Yes, I’m a Feminist. Why Aren’t You a Feminist Too?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Jay https://www.flickr.com/photos/jryde/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Jay https://www.flickr.com/photos/jryde/

I’ve received a few jibes lately from Catholics, claiming that I must be a feminist. These comments are usually full to the brim with what are either implications or direct claims that I can’t possibly be a good Catholic, since I am … you know … the culture wars f word.

Truth told, I am a feminist. I’ve written about it, and, indeed, made whole speeches about it in many public forums. I don’t hide it. I’m proud of it.

In fact, I have a question for those of you who think being a feminist is such a terrible thing:

In a world with widespread and endemic rape,

In a world with female genital mutiliation,

In a world where women constantly suffer degrading name-calling,

In a world where many men consider it their right to beat and batter women,

In a world where baby girls, both before and after they are born, are routinely murdered, simply because they are baby girls,

In a world where the President of the United States calls women pigs and dogs, hints at incest, puts his own wife in a porn photo shoot (which pretty much answers the question, Does he love her? with a big fat “no.”) and is a serial sexual predator who sexually assaults women and brags about it in what he calls “locker room talk,”

In that world, why aren’t you a feminist too? 

I wrote about this last week for the National Catholic Register.

Here is what I said:

Pope Francis recently made a few remarks about women in which he tried to describe the phenomena that I observed over and again when I was a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

He talked about women’s ability to bring “harmony” to the world. That isn’t how I describe it, but I think we are talking about the same thing.

The House District that I represented for 18 years had a large number of illegal immigrants. I refereed the arguments between them and the Anglos of my district on a daily basis. I was the one both sides called to settle disputes, help them with their problems, and often, just to listen to their gripes.

They taught me a lot of things, these magnificently good constituents of mine. They are wonderful, wonderful people, all of them. The hardest thing about leaving public office was worrying about who would take care of them when I was not there to do it.

One thing they taught me in a clear-cut way was the civilizing power of the female.

It is inaccurate to refer to the human race as “he,” or as “man.” Because the human race is not male.

The human race is also not female. It would be just as inaccurate to refer to all humanity as “her,” or “woman.”

The human race is not “man,” and it is not “woman.” The human race is men and women, male and female, together.

Take us apart, and we die. Literally. We go back to the half-humanity uselessness that is man or woman without the other.

I saw this in real-time among the illegal immigrants in my house district. Young men would wend their way across the border to find work. They were young, really just boys, and they were in a strange world with strange customs and a language they didn’t speak. They would rent a house and hole up together;  even 15 young men sleeping on floors and existing to work.

 They went out and stood on the corners or went to the right employment agencies and were hired as day laborers by the local businesses. There was no lack of work from businesses who wanted to pay slave wages. Then they came back, with money in their pockets and nothing much to do.It is to their credit that these young men didn’t usually do anything really violent. But they were trouble. All kinds of trouble. Because a group of men without women cannot function. They descend rapidly to the lowest form of their sex. If they hadn’t been believing and sincere Christians, it would have been much more difficult for me to manage the problems they caused, and they might have done much worse things.

Over time, they were joined by women, and as soon as that happened, everything changed. Men, without women, are a mess. They are dangerous, including dangerous to themselves. Their thinking runs along nutty lines of violence and swagger. They are destructive.

Women, without men hiss and spit and turn in circles.

But when you put them together, it’s almost like a science experiment when you combine hydrogen and oxygen to get water. Put men and women together and you get life. You get men who use their strength, aggression, and physical courage to protect, provide and build. You get women who use their incredible moral strength, intuition and insight to nurture and sustain.

Together, men and women are the creative force that has built all the good we call culture, society and civilization. Take them apart, and you get ultimate and uncaring destructiveness.

That is why we need both men and women in our government. (Read the rest here.)

 

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Is Jeff Sessions Confirmation a Tragedy for American Christianity?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Gage Skidmore https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Gage Skidmore https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/

In a move that I regard as a tragedy for American Christianity, the United States Senate consented to President Trump’s appointment of Senator Jeff Sessions as the new Attorney General of the United States.

They did this, despite Senator Sessions past as a Jim Crow public official. They did this after silencing Senator Elizabeth Warren for the heinous crime of reading aloud a letter from Coretta King, who is the widow of Martin Luther King, Jr. This letter detailed Attorney General Sessions’ Jim Crow actions as a federal prosecutor.

I do not know if Attorney General Sessions has since had a turn of heart and changed in his racism. I do know that the Trump apologists who supported him in their usual knee-jerk, anything-Trump-does-is-holy-and-right manner did not bring such things forward. Instead, they resorted to the trashy, bully-boy Trumpian tactics of mis-using their power to silence legitimate debate and commentary.

The sad and frightening thing is that so many Christians supported this. We now have an Attorney General with legitimate Jim Crow bona fides, and very public and outspoken Christians put him there.

This is not the first time that Christians have abandoned following Christ to follow Trump. It is just one item on a list that is beginning to be too long to list in a blog.

It began with their decision that misogyny was ok, if it was candidate Trump who was calling women pigs and dogs and attacking women based on their appearance. It took an irreversible step forward when Christians — including Christian religious leaders — decided that sexual assault was ok, if candidate Trump was the assaulter.

It also began with candidate Trump’s dark race baiting against Hispanic people, with his demonizing of them and using them as a vote-getter. When Christian people bought into this, they bought into open, frank and outspoken racism. And they liked it.

It began when Christians decided that a First Lady who had posed in porn photos, including girl-on-girl sex, was fine with them. It went a step further when it came out and was confirmed by the editor of the publication in which the photos were placed, that candidate Trump had put his own wife in a porn photo shoot, that he was, in fact, “eager” to do it. What kind of man does that? What kind of Christian supports it?

It began when the tapes became public of Donald Trump, private citizen, bragging and hinting at sex with his own daughter, saying that what they “had in common was sex” and that he wanted “to date her” and agreeing with a commentator that she was “a piece of a–.” Again, what kind of man does that? And what kind of Christian supports it?

