Strip Club Owner to Nuns: Don’t Impose Your Religious Beliefs on Me

Standing Against Christian Persecution

The strip club and the nuns story has gone on for a while and it appears it will continue.

Thanks to the city government of Stone Park, Il, the community of the Missionary Sisters of St Charles Boromeo Scalabrinians now have a strip club two feet from their property.

As we all know, the current reply to any request for official consideration or civil rights for Christians is to tell them to “stop putting their religious bigotry on other people.” We are told to keep our faith at home, to practice it at church and then to keep our mouths shut everywhere else.

The owner of the strip club is no exception to this charming behavior. His advice to the sisters? Keep your religion to yourselves, and oh, by the way, I pay taxes and you don’t.

Of course, none of this addresses the question of why the strip club owner wanted to put his “business” next to a convent in the first place. It also doesn’t address why the city planning commission went along with it. Stone Park’s mayor claims that the process was legal, but that does not in any way explain why this permit to build was approved.

We have a whole town, called Valley Brook, here in Oklahoma that some people believe makes its revenue from prostitution under the guise of strip clubs.

Why do elected officials deliberately corrupt and degrade the cities they are supposed to be working to build and govern? What would motivate them to turn their statutes into open doors for the lowest kind of commerce? Why would anyone think that putting these kinds of things into neighborhoods and next to convents is a good idea?

We’ve had to pass laws at the state level here in Oklahoma to keep them from putting these places across the street from grade schools. The upward-looking elected officials in Valley Brook must have used a measuring tape to make sure they built their school as close to the strip joints as they could without going over the line.

It’s an interesting world we live in where elected officials work to further the interests of the lowest common denominator in their society. It’s an even more interesting world when people who degrade and sell women as if they were chattel can lecture a group of nuns and tell them their viewpoints are unworthy because they are Christians.

I would call that world soul-sick and depraved. But then, I’m used to being told to keep my faith at home where it belongs. It no longer bothers me.

The Chicago Sun-Times article describing this situation says in part: (emphasis mine)

Proposed strip club to nuns: Don’t impose your religious beliefs on us
BY STEFANO ESPOSITO Staff Reporter sesposito@suntimes.com

Missionary Sister of St. Charl, Melrose Park, illinois. Sister Marissonia Daltoe, stands near the convent’s garden that shows the new gentleman’s club that is to close to the Sisters Convent. February 7Th,2012 I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

The owner of a soon-to-be-built strip club in the western suburb of Stone Park has this to say to a group of neighboring nuns who don’t like his plans: Mind your own business.

“As a legal, tax-paying citizen of this community, we ask only to be judged fairly by what we have done and not through the recent religious fervor,” Bob Itzkow, the club’s owner, said in statement released Friday. “In reference to our non-tax-paying neighbors, we ask that you treat us as we have treated you, by not trying to unduly disturb us by imposing your religious beliefs on us or others. All throughout our plans for this project, we’ve followed the letter and spirit of the law.”

The Missionary Sisters of Saint Charles Borromeo, who occupy the property next to the club, have moral objections to the project and have raised questions about whether the rules were followed properly by Stone Park officials during the 2010 approval process.(Read more here.)

Bill Maher, Prophecy Fulfiller or Just Another Atheist Crank in Love With Death?

Bill Maher, the aggressive atheist/talk show host, managed to fulfill a prophecy a few months ago.

Even though I doubt very much that this was his intention when he gave this interview, he comes pretty close.

Mr Maher says (jokingly) I love death. Then he goes on to list all the real-world ways that he really does support the Culture of Death.

Proverbs 8 says “Those who hate me, love death.”

That verse may be more of a direct assessment than a prophecy. Mr Maher may not have been entirely serious when he characterized himself as a death lover. But considering his consistent support for legalized murder in any form, it seems like an “if the shoe fits” deal. The shoe does indeed seem to fit. The only death he doesn’t appear to “love” is his own.

One of the points the commenter makes is that there are very few people who are both pro choice and in favor of the death penalty. People have said similar things to me, only in reverse. Mr Maher and I are somewhat mirror images of one another, at least on a few matters. He is an aggressive atheist. I am a Christian and a Catholic. He favors abortion on demand. I am pro life. He favors the death penalty. I oppose it.

Unlike Mr Maher, I don’t fulfill any prophecies, unless you want to include me among those from many nations who will follow Him.

Listen to this YouTube video (it’s a radio broadcast) and see if you think Mr Maher is a prophecy fulfiller, or just another atheist crank attacking the sanctity of human life.

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Saying Good-bye to Old Friends and the Me I Used to Be

Conversion.

Three syllables. 

It’s not even a pretty-sounding word. Kun – vur – shun. 

But when the conversion in question is  a switch from an anti-god viewpoint to an allegiance to Jesus Christ, it has the power to sweep away everything in its path. Conversion means more than reciting a formulaic prayer. It isn’t about anything you do, at least not initially. In the beginning, conversion, at least as it was for me, is just a matter of saying yes.

I’ve tried many times to find the words to describe the feeling of that moment when I stepped from death to life. I have never found them. There may be no words.

I said, “Forgive me.” That’s all. Just “forgive me,” and I felt this Other, this ecstatic love and joy reach out to me. There was a physical sensation of love filling me. I believe now that what happened must have been the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” that I’ve heard about, but I had no idea of this at the time.

I also had no idea what to do. None. I just waited for the new Being who was with me to guide me.

I do remember, as I entered into the life of a practicing Christian, that I thought that I wouldn’t be like the other Christians. I wouldn’t lose the friends I had before I converted. I would be cool. Nothing was going to change. I was going to keep on being the same person I had always been, believing the same things I had always believed. I would be the cool Christian with all her anti-God friends.

I didn’t tell anyone about my conversion at first. I wasn’t hiding it. I was reveling in the joy. Also, I just didn’t know what to do or say. A month went by before it came into my head to go to a large Methodist Church here in Oklahoma City.

It was the perfect church for the cool Christian I was trying to be at that time. It was the sort of place where I could be as cafeteria about my faith as my coolness required and still be exposed to what I needed to grow in grace with time. I didn’t hide my new church-going ways.  But I didn’t advertise them, either. I didn’t hide the fact that I was now a Christian, but I didn’t push it on anyone or bring it up in conversations when no one else was talking about it.

For no reason that I could discern most of my anti-God acquaintances pulled away from me, anyway. Cool as I was, they didn’t want any part of me. I was ok with that. I was still cool and still hanging on to the people who really mattered to me.

I didn’t reckon with the transformative power of the Holy Spirit. God didn’t seem to mind if I wanted to begin my Christian life by being cool. He just didn’t pay much attention to it. At that stage, He didn’t seem to be trying to change what I did. He was changing what I wanted to do.

That’s something that you don’t realize when you’re a baby Christian bent on being cool. God doesn’t start demanding more from you than you can do. He begins by loving you and teaching you; by changing you at the core instead of on the periphery where all your coolness is focused.

I was a slow learner and a slow changer. I tried with all my heart to hold onto my old ways; my old friends. When I began to change, I even went so far as to try to hide the changes from them, to somehow slip by without talking to them about it because I loved them and I knew that if they understood that I was no longer who I had been, it would be the end of our friendship.

