When It Comes to Political Parties, Wise George Said It All

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/detail.php?ID=14476. Public Domain.

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/detail.php?ID=14476. Public Domain.

“However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

FAREWELL ADDRESS | SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 1796

 

George Washington cared about America. I honestly believe that differentiates him from just about everyone in a position of power in Washington DC today.

I include in that assessment the Congress, which is so enthralled with loyalty to political parties and personal ambition that they consistently put America last. They have abrogated their duties to author, debate and vote on legislation and by doing so they have created a presidency which is, right in front of our eyes, an elected dictatorship.

The American people themselves have become so devoted to their political party — and it does not matter which one it is — that many of them are willing to toss aside everything else they say they believe to follow these parties.

Christians toss Christian teaching in the trash to follow their party. Catholics attack the Pope because he says that some of the “teachings” of their political party are antithetical to following Christ.

The party in power — again, it does not matter which one it is — demands loyalty from its followers in a “fight” with the “other” side; a “side” which they tell us is nothing less than the spawn of satan. The party out of power — again, it does not matter which one it is — inspires almost hysterical loyalty from its followers in order to “fight” the evils of their “other” side, which,  of course, they say is the spawn of satan.

Both parties claim the moral high road. Both parties say that the other is evil incarnate. Both parties tend to tell the truth when they talk about the other party. Both parties lie, lie and lie when they talk about themselves.

I began writing Public Catholic because I understand politics. I see through things that most other people don’t even really see. I wanted to use this hard-learned knowledge to equip Christians to be more effective for Christ in the political sphere.

But I no longer believe that I have anything to offer that will be heard. My first message, and the one which I just don’t think can get through, is that Jesus has to be first. If you are unable to be around politics without becoming a slave to political forces, then you should stay away from it. Your vocation lies elsewhere.

The most important thing anyone has to do if they want to be effective for Christ in the political sphere is to follow Christ without question. You must follow Him even when it’s unpopular, even when it’s lonely, even when it’s the flat-out and obviously stupid thing to do.

Following Jesus means you follow Jesus.

It does not mean that you pull out lines in Canon law that you think exempt you from following Him. It does not mean that you parse and split the Gospels until you grind them down into some little masticated something that will allow you to ignore His commandments because you have adapted them to fit your political party’s cant.

Following Jesus means you follow Jesus.

You cannot blindly follow your political party and follow Jesus.

You cannot blindly raise up some political demagogue and make him lord of your conscience and follow Jesus.

If you want to follow Jesus, you have to follow Jesus.

Not lead.

Not dissemble.

Just … follow.

Jesus said,

You cannot serve two masters. 

If the master of your conscience, if that which informs your understanding of right and wrong, and tells you what to think and do is your political party, then you are not serving God.

There are many other sayings of Jesus I could use, but that one is enough for now. To be honest, I would like to quit doing this. I don’t think I’m getting through. But for now, it seems that this is my calling. To say what won’t be heard.

Wise George said it all when he told us that political parties would become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

He was prescient with that statement. We are watching it unfold in real time, right in front of us.

In the midst of this chaos and the deeper chaos that is coming, there is only one Way to turn that offers sanity, hope and a future. That is the Way of Christ.

But that Way requires that we stop giving over our thinking capacities to these two political parties. We absolutely must stop drinking down the mind-bending poisons of lies and propaganda that emanate from them and start thinking for ourselves.

If we do that, we will not all agree. Even Christians, who have the same principles on which they build their actions, will have different ideas about the best way to do things. That is the strength of human beings, that we are each original and that we each one think differently from everyone else. It is healthy, it is holy, for us to be the individuals we are.

It is democracy when we think together about things and work out our differences in open discussion and debate and then settle on a single best solution that is a pastiche, a compromise, of all our ideas. That is the power of the great engine that is our minds.

The blind loyalty to political parties, which are never acting for our good, unless it is by accident, cancels out both our own individual thinking powers, and the enormous power for good that is all of us, thinking together about how we can do what is best for everyone.

Blindly following a political party is offering up your greatest power, which is your individuality and ability to think, on the altar of nothing much. This little g god is like all other little g gods, in that it does not care about you.

When I first got cancer, I put an affirmation in my phone and scheduled it to come up every morning. Change or die.  That was what it said. Every morning I reminded myself that the way I had been living was, in reality, a way of dying.

