Saturday, April 23, 2016

Now that Scalia is gone, we can gut the 2nd Amendment

Chelsea Clinton said Thursday at an event in Maryland that there is now an opportunity for gun control legislation to pass the Supreme Court now that Justice Antonin Scalia has passed away. “It matters to me that my mom also recognizes the role the Supreme Court has when it comes to gun control. With Justice Scalia on the bench, one of the few areas where the Court actually had an inconsistent record relates to gun control,” Clinton said. “Sometimes the Court upheld local and state gun control measures as being compliant with the Second Amendment and sometimes the Court struck them down.”

Clinton then touted her mother’s record on gun control issues and knowledge that the Supreme Court has an effect on whether many gun control laws stand. “So if you listen to Moms Demand Action and the Brady Campaign and the major efforts pushing for smart, sensible and enforceable gun control across our country, disclosure, have endorsed my mom, they say they believe the next time the Court rules on gun control, it will make a definitive ruling,” Clinton said. “So it matters to me that my mom is the only person running for president who not only constantly makes that connection but also has a strong record on gun control and standing up to the NRA.”

Apparently the younger Clinton forgets that, in her hopes that her mom will be the next president, that all presidents take an oath to uphold the Constitution, not use the Supreme Court to gut it. Besides, the Supreme Court cannot amend the Constitution - only uphold it. It takes two thirds of Congress and three quarters of the states to amend the Constitution. Then again, the left has been using the Supreme Court as its own personal agenda pusher in areas that it cannot succeed in through the legislative process. Why doesn’t it surprise me that another liberal like Chelsea Clinton would talk about stacking the Supreme Court in a way that suits their agenda, not in a way that would uphold the Constitution?

Monday, April 18, 2016

"College kids say the darndest things: On identity"

When we cannot call a spade a spade, literally, we are in a freefall from reality. Does anyone think that's a good thing? Apparently these college kids do. But don't ask them to give a straight answer about reality. The poor things seem terrified to even entertain the idea that facts are facts, let alone assert one as such. I worry about these young people. They have been so mislead.

Watch this video for the sad reality on the denial of reality.

Sigh....

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A couple encouraging nods to "freedom of religion"

In a surprising revision coming from the Obama administration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has changed its wording on religious freedom in its naturalization test materials. The DHS recently granted a request from Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) to change the words “freedom of worship” to “freedom of religion” in relation to First Amendment rights.

Lankford wrote to the Obama administration last year, explaining how the words used to describe religious freedom on the naturalization tests, which were changed in 2008, were not inclusive enough. He wrote, “Not only is ‘freedom of worship’ inconsistent with the text of the Amendment proposed 226 years ago today, saying that ‘freedom of worship’ is more inclusive than ‘freedom of religion’ flies in the face of a pillar upon which our entire nation was founded.”

The senator went on to write, “Our forefathers came to America to have freedom of religion, not simply freedom of worship. … Worship confines you to a location. Freedom of religion is the right to exercise your religious beliefs  it is the ability for Americans to live out their faith or to choose to have no faith at all.”

Lankford demanded an immediate change of wording, and even though the DHS originally declined his request, upon further review they concluded that it was “feasible.”

This is a change for the Obama administration as the president has repeatedly used the words “freedom of worship” in his public speeches instead of “freedom of religion.”

Senator Lankford praised the decision, saying, “I applaud the Department of Homeland Security for listening to me and deciding to change their material to reflect our First Amendment right of freedom of religion,” said Lankford. “At first glance, it appears like a small matter, but it is actually an important distinction for the Constitution and the First Amendment. The ‘freedom of religion’ language reflects our right to live a life of faith at all times, while the ‘freedom of worship’ reflects a right simply confined to a particular space and location.”

In another area, a federal court has  thrown out an ACLU lawsuit that sought to force hospitals operated by Trinity Health to commit abortions, regardless of their religious and pro-life objections.

I know there are still many issues to combat regarding religious freedom in the public square, but I welcome these rays of light where we can get them.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Does only the American LGBT community matter to protesters?

The backlash against North Carolina continues in the wake of the state's newly enacted law that requires individuals to use bathrooms that correspond to the gender on their birth certificate. The law is drawing fierce criticism because it supposedly "excludes legal protections for homosexual and transgender people." 

In response, Bruce Springsteen has just announced he has cancelled his upcoming concert in Greensboro, NC in "solidarity" with those protesting the measure, and PayPal has cancelled expansion plans in the state that would have created 400 jobs.

