To join the discussion about Rise of ISIS, a Threat We Cannot Ignore, or to order a copy, go here.
Jay Sekulow has written a small, much-needed counter-point to the suicidal political correctness that infects almost all public discussion about the threat of ISIS and militant Islam. This political correctness has become a kind of censorship by means of name-calling and personal attacks that sink to the level of vendettas against anyone who dares step over the line to say that, yes America, we have a problem.
Mr Sekulow refuses to accede to this, and, in the process, puts forward his own viewpoint without weakening it with protective self censorship.
To put it bluntly, ISIS is a killing machine. Its brother violent jihadists, Hamas, are more specific in who they kill and how they conduct themselves, but, based on their own statements, there is little doubt that they would kill every Jew in Israel if it wasn’t for Israeli defenses. We are witnessing the rise of organizations bent on holocaust in a determined, multi-generational way. In a manner reminiscent the 1930s, these murderers have powerful apologists in the Western world.
These apologists launch personal attacks against anyone who steps outside their dogmatic assertions by labeling them bigots and trying to destroy them professionally. They have been absolutely successful in destroying civil discussion in our society and we are much the weaker for it.
The Rise of ISIS does not excoriate all Muslims. In fact, it makes clear that Islamic people who oppose these murderous villains are our allies in the fight against them. It also says something I think should have been acknowledged a long time ago: We do not need to shoe-horn American-style democracy into societies that are not ready for it in order to oppose these satanic killing machines.
ISIS is a living libel on the name of Islam. It disfigures the notion of faith and transmutes it into an ugly self-permission to murder, rape, steal, kidnap, enslave and torture the innocent. It seeks to deify the ungodly sin of genocide and to destroy whole civilizations. It is, at base, the claim of the right to enact soul-destroying, civilization-killing dictatorship, all dressed up in a phony guise of religious sanctity.
What ISIS really amounts to is putting one satanic man, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, and his satanic philosophy of death in control of wide swaths of the world. That this man claims he has the right to enslave populations of people under his “caliphate” because of his twisted ideas of religion does not alter the fact that this is a grab for absolute power by one man.
I recommend the Rise of ISIS, a Threat We Cannot Ignore. I do not see it as an end-point in learning about the threat civilization is facing because of violent Jihad. But it is a good beginning. The primary reason I say this is because it represents a viewpoint that is expressed without self-consorship to conform to politically correct dogma in order to avoid being personally attacked.
Honest discussion of issues of almost any sort has been obliterated in our society by the threat of personal attacks. I applaud Mr Sekulow for ignoring that threat and speaking out according to what he believes. More people need to do that.
The ACLU has declined to pursue legal action against The Hitching Post wedding chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho because the chapel only provides religious services.
Donald and Evelyn Knapp, owners of the Hitching Post Lakeside Chapel, were facing possible jail time and enormous fines that would have put them out of business because they do not offer same sex wedding services at their facility. The Knapps are ordained ministers in the International Church of the Four Square Gospel. The denomination’s teaching holds that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Leo Morales, ACLU Idaho’s interim director said Thursday that the organization would reconsider the decision not to sue “if the chapel were to offer secular services, such as providing flowers or cakes, or holding nonreligious ceremonies.”
While I am glad that the ACLU has decided not to pursue this case, Mr Morales’ caveats constitute an attempt to impose an undue limitation of First Amendment rights by threat of lawsuit. Are churches going to be forced to forgo all sales on their premises or the use of their facilities for “non-religious” purposes or face lawsuits trying to shut them down?
Does this mean that churches who open their buildings for AA meetings or hold bake sales to raise money for a new gym are running the risk of being drug into court?
For that matter, what about allowing church buildings to be used as polling places? Do you want to raise your taxes to build government facilities for elections in every precinct in this country? Or maybe, in small towns, we could just put the voting booths out in a field. I am quite certain that a failure to provide sufficient and accessible polling places constitutes a violation of the core Constitutional right of this nation: To engage in free elections.
