Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Democrats' Government Shutdown and the Ramifications for Our Fallen Heroes

I had strong suspicions that Obama was not going to be good for America when he was first elected, but I did try to be as objective as possible and give him the benefit of the doubt as I waited to see how he governed.  It didn’t take long to see that my suspicions and fears were not only justified but were considerably underestimating the damage that this man, with his utter lack of regard towards America and its constitution, would bring.
I thought surely that the American people also saw this after Obama’s first ruinous term in office where he presided over a fabricated economic “recovery”, where REAL unemployment numbers are still buried in the double digits, while continuing to go from one scandal to the next larger one that would have surely resulted in his impeachment if he had an “R” behind his name instead of a “D”.  

I was wrong.
Oh, I wasn’t wrong in my assessment that he needed to go; I was wrong in my assessment that Americans would finally see through this unqualified charlatan community organizer who had single-handedly decimated the world’s greatest economy through socialistic policies and perks to his well-heeled supporters, while destroying what respect and standing America had left in the world.

Now this petulant and arrogant man-child refuses to even talk with the equally petty, foolish, and arrogant GOP leadership in the House in order to come up with a suitable solution to this Democrat-instituted government shutdown.  He has specifically wanted to cause pain for Americans so that he will have leverage to get his way, once again, when dictating to the spineless Republicans how things will be.

Now it is one thing to PAY park service personnel to keep 90 year old World War II veterans away from the open-air and unfenced WWII memorial on the national mall, while allowing thousands of illegal immigrants and their supporters to BUILD A STAGE and hold a rally on that same mall yesterday.  It is quite another for this petty politician to try and create leveraging pain with his latest escapade.

It has been reported today that the family members of several brave service members killed in battle will not be afforded the death benefits owed to them, including travel to get the remains of their loved ones for funerals when those remains are flown back to the U.S., all because of the government shutdown.
I find that particularly egregious and pernicious since the House and Senate specifically authorized an additional funding resolution ensuring that such things would not occur.  Indeed, Secretary of Defense Hagel even returned many furloughed DOD personnel to work, but evidently providing the last honors for our fallen heroes is unwarranted in his and President Obama’s estimation under their shutdown. 

Even if Secretary Hagel doesn’t have the moral scruples to do the right thing and fix this problem, President Obama easily could.  If necessary, a simple executive order to allow our fallen heroes and their families the proper honors due to them could easily be addressed.  Lord knows, he is not a stranger to writing executive orders, seeing as how he has easily dwarfed the amount written by any other president in history.

Instead, President Obama and the Democrats would rather use our servicemen and women as pawns in this foolish shutdown of theirs.  Politics trumps doing the right thing to them evidently.  It is one thing to chase tourists out of national parks and keep them from taking pictures of Old Faithful.  It is quite another to disrespect those brave souls and that gave their last breath defending what used to be the greatest nation in the history of mankind.  Of course such sacrifice is incomprehensible to President Obama.  As his former Secretary of State said regarding the four American’s killed in Benghazi due to his calculated aloofness, “What difference does it make?”

Let me tell you right now, Mr. President, it makes all the difference in the world!  

When we no longer honor those that have given their very lives in service to America, then that America is no longer worthy of being defended.  Shame on you, Mr. President!  To borrow a slightly modified sentiment from your wife, for the first time in my life, I am deeply ashamed of my country!  I am ashamed of its “leadership”; I am ashamed of its president, and most of all I am ashamed of those Americans that don’t see what difference it makes as they continue to support such treasonous cowards in high office.  Indeed we no longer are the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, and we have only ourselves to blame for it.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Degradation of MLK's Dream and the Ironic Culprits

Wednesday September 28th marked the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Junior’s iconic “I have a dream” speech.  The courage and commitment of Dr. King to try and change the hearts and minds of a nation that still seethed and roiled with racial animosity in some parts in the 1960’s was nothing short of extraordinary, if not actually Divinely directed.  The fact that Reverend King did so through non-violence and by inspiring others to overcome grotesque injustices to human dignity are the very reasons why most Americans admired and respected him so greatly to this very day. 

In so many important ways, Dr. King’s dream has indeed come true today.  Throughout much of this great but faltering nation today, most people of color can indeed rise above humble or even down-right poor beginnings to achieve whatever their personal dreams might spur them towards, just as all  Americans can.  Indeed fifty years after Dr. King’s historical speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial, we have seen leaps and bounds in America’s relations among the races.  True equality among the races has indeed been achieved throughout much of our nation today.

All of that said, sadly it would still seem there are those that would rather have the issue of race to fight rather than actually continuing to bring people together.  Now that doesn’t mean that racial bigotry, injustice, and discrimination should be tolerated whatsoever.  But stirring up hate and discontent due to imagined or created racial hatreds does far greater harm to race relations than not.  Further, it serves as a great injustice when true issues of racial bigotry are found.  Unfortunately such seems to be the case in recent years and it does indeed seem that such animosities are being re-stoked and thus setting back much of the progress we have made as American brothers and sisters of all colors.

Truly ironically, our very president seems to be part of the problem rather than the solution.  This was seen early on in his administration, when a friend of the president’s by the name of Henry Gates was arrested because it was mistakenly reported that he had broken into his house.  When asked to show ID by a veteran officer that taught diversity training for the department, Gates became belligerent and assumed that it was because he was black and not because the police didn’t know if he owned the home and had a right to be there or not.  President Obama responded that the police “acted stupidly” while admittedly not knowing all of the facts of the incident.  All he knew was that a black friend was arrested, and so it must have been because of race.