I still remember the way I cringed inside when an atheist friend of mine looked at me and said, “You’ve changed.” It was both a challenge and an accusation, harsher than if he’d caught me stealing the family silver.

What he was responding to, identifying against my will, was that he saw the spirit of Christ in me. There is nothing anyone should be prouder of than that, but I felt caught. Exposed. I had tried so hard to be cool.

“You’ve changed.” he accused, and in that accusation was his acknowledgement that we were no longer intellectual and moral twins. I had become what he despised. “Changed,” he said. And he was right.

He was the first real friend to fall away. And the least painful of the lot.

I should have learned then, but I didn’t. I was deeply tethered to Christ, and emotionally and intellectually immersed in the Holy Spirit, but even though I faithfully attended the large Methodist Church each Sunday,  I felt no connection with the people there. Odd as this sounds, they were too lukewarm in their commitment to Christ. I wanted — hungered — for someone else who loved Him as I did. I went to that church for nine years and never made a close friend.

Was that why I tried to hang on to the friends of my past life? Or was it something else? In truth, I still struggle to understand myself. I just couldn’t, wouldn’t, see that the friendships I’d had were based on externals and not the deep bonding I craved.

This was wrong. It was cowardly. But it is what I did.

You cannot continue to be who you were before you became a follower of Jesus Christ. There is no middle ground between His teachings and what He requires of you and the intimacy of true friendship with unbelievers. It’s taken me a long time and more than a few heartbreaks to accept this.

You cannot serve two masters. Jesus said that. I am thankful that my attempts at being cool never led me so far astray that I questioned who my Master truly was.

Jesus had me at hello. From the first moment of my conversion, I was totally and completely in love with My Savior. Even though I tried mightily to avoid the consequences of lost friendships, when a choice was forced on me, I always chose Christ. It was not even a decision. I am His. That’s what and who I am.

Abortion and same-sex marriage divide people more than any other issues. That was true of me and that old gang of mine as well. I tried to avoid confrontations with my former pro choice friends, but there’s no hiding such things long-term. God had changed me. I truly was a pro life Christian.

Same-sex marriage took an even deeper toll. My best friend was a gay man. I love him like a brother. He is family to me.

If there was any way that I could keep my friendship with him without going against the teachings of my Church and turning my back on Jesus, I would do it.

But I can’t. And he can’t.

I have no problem as a Christian advocating for human rights for gay people. None. I am convinced and my Church teaches that unjust discrimination against gay people is a sin. If it wasn’t for the battlefield same-sex marriage has become, I think they would find that the Catholic Church, which defends human rights for all people, was their best advocate.

But to many gay people, same-sex marriage has become the sine qua non of their human rights. They see opposition to same-sex marriage as a repudiation of them as people. When their Christian friends come out against it, they feel betrayed and used. Friendship can not survive that kind of breach. So it was with my friend and me.

I found myself at the same pass over and over again. I tried to be cool and keep my old friends, but when I was forced to chose, I always, inevitably, chose Christ. The result of my many attempts to be cool, to hang onto my friendships from the past was hurt feelings and broken hearts all around.

If I have one piece of advice for a new convert, it would be to take the lick of lost relationships all at once and get it over with. Know that your old self is dying and a new self in Christ is being born. Turn your face to your future with Christ. I am not blaming anyone but myself for the mistakes I made, but I do wish I had had a Christian mentor to tell me that at the time. I might not have listened, but … I also might have.

Conversion is three syllables which mean “to change in character, form, or function.” That meaning is a good description of the long-term action of the Holy Spirit on a human soul. You change, not in a moment, but continuously, as God slowly “converts” you into what you were meant to be from the beginning.

Unfortunately, all change also means loss. In the case of a radical re-orientation of how you see yourself and all of creation, the loss will ultimately be everyone and everything that remains attached to your other life before Christ became your life. You can not serve two masters. You will, no matter how you try to avoid it, have to chose.

I think the fear of this is what drives so many Christians to hide their faith. The pain of loss when the people you’ve loved become your enemies is exquisite. This leads to a powerful temptation to go along to get along, to hide your faithfulness under a cloak of not saying much when you should be saying a lot. But you can’t hide forever. God won’t let you. At some point, you’ve got to come out, and when you do that, you will have to chose. Either you will chose to follow Christ and alienate those people who are against Him, or you will chose to follow them and lose Christ.

“Do you love me more than these?” Jesus asked.

He’s asking it of each of us today.

We live in a time when Christianity is being pushed to the corners of life, when our faith is challenged from all points of the compass in so many ways it’s difficult to enumerate them. Those of us who have walked the other side of the street are faced absolutely with the question, “Do you love me more than these?”

No matter how much we try to hide our light under a bushel, no matter the effort we make to be quiet and slide by when we are with old friends, we will, eventually, have to chose.

Despite all my weaknesses and many failings, my answer is and always has been, I chose Christ. 

 

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Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs: View Early Clip from the Upcoming Movie

I’m a big Steve Jobs fan. When the Hollywood powers that be cast Ashton Kutcher to play Steve Jobs, I “got” that he could look like Jobs. But could he possibly come up with that intensity and drive? Could he — or anyone — create a facsimile of that charisma?

I saw a clip from the movie today, and I’m still not convinced. Have a look and decide for yourself.

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What Does Your Workplace Look Like?

I am fascinated by the places people carve out for themselves when they work.

Whether it’s a rest bar a the Post Office, a cubicle, or a spot on an assembly line, we all tend to make nests out of our workplaces.

Writers, in particular, seem to give full vent to their creative nesting impulses when it comes to the places where they put words to paper. The Guardian published a fascinating article a few years ago with photos of different writer’s rooms, described in the writer’s own words. It turns out that famous writers work their magic while standing at lecterns, reclining in their beds, sitting elegantly in beautifully turned out offices and a bit everything in between. Some of them look out their office window at a beautiful view; others prefer to stare at a blank wall.

It seems that the literary muse like many different kinds of nests. But one thing each of these workplaces had in common was the sense of ownership the writer seemed to feel about it. It was “theirs” in a way that the rest of their houses were not. 

So it is with all of us. We humans feel a need to claim our turf. We are more comfortable if we sit in the same place at church, take the same desk at work and dine in the same corner of the company cafeteria. We take comfort from and even find a bit of peace in the predictability of having “our” place when we sit down to work. 

Maybe that’s why I found this article so fascinating. Or maybe it was just that I am such a dedicated nester. Home is important to me. Home is refuge, safety and peace. Even when I’m out and about, I like to have spots that are mine, where I can go and have at least a facsimile of home when I get there. 

My office at the Oklahoma state capitol is no exception. I deliberately chose an office that is a bit off the wide-open path. To get to my office, you have to work your way through a suite, including getting past my secretary. I filled it with things that have meaning to me and I regard it as a sort of retreat in that big, echoey building. There are times when I need to get away from the noise and bother of that place and think things through. I also need a retreat where I can pray. 

I spent hours looking at the photos of writer’s rooms in that article and reading their thoughts about their workplaces. Work is such an important part of all our lives. We spend a huge part of our waking time in these cubicles, offices and stations. That makes them important. 

Here’s a photo of my office. 

What does your workplace look like?

