The “father of lies” is the one how is persecuting Christians today says Pope Francis. “We are living an ecumenism of blood.”
What does it mean to be Catholic in today’s world? There are many lies and distortions placed upon the Church by the world and the evil spirits that prowl it. So we must proclaim the truth loudly! from the YouTube posting.
St Oscar Romero was martyred while celebrating mass.
Can you think of a better way to go?
I have the privilege of speaking for the babies at Mother and Unborn Baby Care of Southeastern Michigan’s fundraising dinner this Thursday.
People who volunteer at crisis pregnancy centers are pro life heroes. Helping them in their life-saving work is a blessing and a gift to me.
If you’re in Southeastern Michigan, I’d love to meet you. Just be sure you bring your pen and checkbook so you can donate to Mother and Unborn Baby Care. $ for crisis pregnancy centers is $ that saves the lives of precious baby boys and girls. There’s no better way to spend your cash than that.
From Kathy Schiffer:
Oh my gosh, did I forget to mention this?
For the first time ever, Rebecca Hamilton–author of the popular Public Catholic blog here on Patheos and a former legislator in the Oklahoma House of Representatives–is coming to Southeastern Michigan.
Rebecca will be the keynote speaker at Mother and Unborn Baby Care’s spring benefit dinner this Thursday, May 28.
Her story will touch your heart: Not always a pro-life Catholic, Rebecca was the first Director of NARAL (the National Abortion Rights Action League) in the state of Oklahoma. But following her conversion, she went on to sponsor and advance some of the strongest pro-life legislation in her state.
To learn more about Rebecca and her contributions in defense of Life, check out my article in the National Catholic Register.
To visit her website, Public Catholic, click here.
And to get last-minute tickets to the Mother And Unborn Baby Care dinner, which will be held at the lovely San Marino Club in Troy, call 248.559.7576. The registration deadline has passed, but if you HURRY, I hope you’ll still be able to get a seat!
I haven’t paid much attention to the case of Josh Duggar.
I never watched the cable reality show that brought his family to fame. I am neither a fan nor a hater of this family. They just aren’t on my radar.
When Josh Duggar’s juvenile records were revealed, my mind was elsewhere. I was vaguely aware that the situation surrounding Mr Duggar had developed into another round of the culture wars, but nothing more.
Then, I realized that, based on what I’d read, Mr Duggar did not receive the legal protection that he was entitled to as a minor offender. That made the situation interesting to me.
Here’s what little I know.
Josh Duggar, who is a member of a large family that has a successful reality tv show, evidently engaged in some sort of sexual touching of young females when he was 14 years old. His father subsequently filed a report with the police about this behavior. There is no reported history of repeat offense.
Josh Duggar is now an adult. He is married and has children of his own. The police report from his past has surfaced. This police report has become a means of attacking the philosophy and religion of his family. This has led to a media feeding frenzy.
My questions about this do not concern the treatment Mr Duggar is receiving from the media. I am wondering why, since he was a minor at the time these things occurred, his records were made public in the first place.
There is a reason for sealing the judicial and criminal records of minors. That reason is simply that minors can and often do commit criminal acts and then never do it again. Adolescent offenders are actually likely to go on to lead productive lives.
I personally know people who committed crimes when they were minors and who have lived long productive lives as successful members of the community. I grew up with these people. Their actions as youthful offenders in no way represents who they are now. They, quite literally, grew out of their violent adolescence and went on to live productive and respectable lives.
Our juvenile justice system is based in part on the understanding that minors, in particular adolescents, have an enormous capacity for positive growth. They are in fact and in truth, children. Their ways are not fixed. With proper intervention and with love, they can and they often do, change entirely.
That is why we do not put minors in adult prisons and do not, with a few exceptions for specific violent crimes, try them as adults. It is also why we seal their records.
The reasoning behind sealing the records of adolescents who commit crimes or who have various problems is that adolescents are not fully formed adults. They are not culpable for their actions in the same way that an adult would be. They also have a much greater potential for successful and life-long reform than an adult would have.
Sealing an adolescents’ records is a way of giving them a second chance. When they grow up to be productive adults who do not repeat the behaviors that got them into trouble, it is considered that they have demonstrated successful reform. Sealing their records, or even expunging their records, is a way our legal system has of giving minors a second chance at life.
