Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Memo: Alito Urged Reagan Administration to Challenge Roe v. Wade

From the Washington Post:
Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. was an architect of the Reagan administration's failed 1985 attempt to have the high court consider overruling Roe v. Wade, according to a memo from the period released today.

Alito, then assistant to the solicitor general, urged his boss to use a case before the court to "make clear that we disagree with Roe v. Wade and would welcome the opportunity to brief the issue of whether, and if so to what extent, that decision should be overruled."

In the memo, Alito suggested that the government challenge Roe in an amicus , or friend-of-the-court, brief in an abortion case that itself did not challenge the 1973 decision legalizing abortion. This approach, he wrote, is better than a "frontal assault."

"It has most of the advantages of a brief devoted to the overruling of" Roe , he wrote. "It makes our position clear, does not even tacitly concede Roe 's legitimacy, and signals that we regard the question as live and open."

He added that the approach was "free of many of the disadvantages that would accompany a major effort to overturn Roe . When the court hands down its decision and Roe is not overruled," he reasoned, the decision "will not be portrayed as a stinging rebuke" to the administration.

The amicus brief submitted in Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists did not have Alito's name on it. But it followed his recommendation.

The case stemmed from a Pennsylvania law imposing a variety of restrictions on abortion, including parental notification and requirements that physicians inform women of such matters as the possible availability of child support if they give birth instead of aborting.


Vatican Letter Says Norms On Priesthood Must Be "Faithfully Observed"

It appears that some of the American bishops who are already looking for wiggle room in the Vatican's latest directive regarding ordination of homosexuals forgot to read the cover letter accompanying the document:
VATICAN CITY (CNS) - A cover letter accompanying the Vatican's instruction on homosexuality and the priesthood said the new norms must be "faithfully observed" and taken into account in the drafting or updating of each country's seminary guidelines.

The letter also made clear that, while the text does not apply to those already ordained, priests with homosexual tendencies should not have educational roles in seminaries.

The letter from the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education went out to bishops in early November along with the nine-page instruction. The instruction was made public Nov. 29 but the cover letter was not; Catholic News Service obtained a copy of the letter.

It was signed by Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the education congregation, and by Archbishop J. Michael Miller, congregation secretary.

The Vatican instruction said the church cannot allow priestly ordination of men who are active homosexuals, who have "deep-seated homosexual tendencies" or who support the "gay culture."

The accompanying letter said it should be "clear that the aforementioned norms are to be faithfully observed by all superiors" involved in admission of candidates to the priesthood.

(emphasis added)

Father Neuhaus, writing at the First Things blog "On the Square", has this to say about those who would look for "wiggle room":
Those who would nitpick the instruction into irrelevance raise numerous objections. They say, for instance, that it does not explain the difference between “transitory” and “deep-seated” homosexual tendencies. They should check a dictionary.

A canon lawyer says, “You can slice and dice this thing a thousand different ways.” Only if you are really determined to do so. Others observe that it is issued as a statement of the congregation and not directly by the pope. The fact is that the pope approved the document and ordered its release. There is no doubt about its binding authority.

Father James Martin, a Jesuit, is a more straightforward critic of the instruction. “An honest reading of the document shows that the Vatican is simply banning gays,” he said. “The ‘application’ of the document, even the portion of the document that says that rectors are ultimately responsible for their men, will be meaningless: No emotionally mature gay applicant these days will want to enter.” With respect to the “mature” gay, see the instruction on “delayed adolescence” — or, as it used to be termed in psychiatric circles, arrested adolescence.

Comedy Central's Anti-Catholic Christmas Programming

Fidei Defensor at College Catholic has an excellent post about Dennis Leary's anti-Catholic "Christmas Special" on Comedy Central. Here's a sample of what passes for humor at that network:
I was raised Catholic. We believe Mary was a virgin and Jesus ended up walking on water, creating a bottomless jug of wine and rising from the dead. Oh, yeah, and Tom Cruise is crazy. Listen, Christmas is built on a line of bulls---. Do I believe there was a baby Jesus? You bet your ass I do. But I believe that nine months before he was born someone sure as s--- banged the hell out of his mom.
Real nice.

St. Francis Would Be So Proud: A "Holiday" Scene

If only St. Francis of Assisi had known, when he first popularized the Nativity Scene, what would become of his tradition in today's "modern world":

Courtesy of Zach Brissett at In Toon with the World

Canadian Tribunal: Knights of Columbus Entitled to Deny Lesbian Wedding Reception

Even in getting it right Canada gets it wrong:
Vancouver — The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal ruled yesterday that a Roman Catholic men's group, the Knights of Columbus, was entitled to turn away a lesbian couple who wanted to hold a wedding reception in their facility.

But in a decision that upset both sides in the dispute, the three-member tribunal also decided that the Catholic group had affronted the same-sex couple's dignity, feelings and self-respect, and that it should pay $2,000 to the two women to compensate for their injuries.

The tribunal upheld the religious freedom of the Knights of Columbus while reinforcing protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

(emphasis added)

My Comments:
Hey Catholics, you're allowed to practice your religious beliefs regarding homosexuality, just so long as you pay this "human rights" tribute in order to be entitled to do so. After all, we can't have you "affronting the dignity" of homosexuals.

In the Islamic world, this is known as "dhimmitude". Christians are allowed to practice their religion, but must pay tribute in order to do so. After all, Islam can't allow those Christians to "affront the dignity" of Allah and his prophet Mohammed.

A Reasonable Religion - How Christianity Changed Politics, Economics, and Much Besides

Marvin Olasky conducts an interesting interview with Baylor University professor and author Rodney Stark on "how Christianity changed politics, economics, and much besides" in World Magazine. Here's an excerpt:
Rodney Stark's latest book, The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success (Random House, 2005), is scheduled for publication next Tuesday. It's a useful corrective for folks in Austin, Boston, and other blue spots who think of Christianity and rationalism as opposite historical forces and philosophical concepts. The veteran Baylor professor discussed with WORLD how the Christian sense of progress led to political, technological, and economic advances.

WORLD: How is Christianity unique in emphasizing the idea of progress?

STARK: The other great faiths either taught that the world is locked in endless cycles or that it is inevitably declining from a previous Golden Age. Only Christians believed that God's gift of reason made progress inevitable—theological as well as technical progress. Thus, Augustine (ca. 354-430) flatly asserted that through the application of reason we will gain an increasingly more accurate understanding of God, remarking that although there were "certain matters pertaining to the doctrine of salvation that we cannot yet grasp . . . one day we shall be able to do so."

Nor was the Christian belief in progress limited to theology. Augustine went on at length about the "wonderful—one might say stupefying—advances human industry has made" and attributed all this to the "unspeakable boon" that God has conferred upon His creation, a "rational nature." These views were repeated again and again through the centuries. Especially typical were these words preached by Fra Giordano in Florence in 1306: "Not all the arts have been found; we shall never see an end to finding them."

WORLD: But a lot of us learned that Europe fell into the "Dark Ages." How did that historical understanding originate, and what's wrong with it?

STARK: The Dark Ages have finally been recognized as a hoax perpetrated by anti-religious and bitterly anti-Catholic, 18th-century intellectuals who were determined to assert their cultural superiority and who boosted their claim by denigrating the Christian past—as Gibbon put it in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, after Rome came the "triumph of barbarism and religion." In the past few years even encyclopedias and dictionaries have begun to acknowledge that it was all a lie, that the Dark Ages never were. This always should have been obvious since by the end of the so-called Dark Ages, European science and technology had far exceeded that of Rome and Greece, and all the rest of the world, for that matter.


Liberals Can't Solidify Alito Opposition

From the Associated Press (via Yahoo):
WASHINGTON - So far this year, the civil rights and women's groups opposed to President Bush's conservative court nominees have been rebuffed, rebuked and rejected. And that's just by Senate Democrats.

Now, in the early stages of the most momentous Supreme Court nomination struggle in nearly 15 years, these organizations seek Democratic cohesiveness and then hope to enlist enough Republicans to keep Judge Samuel Alito from taking the swing seat held by Sandra Day O'Connor. It won't be easy.

"I do think it's winnable. I think that the more Americans know about Alito's record, they will be extremely fearful of his confirmation," says Nan Aron, president of the Alliance For Justice, an association of environmental, civil rights, mental health, women's, children's and consumer advocacy organizations.

