Posts Tagged ‘Religion’

Putting to Rest Some Dire Misconceptions About This Disastrous Election

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

So it is said in politics...

I received an email from a reader who was thoroughly angry with me.  I asked for permission to use the text in a blog post, but I’ve not received further communications, so I will paraphrase the writer’s complaints, since I think there may be more than a few who feel this way.  The complaint boiled down to this:  Contrary to what I asserted in my post on the Reasons Romney Lost, Romney didn’t lose because he didn’t talk about important social issues enough, because said this e-mailer, Romney did indeed talk about these issues important to Christians.  If he did, many of my evangelical Christian friends didn’t hear it.  These issues were largely avoided in the debates, as well as in the stumps speeches late in the race.  The perception among many Christians, at least here in the middle of the Bible Belt, was that Romney was uninterested or evasive on issues important to Christians.  You can argue that he did in fact  talk about all of these topics at some point during the cycle, but the perception among evangelicals in my vicinity was that he avoided talk of religion whenever possible.  Again, it matters not whether he actually discussed it, but instead whether he appeared willing to broach these subjects, and in what frequency.  The problems in the Republican party are much deeper than I once thought.  It’s not only the establishment that doesn’t understand the grass roots, but also that different segments of the base fundamentally misunderstand one another.

To conservatives concerned primarily with freedom issues, they really don’t “get” the evangelical voters.  To many evangelicals who comprise a broad portion of the conservative base, faith isn’t supposed to be something you talk about once a week.  It’s something they believe ought to inform the way a person lives, the decisions one makes, and the way one conducts himself toward others.  Evangelicals will be the first to tell you that they aren’t infallible, but the people who comprise this segment tend to try in earnest to live out their faith in daily life.  They put their faith ahead of family, ahead of friends and community, and certainly ahead of politics.  They’re not generally interested in “going along to get along” because that’s not what their faith dictates.  Therefore, when they see candidates who seem less than fully concerned about faith, at least in their perceptions, they tend to be less than concerned about supporting those candidates.  Period.  You can accuse them of being too rigid in their beliefs if you like, but you see, they take that as a compliment.  They intend to be rigidly faithful to their beliefs.  They are accustomed to the left and to moderates who mock them, most frequently comparing them to some sort of westernized Taliban, and it merely steels their resolve. Contrary to the propaganda against them, however, they’re not looking for a preacher in the presidency.  They simply want a person of deep and abiding faith and understanding who isn’t afraid to take a few jeers and lumps from the left on this basis.  They perceived widely that Romney didn’t fulfill that requirement.

Some will immediately say in response that “well, at least Romney is better than Obama, and worth getting him out of there.”  True enough, but please remember: Evangelical Christians will tend to view politics as a thing of this Earth, but they’re less concerned ultimately with Earth than with their salvation.  Some of them genuinely wonder at the consequences of selling out their souls on issues important to their faith for the sake of transitory political expedience.  Once viewed in this light, it is easy to understand how evangelicals would view elections as less important, and with no candidate appearing to fulfill their requirements for support, many were certain to simply walk away.  You may not like that, and you may not agree with that view, but if you want to understand what has happened, this is a part of the formula you ignore at your own peril.

I will also tell you quite plainly that if you believe Romney’s religion had nothing to do with it, you’re making the mistake of projection.  You’re projecting your sense of religious tolerance onto people who widely view Mormonism as a cult.  Of course, I realize this fully because as my wife points out, in her homeland(Germany,) there are widely thought to be two “legitimate”  religions, being Catholicism and the Lutherans, and the Catholics aren’t entirely convinced about the latter.  As children, they learn about their faith, and in much the same way as evangelicals here in the US view Mormons as part of a cult, German Catholics and Lutherans tend to view any church newer than theirs in much the same light. My point to you is this:  There was always going to be a percentage of evangelical Christians who would never support Mitt Romney, and that was one of the risks implicit in nominating him.  Even though Romney won Texas, it wasn’t by nearly so much as one might expect.  I think if candidates like Ted Cruz hadn’t been on the ballot, Romney might have been in some danger here.

Of course, the misunderstanding isn’t all one-way.  They don’t understand why others in the GOP don’t try to live out their faith as a priority in daily life.  They may admire the wisdom and common sense of free market ideals, economic liberty, and all sorts of issues that are mainstays of the conservative sphere, but they don’t really fully understand why anybody would support a candidate who isn’t strong in his or her faith, and willing to testify to that faith in public.  As I said, the misunderstandings run in all directions, between all factions, but in politics, perceptions become realities, whether or not we think that’s right. I’m not suggesting that conservatives ought to yield to false perceptions, but that instead they should challenge them instead of leaving them without refutation.

You see, it doesn’t matter whether Mitt Romney mentioned the issues of abortion and traditional marriage a few times along the campaign trail.  It matters that he didn’t exhibit his beliefs through his actions when he was pro-choice until a few years ago, or amenable to gay marriage while Governor of Massachusetts.  Those things stick.  You will not know this, but early in the primary season, I had to ban some posters for what I viewed as over-the-top assaults on Romney’s faith.  Some were quite lengthy, but I wasn’t about to permit that sort of bashing.  It was real, however, and in retrospect, I’m afraid that in so doing, I may have done a disservice because it stifled those who feel as they do on these matters.  You didn’t get to see some of these comments, and maybe if you had, you might have understood why getting the full body of the evangelical Christian segment of conservatism to the polls for Mitt Romney was going to be a chore in any case.  That’s the truth of it.  What you do with the information is up to you, but if you’re ever to see the sort of full support from evangelicals any national conservative victory will require, you’re going to need to find candidates who satisfy their minimum requirements.  In too many ways, Mitt Romney didn’t.

Some Unsolicited Advice for the Catholic Church and All Christian Clergy

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

Time to Surrender?