And then there is the more recent tragedy of the Trayvon Martin killing.  Again, it was assumed that the “white-Hispanic” (whatever that means) George Zimmerman’s killing of Martin was due to racial hatred and not in his own self-defense.  I would argue that Zimmerman acted foolishly but when attacked by Martin, he still had the right to defend himself with lethal force.  The jury agreed. 

That episode has seemingly triggered a lot of outrage which has been stoked by the race baiting media and the Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton’s of the nation.  Unfortunately, our president once again had to insert himself into a local incident where he should not have strayed when he showed such great sympathy for Trayvon’s parents while saying that if he had had a son, he would likely have looked like Trayvon.  Quite a foolish statement for someone that was once again ignorant of the facts of the case, especially when Zimmerman was indeed acquitted of murder charges and was thus was seen to have acted in self-defense against Martin.

Never mind that Zimmerman has black relatives and has even gone out of his way to tutor black students.  Why should the truth stand in the way of promulgating a false narrative when it serves a greater political cause?  I guess the only way that George Zimmerman could have proven his innocence to the race baiters would have been to let Trayvon Martin beat him to unconsciousness or death.  Of course then we would never have heard of this story.

Now, President Obama can stop this seeming rash of retaliatory violence that has erupted in the wake of the Zimmerman verdict by simply speaking out firmly and unambiguously about not condoning such behavior from people of any color; black, brown, or white.  Unfortunately all we hear is crickets from the White House on the matter.

Slavery has been over in the United States for 150 years since Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and the ending of our civil war in 1865.  And yet there are many people of color and those sympathetic to their inflamed cause of “racial injustices” that think that this is still a “searing” issue for many folks.  Really?  Nobody alive today was ever a slave in this nation, nor was anybody a slave owner, and yet to some people, you would think that we are only a generation removed from slavery and the specter of returning people to chains hinges on the outcomes of the next election.  Ain’t that right, Mr. Vice President Biden?

People of good character of all colors must stand up and shine the disinfecting light of truth on any and all cases of racism and injustices based on color.  However, when people play the race card for political, or often times economic advantage such as the pernicious Sharpton and Jackson often do, then they too should be called out for it.  Of course with today’s climate and the politically correct statist media, doing that would take courage nearly on the level of Dr. King’s.

Our President, most of all, has a duty to bring all Americans together instead of dividing us as he has.  His animosity on race issues has set back race relations decades.  The unbelievable irony of it all is that the very reason Barrack Obama is president now is due to the color of his skin.  Now I know that statement would seem inflammatory to knee-jerk reactionaries who pull that race card from their sleeves every opportunity that comes by, but stay with me for just a moment and let me explain. 

How does a junior first term senator from Illinois who has offered no significant legislation, who has no significant managerial skills, and is missing much of the documentation of his educational history rise above seasoned political power-houses to cement the Democratic nomination?  Indeed, if Obama’s resume were to come across the desk of any board of directors of any Fortune 500 country as a prospect for CEO, it would not even be looked at, let alone considered.  Now that is not to say that running a Fortune 500 company is like governing the greatest super-power in the world.  Indeed, it is considerably easier.  So how does Obama garner that nomination over the much more seasoned Hillary?  I would submit to you, dear readers, that if Obama had been white, we would have had the first woman president in 2008 instead.  Color did not hinder Obama in this “racist” nation.  Indeed it is the very reason he sits in the oval office today. 

On one hand it is a testament to the American people and a tribute to the hard-fought battle of Dr. King and his fellow American marchers that We The People could indeed lay down past generational prejudices and elect a man of color as our president.  Unfortunately it is also a damned shame too because once again we did so strictly because of the color of his skin and not the content of his character.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Against the Atheistic Notion of Faith

I was not always a person of faith, as I have noted in some of my past writings.  In fact, it seemed that the only “religious faith” I used to have was that my quasi-mighty Portland Trailblazers were going to win the NBA championship each and every new season that started.  Talk about misplaced faith!  In fact, being the arrogant snot that I was, I tried to “prove” that God didn’t exist while still in my late teens and early twenties; something which now seems as utterly preposterous as it was arrogant.  Needless to say, I have thankfully matured (some) intellectually, emotionally, and definitely spiritually over the years since.

All of that said, I have run into and debated more than a few atheists in recent years, long after my conversion to faith in God and Catholicism.  Sadly some of those atheists are members within my own extended family.  One of the reoccurring memes that keeps arising from many of my atheistic debating friends, either implicitly or explicitly, is this twisted notion of what they think faith is.

Many atheists and agnostics today seem to be of a similar mindset that faith is nothing more than an appeal to superstition.  To them, it is a naivety that is born of ignorance or a disdain of science.  And while it is accurate to say that certain religious faiths could indeed be construed in such a way, the cardinal theological virtue of faith as taught by the Catholic Church is nothing of the sort.  (The other two of the three cardinal theological virtues are hope and love, in case you cared.)

What faith truly means in the context of that theology is not some archaic medieval reliance on God as an all-encompassing explanation because we don’t understand the esoteric realities of the physical world.  True faith is not irrational or sub-rational.  It certainly does not lie below the threshold of reason.  Indeed the virtue of faith is a surrender on the far side of reason.  It is informed in its foundation, and as such it is merely a “leap beyond the place currently illumined by philosophy and science,” as Father Barron has so eloquently said.  Further paraphrasing him, this created war between faith and  reason is a matter born of a misunderstanding of what faith truly is by an ever-growing secular society.