 

My messy office 2012  11085

Stop Slogan-Voting. Stop Hate-Voting. Stop Being Manipulated. Part 5. Women’s Health = Slogan Voting

I am a Jesus-loving, Catechism-following, pro-life feminist. 

It appears that by simply being my own contrary self, I have done something most people regard as impossible. I have brought the polar opposites of our cultural divide together.

The polar righties see pro-life feminists in much the same way bumper stickers describe pro-choice Catholics: as Vegans for Meat. The polar lefties agree with them. To polar lefties, feminism is abortion. In their myopic view, abortion equals human rights for women in an exact and all-encompassing equation that admits no exceptions.

I am a feminist, and I am pro-life. I believe what my Church teaches. I love God and Jesus and I have yet to find anything in that which requires me to hate myself because I was born female.

It would follow that I must, by definition, be in favor of “Women’s Health.” What kind of feminist would not favor women’s health? In fact, what kind of Christian would oppose women’s health?

The truth is, I do favor women’s health care. It took me two years to pass a bill requiring insurance companies to cover pap smears for women. I spent five years passing another bill to make it a crime to beat up a pregnant woman. I got yelled at by members of both parties for advocating prenatal care for illegal immigrants.

I could go on. And on.

However, none of these things qualifies as “Women’s Health” according to those who have taken this noble concern and co-opted it for their own purposes. I believe their misuse of the term is deliberate.

It took decades for “I Vote Pro Life” to become just another way for party power brokers to encourage blind allegiance to a political party, even when that party killed pro-life legislation. Most pro-life people side-stepped into it because they felt morally blackmailed; unable to see any alternative. I think that the people who push for “Women’s Health” knew what they were doing from the get-go and actively chose it.

“Women’s Health,” as they use the phrase, never meant women’s health. It never pretended except in the most obvious we-don’t-care-if-you-see-what-we’re-doing way to be anything more than what it is: A synonym for abortion on demand and a funding slogan for Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood has become one of the most avaricious of the big-money Welfare Queens. Any attempt to reduce funding for Planned Parenthood is met with wild and inaccurate claims that these moves are, in fact, an attack on women and “Women’s Health.”

This article from Huffington Post is an example. It describes a vote in the United States House of Representatives to cut funding for Planned Parenthood. Rhetoric similar to this is routinely used against those who try to de-fund Planned Parenthood. It says in part:

House Republicans voted on Friday to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood, cutting money for contraceptives, HIV tests, cancer screenings and reproductive health services as part of an attempt to weaken the abortion provider. Planned Parenthood does not currently spend federal money on abortion services.

… In a statement, Planned Parenthood called the amendment “radically out of step with mainstream American values” and called on the Senate to restore their subsidies “Ensuring that millions of women can obtain health care from their trusted provider … (emphasis added)

I will write other posts talking about whether or not I think the claims concerning Planned Parenthood’s services are accurate. The point here is that the article equates government funding for Planned Parenthood with preserving “Women’s Health,” and that it implies that the only possible way that the government can make contraception, cancer screening and HIV tests available to the public is by funding Planned Parenthood. I believe that both these claims are untrue on their face.

“Women’s Health” as a slogan rather than a concern for actual women’s health took a major step forward with the Affordable Health Care Act (i.e., Obamacare) and the HHS Mandate attacking religious freedom that came from it.

In my opinion, the Affordable Health Care Act could be re-named the Planned Parenthood Government Dole Act. The only flaw in that name is that the word dole brings to mind the caricature of a welfare recipient; someone living in government housing, watching tv all day and eating junk food. Planned Parenthood, on the other hand, is a powerful organization whose board members are usually drawn from among the most wealthy and powerful members of our communities. The “dole” that it’s on amounts to 100s of millions of dollars, all flowing into coffers that are linked to abortion on demand.

The Affordable Health Care Act provides funding for Planned Parenthood in many ways. One of the most lucrative for the organization will almost certainly be the provision for grants of government monies to “health care providers,” including grants for health care education. I believe it is inevitable that this will funnel hundreds of millions of tax-payer dollars into Planned Parenthood coffers. This greed for more and more government money on the part of Planned Parenthood appears to be one of the driving forces behind the HHS Mandate.

Many people do not understand that the HHS Mandate which attacks our religious freedom in this country is not a law. It was not passed by any legislative body. I do not believe that a majority of elected officials in any legislative body in this country could have been persuaded to vote for this mandate.

The HHS Mandate is an agency rule which was promulgated by the members of a committee of the Health and Human Services Department. The members of this committee were appointed, not elected, and as such were not answerable to the people of this country. Many of the members of the Health and Human Services committee that gave us the HHS Mandate are supporters of Planned Parenthood. It is, as most things in politics ultimately are, about money.

If this mandate succeeds in forcing the Catholic Church to close its hospitals, universities and social welfare clinics, that will inevitably lead to a huge rise in “need” for money-hungry organizations to target and then demand funds for. It is standard practice for corporate welfare queens to go to legislative bodies and demand “reforms” that will force their small business competitors to shut down. I view this mandate as something akin to that. The only snag in the plan is the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

As usual, the organizations and the politicians who are backing the HHS Mandate claim that all they care about is “women’s health.” How shutting down hospitals, forcing the closure of many of our finest institutions of higher learning and closing the doors to social welfare agencies who aid women will accomplish this, they do not say. After all, in their narrow lexicon, “Women’s Health” is Planned Parenthood, and little else.

Planned Parenthood and their allies in the media and politics have so warped the issue of women’s health that they have cast the debate entirely around what is good for Planned Parenthood. Anything that is deemed bad for Planned Parenthood is immediately characterized as an “attack on Women’s Health.” In fact, in the current presidential election, this has been broadened to mean that anything that is bad for Planned Parenthood or that even disagrees with one of their objectives, is part of a “War on Women.”

I am not a Republican. I emphatically do not agree with the way that the Republican Party has sold out to corporate interests. In fact, I think Republican corporatism is a danger to our Republic. But I think the so-called “War on Women” is a bogus accusation. I am starting my 17th year as a pro-woman legislator and I can tell you that both parties are indifferent to women’s concerns. However, if anybody is waging war on women, it’s the group of people who have decided that anything that is done to women in the name of funding for Planned Parenthood and the preservation of the “right to choose” is, in fact, “women’s rights.”

When you have people who claim that they own the whole question of “women’s health” but who don’t report sexual abuse and rape of minor children or human trafficking, you know you are dealing with a callous and deliberate lie. When you see people who won’t “judge” attempts to buy an abortion to kill a baby simply because she is a girl, then saying that anyone who wants to reduce their government funding is “waging war on women,” you should be able to see that the real issue is not women and their well-being but government money.

I know that there are good people who support “the right to chose” out of a humanitarian concern for the welfare of women. I believe that many of the issues they raise, such as the horror of rape, legal discriminations against pregnant women, and the health and security of children in our society are actually well-taken. Where I disagree with them is in their assumption that abortion is the best, and maybe even the only, solution for these problems. The answer to legal and social discrimination and violence against women is NOT to give women the right to kill their own child. The answer is to address those problems as the evils that they are and do something about them.

However, an approach like that would also shine the light of reality on the argument that organizations that make huge amounts of money from abortion are in fact the guardians of “Women’s Health.”

