Syte Reitz

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

Browsing Posts tagged FFRF

Adoration

130602-holyhour-hmed-3p.photoblog600Pope Francis invited all Catholics to join in a global Holy Hour of Adoration on Sunday, June 2, 2013, Corpus Christi Sunday, or Body of Christ Sunday. (More info on what adoration is below and at Explaining Adoration.)

The Pope’s Invitation

The Pope’s invitation received global response, and 77 Catholic parishes in the Diocese of Madison, WI alone, participated. Worldwide, there were probably hundreds of thousands of parishes participating.
It was a big deal, and a global deal.
Even secular  (non-religious) MSNBC reported, publishing a photo of participation in  Hanoi Hanoi 130602-holyhour-bcol-3p.photoblog600(below).

Media Reports (or Doesn’t)

Despite the fact that Catholicism is the largest religion in Madison, in Wisconsin and in the United States, Madison’s Wisconsin Sate Journal (WSJ) did not report on the historical global holy hour.  Clearly hostile to Catholicism, WSJ prefers to report on Catholic dissidents, often on as few as two of them,  rather than to report on thousands of Madisonians participating in a historical global prayer effort.

Historic Event of Biblical Proportions

The image of the entire world kneeling in adoration of Our Lord, led by the Pope, imploring God’s assistance, presents a picture of historical and Biblical significance.  It calls to mind events such as God’s call of Nineveh to repentance, or the miraculous Christian victory at the Battle of Lepanto, attributed to God’s intervention after massive prayer of the Rosary.

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The assembly of all Catholics in simultaneous global prayer represents no small effort.  There are about 1.2 billion Catholics in the world, and about 2,800 Catholic dioceses, so the number of  people participating in this global holy hour was likely in the millions. Pope Francis requested feedback on participation, so details on participation may soon be available.

Rome Reports:

 

Putting Religion into Context in 2013

The secular (non-religious) “progressive” world, i.e. Madison’s Wisconsin State Journal’s (WSJ) world, despite their minority status in the United States, views religion as archaic and primitive.  Their “enlightened” modernists ridicule religious beliefs and rituals, and try to reinterpret traditional belief in the light of new and modern philosophies.  WSJ articles either ignore the existence of religion altogether, or attempt to spin (not very subtly)  their reports to discredit proven and established religion.

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A short visit to the WSJ discussion forums demonstrates the lack of tolerance and the air of conceit exhibited by many Madison progressives who use the forums for anonymous hate-mongering, particularly hate-mongering directed at the Catholic Church.  A little participation in those forums (plus a bit of detective work) often reveals some major participants of those forums to be members, or even staff of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF). To read those WSJ forums, one would think religion to be an embarrassing and primitive Medieval error, which has now been corrected by enlightened modernists, who are themselves the infallible source of all wisdom and knowledge.

Secular (Non-Religious) Culture: the Rule or the Exception?

In reality, these sceptic/atheists constitute only 10% of America.  And the angry, intolerant brand of atheist like FFRF constitutes only one out of 1,000 atheists, or one out of 10,000 Americans:

FreedomFromReligionFoundation

 

999 out of 1,000 atheists are tolerant, nice atheists, many of whom, according to Pope Francis, are candidates for salvation.  Too bad the squeaky wheel, FFRF, often gives them all a bad name.

What Americans Actually Believe

In the United States, the most educated and technologically advanced nation in the world, 90% of Americans believe in God, 82% of Americans pray regularly, and 47% pray daily.
Why would they do that?
Because it works.

St. Patrick's Cathedral NYC

St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, the symbolic seat of American Catholicism, where Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass, and where Cardinal Dolan, the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops now serves. Catholicism is the largest religion in the United States; 25% of Americans are Catholic.

82% of Americans say that God answers their prayers.

The “enlightened” modernists would claim, of course, that the 82% of Americans who believe in God and who pray must be the primitive uneducated fools of America, while the 18% who do not believe in God and do not pray are the intelligent educated Americans.

But no.
There is no correlation between belief/unbelief in God and smarts or education.
Gallup polls tell us that 71% of Americans with postgraduate education believe that God is responsible for creating human beings (Gallup, 2010).
78% of all Americans (of any educational level) believe the same thing.
Only 16% of Americans believe in evolution without any involvement of God.

Proverbs 2

Proverbs 2:5-8

The knowledge of God comes from observation, experience, and common sense, and is available to the simplest of us.  That knowledge is not lost by those who are get some formal education.  We can all see that the sky is blue, whether we get graduate degrees or not.  The brainwashing that often does occur on modern US campuses and is carried out by progressive minorities, evaportes quickly as soon as college kids leave the campus environment and start experiencing real life.
You couldn’t get numbers like 82% and 78% if the progressive brainwashing in college lasted.

What Do Believers Do When the Going Gets Rough, and Does it Work?

So, despite what mass media tells us, despite what Hollywood and television shows us, despite what agenda progressive governments try to push in our schools and in our legislation, Americans continue to believe in God and to pray.

