The United States Supreme Court upheld Oklahoma’s execution by lethal injection law on Monday.
Justice Alito said that the prisoners who petitioned the Court “failed to identify a known and available method of execution that entails a risk of lesser pain, of all Eighth Amendment execution claims.”
“By saying that there are no alternatives available, that doesn’t magically make whatever you were doing acceptable,” ACLU executive director, Ryan Kiesel said in response to the ruling.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Executions in Oklahoma are already being rescheduled after the Supreme Court upheld the decision to use a controversial drug for lethal injections.
The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office is on one side of the debate, while the Oklahoma ACLU is on another, but it’s the offenders on death row who will ultimately see the results of this decision.
The first execution could be as early as August 5.
Richard Glossip, one of the men who said the drug is cruel and unusual, will now face his ultimate fate.
“It’s like you’re in a tomb,” Glossip said during a rare death row interview with News Channel 4. “Just waiting to die so they can finish it off.”
He, along with three other inmates, argued midazolam would violate the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment. It went before the Supreme Court.
I’ve read a couple of articles that seem to take this thing seriously. I’ve no idea why.
Someone has created a web site announcing that they are 6 weeks pregnant and demanding donations of $1 million to stop them having an abortion.
The web site is anonymous with zero details or corroboration.
My advice: Ignore this, and the articles being written about it. There are enough real things out there to raise your blood pressure. This deal isn’t one of them.
To look at the website, you can go here, but I wouldn’t advise it.
Here’s an excerpt of the language.
I am a twenty-six-year-old female and I am currently 7 weeks pregnant. I have every intention of having an abortion, but I’m giving you a chance to stop it.
… On July 7th I will start accepting donations on this page. I will accept donations for 72 hours, the same amount of time this state currently requires a woman to wait after a consultation with a doctor until she can have an abortion. If one million dollars is raised in those 72 hours then I’ll have the baby, give it up for adoption and every cent of that one million dollars will be put in a trust fund for the child, which he or she will have access to when they turn 21.
I’ll keep none of the money for myself …
…I will do my best to remain anonymous in this process as what I aim to prove has nothing to do with me personally. I hope to give the American public a concrete example that the conservative right in America doesn’t actually care about the life of a child
People still come to me for help, solace and advice.
It’s a natural adjunct to 18 years in public office in this community. People know me, and they’ve learned over the years to trust me. Not only that, they’ve formed the habit of turning to me when they want to talk about something they can’t discuss with the people around them because they know that I won’t, ever, talk about what they tell me.
I left office a year ago, but I didn’t stop being the mother confessor for a lot of South Oklahoma City folks. I don’t know if I ever will.
The Supreme Court sent a number of people my way since last Friday, all of them looking for solace in the face of personal attacks they had suffered because of the decision on gay marriage. They called me on the phone, approached me after mass, in checkout lines and while I was running errands. I also had internet encounters of the same type that went far beyond the boundaries of my community and my personal friends.
Here’s the summarized version of what they told me:
There was a lot of yelling and screaming in certain circles this weekend. It was directed at Christians in their personal, and, heretofore, safe personal relationships. It was also directed at priests who spoke about the decision from the pulpit. One friend, who gave me permission to discuss this, witnessed an ugly blow-up at a longstanding poker game she and her husband go to. The people there hold diverse opinions about matters of faith and morality, but they’ve been meeting for this friendly get-together on a regular basis for years.
This week, the atheists in the group refused to practice civility. They cursed the Lord, called Christians bigots and homophobes and were otherwise verbally insulting. According to my friend, this began with a celebration on the part of the atheists over Obergefell. She said she felt like, “OK, you won your deal, have your celebration.” She said the Christians at the table kept silent.
But when the celebration turned to repeatedly cursing the Lord and calling Christians ugly names, she said one of the Christian men told them to shut up. It devolved from there into two men squaring off to fight one another. At that point, my friend stood up and told them to stop it.
She said, “I’ve never forced my faith on you. I don’t come here with a Bible telling you what to do. But you are disrespecting me and my Jesus and I will not stand for it. You stop this now or my husband and I are leaving and we won’t be back.”
My friend is the most soft-spoken Hispanic woman you’d ever meet. I’ve never heard her raise her voice. Not once. Not ever.
She said the room fell silent and everyone sat back down. But she doesn’t think she and her husband will be back for more fun next week. They are through with the group.
I’ve heard stories of spouses calling one another names and people walking out of mass on their priests. I also had Public Catholic readers directly ask me what they should do in the face of this hate that is being directed at Christians.
I think that my friend gave a template for how to handle friends who are not family. We really need to stand our ground. If the people we call friends do not respect us enough to allow us the space and personal dignity to hold our own beliefs and act on them, then the friendship is on sick and sad grounds. I know from personal experience how painful this is. But there is nothing we can do but let them go.
That also goes for priests who have parishioners walk out on them when they teach what the Church teaches about marriage from the pulpit. Many of these walkers away will walk back later. But whether they do or not, priests must still teach the truth. They have a responsibility before God to protect their flocks from the error of grave sin. Silence in a situation where their parishioners are facing this kind of abuse is cowardice. It is a shepherd, running away to protect himself when his flock is in danger.
Family members are a bit more difficult. There are several gay people in my family and we’ve never had a problem. The reason is simple: We love one another. I may not support gay marriage, but when my gay family member has to go to the hospital or is in trouble with the law or just lonely and feeling bereft, they know that I’m there for them. I will sit in the hospital waiting room, go to the trial and hang out with them when no one else will.
They do the same for me.
What is politics, compared to that?
