in the United States.”

George Washington




“That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.”

Patrick Henry






The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right. It is unalienable, because the opinions of men, depending only on the evidence contemplated by their own minds cannot follow the dictates of other men: It is unalienable also, because what is here a right towards men, is a duty towards the Creator. It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage and such only as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent, both in order of time and in degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society.

James Madison




“Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure (and) which insures to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.”

Charles Carroll of Carollton



Pope Benedict recognizes the threat to religious freedom that exists in our country:

In the light of these considerations, it is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres. The seriousness of these threats needs to be clearly appreciated at every level of ecclesial life. Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion. Many of you have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. Others have spoken to me of a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.

Here once more we see the need for an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense vis-à-vis the dominant culture and with the courage to counter a reductive secularism which would delegitimize the Church’s participation in public debate about the issues which are determining the future of American society. The preparation of committed lay leaders and the presentation of a convincing articulation of the Christian vision of man and society remain a primary task of the Church in your country; as essential components of the new evangelization, these concerns must shape the vision and goals of catechetical programs at every level.

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32 Responses to An Administration at War With Our First Freedom

  • “One of my ancestors died at Bunker Hill to establish this Republic and I intend not to see what he fought for ended in my lifetime.”

    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is its natural manure.”

    I pray that this does not mean the inevitability of civil war, but the liberals are not going to give up without a fight.

  • I do not think that it will come to that Paul, but it is important that we all speak out now and act to defeat an Administration that is at war with traditional American notions of liberty.

  • I pray that this does not mean the inevitability of civil war, but the liberals are not going to give up without a fight.

    Hugh Thomas’ histories of the Spanish civil war include accounts of Spanish political life immediately prior (1931-36) and the mentality of the bourgeois republican parties depicted therein (and manifested in the figure of Manuel Azana) is disconcertingly familiar.

  • I pray that Donald’s optimism proves true and Art’s analogy false. (No offense intended, Art.)

  • It seems Pharaoh is intent on denying Americans unalienable rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

    Seems as if the “general welfare” and “commerce” clauses, and social justice are being used as alibis for tyranny.

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  • “Seems as if the “general welfare” and “commerce” clauses, and social justice are being used as alibis for tyranny.” Yep – for about the last 75 years. See “FDR’s New Deal.”

    “Social Justice” is a straw man, propped up by Progressives to underscore their collectivist philosophy. Christianity, and by default the Church, can be concerned only with Individual Justice. Salvation is not offered to “Society.” It is offered to each man, woman and child as individual creations in and of God’s image. Anything that lumps people together into a faceless blob is dehumanizing and derogatory; in and of themselves two qualities that are inherently unjust.

    This is why the government is inherently unjust. It does not see individuals. It Socializes everything, and now it has come this far.

    I fear Paul may have the most prescient point of view. This election will tell the tale.

  • The Senate vote to kill the Blunt Amendment today 51-48. This amendment would have killed the HHS Mandate. Three Democrats voted against tabling the Blunt Amendment: Manchin, Casey and Nelson. One Republican, the worthless pro-abort Olympia Snow who just announced her long overdue retirement, voted in favor of tabling the amendment.

    Here is how each of the Senators voted:

    kaka (D-HI), Yea
    Alexander (R-TN), Nay
    Ayotte (R-NH), Nay
    Barrasso (R-WY), Nay
    Baucus (D-MT), Yea
    Begich (D-AK), Yea
    Bennet (D-CO), Yea
    Bingaman (D-NM), Yea
    Blumenthal (D-CT), Yea
    Blunt (R-MO), Nay
    Boozman (R-AR), Nay
    Boxer (D-CA), Yea
    Brown (D-OH), Yea
    Brown (R-MA), Nay
    Burr (R-NC), Nay
    Cantwell (D-WA), Yea
    Cardin (D-MD), Yea
    Carper (D-DE), Yea
    Casey (D-PA), Nay
    Chambliss (R-GA), Nay
    Coats (R-IN), Nay
    Coburn (R-OK), Nay
    Cochran (R-MS), Nay
    Collins (R-ME), Nay
    Conrad (D-ND), Yea
    Coons (D-DE), Yea
    Corker (R-TN), Nay
    Cornyn (R-TX), Nay
    Crapo (R-ID), Nay
    DeMint (R-SC), Nay
    Durbin (D-IL), Yea
    Enzi (R-WY), Nay
    Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
    Franken (D-MN), Yea

    Gillibrand (D-NY), Yea
    Graham (R-SC), Nay
    Grassley (R-IA), Nay
    Hagan (D-NC), Yea
    Harkin (D-IA), Yea
    Hatch (R-UT), Nay
    Heller (R-NV), Nay
    Hoeven (R-ND), Nay
    Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
    Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
    Inouye (D-HI), Yea
    Isakson (R-GA), Nay
    Johanns (R-NE), Nay
    Johnson (D-SD), Yea
    Johnson (R-WI), Nay
    Kerry (D-MA), Yea
    Kirk (R-IL), Not Voting
    Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
    Kohl (D-WI), Yea
    Kyl (R-AZ), Nay
    Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
    Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea
    Leahy (D-VT), Yea
    Lee (R-UT), Nay
    Levin (D-MI), Yea
    Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea
    Lugar (R-IN), Nay
    Manchin (D-WV), Nay
    McCain (R-AZ), Nay
    McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
    McConnell (R-KY), Nay
    Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
    Merkley (D-OR), Yea
    Mikulski (D-MD), Yea

    Moran (R-KS), Nay
    Murkowski (R-AK), Nay
    Murray (D-WA), Yea
    Nelson (D-FL), Yea
    Nelson (D-NE), Nay
    Paul (R-KY), Nay
    Portman (R-OH), Nay
    Pryor (D-AR), Yea
    Reed (D-RI), Yea
    Reid (D-NV), Yea
    Risch (R-ID), Nay
    Roberts (R-KS), Nay
    Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
    Rubio (R-FL), Nay
    Sanders (I-VT), Yea
    Schumer (D-NY), Yea
    Sessions (R-AL), Nay
    Shaheen (D-NH), Yea
    Shelby (R-AL), Nay
    Snowe (R-ME), Yea
    Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
    Tester (D-MT), Yea
    Thune (R-SD), Nay
    Toomey (R-PA), Nay
    Udall (D-CO), Yea
    Udall (D-NM), Yea
    Vitter (R-LA), Nay
    Warner (D-VA), Yea
    Webb (D-VA), Yea
    Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
    Wicker (R-MS), Nay
    Wyden (D-OR), Yea

  • The fact that Casey voted against it is really no surprise. I know some had high hopes for him but it was never to be.

    Knowing how liberal northeast Catholics from Pa tend to be it was probably more popular for him to vote against the Amendment.

    Regarding this whole situation, I for one really wish the Church leadership would take this opportunity not just to rail about general notions of “religious” liberty, but stand firm and bold and explain why contraception is immoral. This is the opportunity given to them to proclaim the Truth!

    Instead it’s been left to Santorum to discuss contraception in a medium not best suited for this fight. He has earned my immense respect, for he is essentially the lone voice talking about the evil of contraception and being clobbered for it.
    Our Catholic leadership has been given a perfect opportunity and it is being squandered. I keep hearing “it’s not about contraception, it’s not about contraception”, but it’s about “religious liberty”.

    Well, for our President and his minions it’s about contraception…

    It’s like

  • Actually Chris a no vote was in support of the Blunt Amendment, so Casey the Lesser voted in favor of religious freedom. I have no doubt that Reid allowed this vote to get to the floor without a filibuster only because he knew that he had the votes to kill it. The Republicans should bring this back to the floor every week and make the Democrats vote over and over again against religious liberty.

  • If I’m a D, I vote with D’s – virtue and life don’t belong in the Party mindset.

  • thank for this list! the three states of most interest to me.. Iowa- the 2 senators cancelled each other, as usual; South Dakota, the 2 senators cancelled each other, but Nebraska was totally pro -life.

    My concern is that Non Resident Nebraskan Bob Kerrey is running for Nelson’s seat. I believe he is swooping down from his high perch in the East, to forward his ideology– not to represent the good people of Nebraska.

  • I do wonder whether Obama’s father in fact came from Kenya.

    Judging by the way he’s acting, he came from Zimbabwe – and that despotice president Mugabe is Obama’s role model and hero.

    It really staggers me that so many Americans think that all this is okay. They are so blinded that they cannot see an assault on their freedom???

    And this, of course, is the thin end of the wedge – surrender once, and you’re going….going…..GONE.

  • Actually Chris a no vote was in support of the Blunt Amendment, so Casey the Lesser voted in favor of religious freedom.

    My fault, very suprised he voted that way. Would like to give him the benefit of the doubt on no ulterior motives via Reid, but I think you have it right……

  • Even more striking: it appears that more Catholic Senators (13) voted AGAINST the amendment than for it (11)!

    The breakdown as enumerated in the above story:

    Catholics who voted for Freedom (i.e. to NOT table the amendment) include Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire), Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania), Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), Bob Casey, Jr. (D-Pennsylvania), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), David Vitter (R-Louisiana), Susan Collins (R-Maine),John Hoeven (R-North Dakota), Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska),Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)

    Catholics voting to table the amendment (thereby voting AGAINST the Church in this case) were: Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Maria Cantwell (D-Washington), Richard Durbin (D-Illinois), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), John Kerry (D-Massachusetts), Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana), Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland), Patty Murray (D-Washington), and Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island).

    The latter list, of course, reads like a roundup of the usual suspects when it comes to Catholic Democrats voting pro-abortion and all that. What does it say when Baptists (including Sen. Blunt himself) and Methodists were more “Catholic” than the Catholics were on this issue?

  • I wonder how many of these Catholic Senators sent their kids to Catholic schools. Schools that are now in jeopardy of closing.

  • The latter list of Catholic Senators voting against the amendment includes 4 who are up for re-election this year: Cantwell, Gillibrand, McCaskill, and Menendez. Just FYI for residents of the affected states… don’t forget the Senate race on your ballot!

  • I have one word for the USCCB: “excommunication.”

    Those people are liberals not Christians. One cannot serve both masters. They have chosen the secular over the eternal.

    Salvation and doing the heavy lifting for the despicable party of envy, hate and murder are mutually exclusive.

    They deploy social justice as the alibi for every mortal sin in the Book.

  • T. Shaw, it would be good for the sake of the confused faithful and uninformed youth to have some word from that authority on how to think through the onslaught of the liberal legislation. By November, if there is no concise word to counter their rhetoric, we will be shamed before God. Right now, on EWTN, there is a special program with its CEO on Women of Grace live discussing the situation of spinning contraception.

  • It seems to me that no one is mandating that the Catholic CHURCH, or Catholic individuals to do anything against their belief system. It is businesses administered by Catholics, that are being required to follow the law. Businesses who accept government funding are required to follow the laws. Businesses run by Catholics, are considered Tax- exempt due to a ruling in 1959 about church-related businesses, on a par with 501(C) 3 non-profits. Catholic Hospitals and churches pay NO taxes (corporate welfare), build their buildings with the help of government-funded bonds; and Catholic Hospitals accept government patient funding in the way of government insurances- Medicaid and Medicare. I suggest if the Catholic Bishops do not want to follow the rules of laws by the government, that they stop taking government benefits and become totally private unto themselves. Sell private insurance to people who do not want contraception, or any other objectionable treatment, and only want to be treated in Catholic Hospitals.This might be an appropriate time to look again at those tax exemptions, anyway.

  • “It seems to me that no one is mandating that the Catholic CHURCH, or Catholic individuals to do anything against their belief system. It is businesses administered by Catholics, that are being required to follow the law.”

    Rubbish. Businesses are made up of individuals. My law firm is me.

    “Businesses who accept government funding are required to follow the laws.”
    No, the HHS Mandate is not limited to businesses who accept government funding. In any case you cannot strip individuals of their constitutional rights simply because Uncle Sam decides to purchase services from them.

    “Catholic Hospitals and churches pay NO taxes (corporate welfare),”

    Catholic hospitals and churches and schools provide far more in charitable services than the taxes that could be squeezed from them. Calling this welfare merely indicates you do not have any idea what you are talking about.

    “I suggest if the Catholic Bishops do not want to follow the rules of laws by the government, that they stop taking government benefits and become totally private unto themselves.”

    Hilarious. Catholic schools receive no assistance from the government, and the impact of all those students suddenly going to public schools would be immense. The free care provided by Catholic hospitals to the poor is an immense saving to the taxpayers in this country each year.

  • Something Donald wrote caused me to start thinking. I had always believed that Catholic institutions shouldn’t accept money from the Government because it makes them beholden to Government. But really, isn’t the onus on the buyer, not the seller, hence the warning, “Buyer beware”? Let me explain.

    If Government gives money to Catholic institutions because of the educational or charitable work that they do, then Government is in effect the buyer. If Government doesn’t like what it is buying, then it needs to stop buying. It has no right to force the seller to give a different product or the same product in a different way. So regardless that Government might have given Catholic institutions money, it did so ostensibly for the educational or charitable work that those institutions provide which Government demonstrably cannot provide.

    Now the only exception to this thumb rule or principle is when we are dealing with things like nuclear energy (US NRC), or aircraft structures and engines (FAA), or medical instrumentation and controls equipment (FDA). For example, in my industry, the Government gets to tell my company what our nuclear products will do when installed, how they will operate, and how they are made, inspected and tested. It does this by regulation promulgated from the US NRC (i.e., 10 CR 50), and because of the overriding need to ensure public health and safety, no one here would want that process to be any different [ unless you would prefer to glow in the dark while sterile 😉 ]. None of that, however, applies to any Catholic institution.

    If Government buys a charitable product, then Government needs to shut up on how that product is provided. Stupid godless liberalism, however, says differently.

  • I forgot to add something in my analogy above. Issuing regulation to protect the public and the environment from radiological releases does not equate to issuing regulation to provide free contraception so that men and women may immorally titillate their genitals without fear of unintended pregnancy.

    In the first case, regulations are issued to ensure the safe use of radioactives (and hence the safe generation of electricity) without threatening human life or the environment.

    In the second case, regulations are issued so that perverts can wallow sexual filth on the public dime without either responsibility or accountability.

    People can die from excessive radiation exposure, but there have been ZERO such cases in 50+ years of commercial US nuclear power in large measure because of intelligent regulation.

    However and paradoxically, the regulations that promote contraception use will result in MORE instances of venereal disease and MORE deaths among the members of the public.

    No one will ever die from sexual abstinence. Yet Obama’s Government wants to shove the hedonist life style of sexual perversion down especially the Catholic Church’s throat. He’s going to find that that throat is a part of the Body of Christ before whose Head he will one day find himself standing – and wanting (God forbid!).

  • No!

    It is not about the First Amendment.

    It is not about birth control.

    It’s about distracting your attention and energies from 100,000 failures the regime has accomplished.