The truth of the matter is that Planned Parenthood has become the sole voice for “Women’s Rights” within the Democratic Party, despite the fact that it was never a women’s rights organization. From its founding to the present day, Planned Parenthood has focused on issues of population control to the exclusion of what is in the best interests of women.

While the ability to limit family size clearly can benefit women, Planned Parenthood has focused on methods of contraception that are often dangerous or, in the case of abortion, dehumanizing to women. Dangerous birth control includes drastic chemical interventions in women’s normal body processes such as depo provera, dangerous contraceptive devices such as IUDs and the mass marketing of large-dose hormone interventions such as the so-called morning after pill.

Here in Oklahoma, some of the most vociferous supporters of Planned Parenthood’s so-called “Women’s Health” are former Planned Parenthood board members who also engage in making money by farming women’s bodies for eggs. The fact that these are prominent people is, in my opinion, why the Chamber of Commerce in Oklahoma has played a large part in killing pro-life legislation in the Republican-held legislature.

Real women’s health issues are subverted and essentially buried in a focus on funding things that can destroy a woman’s reproductive health in real life. I have a cousin (now deceased) who suffered repeated blood clots as a result of taking birth control pills. I have personally talked to women who forfeited their own fertility to egg harvesters, and I know women whose menstrual periods ceased and did not re-start after taking depo provera.

Where in any of this is women’s health? And why is the government required to spend hundreds of millions of dollars funding a single organization in order to provide for “Women’s Health?”

I think one of the reasons why is that if they don’t, they will be accused of waging “war” on half the electorate.

I am a feminist. But I believe that “Women’s Health” as it is being used in today’s electioneering is nothing more than slogan-voting. As slogan-voting, it not only doesn’t make women healthier, it endangers their welfare.

The equation is:

Women’s Health = Slogan Voting

 

 

Nuns Object to Strip Club Next to Convent

I have sometimes wondered if city planners are trying to destroy the cities they serve.

Here in my neck of the woods we’ve had to fight the city’s plans to put everything from dumps to strip clubs in quiet family neighborhoods. We usually lose.

Resident’s only learn of the plans after the wheels have been greased, so to speak. When they try to protest, they are forced to take off work, go downtown, pay parking, and then sit through all-day waits to testify before bored commission members who obviously have already made up their minds.

What usually happens after that is that the commission ignores their protests and votes to go ahead with their bad idea. The citizens then go home to live with the disastrous effects this decision has on their neighborhoods, homes, families and lives.

Before too many years, the same commissioners who voted to destroy the neighborhood are asking for a bond issue so they can “rebuild” it. They decry the strip clubs, street walkers, drugs, gangs and run-down buildings as if they were dropped in by a big bird instead of being invited, supported and forced into these neighborhoods by their own actions.

Guess who makes money from these bond issues? Why the people who own the construction companies that do business with the commissioners.

And we wonder why American cities are in such chaos.

Remember those posts I’ve written exhorting Christians to be honest and do a good job at their work? Well, that applies to people who sit on planning commissions and city councils, too.

A case in point is a recent action by the village officials in Stone Park, Il. These officials have decided that good city planning requires that they allow a strip club to go into business less than two feet from the property line of the convent of the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo Scalabrinians.

It seems that the strip club would be next to the retirement home for elderly sisters and the building that houses the formation house for novices and the provincial offices. The nuns, not surprisingly, object.

The EWTN News story about this new strip club says in part:

Bishop Scalabrini Community of the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo Scalabrinians in Melrose Park, IL

Religious sisters in Stone Park, Ill. are fighting the opening of a new strip club near their convent, saying the business is contrary to their Christian work and undermines the neighborhood.

“It’s built right next to our premises, about 400 feet away. It is against our Christian principles,” Sr. Madonna Daltoe, treasurer of the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo Scalabrinians, told EWTN News Feb. 9.

“This new structure has gone up already behind us,” she added. “We do not need to add any more to the village’s social problems. They have enough of these sorts of places, I would say, and we do not want any more. It is not helping the neighborhood.”

The sisters work with poor migrants in their area and provide evangelization outreach as well.

They have objected to Stone Park village officials’ approval of the strip club, which will have partially nude performers and alcohol, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The group questions whether village officials properly followed the rules during the approval process for the club. Its green-walled metallic structure may have been built too close to the sisters’ property, less than two feet from their fence line.

Read more: http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/US.php?id=4856#ixzz2IvcNK3UK

 

For more, see: Strip Club Owner to Nuns: Don’t Impose Your Religious Beliefs on Me

Feinstein Introduces Sweeping Gun Ban Bill

At least one gun control proposal is now in the hopper, and if it becomes law, it would be a big change.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca)   announced plans to introduce a sweeping gun control bill that would ban 158 types of rifles, as well as other shotguns, hand guns and semi-automatic rifles.

Feinstein claims that no guns will be confiscated. Her aim is to do away with the weapons by attrition over time. Representative Carolyn McCarthy, (D-NY) will file the same bill in the House of Representatives.

A Salon article describing the press conference with Senator Feinstein and Representative McCarthy reads in part:

In a press conference Thursday, Democrats unveiled a new version of the assault weapons ban that they will introduce into the House and Senate, which includes a ban on 158 specifically named military-style firearms.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who sponsored the Senate version of the bill and who worked on the assault weapons ban from the 90s that expired in 2004, said in her remarks that this will be a “tough battle,” but she is “incensed that our weak gun laws allow these mass killings to be carried out again and again and again in this country.”

“The common thread in these shootings in that each gunman used a semi-automatic assault weapon” or a large capacity magazine, Feinstein said.

The legislation specifically prohibits 158 types of military grade firearms, as well as other semi-automatic rifles, handguns and shotguns that can have a detachable magazine and have at least one military characteristic. As Feinstein explained, the 1994 version of the law had a two-characteristic test for a weapon to be banned, but that was “too easy to work around.”

Feinstein also emphasized that the ban will not effect weapons for hunting and sporting, and protects “2200 specifically named weapons used for hunting or sporting purposes. They are, by make and model, exempted from the legislation.” She added: “No weapon is taken from anyone. The purpose is to dry up the supply of these weapons over time. Therefore there is no sunset on this bill.” (Read more here.)

Vatican: Pro Life Marches in the United States Impact the Whole World

You are not marching in vain.

That is the message from the Vatican to the pro life marchers here in the United States.

The things we do here in the United States often reverberate around the world. According to Bishop Carrasco de Paula, head of the Pontifical Academy for Life, the pro life marches we hold in this country every year at this time do exactly that.

I can’t join you this year. Gimpy the Foot is healing rapidly but she’s still not up to a full-bore march. But I’ll be there next year.

In the meantime, you have my prayers. You are the Church, in action.

A CNA article concerning the bishops comments says in part:

Rome, Italy, Jan 24, 2013 / 04:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A top Vatican official on life issues called the protests sweeping across the U.S. this week against abortion a historic witness to the sanctity of human life.

“These marches for life that are taking place across the United States are very important, not only for the country, but for the whole world,” Bishop Carrasco de Paula, head of the Pontifical Academy for Life, told CNA Jan. 23.

“These events which favor human life without limits, from conception until the end, have become a very important historical reference for all other Catholic countries worldwide,” he added.

“And if we talk about the Vatican as another face of the Church, then we can say the Church supports these marches in the whole world because the participants are the Church themselves.” (Read more here.)

