Restoring the Sacred

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Michelle Obama Agrees With Catholics on the HHS Mandate

Ed Morrissey, writing at yesterday, thinks that Michelle has made the same case against the HHS Mandate made by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).  It certainly sounds like it:
In a speech today to a conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the First Lady explained her concept of citizenship by likening it to the ministry of Jesus.  Her explanation corroborates the same point that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops have been making for months about the intrusive nature of the HHS contraception mandate, emphasis mine:
“It’s kind of like church,” Obama said. “Our faith journey isn’t just about showing up on Sunday for a good sermon and good music and a good meal. It’s about what we do Monday through Saturday as well, especially in those quiet moments, when the spotlight’s not on us, and we’re making those daily choices about how to live our lives.
“We see that in the life of Jesus Christ. Jesus didn’t limit his ministry to the four walls of the church,” she said. “He was out there fighting injustice and speaking truth to power every single day. He was out there spreading a message of grace and redemption to the least, the last, and the lost. And our charge is to find Him everywhere, every day by how we live our lives.”
Obama, who is not a regular churchgoer, said citizenship like the practice of faith is “not a once-a-week kind of deal.”
“Democracy is also an everyday activity,” she said. “And being an engaged citizen should once again be a daily part of our lives.”
Yes, indeed He was.  So do churches to this day, ministering to the sick and the poor, “the least, the last and the lost” that Mrs. Obama references here.  Furthermore, Jesus did not limit His ministry to just those disciples who followed Him, but ministered to many, including Romans, in the course of His evangelization.
However, her husband and Kathleen Sebelius don’t see it that way.  They only allow for activities within “the four walls of the church” to be classified as religious expression exempt from government regulation, and only that activity which excludes those other than believers as participants or recipients, too.  The USCCB and its allies in the Fortnight for Freedom campaign have repeatedly argued exactly as the First Lady does — that the provision of charity, education, and health care to the greater community is an integral component of religious expression, for Catholics and those of other denominations,  just as was Jesus’ ministry of healing, evangelization, and assistance to the poor.  In fact, Mrs. Obama makes that case as eloquently as I’ve seen it made during this debate.
Now that the First Lady has acknowledged that ministry is not limited to the four walls of the church and that it necessarily involves spreading the message of grace and redemption to more than just the choir, can we expect her husband and the Secretary of HHS reach the same conclusion?

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John Roberts: Choices have Consequences

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"Fast and Furious" and Evil Ideology

From Pajamasmedia:
President Obama personally inserted himself into the Fast & Furious gun walking scandal after he extended executive privilege over certain DOJ documentation. Was the Fast & Furious a botched scandal, or a deliberate effort to undermine the Second Amendment? Find out as Bill Whittle explores the ideological motives behind the Fast & Furious scandal.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Our Military's Moral Compass is Broken

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Brian Birdnow published an important piece at yesterday, entitled:  "A Brave New World at the Department of Defense." Those who think the new policy concerning the openly serving of gays in the military is no big deal should read the entire piece, some clips from which follow (emphasis added):
An unbiased observer can clearly see that the consequences of the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy are perfectly matching the intent of those who worked to overturn the policy. The issue never really involved the patriotism and devotion to duty of gay service members. (A gay service member was, by definition, a fraudulent enlistment/commission, due to dishonesty about sexual orientation during the recruitment process.) It involved, rather, a concerted effort to neuter one of the few remaining institutions in American life that took an unapologetic stand in favor of traditional gender roles, in most instances. The armed forces affirmed that open homosexual behavior was prejudicial to discipline, morale and esprit de corps. The gay lobby declared war against the services and, after twenty years, they have won, due to the craven response of the leadership, in the face of massive pro-gay propaganda, and a pandering commander-in-chief.
Now that the ban on openly gay service members has been formally retired we are seeing a complete about face. The military is now becoming openly pro-gay, and correspondingly hostile to traditional values, devil take the hindmost. The admission that the uniformed services will now publicly celebrate June as Gay Pride month is merely the froth on the kettle of the new and unimproved military.
...on the question of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” on military readiness and morale, Leon Panetta tells us, “Military leaders have concluded that repeal has had no effect on readiness.” The public is expected to accept this statement at face value! In 2010 the New York Times reported that the DOD had circulated an internal memo warning officers that “They face reprimand or worse if they go outside the official Pentagon review process and publicly advocate maintaining the established policy.” In other words, the highest echelon has decided that this new policy would work. If the new policy did not work everyone would re-read the memo, specifically the section that said the new policy would work. Very few senior officers would risk the ruination of their careers when they realized that the very highest DOD figures had staked their own reputations and futures on a major policy change, no matter how obtuse and wrongheaded that policy night prove in practicality. In addition, the military has reported an alarming 11% increase in sexual assaults over the last three years, including a startling increase of 40% in cases of men sexually assaulting men. If sexual assaults are increasing markedly in the armed services then the military is suffering a breakdown in order and discipline. Still, Leon Panetta, the gay lobby, and the Associated Press insist that “…repeal has not affected morale or readiness.” Yes, just in the same way that King Louis XVI agreed to have himself shortened by a head in 1793.
When the enemies of truth and right attack, the leadership of those attacked must respond forcefully rather than surrender out of self interest.  Our military leadership has abdicated its responsibility to ensure the ability of the troops under them to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic."  The retired JCS Chairman, Admiral Michael Mullen, will have to live with that legacy.