My question in the Duggar situation is why wasn’t this done with his records?
I understand that he and his situation are being used as a weapon in the culture wars. I also understand that these culture wars are ruthless. Josh Duggar’s past is a tactical weapon. It will be used as a tactical weapon. The law does not enter into that.
However, the law still exists. Josh Duggar was a minor at the time of these offenses. So far as I know, there is no record of a repeat offense. Why was the law not applied to Josh Duggar as it is to other juvenile offenders?
His records should have been sealed. In fact, they probably should have been expunged.
Culture wars aside, the legal protections that are available to minor offenders were, for some reason, denied Josh Duggar.
There are a lot of other questions I could ask about this, but I’m not so sure they’re pertinent. I honestly don’t want to know the details of what he did that got him into this situation. I also don’t care if his family’s television show stays on the air or not.
What concerns me is that he was himself a minor child when these events took place and his rights as a minor offender were, for reasons unknown, denied him. As I said, there is a purpose for these laws, and it is a good purpose.
Contrary to prevailing perceptions, most adolescent offenders actually do grow out of their problems. A recent PBS documentary claimed that as high as 80% of youthful offenders never repeat their crimes.
Actors Steven McQueen, Marc Wahlberg, Robert Mitchum and Merle Haggard are all entertainment industry examples of juvenile offenders who reformed. I’ve seen many adolescent offenders grow up and live productive lives.
The culture wars’ feeding frenzy notwithstanding, I have a question as to whether or not Mr Duggar’s legal rights as a minor offender were violated. So far as I know, we are dealing with a police report rather than a conviction, and this police report concerns the actions of a 14-year-old offender. If there are extenuating circumstances which required that his records not be sealed, I do not know about them.
This situation raises questions about youthful offenders and how they are treated generally. Most youthful offenders will not repeat their offenses. As Mr Duggar’s situation illustrates, youthful offenders who later become prominent citizens may in fact be facing a kind of social and cultural life sentence for their offenses if we do not seal their records.
Do we want to allow youthful offenders second chances, or do we want to treat them the same as we do adults?
That’s a question we need to consider. The situation with Josh Duggar illustrates just how serious it can become.
It’s Memorial Day.
Our big plan was to load Mama in the car and go on our annual cemetery safari, trotting around the state to put flowers on the graves of our dead family. We usually end up running into relatives we haven’t seen in a while for impromptu graveside reunions. We also enjoy the drive.
But springtime plans in Oklahoma are always subject to the weather. This year, the weather says that smart Okies stay off the highways.
Saturday night was another go round of storms and flooding. My husband went to vigil mass. The kids watch Mama every week so I can go to mass.
But, for some reason, I got sick. It was a funky sickness. I was just suddenly soooo tired that I told him I was too tired to go to mass. I know that sounds odd, but this was a tidal wave of tired, kinda like somebody reached out and thunked me on the head and said, “You ain’t goin’ to mass tonight.”
He went on, I stayed home, and the tornadoes and rains moved in. I ended up in the shelter with Mama while he was stranded on high ground, watching the flood waters roil around him.
In the midst of all this, Mama lost her teeth. Or rather, I should say that she hid her teeth and forgot where she hid them. We still haven’t found them.So it was tornado sirens, floods and hoisting a little old lady in and out of a storm shelter; all with an unending background of “I want my teeth.”
When my husband called, he said he was taking shelter from the floods in a car wash. I didn’t say anything to him. He wasn’t in a laughing mood. But between the teeth and sheltering his car from the floods in a car wash, I had a good laugh. I still laugh when I think about it.
Nobody was hurt. My husband was the only one who even got wet. Mama has gotten so she enjoys the drama of going to the shelter, kind of like a little kid. The only losers are our dead family, who, due to more incoming weather, will remain flowerless.
Here are a few videos of the good times for your amusement and amazement.
This is an area where we normally enjoy family recreation.
I know what you’re going to say, so let me say it for you.
Democrats for Life of America has issued a press release calling for Hillary Clinton to bring back the big tent and open up the Democratic Party to pro life people.
Now, for the response I know many of your are thinking: Fat Chance.
