Why wait for the dawn?
A Healthy sleep awaits me!
Off to bed I go!
"One might well become a holy fool oneself here! It's catching!"--Raskolnikov, from Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. Witness the musings of another Holy Fool, another follower of "God's own Fool."
Ron Rolling of A Wing And A Prayer reminds us of a sad anniversary:
Today is the one-year anniversary of the death of Terri Schindler-Schiavo.A year ago, I acknowledged Terri Schiavo's passing:
The website Blogs For Terri memorializes.
May the Lord bless and keep her. May his perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace. Forgive us, Terri. We don't know what we're doing. Father, Forgive us, we know not what we do:The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Americans--The public, by 63 percent-28 percent,
supports the removal of Schiavo's feeding tube
We really don't know what we're doing:
By a significant margin the public views the removal of Terri
Schiavo's (search) feeding tube as an act of mercy rather than
an act of murder, according to the latest FOX News poll.
The new poll — taken prior to Schiavo's death — finds that a 54
percent majority sees the removal of Schiavo's feeding tube as
"an act of mercy" and almost a third see it as "an act of murder"
(29 percent), 7 percent say "neither" and 11 percent are
Murder as an act of mercy--practically a textbook definition of euthanasia. Another fruit of "choice". Another Reasonable conclusion that furthers the worship of Thanatos and I-am-the-lord-my-god. Heavan knows we need more fools and we need them fast.
Reuters.com has details:
Citing polling that suggests opposition to same-sex marriages is receding, gay rights advocates expressed confidence on Friday that such weddings would spread, despite a ruling by Massachusetts' highest court that bars homosexuals from other states from marrying there.Of course, the catch is that the Massachussets Supreme Court threw a wrench into the works:
Activists on both sides of the issue were awaiting a court ruling on whether Washington will follow Massachusetts and become the second U.S. state to legalize gay marriage, at least among residents.
"Washington state's Supreme Court right now, any day, is going to deliver their ruling on marriage, so it's something that we've been waiting for a while now to happen," said Brad Luna of gay rights group Human Rights Campaign.
After hearing arguments in March 2005, Washington state's top court will decide whether to overturn two lower court rulings in favor of same-sex marriage. The case was brought by eight same-sex couples denied marriage licenses.
Massachusetts's highest court ruled in 2003 that it was unconstitutional to ban gay marriage, paving the way for America's first same-sex marriages in May the following year.But the real problem? The misplaced optimism of "Gay Marriage" advocates. That polling data that indicates Americans' opposition to "gay marriage" is receding? Well, here's what Pew found:
But on Thursday, that court quashed any chance of Massachusetts becoming the nation's gay wedding capital, ruling that homosexual couples from states that ban same-sex marriages cannot legally be wed in Massachusetts.
The ruling, upholding a 1913 state law barring nonresidents from marrying if their home state would not recognize the marriage, was in response to a lawsuit by gay couples from Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.
"I really don't anticipate that the Massachusetts ruling will have much of an impact on other state courts because those courts will look at their own state laws and their own state constitutions, and rule accordingly," said Seth Kilbourn, political direct of gay rights group Equality California.
A Pew Research Center poll taken in early March and released last week showed that opposition to same-sex marriage had dropped across the country in the past two years. But it also showed that just over half of Americans still oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry.In other words, the Reasonable have spoken, but the Fools won't stop laughing. And how Foolish we Fools must be, for we insist that marriage is ontologically dependent on the complementarity of man and woman. For some, strange reason, about 10,000 years of civilization has institutionalized marriage with the same prerequisite.
The Associated Press has the story:
Iran's military said Friday it successfully test-fired a missile not detectable by radar that can use multiple warheads to hit several targets simultaneously, a development that raised concerns in the United States and Israel.The Mullahs have authorized a nuclear weapons program. Now their military has successfully test-flown a radar-evading, multiple warhead targeting missle with possible ballistic range. Israel and US military positions throughout the Middle East could be vulnerable to catastrophic attack.
The Fajr-3, which means "victory" in Farsi, can reach Israel and U.S. bases in the Middle East, Iranian state media indicated. The announcement of the test-firing is likely to stoke regional tensions and feed suspicion about Tehran's military intentions and nuclear ambitions.
"I think it demonstrates that Iran has a very active and aggressive military program under way," State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said in Washington. "I think Iran's military posture, military development effort, is of concern to the international community."
Gen. Hossein Salami, the air force chief of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, did not specify the missile's range, saying how far it can travel depends on the weight of its warheads.
But state-run television described the weapon as "ballistic" - suggesting it is of comparable range to Iran's existing ballistic rocket, which can travel about 1,200 miles and reach arch-foe Israel and U.S. bases in Iraq and the Persian Gulf region.
"Today, a remarkable goal of the Islamic Republic of Iran's defense forces was realized with the successful test-firing of a new missile with greater technical and tactical capabilities than those previously produced," Salami said on television, which showed a brief clip of the missile's launch.
"It can avoid anti-missile missiles and strike the target," the general said.
He said the missile would carry a multiple warhead, and each warhead would be capable of hitting its target precisely.
"This news causes much concern, and that concern is shared by many countries in the international community, about Iran's aggressive nuclear weapons program and her parallel efforts to develop delivery systems, both in the field of ballistic missiles and cruise missiles," said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev.
"The combination of extremist jihadist ideology, together with nuclear weapons and delivery systems, is a combination that no one in the international community can be complacent about," Regev said.
Yossi Alpher, an Israeli consultant on the Mideast peace process, said the news "escalates the arms race between Iran and all those who are concerned about Iran's aggressive intentions and nuclear potential."
"Clearly it's escalation, and also an attempt by Iran to flex its muscles as it goes into a new phase of the diplomatic struggle with the U.N. Security Council."
newsobserver.com has the viewpoint here
Few among us would deny that today the present influx of immigrants presents a serious challenge. Since 1990 the number of undocumented persons in this country has almost tripled. The majority of these immigrants work in sectors vital to our economy -- agriculture, construction and services.Bishop Gossman offers the prudent counsel that Reasonable and Foolable extremists on either plank of the debate will find grossly inadequate and offensive. The isolationists will demand that the US raise the shields against the hordes swarming the southern border. The Reconquistadores will demand an immediate surrender by Washington of the US Southwest. Neither side speaks for the people most affected by the current dysfunctional immigration policy: immigrants themselves, legal and otherwise.
In 2003 in a pastoral letter, "Strangers No Longer, Together on the Journey of Hope," the bishops of the United States, with the bishops of Mexico, proposed a series of reforms for our immigration system. As bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh, I join with my brother bishops in calling for the federal government to purpose and pass legislation which will reform our flawed and broken immigration system and meet the present challenge.
