Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Digest of Today's Posts (31 January 2012)

  • Vox Nova Still Covering for Obama Even After Anti-Catholic HHS Mandate

  • Bill McGurn on Why Romney Sucks

  • Obama Plays His Liberal Catholic Allies for Fools [UPDATED]
  • Labels:

    Vox Nova Still Covering for Obama Even After Anti-Catholic HHS Mandate

    Let's get one thing out of the way:

    Since (a) I am not a Republican, and (b) the probability of my supporting the likely GOP nominee for President is somewhere between Hell freezing over and never, this post is not about advocating support for any political party over another.

    But this post IS about taking a stand in support of your Church over your anti-Catholic political allies. However, that appears to be too much to ask from our friends over at Vox Nova. When your so-called political "allies" attack the religious freedom of the Catholic Church by mandating your Church's institutions pay for contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization as part of employee health plans, and your primary response is to worry that your so-called political "enemies" might use it to their political advantage, you'll pardon me for concluding that you have some seriously screwed-up priorities.

    Here's how one Vox Nova contributor, my old friend from many past political jousts, greeted the news of the HHS mandate:
    The Obama administration’s refusal to provide adequate conscience protections to Church-affiliated institutions that do not wish to pay for contraception is fundamentally wrong. [ED.: As is the case anytime this particular contributor offers tepid criticism of his beloved party, I sense a "BUT" coming.] Obama has lost the vote of Michael Sean Winters over this. Given the depraved condition of the modern Republican party, [ED.: And there it is. Democrats do something bad, BUT Republicans are always worse. I'm just shocked it took him 3 sentences to get to the "but". As far as the content of the "but" goes, I'm not sure you can get more "depraved" than supporting abortion on demand or forcing Catholic institutions to pay for the "right" to violate their consciences on fundamental tenets of their faith, but we're talking about some fairly hackish sycophancy when it comes to my old friend.] I’m not sure I would go that far [ED.: But of course not. Ever the party loyalist, let's not make those whose policies harm our Church pay politically for those decisions.], but I know where he is coming from. Not only is this decision wrong, but it represents a betrayal of those who fought hardest and took the most heat – even death threats – for supporting the Affordable Care Act. [ED.: Martyrs to the cause, to be sure. But let's get one thing straight - this decision by Obama's HHS DOES NOT come as a shock to anyone. This was predicted from the get-go by many, including the USCCB, but the ObamaCaths ignored the warnings and accused their interlocutors (again, including the USCCB) of being "ignorant" or "duped" or "GOP shills" or worse. Spare me the Claude Rains routine of these folks feigning to be "shocked, shocked" that the Obama Administration would go this route.]


    But let’s be clear about something else too. [ED.: There's that word "but" again. Shocker.] From this same perspective of Catholic social teaching, positions like those of Robert George also don’t hold any water. [ED.: Of course not. George is one of those "evil conservatives", so whatever position he holds is automatically just as bad as, if not worse than, the Obama Administration's forcing Catholic institutions to pay for the "right" to violate their own consciences on fundamental tenets of their faith.] George is almost gloating over Obama’s betrayal of the Catholics who supported him. [ED.: He turned out to be right after being accused of political hackery, something you continue to accuse him of in this commentary. Can you blame him? As for "gloating", turnabout is fair frickin' play, my old friend. You people took gloating to new heights after Stupak caved and Obamacare passed. I even saw one of the more frequent commenters at your blog gloating over how the Bishops had their hats handed to them by a bunch of nuns, and how the chancery staffs were now scrambling behind the scenes hat-in-hand begging Democrat congressional staffers for pardon and forgiveness over their allegedly "misconceived" opposition to Obamacare. So, forgive me for believing the "gloating" and the rubbing your noses in it is well deserved. But, again, the fact that this reaction by your political "enemies" appears to be your primary concern, rather than the fact that your Church just got hosed by your political "allies" reflects a seriously disordered perspective.] But George and those like him tend to misapply the principle of subsidiarity themselves. Rather than too much help, they would have the government provide too little. Sticking to the health care arena, these people [ED.: You can almost feel the unconditional "love" my old friend harbors toward "these people".] opposed the Affordable Care Act based on what Pope Paul VI referred to an unbridled liberalism that “exalts individual freedom by withdrawing from it every limitation” and which is based on “an erroneous affirmation of the autonomy of the individual in his activity, his motivation and the exercise of his liberty”. [ED.: Actually, a whole lot of "these people" opposed the legislation for exactly the reasons they and the USCCB said that they opposed it: because it provided too little protection against federal funding of abortion and too few protections for conscience rights. And we turned out to be 100% correct. You turned out to be wrong on that count. Now YOU need to deal with it rather than deflecting and lashing out at political opponents.] This is the basic right-wing liberalism in the United States that is mis-named “conservatism”. Specifically, these anti-Obama Catholics on the right [ED.: In opposition to the ObamaCaths, I'll gladly accept the appellation, inaccurate though it is. But it's all about Obama with you people, isn't it? And the Democrat Party. That's where your loyalties TRULY lie, and you'll never be able to convince me otherwise until you can write the condemnatory piece that Obama's abominable HHS mandate deserves without having to resort to your time-honored "BUT" and dragging the evil "Catholics on the right" into it in order to deflect attention.] opposed attempts to provide near-universal healthcare by means of strict regulation of insurance companies, an individual mandate, and subsidies for the poor. The individual mandate, as an “attack on autonomy”, continues to draw the most ire. [ED.: There you go again. Identify a subset of your "enemies" who opposed the legislation for one reason, and then paint with a broad brush to make it seem as if ALL opponents of Obamacare opposed it for that reason. It's so easy to deflect blame away from yourself when you have such ready-made strawmen upon whom to heap the lion's share of culpability. Once the legislation passed both the House and the Senate, many of us said we could live with the legislation, even though we had opposed it, as long as it provided sufficient protections against abortion funding and sufficient conscience protections. That the Administration and its congressional allies were willing to let the legislation die rather than assent to the provisions of the Stupak Amendment, and that YOU supported their position throughout the standoff, speaks volumes. YOU are responsible for the HHS decision, because YOU provided Catholic cover for the Administration's efforts. Stop trying to pass the buck and FOR ONCE accept responsibility for this disgraceful anti-life, secularist agenda of YOUR party. Lord knows, many of us "Catholics on the right" have spent years lamenting our suppport for the other party, with our criticisms of the GOP notably foregoing the prominent "BUT" that is ubiquitous in your all-too-lacking criticisms of YOUR political allies.]
    You can read the rest if you'd like, but I think I've pretty much covered the gist of it here. Now, on to my old friend's co-blogger, who, while calling for using the "right narrative" in discussing the HHS story - the "narrative of religious liberty" - nevertheless seems as concerned with blame deflecting as my old friend:
    ... Are we willing to stand for the whole of religious liberty? We must be. Anything else will allow a new narrative to be imposed on the Catholic Church, one which will make the Catholic Church look ridiculous to outsiders looking in. They don’t want to understand our objections to contraception; they just want a narrative to follow. Our narrative must be religious liberty, and one which does not stay tied to one violation of it. Yes, we can and should point out such violations, but only when connected to a grand narrative, that of the religious heart of humanity and the need for each person to follow through with their religious quest wherever it takes them. All major political parties have become infested with secularism and use it to denounce the religious narrative when religion desires something contrary to their political agenda. As long as we keep our own debates within the partisan narrative, we will end up defeating ourselves as our party ends up denying our religious liberty in one fashion or another. We must speak beyond the parties, beyond the politics. We must control the narrative and stop being used as a tool by partisan hacks as they take the narrative away from us. If we don’t do this now, everyone loses.
    Let me state for the record that I find very little with which to disagree in this paragraph. I am 100% in agreement with the notion that overarching themes and narratives are what wins the day in the arena of public opinion, and I am equally in agreement with the assessment that the narrative we should use in talking about the HHS mandate is that of religious liberty.