I am aware, in ways that most of the rest of your can only guess at, just how entrenched the pro abortion position is in the upper levels of the Democratic Party. I also am aware, again as I think most of you are not, that this does not represent the thinking of many Democrats.
The Rs and the Ds are alike in many ways. One of the most significant is that the upper reaches of both parties are far removed from the rank and file. In fact, the upper reaches of both the R and the D view the rank and file as rubes to be manipulated and managed.
So, if the upper reaches of the Democratic Party are so entrenched in abortion, is it really a “fat chance” deal to try to change it?
Somebody changed it in the first place.
The Democratic Party was pro life back in the 70s and early 80s. Again, I know this as most of you don’t. I have what you might call insider knowledge of how these deals came down and how we got where we are. I know because I helped create this monster.
Now, back to Democrats for Life’s call for Hillary Clinton to open up the big tent. I think their target is well chosen. Secretary Clinton is pro choice, no doubt about that. I don’t expect her to change on that, although I have to tell you, I pray for it. But she’s not a Christian-hater like President Obama appears to be. She isn’t a bigot.
Unlike President Obama, who has attacked religious freedom, President Clinton supported and signed laws guaranteeing the free exercise of religion. Both Clintons have been consistent respecters of religious freedom in their public behavior. This isn’t rhetoric. They have a track record.
Of all the Democratic candidates, I think Hillary Clinton is the best bet for opening up the party and allowing Democrats to think and let think once again.
Do not take this post an endorsement for Hillary Clinton. I will not endorse any candidate in the upcoming race. I will not make public statements about how I’m going to vote. I don’t vote straight party. I will say that much, but that is all.
My purpose in writing Public Catholic is not to promote more of the political heresy. It is to get Christians to think past the political heresy and follow Christ. Period.
That means I will step on toes from time to time. When I say that Hillary Clinton — who is the D that the Rs love most to hate — is the best bet for religious freedom within the Democratic party, that’s an honest assessment.
Will it work?
From my experience, calling people to follow their better angels never works in the short term. It is not — ever — a quick fix. But if you’ve got the guts and the persistence to keep doing it, you will find that it always works in the long run.
Not with everybody. There will always be people who cling to their dark side. But people respond to higher calls with incredible courage and power if they come to trust the caller.
I support this call to change the party. I have always supported it, and I imagine that I always will. If we can convert the Democratic Party, we can win this fight for life. If we do not convert the Democratic Party, the fight will never end.
It’s as simple as that.
Here’s the full press release from Democrats for Life of America.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEDIA CONTACT: Kristen Day
May 7, 2015
WASHINGTON, DC – – Democrats For Life of Americais urging presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to open the Big Tent of the Democratic Party to pro-life voters and to support neutrality on the issue of abortion in the Democratic Party Platform. The current platform not only supports abortion, but also supports taxpayer funding of abortion.
“Secretary Clinton once recognized that people ‘have deeply held differences of opinion about the issue of abortion, and she said she respected ‘those who believe that there are no circumstances under which any abortion should ever be available.’ We are asking candidate Clinton to open that door and issue in a new era of respect and inclusion for Democrats who hold these views,” said Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats For Life of America. “For the good of the party, we must re-open the big tent to include Democrats who support life from conception to natural death.”
In 1978, the Democratic Party held a 292-seat majority in the U.S. House, which included 125 pro-life Democrats. Increased partisanship over the pro-life issue—including the rejection of pro-life candidates within the Democratic Party—caused many of the pro-life Democratic districts to elect Republican candidates. In fact, the number of pro-choice Democrats in the House has essentially remained around 167. It is the number of pro-life Democrats that decreased from 125 to only a handful, leaving Democrats overall with only 188 members.
“Since the 1992 shunning of pro-life Democratic Governor Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, the Democratic Party has alienated its pro-life base. Polls consistently show that about one-third of Democrats—that’s 21 million Democrats—oppose abortion,” said Day. “If we are going to increase our base to win back the majority and keep the White House, our Democratic nominee must recognize the contributions of pro-life Democrats within our party and the diverse position of Democrats on the issue of abortion.”