H/T: rutusmc

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Love, Faith, and the Cross

A true story of true love from the Catholic News Agency:
Rome, Italy, Jun 21, 2012 / 04:01 pm (CNA).- Hundreds of Italians gathered at the Church of St. Francisca Romana in Rome on June 16 for the funeral Mass of Chiara Corbella, a young Catholic woman who died after postponing her cancer treatments in order to protect her unborn child.
At 28 years of age, Chiara was happily married to Enrico Petrillo. They had already suffered the loss of two children in recent years who died from birth defects. The couple became popular speakers at pro-life events, in which they shared their testimony about the few minutes they were able to spend with their children, David and Maria, before they died.
Read the whole story by clicking on the link below:

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Acton Institute: New Video on HHS Mandate

From The Acton Institute PowerBlog:
Eric Metaxas and Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse articulate the grave dangers of the Health & Human Services (HHS) Mandate with regard to religious freedom in America.
Eric Metaxas is a public intellectual and author of Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, the thrilling biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. A German theologian in Nazi Germany, Bonhoeffer is remembered for his clandestine efforts to overthrow Hitler and the Nazis in the struggle for human freedom.
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse is an economist. She is the Founder and President of the Ruth Institute, a non-profit focused on promoting the sanctity of marriage as the critical foundation for families, communities, and society.

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More on "A Fortnight for Freedom"

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That's José H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles, the largest archdiocese in the United States.  He wrote this article yesterday on the Blog of First Things.
On June 21, the night before the Catholic Church traditionally remembers the martyrdom of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More at the hands of King Henry VIII, American Catholics will begin a unique two-week vigil of prayer, sacrifice, and public witness for the cause of religious liberty.
The “Fortnight for Freedom” was called by my brothers in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and it will conclude with the ringing of bells in churches all across the country on July 4, the memorial of our country’s independence. The bishops aren’t comparing the conditions of the American church in the early 21st century with that of Catholics persecuted during the English Reformation. We’re blessed in our country with a religious liberty that, sadly, most people in the world today do not enjoy. According to the Pew Center, three out of four people worldwide live in a country where the government doesn’t protect their right to worship and serve the God they believe in. 
This global context puts the Catholic Church’s current conflict with the U.S. government in some perspective. But just because believers today aren’t executed for their beliefs and are free to go to church on Sundays, that doesn’t mean freedom of religion isn’t in jeopardy in America. 
For our country’s founders—and for every American generation until now—freedom of religion has meant much more than the freedom to worship. Freedom of religion has meant the freedom to establish institutions to help us live out our faith and carry out our religious duties. Freedom of religion has meant the freedom to express our faith and values in political debates—and the freedom to try to persuade others to share our convictions. 
The Fortnight for Freedom is not just a "Catholic thing," it's for all who believe that governments should not dictate to citizens in matters of conscience, and that includes the citizens of every country on this planet who believe in religious liberty.  