Being a long-lapsed Catholic, it is questionable whether the Church will heed my warning, but I believe that I must offer it out of an abundance of concern and fondness for so many of its parishioners, and out of a respect for all the good deeds the Church has done among men.   This is aimed at you, the clergy, and the administrations of Catholic institutions.  The Obama administration is now at war with the Catholic Church, and indeed with all Christendom.  Our First Amendment protections are under open assault, behind the veil of a “womens’ health issue.”  Every member of clergy, from the smallest parish all the way to the Vatican must understand, but if you fail to recognize it, we will see the Church replaced by the State in all things.  What you are witnessing is the start of a transformation into a tyrannical state, and it is time now for the Church to consider what John Paul II had done when he assisted with the overthrow of the despotic Soviet regime.  To protect your flock, you face now a choice, and that is whether to act while you can, or abandon them by your silence, delivering them to servitude at an altar of State.

Church is not a military organization, and will not have the force of arms to liberate its flock.  Instead, the arms will be turned ultimately against the Church, as has been the case so many times before.  The Church has one distinct advantage if they will press it, and the time to exploit this is now:  You have the advantage of a long history, much longer than the history of any of the particular oppressors, and your frame of reference is generally much longer in view.  While history is not always kind in its judgments of the Church, when it has taken less enlightened directions, still the institution that is the Church must be able to know and to see that the course now in front of us is far from unprecedented.  One need only view what happened to the Church in Poland, or Germany, or in a host of countries in which it was in various forms chased from the lives of its parishioners to understand that there is nothing new under the sun, and that as an institution, the Church has seen all of this before.  This being the case, you already know how to defeat the State.  It is merely a question of the moral will to do so,  but if the Church cannot muster this now, then the Church will have lost all moral authority, and will be displaced.

Easter is just more than a month away, and it will be your best opportunity to speak to the whole body of the Church in one time for months. as despite what we might like to think, twice yearly you see greater attendance and adherence than in the rest of the year, so let you not squander this opportunity.  You will celebrate the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, and this is an appropriate time to remind parishioners of what the Church exists to do.  Your cross to bear is in opening the eyes of your parishioners, each and every one, to the scourges being heaped upon the Church, and upon them, by the encroachments of the State.  The subtle lie taught to your parishioners, so many who have been indoctrinated in the governments’ schools, is that the notion of a “wall of separation” between Church and State was placed there to protect the State.  This is not true, and has never been true, for the State has nothing to fear from the Church, but the Church and its flock should tremble at the threat that is the State.  So it was throughout all of the twentieth century, and so it is today that the Church must cling to this separation as a firewall to protect it from governments.  Indeed, his applies to all Christianity, and not only the Catholic faith.

This is also an opportunity to mend fences.  Christianity in America is remarkably diverse, but in the main, they share certain basic truths.  Cling to these as one clings to one’s shared interests with an ally in war, because while there are no arms apparent, you are now battling for the survival of Christianity and the Church in America.  As this battle intensifies, you have just a few ways you can go, and because time is short, and since you will need clarity to choose, we must discuss them now while it still matters:

  • The Church may surrender and submit its conscience, and its moral authority
  • The Church may close down, sell or burn its assets, and withdraw completely
  • The Church may fight by open and willful disobedience against the State

These are the options.  In considering them, you will be forced to confront the whole history of the Church, from its greatest moments in the face of tyranny to its worst moments as a participant in it.  Let me make clear that the first option is and must be untenable to the Church, its parishioners, and the whole body of Christianity.  If you yield, this will have been the end of the Church, not only in America, but globally, and you must know by now that once you lose America, the cultural focus of the world, you will have lost the world.  If you surrender here, most of the other locales will go along quietly.  As the State now encroaches into every aspect of American life, so will it creep in everywhere it had not been in the past.

This makes the second option no more tenable than the first.  At present, however, the Church operates something on the order of one in six hospital beds in the United States, and some uncounted number of seats in schools and universities all across the land.  These are marvelous facilities and institutions, that have served so many millions, and indeed, I was born in just such a hospital nearly forty-seven years ago in Buffalo, NY.  In those days, the Church was a constant part of family life.  In its rush to modernize and follow trends, it abandoned its traditions in many ways, so that now, its moral authority and its involvement in the daily lives of its parishioners has retracted.  By the precedents of human history, this is the time to begin a resurgence.  The Church still touches the lives of millions, and yet they to frequently recognize it.  In doing the innumerable good deeds Christianity has done in America these last fifty years, too often, it has not been evident that Christianity had been the driving motive for them.

It is time to begin to withdraw them.  The Church is being told by the State that its services are no longer welcome, and that its influence in the lives of people is not to be admitted, but I say this is a lie, but to show the truth, the Church is going to have to show it.  The flock has lost track of the good that is done under the umbrella of the Church, and this applies not only to Catholicism, but also to all Christian institutions of any description across the country.  It is time to remind the flock of what they will lose when the State supplants the Church in their lives.  The State knows no compassion, and it functions as an automaton, but every Christian endeavor in the country is founded with an institutionalized voluntary human compassion.  Cardinal George of Chicago said it best when he warned what would become of Catholic institutions, but what you must now do, all of you, whether Catholic, or another assembly of Christianity is to unite in a refusal to bow before the State, and in order to do so, you must tell the State that you will not comply with any rule that abridges your faith, but more, that you will not pay fines levied and imposed, and that you will openly disregard them.

You must prepare your flocks to see this enacted.  More, you must do so in such a way that it permits them to choose and decide whenever they have that opportunity.  I would strongly suggest that on some day in the future, unannounced until the very last moment, that the institutions of faith close its doors, all of them, at once and without public remark upon re-opening:  “This is what things will be once the State commands all matters of conscience.”  This is stern medicine.  It means that there will be some who will die, who had depended upon these institutions.  It means that some will go unpaid in their employment on that day.  It means that on one given day, and for the space of time of one day, the Church will show what is being demanded by the State.

Of course, there are people wiser and smarter than I among the clergy of the Church.  I realize what I propose now is a grave action.  I realize that it will require great planning, and due care and diligence to stave off the worst consequences.  Despite this, I also know the Church is able.  Christianity at large is able.  These are competent institutions that have been ministering to mankind for generations and longer.  The Church also knows about strikes.  In Poland, under the banner of Solidarity, the Church quietly participated in aiding the strikers.  The strike I propose is of a different character, however, and it consists not of making demands of the State, but instead, merely of temporarily complying with them.

