The Catholic Case for Trump

When Hillary Clinton took the stage for the second debate wearing what journalist Linda Staci called her black and white “subliminal nun outfit,” her goal was to paint Donald Trump as a moral leper unfit for public life. Despite her prim-proper-pose, she failed. But, she did inflict damage. Especially among many Christians, not savy in the ways emotional manipulation can be used to persuade them to go against the interests of their fellow Christians in the United States.

These are decent and good people, probably our most decent and good people. But some have the defect of their virtues. And this imprudent prudence has made them targets for an emotional appeal against their best interests. A priest who hears lots of confession in New York City would hardly be surprised at what has been said and allegedly done in these Trump scandals. Lust is something that travels with us up to our last breath! So, please, let’s not be naïve about young and not so young men climbing their way through the city going off the rails in this direction. And if it is true we learn humility through humiliation, Donald Trump has gotten a double scoop of humility ala mode. As such, it is a disguised spiritual blessing. Very well disguised, as Churchill would say.

Using Moral Outrage to Promote Anti-Catholic Agenda

Yet just as the Devil can quote Scripture to his own advantage, politicians with an anti-Catholic agenda can paint their opponents as morally unfit based on their human frailty. But can a sin of lust hold a candle to a sin of malice against life, family and church? Too many of us have equated voting for president with an election in the 8th grade, a popularity contest on a grand scale. Sorry, voting needs to be a well thought out strategic use of the electoral process to advance the cause of Christ. So let’s focus on advancing the issues dear to the church!

History tells us how some of our wayward popes, or those Old Testament figures more familiar to our Protestant and Jewish friends, were called by God to do great things. This in spite of their failing to be what we are all called to be: Saints. St. Peter’s Basilica was built by saints and sinners, yet it now stands as a testament to God’s transcendence. And at the risk of being just a touch snarky, why has everyone in this Trump media-show-trial suddenly forgotten their favorite Pope Francis quote, “Who am I to judge?”

When Pope Benedict XVI described the “dictatorship of the media” this was the kind of narrative-obsession redirection of attention from what is essential he was talking about. But Benedict also gave us the key to decoding what is important, when he said there are three non-negotiables: 1) the right to life 2) the sanctity of marriage and the family 3) religious freedom and liberty for the church and believers. So if we apply this ethical triangulation to the two campaigns, where are they objectively located on the Three Core Principles?

True or False: Pope Benedict XVI’s Core Three Principles?

1) Donald Trump will appoint Supreme Court judges favoring the core three? True. We have their names. No need to speculate here. Nothing in her record indicates Hillary Clinton will fill the current vacancy, including the probable imminent departure of Justice Ginsburg, with justices who will support the Core Three principles.

 2) Donald Trump will support marriage and the family? Mixed true. He wants to get Washington out of this game and move this issue to the states. At this point critics may be right, or not, to believe he doesn’t care on an emotional level about this. Although I believe he could be brought to that point of strong support through friendship, prayer and persuasion, especially through his family. But this is not his strong suit. But Trump’s no political fool. For now, wisely from his point of view, he wants this to be the “people’s problem” in state houses across the country. He doesn’t want it be a federal problem, slowing down his national rebuilding agenda. Honestly this is the path non-ideological Democrats should have been supporting for years. Getting the culture of death albatross off their necks and letting federalism and democracy work. Not a perfect solution, but it will consolidate gains made in most of the country, and derail the imposition of alien values on local communities by a handful of elites.

And given a lifetime history, Trump will dance with the people who brung him to the party. The flip side is he will punish those who didn’t ask him for a date. The pro-life people demonizing Trump for his lack of purity on this and other issues will only diminish the clout their cause has. Trump may possibly be an old -school Presbyterian, riding on the coattails of a non-pious predestination. But he is definitely an old-school big-city political boss, ready to mete out rewards and punishments. Misread him at your peril, if he wins.

Hillary, for her part, supports partial birth abortion and the redefinition of sexual identity, so there will be no incremental pro-life/family changes. There WILL be an existential threat to decades of gains – instantly vetoed by federal fiat at the first chance. Don’t be naïve. Bureaucratic rulings and Executive Orders ala Obama will be rubber stamped by a packed court, if the court even bothers to hear the cases.