    Where I find fault with the analysis is with the "but the other side is just as bad" aspect of the commentary. And the example at which the blogger grasps to illustrate his point is just sad:
    ... The problem is that this religious liberty, this freedom to follow the conscience, has for a long time been repudiated by the United States. Catholics have freely given it up – indeed, many of the same Catholics now upset with what they see happening today had no problem giving it up in the past when it was their party in charge of the nation. After all, have we not had the US Bishops speaking out for a long time to allow soldiers to have a right to follow their conscience in regards to wars? And have we not seen many Catholic mock such a position and say it was unnecessary and indeed, that it would hurt the military if such was allowed?
    Seriously? Is this the best recent example you can come up with? Did this even happen with much frequency? With much intensity? Was it a widespread problem? Did this even happen? I have to admit that I never saw anything of the sort.

    And does it REALLY compare to what the HHS has mandated for Catholic institutions? That they pay for contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization as part of their emplyee health plans? That they, once again, pay for the "right" to violate their consciences on fundamental tenets of their faith? There are Republican equivalents to what the Obama Administration has done, but, as Michael Gerson writes, they're over a century old:
    Both radicalism and maliciousness are at work in Obama’s decision — an edict delivered with a sneer. It is the most transparently anti-Catholic maneuver by the federal government since the Blaine Amendment was proposed in 1875 — a measure designed to diminish public tolerance of Romanism, then regarded as foreign, authoritarian and illiberal. Modern liberalism has progressed to the point of adopting the attitudes and methods of 19th-century Republican nativists.
    One Vox Nova commenter, in particular, captures the essence of what's going on here:
    One way to start that would be that when the party one tends to favor enacts a policy offending religious liberty, one speaks loudly and unambiguously against it.

    Or one could use it as an occasion to point out the inconsistency and hypocrisy of some who favor the other political party. I don’t think that’s going to get us anywhere, though.


    This leads to the other narrative I wish we would set aside — that any Catholic objection to government policies is politically motivated, and that those claiming a principle did not object when their own party violated that same principle. I think it is a stretch to claim that Republican-leaning Catholics tolerated violations of religious liberty when the GOP was in charge, but it fits the preferred narrative, so we’ll go with it.

    Perhaps HK should set aside his preferred narratives before he lectures us on ours.
    And again here:
    This is my problem with your commentary; you start with your preferred narrative — those objecting to the Democrats’ violations of religious liberty didn’t object to Republicans — and then hunt for evidence.

    I’m sure you can always play this game forever. If you prefer to comment on the hypocrisy of those objecting to a policy than in offering a straightforward witness against that policy, I am quite confident you will always be able to do find evidence to support that position.

    But where does that get you? I guess it gets you out of an uncomfortable spot. It’s easier to launch criticism against those perceived to be on the other side as those who are on your side. But I don’t think this does much to improve the state of discourse.

    If you want to change the narrative, change the narrative! Don’t lecture about how awful others are. Model it yourself.

    And yes, this goes for both sides.
    And once more:
    ... Indeed, this type of thinking would lead to the type of commentary I suspect the VN contributors find most tiresome — responding to every post about some social justice issue with “what about abortion?” Indeed, if acting from a coherent and consistent narrative is what’s crucial, what sense does it make to talk about, say, health care, when an entire class of people have no legal protection from arbitrary killing? Aren’t many of the people (some of them Catholics) who raise social justice issues either silent or supportive of the current abortion license?

    But, as we’ve seen, all this does is lead us to talk in circles, and have the same tired back and forth about whose violation of principles is worse, and helps ensure that no progress is made on either social justice issues or abortion.

    People are opposing the Administration’s action for all sorts of reasons, good and bad. Some are consistent defenders of religious liberty. Some will oppose anything from this president. Some people are only concerned because its their ox being gored. Some see a political opportunity.

    I don’t really care. This is a bad policy, and it is worth opposing. And I think opposing it is a higher priority than checking whether everyone else opposing it is doing so for the right reasons, and if they have been consistent defenders of the principles they claim to be defending.
    That about says it.

    Now, it is not the purpose of this post to gloss over where the GOP falls short vis-a-vis Catholicism (you can read a myriad of posts on this very blog regarding such), but rather the purpose is to disallow those who have been apologists for the Obama Administration in general, and Obamacare in particular, to gloss over and shift the blame and attention away from what the Administration has done with regard to this HHS mandate. It needs to be confronted, and it needs to be confronted head on. That can't and won't happen as long as the President's Catholic supporters and apologists have their ready-made "BUT" handy to soften the blow.

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    Bill McGurn on Why Romney Sucks

    Under the guise of advice for how Romney can finish off Gingrich, Bill McGurn's Wall Street Journal piece only confirms some of the reasons why I will NEVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, vote for that effete RINO fraud:
    ... at bottom the Newt insurgency is fueled by the sense that Mr. Romney's tepid policy agenda reflects no fixed beliefs. Many who support Mr. Gingrich will concede he is not their ideal candidate. In fact, it's telling that Mr. Romney's GOP rivals are defined as non-Romneys, each standing for something lacking in the front-runner.


    He might steal a lesson in style from Rick Santorum. With little money and a shoestring organization, Mr. Santorum has managed to articulate the core arguments of the conservative agenda: why we need to address Iran, why we need to help Americans keep more of what they earn and, most of all, why the words of our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution matter still. In the last debate he proved you can be tough without being personal, skillfully demolishing all the governor's pat answers about RomneyCare.


    Those of us who believed that a primary fight would toughen Mr. Romney up have little to show for it. Far from sharpening his proposals to reach out to a GOP electorate hungry for a candidate with a bold conservative agenda, Mr. Romney has limited his new toughness to increasingly negative attacks on Mr. Gingrich's character. It's beginning to make what we all assumed was a weakness look much more like arrogance.

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    Obama Plays His Liberal Catholic Allies for Fools [UPDATED]

    Michael Gerson writes in The Washington Post:
    ... There would have been no controversy at all if President Obama had simply exempted religious institutions and ministries. But the administration insisted that the University of Notre Dame and St. Mary’s Hospital be forced to pay for the privilege of violating their convictions.

    Obama chose to substantially burden a religious belief, by the most intrusive means, for a less-than-compelling state purpose — a marginal increase in access to contraceptives that are easily available elsewhere. The religious exemption granted by Obamacare is narrower than anywhere else in federal law — essentially covering the delivery of homilies and the distribution of sacraments. Serving the poor and healing the sick are regarded as secular pursuits — a determination that would have surprised Christianity’s founder.