Barack Obama and his administration want to quietly remove all Christendom from the public square, as they do not hold the view that one’s faith should guide one’s actions when one emerges across the threshold of the Church into the public sphere.  Just as in the old Soviet Union, where one’s freedom of religion ended at the church doors, so the Obama administration wants to cause the reach of the Church to contract.  It is into this vacuum that the institutional left will pour its own influence.  They hope to accomplish this slowly, with your surrender softening the blow at each step along the path.  They are counting on the Church and all Christendom to help disguise what is happening.  You must unmask this procedure, and you must not let them soften the blow.  If you do permit it, you will lose the whole of your flock in due course.  You will be barred from all public discourse.  You will be made slowly irrelevant in the lives of Americans until they will no longer miss you.  Churches will become empty, lifeless edifices of a faith no longer practiced and a belief no longer important.

This has been the goal of every statist revolution in the last two-hundred years or more, and you have witnessed it.  This is not the time for timid clergy, or appeasement.  This is not the time for shrinking from the articles of your faith.  This is the time to remind your flocks of the importance of the Church in their lives, not merely at worship, but in all their endeavors.  It is also time to let the State know that this will not end quietly, or with your surrender.  Presidents and their administrations come and go, as do the laws of men, and it’s time you placed this in its proper perspective for all concerned while you maintain the ability to do so.  Religious liberty and the rights of conscience do not arise from the State.  The founders of this nation knew this even if our present leaders do not, and they enshrined the matter in our Declaration of Independence. Let none pretend we hadn’t known the source of our rights, or that the Church answers to men.

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Barack Obama: Replacing the Church With State

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Obama Won't Accept Competition

I have long held the position that statists wish to supplant the church and its influence in the lives of people with its own authority, and to do so, the institutional left seeks to displace religion from the lives of Americans because this will enable them to pour government into the vacuum.  The latest controversy over the Obamacare mandates on religious institutions to provide contraception coverage in their health care insurance policies was thought to be just another ill-considered political decision from which the Obama administration would ultimately retreat.  That retreat has been only rhetorical as Obama’s dictatorial policy remains in place.  This isn’t political ineptitude, but statists’ calculations:  The Obama administration knows that this attack on the Catholic church and Christianity generally will result in the wholesale elimination of religiously-oriented institutions.  That’s what they’re after, and that’s what they’ll get, as the seek to push people even further from religion in order to make more room for the growth of an aggressive and overpowering state.

Hot Air posted an article on this, and I think it should give us pause, because it speaks to the motivations of those who are forcing these policies upon religious institutions, and what their real goal might be.  They aren’t worried that the Catholic charities, hospitals, and schools(including universities) will perhaps cease to operate, due to matters of conscience because they fully expect them to do so.  Francis Cardinal George of the archdiocese of Chicago sent a message to parishioners and its contents demonstrate the point:

“Two Lents from now,” Cardinal George warned, “unless something changes, the page [listing Catholic organizations] will be blank.”

The Cardinal didn’t stop there.  He went on to describe the choices with which the church will be confronted:

  1. Secularize itself, breaking its connection to the church, her moral and social teachings and the oversight of its ministry by the local bishop. This is a form of theft. It means the church will not be permitted to have an institutional voice in public life.
  2. Pay exorbitant annual fines to avoid paying for insurance policies that cover abortifacient drugs, artificial contraception and sterilization. This is not economically sustainable.
  3. Sell the institution to a non-Catholic group or to a local government.
  4. Close down.

This is telling, and you can already see the hand-writing on the wall.  The Catholic church will not be able to take steps 1 or 2, so they will instead be compelled to follow steps 3 or 4.  What will that accomplish?  Simply put, it will demolish their employees, their institutions, and will further serve to separate Catholics from their church.  This is not accidental, but instead a long-sought goal of the institutional left that has been seeking to drive all religion out of our society.  This move will force a retreat of the church into the physical buildings that bear the same description.

The truth is that the church, any church, is not a matter of buildings.  It is as large and widespread as its adherents, and this is the secret to what the Obama administration and his thugs of the left are really after:  They will confine the church to church grounds, but force the church out of the public sphere altogether.  Whether you’re a Catholic, or a member of any other faith, you’ve just been served notice that your church is no longer welcome in the public square except on conditions to be established, enforced, and dictated by government.

Of course, Cardinal George is well aware of this fact, and it’s with sadness I report to you his conclusion from his letter to his parishioners, and if you are a person of faith, you had better pay attention, because whether you are a Catholic or not, he’s speaking to you.  All of you:

“The provision of health care should not demand “giving up” religious liberty. Liberty of religion is more than freedom of worship. Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union. You could go to church, if you could find one. The church, however, could do nothing except conduct religious rites in places of worship-no schools, religious publications, health care institutions, organized charity, ministry for justice and the works of mercy that flow naturally from a living faith. All of these were co-opted by the government. We fought a long cold war to defeat that vision of society.”

“The strangest accusation in this manipulated public discussion has the bishops not respecting the separation between church and state. The bishops would love to have the separation between church and state we thought we enjoyed just a few months ago, when we were free to run Catholic institutions in conformity with the demands of the Catholic faith, when the government couldn’t tell us which of our ministries are Catholic and which not, when the law protected rather than crushed conscience. The state is making itself into a church. The bishops didn’t begin this dismaying conflict nor choose its timing. We would love to have it ended as quickly as possible. It’s up to the government to stop the attack.”(emphasis added)

When you consider what the Cardinal is saying, its importance must not be ignored.  He’s issuing you a warning, but he’s also telling you the resolution.  The government is doing this.  Who runs the government?  You do.  You have it in your power to stop this.  You can stop this in November.  You can stop this by refusing.  You can.  You can stop this with a vote.  If you’re not Catholic, you’re not exempt from any of this, or the effect it will have on your church, mosque, synagogue or temple.  There are no exemptions, because if the Obama administration can successfully drive the Catholic church out, by the far the single largest religious institution in the country, with as many as one in six hospital beds in the country under its umbrella, what will your relatively less influential institution of faith do in response?  How will you hold back the government?