As legal scholar Richard Epstein has said, the wide latitude given bureaucratic rule makers over the years by courts has been turned on its head by Obama bureaucrats. The rule-making power in service of implementing Congressional legislation has now morphed into rule-making without a Congressional mandate. The single-sex bathroom regulations sent to public schools with no public hearing are the latest implementation of something Congress never authorized. It is a form of legal checkers, as “penumbras” jump over “emanations” and to make bureaucrats kings in the name of fighting discrimination. This public-be-damned attitude will find few checks and balances in a Clinton administration, as 8 and soon 12 years of judicial appointments pull the “progressive” train towards the nightmare of a technocratic utopia.

3) Donald Trump will support the freedom and liberty of the church and believers? True. Using bureaucratic verbal engineers to redefined civil rights, at the expense or religious rights, the federal governments is currently attempting to incrementally control the Catholic Church and other churches in the United States. This is already underway and will continue under a Clinton administration. She has said, “Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.”

First some history. For its first three hundred years, the Church grew organically, mostly underground, with the active opposition, sometime violent, of the state. Its founder Jesus Christ was executed by the state, after all. But there is an obverse side to this coin. When the state said the church could come out from the shadows, it then had to spend the next 1700 years fighting, on and off, here and there, for its independence from state interference and control. The Papal States were a vain and failed attempt to give the papacy a safe haven. The United States has generally remained tolerant and open to the Catholic Church. But state management of the church is THE perennial temptation of petty tyrants. And there are many petty tyrants in Washington ready to act. Constant vigilance by Christians is mandatory.

Interference rarely goes well for the church, although the law of unintended consequences sometimes comes into play. It was the Communists, after all, who approved John Paul II as the bishop of Krakow from a list of three names submitted, reasoning he was a harmless intellectual dreamer. Today the Obama administration has launched its own direct assault on the Church, trying to shut down the Little Sisters of the Poor. Clearly the nuns would be conscience bound not to comply with the government contraception mandate and thus go out of the “business” of caring for the poor.

Religious Liberty Rights in Danger

But another, perhaps even more shocking move is afoot. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in a September report said,  “Civil rights protections ensuring nondiscrimination…are of preeminent importance in American jurisprudence. Religious exemptions to the protections of civil rights based upon classifications such as … sexual orientation and gender identity…significantly infringe upon these civil rights.”

Chairman Martin Castro said, “The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance.”  Evidence has now emerged that members of Clinton’s team have even worked to set up false front groups to advance this anti-Catholic agenda. If Trump loses this fight in November, this attack on religious freedom by the Clinton team will touch all Catholics, not just the Little Sisters.

Pius XII made a concordat with the Nazi’s before World War II, which they immediately violated, because he knew that only if the church could retain some freedom of movement could it advance a moral case against tyranny. Silencing the church is silencing freedom. We now know Pius XII used what limited freedom he had to actively help those seeking to assassinate Hitler, while working to form consciences wherever possible.

Today, in the United States, if the federal government deems Catholic and Christian churches agents of discrimination, religious equivalents of the Ku Klux Klan, our religious freedom and ability to evangelize will be radically curtailed. We will be deemed enemies of the state. Instead of houses of worship, where an unadulterated Gospel can be proclaimed to us sinners, we will have factories of piety, lifeless and devoid of doctrine. The quote attributed to the late Cardinal George of Chicago would sum up a grim prospect: “I expect to die in bed, my successor…in prison…his successor…a martyr.”

Freedom of Speech for Churches

Besides vowing to stop this, Trump also wants to remove the ban on churches engaging in so-called “political” activity, thus risking their tax exempt status. This will free the churches from the fear of an IRS crack down on their religious free speech, made under the pretext of fighting discrimination. Have you ever wondered why the Catholic Church’s Fortnight of Freedom, if you’ve even heard about it, is run in the ineffectual month of July each year, when everyone is away on vacation? Or wondered why instead the church doesn’t teach us how to defend our religious liberty around election time, when believers’ minds are focused, and their actions would have some impact? I’d guess it is to avoid litigation threatening our tax exempt status. Yes, follow the money!

