Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dynamite the Catholic Hospitals!

John Zmirak, at Inside Catholic:

Since Catholics who vote primarily on life and other "values" issues are a minority of a minority, we will need to go on relying on the activism of the Protestant Christian Right. Up to now, we've been suspicious of their apparent unconcern for the poor, their small-government bias. We were wrong. We should join them in fighting for the smallest, most localized government possible, and build our institutions to survive without state aid, and in the face of state persecution -- which may be coming. FOCA could force our hospitals to perform abortions or close -- in which case we should not only close them, but dynamite them, simultaneously. Preferably on Guy Fawkes Day.

Friday, December 19, 2008

"How much do you have to hate someone to not proselytize"

He was deeply moved by a man who gave him a Bible. Unfortunately, he still claims that he knows that there is no God.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Even for me, an ultra-loyal Republican...

...the two creepiest words in the English language are "Christian rock."

I've listened to my fair share of it, too—long drive across the country; busted iPod—and there's something so weird about it. It sounds like regular bad music when you first tune in. The lyrics always seem like regular bad music lyrics, too—"I feel your body next to mine/ And that makes my whole life shine"—but after a second or two you realize that they're singing about Jesus, not some girl named Mandy, and the whole thing just seems, well, creepy. Because rock music—and most other forms of entertainment, when you really think about it—is fundamentally about carnal desire. And Jesus, when you really think about it, is fundamentally not.

PC Campus...

...Academia’s Top 10 Abuses of 2008

My favorite is the one involving the "Zimbabwe of American universities." Thank you Father Dease!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

What do the KGB, David Irving, and Daniel Goldhagen have in common?

You can find the answer here. An excerpt:
Like many Jews in post-war America, "I grew up in a Conservative home hating Pius," he says. But when Krupp received a call from author Dan Kurzman, the tables began to turn.Kurzman needed help with research for his book, A Special Mission: Hitler's Secret Plot to Seize the Vatican and Kidnap Pope Pius XII. Krupp contacted an archivist at Yad VaShem, who wasn't aware of the story; nor was the Israeli ambassador to the Vatican. "I thought, 'Something's wrong here,'" says Krupp, who was eventually put in touch with a nun in New Jersey. "She told me, 'Not only was he not a Nazi collaborator or an antisemite, but he did more to save more Jews than anyone else,'" Krupp recalls.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The same principles and ideals that move Catholic hospitals to care for the weakest and neediest...

...also move them to oppose abortion, sterilization, and other practices at the juncture of medicine and morality. And at that juncture, Catholic hospitals are running into an increasingly hostile public health establishment with very different values. It is simply incomprehensible to many people in positions of power in both the public and private sectors that the same vision that inspires widely-respected compassionate care would also compel closure or sale of a facility to avoid complicity in providing abortions—yet that is just the difficult choice some Catholic health facilities have faced.

"Health Care wth a Conscience," by James C. Capretta, in The New Atlantis

Friday, November 28, 2008

India. Christians between a Rock...

... and a Hard Place.

Just when you thought the New York Times couldn't get worse... does:
The New York Times opened a profile of Klaus, 67, this week with a quote from a 1980s communist secret agent's report...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The mob were chanting Jihad verses... well as slogans saying "we will demolish the church" and "We sacrifice our blood and souls, we sacrifice ourselves for you, Islam", while the entrapped Christians chanted "Lord have mercy".

'creating primary classrooms where queer sexualities are affirmed and celebrated'

Children as young as five should be taught to understand the pleasures of gay sex, according to leaders of a taxpayer-funded education project...The ambition was revealed in documents prepared for the No Outsiders project run by researchers from universities and backed with £600,000 of public money provided by the Economic and Social Research Council.

etc., etc.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Are Obama Catholics...

...starting to get nervous?

Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Chicago warned of "devastating consequences" to the health care system, insisting Obama could force the closure of all Catholic hospitals in the country. That's a third of all hospitals, providing care in many neighborhoods that are not exactly otherwise overprovided for. It couldn't happen, could it?