That diversity of opinion is as follows:
- 61% of Democrats support parental consent for minors seeking abortion (Gallup, 2011);
- 60% of Democrats support a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking abortion (Gallup, 2011);
- 84% of Democrats support informed consent (Gallup, 2011);
- 49% of Democrats support an ultrasound requirement (Gallup, 2011);
- 59% of Democrats support a ban on partial-birth abortions (Gallup, 2011).
“We are asking Secretary Clinton and any other Democratic presidential hopeful to embrace a platform that fully represents all Democrats, not just those who support abortion,” said Day. “In the 2008 election, about one-quarter of Obama’s supporters self-identified as pro-life. These numbers are not trivial; they exceed many prominent and well-represented constituencies in the party. Electoral success for the party nationwide will depend on the enthusiasm of all Democrats, including pro-life Democrats.”
Fr Dwight Longenecker published a post today giving 12 of the reasons why he never argues with internet atheists.
I’m not as smart as Fr Longenecker. I’ve been drawn into several arguments with internet atheists, both on this blog and a couple behind the scenes. Those experiences have convinced me that discussions with internet atheists are useless. I’ve give a few reasons why I think this down below.
Here’s a sample of Fr Dwight’s thinking on the subject:
1. Most of the internet atheists I’ve come across are ignorant – I don’t mean they’re stupid necessarily, or that they are bad people. I don’t even mean they are uneducated in their particular field, but most of them are ignorant when it comes to religion. By this I mean they just don’t know stuff. I don’t blame them for that, I’m ignorant about rocket science, how to do a brake job on a car, the rules of cricket and micro biology and a pile of other stuff. However, religion is one of the areas I do know something about so it’s difficult arguing with people who think they know it all about religion, but don’t.
Indeed. I couldn’t have said it better.
Now, here are another 6 quick reasons for limiting arguments with internet atheists.
1. Internet atheist arguers have themselves been propagandized. As Fr Dwight said, (only far more elegantly) when they talk about Christianity, they don’t know what they are talking about. What they do is spout talking points and misinformation that they’ve been taught by other internet atheists. They exhibit the fanatical craziness and circular reasoning of cult followers.
2. Internet atheist arguers are like the Hare Krishnas at airports that people used to joke about, only they are rude and aggressive in a way that the Hare Krishnas were not. They have no sense of boundaries. They are usually — with a few exceptions — rude and even abusive with other commenters.
3. Internet atheists are manipulative and insincere in their online discussions with Christians. They demonstrate this openly when they go back to their own venues.
4. Internet atheists are part of a large and organized socio political movement that has as its goal the destruction of Christianity. That is where they get their incentive to behave the way they do, and it is why they are so aggressive and obnoxious in their dealings with Christians.
5. Internet atheists are — as a group — pushing ideas that are anathema to civilization. While individual atheists vary in these things, the group trope is all in support of any murderous social change being advanced. There appears to be nobody, with the exception of death row inmates, whose life they consider sacred. In addition, they support everything from gay marriage, to polygamy, to group marriage to you name it. They attack religious freedom, and seek to limit the free rights of Christians to practice their religion and engage in religious speech in the public sphere. The Freedom From Religion Foundation is an organized and public group, but the internet atheists are the backers and supporters of this movement. Public Catholic is not a forum for these ideas.
6. Internet atheists run the hate blogs that constantly engage in inflammatory Christian bashing. Most atheist commenters on Public Catholic are followers of and believers in that hate-filled bigotry. They come here from those blogs with an agenda of attacking Christianity and turning Christians away from Christ. This is the opposite of what this blog is intended to do.
Despite all this, I allow a lot of internet atheist commenting on this blog. First, if the commenter seems like a sincere person who is capable of individual thought rather than just repeating atheist talking points, I’m happy to allow them to discuss issues. Second, I do it for teaching purposes. Christians need to learn how to deal with these things and I try to provide a controlled environment, without the abuse, for them to do that.
I would actually welcome intelligent atheist conversation. The problem with this is that real atheism, as opposed to the cult-based socio-political movement that we are actually dealing with, is not much to talk about. You don’t believe in God? Okay. Next topic.
It’s a negative. You can’t prove a negative, and, at the end of the day, a negative is, by definition, narrow and self-limiting. Talking about atheism is really a one-sentence discussion.