Stop Slogan-Voting. Stop Hate-Voting. Stop Being Manipulated. Part 4. I Vote Pro-Life = Slogan-Voting

Power corrupts. Lord Acton

You cannot serve both God and mammon. Jesus Christ

 I vote pro-life!

Pro-life people sometimes make this statement as if they were throwing down a gauntlet, or perhaps, ending an argument. Talk to them about the many nuances of grown-up politics and they will try to end the inevitable confusion by announcing emphatically, “I vote pro-life!”

The unhappy truth is that they can’t vote pro-life. “Pro Life” ain’t on the ballot.

All they have to choose from when they go vote is people. That’s why candidate ratings by pro-life groups have such power. Voters don’t have any other way to judge.

There is a strategy of sorts behind all these ratings. It’s two-pronged. The first goal, the one I am directly engaged in as a state legislator, is to elect legislators who will vote to whittle away at Roe v Wade gradually, to inflict a death of a thousand cuts on the killing machine. The second goal is to stack the United State Supreme Court with pro-life justices so that they will one day overturn Roe v Wade.

The first goal, the whittling away goal, is having an impact. But it’s reaching its practical limits. Supreme Court decisions that are designed not only to legalize abortion, but to ensure its availability, maintain a protective barrier around legal abortion. There are only so many ways in which we can whittle away at these decisions and remain within the law.

The second goal of stacking the Court is an utter failure, a debacle. After almost forty years, all it has given us is a court that found that life begins, not at conception, but at incorporation.

How did that happen? It happened because that’s what the people who appointed these justices wanted to happen.

Neither political party wants Roe v Wade to go away. Republicans would lose their vote-getting machine. Democrats would lose their money-raising machine. They need Roe v Wade, or at least the corporations who own them do, to keep us from considering what a lousy job both of them are doing of governing this country.

We are at a stalemate. We have been for forty long years. Pro life people engage in this Sisyphean struggle, laboriously rolling the electoral ball up the hill over and over again. Every time they do it, they let themselves believe that things will be different this time.

Republican legislators ardently support pro-life when they are out of power. Oklahoma Republicans fought like tigers for pro-life legislation when Democrats had the majority. They held legislators accountable for every squeak of a vote. They made speeches that sounded so sincere they would make a pro-life mother weep.

When they gained a majority in the House, they continued the fight against the Democratic Senate and the Democratic Governor. They were, once again, pro-life champions. But as soon as they won the whole thing — house, senate, governor, every office from top to bottom — they started killing pro-life bills.

They were careful at first. They only killed pro-life bills that didn’t count toward their pro-life-legislator rating from Oklahomans for Life. That way, they could still claim to be “100% pro life” when they campaigned.

Pro-life bills backed by organizations such as the Family Research Council and Americans United for Life bit the dust. These “100% pro-life” legislators killed every pro-life bill that didn’t affect the 100% rating that they used in their campaign ads.

They also passed pro-abortion laws. The worst I remember is a law that puts drugs that will induce chemical abortions, as well as date-rape drugs on the shelves in veterinary supply shops where anyone can buy them without a prescription.

As I’ve said in other posts, I knew that some of my colleagues were hypocrites. But I was still amazed by their arrogant bullying of their own supporters. That alone was enough to surprise me. But witnessing the way the pro-life activists sold out to them almost pushed me to despair.

I am certain that if a Democrat had tried to pass a bill putting abortifacients on the shelves where anyone could walk in and buy then, they would — and should — have been legitimately criticized for being amoral and pro death. I would have helped call them out. But almost no one would do anything when this amoral, pro-abortion bill came from the Republican leadership acting on behalf of a major “conservative” lobby.

One pro-life group did make a statement opposing the bill, but they were unable to maintain their stand in the face of the Republican leadership. The only pro-life voice that came out against this bill and didn’t back down was the Catholic Church.

The next year, these “100% pro-life” legislatorsabandoned the inconvenience of passing the pro-life bills that went on their pro-life ratings. They killed almost all the pro-life legislation for 2012, including over half the bills sponsored by Oklahomans for Life.

How did they get away with this? They did it the old way; behind closed doors, with secret votes, ruse votes on meaningless resolutions and procedural moves; the same way that pro-life bills have been dying since the 1970s.

Then, as has become standard practice with them, they forced the pro-life organizations who had supported these bills to back down, kiss Ceasar’s ring and apologize for trying to hold these “100% pro-life” legislators accountable for their actions. It was shameless.

How did this happen?

The answer is easy, if you have the stomach for it. Republicans need pro-life voters when the two parties are close. That pro-life percentage can make a difference in a close election.

Once their hold on the electorate is established, the real owners of the party step from behind the curtain. Money, as they say, talks.

The pro-life issue is the vacuum that sucks in the votes for the Republican party. But the big money people own the party and most of them are either pro-choice or they don’t care. The little-known fact is that the governing boards of major Republican contributors such as the Chamber of Commerce and the Oklahoma State Medical Association overlap with the boards and supporters of secularist, pro-choice organizations such as Planned Parenthood.

Legislation limiting embryonic stem cell research or the harvesting of women’s bodies for eggs has repeatedly gone down in flames in the Oklahoma legislature, particularly in the Senate. The Chamber and the Medical Association, working together, have a 100% pro-death record for killing pro-life legislation dealing with either of these areas.

By now you may be getting antsy and a more than a little angry with me. “Is she trying to tell me to change my party? Does she honestly want me to believe that the Democrats are better?”

The answer is nope and nope.

Don’t change your party, whichever party you are in. And the Democrats are definitely not better.

What I want you to do for now is take the partisan blinders off and realize that there is no way you can go into the polls and “Vote Pro Life.” You have to vote for people, and some of the people you vote for will be liars.

No matter what they say at campaign time, very few of the people in either party care about the issues of life. That is the truth as I know it.

Don’t despair. There are things we can do. I’ll get to them.

It’s enough for today to know the equation. It’s a simple one:  I Vote Pro Life = Slogan Voting

Is the Male/Female Sexual Difference Key to Understanding Marriage?

Is the male/female sexual difference key to understanding marriage?

Not so long ago, that question would have been greeted with confusion. After all, it was questioning the obvious; kind of like asking if gravity is key to keeping us from flying off into space. But times have changed, and today the question is more likely to be greeted with cries of “bigot” and claims about “homophobia.”

Perhaps the real question should be, are we deluding ourselves?

Is the claim that two men together or two women together is the same as the bonding between a man and woman flat-out delusional? Are we using social bullying and name-calling to force people to accede to a lie?

The question is not whether homosexuals are human beings (they are) or whether or not they should be subjected to unjust discrimination (they should not) but whether or not same sex bonding should be treated identically under the law as the bonds that form between a man and woman. The corresponding questions are (1) What would this change in the law do to society, and (2) Is the whole push for “marriage equality” based on a delusion?

Are two men or two women the same as a man and a woman? Do their unions rise to the level of a basic unit for building a society and do they require the same level of legal protection in order to maintain a stable society?

More to the point, is it an elaborate delusion, a hoax, to claim that two men or two women together are the same as a man and woman?

Do the sexual differences between men and women amount to anything real and foundational in human existence, or are they just fashionable social constructs with no basis in the human psyche or biological reality?