  • If Government gives money to Catholic institutions because of the educational or charitable work that they do, then Government is in effect the buyer. If Government doesn’t like what it is buying, then it needs to stop buying. It has no right to force the seller to give a different product or the same product in a different way. So regardless that Government might have given Catholic institutions money, it did so ostensibly for the educational or charitable work that those institutions provide which Government demonstrably cannot provide.
    All taxes remain the property of the taxpayer even while being administered by the adminstration. For the administration to return some of the taxes to the tax payer is absolutely legal. Government in and of itself can own nothing, because we the tax paying citizens own the government. Eveything belongs to each and every citizen in joint and common tenancy.

  • Originally posted as a response to THE WHITE HOUSE HOPES FOR A SCHISM. This post belongs here as it is about religious freedom, which comes from God our Creator, not from the state. Can the state create your immortal soul? Your conscience? Your intellect? your free will? The duty of the state is to protect and defend, virginity, innocence and the citizens’ civil rights. How does Obamacare protect virginity, innocence or civil rights?
    Sovereign immunity is that shield from the state’s penetrating into one’s immortal soul and taking God-given freedom from a person, sucking the marrow from his constitutional bones. The Catholic Church has been compliant with rules and regulations to help the state, such as incorporating as a non-profit or as a religious institution. This is in good will. The Church does not need to do this. The state cannot, in reality, give the Church a tax-exemption, because the state cannot tax the Church. Therefore, an exemption implies that the state may tax the Church, but is being a nice guy about generosity. Well, generosity is a virtue, a God-given virtue and the practice of religion by the state in rendering the virtue of charity through the God-given virtue of generosity to the Church. And God is left laughing.
    Sovereign immunity, like diplomatic immunity, defines the realm of the Catholic Church as being autonomous in its existence through the Catholic Church’s institution by Jesus Christ, of the Catholic Church’s creation by God, of which the state has had and may have no part.
    In redefining freedom, the state has dissolved the very foundations of its existence as constituted by the sovereign persons who have constituted the state. In violating the will of the people, the state has failed to be the state. In violating the will of God for His Catholic Church and for the people of God, the state has incited the wrath of God.
    Back to the future in the catacombs.
    As President, Bill Clinton wrote an executive order making all free lands and waters the privilege of the president. As President, Obama wrote executive order 13575 Rural Councils, making all private land the object of eminent domain, to be taken at will from all persons, but not FOR all persons, as eminent domain requires. The LOST treaty, not ratified by Congress (only Congress ratifies treaties) signed by Hillary Clinton, secretary of State with the United Nations, an atheistic entity without sovereign authority or immunity since only God gives sovereignty through the immortal soul of man, privatizes all the oceans and seas and the mineral rights under the seas to the United Nations. American citizens will now have to pay to sail the seas. The reason this is of utmost importance, is that now, when Obama nationalizes the Catholic Church and her property, there is nowhere to say Mass. Once upon a time, in Ireland, Mass was said in a goat drawn cart hauled onto the land exposed by the receding tide. This riprarian land was no man’s land. The exiled Catholic Church Mass was free to be said on this land which belonged to God. Obama has usurped what belongs to God and redefined God’s property as his own. There is nowhere for the Catholic Mass to be said, once Obama nationalizes all church property, except the catacombs, once again.

  • wow- very interesting Mary– if what you said is correct, the LOST treaty mentioned is one among the many precipitous actions of the last three years that have escaped much real scrutiny! There seems to be more we don’t know than what we do know about why we so need a new administration.
    How can such (almost subterranean) issues all be made a part of the the national discussion? Who can capture the microphone now so ably held by the counter-Christian culture movers and shakers?

  • This thread is getting far removed from the topic of the post. Stay on topic please.

  • Excuse me please.

  • Obamacare is a blank check. What Congress representing its constitutents signs a blank check? What citizen in his right mind signs a blank check to a government entity? Is informed consent to any contract still valid? Is informed consent to a “mandate” still a necessary part of that mandate? If Obama can demand a blank check from citizens and tell them that it is in their best interest to provide him with a blank check, isn’t giving Obama what he demands like signing a blank contract, leaving it to the seller to supply you with his choice of products not described or offered for sale?

Father Barron Explains What the Obama Administration Means by “Freedom of Worship”

Monday, February 20, AD 2012


Ashley Samelson McGuire of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty noted the use of the term “Freedom of Worship” rather than the usual “Freedom of Religion” by Obama back in 2010 in several speeches:

Freedom of worship” first appeared in a high profile speech in Obama’s remarks at the memorial for the victims of the Fort Hood shooting last November, a few months after his Cairo speech. Speaking to the crowd gathered to commemorate the victims, President Obama said, “We’re a nation that guarantees the freedom to worship as one chooses.” Given the religious tension that marked the tragic incident, it was not an insignificant event at which to unveil a new way of referring to our First Freedom.

Shortly after his remarks at Ft. Hood, President Obama left for his trip to Asia, where he repeatedly referred to “freedom of worship,” and not once to “freedom of religion.”

Not long after his return, “freedom of worship” appeared in two prominent speeches delivered by Secretary Clinton. In her address to Georgetown University outlining the Obama Administration’s human rights agenda she used “freedom of worship” three times, “freedom of religion,” not once. About a month later, in an address to Senators on internet freedom at the Newseum, the phrase popped up in her lingo once again.

To anyone who closely follows prominent discussion of religious freedom in the diplomatic and political arena, this linguistic shift is troubling.
The reason is simple. Any person of faith knows that religious exercise is about a lot more than freedom of worship. It’s about the right to dress according to one’s religious dictates, to preach openly, to evangelize, to engage in the public square. Everyone knows that religious Jews keep kosher, religious Quakers don’t go to war, and religious Muslim women wear headscarves—yet “freedom of worship” would protect none of these acts of faith.


Those who would limit religious practice to the cathedral and the home are the very same people who would strip the public square of any religious presence. They are working to tear down roadside memorial crosses built to commemorate fallen state troopers in Utah, to strip “Under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, and they recently stopped a protester from entering an art gallery because she wore a pro-life pin.

The effort to squash religion into the private sphere is on the rise around the world. And it’s not just confined to totalitarian regimes like Saudi Arabia. In France, students at public schools cannot wear headscarves, yarmulkes, or large crucifixes. The European Court of Human Rights has banned crucifixes from the walls of Italian schools. In Indonesia, the Constitutional Court is reviewing a law that criminalizes speech considered “blasphemous” to other faiths. Efforts to trim religion into something that fits neatly in one’s pocket is the work of dictators, not democratic leaders. So why then have our leaders taken a rhetorical scalpel to the concept of religious freedom?

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9 Responses to Father Barron Explains What the Obama Administration Means by “Freedom of Worship”

  • Going back to the founding principles of The Declaration of independence, we read that all men are created equal and endowed by our CREATOR. By causing a vacuum in the religious expression of Faith, Obama pretends to become our savior. Obama pretends to become our savior on two fronts 1) by imposing himself as a remedy to fill a need for God for his constitutents, while Obama has employed his power to render God incommunicato and ostracized. a giant fraud 2) by imposing himself as the only interpretation of our founding principles, The Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. Both must be ratified by two-thirds of the states for any change to be lawful. Obama violates his constituency by denying their conscience rights and free will. Obama violates the First Amendment by refusing to permit his constitutents freedom to exercise their conscience and free will. “One person cannot own another person” A. Lincoln. It is called slavery. Obama has created hell on earth and he calls it change. but there is hope. I will vote for Santorum in the next election.

  • If Obama wins, then the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are gone. Expect to see Bishops and Priests imprisoned for refusing to support HHS, and Catholic laity fired from their jobs on the pretext of being terrorists because they are pro-life. Just watch TV and see how pro-life people are routinely referred to as terrorists. This is all a part of the programming done by the main stream media for Obama.

  • Paul
    The Declaration of Independence and our Constitution must be taught in our public schools, every day and in every class.

  • I think the switch to “freedom of worship” and the Obama’s other anti-religious attitudes may be partly because of its pro-homosexuality attitude. The Obama administration is committed to advancing homosexuality worldwide and does not want religious objections to get in the way. Since some objections are based on religion, and allowing “freedom of religion” could hinder the administration’s homosexual goals, “freedom of religion” must be curtailed.

  • My goodness, I have to invest in a company that makes fainting couches. In a world full of real problems the ones that people invent are awfully stupid. You people seriously need to get a grip on reality.

  • Reserve one of your fainting couches for yourself come election night Gus. I suspect you are going to need it.

  • Homosexual filth, murder of the unborn and contraception are very real problems and until these are dealt with, we can expect all the other problems of society to continue to become greater and greater until society itself collapses. This November we have a chance to help in stopping that sad decline. Unfortunately, too many people want social justice and the common good without personal righteousness and holiness. That’s not how God made the universe to work.

  • The most effective solution to the real problems ruining America is to vote out Obama and all dems.

    Remember in November.

  • 12:42: That statement about problems and reality works two ways.

Mosque Opponents: Be Careful What You Wish For, You Might Get It

Saturday, August 28, AD 2010

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).

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45 Responses to Mosque Opponents: Be Careful What You Wish For, You Might Get It

  • Outstanding article — thank you!!

    Question (and please forgive this social-networking-backward-participant!):

    Why doesn’t American Catholic enable readers to SHARE this via Facebook? (Maybe I’m flunking the IQ test and missed the link??? I just did a “copy & paste” on the link above on my FB page . . . Sad to say, I am still trying to figure out this RSS stuff!!!)

    Thank you!

  • Elaine,

    You raise some very valid points. But, did Catholicism, or the perversion therof, and Catholics or any Christians for that matter murder 3000 innocents on September 11? Or have Catholics or Christians committed bombings in recent years or pose threats of bombings around the world?

    I think the problem here is that the Muslims who have proposed this mosque have displayed absolutely NO sensitivity to the families of victims of 9/11 while demanding all the tolerance in the world from those 9/11 families,as well as other citizens. These “moderate” Muslims claim that they want to build bridges but all they are doing by forcing the building of this mosque at this partiular ultra-sensitive location is burning bridges. Why is this location so important when there are over 100 mosques located in NYC already? How is this mosque being funded? By terrorist organizations or not? I believe in order for the community as a whole to benefit from this mosque our government and our citizens must be as certain as possible that this mosque is not funded by terrorist organizations and will not be used as a terrorist training center under the guise of religious freedom. If the mayor and others would be willing to look into the mosque’s financial funding I believe that this would allay many peoples’ fears.

    I do understand that the people behind the building of the mosque has a right to be built according to civil law. But, as Charles Krauthammer pointed out, if zoning laws and aesthetics can trump one’s right to build why could the sensitivity to those families who had loved ones killed by a single act of war trump one’s right to build?

    As to the issue of this mosque being two blocks away from the primary ground zero site: Would you agree that wherever the planes hit or any of its part on 9/11 should be considered Ground Zero? If so, then so should the Burlington building since a part of the plane hit that building.

    I think this whole controversy could have been avoided if the NYC commission had shown some prudential judgment and declared the Burlingtion building as a historical landmark.

  • I agree that it wasn’t a good idea for the mosque/Islamic center to be built so close to Ground Zero. I see nothing wrong with encouraging them to build elsewhere. The $64,000 question, however, is whether or not the local government has a right to explicitly FORBID them to build at the site. That’s where the danger of setting a bad precedent comes in.

  • Elaine a ban on construction of new places of worship would be clearly unconstitutional and would not stand up in court longer than the time it takes a Chicago alderman to pocket a bribe. No one has been disputing the right of the Flim Flam Imam and his Cordoba Initiative (Dhimmis Always Welcome!) to build this Mosque, but whether it is right for them to do so. I am keenly aware of the frequent divergence of a legal right and a moral right. My opposition might well not exist if a local group of Muslims had wished to put up a Mosque for local worship. I think the Flim Flam Imam clearly has an agenda that has little to do with worshiping Allah, and quite a bit to do with furthering his Cordoba Initiative which has one message for gullible Western elites and another message for his backers in the Middle East.

  • I thought this post by Bob Murphy about the Glenn Beck rally today was a propos:

    Of course Mr. Beck and his fans have every legal right to hold a rally in front of the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech.

    Nonetheless, we are asking that they hold their rally a few blocks away, and on a different date. There are 364 other days in the year; what’s wrong with them?
    Now look, we know full well that Mr. Beck and his supporters claim that they are trying to heal racial division. Intellectually, we black Americans know that just because we have been brutalized by angry white conservative males for as long as we can remember, that doesn’t mean that all angry white conservative males pose a threat to our physical safety.

    But this isn’t about logic or rationality. This is about sensitivity to our feelings. Surely Mr. Beck can understand why a majority of American blacks wouldn’t appreciate him holding a rally on the anniversary of Dr. King’s famous speech. If he goes ahead with his plans, he won’t promote racial unity. So we ask him to hold the rally in a different place, on a different date.

  • Teresa – Did you seriously just say that Christians have not bombed or killed significant numbers of people? Check the stats on our current wars sometime.

  • As usual, Blackadder mistakes cuteness for substance. By now Blackadder is aware that the objections to the Mosque are not grounded in a general objection to anything at all being built near Ground Zero.

  • “Teresa – Did you seriously just say that Christians have not bombed or killed significant numbers of people? Check the stats on our current wars sometime.”

    Our wars being the equivalent of Bin Laden’s murder of 3,000 innocent men, women and children? Moral equivalency: the opiate of the politically correct.

  • While I agree with Donald that the proposed ban shouldn’t pass constitutional muster (there’s a case that states you can’t ban all forms of religious speech-I think it’s Rosenberger v. Rectors & Vistors of UVA), you are absolutely right in stating that the opposition to the mosque establishes a precedent that is far more dangerous to Catholics than to Muslims insofar as some are advocating legal means to interfere with the building of the mosque.

  • “I think the Flim Flam Imam clearly has an agenda that has little to do with worshiping Allah, and quite a bit to do with furthering his Cordoba Initiative which has one message for gullible Western elites and another message for his backers in the Middle East.”

    Donald, I agree.

    If Alveda King has no problem with the rally I don’t see why any other person, of any color black, white, red, brown etc., should have a problem with Beck and others honoring Martin Luther King Jr’s message of equality for all. Yeah, and if he didn’t do anything honoring Martin Luther King the Left would make accusations about no person caring about blacks and spreading King’s message, so Your “damned if you do, and damned if you don’t” according to liberalism.

    First, is that an admission that our nation is rooted in Christian values?

    Second, Did we really go to war as “Christians” or as a nation fighting against terrorism and for our nation’s national defense?

    Third, I didn’t know that a group of Christians not associated with the U.S. government went off on their own and specifically targeted a building or another location just to murder Iraqi inocents? I think your the person who is a little confused with reality, Martin.

    Fourth, Please name me one war in history that has had no civilian casualties?

  • I’m with Gen’l. (Vinegar) Joe Stillwell, “Don’t let the bastards wear you down.”

  • It isn’t even a matter of where the mosque is being built – replace the entire WTC site with the biggest mosque in the world, no problem – PROVIDED Islam changes its ways.

