These ice balls are rolling up on the shore of Lake Michigan at Ann Arbor.
For those who may wonder, they are not the result of the pipe that froze and broke at my house.
These ice balls are rolling up on the shore of Lake Michigan at Ann Arbor.
For those who may wonder, they are not the result of the pipe that froze and broke at my house.
The Little Sisters of the Poor, the stand up nuns who’ve taken on the Obama administration over the HHS Mandate, are a bunch of tough customers.
I mean that in the best understanding of the word “tough.” Providing frail elderly people with loving care on a 24/7 basis is work that would make the average Navy Seal turn weak in the knees.
When I say 24/7, I mean twenty-four hours, right around the clock; every single day, right around the calendar. Caring for a frail elderly person is more demanding in a lot of ways than caring for a toddler. They are both sweet, precious and strong-minded. The differences are that the toddler isn’t always trying to die on you, and they don’t have a memory of having once been a strong, independent adult.
The Little Sisters of the Poor do God’s work here on earth by providing care for people who are at the end of their earthly journey. The last phases of life are not a waste, and they are not a bother. Elderly people are beautiful, wonderful gifts to all of us. The fact that they require a bit more of us than our me-ism allows only makes them more precious.
The closest anyone will ever be to God in this life is not while sitting in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, but when they are sitting on the bathroom floor at 3 am, holding a croupy baby while the shower runs, or when they are changing the sheets on the bed of their incontinent elderly parent. Jesus is standing right beside you when you do these things, because when you do them for the least of these, you are truly doing them for Him.
This work of caring for those who can’t care for themselves is the life’s work of the Little Sisters of the Poor. They have given their lives to caring for Christ in the disguise of our frail elderly.
It’s no surprise to me that someone like this would become such a thorn in the side of the mighty and powerful United States Department of Justice. It’s also no surprise that those who want to force these sisters to accede to the will of a galloping secularism that seeks to mow down religious expression in public places in these United States should find the Little Sisters so problematic.
How do you turn public opinion against a bunch of nuns who have given their lives to care of the frail elderly?
The usual method in cases like this, where the problem persons are just too good to attack directly, is to redirect your venom by choosing an easier target. You might, say, go at a Catholic Supreme Court justice and that mean old Catholic Church and, of course, everyone’s favorite bugaboo, the Catholic bishops.
The trick is to make the fight about something other than those sweet little nun ladies with their bedpans and rosaries. Shift the focus and make the fight about the big, bad Catholic Church and you can count on the Pavlovian Catholic haters lining up on your side of the argument.
But the fact is, the argument is precisely about the Little Sisters of the Poor, along with their bed pans and rosaries. It’s about every Christian everywhere who wants to exercise their right as free Americans to practice their faith without government interference.
As much as its proponents try to twist and turn it, the HHS Mandate is a direct attack on the Constitutional protection of the free exercise of religion of American citizens.
The HHS Mandate is a regulation, promulgated by an appointed committee and signed by the president. It has the force of law, but it is not a law. It is a star-chamber bit of special interest government bullying that seeks to make an end run around the First Amendment of the Constitution. It is a vile piece of work that directly contradicts the guarantees in the Affordable Health Care Act, which is the legal authority by which the HHS Mandate was created.
Did that last bit go in a confusing circle? There’s no surprise in that, since it is circular. Congress passed the Affordable Health Care Act, which contained guarantees of religious exemption. The act also gave regulatory powers to the Department of Health and Human Services. Then (deep breath) …
… HHS created a committee to draft these regulations, and this unelected committee of representatives of special interests wrote the HHS Mandate which goes against the specific language in the law guaranteeing religious exemptions that gives the committee its power to promulgate the regulation in the first place.
Now. Is that clear as mud? The truth is, if the whole thing seems circular, it’s because it really does go in circles. But, to add to the confusion, this circle, unlike every other circle, has a starting point.
That starting point is a president who lied.
The HHS Mandate directly contradicts the president’s own executive order guaranteeing religious exemption as part of the enforcement of the Affordable Health Care Act. The fact that the president signed the HHS Mandate and has staked his presidency on it, means that he lied when he issued that executive order, in the promises he gave Congressman Bart Stupak and to the American people.
Enter, the living saints, the Little Sisters of the Poor and their tough-as-nails insistence on their Constitutional rights as American citizens.
What to do with a bunch of nuns who take care of sick old people?