A genuine atheist, again as opposed to a cult-follower of a vicious and destructive socio-political movement, would be capable of taking a variety of positions on issues concerning the sanctity of life, religious freedom, and social morality. These people cannot do that. They are lock-step dummies who just purvey the group think of their group.
Public Catholic is not a forum for leading people away from Christ. It is a forum for equipping Christians to withstand the bullying, hazing, bashing and mockery that is heaped on them by internet atheists, among others. It is a forum for encouraging Christians to follow Christ in all areas of their lives without reservation.
As I said, I allow a lot of internet atheist traffic on this blog. But I have no problem limiting it when I think it becomes destructive to the purpose for which I write Public Catholic in the first place.
This enrages many atheist internet commenters. Making comments in the comboxes of Public Catholic is not, as some of them have claimed, a First Amendment right. The free exercise of religion, speaking about faith in public venues, petitioning the government and free assembly are First Amendment rights.
Ironically, they argue vociferously against these actual First Amendment rights. The reason? Their hatred of Christianity has made them so irrational that they are willing to burn down their own house.
A year ago tomorrow, I cast my last vote …
… and walked out of the Oklahoma legislature forever.
I can honestly say that I have not missed getting up and going out there to do the people’s business in the year since. Not once. I have no nostalgia about the place, zero desire to go back out there and make those decisions, sit through those meetings, debates, wranglings and negotiations.
I can also honestly say that, while I’m loving my new life, I’m still working to get a handle on it. I didn’t stop being a Rep until the first of December. That’s when my true life of freedom began.
During that time, my mother’s dementia went from difficult to impossible to a living nightmare. Now, thanks to powerful meds, it’s moved back to a barely livable point somewhere between difficult and impossible. Taking care of her is just possible … just. If one brick falls out of the carefully-balanced wall between getting by and utter chaos, we go back in the impossible soup again.
Taking care of her has taught me something I didn’t know about before: The physical limits of me. I have found the break point in my own physical stamina, and I hate the thing. It’s not just the work of caring for her, though that is a mountain. It’s the stress and worry, the grief and guilt. Of all these, I would say that the grief is the worst. I miss my Mama, miss her with an ache that’s like a broken tooth in my soul.
In the meanwhile of my time, I’ve been trying to put together a writing life. If caring for Mama is the meat and potatoes of my life, writing is the gravy.
I don’t mean “gravy” in the slang use of the word to mean money. I mean gravy as in the fat, the seasoning, the oh-so-good part of the tough-to-chew-and-swallow that’s underneath.
There are days when I’m too tired to write. My brain is too mushy, my anxiety and worry readings too far off the chart, for me to make my brain work. Those are days when the physical/emotional limits I was talking about earlier have kicked in.
But most of the time, writing is a gift. I feel that God has gifted me with this work at this time. I thought at one point — as my ego-saturated little brain usually does — that I was the gift, that my experiences and insider’s knowledge gave me a message worth sharing. Now I realize that the gift was given to me, not the other way around.
Productive work that God has put in your hands for His purposes is always challenging and difficult. Or, at least it has always been such for me. It is also always a blessing.
The most important and most challenging work He ever gave me was raising my children. That truly is eternity work. It is also the hardest and scariest work I’ve ever done.
Now, I have the twin blessings of writing and seeing Mama home. He has taken me to a place where my ability to trust Him is challenged in ways I never encountered before. I had to re-learn about letting Him handle things with Mama, about trusting Him even when the road is going down, down, down.
My not-so-saintly self always wants to take charge and do everything. I want to be in control. I want to figure a way out of every corner, plan a path and set out on it. I am not a follower. Followership runs against my rebellious nature.
And yet my life is built around followership. I follow Jesus Christ, and often as not, I have to follow Him like a blind woman, hanging onto a rope. He teaches me this lesson. He taught it to me when I was a legislator. He taught it to me when I was raising my kids. Now He has to teach it to me all over again.
Writer’s block, which I’ve had a bit, is nothing more than an internal editor trying to run the show out of pace with the work. Putting the work in His hands does away with that.
The anxieties I’ve felt over Mama are just another dish of the same stuff.
It’s a trick, using all my existing skills and minting new ones to help her, and at the same time, leaving everything in Jesus’ hands. It’s even more of of a trick, minting entirely new skills to live a writer’s life and giving that work, like all the others, to Him entire.