"These are very different circumstances" from John Roberts' nomination as chief justice, says Wade Henderson, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.

Ralph Neas, president of People For the American Way, adds, "We welcome the opportunity to clarify the differences between the right wing ... and the overwhelming majority of the American people."

With two months before an expected vote on Alito, the groups are deploying organizers to key states and raising money for a television campaign. There is no minimizing the magnitude of the task: Republicans hold 55 of the 100 seats in the Senate, and Progress for America, an organization with close ties to the White House, is waging a strong campaign on behalf of Alito.

Add to that the recent show of political muscle by conservative groups who forced Harriet Miers to withdraw her nomination, and now back Alito. When it comes to the courts, Aron, Henderson, Neas and their allies have no comparable trophy after a year in which they all have differed with the Democratic leadership.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, chairman of the Senate Democrats' campaign committee, underscored their political objectives recently to Henderson and other representatives of groups opposed to Alito's nomination.

In a private session, Reid and Schumer urged the groups to show restraint when lobbying Democrats from states that Bush won in 2004 — senators from Nebraska, Arkansas, the Dakotas and elsewhere who probably will be the most tempted to support the appointment. Officials who described the session did so on condition of anonymity, citing the confidential nature of the conversation.

Aron made her disagreement plain. "We don't want a deal. We have worked too hard, since we see these nominees as really extreme," she said ...


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Neigborhood Association: "Away With the Manger"

A Michigan subdivision is telling one family to get baby Jesus off their lawn:

NOVI - The multicolored nativity scene on the Samona family's front yard is under attack.

The Samonas' neighborhood association has ordered the Novi family to remove its seven-piece plastic display or face possible fines of $25 to $100 per week.

The family isn't budging and neither are its three wise men. The Samonas have vowed not only to keep the display, but also are threatening to enhance it."If you take this out, it's not Christmas anymore," said Joe Samona, 16, as he reached down and scooped baby Jesus from the creche on his parents' front lawn.

A letter sent by the association to the Samonas has brought to their front yard the nation's latest skirmish over just how and where the Christianity of Christmas should be on display.

Already this year, religious groups have taken aim at retail giants such as Wal-Mart and Target for replacing Christmas with fuzzier "holiday" greetings, to say nothing of the annual battles over local governments building nativity scenes in the public square.

Last week, Joe's parents, Betty and Frank Samona, received a notice from the community association that sets regulations in their upscale Tollgate Woods subdivision. It said the family may be violating rules that prohibit lawn ornaments, statues or outdoor art from being placed on the lot without prior approval of the board of directors.

Then it simply says: "Please remove the nativity scene display from your front yard."

"Please remove your nativity scene? That's the part that disturbs us. We have the lion (statue) and the Santa and Mrs. Claus and they specifically point out the nativity scene? That's ridiculous. We refuse to take it down," [Samona] said.
My Comments:
"The War on Christmas" continues.

It should be noted that the subdivision did NOT tell the Samona family to remove the other lawn decorations, such as Santa and Mrs. Claus. Only the Nativity scene was ordered removed. The association should lose in court on that basis - the selective and completely subjective (not to mention discriminatory) enforcement of its rules.

Also, this family is an Iraqi-Christian family. Imagine escaping Saddam's Iraq and coming to America only to be told that you don't enjoy the freedom to celebrate your religious holidays according to your customs and traditions (as if putting up a Nativity scene is somehow a strange custom in the U.S.A., but that's almost how it's treated in this story).

Virginia's Democrat Governor Pressured to Halt Execution

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

The mother of Clayton Dicks, whose murder could lead to the execution of Robin Lovitt tomorrow night, will not attend.

But Mary Dicks, an 84-year-old Washington resident, thinks the execution should be carried out.

Lovitt was sentenced to die for stabbing Clayton Dicks to death during a robbery at an Arlington County pool hall in 1998. A clemency petition asking that Lovitt's life be spared is before Gov. Mark R. Warner.

"I don't want to see [anybody] getting killed," Mary Dicks said. But, she added, the death penalty is appropriate for Lovitt. "That's what Clayton got, didn't he? He was at his job and he got executed."

She said she learned of the murder while she was working at a housekeeping job in Maryland.

Lovitt "was trying to take what he could get, so he deserves it," she said.

Meanwhile, anti-death-penalty activists may engage in civil disobedience outside the prison
[ED: nice company you've placed yourselves in, there, Bishops Loverde and DiLorenzo] should the execution of Lovitt proceed, said Jack Payden-Travers, director of Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

The execution has gained attention around the world. It could be the 1,000th in the U.S. since the death penalty was allowed to resume by the Supreme Court in 1976
[ED: Only 1000? In 30 years, only 1000? How many more have been convicted of capital murder and sentenced to die in that time?].
My Comments:
Back in January, I attended the Virginia Catholic Conference's annual "Legislative Advocacy Day" at the General Assembly in Richmond. It's the last time I'll ever attend something like that. Since January, my email has been bombarded with anti-death penalty crap coming from the Virginia Catholic Conference and various other "Catholic" anti-death penalty groups (to whom, I suppose, the VCC felt at liberty to provide my email address).

In the meantime, Virginia had a gubernatorial election in which a "pro-choice Catholic" (you know the schtick - "personally opposed, but ...") Democrat promised that if elected he would veto any anti-abortion legislation that crossed his desk. And I received not a single email from the VCC regarding what the Church really teaches about abortion, and the obligation of Catholic politicians and voters to follow that teaching when it comes to public policymaking. Of course, the pro-abort "Catholic" was elected with, I'm sure, a majority of Catholic voters supporting him.

In short, the Catholic Bishops of Arlington and Richmond, having thus far done a piss-poor job of educating their flocks regarding the Church's teaching on the non-negotiable issue of abortion, have decided to apply the full-court press with regard to the Church's prudential teaching on the death penalty.

Pastor Accused of Hate Speech Acquitted

Rather surprising news from "post-Christian" (i.e. anti-Christian) Europe:
STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) - Sweden's highest court on Tuesday acquitted a Pentecostal pastor accused of hate speech for having denounced homosexuality as a "cancerous tumor" in a sermon.

Ake Green's contentious sermon in 2003 was protected by freedom of speech and religion under the European Convention on Human Rights, the Supreme Court said in a 16-page ruling.

Green, 64, became the first clergyman convicted under Sweden's hate crimes legislation, when a lower court found him guilty of inciting hatred against homosexuals. An appeals court overturned the ruling earlier this year, but Sweden's chief prosecutor appealed the acquittal to the Supreme Court.
My Comments:
Good thing this guy doesn't live in Canada.

Poll: 70% of Americans Back Abortion Parental Notification Laws

From LifeSiteNews:
WASHINGTON, November 28, 2005 ( – As the New Hampshire Attorney General gets ready to defend a challenge of the state’s parental notification law at the US Supreme Court, a recent poll has found almost 70% of Americans support the measure.

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll conducted earlier this month found 69% of 1,006 adults questioned favored parental consent before a minor child’s abortion, with 28% of respondents opposed. The poll also found that 64% were in favor of spousal notification before abortion, while 34% opposed spousal notification. Although the majority of respondents opposed an all-out constitutional ban on abortion, more than three-fourths were in favor of tighter restrictions on abortion.

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England successfully challenged New Hampshire’s parental notification law in 2000, when a 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston ruled the law unconstitutional because it did not have an exception for the so-called “health” of the mother.

The Supreme Court upheld a similar challenge to the Minnesota parental notification law in 1990, although in 2000 the high court ruled the partial-birth abortion ban unconstitutional because it did not include an exception for the health of the mother. The exception for ‘health’ has proven to be a wide open door for abortion on demand at any stage of pregnancy, with the term ‘health’ being interpreted so broadly as to make it effectively meaningless.


Vatican Restricts Gays in Catholic Priesthood

From Reuters (via Yahoo):
In the first major ruling of Pope Benedict's reign, the Vatican on Tuesday imposed restrictions on homosexuals entering the Catholic priesthood, saying men must first overcome any "transitory" gay tendencies.

The ruling came in a long-awaited eight-page document that has already sparked controversy after widespread leaks in the past few weeks.

Its strict line on the place of gays in the clergy has won praise from conservatives and condemnation from liberals, and set off heated debate beyond the Catholic Church by confronting an issue that has divided Christian congregations worldwide.

