Syte Reitz

The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world…….

Browsing Posts tagged Annie Laurie Gaylor

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Priorities

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It is moving to see a President shed tears over loss of Life, as President Obama did during the announcement of his Executive Action on gun control two days ago.

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But it is baffling to consider that the death of 26 innocent people at Newtown can move President Barack Obama to tears, while the death of over 57 MILLION innocent unborn babies does not appear to move him in the least.

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Just HOW Pro-Abortion is President Obama?

President Obama is the most radically pro-abortion President we have ever seen.

Ironically, this is a man who, as the black child of single mother,  would himself have faced a more than 54% probability of abortion, if abortion had been legal at the time of his birth.yournotkeepingitareyou_2012-02-13-brief-cartoon

  • President Obama is so pro-abortion that he voted three times against Born Alive Infant Protection Acts that would require medical care for a baby who survives an abortion.
    President Obama supports the killing of a baby born accidentally in a botched full 9-month term partial-birth abortion.
  • President Obama is so pro-abortion that he has voiced support for the abortion of his own grandchildren.
  • President Obama is so pro-abortion that through ObamaCare, he has forced mandates on religious employers, forcing the employers to provide abortifacient drugs to their employees, against their own religious beliefs.  He has pursued this prioritization of abortion in health care after initially promising his pro-life Democrat colleagues (Stupak and his 11) that ObamaCare would not include abortion.
  • President Obama even has a  “Science Czar,” John Holdren, who has advocated forced abortion and forced sterilization  in the United States to control population.

So we now have a President who has forced abortion onto America, against the wishes of 2/3 of the American population, by deception and through lies.

Do we plan to do something about this as voters in 2016?

Can the aggressive abortion agenda and the culture of deception in our government be changed?
Can we do something about this as voters in 2016?
-Stay tuned, for upcoming articles on the 2016 election, on candidates, and on America’s future options.

See also previous articles on related topics:

The Importance of Babies…

  • The Baby – an article on the importance of the baby, written on my son’s birthday, 3 years ago today. Happy Birthday, Chris!
  • Dear Baby – a letter written our first grandbaby before she was born
  • Abortion – a Much Bigger Deal Than You Think – an article for those who think abortion is not a big deal.
  • The Contrast – an article contrasting Madison’s Pro-Life community with Madison’s Pro-Choicers, and featuring the behavior of Annie Laurie Gaylor, Dan Barker, and the Freedom From Religion crowd at a Catholic Pro-Life event.
  • Black Death in America – on the importance of showing concern for all black deaths.

Obama: "For Independence Day, you will lose your independence"

Obama Administration Forcing Abortion…

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Obama Administration Subverting Religious Freedom…"Baracchio" turning into a donkey as "Timothy Cricket" looks on, appalled.  In the popular children's tale of Pinocchio, Pinocchio fell in with a bad crowd of pleasure-seeking boys.  This resulted in their turning into donkeys who would be enslaved by a coachman.  Pinocchio's conscience, represented by Jiminy Cricket (played here by Archbishop Timothy Dolan) saves Pinocchio from his bad judgement, and the tale ends happily.

 Elections 2016:

 

Madison’s Media Continues to Diss the Catholic Church- Just in Time for Christmas

 

Background

The past week has produced a barrage of media attacks on the Catholic Church in Madison.
Should not be too surprising; it is common for media to attack the Church immediately before Christmas and immediately before Easter.  Happens every year.  Happens nationally.  Happens globally.
Satan seems particularly resentful of these most important celebrations of Christ’s birth and Resurrection, during which the Christians of the world strengthen their commitment to Christ.  Satan becomes particularly active at these times.

While the rest of us are engaging in sacrifice, prayer and charitable works for Advent, trying to make ourselves more worthy to celebrate the miracle of Christ’s birth, the secular media fills that time with attacks on our beliefs.  Must be some guilt worm eating away at their insides. Or something. 😉

I’ve only addressed the worst one of the Madison media attacks this week, the attack by Madison’s  previous ex-Mayor Dave, but the attacks have been numerous, and Dave’s was not the first one.

Doug Erickson, Dave Ceislewicz and Chris Rickert

The attacks started with Doug Erickson and the Wisconsin State Journal (WSJ), folllowed by Dave Cieslewicz’s copycat article at Isthmus.  Dave’s article was the most obvious and vicious attack on the Church, so I addressed that one first in my last blog post.  Chris Rickert’s WSJ article followed.  The WSJ Doug Erickson and Chris Rickert attacks are typically a bit (though not much) more subtle than that of Dave Cieslewicz, and they use less slightly less direct means in attempting to discredit the Catholic Church in Madison. A complete list of articles and links which followed in the Madison media is included below.

The Nuns

The springboard for these attacks on the Church was the fact that Bishop Morlino of Madison directed Madison Catholic parishes not to enlist the services of two aged nuns who were trying to hold “retreats” in which heretical beliefs, contrary to Catholicism, were promoted.  The nuns were teaching “indifferentism,” the belief that all faiths are equal.

What’s Wrong with Indifferentism?

The rejection of indifferentism is not unique to the Catholic Church; most religions reject indifferentism and by definition, most religions believe that their own religion represents the truth more accurately than others do.  If they did not believe this, they would have no reason to stay in their own church. Duh.

Indifferentism poses a logical impossibility, since religions contradict each other in some areas, so they cannot all be true simultaneously.  Indifferentism attacks all religions, not just Catholicism, by implying the invalidation of all contradictory beliefs, essentially dismantling the veracity of all religions at the same time.
It’s the first domino used by militant atheists who try to discredit all religious belief.

A more correct position would be to acknowledge that all religions hold varying degrees of truth, and that some religions err in some areas.  Religious individuals obviously believe that their own religion is the most accurate one and holds the truth.  If they did not believe that, they would switch to a more accurate religion.  So attempts by anyone, media or nuns, to insist that all religions are equally good would be about at logical as insisting that all schools and universities are equally good.  They are not.

And most religions hold enough of the truth to realize that religions should respect each other and should focus on the important truths they hold in common, rather than infighting over the elements over which they disagree.

Atheists Reject Indifferentism

Even atheists reject indifferentism, insisting that their beliefs are more true and more “rational” than those of religious people.
Some even go to the extreme of wanting to ban public espression of Christain beliefs and ridiculing Christian beliefs publicly themselves.

Madison’s media has written numerous sympathetic and positive articles about Madison atheists, without criticising their rejection of indifferentism.
How can Madison’s media be so biased when they represent the Catholic Church?

So WSJ Leaked the Bishop’s Letter

So the  WSJ leaked the content of the Bishop’s letter, which warned Catholic parishes not to enlist the services of the two nuns who taught indifferentism, as well as teaching other heresies.
The letter was leaked to the Wisconsin State Journal (WSJ) by an unnamed person.
-Violation of confidentiality.
Doug Erickson published the details of the Bishop’s directive.
-Violation of charity.
How would you like it if the WSJ published the private details of your reprimand from your boss?  The Bishop’s correction of the two nuns was meant to be private, and nobody, including nuns, want their mistakes and sins laundered in public.