LifeNews,com published this piece on the subject yesterday:
This August, the HHS regulations that require religious non-profits to provide contraception, abortifacients and sterilization to their employees are scheduled to go into effect.
Since the proposed regulations were announced in February, HHS and its supporters have tried to depict opposition to the regulations as merely a Catholic concern. The issue, they would have us believe, is the Catholic Church’s position on artificial birth control, not the abridgment of religious freedom.
Chuck Colson worked tirelessly to refute this nonsense. In the last few months of his life, he pointed out that the HHS regulations were part of a larger pattern. They were an example of what the Manhattan Declaration calls the “[trampling] upon the freedom…to express [one’s] religious and moral commitments to the sanctity of life and to the dignity of marriage.”
They’re of a piece with “the effort to weaken or eliminate conscience clauses, and therefore to compel pro-life institutions…and pro-life physicians, surgeons, nurses, and other health care professionals, to refer for abortions and, in certain cases, even to perform or participate in abortions.”
On this, the feast day of St. Thomas More, and the very day that St. John Fisher (his feast day is tomorrow) was martyred in 1535 for refusing to acknowledge King Henry VIII as the Supreme Head of the Church in England, it is almost ironic that free people are still having to stand up to governments bent on placing themselves above God.

The War for Religious Freedom in 2012 in on, and, although not initiated by Christians, it will be won by them.

Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini, qui fecit caelum et terram.
¡Viva Cristo Rey!

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EWTN: "Fortnight for Freedom"

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bjørn Lomborg: The Voice of Reason on The Environment

Bjorn Lomborg, the Danish scourge of the environmental wackos, discusses the ongoing U.N. sponsored Environmental Summit, in Rio de Janeiro.
"The thing that blows my mind is that we spend so much money on feeling good," says author and activist Bjorn Lomborg about "feel-good" environmentalist measures like recycling and wind turbines, "I would like us to do stuff that actually works."
The Reason Foundation hosted a conversation with Lomborg and the New York Times' John Tierney at the Museum of Sex in New York City, where they discussed how free trade and innovation could help alleviate the suffering of the third world and improve the environment, if only people could be convinced these "unsexy" ideas were of greater benefit than sorting the glass and plastic in their garbage.
Lomborg, the author of "The Skeptical Environmentalist" and the subject of the documentary film "Cool It," is also the founder and director of the Copenhagen Consensus, a Danish think-tank focused on finding the "the best ways for governments and philanthropists to spend aid and development money."
For more Reason coverage of the Copenhagen Consensus go here:

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Artur Davis on Why He Left the Democrats

From the Heritage Foundation:
Davis served four terms in the House as a Democrat representing the Birmingham area. An early supporter of Barack Obama, he ran for the Democratic nomination for governor of Alabama in 2010, which he lost to then-state agriculture commissioner Ron Sparks.
Two years later, Davis said he is one of many Americans who supported Obama in 2008 but has been disappointed with his job performance and pursuit of a progressive agenda. He announced on his blog last month that he was joining the Republican Party and registering to vote in Virginia, where he now lives.

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Bill Whittle: Rights vs Commodities

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Monday, June 18, 2012

The Most Timely Movie Ever

There has never been a more timely movie than "For Greater Glory."  It's absolutely a must see movie if you believe in religious freedom, and, if you don't believe in religious freedom, you will when you lose it.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Fr. Barron on Being Against Heresy

Fr. Barron, as only he can, explains the difference between the inclusivity of people and the inclusivity of ideas - something neither Kathleen Sebelius nor Maureen Dowd (both Catholics-in-name-only) clearly do not understand.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Obama and the Orange Head