It moved right on through Christians supporting the obvious lies of a sociopathic liar and carrying this to the point that they became co-liars along with him.

President Donald Trump has become an idol, a false god, for many Christians. This has reached the point that they actually judge whether or not people are “christian” based on whether or not they are willing to blindly support his actions.

The confirmation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions was a tragedy for American Christianity because it aligns American Christianity with Jim Crow racism. The presidency of President Donald Trump is a tragedy for American Christianity for a number of reasons.

First, because so many Christians, including Christian religious leaders, have been totally and abjectly willing to reject Jesus Christ when His teachings contradict Trump. They are willing to accept pornography, adultery, incest, sexual assault, misogyny and racism without a quibble. In fact, they are willing to attack people who abhor these things and claim that it is not Christian to oppose them.

They have conflated blind following of President Trump with following Christ, even when following Donald Trump leads them in ways of thinking that are diametrically opposed to the teachings of Christ. Catholics among them wave around some something or other in Canon law that they say requires Catholics to turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to the evils of this administration on pain of not being a “real” Catholic.

This is a massive tragedy for American Christianity. I fear that it may end up ushering in an almost total loss of credibility for Christian witness in our society.

The standard reply for these things is to say, “But Hillary,” or, “But Obama.” The theory seems to be that these people were so bad that they justify drop-kicking the Gospels and denying Christ His Lordship in our lives to follow a false god who opposes them.

That is specious nonsense. I realize that I cannot reach the people who are so besotted with Trump that they have turned their backs on Christ. That will take the Holy Spirit. Or, I fear, it will take them, suffering the consequences of their blind followership of this demagogue. I fear that in a selfish way, because it means that we will all suffer those consequences along with them.

All I can do is what I am doing, which is to say straight out and without reservation that I am not following any false god anywhere and I urge those of you who still have the wits to think to do the same.

I am not and will never be a member of the “Resistance.” That is just mindless destructiveness, with no purpose, no goal, no reason other than its own brand of mindless hate.

I am not and will never be one of the Christian Trump Worship Cult.

I am in total support of my Hispanic brothers and sisters and those who believe in women’s human rights. I do not follow anyone who supports sexual assault. I do not listen to them and I do not regard them as moral voices.

Women have the right to live and breathe in self-respect, without being accosted and violated by sadistic billionaires who ram their hands up inside them, who call them names and who treat them as things. This is a basic human right. It is at the core of of the Christian witness that there is no Greek nor Jew, no slave nor free, no male nor female, for all are one in Christ Jesus. 

It is a real-life manifestation of the fact that male and female created He them in the Image and Likeness of God.

I believe absolutely in women’s human rights, and freedom from sexual assault is a human right. I just don’t think that giving women the right to kill their own children is the way to achieve human rights for women. Abortion is a knee bending to the devil misogyny, an accommodation to discrimination and the sexual double standard.

Ironically, President Trump is the personification of both misogyny and the sexual double standard. He exemplifies the attitudes and behavior that led so many women to support abortion in the first place. If Christians follow him in this — and right now, many of them are following him the way they should be following Jesus — they will destroy the gains they have made in the arguments for life.

If we want to do something about the influx of immigrants from Mexico, all we have to do is choose the good, positive and Christian response of going to work to help Mexico solve its problems. We need a Marshall plan for South America in general and Mexico in particular.

Opponents of this idea usually say it’s too difficult. But what is “simple” about destroying this country with rage, hatred and unchained evil? What has the demagoguing from the Republicans every election done that has resulted in good? Has the racism of Trump resulted in a healthy country? Has it brought peace? Has anything good come from it?

Doing things the Christian way often seems like doing them the hard way. But, unlike the devil’s way, it always brings good results in the long run.

The confirmation of Jeff Session as our Attorney General was a defeat for American Christianity because so many public and private Christians blindly supported it. It was a defeat because all they had to do was say no to this man and demand that the president make another, better, choice.

We are besmirching the name of Jesus with our fidelity to political evil. We are doing this by putting our political allegiances before the one thing that should be our defining allegiance in every single thing we do. That is our allegiance to Christ the Lord.

I am aware that a lot of people are angry with me, and some of them are going to stop talking to me and begin hating me because I say this. All I can say in answer is that racism is wrong. Sexual assault is wrong. Misogyny is wrong. Compulsive lying is wrong. Demagoguery is wrong.

I know it.

And they know it.

Which is why they are willing to believe any lie to continue supporting these things.

 

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Music for Our Times Sounds Like This

Lang Lang playing the piano. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by digital cat https://www.flickr.com/photos/14646075@N03/

Lang Lang playing the piano. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by digital cat https://www.flickr.com/photos/14646075@N03/

I will never play this piece of music. It’s right up there with jumping the Grand Canyon flat-footed and breaking the sound barrier without an airplane.

In fact, I have to listen to hear it intelligently, and every time I hear it, I hear something else.

It’s Chopin’s Ballade No 1 in G Minor. I’ve taken to listening to it a lot lately, especially as it’s performed by various artists. It seems to speak of the times we are entering, at least to me.

Here is Chopin’s Ballade No 1, played in a grand manner by Rubenstein. This version includes the music so you can follow along as you listen. Be patient with it. There are a couple of written quotes at the first of it before the music begins. Notice how the Ballade changes constantly all the way through.

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Here it is, performed by Lang Lang. I love to watch him as he plays. He feels the music, is transported by it. His playing is more lush, with big emotionality.

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Here is a thoughtful interpretation by Martha Argerich. Do you hear the more introspective way she  approaches it, compared to Lang Lang, who is full-on with it? It’s also interesting to hear the difference in the pianos they use. Do you hear that?

