Friday, December 30, 2005

Conservatives Plan Third Broadcast Before Alito Hearings

"Justice Sunday" Part III:
PHILADELPHIA - Prominent conservatives plan to broadcast from a Baptist church on the eve of the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito.

The Jan. 8 program, "Justice Sunday III: Proclaim Liberty Throughout the Land," follows two previous gatherings designed to rally support for conservative positions on abortion, gay marriage, prayer in public schools and other issues.

Christian television and radio stations across the country plan to broadcast the event from the Greater Exodus Baptist Church in Philadelphia. Scheduled speakers include U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R.-Pa., and James Dobson of the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family.
My Comments:
We should begin hearing liberals squealing like stuck pigs at any moment now ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

God Loves Every Embryo, Pope Says On Feast of Holy Innocents

(Hat tip: David at Catholics in the Public Square)

From Catholic World News:
Vatican, Dec. 28 ( - Man is the masterpiece of God's creation, and when a chld is conceived, "God already sees the future of that still-unformed embryo," Pope Benedict XVI said at his public audience on December 28.

God recognizes a human being even when the unborn child "is not visible to the eyes of other men," the Holy Father told the 20,000 people who gathered in St. Peter's Square. The Pope's meditation, based on Psalm 138, also reflected his thoughts on the feast of the Holy Innocents.

Brokeback Family Values

The raves from Hollywood elites over homoerotic western "Brokeback Mountain" are indicative of what ails the box office:
These days, the film industry bemoans decreasing box office sales by crying about illegal downloads of movies. If all the major providers of peer-to-peer software had not been shut down, they might have a point.

Industries who think consumers are slaves to their products usually end up in this boat. The consumer goes elsewhere.

“Brokeback Mountain” has netted a paltry $4.9 million in box office sales, nearly identical to “Memoirs of a Geisha”. Both movies have been out for about two weeks. King Kong has earned twenty times more in only eight days of apish reincarnation.

Here is a wake-up call for Hollywood: Nearly one-fourth of viewers gave Brokeback Mountain an “F”, while 69.4% gave it an A, leaving no middle-ground. We can easily guess who these votes came from on both sides of this tin coin.

Golden Globe elites went into plebian parinirvana over the idea of two married cowboys rustling something more than livestock on the range. Monkeys go “ape” seeing themselves in the mirror, too. A “Gone With The Wind” this is not.

Shock entertainment will be an increasingly marginal market. Those who wish to be successful in film and television will look to the great box office hits, shows, and the legendary acts for new foundations for the film industry.


Chief Justice Roberts Wins Early Praise

... And so it has gone this term, where an atmosphere of practically buoyant camaraderie has drifted through an institution that prides itself on continuity and certainty. This is in stark contrast to the mood during the year preceding [Chief Justice John] Roberts' arrival, when anxiety over the health of his ailing predecessor, William Rehnquist, cast a cloud over the court's mood.

"The change has been amazing, the justices are a happy bunch again," said one court official, who asked not to be identified. "They joke in arguments, they joke among themselves privately. The chief was just the type of man this place needed." ...
My Comments:
Wait a minute. Isn't this the same guy that NARAL claimed bombed abortion clinics?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Spanish Justice of the Peace Opposed to Gay "Marriage" Quits

Un hombre por todos las temporadas:
MADRID, Spain (AFP) - A Spanish justice of the peace resigned on Monday, saying he found it "morally impossible" to register gay weddings, which have been legal since July.

"I submit my resignation as I find it morally impossible for me to marry homosexual couples, and therefore I could not apply that law, said Antonio Alonso, a justice of the peace in Pinto outside the capital Madrid.

Alonso said the law "was made for those who accepted gay marriages, while those who don't must resign their posts".

Cleveland Diocese Sees Increase In Seminary Students

From The Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Growing up in Cleveland, Chady Naoum, 19, wanted to do something to respond to the poverty and despair he saw around him. When Pope John Paul II died, he started to consider whether the something more he wanted to do in life meant becoming a priest.

Todd Kooser, 18, of St. Helen Church in Newbury, recalled seeing the priest celebrate the Eucharist at a diocesan music festival, and realizing, “I could do that. I could be the one who brings Christ into the world.”

Michael McClain, 20, of St. Ladislas Church in Westlake, said it felt like he was “saying yes to something” when he joined a church youth group his senior year in high school. When he visited the diocesan seminary, McClain said, “I knew this was the place for me. It was the place for someone like me who knows God and pursues God in their life.”

Naoum, Kooser and McClain are among nearly two dozen new seminarians bringing tidings of good cheer this Christmas season for the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, which is beginning to see a turnaround in seminary enrollment.

Twenty-two young men entered the undergraduate seminary program this academic year, eight more than the previous year and 16 more than the number of entering students in the 2002-2003 academic year.

Total enrollment in the graduate and undergraduate level seminaries increased by a third to 68 men in the past five years, bringing enrollment to a 14-year high.

My Comments:
This appears to be excellent news for a neighboring Diocese (I'm located in the Diocese of Toledo), although I'm not sure, given some of the things I've read about the Cleveland Diocese.

Monday, December 26, 2005

The Earthly Father

Episcopal priestess, the "Reverend" Chloe Breyer, writing for Slate, wonders "What if Mary wasn't a virgin?":
At Christmas, Christians celebrate the birth of God's only son. Some believers, however, wonder if Jesus Christ is God's son only. The ancient "illegitimacy tradition" and its modern proponents propose that Jesus may have had a human father. That idea upsets one of the central mysteries of the Christian faith—the virgin conception. But it's entirely in keeping with more essential tenets: Jesus' role as the Messiah, and God's love for the poor and downtrodden. What's more, the illegitimacy tradition responds to many strange utterances about Jesus' birth in the Scriptures themselves.

UPDATE (27 December 2005):
Apparently, this priestess is the daughter of liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer.

Gays Seek Role on Catholic Campuses

From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
When the Vatican announced it would start banning priestly candidates with "deep-seated" homosexual tendencies, Duquesne University student Jonathan Danial thought it was a big mistake.

But he didn't worry that the Vatican's hard line would affect him and other gay students at Catholic universities -- a belief that was bolstered last week when Duquesne University announced it will allow a new Gay-Straight Alliance organization.

Matthew Pratter, who proposed forming the group, said Duquesne supports gay students, and he sees no sign that the Vatican's sentiments are trickling down to the campus.

My Comments:
"... no sign that the Vatican's sentiments are trickling down to the campus."

Indeed, I see no sign that Vatican "sentiments" on most matters are trickling down to the so-called "Catholic" colleges and universities in America.

Friday, December 23, 2005

No Blogging Over Christmas Weekend

I'll be taking a break from the computer for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I pray that you and your families have a Blessed Feast of the Nativity.

Massachusetts School District Cracks Down On Christmas

More war on Christmas insanity:
MEDWAY - Some parents are scratching their heads after school administrators insisted students call a Christmas tree a "magical tree," the color red was removed from green and red elf hats, and songs from "Jesus Christ Superstar," were pulled from a winter concert.

"I can see a religious holiday being offensive to those who don’t celebrate it," said Dale Fingar, whose sixth-grade son brought home 10 red and green elf hats Monday and requested she replace the red fabric with white. "But red and green hats? Come on."

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Gun-Toting Santa Featured on Christmas Card

Santa's packin' more than bags of toys: - The latest reason for gun control and gun rights activists to sharpen their rhetoric is a Christmas card released by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. The card features an armed Santa Claus attempting to shield three children from a terrorist.

The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) sent the card to members of Congress, President Bush, and others who support gun rights.

The terrorist portrayed on the card is wearing a turban and trying to place a stick of dynamite near the baby Jesus under a Christmas tree. The Santa Claus character is holding a semi-automatic handgun. The caption wishes the recipient "a Christmas of peace and joy and a New Year of triumph over terrorism." But implied is the message that an armed Santa Claus is better able to protect the children than an unarmed Santa.

My Comments:
LOL! Reminds me of the IBC trailer for "The Night the Reindeer Died" from the Bill Murray movie "Scrooged!"

If anyone has a link to what this card looks like, I'd love to see it.