The reformation of such a complex system must be comprehensive in scope. It must seek to include: economic and social development to address the root causes that force people to migrate; development of an earned legalization program for the undocumented in our country; use of expanded legal means so families can be reunited; a temporary worker program which protects foreign and domestic workers, and restoration of due process for immigrants.
• • •
The Catholic Church supports the right of a sovereign nation to control its borders in order to ensure the common good, but such enforcement must include the protection of basic human rights and the dignity of the individual. The church does not support illegal immigration, not only because it is against the law but because society is not benefited by the presence of a large population living outside of the community, subject to abuse, exploitation and even death.
The church does advocate changing the law so that undocumented persons can obtain legal status in the United States and, in the best tradition of Americans, work to support their families. The U.S. bishops endorse the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act of 2005 (S.1033, H.R. 2330) which contains many of the principles outlined by the bishops. We strongly oppose the Border Protection, Anti-Terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Protection Act of 2005 ( H.R. 4437) which is so broadly written that it could criminalize even minor acts of mercy.
The Catholic Church, through Catholic Charities, is one of the largest not-for- profit institutions in our nation which gives assistance to the poor, the disenfranchised, the vulnerable, citizen and immigrant alike. Providing humanitarian assistance to those in need is our Gospel mandate and it must not be made a crime.
Catholic social teaching is based on Holy Scripture and Catholic writings from popes and bishops conferences beginning with the encyclical Rerum Novarum of Pope Leo XIII, published in 1891 at another time of increased immigration. The principles of these teachings on social justice can be summarized into five basic principles which apply to migration: 1) persons have the right to find opportunities in their homeland, 2) persons have the right to migrate to support themselves and their families, 3) sovereign nations have the right to control their borders, 4) refugees and asylum seekers should be afforded protection, and 5) the human dignity and human rights of undocumented immigrants should be respected.
Pro Ecclesia*Pro Familia*Pro Civitate covers the Holy Father's remarks:
As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable. Among these the following emerge clearly today:The Reasonable Utopianistas of the world are fond of sidelining the Catholic Church. Their usual tactic is to stick their fingers in their ears and mantra "Separation of Church and State!" like a child screaming "I'm not listening! I'm not listening! la-la-la-la-la-la!" They must believe that if they say the same, sad lie over and over, people will eventually believe them.- protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death;These principles are not truths of faith, even though they receive further light and confirmation from faith; they are inscribed in human nature itself and therefore they are common to all humanity. The Church’s action in promoting them is therefore not confessional in character, but is addressed to all people, prescinding from any religious affiliation they may have. On the contrary, such action is all the more necessary the more these principles are denied or misunderstood, because this constitutes an offence against the truth of the human person, a grave wound inflicted onto justice itself.
- recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family - as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage - and its defence from attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different forms of union which in reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role;
- the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Ron Rolling of A Wing And A Prayer offers "An Accounting":
Well, as of this posting, 41 people have donated (and someone asked me via my personal e-mail for my postal address to send a check). The net amount takes care of rent for March and April as well as the court costs mentioned in the summons, plus a very good start to May (or perhaps some luxuries like food and utilities).Meanwhile, the word keeps getting out! John Bowden of Adjutorium Nostrum carries the message. And Fugger Nutter spreads the word, too. In fact, Catholic Blogs is keeping score!
The Anchoress has blog-rolled me!
Bringing out the sand,
Get it here!
Now the curious thing is, there is nothing particularly questionable theologically with either ad. Nothing in Catholic teaching forbids us to proclaim that King Jesus is all-conquering. He shall, after all, "come again in glory to judge the living and the dead." Nothing forbids Catholics from proclaiming the Gospel with gusto. Pope Paul VI tells us the Church exists to evangelize. Nothing in the Catechism of the Catholic Church says we are not anointed or that we shouldn't speak of Christ conquering the devil. Peter, after all, was promised that "the gates of hell" would not prevail against the Church.Evangelicals and Catholics approach their faith through different sensibilities. Part of the cultural ways in which we express our Faith involve language. Thus, one of the great confusions some Evangelicals have with Catholics is when we "pray to Mary."
Similarly, nothing in the Bible forbids the Evangelical from practicing contemplative prayer or from imitating Mary's prayer or looking to her as a model. There is nothing about meditation or the image of Christ "being formed" in us like a fetus that was not known to Paul (Gal 4:19).
Yet many Catholics would still feel put off by the first ad and many Evangelicals would still feel put off by the second. Why?
The difference is culture, not theology. Evangelical culture is overwhelmingly masculine. Catholic culture is overwhelmingly feminine.
Note the vocabulary in the first ad: "anointed, dynamic, impact, marching, victory, all-conquering, King." Other favorite words in the evangelical milieu are "mighty" "battle" "winning" and so forth. Zillions of book blurbs, radio ads and TV shows in Evangelicaldom emphasize these categories — categories we commonly gender-code "masculine."
Meanwhile, Catholic culture tends to be overwhelmingly feminine. The big stress is on contemplation, inner life, receptivity, and openness. Fave rave buzzwords include "invite, nurture, faith journey, dialogue, faith community, share" and so forth.
Now let us be clear. It is important to note that there are theological differences between the two traditions. The view of Tradition, the papacy, sacraments, etc. are very real differences and we do not serve the truth by ignoring them. But the differences I speak of here are primarily cultural and we do not serve the truth by mistaking them for theological differences. Thus, Catholics need not dismiss all evangelicalism as all hand-waving emotionalism simply because Evangelicals are more extroverted about their faith. Nor should Evangelicals declare that Catholics "haven't been born again" simply because they do not manifest their deep relationship with Christ in a verbal and outgoing way. The fact is, there is room in evangelical theology for feminine culture just as there is room in Catholic theology for masculine culture. Seeing this allows Catholics and Evangelicals to move past superficial differences and address real theological issues.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York announced plans yesterday for the most sweeping reorganization in its history of more than 150 years, recommending the closing of 31 parishes and 14 schools throughout the metropolitan region.Change is difficult. I understand the heartbreak of long-time parishioners. Though it's been years now, I would still grieve the closing of St. Augustine's Church in New City. I attended 5th through 8th grade at the parish's school. I received confirmation there. The parish sponsored my boy scout troop. Most importantly of all, St. Augustine's was home.
The closings would hit the archdiocese the hardest in its southern parts — the Bronx, Staten Island, Manhattan, Yonkers and central Westchester. The Bronx and Manhattan alone accounted for 17 of the 31 parishes that are to be closed.
The announcement had long been expected. For more than two years, archdiocesan officials have been studying how to deal with a growing shortage of priests, coupled with the changing demographics of the archdiocese, which in its entirety stretches from Staten Island in the south to the Catskills in the north. Some churches in the northern suburbs have been bulging at the seams, while others in the city have struggled to get by, often requiring large financial subsidies from the archdiocese.
You have already heard about Ron's plight.