    I realize all the 1st Amendment issues involved here – but until I am no longer considered such subhuman filth that I cannot enter the precincts of Mecca, then I’m going to hold that Moslems must be curbed in what they do in the United States. Not stopped – not expelled; just carefully curtailed to ensure that everyone, especially in the Moslem world, knows that we have not lost our back bone.

    Tolerance does not mean going along happily with whatever someone wants to do – it is a two way street and it requires some compromise. We can easily tolerate a mosque in Manhattan – but we can’t tolerate it hard by Ground Zero…not now, and not until Islam changes its tune.

    Mark Noonan

  • Blackadder,

    I wonder if the author of that piece can find even a single black man brutalized by a conservative white man in the past 40 years.

  • We might just consider the possibility that these local pols want to limit the quantum of non-taxable property in that particular locality. Piggy, but unsurprising.

    It is not a novelty for houses of worship to face zoning tangles. Given the size of the metropolitan New York area, you will have to excuse me if I suggest that prohibiting the placement of a 13 story building of a particular character at a historic site of modest dimensions is a measure different in kind than prohibiting all construction of houses of worship in a given municipality.


    As far as I am aware, the Marine Corps does not have an icon of St. Michael on their weaponry and al-Qaeda does not do civil affairs projects.

  • Here’s my $64,000,000.03 question.

    If religious freedom/tolerance requires a $100 million mosque over the WTC site. How is religious liberty/tolerance served by denying the rebuild of THE Orthodox Church that THE muslim terrorists destroyed on 11 Sep 2001?


    No! It’s much worse than that! USMC heroes wear (gasp) US flags on their uniforms.

    Re AQ civil affairs projects: They’re helping make Americans good. They believe the only good American is a dead American.

  • Lot of assumptions in this post; the assumption that the REAL motive folks have is fear of terrorism, and that they can’t possibly object for the reasons they give:

    zoning ordinances, claims of decreased property values, or claims of real or potential problems with traffic, noise, etc.

    Evidence for this claim? I know that the blog Beers with Demo did the research to show a pattern of harassment against a church in his area, but a blanket claim that 1) Mosques are being unusually opposed and 2) it is because of fears of terrorism is a claim that requires more than just a claim to be taken seriously.

    There’s also the issue of using charged terms inaccurately. NIMBY, while meaning “not in my back yard,” also implies that something is not opposed in general. (Example, opposing wind power generators in your area while promoting wind energy in general.)
    People who are worried about Islamic terror risings from Mosques are going to be bright enough to remember the home mosques of the 9/11 terrorists were far, far away, and would appose them in general, not just specific.

    Your notion of equivalence between “there shall be no non-profit organizational buildings in our district” and “no, you may not build a triumphalist religious center on the ruins created by said religion” is mind bending.

  • Martin-
    Go troll someplace else.

  • Wow. Far-ranging discussion.

    First, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The religion piece really has no bearing on the discussion over the Cordoba Mosque proposed for Ground Zero.

    How many mosques are there in Manhattan? About a hundred? Sounds like pretty free exercise of religion to me.

    Second: I challenge any black person who reads this blogs, or any black person who’s a friend of someone who reads this blog, to tell me the date of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. I had to memorize parts of it as a child (stand down, racialists: I’m Black). Never knew what day it was given; barely knew it was in August. Glenn Beck planned this rally (which I wish I had had time to attend)for the last Saturday in August. An lo and behold, what date did that happen to fall on? Why, August 28! August the 28th, which happened to be an anniversary of Dr. King’s speech!

    Why should a mosque be built at the site of a murder committed by people motivated by Islam? Why should a church of any type be built at the site of the murder of hundreds of thousands of Jewish people (and others, including Catholic Saints)? Why should the Japanese in Hawaii build a temple at the site of the sunken USS Arizona?

    Answer? None of them should. Because it’s disrespectful. Why is this so hard to grasp? And what does it tell those who truly hate us about whether we will truly resist them?

    It is not un-Christian to stand up for common politeness.

  • Gee, RR, why didn’t you link to this much more recent article on those idiots?

    Those morons were accused of racial hate crimes and seem to be gang related. Notably, not “conservative white men”– just idiot gang members. (is that redundant?)

  • What are you trying to prove by arguing that white people no longer attack black people? For one, it’s a sad, callous, and absurd battle to fight. Do you, like, remember this one time, in, like, 1992 in LA where, like, some white cops beat up this black guy named Rodney King? White on black violence occurs a lot, as does black on white, white on white, black on black, brown on black, brown on white, brown on brown, white on brown, black on brown, etc, etc, etc.

    Also, please STOP calling it a mosque. A mosque is specifically a Muslim holy place where only prayer can be conducted. This is a Muslim community center, similar to a YMCA. It will have a culinary school, basketball courts, etc. With a prayer room on one or two of the fifteen or so floors.

    I can think of Catholic terrorism pretty easily: the IRA. And that was specifically religio-nationalist.

    It is utterly absurd to demand that “Islam” renounce its terroristic ways before the community center is built, as Mr. Noonan said. A religion cannot change its ways. People can change their ways, but abstract nouns cannot. And the people behind this community center have no terroristic tendencies to modify. Furthermore, there is no central authority for Islam as there is for Catholicism. In fact, some radical sects of Muslims hate opposing Islamic sects more than they hate America. Like al-Qaeda. Bin Laden hates America not “for our freedoms” but because we prop up the (in his mind) heretical Saud monarchy in Arabia.

    Quite frankly, it’s astounding that a debate over a Muslim community center is occurring in 21st century America. As someone who would never have voted for George Bush, I will say that I am so grateful that he modeled Christ’s love to American Muslims by not targeting them after 9/11, as seems to be occurring now.

  • Pingback: Opponents of mosque may soon see tables turned | Holy Post | National Post
  • I would like to ask everyone – Do you think that Islam can be a “moderate” religion? I am not saying Muslims cannot be moderates, but can the religion itself really ever be considered moderate since it follows Sharia law?

    If Sharia law is one of the precepts of Islam then why wouldn’t Sharia law fall under the guise of religious freedom and challenge the constitution in several capacities and force all of us citizens to respect and follow Sharia as well? Is Sharia law and the Constitution really compatible?

    If those who believe in the “letter of the Constitution” instead of the “spirit of the Constitution” with regards to religious freedom truly believe that religious freedom is absolute without taking into account our national security interests (as it seems to me) how could one deny Muslims the “right” to follow their “moderate” religion that includes Sharia Law which would also impose Sharia Laws on the non-Muslim citizens when that clearly clashes with our Constitution?

    You might want to look at a some things that Sharia law demands:

    1 – Jihad defined as “to war against non-Muslims to establish the religion” is the duty of every Muslim and Muslim head of state (Caliph). Muslim Caliphs who refuse jihad are in violation of Sharia and unfit to rule.

    2 – A Caliph can hold office through seizure of power meaning through force.

    3 – A Caliph is exempt from being charged with serious crimes such as murder, adultery, robbery, theft, drinking and in some cases of rape.

    4 – A percentage of Zakat (alms) must go towards jihad.

    5 – It is obligatory to obey the commands of the Caliph, even if he is unjust.

    6 – A caliph must be a Muslim, a non-slave and a male.

    7 – The Muslim public must remove the Caliph in one case, if he rejects Islam.

    8 – A Muslim who leaves Islam must be killed immediately.

    9 – A Muslim will be forgiven for murder of: 1) an apostasy 2) an adulterer 3) a highway robber. Making vigilante street justice and honor killing acceptable.

    10 – A Muslim will not get the death penalty if he kills a non-Muslim.

    11- Sharia never abolished slavery and sexual slavery and highly regulates it. A master will not be punished for killing his slave.

    12 – Sharia dictates death by stoning, beheading, amputation of limbs, flogging and other forms of cruel and unusual punishments even for crimes of sin such as adultery.

    13 – Non-Muslims are not equal to Muslims and must comply to Sharia if they are to remain safe. They are forbidden to marry Muslim women, publicly display wine or pork, recite their scriptures or openly celebrate their religious holidays or funerals. They are forbidden from building new churches or building them higher than mosques. They may not enter a mosque without permission. A non-Muslim is no longer protected if he commits adultery with a Muslim woman or if he leads a Muslim away from Islam.

    14 – It is a crime for a non-Muslim to sell weapons to someone who will use them against Muslims. Non-Muslims cannot curse a Muslim, say anything derogatory about Allah, the Prophet, or Islam, or expose the weak points of Muslims. However, the opposite is not true for Muslims.

    15 – A non-Muslim cannot inherit from a Muslim.

    16 – Banks must be Sharia compliant and interest is not allowed.

    17 – No testimony in court is acceptable from people of low-level jobs, such as street sweepers or a bathhouse attendant. Women in such low-level jobs such as professional funeral mourners cannot keep custody of their children in case of divorce.

    18 – A non-Muslim cannot rule even over a non-Muslims minority.

    19 – H***sexuality is punishable by death.

    20 – There is no age limit for marriage of girls under Sharia. The marriage contract can take place any time after birth and consummated at age 8 or 9.

    21 – Rebelliousness on the part of the wife nullifies the husband’s obligation to support her, gives him permission to beat her and keep her from leaving the home.

    22 – Divorce is only in the hands of the husband and is as easy as saying: “I divorce you” and becomes effective even if the husband did not intend it.

    23 – There is no community property between husband and wife and the husband’s property does not automatically go to the wife after his death.

    24 – A woman inherits half what a man inherits.

    25- A man has the right to have up to 4 wives and she has no right to divorce him even if he is polygamous.

    26- The dowry is given in exchange for the woman’s sexual organs.

    27 – A man is allowed to have sex with slave women and women captured in battle, and if the enslaved woman is married her marriage is annulled.

    28 – The testimony of a woman in court is half the value of a man.

    29- A woman loses custody if she remarries.

    30- To prove rape, a woman must have 4 male witnesses.

    31 – A rapist may only be required to pay the bride-money (dowry) without marrying the rape victim.

    32 – A Muslim woman must cover every inch of her body which is considered “Awrah,” a sexual organ. Some schools of Sharia allow the face and some don’t.

    33 – A Muslim man is forgiven if he kills his wife caught in the act of adultery. However, the opposite is not true for women since he “could be married to the woman he was caught with.”

    The above are clear-cut laws in Islam decided by great Imams after years of examination and interpretation of the Quran, Hadith and Mohammed’s life. Now let the learned Imam Rauf tell us what part of the above is compliant with the US constitution?

  • Ryan-
    who are you talking to?
    NO ONE was talking about “whites never attack blacks”. Blackadder posted a quote of someone claiming that “angry white conservative males” have been brutalizing blacks for “as long as they can remember,” and someone else challenged him to find a single case of a white conservative assaulting a black person. RR then posted an article that implied but did not claim anti-Dem motives, and which five minutes of research showed to just be gang idiots.

    Secondly, go yell at the Cordoba House proponents, and even the initiative itself; half the time, they call it a mosque. (Generally when they want to drum up the religion side of it; when it’s more flattering to emphasize the “community center” side, it becomes a building that includes a mosque.)

    If the reading comprehension and careful consideration of the argument you’ve shown in this post is standard for you, no wonder you can’t see how this is a topic for valid debate. Straw men with only a nodding acquaintance to the topic aren’t very good aids to understanding.

    A wise lady once told me that if you can’t argue the other side of something, you have no business arguing your own side because you clearly don’t know enough about the topic. I try to keep it in mind, maybe you should try it?

  • In response to jihad etc…

    I am not sure where you are getting your information on what jihad and sharia is….but you have incorrect information. Jihad and sharia is much more complex then what you have stated. As I have reserached this extensively I will just point out very plainly and in layman terms what jihad is. Jihad means “struggle”.
    More commonly known in the Muslim world as an internal spiritual struggle to be better and serve God. It can also mean warfare where one needs to defend themselves when attacked- so it has two meanings to it. There are a lot of inaccuracies in your e-mail and I do not have time to go over them now…but one just to correct one is that bride money is not given for sexual organs. Bride money is called “mehr” and it is an obligatory gift that the groom must give his wife so that she is not left with nothing if he decides to leave her. It is the right of a woman and not a man. Actually in researching Muslims I found that there are a lot of similaries to Catholicism…and then there were differences as well. An interesting bit of information I came across was “Marriage helps men and women to develop along natural lines and head towards development and success through mutual co-operation. Marriage prevents immorality licentiousness and irresponsibility. The spouses in marriage agree to share rights and responsibilities to develop a happy family”….doesn’t that sound like something Catholics believe in as well? What happened on 9/11 was plain WRONG. I have friends who are Muslims and they beleive it is wrong…they say that the people who did this are crazy. So I have to think before I judge anyone and encourage you to do the same.

  • Sandy-
    please do not misrepresent your study, which seems to have been of the more modern and mild forms of Islam, as representative of Islam in general.

    Also, your definition of “mehr” is incorrect, (In Canada, it often functions like a pre-nup– often enough that a basic google will bring up a LOT of legal help boards.) as is your characterization of Jihaad.
    (links to, which is affiliated with Al-Mawrid Islamic Research foundation out of Pakistan.)

  • Foxfier, white conservatives can’t be in gangs?

  • RR,

    Gangs are color neutral, but I’m having a hard time picturing how a conservative could be in a gang since gang life and activities run counter to conservative values. My guess is that you’re perhaps angling toward skinheads because the media like to call them conservatives. However, conservatives have about as much appreciation for neo-nazis as they do racist gangs/parties typically associated with the left, which is to say none.

  • “Gang life and activities run counter to conservative values”

    Well, it goes without saying that violence, vandalism, drug use, other criminal activity, and intimidation of non-members go against conservative values (and probably even the values of most moderates and liberals I know).

    But, isn’t it true that gang membership, especially among urban teens, basically takes the place of the families they don’t have — giving them a structure, culture and sense of belonging that they don’t get from absent or incarcerated or unknown fathers, mothers who change boyfriends as often as they change clothes, being shuffled from one relative to another, etc.?

    So in that sense, gang membership does express (albeit in a perverted or distorted fashion) one very important “conservative” value: the absolute primacy of the family as the basic unit of society, and the consequences that result when it is undermined or destroyed.

  • I can think of Catholic terrorism pretty easily: the IRA. And that was specifically religio-nationalist.

    True to some extent. But it wasn’t expansionist.

  • Actually I think in a number of areas there are limits on, if not the building of churches, at least the size of churches. Where I once lived this limit made it impractical to build a Catholic Church as the size limit was too small for what was required to meet the needs of the Catholic population without building multiple small churches. Those restrictions were placed in the 90’s as I recall. No big First Ammendment concerns have been raised. Perhaps they should.

  • Mary Margaret Cannon,

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

    Until recently, did not allow this function ( does I believe).

    But today I noticed this option was now available and I have just finished adding this particular function.


  • Hey, why not make a page, too? You can set it up to autopublish your blog with the “notes” feed, or us

  • Foxfier,

    We have ‘something’ on Facebook, not sure what.

    I’m going to investigate and get this set-up/streamlined for greater social-networking-optimization (SNO).

  • Scott Gentries might want to take a look at this:

  • …Might strike home if the primary arguments weren’t specifically related to the history and culture of Islam, Ryan.