You wouldn't think so. Only, I am increasingly convinced that it could. If the Freedom of Choice Act passes Congress, and that's a big if, Obama has promised to sign it the second it hits his desk. (Here he is at a Planned Parenthood Action Fund event in 2007, vowing, "The first thing I'd do as president is, is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That's the first thing I'd do.") Though it's often referred to as a mere codification of Roe, FOCA, as currently drafted, actually goes well beyond that: According to the Senate sponsor of the bill, Barbara Boxer, in a statement on her Web site, FOCA would nullify all existing laws and regulations that limit abortion in any way, up to the time of fetal viability. Laws requiring parental notification and informed consent would be tossed out. While there is strenuous debate among legal experts on the matter, many believe the act would invalidate the freedom-of-conscience laws on the books in 46 states. These are the laws that allow Catholic hospitals and health providers that receive public funds through Medicaid and Medicare to opt out of performing abortions. Without public funds, these health centers couldn't stay open; if forced to do abortions, they would sooner close their doors. Even the prospect of selling the institutions to other providers wouldn't be an option, the bishops have said, because that would constitute "material cooperation with an intrinsic evil."


And as I think I have made clear—here, here, here, and here—I have high hopes for President Obama, I was so looking forward to dancing at this party. Yet, although abortion was not a major issue in the race, the pro-life argument that he was the candidate most likely to decrease the need for—and number of—abortions did make it easier for many Catholics to cast their votes for him. I think we should hold him to that commitment now.

At the very moment when Obama and his party have won the trust of so many Catholics who favor at least some limits on abortion, I hope he does not prove them wrong. I hope he does not make a fool out of that nice Doug Kmiec, who led the pro-life charge on his behalf. I hope he does not spit on the rest of us—though I don't take him for the spitting sort—on his way in the door. I hope that his appointment of Ellen Moran, formerly of EMILY's List, as his communications director is followed by the appointment of some equally good Democrats who hold pro-life views. By supporting and signing the current version of FOCA, Obama would reignite the culture war he so deftly sidestepped throughout this campaign. This is a fight he just doesn't need at a moment when there is no shortage of other crises to manage.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The National Catholic Obama Supporter, doing what it does best...

Opponents of the “Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA), legislation supported by President-elect Obama that would establish a federal statutory right to abortion that goes beyond Roe v. Wade, must act urgently to halt its passage.

Or so the nation’s leading antiabortion advocates would have you believe.
“WE NEED YOUR HELP!!! WE MUST ACT IMMEDIATELY!!!” screams the flier produced by the National Right to Life Committee, formed in 1973 to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Meanwhile, Chicago Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Paprocki said this month that FOCA “could mean discontinuing obstetrics in our hospitals, and we may need to consider taking the drastic step of closing our Catholic hospitals entirely.” Cardinal Francis George, president of the bishops’ conference, agreed, saying that Paprocki’s warning was “well-founded.”

Here’s the reality: FOCA has as much chance of passage as the 0-10 Detroit Lions have of winning the next Super Bowl.

etc., etc., etc.

"It was definitely gruesome..."

...she said. "You could make out what a fetus could look like, tiny feet, lungs, but it didn't look like a person." She knew this abortion was an act that her friend Litty considered tantamount to murder. She herself expected to be very upset. She'd felt that way at her first autopsy, that of a teenage boy who'd shot himself in the head. For weeks, she could not shake the image of the boy. But this was different. She didn't regard the fetus as a person yet. She said she was happy to help the woman: "I feel like I was giving [her] a new lease" on life.

The recipe for economic prosperity?

The Pope's Children is the story of the Irish baby boom that began in the early 1970s and peaked in June of 1980, nine months to the daythat Pope John Paul II visited Dublin. This was the impetus behindIreland's astonishing economic growth.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sign of bad news to come for any person nine months old or younger?

The director of EMILY'S list (of little people to whack) will be the White House communications director.

Reject credulity: affirm the creed!

