Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Sunday Reflection . . .

Thanks to Hans Urs von Balthasar, we have a new subtitle for this blog. In von Balthasar's book on the German theologian Romano Guardini, he points out that Guardini felt it to be the responsibility of the laity in the Church to minister to the world precisely by "healing the schizophrenic division between worldliness and piety." Now there is a task worthy of our efforts. Thus our new theme:

Healing the Schizophrenic Division
Between Worldliness and Piety

Those who have attended any of my talks on the mystery of the person have heard me quote Guardini to the effect that: "The knowledge of what it means to be a person is inextricably bound up with the Faith of Christianity. An affirmation and a cultivation of the personal can endure for a time perhaps after Faith has been extinguished, but gradually they too will be lost."

Von Balthasar quotes that same passage -- in a slightly different English translation -- but he also quotes something I have not seen in the available English translations of Guardini before, something just as audacious:

"Nonbelievers are incapable of properly administering the world."

What! That sounds like the Taliban. But, wait, hear Guardini out:
Forces that would be strong enough to keep one's power in check derive neither from science nor from technology. They do not emerge from the autonomous ethics of a specific individual or from the sovereign wisdom of the State. . . . The truly salvific possibilities lie in the consciences of human beings who are connected to God in a living way.
Note: what's crucial and what Christians should bring to the task of administering the world -- as J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings shows -- is the capacity to resist the lure and seduction of power. This, Guardini argues, is what Christ teaches his disciples to do. To the extent that we have been made immune to the appeal of power, we can, perhaps, help heal the schizophrenic division between worldliness and piety.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Bogeyman, Scapegoat or Straw Man?

Barack Obama
Community Organizer and Saul Alinsky follower

Robert Smith had a piece on the State of the Union speech which I share -- not I hasten to say -- vindictively, but rather for Smith's recognition of what several other writers have recognized. It is what those of us influenced by Girard would likely call "scapegoating," but which in the president's case is often simply conjuring a straw-man he can then rhetorically dispatch in order (he hopes) to turn his audience's dissatisfaction toward something other than his own political blunders.

As Girard often points out, scapegoating only works with all its original power in societies which don't have the concept of scapegoating. But ours does. So these political feints are far more recognizable for what they are.

Writes Smith:
And like any faltering Democratic pol, the president took the easier and lower road of bashing a bogeyman: financial institutions. . . .

There's nothing like inciting witch-burnings and stonings of bankers and investment execs to distract the public from the complete failure that the empty-suited Mr. Obama is. Appealing to people's primal appetites for revenge, resentment, and envy is, according to the time-honored formula, a sure way for the president and Democrats to move the heat from them to whatever handy victims they can find -- as in the past, doctors and pharmaceutical companies, but never parasitical trial attorneys. . . .

Mr. Obama may gain some quick traction and a modest bump from raising his club and landing it squarely on the heads of bankers and Wall-Streeters, but the benefit can't last. Why? Because it won't do a darned thing to put people back to work or give them the sense of security that their jobs are staying. Banker-bashing won't pay anyone's bills. Americans will end up seeing the president's shenanigans as a useless, if temporarily amusing, reprise of A Clockwork Orange, where delinquent youths vented their rage over their failings on the adults.
The reason this won't work is the same reason that these same ruses won't work when used by the political right: the Christian revelation of them -- while capable of being temporarily overridden by momentary political passions -- has crippled their power to produce sustainable forms of social solidarity.

One caution: when such things fail, they tend to rebound on those who resorted to them. As most know, and as my last blog post suggests, I have long been deeply skeptical of our current president's ideological bias, intellectual narrowness, inexperience, preening self-referentiality, and moral depth, but if his presidency implodes, we will need to turn our attention to fixing what's broken and not indulge ourselves in recriminations.

Photo credit: New English Review

The Czars now begin to make sense . . .

This from Mona Charen's piece in the National Review about the State of the Union address:
Obama is a conviction politician. Raised in a left-wing cocoon, he has never given evidence of being anything other than a true-believing left-liberal. Describing his college experience in The Audacity of Hope, he writes: “I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets.” Sounds like a list of his czars.

The Super(PRO)Bowl

As everyone knows by now, the college football star Tim Tebow will appear in a 30-second pro-life Superbowl ad, to the howls of pro-abortion feminists. This from the New York Times story:
A national coalition of women's groups called on CBS on Monday to scrap its plan to broadcast an ad during the Super Bowl featuring college football star Tim Tebow and his mother, which critics say is likely to convey an anti-abortion message.

"An ad that uses sports to divide rather than to unite has no place in the biggest national sports event of the year - an event designed to bring Americans together," said Jehmu Greene, president of the New York-based Women's Media Center.

The center was coordinating the protest with backing from the National Organization for Women, the Feminist Majority and other groups.

An ad that divides . . . Let's see: some people favor hiring professionals to kill babies in the wombs of their mothers and others regard that "procedure" as both morally unthinkable and as an insult to the feminine principles which the "feminist" movement claims to be furthering. Is that a division caused by the latter group? What about the division between what has been an inarguable moral principle of Judaism and Christianity and the cultures they have spawned for thousands of years and moral novelties invented a very few years ago?

The slave owners insisted that the abolitionists were the sowers of division, that they should cease interfering with what seemed to them a workable status quo. So did the racists in the middle of the 20th century. Those looking back in shame on the Roe-v-Wade abortion regime will see how its defenders turned to the same tired arguments, no doubt because they were losing the debate on the moral substance and had nowhere else to turn.

Friday, January 29, 2010

My Two New Grandchildren

Aren't they beautiful!

My son Hunt and his wife Yuni's third child.
My daughter Aña and her husband Mike's first child.

August and September due date respectively.

Consensus is that so far they resemble their grandfather!
All hope that they outgrow the likeness and soon begin to
take after one or another of their parents.

The Tolerance Vigilantes at it again . . .

The California Catholic Daily reports:
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists are seeking to oust an elderly Prop. 8 supporter from a theater board whose eleven members must be approved by the City Council. The Oakland City Council is expected to vote on the issue.

Lorenzo Hoopes, 96, has volunteered for decades with Paramount Theatre of the Arts and has been a member of its board of directors for twenty years.. Hoopes has a long career in public service and civic involvement, having served on the Oakland school board for 17 years and as the president of Oakland’s Latter Day Saints temple for many years.

Ordinarily, Hoopes’ reappointment to the theater board would be routine. But these are not normal circumstances, according to gay leaders, because Hoopes donated $26,000 to the Prop. 8 campaign to preserve traditional marriage. In a statement to the Oakland Tribune, gay activist Michael Colbruno said that, in light of the ongoing federal Prop. 8 trial across the bay, Hoopes’ reappointment is “so insulting. It’s so typical that the gay community in Oakland is being run over by a bus. If this were San Francisco, there would be 300 people in the streets.”