  • RL, if conservatives can’t be in gangs by definition then sure there are no white conservatives in gangs. There are no Catholics in gangs either then.

  • i would like to point out that the proposal only bars new buildings, and not changing the use to of already constructed ones. the mosque near to us was once a church, a church was previously a synagogue, and the nigerian christian group uses a clothing warehouse.

  • Teresa, half of what you said is inaccurate / disinformation. if the USA followed the other half, maybe they wont have millions of inmates that the taxpayer has to support.

  • I would just like to point out a couple of things that are on point:

    1. It’s not a mosque. It’s a community center, and you can read here: the words of the chairman of the project, stating that one of the many goals of it is to include prayer centers for those of Christian and Jewish faiths in hopes that this will strengthen interfaith relations.

    2. I’m not usually a fan of Charlie Brooker, but he hit one point straight on the head when he said that being a 2 minute walk and around the corner is not at all the same thing as being AT the same location. He said something like, he’s used a bathroom 2 minutes away from Buckingham Palace, and has yet to be arrested for defecating on the Queen’s pillow. We’re talking about Manhattan, and if you’ve ever been there, it’s a crowded place. How close is too close, exactly?

    3. To the person who said Catholic/Christian extremists haven’t bombed or killed significant numbers of people in recent years, I ask: Have you ever heard of the Irish Republican Army? Visit Belfast or Glasgow sometime and ask around – just… be careful in which neighborhood you ask and what colors you’re wearing when you do.

  • 4. On the topic of how Muslim women are clothed, ask yourself if you’ve ever questioned the chaste garb (and lifestyle, for that matter) of nuns and priests. I bet you just take it as a matter of course, because it’s what you’re used to. Of course, there is spousal abuse and other unsavory activity that goes on among members of the Islamic faith, but again, look closer to home. Surely you cannot insist that no Catholic or Christian has ever abused another human being.

  • Brian,


    The IRA is a nationalist organization. To be more accurate, they are a violent Marxist nationalist organization looking to impose communism under the guise of being “Irish” and “Catholic”.

    Being Catholic has nothing to do with it.

    They don’t espouse anything Christian AT ALL.

    You’ve never heard them saying they are dying in the name of Jesus. Only in the name of Ireland.

    You need to do better than that to espouse your anti-Christian bigotry around here.

  • Brian,

    Again your bias is grossly revealing itself.

    Religious wear their clericals as a choice, not in being imposed.

    Whilst on the other hand Muslims force women to wear burkas, regardless of their religiosity.

  • Brian, you’re exposing your ignorance or willful blindness– the folks building it called it a mosque until their PR guys realized that was not so good. They also called it the Cordoba House, until word got around what that indicated, especially with the 9/11/11 opening date.

    Also, you’re pointing to an opinion piece in the NY Times. Not exactly hard, unbiased facts– I notice you didn’t bother to do the research Powerline did about another time that “chairman” spoke in the NYTimes.

    As Teresa pointed out above, a building destroyed by chunks of the plane on 9/11 is part of ground zero.

On Media and Mosques at Ground Zero

Saturday, August 14, AD 2010

One of the interesting (by which I mean dull, predictable and repetitive) aspects of the 24 hour news cycle is that all forms of media have incentives to magnify and actively seek out controversy. Not only does this increase ratings/page views/newspaper sales, it provides media outlets with something – anything in a slow news month – to talk about. I can’t help but feel that the recent outburst of commentary about the construction of a mosque near the site of the 9/11 attacks is the type of story designed to increase media consumption and accomplish little else. The First Amendment is not in dispute here; freedom of religion is well established and protected by settled case law. Furthermore, the proposed mosque is to be constructed on private property, and there is no legal reason to challenge its construction. And so most of the discussion revolves (and frequently devolves) around taste and symbolism.

Continue reading...

44 Responses to On Media and Mosques at Ground Zero

  • I take your point about media generated controversies, but I’m not sure I’d place the mosque controversies at least entirely in that category. I find the following aspects of this controversy to be very remarkable and worthy of reflection:

    1. The legal right of Muslims to build houses of worship has been called into question.

    2. Islamic terrorists are being conflated with all Muslims.

    3. It’s being proposed that Islam really isn’t a religion.

    I really see our country at a crossroads right now. The increased presence of Muslims challenges our national narratives (e.g., we’re a Christian nation) and the extent to which we value are willing to extend religious liberty. This controversy is forcing us to ask ourselves who we are, and that question is as serious as anything.

  • I suppose, in turn, I take your point Kyle. There are important issues connected to the controversy (although points 1 and 3 strike me as rather fringish, self-marginalizing ideas). I think it is a matter for serious concern that so many voices on the right have picked this particular battle. At the same time, I do not see why it is a national, rather than a local, issue. There is no legal basis for challenging the mosque’s construction, and there is virtually no chance of that changing in the near future (barring a cataclysmic series of events). I am glad that liberals have stated these truths and criticized the over-heated rhetoric from the right, but I still see this more as a controversy-of-the-day, rather than a matter of significant national import.

  • John Henry,

    There are a lot of things I can say about your perspective, and few of them would be very flattering. I’ll limit myself to this: as a Catholic, you ought to have a better understanding and appreciation of the symbolic. To dismiss the importance of symbolism in the manner you have seems rather crudely materialistic to me. Symbols are generally representations of real things.

    “there is little reason for anyone else aside from the families of the victims of 9/11 or residents of that area of New York to comment”

    And yet here we are, in a free society, in which people don’t need reasons deemed acceptable by others to engage in public discourse. Don’t let it burn you up too much 🙂


    “1. The legal right of Muslims to build houses of worship has been called into question.”

    It has not. And someone ought to question the wisdom of the builders.

    Moreover, people have a right to make legal challenges if they like. It doesn’t mean they will succeed, and they may even be charged with the court cost if their case turns out to be frivolous.

    Finally, some suspect that the mosque is funded by a man with ties to terrorism.

    “2. Islamic terrorists are being conflated with all Muslims.”

    No, I think it is more accurate to say that Islamic terrorists are being portrayed as consistent Muslims, while the “moderate” Muslim is being portrayed as inconsistent, given the clear teachings of the Koran on the relations between Muslims and infidels. You won’t find anything like that in the New Testament.

    “3. It’s being proposed that Islam really isn’t a religion.”

    Yes, I don’t see the point in that. It isn’t a religion like others, to be sure, but in the West we tend to think of religion as something different (though not entirely unrelated) from politics, and from science, a legacy we can thank the Church for. These distinctions are what enabled Western society to advance far beyond others, I believe.

    Then again, I believe communism is a religion, just a secular one. Environmentalism is also fast becoming a religion, neo-pagan for some, secular for others.

    “challenges our national narratives (e.g., we’re a Christian nation)”

    We are a Christian nation, if for no other reason than that the majority of Americans are Christians. If you mean in the substance of our policies, well they rest upon a Christian legacy anyway.

    In Lebanon, Islam “challenged the national narrative” of a Christian nation by repeatedly attempting to slaughter all of the Christians. Only God and the impenetrability of the mountains of Northern Lebanon saved them from that fate.

    Now I’m not saying that the Muslims who live here now either desire such a thing for the United States, or that they could do it if they did. I do wonder however how the picture will change if/when they become 20% of the population or more. This isn’t an observation limited to Islam either: ANY group with ANY ideas will seek to impose them more and more as their numbers grow. That’s just rational human political behavior, it is universal.

    Perhaps looking at Europe’s experience we would be wise to take certain precautions sooner, rather than later.

  • To dismiss the importance of symbolism in the manner you have seems rather crudely materialistic to me. Symbols are generally representations of real things.

    Symbols can be important, but they can also be ambiguous or frivolous. I wasn’t categorically rejecting arguments about symbolism; just saying that this particular one wasn’t particularly fruitful given that there are very few repercussions for public policy.

    And yet here we are, in a free society, in which people don’t need reasons deemed acceptable by others to engage in public discourse. Don’t let it burn you up too much

    This is silly, Joe. Saying that I don’t think a particular controversy is very valuable is hardly the same as saying I am upset that people are free to have it. I’m consistently on the side of freedom here – whether it be of religion or speech.

  • A commenter on a friend’s facebook page remarks that Muslims have the right to practice their religion in their own countries, but not in ours. I’d say that qualifies as denying the religious freedom of Muslims in the U.S. Teresamerica asserts that the sensitivity of the 9/11 families is grounds to refuse the building of the “ground zero” mosque. She’s not just questioning the wisdom of the building planners, but their legal right to build in that location. I can also point to the opposition the president has received in response to his statement that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as we all have. As for lawsuits: Exhibit A.

  • Cordova House: Why don’t we start a $100,000,000 fund to build a cathedral dedicated to St. Perfecto, a Spanish martyr murdered for the faith in Cordova during the 700 years the mass murderers held Spain?

    You geniuses will see how this plays out in November.

    Meanwhile, you will see a representative sample of 80% of US at 2PM on 11 September.

    You insensitive America-hating geniuses . . .

    Practicing their religion . . . flying large airplanes into tall buildings.

  • Regarding jihad, Adams states in his essay series,

    “…he [Muhammad] declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind…The precept of the Koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God.”

    Confirming Adams’ assessment, the late Muslim scholar, Professor Majid Khadduri, wrote the following in his authoritative 1955 treatise on jihad, War and Peace in the Law of Islam :

    “Thus the jihad may be regarded as Islam’s instrument for carrying out its ultimate objective by turning all people into believers, if not in the prophethood of Muhammad (as in the case of the dhimmis), at least in the belief of God. The Prophet Muhammad is reported to have declared ‘some of my people will continue to fight victoriously for the sake of the truth until the last one of them will combat the anti-Christ’. Until that moment is reached the jihad, in one form or another will remain as a permanent obligation upon the entire Muslim community. It follows that the existence of a dar al-harb is ultimately outlawed under the Islamic jural order; that the dar al-Islam permanently under jihad obligation until the dar al-harb is reduced to non-existence; and that any community accepting certain disabilities- must submit to Islamic rule and reside in the dar al-Islam or be bound as clients to the Muslim community. The universality of Islam, in its all embracing creed, is imposed on the believers as a continuous process of warfare, psychological and political if not strictly military.”3

  • Kyle,

    Well, frankly, the cited examples all strike me as fairly marginal views. Your Facebook friend isn’t in favor of the First Amendment (and likely hasn’t really thought much about the history of Catholics in the United States); Teresaamerica is proposing manipulation of a city zoning requirement protecting landmarks to prevent the construction of the mosque, which is a rather startling example of using a facially neutral requirement for discriminatory purposes. As to lawsuits, they are unlikely to make it past summary judgment, if they even make it that far. As I said, there are important questions connected with this controversy, but for the most part these conversations involve issues more significant than – and distinct from – whether or not New York has another mosque.

    I should add, though, that I appreciate you taking the time to provide examples. It may be that I’m wrong about the significance of this particular controversy, or have chosen a poor example to illustrate the point I was trying to make.

  • T. Shaw – the purpose of this thread is not to debate the place of jihad within Islam; please try to provide comments that relate more directly to the topic of the post.

  • Right.

    “Taste”: I would use “sensitivity” or “sensibilities.” I know where your “head” is on this.

    Of course, the media actively magnified the immaterial, tragic events of 11 September 2001 (the boring History Channel mini-series they air each September need to cease and desist, too), so widows and other survivors have their evil bowels in an uproar over the religion of peace building a pacifist training camp two blocks away from where their little eichmann’s got it for liberating Kuwait from Saudi Arabian bases and supporting Israel.

  • “Muslims have the right to practice their religion in their own countries, but not in ours. I’d say that qualifies as denying the religious freedom of Muslims in the U.S.”

    This is one of the most laughable statements posted here in quite some time.

    All over the Muslim world, Muslims are denied the right to practice as they see fit. No whirling Dervishes if you are in Saudi Arabia. Want to wear a burqa in Turkey? Have fun in jail. Surely the hundreds of thousands of Muslims arrested each year on charges of “crimes against Islam” reveal the claim as absurd?

    And, with regards to Muslims not being able to practice in the US, what could your Facebook friend POSSIBLY mean by THAT allegation? Is she suggesting that opposing the building of a mosque at Ground Zero represents an absolute bar to the practicing of Islam in New York City or the United States as a whole? If so, she has lost her furry little mind.

    Whether one agrees or disagrees with opposing the building of Cordoba House at Ground Zero, we shouldn’t jump on the victimized bandwagon just yet. Lets face it, Cordoba House isn’t the first mosque to be built to praise Allah for a great victory… The Blue Mosque in Constantinople is.

  • John,

    “I wasn’t categorically rejecting arguments about symbolism”

    That wasn’t very clear originally. I thank you for the clarification.


    Your link is just a link to people who want to stop the construction of one mosque. That is a far cry from arguing that “Muslims don’t have a right to practice their religion.”

    You know, we deny a lot of different religious groups the right to certain practices. We prosecute Christian “scientists” who refuse to give their children medicine when they are sick, for instance. So this idea of absolute religious freedom is as detached from history and reality as those who proclaim an absolute right to free speech. I don’t claim that there are grounds at the moment to deny certain aspects of Islam, but they could well arise at some point.

    My compromise would be this: today, right now, before 10% of our population is Muslim, we pass state or even federal constitutional amendments forever barring the implementation of Sharia law at any level. We make resolutions to avoid what has happened in Europe and some of the commonwealth countries, in which “culture” or “religion” has been used in courts of law to defend honor killers and rapists. We subject Islam to the same scrutiny that Christianity is subjected to in the public school system, and we stop these ridiculous charades in which children are forced to act like Muslims for a week as part of “cultural awareness.” It’s absurd.

  • G-Veg, I think your comment reflects a misunderstanding. Kyle’s FB friend was expressing their view of what should be rather than what is. Obviously, there are a lot of problems with his friend’s desired state of affairs and that (fortunately) is not currently the state of things in the U.S.

  • The constant invocation of Cordoba itself reeks of mealy-mouting of Catholics and the Christian faith in general. The legends of Al-Andalus and the alleged tolerance of Muslims for other religions have been amplified beyond caricature by Jews who couldn’t forgive Catholics for the expulsions and fabulists such as Borges and Fuentas who projected their fantasies onto a mideaval past. The strange thing is, Muslims themselves never cared for the comity of Cordoba, one can hardly find references to that aspect in their earlier writings; bin Laden wasn’t rueing for the Cordoba of fantastic memory. The remaking of Cordoba into some kind of wonderland was the work of (a few) Jews, thus it is no surprise that Bloomberg is taken in. I look forward to the day when the very same boosters, complain when some Sheikh or other compares Jews to monkeys at Cordoba House.

  • Pauli’s link makes my point in an indirect way. What was the need for that anti-Catholic bigot Foxman to invoke the Auschwitz nuns to frighten off CAIR, when the salient comparison to the destruction of the WTC is in fact Pearl Harbour? It seems as though he wants us to forget that Catholic Poles in their hundreds of thousands perished in that camp. Is McGurn a Catholic? If so, he needs to stop drinking the ADL Kool-Aid.