YouTube Preview Image

This incredible piece of music talks to us through each of these artists, and what it says is a bit different, depending on which of them has control of it. Their genius shows in that whichever one of them is playing, they are not just pounding out notes. They have control — although you sometimes feel as if their control is just barely there — of the music in the notes.

I change my mind a lot about which interpretation I like best. They’re all so good, each in a different way. Do you have a favorite?

It amazes me that people can do this. Chopin heard this music before he wrote it, felt it before he heard it. These pianists are able to overcome the technical difficulties and complexity of this piece of music to master it to the point that they can then take it and put pieces of themselves back into it, making it their own.

We are wondrously made. Chopin wrote this wonderful music after the partition of his beloved country. He somehow managed to pull the longing, the chaos and the clash of this disaster out of the piano. The history of the Ballade alone nominates it as music for our times. But the Ballade itself reaches across the century and speaks of today as if then was now.

It is not a marching tune. You would break your leg, marching to this. I can’t even tell for sure which key it’s in a big part of the time. The Ballade is a technical power house that only a genius like Chopin could tame into a not-quite form.

As I said, I have to listen to even really hear it.

Such is the genius of the human being.

Of us, who are fearfully and wondrously made.

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Should President Elect Trump Repudiate His KKK Endorsement?

KKK cross burning, Gainesville GA, December 31, 1922. Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ku_Klux_Klan

KKK cross burning, Gainesville GA, December 31, 1922. Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ku_Klux_Klan

 

Note: It appears that the Trump Campaign has repudiated the KKK endorsement. Go here.

 

To what extent are political candidates responsible for the actions and beliefs of organizations that endorse them?

That question is pertinent to today’s political discussions because that old bugaboo of America’s nightmares, the Ku Klux Klan, has not only endorsed President Elect Trump, it evidently plans to hold a victory parade celebrating his win. Given that the KKK is not just any organization, but a group that carried out organized terror tactics, including lynchings and murder by other means, in a large swath of the country for generations, this is more than disturbing to any thinking American.

I don’t think anyone would be taking this so seriously if President Elect Trump had run a different kind of campaign. He engaged in race-baiting, female-baiting and over-the-top hate rhetoric throughout his campaign. We have all heard the tape of him bragging about committing sexual assault and we’ve all seen the testimony of a number of women saying he did this to them. President Elect Trump is not a nice man. His rhetoric and behavior are adequate testimony to that.

That fuels the reaction to the KKK’s enthusiastic endorsement of President Elect Trump. It raises the question in a lot of minds as to whether or not the KKK is correct in their assessment of what is going to happen to our country under his governance. It also provides those who oppose President Elect Trump with another way to attack him.

But the truth is that all sorts of organizations and people endorse political candidates, each for their own reasons. If the candidate seeks the endorsement of a group, then it’s fair to say that the candidate at least has some affinity with that group’s goals and purposes. Even then, it would be a mistake to say that the candidate absolutely agrees with that organization’s goals and purposes and will allow him or herself to be dictated by them.

I have not seen anything which indicates that President Elect Trump actively sought the endorsement of the KKK. He has not repudiated it, which, given the horror that this organization’s history raises in the minds of so many Americans, is a mistake.

Elected officials do not repudiate every errant endorsement they receive. It’s bad business to insult people when you don’t have to, and it would also be exhausting to list all the things you are not for. It’s usually better to just proceed with your job and let your work speak for itself. That may well be what President Elect Trump intends to do about the KKK.

However, the KKK is different from other organizations. It symbolizes America’s darkest failure as a democracy. It speaks of a time when a self-styled terrorist organization committed vigilante executions and other terror tactics at will, with no response from law enforcement. In fact, members of law enforcement frequently held membership in this organization.

For that reason, I think that it would be wise for President Elect Trump to disavow the KKK’s endorsement. The North Carolina GOP has already done so. The KKK is not like other organizations. It is America’s nightmare. It is especially important to repudiate the KKK given the kinds of policies our president elect has espoused and the campaign he ran to get elected.

However, even if he does not repudiate it, the KKK’s endorsement does not mean that President Elect Trump agrees with their beliefs. So far as I know, he did not seek their endorsement. He simply has not repudiated it.

In this case, I am going to do what people keep telling me I should do. I am going to wait a see if we witness a return to vigilante terrorism under the guise of the KKK in this country. A march to celebrate the election results is not a lynching. On the other hand, a march to celebrate election results by people who advocate lynchings is a chilling message.

I’m going to say it again: President Trump should repudiate his endorsement from the KKK. But even if he doesn’t, it would be a mistake at this point to assume that he will, as president, support a return to their brand of vigilante terrorism.

 

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Bishop Anthony Taylor Says It All

Photo Source: Arkansas Diocese

Photo Source: Arkansas Diocese

Bishop Anthony Taylor, the Bishop of Arkansas, wrote a letter to his flock that I think we all should read.

I knew Bishop Taylor back when he was Father Taylor here in Oklahoma City. He stood in press conferences beside me when I demanded that the House leadership allow a vote on pro life legislation. He was a powerful support for the Day of Prayer to End Violence Against Women. He was a signatory of a letter signed by the priests of our priest council saying they would go to jail rather than deny services to hispanic people.

This last was in response to one of Oklahoma’s own Jim Crow Against Hispanics laws — which I opposed with every ounce of energy I had — that were passed in a move to demagogue against Hispanics/illegal immigrants. Among other things, this particular law made it a crime to aid such people in any way, including helping them in desperate situations such as accidents.

I was proud to be Catholic when the priest council of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City unanimously signed a letter saying that they would be priests for everyone, and were willing to go to jail, if that was necessary, rather than fail as shepherds. Father Anthony Taylor signed that letter.

One of his first acts as Bishop of Arkansas was to write a powerful pastoral letter on immigration. Now, he’s written a letter to his flock that I think everyone should read.

Bishop Taylor’s letter directly addresses some of the things that hispanic friends have said to me; that this election was a repudiation of them as human beings, and that they can not see how people they know and have trusted could do this. As one man said, “I don’t know the people I’ve known for so many years.” Only a bishop who understands the heart of beleaguered people could write with this sensitivity.