Gay activists may get their wish. Because of the intense opposition, city council president Jane Brunner expressed doubts that the Council would re-appoint Hoopes. One councilmember, Larry Reid, disagrees with Hoopes on Prop. 8 but felt he should be reappointed, stating, “This is America. No matter how controversial the issue is, someone like him should be appointed based on his ability to serve and based on his past contributions to the city.”

Fellow Paramount board members expressed support of Hoopes, but only on condition of anonymity for fear of the backlash from gay activists.
Stop and think: the members of the board who support one of their own -- who happens to have a view of marriage that has been unchallenged for millennia -- dare not publicly support him for fear of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender thugs who might take revenge on them for doing so. Welcome to the world of tolerance.

Source: California Catholic Daily

Wyoming Catholic College

John Mortensen and his family

I am proud to say that I have known the people who founded Wyoming Catholic College for many years, long before its Lander, Wyoming campus opened for students. I have visited Wyoming regularly over the years, and spoken at the college. I will be giving a retreat for the students during Holy Week this year. So I feel some of the pride that the students and faculty of the college feel about the award the Vatican has bestowed on Dr. John Mortensen, associate professor of theology and philosophy at the college. On my last visit to the college, I had the privilege of sitting in on a philosophy class that John taught. The sight of John and his lovely family receiving an award from Benedict XVI warms the heart.

If you or someone you know has high school age children and pondering where these children might be given the finest possible liberal arts education, look into Wyoming Catholic College. It is a remarkable place.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The State of the Union Speaker

"What was on display last night," writes Peter Wehner of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC, "was a man of unsurpassed self-righteousness engaged in constant self-justification."

No child left a child . . .

You guessed it: According to the International Planned Parenthood Federation young people are so sheltered and naive about sexuality that major programs need urgently to be launched (and paid for by some else) giving children all the latest "services they need and want, unconstrained by psychological, attitudinal, cultural or social factors."

Writes C-Fam's Samantha Singson:
In its new report "Stand and Deliver," the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is demanding that governments, religious institutions and society at large provide "comprehensive sexuality education" for children as young as ten years old.

In a foreword, Bert Koenders of the Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, which helped fund the publication, asserts that, "Young people have the right to be fully informed about sexuality and to have access to contraceptives and other services. These rights are enshrined in various internationally agreed human rights convention and treaties, but – unfortunately – they are still not universally respected."

According to IPPF, as "young people are sexual beings," it should be self-evident that "sexuality education promotes individual well-being and the advancement of broader societal and public health goals." IPPF argues that "comprehensive sexuality education" must be mandatory in school, and governments must also ensure that this education is delivered to those young people who are out of school.
All this, of course, because parents -- burdened no doubt by "psychological, attitudinal, cultural or social factors" -- cannot be trusted to provide the full range of options that their 10-year-old children so desperately need. Again Singson:
IPPF targets religion and religious groups as one of the main barriers to adolescent access to sexuality education and sexual and reproductive "services." IPPF criticizes that many religious teachings "deny the pleasurable and positive aspects of sex and limited guidelines for sexual education often focus on abstinence before marriage," which IPPF claims has been ineffective in many settings.
Those who still labor under the illusion that "sex education" is about human biology and reproduction have not been paying attention. The assault on sexual morality is aggressive and unapologetic.

AIDS and teenage pregnancy still serve as the boiler-plate excuses for these programs which -- by destroying traditional forms of sexual morality -- compound both the crises they ostensibly exist to ameliorate. I'm sorry to say it, but for IPPF, AIDS and teenage pregnancy are gifts that just keep on giving.

Source: C-Fam

Chris Matthew is FINALLY post-racial

Chris Matthews, the Pom-Pom journalist famous for the tingle in his leg he experienced when listening to candidate Obama's eloquence, seemed just as enthralled by the State of the Union address.
Matthews said:
“…I was trying to think about who he was tonight. And, it’s interesting he is post-racial, by all appearances. You know I forgot he was black tonight for an hour. You know he’s gone a long way to become a leader of this country, and passed so much history in just a year a year or two. It’s something we don’t even think about. I was watching, I say, wait a minute, he’s an African-American guy in front of a bunch of other white people. And here he is President of the United States, and we’ve completely forgotten that tonight.”
It seems to me this is very telling. As we have seen, it is the "white guilt" liberals who are obsessed with race, and who so easily accuse their political opponents of racism. They are not nearly as post-racial as they seem to believe. I somehow managed to "completely forget" the color of Barack Obama's skin the moment he emerged on the national scene. I would eagerly and happily vote for a person of color in a heartbeat, provided I agreed with his or her political principles. But I would hope never to let the color of a person's skin determine my support.

Many of us were long ago able to look at Barack Obama without obsessing over the color of his skin, but Chris Matthews seems only recently to have acquired that ability, which explains a lot. So blinded by fashionable post-racial racial-bias were the doyens of elite liberalism that not even the emergence of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright story and others managed to interrupt their political catatonia.

We can safely say that we have become a post-racial society when we elect a person of color without the aid of either the reflexive and near universal support of those of the same ethnic or racial background or the liberal "white guilt" fixated on the skin color that it professes to have transcended. Which, under present circumstances, more or less means that we will be post-racial when we elect a pro-life conservative black man or woman. I hope it happens in my lifetime, and I'm beginning to think it might.

"to make man feel the want of it..."

I often ask myself, and I am sometimes asked by my friends, why I allow myself to be distracted by the passing lunacies of the present age. Why not rise above them as best one can? Well, I have my moments when rising above them seems both possible and morally justified, but it is in the midst of these sundry delusions that we must find our way and, as best we can, be light to those even more encumbered by the spirit of the age -- from which, by the grace of God, we have managed a small degree of liberation.

So I found the following Samuel Taylor Coleridge observation helpful:
“Evidences of Christianity! I am weary of the word. Make a man feel the want of it; rouse him, if you can, to the self-knowledge of his need of it; and you may safely trust to its own Evidence -- remembering only the express declaration of Christ himself: ‘No man cometh to me, unless the Father leadeth him!’”
To which one can only add another of Jesus’ “hard sayings,” namely: “Without me you can do nothing.”

So, when I lament this or that peril with which we are now faced, my principle reason for doing so is not to "gloat over the wrongdoing of others" (as St. Paul put it) but rather to "make man feel the want of [Christianity]," to rouse us to the grim reality of a world even more forgetful of Christianity than we are today.

The Lame Street Media

Same story I've trying telling. It's high time we adjusted anything the Pom-Pom media says -- especially about the "culture wars" issues.

In today's Gospel reading at Mass we have this:
"nothing is secret except to come to light.
Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear."
And so it is:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

CNN goes the way of all Pom-Pom media

If you need proof, here it is. This is so utterly laughable; it is a wonder that it was done with a straight face.

I attended the March for Life. I arrived for the march early and stayed for the whole thing, walking the entire route of the march. Based on what I saw and what veteran marchers told me, I would estimate the Pro-Life crowd to have been between 300,000 and half a million. At no time did I see ONE SINGLE pro-abortion or "pro-choice" sign or marcher. I expected to see some counter-marchers and demonstrators, and I'm sure there must have been some, but there simply could not have been many, for I was looking for them and couldn't find them. But, of course, CNN sent its reporters out to see nothing else.