Andrew Klavan, one of the many stars of PJ Media, also writes for City Journal.  That's not him up there, it's simply a symbol brought to mind by his piece in the current edition of City Journal, which you can read in its entirety (it's not long) by clicking the link below.  I'll give you a taste by pasting the very beginning:
No Joke
Of human perversity and oranges for heads
A man walks into a bar. He has an orange for a head. The bartender pours him a drink and says: “So—you want to tell me about it?”
“Well, I was walking on the beach,” says the man with an orange for a head. “I found an old lamp in the sand and took it home. When I polished the lamp, a genie came out and offered me three wishes in return for setting him free. Thinking it was some sort of trick, I offhandedly wished for a million dollars. Instantly, the doorbell rang. A man had arrived to tell me I’d won a mail-order sweepstakes for exactly a million dollars. So I returned to the genie and wished I could have sex with every Playmate of the Month for last year. The doorbell rang again—and all 12 pinup girls came prancing in, at my service. I went back to the genie a third time,” says the man with an orange for a head, “and I think this may have been where I made my mistake.”
“What did you do?” says the bartender.
“I wished to have an orange for a head.”
 Now to give you a hint as to where Klavan was going with that story, here's the last part:
Consider that the earth, as if beneficent, has poured millions of years’ worth of energy into the fossils of its dead creatures, presenting us with the Promethean gift of fuels that elevate us beyond the imaginations of our ancestors. Our response? We nurture a superstitious dread of oil and coal and promulgate pseudoscientific disaster scenarios meant to teach panic and to quench the very fire of our freedom. Or consider, finally, that we were born into the freest, strongest, and wealthiest nation that mankind has ever known—and elected as our president a man who promised to “fundamentally transform” it.
Yes, I think that may have been where we made our mistake. We wished to have an orange for a head.

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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sundays are for Beauty: Jimmy Durante, "I'll Be Seeing You"

Jimmy Durante (1893-1980), who, while in grade school, served as an altar boy at St. Malachy's Catholic Church in New York City, dropped out of school in the eighth grade to become a full-time ragtime pianist, and went on to become one of the best known entertainers in America between 1920 and 1980.

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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Friday, June 1, 2012

Jack Twyman: "That's What Friends Are For."

That's former NBA great, Jack Twyman, visiting his friend, former NBA great, Maurice Stokes many years ago.  Their story is one of the greatest stories rarely told, and if you never heard it, please read this piece at Cincinnati.Com.
Jack Twyman saved Maurice Stokes. That’s who Twyman was. When he was 23 years old and just starting his own career, family and life, Twyman gave himself to a fallen teammate. 
“That’s what friends are for’’ was how Twyman explained it, many years later.
Maurice Stokes died of a heart attack, on April 16, 1970, at the age of 36.  The last twelve years of his life were spent in a wheelchair, and for the most part with the greatest friend anyone could ask for: Jack Twyman.

Jack Twyman died two days ago at the age of 78.  His obituary was published in The Washington Post.

This is from a story today in The New York Times:
Years after his accident, when Stokes had recovered enough finger flexibility to type, his first message was: “Dear Jack, How can I ever thank you?”
And from St. Thomas Aquinas:

"Love is willing the good of the other as other."

H/T: jpa1948

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Obama and The Poles

That's Lech Walesa, the iconic Polish figure second only to Blessed John Paul II in the hearts of Poles during our lifetime.  He who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 "after years of fighting for peace and freedom, and being monitored, harassed, and jailed for it," was shunned by the man who received the same prize in 2009 for reasons not yet determined.

This is Rory Cooper writing today at National Review Online:
According to the Wall Street Journal, Polish officials requested that Walesa accept the Medal of Freedom on behalf of Jan Karski, a member of the Polish Underground during World War II who was being honored posthumously this week. The request makes sense. Walesa and Karski shared a burning desire to rid Poland of tyrannical subjugation. But President Obama said no.         
Administration officials told the Journal that Walesa is too “political.” A man who was arrested by Soviet officials for dissenting against the government for being “political” is being shunned by the United States of America for the same reason 30 years later.
Meanwhile, one of the recipients of the Medal was Dolores Huerta, the honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America. So socialist politics are acceptable, but not the politics of a man who stood up and fought socialism.
Cooper continues:
This revelation follows an eruption of outrage in Poland after President Obama referred in his remarks at the Medal of Freedom ceremony to “Polish death camps,” a phrase that Poles have battled since the end of the Cold War. The phrase suggests that Poles were complicit in Nazi concentration camps, which of course is not the case. In fact, Poles were exterminated in the camps.
The White House’s flippant response to the uproar caused the Polish president and prime minister to demand more thoughtful and personal reactions. But White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday that the president has no plans to reach out to his Polish counterparts and has shrugged off the outrage in Poland.
The message from President Obama is clear: Socialism is good; those who oppose socialism - not so good.

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