Most atheists seem to think that faith is the antonym of reason.  It is contrary to science in their estimation.  The irony of that mindset is not lost on those who truly do understand the virtue of faith.  Indeed it was belief and faith that were often the catalysts for many brilliant scientists to want to discover the intricacies and explanations of our Devine Creator God and his universe.  It was men and women of faith, specifically in the Catholic mold, that were responsible for the creation of many of the modern sciences and even the university system via the Catholic Church. 

The list of luminaries in the history of the sciences often show people of true faith to be the very founders of certain branches of study or discoverers of new scientific theories.  Indeed, it is interesting to note how many fathers of the various sciences were actually Fathers (priests).  Father Gregor Mendel was the founder of genetic science.  Father Georges Lemaitre was the scientist that proposed the big bang theory.  Father Roger Joseph Boscovich was responsible for the precursors of atomic theory, as well as being a brilliant astronomer and polymath.  Father Roger Bacon is credited with being the father of the modern scientific method.  The list of Catholic scientists that understand and are practitioners of the theological virtue of faith is impressive, even into these modern times. 

So you see, faith is not an anti-science and anti-reason philosophy or mindset.  On the contrary, it is by that light of faith that we can see past the darkness on the path that science and philosophy has not yet illuminated the way for us yet in order to make ever greater discoveries and thereby further substantiate our faith in God and his creation.  True faith and reason are not only compatible, but as history has shown, are often a great catalyst in the furthering of science – in great spite of all atheistic claims to the contrary.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

An American Experiment in Liberty

One hundred and fifty years ago yesterday, the Battle of Gettysburg was concluded during the American Civil War in what was the bloodiest battle in the history of our nation.  That battle – that war – was fought to right the wrongs of a nation that was ostensibly conceived in liberty.  It was fought to free men and women from the vile and retched shackles of slavery.
America was still a nation in its infancy at the time of the Civil War; not even one hundred years old yet.  That war came remarkably close to destroying our American nation, and the Battle of Gettysburg was arguably the turning point of that bloodiest of all American wars.  Up until that point, the Confederacy had won many major battles, and General Robert E. Lee had  hoped to push his campaign into the north with his Army of Virginia in order to break the back and spirit of Lincoln and the union army. 
While many historians give General Lee’s Corp Commander, General James Longstreet, the blame for the South’s defeat at Gettysburg, it is mine and many other’s opinion that had Lee retreated to better ground and not attacked the north in its fortified positions, they might very well have gone on to win the war.  Instead the stars and stripes carried those three days of battle on July 1st to July 3rd in 1863.  It was the turning point of the war and our nation was ultimately saved accordingly. 
Throughout the history of nations, America was a wholly different kind of proposition.  It was exceptional as a nation even from the first days of its very founding.  It was precisely exceptional because of three main principles.   
The first principle, as stated in our founding document as a nation in The Declaration of Independence, stated that “ALL men are created equal”.  One’s status was not determined by who one’s father or family heritage was, but rather by one’s own ambitions.  There was no hereditary status or class distinction of locked castes in American society.  A person was judged on his own merits alone.  Now there were indeed two atavistic contradictions to this ideal: slavery and the position of women.  These intolerable contradictions were eventually resolved though, the former through our horrible Civil War. 
The second principle was that in all other nations at that time, citizenship was a matter established by blood, lineage, or one’s birth.  Foreigners to those other nations could never be admitted as full members of their societies.  America though was different.  To become an American one only needed to pledge allegiance to our free republic and the principles of liberty enshrined in its founding.  Indeed, our Statue of Liberty sits as a beacon to the tired, poor and wretched refuse of other nations to come to America and reach for the highest of their stars, restricted only by their own abilities and ambitions.
Lastly, in other nations of the day, one’s rights (if any) were always conferred by human agencies.  It was within a monarch’s or sometimes a parliament’s power to bestow privileges and rights upon its citizens as they saw fit.  As such, these man-given rights could also be revoked.  In America, again as stated in our Declaration of Independence, all men are created equal and endowed by God with unalienable rights.  As such, man was incapable of revoking these rights that we had acknowledged as being intrinsically bestowed by our Creator. 
A nation so conceived was a great threat to the monarchies of Europe.  The idea of self-rule via representatives of government being guided via the consent of the governed, by We The People, was an anathema to those other nations and their hold on power.
And yet, against all odds and indeed seemingly by Divine Providence, America overcame the greatest army and navy in its day and defeated the mighty British empire and King George III.  In doing so, we moved forward and the liberties God had given us and the fruits of our labors we achieved by our own talents, ambitions, and sweat of our brows brought this nation of rugged individualists to become the greatest force for economic, military, and libertine power that the world has ever seen before or since.
Those freedoms, whose job it is for government to protect only, ensured that today, a nation that makes up 4.5% of the world’s population is responsible for 22% of the world’s output.  Indeed, history changing inventions from medicine and pharmaceuticals, to phones and communication, to air and space flight have literally transformed life upon this planet all because of Americans.
And now, today in 2013, those God-given freedoms and rights as enshrined in our glorious United States Constitution, are under attack.  This attack doesn’t come from some foreign foe.  No, those waning liberties are being infringed upon from within the confines of our own governmental structures and institutions.  No longer today do we seek to exercise our freedoms in pursuit of our own happiness.  Instead we look to government to provide for us and care for us, even at the expense of our own God-given liberties, indeed even by the right to worship God as we choose. 
In July of 1863 the very fabric of our nation was being torn asunder and our experiment in self-government’s very existence likely hinged on the fateful decisions of a few generals on a battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. 
Today our very existence as the land of the free and the home of the brave hinge upon our remembering our nation’s history, it’s principles, and the source of our liberty; not only remembering but insisting that we will fight to keep those rights.  If we as a people decide to let our government dictate to us how we are to be governed instead of telling them how they will govern us, then we will have done what no outside enemy ever could.  We will have destroyed the United States of America. 
I, for one, am immensely proud of my nation, its founders, and those principles upon which it was founded.  I fully intend, just as the founders did, to pledge my life, fortune, and sacred honor to do everything of which I am capable to ensure this nation does not perish from this earth.  Happy Independence Day, my friends! 

