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.
The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the University of Notre Dame’s appeal against the HHS Mandate today.
In a brazen disregard for the First Amendment, the Court argued that the “burden” on the government to re-write the HHS Mandate to allow the Catholic University of Notre Dame to follow the dictates of its faith was too high. The court also said that the “burden” on Notre Dame of being forced to violate its faith and abandon the free exercise of religion which is the guarantee of every American was just not all that important.
They didn’t put it in those words, and I am deliberately writing it in purple prose. But that is the essential meaning.
The court ruled that an agency rule written by a back-room committee of abortion industry insiders trumps the First Amendment guarantee of the free exercise of religion. It based this ruling on the bizarre opinion that abiding by the Constitution of the United States placed an undue burden on the government of the United States.
Here is what they said, without my interpretation and in their own little words:
“The very word ‘accommodation’ implies a balance of competing interests,” the court noted.
“And when we compare the burden on the government or third parties of having to establish some entirely new method of providing contraceptive coverage with the burden on Notre Dame of simply notifying the government that the ball is now in the government’s court, we cannot conclude that Notre Dame has yet established its right to the injunctive relief that it is seeking before trial,” the court said.
ISIS has taken full control, of the Syrian City of Palmyra. This puts ISIS in control of half of Syria. It spells death for a lot of innocent people, as well as destruction for the historic ruins in that city.
According to reports, the beheadings have already begun.
A year ago, Andrew Lloyd Webber almost fell prey to the satanic evil of euthanasia.
He was depressed and, as he says, “Couldn’t think of what to do.” So, he considered going to Switzerland and paying one of the murder factories there to kill him.
Now, a year later, he’s glad he didn’t.
My colleague, Linda LaScola writes a blog over on the Atheist Channel. The focus of her blog is fallen clergy, specifically, Christian clergy who have become atheist.
Quite a number of the posts she writes are about clergy who have become atheist, but continue to keep their jobs as Christian clergy. Ms LaScola and her fellow atheists like this sort of thing, because these guys and gals are worms, eating into the wood of Christianity from the inside.
They are also liars, phonies and charlatans.
This is how Ms LaScola summarized the situation in a promo line she put on one of her recent blog posts:
“…there are clergy who are purposely or inadvertently discouraging their parishioners from holding some of the foundational beliefs of their religion. They no longer believe themselves, so are not very convincing when conveying religious beliefs. In some cases they are not even trying.”
Odd as this may sound, my response to Ms LaScola’s comment, as well as her headline “Clergy Fuel Flight From Religion,” is Amen sister. You are telling the truth.
Of course, Ms LaScola supports these phoney baloney lying preachers, as, so far as I can see, do the rest of her fellow Atheist bloggers. A good bit of atheist carrying on is based on flat-out lying. The rash of atheists going in to Catholic Churches and pretending to be worshippers in order to gain access to a consecrated Host that they then filmed themselves desecrating is a case in point.
Clergy who lie to their parishioners and misrepresent themselves in order to gain a trust and followership they do not deserve take this lying to a whole new level. They use their position to lead trusting people away from where the people themselves expect to be led. The only place where these folks and their pathological behavior are heroes is among those who hate Christianity.
However, the fact remains that a good number of our clergy do a number on the faith. They are one of the reasons that so many people are leaving the Church.
First, they don’t preach Christ. They don’t share Christ. They don’t even believe in Christ. The Christ-less-Cross-less Christianity they offer is not Christianity at all.
Second, they actively attack the consistent, and up until about a decade ago, universal teachings of Christianity. They work against the faith and try — with success — to scatter the flock. They align themselves publicly with people who have repeatedly stated in public and in writing that their goal is the destruction of Christianity. They support limitations on the First Amendment as a means of attacking their fellow Christians. They join in with the mockery, ridicule, hazing and bashing of their fellow Christians.