A team of professors from Princeton University has taken the position that sexual differences do matter in the marriage debate, that they are essential to understanding marriage. They have written a book, What is Marriage?: Man and Woman: A Defense that I plan to order and read.

A CNA article describing their work and ideas says in part:

Washington D.C., Jan 10, 2013 / 02:13 am (CNA).- Defending the sexual complementarity between men and women in marriage is an essential first step in building up a healthy “culture of marriage” as a whole, say the authors of a new book.

“I really do believe that this is a reasonable debate among reasonable people of good will,” said
Prof. Robert George of Princeton University.

George spoke Dec. 19 at the Catholic Information Center in Washington, D.C. Joining him at the promotional event for their book, “What is Marriage,” were co-authors Sherif Girgis and Ryan Anderson.

The speakers explained that while attempts to redefine marriage are based on an understanding of the union as primarily emotional, this is neither the historical nor contemporary definition of the marital union.

Girgis, who is both a second-year Ph.D. student at Princeton and a first-year law student at Yale, observed that marriage, historically and philosophically understood, is a conjugal, comprehensive union on multiple levels.

In marriage, there is a “union of heart and mind but also of the body,” he said, explaining that the physical realities of husband and wife are integral to the conjugal nature of marriage.

It is this bodily union that makes procreation possible and distinguishes marriage from friendships and other human relationships, Girgis explained.

Changing marriage from this definition would be harmful to society, and should therefore be avoided, warned Anderson, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

He stressed that “being for marriage does not mean anti-gay” and said that marriage defenders “should be at the forefront” of efforts to oppose bullying and discrimination against those who are same-sex attracted.

However, he continued, supporters of marriage should not allow their position to be called “bigotry,” and they must explain that their position is not unjustly discriminatory.

Instead, he maintained, supporters of traditional marriage should affirm that there is “(n)othing more important for the future of the nation” than a “healthy marriage culture,” particularly for the benefit of children. (Read more here.)

Video Tribute to 40 Years of Abortion on Demand: Watch Once, Shower Twice

Moloch

I didn’t write about the 40th Anniversary of Roe v Wade yesterday.

I didn’t because, as we say in these parts, I had no spit. I just didn’t wanna even think about it.

Then last night, I saw this. At first view, I thought it must be a parody attacking the abortion movement. I went to the Center for Reproductive Rights, the group which is credited with this thing, and there it was.

In addition to the overall sleeziness of this video, the irony of repeatedly referring to abortion, which is the killing of a an unborn child, as “baby” is so thick an elephant could stand on it. All in all, it is, in its own sick way, a worthy tribute to 40 years of legalized infanticide.

Watch it and go take a shower.

YouTube Preview Image

For Deacon Greg Kandra’s take on the same story, go here.

Three Ways to Betray Jesus, Excommunication and the Power of Elections

Historically and scripturally there have been two ways that most people betray Jesus:

1. The St Peter and all the apostles except John Way. This is the deny-Him-under-duress, run-away-from-threats-and-then-repent-later method of betrayal. I would wager that in some form or another every single one of us has done a bit of this. I know I have. I’ve hemmed and hawed; ducked and covered, trying to keep all my old friends from my life Before Christ. Trouble was, they all found out. Eventually. And I ended up taking down a big dose of shame along with the grief of losing them. You can’t hide your love of Christ from your BC friends; at least not forever.

2. The Judas Iscariot way. This involves betraying Him for money or gain and then, when you realize that what you got is not anywhere near as good as what you paid for it, you just hang in there and don’t go back to say you’re sorry. No repentance, no homecoming, no fatted calf for you; just the stale bread of exile from God for life.

Those are the two ways that most people have gone about betraying their Savior. But there is a third way.

This third way has usually been reserved for kings and popes and other powerful folk; people who bathed in and drank from the hubris cup morning and night. Henry VIII is one of history’s most famous practitioners of this method of God betrayal. It isn’t all that complicated intellectually. All it requires is an ego and sense of entitlement that will allow you to tell God that He’s wrong and you’re right, announce this to the whole wide world and stick with it right down to the gates of your own eternal damnation.

This particular form of hubris-powered Jesus betrayal has been around since Christianity made its way out of the Catacombs and into the halls of power. What is different today is not the method or the thinking that goes into it, but how widespread and universal it has become.

Telling God to sit down and do as He’s told was once the province of powerful men made mad by over-privileged existences. Now, it appears that it’s the chant and cant of millions. These people hold God and not themselves to task for human depravity. They claim that wretched sinfulness of every stripe is, in fact, a positive good. They feed their children and old people to the flames of their self-succor and then berate God when anyone tries to tell them this is wrong.

Last, but certainly not least, are those who refuse to leave the Churches they despise, who will not walk away from the pretense of “following” a God they say needs their tutelage. First among these are the Catholic politicians who attend mass, take communion and then go out and vote for, support and sponsor every new trend in killing, immorality and social unwinding around.

Most people are blind to the “normal” folks who flaunt God in their daily lives, but they zone in on these politicians. It outrages and enrages them to see photos of an elected official who is well-known to support abortion, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, war and torture walk up to the head of the communion line and accept the host.

They rail at the Church for not “doing something” about it. It it very popular in certain circles to call for this or that politician to be summarily excommunicated for his or her support for things that are 180 degrees off Church teaching. In fact, one of the sorrier spectacles of every campaign season is various political groups pointing fingers at each other’s “sins.”

Many people get white-hot angry with the bishops because they don’t drum these obvious miscreants out of the Church. They want them, if not burned at the stake, at least escorted to the church doors and told not to come back.

There are days when I get worked up over some of the things I see and feel like joining them. But it never lasts long. The reason is simple. It isn’t my job to kick people out of the Church. What’s more, I don’t want that job. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’m just grateful they let me in.

The latest kerfluffle has been over Governor Cuomo of New York and his over-the-top legislative advocacy for abortion at all times, for any reason. This evidently follows quick on the heels of his support for gay marriage. In spite of all this, the governor continues to attend mass and take communion.

My personal reaction is that he’s a fraud and a phony every time he goes to mass. He appears to think that his personal moral understanding is superior to 2,000 years of Christian teaching and morality. My reaction to that is, fine on him. If he doesn’t believe that the Catholic Church teaches Truth and he has no intention of even attempting to follow the teachings of the Gospels as interpreted by that Church, that’s his call.

But, if that’s what he believes, I don’t see any honesty at all in going to mass and taking communion.

I have to be careful here, because my own sins are ever before me when I write things like this. Can I — can any of us — withstand the judgement I am meting out here? I sin. I do things I hope nobody ever finds out. I am not God’s best work. I assume that everyone reading this falls into the same sinful basket.

That’s why we need Jesus. It’s why we need the Church. It’s why our own understanding of right and wrong will always lead us down a destructive path if we adhere to it too closely. That is what, I think, has happened to Governor Cuomo. He’s been following his own understanding, and that has led him to advocating terrible things.

It always does, you know. Always. Every time. For each of us.

The only way to follow Christ is to actually follow Christ. The single best way I know to do that is to simply stop all the yammering and just accept that the Catholic Church really is the Church and that all you have to do is follow its teachings. When you fail in this — as you will — go to confession, get cleaned up and start over.