Hillary, as a third term of Obama’s policy, will grind on relentlessly towards this long-war goal of a de-Christianized America, or at least making it into a Christianity Christ would not recognize. She is a political genius – or if you will an evil genius – personifying all that is hostile to Christianity in the Republican and Democrat parties. Her policies could end the independence of the Catholic Church in its role as teacher and mother, and place our fate under the raw judicial power of the Supreme Court.

A Womanizer or Tyrant?

Christians who think their personal purity will be violated by supporting a purportedly “lustful scoundrel” such as Trump may feel good about themselves. Or, they may be thinking they are sending a message about wanting “better” candidates, or just  punishing Trump not being the more perfect candidate they preferred. But I hardly think they will feel good about what happens to the Church when his opposite number takes control as they watch years of gains in the Core Three areas of life, family and religious liberty slip away, just as abortion and marriage laws were swept away by judicial fiat. Structures of sin would quickly take hold and dominate an already weakly catechized younger generation. A generation with no collective memory of the “era of faith” many of us grew up in after the Second World War will take their moral cue from the government instead.

John Ford’s Flawed Heroes

This moral divide is nothing new. John Ford’s films tell the tales of flawed fighters who are not quite fit to live in the world they help create. Rudyard Kipling’s soldier Tommy Atkins knew, “Than it’s Tommy this an’ Tommy that an’ Tommy’s ow’s yer soul? But its “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll.” Do we not need a thin red line of heroes to stop the barbarian iconoclasts at the doors of our churches?Jesus, after all, announced his entrance on the world stage  to those most unpious of Jews, the rough and tumble shepherds of the hills in Bethlehem. And, they got it.

Yes, I respect my good conservative and liberal friends and their feelings. But perhaps they should consider that when Pope Francis said Christians need to go out into the peripheries, he was also talking about people like Donald Trump.

For myself, as a fellow flawed man, I will follow this Don Quixote riding through his personal media hell of humiliation, whatever mixed motives may accompany his quest, because whether knowing it or not, I think he is fighting for a heavenly cause. And I know enough history to know that the men who won battles when Christianity was threatened were not all saints.

Terminate Parental Rights of Illegal Unaccompanied Minor Border-Crossers

The goings on on the Mexican border, with hordes of children rushing the American goal line and  bursting unopposed through the invisible “wall” Congress authorized and the executive branch never built, is a tragedy and scandal of far reaching magnitude. Children are being put at risk from the ravages of a the desert sun, traveling without housing and food, prey to the physical and sexual abuse of the numerous predators that inhabit the law-free gang-controlled zone between the United States and Mexico. Need we add this is also a pipeline for disease, crime and terrorism? The issue is not new, as we have commented on it here , but the non-benign neglect of President Obama is staggering in its callousness and practical viciousness.

The Camp of the Saints?

Hungarians rose and died in 1956 in part from the vain belief that the West cared about their plight and would help. Tragedy, death and retribution followed. Now the race for the border, like a scene from Jean Raspail’s 1970s futuristic, controversial novel The Camp of the Saints is being reenacted before a stunned nation’s eyes. Mobs are forming turning back busloads of “undocumented immigrants” like a scene out of The Grapes of Wrath. Where is the president’s leadership, calling a halt to this scandal? What has he done (not said) to make it clear to everyone, young and old, that his so-called Dream Act will not be hijacked and turned into a Nightmare Act by these children? Or, is the operating theme of his inaction, let no good crisis go to waste?

Backlash Inevitable

With say, 90 percent, of the young people released on their own recognisance, never returning for their hearing, is it any wonder communities are saying no to relocation camps, as the crisis generates backlash? Why should the “host” community, whose social services and infrastructure are about to be over run, go down quietly for the count? Perhaps if the host communities selected were say Boston, Cambridge, Georgetown or some other limousine liberal enclave, people might at least respect the Obama Administration’s “caring” sincerity. One can recall a liberal New York Congressman in 1970s who worked to punish a political opponent in Westchester County, NY by placing a public housing complex as inconveniently as possible in his quiet suburban neighborhood. People as pawns is an old theme among so-called do gooders. They love humanity, it is just the people they use to make their political points they don’t care about.