Here in the Bible belt of Texas, there are relatively fewer Catholics, but there is a vast diversity of small churches with tiny congregations that are all under threat by this move against religion.  As people of faith, you had better understand that this isn’t a war on the Catholic church isn’t due to an anti-Catholic bias, but instead a war on all religion as an obstacle to the supremacy of the state.  The institutional left isn’t out to slap the Catholic church in a political move for the sake of some radical, loud-mouthed supporters as has been supposed.  They are taking steps to chase churches out of the public square, the private sphere, and eventually out of existence.   This is the purpose, and if you blind yourself with the faulty notion that this is about Catholics, or about contraception, you’re setting yourself up for slavery, because whereas churches must solicit donations from you to support their various social causes, the government will instead only demand payment at gunpoint.  There will be no choice, and there will be no conscience but that which they dictate it to be.

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The Influence of Cultural Conservatives in 2012

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Bully Puplit?

One of the more annoying themes to begin in earnest during the rise of Rick Santorum has been the idea that cultural or religious conservatives should shut up and go hide in the big tent’s closet.  For those of who think of themselves as moderates, and may look with disdain on cultural conservatives, I have a message from the back, and moderates just might want to pay attention:  The Republicans did not win in 2008 without cultural conservatives, and if you want to know who stayed home, making it more critical than ever that McCain capture more moderates and independents, let me give you just a hint:   It was the cultural conservatives who moderates don’t like, but without them, Republicans cannot win the Presidency.  More than just pat them on their heads, and placating them before banishing them to the periphery of the so-called “big tent,” moderates had better learn to speak to their issues, and show that they mean it. These cultural conservatives won’t always know the nuances of every piece of regulation ever written, but they know who’s who when it comes to their issues, so before dismissing them, moderates might wish to think again, because cultural conservatives are losing patience.

It’s not that they’re what moderates tell themselves are a bunch of back-woods Bible-thumpers, but then again, the centrist wing of the party doesn’t understand them mostly because they refuse to engage them.  Some moderates may be suffering from a problem of narrow-mindedness that is almost as severe as some liberals.  You see, cultural conservatives are people who believe that one’s actions, and one’s life should be consistent with one’s beliefs.  This does not mean they’re holier-than-thou, but it does mean that by conscious choice, they try very hard to be devout.  They are not infallible, and they know none are, but at the same time, they recognize that one cannot lead a virtuous life without choosing to follow through on their ideas about what is virtue.  In short, they work very hard at living their lives in a manner consistent with their firmly-held beliefs.

I’d like to put this in context for some moderates who don’t quite see it this way, and who don’t understand how anybody can get so anxious over cultural issues like abortion.  The best way to do this is to create an analog that permits one to see it as through their eyes, and to do this will necessarily require that we propose something as shockingly depraved to moderates as the issue of legalized abortion is to cultural conservatives.  Let us imagine that a movement arose to repeal the prohibition on slavery, now enshrined in the Thirteenth Amendment.  You wouldn’t stand by for that, and you’d rightly raise Hell over it.

For many cultural conservatives, each day that abortion is permitted under law is a day of life in Hell on Earth, writ large by the silence in which it takes place.  When they see a woman walking toward that clinic, they see a crime against humanity every bit as severe and morally depraved.  Understand that I’m not trying to change your mind about the issue, but instead, I’m merely suggesting that you consider the impact. How would you feel as you watched your country return to slavery?  To people of faith, who believe each human life has unique, inherent value, what legal abortion permits is every bit as obnoxious to liberty and justice, and the rights of people.

It has been stated that strong cultural conservatives cannot win the election, but let me state to the knowing of the world:  This is a dastardly lie.  Ronald Reagan was unabashedly pro-life.  Both George the elder and the younger claimed to be pro-life.  It is fair to say that without this position, there is a fair chance that the younger would have lost in Florida, and thus the election of 2000.  Moderates can pretend to themselves that the cause for a significant vote against Republicans originate with cultural issues, but none of the available evidence really supports that.  Yes, there are a few at the margins of the moderate middle who can be swayed a little either way, but in most elections, this is not the driving issue, and you must understand that for any competent candidate, this will not be the most important set of issues in 2012.

Cultural conservatives don’t expect moderates to lead with cultural issues as their standard, but they do expect that when a Republican president arrives in office, at each opportunity to replace a federal judge, it will be one who views such matters in the context of a strict constructionist.   As I see it, it’s not too much to ask, and if you happen to be a particular fan of that ludicrous ruling in the case of Roe v. Wade, you have other issues, because even if you believe abortion should be legal, Roe v. Wade was the most convoluted, concocted and moronic ruling to issue forth from the court in the 20th century, with only the Kelo decision challenging its blatant idiocy in the 21st.

Moderates who favor abortion have another choice, but they’re playing a game.  The game is that they support it, but are unwilling to go through the constitutional amendment process.  Why?  For the same reason people fear to ever run the New Deal and Great Society programs through a similar constitutional process:  They wouldn’t pass.  The feminists know it, based on the Equal Rights Amendment, that was eventually doomed by its failure to pass muster before its expiration.

My intention here was not to get into the weeds on any particular issue, and I have discussed abortion particularly since that is the cultural issue most reference.  What it is my intention to point out is that moderates who are so consistently uncomfortable with cultural conservatives had better get over it, because the conservatives have been putting up with the moderates patiently in election after election, for the most part, but if the moderates hope to overcome the voters who now begin to outnumber them as beneficiaries of the welfare state, they had better grasp that now more than ever, they need a working coalition with cultural conservatives, and the same old pat on the head may well not be enough any longer.

Limbaugh: Establishment Republicans Scared to Death

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Cultural Conservative v. Moderate

Romney is looking weak in Michigan.  Rush Limbaugh opened his show on President’s Day with a monologue on the GOP panic over the rise of Rick Santorum and the diminution of the “inevitable nominee” Mitt Romney.  What Limbaugh has identified is a trend we’ve been watching for some time, whereby the GOP insiders are doing everything they can to put Romney over the top.  It’s true to say that Romney is in trouble, but he’s clawing his way back a bit in Michigan, as the media continues to hammer on Rick Santorum, suggesting that he’s too conservative.  It’s not clear that Rick Santorum is really so conservative as they pretend, and it shows the problem the establishment has with its man Mitt:  While they try to convince us that Romney is conservative, they detest cultural conservatism.