For anyone who feels called to help Ron out in addition to prayers, he has been talked into accepting donations. There is now a PayPal button in his sidebar for any blogging buddies or readers who are interested.Unleash, and let slip, the Blogs of war!
It was a collaboration between Maureen Martin, Rhonda and Rick Lugari and me ... just all pullin' together for a brother in need. :)Go team!
Get it here!
It was the knock on the door to my apartment I didn't want to answer. It came about 7:00 PM.Please keep Ron in your prayers!
I looked through the peephole and saw the last person I didn't want to see. It was one of the deputies of the county sherriff's office. I opened the door.
He asked for my name. I said something about not wishing to have to meet him under these circumstances, but I did answer affirmitively.
He handed me the document I have been dreading to receive. I did thank him for doing his job.
The eviction hearing is April 10 at 1:30 PM.
Check out the opening graphs in the Washington Post's coverage of Andy Card's resignation as White House Chief of Staff:
White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. announced his resignation this morning after nearly 5 1/2 years as President Bush's top aide. Bush said Card will be replaced by Joshua B. Bolten, the director of the Office of Management and Budget.It's a fair portrayal of Mr. Card's decision to leave the White House after six years. Now, contrast this to the AP coverage of the same event:
Card will serve until April 14 to provide a transition period. The move could presage broader staff changes as Bolten takes over an operation hobbled by political problems heading into a crucial midterm election season.
Bush made the announcement in the Oval Office at 8:30 a.m., standing at the podium with Card to his right, Bolten to his left. The president thanked Card for his "wise counsel, his calm in crisis, his ability, his integrity, and his tireless commitment to public service" and said "he will always be my friend."
Turning to Bolten, Bush described his new chief of staff as a creative thinker and a strong advocate for accountability and effective management in the federal government.
"He is a man of candor and humor and directness, who is comfortable with responsibility and knows how to lead," Bush said.
Card has held the top staff job at the White House longer than any person since Sherman Adams under President Dwight D. Eisenhower and had earned enormous respect within the building and around Washington for his calm professionalism and stamina. But his stewardship of the Bush team had come under question in recent months after a series of mishaps, including the failed Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers, the bungled federal response to Hurricane Katrina, the slow public disclosure of Vice President Cheney's shooting accident and the unexpected Republican revolt over a plan to turn over management at a half dozen ports to an Arab-owned company.
Struggling to revive his troubled presidency, President Bush replaced longtime chief of staff Andy Card with budget director Joshua Bolten on Tuesday and gave Bolten authority to make further changes in a White House staff that even Republicans have complained is tired, insular and lacking fresh ideas.Whoa, nelly! Is the AP covering the same event as the Washinton Post?
Appearing with Bush in the Oval Office, Bolten gave no hint about what, if any, shake-up he might order. But White House officials said no one should doubt his ability to replace Bush aides. "He'll have all the authority he needs ... to make the decisions that he feels best, working with the president," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.
Like Card, Bolten, 51, is a Washington insider whose ties reach back to Bush's 2000 campaign for the White House. Democrats - as well as some Republicans - grumbled that the new White House boss looked a lot like the old one.
Bush said of Bolten, "He's a man of candor and humor and directness, who's comfortable with responsibility and knows how to lead. No person is better prepared for this important position."
Before being named budget director in 2003, Bolten was Card's deputy chief of staff for policy, a colleague of such senior aides as top political adviser Karl Rove and White House counselor Dan Bartlett.
Alarmed by Bush's falling approval ratings and White House mistakes - from the bungled Hurricane Katrina reaction to the ill-fated deal to allow an Arab company to manage U.S. ports - Republicans have been urging the president to bring in new advisers with fresh energy. The GOP's concerns have been heightened by anxiety over midterm congressional elections in November. Card, as chief of staff, became a target for blame.
Democrats said Card's departure wasn't enough. "Simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic by replacing Andy Card with Josh Bolten without a dramatic change in policy will not right this ship," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
The Salt Lake Tribune covers the story.
Pope Benedict XVI warmly embraced 15 new cardinals when he placed crimson hats on their heads in a ritual-filled ceremony Friday, tears welling in his eyes as he gripped the shoulders of the Polish prelate who faithfully served his predecessor for 40 years.Leave it to the AP to put in digs against the Church while covering a significant Catholic event. What is it with MSM calling the prefect for the congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith "the Vatican's chief doctrinal watchdog." Have the prefects taken to wearing studded collars? How many other religious representatives belong to this exclusive canine club?
The moving moment in tribute to Pope John Paul II drew long applause from the crowd in St. Peter's Square as Benedict elevated Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, the late pontiff's private secretary, as well as key churchmen from Hong Kong, Boston, Venezuela and the Philippines. They are now members of the elite group who will eventually choose the German pope's successor.
Archbishop Sean O'Malley, who was brought in to clean up the church in Boston after a major sex abuse scandal, was among the new cardinals, along with William Levada, formerly the archbishop of San Francisco and Portland, Ore. Levada - who was replaced in San Francisco by former Salt Lake City Bishop George Niederauer - took over Benedict's old job as prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican's chief doctrinal watchdog.
Coming from North and South America, Europe and Asia, they showed the worldwide reach of the 1 billion-member Roman Catholic Church.
One by one, they walked up to Benedict, who was seated on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica, knelt before him and received a ''biretta,'' a four-sided hat with three distinct ridges on its upper side whose crimson color signifies their willingness to shed blood for the church. When the 87-year-old Peter Poreku Dery, of Ghana, was brought up in a wheelchair, the pope rose from his throne to embrace him.
The new cardinals also included Hong Kong Bishop Joseph Zen, Archbishop Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino, of Caracas, Venezuela, who has sought to reduce tensions between the church and President Hugo Chavez, and Archbishop Gaudencio B. Rosales, of Manila, Philippines.
"Hobbits get married."
Pro Ecclesia has the details here!
"Battle Cry for a Generation" is led by a 44-year-old Concord native, Ron Luce, who wants "God's instruction book" to guide young people away from the corrupting influence of popular culture.May they rejoice! Mr. Leno defames These young people because of their love for Christ. He hates their witness to our Lord! They share in Christ's suffering by their endurance of his tirade. The reign of God is their's!
Luce, whose Teen Mania organization is based in Texas, kicked off a three-city "reverse rebellion" tour Friday night intended to counter a popular culture that he says glamorizes violence and sex. The $55 advance tickets for two days of musical performances and speeches were sold out, but walk-up admission was available for $199.