I’m glad that the ACLU actually did something that appears to be in support of the First Amendment, but I’m extremely leery of them or any other organization using the threat of lawsuit to limit First Amendment rights in the way Mr Morales seemed to be attempting to do.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Tedesco, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, the legal firm defending the Knapps, says that the ACLU is “terrified … that the ordinance has been used in exactly the way we said it would be. The ACLU wants nothing to do with the worst possible set of facts that could result from one of these ordinances.” The ordinance Mr Tedesco is referring to is the non-discrimination ordinance by which the Knapps were being threatened.
From The Blaze:
The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho announced Thursday that it will not wage a legal challenge against Hitching Post Wedding Chapel, the for-profit business in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, that could be in violation of a local non-discrimination ordinance for its ardent refusal to marry same-sex couples.
Leo Morales, the ACLU’s interim executive director, said that chapel owners Donald and Evelyn Knapp — both ordained ministers — recently changed their business status to become a “religious corporation,” according to the Associated Press.
Morales made these comments during a press conference Thursday, noting that the newdesignation would likely exempt the family from performing gay marriage ceremonies so long as Hitching Post — which will remain a for-profit business — exclusively performs faith-based weddings.
“As long as a entity is conducting a religious activity, that is accepted. That should be accepted under the nondiscrimination law in Coeur d’Alene,” Morales told TheBlaze Friday. “Once that entity begins to offer other services that are secular services, we believe it then falls under the category of public accommodation.”
Photo Source: ABC News
New York City’s Police Commissioner has said that the hatchet attack that wounded two police officers was a terror attack.
It’s time our government officials were more forthcoming with the truth.
Let’s look at the line of events. Fort Hood. Boston Marathon. Oklahoma. Canada. New York.
It appears that the tripwire to truth was — finally — New York. I was beginning to wonder how long the American people were going to allow themselves to be bullied by the threat of being called a “bigot” if they said what was the obvious truth.
The people committing these acts do not represent American Muslims. That is a given. However, that fact does not mean that it has nothing to do with Islamic terrorism. If we are going to deal with the dangers of this world, we need to begin by accepting reality on reality’s terms. Refusing to acknowledge what is right in front of us can get more people killed.
The Facebook pages of both the man who beheaded a woman and severely injured another here in Oklahoma, and the hatchet murderer in New York were full of jihadist garbage. The man in Oklahoma was shouting jihadist slogans as he murdered an innocent woman.
Political correctness which seeks to censor public comment about these things in order to bring it into line with the fantasy pablum that these are discreet acts of workplace violence or random craziness is the kind of political correctness that gets people killed.
It appears, at least as of now, that the terrorist attack in New York, as well as the one here in Oklahoma, were unaffiliated. By that I mean that they do not seem to have been coordinated or planned by an outside terrorist group. They appear — emphasis on appear — to have been inspired by terrorist activities and rhetoric.
It’s interesting that these are converts to Islam, rather than people who were raised in the faith. I don’t know if that means anything. But it’s possible that the murderous behavior is partly a function of them not being integrated into the larger Islamic community. Again, I do not know.
What I do know is that we are beginning to see a pattern of a new kind of terrorist attack that is fomented by American Muslims acting unilaterally. At least two of the men who have committed these acts were relatively new to the religion, and, based on their Facebook pages, attracted to the most violent and murderous form of Islamic terrorism in the world today.
I am glad that the New York City Police Commissioner has what it took to say the truth. We can handle any problem that confronts us. But first, we’ve got to stop the vicious tyranny of thought and speech that is political correctness.
From ABC News:
A brazen daylight hatchet attack against a group of police officers on a busy New York street was a terrorist act by a reclusive Muslim convert who ranted online against America but had no clear ties to international extremists, the police commissioner said Friday.
Police were examining Zale Thompson’s computer for clues about a motive for the Thursday assault that left one of the officers seriously injured and ended with Thompson being killed by police. Police Commissioner William Bratton said Thompson’s browsing history included organized terror groups, beheadings and the shooting in Canada earlier this week that officials there have called a terrorist attack.