Spin as Usual; It’s Madison

Doug Erickson’s article gave a very sympathetic spin to the two aged nuns, minimizing the heretical nature of their teaching and emphasizing their wonderful and sweet qualities.
This generated the usual WSJ-anonymous-discussion-forum-free-for-all, in which Madison’s Church haters reliably crawl out of the woodwork, spewing hateful vitriol towards Catholicism and Madison’s Bishop, while simultaneously bringing a landslide of web traffic to WSJ’s website to view the circus.  Revenue is always useful, particularly at the expense of the Catholic Church’s reputation.

Catholics Fight Back

This Catholic-Church-attacking phenomenon has become so predictable in Madison, WI, that numerous real Catholics in Madison (as opposed to the two dissident nuns whom WSJ seems to favor), have even developed an alert system to watch for  WSJ attacks on the Church, and numerous faithful Catholics flock to join the WSJ discussion forums in defense of the Church.

In my case, my indignation at this treatment of Catholics in Madison over the years, particularly by the WSJ, the Capital Times, and the Isthmus, inspired me to establish a website three years ago for the sole purpose of defending my Church, my religious beliefs, and my conservative political beliefs which stem from my faith.

Apparently my voice reflects the views of numerous faithful people, since my humble amateur blog, with sparse and sporadic posting, has already received over half a million hits this month, as of  December 14th.

But of course, the faithful Christians/Conservatives whose views I represent are of no interest to Madison’s media.  They are more interested in two dissident nuns.  Madison’s Progressive media’s only interest is the rampant spread of progressive culture in Madison.

List of Madison Articles on the Two-Nun Issue in Less Than One Week

Not satisfied with their initial attempts to mis-portray and embarrass the Bishop of Madison, Madison’s newspapers  continued to publish a series of articles and letters related to the initial article all week.  Granted, some of the letters printed by WSJ were supportive of the Bishop, but often support was quickly followed by insult, as in Chris Rickert’s article published on December 13th.

 

The Diocese Offered Information

Of course, the Diocese offered accurate information as soon as the the Bishop’s private letter was leaked, but as usual, Madison’s media paid little heed to that.
Here are the links to the Diocese information:

From the Vicar General From the Vicar General
Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Statement to Priests from VG Re: Wisdom’s Well
Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Synopsis documents from VG re: Wisdom’s Well
Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Also: Monsignor James Bartylla: Catholic Church must protect truth of Gospel WSJ, Dec 12

Back to the Media Attacks

Chris Rickert’s WSJ Article; Pretense of Support Cloaks Deceptive Attack

Nobody could keep up with the barrage of old and false accusations listed above, which is cleverly interspersed with just a few supportive letters, to camouflage the thrust of the attack.
Not going to tackle each one, but Chris Rickert, a WSJ reporter, should know better than to write what he wrote in his Dec 13 article which pretends at first to support the Bishop.
Here’s my online forum response to Chris Rickert’s deceptive attack on the Catholic Church:

Chris Rickert-

You claim to defend the Bishop’s decision, yet you end with a doomsday forecast on the future of the Catholic Church, and a personal pronouncement that “official Catholicism is a regressive and controlling throwback in a modern world.”
That’s not even accurate reporting. It also borders on hate speech.

FYI, Catholicism is growing in Madison (30+ seminarians vs. 4 ten years ago), is growing in the United States, and is growing worldwide.
If you want to distinguish Catholicism into orthodox and heterodox, orthodox Catholicism is also growing. And it’s growing in Madison. Madison should look outside the bubble and face reality. And religion reporters should report on that reality.

Incidentally, creating categories of Catholicism is ridiculous; do we have orthodox and heterodox math?
Heterodox math is wrong math, and heterodox Catholicism is wrong Catholicism.
There is only one kind of Catholicism, and then there are different faiths, which are not Catholicism.

Speaking of orthodox Catholicism, I hear that one of the nation’s top Catholic bloggers, Father Z, is celebrating a Latin Mass in the Diocese of Madison this weekend. I’m sure that event will be packed.
It’s historic, it’s new, it’s Catholic, it’s orthodox, and it’s popular.
Is the WSJ planning to cover that story, and to cover it respectfully, or does that not fit your political agenda?
Or perhaps WSJ religion reporters prefer to sleep in on Sundays?
If you are serious journalists and interested in covering that event, information can certainly be obtained from the Bishop’s Office.

You also call Catholicism an uncompromising faith.
Are you advocating that truth should be compromised?
Or do you have no interest in truth?

The WSJ has not been reporting on religion, it has been dissing religion.
That is not the job of religion reporters.
Got to wonder where WSJ finds its religion reporters and what their qualifications are.

Syte Reitz

 

WSJ, Capital Times and Isthmus Tactics

The tactics used by Madison’s left in attacking the Catholic Church are immoral, dishonorable and repugnant.
They violate the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.
They resemble deceptive and unChristian standards of behavior like Alinsky Tactics and the  Thirty-Six Strategems, such as:

  • When the enemy is too strong to be attacked directly, then attack something he holds dear.
  • Make a sound in the east, then strike in the west.
  • Create something from nothing.
  • Hide a knife behind a smile.
  • Defeat the enemy by capturing their chief.
  • Sow discord in the enemy’s camp.
  • Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon
  • Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.

 

Sadly, in Madison, Wisconsin, this is nothing new.

 

 

 

 

Heckling the Rosary

or

Renaming the Wisconsin State Journal

 

Don’t Diss My Church

One of the prime goals of this cultural values blog is to defend my religion, Catholicism, against the regrettably frequent and unjust attacks we suffer, particularly in Madison, WI.
One of this blog’s first blog categories was “Don’t Diss My Church.”
And in Madison, the Wisconsin State Journal has provided more than it’s fair share of imbalanced reporting on Catholics, frequently fueling my blog.

Why Pray the Rosary at Madison’s Capitol Square?

Catholics praying the rosary at Capitol Rosary Rally

Now that the Obama administration has embarked on restricting the religious freedom of Catholics, Madison Catholics have begun praying the rosary on Thursday evenings on the Madison Capitol steps, to beg God’s help in the restoration of religious freedom to our nation. 

Madison’s Rosary Rally gatherings attract 150-300 quiet, polite people each week.  The crowd includes families with small children, young singles, and many grandparents as well.  The Catholics gather quietly after business hours, do not disrupt Capitol business, leave no litter behind, do no shouting, carry no vuvuzelas, whistles or drums, and don’t even carry signs.  They come, they pray for our nation, and they leave quietly, leaving no damage in their wake.

Who Heckles Children Praying the Rosary?