I wish these offended groups would actually read the bill in question. If they did, they would realize  the measure does not prohibit any private organization from deciding their own restroom arrangements. There is nothing, for example, that prohibits private companies from establishing "gender neutral" facilities at their establishments. So what is the fuss really about? 

The bill was not signed by Governor Pat McCrory because of hatred toward transgenders. The bill was signed for the common sense purpose of essentially protecting little girls from having to share a restroom with a man abusing open restroom policies by pretending to "feel like a woman" on any given day. No one can be so naive as to assume that many a ne'er-do-well would not exploit the opportunity to visit an "opposite gender" restroom with evil intent. So, the law simply attempts to prevent such occasions. 

Still, in its decision to cancel expansion plans in NC, PayPal said, "This decision reflects PayPal's deepest values and our strong belief that every person has the right to be treated equally, and with dignity and respect." But what part of their stance affords dignity, respect and equality to the women and children being subjected to the possibility of some pervert claiming to be what he isn't and invading the privacy of others in restroom and locker rooms being used by the correct gender? 

The representatives of the people of NC, their state legislature and Governor, have deemed this a worthy effort and support the passing of the new law. The arguments against allowing just "anyone" access to any restroom should be too obvious to require mention. But just think of the mischief possible. Think of the potential for real disaster. Is it really worth endangering ourselves, family members, neighbors and friends to satisfy the whims of a tiny minority of the population? Really? What has become of common sense? 

While the NC legislation is not a religious freedom bill, those who protest this or religious freedom bills in other states wish to flex some corporate muscle or, at least, make a show of how "progressive" they are in the face of what common sense itself would readily reject. What PayPal is really putting on exhibit is how they would prefer to pander to a small, special-interest group than support,the notion that it is "better to be safe than sorry". This is indicative of the immature and intolerant nature of the current generation of corporate executives. 

The thing that irks me the most is the hypocrisy of these supposed "compassionate do-gooders" who would boycott states, cost people their jobs, and generally hurt economies so they can feel good about themselves. In Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas and Indiana – religious liberty bills have come under attack from a number of Fortune 500 companies – from Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines to UPS and Marriott Hotels. Please join me in reminding PayPal and these other companies that they are all too happy to continue doing business in countries like Saudi Arabia where homosexuals, bisexuals  and transgenders are fined, imprisoned and even killed for their lifestyle. 

Ellen Degeneres recently called for a boycott of Mississippi, but last year she "partied hardy" in Dubai – a city where homosexuals can be thrown in jail for simply kissing in public. Instead of calling for a boycott of Dubai, why does Degeneres spend her money there?

Why did Disney threaten to pull its movie production out of Georgia if the governor signed a religious freedom bill that would protect clergy from being forced to perform same-sex so-called weddings, but happily staged a performance of "Beauty & the Beast" in Dubai? Is it only homosexuals in America that Disney and Degeneres and others care about? Where are the calls for boycotts of cities and countries that murder people just for being homosexual?

What's going on here is nothing more than corporate public relations bullying in the name of political correctness. If a seriously watered-down version of this type of legislation can't fly, then nobody's service business or restroom is safe. 

Such laws are always described by detractors as "restricting LGBT protections" but that's not really what they do. They merely either provide protections to those who do not, for legitimate moral holdings, wish to be forced by a heavy (enslaving) hand to participate in activity that violates those holdings, or the laws protect individuals from being subjected to danger by legislation that recklessly abandons common sense.

When companies and celebrities start boycotting countries that actually and really mistreat homosexual people, I may pay attention to them. Until then, they are just feigning moral outrage so they can look good. Worse, when their "moral outrage" is in support of something that can endanger someone's safety, that is simply not right. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Two real role models for women to emulate

With the rapid rise in chaos we're seeing all around - e.g. terrorism, Christian genocide, freshly deceased babies for sale, gender confusion (Facebook offers new participants over 50 choices on gender in setting up their profile), etc., -- I can't help but feel nostalgic for simpler times. For my dad, that would be the 1950's. I can definitely get on board with that from what I know of the decade, though I don't have a personal reference. For me, simpler times could be the 1980s - my teenaged years. 
I know we had strife then too of course, e.g.,- Roe v. Wade was being put to rampant use, AIDS made its public debut, dangerous drug use was on the rise, and plenty of other examples, but I was largely sheltered from it in the sense that these things weren't celebrated like they seem to be today. It's almost as if having a "problem" is a desirable thing today and there are no shortages of public funds, public parades and public protests in support of the very things we were taught to avoid because they just weren't good for us - or were just wrong. 