Thompson was not on any watch lists, and officials found no indication he sought any training or affiliation to any groups.
Bratton said investigators were trying to determine whether the attack was planned or spontaneous but believe Thompson was self-radicalized. His father told officials he converted to Islam about two years ago and was described as a “recluse” who had been depressed lately.
Bratton said he was comfortable calling it a terrorist attack.
“This was a terrorist attack, certainly,” Bratton said.
But he also stopped short of including the attack in the list of terror plots against the city since Sept. 11, 2001, saying the investigation was continuing.
Dr Craig Spencer, who had recently been treating Ebola patients in Guinea, has been diagnosed with Ebola.
Dr Spencer is in isolation at Bellevue Hospital in New York. Health care officials are attempting to reconstruct his activities in the recent past to identify people who might have been exposed to the disease. According to reports, “at least three people have been placed in isolation” as a result of this.
Among other things, Dr Spencer used the subways for travel the day before he began to show symptoms. That highlights the ease with which an infection can be spread in crowded cities.
From The New York Times:
A doctor in New York City who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea became the first person in the city to test positive for the virus Thursday, setting off a search for anyone who might have come into contact with him.
At least three people he had contact with in recent days have been placed in isolation. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which dispatched a team to New York, is conducting its own test to confirm the positive test on Thursday, which was performed by a city lab.
While officials have said they expected isolated cases of the disease to arrive in New York eventually, and had been preparing for this moment for months, the first case highlighted the challenges involved in containing the virus, especially in a crowded metropolis. Dr. Spencer, 33, had traveled on the A and L subway lines Wednesday night, visited a bowling alley in Williamsburg, and then took a taxi back to Manhattan.
Photo Source: Zale Thompson’s web site.
The New York Police Department is investigating a possible terrorist attack/murder of a police officer with a hatchet.
Police officers shot and killed Zale Thompson after he fractured the skull of Officer Kenneth Healey. Mr Thompson also injured a second police officer, wounding his arm. Also, a woman who was walking near the incident when it happened was struck by a stray bullet.
“There’s nothing we know at this time that would indicate that (Islamic terrorism) is the case,” NYPD Commissioner William Bratton told reporters.
Officer Healey is in critical but stable condition. The unnamed woman who was injured is said to be in stable condition.
Zale Thompson’s Facebook page isn’t as wide-open as the Facebook page of Alton Nolen, the previous Islamic terrorist murderer here in America, who beheaded a woman and grievously wounded another woman, in Oklahoma.
Newspeople who first looked at the page saw messages calling for revolution on American soil. Those messages have since been removed.
According to Fox News, this is an example of those messages.
America’s military is strong abroad, but they have never faced an internal mass revolt,” Thompson posted on the social media site. “They are weaker at home. We are scattered and decentralized, we can use this as an advantage. They are centralized and strong, which can be exploited as a weakness. Think of a swarm of bees (negroes) that surround and attack an elephant (America) to death.”The suspect also called for guerilla warfare.
Helicopters, big military will be useless on their own soil,” another post read. “They will not be able to defeat our people if we use guerilla warfare. Attack their weak flanks … If you get wounded who cares. If you die who cares. Eventually they will surrender and then the war will be over.
I wonder which lie we will be told about this latest attack. Will it be labeled the work of a “nut,” and a person who is “mentally unstable?” Based on what I know now, “workplace violence” doesn’t seem to fit.
Since this happened in New York, and two of the injured people were police officers, will that mean that the people who have been hurt by this attack will be treated with dignity and respect by our government? Or will they be swept under the rug and ignored the way that Colleen Hufford was?
I would imagine that the bigoted, dumb Okies media roundtables will not be transferred whole cloth to this incident.
We’ll just have to wait and see if the truth crosses any official or big-time media lips, or if the stonewalling and obfuscating continue.
Canadian authorities are doing something that American authorities appear to be incapable of doing: They are telling the truth.