The Dark Side of Christmas

(Hat tip: Amy Welborn)

Amy Welborn, writing for National Review Online, reminds us that, amidst the joy of the Christmas season, the shadow of the Cross falls across the face of the Baby Jesus:
The really traditional Christian remembrance of the Nativity is not about sweetness. It is about awe, fear, and trembling, and it is shot through with hints of suffering to come.

Mary, with a scandalous pregnancy. Joseph, courageous enough to take her on despite it. A birth among farm animals. The threat of death, from the very start, necessitating flight. Mary, told by the prophet Simeon that because of her son, her soul will be pierced by a sword (Luke 2:35).

We view the elements of the story in a nostalgic haze — how sweet to be born with the goats. But is it? Is it sweet? Would you want to give birth among goats?

How charming that Mary and Joseph had to wander before and after the birth of the child. Charming until you remember the reasons why, the doors shut in the face of a heavily pregnant woman, the threat of death from a jealous king.

Look at it closely, with clear eyes. At every turn in this story of this baby there is threat and fear and powers circling, attempting to strike at the light.

We might forget, we might wrap up Christmas in good cheer, but Christian tradition doesn't. It's striking that the next day — the very next day — after Christmas, the Church remembers not glad tidings, angels, and shepherd boys, but a bloody death by stoning. St. Stephen it is, the first Christian martyr.

St. Stephen is followed by St. John on December 27th, who may not have met a violent death, but who, the tradition tells us, died in a prison of sorts, in exile for his faith, far away from the "civilized" powers that had sent him there.

December 28th brings us back to babies, but with no relief — it is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, remembering the children Herod ordered slaughtered, according to Matthew's gospel, in his rabid fear of the rival king.

The message is clear and hard: Following this baby, as he reaches to us from the resin manger, looking out at us with the soft-eyed cattle and docile sheep, comes at a price.

Prayers Make Better Presents For Priests Than Most Items

From Catholic News Service:
COLUMBUS, Ohio (CNS) - How many rosaries, crucifixes and Bibles does a priest receive for Christmas? Answer: enough to open a Catholic book and gift shop.

Parish secretaries, administrators and family members of priests all agree -- priests do not need any more sacramentals as gifts.

Indeed, Catholic priests top many shoppers' "hard-to-buy-for" lists.

For many priests, prayers from the faithful are the only gifts they need.

My Comments:
I've found that icons make pretty nice gifts for priests. In addition to being sacramentals, they are wonderful artwork to put around the rectory. Furthermore, I doubt most Roman rite priests have a lot of icons. But even so, can you really have too many?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

George Weigel: The Inarnation Is "The Exaggerated Infinity of God's Love"

George Weigel, writing for the Denver Catholic Register, ponders the profound mystery of the Incarnation:
"What struck you most about John Paul II?" is a question I’ve been asked innumerable times. Every year, Christmastime reminds me of the late pope’s profound faith in the Incarnation. Karol Wojtyla loved the Christmas season and made it last as long as possible — according to Polish custom, the decorations stayed up and the carols were sung right through to February 2, the liturgical feast of the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple. This affection for Christmas was far more than ethnic habit, though. It grew from John Paul’s deep-set conviction that in the birth of Christ we meet, in the flesh, the exaggerated infinity of God’s love.

Creation displays the boundlessness of that love — that’s what Christians see, that’s the "design" we perceive, when we look at the natural world. The Incarnation both confirms and takes us far beyond that perception: here, in the child born to Mary of Nazareth, we see the measureless love of God in the flesh, as one of us. Like the Magi, we come to understand that God’s love is not just (just!) infinite; its infinity is exaggerated, spilling beyond the Infinite to embrace the finite, so that what is flesh and finitude is drawn up into the infinite life of Love itself. It’s because of the manger that we can say, with the apostle John, "God is Love."

Poll: 54% Back Alito's Confirmation

A Washington Post-ABC News poll shows majority support for the confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court:
A majority of Americans now support the confirmation of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court to fill the seat of retiring Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The survey found that 54 percent say the Senate should confirm Alito, while 28 percent say he should not be approved. That marks a modest increase in public support for Alito since November, when 49 percent said he should be confirmed and 29 percent said he should not. In both surveys, about one in five Americans said they did not know enough about the nominee to have an opinion.

The new poll found some evidence that the abortion issue plays an important but not decisive role in shaping public perceptions of Alito. Although his current views on abortion are not publicly known, memos that he wrote two decades ago, while he was a lawyer in the Reagan administration's Justice Department, indicated that he opposed Roe v. Wade , the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

Six in 10 in the survey said they hope Alito would vote to uphold Roe, while more than a third said they want him to vote to overturn it. But a majority of the respondents -- 55 percent -- said Alito's stand on abortion was only of limited importance to them. Seventeen percent said it was "extremely important," while 26 percent said it was "very important."

Senate Democrats Block Alaska Drilling

From FOXNews:
WASHINGTON — The Senate [ED: Democrats] blocked the defense spending bill Wednesday in order to force out provisions on oil drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. The measure had been put into a must-pass defense spending bill in an attempt to get the drilling through the Senate despite opposition.

Drilling supporters fell four votes short of getting the required 60 votes to avoid a threatened filibuster of the defense measure over the oil drilling issue. Senate leaders were expected to withraw the legislation so it could be reworked without the refuge language. The vote was 56-44.

My Comments:
Just so you know who to blame when your home-heating costs go through the roof.

But not to worry: the Democrats' new friend, that good little communist (and Castro-mini-me) Hugo Chavez, has promised to provide oil for the poor to heat their homes with this winter. What a nice man.

National Anti-Catholic Reporter: "Extremists" Drive Church Agenda

(Hat tip: Catholic World News)

From your friendly apostate weekly:

Much attention has been paid in the past several years to what is going on in the church in Boston, and it is worthwhile to return there one last time before this year ends. For what is going on in the Boston archdiocese is, in many ways, a case study of what is occurring in the larger body of the church in the United States and elsewhere.

Boston’s special place amid church and culture wars and the seemingly intractable divisions in U.S. Catholicism were especially on display in the recent controversy over the Catholic Charities of Greater Boston Christmas Dinner.

In the most recent controversy, criticism was raised of the decision of Catholic Charities to honor Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, a Catholic, because as a politician he has supported gay rights and the right of women to choose abortion. The critics also slammed Catholic Charities for allowing 13 children to be adopted by gay or lesbian couples during the past 20 years.

But things are never so simple when the worlds of religion and politics collide. For Menino is also, apparently, an outstanding (and increasingly rare these days) advocate for the poor and the downtrodden.

If this were merely a little Boston politics, it would be easy to overlook. It is, however, indicative of the kind of befuddled approach to the public arena that has become the Catholic hallmark in too many places.

Church leaders are being pushed and bullied by bands of extreme zealots who may refer to themselves as "authentic" Catholics but who have no bona fides beyond their small circles of discontent. One Boston area extremist who fomented opposition to the Catholic Charities dinner had this to say about Hehir on her Web site: "This man is pure unadulterated evil. He literally sends shivers up my spine. … If he and his cronies think we’re going to tolerate he [sic] and the archbishops’ material cooperation in abortions -- we’ll chase them out of town faster than you can say Voice of the Faithful."

There is, of course, nothing authentic or Catholic about the extremist’s slander and character assassination. But it exists in abundance out there and in too many places it is driving the agenda.

We can become the absolutists, the literalists who keep cutting off limbs and poking out eyes to fend off that which we find disagreeable. Or we can rediscover the robustness of true Catholicism.

(emphasis added)

My Comments:
You see, talking about the plight of the poor and downtrodden - there's no indication that Menino has actually done anything to make their lives any better (and, in fact, NCR can only say that Menino "apparently" is a strong advocate on their behalf) - trumps all other Church teaching in the view of the dissenters at NCR.

Meanwhile, those who believe that the Church shouldn't honor politicians who advocate the murder of unborn children are "extremists" and "absolutists".

It doesn't have to be either/or. You can support taking care of the poor and still support taking care of the unborn at the same time. Former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn didn't seem to have a problem with this concept.

But the apostates would have us believe that "true Catholicism" - you know, the "robust" kind - means that Church doctrine and teaching can be easily dispensed with so long as your politics fit the agenda of the National Anti-Catholic Reporter.