I am particularly grateful to Bishop Taylor for including a statement about the misogynist attacks on women that were a hallmark of the President Elect Trump’s campaign rhetoric. I know that there are a lot of women who feel very much as many hispanic people do; that the acceptance of the hate-language aimed at them by our President Elect is a repudiation of them as people and human beings. It is particularly scalding for Christian women such as myself when their religious leaders turn a deaf ear to such vicious and degrading attacks on the female.

I was disappointed that the recent conference of bishops did not choose to address the sins of misogyny and sexual assault as a group. I hope that other bishops will at least attempt to remedy this on a one-to-one basis in their own dioceses.

Here is the letter.

Bishop addresses presidential election

Bishop Anthony B. Taylor released the following statement to the people of the Diocese of Little Rock regarding the 2016 presidential election on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016.

En Español

Many of us have experienced the recent presidential election as a mixed blessing. We are relieved that President-elect Trump opposes abortion and plans to nominate anti-abortion justices to the Supreme Court. Indeed, many people voted for him for that very reason. But we are also dismayed by his divisive rhetoric.

The purpose of this letter is to remind all of us that this election has not changed the mission of the Church in Arkansas. We believe in the right to life and the dignity of the human person from conception to natural death and at every stage in between.

Particularly painful was the treatment of women and Hispanics during this campaign. Pro-life is more than just anti-abortion. Pro-life includes respect for women, a special concern for the poor and vulnerable, and in the present context respect for the rights of immigrants and the need for comprehensive immigration reform.

First, I would like to reassure our Hispanic parishioners that while much of the campaign rhetoric was disrespectful and indeed openly hostile, you should realize that most Americans harbor no ill will against you and might have voted differently except for the issue of abortion or perceptions about the economy.

True, some people voted with hostile intent and the Church calls such people to set aside their fears and open their hearts to welcome you.

Others focused on your undocumented status and based their vote on what, from a Catholic perspective, is an excessively narrow concept of the rule of law, but with no real hatred against you. My message to you today is to trust in the Lord, who will continue to protect us and guide us going forward, if we will just listen to him.

Second, I would like to invite all of us to redouble our efforts to make our parishes a place of welcome, where all of God’s children feel safe and valued. I feel proud when people tell me that their parish is a place where they truly feel at home. I would like to encourage you to continue to do all in your power to get to know your fellow parishioners and try to help them with their needs.

And since immigration has resurfaced as such a divisive matter in today’s politics, I invite you to re-read my 2008 pastoral letter on the human rights of immigrants. Eight years have gone by, but nothing has really changed … and I might add, Church teaching hasn’t changed either. It is very important that you be truly informed as our nation deals with this issue going forward.

I am grateful that we will soon have a president who has promised to name Supreme Court justices who are opposed to abortion. Let us support President-elect Trump in this matter and other areas where his efforts promise to benefit the common good. And let us be the voice of the voiceless in areas where our advocacy can make a difference, especially in the lives of the poor and vulnerable among us.

Sincerely in Christ,
+Anthony B. Taylor
Bishop of Little Rock

– See more at: http://www.dolr.org/article/bishop-addresses-presidential-election-results#sthash.VcKvMRQY.dpuf

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You Don’t Burn Crosses on People’s Lawns for Sixteen Months then Expect Them to Forget It

Photo Source: Flickr creative commons by Gage Skidmore, https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/

Photo Source: Flickr creative commons by Gage Skidmore, https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/

I kind of had a meltdown before I wrote this. I’ve been listening to hispanic people I know and love express their grief and terror over this election. A couple of them told me they cried all night election night and that, even though they love our country, they no longer feel as if they know the people they’ve known for years.

I also have a deep personal horror of President Elect Trump’s treatment of women. I don’t really have words for how upset that made me, or how deeply alienated I feel.

Speaking of alienation, I feel betrayed to the core by our Catholic bishops — not, thankfully, my own Archbishop who DID address the attacks on women — because they did not use their teaching vocation to address these terrible things. I am heartbroken by the almost total lack of moral leadership from our bishops on such grave matters as sexual assault and racism.

Add to that my very great fears for this country under the governance of such a man — a man that I sincerely believe may have betrayed this country to a foreign power to get elected — and you get what I wrote here.

Apologies for the rant. I’m going to publish it because, one-sided as it is, I think it raises valid points that need to be discussed.

Here it is folks. Me, in a political rant.

You don’t put on your hood and burn crosses on people’s lawns for 16 months, then just call April Fool, joke’s on you, when you win an election.

America has elected its first Jim Crow president, and — surprise! — at least some of the people he targeted in his long, scorched-earth run to the presidency are refusing to go quietly into the night.

Protests against the prospect of four years of President Trump’s governance are springing up around the country. They are the logical reaction to the way he won.

I have no doubt that, if Secretary Clinton had won, other protestors would be out in the streets, going at her. It was that kind of hate-filled election. But she didn’t win. Or rather, she didn’t win the electoral college. She did win the popular vote.

What that means in real world thinking is that Clinton haters can put away their torches. Their bogeygirl is gone. It also means that President Elect Trump is facing an angry nation in which more voters voted against him than voted for him.

Our president elect tweeted that the protests against him are “unfair.” Then, in what I think is part of his new, “presidential” persona, he put out an upbeat tweet about being glad that Americans were exercising their rights.

I think he’s somewhat right on both counts.

Americans accept the outcome of elections. That is how we do things. If we don’t like the person who wins, we just fight him right down to the wire on the issues where we disagree, and we reload for the next election.

But we always — always — accept the outcomes of our elections.

These demonstrations are, as President Elect Trump said in his “presidential” tweet, Americans exercising their right to free speech. But they are also a reflection of the fact that about half the people are refusing to accept him as their president.