    Both radicalism and maliciousness are at work in Obama’s decision — an edict delivered with a sneer. It is the most transparently anti-Catholic maneuver by the federal government since the Blaine Amendment was proposed in 1875 — a measure designed to diminish public tolerance of Romanism, then regarded as foreign, authoritarian and illiberal. Modern liberalism has progressed to the point of adopting the attitudes and methods of 19th-century Republican nativists.


    The implications of Obama’s power grab go further than contraception and will provoke opposition beyond Catholicism. Christian colleges and universities of various denominations will resist providing insurance coverage for abortifacients. And the astounding ambition of this federal precedent will soon be apparent to every religious institution. Obama is claiming the executive authority to determine which missions of believers are religious and which are not — and then to aggressively regulate institutions the government declares to be secular. It is a view of religious liberty so narrow and privatized that it barely covers the space between a believer’s ears.

    Obama’s decision also reflects a certain view of liberalism. Classical liberalism was concerned with the freedom to hold and practice beliefs at odds with a public consensus. Modern liberalism uses the power of the state to impose liberal values on institutions it regards as backward. It is the difference between pluralism and anti-­clericalism.
    My Comments:
    Not really a surprise to those of us Catholics who were opposed to Obamacare that those Catholics who sold out their faith for a mess of Obama pottage got played for the useful idiots they are.

    It appears that at least some of Obama's duped Catholic allies are still willing to provide cover for the President: "Vox Nova Still Covering for Obama Even After Anti-Catholic HHS Mandate".

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    CatholicVote Asks “Catholics for Sebelius” to Disown HHS Secretary Whom They Supported With Letter Campaign

    Obama Culture of Death Update™: Obama's HHS Makes Persecution of Church Official Administration Policy [UPDATED]

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    Wednesday, January 25, 2012

    CatholicVote Asks “Catholics for Sebelius” to Disown HHS Secretary Whom They Supported With Letter Campaign

    Although the Soros-sponsored Democrat front group calling itself "Catholics United" has now scrubbed the incriminating evidence from its website, Matt Bowman at CatholicVote.org reminds us of the letter that several members of the Catholic left wrote in 2009 demanding that Kathleen Sebelius be confirmed as HHS Secretary:
    Nearly 3 years ago, 26 liberal Catholics still crowing over their successful campaign to elect Obama actually felt the urgent need to form a group “Catholics for Sebelius” to support the nomination of that rabidly pro-abortion woman for HHS Secretary. They not only supported her, they called her a model pro-lifer who “lived and acted according to” her agreement with Church teaching against abortion.

    It was a false claim even then. Now that Sebelius has finalized her rule forcing religious organizations to fund abortifacient drugs, contraception and sterilization, including drugs that kill embryos, it is a shameless lie. And their letter openly advocated that Sebelius pass and implement Obamacare, which is the instrument of her attack on religious freedom...
    Matt continues by demanding that each of the signatories to that infamous letter recant their support and denounce Secretary Sebelius for her actions in mandating that religious organizations, including the Catholic Church, provide funding for contraceptives:
    This is not political anymore. It never really was. Show some integrity to clean up this anti-religious, anti-life mess you have created.

    Ambassador Elizabeth Frawley Bagley
    Professor Lisa Sowle Cahill
    Nicholas Cafardi
    William D’Antonio
    Professor Miguel H. Diaz
    Michael Duffy
    Julia Dowd
    Professor Joseph Fahey
    Professor Richard Gaillardetz
    Fr. David Hollenbach
    James P. Joseph
    Christopher Korzen
    Steven Krueger
    Professor Douglas Kmiec
    Delores Leckey
    Eric LeCompte
    Kari J. Lundgren
    Professor Jerome Maryon
    Fr. Thomas Massaro
    Professor Vincent Miller
    Professor David O’Brien
    Fr. Thomas Reese
    Maria Riley
    Professor Stephen Schneck
    Margaret O’Brien Steinfels
    Dr. Patrick Whelan

    P.S. I am not just suggesting they merely whitewash the existence of the letter. Just taking it down with no explanation would be a cop out. You’ve been telling the world for three years you specifically are “Catholics for Sebelius.” So make it known that this has changed...
    Meanwhile, in related posts at CatholicVote, Tom Peters argues that the HHS Ruling will prove to be a litmus test for pro-Obama Catholics, and that some of the usual suspects on the Catholic left are already beginning to show where their allegiances really lie.

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Obama Culture of Death Update™: Obama's HHS Makes Persecution of Church Official Administration Policy [UPDATED]

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    Monday, January 23, 2012

    RINO Establisment Hack Chris Christie is an Embarassment

    Here's New Jersey's RINO governor, Chris Christie, favorably comparing his boy Dullard Flip Rino to Newt Gingrich:

    "I think Newt Gingrich has embarrassed the party over time," Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) said on NBC's "Meet the Press" this morning. "Whether he'll do again in the future, I don't know. But Gov. Romney never has."
    (emphasis added)

    For what it's worth, here's Romney NOT embarassing the GOP:

    Nope, nothing embarassing about that. From repudiating Ronald Reagan and the GOP (claiming to have been "an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush"), to criticizing the Contract With America, to rejecting the endorsement of a pro-life organization, Mitt Romney has NEVER done anything to embarass the GOP.

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    Friday, January 20, 2012

    Obama Culture of Death Update™: Obama's HHS Makes Persecution of Church Official Administration Policy [UPDATED]

    At Creative Minority Report, Patrick Archbold reports on HHS Secretary and dissident Catholic Kathleen Sebelius' full-frontal assault on religious liberty:
    This is outrageous. HHS has issued its final ruling on exemptions from contraceptive coverage for health plans even in the face of religious obejctions. Too bad.

    And in what passes for compromise for the lunatic secular left currently running the country, they will give religious groups an extra year to comply if you can PROVE you are really a religious group (which is difficult to impossible with these people), but comply you will...

    The result of this is that religious persecution is now the official policy of the Obama Administration because many Catholic organizations simply will not comply and will therefore be subject to legal repercussion.

    At National Catholic Distorter, Democrat and Obama shill Mikey Sean Winters expresses his "disappointment" that he and so many other left-leaning Catholics like Sr. Carol and President Jenkins just got played by the Obama Administration.

    I'm pretty sure a whole lot of us have been saying for years that they were being played by Obama, but they were hearing none of it, willingly allowing themselves to be utilized by the Obama as an "alternative liberal magisterium" to the Bishops.

    Besides, Mikey Sean seems far more concerned with the potential political fallout from Obama's declaration of war on the Church for Democrats who now might not fare so well among Catholic swing voters than he does with the fact that religious liberty has been placed in jeopardy.

    UPDATE #2
    The U.S. Bishops have vowed to fight the HHS edict, again, putting them and the Church on a head-on collision course with religious persecution:
    WASHINGTON—The Catholic bishops of the United States called “literally unconscionable” a decision by the Obama Administration to continue to demand that sterilization, abortifacients and contraception be included in virtually all health plans. Today's announcement means that this mandate and its very narrow exemption will not change at all; instead there will only be a delay in enforcement against some employers.