Christmas Meme

Paul has graciously tagged me with a Christmas meme. I'm not a big fan of memes, but in the Spirit of the Season, I'll play along:
1. Hot chocolate or apple cider?
Close call, but I'll pick cider.

2. Turkey or ham?
No contest. Ham. Preferably a Virginia Smithfield country ham. But I'll settle for a Gwaltney honey-spiral-cut ham, as well.

3. Do you get a Fake or Real you cut it yourself christmas tree?
REAL! It ain't Christmas unless the house smells like an evergreen forest.

4. Decorations on the outside of your house?
Tasteful greenery here and there on the front door and porch railings. I don't like outside lights on my own house, but I love to drive around the neighborhood and look at other people's house lights and yard ornaments.

5. Snowball fights or sleddin?
Sledding/inner-tubing. Again, no contest.

6. Do you enjoy going downtown shopping?
Yes. The family's heading to Cleveland this Friday for some last minute shopping. I'm most looking forward to going to the Market.

7. Favorite Christmas song?
Tie: "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" and "Joy to the World"

8. How do you feel about Christmas movies?
We own a collection of about 20 or so Christmas movies. We try to watch all of them every year. This year, we're not even going to come close to watching half of them. Favorites: "A Christmas Story", "The Homecoming" (The Waltons pilot episode), "Scrooge" (Albert Finney musical version), and "It's A Wonderful Life".

9. When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music?
Before Thanksgiving is too early. However, with kids, we listen to and watch The Wiggles Christmas cds and dvds practically all year long. "Frosty the Snowman" is also a year-round favorite in the Anderson household.

10. Stockings before or after presents?

11. Carolers, do you or do you not watch and listen to them?
Always listen to those who want to share the joy of the Christmas Season.

12. Go to someone elses house or they come to you?
Both. We spend Christmas morning at home with the kids. We like to host Christmas dinner for the extended family. This year, however, we're going the 5 miles to Sarah's grandmother's house for Christmas dinner.

13. Do you read the Christmas Story? If so when?
We have been reading it to the kids every night since we moved into our house.

14. What do you do after presents and dinner?
The kids play with the new toys, while the grownups clean up the mess. Afterwards, we settle in and watch "A Christmas Story".

15. What is your favorite holiday smell?
Tie: Christmas trees and gingerbread.

16. Ice skating or walking around the mall?
As a kid, I enjoyed ice skating. As an adult, I have lost the skill. Let's go with the mall.

17. Do you open a present or presents on Christmas Eve, or wait until Christmas day?
Christmas morning. My mom always let us open up 1 gift on Christmas eve, but that is a tradition I have not carried over with my own kids.

18. Favorite Christmas memory?
Anderson family gatherings at my uncle's house on Christmas Eve. All the cousins had a blast being together.

19. Favorite Part about winter?
Snow. One of the reasons I moved to the Midwest.

20. Ever been kissed under mistletoe?
Well, that was kinda fun, actually. I think I'll share the joy with ...


Holy Fool

Fidelis on NARAL Report: “Far Outside the Mainstream”

Yesterday, I received the following message in an email from Joseph Cella at Fidelis:
Last Thursday, NARAL Pro-Choice America issued their report on Judge Alito entitled: “Liberty at Risk: The Vulnerability of Reproductive Rights Under Alito” in their first major attack against Alito in advance of his confirmation hearings which begin on January 9.

The report by the National Abortion Rights Action League is so far outside the mainstream it can hardly be taken seriously. This is yet another example of how radical pro-abortion liberal groups want to dictate their agenda of unregulated abortion on demand with activist judges rather than through the proper course of legislative debate and law.

The report suggests that the right to abortion in America is in imminent danger and states: “Access to abortion is…perilously close to non-existent in many parts of the country.” The fact of the matter is America has the most permissive abortion laws in the world.

Click here to see NARAL's report on Judge Alito.
The Fidelis press release notes that
Throughout the report NARAL cites ‘rollback’ efforts such as commonsense efforts to inform women of the dangers of abortion, provide counseling, parental involvement, and restrictions on the barbarous practice of infanticide called partial birth abortion as unacceptable.

Cella said: “The report clearly shows that NARAL views any regulation on abortion, however beneficial to women, children, and parents as an assault on their radical agenda. Their views are far outside the mainstream of the great majority of Americans.”
To see the press release from Fidelis, click here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Gospel According to Nancy

(Hat tip: Mark Shea)

The Gospel according to Nancy Pelosi:
"As the Bible teaches us, to minister to the needs of God's creation is an act of worship, to ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us," said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California. "Let us vote no on this budget as an act of worship and for America's children."

(emphasis added)
My Comments:
What would Jesus do? Jesus would vote NO on this budget for the sake of the children.

That's right, Nancy, get all those poll-tested phrases in there. Keep it up and you'll have the country convinced that the secularist, pro-abort Democrat Party is really pro-religion and pro-family in no time. NOT.

Reason # 5698 That I Favor Capital Punishment: Life In Prison? Yeah, Right!

Germany Frees Killer of U.S. Diver

BERLIN, Germany (CNN) - A Hezbollah militant sentenced to life in Germany for murdering a U.S. Navy diver during the 1985 hijacking of a U.S. jetliner has been freed, officials said.

The German government denied on Tuesday the release was related to the freeing of a German hostage in Iraq.

Mohammed Ali Hamadi was released Thursday and allowed to return to his native Lebanon on the next day, after qualifying for parole after 19 years in prison, said Ulrich Hermanski, spokesman for the North Rhine Wesphalia state justice ministry.

"There was no special treatment," Hermanski said in a telephone interview.

(emphasis added)
My Comments:
Uh-huh, yeah right. No special treatment whatsoever. And just to refresh your memories as to why this excrement was serving a "life sentence":
Just 10 minutes after TWA Flight 847 took off from Athens on June 14, 1985, two men with guns stormed the cockpit. The pilot radioed that one had explosives, saying, “He has pulled a hand grenade pin, and he is ready to blow up the aircraft if he has to. We must, I repeat, we must land at Beirut.”

After brutally attacking several of those on board, the hijackers — Hezbollah terrorists — discovered that one passenger was enlisted in the U.S. Navy: Robert Dean Stethem, 23, a steelworker and diver.

Stethem, too, was severely beaten
[ED: other reports say he was "tortured"], then shot and killed — his body shoved out of the plane to the tarmac below.
This scumbag was never brought to justice in an American courtroom. I'm just hoping for a little "extra-judicial" justice to be served up by some of America's finest.

In memory of Petty Officer Robert Dean Stethem.

Cal State Students Forbidden From Forming On-Campus Christian Group

Yesterday, I posted a story about California State University - Sacramento's decision to forbid the celebration of Christmas and the 4th of July becuase it views those holidays as "offensive". Now, California State University - San Bernardino has decided to get in on the anti-Christian action:
( - For the second time in two weeks, Christianity is on the losing end of a decision made by officials from the California State University system. Some students from Cal State at San Bernardino have been told that forming a Christian group is "not permissible" at the university because it restricts membership based on religious beliefs and sexual orientation.

Last week, an administrator from Cal State at Sacramento banned decorations pertaining to Christmas and the 4th of July, among other holidays, from her office because, she said, they represented "religious discrimination" and "ethnic insensitivity."

In the San Bernardino case, the Christian Student Association (CSA) proposed a constitution in order to be recognized by Cal State officials. In it, the CSA agreed to accept the school's demands about not discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender and physical disability, but rejected non-discrimination requirements regarding religious beliefs and sexual orientation.

The student group insisted that members "must be Christians who have professed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ." It added that membership could be revoked "for misconduct or violation of the statement of faith," including "historical Christian heresy [and] engaging in sexual activity outside the bounds of marriage."

All students were invited to attend group meetings and events without being members, according to the constitution, but only members could vote on group policy.

But in an Oct. 3 memo to the CSA's Ryan Sorba, Cal State San Bernadino student affairs director Christine Hansen wrote that the student group "could not discriminate against potential members because of their status as a non-Christian or as a homosexual."

Michael Jackson on the Brink of Foreclosure - Could Lose Rights to Beatles Music Catalog

From New York Daily News:
LOS ANGELES - Michael Jackson's advisers scrambled to cut a deal yesterday to halt a $272 million foreclosure that would strip the pop star of his share of the Sony Beatles music catalog and, possibly, his cherished Neverland Ranch.