This is a visceral reaction to the first openly Jim Crow, openly misogynist, possibly traitorous president. Mr Trump became President Elect Trump by riding a racist, misogynist, Putin-loving horse into the White House. He ran a hate campaign from top to bottom, beginning with his racist birther claptrap from long before he was an official candidate.

He has plans for hispanics that mimic what Andrew Jackson did to the Cherokees. He belittled women and directed hate speech at them constantly, calling them dogs and pigs, and bragging about committing sexual assault. He announced that he would jail his political opponent, and he benefitted to the tune of a win from the Russian interference in the campaign in the guise of Wikileaks.

So … what’s not to like? Why would anybody be so unfair as to announce that this racist, misogynist, possibly traitorous man is less than what they want in a president?

That’s what President Trump and the people of this nation are facing. He has signaled that he wants to attempt a hard about turn into a more presidential persona. He has also consigned his “outsider” status to the ashcan by putting corporate interests in charge of key parts of his transition team.

In other words, he is already moving to dump much of what he said that got him elected, even as he goes to work using his manifest skills as a consummate marketer and demagogue to charm the people he has taught to hate him into liking him. He wants to govern this country, or at least sit in the White House in comfort without the sound of half the people chanting that no way is he their president drifting across the quiet of his breakfast table.

The problem with his change in persona is that the other half of the people — the ones who put him in office — expect him to keep his promises. He’s got to figure out how to wiggle out of his plans to build walls, deport millions, listen to the people instead of special interests, restore prosperity by taxing the poor to feed the rich, overturn Roe (which he can do, if he wants, btw) and destroying America’s international alliances in favor of Russia without losing the people — including President Putin — who got him here.

The standard political way to do this — and politicians renege on their campaign promises all the time — is to blame the opposition. “Them dastardly jerks on the other side overpowered my righteous fight” line of blather is politics 101.

It’s been working for pro life politicians who really want to keep Roe so they can use it in the next election for decades. It has worked out just great for other immigration demagogues who run hate campaigns, then turn to what they really want to do once they are elected.

Will President Trump be able to pull off the Svengali switch of convincing the people who supported him that his every failure is due to the nefarious and totally defanged Democratic party? After all, he’s only got the White House, both houses of Congress and the majority of state legislatures. How can anyone be so unreasonable as to expect him to succeed in delivering on his promises from a weak position like that?

He will probably pull off the Svengali switch, at least so far as his supporters are concerned. I’ve seen his supporters make up an imaginary Trump who is a good family man, a moral man, a patriotic man throughout this campaign. They have consistently denied every bit of factual evidence to the contrary to keep that faux Trump of their imaginings intact. Given President Elect Trump’s enormous talent as a demagogue, I have no doubt he can continue to convince them that the sun comes up in the west and the moon is made of green cheese for quite some time.

But there is still that other half of the electorate to deal with; the terrified hispanics with smoldering crosses on their front lawns, the women with scars from sexual assault by men like Trump who have degraded, attacked and hurt them. Those folks are not going to be so easy to persuade. They don’t think President Elect Trump is their messiah. They think he’s the spawn of satan.

And that is our misery, America. We have elected our first Jim Crow, openly libertine, misogynist, possibly traitorous president. We have handed him, not only the White House, but a clean sweep of Congress and the majority of state legislatures. That’s the same level of power that the electorate gave Franklin Roosevelt.

Will he use it to overturn Roe v Wade?

How is he going to wiggle out of his racist Jim Crow campaign against hispanics in order to keep the corporations happy with their cheap labor?

Will he continue to degrade women?

Is he going to create an environment in which misogyny and racism are the political/social zeitgeist?

I am all for him overturning Roe. I’m going to push hard to help him do it. I am also going to push hard to stop pro life people from falling for the lies when our pro life politicians try to get out of doing it — and they will. I’m already getting emails talking about how “tough” the fight is going to be, considering the nefarious powers of the opposition.

Remember this, going into the fight: Democratic senators and presidents have managed to get pro choice people on the court even when they didn’t have the majority in the Senate. If pro life politicians can’t manage to nominate and confirm pro life justices with a clean sweep like this, it’s not because of the Democrats, it’s because they don’t want to.

Politicians need abortion. Abortion covers for and excuses everything else they do, at least in the eyes of pro life voters. Without abortion, We the People might start looking at them without the fantasy thinking.

Christians abrogated every Gospel teaching and moral value we claim to believe except abortion in order to put this man in the White House. We have given him the power and the situation where it will be possible in the course of the next four years for him to nominate a Supreme Court that will overturn Roe. I only hope we have the guts to refuse to allow him and the Senate to weasel out now that we’ve given them the power.

As for that other little problem of having elected our first Jim Crow, misogynist, possibly traitorous president, my hope is that Christians will renew their Baptismal vows and stand for the whole Gospel of Christ instead of the pieces and parts of it that fit their politics.

The Christian witness in the larger society was damaged before the election. Now, it’s pretty much trashed.

We destroyed our authenticity as followers of the carpenter from Nazareth in this campaign. We confirmed Christian bashers’ worst estimates of us with our bland acceptance of whatever evil candidate Trump committed. I most emphatically include many religious leaders, including most of our Catholic bishops, in that column.

We sacrificed the Gospels on the altar of political expedience, and by doing that we won the battle of the election and lost the war of converting our society.

America has elected its first Jim Crow, openly misogynist and possibly traitorous president. America’s religious leaders tossed aside every single Christian value except being anti-abortion to support him.

The question is, what do we do now?

