The Lives of Norma McCorvey and Michael Novak Testify to God’s Mercy

I wrote this post for the National Catholic Register a while back. I’m going to be sharing things I’ve written for them with you all week.

Have a holy and blessed, Holy Week, my friends.

Photo Source: National Catholic Register

Photo Source: National Catholic Register

Two historic figures finished their race last week.

Norma McCorvey (who was the ‘Roe’ in Roe v. Wade) and Michael Novak (who was a theologian, author, ambassador and economist) crossed over from this life to the next. They are now in the hands of God.

It would be difficult to find two people who led more different lives. Norma McCorvey is remembered more for what she did wrong — and that unintentionally — than anything she accomplished. Michael Novak has a list of accomplishments as long as his 83 years. One was a glittering jewel in the Catholic Who’s Who. The other lived as much of her life a thing-person who was used far more than she was respected.

Their lives were very different, but they went to their particular judgments before the same Lord. All I know about their lives is that they followed Jesus, and that love abides.

I also know that Norma McCorvey and Michael Novak have finished one of the hardest jobs of work that we must do. They have died.

Dying is not easy. It is painful. It is, even on the face of it and aside from the sickness, injury or age that precedes it, hard to contemplate, hard to face, hard to do.

Dying strips of us everything we thought mattered and releases the chaff of our lives to the wind, to blow and scatter and come to naught. Dying places us, even before we leave this life, in front of the hard realities of our lives. We know that we are standing before eternity and we know that there is only One Who can sustain us as we walk the road away from life and into eternal life.

Dying is hard. But it is also an opportunity and a grace. If we have time, we can say our goodbyes, ask forgiveness of those we’ve hurt and find peace with God. The time and space of the dying process is a grace, a chance, to heal our souls and become really, deeply, eternally well.

I am glad for Norma McCorvey and Michael Novak. Their tale is told, their work is done. They have finished their race.

I am not writing this post for them, but for you. I want to remind you of three things:

(Read the rest here.)

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Pope Francis’ Pro Life Message

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons. http://www.presidencia.gov.ar/

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons. http://www.presidencia.gov.ar/

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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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Trump’s Nominee to the Supreme Court: Who is Neil Gorsuch?

Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's nominee to the United States Supeme Court. Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons, 10th Circuit file photo.

Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee to the United States Supeme Court. Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons, 10th Circuit file photo.

President Trump has nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch, who is currently on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, for the Supreme Court.

Judge Gorsuch, an Episcopalian, has written a book in opposition to assisted suicide entitled, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia. In the book, he said “Human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”

Note the caveat he put in that statement, “by private persons.” I interpret that to mean that he supports the death penalty.

I think it is important that he wrote this book in 2006, which means he was not writing it to promote himself vs a vs this nomination.

He is married to his college sweetheart and only wife, Marie Louise. Mrs Gorsuch is originally from Britain. Judge Gorsuch referred to his wife as “Louise” in both his book and during the announcement of his nomination. The couple has two daughters.

I am particularly glad that Judge Gorsuch is a solid family man who has two daughters. I’m hopeful that this will give him an understanding of issues that pertain to violence against women and women’s human rights, in particular sexual assault and rape.

Judge Gorsuch has been roundly endorsed by such heavyweights as Robert P George, who has this to say:

Gorsuch and I have worked together on academic projects, most notably when I was the editor of the Princeton University Press book series for which he wrote “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia” — an impressive, deeply scholarly book that was praised by bioethicists (including the liberal Daniel Callahan and the conservative John Keown) as well as academic lawyers — in 2006. The book critically engages the work of scholars (including myself) across a range of disciplines and representing a spectrum of viewpoints. Gorsuch went the extra mile in ensuring that his treatment of the work of other writers — especially those with whom he disagrees — was sympathetic and impeccably accurate. His sheer fair-mindedness was the thing I found most striking about working with him.

In selecting Gorsuch, President Trump has without question fulfilled his pledge to appoint a justice in the mold of Antonin Scalia — a conservative intellectual leader. Even those of us who refused to get on the Trump train after his nomination have to acknowledge that. But one respect in which Gorsuch is unlike Scalia is that he is not fiery or pugnacious. Rather, his demeanor is scholarly — one might even say bookish. He is not a fierce debater. I recall being with him at an academic conference at which a graduate student contradicted and challenged a comment he had made. Far from bristling or even returning fire, he encouraged the student to develop her argument further, graciously acknowledging merit in the point she had made.

The one blot on his record that I have found is not his blot, but his mother’s. His mother, Anne Gorsuch, was the first woman appointed to head the EPA. She was appointed by President Ronald Reagan. During her tenure, she evidently ignored the agency’s statutory mandate by refusing to hear cases, and limiting regulations on toxic waste disposal.

She was later cited for Contempt of Congress for her refusal to submit documents. She resigned her position as head of the EPA.

This concerns me because of the heavy concentration of oil industry advocates in President Trump’s cabinet appointees. Oil independence is a matter of national security. But we must develop our oil resources with the common good as our goal, which means we must balance the demands of the oil industry with public needs and the public good. That will not happen if the industry has too much control of governance.

I haven’t written about this yet, and now is not the time. But I wanted to add that caveat to this round-up of praise for Judge Gorsuch’s nomination as a bit of a warning. When it comes to people, all our idols have clay feet of one sort or the other.