About 3 to 10 ne’er-do-wells have started showing up at these rosary events, attempting to disrupt them. Their tactics include shouting four letter words from across the street, mocking the rosary, carrying rude signs mentioning private body parts, and all the usual aggressive radical left tactics Wisconsin has witnessed at recent teacher union protests, and at Madison Pro-Life rallies (which radicals have routinely tried to disrupt in recent years, and where they have even been known to get up in pulpits at Library Mall and perform strip-tease dances in front of children with literally only God knows what motivation).
Teacher union protest tactics:

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Is the Wisconsin State Journal Heckling the Rosary?

So, Doug Erickson, the “religion” reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal (WSJ), instead of covering the story from the perspective of the hundreds of Catholics participating in the Capitol Rosary Rally who represent one quarter of America, covered the story instead from the perspective of the handful of rude hecklers.

Doug chose the headline:

Critics: ‘Rosary rallies’ at Capitol thinly disguised GOP pep fests

Hmmm… GOP “pep-fest?”


Better Headlines not considered by WSJ:

  • Catholics Pray for Restoration of Religious Freedom
  • Families Pray for the Coming Election
  • Family Values Defended in Public Prayer
  • Prayer Brought to Madison’s Downtown Capitol
  • New Peaceful Standard Set for Disagreeing With Government
  • Prayer and Civility Replaces Anger and Rage at Madison’s Capitol
  • Contrasting Teacher Union Protests and Capitol Rosary in Madison

I have participated in many of the Rallies, and I can attest to the fact that Doug Erickson’s implication that Rosary Rallies are “pep-fests” could not be further from the truth.

A More Accurate Headline:


WSJ  Rosary Rally Article- Thinly Disguised Radical Dem Propaganda

 

Thinly Disguised Radical Dem Propaganda Headline

The Wisconsin State Journal’s misleading headline was amplified by a factor of 118,000 through its State-wide circulation, and the whole of Wisconsin was misinformed.  Not to mention online readers, or readers of spin-off articles such as those at the LaCrosse Tribune, Yahoo News or the Orlando Sentinel.

The Wisconsin State Journal gave voice to a handful of hecklers and dissidents rather than to hundreds of serious Catholics, who represent the beliefs of 25% of the American population  and 25% of Madison’s population.

Who are These Hecklers Favored by the Wisconsin State Journal?

Rosary Heckler Number One

One individual quoted in Doug Erickson’s article is Craig Spaulding, who presumed to know the motivations of the Catholics and declared the prayer rally to be partisan and to be GOP.
Doug Erickson failed to mention who Craig Spaulding was —  he did not mention that Craig Spaulding is a fringe radical Madison activist who was arrested (more than once) during the teacher’s union protests, who had to be carried out of the Senate gallery by ten officers for violating rules, and who is a member of the anarchist International Workers of the World, which favors “direct action,”  in place of using democratic channels. Craig Spaulding is also involved with Occupy Wisconsin,  participates regularly in the frequent Capitol lunch sing-a-long protests, and used to own the most troublesome drinking establishment on Capitol Square, which was famous for it’s “underwear parties.” It is not clear whether Craig Spaulding is a paid union protester . Craig is listed as a delinquent taxpayer owing over $33,000 in taxes.

Here’s a You Tube showing the Capitol lunch protesters with whom Craig Spaulding participated frequently and which forced Capitol Tour Guides to wear ear plugs; the group whose perspective the Wisconsin State Journal favors over the perspective of Catholics praying the Rosary at the Capitol:

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Second Rosary Critic

Annie Laurie Gaylor of FFRF at Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally, Madison, W

Second Rosary Critic

Another individual quoted by the WSJ article is one of the co-presidents of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), Annie Laurie Gaylor, who personally protested at the Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally last June 8th, and who made no objections while her husband and co-President of FFRF Dan Barker repeatedly heckled praying children and scandalized them by shouting sexually suggestive remarks addressed to the children.

Dan Barker (FFRF) at Madison’s Freedom From Religion Rally; and what was Dan Barker doing? Shouting rude things at children.

Annie Laurie Gaylor and FFRF are in a minority not only because they are atheists, but particularly because they are a miniscule minority among atheists themselves.  They constitute only 0.1 of 1% of atheists, or one out of a thousand atheists.  That’s right, 999 out of 1,000 atheists, unlike Gaylor and FFRF, are tolerant of 80% Christian America, of 25% Catholic America, and have no problem with our legally established American right to public prayer which President Obama periodically exercises.  Gaylor and her FFRF, whom the Wisconsin State Journal chose to quote in this article, constitute the angry radical fringe, which represents only one out of 33 thousand people, or 0.003 of 1% of the population of America.

Third Rosary Heckler

Another Rosary heckler (not mentioned by the Wisconsin State Journal article) made herself known to me when her braggadocio arrived in my inbox, through an online discussion in which I had participated.  She belatedly joined a discussion which I had previously viewed as a reasonable and constructive conversation with a Madison LGBT activist, and which started when I objected to the activist’s treatment of the first Capitol Rosary Rally and of Bishop Morlino on his blog.

Aside: Since that time, the LGBT activist has begun censoring comments published on his blog, selecting supportive radical comments for publication, and declining to publish further discussion with me.  I guess there are limits to the “Bluebird’s” willingness to discuss truth, after all, particularly when he and his friends start losing the argument.  Turns out, he’s also a regular at the Lunchtime Solidarity Singers at the Capitol, who drive tour guides to wear ear protection.

Back to the third Rosary heckler: her name is Genie Ogden.  Genie bragged in the online discussion that she heckles the Rosary Rally weekly, boos, and sings “Solidarity Forever” at Catholics who are singing hymns.  Genie, like Craig Spaulding, was also a regular member of the Capitol lunchtime “Sing-a-Longs,” the fringe minority who continues to make noise at the Madison Capitol at lunchtime, despite Governor Walker’s re-election by an even larger majority in Wisconsin than he enjoyed in his first election.

Perhaps Genie is looking for new outlets for her anger, now that the recall is over.  The You Tube of “Solidarity” protesters (to which Craig and Genie belonged, the noise of which drove people to wear ear protection) was presented above.

Schoenstatt Sister after the first Capitol Rosary Rally

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Just over a week ago, Genie Ogden was arrested for demonstrating with signs without a permit at the State Capitol.  She routinely protests with her daughter, who publicly approves lawlessness, such as the pouring of beer on conservative legislator’s heads, or throwing rotten fruit at them.

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Do these rosary hecklers/solidarity singers really believe that such actions would be persuasive and would bolster their cause?

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Genie, like Doug Spaulding and FFRF, tried to claim that the Rosary Rallies are political, and that they constitute a violation of separation of Church and State.  What she does not seem to realize is that neither she, nor other liberals, can divine the thoughts of others, and that the mention of Governor Walker and of Paul Ryan once in the course of thirteen Rosary Rallies, in the context of being answers to prayers, reflects a pro-life, not a Republican position.  Democrat Stupak and his 11 Democrat supporters were an equal blessing and an equal answer to prayer when they stood up for the exclusion of abortion from ObamaCare.
The pro-life beliefs of Catholics are not political; they are ethical.