In a study released in September, researchers at Baylor University found that adherence to "traditional . . . religion greatly decreases credulity, as measured by beliefs in such things as dreams, Bigfoot, UFOs, haunted houses, communicating with the dead, and astrology." By contrast, those who reject traditional religion - "self-identified theological liberals and the irreligious" - are "far more likely" to believe in superstition and the occult. Or other nonsense: Maher, for example, claims that aspirin is lethal, doubts that the Salk vaccine eradicated polio, and has praised the horse that threw Christopher Reeve.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

"Hello Douglas, this is the Pope..."

Is your conscience annoying you about something you've done or failed to do? Don't worry. Unless the Pope has phoned you personally to straighten you out, you haven't really done anything wrong.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Obamian wealth-spreading spirit infects rich liberals...

...eager to attend the inauguration:

The 95,000 hotel rooms in the city are already close to sold out and those looking for accommodation are being forced to search in neighbouring Virginia and Maryland.

At the Willard Hotel, one of the grandest in Washington that sits on the inauguration parade route near the White House, rooms have already gone. Several guests have spent thousands of dollars on a special four-night package that entitles them to gifts each evening, including one from Tiffany the jewellers.

The Fairmont Hotel is offering an "eco-inaugural" package, which includes four nights in a suite filled with organic materials, a ball gown from an organic designer and the use of a hybrid car. It costs $40,000.

Proof that hyperventilation leads to loss of consciousness

Perhaps it was the announcement that NBC News is coming out with a DVD titled "Yes We Can: The Barack Obama Story." Or that ABC and USA Today are rushing out a book on the election. Or that HBO has snapped up a documentary on Obama's campaign.

Perhaps it was the Newsweek commemorative issue -- "Obama's American Dream" -- filled with so many iconic images and such stirring prose that it could have been campaign literature. Or the Time cover depicting Obama as FDR, complete with jaunty cigarette holder.
Are the media capable of merchandizing the moment, packaging a president-elect for profit? Yes, they are.

What's troubling here goes beyond the clanging of cash registers. Media outlets have always tried to make a few bucks off the next big thing. The endless campaign is over, and there's nothing wrong with the country pulling together, however briefly, behind its new leader. But we seem to have crossed a cultural line into mythmaking.

"The Obamas' New Life!" blares People's cover, with a shot of the family. "New home, new friends, new puppy!" Us Weekly goes with a Barack quote: "I Think I'm a Pretty Cool Dad." The Chicago Tribune trumpets that Michelle "is poised to be the new Oprah and the next Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis -- combined!" for the fashion world.

Whew! Are journalists fostering the notion that Obama is invincible, the leader of what the New York Times dubbed "Generation O"?

Each writer, each publication, seems to reach for more eye-popping superlatives. "OBAMAISM -- It's a Kind of Religion," says New York magazine. "Those of us too young to have known JFK's Camelot are going to have our own giddy Camelot II to enrapture and entertain us," Kurt Andersen writes. The New York Post has already christened it "BAM-A-LOT."

"Here we are," writes Salon's Rebecca Traister, "oohing and aahing over what they'll be wearing, and what they'll be eating, what kind of dog they'll be getting, what bedrooms they'll be living in, and what schools they'll be attending. It feels better than good to sniff and snurfle through the Obamas' tastes and habits. . . . Who knew we had in us the capacity to fall for this kind of idealized Americana again?"

read the rest

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Greenhouse gases will be our salvation...

...from the coming ice age. Perhaps fearing reprisals from the global warming fetishists, Dr. Crowley sticks to the the party line: yes, it's true that the global cooling heading our way will be catastrophic; and, yes, it's true that only CO2 emissions can save us from it; nevertheless, this "doesn’t obviate the need to curb such emissions." Now if only the GOP can hurry and add global warming to its platform before the global temperature drop destroys the two-party system.

When the surrogate is Grandma, the mess is less

So says Slate's libertarian bioethicist:

Mother and daughter share a genetic bond to each other and to the child. They're much more likely to work things out and give the child a stable family environment.

Now, if you really want to get icky, try it the other way around: Grandpa impregnates his daughter-in-law. You can pretty well deduce what he's supplying. No daughter-in-law would do this, right? Sorry. A British couple arranged it last year after discovering that the husband was shooting blanks. According to the Guardian, doctors "offered to provide sperm from an anonymous donor, but the couple wanted to use a member of their own family."

