Mama is now famous. Her photo is right there, big and shiny, in the National Catholic Register.
Bless her bones, she keeps on keeping on. I spent most of yesterday afternoon with her. We went out for hotdogs and drinks at our favorite drive-in. Then, we went to the bank drive-through and then we went to the library.
Throughout the entire excursion, she prattled along, talking to me about everything we passed on the way. As usual, she told me, “We used to live here,” as we passed several neighborhoods and houses where we never, ever lived. Then, she tossed in, “We used to go swimming here,” as we drove past a spring-fed pond where, indeed, we used to go swimming.
She’s a treasure and a treat and a blessing. I love her so much it makes my bones ache. Every day with Mama is a gift.
I had to make one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever made in my life after the cancer treatment got too much for me last year. But God, in His infinite kindness, has turned that tough decision into a blessing.
I wrote about all this for the National Catholic Register, which is how Mama became famous. I gave them a photo I took of Mama on one of our excursions to use with the article.
Here’s part of what I said:
Cancer is about more than the person who has cancer.
It’s also about the family and friends who gather around to support you through this illness, who walk with you and take care of you and, sometimes, hold your hand as you say that final good-bye. Cancer takes a toll on everyone. The unsung heroes of cancer are those the caretakers.
There is nothing easy about having a wife, husband, mother, father, son, daughter or friend with cancer. Not only are you stuck with taking care of them and adding the chores they did before they got sick to your already full list, you’ve got to face your own grief, fears of mortality and lostness; and you have to do it without the attention and support that is given to them.
Cancer is a tough bogie for everyone, not just the person who has the disease.
In my family, cancer was massively complicated by the fact that we were also caring for a 90-year-old two-year-old. My Mama, my sweet, wonderful Mama, had and has no idea that I was ever sick. She cruised through the early months of the diagnosis and treatment without picking up a thing, even though it was happening right in front of her.
In fact, she was sitting beside me in the car when the doc told me the pathology reports showed cancer. I had just picked her up from adult day care and was heading home when he called. I don’t know if it was a gray day, but I remember it that way. The doc and I talked back and forth on the speaker while she sat beside me and nattered on about the birds on top of the signal lights and the bright colors on the cars driving down the road beside us.
Not one word of it went into her addled brain, and for that I am profoundly grateful. One of the very real blessings of her dementia is that she did not have to suffer through what would have been the horrible knowledge that her baby had cancer. If she had known and understood her grief and worry would have been terrible. As it was, she never knew a thing.
That was the good part. The not-so-good part of caring for a 90-year-old baby with dementia was that she also gave no quarter to the burdens the rest of the family faced. (Read the rest here.)
Yesterday, President Trump reinstated the so-calld Mexico City Policy. He issued an executive order banning the use of federal foreign aid monies by groups that perform or promote abortions as a method of family planning in other nations.
I believe that the original aid monies the ban addressed were put in place by President Richard Nixon. The first executive order banning these monies from going to groups that perform or promote abortions as a method of family planning in other nations was promulgated by President Ronald Reagan.
Reagan’s executive order stayed in place until it was rescinded by President Bill Clinton. It was reinstated by President George W Bush and then rescinded by President Barack Obama.
Now, President Donald Trump has reinstated it.
You can see the press announcement and read more about it here.
I am forwarding this alert from national Democrats for Life. Just click on the link at the bottom of the notice to ask your representative to vote “Yes!”
Contact your Representative to urge a “Yes” voteThe U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” this week. Pro-life Democratic Congressman Dan Lipinski co-sponsored the legislation, along with Republican Congressman Chris Smith.The legislation will make the Hyde Amendment language permanent and ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to pay for abortion.We urge you to contact your representative and urge him or her to support the legislation. If you do not know who your representative is, please click here and enter your zip code to find your representative.
The 44th Annual March for Life will take place in Washington, DC this Friday.
Kellyanne Conway, senior counsel to President Trump, will headline the speakers list. Also speaking will be Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Benjamin Watson, tight end for the Baltimore Ravens, Abby Johnson, Karyme Lozano, Eric Metals and Bishop Vicent Matthew, Jr.
The march will begin at 11:45 am with a musical opening, followed by a rally and the actual March for Life at 1 pm.
There will be Silent No More testimonies at 3 pm. Marchers will then have the opportunity to visit their Senators and Representatives in their offices.
For more details, go here.
Be there or be square!
I’ve been praying almost constantly about both the election next Tuesday and its aftermath. This is the first time in my life that an election has actually scared me, but this one does.
No matter who wins next week, this election is not going to end well for this country or for We the People. That is why I’ve decided to write this post. There are things I want to say now, before the election because there will be no purpose in saying them afterwards.
I realize that anything anyone says right now leads to a lot of craziness on the part of those who read it. These two candidates are, each in his or her own way, so execrable that there is no way to talk about either issues or morality without taking on the appearance of backing or attacking one of them.