The juxtaposition is laughable.  On the one hand, the GOP establishment tells us Mitt is a conservative, Romney himself saying he was “severely conservative,” but the conservative wing of the Republican electorate knows better, simply by examining his record. Romneycare is merely the most egregious example of Romney’s flat-out liberalism, but it’s far from the only one. Meanwhile, Rick Santorum is too conservative on social issues, although the fact that he is really doesn’t make him a well-rounded conservative because he stood with a number of big-spending plans, like the Medicare prescription drug program implemented by President Bush.  If nothing else, what this should provide to you is a template for which leg of the conservative stool the GOP establishment would like to be sawed-off.

Abortion? They don’t want to talk about it.  Matters of faith or conscience?  They’re simply not interested.  Questions of moral concern?  They won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole.  They run shrieking into the night rather than confront such issues, and the reason is simple:  When it comes to these issues, important to a vast swath of the GOP electorate, they only pay lip-service but never deliver.  These are the people who know they cannot nominate a pro-abortion candidate, so they trot out candidates who will claim they are personally pro-life, while their voting or governing history indicates something different.  I will never forget how at the end of their respective presidencies, the two former Bush first ladies each in their turn came out to speak their minds on abortion, parting company from their respective husbands.

This is significant, because what it should demonstrate to you is how these RINOs are culturally distinct from the conservatives whose votes they know they need.  This is particularly true with respect to Christian conservatives who live out their professed faith as best they can.  The GOP establishment considers them rubes and bumpkins, and pawns in their struggle to maintain power.  This is the deadly secret of the GOP establishment, and it’s the basis of their secret fear: They hope you will not notice that theirs is a philosophy that avoids the discussion of cultural conservatism because they see it as divisive.  They’re right:  These issues are divisive, but what they divide is the establishment from the greater body politic that is conservatism.

This is the meaning of their view of a “big tent.”  They think the big tent should take anybody, and accommodate its rules, traditions, and values to any who wish to join in, but the problem with that is the mush that is made of those things by this procedure.  More, as cultural conservatives begin to realize that their views are no longer respected, they begin to slip away out under the tent flaps, unwilling to be associated with the amoral circus to which they are then witnesses.  As Rush Limbaugh said today, to the establishment Republicans, a guy like Santorum, a devout Catholic, is some kind of “three-eyed monster.” This is undeniably true, and it’s why you shouldn’t be surprised, if you’re a conservative Christian, that they view you in much the same way.

To them, your faith and your adherence to it are evidence that you’re faulty, and that you should be ignored, but they’ll pander to you just enough that you’ll vote for them if it comes to it.  This is what they’re hoping is true with Mitt Romney, and that in the end, they can scare you away from real conservatives.  To them, religious convictions should be abandoned at the exits of your church.  They want Christian votes, but that’s as close to them as they’re willing to stand. Their push for Romney is more evidence of this bias, because Romney’s record on cultural issues has been flaky at best.  If Romney fails to close the deal in Michigan, they may look to somebody altogether new, who has a somewhat more “acceptable” view to Christian conservatives.  If so, it’s likely to be another Bush family friend, if not Jeb Bush himself, as they hope to freeze out cultural conservatives.  Their approach is basically in opposition to mainstream conservatism, the goal of which is and ought to be to get the most conservative nominee possible who can win.  The GOP establishment wishes to get the least conservative nominee they can make to pass muster with Christian and cultural conservatives in the GOP, because they wrongly surmise that this is the path to electoral victory in the general election.  They’re wrong.

 

 

Sarah Palin “On the Record” on Obama’s Contraception Controversy

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Governor Palin appeared on Fox News on Tuesday evening with Greta Van Susteren to discuss the case of Obama’s contraception policy that has infuriated Catholics, and indeed, Christians of nearly every denomination, and rightly so.  She took great pains to point out that this is about an unconstitutional breach of the right of free exercise of religion as guaranteed under our First Amendment.  None who value their constitutionally guaranteed liberties should shrink from this fight.  It’s a direct assault on the right of conscience, and without this, there’s little point to our Constitution at all. If Obamacare is an attack on one’s sovereignty over one’s body and one’s wallet, then this policy of Obama’s is a direct assault on the conscience.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BO34Hx8KMUQ]

Flash: Obama to Push Fake Accommodation to Religious Institutions

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Jake Tapper, ABCNews

In a move that is clearly aimed at lessening the political damage to his administration, but will factually do almost nothing to address the issue, ABCNews is reporting that Barack Obama or some spokesman will reportedly make a statement Friday on an alleged concession to or accommodation of religious organizations on the contraception coverage  mandate.  The proposed “solution” would mere shift the responsibility under the edict to  insurers.  All of this is an attempt to satisfy his leftist base, while making it appear that he’s substantially changing his position where the rest of us are concerned.  Shifting the object of the edict from religious institutions to their insurance providers is not really making a factual change in the results, but it changes the way it will operate, giving the President political cover.

Ladies and gentlemen, don’t be fooled: Obama still intends to shove this down the throats of people of faith, and the fact that they’re going to put the onus on insurers does nothing to alleviate the concerns.  It simply means that religious organizations will have no choice except to insure people on policies that will have federally-mandated coverage requirements, because what the administration will now do is bully insurers instead of religious entities.  That’s not a concession, and it’s not an accommodation, and while it may offer a technical out for Obama to claim he hadn’t been oppressing the religious freedoms of Americans, it merely means that he will oppress their religious free exercise indirectly.

The insurance mandate will remain.  All that will change is who will be compelled to enforce it.  At that point, what you must admit is that Obama is accommodating anything, but merely shifting the means by which his goal will be obtained.  This is the typical leftist approach: When caught with your hand in the cookie jar, quickly withdraw it, while merely reaching with the other hand into the same jar, hoping you will not notice.  Expect the media to portray this as “Obama caves,” but that’s a lie.   He isn’t caving.  He isn’t changing his objective.  He still intends to force Catholics, and other Christians to comply with the goal of seeing to it that all contraceptive measures are available to all women through health-care insurance.