They have named a recent hit and run in which Martin Rouleou-Couture used his automobile to murder one soldier and injure another at a strip mall as terrorism. The attack ended with the police shooting and killing Mr Rouleau.
Mr. Rouleau, who was Muslim, had been monitored by Canadian anti-terrorism forces since June.
According to police, he sat in his car outside a building housing military offices for around two hours before running over the soldiers. Mr Rouleau’s Facebook page evidently made statements supporting ISIS, and bashing Jews and Christians.
What is different about this and the beheading here in Oklahoma, as well as the murders at Fort Hood by Major Nidal Malik Hasan is that the Canadian government has not aggressively labeled it “workplace violence” or a “random nut” or some other mis-applied designation to avoid telling the truth.
I don’t know if Canadian talk show hosts have gone on air mocking and degrading everyone who dares to depart from the party lie that this is workplace violence, as they did after the beheading here in Oklahoma. I do know that if this was America, the national media would ignore the story if possible, and then, if forced to report it, would label it the action of a “lone nut.”
After the tawdry display over the beheading which happened here in Oklahoma, I no longer look to my government or most of the media for anything resembling truth about these things. They are engaged in propaganda. Nothing more.
Will the Canadian Prime Minister ignore the victims of this terrorism while sending high-placed government officials thousands of miles to read a greeting at the mosque where this terrorist worshipped?
Will both the government and the press diss the victims in this tragedy the way that the American president and much of the American media dissed both the victims and the people of Oklahoma when the beheading occurred here? I hope not.
Given that Canadian authorities are actually being honest with their people instead of attempting to propagandize and control them, maybe things will play out differently there. It would be way past good if it did.
America’s elected officials and media could both use a few lessons in honesty from somebody.
From The New York Times:
OTTAWA — A hit-and-run car crash that killed one soldier and injured another this week was a terrorist attack, Canadian politicians, police and military commanders all suggested Tuesday, saying it had resulted from another Canadian’s turn to radical Islam.
But little had emerged about why the man driving the car, Martin Rouleau-Couture, became radicalized last year or ran over the two soldiers at a strip mall in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, on Monday.
The attack, which ended with the police fatally shooting Mr. Rouleau, as he was known, came at a time when Prime Minister Stephen Harper, like most of his Western counterparts, has been vigorously denouncing the Islamic State movement and warning of possible domestic terrorist attacks. Mr. Harper’s government has indicated that it is about to introduce new antiterrorism legislation, a move that troubles some civil liberties lawyers.
But the death of Patrice Vincent, 53, a warrant officer, and the wounding of an unidentified soldier underscored the difficulty the police and intelligence agencies face when dealing with radicalized citizens.
Superintendent Martine Fontaine of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said at a televised news conference that a special antiterrorism force had begun monitoring Mr. Rouleau in June and arrested him a month later when he was about to fly to Turkey. He was released for lack of evidence that he intended to join a terrorist group. Meetings between the Mounted Police and Mr. Rouleau, 25, continued until Oct. 9.
I cleaned out my office the Monday after session adjourned.
My son and one of his friends drove over and carried it all out.
Now, after leaving them stacked up for months, I’m figuring out what to keep and what to toss from the things I brought home. I remember Princess Diana, after her divorce, selling all her old clothes. That was a smart move.
I’m going through a decidedly low-brow version of that this week. I’m tossing out clothes, shoes, books, files and all manner of things I don’t plan to ever use again.
In the process, I’m also deep-cleaning my house. My asthma has reared its ugly head after a couple years’ grace. I usually shampoo the carpets and clean behind and under all the places I don’t ordinarily clean behind and under a couple of times a year.
But I haven’t done it since before session started last year. Too busy. Too distracted.
Now, the asthma has brought it home that the carpets are holding dirt and the places back behind where I never clean are dusty, too. So, I’m going to take this place apart and put it back together again.