It is even impossible to speak out against heinous things like sexual assault, misogyny, racism, incest, pornography and abortion without being attacked for advocating for one of these candidates.
Think about that. These two people are so identified with amorality that a discussion of immoral behavior is not possible without people thinking you are using code to attack one or the other of them.
Christians lost this election a long time ago. We have no candidate for president on the ballot next Tuesday. The fact that so many Christians — including, sadly, Christian religious leaders — have gone as nuts as the rest of the country and jumped down into the trough to sling mud with everybody else is a deep sadness in my heart. It is a failure of discipleship at a critical time in our history.
No matter who wins this election, Christians have already lost. More to the point, We the People, have lost. This will not end well. The reason it will not and can not end well is rooted in the touchstone I used for deciding issues and votes when I was in public office, which leads me to what I want to say.
Let me lay the groundwork with a bit of reminiscence.
When I went back into office the second time, I knew that I would face votes and times when even the most compelling issues and interests would collide with the common good. I also knew that decisions would be forced on me and that I couldn’t duck them. I would not have the option of voting for a third party candidate or just not voting at all. It was my job to decide and I had to do it.
It’s easy, in the pressure-cooker of political debate and decision making, to lose sight of who you are and what you believe. No one who has not experienced it can imagine the weight of the arguments and forces that are brought to bear on individual elected officials in an effort to get them to use the power of their office in a certain way. These interests and arguments collide forcefully, and the psyche and emotions of the person who holds the office tend to get crushed in the process.
People lose themselves in public office. They get so turned around and lost that they no longer believe what they believe or think what they think.
I knew all this when I went back into office the second time. I walked in the door fully aware that I was placing myself in an emotional, spiritual and psychological blender.
It’s important, when you are faced with critical decisions, to know what you believe and why you believe it. It is a critical part of keeping your head to have core values and understandings you can anchor your decision-making on as you wend your way through the maze of deciding that is your daily lot.
I think the American people have been put through an emotional, psychological and spiritual blender these past few years that is very much like a slow-mo version of what an elected official experiences. We have been beaten half senseless with a 24-hour news cycle that focuses on the next terrible thing and actively seeks to keep us whipped up in a frenzy of panic and obsession. That’s because they make their money from obsessive viewing, which is why so much of their programming is trash. It’s why they focus on the negative and the vicious, the amoral and the corrupt. Those things grab us at the lowest level of consciousness, they fascinate precisely because they echo our atavistic disorders and fears.
It’s no accident that we are now faced with a choice between two unsavory candidates for office. It is also no accident that many of the people in the electorate are behaving like crazy loons as the election approaches. The American public has been flogged without pausing for years now. We have been ignored and manipulated, disregarded and used; all without conscience or a sense of responsibility on the part of those who are doing it to us.
I have three things I want to share with you as we approach election day and the life after.
First, I want you to know that this is the kind of public discourse and these are the kinds of candidates you get in a democracy which has turned away from God. We are seeing the dawn of our punishment, and it appears that it will be by our own hands.
Second, I want to reiterate that no matter which of these candidates wins, Christians have already lost this election. We lost it a long time ago. Neither of these candidates is fit for the Oval Office. Neither of them is worthy to lead this great nation. But one of them will. And no matter who it is, We the People are going to pay the price for what they do.
Third, I want to share with you the touchstone that I used to anchor all my decision-making when I was in office. I actually had several basic rules, if you want to call them that, which guided me. I wouldn’t use my power to kill anybody and if I had the chance to save lives, I would take it and I would do it, no matter the political cost to me.
That sounds simple — just don’t kill anybody — but it’s not. A lawmaker can kill on a vast scale for generations to come by putting a comma in the wrong place. Also, how tough is it to decide to save a life? In politics, it can be tough. It can get you reviled and attacked. There is nothing that makes people more vicious than when you tell them that somebody they’ve decided is not human enough to be treated as a human is actually a full human person.
That point is pertinent in this election for one reason. The President of the United States has the power to kill on a planetary scale. He or she can, on their own cognizance and in a matter of minutes, kill everything, everywhere. We are considering in this election whether or not we will destroy the carefully-balanced system of alliances that has kept this world out of nuclear war for over 70 years. That is a huge matter. Enormous.
Which leads me to the basic, bedrock criteria I used for deciding on votes. When I found myself in a conundrum that wouldn’t yield, I based my decision on one truth: A just and stable government is always the greater good.
There is no force in this world more capable of doing great harm or great good than government. Government is the collective power of whole nations of people. In this case, it is the collective power of United States of America and all its capabilities and potential.
Will we end up in a depression that makes the 1930s look like a walk in the park? That question will be decided to a great extent by the actions of whomever we elect next week.