Don’t fall for it.  It’s a political show, but the net effect is meaningless. He isn’t surrendering the idea of coercing people of faith, but merely trying to convince them that his coercion is aimed at insurers.  You can watch Jake Tapper’s report on ABCNews here:

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.1012280&w=425&h=350&fv=]

This isn’t even accommodation. Let’s be honest with ourselves and admit that Obama is still going to shove this down the throats of faith-based organizations, and there is no way around it. This may fool some people into believing that Obama has made an accommodation, but at the end of the day, this still results in a government edict on how money from people of faith will be spent.  So he shifted responsibility to the insurers, but this changes nothing about the results. Nothing.  Don’t let up.  This isn’t Obama surrendering on the issue, but instead  merely trying to re-frame the issue to his advantage.  It’s still a dictatorial action, no matter how we slice it.

 

Media Revealed: Clueless About Religion

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Imposing His Morality

Watching some of the coverage of Barack Obama’s edict issued to Catholic organizations, it’s become painfully clear to me that many so-called “journalists” don’t have the first clue why this is upsetting.  They simply don’t understand it.  In their thinking, this isn’t a religious issue at all.  In their view, matters of conscience begin and end at the steps of the church, demonstrating that they not only believe in a separation of church and state, but church and life.  What they admitted in their shocked confusion over the back-lash is what I have always known, and you have likely suspected too:  To these people, religion is a belief system that is practiced behind the closed doors of a church, and the very notion that your beliefs extend to the rest of your life is foreign to them.  While many in the media claim to be members of various churches, one clearly gets the sense that many are not all too serious about it, and this issue has revealed them as insincere.

After all, if you’re a committed and observant Catholic, you hold with the teachings of the Church that contraception (never mind abortion) contradicts God’s will.  These people in media understand this about Catholics, but they are astonished when Catholics and others react badly against a governmental edict that requires them to support contraception through compulsory add-ons to insurance plans, or through tax dollars.  For them, the issue is your private faith, to which they will agree you are entitled, versus your adherence to it in all facets of your life.  In effect, what they suppose is that while you may rightly hold your own beliefs, that when you exit the church you must set aside your beliefs in all the rest of your daily life.  In essence, they believe in a separation of your religious beliefs from practical life.

This is a telling revelation, and it correlates well with this class of bloody hypocrites, who may profess this religious belief or that, but seldom adhere to it in their own lives.  To them, religion is about private professions of a belief in a crowd of like-minded people, assembled at best within the walls of a church, hidden from society and closed in from all the world.  They cannot conceive of the notion that you might adhere to a given church, accept all its teachings, and extend their practice into your daily lives.  You oppose abortion on the basis of religion?  Fine, they will say, but if you’re a doctor, that doesn’t relieve you of the duty to perform one if a patient demands it.  They demand doctors, nurses, hospitals, pharmacists, and everyone else to abandon their faith once they exit their homes or churches.

In their view, religion is something dispensable, like deciding whether it is too warm for a sweater, or too cool for shorts on the way to a picnic.  They project their own loosely-defined, carelessly adopted choices of conscience onto every other man and woman in the culture, and expect that all others would so easily drop their beliefs at the command of a President, or any other dictatorial thug, just on his say-so.  It is much like the attitude of Romney over Romneycare in the debate with Rick Santorum: “It’s not worth getting angry about.”   This disconnect in their professed religious views from their daily lives is born of the fact that in the first instance, most of them are liars, and starting with the commandment to “not bear false witness,” they begin very early in their careers to do precisely that.

If you slant a story about a person to make his actions seem worse, or better, you’re bearing false witness.  What has modern journalism become if not a perpetual parade of people trotted out before some camera, or interviewed and quoted in print who bears false witness against somebody else?  When this becomes the touchstone of your profession, and the way to score the lead story, and the above-the-fold headline, you can bet the long-term affect will be to destroy one’s sense of what is a lie and what isn’t.  Mad?  Yes, of course we become angry!  This should offend you nearly as badly as the story in this case, because it reveals something else too:  It is reported that President Obama and some in his inner circle dismissed warnings from some others in the administration that there could be a back-lash, and that they are somewhat surprised now that the back-lash is well under way.   In short, the media is surprised, but so is the President’s inner circle, and for exactly the same reason:  Obama, despite his professions of a Christian faith and twenty years in Jeremiah Wright’s church, doesn’t take his faith all that seriously either.  Like many liberals, it was all about appearances.

This also explains something else, if you’re observant:  The same people who are shocked about this reveal why they hold such naive views about radical Islamists.  Think of it:  They don’t understand that Muslims motivated to terror by radical Imams might well actually believe every word they’ve been taught as they throw themselves into crowded streets with bombs strapped to their chests.  In short, they are willing to act on the strength of their beliefs, whether you and I agree with those beliefs being a separate matter.  In the worldview of the left, this is a confounding issue of politics gone haywire, and it is why they do not understand how the Arab Spring is rapidly undergoing a climate change of a different sort.  In the main, this is either because they don’t hold religious convictions, or at least not firmly, or because they believe that political expedience trumps all other causes.  Either way, what they fail to understand is that a Catholic doctor of Obstetrics and Gynecology may have matters of conscience or faith that prohibit the performing of abortions.

To them, matters of faith are strictly personal, and should have no bearing on one’s dealings or relations with others.  These people have no understanding of committed, observantly faithful practitioners of any religion.  They think “free exercise” is a matter of speech at most, and even then should remain in church at its most public.  Their perspective is that of a shallow faith, not made of actions tied to beliefs, but of words tied mainly to doubts or dis-beliefs. They cannot understand why one’s religious beliefs should matter at all in one’s performance in the workplace, or why they might affect the diligence with which one adheres to the vows of one’s marriage.  In their view, these things are all superficial and transient, meaning that when they seem shocked and confused over how this could possibly be seen by Catholics, or Christians in general, as a matter of the interference by the state in the free exercise of religion, most are not faking it.  They really don’t “get it,” and it’s because they have no idea that faith and religious instruction actually informs the views of many millions of Americans.  They expect you to make professions of faith, but never to act upon it.

In short, they really are clueless.  And besides, “it’s not worth getting angry about.”

 

Christian Leaders Begin to Stand Up

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Rick Warren

Via the GatewayPundit, Jim Hoft reports that a number of Christian leaders are saying they will fight Obama’s edict by refusing to comply, among them Pastor Rick Warren pledged on his twitter page:

“I’d go to jail  rather than cave in to a goverment mandate that violates what God commands us to do. Would you? Acts 5:29

You can find the rest of the article here at GatewayPundit.