Having said that, I, for one, intend to get behind Judge Gorsuch’s nomination. Hopefully, the Senate will conduct reasonable and intelligent hearings on his fitness without the usual craziness.

 

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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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God’s Help Comes in Surprising Ways

Photo Source: Copyright Rebecca Hamilton, All Rights Reserved.

Photo Source: Copyright Rebecca Hamilton, All Rights Reserved.

Mama is now famous. Her photo is right there, big and shiny, in the National Catholic Register.

Bless her bones, she keeps on keeping on. I spent most of yesterday afternoon with her. We went out for hotdogs and drinks at our favorite drive-in. Then, we went to the bank drive-through and then we went to the library.

Throughout the entire excursion, she prattled along, talking to me about everything we passed on the way. As usual, she told me, “We used to live here,” as we passed several neighborhoods and houses where we never, ever lived. Then, she tossed in, “We used to go swimming here,” as we drove past a spring-fed pond where, indeed, we used to go swimming.

She’s a treasure and a treat and a blessing. I love her so much it makes my bones ache. Every day with Mama is a gift.

I had to make one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever made in my life after the cancer treatment got too much for me last year. But God, in His infinite kindness, has turned that tough decision into a blessing.

I wrote about all this for the National Catholic Register, which is how Mama became famous. I gave them a photo I took of Mama on one of our excursions to use with the article.

Here’s part of what I said:

Cancer is about more than the person who has cancer.

It’s also about the family and friends who gather around to support you through this illness, who walk with you and take care of you and, sometimes, hold your hand as you say that final good-bye. Cancer takes a toll on everyone. The unsung heroes of cancer are those the caretakers.

There is nothing easy about having a wife, husband, mother, father, son, daughter or friend with cancer. Not only are you stuck with taking care of them and adding the chores they did before they got sick to your already full list, you’ve got to face your own grief, fears of mortality and lostness; and you have to do it without the attention and support that is given to them.

Cancer is a tough bogie for everyone, not just the person who has the disease.

In my family, cancer was massively complicated by the fact that we were also caring for a 90-year-old two-year-old. My Mama, my sweet, wonderful Mama, had and has no idea that I was ever sick. She cruised through the early months of the diagnosis and treatment without picking up a thing, even though it was happening right in front of her.

In fact, she was sitting beside me in the car when the doc told me the pathology reports showed cancer. I had just picked her up from adult day care and was heading home when he called. I don’t know if it was a gray day, but I remember it that way. The doc and I talked back and forth on the speaker while she sat beside me and nattered on about the birds on top of the signal lights and the bright colors on the cars driving down the road beside us.

Not one word of it went into her addled brain, and for that I am profoundly grateful. One of the very real blessings of her dementia is that she did not have to suffer through what would have been the horrible knowledge that her baby had cancer. If she had known and understood her grief and worry would have been terrible. As it was, she never knew a thing.

That was the good part. The not-so-good part of caring for a 90-year-old baby with dementia was that she also gave no quarter to the burdens the rest of the family faced. (Read the rest here.)

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Trump Reinstates Mexico City Policy

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons, commercial use attribution license, by Gage Skidmore https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons, commercial use attribution license, by Gage Skidmore https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/

Yesterday, President Trump reinstated the so-calld Mexico City Policy. He issued an executive order banning the use of federal foreign aid monies by groups that perform or promote abortions as a method of family planning in other nations.

I believe that the original aid monies the ban addressed were put in place by President Richard Nixon. The first executive order banning these monies from going to groups that perform or promote abortions as a method of family planning in other nations was promulgated by President Ronald Reagan.

Reagan’s executive order stayed in place until it was rescinded by President Bill Clinton. It was reinstated by President George W Bush and then rescinded by President Barack Obama.

Now, President Donald Trump has reinstated it.

You can see the press announcement and read more about it here.

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Hyde Amendment Vote on House Floor Tuesday

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Ron Cogswell Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Ron Cogswell Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by

I am forwarding this alert from national Democrats for Life. Just click on the link at the bottom of the notice to ask your representative to vote “Yes!”

NO TAXPAYER FUNDING OF ABORTION ON HOUSE FLOOR TUESDAY, JAN 23.
Contact your Representative to urge a “Yes” vote
The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” this week. Pro-life Democratic Congressman Dan Lipinski co-sponsored the legislation, along with Republican Congressman Chris Smith.
The legislation will make the Hyde Amendment language permanent and ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to pay for abortion.
We urge you to contact your representative and urge him or her to support the legislation. If you do not know who your representative is, please click here and enter your zip code to find your representative.
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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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44th March for Life is this Friday. Be There or Be Square.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Art4TheGlryofGod by Sharon https://www.flickr.com/photos/4thglryofgod/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Art4TheGlryofGod by Sharon https://www.flickr.com/photos/4thglryofgod/

The 44th Annual March for Life will take place in Washington, DC this Friday.

Kellyanne Conway, senior counsel to President Trump, will headline the speakers list. Also speaking will be Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Benjamin Watson, tight end for the Baltimore Ravens, Abby Johnson, Karyme Lozano, Eric Metals and Bishop Vicent Matthew, Jr.

The march will begin at 11:45 am with a musical opening, followed by a rally and the actual March for Life at 1 pm.

There will be Silent No More testimonies at 3 pm.  Marchers will then have the opportunity to visit their Senators and Representatives in their offices.

For more details, go here.

Be there or be square!

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