America is at just such a pass right now. We are tearing our country apart over partisan loyalties. I’ve actually had people come on this blog’s comboxes and flat out say that they didn’t care what happened to the country, they only wanted to get the other side in the political wars.

There is so much hatred in our political world right now that it is scalding to behold. It saddens me more than I can say that so many Christians have given themselves over to this partisan hatred, that they behave as if their country doesn’t matter, as if the common good doesn’t matter, as if the Gospels don’t matter, just so long as they can get even with the other side of these political wars.

It doesn’t matter much which political party you belong to — and I know I’m going to get speeches here about how terrible I am for saying that — but it does not matter. What matters is what you do.

Follow Christ.

Follow Christ and Him crucified.

Stop following the little g gods of political parties and political demagogues.

Then you can be effective for Christ in the political sphere.

But so long as you blindly follow these little g gods of politics, you will be nothing more than a tool for the power brokers who own these parties. You will be a thing they use to help themselves.

Jesus said,

You cannot serve two masters. 

Think about it.

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Did Jeff Sessions Receive an Award from the NAACP?

Governor Mike Pence of Indiana and U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama speaking to supporters at an immigration policy speech hosted by Donald Trump at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Gage Skidmore https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/

Governor Mike Pence of Indiana and U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama speaking to supporters at an immigration policy speech hosted by Donald Trump at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Gage Skidmore https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/

Did the same NAACP that came out swinging against Senator Jeff Sessions’ nomination as Attorney General of the United States give him an award in 2009?

A photo of a plaque containing the words “NAACP Award for Governmental Excellence” is making the rounds today. The plaque, dated 2009, was found by an employee who was clearing out an office of Sessions’. It appears, from some of the photos, that the plaque was still in its box when it was found.

This photo is enough for those who want to be persuaded to decide that Attorney General Sessions is a changed man from the one Mrs Coretta Scott King wrote about in 1986. If you would like to read her letter, go here. You’ll have to click through to get to it, but I encourage you to read it in full.

For the record, and on the record, Attorney General Sessions labeled this letter “damnable lies.” That, and not this plaque, was his defense.

Personally, I don’t find the photo of a forgotten plaque all that persuasive, even if it turns out to be genuine.

Here’s why.

Public officials get awards all the time. They come in the mail, they are handed out at functions. They come raining in from everywhere. I myself have received awards from just about every group you can name, including groups that are diametrically opposed to one another. A photo of a plaque does not mean much, especially when the plaque meant so little to the recipient that they never took it out of the box and never produced it in their favor later.

I can tell you for sure that the awards that mattered to me got and continue to get more care than Attorney General Sessions gave this award. I cherish every award I got for pro life activities. I hung them on my office walls and have them still. I also cherish the awards I got from the firefighters and LULACS and for my efforts against violence against women. No one would ever find them in their original box. I’m proud of them and what I hope they say about me.

If Attorney General Sessions is indeed a changed man, we will know soon enough. We’ll know because a man who is not a racist cannot support some of the policies of this president. We’ll know because of what he does with the power of his office.

The plaque photo has caused quite a stir. A lot of people running are trying to trace it down. But the question of whether or not the National NAACP gave Attorney General Sessions this award appears to be settled. They did not.

Here is the NAACP’s statement concerning the plaque photo, emphasis mine:

“The NAACP is composed of more than 2,000 local and state units around the country.  Upon learning of the allegation that one of those units bestowed an award on Senator Jefferson Sessions in 2009, the National Office of the NAACP immediately undertook an investigation.  While we already have strong reasons to doubt that any such award was given to Senator Sessions, we will continue our investigation until we are confident that we know all of the facts.  What remains true and unchanged is the NAACP’s strong opposition to the nomination of Senator Sessions to become the next Attorney General of the United States.  The NAACP’s position against Senator Sessions is based on his decades of conduct as a prosecutor and, later, U.S. Senator from the State of Alabama.  In matters of civil and human rights, civil liberties, fair policing, voting rights, sentencing fairness, women’s rights, hate crimes and more, Senator Sessions has repeatedly demonstrated that he is clearly unsuited to perform the duties of an Attorney General in these crucial times.”