That's bad news to Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who told counterprotesters at City Hall on Friday that while such fundamentalists may be small in number, "they're loud, they're obnoxious, they're disgusting, and they should get out of San Francisco." (Emphasis in Jay's original post)
...on Stem Cell Research:
As I've said before, embryonic stem cell research is doomed to go the way of whaling, condemned by all right-thinking people as morally reprehensible and practially unjustifiable, given the alternative methods for achieving the same goals. A researcher in Germany may have a promising new alternative (H/T: Drudge):I can just hear the whailing now. Reasonable Moloch-Worshippers, desperate for metaphysical cover, will charge the ramparts screaming for ESCR. They'll decry this radical and untested technique as catering to those ridiculous Fools that refuse to see embryos for the clump of cells that they are. IVF clinics will blanche as they watch their Ka-ching! flitter to bearish certainties. What researcher needs their excess inventory if sperm cells will do the trick and get the Federal funding. All across the Absolute Individualist front there will be the rending of garments and the gnashing of teeth.
German scientists said on Friday they had isolated sperm-producing stem cells that have similar properties to embryonic stem cells from adult mice.
If the same type of cells in humans show similar qualities the researchers from the Georg-August-University of Goettingen believe they could be used in stem cell research which would remove the ethical dilemma associated with stem cells derived from human embryos.
"These isolated spermatogonial stem cells respond to culture conditions and acquire embryonic stem cell properties," Gerd Hasenfuss and his colleagues said in report published online by the journal Nature.
So says this report from AsiaNews.it
The commitment of the Indian Church to solidarity, justice and peace, and developments in Catholic missionary work across the Asian continent, were the main themes of a national seminar on the social doctrine of the Church. The meeting took place at St. Pius College,(Archdiocesan Seminary), Goregaon, Mumbai from 24 to 26 March, gathering 520 delegates from 55 Indian dioceses.Catholic Social Teaching is the Church's commitment to placing Christ at the center of society. And why not? Christians live the commitment to place Christ in the center of their lives. When Christians witness to their faith in the societies in which they live, they bring Christ center-stage.
“I am very encouraged by the positive spirit and passion of the Indian Church for social issues,” Mgr Giampaolo Crepaldi, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, who chaired the meeting, told AsiaNews.
“All the papers presented at the seminar endorsed and emphasized the commitment of placing Christ at the centre of society. The commitment of the Indian Church to human dignity, and its cultural stand on various social issues, are to be commended.
“The centrality and promotion of the human person in different spheres of life, has always been the highlight of the Church’s social doctrine, and these values, other than the fight against poverty, the right to peace and friendly industrial development, were the main points of this seminar.”
Matthew Mehan writes:
Hello everyone,Here's a teaser:
This is about teen drinking issues and parenting...
Thought you would enjoy it; please pass it along to others as I think it would be a helpful read! And since I am now officially helping Mercatornet to thrive in the US market as one of their editors, I would ask you to please sign up for the weekly updates on Mercatornet, and the FamilyEdge newsletter.
A Washington DC suburban publication, Bethesda Magazine, recently investigated the habits of local teens from public and private schools in wealthy Montgomery County, in Maryland. It cited Captain Thomas Didone, of the local police:Read the whole thing!"Over the past few years the problem has increased primarily due to parents hosting parties where alcohol is present and not allowing officers access so that we can safely close the party. When we can't issue citations and call the teens' parents, they continue going to parties and remain at risk."If parental resolve slackens, do teens at least fear their high school principal? Not in Bar Harbor. Principal Sally Leighton says that only students who participate in extracurricular athletics or clubs can be punished. They have to sign a good behaviour contract which penalises off school grounds drinking with only a 15-day suspension from the activity or sport.
What about the coaches? Don’t high schoolers fear them? Yes, but serious parties are held between seasons, when good behaviour contracts lapse. This legalistic approach suggests that contracts are not building blocks of character but mere guarantees that the coaches will have players in peak physical condition.
What about the law? That, too, is ineffective. The worst outcome for a night of drunkenness is a fine or community service. Only the poorest families will be hurt by fines and community service is a badge of honour for high school rebels, provided they can still play sports and participate in extracurricular activities.
Get the story here!
Year after year, Professional Grounds Inc. runs a help-wanted ad to find landscapers and groundskeepers. Starting wage: $7.74 per hour.To read the first graphs of the post article, the casual reader would think the country is up in arms about legal immigrants that take less desireable jobs. It isn't until the 8th graph that the writers mention the word "illegally."
In a good year, three people call. Most years, no one does.
So the Springfield company relies on imported labor -- seasonal guest workers allowed to immigrate under the federal guest-worker program -- to keep itself running. For 10 months this year, 23 men from Mexico and Central America will spend their days mulching and mowing, seeding and sodding for Professional Grounds.
Occasionally, company President Bill Trimmer asks himself: If I doubled wages, would native-born Americans apply? He thinks he knows the answer.
"I don't think it's a wage situation. It's the type of work and the nature of the work. It's hard, backbreaking work," said Trimmer, who started the company 31 years ago. "I think we're a more affluent society now. They expect more. Everybody expects more. . . . I have contracts, and they want an affordable price, too."
Here lies the dilemma facing Congress as it attempts an immigration overhaul. Businesses say it is hard to persuade Americans to perform the unskilled jobs that immigrants easily fill. Significantly higher wages might work, but that increase would be passed on to unhappy consumers, forcing Americans to give up under-$10 manicures and $15-per-hour paint and lawn jobs.
Yet against a backdrop of heightened scrutiny of those who cross U.S. borders and the estimated 12 million migrants already here illegally, most everyone agrees that the current immigration system warrants a severe makeover.
In the past 15 years, the Labor Department has audited McMahon's company five times looking for illegal workers -- each time finding none, McMahon said. He added that the House bill threatens to bring his business to a "screeching halt" because there is no provision for a guest-worker program or for dealing with the undocumented immigrants already working.At least the reporters mention one quote from an organization that opposes illegal immigration.
But advocates of tighter borders say hiring foreigners should be difficult, not just for security but to limit competition between less-skilled immigrants and Americans.
"Employers in many of these sectors have gotten themselves into a Catch-22 situation where if they do not look the other way and hire illegal workers, they will not be competitive with other businesses," said Jack Martin, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, an advocacy group governed by business leaders and activists favoring national immigration limits.
"The wages and working conditions where there are large numbers of illegal workers have been driven down to the point where those jobs are not as attractive to American workers," Martin said.
According to the Pew Hispanic Center data, undocumented workers tend to be clustered in service and construction jobs and make up more than half of the region's janitorial and landscape workers. Forty-three percent of the region's construction workers are illegally in the United States or have only temporary work authorization, the data show.
Wages for landscaping and groundskeeping workers in the Washington area have risen slightly in recent years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from an average of $9.61 per hour in 1999 to $10.51 in 2004. Professional Grounds' Trimmer said most employees, including guest workers, earn $9 to $11 per hour.
Her blushing gaze falls:
She proclaims the marvelous truth of Motherhood!