We have quite a number of politicians out there who basically spit raspberries at Christ by defying serious moral teachings concerning the sanctity of human life and the sacrament of marriage (among other things) and then showing up at mass to take communion as if they were a bunch of nuns. We have an even larger number of Catholics who endanger their own souls by focusing on these sins of other people and letting their anger make them bitter and vicious.

My personal solution for this one is really quite simple. I don’t have to decide if these political birds will be excommunicated or not. In fact, I can’t make that decision. It’s just not my job. I don’t have the power to keep them out of church. And I don’t want that power. Do. Not. Want. It.

On the other hand, as an American citizen, I have the power to work and vote to keep them out of office. Maybe that’s where those of us in the laity should focus our energies. If I lived in New York, I think that working to help Governor Cuomo find a new vocation as a private citizen would be my focus; that, and praying for his soul.

What I wouldn’t do is berate my bishop or cardinal. I’d just let them do their jobs. After all, if they mess up, they’ve got someone a lot more important than me that they have to answer to, and in the final analysis, they — along with Governor Cuomo and you and me — will do exactly that.

Is There Something in the Drinking Water, or, Were People Always This Crazy and We Just Didn’t Notice?

Is there something funny in our drinking water? Or have people always been this crazy and we just didn’t notice?

The reasons I’m asking are …

Te’o and the girlfriend who wasn’t. If he’d been a lonely nerd with acne and a weight problem no one would have been all that surprised by a fantasy girlfriend. But everyone knows that football stars are like young lords on college campuses. The profs, the staff, the press, the administration and the girls just can’t say “no.” So, what’s with Te’o and the fantasy girlfriend?

Monsignor Meth, the Breaking Bad priest. Turns out the monsignor was a sex-party-in-the-rectory-having cross-dresser before he was a meth-dealing-money-laundering-sex-toy-store owner. Fortunately, the Church had already removed him from his parish for the sex party in the rectory stuff. (Whew!) But … what’s with this guy?

Father Handcuffs, the 911 caller. Odd as this sounds, my main question about Father Handcuffs is why he didn’t call a friend to get him out of his rig instead of 911. My family and I were discussing this at dinner the other night (my kids are adults, and our dinner table conversations are, always have been, free-ranging) and one of my sons said, “Why didn’t he call anybody — even his mother — before he called 911?” All this leads me to think that Father Handcuffs, in addition to being a bit of a kink, may be a lonely man.

Mark Sanford the I-lied-when-I said-I-was-hiking-the-Appalachian-Trail-I-was-really-in-Argentina-with-my-girlfriend Governor. Now, with said girlfriend at his side and his wife and four children … somewhere else … the former governor says he’s running for Congress. Where he should fit right in.

Mel Gibson the brilliant actor/director who truly and absolutely cannot hold his liquor, a weakness that combines with his love affair with hidden microphones to make for sordid tapes.

And all those famous menpoliticians, footballs players, etc — who keep sending photos of their private parts to women who don’t want to see them.

Were people always this crazy and the internet has just forced them on us, or, is someone putting some sort of mental whoopee cushion in the drinking water? I ask you, what’s with these people?

Do Pro Abortion Catholics Lack Essential Integrity?

It represents a lack of integrity for a public official to expect others to accept the premise: “What I do publicly contradicts who I say I am religiously, but that doesn’t make any difference.” 

 Bishop Lawrence Brandt of Greenburg Pennsylvania, issued a pastoral letter recently in which he raised an important issue about Catholic politicians who support abortion.

Aside from the question of whether or not these politicians should take communion, (he thinks they shouldn’t) he raises the a more fundamental question, at least for non-Catholic voters, which is Can we trust them?

His reasoning here is simple. If someone will play false with something as basic as their faith, how can we believe them about anything else?

It’s an interesting question. The point of this question is not whether or not they are pro abortion. It’s also not whether they are Catholic. It’s their stubborn insistence that they are Catholics in full communion with the Church when even a cursory reading of the Catechism would tell them that they are not. The point is the arrogance and the lie.

What line of reasoning leads people to this? Cradle Catholics are among the most devout people I know. However it’s been my experience that converts are far less likely to be pro abortion Catholics than those who were born and raised in the faith.

This makes sense. After all, converts chose the Catholic faith, usually after a period of discernment and education about what it means to be Catholic. Most cradle Catholics have a good understanding of their faith as well, but it’s easier than it would be for a convert for some of them to just fall into their Catholicism without understanding or choosing it actively.

I wonder if there is something in that which predisposes them to this kind of wrong-headed view of their faith. How do they manage to see themselves as wholly and fully Catholic, even while they ignore the teaching authority of the Church on an issue like the sanctity of human life?

I have a theory that, in some way that makes sense to them, they see being Catholic as more genetic than religious.

I know quite a few Jewish people who feel this way about their Jewishness. I know Jewish people who have never been to Temple in all the decades I’ve known them and who have even less knowledge of their faith than I do, yet they are confident that they are, in fact, Jews.

I wonder if these pro abortion Catholic politicians see themselves the same way. If they do, I think they are basing their belief on a mistaken assumption about what it means to be Catholic, or Christian of any denomination. Christianity is not a genetic faith.

I believe that true Christianity always involves an active assent, a personal “yes” to God. It is that essential “yes” that we give voluntarily and from our hearts that shapes our faith and our subsequent actions.

Somewhere, in all the haze of being cradle Catholic and the many pressures to conform their faith to their politics, these politicians have lost that understanding of their faith. Rather than seeing it as a core commitment which will determine their values and actions, they see it as a social obligation which requires that they show up for mass and answer the responses. They are cultural Catholics rather than religious Catholics.

It appears that their understanding of themselves as individual human persons who must stand before God alone one day and account for what they did with their time in this life is lost to them.

They seem to have slipped right past that and into a sort of corporate we’re-catholic-as-a-group-and-that’s-all-the-fidelity-we-must-live view of their Catholicism. Instead of becoming part of a body of believers, they see themselves as part of an ethnic designation. Instead of a Community of Faith, they have defined their church as a consortium of adherents.

Whether it happened because of political accommodation or daffy religious formation, these people have lost the meaning of faith, and with it the meaning and the charge of what it is to be Catholic.

Bishop Brandt asks us if we can trust such people, not just with abortion, but with anything. I think this is a question we should consider carefully as we approach next week’s election.

Here is what he said on this matter:

“Any individual who says he can advocate for and enable the practice of abortion and claims that he can still be a Catholic in good standing, has a very serious problem with integrity which any community can ignore only at its own peril.”

Politicians who live in such a disintegrated way are a matter of concern not only to Catholics, but to “society itself,” Bishop Brandt said.

“It is a cause of very serious concern for all the citizenry about a matter of integrity. It is a very serious concern about placing public trust in a person who has demonstrated public misrepresentation.” (Read more here.)

Stop Slogan-Voting. Stop Hate-Voting. Stop Being Manipulated. Part 3. Puppet People = Legislators Who Can’t Take the Heat

Public Catholic exists because of two events.

1. President Obama declared war on my church. I first learned about the (then) proposed HHS Mandate forcing religious institutions to purchase insurance that paid for contraceptives, abortifacients and sterilization in the fall of 2011. I knew immediately that this was an unprecedented attack on religious freedom. I also saw it as a deliberate attempt to destroy the Church’s moral voice by forcing it to compromise its teachings in the face of government power. I had known for a long time that Christianity in general, and the Catholic Church in particular, was under growing secularist attack. But this mandate went beyond what I thought any President would do.