However, this sort of familial sanity does not prevail in all families. Children, in particular, are too willing to use their parents’ love for them, a love they do not doubt or they wouldn’t do this, as a form of blackmail. “If you love me, you’ll desert your faith and back gay marriage.”
Chose me, or chose Christ. That is the thing in the balance.
All I can say is that you must never stop loving people because they are jerks and bullies. But no one — no one – can be put between you and Jesus. Jesus has to be your first loyalty.
That doesn’t mean you lecture them or even try to get them to change. Even if you do this with the intention of saving their souls, it is still the wrong thing in this circumstance. They are too set on their downward path to listen. Their ears are stopped and their hearts are hardened.
All you can do is love them and continue to love them and reach out to them in love. That, and keep the faith with your faith in your own life.
Aside from the fact that Jesus Christ must be your Lord or He is nothing to you, what they are demanding is far beyond the right of any person to demand of another. It is a crude and vicious violation of your integrity as a human being, of your natural human rights as a person.
At bottom, it, as my friend said, “disrespects” you. I heard a discussion this weekend in which someone more knowledgeable in these matters than me said that these kinds of attacks on the integrity of another person’s soul are always an indicator of disrespect. They do not respect you and your right to believe as you believe.
Disrespect at this level is disrespect of you as a person. You have a responsibility to yourself, to God and to the person attacking you not to accede to this. Mutual respect is the beginning of genuine trust. It is the foundation on which all good human relationships are built.
If I cannot trust you to respect me as a person enough to allow me the dignity of making my own choices in matters as profoundly personal as faith and morality, then I can not trust you at all. There can be no friendship, no true relationship, without this basic level of respect and the trust that comes from it.
I don’t know if my friend should go back to her poker game or not. It’s possible that the people there heard her and that they will respect her in the future. But if they do not, she really does have to leave.
I know my friend well enough to know that she would take a lot of disrespect directed at her, personally. But she will not abide disrespect to Jesus Christ.
That has to be the bottom line for all of us. Even the most co-dependent among us must stand for Christ in these times.
Do it in love. If you love someone, give yourself the freedom to keep on loving them. Never send someone who is really close to you away. If they leave, that is their choice. But when and if they decide to come back, welcome them home with the same love you felt before they left, and then let the past go.
Love hurts in times like this. The people we love are the ones who can and will nail us to the cross. But if our first love is Jesus, He will help us through this. Stay the course, my friends. On the other side of this Gethsemane, you will find that your faith in Him is stronger, your walk with Him closer, your love of Him, deeper.
You may lose trust in the people around you, but your trust in Him is a rock on which you can build your life.
The United States Supreme Court has stopped implementation of a Texas abortion law that would require abortion clinics to provide the same safety standards for women seeking abortions as other outpatient surgery clinics are required to provide for their patients.
From The Texas Tribune:
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday sided with Texas abortion providers and temporarily put on hold a ruling that would have closed 10 of the state’s 19 abortion facilities.
Abortion restrictions passed by the Texas Legislature in 2013 — and set to go into effect Wednesday — would have required Texas’ abortion facilities to meet hospital-like standards, including minimum sizes for rooms and doorways, pipelines for anesthesia and other infrastructure. The nine Texas abortion clinics that meet those standards are all in major metropolitan areas.
On June 9, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld most provisions of the state’s strict abortion law, and then denied a request from abortion providers to delay the implementation of the abortion restrictions until they appealed to the high court. Abortion providers then turned to the Supreme Court, asking it to intervene before the restrictions went into effect.
Attorneys for the abortion providers said that the Supreme Court’s order also blocked the state from enforcing a separate provision of the law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of an abortion clinic. The Supreme Court restored a lower court’s ruling striking down both provisions of the law statewide, the attorneys said.
Attorney General Scott Pruitt argued that the monument was nearly identical to a Texas monument that was found constitutional by the United State Supreme Court. The court ruled that the monument violated the Oklahoma Constitution, rather than the United States’ Constitution.
The Attorney General is considering what other options he might have in this case. among those options are amending the Oklahoma Constitution in the next legislative session. Here is the AG’s statement:
“Quite simply, the Oklahoma Supreme Court got it wrong. The court completely ignored the profound historical impact of the Ten Commandments on the foundation of Western law. Furthermore, the court’s incorrect interpretation of Article 2, Section 5 contradicts previous rulings of the court. In response, my office will file a petition with the court for a rehearing in light of the broader implications of this ruling on other areas of state law. Additionally, we are requesting a stay of the enforcement of the court’s order until the court can consider the petition for rehearing. Finally, if Article 2, Section 5 is going to be construed in such a manner by the court, it will be necessary to repeal it.”
Also from KOCO.com:
A Ten Commandments monument on the Oklahoma Capitol grounds is a religious symbol and must be removed because it violates the state’s constitutional ban on using public property to benefit a religion, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.
The court said the Ten Commandments chiseled into the 6-foot-tall granite monument, which was privately funded by a Republican legislator, are “obviously religious in nature and are an integral part of the Jewish and Christian faiths.”
The 7-2 ruling overturns a decision by a district court judge who determined the monument could stay. It prompted calls by a handful of Republican lawmakers for impeachment of the justices who said the monument must be removed.
Attorney General Scott Pruitt had argued that the monument was historical in nature and nearly identical to a Texas monument that was found constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Oklahoma justices said the local monument violated the state’s constitution, not the U.S. Constitution. The Attorney General Office’s has filed for a rehearing in the case.
Private funds were used to erect the monument in 2012. Since then, others have asked for space, including a Nevada Hindu leader, animal rights advocates, the satirical Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and a group pushing for a Satan statue.