ACLU Nut Puts Right to the Pill Ahead of Freedom of Religion

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Switching Contexts

Here we go.  I published an article earlier this morning, and here’s a piece of video that perfectly demonstrates my point.  This sort of nonsense must be stopped, and we must be the generation who stops it, or our country is finished.  It starts with defining the concept of “rights,” and this ACLU basket-case is a perfect case study in how the left discards actual liberties in the name of concocted ones.  Listen to what this twit says, and recognize, given what I posted earlier, what she is really doing here.  It’s vile and disgusting, and the ACLU is moving from merely Anti-American to criminally complicit in the overthrow of our constitution.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tcc6o2Ra-g8]

Feel free to surf on over to the ACLU blog on this, if you can stomach it.

Religion, Obama, and Your Liberties

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Reaching for Your Soul

To watch television and listen to the arguments of leftists is to punish your mind.  I have heard and watched the most absurd switching of contexts I have seen in quite some time, and I must tell you that if the left is permitted to win on this one, you’re done.  The country is done.  Liberty is dead.  These dictatorial thugs have perfected the ludicrous formula of switching contexts to an extent I have never seen, but you must know of it in full.  This propaganda form would be artful if were not so evil, but in this case, it’s clumsily obvious.  It is nevertheless effective against the sort of people who are easily swayed by half-baked arguments. They say:  “Barack Obama isn’t oppressing people and institutions of faith, but instead, and incredibly, freeing their victims from oppression.”

Yes, that’s right: According to the talking points of every leftwing hack from Jehmu Greene(another Soros shill on FoxNews,) to James Carney(aptly named as he conducts his three-ring circus in the briefing room of the White House,) the word has gone out from on high:  President Obama’s severe policy is not a breach of religious freedoms, but instead the elevation of freedoms for women.  This clown-show should not be acknowledged in the usual fashion.  This is tyranny writ large, and if you’re still not quite seeing the threat explicit in all this, let me do my best to explain it.  We have here two contradictory premises, and one of them is a logical farce, while the other is a natural law.  I’m going to solicit your attention while we differentiate among the two.

The right of conscience(freedom of religion, thought, speech, publishing and the like,) arise from the natural fact that no person can control your mind, or what you believe.  All they can do is to silence you by coercion and naked aggression, but nothing on Earth can forcibly change your mind if you are determined against it.  This gives rise to the old lament that “you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.”  I can chide you, I can threaten you, and I can even do you harm, but I cannot compel you to change your mind, and that is the root of that freedom: Your mind and its contents are yours, and solely.  No government, no dictator, no King, and no society can command you to change your mind.

Place this against the notion of a “freedom to access contraception.”  That sounds great for those who want it, but that’s not where the left ends their hunt.  They now make of it a “right to equal access to contraception.”   Once you make of a thing a “right,” then nobody can interfere with you legally.  However, all of this flies in the face of nature, and therefore the very concept of “rights.”  What if there is no contraception available?  Is nature violating your rights?  Is the market violating your rights?  Is the government violating your rights?  This abominable argument is based on a nonsensical premise that you can have a right, any right, of any sort or in any context to that which must be provided in some way by others.

There is no such right.  There can be no such right.  This is not a right, but a wish, or a demand, and call it what you will, but to call it a “right” is to demean and debase what a “right” is.  A right is a natural entitlement of liberty that confers no positive obligation upon another, nor requires the consent of another for its free exercise, but arises solely from the natural fact of one’s existence.  How can one then claim a condom, or a birth control pill, or a spermicidal gel, or any of the other myriad forms of contraception are a matter of rights?  To have such a right would compel others to provide it, and that’s a “positive obligation,” and to exercise it, you would need the consent of no other, but what if none wish to manufacture it, sell it, or prescribe it?  It cannot be a right by any measure.  There can be no rights to a thing which others must provide.

What is worst among all the criminal edicts implicit in this case is that Obama is instructing institutions of faith that they must provide, as a matter of “rights,” access to contraception via health insurance plans.  Now he will command people to provide insurance for coverage they do not wish to provide on grounds of conscience, and as bad as this seems, and it is truly monstrous, I tell you now that this is the result of permitting tin-pot thugs with suits and ties from either party to tell you anything about what you may or must sell or purchase, and under what conditions you may or must do so.

What is being done in this case is not merely an affront to people of faith, but to all people everywhere of every persuasion and of any inclination, except statism.  In a nutshell, an actual right, the natural right of conscience, endorsed by our First Amendment, and allegedly guaranteed us by our government, has been trampled in the name of a non-existent, impossible, and unenforceable right to the minds, bodies, souls, and properties of others.  This is the radical boot of Barack Obama on the throats of Americans everywhere, and those too foolish to understand the meaning of this assault on their precious liberties are either too young to understand them, or too submissively dependent to care.

I am laying down a challenge to my readers, to be spread as far and wide among institutions of faith, be they churches, mosques, synagogues or temples, or the charity and healthcare facilities and organizations under their umbrellas:  Do not yield to this.  There is talk of some sort of negotiation.  Any who negotiate this point are sell-outs.  Any who yield are collaborators.  This is not a matter of insurance policies, but a matter of urgent necessity in the name of liberty.  I urge resistance.  I urge non-compliance.  I do not and would not ordinarily undertake such strong language, but I believe it is my duty as an American, knowing full well that this exceeds all boundaries on governmental authority prescribed by our framers, and knowing that this will lead only to more tyrannical edicts issuing forth from the despot’s mouth.

That’s right, I said it.  Barack Obama is a despot.  Report me to AttackWatch if you don’t like it.  Is there any greater treason to be undertaken by any man entrusted with power but to reach out to the consciences of others and demand at gunpoint: “Your thoughts and your beliefs, or your life?”  If my readers fail to remember every other word I have written, remember these few: Government is force, and nothing more, and to yield your mind to its threats of force is a surrender to an unnatural dictator at the most fundamental level.