 

.Rosary Hecklers in General

The Rosary Hecklers and critics above exhibit a bigoted and tyrannical attitude, denying to others the rights that the hecklers enjoy themselves.

Madison Teacher’s Union Protesters

Solidarity union activists like Craig and Genie, and LGBT activists like the Bluebird, reserve the right to use Madison’s Capitol Square for themselves to promote their own (minority) views and social agendas, but they seem to miss the hypocrisy in denying the use of the Capitol Square to praying Christians, who represent many more people than they do- a fact ignored by WSJ reporters.

The right to public prayer has actually been constitutionally upheld numerous times. Yet the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) continues to attack public prayer wherever they think they can win, through legal intimidation of groups with small budgets, like the town of Marshfield, WI.

The feeble attempts made by Craig, Annie and Genie to label Rosary Rallies events as political

Progressives Misjudging Catholics?

also reflects a judgmental attitude; they claim to know the motivation of others.  After misjudging their target’s motivation, many “progressives” continue by attacking and violating the rights of those with whom they disagree. The Constitution does not guarantee a Right to Hateful Harassment.  Moreover, the effectiveness of such tactics in promoting one’s cause are highly dubious.

I am proud to say that I have never gone to any Madison Capitol Square event to boo, heckle, curse, scream, disrupt or to counter-protest.  I don’t engage in hateful behavior towards those with whom I disagree.  Prayer is a much more civilized (and more productive) response.  My sentiments are representative of those of Rosary Rally attendees.

Ignoring Two Thirds of America

Doug Erickson missed the boat completely by covering the Rosary Rally story from the perspective of a few radical protesters, and by omitting the concerns of two thirds of America.

The Rosary Rallies actually represent the majority of Wisconsin and of America.
The Catholics at the Rally represent all religions in America, which were recently galvanized and united by the religious freedom violations of the HHS Mandate. Numerous religions joined Catholics in opposing these violations of the First Amendment, an amendment which all religions value.  Orthodox Christian Bishops, Protestant Theological Seminary chancellors, Presbyterian Bishops, Southern Baptists, Lutherans Evangelical Lutherans and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America have rallied to support the Catholic Church in upholding the Catholic position on the HHS mandate.  This is what Doug Erickson has failed to cover in his reporting.

The Rosary Rallies are large, peaceful, sustained, and they represent the reasonable Judeo-Christian views and the civilized demeanor of at least two thirds of America.

In ignoring the perspective of Catholics at the Rosary Rally in favor of the perspective of a couple fringe radicals, Doug Erickson has ignored 2/3 of America.   He has ignored the majority of America’s opposition to federally funded abortion policy, and he has ignored the social consequences of such abortion policy, which has already resulted in shocking coerced abortion rates of 64% .   Abortion is a much bigger deal than most people think .

Ignoring Religious Leaders:
Evangelical Pastors Join Catholics in the Defense of Religious Liberty

The national Religious Liberty debate has been ignored by WSJ, in favor of reporting speculations by a couple of “progressives” on the motivations of Catholics at prayer.

The Catholic Church is not the only group defending religious liberty in the wake of the HHS Mandate.

“THIS AREA HAS BEEN SET ASIDE FOR NON-PROFIT GROUPS TO EXERCISE THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL 1ST AMENDMENT FREE SPEECH RIGHTS.”

Evangelical Christian pastors have just organized a bold and courageous protest against the muzzling of moral leaders in America, and in support of religious freedom. On October 7, 2012, “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” will be celebrated.  More than 1,000 pastors will preach sermons from the pulpit talking about the candidates running for office and then making a specific recommendation.  The sermons will be recorded and sent to the IRS.  The pastors expect the IRS to try to enforce a 1954 IRS tax code amendment forbidding tax-exempt organizations from participating in discussion of candidates for public office.  When the IRS tries to revoke tax-exempt status and to impose an excise tax on them, the pastors will welcome the court battle.  They claim that the 1954 IRS tax code amendment is blatantly unconstitutional, and they welcome an official evaluation of the amendment in court.
This effort is sponsored by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal ministry formed 18 years ago for the defense of religious freedom through strategy, training, funding and litigation.

Not the First Time WSJ Has Slanted the News

Slanted reporting in the Wisconsin State Journal is not new, nor surprising. Their coverage of the 2011 Teacher’s Union Protests was equally misleading and predisposed toward the  “progressive” viewpoint. Lawlessness and misconduct was not reported, both on the part of demonstrators who trashed the Capitol, and on the part of Democrat officials who conspired to block the legal process.  WSJ coverage was so slanted and misleading, that this blogger took to reporting what’s really happening in Wisconsin on my blog.

The WSJ also gives the tiny Freedom From Religion Foundation quite a bit of favorable press.  Again, a fringe radical group (0.003 of 1% of Americans) gets favored coverage over mainstream Wisconsin.

Twisting and Misrepresenting Catholicism

Coverage of Catholicism in the WSJ has frequently been unprofessionally imbalanced.

Just this week, Doug Erickson did a “moral analysis” of the Catholic vote.
He gave equal weight and space to dissident national co-chairman of Catholics for Obama, as he did to Bishop Morlino of Madison, who is a legitimate and accurate representative of the Catholic Church.

Saul Alinsky, author of “Rules for Radicals”

Catholics for Obama is a group established in 2007, with a website hosted at www.barackobama.com .  Membership numbers are not provided, but are probably a few thousand or less, based on petition signatures quoted at Catholic Democrat. According to Breitbart.comCatholics for Obama is dominated by the radical left wing, which promotes Alinsky “social justice” ideology.

So in Doug Erickson’s world, barakobama.com, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and a couple thousand petition signatories carry the same moral authority as a Catholic Bishop and 78 million real American Catholics.  Doug is equating the fringe 0.06 of 1% of Catholics whose theology is steered by Obama, with legitimate Catholic officials and faithful Catholics.  (Bishop Morlino’s education includes a doctorate in Moral Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome, with specialization in fundamental moral theology and bioethics.)

WSJ also recently inflamed a parish conflict with imbalanced reporting, favoring dissidents over the Catholic majority.  The dissident minority was portrayed in a favorable light over the faithful majority.

Doug Erickson: Reporting on the 0.06 of 1% of Madison Diocese  Catholics (Holy Wisdom) – and relegating the 99.94%  (real) Catholics to the last paragraph, entitled “detractors.”

Another Doug Erickson report focused on pair of previously Catholic nuns at Holy Wisdom Monastery, who appear to be recruiting Catholics to join their feminist Sunday services in place of attending the Mass.  These nuns retain the name Benedictines, despite having rescinded their Benedictine vows and having separated themselves from the Catholic Church.  Doug Erickson reported on this fringe minority group of two very favorably, but relegated input from real Catholics, including from the Diocese of Madison, to a last paragraph entitled “detractors,” where he quoted Catholics minimally, and out of context.  A minority of two dissidents was portrayed in a favored light, while real Catholics were again downplayed.