The document says practising homosexuals should be barred from entering the priesthood along with men with "deep-seated" homosexual tendencies and those who support gay culture.

The "instruction" by the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education makes a distinction between deep-seated homosexual tendencies and "the expression of a transitory problem."

It says homosexual tendencies must be clearly overcome at least three years before admission to the deaconate, a position one step short of the priesthood which usually precedes ordination by about a year.

The document, released some seven months after Pope Benedict was elected, reinforces standing policy that many in the Church believe has not been properly enforced.

(emphasis added)
My Comments:
I cannot comment on this story without at least giving a tip of the hat to my friend Rick Lugari for noting that "one thing is for sure; whoever thought of using the term 'deep-seated' above all the other possibilities must have a good sense of humor."

Monday, November 28, 2005

Father Neuhaus on "The Catholic Politician"

If any readers in New York City are interested and have time, Father Richard John Neuhaus is scheduled to speak tonight on “The Catholic Politician” at 7:15 p.m., at the Church of St. Thomas More, 65 East 89th Street in Manhattan.

Admission is free.

Thanks For Your Prayers

A couple of months ago, I posted about my sister-in-law's being diagnosed with colon cancer. At that time, I requested your prayers for this young mother of 3 small children. Many of you expressed your support, and at least one friend posted a request for prayers at his blog. There may have been others as well. Thank you all.

Today, my mother sent out the following news in an email that went to probably everyone she knows (I actually got the news from her on Thanksgiving):
Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Jeff called Thanksgiving morning to tell us that the doctor could not see anything left of Jennifer's tumor. To God be the glory. We are so blessed and thrilled. She will have to undergo another colonoscopy on the 6th of December. The doctors are covering all the bases. Jeff mentioned the possibility of surgery after Christmas, but I do not know, at this time, if the procedure is set in stone and what exactly will be done. I will let you know when I get the information so you can pray specifically. Please continue to lift them up. We are so grateful for your fervent prayers and support. Thank you so much.
(emphasis added)

Once again, thanks to all those who remembered my sister-in-law in their prayers. Please continue to pray for her that the doctors will find no cancer cells when they perform a colonoscopy next week.

"Pro-Choice" Fetus

The latest from In Toon with the World:

Courtesy of Zach Brissett

Rainy Days and Mondays ... And Puking Toddlers

You may have noticed a sudden flurry of posts following my Thanksgiving hiatus and wondered "Doesn't Jay have any work to do?".

Well, it's bad enough to have to go back to work on a Monday following a 4-day weekend. But to make matters worse, today is an ugly, bleak, rainy day. Nevertheless, our family got into the car and left (a little late) for daycare, preschool and work (only 2 more weeks and this routine will be a thing of the past).

Our ride to work was an usually long one today, as the rush-hour traffic was particularly heavy - due to the rain and our late start I suppose. We finally got within 200 feet of my youngest son's babysitter's house, when my youngest decided to regurgitate all of the food he had consumed over the Thanksgiving weekend.

At any rate, I'm playing Daddy today to a sick child who finally laid down for a nap, which has allowed me to catch up on some blogging.

Sort of a slow news day today, however.

Benedict XVI: Catholic Universities Should Frame Counter-Cultural Philosophy

From Catholic World News:
Rome, Nov. 25 ( - Pope Benedict XVI urged Catholic academic leaders to counteract the secularizing trends of contemporary philosophy, as he presided at ceremonies opening the academic year at Rome's University of the Sacred Heart.

At a Catholic university, the Holy Father said, faith and reason should work in a close partnership. This approach, he said, stands in sharp contrast to "important elements of modern philosophy," in which reason is strictly separated from questions of faith. The unfortunate results of that approach, he said can be seen when "the fundamental questions facing man-- how to live and how to die-- seem to be excluded from the realm of rationality and are left to that of subjectivity."
My Comments:
I'm sure the major "Catholic" universities in the U.S. will file the Pope's recent remarks in the same circular filing cabinet where they placed the late John Paul II's Ex Corde Ecclesiae.

Advent Reminds Christians They Must Renew World, Says Pope

From Catholic News Service:
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The joy that marks Christians' preparation for Christmas and the hope with which they look toward the establishment of God's kingdom of peace and justice are attitudes that must be communicated to others, Pope Benedict XVI said.

"Advent is the time when Christians must reawaken in their hearts the hope of being able to renew the world with the help of God," the pope said Nov. 27 during his midday Angelus address.

While Christians know that "the new heavens and new earth" promised for the end of time will be created by God, they also know they must cooperate today in building the kingdom of justice and peace, the pope said.

Laura Ingraham Wonders: "Gwyneth or Phyllis?"

GWYNETH OR PHYLLIS? IT'S HARD TO TELL: Superstar Gwyneth Paltrow, rumored to be pregnant with her second child, recently spoke out about Hollywood actresses who put off motherhood for the limelight. "I sort of look at some peers of mine and I think, 'No, you've got it all wrong.' I just want to tell them all to have babies and be happy and not get sucked into that Hollywood thing." Conservative pioneer Phyllis Schlafley has been saying essentially the same thing for decades, and is usually pilloried for it.

Chunk of Marble Falls Off of Supreme Court Building

The Supreme Court is literally falling apart:
WASHINGTON - A large chunk of marble has fallen from the facade of the Supreme Court building.
Eyewitnesses on the scene say no one was injured when the large piece fell onto the steps where tourists normally enter the Supreme Court.

The large piece of marble fell from the building's facade above the words, "Equal Justice Under Law," just before 10 a.m.

The basketball-sized piece of marble landed on the steps near visitors waiting to enter the building.
My Comments:
A physical manifestation of what's been happening to the American judicial system for over half a century.

Alito Debate Turns to Rulings on Religion

Looks like the Dems and their leftist allies didn't quite get the message in the 2004 elections:

Though abortion has dominated the early politicking over Samuel Alito's Supreme Court nomination, another hot-button issue - religion - has cheered conservatives and worried liberals.

In his 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rulings, Alito has shown a deference toward religious interests that some liberal groups think has allowed unwarranted government support for faith. Supporters portray him as a champion for the right to religious expression under the Constitution.

Oddly, both sides in the debate say they're defending religious liberty.

The Alliance for Justice says that as a federal appeals judge, Alito has "tried to weaken church-state separation." Meanwhile, Bruce Hausknecht of the conservative Focus on the Family finds Alito "very supportive" of free speech, a point made in White House talking points.

Hausknecht cites, for instance, Alito opinions that allowed Child Evangelism Fellowship to provide information on after-school meetings on the same terms as secular groups, and that saw violation of a kindergartner's rights when a school removed his Thanksgiving poster that was thankful for Jesus.

There are long-running and contentious debates over the Constitution's requirement that Congress - and by extension all government - "shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

My Comments:
Dear Democrats,

Please, please, please turn the Alito confirmation hearings into a referendum on the role of faith and religion in the American public square.


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Scalia Schools Stuart Smalley

I know I said light blogging until Monday, but this was too good to pass up:
Al Franken stepped out of his comfortable echo-chamber of Air America on Monday night and was given more than one lesson by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The C-List political commentator attempted to rip off a sophomoric shot at Justice Scalia, but was quickly embarrassed, according to a report in the NY Post.

Franken, apparently unaware of exactly how far he was stepping up in class, was chided "as if he were a delinquent schoolboy at Time Warner Center on Monday night, " Richard Johnson of Page Six writes.

Johnson reports:

When (Time Inc. editor-in-chief Norman) Pearlstine opened the floor for Q&A, Franken stood up in the back row and started talking about "judicial demeanor" and asking "hypothetically" about whether a judge should recuse himself if he had gone duck-hunting or flown in a private jet with a party in a case before his court.

Franken was clumsily referring to the fact that Scalia had gone hunting and flying with Dick Cheney before the 2000 election.

First, Scalia lectured Franken, "Demeanor is the wrong word. You mean ethics." Then he explained, "Ethics is governed by tradition. It has never been the case where you recuse because of friendship."

Time Warner chairman Dick Parsons later told PAGE SIX: "Al was not quite ready for prime time." Franken was a "Not Ready for Prime Time Player" on "Saturday Night Live" long before he began hosting a radio show on Air America.
My Comments:

Hey, Stuart! You're not good enough, you're not smart enough, and, by golly, people see you for the complete idiot that you are.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Blogging will be light throughout the Thanksgiving weekend. I hope to be back in the swing of things next Monday. In the meantime, go check out all the Thanksgiving postings at Recta Ratio.