Some of these people are just weak-minded thought-bots who suffer from an overdose of narcissism and hubris. They are often highly educated in that they possess many earned degrees. But they are people who do not have a center. They behave like baby ducks imprinting on whatever is the new intellectual trendy. They are spiteful and sarcastic, but there’s no spine. They are weak all through.
A good number of the others are in fact the venal liars that they appear to be. They “come out” to atheists blog sites such as Ms LaScola’s and receive praise, support and sympathy for their “plight” of being an atheist who is supposedly trapped inside the clergy.
This claim is, of course, another of their lies. They are not “trapped” in the clergy.
Nothing and nobody is making these folks stay in their cushy jobs. They could stop lying, leave the clergy and live lives consistent with their true beliefs any time they wanted. They hang on because they like the unearned respect that people give clergy and, if they are part of one of the major denominations, they also like the easy pay, free housing, health insurance and retirement.
It’s a good life, being a lying, two-faced phoney preacher. You can be treated like a cult hero by Christian bashers; their very own boy. At the same time, you get to be a pretend man or woman of God with all the kudos that go with that.
The Catholic Church is not immune to this problem of phoney clergy. We’ve got quite a few of them. Here are a few cases in point:
I could go on, but it gets repetitive. The point I’m making is the same one I made in an earlier post. There are reasons for the decline of affiliation with Christian denominations and the rise of nones that we’ve seen in recent polls.
Christian bashing is one of those reasons. I’ve written quite a few posts talking about that. Now, I think it’s time we talk about fallen clergy. I absolutely do not mean the stalwart souls who preach the Gospel, care for their parishioners and do all they can to follow Christ. I do not want to pick these good men apart or criticize them. I’m grateful to them.
I have been blessed with true pastors with a genuine heart for God ever since I converted to the Catholic Church. The one phoney pastor I had in my entire life was years ago when I was an Episcopalian. This guy actually bragged about destroying people’s faith.
I also do not want to talk about the honest doubters who are struggling with their faith, or the equally honest men and women who leave the clergy because they no longer believe what the Church teaches.
This discussion is about those who wear the collar under false pretenses and actively work to undermine the body of Christ by leading God’s people away from the Way. I have nothing good to say about these people.
They are today’s version of the people Jesus was talking about when He said,
What sorrow awaits you, teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! You shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter, either.
How did Iraq become the cesspool that birthed ISIS?
Who made this mess?
We did it under the one-two punch of back to back bad presidents.
It’s popular for the Ds to point at the totally unnecessary war in Iraq as the cause of the situation there. They are, of course, right.
It’s equally popular for the Rs to point at the premature withdrawal from Iraq as the real cause of the mess. They are, of course, also right.
This country has suffered two bad presidents in a row. They each increased the divisiveness in the body politic and managed to convince a large part of the electorate that they only govern on behalf of others and not them. What’s worse, these two presidents have both made mistakes that led us directly into the conflagration that has been occurring in the Middle East.
We had no reason to go to war with Iraq in the first place. The reason we were given — weapons of mass destruction — was not true. The CIA either gave bad intel to President Bush, or they lied to him. You decide for yourself which you think it was.
The finest thing President Bush ever did was man up and tell the truth about this. He admitted that there were no weapons of mass destruction. Iraq was his Bay of Pigs. He learned that what Dwight Eisenhower called the “Military Industrial Complex” was massaging intel in order to drum up wars.
I don’t know if he ever understood the full meaning of this or not. All I know is that he did stand up and tell the truth when the truth needed to be told.
Enter President Obama. This president has not been the mindless shill for the military industrial complex that many of his predecessors were, but he was evidently flying blind when he decided to pull our troops out of Iraq. This action created the vacuum that allowed ISIS to grow like a parasitical infection.
So, Rs and Ds, who’s to blame?
President Bush got us into a quagmire. We were, if anyone cares to remember, supposed to go into Iraq, whip them good, cowboy style, and then go home. What we ended up with was a big mess that set us up for decades of occupation, bleeding out the lives of our young men and women on a daily basis.