    “In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences,” said Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

    The cardinal-designate continued, “To force American citizens to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their healthcare is literally unconscionable.It is as much an attack on access to health care as on religious freedom. Historically this represents a challenge and a compromise of our religious liberty."


    “The Obama administration has now drawn an unprecedented line in the sand,” he said. “The Catholic bishops are committed to working with our fellow Americans to reform the law and change this unjust regulation. We will continue to study all the implications of this troubling decision.”
    Sr. Carol Keehan, who used her role as head of the Catholic Health Association to provide an "alternative magisterium" in defying the Bishops on Obamacare and undermining their teaching with respect to public funding of abortion, was, unsurprisingly, understated in expressing her "disappointment" (just like Mikey Sean) in the Obama Administration's decision to reveal her as being nothing more than a useful idiot:
    Daughter of Charity Sister Carol Keehan, president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association of the United States, voiced disappointment with the decision. Catholic hospitals serve one out of six people who seek hospital care annually.

    “This was a missed opportunity to be clear on appropriate conscience protection,” Sister Keehan said.
    Gee, thanks, Sis. Way to be strong in speaking out for the Church. If only you were as forceful in your condemnation of the Obama Administration's efforts to curtail religious freedom as you were in calling the Bishops liars for their efforts to protect the unborn from public-funding of abortion in Obamacare. Hope you're enjoying the souvenier signing pen.

    This Obama Culture of Death Update™ has been brought to you by Douglas Kmiec, all the fine folks at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good / Catholics United / Catholic Democrats, and countless other Catholics for whom "Hope" and "Change" trumped LIFE.

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Obama Culture of Death Update™: The Obama Administration's Anti-Life Attack on Franciscan University

    Obama Culture of Death Update™: Kill Babies or I'll Hurt the Poor

    Obama Culture of Death Update™: A Compilation of President Obama’s Pro-Abortion Record

    Obama Culture of Death Update™: Obama Would Rather Shut Down the Government Than See Planned Parenthood Lose Taxpayer Funding

    Obama Culture of Death Update™: President’s Faith-Based Council Punts on "Reducing Abortions" Yet Again

    Obama Culture of Death Update™: President's "Science Czar" on When Life Begins

    Obama Culture of Death Update™: White House Budget Director "Not Prepared to Rule Out" Publicly Funded Abortion as Part of ObamaCare

    Obama Culture of Death Update™: President's "Science Czar" Supports Forced Population Control Measures [UPDATED]

    Obama Culture of Death Update™: Obama Disbands President’s Council on Bioethics

    Obama Culture of Death Update™: Obama Advisor Says “It is Not Our Goal to Reduce the Number of Abortions” [UPDATED]

    Obama Culture of Death Update™: Administration Now on Record That Promoting "Reproductive Health" Equals Promoting Abortion Abroad

    Obama Culture of Death Update™: President Lifts Ban on Federal ESCR Funding

    Obama Culture of Death Update™: Obama Nominee for Deputy Sec. of State Says Taxpayers Constitutionally Obligated to Fund Abortion

    Moral Accountability . com

    Obama Culture of Death Update™: Abortion Necessary to "Ensure Our Daughters Have the Same Rights and Opportunities As Our Sons"

    Obama Culture of Death Update™: "White House Web Site Becomes Pro-Abortion After Obama Takeover"

    Obama Culture of Death Update™: Among President Obama's First Official Acts is Promoting Abortion Abroad [UPDATED]

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    Thursday, January 19, 2012

    Why I Believe the Texas Rangers Should Sign Prince Fielder

    Yesterday, the Texas Rangers signed Japanese pitching sensation Yu Darvish to a 6-year, $60 million dollar contract (that actually cost them closer to $120 million because of the fee they had to pay to Yu's Japanese team for the rights to negotiate). Because of those big bucks, the speculation is that now the Rangers cannot afford to sign left-handed hitting sensation Prince Fielder to be their new 1st Baseman / Designated Hitter. Especially if the money they would spend on Fielder means they have less money to re-sign current players that are near free agent eligibility in the coming years.

    But I believe the Rangers should throw caution to the wind and sign Fielder anyway, and here is why:

    Basically, it's because I believe the Rangers are running out of time to get a World Series championship. If anything, last year was THE YEAR to get it done, but they blew it TWICE in Game 6. They are on borrowed time at this point. I believe they are where the Dallas Cowboys were in 1995: a solid core of players who had only one shot left to win another Super Bowl. The previous year was THE YEAR to get it done, but the Cowboys blew it with an awful start in the NFC Championship. In 1995, they got it done, but only because they brought in a free-agent ringer in Deion Sanders, and even then they only barely scraped out a victory over the Steelers in the Super Bowl. They were criticized for "mortgaging their future" on that one year. But, seriously, would ANY Cowboys fan REALLY trade that 3rd Super Bowl ring in 4 years for a few more playoff appearances (but likely no more Super Bowl appearances) in the late 90s and early 2000s?

    I'd gladly "mortgage the future" on one more World Series run - a 3rd appearance in 3 years, especially if it increased the likelihood of their actually winning the thing this time around. In this case, Prince plays the role of Deion, helping the Rangers get over that last hurdle. The Angels are like the 49ers, or the Packers, or the Rams, or the Steelers or the Patriots of the late 1990s/ early 2000s- waiting to be the next team to make multiple runs to the championship. They're getting better with each passing year. And the AL East teams and the Tigers aren't going to just roll over either. NOW is the time for the Rangers to make a big move to get the championship THIS YEAR. Worrying about the future just gives those other teams time to keep reloading and keep getting better. Yes, the Rangers will still have a core of excellent players, just like the Cowboys still had Aikman, Emmit, Irvin, and Darren Woodson. But even then the window was closing on the Cowboys in 1995. And it's probably closing on the Rangers in 2012. Sign Fielder, like the Cowboys signed Deion, and try to make that last run THIS YEAR.

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    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Victory for Free Exercise Clause - Supreme Court Unanimously Upholds "Ministerial Exception" to Employment Discrimination Laws [UPDATED]

    From the blog of The Federalist Society:
    The Supreme Court just published its decision in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, a case regarding the "ministerial exception" in employment discrimination law. As FedSocBlog previously noted, for 40 years, lower courts have held that the First Amendment forbids the government from deciding who may be a religious minister--despite the fact that federal statutes outlawing employment discrimination based on race, sex, age, and disability contain no express exception.

    In its decision, the Court unanimously upheld the ministerial exception in the case at hand. SCOTUS thus ruled against the position of the Obama Justice Department, which had asked the court to disavow the ministerial exception altogether.


    Justices Thomas and Alito each wrote concurring opinions. Although I generally find myself in agreement with the constitutional philosophy espoused by Justice Thomas, in this instance I find that I am most in agreement with the concurrence authored by Justice Alito, in which he was joined by ... Justice Kagan of all people:
    I join the Court’s opinion, but I write separately to clarify my understanding of the significance of formal ordination and designation as a “minister” in determining whether an “employee” of a religious group falls within the so-called “ministerial” exception. The term “minister” is commonly used by many Protestant denominations to refer to members of their clergy, but the term is rarely if ever used in this way by Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, or Buddhists. In addition, the concept of ordination as understood by most Christian churches and by Judaism has no clear counterpart in some Christian denominations and some other religions. Because virtually every religion in the world is represented in the population of the United States, it would be a mistake if the term “minister” or the concept of ordination were viewed as central to the important issue of religious autonomy that is presented in cases like this one. Instead, courts should focus on the function performed by persons who work for religious bodies.