And even though I am a Virginian for only a couple more weeks, I would be an awfully poor Virginian if I didn't point out that the first official Thanksgiving in America actually took place right here in Virginia in 1619, at Berkeley Plantation - a full year before the Pilgrims even landed at Plymouth, and 2 years before the Pilgrims' more famous Thanksgiving celebration.

Here is a short history of that event, which appears on a commemorative marker at Berkeley Plantation:
They Gave Thanks for their Safe Arrival in the New World

The first Thanksgiving occurred when Captain John Woodlief led the newly arrived English colonists to a grassy slope along the James River and instructed them to drop to their knees and pray in thanks for a safe arrival to the New World.

On this day, Dec. 4, 1619, these 38 men from Berkeley Parish in England were given the instructions:

"Wee ordaine that the day of our ships arrivall at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually keept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God."
Commonwealth of Virginia prosecutor Tom McKenna also points out Virginia's oft-forgotten historic first over at his blog Seeking Justice (formerly Confutatis Maledictis).

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

"Narnia" Film May Signal Greater Acceptance of Faith-Themed Movies

From Catholic News Service:
PLANO, Texas (CNS) -- The Dec. 9 release of "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," the potential Christmas blockbuster based on a novel by Christian writer C.S. Lewis, may signal Hollywood is focusing more on audiences for whom religion is important.

David DiCerto, a movie reviewer for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said he has noticed a greater number of movies being targeted toward Christian audiences.

This can be seen as "an economic byproduct of the success of 'The Passion of the Christ,'" he said.

With Mel Gibson's film grossing more than $400 million in worldwide box office proceeds, according to an Associated Press report, Christian audiences are establishing themselves as a lucrative market for Hollywood producers. Grass-roots evangelical campaigns are starting to grow around religious-themed movies being released.

In October, Stonebriar Community Church in Plano hosted about 300 moviegoers excited to get a sneak peek of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." Attendees were selected as local faith leaders. The event was one of 140 held across the United States by Motive Entertainment, which also conducted similar events for the "The Passion."

The event at Stonebriar was billed as an "exclusive experience for leaders of faith in the community." It was attended by Michael Flaherty, president of Walden Media, the Narnia film production company, and Doug Gresham, co-producer of the film and stepson of Lewis.

For Flaherty and Walden Media, attending the outreach-oriented sneak peek was just one part of promoting the movie.

"We're willing to talk to almost all audiences that want to hear about the movies we make," he told the Texas Catholic, newspaper of the Diocese of Dallas. "People seem to be interested that we're going to churches to promote this movie, but we're also going to schools, libraries, Boy Scout and Girl Scout groups. We're going everywhere."

Once inside the event, the audience was treated to a range of Narnia-related sights and sounds. They saw exclusive clips of the film and heard Grammy-winning Christian musician Steven Curtis Chapman performing songs from the "Inspired By" Narnia album. Audience members also received free material describing how the "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" can be incorporated into local outreach activities.

"What I found interesting was the number of important figures from Disney and Walden Media that were there to court the Christian market," said John Reis, national accounts director of Good News Advertising, a Dallas-based company. Good News Advertising was hired to put "Narnia" advertisements in 64 Christian newspapers nationwide, including 46 Catholic newspapers.

"The sneak peek gave me the sense that they realize the viability of the Christian market," Reis said.

My Comments:
Sarah and I almost NEVER go to the movies because we can't stand the way Hollywood constantly insults our moral and political values. In the last 5 years, I've seen 4 movies in the theaters, consisting of "The Passion of the Christ" and the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

That being said, we can hardly wait to see this movie. Here's hoping that Hollywood produces more fare like "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe".

Legal Panel: Roe v. Wade Not "Super-Duper Precedent"

From Cybercast News Service:
( - A panel of conservative and libertarian lawyers Monday dismissed the concept that the Roe v. Wade decision is a "super-duper precedent" that should not be re-examined even if Judge Samuel Alito sits on the U.S. Supreme Court.

"I think it's ridiculous for anybody to say that there is some 'super-duper precedent' in Roe v. Wade that is absolutely inviolate," Janet LaRue, chief counsel with Concerned Women for America, said during the discussion, which focused on "Conservative Perspectives on the Alito Nomination."

The Supreme Court "does and should consider its precedents very seriously because we do need stability and predictability in the law," she stated. "However, the truth is that the Supreme Court has reversed itself on numerous occasions."

LaRue pointed to the Brown v. Board of Education desegregation ruling, "when the Supreme Court came to its senses and finally recognized that the very text of the 14th Amendment should make it clear to anybody who can read that separate isn't equal." LaRue said that decision overruled a precedent which had been in place for nearly 60 years.

"Precedent is not as settled as the left would have us believe, especially if they poured the concrete," LaRue added. "It depends on the issue and the court," though LaRue said she considers Roe v. Wade "an embarrassment to the Constitution."

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, who served as moderator of the event, noted that the concept of Roe v. Wade as a 'super-duper precedent' was first articulated by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) during his questioning of John Roberts, who was then President Bush's nominee for chief justice of the Supreme Court.

Manuel Miranda, chairman of the Third Branch Conference, a coalition of more than 200 judicial watchdog organizations, said the Supreme Court has made "super-duper errors" that were later reversed.

"The notion of a 'super-duper precedent' suggests that some precedents work their way into other decisions so that when you go after that precedent, you end up moving the foundation of a series of decisions," Miranda said. "It doesn't mean you have to abide by the same error that created so many problems.

"It's not just that Roe was a bad decision, but ultimately, the peace that was supposed to arrive when everyone settled down and accepted this decision has never come," he added.

Instead, the issue of abortion "has contaminated the entire political process, contaminated the entire federal judicial process, even contaminated the nomination of an assistant secretary of state to Foggy Bottom," Miranda said. "All these things are now influenced by a person's views on abortion."

Roger Pilon, vice president for legal affairs at the libertarian Cato Institute, noted that liberals' respect for precedent is fairly recent: "Now that they have jiggered the Constitution into a shape of their liking, they're all for" letting earlier decisions stand.

"This is purely disingenuous," Pilon said, although he said he expects to hear Democratic senators state that position again and again during the Alito confirmation process.

Miranda said he expects liberals to spend a great deal of time in the hearings discussing the letter Alito wrote in 1985 that stated he did not believe the Constitution protected a right to abortion.

"I view the 1985 statement and how he's handling it a little bit like I view my marriage," Miranda added. "I learned when I got married that my personal views really don't matter much. That's how a judge approaches a decision as well. His personal views don't matter much."

Fitton said he's come to the conclusion that the hearings don't matter much, either.
"I'm beginning to think the only useful thing about the confirmation process is the FBI background check," Fitton said. "At least that assures us that the nominee is ethical and of good character."

"Hearings of the kind we have are a new phenomenon," Pilon said. "Through most of our history, the president sent the name of his nominee up to Capitol Hill and, in some cases, the person was voted on that very day.

"That was all there was to it because they understood the difference between politics and law," Pilon added. "We have lost that distinction."
My Comments:
Just like I seem to have missed that part of the Constitution that mentions abortion, I must have been sleeping during that part of my Con Law class where they discussed "super-duper" precedents.

Perhaps it's a concept borrowed from Scottish law, huh Arlen?

Monday, November 21, 2005

San Antonio Archbishop: Many Catholic Politicians Misunderstand Their Faith

From Catholic News Agency:
San Antonio, TX, Nov. 21, 2005 (CNA) - During the International Congress on Churches, the Lay State and Society, Archbishop Jose Gomez of San Antonio, Texas said most Catholic politicians in the United States have fallen into "a distorted understanding of what their faith is."

During a speech on Catholics and public life in the US, Archbishop Gomez noted that "today 70% of politicians who claim to be Catholic in Congress and the Senate support abortion, and that figure reaches almost 90% in traditional Catholic states such as Massachusetts or New York."

Many Catholic politicians, inspired by the interpretation of some influential theologians, consider all the teachings of the Church to be on equal footing. "They respect ‘a large part’ of that doctrine, especially in social matters, but they disagree on issues such as abortion, euthanasia and homosexual unions. According to them, they adhere to a ‘large part’ and say they are adhering to it all."