Lincoln's Gettysburg Address
"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom— and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
~ Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States of America, and Commander in Chief of the Union Army during the American Civil War

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Catholic View of Marriage

I have become rather distressed by some conversations in which I have shared recently, particularly with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ’s own Catholic Church.  Unfortunately, it would seem that many of my Catholic friends have a misplaced sense of justice regarding the recent Supreme Court rulings when it comes to the oxymoronic term “gay marriage”. 

This is not simply my opinion, but rather that of the Catholic Church as taught by the Magisterium for over two millennia of its history that marriage is an institution and indeed one of the seven sacraments that was created by God and is only between a man and a woman.  Support for any other iteration of a union is not a marriage and is contrary to what God and his universal church clearly states. 

God gives us free will, but for one to be fully in communion with the Catholic Church, one must use that INFORMED free will and thus abide by the Church’s dogmatic and doctrinal teachings, even when one finds them to be difficult.  (Indeed, this is especially true when one finds them to be difficult.)

I am further distressed that many folks ascribe such horrible labels of “bigot” and “hateful” at me for following God’s teachings.  I am writing these things not out of hate for our gay brothers and sisters, but rather out of love for God and what he teaches us is right.  I have no malice or hatred towards any of my fellow men and women who have same sex attractions.  I have friends and even family members who are homosexual, and I love them dearly.  My purpose is not to condemn anyone, as that is not my place to do so.  I simply wish to educate my fellow Christians what their church has to say on this issue, so that they cannot claim ignorance going forward, or think that their is no difference in the conjugal love of a gay couple and that of a man and woman joined in a sacramental marriage.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly states the following:

2392    “Love is the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being” (FC 11).
2393    By creating the human being man and woman, God gives personal dignity equally to the one and the other. Each of them, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity.
2394    Christ is the model of chastity. Every baptized person is called to lead a chaste life, each according to his particular state of life.
2395    Chastity means the integration of sexuality within the person. It includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery.
2396    Among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual practices.
2397    The covenant which spouses have freely entered into entails faithful love. It imposes on them the obligation to keep their marriage indissoluble.
Further, the CCC states:

2357    Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved. (2333)
2358    The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359    Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. (2347)
And lastly:

III. The Love of Husband and Wife
2360    Sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman. In marriage the physical intimacy of the spouses becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion. Marriage bonds between baptized persons are sanctified by the sacrament. (1601)
2361    “Sexuality, by means of which man and woman give themselves to one another through the acts which are proper and exclusive to spouses, is not something simply biological, but concerns the innermost being of the human person as such. It is realized in a truly human way only if it is an integral part of the love by which a man and woman commit themselves totally to one another until death.”143 (1643, 2332, 1611)

Tobias got out of bed and said to Sarah, “Sister, get up, and let us pray and implore our Lord that he grant us mercy and safety.” So she got up, and they began to pray and implore that they might be kept safe. Tobias began by saying, “Blessed are you, O God of our fathers.... You made Adam, and for him you made his wife Eve as a helper and support. From the two of them the race of mankind has sprung. You said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; let us make a helper for him like himself.’ I now am taking this kinswoman of mine, not because of lust, but with sincerity. Grant that she and I may find mercy and that we may grow old together.” And they both said, “Amen, Amen.” Then they went to sleep for the night.144

2362    “The acts in marriage by which the intimate and chaste union of the spouses takes place are noble and honorable; the truly human performance of these acts fosters the self-giving they signify and enriches the spouses in joy and gratitude.”145 Sexuality is a source of joy and pleasure:  The Creator himself... established that in the [generative] function, spouses should experience pleasure and enjoyment of body and spirit. Therefore, the spouses do nothing evil in seeking this pleasure and enjoyment. They accept what the Creator has intended for them. At the same time, spouses should know how to keep themselves within the limits of just moderation.146
2363    The spouses’ union achieves the twofold end of marriage: the good of the spouses themselves and the transmission of life. These two meanings or values of marriage cannot be separated without altering the couple’s spiritual life and compromising the goods of marriage and the future of the family.
To have a valid marriage, one must be open to the sacrament and its unitive and procreative aspects of the union between a man and a woman.  Nature, and nature’s God has precluded this sacrament from members of the same sex, as the procreative aspects of the conjugal embrace are not possible in such a union.  The same sex couple acts contrary to nature’s design and God’s purpose of total and potentially life-creating giving of one spouse to another.    

Friends, if you are a Christian, especially a Catholic Christian, I urge you to pray upon this with an open and loving heart.  If you still choose to support gay marriage, just know that you are not in communion with your Church, which Christ himself established.  Yes, we should and absolutely must love and treat with dignity our gay brothers and sisters, just as we should strive to do with all people.  That does not mean we should be tolerant or supportive of actions that God and his church has clearly told us is wrong.  Indeed, as God’s word tells us in Isaiah 5:20, “Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.”  Let’s pray for each other and for God to grant us wisdom, love, mercy, and forgiveness as regards this exceptionally difficult issue.