Terminate Parental Rights

Since there seems to be no will to send them back, one solution that might, nay would, stay the tide, is a simple one. For all unaccompanied illegal minors coming across the border, immediately terminate parental rights. Any self respecting mother or father who would subject their children to this deadly risk, so they themselves could later come to the United States on the daisy chain, is unfit. With parental rights terminated, the children could be placed in foster homes or put up for adoption. The adult incentives behind this madness would end in a heartbeat.

Will it happen? No, of course not. Because, like the “wall”, it might just work.

Maybe he thought of this while trapped in a waiting room foxhole under a heavy barrage of daytime TV?

“Television is democracy at its ugliest.”

Paddy Chayefsky

High Court Aborts HHS Contraception Mandate

The Supreme Court has deflected one of the most deadly bullets aimed at this country’s survival in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores. The legal scholars can parse the finer points and the longer term implications (as is done in part here), but the key practical points in striking down the contraception mandate are these.

What the Court Ruling in  Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores Means

1) Conscience rights, and rights of religious liberty, for individuals and corporations, are not dead. The entire Obama legacy depends on these being buried once and for all. As Thomas More could have told the justices, once conscience is removed from public life, all barriers to injustice will fall one by one.

2) The Obama and Sebelius Faustian bargain, where they were willing to see charities shutter their doors and companies drop workers’ benefits and in some cases go out of business, all to achieve their ideological driven Enlightenment agenda, was stopped. The goal of forcing the sexual ethics of David Hume on the entire population has failed. A resisting remnant remains. Like those advancing armies stopped at the gates of Moscow, the tide has turned, and the forces determined to us bad medicine to undermine good morals face a long winter retreat.

3) Just because they are in retreat, does not mean the sexual revolution lobby will not gather its forces to try and advance again. It is critical that the pressure be mainted to contain their efforts, lest they regroup and strike back. Time is not on their side, but no victory is ever certain without vigilance. Sen. Cruz has made it clear there are many Senators willing to continue the war against conscience and the battle is still joined.

Let us Drink to Conscience, First

So while toil, tears and trouble lie ahead, the reversal of Obama’s fortunes has begun.

To paraphrase John Henry Newman, “I shall drink to the United States, if you please, still, to conscience first, and to the United States afterwards.” Thankfully, in this case, the Supreme Court’s has not forced us to chose between the two.

Is Legalizing Marijuana Simply Decriminalizing a Victimless Crime?

Despite the fact that federal law still bans the sale and use of marijuana, Colorado has legalized it, bypassing its own state legislature by way of a citizens’ ballot initiative. Residents over 21 can now grow up to six plans and purchase one ounce at a time. Visitors can buy up to a quarter of an ounce, but not cross state lines with it. Washington State will soon follow suit, although in a more limited way, banning home growers and capping overall production at 40 metric tons.

What does Natural Law Say?

Clearly, no positive law can make right what violates the natural law, the law written by God on the human heart and known by reason. Reason clearly tells anyone with an interest in looking at the data that pot is deleterious to health, causing serious cognitive and long term mental issues among enough users to impact the public good. It is also a known gateway drug, leading to more serious drug abuse. To boot, it is also a potent cause of lung cancer. Cigarettes bad, pot good? Seriously?

By any sane measurement widespread pot use is against the common good. Its use is strictly for intoxication and the dimishment of mental capacity.

The Case for Pot

The countervailing arguments come down to these:

  • Nationwide pot sales put money into the hands of criminal organizations.
  • Creates jobs.
  • Create tax revenues on the $400 million in expected sales, generating $67 million in taxes.
  • The harm wrecked on the lives of a large number of users will not impact society in any important way.
  • The state has no role in preventing people from destroying “their own” lives.

These arguments are specious. Legalizing any criminal activity will create jobs and generate tax revenues, it will also cut into criminals business revenues. So?

Response to Utilitarian Drug Arguements

Are we as a nation so blinded by utilitarian considerations that we are happy to ingore the elephant in the living room: legalizing anything makes it more social acceptable and more widespread. Law is the form of civil leadership. Once abandoned, its role in promoting a sober use of legitimate natural goods leads to greater and worse ills. The lives destroyed are real, important and their loss as productive members of society and responsible family members will effect us all. It will give a boost to the drop out culture already too prevelant.