Snopes has been investigating the plaque photo and had this to say about it:

However, the above-displayed award has some unusual aspects to it. For instance, we found no record of anyone else’s having received an “NAACP Governmental Award of Excellence,” nor were we able to locate any reports (from 2009 or otherwise) regarding the NAACP’s honoring Sessions with such an award.

When we reached out to the NAACP for more information about the award, a staffer confirmed to us that the national NAACP office does not give out an award by that name as part of their regular honors.

Did a local NAACP office give Jeff Sessions an attaboy? That would be the same Alabama NAACP that staged a sit-in against his confirmation as Attorney General. Was it a gag gift from one of Sessions’ friends?

We don’t know yet.

We do know that he did not produce it in his defense, and he did not claim to be an award-winning civil rights supporter during his confirmation hearings or the debate that followed. We do have the NAACP’s confirmation of their opposition to his nomination based on what they say is a decades-long history of racism.

Whatever this plaque was or is, it appears that it did not mean all that much to Attorney General Sessions. He didn’t think it meant he wasn’t a racist. If he did, he would surely have used it to clear his name.

 

 

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Read the NAACP Statement About Attorney General Sessions’ Confirmation Yourself.

Dr. E. Faye Williams, National President/CEO of the National Congress of Black Women, speaking outside Mitch McConnell's house on Capitol Hill as the Senate votes on Jeff Session's confirmation Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Laurie Shaull https://www.flickr.com/photos/number7cloud/

Dr. E. Faye Williams, National President/CEO of the National Congress of Black Women, speaking outside Mitch McConnell’s house on Capitol Hill as the Senate votes on Jeff Session’s confirmation Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Laurie Shaull https://www.flickr.com/photos/number7cloud/

A photo of what appears to be an award to Attorney General Jeff Sessions from 2009 is being circulated. I’m not sure what this means.

As of now, I stand by what I wrote in this post concerning Attorney General Sessions. I do regard his confirmation as a tragedy for American Christianity because so many Christians chose to ignore his racist past in order to blindly support President Trump and whatever he does.

I also question the wisdom of nominating him in the first place. There are many people who could have been nominated who do not have the burden of this shady past concerning racism. I wonder what our president was thinking when he made this decision. It has an undeniable symmetry with the race-baiting campaign he waged in his quest for office.

I also think that Attorney General Sessions should not have been confirmed. If that had happened, President Trump would simply have offered another nominee. This surfacing of a photo of what may be an old award is indicative of the ugliness of Attorney General Sessions’ racist past. Whether or not he has changed is something that appears to be so debatable that his supporters (who are in reality Trump supporters, not his) are searching to find ways to refute it.

The fact that they have to search is itself an indictment of the man. If he had truly changed, it would be more apparent than that. Among other things, the NAACP would not have opposed his confirmation as they did.

Someone this dubious should not be the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. And Christians have no business blindly following any political leader the way they are following President Trump. Many of them follow President Trump, even when what he does opposes the Gospels.

Here is the NAACP’s statement following Attorney General Sessions confirmation. Read it yourself.

NAACP STATEMENT ON CONFIRMATION OF JEFF SESSIONS AS ATTORNEY GENERAL

FEBRUARY 9, 2017

Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III was confirmed as the nation’s 84thUS Attorney General this evening, despite intense opposition by the NAACP and hundreds of organizations due to his historically weak and questionable support for voting rights, police accountability and the rights of immigrants and women.

The NAACP mobilized its memberships and collaborated with partners to flood the Senate with millions of phone calls asking senators to oppose Senator Sessions. President and CEO Cornell William Brooks, Alabama State Conference President Bernard Simelton and Alabama branch leaders helped mobilize two state-wide protests involving hundreds of NAACP members, national staff, and supporters for sit-ins at Senator Sessions Mobile, AL office that resulted in the arrests of nearly 15 NAACP members and supporters.

Media coverage of these events created a groundswell of protests and direct actions against his nomination. Through the mobilization of our Washington Bureau, legal teams and national staff, the NAACP successfully fought over nine times in nine months to beat back racist voter suppression laws in North Carolina, Texas and other states that saved millions of votes.

Through our 2,200 branches across the nation and national partners and coalitions, we organized protests and rallies across the nation and utilized social media to create millions of digital impressions, retweets, and posts on Facebook and Instagram calling on supporters to demand that the Senate vote to #StopSessions.