2. The Republican-led Oklahoma House of Representatives killed over half the pro-life bills backed by Oklahomans for Life in 2012. They used exactly the same tactics the Democrats had used to kill pro-life bills for decades. When Oklahomans for life attempted to hold them accountable in the same manner they had held Democrats accountable in the past, House leadership became verbally abusive with pro-life activists.

They carried this so far that a prominent pro-life activist who had spent decades in the trenches fighting for life and who had basically gotten these people elected to office wrote a cowering letter of apology to the House Republicans. Pro life leaders apologized to so-called “100% pro-life” Republicans for expecting them to vote pro-life. Think about it.

The first event — the HHS Mandate — got me out of my chair. The second — the arrogant, heartless, hypocritical killing of pro-life bills by “pro-life” legislators — set me in motion.

I knew before they killed these bills that the official Republican Party hierarchy was lying about being pro-life. I knew the money backers who really run the party thought that all this religious stuff their candidates spouted was an embarrassment. I knew they regarded it as a necessity that they had to allow in order to gain power for themselves. I also knew that some of the legislators in both parties were phony Christians and phony pro-life supporters who just said and did what they had to in order to win elections. I knew this, had known it for years.

But I would have staked my reputation on the sincerity of some of the others. I would have defended them anywhere, to anyone. When I saw these people I believed in turn their backs on the babies, it took the air out of my lungs.

I fought all this. I mean, I fought it. I spoke at press conferences, debated and tried to kill ruse votes on the floor. Then, I went to my colleagues one at a time, trying to get enough support to force a vote on the  personhood bill. It takes hours to do this by yourself, but at the end of the day, you know, and I mean you know how people stand on the issue.

I didn’t release this tally to the press. That’s not the way I operate. But I did share it with my colleagues who were working with me to try to get a vote on this pro-life bill. Somehow or other, it ended up getting printed. About 10% of the members of both parties were willing to go against the leadership and demand a vote on the bill. The rest of them caved to the manipulations and the pressure.

Exactly what kind of pressure made all these “100% pro-life” legislators turn their backs on what they said they believed?

They were faced with:

1. Threats of having an inside group of consultants who were hired by the leadership run candidates against them in their next campaign. They were threatened with well-funded puppet people opponents. It went without saying that they would lose the machine that had elected them. Since they were puppet people themselves, this was scary stuff.

2. “Lobbying” from the State Chamber of Commerce which told them that “social issues” such as pro-life legislation created a bad business environment. They were told that being pro-life and supporting other moral values made Oklahomans look like a bunch of hayseeds. In other words, they were convinced (and it wasn’t too hard to convince them) to be ashamed of the morals and values they had touted when they wanted to get elected.

3. Shunning by their pals. By this I mean the we-won’t-speak-to-you/eat-lunch-with-you/tell-you-jokes/sit-with-you grade school discipline of being on the outs with your caucus, your party, your team. I’ve experienced this. My own party nearly censured me for passing a pro-life bill. Our local liberal newspaper, The Oklahoma Observer, publishes demands for me to be kicked out of the party on a fairly regular basis. I haven’t been to a party function in years because I don’t like being called names and looked at like I’m a lower form of life.

Being genuinely pro-life will get you in trouble with the real “haters” of American politics, and that’s a fact.

I put up with all this and by the grace of God, I kept going. But the puppet people couldn’t take the hurt and ran away in fear of a competitive election campaign. They betrayed what they said they believed, turned their backs on innocent unborn children, because they wanted an easy re-election to office and to be invited out to lunch with the guys.

Even though this happened in Oklahoma, it could happen anywhere. It has happened just about everywhere. The bewildering lack of courage shown by puppet people who hold elective office isn’t just an Oklahoma problem. It may not even be just an America problem. It exemplifies why electing puppet people is such a disaster for this nation, and ultimately, for our world. It also shows why, no matter who we elect, nothing changes.

The reasons I’ve concentrated on the Republicans in this is because (1) they were the ones with the power, and  (2) they are the party that claims to be pro-life. I am outraged by the way Democratic party activists treat the pro-life people in their midst, by their hostility and attacks on Democrats who support traditional values and their mindless championing of anything that attacks the sanctity of human life.

But what I’m talking about in this post is the flat-out betrayal of pro-life people by legislators who claimed to be pro-life, campaigned as pro-life and were elected for being pro-life. Those pro-life bills weren’t killed by Democrats. They were killed by Republican legislators that thousands of trusting pro-life people had worked and sacrificed to elect.

The “pro-life” Republicans didn’t start out this way. They fought for pro-life legislation, rather than killing it, when they were on their march to power. It was only after they had taken over the state government, picked up all the marbles, that they turned against the issues and people who had supported them in election after election. I’ll go into how and why I think this happened in Part 4.

In the meantime, listen to me carefully: We will never overturn Roe v Wade, we will not save traditional marriage, we will not stop the tide of killing that is euthanasia, organ buying, baby selling, human trafficking, not so long as we continue to elect puppet people to office.

Why? Because they represent the powerful interests that financed their enormously expensive campaigns, rather than the people who elected them. Because they can’t think their way out of a paper bag. Because they don’t have any guts. Because, not to put too fine a point on it, they get hysterical and run and hide at the least bit of opposition.

Do they feel bad about any of this? Not that I can see. I’ve come to the conclusion that it is impossible to overestimate the political amnesia of a political puppet. Less than two weeks after he worked to kill the Personhood bill, I had one of them look me in the eye and tell me, “I would stand for pro-life even if  it meant the lives of my own children.” I think he thought he was telling me the truth.

I didn’t argue with him. There comes a point where there is no point.

“There are none so blind as those who will not see.” John Heywood said that a long time ago. I was blind once. I helped kill unborn babies and honestly did not comprehend what I was doing. But, back when I was doing pro-choice things, I at least knew that I was pro-choice. I wasn’t living under the delusion that I was pro-life.

This post is deeply personal to me. Too personal, really. I’m not over this enough to talk about it in public. I decided to go ahead because the American people deserve to know this. Nothing, but nothing, is more on point than a letter from the front lines.

It’s really a simple equation.

Puppet People = Legislators Who Can’t Take the Heat

Obama’s Inaugural Address: What Did You Think?

President Barack Obama, official portrait

What did you think of President Obama’s Inaugural Address? 

How did it compare with the address he gave four years ago?

Did any part of it resonate with you?

Did it leave you mad, sad, glad or just plain indifferent?

One paragraph in particular got my attention:

You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.

I doubt that I responded to that paragraph in the way he intended, since, to me at least, defending “our most ancient values and enduring ideals” means, among other things, standing with my Church against the HHS Mandate.

I think it’s critical for you to read these important speeches yourselves and then make up your own minds. What is your opinion of the speech President Obama gave today?

You can find a copy of the speech here.

The Dynamic Duo Take the Oath

Never in American history has a president and vice president formed a team like these two.

It’s … 

Tonto and the Lone Ranger

The Dude and Walter

Buzz Light Year and Woody

Chester and Marshall Dillon

All Over Again

 

 

 


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