...the pro-choice movement has different ideas about the unborn. To them, an unborn child is just a "fetus," or even worse, an "interloper," hijacking and invading women's bodies, ruining their lives, and keeping them from their dreams. But if this is true, then we are all interlopers, we all ruined our mothers' lives and kept them from their dreams. Is this the way humanity should think of itself? I don't think so.Praise God for young Fools like the Confessionator. Upon the rocks of laughter like her's will the Communion of Fools for Christ, united with our Savior, batter down the Gates of Hell.
The pro-choice movement would like you to think that motherhood keeps women down. It keeps women from "success" in academia, in business, in politics. But what is success? For the Christian, success is obeying God and following His plan for your life. Motherhood never keeps women down. Instead, it elevates women to higher degrees of sanctification. It frees women from the drudgery of the workplace and the mindless pursuit of money and power. It gives women the chance to influence the next generation and sanctify our culture. St. Paul even says that childbearing is a means of salvation in 1 Timothy 2:15,"But she will be saved through motherhood, provided women persevere in faith and love and holiness, with self-control."
Check out this Technorati Search!
The entire tempest surrounding the hiring and termination of Ben Domenech as the Washington Post's designated conservative blogger shows that the blogosphere has a lot of growing up to do. Between the hysteria, the personal attacks, the revelation of wrongdoing and the triumphalism that followed, bloggers did tremendous damage to themselves.and Daniel Riehl:
We had anticipated a lively debate in the Washington Post once Ben started blogging -- but instead we got a slew of ad hominem attacks from bloggers determined to sabotage the Post's experiment. All one has to do is spend a couple of hours surfing through the various Red America links at Memeorandum to understand just how unhinged the attacks were, especially in the beginning. Charges of racism and bigotry flew mighty quickly and with no substantiation, but the accusations themselves took on their own life as a meme. It interfered with the real revelations of plagiarism discovered by some of the same bloggers who had been throwing dishes at Domenech and the Post from the moment Jim Brady announced the effort.
Domenech has now apologized in a better fashion than his first attacks on the blogosphere (via Protein Wisdom, who has interesting commentary of his own). Instead of owning up to the transgressions that his enemies had discovered, he attacked them back and tried to excuse the inexcusable. The fact that some of his defenders followed that path drains our own credibility as full partners to the professional writers that comprise the media. No one who makes a living by writing will ever consider plagiarism a youthful indiscretion, and to the extent that bloggers use that as an excuse for events that are not even five years in the past, it demeans our efforts as both writers and critics of the media. Why should they take us seriously when we don't respect their copyright?
If anyone wanted to make an argument that the blogosphere is too immature to be considered partners in information dissemination with traditional media outlets, we've provided it in spades this week. We finally had an opportunity to garner a high-profile setting for bloggers at the nation's premiere newspaper, and what did we do? We tore each other to shreds because we didn't like the ideological perspective of the first person chosen for the experiment.
Forgetting left and right fighting for a moment, I see what I think is some very unfortunate commentary coming from several blogs on the right. I ignored all the spurious racist, homophobia, or whatever silly criticism of Domenech and I think too many on the right are allowing it to distract them from the core issue. That nonsense is and was just that - nonsense.The blogosphere has the potential to be the necessary corrective of the Fourth Estate. If we blow it by becoming a horde of screeching, partisan voices with no sense of any journalism/opinion writing ethics, we'll forsake a grave service to our society. Reasonable mouth-foamers on the Right and the Left, along with their Foolable enablers, would equate politics with basic existence. Their foam-drippers among the blogosphere certainly carried the day in this case.
As an example, it was mentioned in passing in the the New York Times article and I suspect most serious future press mentions of the Domenech affair will discount it. That is the tremendously immature and unsightly portion of the blogosphere which makes it look like nothing more than a food fight. It shouldn't be taken seriously. To enjoin it so seriously is to credit it. It doesn't deserve that.
But neither does Ben Domenech deserve our responses to, and critiques of him being couched with that nonsense, almost as some defense. Far too many commenter's and even some bloggers seem too quick to speak too much of what a talented and good man is Ben Domenech.
Not only did this individual betray the widely accepted and serious principles of journalism, but he betrayed his friends and defenders by continuing to lie. Witness his PJ O'Rourke permissions and confusing notes responses long after his disgraceful practice of serial plagiarizing had been discovered. That was flat out lying - and worst of all, he was lying to his friends. He was and, for now at least, is a liar. Pure and simple. And talented at that, for sure.
The man caused a serious website, NRO, to have to go back through archives and sort out the rubbish, picking through the trash of his past work. And in the end, who can finally say how much of it was his, or how talented he was? Not me. I'd have to have a database of everything ever written in my head to do that.
I'm not suggesting his friends shouldn't be his friends. But their hand wringing editorializing still laced with invective toward the left displays a lack of humility in the face of the outrageous behavior of this young man. He was a fraud, at least to the extent that even his genuine published work should be dismissed and buried. If genuine, as I assume much is, it only serves as a disgraceful reminder of why he didn't need to take the unethical shortcuts he did.
Samuel Gregg, D.Phil. of the Acton Institute asks that question in this Commentary.
The list of concerns promoted by most ethical investment funds is not especially coherent. They generally refrain, for example, from investing in businesses involved in armaments, tobacco, gambling, pornography, product-testing involving animal experimentation, inhumane farming, mining, and countries with oppressive regimes. The same funds often try to avoid corporations that do not have affirmative action programs. Equally reprehensible, according to many socially responsible investment guidelines, are corporations insufficiently involved in adequate “community involvement.”What's a Fool with a conscience and a little money to invest to do? Dr. Gregg proposes the following:
Immediately, this raises problems. What, for example, constitutes “inadequate” community involvement? Concerning affirmative action programs, many perfectly orthodox Catholic theologians have argued that they suffer from several fundamental defects of justice. In other words, objecting to affirmative action does not make you a racist.
As the Catholic moral theologian Germain Grisez warns “while certain ethical investment vehicles are advertised as ‘socially responsible,’ the notion of socially responsible here may not reflect a judgment conformed to Christian principles.”
The standard list of ethical investment priorities also suggests that many “socially responsible” criteria have more to do with fashionable causes than with the objective moral life. Apart from pornography, the list reflects little interest in questions of sexual morality. Ethical investment funds rarely, for example, cater to those who believe that marriage is a basic good and that abortion is wrong.
A high degree of moral and political selectivity is apparent in these organizations. In the 1980s, for example, ethical investment funds invariably listed South Africa as a country to shun. But why did they not also list other countries with regimes at least as oppressive, such as Cuba, Nicaragua, East Germany, Iraq, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, or Vietnam?
Investing in so-called socially responsible funds is thus no guarantee that the investment is moral. Naturally, if people want to further particular causes through encouraging us to invest in particular ways, there is little to prevent them from doing so. But one may protest their use of the word “ethical” to describe such investments.