  • I agree that symbolism is important. That’s why I think the efforts to stop the building project are so awful.

  • I wouldn’t try to stop them through the courts, but I would impress upon them how much they will rightfully be resented for failing to respect the wishes of the people. To do something simply because one can is hardly a persuasive argument.

    There are a thousand and one good ways to foster better relations between Muslims who wish to disavow the violent teachings of the Koran, and Christians in the United States. This is not one of them.

  • Pingback: Religious Freedom vs. Theocratic Dictatorships « Vox Nova
  • I would impress upon them how much they will rightfully be resented for failing to respect the wishes of the people. To do something simply because one can is hardly a persuasive argument.

    I agree. Muslims don’t “do” persuasive argument. Never have. Why should they? They like their methods better. From passive aggressiveness all the way up to not-so-passive, that’s where they excel.

    In many ways I’m glad they are building this at ground zero to show their absolute smugness and insensitivity. It will further expose their nature.

  • Pauli,

    I think such generalizations are unfair, dangerous, and inaccurate when applied to a group of 1 billion people. A disturbing pattern is found in many long-running feuds/persecutions: 1) a group of individuals is lumped together on the basis of a distinguishing feature (whether it be race/religion/nationality/etc.) and identified as ‘the other’; 2) that group is then accused of having various negative characteristics to an unusual degree (e.g. greed, stupidity, or guilt for certain crimes); 3) these negative characteristics are then used as a pretext for denying rights to this group that other citizens enjoy. I am concerned about the implications of your comments.

  • I should have written “Muslim leaders” rather than merely “Muslims”. That’s my point. Islam doesn’t have one billion leaders. One billion people are not building a mosque. I can “generalize” about these leaders based on their past and present behavior. They don’t show the kind of sensitivity of the Holy Father in the link I posted.

    John Henry was wise to delete his former comment where he compared me to a Klan member and a jihadist.

  • John Henry was wise to delete his former comment where he compared me to a Klan member and a jihadist.

    My point was about language and the structure of your argument; to say language is similar is not to say the people are similar. Substitute Catholics/blacks/Israelis for Muslims in your comment above, and the similarities in language are quite striking. Btw, I frequently re-write my comments multiple times to try and make them clearer within the first few minutes after they post.

  • I frequently re-write my comments multiple times to try and make them clearer within the first few minutes after they post.

    Mmmmm, I see. That also provides a benefit that those subscribed to the comment thread get to see what you really think before your discretion kicks in and you self-censor. Maybe you should just write your comments down on scratch paper first and read them out loud to yourself. That’s what I do.

    Let me clarify my views further WRT the smugness and insensitivity of the Muslim leaders behind the building of the ground zero Mosque. I don’t think I would say the same about black leaders in general, Israeli leaders in general or Catholic leaders in general, and my proof for the third is in the link I provided earlier. This rules me out as a Klansman if there was any further question.

  • Pauli – you seem to be missing the point. I wasn’t saying that you feel similarly about Catholics/blacks/Israelis, etc. I was observing that your comment above about Muslims is very similar to the type of statements that the Klansmen of yore made about Catholics and Blacks, and radical Muslim groups today make about Israelis. You’ve said now that you were only speaking about ‘Muslim leaders,’ but I think, again, your statement still reflects a disturbing prejudice.

  • John Henry, here’s a question. Can you think of other comparable situations involving different religions other than Islam? Keep in mind that this project will be large costing millions of dollars. If I am prejudiced against Islam, then I have overlooked all the other times a different religion has done something comparable.

    Prejudice means to prejudge, to judge someone before you see any of there actions. For example, I see a black person and I think, “That person is probably a lazy bum, because blacks are lazy.” If I think this, then I am prejudiced. But what if I am able to observe a black person for several months and note many instances of laziness? Then I can state “He is lazy” without prejudice, can I not? This would only appear to be prejudice to a third person who didn’t know that I had many occasions to observe the laziness and who then made an assumption that the reason for my judgment was my own prejudice against blacks. This third person would himself be guilty of prejudging me.

    So give me some comparable situations throughout history to the ground zero mosque. Otherwise this word substitution exercise you are proposing smells like a red herring.

  • I really see our country at a crossroads right now. The increased presence of Muslims challenges our national narratives (e.g., we’re a Christian nation) and the extent to which we value are willing to extend religious liberty. This controversy is forcing us to ask ourselves who we are, and that question is as serious as anything.

    There are some disputes about the proportion of the population which is Muslim. (Robert Spencer offers that the most valid estimates appear to place that population at 3,000,000, or 1% of the whole). I do not think a minority that size ‘challenges national narratives’. (The appellate judiciary and the public interest bar have insisted on the adoption of enforced secularization, because that is the preferred policy in the social circles in which they run).

    Both you and John Henry might consider the possibility that past is not prologue, and that a muslim minority might eventually prove tragically incompatible with the general population, and that such an outcome is more likely if elite policy rewards rather than ignores (or penalizes) aggressive postures on the part of novel minorities.

  • The remaking of Cordoba into some kind of wonderland was the work of (a few) Jews

    “Owing to the peace which the Christians of Cordova then enjoyed, some knowledge of their condition has been preserved, among other things the name of their bishop, Joannes, also the fact that, at that period, the citizens of Cordova, Arabs, Christians, and Jews, enjoyed so high a degree of literary culture that the city was known as the New Athens. From all quarters came students eager to drink at its founts of knowledge. Among the men afterwards famous who studied at Cordova were the scholarly monk Gerbert, destined to sit on the Chair of Peter as Sylvester II (999-1003)”

    I suppose it’s possible Jews infiltrated the Catholic Encyclopedia’s editorial board.

  • Yeah, those silly martyrs didn’t know when they had it good!

  • restrainedcatholic, the article you linked to in its entirety, shows that Catholic scholars were not among those going gaga over Cordoba. The quote does not accurately convey the thrust of the article. By the sheer dance of things, there is bound to be a period when Christians and Jews enjoyed a measure of peace living among Muslims. This by itself is not sufficient to inspire the paens to Cordoba. Where for example is the equivalent Christian city? We know that there were Christian monarchs in the Iberian peninsula who were tolerant by the standards of that era. Yet no one is concerned to inflict their saga on us.

  • sorry I should have addressed the above to restrainedradical..

  • Donald, you should substitute the phrase “female African slaves” for “martyrs” in your sarcastic remark. How’s it sound then? Answer: very disturbing.

  • Let us assume that those financing Cordoba House are sincere in their desire to present the most tolerant face of Islam possible and that harkening back to an enlightened period of the Cordoban princes is meant to be a signal of the kind of tolerance they seek in America. Let us further accept the claim that the proximity to Ground Zero is meant to give voice to moderate and modern Islam – as an answer to the kind of religious extremism that brought the towers down and the world’s economic Goliath to his knees.

    It was surely possible to be a practicing Christian or Jew in Cordoba at various points. We have fairly modern examples to suggest that a calm, judicious application of the Koran and the Hadith to the interactions between religions leads to some degree of stability and freedom of worship. However, at its very best, this isn’t anything approximating Freedom of Religion. This is because Sharia law absolutely requires Theocracy. It presumes that Islam is right on a host of human interactions that allow for no deviation. However “tolerant” of other religious teachings an Islamic state seeks to be it cannot permit deviation on critical issues such as the nature of God, the duty of man to his family and to the community, and how work is organized. In even the most tolerant of Islamic states (indeed, I would argue that this is true of ALL theocratic states and that we are concentrating on Islamic states because they are the last of this old order), no Christian can be allowed to evangelize because, at its core, tolerant Islam nonetheless requires absolute adherence to basic Koranic doctrine as expressed through the Hadith. This is to say that the Spanish Caliphates may have been “tolerant” but only so long as the other faiths knew and stayed in their place. (This shouldn’t be surprising. There was a reason for the brutality and vindictiveness of the Spanish Inquisition and I doubt it was “payback” for six centuries of Islamic FAIR treatment.)

    Bringing my point back to Cordoba House: even IF those financing the project intend to signal the kind of “tolerance” that was supposedly exhibited under Muslim rule in Cordoba, that kind of “tolerance” is nothing akin to Freedom of Religion. Further, it “feels like” building a mosque so close to the place where the American economic model of a hundred years was destroyed is a sort of “victory dance” or, at least, a shrine to thank Allah for victory. My guess is that our ancestors felt the same way about the conversion of the Basilica at Constantinople into the Blue Mosque.

    If this is not what is intended… if the Cordoba House builders are honest in their desire to forge bonds and further understanding, they have picked a damn awful way to do it. Appearances DO matter.

    One final note: please do not interpret my writing to suggest that I believe that the engines of law ought to be brought to bear to prevent the building of the mosque. Indeed, even if it were called the “Usama Bin Laden Victory Mosque” and have individual shrines to the 911 “martyrs,” I would not want the state to act in an unconstitutional way. However, I take great exception to those who suggest that protesting the building of the mosque is un-American. Nothing is more democratic than to stand up for one’s views and to speak for oneself – not expecting the government to intervene

  • G-Veg: If this is not what is intended… if the Cordoba House builders are honest in their desire to forge bonds and further understanding, they have picked a damn awful way to do it. Appearances DO matter.

    Yeah, this is pretty much how Michael Medved phrased it today on his show. Either it’s a victory dance which means it’s horrible, or it’s an extremely poor and insensitive attempt at reconciliation.

  • Should you be glad that it’s named after a place that became exclusively Catholic?

  • Wow, why didn’t I think of that? Cordoba as a backhand compliment to Ferdinand and Isabelle; tell the hardhats its alright, they must get to work. Expedite the construction.

  • Good Morning restrainedradical,

    I’m not sure I follow you because I didn’t think we were talking about what I would do if I were going to sponsor a religious community in a place that would deeply offend. For this conversation, it is enough to articulate why I am offended and how the decision to build this mosque in a place where it appears to glory in misery is inappropriate.

    I’ll range farther though to say that I understand the impulse of the victor to raise monuments – to celebrate victory in a way that visits new injury on the defeated every time they are forced to accept and contemplate their impotency. It is a basic and base impulse. I mentioned the Blue Mosque as an example but there are many others such as the obelisk at the Vatican (doubly so if Wiki is right in noting that the obelisk was the center-point of the Circus Maximus).

    Monuments are built to channel human vision such as the Smithsonian and to inspire the way the Statue of Liberty does. They are built to control the divine (Stonehenge) or to refocus culture such as St. Petersburg. Sometimes they are merely the extension of man’s feeble attempt to control what happens after death (Pyramids at Giza). Often they are build to “immortalize” conquest such as Trafalgar Square and to put a face on a particular victory such as Admiral Nelson’s monument at Trafalgar. There are a lot of reasons to put mortar to stone and not all of them are base and mean.

    It is a fair question as to why those who seek to build Cordoba House at Ground Zero choose that location. The explanation given – that they seek to put a moderate face on Islam and to answer the extremism of September 11th with the understanding and tolerance of a thoroughly modern and moderate Islam – is difficult for many people to accept. I am one of them.

    I look at the speeches of its lead spokesman, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, and wonder how a man who believes that America invited the 911 attacks through its policies over the previous century can simultaneously believe that the building of a mosque on the site of those attacks would be perceived as other than a victory monument by extremists. The questions about funding further alarm me since our culture is accustomed to look with skepticism upon projects whose funding is hidden. I admit to looking with jaded eye on attempts to present the Koran and Hadith as purely religious – i.e. having no pre-requisite political, legal, and economic structure – strictures.

    Cast against this backdrop, calling the project “Cordoba House” and then withdrawing that name when confronted about its implications appears to me to be revealing. It suggests that the name choice was more illuminating about the hidden agenda of those building the center than they wished it to be.

    In many ways, the rise of Islam in the Americas presents a unique challenge to both Muslims and the broader society. Primary in the challenges is recasting the political, social, and economic structures inherent in the Koran and, particularly, in the Hadith as idealized analogies rather than divine order. Stated more simply, the Koran and the Hadith are incredibly specific as to how society as a whole, family life in particular, and the daily lives of individuals are to be organized. While it is true that the burqa and other such trappings of modern Islam are not ordained in the written word, it is fair to note that the vast majority of religious, economic, and political obligations are spelled out.

    In a modern, constitutionalist state such as the United States, there is an assumption that the duties of man to man and man to the broader society are limited by law maintained by virtually universal suffrage. The framework is set by the democratic institutions. The individual actions inside of that framework are set by our personal codes. Religion, in one sense, must accept the overall legal framework in order to be practiced freely. Stated differently, lest I be misunderstood to be saying that religion is subordinate to the State, the modern, diverse culture, the State guarantees a field of contest on which the worldviews can compete without being oppressed by organs of government. So long as those worldviews accept the framework, virtually any can operate freely (Scientology for example) without damaging the State.

    It remains to be seen whether Islam can exist within a constitutional state.

  • G-Veg, similar things can be said of Judaism yet they developed doctrines that allow them to integrate into a pluralistic society. Christianity went through a similar transformation. Even if the Bible doesn’t command certain public policies, it became conventional wisdom that, for example, heresy should be a capital offense. Freedom of conscience didn’t hold as high a place as it does today.

    I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibilities that Islam can develop doctrines that can allow them to deemphasize teachings that prevent them from integrating. There will still be fundamentalists but they may become a tiny fringe minority with no mainstream support.

    We can aid in this process by supporting the moderates within Islam who are willing to abandon the more radical teachings.

  • It remains to be seen whether Islam can exist within a constitutional state.

    Constitutional monarchy has functioned in Morocco for most the the last 50-odd years. Malaysia has always been a parliamentary state, if an illiberal one. There are several West African countries which have had elected governments for the last 20 to 35 years. The Arab world is peculiarly resistant to electoral and deliberative institutions; outside of that, it is doubtful that muslim societies are more prone to tyranny than other societies at similar levels of economic development.

    A better statement of the question is whether a muslim minority can be amicably incorporated in a society where the judiciary, the social services apparat, the educational apparat, and much of the political class considers the vernacular society of the natives something which needs to be contained and leavened, and makes use of (often rude) immigrant populations in its battles with that vernacular society.

  • Bernard Lewis in his book The Jews in Islam writes,

    “The claim to tolerance, now much heard from Muslim apologists and more especially from apologists for Islam, is also new and of alien origin. It is only very recently that some defenders of Islam have begun to assert that their society in the past accorded equal status to non-Muslims. No such claim is made by spokesmen for resurgent Islam, and historically there is no doubt that they are right. Traditional Islamic societies neither accorded such equality nor pretended that they were so doing. Indeed, in the old order, this would have been regarded not as a merit but as a dereliction of duty. How could one accord the same treatment to those who follow the true faith and those who willfully reject it? This would be a theological as well as a logical absurdity.”

  • Art Deco,

    The Arab world is peculiarly resistant to electoral and deliberative institutions.

    Isn’t there a whole history of colonial (mis)administration here that is being calmly passed over–as though we can leap from the time of the caliphate to contemporary world politics without addressing the serious harms imposed upon the middle east and northern africa by various european powers.