Christ tells us that the greatest two commandments are to love God and to love our neighbor.  And indeed we must always strive to do so, but are we really loving our neighbor if we support them when they do something that God has said is wrong? 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Waning of Relgious Liberty in America

“Religious liberty as an ideal sounds lovely. But in the abstract, it has very little power. It has political force only to the degree that ordinary people believe and practice their faith — and refuse to tolerate anyone or anything interfering with their faith. The current White House has a clear track record of ignoring the traditional American understanding of religious freedom and interfering with the activity of religiously inspired organizations.  If lay Catholics accept that sort of government behavior without inflicting a political cost on the officials responsible for it, then they have no one to blame but themselves when they find that their liberties have gone thin.”  ~ Archbishop Charles Chaput

In light of the impending HHS mandate going into effect on August 1st of this year which will seriously infringe upon Americans’ first amendment right to the free exercise of their religion, I think the nation is about to see what happens when we do not vigilantly and vehemently guard and defend our unalienable God-given liberties as enshrined in the United States Constitution.  Archbishop Chaput is right.  It isn’t only up to the clergy to defend this and other constitutional rights; it is incumbent upon all Americans of every faith, or no faith at all, to speak out for the rule of law and hold our elected officials accountable when they vote contrary to our Constitution and liberty.  To not do so will only ensure that we will all eventually be shackled by the chains of tyranny.

As Archbishop Chaput further said in regards to our religious freedoms in general and the egregious, pernicious, and evil HHS mandate in specific, “If laypeople don’t love their Catholic faith enough to struggle for it in the public square, nothing the bishops do will finally matter.”  I pray that enough freedom-loving people of goodwill will indeed step up and make their collective voices heard, before they are no longer allowed to speak anymore. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Quick Thoughts on Current Events

It would seem that I have precious little time for writing lately, so I figured I would give some short comments on some very serious issues of which I have been pondering the last few weeks.

1.)    Why is the woman, Sarah Hall Ingram, who was responsible for overseeing the tax exempt organizations within the IRS now running the agency’s office that is responsible for implementing Obamacare?  Why has she not been prosecuted, let alone not fired, particularly when one of these egregious forms requesting ridiculous information was sent to the Waco Tea Party from HER!?!  Obviously the problem is not restricted to just a few low-level rogue employees in Cincinnati as the Obama administration would have us believe.

2.)    Abortionist Gosnell was convicted of murder in the killing of three babies that initially lived during botched abortions he performed.  While the statist media’s relative silence on the matter is deafening, the real question is what the heck is the big deal?  After all, had he been able to inject poison into the hearts of these children while still in their mothers’ wombs, this would have been perfectly legal.  The only difference, and it is the difference that got Gosnell rightfully convicted of murder, is that he was incompetent as a “doctor” and accidentally delivered these babies before killing them.  As we all have been told by the euphemistically named “pro-choice groups” it is still a fetus and undeserving of the right to life if it is still within the mother.  The difference evidently is six inches of birth canal that magically determines when a fetus is transformed into a baby deserving of the same rights endowed to all humans.

3.)    Watergate was responsible for bringing down President Nixon because of his involvement and cover up of a botched burglary for political means.  Nearly all of his previously-supportive Republican colleagues were ashamed of him and joined with Democrats in demanding his resignation.  The Benghazi debacle resulted in the possibly preventable deaths of four Americans, including our ambassador and two former SEAL’s that disobeyed orders to stand down and attempted to save him anyway.  The Obama administration has since intimidated, threatened, and tried to cover up this issue.  They even went so far as to blame a non-relevant video that no one had ever seen as the catalyst for the attack on 9/11.  The Republicans are outraged.  Evidently, the Democrats have no shame though and unlike during Watergate are willing to stand by their corrupt president.  The difference: no body died during Watergate.

4.)    We were lied to that Obamacare would allow us to keep our own doctors, not have “death panels”, and lower health care costs.  My doctor is likely going to close his practice soon due directly to the expense of Obamacare.  Congressional Republicans are being quietly chastised by Democrats for not being cooperative in appointing members to be a part of Obamacare death panels – oops, I meant end of life counseling panels.  Of course the Democrats cannot complain about this in the media though as it would let the cat out of the bag that Sarah Palin was indeed correct.  And finally, the CBO has announced that it will now cost 1.8 trillion dollars to implement Obamacare instead of the originally estimated 900 billion dollars.  Every last one of the warnings we conservatives stated during the debate are now coming to fruition in this travesty of a law.

5.)    Obama is set to announce a new round of strategic nuclear warhead reductions in the near future as part of a disarmament agenda that could reduce U.S. strategic warheads to as few as 1,000 weapons.  Specialists on nuclear deterrence say further cuts beyond the 1,550 deployed warheads mandated by the 2010 New START arms treaty could undermine the United States' ability to deter nuclear powers like Russia and China, who have significant modernization programs for their nuclear arsenals underway.  I guess this is part of the “more flexibility plan” that Obama promised then-Russian President Medvedev prior to Obama’s reelection.

In summary, we have a corrupt government, especially in the executive branch, that is guilty of numerous issues of criminal malfeasance and the only problem the press seems to be very concerned about is the wire-tapping of them.  The culture of death is expanding with the support of our president, while the United States’ security is being undermined militarily.  The economy continues to struggle and millions of Americans are suffering.  The final push to implement the un-Constitutional Obamacare (and it is un-Constitutional regardless of what SCOTUS says) will only serve to harm the middle class and those already struggling to make ends meet even more so.  Meanwhile, many Americans are oblivious or apathetic towards the corruption and incompetence within our government.  As long as they keep getting their SNAP checks and Obama-phone subsidies, they don’t really care.  I was horribly worried that America would not survive Obama’s second term.  In retrospect, it may already be dead.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Planned Parenthood, Obama, Gosnell, and Our Culture of Death

I have almost literally become sickened as of late due to the waxing of our American culture of death as personified in three entities:  Planned Parenthood, President Obama, and “Doctor” Kermit Gosnell.  I shudder to think what our society will become in another decade if this horrific cultural phenomena is not abated.  I have few illusions that it will ever be reversed now.  Indeed, it seems like nothing short of Divine intervention will turn us away from this blackest evil.  It is now ingrained and intrinsic to the very fabric of our culture, so it would seem.