I watched a few television specials about the so-called tactics being used in Iraq and I was sickened to see American lives wasted in this way. The idea appeared to have been to send our troops out to drive along a road. If they got through, fine. If they got killed, then they were heroes, and well, the manufacturers of body bags thank you very much.
That’s not a tactic. It’s certainly not a strategy. It’s not even good police work.
We were faced with unending decades of this slow bleed of our people’s lives in Iraq because a bad president followed the bad intel of the CIA and got us into a totally unnecessary war. The fact that Saddam Hussein was a bad guy did not and does not justify this nation going to war. American lives and American treasure should never be so cavalierly spent.
President Obama pulled us out of the quagmire, but he left behind a mess that has turned into a massive and on-going war which is being waged against civilians on a mass scale and appears to be an attack on civilization itself. President Obama was not so naive about the CIA as his predecessor, but he has been naive in the extreme about the people of the Middle East.
President Bush made the mistake of thinking that they were just like us. President Obama has made the mistake of thinking that they are just like him.
I would guess that I’ve made just about everyone reading this angry. I know well the depth of the loyalties that Public Catholic readers have to the R and the D.
I’m going to throw this open for you to discuss. Feel free to talk about it in any way you wish so long as you refrain from name-calling and degrading individual people or groups of people. I include elected officials in this. Disagree with them all you want. That is the American way. But leave their kids, dogs, mothers, sex lives, and inner souls alone.
A few days ago, I had someone praise me for my “witness.”
This person was referring to the fact that my family and I are taking care of my elderly mother. I wanted to interrupt this person and tell them the truth of it, which is that my “witness” is shot full of holes.
Caregiving for an elderly person with dementia can seem like a piece of cake early on in the process. But as it progresses, and more of their brain switches off, it becomes increasingly fraught.
On top of that, I keep getting sick. Not, terrible sick, but bad enough to suck all the life out of me and make every day feel like a march through knee deep mud. I’ve had two colds in two months. Colds aren’t much of anything, unless you’ve got asthma. But put a cold together with asthma and no sleep and all the rest of my life right now and you’ve got a recipe for lungs that just won’t work.
That’s what happened in March. I somehow did not get pneumonia, which the doc assured me was what happened to most folks. But I did get such a bad case of on-going, never-stop asthma that, as he told me, “Your lungs aren’t moving air.” Enter the miracle of antibiotics and steroids, and I got all healed up and back in the race again.
Then, along came another cold. It sent Mama to the er last week. Now it’s gone down into my lungs and formed an alliance with the asthma. I’m probably going to have to do the antibiotics/steroids all over again.
Why am I telling you this?
Because I want you to understand that my “witness” is a weak and faulty thing. When I’m lying on the sofa, coughing and hacking, I’m not exactly doing a good job as a caregiver. Mama, who can no longer follow a book or a plot on tv, and so is no longer amused by either books or tv, demands constant amusement.
When I’m sick, I can’t do this. Instead of working with her to keep her wound up and moving, I end up letting her sit on the sofa like a zombie, or I send her to her room where she falls asleep. That’s not good care of someone with dementia. But it’s all I can do when I’m sick.
I’ve never resented the spring storms the way I have this year. They set off my arthritis, and somehow or other the stress with Mama seems to make that worse. Plus, I feel the weight of taking care of her in a storm in a way I never felt the weight of taking care of the kids when they were little.
Compared to her, they were ez pz. When they were very small, I just picked them up and did what needed doing. When they were full-on kids, they did what I told them in difficult situations without argument.
But Mama is a never-comprehending rubics cube. She trusts me and will do what I ask of her. But if I’m not there, she fights whoever is trying to help her. That adds a dash of salsa to the storms that, for some reason, seems too much.
That’s what I’m dealing with right now: Too much. It’s all too much. And I’m not sure why.
I think I’ve solved the doctor thing. I simply went on a doctor hunt, and it turned out that I landed on the right square early on in the search. The doc and the staff at the er last week were kind, and they understood my situation almost without my telling them. That was a blessing.