First, they should know that the moral principles that inform and direct their investment decisions are no different from those that should inform and direct other choices. Their investments should be directed by maxims such as the Pauline principle(one should not do evil even if good may come of it) and the Golden Rule (do to others as you would have them do to you).Again, the Foolables that have Fundamental Optioned Post-Vatican II catechism on morality to a politically-correct menu of social justice "do's and don'ts" offer no genuine guidance. Their counsel will lead the unweary off the cliff. Meanwhile, the width and breadth of Catholic Social Teaching remains virtually untouched. This tremendous treasure offers us the road map we need to effectively negotiate around any morally-troubling investment opportunities.
Catholics, in particular, should also know that the Church has declared that certain acts are always wrong. Intentions may be noble, people may claim to be acting in good conscience, and circumstances may mitigate personal responsibility. Nonetheless, certain acts (e.g., adultery) are always evil. The negative moral precepts of the Church’s teaching, as Veritatis Splendor—John Paul II’s 1993 encyclical—reminds us, do not allow for legitimate exception.
The greater the risk of corrupting ourselves, or of giving others the impression that we have no strong objection to an evil policy or activity, the more serious our reason for refraining from investing in organizations that engage in, or support, any activity that the Church has identified as evil.
...though sadly not a monopoly by lay administrators of Catholic institutions like Catholic Charities. Zenit News Agency presents an interview with Fr. Roger Landry that raises the issue concerned.
Looking at the Boston Catholic Charities situation prior to the about-face on March 10, I think we see, first, the evil effects of proportionalism in moral theology that Pope John Paul II condemned in his encyclical "Veritatis Splendor."The heart of this proportionalism that Fr. Landry describes may be the "doctrine" that Pope John Paul the Great disavowed in Veritas Splendor: the Fundamental Option. Take a look at what he says:
Proportionalists believe that there really are no moral absolutes and that the good and evil of an action should be determined by weighing the proportion of good effects to bad in an action.
Many of the lay board members of Catholic Charities admitted that they do not believe that placing a child in a same-sex home is wrong in all circumstances, despite the fact that a 2003 document by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith unambiguously states that it is.
Moreover, they argued that the negative effects of cooperating with the state in such placements were outweighed by the benefits of the ability to continue doing adoption work and remaining eligible to receive millions in state money and philanthropic grants for which they would no longer be qualified if they discriminated against same-sex couples.
The same proportionalist rationale was on display, I think, when Catholic Charities honored the mayor of Boston in December despite the fact that he is a Catholic who supports abortion and gay marriage. In the mind of Catholic Charities board members, those indefensible positions were proportionally outweighed by his support for programs for the poor and needy.
I'd add that the actions of the Catholic Charities board is another illustration of a general problem seen in other many other Catholic institutions in the United States, like hospitals and universities.
When Catholic lay people began to dominate their respective boards of trustees, insufficient attention was given to whether the new members shared the Church's faith in all matters. In many circumstances, especially with respect to the teaching of the Church on abortion and human sexuality, many board members simply do not share the Church's faith.
They lack the sufficient "formation of the heart" that Pope Benedict refers to in his first encyclical, and that impairment can lead to the types of conflicts and problems we have seen in this case.
Some authors, however, have proposed an even more radical revision of the relationship between person and acts. They speak of a "fundamental freedom", deeper than and different from freedom of choice, which needs to be considered if human actions are to be correctly understood and evaluated. According to these authors, the key role in the moral life is to be attributed to a "fundamental option", brought about by that fundamental freedom whereby the person makes an overall self-determination, not through a specific and conscious decision on the level of reflection, but in a "transcendental" and "athematic" way. Particular acts which flow from this option would constitute only partial and never definitive attempts to give it expression; they would only be its "signs" or symptoms. The immediate object of such acts would not be absolute Good (before which the freedom of the person would be expressed on a transcendental level), but particular (also termed "categorical" ) goods. In the opinion of some theologians, none of these goods, which by their nature are partial, could determine the freedom of man as a person in his totality, even though it is only by bringing them about or refusing to do so that man is able to express his own fundamental option.In other words, Catholics can't become a peculier form of "Catholic Calvinist" that is neither Catholic nor Calvinist. We are embodied persons, and we're not free to divorce our spirituality from our physicality. Obedience to Christ means our freely chosen actions conform to his will in particular acts as well as overall commitment. Otherwise, we're talking one game and walking another. That's the definition of a lack of integrity.
To separate the fundamental option from concrete kinds of behaviour means to contradict the substantial integrity or personal unity of the moral agent in his body and in his soul. A fundamental option understood without explicit consideration of the potentialities which it puts into effect and the determinations which express it does not do justice to the rational finality immanent in man's acting and in each of his deliberate decisions. In point of fact, the morality of human acts is not deduced only from one's intention, orientation or fundamental option, understood as an intention devoid of a clearly determined binding content or as an intention with no corresponding positive effort to fulfil the different obligations of the moral life. Judgments about morality cannot be made without taking into consideration whether or not the deliberate choice of a specific kind of behaviour is in conformity with the dignity and integral vocation of the human person. Every choice always implies a reference by the deliberate will to the goods and evils indicated by the natural law as goods to be pursued and evils to be avoided. In the case of the positive moral precepts, prudence always has the task of verifying that they apply in a specific situation, for example, in view of other duties which may be more important or urgent. But the negative moral precepts, those prohibiting certain concrete actions or kinds of behaviour as intrinsically evil, do not allow for any legitimate exception. They do not leave room, in any morally acceptable way, for the "creativity" of any contrary determination whatsoever. Once the moral species of an action prohibited by a universal rule is concretely recognized, the only morally good act is that of obeying the moral law and of refraining from the action which it forbids.
Howard Kurtz examines Jeff Jarvis' take on NYT's Editor-In-Chief Bill Keller
Keller and BuzzMachine's Jeff Jarvis had a fascinating exchange about a year ago, and Jarvis (now a consultant to the Times Co.) is quite unhappy with Keller's AJR quotes, including this one:" It's a little harder at the Times because we are the Times. We attract a more intense curiosity ."But it's not mere curiosity. That implies that the reliability of the product and the process of journalism are unchallenged and that we, the people, are merely nosey tourists wanting to have a look 'round the factory, just curious, not questioning. No, we're asking more than that. We deserve more than that. And The Times, because of that special position it holds and the privilege and access and attention it receives as a result, owes us more. . . .
"To say that readers are not 'entitled' to view that process is, to me, a claim of ownership over the news. Journalists came to believe that they owned news because they owned distribution or were granted special access. But they don't and never did. The public owns the news. It is ours. And the public has a perfect right to judge the stewardship journalists exercise over news."