In the process, I will toss the detritus of my “official” life. The Representative Suits and all the stuff that goes with them are going to Goodwill. I’ve also got to figure out where I want to hang paintings and similar things that I brought home, as well as what shelves will hold which whatnots.
Some of these things are deeply meaningful to me, and I want them where I can cherish them as my life goes forward.
At the same time, I’m considering what software I need as a writer vs what software I needed as a legislator. The difference is the difference between a Honda Fit and an 18 wheeler. I used Microsoft Publisher to create my campaign literature, Microsoft Access and then later Filemaker Pro to run my databases, Excel to track financial records, and Word to communicate with my office.
I can’t think of a reason why I will need any of that going forward. I have, just by my daily usage, pretty well switched over to Mars Edit for blogging, Scrivener for book writing, Numbers for spreadsheeting, a free-form document filer for the research on my books called DevonThink Office Pro (Oh, how I love typing that phrase: “my books.) and a combination of Nisus Writer Pro, Mellel and Pages for word processing. My new database is a bitsy little thing called Tap Forms, which I use to keep such things as the serial numbers of my software, and smallish personal mailing lists.
If I had to cull it down to the things I really need for work, I could get by with Scrivener, Mars Edit, Pages, Numbers, DevonThink, Tap Forms and iPhoto. All of these (with the exception of DevonThink) are lightweight and inexpensive.
My only heavy duty software is Aperture and a suite of digital darkroom software from Topaz. But that’s not work. It’s hobby.
As for hardware, I have a desktop and a laptop and I use both. I plan to keep both. No way could the laptop handle the things the desktop does, and no way could I put the desktop in my purse and go.
I’m changing my life around the edges because I’ve changed it at the work core of it. It’s a bit discombobulating, going through such a fundamental change in my life. But it’s also exciting and liberating.
It took me a while to figure out what this lightness and happiness I was feeling actually was. Along with the files and the heavy-duty software, I was tossing away responsibility for tens of thousands of people. I grieved that a bit. I worry about my constituents, about who is going to take care of them.
But I have to let go of taking care of them and move on.
Aside from that, which is a little bit like sending your 5-year-old off to his first day of school, I feel incredibly light and unencumbered. I am awash with choices and the possibilities of new beginnings.
But it’s more than that. It took a while to figure it out, and then one day, it hit me what I was feeling.
I feel free.
Photo Source: Catholic News Agency
Remember the lies?
Gay marriage would not lead to polygamy, they said. But before gay marriage is even fully out of the gate, the court movement to legalize polygamy is afoot.
Gay marriage will never lead to ministers being forced to perform gay marriage wedding services, they told us. Well, so much for that one, too.
David and Evelyn Knapp, ordained ministers of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, have been told by Coeur d’Alene’s city officials that, due to their refusal to perform a gay wedding, they may face up to 180 days in jail and $1,000 in fines for each day they do not perform gay wedding services.
A lawsuit filed on the minister’s behalf by the Alliance Defending Freedom, says in part:
If the Knapps refuse to perform one same-sex ceremony for one week, they risk going to jail for over three years and being fined $7,000. If the Knapps refuse to perform one same-sex ceremony for 30 days, they risk going to jail for over 14 years and being fined $30,000. If the Knapps refuse to perform one same-sex ceremony for a year, they risk going to jail for 180 years and being fined $365,000.
The city is taking the legal position that the couple’s wedding chapel, which is called the Hitching Post Lakeside Chapel, is a “place of accommodation” that would is subject to the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance.
That’s kind of rich since the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel is a denomination going with over 8,000,000 members worldwide. There are 1,875 Foursquare Gospel churches here in the United States alone.
The legal basis for this contention seems to hang on the thread that the Hitching Post Chapel is incorporated as a “religious corporation limited to performing one-man-one-woman marriages as defined by the Holy Bible.” According to Fox News Radio, the Hitching Post Chapel is a for-profit corporation.