In January alone, the NAACP earned in support of its #StopSessions campaigns gained 43,000 new Twitter followers, generated hundreds of posts earning over 14.5 million views and more than 370,200 engagements. With Facebook, our supporters churned out 573,000 page “likes,” and posts were seen 4.1 million times, while videos were watched 1.07 million times in January alone. These numbers represent the floor of our potential activity in mobilizing support for the protection of civil rights rather than its ceiling.

Despite all our work and the coalitions we’ve collaborated with, Senator Sessions was confirmed today along a clear red versus blue partisan line of52-47. Rather than hang our heads in despair, the NAACP will continue to hold the new AG and the Department of Justice accountable for enforcing protections against voter suppression, the use of consent decrees as a means of reigning in racism within police departments, protection of women’s rights and the humane treatment for immigrant communities and sanctuary cities.

The NAACP will call upon members of Congress and the committeesexercising oversight over the Justice Department to ensure that the senator does what he is supposed to do to protect the vote and to end voter suppression and police brutality.

While we vigorously opposed his nomination, the NAACP and our branches across the nation and around the world are committed to working with the new AG in the same way we have worked with all previous AG’s to ensure the consistent and diligent protection of civil rights.

###

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas 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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America is Breaking Apart Over the Polarizing Worship of Little g gods

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by New Life Church Collingwood https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlcwood/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by New Life Church Collingwood https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlcwood/

America is breaking apart over the polarizing worship of little g gods.

We the People have become idiots and fools who follow one banner or the other blindly, without thought. To do this, we lie. We lie about the factual world around us. We lie about those who disagree with us. We lie about ourselves. And we lie about the nature of Jesus Christ.

We have becoming willing to attack anyone — even the Pope — if that person disagrees with the ever-changing teachings of our little g gods. We claim with a straight face that we are the arbiters of holiness, and we posit holiness in blindly following one little g god or the other.

From where I stand, there is no moral difference between those who worship the little g gods of the left, or the little g gods of the right. They are both idol worshippers, and they are both living in a self-made cage of self-imposed delusion.

Sad to say, most Christians have abandoned following Christ to follow their political gods. They trim their faith to fit their politics and denounce anyone and everyone who tries to tell them that this is not faith at all. It is delusion. It is madness. It is turning away from the sanity of following Christ.

Those who say they are Christians do not denounce Christ directly. Rather, they denounce everything He said. They cut the Sermon on the Mount and His clear teachings about the Judgement down to nothing. They attack the Holy Father. They pick and choose among the clergy, reviling those who disagree with their politics and making new little g gods out of those who agree with it.

It does not matter if one has given their soul to a little g god of the right or of the left, they have given themselves over to a nihilistic anti-Christ who plunges them into a constant bath of rageful self-righteousness, irrationality and lies.

People are making themselves into self-righteous, hate-filled, irrational wretches by following these false gods of politics. All they have to do is all they ever had to do, which is turn back to the real Christ, the real Cross, the real Jesus.

I know that I’m getting a bit boring by saying this over and over. But it needs to be said. I would not want to not say it over and over, because it is the only Way.

We need to turn back to Christ. By that I mean the real Christ, not the political christ of our own devising. Stop following political gods, which you made yourself of your own worst impulses, and follow Him.

If you do that, you will take your first look in a long time at humility. You will be like someone waking up from a drugged state to look at the mental and moral shambles you have made of your internal self, and you will wonder, “What was I thinking?”

I am asking you to exorcise yourself from the demonic little g gods of this age and follow Jesus. It is an urgent plea based on a deep love for you that can only come from Jesus. Do not continue to throw yourselves away by following the little g gods of this age. Follow Jesus Who died on the Cross, Who preached the Sermon on the Mount, Who gave us this good man for this time as His Vicar.

I wrote about this for the National Catholic Register. Here is part of what I said.

Most Christians want a comfortable enough, get-out-of-jail-free kind of faith.

They want to go to heaven, but not now. Heaven is for the distant future, when they are very old and die in their sleep after having dozed off in front of the television.

The best of them go to Mass on Sundays and drop a twenty in the collection plate as it passes. They may even read their Bibles and say a quick prayer before grace.