This understanding, the archbishop pointed out, has led to "curious anomalies, such as a ‘Catholicity’ survey carried out by one Catholic senator among his colleagues in 2003 which showed that this senator and another were the ‘most Catholic’ of the Senate, despite having voting voted 100 out 100 times in support of abortion, euthanasia, homosexual unions and experimentation with embryonic stem cells."

An example of such a situation was the presidential candidacy of John Kerry. Kerry claimed to be Catholic yet openly supported abortion.

As a result, many Catholics looked to their bishops and priests for guidance. "It was necessary for the bishops of the United States to take some time to reflect on this matter, which was what took place in Denver, Colorado, last year, with the support of a letter sent by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith," said Archbishop Gomez.

"The Church teaches that abortion is a grave sin and that not all moral issues have the same weight as the interruption of the life of the unborn or euthanasia," the archbishop continued. "If some candidate campaigns for and supports laws that allow abortion and euthanasia, his pastor should meet with him, instruct him in the teachings of the Church and inform him that he should not present himself for Communion until he puts an end to the state of sin in which he finds himself," Archbishop Gomez said in conclusion.

(emphasis added)
My Comments:
Dear Lord, please send us more Bishops just like Archbishop Gomez.

Catholic League: Open Letter to Catholic Lawmakers

Today, the Catholic League issued the following press release:
November 21, 2005


Dear Catholic Members of Congress:

On December 2, the Center for Policy Alternatives is holding its annual Summit on the States at the Capital Hilton. Included in this year’s program is a meeting hosted by Catholics for a Free Choice (CFFC) titled, “Progressive, Pro-choice and Catholic—An Endangered Species?” The strategy session is expected to include presentations from Catholic pro-choice members of Congress.

CFFC is not simply an abortion-rights group—it is a profoundly anti-Catholic organization. That is why the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has twice voted to condemn CFFC as a fraud. CFFC’s president, Frances Kissling, has even gone so far as to say that her goal is to “overthrow” the Catholic Church.

My reason for writing is plain: any Catholic who consorts with CFFC is no friend of the Catholic Church. Accordingly, I urge all of you not to attend this session. In the event you decide to be a part of Kissling’s session, I can assure you that I will give your presence at this event free publicity: your constituents need to know who their leaders really are.


William A. Donohue, Ph.D.

Federalism May Offer Abortion Solution

From Radley Balko writing at
When the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito begin in January, much of the debate will focus on the issue of abortion.

Alito has been nominated to replace Sandra Day O'Connor, one of the six justices who reliably voted to uphold Roe v. Wade. It's unfortunate that abortion will dominate so much of the discussion about Alito. It's unlikely that a case offering the opportunity to undo Roe will come before the Supreme Court any time soon, and even if it should, Alito's confirmation would put the unofficial Supreme Court abortion scorecard at 5-4, enough to keep Roe intact. The abortion debate obscures more pressing issues far more likely to come before the Court.

Nevertheless, because abortion will be front and center, I'd like to offer an approach to the issue that will probably elicit reservations on both sides of the debate, but one I think is fair, grounded in the reality of contemporary politics and, most importantly, loyal to the Constitution.

The best solution is robust federalism. Forgo Roe, and let each state set its own policies on abortion. Those for whom abortion is an important fundamental right can live in areas where abortions are widely available. Those adamantly opposed to any and all abortions can live in jurisdictions that ban the procedure. People like me could live in communities where our tax dollars won't be funding abortions.

Contrary to claims from abortion-rights advocates, overturning Roe wouldn't make abortion illegal. In fact, it wouldn't change much at all. Abortions are already difficult, if not impossible, to obtain in many communities. This is in part because of the restrictions the Supreme Court has allowed states to impose after Roe, but also simply because there are not always doctors willing to perform them. But even under a Roe reversal, states would still be free to make their own laws pertaining to the procedure in ways that align with their own values.

Federalism allows people with divergent beliefs to hold on to those beliefs, but at a minimal cost to those who disagree. In today's mobile society, a politic more amenable to your values and beliefs could be but a tank of gas away.

My Comments:
I strongly disagree with some of the sentiments expressed in this piece, but I do think the writer is correct that, at least in the short term, Federalism is the best solution to the abortion debate.

The abominable Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood should be overturned, and the abortion issue returned to the states where the people can have a voice on the matter via their democratically elected representatives.

Judge Alito's Fans and Foes Localize the Debate

From the New York Slimes:
Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. may not be a household name outside the nation's capital, but as senators return home for the Thanksgiving recess, interest groups on both sides of the battle over his Supreme Court nomination are doing everything they can to bring it up in far-flung places.

On Sunday, parishioners at the predominantly black Greater New Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Detroit found attacks on Judge Alito's civil rights record tucked into their church bulletin, courtesy of People for the American Way. The group is distributing 15,000 fliers to African-American churches in 12 states.
My Comments:
Why are predominantly black churches allowed to get away with such blatantly political activity? And just look who's sponsoring this church bulletin initiative - People for the unAmerican Way.

You know darn well that People for the unAmerican Way would be up in arms and on the phone to the IRS if, say, the Catholic League, Fidelis, the Knights of Columbus, or the American Life League were placing pro-Alito propaganda in Catholic parish bulletins across the nation.

"Mummy, I Want To Be a Porn Star"

The Sunday Times of London reports that "pornography is becoming so acceptable in Britain that even teenage girls see it as a career":
"Imagine if Starbucks offered a shot of alcohol with your morning coffee. Then there was beer in the office and at lunchtime we all automatically ordered a bottle of wine rather than sparkling water. If alcohol were that available we’d all start drinking more and any stigma would gradually disappear. And that’s how things are developing with porn." So says Pamela Paul, the American author of Pornified: How Pornography is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships and Our Families.

Paul has been looking into the effects of pornography on society and her investigation seems incredibly timely. While Britons may lag behind their European counterparts in education and living standards, it was revealed last week that the UK has become the porn capital of Europe, with access to 27 porn television channels. Germany, our nearest rival, has just five.

With so much material around, porn imagery has naturally crossed into the mainstream. It can now be found at children’s eye level on many supermarket newsstands (in magazines such as Nuts and Zoo), and in advertising (last year, for instance, a stereo system was promoted with a woman bound head to foot in black vinyl tape).

It’s there in the lyrics of Christina Aguilera, the styling of Britney Spears and even the poses of mannequins in Madame Tussaud’s (where a waxwork of Kylie Minogue depicts her on all fours with her bottom poking into the air).

So it is not surprising that Paul’s research flags up some shocking findings, including the appeal of porn’s "glamour" image to young girls.

"I found pre-teen girls who were putting pictures of porn stars on their personal web pages and providing links to porn websites," she says. "I learnt about them through a porn actress who’d published a bestselling autobiography and was surprised when pre-teen girls showed up at signings. They said they saw her as a positive icon."

My Comments:
Not to diminish our own obscenity issues here in the U.S., but do you mean to tell me that porn is a problem in a country where one of the most popular daily newspapers carries a naked woman every day on its "Page 3"?

Planned Parenthood Website: "Boys Will Be Girls"

From Cybercast News Service:
( - The Planned Parenthood of America website is promoting a book about a transgender teenager that's about to come out in paperback. Luna, a novel by Julie Ann Peters, tells the story of a high school senior named Liam who is "profoundly unhappy in his own skin" because his "true self is female." In promoting the novel, Planned Parenthood also discusses the plight of real-life transgender youth, who often face violence and/or intolerance. As the website says, "[I]t would be grossly overstating things to say that our society accepts or understands gender difference beyond the rigid binary of female or male."
My Comments:
No, Planned Parenthood doesn't have an extreme left anti-family agenda. They're only interested in helping parents plan their families responsibly.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Drat You Meddling Holy Fool! Tagged Again!

Seems I have been tagged once again by another of these unholy memes that sucks up what little blogging time I have available. And once again, that Holy Fool has his fingerprints all over this one - this time tagging me with a meme asking to know "MY TOP TEN GREATEST INFLUENCES, OUTSIDE OF GOD AND MY FAMILY MEMBERS!"