If is the job of the law to educate, instruct and uplift society from its more self-destructive tendencies, what can be said of a law that says the Mile High state is now literally the high state as well?

Colorado’s Mile High Pot Mistake

The whole consenting-adults-only-hurting-themselves argument, ignores that we are a people – not some collection of unrelated individuals. That if we are encouraging by law a larger percentage of our population to become less productive, less useful, and yes potentially more violent members of society, we are putting the whole concept of freedom at risk.

Historically, travelers to countries with a wide and open drug culture find populatins that are passive and weak in so many social and cultural ways. One may say it is unfortunate, but why would anyone say it should be promoted and imitated here? And if it does increase tax revenues for the state, won’t they have a vested interest in promoting it? What kind of mixed messages will we be sending to young people?

Obviously, the president has decided that this is one more federal law, he will not enforce, even though he is the sworn executor of law in the United States. There is no point in inflaming the issue here further with a photo of a young  Barrack Obama smoking Marijuana. Perhaps the old saying, as the twig is bent, so the tree grows applies here.

The Role of Responsible Freedom

We have been given freedom so we can responsibly comply with our duty. If freedom becomes license, it will quickly lose its meaning. And, since errors come in pairs, the alternative to such counter cultural, libertarian laissez fair thinking will be an overreaching tyranny. There may be a middle way on the drug issue that avoids both life sentences and the let-them-fry-their-brains approach. A change of heart is needed in the country to regain the sensible center on this issue.

Don’t Give War A Chance in Syria

Let’s be honest. The triumph of the rebels in Syria will result in the slaughter and oppression of minority groups, ethnic and religious. For Christians it will mean more burning and killing, as we have already seen in Egypt. The result would be a complete disaster. And who will benefit from our siding with the rebels? The very forces of terror that have held the Mideast in bondage, with its endless cycle of violence; the very forces that threaten the peace and security of all the world through a jihad of mindless terror.

Why is Obama Poised to Launch War?

Why on earth would President Obama be so anxious support the armies allied to our terrorist enemies? Do the folks in Washington live in a parallel universe? One can only note it is uncanny how the U.S. government, when it does stir itself to go to war in the Mideast, targets the few countries (Iraq and Syria) where Christian minorities have traditionally been protected. Ditto it’s insane foreign policy in Egypt.

Is this all because Obama wants to be seen as tough, making his mark in history? Is this designed to take the spotlight away from scandals and economic uncertainty at home? Perhaps President Obama  is so obsessed with a simplistic abstract principle about the alleged weapon type, that he will disregard the complex foreign policy reality in front of him.

Uncle Sam Itching for a Fight In Syria

Sadly, it seems once again, the U.S. has an itchy trigger finger and can’t seem to mind its own business long enough to let civil wars and international disputes resolve themselves. We seem unaware that war and violence breed more of the same in this region, and our self-proclaimed record of “defensive wars” in the Middle East has been one failure after failure.

As for the argument that civilian casualties, and the use of banned weapons, demand action, one can only wonder at the civilian casualties from U.S. drone strikes, or those in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. More to the point, we need to consider the greater casualties that will result from the chaos and destruction of war, once the United States escalates it. Do we really want to institute of a policy of shooting the survivors?

Fine, rattle the saber if you must Mr. President. Give the Syrian government a good scare over its purported use of chemical weapons. (We say purported, since in this region of lies, who can be completely sure what is or isn’t a false flag operation. Remember the WMD red herring in Iraq?)

Just War Theory Call for Proportional Response to Syria

Above all, let us not forget that proportionality, as outlined in the ethics of the just war theory, demand we not cause greater harm in a military response to a genuine evil than is proportionate to the very evil itself. Since neither party in the civil war has clean hands, why do we feel compelled to give a spanking to only one side?

Let’s be clear, U.S. military involvement in this civil war would almost ceartainly light a fuse on an already primed powder keg. To think we can control the violence by more violence would be naive. This is not the time to give war a chance. Let’s stay out of this fight.