I do not know if Idaho law has a discreet entity called a “religious corporation” in its statutes, or, if it does, what that means. I do know that the City of Coeur d’Alene called these two ministers. Again, according to Fox News Radio, the city attorney claims that even ordained ministers whose church teachings do not allow gay marriage will be required to perform gay marriages.
I think it’s telling that two days after the Ninth Circuit issued an order allowing same-sex marriages, in Idaho, Pastors David and Evelyn Knapp received a phone call from the city advising them they had to perform gay marriages.
David and Evelyn Knapp are ministers who were ordained by a legitimate denomination.
According to the Gay Christian Movement Watch, here is the International Church of the Four Square Gospel’s teaching on the matter:
The Biblical record shows that sexual union was established exclusively within the context of male-female relationship and formalized in the ordinance of marriage. In the New Testament, the oneness of male and female in marriage pictures the relationship between Christ and His Church. . . . The Scriptures identify the practice of homosexuality as a sin that, if persisted in, brings grave consequences in this life and excludes one from the Kingdom of God.
The facade of lies in support of gay marriage is falling down, and it’s doing it quickly.
From The Daily Signal:
For years, those in favor of same-sex marriage have argued that all Americans should be free to live as they choose. And yet in countless cases, the government has coerced those who simply wish to be free to live in accordance with their belief that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.
Ministers face a 180-day jail term and $1,000 fine for each day they decline to celebrate the same-sex wedding.
Just this weekend, a case has arisen in Idaho, where city officials have told ordained ministers they have to celebrate same-sex weddings or face fines and jail time.
The Idaho case involves Donald and Evelyn Knapp, both ordained ministers, who run Hitching Post Wedding Chapel. Officials from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, told the couple that because the city has a non-discrimination statute that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, and because the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Idaho’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, the couple would have to officiate at same-sex weddings in their own chapel.
The non-discrimination statute applies to all “public accommodations,” and the city views the chapel as a public accommodation.
On Friday, a same-sex couple asked to be married by the Knapps, and the Knapps politely declined. The Knapps now face a 180-day jail term and $1,000 fine for each day they decline to celebrate the same-sex wedding.
A week of honoring their faith and declining to perform the ceremony could cost the couple three and a half years in jail and $7,000 in fines.
The Knapps have been married to each other for 47 years and are both ordained ministers of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. They are “evangelical Christians who hold to historic Christian beliefs” that “God created two distinct genders in His image” and “that God ordained marriage to be between one man and one woman.”
But as a result of the courts redefining marriage and a city ordinance that creates special privileges based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the Knapps are facing government coercion.
I had high hopes for the Synod on the Family.
I had hope that it would find ways for the Church to support and strengthen traditional marriage, that it would address the real problems of children of divorce who grow up with half their souls amputated by the constant roiling.
I had hope that it would take a look at ways to help people who are trying their best to follow Catholic teaching in a hostile world where one McJob won’t support a family, so both parents end up with with two or three jobs, leaving the children to raise themselves.
I had hope that the Synod would address the clanging juxtaposition of overprivileged kids in too-expensive Catholic schools staging walk-outs from their fine educations while inner city kids are forced to share textbooks and don’t even feel physically safe.
I had hope that the Synod would find ways to strengthen the family, not abandon and destroy it.
In truth, I not only had hopes for the Synod, I had trust in it. I believed in it and in the men who were participating in it. Now, I’m afraid of what they may do.
Here are 6 things I wish the Synod on the Family would consider that it doesn’t seem to be considering now.
1. Poverty and its deleterious effect on families. As I mentioned above, even here in America, poverty grinds families to bits. American children aren’t forced to scavenge in garbage dumps for food. But they spend most of their lives being raised by everything and everybody except their parents.
There is such a divide between the elites and the rest of this country that I honestly don’t think they know or believe what their policies are doing to ordinary people. Low wages and a stagnant economy caused by exporting our industrial base has led to the need for mothers and dads to work two or three jobs apiece, just to put a roof over their kids’ heads.