Tim Tebow and his mockers

In his coverage of the liberal outcry about the Tim Tebow pro-life ad that will air during the Superbowl, Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit has an update on the anti-natal and anti-life ideology that has been historically intertwined with liberal and "progressive" movements for the last century.
Progressives have a history in genocidal movements and have a history of hiding this fact.
Founding Bloggers reported:

When the Progressive movement in this country gained steam in the early twentieth century, they spawned the genocidal Eugenic movement which directly led to the Holocaust. That’s not an exaggeration either. American Progressives worked DIRECTLY with the Nazis in their quest for race purity.

Progressives own the Holocaust, a fact they conveniently ignore today. Funny how they make a big stink about everyone else owning up to their history, but when it comes to them, they are exempt from their own rules.

And, of course, abortion was seen as one way for progressives to get rid of the undesirables.

Progressives don’t want you to know Tim Tebow’s story and they don’t want you to know their history. That’s part of their game.

These heartless progressives owe Tim Tebow and his mother an apology.

Diogenes Uncensored . . .

Let's see, now: Who would you expect to find participating in the annual March for Life?

Take your time with the answer. The mass media has had 36 years to ponder the question; you can take 36 seconds, at least.

Are you ready? The correct answer is: pro-lifers!

Did you have it right? Then give yourself a Pulitzer, or something, because the mass media didn't do so well.

Consider the Newsweek contributor who wondered why most March for Life participants seem to oppose abortion. The same columnist also made the preposterous claim that few young women participate in the March-- a claim that can be refuted by anyone with a camera, or anyone who attends the event. Shaking his head in disbelief at the Newsweek piece, Joseph Lawler of the American Spectator commented:

But I am still wrestling with the idea that A) it's possible that there's someone out there-- anywhere-- that does not understand that pro-choice feminists are not participating in the March for Life and B) that Newsweek chose this person to write about today's protests.

It's astonishing for sure, Joe; I'll grant you that. But didn't you learn at the Lawler family dinner table that when it comes to the abortion issue, the major media outlets are as thoroughly lost as you would be if you woke up tomorrow morning on the planet Zork? They don't know the language, don't know the people, don't know the history, don't know anything. The Newsweek pundit was not alone. There was also Rick Sanchez, reporting for CNN:

As far as we can tell, following this protest on this day, the bulk of the protesters that we have seen here.... seem to be anti-abortion activists. We've seen more pro-life signs...

Gee, d'ya think? The people who participate in the March for Life are mostly in favor of... life? Who'da known?

Source here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

While we're not looking . . .

I was in the vicinity when this interview was taking place. It occurred long before the march began. Within 45 minutes, the interviewer and Congressman Smith would have been crushed by the crowd. The space behind the Congressman soon became a sea of people, mostly young people, and I would estimate 60% women, again most of them in their 20s and 30s. When the Pom-Pom Media bothers to report things like this, which isn't often, they invariably manage to spin the report to make the pro-life movement fit their laughable stereotype.

The best way to feel good is to be good."

That's one of the lapidary remarks that Peter Lawler makes in his online reflection entitled "The One True Science of Virtue."

Another is: "We, in our pride, don’t want the zoned-out contentment we imagine cows have. We want to remain alienated enough to appreciate Johnny Cash, without going through the hell of being Johnny Cash."

Lawler's piece is here.

Are you ready? It’s coming.

Pierpaolo Antonello and João Cezar de Castro Rocha, in their introduction to a book-length interview with René Girard (Evolution and Conversion) write:
The entire ideological perspective of contemporary culture is, in fact, built on a victimological principle, i.e. on the centrality of victims in all our ethical concerns: the victims of the Shoah, the victims of capitalism, the victims of social injustice, of war, of political persecution, of ecological disasters, of racial, sexual, religious discrimination. And no matter how controversial it may sound, Girard claims that it has been Christianity that has been the foremost proponent of putting the victim at the centre of our ethical and imaginative concern.
Indeed -- who could doubt Girard's claim once the massive evidence for it is presented? But, as I have many times said, the sin that Paul insists "takes advantage of the Law," takes advantage as well of the Gospel. That is, certified victimizers -- once they catch on to the advantages of the victimary ethic -- will, as Michelle Malkin puts it below "milk it for all it's worth."

What is ostensibly motivated by a concern for judicial propriety, will in the end become a "show trial," but one controlled, not by the prosecution and the state, but by an unrepentant and implacable enemy determined to destroy it. We are about to find out the unintended consequences of the administration's inability to distinguish between common criminals and jihadist agents trained, again as Malkin puts it, "to game the system." Here as elsewhere, an understanding of the mimetic effect of such trials might at least have led to more caution in this regard.

Malkin's a post is a harbinger of things very likely to come when the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed trial begins in New York. The folly of the Obama administration's decision will soon be part of the nightly news, not only our Western news outlets, but throughout the volatile Arab world.

Malkin writes:
You want a glimpse of the future that crime-coddling Eric Holder and the White House will be bringing up en masse?

Right now, in New York City, jihad scientist Aafia Siddiqui is on trial.

See here, here, here, and here for background on the MIT-trained microbiologist/suspected KSM operative who went missing after 9/11 — and was caught, shot, and extradited two years in Pakistan after threatening to kill American soldiers.

The Pakistani government is paying for part of her defense. She has used the civilian court system to shout anti-American propaganda and spew hatred against Jews, cause legal chaos, and make a mockery of the rights she has been granted. al Qaeda has been trained to game the system. The Western-educated Siddiqui is milking it for all it’s worth.

On Monday, she was thrown out twice for outburts. Her defense team is now asking for, you guessed it, a mistrial.

A U.S.-trained Pakistani scientist linked to al-Qaida got into trouble again Monday in federal court after twice interrupting the sometimes tearful testimony of an American solider who claimed he shot her in self defense in Afghanistan in 2008.

“I feel sorry for you,” Aafit Saddiqui blurted out at one point at her attempted murder trial in Manhattan. After a judge had deputy U.S. marshals remove her, she pointed at the witness and muttered something else before disappearing behind a side door.

U.S. District Judge Richard Berman allowed Saddiqui to return later, but kicked her out again amid another rambling tirade about injustice. At the end of the day, the defense argued that the removals made her look bad in front of the jury and asked for a mistrial, which the judge denied.

“It’s highly appropriate for her to be escorted out of the courtroom when she acts out,” he said.

Siddiqui – a specialist in neuroscience who trained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brandeis University – has insisted in previous courtroom rants that she’s innocent. She also has refused to work with her defense attorneys, including some paid for by the Pakistani government. . . .
Two jurors were also let go after a man sitting in the courtroom pointed at them, used his finger as a gun to pretend to shoot them, and mouthed an obscenity.