He who made them in the first place, made them man and woman. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and go to his wife and the two shall become one. So they are no longer two, but one. What God has put together, let no man take apart. Jesus Christ
Jesus’ statement on marriage was one of his “tough” sayings. He didn’t equivocate about marriage, and neither can we.
Here’s what He said, broken down:
1. God created humanity as man and woman. This was ordained from the beginning, as part of the order of creation.
2. Marriage is between one man and one woman. Not, notice, one man and many woman, or groups of people, two men or two women. God’s created gift of marriage is not any of the innovative adaptations humans seek to apply it. Marriage before God is between one man and one woman. This definition of marriage is also given in the first chapters of Genesis. Jesus is not creating new law here. He is quoting Scripture which decides the order of creation as God intended it.
3. Divorce is a human contrivance that comes from our hardness of hearts. Further down in the exchange I quote from above, the Pharisees challenged Jesus in an attempt to attack Him. They asked Him why the law of Moses allowed divorce. Jesus answered them simply: Moses (not, notice God) allowed divorce because of the Israelites’ hard hearts. But, He adds, it was not so from the beginning. He goes on to say that, basically, divorce is a human contrivance and that even if someone divorces under civil law, they are still married before God and that any further marriage would be living in adultery.
What does this mean to us as Catholics?
It means that gay marriage is, at best, a human contrivance that has no existence before God. Churches of various denominations can decide to allow it, but they are teaching a false teaching to their flocks. I would not want to be a preacher who had deliberately done this on the Day of Judgement.
It also means that people who divorce and remarry are not remarried at all before God. They do not have the power to dissolve a sacramental marriage. The courts do not have this power, and neither does the Church. Jesus Christ has plainly said that it can not be done. When divorced people remarry, they are not married before God. They are cohabiting.
This gets into the thorny questions of the various accommodations the Church has made to our human fallenness in this area. Marriage Tribunals exist that go over divorced individuals’ marriages in detail in order to see if they can find a way in which the original marriage was not “licit,” which is to say that it was not a marriage before God in the first place. This looks, from the outside, like they are straining out gnats of situation so that they can swallow the camel of divorce. But that is a topic for another blog post.
What does all this say about gay marriage? It says that gay marriage doesn’t exist before God. It has never and will never exist before God.
What does that say about us and how we conduct our social and professional lives?
It says, first of all, that we cannot accept or accede to gay marriage as a social construct, anymore than we should accept or concede to divorce as a social construct.
Now we all know that we’ve done the hat-tip to divorce. My husband and I were once part of a large Sunday School class at a Methodist Church that was comprised of about 20 married couples. In that group, there were only three couples who had not been previously married, divorced and remarried. We actually felt like outsiders in much of the conversation, since we had no share in the miserable, teary-eyed stories of grief and personal tragedy that accompanied this divorced lifestyle and history.
Divorce wasn’t so ubiquitous in the Episcopal Churches we attended. In fact, it was rather rare. It’s certainly a reality in our Catholic parish, but when we gather with groups, life-long married couples with their only spouses are the majority.
The point to all this is simply that we’ve swallowed the camel of divorce. In the process, we’ve created generations of feral children and all but destroyed the working class.
One reason why divorce has been so disastrous for the working class is that divorce creates and exacerbates poverty. Divorce splits the assets of the married couple. Every single divorce does this. Several divorces can atomize an individual’s lifetime accumulation of property and savings to the point that they have, literally, nothing.
Divorce with children is much easier to weather when the divorcing parents are each capable of financially providing for their children’s care. When divorce hits people who are struggling to get by with McJobs, the family is plunged from barely getting by into a sinkhole of poverty. Whichever spouse ends up with the children is always the most poor because the kids are such a drain on the time, resources and career opportunities of a single parent.
This means, among other things, that unless family members can take up the child care, these kids spend almost all of their waking hours either under the authority of bad public schools, or home alone. As we say here in Oklahoma, they get their raisin’ from indifferent teachers in slum schools and other children.
Is it any wonder that they grow into messed up adults? Is it any wonder that they turn to gangs for the family they’ve never had? Is it any wonder that they are prey to every social innovation that comes along?
Divorce has destroyed our families and it has fed our kids into the maw of the culture.
Enter same sex marriage.
If divorce damaged and defaced marriage to the point that it created generations of feral children, gay marriage destroys it utterly. Marriage no longer exists as a legal construct in this country. It is now an elastic non-definition based on feelings rather than law. Since the Supreme Court “found” a right to privacy in the 14th Amendment, along with a new right to individual autonomy, the legal fence around marriage that allowed it to exist as a discreet legal entity is down.
Marriage no longer exists as a legal construct. I think that, in time, this will lead to the overturning of laws that grant marriage special privileges. That almost has to happen, for the simple reason that enforcing and allowing those privileges will become too burdensome on governance at all levels.
Also, marriage in itself is no longer deemed either a foundational institution or a core method of child rearing. Marriage is now, under the law, a matter of nebulous feelings, intent, and newly created rights to individual autonomy.
In short, marriage, as the vague and non-defined whatever that it is under Obergefell no longer provides for a social good that justifies granting it special privileges. When it is promoted by nonsensical slogans such as “love is equal,” you almost know that marriage is now about nothing from a legal standpoint. The decision itself reflects this.
Does that mean that marriage no longer exists?
Have we, by our own contrivance, done away with what God created and told us that we may not put asunder?
Marriage, real marriage is not a relationship. It is a reality. Marriage is the God-ordained root of human society by which human beings become more fully human. It is the civilization-builder that makes us unique among all of creation. It is also a gift that will last as long as this created order in which we live and breath, move and work, lasts.