I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see attacks on the nuns themselves sooner or later. That would be the usual behavior track. But for now, the administration apologists are confining themselves to attacking the Church.
For information about the on-going debate on this topic at US News and World Report, check out Frank Weathers.
Eagle-eyed reader Marcelle Bartolo-Abela sent me the information that the satan-on-the-Oklahoma-capitol grounds story has made it all the way to Pravda.
Okies in Pravda? Makes my head spin.
For those who want more information about satan’s doings, descriptions of his handiwork in human affairs can be found on any news program, any day of the week.
Have I told you that Deacon Greg Kandra is my hero?
Seems I have.
But let me repeat myself. Deacon Greg Kandra, journalist, Deacon and Catholic Patheosi extraordinaire, is my hero. I wish I could write headlines like the Deacon writes them. I wish I had a nose for news like the Deacon’s got. I wish … well you get the idea.
When Deacon Greg Kandra gets enough, you know that anybody else would be froth. The Deacon got enough when he read an over-the-top Catholic/Christian bashing opinion piece in US News and World Report.
The topic of the opinion piece? Why, it’s the Little Sisters of Charity and their “outrageous” appeal to the courts that they be allowed to follow the teachings of their Catholic faith. You know, that First Amendment stuff about the government not interfering with the free exercise of faith.
In case you don’t know about that part of the First Amendment, here is the whole thing for your consideration, emphasis mine:
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.
Isn’t that beautiful? I mean, aren’t those words in that magnificent document beautiful?
Think for a moment about the self-proclaimed Constitution worshippers who want to shear the first clause from the second and use it as a club to beat religious people into silence. Can you imagine any of the Constitutional-rights-for-me-but-not-for-thee crowd actually writing a law like the First Amendment?
US News and World Report, by publishing a Catholic-bashing hate piece posing as an opinion piece, has jumped on the bandwagon of hating on Christians and publicly hazing them. The subject of this particular piece was those pesky nuns with their bigoted religiosity and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. It was all about Catholics and Catholicism and how we are out of line for not letting the government tell us to stop practicing our faith.
Despite the fact that the faith in this particular frying pan was Catholic, the same treatment extends to every traditional Christian. Make no mistake about it my brothers and sisters in Christ, it was about all of us.
Deacon Greg took it on in his typically measured, fair and well-founded manner. Frank Weathers followed with a hilarious segue into Chuck Norris (an Oklahoma boy, I might remind you,) while The Anchoress gives a brilliant survey of the power politics and faux feminism involved, while Tod Worner compared the Little Sisters with St Thomas More and Joanne McPortland took a turn at bat, providing us with absolutely delicious Joanne irony. The Catholic Patheosi have got this handled.
I don’t have much to add that I haven’t already said a hundred times. We are not the aggressors here. The government is trying to force religious people, in this case, a group of nuns to violate the teachings of their faith. The fact that this commenter thinks that allowing nuns to forego violating their faith undermines the rights of all women doesn’t even begin to make it so.
When someone stoops to this kind of bigoted name-calling to defend their position, it is usually either because they are too stupid to defend their position intelligently or because the position itself is indefensible. I would guess that in the case of this commenter, the reasons she is resorting to this tactic are that her position is indefensible by reasoned argument, and also that bigotry against Christians, particularly Catholics, is so widespread in certain circles that she thinks an appeal to it will win unmerited support for her ideas.
The bottom line for those of us out here in the audience is this: If you are a Christian, you need to stand up for Jesus.
Don’t be a jerk about it. By that I mean keep your language clean, don’t name-call or attack any person. Do not try to use satan’s weapons to fight satan.
Just stand up strong for Jesus Christ and the right of Christians to be Christian without being attacked, reviled, slandered or bullied in our society. Make your case as the son or daughter of the living God.
Bigotry is bigotry, even when it’s aimed at the followers of Christ.
From US News and World Report:
Et tu, Justice Sonia Sotomayor? Really, we can’t trust you on women’s health and human rights? The lady from the Bronx just dropped the ball on American women and girls as surely as she did the sparkling ball at midnight on New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Or maybe she’s just a good Catholic girl.
The Supreme Court is now best understood as the Extreme Court. One big reason why is that six out of nine Justices are Catholic. Let’s be forthright about that. (The other three are Jewish.) Sotomayor, appointed by President Obama, is a Catholic who put her religion ahead of her jurisprudence. What a surprise, but that is no small thing.