I ain't dead yet. Got folks leaving blogituaries (I must credit Michele Catalano for coining that phrase, however I just redefined it) in the comments section. I need to clarify that every year I do a state of the blog address wherein I take my gubernatorial authority and speak forth where this blog is headed. It's not a goodbye.She's one of the most refreshing voices in the blogosphere. I don't link to her nearly enough! Glad to hear she hasn't crossed her blog-set!
CNS has the STORY:
For the last year, however, Pope Benedict's priorities have not been administrative. Instead, he has embarked on what might be described as a project to water the roots of the faith.Pope Benedict XVI makes clear who the Church points to: Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. Our participation in his life, through his mystical body the Church, means we take human nature seriously. It means we honor the dignity of every human person. It means we live in solidarity with all because they are all our brothers. It means we honor family as the core relationship in which we participate in the life of the Lord. It means we order society for the good of all people, not the other way around. Above all, it means that we choose to accept God's freely given invitation. That choice shapes the very life and culture in which we will live this life.
He has urged Catholics to rediscover Christ as the focus of their personal lives and to resist the tendency to make the individual ego "the only criterion" for their choices. The pope has been careful to phrase this as a sympathetic invitation and not a warning.
"We continually close our doors; we continually want to feel secure and do not want to be disturbed by others and by God" -- and yet still Christ will come for his people, the pope said in a sermon last May.
As a teacher, he has turned to Scripture far more than doctrine, making connections between the early Christians of apostolic times and modern men and women struggling to live their faith.
Pope Benedict has tackled contemporary social and political issues by emphasizing a few main principles: that human rights rest on human dignity, that people come before profits, that the right to life is an ancient measure of humanity and not just a Catholic teaching, and that efforts to exclude God from civil affairs are corroding modern society.
He returns often to a central theme -- the relationship between God and man -- in language that can be clear-cut and gripping.
"Human life is a relationship ... and the basic relationship is with the Creator, otherwise all relationships are fragile. To choose God, that is the essential thing. A world emptied of God, a world that has forgotten God, loses life and falls into a culture of death," the pope said in a talk in March.
Joseph Capizzi of The Fact Is asks Gary Wills a question he refuses to answer:
Wills says the Church is responsible for murder in Africa because it denies condoms to men who have AIDS and who through their sexual practices spread AIDS to women and children. But why are these men and women engaging in dangerous sex? Why, in the United States, are homosexual men choosing to engage in increasingly dangerous forms of sex?Say Amen! Call the Pope a murderer because the Church won't condone condom distribution, and the Reasonable salute your courage. Call the architechts of the sexual revolution murderers, and listen for the crickets; The Reasonable will leave you out in the cold.
In Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II puts God's question to Cain "What have you done?" to us, to make us "realize the extent and gravity of the attacks against life which continue to mark human history; to make [us] discover what causes these attacks and feeds them. . ." What have we done, in other words, to facilitate and foster violence against our brothers and sisters, against our neighbor? He adds, "What of the spreading of death caused by . . . the promotion of certain kinds of sexual activity which, besides being morally unacceptable, also involve great risks to life?" (EV 10) What have we done, that is, to contribute to this?
And that is the prior question which Wills and his peers fear to ask, because while pointing a finger at the Church for her stance on contraception causes no social consternation and even wins one points in the public square, the real question, "What have you done?" remains.
Catholic News Agency has the story:
On Friday, Archbishop William Joseph Levada will be the first of 15 men from around the globe to be made Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI. Levada’s role is unique however. Earlier this year, he took over the Holy Father’s former job as Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith--a job charged with upholding the teachings of the Church.In other words, if a politician is Catholic, he should act Catholic. The Teachings on morals are not negotiable. Catholic Social Teaching--including the prohibition on abortion--is the basis of an informed conscience on matters that affect society. It's not the first thing a politician can cast off in favor of the "primacy of conscience."
Recently, the Cardinal-designate granted an interview to Time Magazine, in which he talked about the responsibilities of Catholic politicians and the ramifications of the Church’s recent document on homosexuals in seminaries.
During the 2004 U.S. presidential election, the issue of Catholic politicians promoting and publicly holding views contrary to the Catholic Church became a volatile one.
Asked whether “politicians should be granted communion if they support policies counter to Church teachings,” Archbishop Levada said that “There are certain teachings that as Catholics we have to accept as part of Jesus' Gospel. When you see Catholic politicians who favor abortion rights ... you have to ask yourself how this person squares this with his personal faith.”
“Catholic politicians”, he stressed, “need to take this seriously. Maybe they need to say I'm not able to practice my faith and be a public representative.”
The NCR Editorial on the CC/gay adoption conundrum
There is much in the Catholic air these days about homosexuality. Pope Benedict XVI, as then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, has provided much of the content, from the assertion that gays are “objectively disordered” to the 2003 document issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which Ratzinger then headed, that called gay parenting “gravely immoral” and said permitting gay couples to adopt “would actually mean doing violence to these children.”Thank God we Fools can turn to the Spiritually-guaranteed infallible opinion of the Foolable NCR Editorial Board. How else could we hope to conform our lives to the truth in these confusing times? It's not as if the Roman Catholic Church hasn't already presented her clear teaching on the immorality of homosexual activity and the inappropriateness of "gay couples" adopting children.
He has certainly emboldened the troops. Listening to people like Dr. John Haas, president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia, one might conclude humans know all there is to know about sexuality and sexual orientation.
In an interview in The Pilot, a publication of the Boston archdiocese, Haas was asked if a Christian in good conscience could disagree with the teachings of the church on this issue. “No,” he answered. “It is a misunderstanding of what conscience is. Conscience conforms to reality and the moral law. It doesn’t make the moral law and determine what reality is or is not.”
In a recent conference on homosexuality at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, French Msgr. Tony Anatrella, a psychoanalyst and consultant to the Pontifical Council for the Family, said without qualification that gay couples were unable to model the sexual difference essential to any child in developing his or her own sexual identity. He asserted that 40 percent of children raised by homosexuals became homosexuals themselves. It wasn’t clear in the Catholic News Service report where he got that number, though the story did report that the assertion was greeted with chuckles in the audience.
In his analysis, children of gay parents could experience such an altered reality that “we could reach the point where we have violence, and what I call ‘civilized delirious behavior.’ ”
Oh, there was more. David S. Crawford of the John Paul II Institute in Washington, holds that tolerance of homosexuality and affording gays rights would lead to a society-wide form of “compulsory homosexuality” in which all relations would be “fundamentally homosexual. … They all become in this sense, essentially, or at least for legal and social purposes, gay.”
There was no indication in the story that an actual homosexual person was part of the conference or consulted about all of these rather bizarre conclusions that would stem from their very existence.
All of this, of course, does little to enlighten, though it does do much to enrich the antihomosexual atmosphere around issues such as gay adoption in Boston.
But what’s the harm in consulting the data, in talking to those involved in tracking such adoptions and their outcomes before pronouncing so absolutely on all the imagined deleterious effects of gay adoptions?In other words, what could it hurt?
