Category: Issues

Ukraine Revolution?

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I have not had a chance to write about it yet, but have been following closely the situation in the Ukraine.

As we awake this morning there are reports that the President, Viktor Yanukovych, has resigned or will shortly be resigning.

Yulia Tymoshenko, the face of the Orange Revolution in 2005, has been freed from jail after an overwhelming vote in Parliament.

Once the dust settles a bit I plan to write a more in depth post about this. Until then I may just update this post.

UPDATE: Robertson Family Official Statement

Robertson Family - Duck Dynasty, Duck Commander
Robertson Family – Duck Dynasty, Duck Commander

The following statement is the official Robertson Family response to the decision by A&E TV to “suspend” Phil due to his GQ interview:

We want to thank all of you for your prayers and support.  The family has spent much time in prayer since learning of A&E’s decision.  We want you to know that first and foremost we are a family rooted in our faith in God and our belief that the Bible is His word.  While some of Phil’s unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible. Phil is a Godly man who follows what the Bible says are the greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Phil would never incite or encourage hate.We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith, which is his constitutionally protected right.We have had a successful working relationship with A&E but, as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm.  We are in discussions with A&E to see what that means for the future of Duck Dynasty.   Again, thank you for your continued support of our family.

This is a strong and united stance to take, and it is rather refreshing in today’s world.

For those that think A&E is taking the high road here, and that they are pristine in their place in this situation, remember they once had a show devoted to the Gotti family. For those that don’t know, John Gotti, the patriarch of that family, was a mob boss famous for murder and crime. The family of the reality TV show were made famous simply because of the evil things their father did.

This isn’t about tolerance, morality, or anything of the sort. This is about choosing one set of beliefs over another, all while condemning the latter.

 

Defending the faith in the battles of everyday life

guns-255x255Politics and Faith often are not far from one another in American culture and society. Many Catholics shy away from injecting their faith too far into religion, but a proper understanding, I believe, if that our faith must animate and drive our political beliefs.

That being said, I found two articles yesterday worth reading I think they are prime examples of just how that occurs.

The first by Pia De Solenni,: “Guns and Gun Control.” This is often a touchy subject for some Catholics and I believe she does an excellent job at fairly talking about the issue.

Nevertheless, as a Catholic theologian, I am troubled by accounts suggesting that Catholics who don’t support the U.S. bishops on gun control are  akin to Catholics who disagree with fundamental moral teachings like  contraception, abortion and marriage.

Regardless of the passion of some gun-control advocates, there exist clear  distinctions between these issues.

The article is worth the read regardless of what side of this you are on.

The second is about fighting the pro-life battle in the political arena, and not just by defending life, but actually going on the tactical offensive a bit. Dave Weigel talks about how in Virginia a move by an off-shoot of the SBA List is putting messaging about the danger to women’s health through some pro-abortion laws.

Pro-life politicians have talked all year about flipping the script on Democrats and making them struggle to explain their abortion stances. To a very large extent, that was the point of the campaign to spur more coverage of Kermit Gosnell’s murder trial in Philadelphia. Why should Todd Akin have to answer a hypothetical question about the ugly aspects of banning abortion? Make Democrats answer hypotheticals about the ugliest aspects of legalization.

Again, worth the read, and an interesting race developing there in Virginia.

It is important to remember that as Catholics, our beliefs of the faith, our adherence to the Church’s teaching, and our moral convictions are not “stances on issues” but the inner core of our philosophical base. They are what should animate our political beliefs and our social understanding.

As I mentioned yesterday, where we get into trouble is when we attempt to fit our faith to our social and political beliefs – it should be that we fit those to the teachings of the Church and Jesus Christ.

Crisis Magazine: ‘Some Bishops Want Your Guns’

Nicholas Hahn had a very interesting piece in Crisis Magazine yesterday entitled: “Some CrisisBishops Want Your Guns.” The article stemmed from recent comments made by Bishops regarding the tragic events at Newton and President Obama’s recent remarks concerning “Gun Control.”

Hahn explains that while Bishops have a peacemaking role, some seem to be overstepping their roles and Catholic teaching by “signing on” to some of the recent actions being taken against gun rights in the United States.