In a stay order applying to an appeal by a Colorado nunnery, the Little Sisters of the Poor, Justice Sotomayor undermined the new Affordable Care Act’s sensible policy on contraception. She blocked the most simple of rules – lenient rules – that required the Little Sisters to affirm their religious beliefs against making contraception available to its members. They objected to filling out a one-page form. What could be easier than nuns claiming they don’t believe in contraception?
Sotomayor’s blow brings us to confront an uncomfortable reality. More than WASPS, Methodists, Jews, Quakers or Baptists, Catholics often try to impose their beliefs on you, me, public discourse and institutions. Especially if “you” are female. This is not true of all Catholics – just look at House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. But right now, the climate is so cold when it comes to defending our settled legal ground that Sotomayor’s stay is tantamount to selling out the sisterhood. And sisterhood is not as powerful as it used to be, ladies.
Catholics in high places of power have the most trouble, I’ve noticed, practicing the separation of church and state. The pugnacious Catholic Justice, Antonin Scalia, is the most aggressive offender on the Court, but not the only one. Of course, we can’t know for sure what Sotomayor was thinking, but it seems she has joined the ranks of the five Republican Catholic men on the John Roberts Court in showing a clear religious bias when it comes to women’s rights and liberties. We can no longer be silent about this. Thomas Jefferson, the principal champion of the separation between state and church, was thinking particularly of pernicious Rome in his writings. He deeply distrusted the narrowness of Vatican hegemony.
The seemingly innocent Little Sisters likely were likely not acting alone in their trouble-making. Their big brothers, the meddlesome American Roman Catholic Archbishops are bound to be involved. They seek and wield tremendous power and influence in the political sphere. Big city mayors know their penchant for control all too well. Their principal target for years on end has been squelching women and girls – even when they should have focused on their own men and boys.
We’ve are living through a breast cancer plague. The numbers of women who are living and dying with this terrible disease keep multiplying.
Ask yourself, what has changed in the past 50 years that might have something to do with this?
If the wholesale pushing of chemical birth control on women doesn’t come to mind, I would be surprised. Women have been subjected to any and every form of dangerous birth control that comes along. Their monthly periods are suppressed with depo provera; they are exposed to dangerous, even fatal infections, perforations, etc with IUDs.
But the lying liars who make money off this keep on telling us that the sum total of “women’s health” is to give the female half of humanity ever increasing dosages of these things and then use abortion as a “back up” when it fails. It’s gotten to the point that young girls are being given the morning after pill (which is an even higher dose of the same hormones) in public schools.
A recent study quantifies the intuition that there is a connection between chemical birth control and breast cancer.
From National Catholic Register:
NEW DELHI — A new study of women in India reveals that having used birth-control pills elevates the risk of developing breast cancer nearly tenfold, and having had an abortion increases their risk of breast cancer more than sixfold.
The study, published in the most recent issue of the Indian Journal of Cancer, matched 320 women with newly diagnosed breast cancer with 320 healthy women of similar age, economic and social status and medical background, and it found that “the risk of breast cancer was 9.50 times higher in women having a history of consumption of oral contraceptive pills.”
Doctors at the Department of Gastroenterology and Human Nutrition Unit at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi conducted the study to investigate the association of various reproductive factors with breast cancer.
“We found long-term use of oral contraceptive pills (OCP) higher among those suffering from breast cancer, 11.9%, compared to healthy individuals, 1.2%,” Dr. Umesh Kapil, a lead author of the study told the Times of India. Breast cancer is caused by repeated exposure of cells to circulating ovarian hormones, he explained, and long-term use of birth-control pills, which contain estrogen and progesterone, may contribute to the elevated risk.
“The relationship between contraceptive use and occurrence of breast cancer is not known,” Dr. G. K. Rath, the head of Bhim Rao Ambedkar Institute Rotary Cancer Hospital, told the Times of India in the wake of the study. “But there is enough evidence to show the hormonal imbalance caused by them, increasing the risk. Early menarche, late marriage and childbirth and abortions are important factors.”
The risk associated with oral-contraceptive use in the study was higher than all the other known risk factors examined, except a lack of breastfeeding. Women who breastfed fewer than 12 months had a 14.9 times higher risk of getting breast cancer than women who breastfed longer than 12 months.
Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/study-birth-control-pill-and-abortion-spike-breast-cancer-risk?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NCRegisterDailyBlog+National+Catholic+Register#When:2014-01-8%2008:35:01#ixzz2ppObt5Rx
Why do the folks at MSNBC keep jabbing themselves in the eye with the Sarah Palin stick?