    The First Amendment protects the freedom of religious groups to engage in certain key religious activities, including the conducting of worship services and other religious ceremonies and rituals, as well as the critical process of communicating the faith. Accordingly, religious groups must be free to choose the personnel who are essential tothe performance of these functions.

    The “ministerial” exception should be tailored to this purpose. It should apply to any “employee” who leads a religious organization, conducts worship services or important religious ceremonies or rituals, or serves as a messenger or teacher of its faith. If a religious group believes that the ability of such an employee to perform these key functions has been compromised, then the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom protects the group’s right to remove the employee from his or her position.


    Religious autonomy means that religious authorities must be free to determine who is qualified to serve in positions of substantial religious importance. Different religions will have different views on exactly what qualifies as an important religious position, but it is nonetheless possible to identify a general category of “employees” whose functions are essential to the independence of practically all religious groups. These include those who serve in positions of leadership, those who perform important functions in worship services and in the performance of religious ceremonies and rituals, and those who are entrusted with teaching and conveying the tenets of the faith to the next generation.

    Applying the protection of the First Amendment to roles of religious leadership, worship, ritual, and expression focuses on the objective functions that are important for the autonomy of any religious group, regardless of its beliefs. As we have recognized in a similar context,“[f]orcing a group to accept certain members may impair [its ability] to express those views, and only those views, that it intends to express.” Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, 530 U. S. 640, 648 (2000). That principle applies with special force with respect to religious groups, whose very existence is dedicated to the collective expression and propagation of shared religious ideals. See Employment Div., Dept. of Human Resources of Ore. v. Smith, 494 U. S. 872, 882 (1990) (noting that the constitutional interest in freedom of association may be “reinforced by Free Exercise Clause concerns”). As the Court notes, the First Amendment “gives special solicitude to the rights of religious organizations,” ante, at 14, but our expressive-association cases are nevertheless useful in pointing out what those essential rights are. Religious groups are the archetype of associations formed for expressive purposes, and their fundamental rights surely include the freedom to choose who is qualified to serve as a voice for their faith.

    When it comes to the expression and inculcation of religious doctrine, there can be no doubt that the messenger matters. Religious teachings cover the gamut from moral conduct to metaphysical truth, and both the content and credibility of a religion’s message depend vitally on the character and conduct of its teachers. A religion cannot depend on someone to be an effective advocate for its religious vision if that person’s conduct fails to live up to the religious precepts that he or she espouses. For this reason, a religious body’s right to self-governance must include the ability to select, and to be selective about, those who will serve as the very “embodiment of its message” and “its voice to the faithful.” Petruska v. Gannon Univ., 462 F. 3d 294, 306 (CA3 2006). A religious body’s control over such “employees” is an essential component of its freedom to speak in its own voice, both to its own members and to the outside world...
    There's more to Justice Alito's excellent concurrence (again, which Obama appointee Justice Kagan joined), which you definitely should read in full, along with the majority opinion authored by Chief Justice Roberts.

    UPDATE #2
    At National Review, Notre Dame law professor Rick Garnett offers his take on the ruling:
    ... In today’s opinion, the Supreme Court affirmed what the overwhelming majority of lower federal courts and state courts in the United States have already ruled, and rejected the well-outside-the-mainstream view advanced by the Obama administration’s lawyers. This last point is worth emphasizing: The administration’s lawyers had pressed an extreme view — one that no other court, and few scholars and experts, had embraced — and they convinced no one.

    I co-authored an amicus curiae brief in support of the religious school, on behalf of a diverse array of religious organizations and my friend, First Amendment expert Prof. Eugene Volokh. I was delighted by the extent to which the chief justice’s opinion is consistent with the positions advanced in that brief. He and his colleagues answered several key questions clearly and correctly: First, they affirmed that the “ministerial exception” — which limits the government’s role in selecting religious communities’ ministers, leaders, and teachers — is required by the First Amendment. Next, they rejected a crabbed approach to that exception, which would limit its reach only to ordained clergy or to ministers who spend a majority of their time on “religious” activities. And they noted that the ministerial exception constrains the reach of government with respect to religious communities’ decisions about ministers whether or not the employment decision in question was motivated or required by theological reasons.

    This case matters for many reasons, but especially because it reminds us all that the separation of church and state — when it is properly understood — is an important mechanism for protecting the religious liberty of all — believers and nonbelievers alike. Church-state separation is often misunderstood and seen as an anti-religious program, or as requiring that “religion” stay out of politics or public life. But this is not the point of church-state separation at all. The idea is to constrain government regulation, not religious expression and practice. Separation is an arrangement that protects religious authorities, institutions, and communities from unjustified interference by governments...
    Make no mistake: the Obama Administration's war on faith, which began almost immediately from the moment he took office 3 years ago, was dealt a HUGE blow today. A blow from which we can hope the secularists will not recover.

    UPDATE #3
    The Catholic League: "HUGE DEFEAT FOR OBAMA".

    UPDATE #4 (12 January)
    From the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty:
    Today the Supreme Court decided its most important religious liberty case in twenty years, Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The government lost 9-nothing as the Court unanimously rejected its narrow view of religious liberty as “extreme,” “untenable” and “remarkable.”

    The unanimous decision adopted the Becket Fund’s arguments, saying that religious groups should be free from government interference when they choose their leaders. The church, Hosanna-Tabor, was represented by The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and Professor Douglas Laycock, University of Virginia Law School. For years, churches have relied on a “ministerial exception” which protects them from employment discrimination lawsuits by their ministers.

    “The message of today’s opinion is clear: The government can’t tell a church who should be teaching its religious message,” said Luke Goodrich, Deputy National Litigation Director at The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “This is a huge victory for religious freedom and a rebuke to the government, which was trying to regulate how churches select their ministers.”

    The Court rejected the government’s extremely narrow understanding of the constitutional protection for religious liberty, stating: “We cannot accept the remarkable view that the Religion Clauses have nothing to say about a religious organization’s freedom to select its own ministers.”

    “This is a huge win for religious liberty,” said Professor Doug Laycock. “The Court has unanimously confirmed the right of churches to select their own ministers and religious leaders.”

    “It is amazing when a church from Redford, Michigan stands up for its rights and ends up going all the way to the Supreme Court,” said Reverend Paul Undlin of Hosanna Tabor. “Praise God for giving the Justices the wisdom to uphold the religious freedom enshrined in our Constitution!”

    The Court found that the ministerial exception is rooted in both Religion Clauses—the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses. Justice Thomas filed a concurring opinion. Justice Alito joined by Justice Kagan also filed a concurring opinion.