Without marriage, there is no civilization. Men and women, when they are separated from one another, are useless creatures. Men without women rapidly descend to the brute. Women without men dither and spin. But when we come together, we create civilization.
We weren’t meant, as some false faiths teach, to lord it over one another and abuse one another. That is the sin of the garden. It is not the natural order of how we were created. Misogyny is the curse of our fallenness.
There is a reason why societies which degrade the female are both brutal and backward. That reason is that these societies violate the natural civilization-creating order that God intended. They suppress the feminine to the point that they descend to the male brutishness. They are societies that are trying to function with half their heart and half their brain.
The Obergefell decision destroyed marriage as a legal construct. But it did not destroy true marriage. The Court does not have that power.
And neither do you and I.
We cannot destroy marriage by divorce, domestic violence and adultery. We can not destroy it by the sophistry of legal definitions and media propaganda. Marriage, created by God from the beginning, is not ours to destroy. What we maim and damage and inflict grave harm upon with our behavior is ourselves, our spouses, our extended families, and, most of all, our children. If we continue down this path, and it appears that we will, what we will ultimately destroy is our society and our civilization.
Gay marriage does not and cannot destroy true marriage. Neither does divorce.
What both these things destroy is our society. Our children. And our own lives.
This is an informal, non-scientific poll that I’m conducting from my own curiosity.
Did you pastor address the Supreme Court decision doing away with marriage in his homily Sunday?
Has he ever preached on the issue of gay marriage?
I’m just curious.
This statement was issued by Archbishop Joseph E Kurtz of Louisville, KY. Archbishop Kurtz is president of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops.
I am printing it in full, without editing. To read more, go here.
June 26, 2015
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Supreme Court decision, June 26, interpreting the U.S. Constitution to require all states to license and recognize same-sex “marriage” “is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
The full statement follows:
Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable. Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over forty years ago, Obergefell v. Hodges does not settle the question of marriage today. Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.
The unique meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is inscribed in our bodies as male and female. The protection of this meaning is a critical dimension of the “integral ecology” that Pope Francis has called us to promote. Mandating marriage redefinition across the country is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us, especially children. The law has a duty to support every child’s basic right to be raised, where possible, by his or her married mother and father in a stable home.
Jesus Christ, with great love, taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman. As Catholic bishops, we follow our Lord and will continue to teach and to act according to this truth.
I encourage Catholics to move forward with faith, hope, and love: faith in the unchanging truth about marriage, rooted in the immutable nature of the human person and confirmed by divine revelation; hope that these truths will once again prevail in our society, not only by their logic, but by their great beauty and manifest service to the common good; and love for all our neighbors, even those who hate us or would punish us for our faith and moral convictions.
Lastly, I call upon all people of good will to join us in proclaiming the goodness, truth, and beauty of marriage as rightly understood for millennia, and I ask all in positions of power and authority to respect the God-given freedom to seek, live by, and bear witness to the truth.
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, Supreme Court, religious freedom, marriage, same-sex, Obergefell v. Hodges, Roe v. Wade, Pope Francis, integral ecology, encyclical
# # #
Norma Montenegro Flynn
The news cycle turns and turns.
Friday, when the Supreme Court decision ending marriage came down, pundits jumped on the run-in-circles, scream-and-shout bandwagon. One week-end later, and they are all set to do the don’t-panic-you-unlettered-ones, it’s-not-that-bad pat down.
Today is the day when the flood of there-there-little-buttercup-it’s-alright commentary begins. We’ll be treated to analysis as to how same-sex marriage has not hurt anybody anywhere and there has been no push past gay marriage to an even more elastic set of definitions. We’ll hear how the Church is flourishing in countries with gay marriage and has not suffered harm.
We’ll be told to stand down and go about our business as if nothing has happened. Somebody somewhere is sure to use the meme, Keep Calm and Catholic On.
This is evidently as predictable as pundit ignorance is inevitable. Most of these people couldn’t read a law and tell you what it means if their lives depended on it. They certainly couldn’t look at a statute or a court ruling and see the ez pz ways in which it can be massaged for use in further challenges or revisions or whatnot.
In my humble opinion and for what it’s worth, the decision the Court handed down Friday is as elastic as hot taffy. It is so elastic that it destroys marriage as a legal construct. There is now no marriage in the dependable, this-is-what-it-is way of law under American jurisprudence. We now live in the Wild West of marriage.
It will take a while for the destructive vagueness of this hatched-up decision to roll its way through the body politic, but when it does, the damage is going to be widespread, endemic and generational. The court created a Constitutional crisis that will spawn other Constitutional crises that will spawn civil unrest that will spawn a much uglier culture war than what has damaged this nation so seriously up until now.
The Supreme Court has, in the past 50 years, been the chief creator of civil and cultural unrest in this nation, and it has now outdone itself.
If you want someone to go hush-a-bye and sing lullabies to you, read another blog. I would be lying to you if I did that. Contrary to the things you may read elsewhere, I’m going to tell you that it really is “that bad.”
But I’m also going to tell you not to panic.
Today is not the time to begin the process of talking about how we will respond to this new challenge. People — including me — need a bit of time to process this emotionally.
I wrote Friday and Saturday on the decision itself. I will probably do that again.
But for today I’m going to tell you one thing: The damage the Court did to this country Friday is every bit as bad as your worst thoughts of it. But — and this sounds ironic, I know — there is no reason to panic.
Martin Luther King, Jr, said “A lie cannot live.”
I would paraphrase that to say that a lie cannot live forever. Western civilization is in the grip of a number of lies about the most essential questions of all. We are debating the roots of civilization itself with questions revolving around the basic right to life and what it means to be human.