Narwen, of Quenta Narwenion, offers this heartbreaking prayer request:
Today my family and I were given heartbreaking news from doctors at Saints Memorial Hospital [Catholic hospital, Lowell, MA], that my son's cerebral cortex, which controls cognition / thinking, has been damaged beyond human hope due to having been deprived of oxygen "for apparently a long time" sometime between Sat 12:30 AM and 1 PM (an 11.5 hr window). This means, we were told, the "thinking part" of his brain is "gone forever," barring a miracle, and that within 48 hours we should make a decision to take him off artificial life support "and give him peace". We asked for a second opinion and received the same answer, breaking our hearts altogether.
Apparently early this morning, at the same time, they began feeding my son liquid nutrition / food through a nasal tube. When I asked the doctors whether he would die from just the removing him from artificial life support, they told us not necessarily. He would, they said, because of his youth, more likely die first of dehydration and lack of nutrition. This means starvation and filled me with anxiety. We need help here to be morally certain in making a family decision. Is this removing of a nasal tube identical to the situation Terri Schiavo was in? Would this mean "actively killing" my son? Please, if you can find it in your heart to send me a brief, preferably official document, clarifying this for us, I / we would be most grateful. I am very reluctant to remove nourishment for the very same reasons the Schiavo's were. Am I missing something here? Is there some factor which makes the cases different in any essential way? Under what terms, if any, is it allowable, according to the Church, to remove nutritional support once it has been introduced?
Please pray that God's will is done, and for my family. The agony of watching a beloved son in what is being called an irreversible coma, is almost too much to bear. So we cling to the cross. Help us, if you can, to know what His will is in Heaven in regard to all this. Perhaps I should know all this myself, but I feel shamefully in deep confusion. Thank you. Send your replies to TCRnews2.firstname.lastname@example.org and thank you in advance for understanding that I may not be able to reply immediately. ---Stephen Hand
Reasonable Elites see an 'American Theocracy':
Kevin Phillips rose to prominence on the heels of Richard Nixon's political triumphs. His 1969 book The Emerging Republican Majority was hailed as a visionary work of political analysis. But his new book, American Theocracy, argues that the Republican Party -- and the country -- is headed for disaster.Take a look at the slobbering panic in print:
Subtitled "The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century," American Theocracy puts the trials of modern America into the context of other great historical powers. From Rome to Great Britain, Phillips identifies the keys to their decline -- and draws parallels to modern America.
In its recent practice, the radical side of U.S. religion has embraced cultural antimodernism, war hawkishness, Armageddon prophecy, and in the case of conservative fundamentalists, a demand for governments by literal biblical interpretation. In the 1800s, religious historians generally minimized the sectarian thrust of religious excess, but recent years have brought more candor. The evangelical, fundamentalist, sectarian, and radical threads of American religion are being proclaimed openly and analyzed widely, even though bluntness is frequently muted by a pseudo-tolerance, the polite reluctance to criticize another's religion. However given the wider thrust of religion's claims on public life, this hesitance falls somewhere between unfortunate and dangerous. Charles Kimball, a North Carolina Baptist and professor of religion, speaks very much to the point: "Although many of us have been taught it is not polite to discuss religion and politics in public, we must quickly unlearn that lesson. Our collective failure to challenge presuppositions, think anew, and openly debate central religious concerns affecting society is a recipe for disaster."1In other words, those scary Fundamentalists dare to think Christ has something important to say to our Reasonable society. O the Humanity!
Still, the challenge is gathering. Academic projects that spotlight the resurgence of religious fundamentalism around the world now routinely include the United States, along with India, Israel, and many Islamic countries. Scholars have always touched on "militantly anti-modernist Protestant evangelicalism," but there is a renewed focus.2 Some moderate-toliberal theologians have begun to challenge half-baked preaching about the rapture and the end times as "a toxin endangering the health -- even the life -- of the Christian churches and American society."3 Suburban megachurches, in turn, find themselves explained as offering the spiritual equivalent of a shopping mall: would you like psychic healing today, Hindu breathing exercises, or just a little observant mood music?4 Ultimately, the larger political resurgence of historically controversial religiosity is what demands attention.
Evangelical, fundamentalist, and Pentecostal denominations began the new millennium verging on juggernaut status. To the surprise of some observers, the sectarianism and fragmentation of American Christianity remained as visible at the turn of the twenty-first century as they had been one hundred years earlier. A consensus on this development is taking shape, as we will see. The old mainline churches have been culturally and institutionally displaced by a new plurality; yesteryear's supposed fringes are taking over American Protestantism's main square.
Documentation is far from perfect, and statistics can be as misleading or obscure in this realm as in any other. The half dozen or so periodic religious surveys, membership directories, and atlases of religion published in the United States are useful but incomplete, in part because of the unwillingness of many small and midsized denominations to participate in religious samplings. The Atlas of Religious Change in America, 1952–1990 begins with several pages to explain its methodologies and omissions. In a nutshell, only 80 to 85 percent of religious adherents were included because scores of churches, mostly white conservative or black, did not cooperate or submitted unsatisfactory data.5 Fully presenting them would only enlarge the biblical and conservative predominance.
In contrast to the secular and often agnostic Christianity dominant in Europe, Canada, and Australia, the American view encompasses a very different outlook -- one in which a large minority is in key ways closer to the intensity of seventeenth-century Puritans, Presbyterian Covenanters, and earlier Dutch or Swiss Calvinists. As we will see, these are not comforting analogies. The world's leading economic and military power is also -- no one can misread the data -- the world's leading Bible-reading crusader state, immersed in an Old Testament of stern prophets and bloody Middle Eastern battlefields.
There is, to be sure, a large and growing secular culture in the United States. Among northern university graduates and cultural elites, it is dominant -- stronger by far than that of the biblical and salvationist contingent. However, the Republican coalition and administration of George W. Bush is heavily weighted toward the 30 to 40 percent of the electorate caught up in Scripture and the prospect of being suddenly transported to God's side. This is enough to push the United States toward what chapter 6 will posit as a national Disenlightenment. Indeed, American foreign policy has its own corollary to the end-times worldview: the preemptive righteousness of a biblical nation become a high-technology, gospelspreading superpower.
Although Stark and Finke do not hypothesize the "Protestantization" of American Catholicism, they do promote an analogy between weakening faiths.72 Because Catholics can marry non-Catholics, can set foot in other churches, and can miss mass without thereby committing a sin, less is being demanded of them, and less loyalty is being returned.Funny, now maybe it's me, but since when did the Second Vatican Council do away with the third commandment? Oh, that's right, it didn't:
2192 "Sunday . . . is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church" (CIC, can. 1246 § 1). "On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass" (CIC, can. 1247).I wonder what else he got wrong?