Trickle Down Lawlessness & Immigration

The idea of law as a teacher has gone into disfavor. Ever since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion, the country has been on a path of “lawful” lawlessness. The “theory” advanced was that lawless behavior should be brought above ground so at least it could be safely regulated. Nonesense.

Instead, the legal sanction of immoral behavior only increased such immoral behavior. And legalizing profitable immorality always increases such immorality. (Those who want to legalize drugs on utilitarian grounds should note this. Look what has happened with pornography.)

Law as teacher has been replaced by law as panderer to human weakness. And thus the trajectory downward can be seen clearly as those who would once have been the targets of the vice squad now brazenly run for public office in New York City. Lawbreakers, sensing the signs of the time, are quick to ask the public to let them oversee the law.

Refusing to Enforce Serious Laws Undermines Law and Order

There is another twist in this eara of lawlessness. It is when those sworn to uphold the law publicly flaunt the law by not enforcing it – thus becoming a law unto themselves.

Enter President Obama. You would think that President Obama swore an oath to uphold the laws of the land – only if he likes them. If you have a problem with the new Obamacare law and you are a friend of Barrack, you get a waiver. Not a friend of Barrack? Obey or pay. The law is supposed to start on such and such a date. Well, let’s just set another date that is more politically convenient.

Ayslum Games on the Mexican Border

All laws passed in Washington these days seem to have an executive loophole giving the president discretion on whether or not he should enforced them fairly, equally and justly. And if immitation is the most sincere form of flattery, what are we to make of the suddent arrival of 200 Mexicans a day near the San Diego checkpoint requesting asylum from drug gangs. Once the request is made, they must be admitted for a hearing. In the meantime they may be released on some form of bond. Unless checked this could balloon to over 73,000 requests for asylumn for this year. A monumental increase from  even the bad old days of the Cold War, when half the world could be designated as one big jail.

Immigration Law Chess Match?

Is all this in anticipation of the pending immigration bill being debated in Congress? Is the law being used to circumvent the law, while those charged with enforcing the law stand idly by? It is tiresome to see the way our freedom’s have been tied in knots by a government capable or ignoring the law to achieve its political agenda on immigration. From the federal government’s assault on border states trying to defend their borders from criminals, to the refusal to build the wall authorized by Congress, it is hardly a surprise that a free-for-all immitation of this disregard for the law is underway.

This is clearly an organized tactic designed to throw the immigration system into further chaos. And our response once again seems to be, kick the can down the road until forever.

Low Wage Workers Hurt by Immigration Bill

And it gets worse. For while the law can be ignored in some cases by Washington, it can also be enforced with brutal efficiancy against ordinary American citizens. It turns out the immigration bill being discussed would provide certain exemptions from Obamacare requirements for the people entering under the new amnesty proposal. According to Investor’s Business Daily:

“Combined with immigration reform, an ever-more-punitive employer mandate could put substantial pressure on the income of low-wage workers.

“A Congressional Budget Office analysis found that the Senate’s immigration reform bill would modestly restrain wage growth among low-wage earners for a dozen years amid an influx of new immigrants.

“Also, because legalized immigrants wouldn’t be eligible for ObamaCare subsidies for more than a decade under the Senate bill, their employers could minimize fines based on the number of workers who access subsidies.

“Unless the Senate bill — or the employer mandate — is altered, employers would have a growing incentive to employ legalized immigrants as full-timers instead of U.S. citizens or green card holders.

“While it’s not certain that employers would use such a strategy to dodge ObamaCare costs, the potential could grow as the wage-equivalent penalty for subsidized workers increases from $5,000 to $6,000 and beyond.”

Enough Already?

End result, the newcomers will have an edge in getting low paying jobs over ordinary Americans or legal immigrants searching of work. What on earth is going on here? People say we get the government we deserve. Maybe so. But if the lesson the law teaches is that you need not necessarily obey it, and if you do obey it you may be worse off, what reasonable check on unbridled human selfishness can we really expect in the future?