The loans are secured by Jackson's 50% share of the $1 billion Sony-ATV music catalog, which includes rights to the Beatles tunes, and his 2,700-acre Neverland Ranch.

If Fortress forecloses, now or in the future, it can sell Jackson's assets to recover the debt.

Many observers think Fortress is likely to sell the music catalog first, which would likely fetch more than the amount Jackson owes.
My Comments:
Hopefully, the Beatles music catalog will end up where it belongs - in the hands of one of the classiest guys in the music industry, Paul McCartney. His politics may stink, but McCartney seems to be a genuinely nice guy.

Merry You-Know-What

Thomas Sowell on the now-controversial (if not downright offensive) phrase "Merry Christmas":
It was just a small thing but I was taken aback when I received a memo saying that the offices at work would be shut down during "winter closure." Then it dawned on me that "winter closure" was what we used to call "Christmas vacation."

Various colleges and universities have long since stopped calling it the Christmas vacation. A large shopping mall in San Francisco was decked out in all sorts of holiday decorations, including a huge tree, with Santa Claus sitting next to it -- but nowhere was there that now-controversial phrase, "Merry Christmas."

The idea is that any mention of Christmas might offend people who are not Christians -- and that this should be avoided at all costs.

As someone who does not keep track of my friends' religions, I have undoubtedly over the years sent out Christmas cards to people who were Jewish or non-religious. Yet none has protested or seemed to be traumatized.

Christmas is now one of many things that make us walk on eggshells during this supposedly liberated era. Are we all wimps?

Fidei Defensor also has a well-thought-out post on the whole "Merry Christmas" brouhaha over at his blog College Catholic:
Up until this point I was all about the outrage, the its time to strike back, get tough attitude, on every store that won't say Christmas while owing its economic survival to it, sneering at every School that would have Children sing Kwanzaa songs but not Silent Night, every town that tossed out its Nativity scene and then lit a "Holiday Tree."

I don't mean to sound like some limp wristed PC hack saying, "We shouldn't impose our views on them," but, well heck I just said it.

If what most people are celebrating these days isn't Christmas why try to kid ourselves into thinking that it is? We can cover the cultural cesspool with the brilliant cloak of Christmas sure, but why bother, why risk losing it in the mud? We'll have our Christmas and know how meaningful and special it is ...
My Comments:
I must respectfully disagree with my friend's foregoing comments, not because he isn't right - because from a theological perspective he is right - but because we are in the midst of a culture war in this country that, if lost, will edge us further toward European-style secularism, which is overtly hostile to religion.

Capitulating to the "Happy Holidays" mentality merely because what our consumer-driven culture celebrates as "Christmas" really isn't Christmas would be just one more nail in America's coffin. It has become abundantly clear that if the secularists could work their will "every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' upon his lips should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart." They must not be given this victory.

So, I say "Merry Christmas to all!" and "God bless us, every one!"

Happy Impeachment Day!

Yesterday was the 7th anniversary of the impeachment of America's "first black President", Willie Jefferson Clinton.

And yesterday, the always embarrassingly idiotic Barbara Boxer proved that the Dems still haven't gotten over it.

House GOP drops plan to split 9th Circuit

From Associated Press vis
In the face of US Senate opposition, House Republicans have dropped a plan to split the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals.

House Republicans who contend the nation's largest federal appeals court has gotten too big to be effective had sought to attach legislation breaking it in two to a deficit-trimming bill.

Senators led by California Democrat Dianne Feinstein vowed to block the move if it made it to the Senate floor. The measure was left out when the bill passed the House early Monday. A Senate vote could come later in the day.

My Comments:
This is really too bad. A split of the out-of-control 9th is much needed. Republican = Impotent.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Manger Scene Displayed in Central Park

Catholic League press release:
December 19, 2005


Catholic League president Bill Donohue commented today about the league’s nativity scene in Central Park:

“The Catholic League is proud to display its nativity scene in Central Park, but we continue to be dismayed by the refusal of New York City to allow a crèche in its public schools. That issue is still before the courts, and it is our hope that a ruling by a federal appeals court will overturn a federal district court decision that sided with the City. If the Catholic League can secure a permit from the New York City Parks Department to put a manger scene in Central Park, then logic dictates that we should be able to display a crèche in the public schools. Currently, New York City discriminates against Christians by allowing the Jewish religious symbol, namely the menorah, to be displayed in the schools, but not the nativity scene.

“Our goal is to see manger scenes where there are menorahs (and vice versa). A Christmas tree is a poor substitute for a representation of Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus.”

Pope: Catholic Politicians Need to Be Aware of Christian Identity

From Zenit News Agency:
VATICAN CITY, DEC. 18, 2005 ( - One of the challenges facing the Church is to help Catholic politicians recognize their Christian identity and act accordingly, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope addressed this topic Saturday when receiving in audience a third group of Polish bishops making their five-yearly visit to the Holy See.

Recalling the teachings of the Second Vatican Council's constitution "Gaudium et Spes," the Holy Father said: "Those who are suited or can become suited should prepare themselves for the difficult, but at the same time, the very noble art of politics, and should seek to practice this art without regard for their own interests or for material advantages."

Referring to Catholic politicians, he continued: "With integrity and wisdom, they must take action against any form of injustice and tyranny, against arbitrary domination by an individual or a political party and any intolerance.

"They should dedicate themselves to the service of all with sincerity and fairness, indeed, with the charity and fortitude demanded by political life."

To do this, the Pope added, "Christian politicians cannot remain without the help of the Church."
My Comments:
Most of the Catholic politicians in this country have no problem with being aware of their Catholic or Christian "identity". They play that for all it's worth at election time.

Their problems arise when it comes to applying Catholic or Christian "teachings" in their public policymaking decisions. It's then that they become "personally opposed, but ..."

Review of Peggy Noonan's Biography of John Paul the Great has reviewed Peggy Noonan's biography of the late Pope John Paul the Great:
Former White House speechwriter Peggy Noonan believes most biographies of Pope John Paul II “locate” the late pontiff in the context of history and explain his place in it. What they often “avoid,” she says, is speaking “at any great length of what he believed at his core.”

In John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father, Noonan does examine his core beliefs because, as she writes, “what he believed is the reason for his greatness, the explanation of his power.”

With her characteristic flair for storytelling, Noonan captures that greatness and power in a collection of tales, anecdotes from a variety of insiders, and reflections of her own experiences that artfully celebrate both the mortal man and the transcendent soul.


Alito Shouldn't Run From The Truth Of His Convictions

From The Washington Post:
Don't Run From the Truth
Why Alito Shouldn't Deny His Real Convictions

Misreading Robert H. Bork's 1987 shipwreck, the White House is bizarrely instructing its Supreme Court nominees to disown their prior attacks on wayward constitutional thinking from the high court. During his confirmation hearing for the post of chief justice, John Roberts dismissed tomes of the brilliant, caustic critiques of past constitutional capers that he authored under President Ronald Reagan, calling them merely an attorney's advice to a client.

According to his testimony, his intellectual sneers at the creative constitutional theories that summoned into being a generalized right to privacy ( Roe v. Wade in 1973) and exiled all religious acknowledgements from public life ( Wallace v. Jaffree , which banned the moment of silence in public schools in 1985) did not represent his views as an independent thinker. Roberts had joined the Reagan administration not as a Reaganite eager to alter the course of constitutional thought, he suggested, but as an opportunist who would have been equally inclined to serve under President Jimmy Carter.

Now, Samuel Alito Jr. is similarly insisting that he served in the Reagan administration as an ambitious apparatchik uncommitted to conservative principles. According to senators whose statements have been denied by neither the White House nor the nominee, Alito has distanced himself from his own writings assailing Roe and a cluster of dogmas dear to Democrats -- for example, racial preferences and welfare rights. Those writings, Alito is now saying, were crafted to curry favor with his superiors but did not reflect the authentic Alito.

What's going on here? The Bush administration argues, unpersuasively, that this intellectual disingenuousness is necessary to mollify Senate Democrats who would oppose a nominee too nakedly critical of their sacred cows, or to avert the type of sound-bite demagoguery that destroyed Bork. But in fact, disingenuousness is likely to heighten the risk of a confirmation debacle. And by running away from debate, it also blunts conservatives' paramount strategic objective of changing constitutional orthodoxies.