    “For six years I fought the government, sacrificing my practice and livelihood because I believed the government had no right to choose teachers for our small school,” says Deano Ware, local attorney for the church. “In the end, we showed up at the steps of the Supreme Court with our sling and stone, in the company of the Becket Fund and the greater community of faith, fought the government and won. This is a great day for all Americans of every of faith and all freedom-loving citizens.”

    The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions. The Becket Fund has a 17-year history of defending religious liberty for people of all faiths. Its attorneys are recognized as experts in the field of church-state law.

    UPDATE #5 (12 January)

    Thanks to Catholic Cartoon Blog.

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    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    The Powerful Political Insights of the Paris Hilton of Pundits

    Just ... wow.

    LOL! Seriously? Yes, conservatives, if only you could be as open minded as Meghan McCain ... so open-minded that your brain actually falls out.

    The response to yet another of Ms. McCain's verbal lapses has not been without an "emoticon" of brutal ridicule:
    McCain, known for her, shall we say, “creative” use of language more than her ability to, you know, like, think, immediately took to Twitter to explain herself ...


    Twitter lit up with ridicule. Here are the highlights:

    Dave Weigel added, “Meghan McCain reporting that Jack Lew will take over as White House chef.”

    Mike Flynn, Editor-In-Chief of BigGovernment, harkened back to another MSNBCer’s greatest his with, “Resist We Much the ‘Emoticon of Privacy’ #MeghanMcCainFail”

    Townhall,com columnist
    Derek Hunter gave props to McCain’s ability to continually top herself by tweeting, “Every time I think @McCainBlogette has found her floor of stupid, she opens her mouth and out comes a shovel.”

    Pajamas Media’s
    Stephen Green (VodkaPundit), added, “I have now watched @McCainBlogette‘s ‘emoticon’ video more times than I’ve watched Godfather I & II combined.”
    From the woman who declared Rick Santorum to be a "moron". And just in case anyone has forgotten this gem from Ms. McCain:
    “Joe the Plumber — you can quote me — is a dumbass."
    Yeah, right back at ya, toots. And you can quote ME on that.

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Who Cares ...

    "The Completely Unedited Ramblings of an Idiot"

    Pot ... Kettle

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    Friday, January 06, 2012

    Digest of Today's Posts (6 January 2012)

  • Coulter's Anti-Catholic Screed Against Santorum Revisited ... "Don't Vote for Santorum Because He's 'Too Catholic' "

  • David Brooks, Self-Anointed Member of "Educated Class", Admits Unwashed Red-State Conservatives Smarter Than He Is

  • (Digest of Yesterday's Posts (5 January 2012))

    Wise Men Still Seek Him


    Coulter's Anti-Catholic Screed Against Santorum Revisited ... "Don't Vote for Santorum Because He's 'Too Catholic' "

    I am revisiting my post from yesterday titled "Ann Coulter ... Anti-Catholic Bigot" because I believe an important point needs to be re-emphasized.

    Since publishing my piece yesterday, I have received mostly agreement from other quarters of the blogosphere, but there have been a few who have accused me of "misconstruing" Coulter's commentary. These accusations have been along the lines of "Coulter's late father was Catholic" (yeah, so was Henry VIII's) or "All she's saying is that Catholicism and conservatism aren't the same thing" (Really? Is that ALL she was saying?).

    One commenter at my original post made essentially these arguments in multiple comments here, here, and here. Because I believe this commenter and others are the ones who are TRULY trying to misconstrue and obfuscate the real meaning behind Coulter's commentary, I believe a response is necessary.

    These folks seem to be trying to make someone sound reasonable who isn't particularly known for her reasonableness. Coulter is a bomb thrower and an iconoclast. She's not trying to make a reasoned argument here for why Santorum is less preferable to Romney. It's not her style. Never has been. She's throwing bombs at Santorum using one of the best weapons available to do so - bigotry.

    All the pro-Coulter spin can't cover that basic fact. The basic fact that, in its essence, Coulter's screed comes down to this: "Don't vote for Santorum because he's 'too Catholic'."

    I wonder why Coulter invoked Ted Kennedy, who has almost nothing in common with Santorum other than the fact that they were baptized into the Catholic Church as infants? Could it be because to many evangelicals (and I know because I was a Southern Baptist for the first 36 years of my life), the Kennedys in general, and Ted Kennedy in particular, represents everything that is allegedly "wrong" with the Catholic faith? I cannot tell you how many times during my years as an evangelical that I heard the Kennedy name invoked as a warning about the dangers of Catholicism. It rather seems to me that what Coulter has done with her comparison to Kennedy is to try to tar Santorum with guilt by association in the minds of evangelical voters who might be tempted to support Santorum over Romney.

    Honestly, is there REALLY any other way to interpret this piece by Coulter? If so, then she certainly left open the possibility of the reading I (and others, I might add) have given to it. But the one thing you can say about Coulter is that she has NEVER had a problem making herself perfectly clear. And she's perfectly clear in stating here that Santorum is unacceptable because he is "too Catholic".

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    David Brooks, Self-Anointed Member of "Educated Class", Admits Unwashed Red-State Conservatives Smarter Than He Is

    David Brooks: Obama is ‘certainly more liberal than I thought he was’. Ya think?
    ... Brooks’ apparent impression after that party was that Obama was “a Burkean” — and not a strict ideologue — who understood the “organic nature of change.” Aside from perhaps admiring the crease in Obama’s pants, nearly three years to the date after that party at Will’s house, Brooks admits he had the president completely wrong.

    On Thursday’s “The Laura Ingraham Show,” Brooks said he still admired Obama, but conceded the president was more liberal than he originally thought.

    “Yeah, I still like him — admire him personally,” Brooks said. “He’s certainly more liberal than I thought he was. And he’s more liberal than he thinks he is. He thinks he is just slightly center-left. But when you got down to his instincts, they’re pretty left...
    And yet the simplest of red state rubes (upon whom Brooks showers so much disdain) might not know who Edmund Burke is but could've told you that Barack Obama had absolutely no conservative underpinnings and was as left-wing a candidate as this country has ever seen. The unwashed don't get caught up in such high-falluting nonsense as crisp pant creases, wonky philosophical conversations about Reinhold Niebuhr, and Harvard credentials in determining who is the best fit to lead our nation. But, then, it doesn't take a genius to figure out when someone is a frickin' socialist.

    And so, with the advantage of hindsight, our intellectual betters in the establishment "smart set" can finally see what so many of us yokels and hicks and rednecks and bitter clingers could see so clearly 4 years ago. Turns out a plumber's assistant from Toledo really does have better political insights and is a better judge of political character than the house conservative at "the newspaper of record".

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Comeuppance for "Conservative" Critics of Conservatism (Who STILL Won't Admit That They Were Wrong)

    Self-Critical Navel Gazing for Thee, But Not for Me

    Another Elitist "Conservative" Realizes Too Late That "This Obama Fellow Is Unequal to the Task"

    David Brooks Wonders What Went Wrong [UPDATED]

    "Educated Class" Waking Up to Fact That Us "Yokels" Were Right All Along

    Noemie Emery on David Brooks and the "Educated Class"

    Michael Barone on David Brooks and the "Educated Class"

    The "Elizabeth Bennett Conservatives"

    Brooksback Mountain

    Today's Must-Read: "Palinphobes and the Audacity of Type"

    A Conservative Manifesto

    Another Elitist "Conservative" Likes the Cut of Obama's Jib

    The Liberal Media's Elitist Conservative Rats Leave the Sinking Ship

    Victor Davis Hanson: "What is Wisdom?"