First, there is the seemingly rabid support for the nation’s largest abortion provider in the guise of Planned Parenthood.  They proclaim they are all about “women’s health” but make no mistake that an overwhelming percentage of the income they make is specifically related to providing abortions. 

Our public support for this grotesque abortion-mill company is so intertwined in society that when the Susan G. Komen foundation said last year that they would no longer provide grant money to Planned Parenthood the outcry from the left was so deafening that the Komen foundation reneged on their statement. 

Ironically the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s purpose is to help prevent and ultimately cure breast cancer.  Too bad that they didn’t stand by their original edict and decided to continue providing funding to Planned Parenthood.  There has been increasing numbers of peer-reviewed scientific studies that show causative links between many forms of birth control & abortions and the increasing odds of occurrences of breast cancer in women.  Yep, great call there, Komen Foundation!   You seem to be working at odds with your stated purpose for being.

The fact that Planned Parenthood is subsidized with hundreds of millions of tax payer dollars each year is particularly pernicious.  A record $542 million (45% of their budget)  came from taxpayers for fiscal year 2012.  The immoral and amoral positions put forth by this organization are also thoroughly disgusting.  Their web site promotes sexual exploration, the use of various birth control measures, and the trivializing of sex for even young teenagers.  Of course, when that experimentation “works” and the birth control fails, Planned Parenthood is there to gain – errr, I mean “help” with the abortion. 

The very founding of this gruesome organization via Margaret Sanger was based on some twisted Nazi-like eugenics mantra.  Indeed she stated,

“Slavs, Latin, and Hebrew immigrants are human weeds… a deadweight of human waste.  Blacks, soldiers, and Jews are a menace to the race.”
It was via abortions that Margaret Sanger hoped to propagate legal genocide of these “inferior” races.  THAT is Planned Parenthoods’ founding and it well earned legacy.

Secondly, we have President Obama.  He himself effectively voted for, as an Illinois senator, for legislation authorizing even the most extreme forms of abortion which even many “pro-choicers” find repugnant, such as “partial birth abortion”.  And now, on April 26th – last week, he became the first sitting president of the United States ever to address Planned Parenthood.  He stated, “You’ve also got a president who’s going to be right there with you fighting every step of the way.”  Ironically he closed his twelve minute speech without ever even mentioning the word abortion but rather with the words, “Thank you Planned Parenthood, God Bless You.”  Wow!

One of Obama’s core principles seems to be that access to even late term abortions shall not be restricted.  After all, he wouldn’t want one of his daughters to ever be “punished with a baby”. 

Even his signature piece of legislative achievement, the execrable Affordable Care Act, has egregious mandates and stipulations within it to remove any conscience clauses for medical professionals who will not perform abortions due to moral or religious reasons.  Further, the HHS mandate tied to this travesty of a law states that all businesses and institutions must provide insurance coverage that includes contraceptive, sterilization, and abortifacient prophylactic services.  He refuses to even accommodate religious institutions, let alone individuals or private businesses that refuse to comply with this 1st amendment-usurping mandate.  Keep in mind that those are inalienable rights that come from God and not our government.  Our government is supposed to protect and defend those rights.

Lastly, there is a culmination of this abortion culture of death as personified in the non-story of the Philadelphia abortion “doctor” Kermit Gosnell that the main-stream-politically-correct media has studiously avoided covering.  This butcher, who’s trial has now gone to jury, has been accused of killing many children who survived his botched abortions through means that would make Josef Mengele wince.  His abortion and infanticide clinic has surpassed the worst of conditions and abuses that even the most ardent pro-life supporter would ever dream of accusing an abortionist of fostering. 

Kirsten Powers summarized the human atrocities in a USA Today article,

“Infant beheadings. Severed baby feet in jars. A child screaming after it was delivered alive during an abortion procedure. Haven’t heard about these sickening accusations?  It’s not your fault. Since the murder trial of Pennsylvania abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell began March 18, there has been precious little coverage of the case that should be on every news show and front page. The revolting revelations of Gosnell’s former staff, who have been testifying to what they witnessed and did during late-term abortions, should shock anyone with a heart…Here is the headline the Associated Press put on a story about his testimony that he saw 100 babies born and then snipped: ‘Staffer describes chaos at PA abortion clinic.’” 

And that is one of the exceedingly rare stories that even acknowledges this trial.  Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey put it into perspective quite well when he said on the floor of the U.S. House, “If Dr. Gosnell had walked into a nursery and shot seven infants with an AR-15, it would be national news and the subject of presidential hand-wringing.”  He is absolutely right; the media’s and the public’s silence on this is deafening.

Unfortunately, the mainstream media in its progressive bias is quite loathe to report such horrendous murders as it would be used as fodder against the pro-abortion agenda.  Far better to try and squelch the story rather than admit that many of the pro-lifers might actually be right about their worst fears actually having come to fruition within the abortion industry.    The media refuses to cover the trial, except from a very high level and then on rare occasions, because they implicitly agree with abortion and thus have no moral ground on which to report, let alone criticize, the inevitable abuses that have occurred as a result of this culture of death we have created.