Short Takes

Clean Rodeo Clowns And the Sequester Jesters

  • Did you hear about the rodeo clown who wore the Obama mask? Banned for life. Something about a bull raging at the commander-in-chief. The clown has even had his life threatened. The good news is rodeo clowns in Missouri must now go to sensitivity training before working in the state fair. Sensitivity training for comedians? We’d just be happy if they kept their acts clean. Oh no, wait, that would be censorship.
  • Thankfully there are no clowns in Washington, D.C. Just rough tough rodeo riders, yeh ha, roping the taxpayers and throwing the bull!
  • Remember all the talk about the government not being able to function because of the sequester. It turns out the government is doing fine with sequester. Some agencies have dropped furloughs altogether. Rather than lose pay, they managed to finds other ways to save money. Gee whiz. Now if only the politicians could teach school children to be able to spell sequester.
  • Did you hear about the second grader who heard the older kids say there would be no free condoms at school because of the sequester. Puzzled he asked, hey what’s a sequester?

Prisoners of Sentimentality

American culture is again being held prisoner, a prisoner of sentimentality, by the Supreme Court of the United States. The ability to reason in a clear, unencumbered manner has been lost, not just on the street, but in the highest reaches of the United states government. The Supreme Court’s ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, in effect making gay marriage a legally recognized contract, is a case in point.

Once again, feeling trumps objective reality, natural law, and yes, common sense. One can only tremble to consider the parallel to Nazi leaders, likewise handicapped in their reasoning ability, who could cry because a deer was killed, while sending millions to their doom in the violence of war.

They are a classic example of the violent vegetarian syndrome, in which feelings turn reality on its head. The Supreme Court is travelling down the same road. Making law based on feelings is the divining rod of doom for any nation. Why? Because reality is not changed by how one feels about it.

Court Wrong on Marriage

Here the court has done violence to the basic reality that marriage is a lifelong commitment between one man and one woman, and has been so from the beginning of time. It predates all other cultural institutions. This principle has been chipped away at by many cultures. Even Christ commented on the erosion, saying about divorce,  it was not thus at the beginning.

But has there ever been a culture that has completely decided to engage in the grand experiment of recreating marriage by redefining its basic constituents – a man and a woman? The next obvious question is, has there been a culture that has done so and survived? Decline and fall indeed.

Justice Kennedy’s Faulty Reasoning

Writes Justice Kennedy for the majority, “The differentiation [between marriage and homosexual “cohabitation/marriage”] demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects … and whose relationship the State has sought to dignify. And it humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples.”

“DOMA instructs all federal officials, and indeed all persons with whom same-sex couples interact, including their own children, that their marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others,” Kennedy wrote. “The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity.”  According to Kennedy’s sloppy logic, “gay marriage” must be made legal because the feelings of homosexuals and children they adopt, or create in the lab, might  be hurt if traditional marriage is sanctioned by law. Soap opera logic at its worst.

Justice Scalia Right on Marriage

Justice Scalia, responds correctly, noting, “But to defend traditional marriage is not to condemn, demean, or humiliate those who would prefer other arrangements, any more than to defend the Constitution of the United States is to condemn, demean, or humiliate other constitutions. To hurl such accusations so casually demeans this institution. In the majority’s judgment, any resistance to its holding is beyond the pale of reasoned disagreement. To question its high-handed invalidation of a presumptively valid statute is to act (the majority is sure) with the purpose to “disparage,” “injure,” “degrade,” “demean,” and “humiliate” our fellow human beings, our fellow citizens, who are homosexual. All that, simply for supporting an Act that did no more than codify an aspect of marriage that had been unquestioned in our society for most of its existence — indeed, had been unquestioned in virtually all societies for virtually all of human history. It is one thing for a society to elect change; it is another for a court of law to impose change by adjudging those who oppose it hostes humani generis, enemies of the human race.”

Churches at Risk

The floodgate of religious persecution for churches, social agencies and adoption agencies that believe marriage is between a man and woman, and that children being adopted have a right to a mother and a father, have now been opened. Once again, the Supreme Court has bypassed the will of the people to create a social crisis.

Constitutional Marriage Amendment Battle Now On

Homosexuals who advocated this (and not all did, thankfully) will rue the day. Why? Because of all the bluster in recent years from various causes about amending the constitution, the pro-traditional-marriage cause has the highest probability of success.