Everything is do-able. Today.
That’s the only promise a caregiver for someone with dementia has: Today. Or, maybe not even today. It may end up that all you know is that things are going good right now. In an hour, it can change, and you are dealing with a full-on hallucination or making a fast trip to the er.
But for today, for this minute, I have loads of help from my kids, and Adult Day Care, and I have prescriptions that seem to be working with Mama and my only problem is that I Do. Not. Want. to go to the doc myself.
I would rather eat dirt than go spend another $160 at an urgent care place to get a script for antibiotics and steroids. But I know that primary care docs with their $20 copay take about 3 weeks to see you, and this isn’t worthy of an er (which is much more miserable than going to an urgent care facility, anyway) so, I have to do the $160 do to get a couple of scripts that, to be honest, I could write myself.
See how I whine? See how negative I’ve become?
That’s what I’m talking about when I say my “witness” is less than shiny bright and pretty.
In truth, Mama’s dementia is doing at least as bad a job on me as it is on her and I can’t figure out why. I hit some sort of wall when she stopped sleeping at night. I know part of that wall was simple exhaustion.
One of the two hardest nights of her dementia so far was last month, when I was sick and she would not stay in bed. I felt so lousy, and she was up and roaming and had to be managed all night long. Before these new meds, she argued with me and refused to go back to bed and had hallucinations that terrified her and made her unmanageable.
That night was about 30 years long, and the next day, I was so sick I had to get medical help for myself.
Then, when we put her in the in-patient diagnostic and she just slept through the night and didn’t do any of this for them so they could help us with it, I hit some sort of despair point. I cried for days and couldn’t stop crying. We finally managed to get a script that actually does help, that not only lets her sleep at night but clears the hallucinations.
Things should be all better now. In fact, they were looking up, then we got this blamed cold. The high wire act of dementia care is such that something as simple as a cold can cause everyone to fall off and into the net. That’s what’s happened to me.
The thing I hang onto is something a man whose name I never learned told me years ago. I taught a class at Youth With a Mission in Hawaii a few years back. It was a glorious experience, spending an entire week in that beautiful Christian environment. Everyone I talked to was a spirit-filled, all-in Christian who wanted to change the world for Christ.
One evening, I was sitting out, watching the sunset, when a man with a baby joined me. We got to talking and he told me the story of how he came to adopt this baby. Long story short, the baby had no one, and he was reluctant to take on raising a child at his advanced age. But when he and his wife did adopt the baby, the child blessed their lives with love and wonder as only a baby can.
“God only wants to bless you,” he told me.
I keep thinking of that comment when things are difficult with Mama. “God only wants to bless you.”
I believe that, and I know it’s true of me and my situation right now. Mama has been a blessing to me all my life. Seeing her home is not a punishment. It’s a gift. A blessing.
That thought is what dries my tears and pulls me back out of despair. I write these blog posts as unsparingly as I can because I think that as a society we need to face up to the fact that we not only abandon our elderly, we abandon their care givers.
Care for people who have dementia is a act of life and love. It is pro life for real. Euthanasia, which is being pushed as an “answer” to dementia and a “relief’ for caregivers, is satanic. It is from the blackest pit of hell.
What we need to do as a society is take off our blinders and help people who are caring for their family members with dementia. We need something like the Rain Teams that Christians once formed to help people with AIDs, only for families who are caring for loved ones with dementia.
Care of the care-giver is a forgotten piece of the equation of caring for our elderly. I can tell you that as the dementia gets worse the caregiver begins to need love and support every bit as much as the person they are caring for.
My “witness,” such as it is, is a call for us to do better. It is not a “witness” of my heroism and perfection. It is, rather, a witness of my weakness and failures. I am not a cheerfully self-sacrificing saint. I am everyman and everywoman, just muddling through and hanging on and falling flat and getting back up.