One question we have not asked, but which is much-needed, is how much nihilistic rot a culture can withstand before it collapses. Another unasked but needed question is whether or not we will impose any limits on human hubris.
Those of us who are traditional Christians, specifically those of us who are Catholic, have a stronger position in this debate simply because we are not balancing, as the Supreme Court did in its ruling, on the ever-rolling marbles of public popularity and poll numbers. We are standing on the Rock.
Notice, I did not say that we are standing on “a rock.” I said “the Rock.”
I’m going to noodle with this decision and its supporting arguments for a couple of days. You and I both need to do this to get our bearings in this new landscape. We’ll deal with the what is part of this situation first. Then, we’ll deal with the personal challenges that we face.
Then — and only then — we’ll look at political responses.
This is going to be a long fight. We have an entire culture that is caught in a self-righteous suicidal frenzy before us, and it’s our job to save it. We have a world to convert and re-convert. Our first work in the conversion department begins with ourselves.
The truth of our situation is that it really is “that bad.” But those of us who are standing on the Rock have no reason to panic.
I already do a few things that are accidentally in obedience to Pope Francis’ call to care for this good Earth of ours.
Admittedly, the environmental goodness of these actions is purely accidental on my part. But I think they still count.
They also indicate how easy it is to change in a few ways that, if we all do it, will make add up to a big difference.
Here are my accidental greenie actions.
1. I honor the Sabbath.
I don’t work or shop on the Sabbath. In fact, I usually end up spending the entire day just putzing around with my family. I pray a Rosary and play a couple of hymns on my piano. But the Sabbath has mostly become a family day and a day of rest.
How does this qualify as an accidental greenie action? I think it qualifies because for one 24 hour period each week, I’m not spinning the wheel. Not only that, but I’m not doing things that require other folks to spin the wheel, either.
Taking a day off is not exactly a big sacrifice for Mother Earth. In fact, it’s not even a big sacrifice for my faith. I started this practice of Sabbath keeping because I became convicted that I was ignoring one the Commandments, and that was wrong.
What began as obedience quickly turned into a gift to myself. Following God’s rules for us usually does turn out to be a gift for ourselves, leading us as they do straight into a life of love, family, peace and hope. Sabbath keeping is no exception.
I think it also, by simply shutting down the practice of on-going consumption, aids the environment a bit. If we all did it, we might find that the impact was surprisingly large.
2. I turn up the thermostat, turn off the desktop computer, switch off the air filters and hunker down during hot summer afternoons.
This particular accidental greenie practice of mine is entirely about balancing the budget. Our local electric company has what it calls “Smart Hours.” If you enroll, they guarantee you a low rate for off-peak hours of operation. Then, they sock it to you during the peak hours.
The idea is to flip off everything you can, and get out the fans to keep cool from 2pm until 7pm. If you work outside the house during the day, you can put everything on a timer (I do that, anyway.) and you won’t even know it happened.
Since I work at home, I am aware that it gets warm in the house and that the whole place is eerily quiet because the little motors aren’t humming. But it’s not all that bad. I use fans and wear lightweight clothing and drink a lot of iced tea. It works.
It’s also kind of sweet at 7pm when things switch back on. It’s a kick every day to hear the house coming back to life.
The inconvenience is that I have to do all the chores that involve running plug-in machines either during the morning or evening hours. That can be a pain.
But it does save money, and now, I can claim that I’m also following my papa in his call to be kind to creation.
3. I drive a small car.
My personal car is a Honda Fit, which is basically a really cushy go-cart. It gets great gas mileage, and it’s a fine little car for taking Mama on the drives she demands.
I chose it because it was cheap and it had all those little niceties like power windows and a hook-up to play music from my iPhone that a car has to have to get me to park it in my garage. My gasoline bill runs me about $50/month because my little buggy sips the stuff.
Once again, my inherent cheapness has led me into being kind of the earth.
4. I use those lightbulbs that supposedly save energy.
My reason for doing this is — you guessed it — they save money. I almost never have to replace one of them, and they save $ on my electric bill.
5. I use a hand-crank can opener instead of an electric can opener.
Surprisingly, this tiny bit of greenie has nothing to do with saving money. I just don’t like electric can openers.
6. I play an acoustic piano instead of a keyboard.
Actually, this choice cost me money. I spent thousands of the dollars that I saved turning up my thermostat on hot days and driving my cushy go-cart to buy my piano.
Needless to say, the environmental impact involved did not enter my little mind. I laid down the $$ to bring home my wonderful instrumental friend that I call The Precious for one reason: I love the way it sounds.
Keyboards? Not so much.
I may buy a keyboard one day, if I ever find a group of friends to play with and need a portable piano. But unless that happens, I will never own one. I’m an acoustic girl all the way.
Now I can also put this in my faux greenie column.
7. I use solar lights to light my back yard and front flower beds at night.
This is my husband’s deal. He enjoys messing with those things. All I know is that they’re pretty and they run on sunlight.
Another score for accidental greenie-ness.
8. We charcoal instead of heating up the kitchen in the summer.
This is a combination of saving money on electricity by not heating up the house, and just plain liking the taste. We use an old-fashioned charcoaler instead of one of those gas deals; again because we prefer the taste. True, it does generate a bit of smoke, but the impact is bound to be less than running those big turbines that pour out the electricity.
See how easy it is to be environmentally friendly?
9. I turn the thermostat way down low and use an electric blanket to keep warm on winter nights.
This is another of my cheapness deals. It also reflects that fact that I like to sleep cool.