But Jesus, the radical revolutionary who overturned tables and cast the money changers out of the Temple, who called the Pharisees “blind guides, leading the blind,” that Jesus is more than they want.

They are both afraid of and unwilling to follow the history-changing Jesus who moves societies by moving individual human beings.

They resist and even denounce the Jesus Who radicalizes His followers’ minds with counter-intuitive teachings such as “Blessed are the poor,” and “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” They don’t like the Jesus who said “You cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

That Jesus, the Christ, the God made human who calls us to be more than the petty greed and selfishness that is humankind’s pit in which we all wallow, is not at all to their liking. He is, at best, uncomfortable. At worst, He is convicting in ways they refuse to be convicted.

There are sins we readily denounce, and sins we love so much we are willing to denounce the priest who preaches on them and deny the Christ who judges us for them.

We don’t much want the Jesus of the Book. We want the comfortable, easy, other-people’s-sins-are-the-only-sins-that-matter Jesus that we can trim and shape to fit our lives and our politics so that we never feel a twinge of personal remorse or regret for any of our pet sins.

We do not want and will not accept the real Jesus who told the power brokering priests of His day that prostitutes and tax collectors would enter into the Kingdom of Heaven before they did. We want no part of the Jesus Who told the rich young man to sell all he had, give it to the poor and then come and follow Him.

The truth is, we want to walk past Lazarus. We want to do it because walking past suffering is a whole lot easier than stopping and stooping to care.

Following Jesus has a price that very few Christians are willing to pay. Following Jesus means going against the zeitgeist, stepping out of the parade and being different. It means not doing the popular thing, but choosing to do the right thing, instead. It means being inconvenient, both to yourself and to those around you.

At the very least, truly following Jesus means standing up in front of the gods of this world instead of kneeling down before them. It means walking away from the worship of the false idols of politics, wealth, power and fame and following Him. It means being an outlier in a society that demands absolute conformity with one viewpoint, one way of living and thinking, or the other. (Read the rest here.)

 

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Can You Do This?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Long Thien https://www.flickr.com/photos/136682034@N03/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Long Thien https://www.flickr.com/photos/136682034@N03/

I read that anti-Pope Francis posters have appeared around Rome. I have one question for those responsible:

Can you do this?

This is a video of the Holy Father, performing an off-the-cuff exorcism while going down a receiving line. The Church has real power over satan, and that power flows through the Pope.

I can put up posters. I have put up posters. Many times.

But I can’t do this.

Can you?

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Trump, a Racist Sexist? Well … Duh.

Rep Beth Fukumoto, in Chamber. Photo Source: File Photo, Hawaii Legislature

Rep Beth Fukumoto, in Chamber. Photo Source: File Photo, Hawaii Legislature

I feel your pain sister.

Been there. Done that. Got the press clippings, the extra 20 pounds from stress eating and the bloomin’ t-shirt.

Representative Beth Fukumoto, a Republican member of the Hawaii House of Representatives, is under fire from her fellow Republican legislators. Why? Well, it seems that she participated in the local Women’s March and made a speech calling President Trump “a racist and a sexist.” She even went so far — erroneously it seems — as saying that he had no place in the Republican Party.

Punishment from her colleagues was swift and nasty. She was removed from her position in the House Republican leadership, because, she says, she refused to stop criticizing President Trump.

That’s not so different from what happened to me as a pro life Democrat in Oklahoma. It’s the same group-think, my-way-or-the-highway bullying that makes surprising martyrs of people for simply following their consciences.

It is the opposite of rational thought and leads to very bad government.

According to one of her colleagues, Representative Bob McDermott, “She said our president is a sexist, is a racist, and that we have a bully in the White House.”

Well … duh … Representative McDermott.

Our race-baiting, sexual-assaulting, woman-hating, name-calling president is all that and more. He can’t even control his bullying in conversations with other heads of state. He’s called women pigs and dogs. He’s bragged about committing sexual assault, and had something like 11 women come forward to say he assaulted them. He put his own wife in a porn photo shoot and has talked about how he wants to “date” his own daughter.

He’s the kind of sleaze who gives sleazes a bad name. Of course he’s a racist. Of course he’s a sexist.

He got elected doing all this. He’s the prez. And, as a Democrat, I’m happy to say that he’s a Republican. I will also say that there are quite a few Rs out there who feel as I do and who have said so. That alone supports their party’s brand as the party of values.