    Let's Get One Thing Straight ...

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    Thursday, January 05, 2012

    Digest of Today's Posts (5 January 2012)

  • Ann Coulter ... Anti-Catholic Bigot [UPDATED]

  • A Poem for Twelfth Night - "How the Puritans Stole Christmas"

  • Labels:

    Ann Coulter ... Anti-Catholic Bigot [UPDATED]

    Coulter's attempt to tar the surging Rick Santorum in order to prop up a REAL big government liberal, Dullard Flip Rino, provides a near-perfect insight into why I have always despised the faux-conservative shrew and what it is I have always admired about Rick Santorum:
    ... Santorum is not as conservative as his social-issues credentials suggest. He is more of a Catholic than a conservative [ED: Apparently, being "more of a Catholic" - i.e. taking one's faith seriously - is supposed to be a bad thing.], which means he's good on 60 percent of the issues [ED.: Got that? Being Catholic automatically means being "wrong" on 40% of the issues in the mind of Coulter. At least she's honest about her bigotry.], but bad on others, such as big government social programs. He'd be Ted Kennedy if he didn't believe in God. [ED.: Yeah, that Santorum is JUST LIKE Ted Kennedy. Wait. What could the conservative Santorum POSSIBLY have in common with the uber-liberal late Ted Kennedy? Oh yeah. That whole Catholicism thingy - being beholden to the Pope, or something like that. Any doubts about how Coulter feels about Catholics now?]

    Santorum may not be a big spender as far as professional politicians go [ED.: Or, for that matter, as far as your big-government, health-care mandating RINO boy, Dullard Flip Rino, goes.], but he is still a professional politician. In 2005, one of his former aides described him as "a Catholic missionary who happens to be in the Senate." [ED.: I, for one, think the Senate could use a few more such statesmen who are committed to renewing our culture, promoting virtue and traditional family values, and prizing service to others in the common good. Apparently, these things have no place in the selfishly individualistic, objectivist AynRandland that Coulter envisions for our society.]

    The Catholic missionary was fantastic on issues like partial-birth abortion, but more like a Catholic bishop [ED.: Ah, there we go. What anti-Catholic screed would be complete without a few shots at the hierarchy in the form of Bishop-bashing?] in his support for No Child Left Behind, the Medicare drug entitlement program (now costing taxpayers more than $60 billion a year), and a highway bill with a Christmas tree of earmarks, including the famous "bridge to nowhere." [ED.: I was unaware that the Bishops had taken a formal position in support of any of these measures. Not sure they've really taken much of an interest in Alaska road projects, for example. But why let that get in the way of slapping the Bishops around?]

    Santorum cites his father's admonition to put any extra money in the poor box at church to explain his wanting to use the federal government to help the poor. [ED.: Coulter apparently forgets that it was Santorum's desire to help the poor that led him to the position of Senate floor manager for the Welfare Reform bill that passed in the mid-90s. He recognized the perverse incentives that actually HURT the poor rather than help them that the previous welfare regime represented. Who else in the Senate was more instrumental than Santorum in shepherding welfare reform into law? No one. So, what's Coulter's problem, then, with Santorum's record on helping the poor? It's probably just that the poor can just "eat cake" to objectivists like Antoinette Coulter.]

    You get only one or two big issues in a presidential campaign. But in the middle of the second Great Depression [ED.: A little hyperbolic, don't you think?], Santorum is on the campaign trail saying, "The reason I ran is 'cause I think people know there is more than just a little narrow issue called 'jobs.'"

    Actually, this year, it's pretty much just jobs...
    [ED.: Yes, please stop bothering us about such things as icky dead babies, protection of the family as the basic societal unit, and just plain old human decency.]
    (emphasis and editorial commentary added)

    My Comments:
    I'd tell Coulter to go to hell, but it looks like she's doing a fine enough job paving her road to the nether regions without my having to offer the suggestion.

    Looks like Coulter has just breathed new life into the Rosie Award®

    UPDATE #2
    Given the prominence of Coulter as one of the more vocal commentators advocating on their behalf, I'd say that both Romney (not a stranger to religious bigotry aimed his way) and Chris Christie (himself a Catholic) have some obligation to slap Coulter down for this B.S.

    UPDATE #3
    Fr. Z's take on Coulter's column.

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    A Poem for Twelfth Night - "How the Puritans Stole Christmas"

    Yes, it's that time of year again. Christmastide is approaching it's festive conclusion, punctuated by the Twelfth Night revelry. And, of course, that means that it's time, once again, for my traditional Twelfth Night post* : a poem titled "How the Puritans Stole Christmas" ...

    ... with apologies to Dr. Seuss:

    How the Puritans Stole Christmas

    Every High-Church Anglican and Catholic
    Living in Jolly Olde England
    Liked Christmas a lot...

    But the Puritans,
    Who were infected with Calvinism,
    Did NOT!

    The Puritans hated Christmas!
    The whole Christmas season!
    Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
    It could be that their round heads weren't screwed on just right.
    It could be, perhaps, their predestinarian arses were too tight.
    But I think that the most likely reason of all
    Was a distaste for mince pies - shaped like a manger-bed in a stall.

    Whatever the reason,
    Mince pies or their arses,
    The Puritans saw the yuletide celebrations as farces,
    Staring down on the festivities with sour, dour frowns
    At the merriment and good will of those in the towns.
    For they knew all the revelers were engaged in such vices
    As eating tarts made of suet and spices.

    "And they're eating plum pudding!" they snarled with a sneer.
    "Tomorrow is Christmas! It's practically here!"
    Then they growled, with their greedy fingers nervously drumming,
    "We MUST find a way to keep Christmas from coming!"
    For, tomorrow, they knew...

    ...That the Christmas events
    Would involve the consumption of pies made of mince!
    And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!
    That's one thing they hated! The NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!

    Then the revelers, young and old, would sit down to a feast.
    And they'd feast! And they'd feast!
    And they'd FEAST! FEAST! FEAST! FEAST!
    They would start on plum pudding, and rare roast-beef
    Foods again giving Puritans nothing but grief!

    And THEN
    They'd do something Puritans liked least of all!
    Every merry-maker in town, the tall and the small,
    Would stand close together, with Christmas bells ringing.
    They'd stand hand-in-hand. And they all would start singing!

    They'd sing! And they'd sing!
    AND they'd SING! SING! SING! SING!
    And the more the Puritans thought of the whole Christmas-Sing
    The more the Puritans thought, "We must stop this whole thing!
    "Why for over sixteen hundred years we've put up with it now!
    We MUST stop Christmas from coming!
    ...But HOW?"

    Then they got an idea!
    An awful idea!

    "We know just what to do!" The Puritans began plot-ting.
    And they made civil war against England's King.
    And they built up an army, and the Puritans said,
    "When we've won this war, we'll remove the King's head!"