I do not fall into raptures of grace when I am dog tired and at my wit’s end. I sit down and cry. I am not always reasonable. I do not always do the right thing.
I am you. And me. And every one of us.
That, and not some idea of perfection, is my witness. It is why I can say without equivocation that caregivers of elderly parents with dementia need help. They need love. They need comforting and support.
The Lord only wants to bless us. And the first blessing comes from His command that we “Love one another.”
All His blessings are blessings of love and life. Seeing Mama home is a blessing of love and life. If we rise to this challenge that I am making and will continue to make, and help caregivers of people with dementia, we will be blessing ourselves and one another with love and life.
I write about Mama with as much honesty and raw reality as I can. The reason is that I am issuing a call. I am calling Christians to formulate means to help caregivers of people with dementia in the simple, human ways that they need help. Put life and love back in their days of chaos. God wants to use them to bless you.
All God ever wants to do is bless each and every one of us. And the first and only true blessing is love.
Christian bashers are fond of creating alternate realities and then pretending that they are actual reality.
In these alternate realities, Christianity is dying from the earth. In the real world, Christianity is dynamic and growing. Estimates are that there will be around 3 billion Christians on this planet by 2050.
Another Christian bashing fantasy is that Christianity in general and the Catholic Church in particular are not “relevant” to the modern world. This is another example of Christian bashers deliberately ignoring not only reality, but their own behavior.
Let’s start with the Christian bashers themselves. Who do they attack? Is it Muslims? Pagans? Satanists?
They go after Christians and Christianity and they love to hate on the Catholic Church. Day and night, night and day, they rant and rave like a bunch of torch-carrying Nazis at a rally about the supposed horrors of Christianity and the Catholic Church. They make searching for embarrassing things that individual Christians or Catholics do, and then implying that this is the behavior of all 2 billion Christians, their bigoted business day and night.
They will go to just about any lengths to drive Catholics off discussion boards and use those boards for their own purposes. They flatter and cajole the weak-as-branch-water Christians who simp when they are stroked. Then they try to use these silly people as weapons against other Christians. It appears that they get up every morning and flick on their computers to begin their daily mission of hate, bigotry and cultivation of prejudice.
If Christianity isn’t relevant to these people, they’re behavior makes even less sense than it does now. I would posit that Christianity, in particular Catholicism, is the most relevant fact of their lives. Without hatred of Christians and the Catholic Church, they would no longer have any reason to write their gutter blogs. Without hatred of Christians and the Catholic Church, how would they feel special?
These people are more focused on the Catholic Church than Pope Francis. In fact, they are a lot more focused on the Catholic Church than Pope Francis, since Pope Francis is actually focused on Jesus Christ.
Relevant? These folks who claim that the Catholic Church is not relevant deny their claims by how they live their lives. They are obsessed, and not in a good sense, with the Catholic Church. It may be the only relevance in their sick little lives.
Now, let’s look at government leaders here in America. If the Catholic Church is irrelevant to President Obama, why did he tarnish the legacy of his own presidency by attacking the First Amendment as a means of attacking the Church? All he had to do was keep his word and live up to the promises he made to the American people and Congress when he was lobbying to pass the Affordable Health Care Act.
But no. He compromised his own place in history by going off on a battle to limit the First Amendment to activities inside church sanctuaries. He went after the basic freedoms of all Americans in order to attack one specific group of Americans: The Catholic Church.
Why? I’m not going to venture into the subterranean channels of President Obama’s mind. I have no idea what lies there. Besides, it doesn’t matter. All that matters with any public official is what they do with the power we give them. Why they do what they do is their problem.
The point for the purpose of this post is simply that the Catholic Church is way past “relevant” to President Obama. This meretricious war he’s engaged in against the First Amendment is the behavior of man who is willing to bet everything on an attempt to force the Catholic Church to bend its knee and kiss Caesar’s ring.
There appear to be few things more “relevant” to president Obama than the Catholic Church.