As for Representative Fukumoto, she’s considering a switch to Independent.

I wish her luck, whether she stays an R or switches. We need more people of principle who will stand up for basic decency instead of going along with the party line.

From the Honolulu Star Advertiser:

Republicans in the state House of Representatives have ousted their minority leader Rep. Beth Fukumoto over her criticism of President Donald Trump, including recent comments that she made at the Women’s March in Honolulu last month.

Fukumoto, 33, said today that she is now considering switching over to the Democratic Party following this week’s actions by her Republican colleagues, which would further deplete the party of young leadership. She had been described as a rising star in Hawaii’s Republican Party, which holds only six seats in the 76-member Legislature.

Fukumoto (R, Mililani-Mililani Mauka-Waipio Acres) said that she had been told by a faction of her Republican colleagues that if she didn’t commit to not criticizing Trump for the rest of his term, they would oust her as minority leader.

She said she refused.

“I believe it is our job as Americans and as leaders of this body to criticize power when power is wrong,” she said during today’s House floor session.

On Tuesday, during a closed door session, House Republicans voted 3-2 to remove her from leadership. Voting in favor of the leadership reorganization were Reps. Gene Ward, Bob McDermott and Andria Tupola. Reps. Cynthia Thielen and Fukumoto voted against it and Rep. Lauren Matsumoto abstained.

The leadership changes were made official during today’s House floor session.

Replacing Fukumoto as minority leader is Tupola. Ward takes the place of minority floor leader.

Fukumoto sent out a letter to constituents in her district prior to today’s floor session telling them that she would like to leave the Republican Party, but said she wanted to get their feedback first.

Fukumoto spoke at the Jan. 21 Women’s March in Honolulu in opposition of Trump, including calling the president a bully.

“In the last couple years, I’ve watched leaders in the Republican Party become less and less tolerant of diverse opinions and dissenting voices,” Fukumoto said today in a news release. “Today, I’m facing demands for my resignation from leadership and possible censure because I raised concerns about our President’s treatment of women and minorities. I’ve been asked by both my party and my caucus to commit to not criticizing the president for the remainder of his term and to take a more partisan approach to working in the Legislature. That is not a commitment I can make. As a representative of my community, it is my job to hold leaders accountable and to work with anyone, regardless of party, to make Hawaii a better place for our families.” (Read the rest here.)

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Come On News Folk, Cover the March for Life

I love this one. The Hunters for Life sign is so Okie. I love Oklahoma. Copyright: Diocese of Tulsa. Used with Permission. All Rights Reserved.

This is a photo of the Tulsa March for Life a couple of years ago. I love this one. The Hunters for Life sign is so Okie. I love Oklahoma. Copyright: Diocese of Tulsa. Used with Permission. All Rights Reserved. 

Every year we march. Tens of thousands of us march for life in the cold and the mush, year after year. We march in Tulsa and San Francisco and Washington, DC.

And every year the news folk ignore us. This unprofessional black out is a big part of why so many pro life people do not believe them when they try to tell truth about other things. They have destroyed their own credibility with these people by decades of denial of what the marchers themselves have experienced, which is a huge outpouring of protest of Roe and love for the unborn.

This has alienated and bred mistrust in generations of pro life people concerning the mainstream media.

mrcNewsBusters is trying to do something about this. They have issued a call for the news networks to cover this year’s annual March for Life. Hopefully, it will bear fruit.

From mrcNewsBusters:

RESTON, VA – The Alliance for Fair Coverage of Life Issues announces its second annual #CoverTheMarchcampaign today, calling on the media to cover the 2017 March for Life and cover it fairly. The annual event held in Washington, D.C. draws hundreds of thousands of peaceful participants from all over the country. This year’s March for Life, Friday, January 27, marks the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion on demand.

The Alliance for Fair Coverage of Life Issues, a coalition of 25 pro-life organizations and two members of Congress was formed in 2016 in response to the consistently poor coverage media outlets have given to important, newsworthy life issues. Last year’s censorship of the March for Life (which received a total of only 35 seconds of coverage from the broadcast networks) confirmed the media’s contempt for those who don’t share their liberal social agenda. Since the media covered the pro-abortion “Women’s March on Washington” this year for 4,518 seconds, they should give comparable coverage to the hundreds of thousands of peaceful pro-life marchers.