Are they mental?
Or, are they just so utterly and completely drunk with group-think expressed as hatred that they are verging on the non-functional?
In just the past few weeks, one of their commenters, Martin Bashir, has had to resign because of public outcry over an attack on Governor Palin. This particular rant was a deeply offensive mix of pornography, misogyny and just plain revolting vileness. Here’s the link, if you have the stomach for it.
If that was the only Governor Palin attack piece, it would be enough to discredit this news network as a legitimate journalistic body. Resignation or not, they put this on the air.
But Mr Bashir’s vicious speech was only the cherry on top of what amounts to an on-going Sarah Palin hate troupe passing for a news organization.
The latest salvo (that I know about) first came to my attention by way of a post from fellow Patheosi, Bristol Palin. The attack comes from a reporter named Joy Reid. This particular anti-Palin blast moves the news organization from the vicious and pornographic to the laughable and absurd.
Ms Reid’s comments about the Governor appear to be primarily a side-step into a rather snotty attack on her faith. I don’t agree with many of Governor Palin’s political ideas. But I do agree with her about her faith.
Governor Palin is a Christian. I am also a Christian. If you want to know what I believe, look at the Apostle’s Creed.
While I have never seen a specific outline of the particulars of Governor Palin’s personal understanding of Christianity, I tend to think it aligns with the Apostles Creed that I believe. So, the Governor and I have our faith in common. We are also both women. More than that, we are women who have held elective office.
That gives me a lot in common with Governor Sarah Palin. I don’t, as I said, agree with all her political positions. But if you attack her as a woman, or if you attack her as a Christian, I am going to stand with her.
I think these constant attacks on her — which are totally unprofessional from a journalistic standpoint — are driven by a couple of things. First, she’s a woman who got close to the center of power in our country. Every time that happens, whether the woman in question is conservative Governor Palin or liberal Senator Clinton, the MSNBC misogyny team cranks up their attacks.
Does anyone besides me remember the 2008 presidential campaign? President Obama — President Abortion — used misogyny to get himself elected. One of his number-one spokesmen for the misogynist attacks against Senator Clinton in the nomination fight and then Governor Palin in the presidential election was MSNBC, in particular Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann. For instance, guess who made the legs crossing comment Katie Couric refers to in the video below?
I think that the continued attacks on Governor Palin are partly due to the overt misogyny of that news organization.
I think the second motivator in MSNBC’s obsession with Governor Palin is that she is a traditional Christian. Notice the way Ms Reid turns this attack on the governor’s family Christmas reminiscences into an attack on her faith. Notice also the last line challenging what Ms Reid seems to assume is the Governor’s belief that there is “one meaning to Christmas.”
That’s pretty ignorant. It is, after all, Christ – mas, as in Christ Mass. It is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. That’s the meaning and reason for Christmas.
There is no law in this country and never has been forcing anyone to believe that. I have never seen a Christian try to deny those who don’t believe it their enjoyment in the tinsel, great food and presents of Christmas.
But those who don’t believe it seem hell bent (I meant that literally) on forcing Christians to stop talking about the birth of Christ. They even go so far as to make fools of themselves attacking Christians the way Ms Reid does in this video.
This is not the only time Ms Reid has exhibited an anti-Christian bias. In the video below she discusses the “homo-erotic appearance” of Jesus’ relationship with the 12 Apostles with — get this — a professor at Georgetown University. Georgetown University claims to be a Catholic school, run by Jesuits. Notice that the reason for this drubbing is that “bigoted” Christians support traditional marriage as it has been practiced for the past 2,000 years.
Even a casual watch of these videos should raise the question as to what is going on at MSNBC.
More specifically, what is it with MSNBC and Governor Sarah Palin in particular and Christians in general?
Are they mental? Or are they just so full of hate that they don’t care about how shoddy and cheap they make themselves and their news organization look?
You never know when the Pope might give you a call, so check your messages.
The prioress at a convent in Spain “literally wanted to die” when she checked the convent’s phone messages. Pope Francis had called the nuns to wish them a Happy New Year and the nuns missed the call because they were at prayer.
“I took down the message and passed it on” the prioress, Sister Adriana, said. “We told ourselves that we were fulfilling our duty. We never thought the Holy Father would remember us.”
Pope Francis is an old friend of several of the nuns in the convent, who are originally from Argentina.