    "All we need is a ploy..."
    To get the job done.
    But since kings are kings,
    It was difficult to come up with one.
    Did that stop the Puritans...?
    No! The Puritans said,
    "Charges of treason and Romish sympathies will cost him his head!"
    So they called a rump court; charges the King refused to refute.
    And the court issued the sentence to execute.

    They loaded poor Charles
    Dressed in clothes resembling sacks
    On a ramshakle scaffold
    And severed his head with an ax.

    Then the Puritans said, "Huzzah!"
    For they had brought the King down
    And they began to march
    On all the churches in town.

    All their stain-glassed windows were dark. Quiet filled the air.
    All the vestrymen were all dreaming sweet dreams without care
    When the Puritans came to the first church in the square.
    "This is stop number one," The Puritans hissed
    And each Puritan approached shaking his fist.

    Then they broke all the stain-glass.
    And smashed statues galore.
    Their horses dishonored the graves in the floor.
    Then they burned all the vestments,
    And prayer books, too.
    Then they said "Let's move on, we have much to do!"

    Father Christmas on Trial

    Then they slithered and slunk, with dour looks most unpleasant,
    Around the whole town, to despoil places where Christ was once present!
    Stained glass! Statuary! Painted images! Candles!
    All manner of popish influences that for years had caused scandals!
    And they smashed them to pieces and threw them on piles
    And set them ablaze, smiling devilish smiles!

    Then they turned to the larders. They banned the Yule feast,
    The plum pudding, the boar's head, and all toasts to that beast!
    They forbade all the foods that had given offense.
    And they succeeded in banning the pies made of mince!

    The Puritan Ban on Christmas

    Then the last thing they took
    Was the yule log for the fire.
    On the walls they left nothing but hooks, and some wire.

    And the one little speck
    Left in the church house
    Was a crumb that was even too small for a mouse.

    They did the same thing
    To the other church houses

    Leaving crumbs
    Much too small
    For the other church mouses!

    And what happened then...?
    Well...in England they say
    That the Lord Protector's round head
    Grew three sizes that day!
    And the minute that "defender of liberty" felt safe from the strife,
    He became the Commonwealth's dictator for life!
    And he enforced the outlawing of Christmas! And all the foods for that feast!
    And he...

    ...HE HIMSELF...!
    The Lord Protector ruled the realm like a tyrannical beast!

    Mince Pie Still Life

    NB: Christmas was not only outlawed in the British Isles but in parts of colonial America, as well. In 1659, a law was passed by the General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony requiring a five-shilling fine from anyone caught "observing any such day as Christmas or the like, either by forbearing of labor, feasting, or any other way."

    * Originally posted as "A Poem for the Twelve Days of Christmas - 'How the Puritans Stole Christmas' ..." on 3 January 2007, and again on 5 January 2007 under the title "A Poem for Twelfth Night - 'How the Puritans Stole Christmas' ..."

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    How the Puritans Stole Our Lady

    A Song for the End of Christmas

    A Song (and a Poem) for the End of Christmas

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    Wednesday, January 04, 2012

    Pro Ecclesia, Pro Familia ... Pro Santorum [UPDATED]

    Okay, the field has been winnowed. It's time to make a choice. There are at this point, as Patrick Archbold points out, only two choices for voters in deciding who will get the GOP nomination: Rick Santorum or Dullard Flip Rino ... errrrr ... Willard Mitt Romney.

    Make no mistake - these guys are BOTH establishment candidates, as I have previously pointed out. And I come to my Santorum endorsement fairly reluctantly, after all the other conservative alternatives to Romney have fallen by the wayside one right after the other. It's not that I dislike Santorum, because I don't dislike him at all. In fact, he was, at one time, among my "favorite" politicians, not the least of which because he is a devout Catholic who shares my vision regarding the important role of the traditional family in shaping our culture and public policy. But Santorum's most-favored-statesman status came before his joining the GOP Senate leadership and his ensuing ill-fated decision to endorse the pro-abort Arlen Specter over the pro-life Pat Toomey. And we know how all that worked out, including Santorum's subsequent 20-point loss to Casey Jr. (calling into question Santorum's overall electability), and Specter's switching parties to become the 60th vote in favor of Obamacare.

    Santorum's political activities since his loss have also given me pause. He is among the most hawkish at pushing the Wilsonian foreign-policy adventurism that got the last GOP administration into so much trouble. Quite frankly, although Santorum is very good on Catholic social teaching in most of his policy positions, I believe his Wilsonian foreign policy views, and what seems to be a disposition in favor of so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" (even going so far as to claim that torture opponent John McCain, himself a victim of brutal torture in Vietnam's POW camps, "doesn't understand" the topic), to be clearly at odds with the teachings of the Church. That gives me great pause.

    Still, the alternative is much worse. No conservative should back Mitt Romney. I find the notion unthinkable. For reasons I have exhaustively laid out on this blog and won't bother to list again here, Mitt Romney is simply an unacceptable choice for conservatives, especially social conservatives, and they should refuse to vote for him even if he wins the Republican nomination. If we'll vote for Romney, we'll have proven to the establishment that we'll just suck it up and vote for whatever RINO stiff they shove down our throats. That scenario - that the GOP powers-that-be will take social conservatives even more for granted than they already do because we'll have proven that we'll do their bidding no matter what - is an even worse-case scenario than, yes, even another 4 years of Barack Obama.

    Rick Santorum, on the other hand, is someone that conservatives - and especially social conservatives - can and should vote for. His lapse of judgment in supporting Specter and his troublesome Wilsonian foreign-policy and "enhanced interrogation" views are outweighed in my mind by both his steadfast and zealous advocacy of the pro-life/pro-marriage/pro-family viewpoint and the fact that he is the only acceptable conservative alternative to being stuck with Romney.

    And believe me, the Romneybots are not going to take that lying down. The Romney-swooning K-Lo and the girly boys over at National Review have already started to question Santorum's conservative and small-government bona fides. [Heh. They probably never imagined when they touted Santorum as a bone to conservatives in their "Winnowing the Field" editorial that he'd actually pose a challenge to their boy.] Think about that for a moment. Sycophants of the big-government Massachusetts liberal that provided the framework for Obamacare want us to believe that Rick Santorum is the REAL big-government liberal. They won't stop there. This crowd knows how to play dirty, and they won't rest until they've torn down Santorum just like they've been working since 2008 to tear down every other conservative alternative to Romney (see, e.g., Fred Thompson, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, etc.)

    So, please, conservatives, please let's all coalesce around the only conservative left standing at this point - Rick Santorum. Please, Gov. Perry and Speaker Gingrich, please drop out of the race and endorse the only conservative alternative to Mitt Romney - Rick Santorum - and put your considerable campaign warchests behind him and into scorched-earth Super-PAC ads that will make voting for Romney simply untenable for conservative and Republican voters. Because voting for Romney simply IS untenable.

    Go Rick Santorum !!!

    If you needed additional motivation to support Santorum over the establishment-backed RINO stiff, look no further. What could be a better incentive than having the intellecutally-challenged and incredibly shallow offspring of the last establishment-backed RINO stiff (who, incidentally, today endorsed the current establishment-backed RINO stiff) predicting "bedlam and hysteria like you've never seen" if Santorum wins the nomination.

    LOL. What a dumbass.

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