Now, let’s look at the Catholic bashers of the right and left sides of the political spectrum. I lump them together because, after long years in public office in which I have been thoroughly and repeatedly attacked by both sides, I see no difference between them. Right and left wing nuts are the same.
The reason that both right and left wing nuts attack the Catholic Church is the reason that they do everything: Power. Far from being “irrelevant,” the Catholic Church is a powerhouse of political persuasion. Literally millions of people will place their loyalty to the Catholic Church above loyalty to the R and the D.
Witness the 2014 elections. For the first time, a majority of Catholics voted R. Why? I think the answer to that is obvious. President Obama and his attacks on their Church made the decision for them. Their loyalty was to their Church, not their party.
That, my friends, is power. The power to inspire people to change their long-held behavior, simply out of loyalty, is political power with a capitol P.
The problem for the Rs is that the Catholic Church does not trim the Gospels down to a couple of issues and ignore or even attack all the rest of what Jesus taught. Contrary to what President Obama implied, the Catholic Church expects a lot more of government officials than that they just vote against abortion and gay marriage.
Rank and file wing nuts of both political persuasions, which is to say people like you and me, are just a blinded file of nameless nothings to the people who run the two political parties. They are numbers on a sheet. They were recruited by careful use of “wedge issues,” push polls and profiling. It’s a numbers game.
In the rooms where the decisions are made, which is to say in the rooms of the money men who control the parties, no one is committed to pro life, pro choice, or gay marriage. They want control of government monies and lawmaking powers. They may have opinions about those issues, but their first concern is simply how the issues help them take control of the government. Their real goals are government pork barrel, using government to destroy their competitors, both domestic and foreign, and enacting policies that will allow them to seize public monies and use government power for their own ends.
The Catholic Church is a troublesome factor in this real life game of thrones, simply because it will not be controlled by these power brokers. While a good many denominations have abandoned the Gospels to deify either the right or the left, the Catholic Church keeps on following the whole Gospels of Christ.
An entity that inspires such loyalty of so many people, that will not fall into the carefully hewn lines of right and left political manipulation, is not just relevant in today’s political world; it is the last serious challenge to the hegemony of the power brokers behind the R and the D.
Contrary to the bizarre little tropes created by Catholic bashers, the Catholic Church is relevant to today’s world in a way that no other entity is relevant. The reason it is being attacked from all sides is because the Catholic Church is that sign of contradiction to the world of darkness that every Christian should be.
My purpose in writing Public Catholic is to encourage, empower and equip individual Christians to become signs of contradiction themselves. I do not care if you are an R or a D. I am not trying to get you to change parties. I’m not interested in telling you how to vote.
I want you to fall in love with Jesus. I want you to commit yourself to Him. I want you to become a change agent for Christ, wherever you are.
This world needs conversion, and you and I are the ones God has placed here in this time and place to do the converting. But we cannot do that if we are so enthralled with the R and the D that we trim our faith to fit their machinations.
The Catholic Church shows us the Way that leads to eternal life. There is nothing more relevant than that.
The Catholic Church teaches us how to apply the Gospels of Christ to our daily lives, our culture and our world. There is nothing more relevant than that.
The Catholic Church is hated, feared, bashed and attacked by purveyors of nihilism, death and corporatism everywhere. That is because they know but lie to avoid admitting that the Catholic Church is absolutely, completely and everlastingly relevant to this dying world.
The Catholic Church is as relevant as Jesus Christ, and He is the only relevance there is.
Christian/Catholic bashers come from all sectors of society.
Some of them come from the left. Others come from the right. The thing they have in common is that their agenda is always and forever their agenda and not that of the Gospels.
They attack Christians in general and the Catholic Church in particular, for one reason. They want to either use the prophetic and moral voice of Jesus Christ to advance their nihilist/corporatist agendas, or they want to destroy this voice.