The misrepresentation of Catholics in the Wisconsin State Journal could fill numerous blog posts (and has in the past), but the above three examples will suffice here.

For a Truthful Report on the Capitol Rosary Rally: see You Tube

The Capitol Rosary Rally,  which the Wisconsin State Journal did not bother to portray accurately, and which reflects the Christian views and the civilized demeanor of the majority of Christian America can be seen here:

Come join Catholics in the 14th Capitol Rosary Rally tonight, Thursday, Sept 20, 2012, at the State Street steps of the Madison Capitol at 7 PM.  Come watch what real Americans do (they act civilized and pray), stand in solidarity with Christians for religious freedom in America.  All are welcome to watch, to listen, or to pray.

Discussing the Actual Issue

Something else Doug Erickson failed to do in his Capitol Rosary article was to discuss the question that his progressive friends raised; is it legal for Catholics to pray the rosary at Madison’s Capitol Square?

First Congressional Prayer, 1777

Answer:
Public prayer is legal.
The National Day of Prayer was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals  and President Obama supported prayer in a Presidential Proclamation on the National Day of Prayer, 2012
Congress has also just taken steps to ensure that prayer is supported at School Board Meetings.   President Obama prays and states that “We stand for religious freedom.”

So public prayer is legal, and public gatherings at the Wisconsin State Capitol are legal.

Public gatherings at Madison’s Capitol have included Farmer’s Markets, restaurant showcase events (Taste of Madison), and Wisconsin Capitol Pride, an event promoting LGBTQA acceptance and rights.
Why would Catholic gatherings be forbidden?  Why would promoting prayer for religious freedom be forbidden?

Discussing the Double Standard

WSJ failed to address this double standard of progressive Rosary critics in the article.
The progressive Rosary Hecklers quoted by WSJ demand freedom of belief and freedom of speech for themselves, but not for others.  They want the right to scream four-letter words at others across Capitol Square in the presence of children, but to forbid the words “Our Father, who art in heaven.”

Further Important Issues Omitted by the WSJ report:

  • Validity of Christian claims regarding the violation of religious freedom by the HHS mandate
  • Evaluation of the position of America’s moral leaders on the religious freedom issue
  • Reporting the obvious differences in behavior, lawfulness and respect for the rights of others between the rosary participants and the heckling critics.

  • Definition of “separation of Church and State.”
  • Discussion of whether a once-in-14-prayer-rallies mention of two pro-life politicians constitutes a “violation of separation of Church and State.”
  • Discussion of the very pertinent 1954 IRS code amendment, which has been used by the IRS to silence Christian pastors, but has not been subject to an examination of constitutionality by the courts.
  • The effect that restrictions on religious freedom would have on the rights of progressives when in the future conservative Presidents are elected, and the effect on this country’s historical role as the safe haven for the world’s émigrés.

Suggestion: if Doug Erickson is to be the WSJ “religion” reporter, he must examine the serious issues affecting religion, rather than using his status at the WSJ to spread progressive propaganda. He should provide some professional and journalisticly ethical analysis of real religious issues.

Shame on the Wisconsin State Journal for Ethics Violations

Shame on Doug Erickson

The Wisconsin State Journal has violated the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics with this misrepresentation of Madison’s Capitol Rosary Rally.

  • WSJ did not seek the truth and report it.
  • WSJ did not minimize harm.
  • WSJ did not act independently.
  • WSJ was not accountable.

Renaming the Wisconsin State Journal

The Wisconsin State Journal should be renamed:

the Wisconsin State Journal Progressive

 

Invitation: Come and Join Us!

Come tonight, and every Thursday night at 7PM through November 1st.

Join Catholics today in the 14th Capitol Rosary Rally –  Thursday, Sept 20, 2012, on the State Street steps of the Madison Capitol at 7 PM.
Come watch what most Americans do (they act civilized and they pray).
Stand in solidarity with Christians for religious freedom in America.
All are welcome to watch, to listen, or to pray.

Agnostics welcome.
Atheists welcome.
Baptists welcome.
Buddhists welcome.
Catholics welcome.
Evangelicals welcome.
Jews welcome.
Lutherans welcome.
Muslims welcome
Presbyterians welcome.
All welcome, including any not mentioned above.
Invitation limited to well-behaved people who respect the rights of others.

All of us need, and will benefit from, freedom of religion (of belief), which is guaranteed to us by the First Amendment.  This freedom has been violated by President Obama’s HHS Mandate, a mandate which must be reversed.

Why Even Atheists Should Stand Against Presidential Mandates

If Presidents of the future will be permitted to issue mandates like the HHS Mandate, without popular vote, without Senate or House vote, and without Supreme Court evaluation, what mandate will the NEXT President of the United States, who may not belong to your favorite political affiliation, decree?

I may not like President Obama’s mandates.
But others, including atheists, would not like President Romney’s mandates
or President Rick Santorum’s mandates
or President Ron Paul’s mandates
or President Michelle Bachmann’s mandates.

The next President could issue a Mandate that imposes tax penalties not on Catholics, but on  International Workers Union Members,  FFRF Members, Solidarity Singers, and Madison LGBT activists-  severe, crippling penalties.  Then were would Craig, Annie, Genie and Bluebird be?  The Mandate could include penalties for Wisconsin Sate Journal reporters, too, Doug.

We all benefit from supporting freedom and democracy.
We have to coexist, so progressives should realize that in 46 days the shoe might be on the other foot.
This is still a democracy, and Presidential mandates are thinly disguised despotic edicts.

These are some of the religious, ethical and cultural issues that Doug Erickson and the WSJ should be discussing, rather than spreading the speculations of fringe progressives on the motivation of Catholics.

 

 

The Contrast

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The Contrast

Joe and Lucia Leone at Madison, WI Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally, June 8, 2012

The Photo

Last Friday, at Madison’s Stand Up For Religious Freedom rally, I snapped a photo of a friend, Joe Leone, a Madison attorney, who was one of the speakers at the rally.  He was holding his beautiful baby girl Lucia, and beaming like the proud Catholic father that he is, which is what prompted me to take the picture.  The epitome of love; parent and child. Both dressed so beautifully for the Religious Freedom Rally!

However, in reviewing my photos,  I was at first disappointed to see that the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) demonstrators (who could not bear to tolerate free speech and showed up to disrupt our rally) had snuck up behind Joe and purposely thrust their signs into our photo.  One of them even seemed to be gloating over his shoulder, directly behind him (click on picture to enlarge), proud that she had intrusively thrust her poster, which supported the Contraceptive Mandate, into my photo.

The Symbolism

And then it struck me-this was actually the most striking and beautiful picture I had taken.  Aside from the beautiful father-daughter shot, I had inadvertently captured an image epitomizing the cultural war with which we are wrestling in 2012:

  • Christianity versus “Freedom From Religion”
  • Life versus Death
  • Charity (Love) versus Self-absorption.
  • The irony of FFRF’s lack of realization that they would be unable to demonstrate here today if they themselves had been aborted.