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Trump is Unfit to Lead America

Is Vladimir Putin helping Donald Trump win the race for President of the United States? This caricature of Donald Trump was adapted from Creative Commons licensed images from Michael Vadon's flickr photostream. This caricature of Vladimir Putin was adapted from a Creative Commons licensed photo from the Russian Presidential Press and Information Office available via Wikimedia. This background was adapted from a Creative Commons licensed photo from Jeff Ruane's Flickr photostream. The Russian symbol was adapted from a photo in the public domain available via Wikimedia. This bodies were adapted from a Creative Commons licensed photo from The U.S. Army's Flickr photo stream. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/28512617446/

Is Vladimir Putin helping Donald Trump win the race for President of the United States?
Photo Source:  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/28512617446/

 

The New York times broke a story yesterday that fits the pieces of Donald Trump’s bizarre foreign policy together. It also makes this election about a lot more than issues. It raises an ugly and unthinkable question: Is Mr Trump a Manchurian candidate of sorts?

Let’s talk background. What “pieces” am I referring to?

1. Mr Trump fired the campaign manager who had brought him successfully through the primaries and replaced him with a “professional” campaign manager of the right. This new campaign manager has a well-known background of working for campaigns in the Ukraine.

2. Mr Trump has said that he will truncate our NATO allegiances in favor of allying this country with President Putin and the Russians. Think about that: He’s talking about changing our historic alliances with Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy, and switching — willy-nilly — to allying this country with Russia, presumably at least somewhat against our former allies.

3. He’s blathered so much about his favorable feelings for President Putin that the press has talked about a “bromance” between the two men.

4. Now, according to yesterday’s New York Times article, he fired the campaign manager who successfully brought him to the nomination and replaced him with one of the most dubious of political hacks, who, it turns out, may have been given millions of dollars in cash from — you guessed it — the Russians.

I’ve been appalled ever since I first read about it about his his constant hinting at an incestuous relationship with his daughter, the fact that he put his wife in porn photo shoots, and the way he talks about women.

Christians need to be very careful about endorsing Mr Trump. Other people judge Jesus by the things we do and say, and they will inevitably conclude that our faith is worthless if we excuse behavior like this for political expediency.

There are certain levels of misogyny that Christians can not align themselves with, even indirectly and for what seem to be noble reasons such as the right to life. If they do so, they destroy the integrity of their witness for Christ and besmirch the causes they hold dear.

A man who hints at incest with his daughter and who puts his wife in porn photo shoots and who talks about women the way Mr Trump does has to be an example of one of them. His behavior is anti-Christ and we may not condone it, even indirectly.

Having said that, I want to go back to the points I made about Mr Trump’s foreign policy ideas and his campaign manager’s possible money ties to Putin. The question which comes to mind is simple and straightforward: Did Mr Trump sell this country out to Putin? Is he a Manchurian candidate?

If this story turns out to be true, it raises questions that are even uglier than the questions about Mr Trump’s hatred of women and use of them as sexual things. It raises questions that are worse (if such a thing is possible) than the degradation this nation will suffer if we elect a president who jokes about incest with his daughter and has put his wife in porn photo shoots. The question is, quite simply, is he a traitor to this country?

Is he talking about changing our foreign policy in draconian ways to the harm of this nation because of some nefarious money connection between him and the Russian leadership?

I want to emphasize that I don’t know that this is true. But the story in the New York Times, if it turns out to be true, points toward that being a possible explanation of Mr Trump’s outlandish foreign policy ideas, as well as his “bromance” with President Putin.

I do know that Mr Trump is not only unfit for the presidency, he is unfit for the endorsement or support of any Christian organization. I include in that organizations that are not specifically Christian but which hold Christian ideals.

I understand what I am saying. I know full well the debacle many of our causes face if Secretary Clinton wins this election.

But I am an American. From the top of my fuzzy hair, to the soles of my Okie feet, I love this country.

Mr Trump is unfit at any level to lead America.

 

Note: This post originally contained references to lawsuits filed against Mr Trump alleging that he held sex parties with teen-aged girls. A Public Catholic reader brought this story to my attention, calling that into question. For that reason, I removed references to the articles I had read from this post.

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As the World Gets Crazier and Meaner, Follow Jesus Christ

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Daniel R. https://www.flickr.com/photos/zonadearte/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Daniel R. https://www.flickr.com/photos/zonadearte/

I wrote this post for the National Catholic Register a few weeks back. Since then, the United States Supreme Court has stayed action on forcing girls in public schools to go to the bathroom with boys who identify themselves as transgendered. What this means in the long run, I can’t predict. I will say that unless we convert the culture, we are ultimately doomed to fail in the courts and legislatures.

 

Peoples is crazy. And they are getting crazier.

They are also getting meaner. And more deadly.

California’s euthanasia law locked on recently, allowing medical murder. The support for this law comes from claims that killing people is actually a kindness to them, and those who opposed this killing lack compassion.

New York City’s Commission on Human Rights recently released a “guidance” for employers and landlords, requiring them to learn a new language or be fined $125,000 for accidentally saying the “wrong” thing, and up to $250,000 for saying the “wrong” thing on purpose.

What does it take to fall afoul of this newness in employment behavior? Well, if you accidentally refer to a man who thinks he’s woman with the pronoun “he,” ka-ching! you’re out $125,000. If you do it on purpose, the cost will be $250,000.

However, it’s even a bit more complicated than that. You can’t settle the case by just calling “him” a “her.” There is what amounts to a new, legislated, language to be learned here.

It seems that men who say they are women, or women who say they are men must be addressed by such arcane pronouns as “ze,” and “hir.” Ze is supposed to be the third person singular, while “hir” is the third person possessive.

Also, if you have a dress code that differs between men and women, requiring, say, men to wear a tie, then you’re in for another $250,000.

Employers are required to provide health benefits for “gender affirming care,” and to make “reasonable accommodations” for “individuals undergoing gender transition.”

Then, of course, there’s the bathroom dealio. It appears that women employees in NYC need to adjust to going to the bathroom with any man who decides today that he is, in fact, a woman.

Meanwhile, the United States Departments of Justice and Education have issued a joint letter to public school administrators threatening them with loss of Title IX monies if they do not require little girls to share their bathroom and shower facilities with any boy who says he’s a girl. They are also required to destroy girl’s sports by allowing any boy who says he’s a girl and who wants to play on the girl’s teams to do so.