I suppose I should comply, if for no other reason that to give props to the wonderful people who have helped shape my life. This is my top 10 list, in no particular order:
(1) Reisor Pickett - My best friend since 3rd grade. He's stuck with me through thick and thin, and we've been through quite a lot together. Since I'm supposed to exclude family members from this list, I should probably exclude him, since he has been more than a brother to me for almost 30 years.

(2) Dr. Andrew Arterbury - My closest friend during my college years at Baylor University, Andy was ordained a Baptist minister while he was still in high school, and is currently a professor of Religion at Baylor's Truitt Seminary. While we were students at Baylor, Andy was the person who lived the example that showed me that being a good Christian was an everyday vocation, not just a matter for Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday night prayer meeting.

(3) Mr. James L. Golden - My high school debate/speech/drama teacher, Mr. Golden is the man single-handedly responsible for turning me into the self-assured, opinionated, argumentative S.O.B. I am today. In all seriousness, they don't make teachers like this anymore - he was Socrates to me, and, indeed, incorporated the Socratic Method as part of his daily instruction. This man taught me how to think, how to reason, how to look at all sides of an issue, how to come to an informed opinion, and yes, how to argue persuasively in advocating a position. James Golden, in many ways, was a second father to a young man who spent 4 years seated at his feet learning the art of rhetoric.

(4) Coach David Whiting - Coach Whiting was an assistant football coach on my high school football team. An intimidating, towering, giant of a man, who spent hours of every day yelling at players and pushing them beyond their limits, he helped to build the Van Vandals into a dynastic East Texas football powerhouse. But that's not what made him special. I saw him cry. Several times. This huge intimidator was also the sponsor of my high school's chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He was a devout Christian man, and not afraid to talk about it. And sometimes when he talked about his relationship to the Creator of the Universe, his Lord and Savior, he got choked up. When he saw hardened young men and women have their rough edges smoothed by making Jesus their Lord, he wept like a baby. He showed me that it's okay to be a "manly man" and still be as a child when approaching the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

(5) Father Gerald Przywara - Formerly the pastor at St. Joseph's/Shrine of St. Katharine Drexel in Columbia, Virginia (and now pastor of St. Francis of Assissi in Staunton, VA), I'm not sure I would ever have become Catholic without his influence. At a time when the Church was rocked by scandals involving "less-than-manly" behavior by priests, Father Jerry's masculine example of priesthood convinced me that the Catholic Church could be home to my family. You always knew where Father Jerry stood, and it was always squarely with the Church. He would always say, I'm not conservative, I'm not liberal, I'm Catholic. He was right. He is one of the, if not THE, holiest and most orthodox priests I have had the privilege of meeting.

(6) President Ronald Wilson Reagan - In 1976, when I was 8 year old, I supported Governor Reagan in his challenge of then-President Gerald Ford. I was elated when he was elected President 4 years later. I was in shock at the near-fatal attempt on his life in 1981. I was in awe when he delivered on his promise to defeat Soviet Communism. The 1980s were the formative years of my life politically, and Ronald Reagan WAS politics and statesmanship during that decade, and shaped my views accordingly. He took the conservative movement that was considered "extreme" just a decade-and-a-half earlier and made it the mainstream political philosophy of our time (despite what the Dems on the Senate Judiciary Committee would have us believe).

(7) "Mr." Thomas Jefferson - "I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." I'm not so much a Jeffersonian these days, opting now instead for a more Washingtonian view of civic virtue. But for most of my life, my political philosophy was shaped by the writings of the Sage of Monticello. When it came to choosing a law school, I had full-ride and nearly-full-ride scholarships to other fine institutions, but my childhood dream was to attend law school at Mr. Jefferson's University. Jefferson, during his life, opposed all manner of public debt but, ironically, died deep in personal debt. I followed the latter example and went deeply into debt by attending the University of Virginia, thus fulfilling a lifetime dream. I have never regretted that decision (and, besides, my student loan debt has long been paid off). Furthermore, I love this Jefferson quote about the University he founded: "For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it." In this day and age of campus speech codes, who wouldn't want to attend such a place?

(8) Dr. Albert Schweitzer - "I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know; the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve." Enough said.

(9) St. Columba (a.k.a. Columcille) - At some point, because of my Irish and Scottish heritage, I began to study some of the Celtic Saints. St. Columba in particular stuck out to me. Not sure why, but maybe it was because he wasn't your normal "peace and love" saint. This guy was a prince of the royal family from which the High Kings of Ireland were chosen, but chose the Church over power. Well, not exactly. He was a power broker among power brokers. And he relished the role. He was also a scholar, poet, and warrior. In fact, he started a war over a "copyright" that he infringed when he secretly copied a psalter belonging to another monk. Exiled from Ireland as punishment for the bloodshed resulting from that war, Columba went to the Kingdom of Dalriada on the west coast of Scotland, from whence he took the lead role in the dynastic struggles for the kingship of the Kingdom, as well as converting the native Picts to Christianity. At any rate, what started out merely as a historical interest in my Celtic heritage turned into something more. As John Henry Cardinal Newman once noted, "To be deep into history is to cease to be Protestant." Well, that's what happened to me, and I credit St. Columba for leading me home. To honor him, I took "Columba" as my Confirmation name.

(10) His Holiness, Pope John Paul II ("the Great") - The late Holy Father was a hero of mine for 20 years before I ever became Catholic. I need not recount all the reasons, for anyone familiar with the man knows what they are. Let me just say that watching the Christian example of John Paul II made Catholicism a palatable option to a Southern Baptist boy who might not otherwise have even considered the possibility. I am proud to be a "John Paul II Catholic".
And now I tag Rick Lugari, Rich Leonardi, Sydney Carton, and Darwin Catholic. Sorry about that, guys. But I'd really be interested in reading about who influenced you.

Red Staters More Generous Givers Than Blue Staters

Bill Hennessy at Hennessy's View notes the relative generosity of Bible Belt red staters compared to their more "enlightened" (read: liberal) counterparts in the Northeastern blue states:
New Englanders remain among the most tightfisted in the country when it comes to charitable giving while Bible Belt residents are among the most generous, according to an annual index.

Biden: Chance of Filibuster on Alito Stronger

From Reuters via Wired News:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The chance of a filibuster to halt the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Samuel Alito rose on news he once opposed 1960s Supreme Court rulings on reapportionment based on the principle of equal voting rights, a top Democrat on the Senate judiciary panel said on Sunday.

Sen. Joseph Biden, a Democrat from Delaware, told Fox News Sunday that a decision by Democrats to filibuster would depend largely on Alito's answers during judiciary committee questioning scheduled for January.
My Comments:
Go ahead and give us an excuse to go "nuclear" on your ass, Joe.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

St. Thomas More: Faithful Statesman

I just found out that EWTN has a new series called "St. Thomas More: Faithful Statesman", which is running at 10:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, with reruns at 2:30 a.m. on Thursdays and 11:00 a.m. on Fridays.

I haven't seen it yet, and I'm not sure how I missed hearing about this series until now. But it has now been marked on my Wednesday night viewing schedule.

St. Edmund of East Anglia, King and Martyr

"I have vowed to live under Christ, to live under Christ alone, to reign under Christ alone". - St Edmund, King and Martyr

Tomorrow, 20 November, is the feast day of the martyr St. Edmund, King of East Anglia. Many assume St. George is the patron saint of England. However, St. George is actually "Protector of the Realm of England" and patron saint of the English Crown. St. Edmund is the "real" patron saint of England. See also Joanna Bogle's excellent A Book of Feasts and Seasons where I first learned this particular piece of trivia.

On our trip to England a couple months ago, during which my family spent a week in East Anglia - where Sarah's Granny was born, we learned quite a bit about St. Edmund. He has become one of my favorite saints - so much so that if little Mary Virginia, who is due in March, had been a boy, his middle name would have been "Edmund". Unfortunately, a planned trip to the saint's final resting place in the town of Bury St. Edmunds and St. Edmundsbury Cathedral did not happen due to the demands of travelling with 2 toddlers. Oh well, hopefully, we can get there on another visit to the U.K.