The heart of his post though is an argument he makes about the rights of Catholics, under Church teaching, for self-defense. As he writes:

Fr. Lombardi isn’t the only one to take aim at your guns. In fact, the U.S. Bishops have been calling for handgun “elimination” as early as 1990. In 2006 the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace suggested that States ought to “impose a strict control on the sale of handguns and small arms. Limiting the purchase of such arms would certainly not infringe upon the rights of anyone.” The Council may not recognize your right to a legitimate defense, but the Catechism of the Catholic Church does. It is “legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow.” And if “he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful.”

Is a gun moderate? Ask a rape victim. Or a child.

The Catechism goes on to affirm defense as “a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm.” In the light of the Catechism, the National Rifle Association’s brave suggestion that teachers (who are “responsible for the lives of others”) be armed doesn’t seem so crazy after all.

So then, do we have a ‘right’ as much as Hahn asserts that we do, to “bear arms” and defend ourselves and our families? Does this defensive right come into play in a gun rights discussion because of proportionality or “equality”?NunsWithGuns1

For Catholics, the idea of a ‘right to bear arms’ is a very complicated set of ideas. If for no other reason than cultural, we do not carry weapons around with us publicly, the way we used to a hundred or two-hundred years ago. Yet it would seem that the philosophical reasons behind a right to defense would still exist today. How guns, gun rights, and technology come into all of that is another question.

Unfortunately, I believe we are at a point where philosophy, pragmatism, and reality are smashing headlong into one another. Depending on which ship you sail most often, you see this problem – the one of violence and tragedy, differently from others. As for me, what animates my beliefs are the sentiment that Hahn writes in his piece:

The Catechism goes on to affirm defense as “a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm.”

As a father, and as someone that views myself naturally as a ‘protector,’ this is what I struggle with everyday. How to reconcile the Catechism, my patriotic beliefs, and my Catholic virtues. That is why I believe my best weapons are the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet.

Euthanasia: Fancy Suicide?

By now, many of us have read about the 45yr old twin brothers in Belgium that chose to be euthanized. Their decision stemmed from the fact that they were born deaf and were going to go blind.

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Here is an account of the situation:

David Dufour, the doctor who presided over the euthanasia, said the twins had died together and had taken the decision in “full conscience”.

“They were very happy. It was a relief to see the end of their suffering,” he said. “They had a cup of coffee in the hall, it went well and a rich conversation. Then the separation from their parents and brother was very serene. At the last there was a little wave of their hands and then they were gone.”

They were happy? Does happiness lead a person to ask to be killed? Suffering… what suffering? The pain of loss? Granted, it would be an unimaginable hardship to have the loss of TWO senses.

What makes this so horrifying is that we abhor suicide in our world, as we should, but somehow Euthanasia is somehow becoming acceptable, and in some places REQUIRED. But what is the line of demarcation?

As Terry points out, “These poor men must not have understood that they have a soul, and that God exists, and that he loves them:  That what is invisible is important.”

Isn’t this just an “fancy suicide” then? Just people with a hole in their heart that want to justify their weakness through a doctor’s order? It is simply ugliness putting on pretty clothes, and nothing more.

This isn’t mercy. Mercy is justice ignored for the sake of love. This is love ignored for the sake of fear, weakness, and doubt.

Michigan: Pro-Life Omnibus Bill Moves to Gov’s Desk

From Right to Life of Michigan’s Blog:

The Prolife Bus moves to Gov. Snyder

As with any journey which includes unexpected roadblocks and detours, when you have arrived at your destination there is cause for celebration.

Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said, “Prolife people never gave up, never got off the Prolife Bus. They knew this legislation was needed.”

The Prolife Bus or Omnibus bill, H.B. 5711, addresses the persistent pattern of neglect in regulating abortion clinic practices in Michigan. There was a long overdue need for governmental reforms. Women’s safety was being compromised. But that will change when the Prolife Bus bill is signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder.

On December 14, in the wee hours of the morning, the concurring votes were taken in the Michigan House and Senate, both by overwhelming 2 to 1 margins. The last stop for the Prolife Bus bill is the Governor’s desk.