This little list doesn’t come anywhere near compiling the craziness afoot in our fair land. We all know that the two political parties have coughed up turnips in their presidential nominating process and that Congress has abrogated its duties in what appears to be a permanent commitment to partisan rabble-rousing.

We are aware that our elected officials don’t seem to care about this country except when they are campaigning for re-election, and even then not much. Our political campaigns have devolved down to myopic discussions of nonsense that are almost as crazy as the New York employment rules.

So what are we to do? How do we combat this fall into enforced nihilism, narcissism and flat-out reality-bending from our government?

Here’s how.

We stay the course.

What does staying the course mean?

It means, first of all, that we pray. I think it would be a good thing if we all started praying the Rosary every day. I try to do that, and it helps me a lot.

Then, we read Scripture, go to Mass and go to confession.

However, do not mistake any of those things for action. They are simply putting on the armor of faith so that we can take action.

Action, in a society as fallen as this one, means two things.

Read the rest here.

 

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Election 2016: Skip the Top and Look Further Down the Ballot

Photo Source: Pixabay, cco Public Domain https://pixabay.com/en/presidential-election-usa-politics-1336480/

Photo Source: Pixabay, cco Public Domain https://pixabay.com/en/presidential-election-usa-politics-1336480/

Warning: This post is not for children.

 

This is one of those times I don’t care what people call me. If what I’m about to write offends you, and you want to call me names for it, do your worst. Somebody needs to say this.

Publications and organizations who, in the public mind, speak for Christ, need to be very careful about endorsing monsters. This year’s presidential campaign has not given us a choice between black and white, or even between dark gray and lighter gray. It has given us a choice between shades of black.

If you are a person who votes based on your Christian values, then you do not have a candidate in this presidential campaign. Since we are Americans, we need to vote. But we should avoid creating faux versions of the people we are voting for in order to ease our cognitive dissonance about the political situation in front of us.

I’m not going to spend a lot of time dissecting the problems with the Democratic presidential and vice-presidential nominees, for the simple reason that they are not trying to lie about where they stand. They state their pro-abortion, pro-gay-marriage viewpoints, and there is no reason to doubt, particularly in the case of Secretary Clinton, that she means ever single word of it.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that this is one of our major problems in the political fight for the sanctity of human life. Their politicians mean it. They are dedicated to “saving Roe,” and most of them believe right down to the ground that they are “saving women’s lives” with their political activities.

Many of our politicians, on the other hand, just signed a dealio promising to be pro life because that is a requirement for them to get elected. Their commitment to our cause would change the moment their political party let them off the pro-life hook.

I’m not guessing about this. I know it. I’ve seen it. I’ve lived it in my daily life for 18 years as an elected office-holder, and in the years before that when I was the Oklahoma Director for NARAL.

That, more than any other single thing, is why the babies lose behind closed doors. It’s why our issues are always set aside for “more important” issues concerning whatever the tom fool the corporations want today. It’s why pro life advocates do not push for legislation concerning embryonic stem cell research; because the corporations don’t want it. Again, I’m not just blowing smoke here. I know these things.

On top of that, this year we are faced with a presidential campaign that does not give us a pro-life candidate to back. There is no legitimate pro-life voice in this campaign. Let me say that again for those who don’t want to hear it: There is no legitimate pro-life voice in this campaign.

A number of pro life advocates have latched onto Mr Trump’s running mate, Governor Mike Pence of Indiana, as their great hope. I’ve even read a few publications, building up his “Catholic” witness.

I’ve got what might be called a liability when it comes to that sort of political knee bending. I have a memory. I can remember all the way back to last year when Governor Mike Pence sold us out by deep-sixing Indiana’s Religious Freedom and Restoration Act.

I remember when Governor Mike Pence announced that he’d signed Indiana’s Religious Freedom and Restoration Act. According to IndyStar, the law prohibited “state or local governments from substantially burdening a person’s ability to exercise their religion — unless the government can show that it has a compelling interest and that the acton is the least restrictive means of achieving it.”

If he’d had the guts to stick with his action, I’d be writing an entirely different assessment of him today.

This bill is not about discrimination,” he said when he signed the bill with religious people in their full religious garb standing beside him for the photo op. In fact, he went on for a while, making all sorts of sanctimonious pronouncements.

Then, the money changers came calling, and Governor Pence did what his true bosses told him to do. He signed a second bill which gutted the Indiana Religious Freedom and Restoration Act.

There are a lot of names for politicians who crawfish like that, but courageous, honest and sincere are not among them. Neither is a description of a genuine fighter for family and the sanctity of human life.

At the same time, I have an adequate short-term memory. I’ve read that the nefarious internal DNC emails show that top-ranking Dems met with those who want to destroy our religious freedoms and — get this — brain-stormed with them on how to do it.

It is a legitimate position for traditional Christians to say that Governor Pence might be a weak-kneed, untrustworthy and two-faced advocate who has shown that he will deal us away; that we can’t trust him or rely on him and that he will probably do us in behind closed doors, BUT we at least have some hold on him, and at least he’s not out to get us. That would be a truth-based assessment of our situation.

It is also the reality of the choice in front of us. I don’t know, but I believe that Mr Trump chose Governor Pence as his running mate precisely because the corporatists who run both political parties trusted Governor Pence to do their bidding.

I think Governor Pence “earned” the vice-presidency with his willingness to betray us over the Indiana Religious Freedom and Restoration Act. He demonstrated, in a most public way, that he was the corporatist’s boy.

Secretary Clinton had achieved (a dubious achievement in my book) a realignment of corporate money, with a good bit of it, including $ from the Koch Brothers, going into Democratic coffers. And Governor Pence had demonstrated, in a most public way, that he was the corporatist’s boy.

Again, I don’t know, but I think he got where is for betraying us.