My Comments:
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: when it comes to judges and judicial philosophy, conservatives need to stop running away from what we believe in, and stand and fight. We will lose this debate on the direction of the courts if we don't.

University Administrator Declares Christmas "Forbidden"

From Cybercast News Service:
( - An administrator at California State University, Sacramento has banned decorations pertaining to Christmas and the 4th of July, among other holidays, from her office because they represent "religious discrimination" and "ethnic insensitivity."

"Time has come to recognize that religious discrimination, as well as ethnic insensitivity to certain holidays, is forbidden," Patricia Sonntag, director of the Office of Services to Students with Disabilities, stated in the directive she e-mailed to members of her staff on Dec. 9.

Cybercast News Service obtained the directive from the non-profit Catholic League, which "defends the right of Catholics ... to participate in American public life without defamation or discrimination," according to its website. The content of the e-mail was confirmed by the university.

The memo specifically names Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Valentine's Day, the 4th of July, St. Patrick's Day and Easter as the most offensive holidays, but Sonntag adds that they are "off the top of the list," implying that there may be others.

She wrote that the ban was being implemented "in order to avoid offending someone else" because Sacramento State is "a secular university and we are a public service area that has a diverse employee and student populations [sic] even in our private offices."

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Catholic Bishops' Conference Reclassifies Homoerotic Western as "Morally Offensive" After Complaints - Still Gives Thumbs Up

From Catholic News Agency:
Washington DC, Dec. 16, 2005 (CNA) - "Brokeback Mountain," originally rated L (limited adult audience) by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has been reclassified as an O (morally offensive) after several pro-family organizations expressed concern for what they saw as an implicit endorsement of the USCCB film critic to the controversial gay western.

Brokeback Mountain is the story of two sheep-herding cowboys in Wyoming who begin a homosexual relationship on the range in the 1960s, and continue their affair even after they marry women.

In the original comment posted on the USCCB's website, the reviewer wrote that the Catholic Church "makes a distinction between homosexual orientation and activity," and that "Ennis and Jack's continuing physical relationship is morally problematic."

"While the actions taken by Ennis and Jack cannot be endorsed, the universal themes of love and loss ring true," said the original USCCB's review, which also called the movie "a serious contemplation of loneliness and connection."

"Looked at from the point of view of the need for love which everyone feels but few people can articulate, the plight of these guys is easy to understand while their way of dealing with it is likely to surprise and shock an audience," the original USCCB review said.

After several pro-life and pro-family websites strongly criticized the original review, the USCCB decided on Friday to change its classification, while still providing a very positive description of the film.

The new full review of the USCBB can be seen at:
(emphasis added)

My Comments:
Although I am disgusted that this obscene garbage would receive a positive review from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I can't say that I'm surprised.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Democrat Party = Christian-Hating Bigots

The Washington State Democrat Party has had to issue an apology for being a little too upfront about its anti-Christian bigotry:
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - The state's Democratic chairman has apologized for a political gimcrack that parodied a popular Christian automobile adornment.

The fish-shaped magnet was posted for sale alongside other political paraphernalia last week on the state Democratic Party's Web site.

The magnet also bore the image of a cross and the word "hypocrite" over a background of flames. State Rep. Doug Ericksen, R-Bellingham, called it an "anti-Christian" symbol.
My Comments:
They're not sorry for feeling the disdain they obviously feel towards "snake-handlers". The only thing the Democrats are sorry for is that their outright hatred of all things Christian was made so manifest on their website.

Another Update

Got computer access just a little while ago. Will blog more later. Going to bed now.

Oh, and before I forget, thanks to all of you well-wishers who provided words of encouragement and/or prayed for our safe arrival in Ohio.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Update on the Move to Ohio

We're here. We arrived safely on Saturday afternoon after a very pleasant and uneventful journey. Unfortunately, Sarah's family had the housekeys and had neglected to leave them for us. We tried to reach someone on the cell phone, but no one was home at her grandmother's house, or either of her aunt's and uncle's houses.

On top of that, it was freezing cold and Sarah got the minivan stuck in the snow in the driveway. So, we were stuck outside until I could get the minivan dug out. Fortunately, my snow shovel, some ice melt, and some sand was already in the shed. It took me a while, but I finally got us dug out.

Sarah drove off with the kids to her aunt's place of employment to find out where the keys were. Meanwhile, since I already had the snow shovel out, I cleared off the sidewalks in front of the house. A little over an hour later, Sarah and the kids arrived with the keys. By that time, I was very chilled. I'm fighting a cold today that I'm sure I caught that day.

All in all, a fine Midwest welcome for this Southern boy. ;)

But we are very delighted to be here. The kids are enjoying their new house, playing with their cousin, and all the snow. The house is wall-to-wall-floor-to-ceiling with boxes. It will take us at least a couple of months or more to get everything in order.

Blogging will continue to be light, as I'm still waiting for the rest of my computer equipment to arrive from the office before I have the cable company come to the house to put in the connection. I'm posting this from Sarah's grandmother's computer. Don't tell Sarah I'm doing this. I'm supposed to be paying bills online.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Big Move

Light blogging today and throughout the weekend, as my family departs today for our new home. Leaving my native Dixie and my adopted state of Virginia behind as we look forward to our future in the Buckeye State (and I'm still trying to figure out who I'm going to cheer for in the Fiesta Bowl).

Please pray for our safe journey, since we had a lot of bad weather overnight in the areas we are traveling. Lots of snow and ice, but the sun seems to be melting most of it.


Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Wages of Tolerance - Catholic Women Who Stay

(Hat tip: FreeRepublic)

From Boston College Magazine:
The wages of tolerance
Catholic women who stay

By Alice McDermott

I could no more stop being Catholic than I could stop being a native New Yorker or of Irish descent, my parent's child or my children's mother. Being Catholic is a condition of my being. It might as well be genetic. Catholicism is my faith, my culture, my heritage. The Church is my social community and my spiritual sanctuary. It is the source of the very language with which I contemplate life, and death, give thanks, seek comfort, define and comprehend the substance of things hoped for.

To leave the Church for another—less sexist, less maddening—religious institution would save me a lot of anguish but also place me in what would feel like a permanent state of exile. There would be, for the rest of my days, a lingering disappointment, a loss of authenticity, a sense of failure—the failure of my love for the Church, as well as the failure of the Church itself to hear the voices of those who love it.

Simply put, women choose to stay because we love our Church. Because it is and will always be our Church. But to say we cannot leave does not eliminate our anguish as we stay. Rather, it is our longing to stay in the Church that makes our appeals for change all the more urgent. It is our full understanding of how losing the Church would diminish us that fuels our passion for its reform.

I—and many of us, I believe—will not leave the Catholic Church. What I, and many of us, fear is that the Catholic Church will leave us.

My Comments:
This woman is rather presumptuous to believe that she speaks for all Catholic women. The sad thing is, she probably really does believe that all Catholic women think just like she does - that all Catholic women seek to "change" and "reform" the Catholic Church in the same fashion she would like to.

It reminds me of the time when I was having a political discussion with a female local government employee who was very liberal. At one point in the conversation, she looked over at Sarah and asked, "How can you stand him?", assuming that, as an "oppressed" victim of the male patriarchy, Sarah must be liberal, too. The woman was quite incredulous when Sarah answered, "Are you kidding? I'm more conservative than Jay is."

"Silent Night" Secularized (Wisconsin Elementary School Changes Lyrics)

A Wisconsin elementary school has changed beloved Christmas carol "Silent Night" to "Cold in the Night" with all new lyrics:
For a performance in its "winter program," a Wisconsin elementary school has changed the beloved Christmas carol "Silent Night," calling the song "Cold in the Night" and secularizing the lyrics.

According to Liberty Counsel, a religious-liberty law firm representing a student's parent, kids who attend Ridgeway Elementary School in Dodgeville, Wis., will sing the following lyrics to the tune of "Silent Night":

Cold in the night,
no one in sight,
winter winds whirl and bite,
how I wish I were happy and warm,
safe with my family out of the storm.

Specter Predicts Long, Tough Questioning for Alito

From the Washington Post:
The Senate Judiciary Committee will demand that Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. answer more questions than did Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., and it may subject him to extra hours of grilling to do so, the panel's chairman said yesterday.

But Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), said he senses little enthusiasm among Democrats for a filibuster to block Alito, and he believes the nominee's fate will turn largely on "how credible he is" at the panel's confirmation hearing, which begins Jan. 9.

"His nomination faces some real hurdles," Specter said in an hour-long interview with Washington Post editors and reporters. Senators will not allow Alito to sidestep as many questions as Roberts did during his confirmation hearing, he said, because Alito has far more judicial opinions to defend and because he wrote two controversial memos on abortion and other matters in 1985.

My Comments:
Boy, that's just what I want to hear coming from the Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee. With "Republicans" like that running the show, who needs Democrats?

I'm starting to envision a repeat of the Bork fiasco. I think I'm going to be sick.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

People For the UnAmerican Way Rallies Its Hollywood Supporters Against Alito

From The New York Slimes:
WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 - With a battle over the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. just around the corner, a little slice of Hollywood arrived in the capital Tuesday night to raise money for People for the American Way, the liberal advocacy group leading the charge against the judge's confirmation.

The star-spangled awards benefit at the Kennedy Center featured the actresses Sharon Stone, Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly, as well as a performance by original cast members from the musical "Rent." It was expected to raise several hundred thousand dollars for the advocacy group, and it was just the kind of event conservatives love to hate.

Five hundred guests who had paid $250 each mingled over chardonnay and hors d'oeuvres during a cocktail hour while black-clad celebrities posed before flashing cameras. The attendees represented a Who's Who of liberal groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Alliance for Justice, which also opposes Judge Alito.

"The religious right already controls the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives," Ralph G. Neas, president of People For, as the group is known in Washington and Hollywood circles, said in a speech as the awards ceremony began.

Now, Mr. Neas warned, the right is planning to "pack the Supreme Court with right-wing ideologues."

But to conservatives, who have long deplored the influence of Hollywood in Washington, the Kennedy Center gala was proof that "unreconstructed 60's radicals" are behind People for the American Way, said Sean Rushton, executive director of the Committee for Justice, a group supporting Judge Alito.

My Comments:
I think it's quite clear that the opposition to nominees like Judge Alito is coming from those who would like to see Hollywood's values replace the "old-fashioned" values of Red State voters. They can't win at the ballot box, so they know they must keep their culture of death allies in control of the courts.

And I'm sure the supporters of Alito's nomination are just quaking in their boots knowing that he is now being opposed by such '80s holdovers as Cagney and Lacey and that crotch-baring slut from that Michael Douglas movie (not "Fatal Attraction", but the other one).

"Holiday" Cards Ring Hollow for Some on Bushes' List

From the Washington Post:
What's missing from the White House Christmas card? Christmas.

This month, as in every December since he took office, President Bush sent out cards with a generic end-of-the-year message, wishing 1.4 million of his close friends and supporters a happy "holiday season."

Many people are thrilled to get a White House Christmas card, no matter what the greeting inside. But some conservative Christians are reacting as if Bush stuck coal in their stockings.

"This clearly demonstrates that the Bush administration has suffered a loss of will and that they have capitulated to the worst elements in our culture," said William A. Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

Bush "claims to be a born-again, evangelical Christian. But he sure doesn't act like one," said Joseph Farah, editor of the conservative Web site "I threw out my White House card as soon as I got it."

Religious conservatives are miffed because they have been pressuring stores to advertise Christmas sales rather than "holiday specials" and urging schools to let students out for Christmas vacation rather than for "winter break." They celebrated when House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) insisted that the sparkling spectacle on the Capitol lawn should be called the Capitol Christmas Tree, not a holiday spruce.

Then along comes a generic season's greeting from the White House, paid for by the Republican National Committee. The cover art is also secular, if not humanist: It shows the presidential pets -- two dogs and a cat -- frolicking on a snowy White House lawn.


"Merry Christmas" School Lunch Menus Recalled

From Associated Press via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
SEATTLE - Two suburban school districts have had to do some backtracking over holiday religious issues, one for lunch menus with the words "Merry Christmas" and the other for a "giving tree."

In Federal Way, between Seattle and Tacoma, December lunch menus for all 23 elementary schools were recalled and reprinted with the words "Happy Holidays" at a cost of $494 after a new nutrition services employee mistakenly prepared them with the greeting "Merry Christmas," spokeswoman Diane Turner said.

The 11,500 misworded calendar-style menus were never distributed and were recycled, Turner added.

Using "Merry Christmas" on the menus violated school system policies because "it has a religious connotation for some people," Turner said.

"Our objective is to provide information to the diversity of the people that we have in our district," she said. "We try to respect each individuals point of view."

In tony Medina, east of Lake Washington, a Christmas-style tree bearing mittens labeled with gift ideas was up for about a week at Medina Elementary School before it was removed, office manager Chris Metzger said.

The idea was for pupils to take a mitten, get the listed gift, wrap it and bring it to school to be given to someone at Lake Hills Elementary School in a less well-off section of neighboring Bellevue.

Some parents had put up the spiral, lighted tree with a star at the top, but it was removed Monday after another parent complained that it had religious connotations, Metzger said. The mittens were transferred to a counter in the office so the gift program could continue.

"We covered the star and called it a giving tree. We hoped it would suffice, but it didn't," Metzger said. "Now we just have a giving counter."
My Comments:

But, of course, there is no "War Against Christmas" going on in America, as we're constantly reminded by those on the secular left. It's all in our overactive imaginations (you know, the ones that allow us to have "imaginary friends" like God). We're just being paranoid.

"Are You Better Off This Holiday?," Democrats Ask

From Cybercast News Service:
( - In a year-end effort to raise funds -- as well as enthusiasm for the Democratic Party - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is urging fellow Democrats to "look back" over the past year and consider how Republicans have messed things up.
My Comments:
"Are You Better Off This Holiday [sic]?," Democrats Ask.

Why yes, actually. I am. And it has nothing to do with the economy or who is or isn't in political power.

I place my faith and confidence not in men or governments, but in the Word made Flesh. His Grace is sufficient for me.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Christmas Classic That Almost Wasn't

From USAToday (via Yahoo News):
When CBS bigwigs saw a rough cut of A Charlie Brown Christmas in November 1965, they hated it.

[Executive producer Lee] Mendelson and animator Bill Melendez fretted about the insistence by Peanuts creator Charles Schulz that his first-ever TV spinoff end with a reading of the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke by a lisping little boy named Linus.

"We told Schulz, 'Look, you can't read from the Bible on network television,' " Mendelson says. "When we finished the show and watched it, Melendez and I looked at each other and I said, 'We've ruined Charlie Brown.' "

Good grief, were they wrong. The first broadcast was watched by almost 50% of the nation's viewers. "When I started reading the reviews, I was absolutely shocked," says Melendez, 89. "They actually liked it!"

And when the program airs today at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, it will mark its 40th anniversary - a run that has made it a staple of family holiday traditions and an icon of American pop culture. The show won an Emmy and a Peabody award and began a string of more than two dozen Peanuts specials.

Parents say the combination of humor and bedrock values is what draws them and their children to the show. "It does provide a balance, but it's a balance that we as a society have forgotten about," says Patrick Lemp, 43, of West Hartford, Conn. He'll watch tonight with son Brendan, 13.

"This is one of the last shows that actually comes out and talks about the meaning of Christmas. As a society, we're taking religion out of a lot of the trappings of the holiday. This one is different."

For many viewers, it is the speech by Linus from Luke near the end that packs the biggest emotional wallop.

Christopher Shea was just 7 when he did the part and credits Melendez's coaching and his mom's doctorate in 17th-century British literature for Linus' lilting eloquence with a Biblical text.

Shea, who now lives in Eureka, Calif., with two daughters, 11 and 16, answers quickly when asked why the special has proved so enduring. "It's the words," he says.

Shea says that for years, in his teens and 20s, he didn't quite understand his soliloquy's impact.

"People kept coming up to me and saying, 'Every time I watch that, I cry,' " he says. "But as I got older, I understood the words more, and I understood the power of what was going on. Now I cry, too."
My Comments:
I'm not surprised that there was some opposition to such an overtly Christian message being put on television, but at least "A Charlie Brown Christmas" did end up making it onto the airwaves.