Further examination of the photo brought up even more unexpected symbols; one of the national leaders of secularism was in the photo– Annie Laurie Gaylor, a co-President and founder of the Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison (black T-shirt, white pants, arms raised).  Behind her, a figure which might be her mother (white shirt); co-founder of FFRF and extreme abortion advocate (proud of assisting 18, 986 women to get abortions). Two generations of women who want to kill their babies. Lucky for Annie, she made it through unaborted.

The Contrast

So here we have a Catholic father of seven beautiful children, who appreciates and loves God’s gift of life to us so much that he adopts children whose parents were unable to raise them, contrasted with those who resent the gift of life, who abort, and who militantly demand that everyone else in our nation also help to wipe out Christian teaching and promote widespread abortion.  The gloating young woman with the contraceptive mandate sign would like to force my friend, the attorney, who is in front of her, to pay for other people’s abortions, sterilizations and contraception (i.e. for the destruction of babies as precious as the one he is holding).

The sweet beautiful little Lucia, most likely to have been aborted if FFRF had had any say , now safe in the arms of a beaming loving Catholic father, safe from those who want to kill religion, to kill their own children, and who pursue the killing of babies so fanatically that they have to come to our rally to interfere with our freedom of speech and our freedom of belief.

An extremely compelling 2012 illustration of the battle between God and Satan, with human life in the balance.

Photo of the Year

If it were up to me, this photo would make the Photo of the Year.  But, of course, the mainstream media does not take marching orders from me. Not happening.  Incidentally, I’m not bragging; this photo was not planned, it was fortuitous. It is only by God’s grace that the image was captured.  And the image is not unique; the same story is lived out in the daily lives of millions who love, who defend life, who sacrifice, and who radiate the joy that this Christian lifestyle brings.

Thank you so much to my friend Joe Leone, the attorney, for providing such a beautiful example of light, love and of hope, on a beautiful day, at a beautiful rally.

More ‘Interesting’ Opponents

Dan Barker (FFRF) at Madison's Freedom From Religion Rally; and what was Dan Barker doing? Shouting rude things at children.

Present at the rally also, was another infamous member of FFRF, Dan Barker the other co-President of FFRF and husband of Annie Laurie Gaylor.  A man whose chosen work in life is to crusade around America finding public expressions of Christianity which his organization can sue.  Not a very courageous man, nor a very courageous organization; suing primarily small communities who cannot afford the litigation costs to fight FFRF, and too timid to tackle Islam.  FFRF seems to focus primarily on Catholicism (note their signs in the photo opposing Catholic Bishops), then secondarily to focus on Christianity in general.  Quite a contradiction to their claimed mission of fighting all public expressions of religion!

 

And what was Dan Barker doing at the Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally? He was shouting rude things at children.  He was shouting at them to beware of their priests.  And when the children knelt to pray, he was shouting at them to beware when they kneel down around priests.  An obvious reference to priest scandals, which hopefully the children did not understand, but a warning, nonetheless, against being harmed by their trusted priests.  And no, he was not shouting at all of the rally attendees, he specifically addressed himself, more than once, to kids –  “Kids, watch out…”

If this does not paint a sufficiently shocking picture of unprofessionalism and intentional scandalization of children to you, try imagining me going to a Madison Public middle school playground and shouting at children through the fence to beware of their gym coaches and their teachers, particularly in the locker room, because I read that Jerry Sandusky committed some unspeakable crimes in Pennsylvania. Dan Barker seems to have lost all reason and all professionalism. When he attacks Catholics, he is Barking up the wrong tree.

Incidentally, this accusation is even more unfair because the Catholic Church has actually had the lowest incidence of child abuse of any societal organization.  Children are at higher risk of sexual abuse in their own homes and in the public schools, and, statistically speaking, they are at more risk of sexual abuse from any random man in the street, than they are from Catholic priests.  And why is Dan Barker not shouting warnings at children through Madison public school playground fences?  Why is he not shouting warnings at children whom he sees with their parents? Answer: he’s probably only interested in bashing Catholicism, not any other, larger, source of potential child abuse.

People like Dan Barker and FFRF fail to recognize the essential role played by Catholic priests in our society. Their role is essential to the spiritual well-being of 25% of U.S. Citizens, and of 1 billion Catholics worldwide.  Catholics operate more service organizations, hospitals, schools, and adoption agencies than any other group.  They operate institutions like the Multicultural Center in Madison.  Think about the Multicultural Center; the Diocese of Madison (run by Bishop and priests), with an annual budget of about 4 million dollars can provide this service to the poor.  A service that the City of Madison, with an annual budget of $500 million (including schools), does not seem able or interested in supplying.  Priests give up a family life of their own to serve the families of others.  And even though there are a few bad apples among them, as there are in any group of human beings, there are fewer bad apples among priests than anywhere else.  This is what Dan Barker and FFRF appear to hate.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF)

Here are some little-known facts about FFRF:

  • FFRF is quite small- it has a staff of four and an annual income of about $500,000.
  • FFRF appears to be somewhat cowardly.  They shy away from pursuing Islam in the same way they pursue Catholics and other Christians.
  • FFRF is not representative of most atheists. Their membership constitutes approximately  0.1 of 1% of atheists in America, or only 1 out of 1,000 atheists.  Most atheists are not radical, nor intolerant.  Most atheists are happy to leave religious people alone, and they are happy to be beneficiaries of the services that religious people provide to society.  Most atheists do not spend their time pursuing and harassing others or trying to drown out their freedom of speech. Most atheists are even willing to participate in the more secular aspects of celebrating religious holidays like Christmas.  In other words, most atheists are tolerant.

Did the Whole FFRF Organization show up at the Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally?

It appears that practically the entire FFRF organization may have shown up at our Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally.  There were at least ten in their group, including Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker, co-Presidents, for sure.  Other FFRF members are less visible, but the young man I spoke with (actually, tried to speak with, but he kept interrupting me rudely and trying to put words in my mouth, so rational discussion was impossible) was probably Andrew Seidel, a new attorney who apparently joined FFRF very recently as a constitutional consultant.  If I’m not mistaken, he’s the one in the green shirt.  Green shirt’s was one of the particularly rude signs that FFRF brought to the Religious Freedom Rally  (click on photo for larger image).  The lady in the pink blouse is probably Katie Daniel, FFRF’s  accountant, who is cited on FFRF’s website as one of their few religious members, a “practicing Wiivangelical.”  Not sure whether this is her snarky reference to avid playing of Wii, or a reference to Wicca, a pagan religion which FFRF appears to favor.  Although illogical, this is not too surprising, since FFRF’s Christmas plaque refers to celebrating Winter Solstice, an ironic promotion of an alternate religion by FFRF, an organization which claims to oppose public expression of religion, and which prides themselves on their “REASON.”