In the 2011-2012 session, a Partial Birth Abortion Ban was enacted; abortion coverage from ALL insurance plans in Michigan was eliminated; and the first omnibus prolife bill in the history of Michigan was passed. This is historic and unprecedented.

Dedicated prolife people and faithful prolife lawmakers made all of these accomplishments possible. It is time to celebrate and thank our prolife legislators with calls and e-mail messages!

Every victory is worthy.

Guns and the Problem of Misinformation

121218045837-us-guns-handgun-smith-and-wesson-story-topThe “Gun Rights Issue” is once again a top-3 hot-button issue in American politics. The massacre and tragedy in Newtown placed it back into the spotlight for obvious reason, and yet the discussion that has been occurring is so blurred with emotion, misinformation, and faulty reasoning that I honestly dont know if we have moved the ball forward or backwards.1

The issue has so many facets, that when we talk about guns in general, and the laws surrounding them, it hardly even happens where everyone is on the same page. In fact, two pundits can be on the same tv or radio program, and be talking so far past one another that the average listener gets nothing out of it but for the points (regardless of their factual accuracy) they choose to listen to and remember.  Continue reading

  1. Here I only mean to say in finding a solution to preventing and limiting further tragedies. []

Silence…working hard at it.

Silence
Silence

Just when I wanted to start getting back into more regular posting, some pretty major and tragic events happen and it makes me want to take a bit of time to really think about things.

There are few times when words “fix” things, except when they come in the form of an apology. Here, there is so much to say, and so little that needs to be said… right now. My initial thoughts, that I am comfortable sharing, are that nothing we do now, or moving forward, will fix anything in the past. It is the foolishness and pride of man to think that he can undo the past through future action. And while we study “history” to make sure that we don’t repeat the past, pride again strikes when we again make decisions to think that we can outsmart evil or defeat it. Continue reading

Election2012_cmyk

Things to watch for on election night

The race for the White House will be center stage all evening, as it should be. I personally will be watching that with a stoic gaze.1 But there are some other sub-plots that will be quite interesting to watch. For me, I like the drama of the B-sides in the big elections, so let me give a list of things to watch for should the big race become dull quickly with someone running away early. Continue reading

  1. More on that on Wednesday… regardless of the outcome. []
Scales_of_justice_hhs_mandate

Win for Religious Freedom: Mandate blocked from implementation against Weingartz

Yesterday, in Michigan, a federal judge issued an order blocking the Department of Health and Human Services from implementing what has become known as the “HHS Mandate” against Weingartz, a Michigan company.

The case: Legatus v. Kathleen Sebelius (Case no. 12-12061) now will proceed to discovery, and the mandate will be enjoined (temporarily blocked via injunction) pending the outcome of the case. This means that the owners of Weingartz will not be forced to violate their religious beliefs by providing coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and other morally conflicting services in their health care plans until the conclusion of the court case at the earliest. Continue reading

USCCB

USCCB Statement on Biden’s HHS Mandate Comments

Last night, during the Vice Presidential debate, Vice President Joe Biden made a very interesting comment about the HHS Mandate. The comment he made was patently false. Today the USCCB responded in a very direct manner. The following is their statement: Continue reading

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Autocam & CatholicVote file lawsuit against Sebelius and Dept. HHS

Some Catholics are truly fighting back against the HHS Mandate. The mandate, which went into effect on August 1st, 2012, requires businesses to cover certain things in their health care plans such as contraceptives, abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization procedures. This is the case, even if it violates the business owners religious beliefs. Yet, these business owners and Catholic organizations around the country are fighting back by filing lawsuits against the mandate, Kathleen Sebelius, and the Department of HHS. These businesses want to continue to give their employees health care coverage, but they shouldn’t have to violate their religious beliefs to do so. Today, Autocam, a business in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has filed a lawsuit doing just that – opposing the HHS Mandate on constitutional grounds.

John Kennedy, the CEO of Autocam, has filed a lawsuit today, with the help of CatholicVote.org’s Legal Defense Fund, against Kathleen Sebelius. Autocam offers their employees excellent health care coverage. But now, because of the mandate, they are in danger of being forced to drop that coverage because the owner is forced by the mandate to cover things that go against his Catholic beliefs. This is immoral and unconstitutional. So he is fighting back. Continue reading