By contrast, these days you can drop hundreds of bucks in a retail store buying Christmas gifts, and the retailers won't even acknowledge the reason you're enriching them by wishing you a "Merry Christmas".

"A Charlie Brown Christmas" captures for all time some of what has been lost in this age of "multicultural" oversensitivity (oversensitive, that is, regarding all things NOT Christian). My family adores this program, and we own the DVD. Not only will we watch it on TV tonight, we will watch it over and over again throughout the coming month.

Thank you Charles M. Schulz for boldly reminding us "what Christmas is all about".

I Celebrate Christmas

Jeff at The Curt Jester links to some pretty nifty buttons that will help Christmas revelers who do their shopping in department stores avoid those embarrassing "Happy Holidays" moments.

By the way, happy Feast of St. Nicholas!

"Catholic" Jim McGreevey Embraces Episcopal Church

McGreevey embraces the Episcopal church
Lifelong Catholic lends support to group that promotes gay, lesbian issues

Former [New Jersey] Gov. James E. McGreevey, who struggled to square his Catholic faith with his political positions even before he declared himself a "gay American" last year, has been regularly attending services in the Episcopal church.

A former altar boy
[ED: another one, huh, just like John F. Kerry? The term "former altar boy" is usually a CINO dead give-away.] educated in Catholic schools, McGreevey, 48, said at a Hackensack fundraiser last night that for the past several months, he's been splitting time between the Church of the Holy Comforter in Rahway and St. Batholemew's Church in Manhattan.

McGreevey, a Rahway resident, would not say whether his attendance at the two Episcopal churches signaled a break from the Roman Catholic Church, and he declined to answer additional questions posed by a reporter.

"I'm just here to support a good cause tonight," he said.

The Episcopal Church is far more liberal on gay rights than the Catholic Church.
[ED: No. Really?]

Throughout his political career, McGreevey highlighted his Irish Catholic roots [ED: when it suited him politically, he was "Irish Catholic" just like Kennedy, Kerry (who's not really even Irish), etc.], but some of his personal beliefs [ED: his "personal beliefs"? I thought most of these CINOs claim to be "personally opposed, but ..."] - his support for abortion rights and the death penalty chief among them - run counter to church teachings.

As governor, he signed legislation supporting domestic partnerships and stem cell research, both opposed by the Vatican.

The divide between McGreevey's political positions and the church's stance came to a head in April 2004, when Trenton Bishop John Smith singled out the former governor for criticism.

Days later, a top Vatican official said politicians who don't publicly oppose abortion should be denied Communion. In response, McGreevey said he would no longer take Communion in public, but the issue clearly frustrated him.

The Vatican, he said at the time, was forcing on politicians a "false choice between one's faith and the importance of governing in an open, democratic society."

It was shortly after the Communion flap that local Episcopal officials first reached out to McGreevey, said the Rev. Elizabeth Kaeton of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Chatham.

"After that whole fiasco with the Roman Catholic Church
, when they said they wouldn't give him Communion because of his position on abortion, some of us -- I was one of them -- spoke to him privately and said, 'Have you thought about the Episcopal church?'" said Kaeton, who was among those attending last night's fundraiser. "That kind of evangelism works."
[ED: The language used isn't very diplomatic or conciliatory, but that's nevertheless what I call ecumenicalism. Please come take more of our "bad" Catholics.]

© 2005 The Star-Ledger. Used by with permission.
(emphasis and editorial comment added)

My Comments:
Regardless of my disagreement with Mr. McGreevey's policy preferences and lifestyle choices, I can't help but admire his integrity and intellectual honesty (and, indeed, humility) in (1) absenting himself from taking Communion when his public policy stances could not be reconciled with the demands of his Faith and (2) acknowledging that, rather than remaining in the Catholic Church as a dissenter, the Episcopal Church may be a better fit for him.

Contrast his actions to the brazen dishonesty and disobedience of the Kennedys, Kerrys, Cuomos, Bidens, Schwarzeneggers, Giulianis, etc. of the political world.

Dissidents Rally Opposition to John Paul's Beatification

From Catholic World News:
Rome, Dec. 06 ( - A group of dissident Catholics has organized public opposition to the quick beatification of Pope John Paul II (bio - news).

Eleven theologians and one journalist from Europe and Latin American have joined in a statement entitled "The beatification of John-Paul II: appeal for clarity." In their statement, they list what they consider seven "negative" aspects of the late Pontiff's life, and encourage other Catholics to testify against his beatification.

More UK Insanity: Girl Sent Home From School For Wearing A Crucifix

From the Drudge Report:
A school today defended its decision to exclude a pupil after she refused to take off her crucifix necklace.

Sam Morris, 16, was told to remove her cross and chain on Thursday by deputy head teacher Howard Jones at Sinfin Community School in Derby.

When the year-11 student refused she was told not to return until today and without the item of jewellery.

The 1,070-student comprehensive has a strict policy which bans most jewellery being worn.

Items can be worn out of view or if they are part of religious beliefs, such as the Kara, a bracelet worn by Sikh males.

But the policy has been described as "unfair" by Sam's mother, Debra Saunders.

Sinfin Community School deputy head teacher Howard Jones said her daughter's one-day exclusion had been a "last resort" after a 30-minute conversation failed to persuade her to take it off.

He said: "There was a long period of persuasion with her and she was given time. It was only at the end of that that I reluctantly had to exclude her for a day.

"I met with her mother today and readmitted her daughter."

Mr Jones said the strict jewellery policy, which bans large earrings or items worn on the outside of clothing - was to avoid accidents and to remove temptation from thieves.

However, Sikh male pupils are allowed to wear the Kara, one of five physical symbols worn by followers of the faith.

Mr Jones said: "As a Christian I don't have to wear a crucifix but Sikhs don't have that option and we have to be understanding. We live in a multi-faith society."

Mrs Saunders, of Thackeray Street, Sinfin, told the Derby Evening Telegraph: "Sam has worn this necklace for more than three years and it is of great sentimental value to her.

"No-one has told her to take it off before and she doesn't want to.

"She thinks it is very unfair when other people are allowed to wear religious symbols and it just ends up creating a divide between the pupils when everyone is told they should be living in unity."

(emphasis added)

E.J. Dionne: Conservatives Dodging Debate on Alito

From the Washington Post:
When conservatives revolted against President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, they proudly proclaimed their desire for a big debate over constitutional principles. Now they are running from the fight.

No, they are not giving up on Samuel "I am and always have been a conservative" Alito. They just want to act as if their ardent support for Alito has nothing to do with his ideas or how he might rule. Whatever Alito said in the past that proves conservatives are right in seeing him as a comrade in arms is supposed to be irrelevant to the Senate's debate over his confirmation.

Alito seems, really and truly, to believe that Roe was a mistake. In his now famous letter seeking a promotion during the Reagan years, Alito said that he was proud of his work in the administration advancing arguments "that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion."

Believing that Roe was wrongly decided is a perfectly respectable position. Many, perhaps most, conservatives hold this view. So do some liberal supporters of abortion rights.

You would think that Alito and his supporters would welcome a principled discussion of Roe. In fact, they want to change the subject. When Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) asked Alito about that letter seeking a promotion, she said he told her: "First of all, it was different then. . . . I was an advocate seeking a job. It was a political job. And that was 1985."

Rather than defend his letter, in other words, Alito preferred to leave the impression that he might have been engaging in a bit of opportunism. Does that mean that 20 years from now, he will say that his statements to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee were simply those of an appeals court judge seeking a promotion and were never intended to be taken too seriously?

Alito's supporters also tried hard to minimize the importance of the Roe strategy memo. Steve Schmidt, the White House official who is managing the Alito confirmation, said reading the memo as an indication of "how he would rule as a Supreme Court justice" is "a fairly absurd proposition."

When it comes to having an argument about abortion, the administration's strategy is to cut and run.
My Comments:
Republicans must play offense, rather than defense, with this nomination, or they (and we) will surely lose.

It cannot be allowed to become a "settled" principle of Supreme Court nominations that anti-Roe and/or pro-life nominees are disqualified from serving.

Pope Calls Marriage "The Heritage of Humanity"

From Catholic News Agency:
Vatican City, Dec. 05, 2005 (CNA) - On Saturday, Pope Benedict XVI met with representatives of Latin American family and life groups, to whom he stressed the value of human life in the face of new ethical issues, and the need for faithfulness, and openness to life within marriage.