Will we be looking at a world where all nations, from Japan to Saudi Arabia, have nuclear weapons at their disposal? That is a question we are voting on next week.
Will we end legal abortion through the courts, or be forced to change tactics and go for a Constitutional Amendment? That question could be decided by whomever we elect on Tuesday.
Will we be vesting the power of government in the hands of the person who is most likely to ensure that We the People live under a just and stable government that is capable of protecting us and providing for the domestic tranquility?
Insofar as governance is concerned — and that is what we are doing, my friends, We the People of these United States are choosing our government — insofar as governance is concerned, a just and stable government is always the greater good.
No other value, privilege or right can possibly be more important than that for the simple reason that all rights, and the worldly protections of all life, flow from a just and stable government.
The single most anti-life vote anyone can cast is to vote against a just and stable government.
The President of the United States has the power to end all life on this planet. He or she has the power to kill on a planetary scale. He or she also has the power to create an international political climate that predicates toward war, even and including world war, or, conversely, to pull us back from that abyss and lead us past the carnage and into peace.
Think carefully about how you vote in this election. And however you vote, pray.
Because after the votes are counted, we will find that, no matter who won, we Christians have already lost.
An abortion clinic is opening just a couple of blocks from my church. I wrote about it for the National Catholic Register.
An abortion clinic is opening two blocks from the parish where I go to encounter the Risen Lord in the Holy Eucharist.
Parents will drive the children who attend our parish school past the abortion clinic on their way to class. I will drive past the abortion clinic on my way to Mass, as will most of my fellow parishioners. Our parish priests will sleep in a rectory that is a stone’s throw from a place where children die horribly and in great numbers.
This, like just about everything else in the larger world, is all fresh news to me. Everything that was happening outside my circle of illness slipped past me in the long period when I was underwater with cancer and its treatment. I didn’t know much about one of our candidates for president. Then I woke up to discover things that left me aghast and demoralized by the Sophie’s Choice that is forced upon us.
Ditto for this abortion clinic. It happened without me knowing about it. I didn’t watch or read the news during that long convalescence. Once in a while a mass murder would break through to my awareness, but I remained blissfully unaware of the imposition by the laws of commerce of this mass murder on the doorstep of my own church home.
Now that I am aware, my primary fear is that the parish will be overcome by the evil. The satanic influences in our society today have become ubiquitous. They have infected and even taken over some of major social and cultural interactions and events. (Read the rest here.)
These videos tell the story of one young family’s fight with cancer. Mom of the family had cancer, and she was pregnant when she was diagnosed, but the entire family fought the disease, which is how it has to be. Nobody fights cancer alone. God bless husbands and wives who go through this journey with their spouses. They are doing eternity work.
I was there when most of the tracks that led us to where we are now were laid down. By “there” I mean I was often in the room when the discussion were had and the decisions were made. On those occasions when I wasn’t part of the initial discussion, I was usually one of the first to know what was coming down.
If hindsight really is 22, then I have a clear view of how we got here, or at least the beginnings of it.
I wrote a bit about that in a post for CatholicVote. The post discussed a new study which revealed the old truth that abortion and porn are, in fact, allies.
Here’s part of what I said.
A new study by the Journal of Sex Research indicates that users of porn may also be “useful allies” of the abortion industry.
This is news?
I was an active part of the feminist movement back in the 1970s. I was also the Oklahoma Director for NARAL. I remember when we (meaning those who advocated for legal abortion) partnered with the Playboy Foundation. Prior to that, the feminist movement had been, rightfully, against pornography because of its penchant for reducing women and children to objects. Porn is degrading to those who are depicted in it. Oftentimes it is violently degrading.
Just type a series of xxxs in your search engine and sit back and watch the porn depicting violence against and degradation of women roll down your screen. Or, type “rape” or “rape victim” in your search engine and see how many hits you get for pornography depicting violent gang rapes and snuff films — all with women and children as the victims. This is not to say that pornography only victimizes women and children. Gay porn is just as degrading and often as violent as that aimed at women.
Looking back with 20/20 hindsight, I realize that this compromise with the devil of pornography on behalf of the demon of abortion was, in many ways, the unraveling of the feminist movement.
The United States Senate voted yesterday on the whether or not to limit debate on the 20-week abortion ban.
This was not a vote on the bill, per se. It was a vote on cloture. Cloture would end the possibility of a filibuster. Without cloture the bill cannot pass. It takes 60 votes to get cloture.
The vote on cloture failed, 54 by 42, with 4 senators not voting. Democrats Casey (PA), Donnelly (IN) and Manchin (WV) voted for cloture and for passage of the 20-week abortion ban. Republican Collins (ME) voted against cloture and against the 20-week abortion ban. Those who did not vote were Boxer (CA), Murkowski (AK), Murray (WA), and Warner (VA).
If you want to see how your senator voted, go here.