Today, telling someone something is wrong or immoral is wrong in itself. How can young people today be expected to make good choices when they are being coddled in their bad choices? How are young people encouraged to make good choices when they see demands for boycotts, firing and fines for those who do try to stand up for what's right? What kind of leadership today is inspiring young people to make moral choices, the kind of choices that are not necessarily the easiest to make, but are better for them? 
That's the other thing that stood out for me in the 80s: that for a good portion of the decade, we also had what I consider the trifecta of good leadership: Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II, and Margaret Thatcher. With their character, courage and unwavering leadership, having the three of them at the helm of their respective posts made me feel secure despite what was going on in the world. 
There was one other person also doing remarkable things at this time who I would become familiar with a bit later: Mother Angelica, the foundress of EWTN, the global Catholic media network,who just passed away on Easter Sunday of this year. I remember sometimes thinking of Mother Angelica as the "religious version of Thatcher" and how I admired both women as authentic role models. 

How our world could use more women like them. The strength of character exhibited by both Thatcher and Mother Angelica is what inspires me and should inspire all of us. That's why when I came across this article from Fr. Dwight Longenecker, I wanted to share it:
Father writes, "Here’s what I liked best about both Mother Angelica and Margaret Thatcher:
They both beat the liberals at their own game. In an age when feminists were burning their bras Margaret Thatcher had her hair done, put on her hats and grabbed her handbag. Mother Angelica not only kept her habit, but reverted to a more traditional habit. When the feminists were protesting about inequality and being suppressed by a patriarchal male club, Margaret Thatcher stepped up and took control of that club. Mother Angelica did the same in her attacks on the elitist liberal Catholic bishop’s club.
Both women were from lower middle class or working class backgrounds so they had their finger on the pulse of ordinary people. Margaret Thatcher came in with a housewife’s approach to economics and Mother Angelica applied good housekeeping common sense to the establishment of her media empire. Both women were feisty, gutsy, no nonsense women who knew how to cut the bull and get something done.
Behind the scenes both Margaret Thatcher and Mother Angelica knew what it was to suffer personal loss, but both came through their difficulties with more resilience, backbone and determination.
Beneath the particularities of battle, both women saw the lies of liberalism and realized that the true way forward was not by following some ideology, but by following the truth.
Liberal ideologues in both the UK and the American Catholic Church literally hated both women...during Thatcher’s years the protests against her were violent, personal and extremely ugly. Likewise, the people who hated Mother Angelica and EWTN did not disguise their hatred.
Both women rose above it, and one of the things that annoyed the leftists the most was that they did so with the true support of the ordinary men and women. Leftist ideologues imagine that they stand up for the ordinary working men and women, so when the ordinary working men and women reject them and their ideologies they become even more furious. When a charismatic leader truly champions the cause of the ordinary people in the voting booth and pew, and when their voices (either through votes or viewing figures) are heard, the ideologues howl with rage.
'Those kind of people' are supposed to be rich, white, male establishment types. When they turned out to be a grocer’s daughter and the daughter of a poor divorced working class woman, the class stereotypes didn’t fit. Instead through their common sense attachment to truth, determination, hard work, sense of humor, intelligence and grit, both women challenged the 'rich, white, male establishment types' and won through for the common sense men and women of the world.
God rest both their souls and may we have more of them."
Amen to that. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Big Business & consumers' role in religious freedom

After caving to pressures from major companies like Disney and Apple that they would boycott his state, Georgia’s Republican Governor Nathan Deal vetoed a bill that would protect clergy from being forced to perform same-sex “weddings”.
Though LGBT activists insist they do not want to violate anyone’s religious freedoms, the vetoed Free Exercise Protection Act (H.B. 757) would have also specified that religious organizations do not have to rent out their facilities for such a ceremony, nor do they have to hire anyone if doing so would violate the group's sincerely held religious beliefs about human sexuality.
Politicians like Hillary Clinton love to remind Christians that she supports our “freedom to worship” within church grounds (they don’t ever say they support our Constitutional freedom of religion, a big difference), but now LGBT protectionist laws are invading the grounds of the church and directly seek to force those inside the church to go against their beliefs.
What stands out so vividly here is the power of the dollar. Just as Indiana lost an estimated $60 million in tourism revenues in the wake of its Religious Freedom bill episode last year, states like Georgia, North Carolina and others are facing economic boycotts from major players like the NFL, soft drink companies, airlines, movie studios and the like. Facing economic losses of this magnitude, governors are trembling under the powerful hand of Big Business, which itself trembles under the power of the consumer, especially the 18-34 demographic, the group most likely to support LGBT legislation despite, perhaps unbeknownst to them, that such legislation is increasingly at the expense of religious rights. Businesses are of course fearful of mass boycotts by this group and other consumers.
But consider what might happen if governors of all 50 states were to face similar religious freedom legislation and didn’t cower to economic threats. For every state that signed Religious Freedom bills into law that simply protect private citizens from being forced to violate their faith (or in North Carolina’s case, to protect citizens from sharing a public restroom with someone who could be pretending to identify as a different gender) some economic loss may occur at the onset. For instance, the NFL may have moved the Super Bowl out of Georgia to another state had Deal signed the bill. Yes, that would be a big loss initially for Georgia.
But as state after state were to sign into law basic religious protections (which simply enforce the Constitution, by the way), the NFL is going to still want to have a Super Bowl. Apple is still going to want to sell phones everywhere. Disney will still want to make movies. What would these organizations do if all 50 states had religious freedom bills? 