    Even the case of Iran (not Arab, but Muslim country) complicates the situation. We did depose their legitimately elected government and instituted a dictator in his place, as we’ve done several other times in various places.

    My point is that an awful lot of this analysis passes over modern history as though it didn’t have any effect on how Islam first encountered representative systems of government.

  • Most of the Arab world was under colonial rule by Europe for a very brief period from shortly after World War I to shortly after World War II. The pathologies that afflict the Arab world are homegrown. It is representative institutions and the Western concept of human rights which are the legacy from Europe.

    In regard to Iran it is more accurate to say that we deposed a dictator, Mossadegh, and restored the Shah. The Shah was a squalid tyrant, but he gleams as positively enlightened compared to the rulers thrown up by the Shia Revolution.

  • Isn’t there a whole history of colonial (mis)administration here that is being calmly passed over–as though we can leap from the time of the caliphate to contemporary world politics without addressing the serious harms imposed upon the middle east and northern africa by various european powers.

    Even the case of Iran (not Arab, but Muslim country) complicates the situation. We did depose their legitimately elected government and instituted a dictator in his place, as we’ve done several other times in various places.

    I keep having this argument with Maclin Horton’s troublesome blogging partner. I offer you the following inventory.

    European colonization in the Near East, North Africa, and Central Asia was limited to the Maghreb and to a small knock of Levantine territory (the Valley of Jezreel and a portion of the coastal plain running between Gaza and Haifa) difficult to see in an atlas of ordinary scale. In Morocco (and I believe in Tunisia as well), the French agricultural colonies were small (the total number of households being under 10,000), although a good deal of common land was enclosed and delivered to them. Demographically obtrusive colonization was found in Algeria (state supported and enforced) and in the Levant (as private and voluntary immigration financed by the Jewish National Fund, etc). I have seen some figures I do not quite trust that there was quite a bit of settlement in Tripolitania and Cyrenaica as well.

    Egypt, the Sudan, Aden, the south Arabian sheikhdoms, the Trucial sheikhdoms, Bahrain, Kuwait, the Transjordan, and Iraq were all dependencies of Britain or France for periods ranging from 14 years to 72 years. Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, and Syria were dependencies of France for periods ranging from 26 years to 75 years. You had a rotating population of civil servants and soldiers and a foreign resident population there for business or missionary work (e.g. the founders of the American University of Beirut). There were, however, no colonists other than the aforementioned population of farmers. Morocco’s agricultural colonies were founded around 1928 and fully liquidated by about 1971.

    You may have noticed that Indonesia has had an elected government for the last 11 years, that elected administration has been modal in South Asia since 1947, and that elected governments are (at this point in time) rather more prevalent in Tropical and Southern Africa than they have been in the Arab world at any time in the last 50 years. The encounter between Europeans and natives was a good deal more durable, intrusive, and coercive in these loci than it ever was with regard to the Arab world.

    You may have noticed the United States had scant involvement in this enterprise of collecting overseas dependencies, and none at all in the Muslim world.

    You may also have noticed that the 9/11 crew were recruited not from Algeria (which did feel the French boot rather severely), but from Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Egypt was a dependency of Britain in a juridically odd arrangement from 1881 to 1922; any complaints about this are not exactly topical. Neither the Hijaz nor the Nejd (united now as ‘Saudi Arabia’) was ever a dependency of any European power. Britain and Russia established some concessionary arrangements with Persia for a period of time (1907-25) in the early 20th century, but it was never a dependency of any European power.

    The four Arab countries which have had the most extensive experience with constitutional government (Morocco, Lebanon, Jordan, and Kuwait) are all over the map as regards the duration and features of their encounter with Europe.

    As for the ‘legitimately elected government’ of Iran, parliamentary executives are generally dependent on the pleasure of the head of state, most especially when they have arbitrarily prorogued the country’s legislature (as Iran’s had been in 1953). Mohammed Mossadegh was no more entitled to rule by decree and disestablish the Persian monarchy (his ambitions) than was the Shah to run a royal dictatorship, but you win some and you lose some. Now, run down the list of states in the Near East, North Africa, and Central Asia which were sovereign for some time during the period running from 1953 to 1978 and identify those which had some measure of competitive electoral politics and public deliberation more often than not. That is a low bar that about 2/3 of the Latin American states could have met. The list will read as follows: Morocco, Kuwait, Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus, Turkey, Pakistan, Libya (perhaps), and Jordan (perhaps). That would be 6 or 8 of the 25 states of the region. It is just not fertile ground for parliamentary government, and a multi-ethnic state with a literacy rate of 8% is not promising material for a durable constitutional order in any case.

    I do not care what bilge Noam Chomsky or John Prados are pushing. The machinations of the CIA are not the reason competitive electoral politics has often been a transient state of affairs here there and the next place in this world (as it was prior to the CIA’s formation in 1947). The only good example of something resembling a democratic political order iced by the CIA would be Jacobo Arbenz’ government in Guatemala in 1954. Personally, I think Arbenz bears more resemblance to Juan Domingo Peron and Salvador Allende than he does to Latin America’s authentic constitutionalists, but it is difficult to find trustworthy histories of his life and times.

  • Muslims don’t “do” persuasive argument. Never have.

    Clarification. I would like to take my second phrase back: “Never have,” which I wrote in ignorance. (Never say never, right?) It turns out that for a time, Muslim thinkers were at one time more reasonable and more at home with the use of reason. I learned that from this excellent piece interviewing Robert Reilly on his new book, the title of which is “Closing of the Muslim Mind”. It’s particularly germane to this discussion and sheds quite a bit of light on the B16/Regensberg thing as well.

    I believe my larger point stands, i.e., currently Muslims do not so much engage in apologetics as they do in a certain type of assertiveness about their beliefs, which is possibly a more useful word than aggressiveness for describing the particular tendency I wish to describe for purposes of this discussion.

WJBA? In 2010 Would Jesus (Along With His Apostles & Saints) Be Arrested For Hate Speech?

Wednesday, August 4, AD 2010

A few short years ago the mere suggestion that the Son of God, His Apostles and Saints would face arrest for hate speech would have seemed absolutely ludicrous. However, events have spiraled out of control across the western world. In his opinion that strikes down California’s recently voter approved marriage law, Judge Vaughn Walker wrote that those who speak in the name of religion to put across their views that same sex marriage is wrong are “harmful to gays and lesbians.”

Across Europe and Canada, faithful Christians speaking out for traditional marriage face the threat of being hauled off to court for citing the teachings of the Catholic Church and various Evangelical Churches. Where will this all end? Some see a great persecution coming against the Christian faithful. Though possible, one need remember that the Christian faith always grew when persecuted.

The Catholic Church has long taught that some individuals have an inclination toward same sex attraction; they are to be loved as all people are to be loved. The Church teaches that these feelings are not to be acted upon. The Church goes on to teach that all individuals are given a cross to carry in this world and for those who are same sex attracted; this is their cross. An organization exists for those who are same sex attracted called COURAGE. It has many chapters and members.

Recently a profile was done in The New York Times on same sex attracted Eve Tushnet, the Ivy League educated Catholic daughter of Harvard Law professors. She has chronicled her growth in Catholicism and the logic of the Church’s teachings on sexuality. For years the Catholic Church took some heat from some quarters of Christianity for not stating that anyone who is same sex attracted would be going to hell. The Church now is facing a maelstrom of vitriol from those who claim the Church hates homosexuals.

For the Church to change her teachings would be to deny not only what Christ said (Matthew 11:20-24,) but his Apostles, not to mention Saint Paul’s lengthy discourse on the subject (Romans 1:26-28, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.)  In addition to the Apostles and saints, there is a rich history of saints writing on the subject, particularly the Early Church Fathers like Saint Augustine, St Justin Martyr, St. Basil and St John Chrysostom as well as Church intellectuals like St Thomas Aquinas, Saint Albert the Great (the greatest scientist of his time,) along with mystics like St Catherine of Sienna to name but a few. To say that the greatest minds of their respective eras were all wrong is simply breathtaking.

Many who disagree with the Church tend to forget that homosexuality was much more common and approved of by the Roman government in the early Christian era than it is even in 2010. Many in the upper echelons of Greek and Roman culture experimented with all sorts of sexual practices. It would have been far easier for Jesus, the apostles, saints and popes to approve of this conduct than it would to disapprove of it. Christianity might have grown at a faster pace. However, there was a reason for this swimming against the tide, and the faithful accepted it.

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4 Responses to WJBA? In 2010 Would Jesus (Along With His Apostles & Saints) Be Arrested For Hate Speech?

  • Great column as usual, Dave. It just blows my mind that our nation is no longer a republic of, for and by the people but an elite and arrogant oligarchy that is unleashing one perverted social experiment after another on us.

    The far left have the nerve to needle the conservatives for wanting to have less government yet have government restrict marriage. Quite the contrary, we want to be able to decide how our society should function, not have the government do so.

    It’s a shame that the voters in my state of California were robbed once again, but we can still hope for the Supreme Court to save the day. In the meantime, this should serve as a wakeup call for the voters, especially those in the 45 states who have kept marriage to one man and one woman, to vote the radicals out in the fall and make sure the Democrats never control government again as long as the militant secularists who are ruining this nation continue to call the shots for the party.

  • This is almost a grand slam!

    This is government hate speech against, and injurious to, Christians, Jews and Muslims.

    Oh, that’s okay!?

    Never mind.

    Thanks for voting for them dems.

  • Prepare for the worst. There is little doubt that in the near future Christians will be arrested and imprisoned by the American Socialist State if they continue to preach the gospel and traditional morality. The American politicians have created their long desired Atheistic State which will have no tolerance for believers. Prepare for the dark days of persecution but the good news is that it will separate the wheat from the shaff and the sheep from the goats.

  • But Jesus and the Apostles were arrested and even put to death for their speech.

    When DeGaulle was reproached for not taking more care against assassination, he replied: “It comes with the job”.

Firing of Dr. Kenneth Howell to be Reviewed By University of Illinois Committee

Wednesday, July 14, AD 2010

Last week I wrote here about the firing of Dr. Kenneth Howell who had the audacity, in a class about the Catholicism, to actually state Catholic doctrine about homosexuality.  There has been enough of a furor since that the University of Illinois is acting, according to this story in the Chicago Tribune:

A faculty group at the University of Illinois’ flagship campus will review the decision to fire an adjunct religion professor for saying he agreed with Catholic doctrine on homosexuality.

Urbana- Champaign campus Chancellor Robert Easter said Monday he hopes to have a decision on the firing of Kenneth Howell from the Faculty Senate’s Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure by the time fall classes start. The review is to determine whether Howell’s academic freedom was violated.

“We want to be able to reassure ourselves there was no infringement on academic freedom here,” new university President Michael Hogan told members of the Faculty Senate on Monday. “This is a very, very important, not to mention a touchy and sensitive, issue. Did this cross the line somehow?”

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Anti-Catholic Bigotry Alive and Well at the University of Illinois

Friday, July 9, AD 2010

I am an alum of the U of I.  I obtained my BA in 79 and my JD in 82.  My wife is also an alum of the U of I, obtaining her MA in Spanish in 82.  Our eldest son will be entering the U of I as a freshman in August.  I therefore found the news that  Professor Kenneth Howell, an adjunct Professor at the University of Illinois, has been fired for teaching in a course about Catholicism  basic Catholic doctrine on homosexuality quite alarming:

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39 Responses to Anti-Catholic Bigotry Alive and Well at the University of Illinois

  • Looking at the e-mail from the student to the administration, and the original e-mail from Howell, two things seem clear:

    1. Neither the student nor his “friend” have a clear understanding of the purpose or content of Howell’s e-mail. They clearly cannot distinguish between advocacy and presentation of a fairly standard-issue argument in Catholic moral theology. I might expect this of high school students. College students should know better.

    2. This supposed college student’s grasp of standard English is most distressing. “Anyways”? Yikes!

    I am forced to question the Department Chair’s ability to notice the above.

  • In other words: Teach Catholicism, but don’t teach that it has anything to do with reason and reality. We must continue the lie that faith and reason are at odds, that the Church opposes gay marriage solely as a matter of religious faith, and that religion is purely a matter of private opinion, not public action.

    And this is supposed to “promote independent thought”? I’d wager that those students have never encountered any though quite so radical as Prof. Howell was exposing them to. He was doing exactly what they say they wanted.

  • Elena Kagan demonstrated how liberal pandering to any special interest group trumps your right to freedom to exercise your religion.

    Kagan on Whether Catholic Church Could Recruit at Harvard Law

    This is precisely how Hitler took over Germany. It began with politically correct “thinking” which led to politically correct “law” and everything Hitler did was “legal”. This “judge” who never met a politically correct cause she didnn’t love and support (regardless of it’s standing the law) is about to take a seat on the highest court in the land.

    Yet she is touted for her “brilliance” and legal scholarship. They teach you all about the law in law school – they don’t teach you a thing about JUSTICE.

    “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

    ~ President John Adams

    “Authentic democracy is possible only in a state ruled by law, and on the basis of a correct conception of the human person. It requires that the necessary conditions be present for the advancement both of the individual through education and formation in true ideals, and of the “subjectivity” of society through the creation of structures of participation and shared responsibility. Nowadays there is a tendency to claim that agnosticism and skeptical relativism are the philosophy and the basic attitude which correspond to democratic forms of political life. Those who are convinced that they know the truth and firmly adhere to it are considered unreliable from a democratic point of view, since they do not accept that truth is determined by the majority, or that it is subject to variation according to different political trends. It must be observed in this regard that if there is no ultimate truth to guide and direct political activity, then ideas and convictions can easily be manipulated for reasons of power. As history demonstrates, a democracy without values easily turns into open or thinly disguised totalitarianism.”

    ~ Pope John Paul II – Centesimus Annus

  • theory of Catholicism

    So now Catholicism is a theory and not a faith?

  • Just read the emails. I’m no natural law philosopher, but wasn’t the professor’s explanation of natural law a little weak? It was more about biology than teleology. Nor was his description of utilitarianism exactly correct.

    Still not grounds for dismissing him, however.

  • Does anyone else see the immediate bias by Kaler when saying “the theory of Catholicism.” This sums the issue up. Another situation of higher education punishing the religious guy.

  • I hope that it is starting to dawn on the “Catholic Church” that when you sleep with dogs you wake up with fleas. Amen!

  • TonyC,

    Are you referring to the U of I as dogs?

  • Do you think if he had taught what Islam tenets are in the Koran on morality and homosexuality and the handling of those of that orientation, he would have lost his post.

  • “When I joined the military it was against regulations to be homosexual, then it became optional. I’m getting out before it becomes mandatory.” GySgt Harry Berres, USMC

  • Guys, guys! Remember, you’re free to talk all you want about Catholicism, as long as you don’t believe it!

  • Very, very troubling indeed! May God have mercy on us. It is so hard for me to see the radical decay all around. May I work to be faithful, to pray for the Catholic Church and for men like this, punished harshly for speaking of their religious beliefs, that were once protected by the very Constitution that is now used to persecute them.