10. Every time I replace an appliance, I buy something energy efficient.
Can you guess why I do this?
If your answer doesn’t involve electric and water bills, you may have overlooked the not-so-subtle message in these ten items. I like to avoid spending money on utilities and such. I’d rather spend it on pianos and such.
There you have it: Ten easy things that I do — and I’ll bet you do, as well — that lessen the hit I take on what papa calls “our home.”
I think there is an accidental earth friendliness in these choices. This earth friendliness doesn’t amount to much if I’m the only one doing it, but it would make a big impact if we all did it.
I have a feeling there may be more to this greenie stuff, but I don’t think it’s really as bad as a lot of people are making it sound. Switch off the lights when you leave a room. And stop supporting corporatists who really are raping the planet.
I think that last sentence, the one about not supporting corporatists, is what has all the pundits going. After all, they are paid – well paid — to say what they’re told.
My advice is simple: Support the pope and stop making yourself miserable about these things. Just do what you ought yourself and refuse to be co-opted by those who are trying to use you to their own purposes.
The only other thing I would add is that the next time someone calls the Pope a Marxist or some other ignorant garbage, switch them off and don’t go back.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
November 19, 1863
Can the Republic survive a federal government and a Supreme Court that is both corporatist and nihilist?
That is the question.
The United States Supreme Court has been waging a successful war on government of, by and for the people for several decades now. Roe v Wade and Obergefell v Hodges bookend an almost 50-year-old judicial bypass of democracy and the democratic process.
In both instances, the Supreme Court jumped into an arena where the democratic process was working very well. The Court slashed through the democratic process, ending it abruptly and disastrously. The democratic process was dealing with the question of legal abortion in the always-messy, always-effective way that is democracy in action. One state would legalize abortion in certain circumstances, another state would tighten abortion restrictions. The first state would revise its abortion laws again, and a third state would decide to legalize.
It would have taken time, but the democratic process was working this out according to the will of the people. There is no doubt that, if the Court had allowed the process to work, it would have worked. What we would have ended up with would have been a much more just and — this is crucial — culturally-agreed-upon solution. Our laws would have reflected the will of the people, and for that reason, they would have stood. There would have been a lot of electioneering and speechifying, but there would have been no destructive culture war and the resulting breakdown of the body politic which we have seen since Roe.
The Court, by injecting itself into a healthy, working democratic process, and arbitrarily ending that process by the use of the brute force of fictional “findings” in the Constitution, created an on-going Constitutional crisis such as this country had not seen since the Civil War. Flash forward 50 years, and we arrive at Obergefell v Hodges.
Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision was another slam-dunk of the democratic process on an issue that was being debated and legislated over time. There is no doubt that the democratic process would have resolved this issue had the courts stayed out of it. It would have taken time, and again, it would have been messy. But the end result would have been a solution that We the People accepted and that would not have damaged this country.
The DOMA decision of two years ago set the lower courts on their domino effect overturning of state statutes pertaining to the definition of marriage. That allowed the Supreme Court to do exactly what it intended when it overturned DOMA, which was to issue a draconian ruling. Yesterday’s decision was a judicial one-two punch. Anyone with half a brain could see that the issue had been decided when the Court set up the DOMA decision in the first place.
I suppose the lessons of Roe are why they decided to take this backdoor route to legislating from the bench. That, and the opinion polls which gave them the entirely false notion that they were acting in a manner that the public would accept.
Roe and Obergefell bookend tragic overstepping by the Supreme Court that have done and will do incalculable damage to the Republic. Roe shoved into the Constitution the legal fiction that some human beings are not in fact human and their lives have no value under the law. Obergefell destroys marriage as a legal construct. It enshrines cultural nihilism in the 14th Amendment and sets the Constitution on a collision course with itself.
Obergefell inevitably places the Supreme Court in the position of legislative arbiter on the limits and allowances of all manner of American freedoms which we have held dear and fought wars to preserve since this nation’s founding. We are going to see the Court’s ham-handed fine-tunings of the Bill of Rights on a plethora of challenges that will come from yesterday’s ruling. Each one of these subsequent rulings will do damage to American freedoms. Every ruling will limit the rights of We the People and will strengthen the Court’s power as a legislative body with dictatorial powers and no checks and balances.
Notice that I said that the yesterday’s ruling places the Supreme Court as the legislative arbiter. Obergefell is so destructive to the democratic process that it will inevitably remove whole areas of the law from the democratic process and place them entirely in the hands of the Court. The ruling is so nihilistic that it creates an arbitrary legal option for nihilism in future proceedings.
The Supreme Court has set aside democracy.
I mentioned corporatism a few paragraphs back. I am aware that my concern about corporatism confuses many Public Catholic readers. But corporatism, as practiced in America, is government, working entirely for multinational corporations who are like parasites draining every bit of economic vitality out of this country. Corporatism is not only a grave evil, it is the absolute enemy of the Republic.
These twin evils — corporatism and nihilism — are the underlying principles behind many of the Supreme Courts decisions in the past 10 years. The Supreme Court has become anti-democracy and subservient to corporatism.
The Court is not the only institution which serves corporatism and nihilism. Our legislative process is also poisoned by these twin evils, which are, at their root, very similar. Corporatists and nihilists share an absolute contempt for the will of the people. They are bedfellows in their parallel goal of side-stepping and annihilating the democratic process.
Their best friend in this is the United States Supreme Court.
The Court destroyed marriage as a legal entity yesterday. It also created a plethora of avenues by which basic American freedoms can be destroyed.