The contrary thing about the Catholic Church is its unbending fealty to the Gospels as a whole. The Catholic Church does not pick out one part of the Gospels to follow and dump the rest of it. The Catholic Church follows the entire teachings of Christ.
This makes the Catholic Church what Simeon told Our Lady that Jesus would be: “A sign of contradiction that will be opposed and spoken against.”
That is what Jesus said would happen to His followers when He told His disciples, If they persecute Me, they will persecute you. A servant is not greater than his master.
This fealty does not apply to all Catholic laity, nor to all Catholic priests, and not even, sadly, to all Catholic bishops and cardinals. But the Church as a whole does not depart from the historic and eternal Word that leads to life everlasting. For guidance, we do what Christians have always done. We look to Peter.
What this means is that while there are individual Catholics who write books, give interviews and lead lives that witness to the fallenness of this world rather than to life in Christ, the Church itself does not waver in following Him. It also means that for every fallen Catholic yammering away on a talk show or showing up in a divorce court or hanging out on a porn site, there are many others quietly living lives of goodness and value that build up the Body of Christ.
It means that, while there are priests and bishops who pander to the culture, there are others, such as Cardinal Cordileone in San Francisco, who accept the brickbats and slanders that come to every true follower of Christ the Lord.
It also means that the most powerful among us are also those who are most jealous of the power this true moral voice gives to the Church. They love to stroke the fallen clergy and fallen Catholics who feed at the trough at public approbation for betraying Christ by following the world’s teachings instead of the Gospels. But those others, those who refuse to bend their knee and kiss Caesar’s ring, stick in their throats like a bone.
A case in point is our President.
No president in American history has launched such a direct and outrageous attack on the First Amendment and the Catholic Church as that engineered by President Obama with his HHS Mandate. That attack on the basic freedoms of every citizen in this country is, sadly, only one part of what he has done.
Under President Obama’s administration, Catholic organizations have had to end apostolates to trafficked women because they wouldn’t refer them for abortions. Catholic adoption agencies have been closed because they wouldn’t place babies with homosexual couples. People of faith, including Catholics such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, have been forced to spend day after day in court, defending basic rights that an Administration that believed in American freedoms would support rather than challenge.
President Obama’s recent comments concerning Christians, particularly Catholics, strain credulity when they are taken in the context of his administration’s constant attacks on the First Amendment. It seems that the president decided to sound off on how Christians and Catholics should interpret the Gospels. Not surprisingly, he called on them to put aside 2,000 years of Christian teaching and join in following after him.
In fairness to President Obama, he was speaking at an anti-poverty summit of Evangelical and Catholic leaders at Georgetown University. That at least makes his comments on topic. The gist of what he said was that Christians have been too focused on abortion and that they need to be more like Pope Francis with his emphasis on the poor.
First of all, if the president had bothered to consider where he was, he might have realized that Catholics, as well as other Christians, have placed a considerable emphasis on the needs of the poor for some 2,000 years now. He was speaking at a Catholic university because of the powerful focus that all Christians place on education.
How many of the finest institutions of higher learning in the Western world were begun by religious people, seeking to spread education to everyone? How many schools are there in Africa, Asia and even the Middle East today that were begun and are run by Christians, seeking educate those who cannot get an education otherwise?
Likewise, how many hospitals, clinics, homes for the destitute and help agencies were begun or are run by Christians? The entire HHS Mandate fight came about because there are so many of us out there working to provide help for people who would not otherwise have it. The ACLU has sued the Catholic bishops to try to force them to stop teaching Catholic teaching in Catholic institutions precisely because, they say, so many of our hospitals and health care agencies are Catholic.
Get that? So many of them are Catholic. That’s because Catholics care and have cared for a very long time about the welfare of human beings, all human beings, everywhere.
That is what following Jesus Christ inspires people to do. Christians are builders, helpers, educators, healers. The light of Christ not only shows us the Way to eternal life. It shows us the Way to abundant life for all people in this life.