Why Did FFRF show up at the Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally?

  • Was FFRF in attendance to support Religious Freedom and the Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally?
  • Was FFRF in attendance to recruit for their organization?  Among the most faithful of Catholics?
  • Was FFRF in attendance to get into the news and attract attention? (Bad move, Madison’s liberal media did not cover the event; nor did national ABC, CBS, or NBC cover any of the 158 Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rallies in 158 cities across the United States, in which over 60,000 people participated.)
  • Was FFRF in attendance to harass religious Americans?
  • Was FFRF in attendance because they enjoy harassing children?

You decide why FFRF turned out in such force (all 10 of them) at Madison’s Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally.  The only thing that was clear was that FFRF came to interfere with the freedom of speech of religious Americans.

More Examples of Apparent Hatefulness and  Unprofessionalism from FFRF

Aside: FFRF’s recruiting efforts would be better spent on the 99.9% of atheists who do not belong to FFRF, instead of pretending to target Catholics for membership.  They appear to be in dire need of fundamental marketing advice: recruiting among your opposition is not likely to be productive, nor cost-effective.

Fanaticism

This FFRF gaggle’s rude and unprofessional behavior at the Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally last week typifies the behavior of Madison’s radicals; socialists who disrupt Pro-life rallies and require police interference, unions which occupy  Madison’s Capitol Square, radicals who attempt to recall democratically elected officials and collect Mickey Mouse signatures, and radical atheists who harass children at religious freedom rallies.

Observation of these Madison radicals in action during the past year has clarified something for me; that fanatical insistence on one’s own rectitude is less a mark of those who are religious and more a mark of the secular; the secular who reach within themselves to find ultimate wisdom and ultimate authority.

Those who are religious seem better able to accept defeat, turning problems which overwhelm them over to God in prayer.  The secularists, however, have nowhere left to turn when they are defeated, having exhausted their own meager resources.   The secularists despair, begin to wallow in the hopelessness of their own inability to order the world, and turn to irrational behavior.

Their fanatically driven self-assertion leaves no room for considering the thoughts of others,  for reason, for  justice, for fairness, or for democratic rule.

Photos and News on Madison’s and 157 Other Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rallies

Slideshow of Madison’s Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally photos, and Links to news on the 158 rallies held across America, will be coming soon.  Check back.

Meanwhile, if you’re on facebook, Tom Reitz has some awesome Madison photos posted there.

 

 

 

 

The Grinch Who Mocked Christmas

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WFA Nativity Scene at Wisconsin State Capitol

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has done it again: in response to a table-top nativity scene being displayed in Wisconsin’s Capitol building rotunda by Wisconsin Family Action (WFA), FFRF has erected their own primitive contraption, featuring a pink-clad girl baby “Jesus,” a Botticelli Venus “blessed mother” declaring “it’s a girl,” and cardboard cut-outs of various historical atheists with speech bubbles proclaiming the folly of religion.  They failed to realize the irony represented by this silly display – a dimensionless cartoon that makes a statement about their philosophy as well.  There is not much substance in a  philosophy that rests primarily on (aggressive) negation of the beliefs of others.

FFRF's mockery of the Nativity - interesting how FFRF invokes one of the 10 Commandments to protect their silly display!

We all know Dr. Seuss’ story How the Grinch Stole Christmas… much like the Grinch, FFRF atheists think that just because they cannot participate in the joy of Christmas, they should try to destroy it for all of us too.

But the power of the newborn King far surpasses the laughable efforts of a few spiteful atheists.

Maybe someday they’ll puzzle ’till their puzzlers are sore, and find out that Christmas, in fact, means a little bit more.

In the meantime, I take the greatest of pleasure in wishing you all a very happy, warm, and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

WFA's Nativity plaque, Wisconsin State Capitol Rotunda

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A Bad Samaritan?

How many unwed pregnant mothers has Annie Laurie Gaylor helped?

Just a Few of the Many Mothers and Babies Saved by CareNet

.Most recently, Gaylor condemns the good Samaritan Care Net, which does help unwed pregnant mothers– a need Gaylor herself apparently does not realize is important in our society.

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Gaylor and the FFRF (Freedom From Religion Foundation) not only abandon unwed mothers, but want the government to take sides on the abortion question– THEIR side.  And Isthmus is facilitating.

Isthmus just featured Gaylor’s (and FFRF’s) opposition to a Wisconsin government website listing of the Christian pregnancy care center (Care Net) under family resources.

In the article, Isthmus quotes Gaylor extensively, yet fails to cover the opposing view.  Isthmus also facilitates Gaylor’s misportrayal of the faith based Care Net as incompetent and unsafe, without any facts to support this claim.

Bucky Badger leads Hundreds of Care Net Supporters in Walk for Life

Care Net is actually very competent, very safe, and is supported by numerous groups in Madison, including religious ones.  It is one of Madison’s proudest inter-faith endeavors, with a proud history of helping unfortunate women to take charge of rebuilding their lives.  Our family has been involved in fundraising for CareNet over the years, and participating organizations have included numerous area Christian churches (including our Catholic church), the Princeton Club, Oscar Mayer, the Mallards, Relevant Radio Madison, Bucky Badger and Oremus Catholic Rock, to name just a few.

America is split on the issue of abortion– is abortion a fundamental women’s right, or is it the murder of a human being? The truth cannot be both ways. Although Supreme Court Justices may have ruled for abortion, our society is still strongly divided, and the laws are not even consistant.  A murderer who kills a pregnant woman is legally guilty of two murders, yet if that woman were on her way to Planned Parenthood for an abortion, apparently for her, this would not constitute murder at present. continue reading…

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As is often the case, a Wisconsin State Journal (WSJ) article sent me on an interesting thought trajectory last week.

In a New Years Day 2011 article, WSJ author Chris Rickert wrote, “I approached a handful of more-or-less randomly chosen (Madison) people who aren’t exactly celebrities (but aren’t exactly unknown either) about coming up with resolutions for Madison.”

The Greek word "atheoi" αθεοι ("those who are without god") as it appears in the Epistle to the Ephesians 2:12, on early 3rd-century Papyrus"

When thus approached, Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) atheist Annie Laurie Gaylor suggested the following resolution for Madison: “just say no to the (St. Paul’s Catholic Student) Center‘s unreasonable demand for a tax-free, 14-story dormitory and religious addition.”  Apparently this Madison atheist’s primary concern for 2011 seemed to be preventing the replacement of UW Madison’s Catholic student headquarters. (!)

Questions immediately came to mind:

St. Paul's from 1909

  • Why would opposition to the Catholic Student center be so high on an atheist organization’s priority list?   (The replacement will be funded by private donations, and replaces an existing Catholic Student center, which has been in existence at that location since 1909.)
  • Why is MY Catholic religion being singled out by the atheists?  (The atheist’s objections did not include other campus religious groups or buildings, or their tax-exempt status.)
  • Isn’t the atheist being inconsistent? Isn’t atheism a religion as well?  Aren’t atheists simply opposing OTHER people’s religions in preference to their own? Why would they particularly single out Catholicism?