Here, with English subtitles, is the message the Holy Father left.
The upside of the rampant twisting and manipulating of every word that comes out of Pope Francis’ mouth is that it is a testimony to just how relevant the Catholic Church, Jesus Christ and the need for moral legitimacy are in the lives of ordinary people, everywhere.
Name one atheist/satanist/politician/media star who is taken this seriously. Name one person, other than the Pope, on this planet who is taken this seriously.
The downside of rampant twisting and manipulating of every word that comes out of Pope Francis’ mouth is that the media’s deliberate twisting of things can mislead people who have a sincere longing for God into thinking that their sins are not, in fact, sins. This is no small thing, since it can deprive them of the chance to get right with the God Who made them.
A case in point is Pope Francis’ recent statement of concern about how we are to evangelize children who are being raised by gay couples. He simply asked the question about what is the best way for us to teach these children about Jesus, given the environment in which they are being raised. The press turned that on its head to become a quasi endorsement of gay marriage.
Not so. Not even close. Which is why the Vatican has stepped up to say that the press is manipulating the Holy Father’s statements.
The Church has always known that its mission is to bring Christ to the lost. All Christians, everywhere, know that we have a charge to reach out to those who are living their lives without Christ. The reason is because Jesus Christ is the Way to the Father. He is the Truth by which we must live our lives if those lives are to have eternal significance.
It would be the darkest form of child abuse to write off children — any children — because of the things their parents do, and thus deprive them of the opportunity to claim their inheritance as children of the living God.
I are not too swift, as we say in the Oklahoma hills where I was born. (Hat tip to Woody Guthrie.)
I had never heard of Baphomet. But my colleague Max Lindenman (who is not afflicted with dumb Okie-ism) immediately noticed that the proposed statue of satan which a group of satanists want to place on the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol looks a lot more like Baphomet than the angel of darkness.
Me, I was still rubbing the sleep out of my eyes and trying to digest the fact that satanists really want to put a statue of satan at the Oklahoma capitol. Their reason? According to an Associated Press story that reader Marcelle Bartolo-Abella sent me, they feel it belongs next to the plaque with the Ten Commandments on it.
I actually know the reporter, Sean Murphy, who wrote the AP story, and since we’re an insular lot down Okie way, that makes me think the story is not just a reprint from The Onion. It’s amazing how often these stories about atheists/satanists and their bizarre behavior come across as a comedy routine at first.
According to Mr Murphy’s story, we’ve also got a sign out there somewhere on the prairie telling unbelievers that they are “not alone.”
I place this satan-statue-on-the-Oklahoma-capitol-grounds idea in the same intellectual box where I keep my momentos from the Freedom from Religion crowd’s Keep Saturn in Saturnalia Christmas sign (which, according to some reports was “almost” burned down, an almost crime that led to the usual denunciations of “Christian bigots” in atheist circles.) It’s just great adolescent fun to go in your face with Christians, especially when you can do it in a way that demonstrates how you are guided by “rational thought” and such.
Despite it’s onion-esq quality, I wouldn’t be surprised if the statue question ends up in court.
I have already had quite a few suggestions concerning what to do about this statue, should it be erected on the capitol grounds. My favorite comes from a Catholic Patheosi colleague and involves me, the Rosary and outraged satanists.
I keep thinking about what my constituents would do. They don’t suffer fools, my constituents. A few years ago, pro abortion people tried to get a hate-on going against me by distributing scurrilous fliers to the good people of District 89, accusing me of various things. The pro abortion people never admitted this, but I know for a fact that they got jumped out pretty good. They were accosted and called names. One lady followed them down the street, yelling at them to get out of there and go back where they came from. (And she’s pro choice!)
Okies don’t like being meddled with. It’s not so much a matter of philosophy, as it is that we think we’re capable of making up our own minds without a bunch of outsiders coming in and trying to do it for us.
I’m not so sure that a statue of satan on the capitol grounds would have a long life, even if it went up. I don’t think the legislature would let it stand. I also think the public outrage would be protracted and heartfelt. Okies are peaceable people who don’t mind you believing whatever you want. That’s your business. But getting in people’s faces in the Oklahoma hills where I was born is a high insult. It’s not too swift.
Whaddaya think? Is it Satan …
… or Baphomet?
I planned on coming back today, but I need one more day of time-out, instead.
I have a frozen pipe thing going at my house and I need to take care of that first!
See ya tomorrow!