Reports the NYPost: ” The unidentified man in a white headdress was taken into custody but it was unclear if charges were filed following the incident in Manhattan federal court.”

An al Qaeda suspect given free reign with her tongue in a public courtroom. Jurors threatened. Prosecution in jeopardy.

Now, imagine the scene being repeated in 12 or 20 or 25 more courtrooms across America simultaneously with similar high-value suspects and the jihadi dregs of Gitmo.

Are you ready? It’s coming.
These are the kinds of moral muddles that cannot be comprehended without the kind of light that Girard's anthropology throws on our contemporary predicament.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Pure in Heart see God

I found myself thinking today about the beatitude "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." There is, of course, no technique for acquiring a pure heart, but there is an encounter that -- renewed and deepened over time -- conduces to a pure heart. When I later today came upon this observation from Dionysius the Areopagite, it occurred to me that the Eucharist liturgy is the place where that encounter has been happening for 2000 years:
The liturgical action is an invitation to allow the whole of one's life to be transformed, to be deified, to become vehicle for God's love in the world. The liturgical invitation is addressed to human beings of body and soul: it is expressed in symbols and concepts, in liturgical actions and gestures, and hymns and prayers. To understand and respond is to enter into the meaning of these ceremonies, which is God's philanthropia, his love for all humanity. And that response is required of all who take part in the liturgy.
The censer at the Abbey this morning was billowing incense in great swirling clouds, as in Isaiah, chapter six. Maybe that has something to do with the drift of my mind later in the day.

"I couldn't live five minutes outside her."

Here's Hans Urs von Balthasar reflecting on and quoting George Bernanos:
On his deathbed he would declare: “As for me, I aspire only to obey. If the pope should speak, I would be the first to follow.” And there are numerous other texts in this vein: “If they drove me from the Church, I couldn’t live five minutes outside her. I’d immediately find my way back in, in bare feet, wearing a hair shirt, with a rope around my neck: in a word, meeting all the conditions you would care to impose, and gladly!” “Bernanos used to say that, without faith, he could not live a single minute, formulate a single thought, move one little finger.”

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Non nobis Domine

Patrick Archbold over at Creative Minority Report has made an admirable suggestion: that bloggers who are as grateful as pro-life bloggers should be about the unexpected turn-around in the fight for life in Washington publish some version of the "Non Nobis Domine."

Non nobis, non nobis, Domine
Sed nomini tuo da gloriam.

Not to us, not to us, o Lord,
But to your name give glory.

Patrick has chosen (again wisely) the version that was so moving in the Kenneth Branagh version of Shakespeare's Henry V. I simply follow his excellent advice and equally excellent example:

Friday, January 22, 2010

Robbie George

Here's the take-home line (one of them) from Robbie George's fine talk tonight at the March for Life Rose Dinner:

"When people ask me if I want to make abortion unlawful, I tell them that I want to make it unthinkable."

Princeton's Robbie George

Lecturing at the March for Life Rose Dinner

The toll of the killing

Taken awkwardly from the March for Life book handed out at the dinner

One of many

Toward the Capitol

With the sound of people praying . . .

The March

Wall-to-Wall People

The least of these


The "Fighting Irish"

Very moving speakers

Women who have had abortions speak movingly and offering help to other
women who have had abortions.

Here a group of Orthodox.

3000 are killed a day

These young people are determined to stop it.

11:58 a.m.

11:53 a.m.

11:50 a.m.

11:50 a.m.

11:45 a.m.

They're not all in their 20s

11:22 a.m.

11:18 a.m.

11:12 a.m.

An hour before the march

Average age at Mass at the Shrine last night seemed to be less than
30. Today it seems to be mid-30s. Still it is clear that is a young
people's crusade.

Off to the March . . .

Remembering what Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said: When a civilization kills its own babies, what is there left to save?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Young

It warms the heart. Pure goodness.

Eve of March for Life

The Shrine of the Immaculate Conception -- an hour and a half before
Mass is scheduled to begin.

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Life . . .

I just got to Washington, where I will take part in the March for Life tomorrow. It's supposed to rain and it will be cold, but if I can manage I will send some (grainy cell phone) photographs of the march as it is happening.

Meanwhile, this welcome story thanks to Sunlit Uplands:

Dr. Alveda King, Pastoral Associate of Priests for Life and niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., has responded to Planned Parenthood's King Day press release linking the work of the abortion business to the civil rights leader.

"Every year Planned Parenthood tries to imply that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would approve of what it does today because he received an award from the organization 44 years ago," said Dr. King. "Every year they lie. My Uncle stood for equal protection and non-violence -- two concepts that Planned Parenthood violates every day by being the nation's largest abortion business."

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, stated that Planned Parenthood is no stranger to falsehoods. "Videotape reveals that Planned Parenthood doesn't tell the truth to women and doesn't tell legal authorities about possible criminal activity," said Fr. Pavone. "Its implied claims about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are just more of Planned Parenthood's stock in trade -- deceit."

"Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did not attend the event where his award was presented. We don't even know if he wrote the words of the acceptance speech that was read at the banquet," added Dr. King. "In 1966, abortion on demand was unthinkable. To imply that Uncle Martin's receipt of that award constitutes his endorsement of what Planned Parenthood engages in today -- the destruction of human lives -- is an outrage."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

West Coast Walk for Life

From Ignatius Scoop:

Some information about the Walk for Life West Coast, which will take place this coming Saturday in San Francisco:

Walk for Life West Coast Expects More than 30,000
Former Planned Parenthood Director Abby Johnson,
Undercover UCLA Student Activist Lila Rose to Speak

Saturday, January 23, 2010
11 a.m. Rally
12 noon Walk
Justin Herman Plaza, San Francisco

Contact: Dolores Meehan 415-860-7899 or Eva Muntean 415-812-3101

San Francisco, Jan. 6, 2010 __ Two young women who stood on opposite sides of the abortion debate until a few months ago will headline the 6th Annual Walk for Life West Coast on January 23rd as more than 30,000 peaceful pro-life activists walk along San Francisco’s water front.

“Abortion is wicked and hurts children, women and men – our speakers this year directly address the huge financial and political clout of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider and recipient of $350 million in tax dollars annually,” said Walk co-chair Eva Muntean. Planned Parenthood clinics perform about one third of all abortions in the United States, about 300,000 abortions in 2007-2008, according to Planned Parenthood’s annual report released in 2009.

Former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson and UCLA student activist Lila Rose will be joined by the David Bereit, national director of 40 Days for Life, a national prayer campaign outside abortion clinics. Five abortion facilities completely shut down and at least 26 clinic workers walked away from their jobs following local 40 Days for Life campaigns that drew 200,000 people who prayed and fasted in 50 states, Canada, Australia, Northern Ireland and Denmark. Bereit will receive the Walk’s Gianna Molla Award.