He said, 'You should be crucifixed.'

Were women jailed for abortion before Roe v. Wade?

...the almost uniform state policy before Roe was that abortion laws targeted abortionists, not women. Abortion laws targeted those who performed abortion, not women. In fact, the states expressly treated women as the second “victim” of abortion; state courts expressly called the woman a second “victim.” Abortionists were the exclusive target of the law.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

FOCA threatens existence of Catholic hospitals

From the USCCB conference:

Some of the bishops, during the discussion, went as far as saying the Catholic Church should be willing to close some health facilities rather them allow them to be subject to a mandate to do abortions from the Obama administration.

Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Chicago spoke up about the threats to Catholic health care under the bill.

“It could mean discontinuing obstetrics in our hospitals, and we may need to consider taking the drastic step of closing our Catholic hospitals entirely,” Paprocki said. “It would not be sufficient to withdraw our sponsorship or to sell them to someone who would perform abortions. That would be a morally unacceptable cooperation in evil.”

“I do not think I’m being alarmist in considering such drastic steps,” he said. “We need to respond in a morally appropriate, responsible fashion.”

Ed Morrissey on the implications for health care in the US:
What kind of impact would that have? The Catholic Church is one of the nation’s biggest health-care providers. In 2007, they ran 557 hospitals that serviced over 83 million patients. The church also had 417 clinics that saw over seven million patients. If they shut down almost a thousand hospitals and clinics nationwide, the US would not just lose a significant portion of available health care, but the poor and working-class families that received the health care would have fewer options.
Also, the Catholic Church runs this on a non-profit basis, spending vast sums of its money to ensure access for those unable to pay. That’s the kind of model that many on the Left believe should exclusively provide health care — and FOCA would spell the end of the major provider already in that model

"It was like being at a klan rally"

"...except the klansmen were wearing Abercrombie polos and Birkenstocks."

Monday, November 10, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Campaign for Human Development a scam and a scandal, as Father Neuhaus informs us:

The Campaign for Human Development (CHD) is an annual collection in parishes, usually on one of the last two Sundays in November. It used to be called the Catholic Campaign for Human Development but the Catholic was dropped, which is just as well since it has nothing to do with Catholicism, except that Catholics are asked to pay for it. Some bishops no longer allow the CHD collection in their dioceses, and more should not allow it. In fact, CHD, misbegotten in concept and corrupt in practice, should, at long last, be terminated.

Ten years ago, CHD was exposed as using the Catholic Church as a milk cow to fund organizations that frequently were actively working against the Church’s mission, especially in their support of pro-abortion activities and politicians. Now it turns out that CHD has long been a major funder of ACORN, a national community agitation organization in support of leftist causes, including the abortion license. ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) is under criminal investigation in several states. In the last decade CHD gave ACORN well over seven million dollars, including more than a million in the past year. It is acknowledged that ACORN, with which Sen. Obama had a close connection over the years, was a major player in his presidential campaign. The bishops say they are investigating the connection between CHD and ACORN. They say they are worried that it might jeopardize the Church’s tax-exemption. No mention is made of abusing the trust of the Catholic faithful.

What most Catholics don’t know, and what would likely astonish them, is that CHD very explicitly does not fund Catholic institutions and apostolates that work with the poor. Part of the thinking when it was established in the ideological climate of the 1960s is that Catholic concern for the poor would not be perceived as credible if CHD funded Catholic organizations. Yes, that’s bizarre, but the history of CHD is bizarre. The bishops could really help poor people by promptly shutting down CHD and giving any remaining funds to, for instance, Catholic inner-city schools. In any event, if there is a collection at your parish this month, I suggest that you can return the envelope empty—and perhaps with a note of explanation—without the slightest moral hesitation.