Brent Bozell, President of the Media Research Center:
“This Friday is a true test for the media. They provided massive, and fawning coverage of the pro-abortion ‘Women’s March’ just four days ago. The media’s coverage of the ‘March for Life’ in two days, both in time and tone, will tell you everything you need to know about their support for abortion. With media’s trust in the basement, they will be exposed for the partisan hacks they are if they don’t give pro-lifers the same amount of coverage. I’m not holding my breath.”

 

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Pro Life Women Join the Women’s Marches

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Kimika Ying https://www.flickr.com/photos/kimikaying/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Kimika Ying https://www.flickr.com/photos/kimikaying/

Pro Life women marched alongside others in the Women’s March Saturday. I personally know pro life women who drove in from around the state to participate in the March for Women here in Oklahoma. I was surprised by how many of them told me they were going, and, frankly, by who they were.

These weren’t women who normally get involved in politics. They also aren’t the sort to go around carrying signs for anything, including pro life. They live their pro life convictions by not having abortions, even when it would be far easier for them to do so.

Several of these women have children that were born out of wedlock. They are raising their children without help of any sort from the baby’s father. Most of them have suffered domestic violence. Several are rape survivors.

All of them work at low-paying jobs and struggle to survive in today’s world. Participating in something like a march requires all sorts of adjustments in their lives, including taking off work and spending money for gasoline to drive across the state.

I was totally astonished when I heard that they were going to the Oklahoma March for Women, and that they were calling their friends and family members — including me — asking them to join up. I told them that I thought the March would be dominated by pro choice people. They told me that they were sure that they’d be welcome there.

I haven’t talked to them since the march, but I guess it all went well.

According to the National Catholic Register, pro life women went to the March for Women in Washington, as well. I can’t tell from the article how many of them there were. I doubt if anyone really knows.

What this means on the national level, I can’t say. But from a more local perspective, I think it’s clear that these Oklahoma women were listening when our president bragged about committing sexual assault and called women pigs and dogs.

I had no idea they paid any attention to it. I don’t talk about things like that with these women. But they heard it.

What that means, I don’t know, except to say (paraphrasing Jaws) that there’s an awfully big fish out there in the water that nobody’s paying attention to.

If pro life women and pro choice women can come together on issues like rape, violence against women, equal pay, and child care, the impact will be something no politician dares ignore.

From the National Catholic Register:

Pro-abortion messages were common Saturday, Jan. 21, as activists inundated the city for the “Women’s March on Washington 2017.”

But pro-life marchers were not hard to find in the mix, including those who took offense to the removal of New Wave Feminists from the official list of event sponsors and the abundance of signs and shirts emphasizing abortion rights.

Pro-lifers interviewed by the Register were there to make clear that feminism should not be about killing the unborn. They were there to emphasize how abortion disproportionately threatens the lives of girls in many cultures around the world.

Corrine Muldoon McKinney, a 70-year-old social worker from Finger Lakes, New York, slowly worked her way to the march with the help of a walker. She last marched in Washington 45 years ago, in opposition to the Vietnam War. She loves fighting for women and social justice. Doing so, she told the Register, includes opposing abortion.

“I just passed a sign back there [on Capitol Hill] that said, ‘We’re killing unborn women.’ You know, that’s exactly true,” she said. “We need to stop killing babies. We need to stop killing girl babies and boy babies.”

McKinney, a parishioner of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Canandaigua, Rhode Island, said she would unapologetically defend babies against abortion, regardless of what other marchers thought about it.

“This is America,” McKinney said. “Why would you disavow any woman or feminist organization for opposing abortion? That is a form of bigotry, and bigotry is what we are supposedly here to oppose. I’m afraid Planned Parenthood has a little too much influence over what is supposed to be a march in favor of women.”

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As Long as the Democrats are the Party of Abortion, They Deserve to Lose

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Daniel Lobo https://www.flickr.com/photos/daquellamanera/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Daniel Lobo https://www.flickr.com/photos/daquellamanera/

Now for a little palate cleanser.

I wrote this before either of my latest posts about President Elect Trump. But, publishing being what it is, it showed up after they came out.