“Abby Johnson walked away from her job as executive director of an abortion clinic because an abortion doctor asked her to hold the ultrasound probe and she witnessed a baby die in an abortion. Lila Rose’s undercover work videotaping clinic workers colluding in apparent statutory rape has led to investigations in several states,” said Muntean. The 40 Days for Life campaign was founded a few doors from Johnson’s clinic in Bryan/College Station, Texas in 2004. Listen to an interview with Johnson here.

Rev. Clenard Childress, director of LEARN and, a speaker since the Walk’s inauguration in 2005, will rally the walkers. Irene Beltran, with Georgette Forney of Silent No More, and Jim Garlow, San Diego based evangelical pastor will also speak.

Founded in 2005, the Walk for Life West Coast’s mission is to change the perceptions of a society that thinks abortion is an answer. For more information:

For further information, visit the Walk's website.

The March for Life 2010 in Washington, D.C., takes place this Thursday and Friday, January 21-22; visit the March's website for full details.

Monday, January 18, 2010

How shall we honor Martin Luther King, Jr.?

The quote is from Alexander Pope, not Augustine, but it could not be more apropos.

Hat Tip: Creative Minority Report

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Cultural Sensitivity

The British Daily Mail carried this story not long ago. I didn't pass it along, but as I get ready to leave the country for a few days -- during which I may not post much -- I figured I might as well pass this one along -- time-delayed:
The hate preacher organising a march of Islamic extremists through the streets of Wootton Bassett sparked outrage today by comparing British troops fighting in Afghanistan to Nazi stormtroopers.

As more than 210,000 people signed an internet petition objecting to the march, Anjem Choudary said he had chosen to protest in the town - renowned for honouring soldiers killed in Afghanistan - because it would attract 'maximum attention'. . .

Choudary said 500 of his radical group Islam4UK would carry 'symbolic coffins' in memory of the Muslim civilians 'murdered by merciless' coalition forces.

The firebrand cleric this morning tried to defend the march in an open letter published on his website, entitled 'To the families of British soldiers who have fallen'.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The European Crisis

The problem, as I have tried to stress and as Cardinal Vlk emphasizes, is not primarily with Islam -- however problematic radical Islam most certainly is. The problem is the collapse of European Christianity, or rather its massive diminution. As the Philippine Daily Inquirer reports:
Outgoing Prague archbishop and head of Czech Catholics Miloslav Vlk warned of a looming "islamization" of Europe in an interview published in Prague on Tuesday.

"Europe has denied its Christian roots from which it has risen and which could give it the strength to fend off the danger that it will be conquered by Muslims -- which is actually happening gradually," Vlk said.

"If Europe doesn't change its relation to its own roots, it will be islamized," the 77-year-old cardinal, who was named Prague archbishop by pope John Paul II in 1991, added on his website

He blamed immigration and Muslims' high birth rate for helping Muslims to "easily fill the vacant space created as Europeans systematically empty the Christian content of their lives".

"At the end of the Middle Ages and in the early modern age, Islam failed to conquer Europe with arms. The Christians beat them then," Vlk said.

"Today, when the fighting is done with spiritual

weapons which Europe lacks while Muslims are perfectly armed, the fall of Europe is looming," added the cardinal.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

En route . . .

From the Los(t) Angeles Airport, let me pass along this from Roger Kimball, co-editor and co-publisher of The New Criterion magazine. It's the conclusion of his recent rambling but intermittently insightful post on Pajamas Media. enroute
The crossroads we face demands something else, too. It demands that we abjure panic rooms, real and metaphorical, and begin again to muster that “timeless American spirit of resolve” the president invoked. That means standing up for our vision of the world. We do not require leaders who traipse around the world apologizing for America’s supposed sins. We need people who can articulate the values that made America a beacon of freedom and a bastion of prosperity. We need people who recognize and are willing to criticize ideologies whose success would destroy those freedoms and that prosperity. The bottom line, I said in my reflections about Major Hasan, is that

"Islam confronts the liberal democracies of the West with a critical existential test. Islam is Janus-faced. It presents itself as a religion, but one with explicit and uncompromising political ambitions. It faces not only the hereafter, but also the here-and-now. The West can strive to make a place for Islam’s inward aspirations. The West, if freedom is to survive and prosper, must also strenuously deny Islams political claims.

"Islam presents the West with a boundary case, testing the limits of religious freedom. Unlike Muslims, we believe people should be allowed to worship unmolested as they see fit. But in order to protect that commodiousness, the West must be intolerant of doctrines, like Islam, that preach intolerance.

"Doctrines that have a religious dimension must not be allowed to draw on the prestige, the privileges, the immunities we accord to religion when they do so in order to deny those privileges and immunities to others. Such movements Islam is one should be regarded as what they are: activist political organizations whose aims are destructive of our institutions.

"Back when he was capitulating to the dwarfish tyrant that rules North Korea, President Obama said “Words must mean something.” He was right about that. Its a pity that, here as elsewhere, his actions do not live up to his words."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

From Australia . . .

I am in the Sydney airport, waiting for my flight to the States. While I have been off the grid some posts that I scheduled before I left have been automatically posting. They were all written before the tragedy in Haiti, a tragedy which obviously relegates other concerns for the time being to far less importance. In the meantime, however, the few remaining posts I put together before I left will post on schedule.

My three days with the Anglican clergy of the Brisbane diocese was a joy; seeing old friends and making new ones. I will be on the road for another week. Greetings to all.

Don't miss this . . .

Thomas Sowell

Peter Robinson of the Hoover Institution has interviewed one of the most interesting and intelligent of our public intellectuals, Thomas Sowell, on CommonKnowledge. Every segment of the 5-part interview, but if you're in a rush, at least watch segment five.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Deceit in service to Jihad

Islam must seem a paradoxical religion to non-Muslims. On the one hand, it is constantly being portrayed as the religion of peace; on the other, its adherents are responsible for the majority of terror attacks around the world. Apologists for Islam emphasize that it is a faith built upon high ethical standards; others stress that it is a religion of the law. Islam's dual notions of truth and falsehood further reveal its paradoxical nature: While the Qur'an is against believers deceiving other believers—for "surely God guides not him who is prodigal and a liar"[1]—deception directed at non-Muslims, generally known in Arabic as taqiyya, also has Qur'anic support and falls within the legal category of things that are permissible for Muslims.
So writes Raymond Ibrahim the associate director of the Middle East Forum.
Taqiyya offers two basic uses. The better known revolves around dissembling over one's religious identity when in fear of persecution. Such has been the historical usage of taqiyya among Shi'i communities whenever and wherever their Sunni rivals have outnumbered and thus threatened them. Conversely, Sunni Muslims, far from suffering persecution have, whenever capability allowed, waged jihad against the realm of unbelief; and it is here that they have deployed taqiyya—not as dissimulation but as active deceit. In fact, deceit, which is doctrinally grounded in Islam, is often depicted as being equal—sometimes superior—to other universal military virtues, such as courage, fortitude, or self-sacrifice.
The whole article is here. Ibrahim concludes with this:
Islamic law unambiguously splits the world into two perpetually warring halves—the Islamic world versus the non-Islamic—and holds it to be God's will for the former to subsume the latter. Yet if war with the infidel is a perpetual affair, if war is deceit, and if deeds are justified by intentions—any number of Muslims will naturally conclude that they have a divinely sanctioned right to deceive, so long as they believe their deception serves to aid Islam "until all chaos ceases, and all religion belongs to God." Such deception will further be seen as a means to an altruistic end. Muslim overtures for peace, dialogue, or even temporary truces must be seen in this light, evoking the practical observations of philosopher James Lorimer, uttered over a century ago: "So long as Islam endures, the reconciliation of its adherents, even with Jews and Christians, and still more with the rest of mankind, must continue to be an insoluble problem."
I would hope not insoluble, but certainly it will remain so as long as these aspects of Islam's worldview and religious teachings are ignored by those seeking dialogue.