Now, let’s talk about the presidential nominees themselves. Again, I’m going to make short work of Secretary Clinton for the simple reason that nothing is in dispute. She is a pro abortion stalwart. When her husband was president, he helped pass the federal Religious Freedom and Restoration Act that her own party has been working behind the scenes to destroy.

What would she do as president? How would her Democratic party shape up on the issue of religious freedom? I honestly don’t know. I don’t think she’s out to get us the way President Obama has been. But she’s a political realist. If the party pressure is strong enough, she might turn and attack religious freedom as her predecessor has.

Mr Trump is not pro life. He has filled out a questionnaire from a major pro-life advocacy group in which he said all the right things. And he switched from being “very choice” to newly-minted pro life.

Now, I’m not saying that people don’t convert on this issue. I’m an example of that myself. But Mr Trump didn’t “evolve” (his word) on the issue until he was in the middle of this presidential campaign and realized that being pro choice was standing in the way of his winning the Republican nomination for president.

I paid a dear price for converting. My own party came within 50 votes of censuring me over it. Mr Trump switched when it was politically necessary and he did so in order to gain the Republican nomination for President of the United States.

He’s not pro life.

He’s also not pro family. I’m a little aghast that voters who support family values can go in the tank for a man who has been married three times, each wife looking like the last, and increasingly younger than him.

I’m flat-out disgusted that anyone who claims the name of Jesus Christ can support a man who talks about women like they are dirt, calling them pigs. But, for us to support a man who repeatedly jokes about having sex with his daughter? How can anyone support that?

Mr Trump has repeatedly made comments to the effect that his daughter, Ivanka, has a “great body” and if she wasn’t his daughter, he’d “date” her. If you can’t figure this out, let me clue you in: Normal men don’t make jokes like that. In fact, normal men would be inclined to punch other men in the face for saying things like that about their daughters.

Then, let’s talk about Mr Trump’s wife, our potential First Lady. Mrs Trump is a former model who has posed nude in a sex scene with another woman. I am not going to link to this article because the photos are pornographic.

According to interviews with GQ, Mr Trump was “eager” for his wife  (who was his girlfriend at the time) to appear in a yet another porno shoot for their magazine. Mr Trump evidently went so far as to allow the magazine to use his own jet as a backdrop for the photo shoot.

I thought about saying that Mr Trump has the personal morals of an alley cat, but that truly does insult alley cats. He jokes about sex with his own daughter, encourages his wife to appear in a pornographic photo shoot, has been married three times, and is pro life for political reasons only.

I’m going to repeat something I said earlier in this post. Those who, in the public mind, speak for Christians, Christianity and even Jesus Christ Himself, need to be very careful about endorsing monsters. They will end up besmirching the name of Christ.

Traditional Christians do not have a candidate in this year’s presidential election. But we are Americans, and we must vote. I think there are legitimate judgements that we can make that could lead us to casting a vote, but we have to do this with our eyes open and without lying to ourselves.

Do not lie to yourself and try to turn these straw men candidates into pro life, pro family pro religious freedom gold. Do not demonize them, and do not deify them. To use a slogan from Alcoholics Anonymous, accept reality on reality’s terms.

I don’t endorse candidates with my writing. That is not why I write. I want to make it as clear as I can that I am absolutely not endorsing anyone in this race.

I think we need to vote as best we can, but with the full knowledge that we’re going to have to watch whoever wins and be prepared to fight them for what we believe. We also need to look further down the ticket for our pro life, pro family, pro religious freedom leaders. Because there are none at the top.

 

Note: I ended up linking to the GQ photos of Mrs Trump, which are the ones Mr Trump evidently solicited the magazine to take. They are the least pornographic of the lot, and do not feature Mrs Trump in sexual behavior with another woman as some of the other photos do. I apologize but it was evidently necessary to let people seem at least a bit of this. If you want to avoid seeing this smut, don’t click on the link “another porno shoot.”

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Misogyny 1, Girl Athletes 0. Where are the Feminists?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons, Public Domain by Rob Royce https://www.flickr.com/photos/coopersvillebroncos/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons, Public Domain by Rob Royce https://www.flickr.com/photos/coopersvillebroncos/

Where have all the feminists gone?

It appears they’ve gone to political correctness, save for one.

I wrote a post for CatholicVote discussing the recent ruling by the Department of Education that girls who participate in sports in the Palatine, Il school district must pay for this privilege by showering with boys.

That’s a small simplification, but only a small one. The boys in question are young men who claim that they think they are women. These young men then demand that they be allowed to play on all-girl sports teams, and — get this — shower and change with the girls.

This is an abuse of the young women involved. It trashes the hard-fought gains that women’s sports have made. It subjects the girls to a forced sexual violation by requiring them to undress and shower in front of a male student.

Almost all “feminists” are either silent about this, or they are taking the side of the violators and abusers of these girls. There are exceptions, and I discuss this a bit in the post.

Here is an excerpt of what I wrote:

The United States Department of Education has given Palatine, Illinois School District 30 days to reach a “solution” that allows a “transgendered” boy who says he is a girl to shower with the girls. Failure to comply could result in the loss of federal Title IX funds.

The young man in question “identifies” as a girl. The school district has allowed him to play on the girls’ sports team. He is called “she” by school staff who refer to him by a female name. He says his “rights” are being violated because the school district asks him to change clothes behind a curtain rather than in front of the girls on the team, and to shower separately from them.

So. We have a teen-aged boy who says that he is a girl. He wants to play sports on a girl’s team and shower and change with the girls. If he is sincere, he’s mentally ill. If he’s not sincere, it’s possible that he’s found a trendy way to gain access to the girl’s locker room for the ultimate peep show.

I know this question is not politically correct, but do the actual girls have any rights in this?

– See more at: http://www.catholicvote.org/teen-girls-dont-need-this-new-form-of-mysogyny/#sthash.qk0o9XH4.dpuf

 

For more on this topic, check out my colleague Jennifer Fitz. 

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