Searching the UW Madison student organization website, atheists came up as the second listing under RELIGIOUS student organizations– Atheists, Humanists & Agnostics @ UW-Madison. So atheism is listed as a religion at UW, along with Catholic student groups, Muslim student groups, and others.

If the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is so opposed to religion, what are they specifically opposed to?

According to dictionary.com, religion is “a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

  • Is FFRF opposed to exploring the cause, nature and purpose of the universe?
  • Does FFRF deny the right of others to believe in a superhuman agency (as 80% of Madison and 80% of America does)?
  • Is FFRF opposed to a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs?
  • Are atheists not contradicting themselves, since they also adhere to a system of beliefs and are listed under UW Madison religious organizations?

My curiosity piqued, I visited the Freedom From Religion Foundation(FFRF) website  “about” page, where I found the statement:

“The history of Western civilization shows us that most social and moral progress has been brought about by persons free from religion.”

Abraham Lincoln

Hmmm….according to FFRF, so much for considering contributions to Western civilization by Jesus Christ, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Johann Sebastian Bach, Michelangelo, Sir Isaac Newton, Gregor Mendel, Max Planck, Albert Einstein, G.K. Chesterton, Martin Luther King Jr., Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Clarence Thomas, Pope John Paul II, Mother Theresa………?

The FFRF “about” page goes on to claim ownership of prison reform, humane treatment of the mentally ill, abolition of capital punishment, the end of slavery, women’s suffrage, and more, for people who are “free of” religion.

Johnny Cash

A brief historical tour of these topics does not support FFRF’s claims—no one group had a monopoly on reform in these areas, and numerous religious people were involved, including famous names like Abraham Lincoln and Johnny Cash.

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A visit to Wikipedia’s entry on FFRF indicates that FFRF maintained a sign in the Wisconsin State Capitol during the Christmas season, which reads:

FFRF sign at Wisconsin Capitol

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“At this season of the Winter Solstice may reason prevail.
There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell.
There is only our natural world.
Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens the heart and enslaves minds.”

-A disturbingly intolerant statement about many religions, particularly for a city like Madison, which prides itself on its University, its intellectualism and its tolerance!

Consider a simple substitution in the last sentence of the sign:                                    Atheism is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.” instead of Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens the heart and enslaves minds.”

How would FFRF tolerate the exhibition of that in the State Capitol on a gold sign for children to view?

The first line of the FFRF verse is also inconsistent with FFRF’s supposed mission; Winter Solstice, capitalized, refers to pagan celebrations, which are religious.  Is FFRF promoting pagan holidays, while opposing Christian ones like Christmas?  Hardly sounds like freedom from religion.

The FFRF Christmas season sign is an inconsistent curiosity at best, and surely would not be appreciated by 80% of Madison, who are Christian, when they bring their children to see the Christmas tree at the Capitol each year!

How many atheists are there, anyway? Wikipedia claims 2.5% of the world’s population, 2% of the U.S. population.

And of these, how many are so militant that they cannot tolerate a Christmas tree or a “Merry Christmas” wish?  The couple of atheists/agnostics I know have no problem with Christmas, and they participate in Christmas celebrations and Christmas giving with enthusiasm.  They are quite tolerant of the Christian majority in America, and enjoy the spirit of the occasion.  So what percentage of Americans does the FFRF really represent?  It is certainly lower than the total of all atheists, 2%.  The FFRF website lists their North American membership of 15,500, which is 0.003 of 1% of the population, or one in 33 thousand people.

City-data.com demographics list Madison as 53% Catholic, 22% Evangelical Lutheran, and only 10% of the population outside of Christian denominations.

So as we delve further into the facts, we discover that in the City of Madison, which is 53% Catholic and 80% Christian, and in the State of Wisconsin, which is 29% Catholic and 80% Christian, the insignificant number of militant atheists want to prevent Catholic students from replacing their Catholic student center at their own cost when membership swells.

Catholic students in front of St. Paul's

Perhaps it is the tax-deductible status of the Catholic Student Center that offends FFRF?  The Catholic student center is located between its brethren structures, Calvary Lutheran Student Center, and Pres House, the Presbyterian Student Center.  All three are religious institutions and all three are tax-exempt.  The FFRF is also tax exempt, and the UW Madison atheist student organization (listed under Religious Student Organizations) is tax exempt. So tax exemption cannot be the problem.

Does FFRF think that UW or the City of Madison will be paying for the new structure?

FFRF’s Annie Julie Gaylor stated:“(St. Paul’s Catholic Student) Center’s unreasonable demand for a tax-free, 14-story dormitory and religious addition.” — but St. Paul’s Catholic Center is not demanding anything from anybody.  They already own the location since 1909, and the new building will be paid for by private donations.

So the Catholic Center is not unique in its tax-free status. The Catholic students are not demanding anything from anybody.  Perhaps it is the expansion that FFRF is opposed to?

St. Paul's today

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The expanded taller structure reflects the increase in Catholic students participating in the Catholic Center, and this is not surprising in a town which is 53% Catholic and a State which is 29% Catholic.  29 to 53% of the UW campus would represent about 11,000 to 21,000 students.  Does the FFRF, representing between 0.003% and  2% of the population (this would correspond to between 1 and 800 students), wish to deny the 80% Christian majority access to religious organizations and dormitories to support the student population’s interests and priorities?

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In a world in which litigation has much power to intimidate, small groups such as the FFRF have made some headway toward abolishing the rights of self-expression guaranteed to us by the Bill of Rights of the United States:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”

The FFRF, with their $5 million fund balance, their half-million dollar yearly income, and 15,000 (North American) membership, is a small organization at best.  Yet FFRF has made some inroads towards stifling the freedom OF religion guaranteed to us in the United States– primarily by filing lawsuits against public expressions of religion.

FFRF should be reminded that the preposition used by the founding fathers in the Bill of Rights is freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion. They should be reminded that they are the guests among a majority of religious people in this country, who exhibit more much tolerance towards FFRF than is reciprocated.  And in preparation for the next time our freedom OF religion is threatened by frivolous FFRF lawsuits, we should start a Freedom OF Religion Fund to pay for the defense of the Bill of Rights against militant atheists like FFRF.  We 80% Christians and 90% religious people in this country, as well as the 8-10% tolerant atheists/agnostics/unsure believers, would prevail against the aggressive and intolerant attitudes of groups like the FFRF if we woke up, got organized and took action.

FFRF should take a lesson in tolerance from Bishop Morlino, another one of the people consulted by WSJ for this article’s New Year’s resolutions for Madison.  Bishop Morlino did not suggest stifling FFRF’s plans, challenging their tax-exempt status, or interfering with FFRF in any way.  Bishop Morlino suggested some daily quiet personal introspection for everyone in Madison– which Annie Laurie Gaylor would be wise to consider.

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