The following details about the life of St. Edmund come from the Medieval Saints Yahoo Group (go check it out):

St. Edmund of East Anglia
Also known as Edmund the Martyr

Martyred by being beaten, whipped, shot with arrows and beheaded at Hoxne, Suffolk, England 20 November 870; buried at Hoxne; relics moved to Beodricsworth (modern Saint Edmundsbury) in the 10th century

Commemorated November 20

Patronage: kings, plague epidemics, torture victims, wolves

In art, he is shown with an arrow; king tied to a tree and shot with arrows; wolf; bearded king with a sword and arrow; man with his severed head between the paws of a wolf; sword

"The tree at which tradition declared Eadmund to have been slain stood in the park at Hoxne until 1849, when it fell. In the course of its breaking up an arrow-head was found embedded in the trunk. A clergyman who had a church which was dedicated to St. Eadmund begged a piece of the tree, and it now forms part of his communion-table. Another portion is in the possession of Lady Bateman of Oakley Hall" - Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, 1908-1909

Edmund the Martyr, King (RM)

Born 841; died at Hoxne, Suffolk, England, in 869 or 870. Feast day formerly November 2.

On Christmas Day 855, 14-year-old Edmund was acclaimed king of Norfolk by the ruling men and clergy of that county. The following year the leaders of Suffolk also made him their king.

For 15 years Edmund ruled over the East Angles with what all acknowledged as Christian dignity and justice. He himself seems to have modelled his piety on that of King David in the Old Testament, becoming especially proficient in reciting the Psalms in public worship.

From the year 866 his kingdom was increasingly threatened by Danish invasions. For four years the East Angles managed to keep a shaky, often broken peace with them. Then the invaders burned Thetford. King Edmund's army attacked the Danes but could not defeat the marauders. Edmund was taken prisoner and became the target for Danish bowmen.

In a later account in the The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, reputedly derived second-hand from an eyewitness, Abbo compared Saint Edmund to Saint Sebastien, and so he also became a saint invoked against the plague. The story goes that Edmund was captured at Hoxne. He refused to share his Christian kingdom with the heathen invaders, whereupon he was tied to a tree and shot with arrows, till his body was 'like a thistle covered with prickles'; then his head was struck off. He died with the name of Jesus on his lips.

The record continues that the Danes "killed the king and overcame all the land . . . they destroyed all the churches that they came to, and at the same time reaching Peterborough, killed the abbot and monks and burned and broke everything they found there."

Saint Edmund thus remains the only English sovereign until the time of King Charles I to die for religious beliefs as well as the defense of his throne. Edmund was quickly revered as a martyr and his cultus spread widely during the middle ages (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Hervey, Roeder).

King Saint Edmund is generally depicted as a bearded king holding his emblem--an arrow. Sometimes he is shown suspended from a tree and shot, or his head between the paws of a wolf. He is sometimes confused with Saint Sebastien, who is never portrayed as a king (Roeder).

He is venerated at Bury Saint Edmunds (Saint Edmund's borough), where his body is enshrined and a great abbey arose in 1020. Richard II invoked him as patron as to those threatened by the plague (Roeder).


More on St. Edmund of East Anglia at:

Friday, November 18, 2005

Santorum's Take on Lawrence v. Texas Proves Prophetic

Paul at Thoughts of a Regular Guy notes that Senator Rick Santorum was right in making his much-criticized prediction that opening the door to constitutionalized sodomy would lead to efforts to legalize other perverse behaviors.

As Bill Engvall Says: "Here's Your Sign"

(Hat tip: Rich Leonardi and Rick Lugari)

Criticism For Roe Decision From Pro-Aborts

(Hat tip:

Timothy P. Carney provides an excellent rundown on criticisms of Roe v. Wade by those who otherwise favor abortion. Here's a sample:
Laurence Tribe — Harvard Law School.
Lawyer for Al Gore in 2000.

“One of the most curious things about Roe is that, behind its own verbal smokescreen, the substantive judgment on which it rests is nowhere to be found.”

“The Supreme Court, 1972 Term—Foreword: Toward a Model of Roles in the Due Process of Life and Law,” 87 Harvard Law Review 1, 7 (1973).

Ruth Bader Ginsburg — Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

Roe, I believe, would have been more acceptable as a judicial decision if it had not gone beyond a ruling on the extreme statute before the court. … Heavy-handed judicial intervention was difficult to justify and appears to have provoked, not resolved, conflict.”

North Carolina Law Review, 1985

Edward Lazarus — Former clerk to Harry Blackmun.

“As a matter of constitutional interpretation and judicial method, Roe borders on the indefensible. I say this as someone utterly committed to the right to choose, as someone who believes such a right has grounding elsewhere in the Constitution instead of where Roe placed it, and as someone who loved Roe’s author like a grandfather.”

“What, exactly, is the problem with Roe? The problem, I believe, is that it has little connection to the Constitutional right it purportedly interpreted. A constitutional right to privacy broad enough to include abortion has no meaningful foundation in constitutional text, history, or precedent - at least, it does not if those sources are fairly described and reasonably faithfully followed.”

The Lingering Problems with Roe v. Wade, and Why the Recent Senate Hearings on Michael McConnell’s Nomination Only Underlined Them,” FindLaw Legal Commentary, Oct. 3, 2002

“[A]s a matter of constitutional interpretation, even most liberal jurisprudes — if you administer truth serum — will tell you it is basically indefensible.”

Liberals, Don’t Make Her an Icon” Washington Post July 10, 2003.

Fidelis: Judge Alito’s Personal Views Not Relevant

WASHINGTON — Fidelis on Wednesday condemned the suggestion by some U.S. Senators and the media that Judge Alito’s personal views are relevant in determining his qualifications for the Supreme Court calling them an early example of the promised attacks by liberal groups.

The controversy stems from a 1985 application to the Justice Department in which he explained that he personally believed the Constitution does not protect a right to abortion.

Senators Schumer and Kennedy have both argued that Judge Alito’s personal views on abortion raised the perception of bias and that they intended to focus heavily on his personal views in his confirmation hearings. Wednesday’s New York Times called on Senators to prepare to reject Alito if he could not satisfy their concerns about the 20-year old statement.

Fidelis President Joseph Cella explained, “Judge Alito made an important distinction in his meeting with Senator Feinstein. He explained that in 1985 he was pursuing a political job where his personal views were relevant. For the past 15 years, he has served as a circuit court judge where his personal views play no role. His distinguished record of applying the law in an evenhanded and unbiased manner is what is truly significant.”

Cella continued: “Judge Alito is not running for political office and thus his personal views on abortion, the war on terror, or any other hot button political issues are irrelevant. As a Supreme Court Justice, Judge Alito will be called upon to apply the law as the Constitution requires. The job of the Senate is to evaluate his judicial record, temperament, and ability to impartially carry out this responsibility. His personal views should not be on trial here.”

Fidelis pointed to the growing number of legal scholars, former law clerks, and federal judges, many of whom hold opposite views on abortion, who have vouched for Alito’s impartial application of the law.

“Senators Schumer and Kennedy and the Left are entering dangerous territory when they suggest that unless a nominee personally accepts their political ideology, he or she cannot sit on the Supreme Court. This is an early example of the promised attacks by liberal groups as they try to derail the nomination of Judge Alito,” said Cella.
Fidelis is a Catholic-based organization working with people of faith across the country to defend and promote the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, and the right to religious liberty by electing pro-life, pro-family and pro-religious liberty candidates, supporting the confirmation of judges, and promoting and defending laws faithful to the Constitution of the United States.

Pro-Abort/Pro-Gay Republican Tops Pro-Abort/Pro-Gay Democrat In Presidential Poll - Who Cares?

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani tops Senator Hillary Clinton for President in a recent Canisius poll:
BUFFALO, N.Y. A new poll shows former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani beating Senator Hillary Clinton if the 2008 presidential election were held today.

The nationwide poll was conducted by Canisius College. It surveyed 455 Americans over 18 Sunday through Tuesday. The poll showed the Republican former mayor beating the Democratic senator 54 to 38 percent in a hypothetical battle.

Clinton loses among voters in red states, which is no surprise, but Giuliani breaks even in the blue states.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Just In Case You Forgot ...

... be sure and add your "shout out" to my Frappr! map.

Check out our Frappr!

I mean, I realize this blog ain't Open Book, Southern Appeal, or Bettnet, but my gosh! They've had their Frappr! maps up for what? Only a day or two? And look how many "shout outs" they already have!

Me? After more than a week, I'm stuck on 13. I guess that's my unlucky number.

Looks like a long-time friend of this blog from Massachusetts has decided to bestow his "shout out" upon us.