Post-modern jingoism

If you were not moved to tears of joy by Obama's victory, you are primitive and un-American. So says, TNR's L. Wieseltier:
I had never before seen a patriotic mosh-pit, but I was gladly trapped in one outside the White House in the hours after Barack Obama's inexorable but still unimaginable victory. I had also never seen young people march on the White House in the cause of joy. But now hundreds of exhilarated students had put down their copies of Negri and Hardt and lucidly picked up American flags, and as they flowed in from Pennsylvania Avenue in the rainy night they sang "The Star Spangled Banner" and "God Bless America." I do not mean to exaggerate the beauty of the scene--it was also boorish and hormonal, and I doubt that there was a soul among the cheering, hoodied, text-messaging crowd who cared much about, say, what General Kayani told General Petraeus; but I would be lying, I would be hardened in precisely the way I do not wish to be hardened, if I did not report that the scene was beautiful. When they began to cry "USA! USA!", the jingoistic crudity of the chant was gone; and while they were finding their way to the ferocious assertion of the love of country that had been the trademark of their Republican counterparts, those same counterparts on the other side of the country, the ones now marooned in the Palin-Jindal-Hensarling primitivism, were disgracing John McCain, a lost but wrenchingly honorable man, by jeering at the mention of the new president's name. Americans who were not moved by what happened the other night were in some way un-American. A dry eye was a misinterpretation of American history.

How Obama can break the "theoconservative coalition"

Damon Linke, in TNR:

...early indications are that on at least one measure--success at breaking apart the theoconservative coalition that formed the core of President Bush's support over the past eight years--Obama failed to lay much of a groundwork for a long-term rout of the Republican Party.

Consider the voting patterns of the roughly 26 percent of Americans who describe themselves as white evangelical/born again Protestants. Early exit polls compiled by Steven Waldman at Beliefnet show that John McCain won these voters by a margin of 74 percent to 25 percent. That's down somewhat from Bush's record 78 percent in 2004, but still considerably higher than the number of evangelical votes Bush himself managed to win in 2000 (68 percent). That Obama, who aggressively courted these voters with religious appeals, fell five points short of Al Gore's 30 percent showing among evangelicals in 2000 must be judged a disappointment.

Consider the voting patterns of the roughly 26 percent of Americans who describe themselves as white evangelical/born again Protestants. Early exit polls compiled by Steven Waldman at Beliefnet show that John McCain won these voters by a margin of 74 percent to 25 percent. That's down somewhat from Bush's record 78 percent in 2004, but still considerably higher than the number of evangelical votes Bush himself managed to win in 2000 (68 percent). That Obama, who aggressively courted these voters with religious appeals, fell five points short of Al Gore's 30 percent showing among evangelicals in 2000 must be judged a disappointment.

How did McCain, whose (nominal) personal faith played a far smaller role in his campaign than Bush's piety did in his, manage to keep the theocon electoral coalition together? McCain's vice-presidential choice no doubt explains some of his accomplishment: Sarah Palin quickly became a kind of folk hero to evangelicals.

But much of the blame must fall upon Obama. The Democrat reached out to devout believers in his rhetoric and in his surprising proposal to expand on President Bush's faith-based initiatives. Yet on the make-or-break issue of abortion, Obama staked out positions as antagonistic to the concerns of the religious right as the most uncompromising secular liberal. Obama permitted the Democratic Party to strip all moral language from the discussion of abortion in its 2008 platform. His record as a Illinois state legislator showed that he opposed a bill that would have outlawed the killing of a fetus "born live" in a botched abortion. And he promised that, as president, he would sign the federal Freedom of Choice Act, which would nullify any state or federal law that would interfere with access to abortion, including parental notification laws and "partial birth" (late-term) restrictions. In the eyes of many devout Catholics and evangelicals, these positions make Obama a pro-abortion extremist.

Rejoicing in their victory, many liberals will be inclined to say good riddance to such voters. And this may make electoral sense. Perhaps the combination of long-term demographic trends and the incompetence of Republican governance over the past eight years have forged a center-left electoral coalition that will persist for years to come. Maybe the theoconservative base of the Republican Party will wither away on its own, now that it's been deprived of the oxygen of direct political influence. Perhaps the GOP will purge itself of its religious faction in the violent recriminations that have already begun, leaving devout Catholics and evangelicals to wander in the wilderness without a political home, much as Protestant fundamentalists did during the four decades following the humiliation of the Scopes Trial of 1925.