The final word from Ibrahim:
In closing, whereas it may be more appropriate to talk of "war and peace" as natural corollaries in a Western context, when discussing Islam, it is more accurate to talk of "war and deceit." For, from an Islamic point of view, times of peace—that is, whenever Islam is significantly weaker than its infidel rivals—are times of feigned peace and pretense, in a word, taqiyya.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Who's for science?

Matthew Archbold makes it perfectly clear:
An executive director of a Community Pregnancy Center named Candice Keller said in the Middletown Journal that she believed that having an ultrasound machine on-site may keep many women from having an abortion.

That's far from shocking but the number she put to it was.

She said 85 percent of expecting mothers who are considering an abortion change their minds if they hear their baby’s heart beat.

That's startling.

And it's why Big Abortion is attempting to close down crisis pregnancy centers. In Maryland they're pushing the government to place all sorts of restrictions on them so that abortion-minded women won't mistakenly hear their baby's heart in a crisis pregnancy center.

Liberal pro-aborts say they embrace science while us backwards Christianista types want to haul women back to the Dark ages. How come we're the ones using the latest in science while they continue with their "ain't nuthin in the womb but a blob of tissue" defense?

Who's the scientific one when we're the ones who state that human life begins at conception and back it up with the fact that at the moment of conception a unique DNA code comes into existence while pro-aborts just insist that every woman has to make up her own mind when life begins. Does that sound like science?

Remember that Planned Parenthood worker saying that babies in the womb at ten weeks don't have heart beats they only have "heart tones?" Is that science?

Currently, I believe 12 states have some form of mandatory ultrasound laws. Pro-aborts hate that because they're not actually for informed choice. Because they know that most women who hear their baby's heart may not go through with the procedure.

Columbia Law Professor Carol Sanger, called the ultrasound laws "another weapon in the arsenal of anti-abortion forces." A weapon? Really? They're for killing the babies in utero and we're for having the mother look or listen to what they're killing. And they accuse us of using "weapons?" Yeah, that makes sense.

But we're the non-thinking anti-science types.
I've reproduced his entire piece, but the source is here.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Making them face their own music

Robert Cheeks at Postmodern Conservative had a pretty good idea.

I’m not in favor of nationalized health care insurance but it appears the Democrats are going to pass it. In that case I’d like to see two codicils attached to this possibly unconstitutional legislation that declare:

  1. Everyone is required to participate in this program, NO EXEMPTIONS.

  2. And the “NO EXEMPTIONS” include all federal employees and elected officials, including members of the House of Representatives, the United States Senate, the executive, and the judiciary. Additionally these people are specifically forbidden to participate in any auxiliary health care plan or to purchase health care out of pocket.

Though my preference is still to defeat the bill. Schadenfreude is a short-lived titillation.

"Youths" . . .

Eucharistic procession at the National Catholic Youth Conference
Kansas City, Missouri 2009

We repeated hear of "youths" rampaging in Paris or some other European city, the generic designation almost never qualified further, leaving the impression that these riots have nothing whatsoever to do with religiously rooted passions. Well, in defense of the "youths" who are slandered by such sloppy reporting, here is a story of a great huge number of "youths" on the march. My guess is that there wasn't even a candy-bar wrapper left to clean up afterward.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Apparently not enough said ...

A satellite image of snow-covered Britain

So here's a PS to the earlier "Enough Said" post:

Below is a complete transcript of the item read by Couric from the Friday, January 8, CBS Evening News:

And it’s also cold in the United Kingdom. A satellite picture shows it’s covered in snow from the white cliffs of Dover to the Isle of Skye. Britain is in its longest cold spell in nearly three decades.

Some are attributing this to global warming.

Posting from the Auckland, New Zealand airport, where its warm, but only because it's summer here.

The Writing on the (Detroit) Wall(s)

Pajama Media's Steven Crowder tours what was once the most prosperous city in America, with the highest median household income in the nation. For the last half-century, the remedy for each failure of the liberal interventionist policy has been a new and larger liberal interventionist policy, and with it the gradual erosion of individual moral and social responsibility -- clients, not citizens, of the government. Detroit is a living -- or not so living -- parable of that catastrophic failure.

REMINDER: The only real progress is moral progress, and all moral progress is accomplished by the free human person making moral decisions and taking personal responsibility for them. Institutions (the family, the church, the state) can either foster this kind of individual moral responsibility or encourage people to believe (falsely) that impersonal institutions have relieved them of this responsibility. It comes down to genuine human dignity or the catastrophe symbolized by Detroit.

I'm in the air on the way to Australia. I'll try to authorize your comments from my iphone if and when I can. Thanks for your patience.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Off the grid for a while

I'm boarding a flight to Australia. I'm not sure when or how often
I'll be able to OK the comments for the next while. I ask your patience.
Thanks for all the comments, even those who consider me a liitle
dafted, or at least occasionally so.

Sent from Gil Bailie's mobile phone.

Enough Said . . .

ACLU & Plannned Parenthood make it perfectly clear

The ever vigilant Matthew Archbold of Creative Minority Report calls our attention to the fact that the ACLU and Planned Parenthood have joined forces in Nevada to defeat a state initiative which simply says:

"In the great state of Nevada, the term 'person' applies to every human being."

We wouldn't to be saddled with that narrow definition, would we?

3 onces or less . . .

I flew 120,000 miles last year -- though for these my carbon footprint sins I am repenting in 2010 by taking to the air far less often. But I'm quite practiced at the clumsy art of making it through security screening at airports. I even know which airports are most likely to quibble about this or that item in my carry-on luggage. With very few exceptions, I have found the TSA personnel to be professional and courteous. They get no complaints from me. But those who administer the program appear to have been asleep at the controls. So I found the Denver Post's David Harsanyi's piece on airport security refreshing.
"I'm going to have to confiscate that tube of Crest," the agent informs you. "The packaging exceeds the 3-ounce limit on liquids." ...
(This is what 40 billion dollars will get you in what was once called "the war on terror," one of the Bush administration's most ridiculous official locutions.)