Greedy for recognition, those who brought this case to the Supreme Court may have gone a bridge too far. If those who want to amend the constitution now succeed, traditional marriage will once again become the law of the land. In that sense, this current defeat by the Supreme Court may be the fist step in a long-term victory for those defending traditional marriage.

Court Right on Voting Rights Act

Thankfully the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, has overturned the enforcement of certain aspects of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It about time liberal federal bureaucrats were removed from needless meddling in the electoral affairs of 9 states, and parts of 6 other states. Thirty percent of the states do not need Washington managing its elections.

The decades old formula requiring federal approval for any election changes, even having final say on the exact location of polling places, has long outlived any possible usefulness. Insulated from reality, federal election officials have continued to act as if time has stood still. Is today’s United States the same as the United States of 1964? Hardly.

And since it has been to the advantage of liberal strategists to be able to manage how elections are run in states where they generally fare badly, the suspicion has long remained that these rules were used less as a tool to guarantee freedom, than as a club to undermine their opponents.

Lets face it, gerrymandering and voting are a messy process in every state, city and county in America. But most states run their own affairs under our federal system just fine.  If one party in a legislature goes to far, an arduous legal process is threatened by their opponents. If a compromise is not worked out, another lawsuit is born. Along the way there is much room for political compromise and dialogue.

For better or worse, that is the American political system. To have a permanent federal presence, based on 40 (or more) -year old data, creates a permanent exception to our generally accepted federal system. It is absurd. The argument for state’s rights may have been used to protect some scoundrels, but the principle itself remains a vital one for the the health of American political life.

Case of Gov. Wallace

And consider a strange case in point. Alabama Gov. George Wallace and his political movement (he ran for president in 1968, doing better than any other third party in American history) were clearly targets of this federal legislation. Yet, by the time he finished his last term as governor of Alabama, Gov. Wallace was receiving a huge majority of the black vote. His approval rating among blacks was 74 percent.

Parallels with Norther Ireland

In a way, the situation has parallels in the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland. Once the British backed away from the sectarian conflict, and local political leaders worked one-on-one with each other, things changed. People can come together. Social structures can and do adjust to the give and take of social and political change. Even if people do not always come together as friends, they can live together as passable neighbors, once they are provided the framework in the political process to deal with one another. The American Constitution’s political process is designed to do just that.

Race Relations Have Improved

Surely race relations in the tumultuous period 50 years ago could have been managed better. Clearly it is still not yet perfect, but it is time to let people sort out their own differences and work out their own destiny when it comes to voting. No need to continue to empower an antiquated federal bureaucracy. Micromanagement is no longer needed. The Supreme Court is right. It is time to move on.

Ed Koch R.I.P.

Ed Koch has gone to  meet his maker. May the Lord have mercy on his soul.

He was quotable.  Here is one nice quote from the former Mayor of New York City: “To be a New Yorker you have to live here for six months, and if at the end of the six months you find you walk faster, talk faster, think faster, you’re a New Yorker.”

He always ended his radio show saying, this is “Ed Koch, your voice of reason.” And in some ways he was. He was a liberal, but he wasn’t a stupid liberal. He was a Jew, but he could act as a friend to the Catholic Church. He chastised those who criticized him for so much as entering a Catholic Church. And at times he defended the church from unfair attacks.

In fact, Ed Koch was at church more often than many cradle Catholics, as American Notebook can attest, where he represented the city as mayor and then himself, at funerals or memorials through the years. He was a regular at Christmas Midnight Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

In fact, he was a friend of the late John Cardinal O’Connor, and frequently visited his grave under St. Patrick’s, where he would leave small stones, a traditional Jewishy sign of respect. He and Cardinal O’Connor wrote a book together, Hizzoner and His Eminence, arguing their different points of view. Maybe now God can settle that argument!

If Ed Koch thought he was wrong, he could admit it. How many politicians ever admit they are wrong anytime? That should be his greatest legacy, an example for all true leaders to follow. And who knows, after his next discussion with his old friend John Cardinal O’Connor, maybe Hizzoner will  have to admit he was wrong again. After all, all of us make mistakes.

Here is Hizzoner in claymation. Ha! This won an Academy Award no less.