  • This is just awful. Kenneth Howell, in case you don’t know, is a former Presbyterian minister who converted to the Catholic faith — which of course, forced him to give up THAT job — and who has written several books on Catholic doctrine. He converted well BEFORE he took this job. He was hired by the U of I specifically to teach classes on Catholic doctrine, which have been offered, for credit, for decades. It should not surprise anyone that he agrees with Catholic teaching on homosexuality and other issues.

    What he said is not “hate speech” any more than, say, an observant Orthodox Jewish professor who teaches classes specifically on Judaism attempting to explain kosher dietary laws and having a student who raises hogs back home take offense at it.

  • Friend, huh? Might this ‘friend’ not be a student? Is it possible that someone just wants a politically correct elucidation of the theory of Catholicism without any of the truth of what the Church teaches?

    I am also curious, how does saying that sodomy is an unnatural act ostracize people with homosexualist proclivities? Any biologist would tell you that certain human orifices are for evacuation and not anything else, except in cases of medical testing. Should we outlaw the theory of biology?

    Apparently the school wants to teach the theory of Catholicism and disassociation themselves from what the Church actually teaches. Why? Does anyone really think the UI Religion Dept. is somehow associated with the Church or with Catholics in anyway? Why did his statement violate the ‘inclusivity’ policy? Was he banning homosexualists from his class? Did he tell them that Sodomites aren’t allowed to learn about the theory of Catholicism? Were they told they were not allowed to disagree with Natural Law? Since when does the Church or those who teach her truths believe that humans don’t have free will?

    Are we going to fire history teachers who teach the offensive act of killing Jews? How do you study Nazi Germany without addressing the wholesale slaughter of Jews, Catholics, etc.? You can’t. It is the truth. Nazis did kill Jews. It is offensive. It certainly isn’t inclusive. I seriously doubt that any history teacher worth their mettle thinks it is OK to kill Jews – but they teach it nonetheless, because that is what Nazis did and what they believed. No one has to agree with it. This is ridiculous.

    I wonder if its OK to teach about Nazism because most Nazis were Sodomites and not OK to teach about Catholicism because the Church teaches that Sodomy is not OK, despite the proclivities of a small number of her members – of course, we don’t talk about pederast priests, we talk about pedophile priests because if we addressed the real problem, we may have to indict Sodomy. Me thinks there is an agenda here and just like in the late Wiemar Republic it starts with the homosexualists.

  • I was tempted to say that this development would make Msgr. Edward Duncan, the VERY longtime U of I Newman Center chaplain (over 50 years, from the 1940s to the 1990s), “turn over in his grave”, but after doing a quick google search on his name it appears he’s still alive, or was as recently as 2008. Anyone know his status? I don’t doubt he would have a LOT to say about this.

  • They would never have pulled this Elaine if Duncan were still in charge of the Newman Center. He was a formidable presence on the campus and not a man to brook any insult against the Church, as I noted when I was at the U of I. Judging from the spineless reaction of the Newman Center to this outrage, I guess the University decided that Catholics would just take this slap in the face lying down. Time to prove them wrong.

  • Will they fire Muslims for taking the same position?

  • “spineless reaction of the Newman Center to this outrage”

    I just hopped over to Thomas Peters’ blog and read the actual letter from Dr. Howell himself, explaining his side of the story.

    After reading it, I’m almost as ticked off at the Newman Center and the Diocese of Peoria as I am at the university! It APPEARS that they told him “Sorry, can’t help you, and by the way, we no longer need your services either, so good luck and don’t let the door hit you on your way out.” What’s up with that?

  • Do I have this right? A man teaches the 2,000 year old teachings of Holy Mother Church in a U course on Catholicism and is terminated for hate speech.

    But Obama supporters call for murdering crackers and their babies; and that’s free speech.

    Go figure.

  • If the “Institute of Catholic Thought” for which Dr. Howell worked is structured in such a way that an instructor can no longer work for the Institute if they no longer work for the university, well, isn’t this living proof that the Newman Foundation and the Diocese had better do something about that? If they don’t, then I will have to take back all my past comments about the U of I being a more “Catholic” university (because of the quality of its Newman Center, and of the ICT classes) than some Catholic in name only schools are.

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  • As a no longer proud alum of U of I it shows me that the motto Learning and Labor has left the learning behind. Universities understand only one thing now and that is money. Don’t just write comments on blogs, write the president of U of I at [email protected] If you are an alumm tell him you won’t send them another dime until this is fixed. Send emails to all of your alumni friends. Post this on all of your blogs.

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  • Msgr. Duncan is still alive. His health isn’t so great anymore, but he occasionally makes appearances at St. Johns. I know he was there as recently as last fall for a special event.

  • This is simply further proof that the so-called Diversity Movement is about anything BUT diversity. It is about conformity to a set agenda with dogmas as entrenched as those of the Catholic Church with whom they are at war. Homosexuality and the praise thereof top the list of that agenda.

    I was particularly awed by the following excerpt taken from the email sent by the offended students “friend” and the mention of “independent thought” : “Teaching a student about the tenets of a religion is one thing,” the student wrote in the e-mail. “Declaring that homosexual acts violate the natural laws of man is another. The courses at this institution should be geared to contribute to the public discourse and promote independent thought; not limit one’s worldview and ostracize people of a certain sexual orientation.”

    Who is genuinely aware of the meaning of true public discourse here? Who is promoting genuinely independent thought? Who is being ostracized? It certainly isn’t the Diversity Movement, not is it the offended student, who is still a student, while the good Prof. is beating the streets looking for a job.

  • Food for thought received in an email from the Manhattan Declaration group:

    ” . . . may be one of the gravest, most insidious threats to religious freedom I’ve seen in my lifetime: What may be an attempt, at the very highest levels of government, to RE-DEFINE the very meaning of religious freedom, from “free exercise” to merely private worship.”

  • “Will they fire Muslims for taking the same position?”

    No, only anti-catholic bigotry is allowed.

  • Is there any anti-Buddhism, anti-Hinduism, anti-Islamic, anti-protestant? Why there is anti-Catholic Bigotry? If there is answer please answer me. Thanks!

  • GM: I think (bombs away!) that there is anti-Catholic bigotry because Holy Mother the Church (the minority that actually adheres to its precepts) is a major safeguard against secular humanist cultural/societal hegemony.

    And, if one believes (as a small minority of so-called Catholics believes) that we are IN this world, but not OF this world, one is less easily controlled and, thus, one is a threat to the statist, fascist far-left liberals intent on controlling aspects of our lives.

    And, because the majority of bishops, nearly all so-called catholic scholars, catholic university regimes, etc. have sold out to Obama and the socilaists. In this rounnd the bowl of pottage is full of human dignity, peace, social justice, etc.

    I could barf!

  • T. Shaw,

    Food for thought received in an email from the Manhattan Declaration group:

    ” . . . may be one of the gravest, most insidious threats to religious freedom I’ve seen in my lifetime: What may be an attempt, at the very highest levels of government, to RE-DEFINE the very meaning of religious freedom, from “free exercise” to merely private worship.”

    That is why the Obama administration and many liberals continue to say “Freedom of Worship” instead of “Freedom of Religion”.

    They want to eliminate faith completely from the public square by redefining certain precepts of the U.S. Constitution.

  • You can say that Catholic bigotry is alive at the University of Illinois, but your church is a most dangerous foe of civil and religious liberty. The Catholic Bishops descended on Congress and pressured our legislators to pass Obama’s health care bill, even though the nation could not afford it and is on the verge to ruin and bankruptcy. The Bishops have no respect whatsoever for the U.S. Constitution. All across the board the church is pushing its’ agenda, seeking to dominate and control. The papacy is battering down the walls of church-state separation every where she can. She is pushing to enforce Sunday observance upon all of Europe, and is pushing for Sunday enforcement in the U.S. also. The Founding Fathers enacted safeguards, but these are being dismantled. Persecution is returning as sure as day. The words of John Adams, our second president, are proving true, as liberty of conscience is more and more threatened, “I have long been decided in opinion that a free government and the Roman Catholic religion can never exist together in any nation or Country.” “Liberty and Popery cannot live together.”

  • Logan,

    The Catholic Bishops are U.S. citizens.

    You need to brush up on the constitution.

    The last time I read it we all have freedom of expression.

  • Actually Logan the Bishops opposed Obamacare due to fear of it funding abortion. However I have found that anti-Catholicism and rank ignorance tend to go together so I am unsurprised that you are misinformed.
    As to your comment about the Church attempting to enforce Sunday observance, that is a fantasy you either got from an anti-Catholic website or dreamed up in your fevered imagination.

  • Logan, if you are some sort of Christian, then you should prayerfully read John 8:32.

    If you aren’t Christian, then you should pray, “God, if you really exist, help me understand what you are telling me in this Scripture reading.” and then read John 8:32.

    God and His Church do not impose, He proposes – the rest is up to you. Know that your Father loves you, despite any feelings you have otherwise.

  • Logan,

    The wall of separation between Church and States is from a letter Jefferson wrote in 1802 to the Danbury Baptists, a religious minority fearing that they would not be able to worship the way they were inclined and Jefferson was assuring them that the first amendment to the Constitution protected their religion from interference by the federal government.

    Jefferson was an adept diplomat and knowing his audience, Baptists, he wrote in terms they would understand. The wall of separation was drawn from a sermon by Roger Williams, whose sermons would have been known well among Baptists in 1802.

    The particular sermon is titled, “The Garden in the Wilderness” preached in 1644. He said, “When they have opened a gap in the hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the Church and the wilderness of the world, God hath ever broke down the wall itself, removed the candlestick, and made his garden a wilderness, as at this day. And that there fore if He will e’er please to restore His garden and paradise again, it must of necessity be walled in peculiarly unto Himself from the world.”

    Clearly Jefferson was referring to the fact that the wall separated the Church (the garden) from the State (the wilderness of the world) to protect the Church from the corruption of the political power. He was not even intoning that the State had a right to be ‘protected’ from the Church. In Jefferson’s time, even though it followed the Enlightenment, people of faith knew that religion formed men in virtue and virtuous leaders, men of character, were what was required to govern the Republic.

    Twisting this wall of separation to mean that religion has no place in public life is an atheistic Communist ploy. Probably concocted by the Communist front – the ACLU. It is a lie and intelligent people using the gift of human reason wouldn’t employ such a tired and weak argument.

  • “Will they fire Muslims for taking the same position?”

    An excellent question! Are similar courses in Islam being taught there?

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Sharia in Dearborn?

Thursday, June 24, AD 2010

Apparently the police acting to unconstitutionally arrest individuals attempting to hand out proselytizing literature to Muslims in Dearborn is not unusual according to this release from the Thomas More Law Center:

In what some have described as police enforcement of Sharia law at the annual Dearborn Arab International Festival, last Friday night Dearborn Police Officers arrested four Christian missionaries and illegally confiscated their video cameras which were recording the events surrounding their arrests.  The Thomas More Law Center, a public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, today announced it is representing all of the Christian missionaries.

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28 Responses to Sharia in Dearborn?

  • “Will we see more of this type of official misbehavior wherever Muslim immigrants become the majority…”


  • I don’t know. This sounds more like an attempt by the police to keep the peace.

    I’ve been at pro-life rallies where police have arrested pro-abortion activists who were handing out literature. It’s the same principle, make sure a heated situation doesn’t escalate.

    Given that the missionaries were targeting a large gathering of Muslims, this sounds like it was intended to provoke a reaction. I think it would have been different if they had been handing out literature during a normal day.

    I’m sympathetic to the message of the missionaries, but I don’t think the method is effective.

  • “I don’t know. This sounds more like an attempt by the police to keep the peace.

    I’ve been at pro-life rallies where police have arrested pro-abortion activists who were handing out literature. It’s the same principle, make sure a heated situation doesn’t escalate.”

    Such an action is unconstitutional. You can’t arrest people constitutionally for fear of violence from the targeted audience. That is called a “heckler’s veto” and has been condemned by the Supreme Court many times.

    This is not a murky area of the law. The Dearborn police knew that legally they could not arrest the missionaries but they did it anyway.

  • Such an action is unconstitutional.

    To be more clear, police in the case I described above did not make any arrests until the pro-abortion people had been warned several times to move across the street.

  • JohnH; I don’t think that affects the question of the constitutionality of the request. Why have the police the right to issue such directives if no laws are being broken? If they do so in order to “keep the peace,” and in doing that they attempt a “heckler’s veto,” then they are acting unconstitutionally.

    Not that our country is very big on members of the state or federal executive branches adhering to the constitution…

    My sense is that these sorts of arrests happen all the time, and I wouldn’t be surprised if these evangelists entered the festival precisely because they knew it would cause conflict. What is being sought here? A true evangelization or an opportunity to score points in the culture wars?

  • WJ

    I know examples of evangelicals doing this at Catholic events, being thrown out (and if they won’t go), being arrested. So you are correct — this kind of thing happens all the time, and yes, the evangelicals are looking for conflict.

  • An example where this happened, and where Protestants have played the martyr card for similar activities against Catholics, look no further than here:

    On Monday, Sept.2, a woman walked up to the booth and took some of our tracts. She proceeded to walk into out booth, throw the tracts on the ground and stood on them, blocking the posters. We asked her to stand outside the booth, as we had spent $250 for the booth. I even advised her to purchase a booth next year and call it “Former Catholics For Christ is a hate group” and to use all the information she had gathered in our booth. She refused to leave, stating that she had permission from the Stark County Fair Board to picket us. My sister went to the fair board office to find out if this was true. She had lied. They called security, but to our surprise, the security refused to ask her to leave the booth. They said she was exercising her free speech. Diane explained that the booth was not “free” and that we had purchased the space. We again asked that she be removed to the outside of our booth. The security guards refused. My husband asked, “Is it okay if I take our Jesus is the Only Way poster and stand in the Catholic booth down the isle.” The security guard threatened my husband with jail if he spoke again. Finally an officer in full uniform showed up. He argued with the lady for about 10 minutes until the Stark County board showed up and made her leave. She returned to the sheriff’s booth where she worked (“volunteered”). Many of the booths that witnessed the events came up and offered their support.

  • “My sense is that these sorts of arrests happen all the time, and I wouldn’t be surprised if these evangelists entered the festival precisely because they knew it would cause conflict. What is being sought here? A true evangelization or an opportunity to score points in the culture wars?”

    Considering the fact that three of the four missionaries are converts to Christianity from Islam, I rather suspect an opportunity for true evanagelization. In any case, the important point for me is that cops have no right to arrest individuals who are simply exercising their right of freedom of speech peacefully on public property.

  • By asking the Christian evangelists to move across the street, the intent of the police may not have been so much to deprive them of their right to distribute literature as to exercise a reasonable time, place and manner restriction on their right to assemble. Not sure if this is kosher though if the distribution violated no ordinances, etc. But probably very understandable. I suspect the charges will be related to refusing to comply with police instructions rather than distributing anything, and further suspect they’ll be dropped.