There’s no nanny or au pair for these kids. They end up raising themselves, and being raised by other kids and the second-rate schools they must attend. As soon as the law allows, they get McJobs of their own, often working long hours to help support the family. The resulting exhaustion often ends their education.
Too many of them opt out altogether. Their real family, their real parents, are the gangs and the other kids. They have no moorings to make decisions, so they fall into early and promiscuous sex, babies without dads, drugs and gangs.
That’s in America.
I’m sure it’s much worse — by powers of ten — in developing countries. After all, the reason our corporations shipped our industrial base overseas was to be in places where it could treat people any way it wanted.
Divorce among the working class and lower classes in America is a plague; as is shacking up and having kids out of wedlock.
It destroys families. And the destruction of families destroys lives.
Perhaps the Synod should look at what it can do to help Catholics who want to have families and raise them well but are crippled by poverty that makes living out their vocation a desperate and losing fight. How can the Church support families in the face of poverty and corporatism? I wish they’d look at that.
2. How the Church can actually teach its teachings to the people in the pews. Re-writing the Gospels to fit the times is not the correct pastoral answer. The correct pastoral answer is to take a look at why the Bishops have been such abysmal failures at teaching Church teaching.The arguments these men are having now are a direct result of their failure to teach in the past.
The Church leadership has gotten soft and disengaged. It has lost its missionary fervor. Its operating ethos is build-a-church-building-then-wait-for-the-parishioners-to-come. Follow that by preaching fine homilies that are nonetheless removed from the fact that ordinary pew-sitting Catholics are out there without ammunition or support on the front lines of a cultural war.
I don’t think that Catholic clergy really “get” what the Catholic laity is facing every single day. I don’t believe they understand the many social martyrdoms that many devout Catholics endure.
My hope is that the Synod could address this failure as it applies to the family and actually talk about how to help Catholic laity be the Light of the World that Jesus calls them to be.
3. Stop speaking in indirections and obscure language. I would love to see our religious leaders take the marbles out of their mouths and actually communicate in a straightforward manner. The flap over the relatio is a case in point.
I’ve heard comments that people are “stupid” for not understanding that the document is just basically minutes of the previous meetings and nothing official. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my dealings with the public, it’s that if you say it, and they don’t get it, it’s on you to fix that. Leadership is mostly a matter of being understood.
This inability to speak in simple declarative sentences may be a large part of why the bishops have failed so disastrously these past decades in their job as teachers of the faith. If I could make one reform of Catholic clergy it would be to teach them to talk to people about the faith from the heart.
4. Bring Catholic education back in line with Catholic belief, and provide it to the poor. Catholic education is losing its Catholic savor. It is also more and more the inaccessible privilege of the privileged. It smacks of hypocrisy to preach about “the poor” while shutting the doors to a good Catholic education in the “the poor’s” faces.
Catholic families of every social strata need the Church’s help in raising their children to be Catholic. If Catholic schools fail in this mission — and many of them are demonstrably failing horribly — then what are parents to do? By the same token, if access to a Catholic education is denied to parishioners who are trapped in the McJob syndrome, that will only quicken and deepen the destruction of their children.
5. Address the plague of drug addiction that destroys our families. Drug addiction destroys the personalities of the people who suffer from it, and it also destroys the homes and happiness of everyone they love. It is a plague that is filling up prisons, destroying families, leaving children damaged and too bereft to become functioning adults, and hollowing out whole societies.
It leads to corruption and massive violence on a governmental scale. If the Synod wants to help families, it needs to discuss ways the Church can aid them in their anguished fight against drug addiction.
6. Talk about Jesus, not one another. The priesthood is not supposed to be all about the priests. From the sex abuse scandal to some of the things I’m hearing from this Synod, the trouble stems, not from a lack of leadership, but a lack of followership.
Many of our religious leaders seem to think that their world is the whole world and that they have no need for the humble reliance on Christ that is the mark of true Christians the world over. My hope for this Synod is that its participants will follow Christ, and not each other. My number one wish is that our religious leadership would preach Christ. If they would do that, everything else would follow.