On the surface, it sounds a bit like running a race while sitting in place; an unsolvable conundrum. But it’s not. Here’s what I learned as a legislator, a work that is nothing but unsolvable conundrums heaped on one another.
Get yourself prayed up, then go out there and fight with all you’ve got. Trust that He will be there and He will take care of you. It’s a matter of stepping out on the ice, ever single day.
It also works. If you pray and you trust and you just do your best In Him, the ice holds. You never fall through. And He will guard you in your ways.
Now, I re-learning that same way of living, only in a different manner. I’m not the saint who just does these things. I have to re-learn in every new situation how to work and trust, how to be the child of God that I am.
The key to all this is prayer, and the mass and Scripture. My way of getting through the legislature was simple. I prayed the Rosary every day. Read through the Bible every 15 months or so, and went to mass as often as I could. This held me together when I was a legislator and it is where I go now that I’m a caregiver/writer. Different problems: Same God.
Writing is the same as every gift that God gives. It is a gift, wrapped in a challenge, and it makes me a gift to others.
I think that is the meaning of vocation. Vocation is God, making us a gift to others.
God has gifted me with changing vocations as my life’s seasons change. He has given me every gift imaginable; life, love, health, family, home and work. But the greatest gift of all is that He has given me Himself. He gave me the great gift of His presence, His love, His Spirit, walking through life with me.
Every time God gives me a new task, which I think of as my vocation for my present season, it is a challenge. It is a gift with thorns, a velvet cross wrapped in eternal love.
I have not missed the legislature for one moment. The reason is probably because my life has been so full, the work in front of me so immediate, that my cup runneth over with wine that is both bitter and sweet.
I am seeing Mama home, seeing my young adult children into their lives (a parent’s work is never done) loving my wonderful husband and writing, writing, writing.
Eternity work. It’s all eternity work.
I had envisioned a much more leisurely time of it. I was going to write, travel, drink pina coladas and take up new hobbies. I planned on losing weight, getting in shape, joining the local camera club, taking up golf, maybe buying a horse, going on great trips and living the good ‘ole life.
Instead, I’m changing Mama’s diapers. I’m taking care of her because she’s my new baby. I’m also involved in my kid’s lives (their choice) in fruitful, loving and anxiety-making ways that I never anticipated.
It turns out that my grown kids want me around. They want to be with me, talk to me, share their joys and pains with me on a daily basis.
It’s all a gift, and a challenge. God has gifted me with so much that I’m worn out from it.
It’s been a year since I cast my last legislative vote. I had all sorts of things planned for my next life. But, as usual God had other plans. Harder plans. More important plans.
A dear friend of mine tells me that if you want to hear God laugh, just tell Him your plans.
I gave up planning a long time ago, because I learned that it does no good. Life has its own immediacies. Then, when I left the legislature, I forgot that lesson and made a caboodle of sweet and soft plans, marshmallow pillows all of them, for my glorious life of unending vacationing.
The United States Senate once again abrogated its responsibilities in favor of letting the Prez do it.
This, my friends, is how we got the imperial presidency. Congress accedes its responsibility because the vote is too “hot” or, as in this case, the corporatist interests want the deal that’s being done.
The Senate gave up the right to amend the Prez’ trade deals and just let him, you know, Rule.
Who’s the loser in all this? Why, you and me, of course. When the Rs and the Ds get together on their corporatism, we always end up in the dirt.
We might all stand on the West Coast and wave our jobs good-bye.
From the Huffington Post:
WASHINGTON — The Senate advanced President Barack Obama’s trade agenda Thursday, voting to end debate on bill that would grant the administration power to fast-track massive new pacts through Congress.
A number of senators objected to the process, complaining that they were unable to get votes on amendments they deemed essential to making sure that looming deals with 12 Pacific Rim nations and Europe live up to promises of helping U.S. workers.
But 62 of their colleagues disagreed and voted to halt debate anyway, setting up passage of the fast-track bill by the end of the week.
… Fast track, formally known as Trade Promotion Authority, would allow the president to cut trade agreements with other nations, then advance them through Congress with expedited procedures that allow no amendments, filibusters or delays, guaranteeing him simple majority votes.