Indeed even a female patient by the name of Karnamaya Mongar that went to abortionist Gosnell for “help” died under his care due to his negligence.  So much for this being all about “women’s health”.  It would seem that Gosnell’s practice had been reported for years to authorities for his abuses, all to no avail. 

And to add insult to the entire process, Gosnell claimed that he was being singled out for prosecution simply because he is black.  Disgusting!  No “Dr.” Gosnell, you were singled out because you killed patients, and not just those that were born alive and who’s spinal cords you cut with scissors after they were born.  It was because you put a just-born breathing infant in a shoe box to die, rather than render help.  It is because you were a ghoul of the worst type who placed severed baby feet in a jar.  It had nothing to do with your skin color.

What are we to expect though when we as a culture try to justify the extermination of our unborn, or as often was the case with abortionist Gosnell – the newly born?  We even have various professors and “ethicists” that try to give legitimacy to abortion and even infanticide.  Princeton’s Peter Singer has long been one such advocate.  An article published last year in J. Med Ethics entitled “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” was written by authors Alberto Giubilini (Department of Philosophy, University of Milan, Milan, Italy; and Centre for Human Bioethics, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), and Frencesca Minerva (Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia).  Within this incredible article they proclaim,

Therefore, we claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be. Such circumstances include cases where the newborn has the potential to have an (at least) acceptable life, but the well-being of the family is at risk. Accordingly, a second terminological specification is that we call such a practice ‘after-birth abortion’ rather than ‘euthanasia’ because the best interest of the one who dies is not necessarily the primary criterion for the choice, contrary to what happens in the case of euthanasia.
How long before these “cutting edge” ethicist professors are part of society’s normative view on abortion and “post-birth abortion”?

This culture of death is evil through and through.  President Obama conferring God’s blessings on an organization responsible for the greatest number of abortions in America is simply a symptom of how deep into the pit we have fallen.  Eventually there will come a day of reckoning for our world, and not necessarily even at God’s hands, but by the hands of those whom are evil and we have proclaimed as good.  I truly shudder that justice will one day be met out on us.  I pray that God will forgive us.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Reaping What is Sown

A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over his business.  Instead of simply choosing one of his directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all of the young executives in his company together for a meeting.

He said, "It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO to run my business.  I have decided to choose one of you."  The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued.  "I am going to give each one of you a single plant seed today - one very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you.  I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO."
One man named Jim was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly told his wife the story.  She helped him get a pot, soil, and compost and he planted the seed.  Every day he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.
Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew.  Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing.  By now others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn't have a plant or even any signs of life in his pot and he began to feel like a failure.
Six months went by and still there was nothing in Jim's pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing.  Jim didn't say anything to his colleagues; however, he just kept watering and fertilizing the soil.  He so wanted the seed to grow.
A year finally went by and the day came when the CEO called for the big meeting, and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection.  Jim told his wife that he wasn't going to take an empty pot.  But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach; it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right.  He took his empty pot to the board room.

When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives.  They were beautiful -- in all shapes and sizes.  Jim simply put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed.  A few felt sorry for him.
When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives.
Jim just tried to hide in the back. "My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown," said the CEO.  "Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!"  All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front.  Jim was embarrassed and terrified.  He thought, "The CEO knows I'm a failure!  Maybe he will even have me fired!"
When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed, so Jim told him the whole story.  The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, "Behold your next Chief Executive Officer!  His name is Jim!" Jim couldn't believe it.  Jim couldn't even grow his seed.
"How could he be the new CEO?" the others said.
Then the CEO said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead - it was not possible for them to grow.  All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!"
   * If you plant honesty, you will reap trust
   * If you plant goodness, you will reap friends
   * If you plant humility, you will reap greatness
   * If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment
   * If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective
   * If you plant hard work, you will reap success
   * If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation
So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later.

H/T:  To my friend Paul Dubney who passed away over a year ago now.  You are missed!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Refutation of the Case for Gay "Marriage"

I had made it a point to try and restrain myself from writing on temporal matters during Lent and so of course found much in the way of temptation that just cried out for my vitally-needed input into the various debates that occurred over the course of these past forty days.  Unfortunately one of those critically important debates was focused on the topic of gay “marriage” as our Supreme Court heard arguments on this matter last week during the holiest week on the Christian calendar.  Irony abounds as we as a culture further turn away our faces from God and His will and concentrate rather on what we want as self-indulgent adults in our “enlightened and compassionate society” today.

Marriage throughout the millennia was primarily about a man and woman becoming one flesh and the raising of any children that resulted from their unitive and procreative marital embrace.  Marriage was necessary for protecting and caring for the wife and children.  Marriage was about the perpetuation of our species in the most efficient and logical manner.  With that being the case, I guess that one of the main questions of this debate is do children have a basic right to a mother and father?  I would argue that the answer is emphatically yes, and therefore I oppose the redefinition of marriage on the grounds that doing so would dramatically infringe on that basic human right of a child to have a mother and a father. 

Sociology and science reflects what common sense already tells us.  Children tend to fair far better when living with their own mother and father who are living in a committed marriage.  Most gay marriage proponents disagree.  A refreshing exception to the rule, Jean Marc, who is a mayor of a French city who has cohabitated with his male companion for twenty years agrees with me.  He said, “the LGBT movement that speaks out in the media . . . They don’t speak for me. As a society we should not be encouraging this…The rights of children trump the right to children.”