Maybe if governors stiffened their spines and stood up against economic bullying, eventually the bullies would back down. After all, it's not cheap to relocate headquarters, and companies no longer offering their products or services in a state would take a big revenue hit as well. 

As for consumer boycotts, perhaps it's up to Christians to not let the few control what most of us believe to be a violation of the Constitution. Imagine if all Christians and supporters of religious freedom were to stop using the products or services of companies that didn't support religious rights. I bet it wouldn't be long before these companies reversed their positions. In other words, let's use the power of the dollar to work for freedom, not against it. 

On the other hand, keep in mind what happened when Chick-fil-A was hounded because its founder voiced support for traditional marriage. Mass boycotts were called - but supporters outnumbered the boycotters and record sales were made. In other words, maybe businesses should look more closely at how mass amounts of Americans actually feel about the issue before voicing their threats to depart.

If the businesses did make good on their word, though, and left the state in question, at the very least, it would create an opening for entrepreneurs who would be more than willing to take on the market share for products and services abandoned by businesses who don’t want to fight for religious freedom. 
It's of course an overly simplistic speculation, but as I see it, it could be a win-win for both religious freedom and capitalism - the very two things that helped make America great in the first place. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Holy Thursday: Love manifested in humility and sacrifice

Courtesy of Catholic News Agency....Except for the resurrection on Easter, Holy Thursday (a.k.a. Maundy Thursday) is possibly one of the most important, complex, and profound days of celebration in the Catholic Church. Holy Thursday celebrates the institution of the Eucharist as the true body and blood of Jesus Christ and the institution of the sacrament of the priesthood.
During the Last Supper, Jesus offers himself as the Passover sacrifice, the sacrificial lamb, and teaches that every ordained priest is to follow the same sacrifice in the exact same way. Christ also bids farewell to his followers and prophesizes that one of them will betray him and hand him over to the Roman soldiers.
Around the world, Bishops and priests come together at their local Cathedrals on Holy Thursday morning to celebrate the institution of the priesthood. During the Mass, the bishop blesses the Oil of Chrism that will be used for Baptism, Confirmation, and Anointing of the sick or dying.
At this Mass, the bishop washes the feet of twelve priests to symbolize Christ’s washing of his twelve Apostles, our first bishops and priests.
Later that night, after sundown – because Passover began at sundown-  the Holy Thursday Liturgy takes place, marking the end of Lent and the beginning of the sacred "Triduum,” or three, of Holy Week. These days are the three holiest days in the Catholic Church.
This Mass stresses the importance Jesus puts on the humility of service, and the need for cleansing with water, a symbol of baptism. Also emphasized are the critical importance of the Eucharist and the sacrifice of Christ’s Body, which we now find present in the consecrated Host.
At the conclusion of the Mass, the faithful are invited to continue Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament throughout the night, just as the disciples were invited to stay up with the Lord during His agony in the garden before His betrayal by Judas.
There is such an abundance of symbolism in the solemn celebration of the events of Holy Thursday layer upon layer, in fact that we can no more than hint at it in these few words. For many centuries, the Last Supper of Our Lord has inspired great works of art and literature, such as the glorious stained glass window in Chartres cathedral, Leonardo da Vinci's ever popular (and much imitated) Last Supper in the 16th century, and the reminiscence called Holy Thursday, by the French novelist, Franasois Mauriac, written in the 1930s.
                                                  

After Holy Thursday, no Mass will be celebrated again in the Church until the Easter Vigil celebrates and proclaims the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
                                                     ***
I know not everyone reading this may practice the Catholic faith, but I just wanted to share this in the spirit of goodwill. May we all be reminded of the generosity and humility of Christ, and share those virtues with all those we meet as we continue to uphold and speak up for the Truth that God established in love, and manifested through His Son's tremendous and complete sacrifice. As we await His glorious Resurrection, God bless you all.