  • I suspect the charges will be related to refusing to comply with police instructions rather than distributing anything, and further suspect they’ll be dropped.


  • Henry K.,

    Remember this is an Arab International Festival, not a Muslim International Festival.

    Your straw man holds no water.

  • Tito:

    And the festival in Ohio was a public one… not a Catholic one…

  • Tito,

    if it is an Arab festival than perhaps the title of the post, which refernces sharia, should be edited

  • Nope. One of the key elements of Sharia is that proselytizing Muslims is not to be tolerated. The Dearborn police department seem to agree with that.

  • The Dearborn Chief of Police is a Muslim.

  • It is funny how my comment was deleted. But I will try one more time:

    the situation with the booth and the anti-catholic was at a city festival, not a Catholic one…

    [found the comment and restored it]

  • I don’t know what happened to your previous comment Karlson. This is my thread and I’ve approved each comment you’ve made.

  • Well, someone deleted it, perhaps before you saw it, Donald.

  • “Not sure if this is kosher”

    Actually, if we’re talking about Muslims the proper term would be “halal” — the dietary rules of Islam, which actually are similar to those of the Jewish faith in some respects (e.g. banning pork, requiring specific methods of slaughter).

    The event in question bills itself as an Arab International Festival. Now, haven’t some of us been making the point, in posts regarding Israel and the Palestinians, that NOT all Arabs are Muslims? Surely there are Christian Arabs (most likely Maronites or members of other Eastern Rite Churches) in Dearborn as well as Muslims. Do they participate in this festival? It would be nice to get their take on the situation.


  • Yes Elaine, Dearborn has very large Arab population and they are Muslim, Christian, and some rather secular. I’m not familiar with this festival but I’m quite sure it’s open to the general public and people of all faiths and ancestry attend. Dearborn has a very large and popular festival in the summer that many people from all over the region attend. I wouldn’t be surprised if these folks intend on distributing their literature then too. My guess is that if they do they will be sent away or locked up again.

  • It really doesn’t matter if the missionaries are ineffective or a little obnoxious, that’s not the point. The point is that this is America and people are allowed to hand pamphlets to you and say things to you about their beliefs. I’m always polite to the Baptists, Mormons, JWs and anti-corporate union petitioners when they come to my door. I don’t always take their stuff, but I don’t summon the police either. The union people usually need a shower unlike the Mormons, but hey, it takes all kinds.

    When I lived in Pittsburgh there were street preachers downtown and in Oakland. They were totally obnoxious, IMHO, but they were allowed to do their thing due to freedom of speech–they weren’t arrested. We have the freedom to make asses of ourselves. One guy was an ex-Catholic and he tried to engage me in conversation. He was itching for an argument, and I didn’t give him the satisfaction. But I didn’t get offended by him either. I’m just thankful that I don’t need the require the kind of meds that he should have been on. Even so, these people weren’t hurting anybody and more than the pigeons.

    These Muslims need to get used to America. It might be more to our advantage to pass out copies of the founding documents. Obviously it would be nice if they converted to Christianity, but most are too stubborn and brainwashed, not to mention scared, to even think about it.

  • These Muslims need to get used to America. It might be more to our advantage to pass out copies of the founding documents.

    The chief of police in Dearborn is behaving in a manner congruent with the default settings of the educational apparat in this country, which in turn is simpatico with the political class in Canada, Sweden, and the Netherlands, among other loci.

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  • JohnH says:
    Thursday, June 24, 2010 A.D. at 1:26 pm
    I don’t know. This sounds more like an attempt by the police to keep the peace.

    I’ve been at pro-life rallies where police have arrested pro-abortion activists who were handing out literature. It’s the same principle, make sure a heated situation doesn’t escalate.

    Given that the missionaries were targeting a large gathering of Muslims, this sounds like it was intended to provoke a reaction. I think it would have been different if they had been handing out literature during a normal day.

    I’m sympathetic to the message of the missionaries, but I don’t think the method is effective.
    Um, there’s a freedom of religion, but NO freedoms for abortion within ANY aspects of the Constitution, the Declaration, nor the Bill of Rights. So, for police to arrest someone for passing out PRO-abortion literature is perfectly within the province of law enforcement. Whereas, police have NO rights with respect to what someone does regarding religion and the free exercise thereof. PLEASE READ YOUR FOUNDING DOCUMENTS: Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence before commenting on what you “think” is okay or not. Opinions are NOT valid in a court of popular opinion nor courts of law!

  • It appears to me that the police were very patient, my father raised me to obey the law and if the police asked me to leave the area then i better leave the area. If you hang around and argue you should expect to be arrested. Also the they stated they were across the street, apears to me they were right next to a ride at the event. Bottom line is they went their to get a rise out of the event and they got what they deserved.

  • The missionaries were aqcuitted back in September of the bogus breach of the peace charges:

George Weigel: Defend Religious Freedom

Tuesday, May 18, AD 2010

George Weigel wrote a timely article in National Review Online titled, Defending Religious Freedom in Full.

In it cites the extremist attacks in expressing our Catholic faith in the public square.

The forms of these attacks are egregious because they that attack us are also tearing apart the moral fabric of this nation.

Case in point is the Washington Post, and in my opinion they represent secular humanism, when it comes to natural law they painted those that hold to natural law as extremists:

This past October, in the heat of a political campaign, the nation’s political newspaper of record, the Washington Post, ran an editorial condemning what it termed the “extremist views” of a candidate for attorney general of Virginia who had suggested that the natural moral law was still a useful guide to public policy.

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A Perfect Post

Wednesday, December 9, AD 2009

Occasionally one runs across a post that’s particularly nicely done. I think Matthew Boudway’s recent reflections on a column by Clifford Longley on the new atheists comes dangerously close to perfect. It’s brief, highlights an interesting article, and adds a thoughtful perspective that provides more depth to the article it cites. Here’s a snippet:

[In response to Richard Dawkins’s claim that it is wrong to “indoctrinate tiny children in the religion of their parents, and to slap religious labels on them,”]

“There is no such thing as value-free parenting,” Longley writes…Longley proposes this as an argument about parenting, but it is hard to see why it wouldn’t also apply to education. If the argument doesn’t apply to education, why doesn’t it? If it does — and if it is a good argument — then people of faith have a compelling reason not to send their children to schools where the subject of religion qua religion is carefully avoided. One could, I suppose, argue that the tacit message of such schools is that religion is too important to get mixed up with the tedious but necessary stuff of primary education, but of course public schools approach important matters all the time, and cannot avoid doing so.

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Res et Explicatio for AD 8-7-2009

Friday, August 7, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

Buckle Up! Because here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:

1. Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York commended President Obama and the Democratic Party efforts inArchbishopDolan reforming Health Care.  He said this during the Knights of Columbus Convention in Phoenix, Arizona.  But his Grace gave this caveat that if reform…

“…leads to the destruction of life, then we say it’s no longer health care at all – it’s unhealthy care and we can’t be part of that.”

To accentuate this sentiment and as a warning to well meaning Catholics, Cardinal Levada explained that those that want to reform health care at any cost:

“[W]e do not build heaven on earth, we simply prepare the site to welcome the new Jerusalem which comes from God.”

2. Catholic convert Joe Eszterhas of Hollywood screenwriting fame, will be writing the screenplay for a movie aboutVirgen of Guadelupethe Virgin of Guadalupe.  Though no director nor a green light has been given on the go ahead of this movie project, the fact that Joe Eszterhas is writing the screenplay is newsworthy in itself because of the author himself is enough to get the ball rolling in the right direction.

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Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-10-2009

Tuesday, March 10, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

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

1. There seems to be a growing counter-movement in U.S. politics aligning itself against the Catholic Church.  We see it happening in Connecticut where state legislatures want to control Church property.  We also see it in the higher echelons of government where President Obama are using Catholic pawns such as Douglas Kmiec and Kathleen Sebelius.  It isn’t being orchestrated by anyone, but the common theme seems to be to neutralize the effectiveness of the Church.  Dave Hartline of the Catholic Report wrote an excellent column tieing all these loose ends together and explaining the consequences of this growing counter-movement.

For Dave Hartline’s columnn click on counter-movement above or here.

2. Speaking of Connecticut, Archbishop Charles Chaput has this to say concerning SB 1098 that would remove the bishops authority over each parish:

“legislative coercion directed against the Catholic community in one state has implications for Catholics in every other state. If bigots in one state succeed in coercive laws like SB 1098, bigots in other states will try the same.”

The bigots Archbishop Chaput is referring to are Senator Andrew McDonald and Representative Mike Lawlor, who are both homosexual activists that opposed the local Church’s efforts to defend marriage between a man and a woman.

For the article click on SB 1098 above or here.

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One Response to Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-10-2009

  • What Hath Prop 8 Wrought. More annoying little bedbugs like these two will pop up all over the country. Nothing organized as an anti-Catholic conspiracy, but effect is just the same. Much of this stuff bubbling up since November 5. We hope and pray that the sheer ineptitude of these forces allow them to trip up themselves. As King David prayed about ex-advisor Ahithophel, who jumped to rebel side of angry son Absolom. King prayed O Lord turn their counsel against them. We should too.

Pope Benedict, the SSPX, and the dispute over Religious Freedom and Church-State Relations

Sunday, February 22, AD 2009

Last year, commenting on Pope Benedict XVI’s historic visit to the United States, Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the SSPX, remarked:

And now, we have a perfectly liberal Pope, my very dear brothers. As he goes to this country [the United States] which is founded upon Masonic principles, that is, of a revolution, of a rebellion against God. And, well, he expressed his admiration, his fascination before this country which has decided to grant liberty to all religions. He goes so far as to condemn the confessional State. And he is called traditional! And this is true, this is true: he is perfectly liberal, perfectly contradictory. He has some good sides, the sides which we hail, for which we rejoice, such as what he has done for the Traditional liturgy.

What a mystery, my very dear brothers, what a mystery!

As Fr. John Zuhlsdorf (What Does The Prayer Really Say?) noted at the time, Fellay’s remarks are indicative of a point he has maintained time and again: the greater dispute between the SSPX and Rome is not so much over questions involving liturgical reform (and the ‘reform of the reform’) — on which there is a great deal of room for agreement — or even the matter of the excommunications; rather, the chief problem hinges on the Society’s objections to Vatican II’s articulation of the principle of “religious liberty” and the relationship of civil and religious authority.

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2 Responses to Pope Benedict, the SSPX, and the dispute over Religious Freedom and Church-State Relations

  • Great post!

    It seems to me that one of the problems the critics of a reconciliation of the SSPX have is that they themselves allow significant freedom to explore theological issues and still remain in the Church in good standing. Lord knows that we have allowed dangerous levels of variance without canonical penalty. Even Hans Kung, while suspended from teaching is in good standing. And yet, these critics don’t want the SSPX back unless they sign on to every jot and tittle of Vatican II.

    An apt comment on Fr. Z’s blog was, if the SSPX will sign on to every jot and tittle of Vatican II, will all of the bishops and priests in good standing take the anti-modernist oath, sign on to every jot and tittle of every ecumenical council since Jerusalem I?

    In fact, I don’t think we should here from any critics of the reconciliation unless they subscribe at the least, to the anti-modernist oath.

    I N. firmly embrace and accept each and every definition that has been set forth and declared by the unerring teaching authority of the Church, especially those principal truths which are directly opposed to the errors of this day. And first of all, I profess that God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world (cf. Rom. 1:19-20), that is, from the visible works of creation, as a cause from its effects, and that, therefore, his existence can also be demonstrated: Secondly, I accept and acknowledge the external proofs of revelation, that is, divine acts and especially miracles and prophecies as the surest signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion and I hold that these same proofs are well adapted to the understanding of all eras and all men, even of this time. Thirdly, I believe with equally firm faith that the Church, the guardian and teacher of the revealed word, was personally instituted by the real and historical Christ when he lived among us, and that the Church was built upon Peter, the prince of the apostolic hierarchy, and his successors for the duration of time. Fourthly, I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport. Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical’ misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously. I also condemn every error according to which, in place of the divine deposit which has been given to the spouse of Christ to be carefully guarded by her, there is put a philosophical figment or product of a human conscience that has gradually been developed by human effort and will continue to develop indefinitely. Fifthly, I hold with certainty and sincerely confess that faith is not a blind sentiment of religion welling up from the depths of the subconscious under the impulse of the heart and the motion of a will trained to morality; but faith is a genuine assent of the intellect to truth received by hearing from an external source. By this assent, because of the authority of the supremely truthful God, we believe to be true that which has been revealed and attested to by a personal God, our Creator and Lord.

    Furthermore, with due reverence, I submit and adhere with my whole heart to the condemnations, declarations, and all the prescripts contained in the encyclical Pascendi and in the decree Lamentabili, especially those concerning what is known as the history of dogmas. I also reject the error of those who say that the faith held by the Church can contradict history, and that Catholic dogmas, in the sense in which they are now understood, are irreconcilable with a more realistic view of the origins of the Christian religion. I also condemn and reject the opinion of those who say that a well-educated Christian assumes a dual personality-that of a believer and at the same time of a historian, as if it were permissible for a historian to hold things that contradict the faith of the believer, or to establish premises which, provided there be no direct denial of dogmas, would lead to the conclusion that dogmas are either false or doubtful. Likewise, I reject that method of judging and interpreting Sacred Scripture which, departing from the tradition of the Church, the analogy of faith, and the norms of the Apostolic See, embraces the misrepresentations of the rationalists and with no prudence or restraint adopts textual criticism as the one and supreme norm. Furthermore, I reject the opinion of those who hold that a professor lecturing or writing on a historico-theological subject should first put aside any preconceived opinion about the supernatural origin of Catholic tradition or about the divine promise of help to preserve all revealed truth forever; and that they should then interpret the writings of each of the Fathers solely by scientific principles, excluding all sacred authority, and with the same liberty of judgment that is common in the investigation of all ordinary historical documents.

    Finally, I declare that I am completely opposed to the error of the modernists who hold that there is nothing divine in sacred tradition; or what is far worse, say that there is, but in a pantheistic sense, with the result that there would remain nothing but this plain simple fact-one to be put on a par with the ordinary facts of history-the fact, namely, that a group of men by their own labor, skill, and talent have continued through subsequent ages a school begun by Christ and his apostles. I firmly hold, then, and shall hold to my dying breath the belief of the Fathers in the charism of truth, which certainly is, was, and always will be in the succession of the episcopacy from the apostles. The purpose of this is, then, not that dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age; rather, that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way. I promise that I shall keep all these articles faithfully, entirely, and sincerely, and guard them inviolate, in no way deviating from them in teaching or in any way in word or in writing. Thus I promise, this I swear, so help me God. . .

    This whole religious freedom argument seems to me much ado about nothing, if you accept that the teaching must be understood in context to the Church’s teaching on it’s mission and “Extra Ecclesium Nulla Salas”, then you should have a right understanding of it’s applicability.

  • Thanks Chris for long thoughtful essay. The kind we can now anticipate from this post. Doesn’t look like Fellay is in any hurry to reconcile with Rome. Oh well. His problem not ours.