Unfortunately, many proponents do not see any harm in allowing two people in love, regardless of either’s genders, from engaging in matrimony.  After all, we are an enlightened society today.  If two men or two women love each other, why shouldn’t they be allowed to marry each other?  Indeed!  Well what happens if both my wife and I decide that we both love Susie and want her to be our second wife?  Why should we be restricted from our polygamous marriage if love is the only standard?  For that matter, I love my mother too.  Why should society deem it inappropriate or taboo for me to marry her?  Shouldn’t I be allowed to marry the one I love after all?  And what about that 15 year old down the street?  We do so much enjoy playing video games together while listening to Justin Bieber CD’s.  Why should the government tell us that it would be wrong for us to marry?  And, what about my dog?  She has been a loyal companion for the last decade, and many folks already leave their estates to pets.  This would simply extend that path to its logical destination.  Why shouldn’t we codify it one step further and just allow human/pet marriages?  Continuing, there is already an instance of a woman “marrying” herself and another woman who has “married" the Eiffel tower.  And who are we to deny them this right to marry the person(s), animal, or object of their affections and love? 

You see, if the definition of marriage is so transitory and can be redefined based on what our newly enlightened society says it is, then we must also recognize these other “non-traditional” forms of marriage as being equally valid.  Of course if the definition of marriage is no longer the union of one man and one woman, but the union of any combination of individuals, then the term no longer holds any discernible meaning. A counterfeit will always devalue the real thing, and thus counterfeit marriages will lead to “everything is acceptable” unions. There will be no legal reason with which to deny anyone from falling under the penumbra of the new definition of “marriage.”  Since love is the determining benchmark, all of these "marriages" now become permissible.

Despite what many critics will characterize and dismiss as that slippery slope argument, it would seem today that many of the proponents of “gay marriage” still insist that traditional Christian morality on the topic is antiquated and unenlightened – indeed it is even bigoted and hateful to many peoples’ way of thinking in opposing gay marriage.  Sadly, many gay marriage proponents fail to realize that I and others can love someone without embracing everything they stand for, and likewise disagreeing (even vehemently) with someone on a particular issue such as gay marriage does not mean that I necessarily abhor that person.  Indeed we are called by God to love everyone, and although I do fail at this, such is nonetheless my goal.  I have gay friends and family members whom I do love and respect.  That does not mean that I accept or condone homosexual activity or the redefining of the sacrament of marriage.  That said, I choose to hate the sin and not the sinner, as we all are guilty of sin. 

This makes me wonder further though.  Is there such a thing as absolute Truth?  And if so what is the standard for that Truth?  Still today, many people would say that absolute and transcending truth is found in God and His will.  I know I am of this particular opinion.

It is my belief that God has placed in each of our hearts the essential knowledge of His truth and love.  We generally know if we are doing good or bad accordingly and this intrinsic knowledge typically transcends geography, cultures, faith, and time.   

So why is that throughout nearly all of recorded human history has marriage always been between a man and a woman? 

Marriage between a woman and a man is definitely something that has transcended thousands and thousands of years, across nearly all cultures, across nearly all religions, and across all continents.  Indeed, the concept of “gay marriage” was so aberrant that for all of these past millennia, humankind could not even conceive of the idea of it.  This is what the Inuit tribes of the Arctic taught.  It was the custom of dynastic China and Japan.  This was the case for the Mayan people of central America and such were the rituals of most of the tribes of Africa.  It was the way of our own Native Americans.  One male and one female marriage was the cornerstone of European society for all of the past ages.  Marriage between a man and a woman are what was recorded in the sacred scriptures and traditions of the world’s greatest religions from Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, to Hinduism. 

And after all these millennia of wisdom from man and the heavens, we as a people have finally become so smart and enlightened that we can reject them all.  We can now disavow all of human history as wrong and bigoted in order to redefine the term of marriage to allow for the union of same sex couples.  If all of these cultures, faiths, and traditions taught such a fundamental falsehood, then that would tend to indict them all as being false themselves.  All of the world throughout human history has been wrong, and now in the last two decades of our history we have finally evolved to know that we now have the Truth. 

But truth is not to be found simply in a majority of voters’ ballots or in a Gallup poll.  Real truth transcends time.  It is found in God.  And since the sides of history and the present are mutually exclusive in their view points on this topic, obviously both cannot be right.  Many of our progressive friends ironically decry the fact that those of us who fail to support gay marriage will ultimately end up being on the wrong side of history.  The wisdom of the millennia of past history screams out to be heard and is ignored by such people accordingly.  And while history does teach us what is right in this case, shouldn’t we be more concerned with being on the right side of Truth?

If we are to legalize marriage between same sex couples, does this not enshrine into law and teach our children that mothers and fathers are interchangeable and ultimately irrelevant?  Doesn’t it say that there are no significant differences between the genders?

Regardless of the decision rendered by the Supreme Court a few months from now, I think it is sadly likely that “gay marriage” will eventually become the new norm of the land.  It would seem that we are indeed continuing to slouch towards Gomorrah in our new enlightened society.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone when interviewed on the topic of gay marriage last year stated, “Everyone should be treated equally, but it is not discrimination to treat differently things that are different. Marriage really is unique for a reason.”

Simply identifying what is “right” with the will of the majority is a dangerous thing.  At one time in America’s history, a majority in the South thought that owning slaves was right.  Indeed a majority of the crowd on that first Good Friday called for the release of Barabbas and the crucifixion of Christ. A majority does not necessarily lend itself as a credible moral authority.  As the Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said, “there is a world of difference between an authority on which you rely when it pleases you, and one which you trust absolutely whether it pleases you or not; for what the world needs is a voice that is right not when the world is right, but right when the world is wrong.” 

I hope and pray that the Supreme Court will concur with the wisdom of all of human history and God, but whether it does or not, the Truth about what constitutes true marriage will not be altered.