Harsanyi continues:
In the face of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's underwear bombing attempt, you can be sure we will ratchet up precautionary measures. Most will be useless. All will be annoying. ... if someone like Abdulmutallab can circumvent security, why are you being shaken down over a shampoo bottle?

As Bob Poole, director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation, recently wrote, this failure reflects the flawed thinking of aviation security policy, namely a fixation "on keeping bad things -- as opposed to bad people -- off of airplanes."

It is an unavoidable fact that these "bad people" tend to come from certain places and subscribe to a certain religious affiliation. Focus on them.
Those who think "profiling" the equivalent of racism or fascism, Chuck Hustmyre, an award-winning journalist and a retired federal agent, offers this comparison:
In the 1980s, an anti-government, neo-Nazi group called The Order committed a string of deadly bank and armored car robberies in the Pacific Northwest. All of the members of the group were white men. Had the police and FBI squandered their investigative resources by including black men, Jews, and members of the Swedish bikini team in their search for members of the white supremacist group, the investigators could have rightfully been accused of criminal negligence.

What is absurd is to pretend that profiling doesn't work at all, and that the mere mention of it is racist.

While it is possible that a fifty-year-old man in a business suit might pull a gun and rob a convenience store, it is much more probable that a twenty-year-old man in a hooded sweat jacket will do it. And if a store clerk casts a more wary eye on the twenty-year-old than on the fifty-year-old, is he discriminating? Is he profiling? The answer to both is yes. But is it reasonable? Is it justified? Again, the answer to both questions is yes, because the collective experience of tens of thousands of convenience store robberies is that a young man in a hooded sweat jacket is much more likely to be an armed robber than an older man in a business suit.

Profiling isn't a panacea. It's a tool. And it works, especially if it's used in conjunction with other investigative techniques. The danger in profiling is that investigators may lean too heavily upon it. They may exclude without further consideration anyone who doesn't meet the profile's basic parameters.

Here's a situation. Two people are trying to pass through security to board a plane. One is a sixty-year-old Danish woman carrying a Bible and traveling abroad for the first time. The other is a 28-year-old Muslim man carrying a Qu'ran and a passport indicating he recently returned from Pakistan. Both are traveling alone on one-way tickets.

On whom do you cast a warier eye?

If you don't believe that there exists a statistically higher probability that one of them is a terrorist and legitimately deserves more scrutiny than the other, then you are either grossly delusional or you believe that a certain number of deaths by terrorism is an acceptable tradeoff for not offending anyone.
To which I would add: If fanatical Christians were setting fire to the world the way fanatical Muslims are, as a Christian I would urge security officials to focus their limited resources accordingly -- perhaps as much out of contempt for those who were profaning my faith as out of legitimate regard for public safety.

“To allow the truth to be obscured is invariably a cause of scandal somewhere" wrote Henri de Lubac, "even if one has been tempted to prevaricate in order to avoid scandalizing this or that individual.”

I don't know how many fanatics will murder innocent people this coming year by blowing themselves up, or how many people they will manage to murder, but my guess is that not one of these murderous fanatics will be a non-Muslim. That is not a slander or a slur; it is a falsifiable prediction. I could be wrong, but even if only 99% of the suicide murderers are Muslims, it would be unconscionable for those responsible for the public safety to look the other way. Their job after all -- and their moral and social responsibility -- is to protect the lives -- not the delicate feelings -- of the innocent. The feelings should be protected as best they can by a sober and respectful explanation of the procedures necessary in these perilous times to protect lives.

I'm leaving for the airport in ten minutes for a flight to Australia. Wish me luck.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

"I fear for my grandchildren"

So says the former Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey yesterday warned that Britain will be in ‘deep trouble’ if it does not cut immigration and stand up for its Christian values.

He called for a dramatic reduction in migrant numbers and insisted those who want to enter the UK should be made to understand its Christian heritage.

Lord Carey said: ‘We Christians are very often so soft that we allow other people to walk over us and we are not as tough in what we want, in expressing our beliefs, because we do not want to upset other people.’

He added: ‘What I think we must call for is an understanding on the part of those who come into our country that they are coming into one which values parliamentary democracy, which is built upon our Christian heritage.’

Lord Carey also warned that if concerns about the level and nature of immigration were not addressed, it would ‘play into the hands’ of the far-Right British National Party.
The story is here. Hat tip: Sunlit Uplands

(Bad) Ideas have consequences

Khalid Sheik Mohammed
This from Richard Fernandez:

ABC News says security for the trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed in New York City is likely to top $400 million if the trial goes for only two years and will cost another $200 [million] for every year afterward.

The civilian trial of the Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and five other suspects in the attacks that killed nearly 2,750 civilians will take place in a Manhattan federal courthouse just blocks from where the towers stood. … In a letter to the director of the federal Office of Management and Budget supporting Sen. Charles Schumer’s proposal for federal reimbursement, Bloomberg projected a first year security price tag of $216 million and an ongoing annual cost of $206 million. “The City of New York’s financial resources are in short supply,” Bloomberg wrote. “Thus securing the trial will require us to pull existing personnel from crime prevention resources from around the city.”

Security is expected to include the closure of many streets around the court house, a very heavy uniformed police presence, snipers, heavy weapons teams, undercover police officers and a massive federal and local intelligence and counter terror operation.

KSM’s lawyers are likely to turn the trial into a full fledged counter-trial of America’s transgressions against the Muslim world. If one could monetize it, the costs resulting from this bad publicity which could result in new terrorist recruits and the effect of inconveniencing New Yorkers by essentially locking down part of the city may exceed $400 by a handsome margin. But of course the taxpayer is going to pay for it, so maybe like all other government provided services, it can be considered “free”.

Source: here.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


Here’s my usual disclaimer: I would love to be able to stop criticizing the Obama Administration but it keeps saying and doing things that shock and surprise me or—if you want to put it this way—live up to my worst expectations.
So begins Professor Barry Rubin's blogpost for today.
John Brennan is the president’s advisor on counter-terrorism and may be the dumbest of all Obama’s foreign policy appointments. Brennan is apparently ex-CIA and he has yet to persuade me that he has any understanding whatsoever about terrorism. He’s the guy who said that Hizballah wasn’t a terrorist group because it ran candidates for parliament and had lawyers among its members.

Now in a television interview, he stated that the Guantanamo prison should be closed because al-Qaida has used its existence in order to make propaganda.

A few hours later, President Barack Obama repeated this talking point in the course of discussing reinforced controls on airplane passengers:

"We will close Guantanamo prison, which has damaged our national security interests and become a tremendous recruiting tool for al-Qaida," Obama said. "In fact, that was an explicit rationale for the formation of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula."

What? Is his understanding really so minimal that he thinks the formation of a revolutionary movement to seize power in Iraq and overthrow the Saudi government took place because the United States maintained a prison in Cuba? Is this man who proclaims himself the great understander of other cultures so ethnocentric that he thinks, so to speak, that “everything is about us?”