UPDATE #2 (:
If you include the esteemed senior Senator from Massachusetts, I've picked up 6 additional "shout outs" since posting this last night. Thanks to all of you who have responded.

Can't Keep A Good Man Down

Bill Hennessy writes beautifully about faith and perseverence during difficult times over at his blog Hennessy's View.

GOP Leader Fears Backlash If Roe v. Wade Overturned - Or, Why I Am No Longer A Republican

Exhibit # 239 as to why I no longer consider myself a "Republican" voter:
WASHINGTON -- The Republican lawmaker who helped guide the GOP to an expanded majority in the House three years ago warned yesterday that a Supreme Court ruling overturning a woman's legal right to an abortion -- a possibility if the high court shifts further to the right -- could hurt his party's political prospects and cause a ''sea change" in suburban voting habits.

Representative Tom Davis of Virginia, who chaired the National Republican Congressional Committee through the 2002 election, said that if the Supreme Court threw out Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that established that abortion rights were protected by the Constitution, ''you're going to have a lot of very nervous suburban candidates."

At a breakfast gathering of reporters, Davis said Republicans have a political cushion with voters as long as Roe is intact. Currently, ''you can be prolife and no one feels that's a threat to someone having to make a difficult decision" if abortion is illegal, he said.

Davis's comments came days after the disclosure of a 1985 document in which Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. said he believed the US Constitution ''does not protect the right to an abortion."
My Comments:
"It's okay to talk about not killing babies. But if we actually get serious about doing something to stop the slaughter, we might lose some votes."

Just so long as you got your priorities straight there, Tom.

Bill Clinton's Perverse Culture-of-Death Theology

From WorldNetDaily:
In making a point about the importance of having a living will, ex-President Bill Clinton remarked that religious Americans are apparently hypocrites for having a fear of death.

"It's interesting to me that we always proclaim – especially certain numbers of us – that we're the most religious big country in the world," said Clinton. "It may be true, but we also seem to be the most reluctant to get to heaven."

The impeached president mentioned the case of Terri Schiavo, the brain-injured Florida woman who was starved to death by court order after a long legal battle between her parents and her husband, Michael.

"We spend far more money on the last two months of life than any other country," Clinton noted. "And I think the only answer to that and maybe the good thing that came out of the terrible agony of the Schiavo family that we were all treated to for weeks is that amazing numbers of Americans including Hillary and me ... did living wills. We'd been wanting to do it a long time. We just kept puttin' it off and puttin' it off, and I saw that [tragedy] unfold and I said 'You know, I don't want to see Chelsea on television like that. Let's do the living will.'"

(emphasis added)
My Comments:
It's not about fearing death, you jerk. It's about loving the gift of life that God has given us, and recognizing that only He has the authority to give and take away that precious gift.

Plus, if you believe that known liar Slick Willie really had that "living" will conversation with Hillary! - "You know, I don't want to see Chelsea on television like that. Let's do the living will." - then you also probably think that he "did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky".

NAACP Chief Apostosizes To GOP

In the High Church of Liberal Orthodoxy, this has got to be the unpardonable sin.

Not Another Damn "Fool" Meme!

Rick Lugari has tagged me for yet another meme - this one started by The Holy Fool.

Well, here goes:
This coming Sunday, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of Christ the King. The Church will begin a new Liturgical year, beginning with the joyous season of Advent in anticipation of Christmas.

This is a wonderful opportunity for Catholics to reflect on how they've lived their Faith this past year, and how they'd like to live it in the coming Liturgical year.

So, Here's the meme. In honor of the Blessed Trinity, we:

1. Write three things that we're grateful to God for in this past liturgical year.
1. I am thankful that, despite the stress of a big move and a very busy year at work, my family is happy and healthy.

2. I am thankful that the Lord has led our family to the city of Norwalk, Ohio (where we will finally move next month). This move will allow (a) Sarah to stay home with the kids, (b) me to work from home, (c) us to be near extended family, including young cousins for the kids to grow up with, (d) our children to have an opportunity to go to Catholic schools, and (e) our family an opportunity to take a leap of faith and thereby grow in our trust of the Lord. As a corollary, I am thankful for the help we received from the youth of St. Paul's Parish and St. Mary's Parish when we moved our furniture to Norwalk a couple of weeks ago.

3. I am thankful for the extended Church community I have been blessed with getting to know over the past year via the blogosphere. It's weird to refer to people I've never met as "friends", but that is indeed what they are.
2. Write three ways in which we hope to improve our relationship with God in this coming liturgical year.
1. I hope to spend more time with Jesus via adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. St. Paul's Parish in Norwalk has perpetual adoration, and I plan to sign up for at least an hour per week.

2. I plan to attend Daily Mass with my children, give or take a day here and there. Working from home and being within walking distance of 2 Catholic parishes will make this a possibility.

3. I plan to savor each and every moment He gives me with my children - even the late night feedings and changings that will come when baby # 3 arrives in March. I hope that every time I look lovingly at my children it will remind me of the Father's love for the Son and His profound love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, He sent His only begotten to die for us.
3. Pass this on to three other bloggers.
1. Paul at Thoughts of a Regular Guy
2. Boethius at Fumare
3. and to initiate a new guy on the block, Fidei Defensor at College Catholic

I do not want the title of this post to leave the impression that The Holy Fool is a "Damn Fool" - because that he certainly is NOT. He is the best kind of fool: a fool for Christ.

I sincerely hope The Holy Fool doesn't feel disparaged in any way by the title.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Which Action Hero Would You Be?

(Hat tip: Sydney Carton at Aggressive Conservative)

I knew the answer to this quiz before I ever started.

You scored as William Wallace. The great Scottish warrior William Wallace led his people against their English oppressors in a campaign that won independence for Scotland and immortalized him in the hearts of his countrymen. With his warrior's heart, tactician's mind, and poet's soul, Wallace was a brilliant leader. He just wanted to live a simple life on his farm, but he gave it up to help his country in its time of need.

William Wallace




Lara Croft


Captain Jack Sparrow


The Amazing Spider-Man


Indiana Jones


Neo, the "One"


James Bond, Agent 007


Batman, the Dark Knight


El Zorro


The Terminator


Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with

Although, I DID think the fact that I strongly disagreed with "You hate the English!!" would kill my chances. Apparently, you can be an Anglophile and still come out as the Guardian of the Realm of Scotland!

"It's all for nothing if you don't have freedom."

"Every man dies, not every man really lives."

Courageous Katelyn Stands Up and Speaks Out

After suffering the slings and arrows of her former school and some of her former classmates, Katelyn Sills makes it known that she and her family "will not stand" for such outrageous fortune:

We and our attorney, Eric Grant, have repeatedly tried to reconcile with Loretto's administration, beginning with our request for a retraction and apology on November 4th. After waiting ten days, Loretto finally responded with an unfortunate refusal along with a copy of their press release. My family continues to hope for reconciliation (see our press statement), but any reconciliation must necessarily address the falsehoods discussed below. Thus, we have decided to release all of the communications between my family and Loretto so that people can see the truth for themselves.

Some people have speculated that I got expelled because of my blog, but Loretto's administration never asked me to restrict anything on my blog. This forum has allowed post-abortive women to share their stories, some for the very first time. These true experiences can change hearts and minds, and most importantly, can save a life.

My expulsion was the only remaining power that Loretto's administration had over my family. They chose to use that power, stating the three pieces of "evidence" above as "proof." This expulsion was greatly unreasonable, undeserved, and vindictive. Furthermore, the falsified "evidence" is defamation of my family's character. For the last ten days, we have given Loretto's administration an opportunity to retract their false statements and apologize, but they have refused. My family and I will not stand for this. I hope that you will not either.

(emphasis in original)
My Comments:
I agree with Katelyn that none of us who cares about what is being taught in our Catholic schools should sit idly by and do nothing. I won't stand for it and, as Katelyn requests, "I hope that you will not either." And, most importantly, I hope that Bishop Weigand won't stand for it.

And, if worse comes to worse, I hope the libel and slander laws of the State of California won't stand for it (Loretto High School is receiving some downright idiotic - or perhaps nonexistent - legal advice).

Please go over to Katelyn's blog and show her your support.

I almost forgot ... another tip of the hat goes out to my friend Rick Lugari who has done yeoman's work covering this story from the very beginning.

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