Recalling the great interest of his predecessor, John Paul II, on the pastoral care of the family, Benedict said that "for my part, I share this same concern which to a large extent affects the future of the Church and of peoples."

"Your duty as pastors," he said, "is to present the extraordinary value of marriage in all its richness; as a natural institution, it is 'the heritage of humanity.'"

"At the same time," he added, "its elevation to the great dignity of Sacrament must be contemplated with gratitude and wonder, as I myself recently pointed out when I said that 'the value of Sacrament that marriage assumes in Christ means that the gift of creation was raised to the grace of redemption'."

The Pope then went on to address a number of life-related issues, including embryonic stem cell research and abortion, noting that new attitudes are putting the fundamental right to life into question.

"The elimination of the embryo", he said, "is being facilitated, as is its use in the name of scientific progress which, in not recognizing its own limits and not accepting all the moral principles that enable the dignity of the person to be protected, becomes a threat to human beings themselves."

Benedict also noted that "in Latin America, as elsewhere, children have the right to be born and to grow up in the bosom of a family founded on marriage," and emphasized that children are an expression of the wealth of a family.

"For this reason," he said, "it is necessary to help everyone to realize the intrinsic evil of the crime of abortion which, in attacking human life at its beginnings, is also an act of aggression against society itself."

"Consequently," he pointed out, "politicians and lawmakers, as servants of the social good, have the duty to defend the fundamental right to life, the fruit of God's love."
(emphasis added)

What Bumper Sticker Are You?

(Hat tip: Catholic Caveman)

Frequent readers of this blog will not be surprised by the results of this quiz:

You scored as Ted Kennedy's Car Has Killed More People Than My Gun. No doubt about it... you hate Ted Kennedy almost as much as you love your M-1911 .45 pistol

Ted Kennedy's Car Has Killed More People Than My Gun


Don't Blame Us, We Voted For Jefferson Davis


Rehab Is For Quitters


Visualize World Peace


Queer Nation Flag


What Bumper Sticker Are You?
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Monday, December 05, 2005

Canadian Bishop Remains Outspoken

(Hat tip: Rick Lugari at De Civitate Dei)

Despite government threats against him, Bishop Fred Henry of Alberta, Canada won't be cowed into silence when it comes to defending the Church's position on issues of public policy:
Won't be muzzled, Bishop promises
Cleric vows to address issues

But will refrain from taking sides

Dec. 5, 2005.

CALGARY — An outspoken Roman Catholic bishop in Alberta says federal laws banning partisan attacks from the pulpit won't muzzle him during the election should the need to speak out arise.

Fred Henry says he is cautious about appearing partisan, but adds if any of the parties take aim at the religious community's freedom of expression, he won't stand idle.

"If somebody does make some outrageous, stupid comment I'm liable to be there, Elections Act or no Elections Act, if there's a misinterpretation of the separation of church and state," he said.

Henry said he was threatened by Revenue Canada with losing his diocese's tax-free charitable status during the 2004 campaign when he criticized Prime Minister Paul Martin — a Catholic — for his failure to oppose abortion and same-sex marriage.

Recently, Henry was embroiled in complaints brought before the Alberta Human Rights Commission following his public comments opposing same-sex marriage, of which at least one was later dropped.

One of the complaints was launched after Henry wrote a letter to his parishioners last spring comparing homosexuality to prostitution, adultery and pornography.

Henry applauded Conservative Leader Stephen Harper's vow last week to hold a free vote that could re-open the same-sex marriage debate if he forms the next government.

From Fidelis: New MUST SEE Christmas Ad Defending Judge Alito

Tonight, I received an email from Joseph Cella at Fidelis detailing a new ad campaign in support of Judge Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court:
New MUST SEE Christmas Ad Defending Judge Alito

Dear Friend:

Fidelis has launched the first phase of a Christmas advertising campaign that celebrates America’s Judeo-Christian religious traditions commemorated during this season, and defends Judge Samuel Alito.

We urgently need your help to spread our campaign!

As liberal activist and radical feminist groups try to derail the nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito, one example they cite is Judge Alito’s 1999 decision in the ACLU v Schundler case. Judge Alito’s ruling against the ACLU allowed a religious holiday display in front of the Jersey City, N.J. city hall that included a Christian Nativity scene and a Jewish Menorah.

The display is constitutional and a perfectly reasonable display of religious symbols. Yet activist groups on the Left now claim this case is proof that Judge Alito would further erode their extreme version of the "wall of separation" between church and state.

These liberal groups are out of touch with American values on religion.

We must stand up and defend our religious freedom and traditions from attacks by liberal groups.

To send the Fidelis Christmas web commercial to your family and friends, please click here.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely yours,
Joseph J. Cella

P.S. Fidelis needs your support to expand our Christmas ad campaign. 100% of your contribution will go directly toward reaching thousands of Americans with our pro-Alito Christmas message. Click here to donate.

Lie of the Day

Senator Joe Biden has told the "lie of the day" according to
Lie Of The Day
"It's not like you want to do it to hear Hail To The Chief, claimed Sen. Joe Biden, on why he may run for president.

Oh PLEASE, Joe. We're sure you're probably humming it to yourself all day long.

Saddam: "I Am Not Afraid of Execution"

Poor Saddam Hussein. He's being so mistreated by a "barbaric" justice system that allows for the use of capital punishment:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Saddam Hussein told the judge at his trial Monday that "I am not afraid of execution" during an unruly court session in which the first witness took the stand and testified that the former president's agents carried out random arrests, torture and killings.

"This game must not continue, if you want Saddam Hussein's neck, you can have it!" Saddam said. "I have exercised my constitutional prerogatives after I had been the target of an armed attack.

"I am not afraid of execution," said Saddam, who then addressed the judge, saying, "I realize there is pressure on you and I regret that I have to confront one of my sons. But I'm not doing it for myself. I'm doing it for Iraq. I'm not defending myself. But I am defending you."
My Comments:
Don't worry, Saddam. There'll be much more support for sparing your life coming from your local Catholic bishops than any of the thousands of your victims ever had.

Democrats "Smelling Blood" Over Alito

From The American Spectator:
Last Friday morning, in a Hart Senate Office Building meeting room, legal counsel and some staff from People for the American way, NARAL, NOW, Alliance for Justice, and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights held a pen and pad (no TV cameras) briefing for reporters and some Democratic Senate staff to discuss their opposition plans to the Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel Alito.

Republican staff that attempted to enter were barred from the room, as were several reporters from publications and newspapers who arrived for the briefing but had not been formally invited.

The room, Room 512, had been reserved earlier in the week by the office of Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid. And Reid staffers, as well as staffers for Sens. Dick Durbin, Ted Kennedy, and Joseph Biden, were seen entering and exiting the room during the briefing.

There wasn't much to the briefing, beyond an overall message that Alito was doomed to failure because of documents - beyond the recently released 1985 job application and memo to the solicitor general - that were surely still to be made public confirming what the left believes is a hardened position to overturn abortion, as well as civil rights law. Much of the hysteria is built around the Alito's writing as a Reagan Administration staffer back in the mid-1980s.

Nervous Republican Senators reached out to the White House last week for reassurances on those documents, and were told that there were no major surprises. In fact, the White House appears to have done a good job of getting most of the most explosive documentation out into the public domain far earlier than Democrats and their third-party operatives expected.

And that is why the Friday pen and pad was interesting to watch. According to Democratic leadership sources, Sen. Harry Reid was pressed in meetings and conference calls last week to allow his party and his caucus to go on the offensive against Alito. "Not just push back, we really want the knives to come out," says a leadership staffer. "The leader has been holding us back now for close to a month, and our caucus is getting itchy."

After the latest set of documents was released, Reid relented but asked that Senators and their staffs work closely and coordinate with groups such as People for the American Way and NARAL for what Reid termed "the dirty work," according to Democratic staff who were briefed on the conversations.

"The third party groups have the money and the ability to go after Alito and beat him up pretty bad if they have the ammunition, and that is the goal. We want Alito - in the minds of the American public - to be the second coming of Judge Bork. That's the goal," says another Democratic Senate staffer.
My Comments:
Let's have this fight!

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