Does Obama have any sense at all of what al-Qaida uses as recruiting tools, of their ideology and goals? And would closing Guantanamo deprive al-Qaida of a recruiting tool, would it hurt that group? Isn’t it obvious that, if anything, al-Qaida would proclaim this as a victory: Out of fear of us, the camp was closed! We have prevented the oppression of Muslims! We can make the great Satan tremble and give in! Now, that’s a recruiting tool! . . .

The basic problem is that Scheuer, and Brennan and Obama, too, basically think that the Islamist assault is something that can be made to go away by some clever stratagem: flatter Muslims; move away from Israel, abandon Israel, show more sensitivity; try captured terrorists in a U.S. court; or something else. Yet the beginning of wisdom is to understand that this is a challenge parallel to that from Communism and fascism. . . .

Have all the most basic lessons from centuries of statecraft been so thoroughly forgotten by those who govern in the West?
It's all here.

The squeaking wheel gets the oil.

Who's concerned about the steep rise in anti-Jewish violence and vitriol? Who is willing to notice that today's anti-Semitism is rising in direct proportion to the cultural influence of Islam?

If people don't vote the way they're suppose to

Get the courts to intervene

Edward Whelan as a "must read" piece on a form of judicial arrogance that is outrageous even by the standards of the recent usurpation of power by judges. The story is too convoluted to be grasped by a few excerpted quotations, so please take the time to look at it here. The political venality and contempt for the rule of law is breathtaking.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Greatest Moral Challenge of Our Age

The 2010 San Francisco Walk for Life will be a life-affirming and life-changing experience for those who march -- as it was last year. I am privileged to know some of the people who work so hard to make this walk the amazing success it has become, and I can tell you they are among the finest people I have ever known. Here's last years march:

From a November release from the organizers of the SF Walk for Life:

On January 23, 2010, to be a vocal and visual message that people of the West Coast stand for life. Reach out to women harmed by abortion. Inform society of the damage done to women by abortion. Join us as we walk along San Francisco's waterfront, a great example of natural and manmade beauty, as we demonstrate for that most beautiful gift--life! We call upon all people of good will to join us!

6th Annual Walk for Life - Saturday, January 23, 2010, San Francisco, CA

Time: 11:00 am

Location: Justin Herman Plaza on Market Street

Speakers include:

Lila Rose, President of Live Action
Irene Beltran with Georgette Forney, Silent No More
Jim Garlow, Lead Pastor of Skyline Church
Rev. Clenard Childress, Director of LEARN
The St. Giana Molla Award will be presented to David Bereit, National Campaign Director of 40 Days for Life

After the Walk, a Silent No More Gathering will take place where it concludes. Contact Georgette Forney via phone at 800-707-6635 or email here. You must be pre-registered to share your testimony here.

There will be an Info Faire at the end of the Walk at Marina Greens. To exhibit at the Info Fiare, please fill out form and email it here.

The following bishops will be joining us: Archbishop George Niederauer (San Francisco), Bishop William Justice (San Francisco), Bishop Salvatore Cordileone (Oakland), Bishop Stephen Blaire (Stockton), Bishop Armando Ochoa (El Paso, TX)

Monday, January 04, 2010

A Trailer for "Eclipse of Reason"

Charlton Heston on abortion.

The Doctor's Diagnosis . . .

Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn is a medical doctor. He knows the medical as well as the economic, political, and moral problems that the administration's health care bill will cause. In my opinion, what he has to say deserves our attention. He writes:
This vote is indeed historic. This Congress will be remembered for its arrogance, corruption and stupidity. In the year of 2009, a Congress ignored the coming economic storm and impending bankruptcy of our entitlement programs and embarked on an ideological crusade to bring our nation as close to single-payer, government-run health care as possible. If this bill becomes law, future generations will rue this day and I will do everything in my power to work toward its repeal. This bill will ration care, cut Medicare, increase premiums, fund abortion and bury our children in debt.

This process was not compromise. This process was corruption. This bill passed because votes were bought and sold using the issue of abortion as a bargaining chip. The abortion provision alone makes this bill the most arrogant piece of legislation I have seen in Congress. Only the most condescending politician can believe it is appropriate to force Americans to pay for other people's abortions and to coerce medical professional to take the lives of unborn children.

... The experience of government-run health care in the United States and around the world shows that access to a government program is not access to health care. Forty percent of doctors restrict access to Medicaid patients. Medicare already rations care and denies medical claims at twice the rate of private insurers. Nations like the United Kingdom with government run health care routinely ration care based on cost, and Canadians flock to the United States to escape waiting lines. Neither nation, incidentally, has managed to control costs as promised.

... like many Americans, I've been disappointed by the lack of civility in this debate. The backers of the Reid bill, in many cases, have been unwilling to argue for what they believe in - a single-payer health care system controlled by Washington. Their hide-the-ball strategy led them to rush this process and ram the bill through on the eve of the most important Christian holiday when they hoped the American people wouldn't be watching.

The rhetoric that will be remembered in this debate was not between elected officials but between elected officials and concerned citizens. The clear will of the public was not only ignored, but concerned citizens were personally attacked by politicians in power. The American people were derided as an angry mob, and were called evil-doers and unpatriotic by the leaders of the House and Senate.

... In my 25 years of practicing medicine I've treated countless patients who would have had their lives cut short had the Reid bill been in effect. I don't need to conjure up scare tactics or rely on talking points written by staff. I've seen cancers that would have gone undiagnosed, treatments that would have been denied, and care that would have been delayed had this bill been in effect.

On the final day of debate, one of my colleagues said my argument about rationing was Exhibit A in their case about scare tactics before ignoring every substantive argument I've made against this bill. I would contend this bill is Exhibit A in the American people's case against Washington. Soon enough, the American people will have the opportunity to ration the terms of the elected officials in Washington who sought to impose their will on the public.
His full remarks can be found here.

Have we lost all commonsense?

The charges against Abdulmutallab will doubtless include 288 counts of attempted murder. But if the jet jockeys terrorist wanted to kill only 288, he could have detonated his bomb over the Atlantic. He waited until final descent because he wanted to bring down that Northwest Airlines jet over the Detroit airport crowded with holiday travelers. The death toll might well have exceeded that of 9/11. On Christmas. Get the point?

Are there more young killers in the skies? Before he was read his Miranda rights, and given a taxpayer-funded lawyer, Abdulmutallab was our best source for information about the nature, extent, and future plans of the worldwide terrorist conspiracy bent on slaughtering Americans.
So says Ken Blackwell, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

As it turns out, of course, Abdulmutallab is now enjoying the legal protections which the heroic Navy Seals who captured Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11, will not enjoy. For they are being tried in a military court where considerably fewer constitutional protections are accorded defendants. Their crime? -- punching the mastermind of 9/11 in the stomach (or so claims Khalid Shaikh Mohammed) and for roughing him up during his apprehension.

Every time one thinks that political correctness has reached its apogee of absurdity it outdoes itself yet again. Jihadists throughout the world must be doubled over with laughter.