Advocates of gay marriage may themselves come to rue this decision. It will take time before that happens. A lot of tragedy and excess will have to play out before things get so ripe that everyone can smell the rot. But to the extent that gay marriage advocates value marriage and were simply trying to acquire the good of it for themselves, they have failed. Instead of buying the house, they burned it down.
The question before us is a relatively straightforward one, and the answer, at least to me, is equally straightforward. Can the Republic survive a Supreme Court that is both corporatist and nihilist?
The answer is no.
America may, as Rome did, go on as a great military power long after the Republic is dead. But democracy cannot survive if its own government turns on it and shuts it down. Corporatism, if we do not stop it, will be the death of democracy.
Nihilism, on the other hand, is such an unworkable social construct that it cannot govern at all. No society can survive as a nihilistic society. America will not go on as a great military power shorn of its democracy if nihilism prevails. America will fail horribly and fall into a debacle of ruin if it is governed by the forces of nihilism.
Nihilism and corporatism are very similar. Corporatism, is, at its root profoundly amoral. Nihilism is, at its root, profoundly anti-human.
American civilization was so strong that it has taken these blows and kept on walking. But the Republic cannot operate forever under the governance of corporatism and nihilism. America can be destroyed, not from without, but by the corruption of its institutions.
That is exactly what we are facing with our corporatist/nihilist Supreme Court and its ugly war on government, of, by and for the people.
Today, the United States Supreme Court ended marriage as a stable legal institution in the United States of America.
In flowery language that often sounds like it came from a Harlequin Romance, the decision quotes everybody from Confucius, to Cicero to Alexis de Tocqueville, to the American Association of Psychiatry.
Here’s a sample:
The centrality of marriage to the human condition makes it unsurprising that the institution has existed for millennia and across civilizations. Since the dawn of history, marriage has transformed strangers into rela- tives, binding families and societies together. Confucius taught that marriage lies at the foundation of government. 2 Li Chi: Book of Rites 266 (C. Chai & W. Chai eds., J. Legge transl. 1967). This wisdom was echoed centuries later and half a world away by Cicero, who wrote, “The first bond of society is marriage; next, children; and then the family.” See De Officiis
The Court attempts to justify what is in fact the creation of new law. It also overturns its own ruling of a couple of years ago that marriage should be left to the states. Needless to say, a bit of reaching is involved in this legal sophistry.
The decision actually goes past new law creation and claims an almost seer-like knowledge of the minds of the plaintiffs. It then bases this huge decision of the United States Supreme Court at least in part on what it believes it sees in the plaintiff’s hearts.
I want to be clear. The Decision actually uses the Justices personal impressions that the petitioner’s motives are pure as a reason for the findings of the decision itself.
Were their intent to demean the revered idea and reality of marriage, the petitioners’ claims would be of a different order. But that is neither their purpose nor their submission. To the contrary, it is the enduring importance of marriage that underlies the petitioners’ contentions. This, they say, is their whole point. Far from seeking to devalue marriage, the petitioners seek it for themselves because of their respect—and need—for its privileges and responsibilities.
We are treated to a spot of history about women’s rights, which is irrelevant since the situation Justice Kennedy describes was remedied at the state level. Then, we are reminded that marriages were once arranged, even though the Decision concedes that this has never been a legal construct of marriage in America. It doesn’t state, as it should, that this makes the consideration bogus.
When Justice Kennedy finally starts to reference the law, he goes immediately to the right of privacy that the Court created in Roe v Wade. In a deep irony, the findings of Roe concerning the then newly-created right of privacy are used to destroy marriage in America.
The decision spends quite a bit of time explaining that the Constitution is an elastic document and that finding new “rights” in it is within the purview of the Court. That is where it places most of its legal arguments.
The actual arguments it articulates for “finding” a right to gay marriage in the 14th Amendment are all touchy-feely, emotional stuff. They also reference hardships and problems which are easily solvable without this draconian decision.
The decision wastes a bit of gas emphasizing the “two people” construct of marriage. But it does not define marriage as such. In fact, it does not define marriage as anything other than an emotional bonding between undefined persons who are empowered to legal rights concerning this bonding by a new right to “individual autonomy” and a previously court-created right to privacy.
And even that is not a definition. It’s just the way the Court talks about marriage.
Under this ruling. marriage is whatever an individual or group of individuals, exercising their right to “individual autonomy” and their right to privacy say that it is. The ruling specifically addresses gay marriage, but the way it does it opens the door to anything and everything at all.
Since the Court appears to “find” rights in the Constitution independent of the document itself, we won’t have long to wait before the complete destruction of marriage becomes a fact. Any attempts to impose definitions and limitations on marriage, to create a legal entity called marriage that is recognizably something real, is going to run smack into the arguments created in this Decision.
Marriage has become a private, rather than a legal matter. At the same time, it has also become a supremely legal matter. Marriage is now a 14th Amendment dueling point which will be pitted against every other right given to Americans in the Constitution. The First Amendment freedom of religion is, of course, the most endangered. But once it is vanquished, others will follow.
The Court has done it again.
It has set this nation on a course of decades-long culture war. This vague and destructive decision does more than create a new kind of marriage. It recreates marriage entirely by making it subject to a “right to individual autonomy” and a “right to privacy.” This newly-created type of “marriage” is not marriage at all. It is an elastic construct with no boundaries, fixed definitions or even an actual predictable existence.
It’s a lengthy decision. I can’t critique it in full in a blog post. You can read it for yourself here.
Suffice it to say that marriage is now meaningless under the law.
The Supreme Court has done more than create a new kind of marriage. It has enshrined cultural nihilism in the Constitution.
They just couldn’t let democracy work.