President Obama’s comment was a well-done form of Christian bashing. It was somewhat like his earlier remarks about the Crusades in that it was based on a lie and that lie is being used to bash Christians and weaken the Christian witness in our society.
The other half of his comment was equally inaccurate. Christian advocacy in the political realm, especially that by the Catholic Church, is not limited to abortion. I know that. And so does he.
We both know because we’ve been in the political realm for most of our adult lives and we’ve been the recipients of the advocacy from Catholic entities about everything from support for increasing the minimum wage, to the welfare of immigrants.
My strongest help when I passed the bill protecting rape victims from having their personal information released was Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. Abortion was not mentioned in the bill. Ditto for legislation cleaning up nursing homes, the fight to stop Jim Crow legislation against Hispanics, minimum wage, and a host of other things.
Catholic teaching on justice to the poor and the dignity of workers goes back to Christ. It has been elucidated most powerfully by a long series of Popes, beginning with Pope Leo’s historic encyclical Rerum Novarum and going up through every pope since, including Pope Francis.
Pope Francis is Peter. He is not leading the Church down new pathways. There is nothing new or revolutionary about a Catholic Church that stands for the poor. The only thing that is new is this plastic attempt to “play” Catholics by making them think it is new.
As for the Catholic Church standing for the basic right to life of all human beings, how can anyone with half a brain honestly expect the Church Jesus founded to do anything else?
Does President Obama seriously expect the Catholic Church to come out in favor of the wanton murder of innocents?
President Obama’s many little jibes at Christians in general and Catholics in particular are finely-tuned Christian bashing administered by a self-serving pro in the art of skewering his political opponents. They are also, as these things must be, based on lies.
I’ve already done a whole series on the appalling inaccuracies in the way Christian bashers depict the Crusades. I suppose I can do another one on the even more appalling — since the evidence to the contrary is right in front of them — way that Christian witness is slandered and lied about.
It disgusts me when the President of the United States says things like this. He has no business inciting prejudice against a whole group of Americans. He also has no business telling churches how to interpret theology. As he once said, that is “above his pay grade.”
I am resigned to the fact that our president is a Christian basher. I don’t like it. But I’ve been forced by his own behavior and comments to accept it.
This man needs our prayers friends.
Perhaps more important than that, Christians everywhere need to stop letting Christian bashers define them, their faith and their culture. Christian bashers are bigots. They are liars. They are haters of the first order. Remember that when they try to tell you something about your faith.
This story from LifeNews.com, doesn’t surprise me one bit.
Sex ed is actually taught by Planned Parenthood in many school districts. Everyone seems to ignore the obvious conflict of interest in having the nation’s number one abortion provider teaching sex education.
More to the point, the simple fact is that sex ed has been taught and re-taught for decades now and it’s obvious when you look at the stats that it’s not working. Our constant drum beat for more sex ed to solve stds, teen pregnancy, and a whole host of other ills flies in the face of outcomes. After subjecting generations of young people to sex ed, it’s clear that these programs are failures. Sex ed doesn’t do any of the things that its proponents continue to claim that it does.
The one thing that sex ed as accomplished is sexualizing generations of young people and turning their notions of personal sexual morality upside down. As propaganda for a world view, sex ed has been a stunning success. As an method of preventing unplanned pregnancies, stds, and ruined lives, it’s a big flop.
Life News published a story today in which a former abortion clinic owner who says that sex education is not only not a solution for the problem of teen pregnancy, it is actually part of the problem.
Everett, who left the abortion industry after a Christian business counselor she hired lead her to Christ, also talked about how damaging government-funded sex education programs are. In her speech at the Rose Dinner, she took aim at the programs for stealing away the innate modesty of children and creating a rift between children and their parents. She says that the programs aim to teach children that talking to their parents about sex is uncomfortable and then they offer to be the people the children turn to for support. She says that girls are then provided with low dose birth control, which is ineffective if not taken at the same time each and every day, which is close to impossible for any teenager. When the girls get pregnant, they then turn to abortion clinics, she says.