Whatever the order of their publication, I think the summation of all these posts is that I’m thoroughly disenchanted with both political parties.

I’ve talked about converting the Democratic Party before, and what I’ve said seems to fall on deaf ears. Most pro life people just don’t seem to hear me when I say it’s the only real political action we can take that will work to convert this culture.

On the other hand, whenever I criticize the Republicans for their crazy policies and behavior, some fool always pops up to tell me I am not pro life and am going straight to the infernal regions. That reached it’s peak a few months ago when I was told that I was not only not pro life, but not even a real Catholic. Why? Because I directly quoted then candidate Donald Trump and linked to several of his unquotable-because-it’s-too-vile comments.

This came from someone who has stood up with me at press conferences, fighting for pro life legislation. But … evidently party loyalty and Trump trump reason.

The truth is, neither of these political parties is worthy of holding power in this great nation. They are both corrupt. And neither one of them gives a care about you and me. The public reaction to the constant stonewalling and overall bad governance we have received at the hands of both parties played a huge part in the emotional meltdown that drove the Trump campaign.

I’ve reached a point where I despair that We the People will ever wake up. Our predilection for looking for someone on a white horse to save us from the exploitative practices of the Rs and the Ds has led us into following anyone who yells loudly enough and will say things we want to hear. We follow these demagogues, even when they are clearly amoral reprobates and compulsive liars.

Meanwhile, the Democrats continue down the road of same-old, same-old. They just won’t open the party up to pro life people. In fact, they do everything they can to drive us away.

Where will it end?

What do you think?

Here, from the National Catholic Register, is my discussion about the Democratic Party’s closed door policy against pro life Democrats.

Recently, Democrats for Life sent me an email asking for money to help a pro-life Democrat who was in a run-off in Louisiana for the United States Senate. I donated money to the guy. It wasn’t much money, but it represented my best wishes and fading hope that we can one day reclaim the Democratic Party for life.

I didn’t pay attention to what happened after that, so it was a while before I learned that the Democrat lost to the Republican in this race, and it was a while after that before I looked into it to see what happened. It turns out that the Democrats practically abandoned their own pro-life candidate — which is emblematic of why so many Christians turned out at the polls in November to vote for a presidential candidate whose moral life might have disqualified him in another era.

These Christians felt compelled to vote for what was essentially the lesser of two evils. The reason they ended up backing Donald Trump was that they honestly (and with good reason) felt that Hillary Clinton was bound to continue the invidious attacks on them and their ability to practice their faith without government harassment that was so aggressively promoted during the Obama administration.

The behavior of the national Democratic Party leadership in the election in Louisiana underscores and upholds that fear.

The United States Senate is almost at a tie, with the number tipping by what before the election was a slender balance of one or two votes in favor of the Republicans. What that means is that there is a lot of raw power swaying first one way and the next in every single electoral battle for every single seat in that legislative body.

The election in Louisiana did not stand to tip the balance decisively. It would, rather, have narrowed the margin to one vote, instead of two. The Democrats, if they had gone to bat for the pro-life Democrat on the ticket in Louisiana, had the chance to run up their total to 49 senators.

But winning that senate seat would not have helped them oppose defunding Planned Parenthood. If the Democrats had gained that Senate seat, they would not have gotten a vote to buttress their war on the unborn.

Rather, they would have gotten a vote to strengthen the war they should be fighting, which is for the safety of America in the face of legitimate concerns about treasonous activity. They would have gotten another vote to keep the social programs such as Social Security and Medicare together. They would have gotten another vote on committees and the floor in key situations involving the breadbasket issues that the party should be focused on.

But, sadly, the Democratic Party is not focused on those breadbasket issues. It has become an outpost for those who equate abortion with feminism and claim that legal abortion is all there is to women’s rights. It has also, due to the direction in which President Obama has taken the party, become the think tank and the political leadership for official, governmental attacks on religious freedom in general and the Catholic Church, in particular.

A pro-life Democrat, even in a closely-balanced United States Senate, was so unwelcome, so antithetical to the true focus of the leadership of this once great party, that they did not lift a finger to help one win this important election.

The Republicans plowed into that senate race intending to win it. They put their money and their mouths behind their candidate. The Ds, at least the Ds at the DNC, sat the thing out. (Read the rest here.)

 

 

 

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