The United States Supreme Court issued another of their sweeping legislate-from-the-bench rulings today. They have created a new Constitutional definition of marriage that over turns the truncates the on-going democratic process and destroys 2,000 years of legal understanding that the family is a protected institution.
This ham-handed ruling brackets Roe v Wade in its destructive force on The body politic. It sets up generations of culture wars.
I will write about this ruling in detail later.
The contest announcement, which was posted on Twitter, is below.
From The Jewish Press:
‘Soldiers of the Islamic State, Commanders and Troops, Greetings and salutations upon the advent of Ramadan, May it be the will of Allah to accept our fasts and prayers May Allah protect us all from the fires of hell.
Da’wa institutions and mosques hereby declare the opening of the Qur’an memorization competition, To include the following traditions (chapters):
Surat Al-Anfal (Surah prey), (Surah a-Ta’uvah) Surat Muhmad, and Surat Patikha (Surat opening). The competition will be held from 1 Ramadan 1436 to 21 Ramadan 1437.
Those who wish to participate may register at the following mosques: Mosque of Abu Bakr, Mosque of Osama Bin Laden, Mosque of Abu Musab a-Zarqawi (senior Al Qaeda official, the founder of ISIS assassinated in Iraq in 2006), and the Al Taqwa Mosque.
Allah willing, winners will be chosen between 21 Ramadan 1436 and 27 Ramadan 1437.
Grand Prize Winner: ‘Sabia’ (a young girl)
Second Prize: Teenage girl
Third Prize: Teenage girl
Fourth place: 100,000 Syrian pounds ($530)
Fifth place: 90,000 Syrian pounds ($477)
Sixth place: 80,000 Syrian pounds ($424)
Seventh place: 70,000 Syrian pounds ($370)
Eighth place: 60,000 Syrian pounds ($317)
Ninth place: 50,000 Syrian pounds ($265)
Tenth place: 50,000 Syrian pounds ($265)
We ask Allah the Great to ease and help you on your way in serving Him as He desires.
Da’wa Institutions and Mosques
My spiritual leader, Archbishop Paul Coakley, wrote a stirring letter to my diocese recently. I’m sharing it here without editing.
The Future of Marriage Hangs in the Balance
Archbishop Paul S. Coakley
The recent media fascination with the “transition” of Bruce Jenner into Caitlyn has highlighted the tragic confusion about gender and sexual difference in society today. Rooted in both natural law and divine revelation, our Catholic teaching affirms that men and women are equal and different. Together they are created in the image and likeness of God. Man and woman are designed by God in relation to one another to form a conjugal union that brings forth children. The consequences of this affirmation are far-reaching.
Sexual difference is essential to marriage and child rearing. Our bodies matter. We don’t just have a body. We are a body. Without this basis in sexual difference and complementarity, there is no limit to what “marriage” could mean.
Perhaps by the time this issue of the Sooner Catholic is published, and certainly by the end of June, the Supreme Court will have issued its ruling on two crucial questions dealing with the very definition of marriage. The questions the court is addressing ask whether the 14th Amendment requires a state to license a “marriage” between two people of the same sex, and whether the same amendment requires a state to recognize same sex “marriages,” which were lawfully licensed and performed in another state.
No matter how the court rules, it cannot change what marriage really is. Marriage by its nature remains the union of one man and one woman. It is a natural institution that predates and precedes governments and government regulation.
Every society has acknowledged that the sexual union of man and woman matters because it creates the next generation. While Jesus elevated Christian marriage to a sacrament, the complementarity of the sexes and the natural meaning of marriage can be known through reason even without appealing to Scripture.
Governments have long maintained an interest in protecting and preserving marriage. Society needs an institution that connects children to their mothers and fathers, and marriage is the only institution that does this. Every child has a mother and father and deserves to be loved and raised by them. Certainly, there are many circumstances that can hinder and prevent this, but marriage has always been the primary way that society protects this right of children to be raised by both a mother and a father. Both matter. Both are irreplaceable. Only a man can be a father and only a woman can be a mother. A child should not be deliberately deprived of either one. There are certainly wonderful single parents and others who make great sacrifices to raise children. They deserve our respect and support. But, every society ought to affirm each child’s basic natural right to come from and be raised in a loving home formed by his or her own mother and father joined together in a stable marriage.
Law is a teacher. A redefinition of marriage in the law teaches that one sex is interchangeable with another, and that either mother or father is dispensable as a parent. This ignores the wisdom of millennia of lived experience. It teaches that marriage is whatever consenting adults say it is and that these adults have a “right” to children they did not conceive. This is not only false, but it fails to take into account what is good for the child. Affirming the tried and true definition of marriage denies no one their basic rights. Rather it affirms the equal dignity and complementarity of men and women, and safeguards the rights of children.
Advocates for so-called “marriage equality” claim that the traditional definition of marriage unjustly discriminates against homosexual persons. Unjust discrimination is always wrong. But treating different things differently is not unjust discrimination. Protecting marriage is a matter of justice.
In addition to the devastating effect that a redefinition of marriage would have on children, there also are far-reaching religious freedom issues at stake.
It would change literally thousands of laws all at once. Marriage redefinition would immediately set the Church’s teaching and witness concerning the meaning and sanctity of marriage in opposition to the law of the land. This would result in countless conflicts between the state and religious institutions and individuals who adhere to the teaching of their faith and the judgment of their consciences.
So much hangs in the balance. What can we do? We can pray and we can fast for the protection of marriage and religious liberty. We can become advocates for marriage by our own witness to its sanctity and goodness. We can talk about the truth of marriage with patience and kindness and understanding. Who could have imagined that such common sense wisdom would become so counter-cultural in our time?