No person should permit this.  No person should surrender to this. No person.  You have seen now the ultimate bastardization of the concept of “rights,” and it is being done to you as you sit in quiet contemplation of the spectacle, as your appointed leaders contemplate their own surrender in the name of the kingdoms they have built for themselves by the graces of your charity and by your acts in the name of your faith.  If they will not lead, and stand up to this tyrant, you must do so by unseating your cardinals, bishops, ministers, priests, reverends, pastors, rabbis, and any other leader to whom you look for guidance on such matters.  If they will not lead now, when the cause is greatest, and when you need them most, you need them…not at all.

What Obama Did to the Catholics? Romney Did It Too!

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Telling You How It's Going To Be

As it now turns out, back in 2005 when Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts, he forced religious institutions including Catholic hospitals to dispense the so-called “morning after pill.”  This is another bit of evidence as to how Mitt really isn’t a conservative, and how he really doesn’t care about religious liberties.  I am exhausted with his posturing as a saintly man who abides his faith, but to put his stamp of approval on a law that deprives others of their recourse to conscience is a disgusting breach of the the Constitution.  I don’t care to hear his pathetic states’ rights arguments, as they don’t apply in this situation, irrespective of his nonsense to the contrary.  There’s something fundamentally wrong with a politician who thinks it’s his role to shove such provisions down our throats, irrespective of our wishes, and irrespective of the matters of conscience that collide in these issues.  He’s only too happy to command you.

This bit of information merely confirms the worst of my fears about Romney: He’s not merely Obama-Lite.  He’s Obama with an “R” next to his name instead of a “D.”  This sort of state interference with the rights of religious practice and conscience is precisely the sort of monstrosity people of faith have suffered endlessly under the  Obama regime.  We shouldn’t be in the business of nominating a candidate who is substantially more like Obama than unlike him. I hope my fellow conservatives and Tea Party folk will understand that this isn’t merely about abortion, or morning-after pills, or anything else of the sort.  This is entirely about the ability of people of faith and the organizations they create around their shared faith to determine for themselves in which activities they will participate.

This is precisely the same thing Obama is now doing with respect to the coercion of religious organizations, including the Catholic church, to provide insurance to employees that includes contraception.  Once again, government is interfering in the relationship between employers and employees, and their insurers.  This is a scandalously tyrannical abuse of authority, and the fact that Mitt Romney participated in much the same thing disqualify him in my view. Whatever your views on the divisive issues, there can be no ignoring that even if it is not your faith under attack in this case, your turn will come eventually.

I cannot now and will not ever vote for Mitt Romney under any circumstances I can now imagine, and I can imagine plenty.  Feel free to make of that what you will.  In fact, make the most of it, but I will not be bullied on the matter.  That he actually imposed such a thing on the people of Massachusetts is simply unforgivable in my book.  I will have no part in merely replacing Barack Obama with another who shares his despotic reflexes.

 

Shaking a Fist at God While Rooting Against Tim Tebow

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Why Do They Mock Him?

I listen to leftists talk about Tim Tebow as if he is evidence that conservative Christians are mad. It’s not that Tebow himself makes a grand spectacle of his praying, but that others focus on it by bringing it to the attention of the world.  Leftists in particular hate all of this “prayer stuff,” and while they have no problem with Muslims facing Mecca in their regular daily submission before Allah, or a band of Wiccans dancing in the moonlight in their own form of spiritual celebration,  they recoil in horror at the sight of a man, one plain, Christian man, knelt in humble supplication before his God.  I’m not a fan of football, but I hope Tebow prevails, not because one should assume his winning or losing may indicate anything about God’s will, but because I’ve had more than enough of people of faith being mocked for merely being faithful.

Of course, the problem is that some of the Tebow-haters are just sports fans rooting for his opponents, but what I’ve discovered in pop-culture is that more often than not, those who cheer for Tebow’s opponents do so out of a rage against judgment.  It’s their form of shaking a fist at the heavens, and I’ve heard and read their comments enough to know that their jeers aren’t born of much else but a sort of seething rage against any expression of faith, but no such expression brings their rage to the surface like an American Christian who will not hide his or her faith for the comfort of these nagging ne’er-do-wells.

If they don’t share Tebow’s faith, you might well wonder, why must they rage against it?  Every time Tim Tebow takes a knee in prayer, these insecure people take it as an assault on the sincerity of the faith they claim but to which they have no strong attachment, or more often, no willingness to voice in public.  In effect, in their own minds, but not in Tebow’s, his silent prayer is a slap at their unwillingness to do so for whatever reason, be it a lack of humility or sincerity, or faith altogether.

These are the same people who cry out in shrill tone at the first hint of “judgment.”  Let me suggest to you that there is ample reason for their cries, but notice what judgment they fear most: It is the estimation of their own lives and actions that they wish to avoid.  This is a symptom of how insecure they feel about the nature of the lives they lead, and what they wish to avoid most of all is any reminder that all things are to be judged in one way or another, now and in the future.

When they mock Tebow, what they are mocking is not even God, or religion, or faith.  They will mock Tim Tebow, but they do so out of a fear and loathing.  What they angrily demonstrate is their fearful desire for a different form of absolution, through which even their fellow men might not judge them.  They seek an escape not from God’s law, but from the notion that there is any morality at all, and when they see the striking figure of a kneeling Tim Tebow, out in the open upon a field in plain view of the entire world, they are treated to a reminder that their days of avoiding judgment must inevitably end, and that such a judgment begins first in one’s own heart and mind.  At this stark realization, they shake their fists in rebellion, to no avail.

Another Attack on Religious Liberty

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Regulating Religion

The FCC is going after ministries which broadcast on television.  As Politico reports, since 2006, religious broadcasters had been widely exempted from the closed captioning requirement due to expenses involved, but just in time for the 2012 campaign season, those exemptions that had been issued under a much broader interpretation are now being pulled, and religious broadcasters will be forced to re-apply, demonstrating the excessive expense on a case-by-case basis.  I am frequently cynical about such things, but since religious broadcasters tend to be Christians more apt to raise moral issues important to Republicans, I suspect this has more to do with politics than any concern for deaf and hard-of-hearing interest groups said to be behind the regulatory move.  This is a move against Christian conservatives under the guise of regulating broadcasting.

There will be little you can do about it, but I expect that the Obama administration will use this to silence some broadcasters they find more likely to rouse voters in a conservative direction via their religious teachings.  Bet on it.