It wouldn't take much to undermine the morale of a significant number of these ideological combatants, and perhaps even to inspire them to defect to the Democratic side of the aisle. For starters, President Obama could privately urge congressional Democrats not to take up the Freedom of Choice Act--a piece of legislation that, if passed, would instantaneously erase the (quite modest) legislative accomplishments of the pro-life movement over the past two decades and thus provoke it more effectively than anything since the Supreme Court's Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision of 1992. (Outrage at that decision, which affirmed abortion rights in more sweeping terms than the original Roe v. Wade decision of 1973, helped to hold the religious right together through the desert of the nineties and prepared it for mobilization once a suitable champion--George W. Bush--arrived on the scene.)

Some hopeful news about Obama's COS

From the WSJ:
...Mr. Emanuel made a point of recruiting candidates who fit their districts -- even if they disagreed with liberal orthodoxy on abortion or gun rights.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Douthat to Kmiec: "you're a pro-abort shill!"

Strong words from the measured Atlantic columnist:

...since Douglas Kmiec suggests that conservatives could profit from Barack Obama's example on the issue, let me offer a few words in response.

The trouble with seeking common ground on abortion is that the legal regime enacted by Roe and reaffirmed in Casey permits only the most minimal regulation of the practice, which means that any plausible "compromise" that leaves Roe in place will offer almost nothing to pro-lifers. Even the modest restrictions that prevail in many European countries (and that, not coincidentally, coincide with lower abortion rates) are out of the question under the current legal dispensation. This, in turn, explains why the national debate inevitably revolves around the composition of the Supreme Court and the either/or question of whether a president will appoint justices likely to chip away the Roe-Casey regime or justices likely to uphold it.

This state of affairs creates enormous frustration for pro-choice Republicans, a group in which I know some of the participants in this discussion count themselves, since it makes it next to impossible for pro-life primary voters to consider supporting a pro-choice candidate for the presidency or vice presidency. I think this frustration is somewhat misplaced, since to my mind any pro-choice American who sincerely seeks a national consensus on the subject of abortion should support overturning Roe and returning the issue to the democratic process...

What I don't understand at all is Kmiec's position, which seems to be that the contemporary Democratic Party, and particularly the candidacy of Barack Obama, offered nearly as much to pro-lifers as the Republican Party does. I am sure that Kmiec is weary of being called a fool by opponents of abortion for his tireless pro-Obama advocacy during this election cycle, but if so, then the thing for him to do is to cease acting like the sort of person for whom the term "useful idiot" was coined, rather than persisting in his folly.

Those seeking a primer on the case against Kmiec's putatively pro-life position on Obama and abortion can begin here or here or here. Suffice to say that what he calls "outright lies and falsehoods" about Obama's views were, in fact, more or less the truth: The Democratic nominee ran on a record that can only be described as "very, very pro-choice," and his stated positions on abortion would involve rolling back nearly all the modest—but also modestly effective—restrictions that pro-lifers have placed upon the practice and/or appointing judges who would do the same. There may have been reasons for anti-abortion Americans to vote for Barack Obama in spite of his position that abortion should be essentially unregulated and funded by
taxpayer dollars. But Kmiec's suggestion that Obama took the Democrats in anything like a pro-life direction on the issue doesn't pass the laugh test. (And nor, I might add, does his bizarre argument that because the goal of placing a fifth anti-Roe justice on the court is somehow unrealistic, the pro-life movement should pursue a far more implausible constitutional amendment instead.)

I suppose I could find a thing or three to agree with in Kmiec's longer list of ideas for how the party he abandoned could win back his vote. But frankly, I don't see the point...I can't begin to fathom why the GOP should consider taking any advice whatsoever from a "pro-lifer" who has spent the past year serving as an increasingly embarrassing shill for the opposition party's objectively pro-abortion nominee.

'Sex and the City,' 'That 70's Show,' and 'Friends'

...linked to teen pregnancy. Will the tobacco lawyers sue? Will there be warning labels?

Obama's chief of staff is...

one of the sponsors of FOCA.