9-11 cross

When faced with powerful opposing forces, the now Progressive (previously Democrat) party, which tried to eliminate mention of God from their platform in the last election, desperately reaches for underhanded and unethical methods to win, believing that the ends justify the means. But those who believe in God and know that God’s power dwarfs our own, double down and pray.  Pray hard, and wait.

We pray, and prayer works. The Alinsky tactics of the radical left backfire, progressives fall into their own traps, the silent 82% majority starts organizing, and hope returns. We are now in the midst of witnessing the progressive Obama administration tripping on their own crooked Alinsky tactics, while conservative people of faith respect the rules of democracy, wait for the next election, and continue to pray.

A concerted global prayer effort in these difficult times is an even better idea than individual prayer.  The Catholic Church is one of the most populous and organized groups capable of of arranging concerted global prayer, and that is what our very wise Pope Francis has just arranged.

If you think that the prayer and peaceful activism of the last few  years are bearing fruit in unexpected ways today, with new Obama administration scandals surfacing almost daily and shocking even the mainstream (liberal) media, just wait until the fruits of this week’s Global Adoration begin to arrive.  The radicals who have tried to strong-arm America into expansion of national and global federally-funded abortion, redefinition of marriage, and Slide1violation of religious freedom, will stand no chance against a praying American electorate.

For Skeptics

A reminder for skeptics of the mysterious mechanisms behind global change–

holyalliance2

The demise of Communism and the end of the Cold War were not the result of politics, plans, troop movements, or elections.  The Soviet Union was brought to it’s knees in 1991 without bloodshed because it fell into it’s own traps, while two courageous religious men, Pope John Paul the Great and “born-again Christian” President Ronald Reagan, stood up for what was right, while Catholic Poland resisted peacefully, and while the world prayed. See The Holy Alliance.

Concerted prayer efforts work just as well in the 20th and 21st centuries as they did in Biblical and Medieval times; God is outside of time. Those who don’t know history do not know this.

Why Some Don’t Believe

We don’t want to dismiss those good people who lack faith, or the reasons for their lack of faith.  Those reasons can include a failure to understand why God does not always answer our prayers exactly the way we wanted Him to, and a failure to understand why God would permit evil to exist in the world.  These are important questions addressed elsewhere,  but can be summarized by making an analogy between God and a good parent.

My wayThe fact that God has not always given you what you want does not mean that He is not there, or that you cannot tap into His power if you approach Him the right way.  Presumably your parents did not always give you what you wanted, particularly if you did not approach them in the right way, and you have not concluded that your parents do not exist.

God might also, like a good parent, allow you to experience a limited brush with evil, if that inspires you to make a course correction which will transform the rest of your life.

One more factor contributing to lack of faith in the world can be “religious” people who fail to live up to their professed beliefs.  Religious people do make mistakes, much as math professors and doctors can make mistakes.  Their mistakes (sins) do not invalidate the truth and beauty of Christ’s message or of His Church, but they do give non-believers a bad image of that message.

One good resource on understanding evil and suffering: How to Make Sense of Suffering – Marguerite Duportal

What Was The Pope Calling Catholics to Pray For?

The intentions for which the Pope requested this global prayer were:

  • For the obedience of the Church so that she appear before the world as “beautiful,without spot or wrinkle,holy and without blemish.”
  • For victims of violence, drugs, human trafficking, economic insecurity and social marginalization.

Paraphrased, first for the holiness of the Church, so that the beauty of her message might be more apparent to the world, and also for the masses of humanity who are suffering from the sins of the world.

Violence, drugs, human trafficking, economic insecurity and social marginalization are all products of humanity’s violation of the Ten Commandments and of Christian morality.  They are products of sin.  If humanity did a better job of recognizing and following the wisdom and beauty of Judeo-Christian morality, human suffering would be reduced drastically.

No Whale Needed

No whale needed for Pope Francis. Unlike Jonah, he offers no resistance and does his job.

The misery and immorality of the present world resembles that of Nineveh in the Bible.  The solution is a return to God’s law. Pope Francis is a modern Jonah, calling us to get down on our knees and to make the necessary corrections.

What is this Seemingly Archaic Rite of “Adoration?”

The word archaic , often  used by progressives to describe the Catholic Church, her teachings and her ceremonies, can be interpreted in a negative or positive way, depending on one’s reference point.  A narcissistic modern attitude might define archaic as old, out of date, or irrelevant.  But a more broadminded modern approach would suggest that something that has survived 2,000 years successfully must be pretty advantageous and pretty awesome.  Evolutionism is, after all, a popular modern mechanism for appraisal of ideas.

If the Church has persisted for two thousand years, and 1.2 billion people subscribe to it today, this Church would only be archaic in the very positive sense of being ancient, being respected, and being awesome.  And despite what the media would like to tell you, the Catholic Church is treated with great reverence and respect worldwide.  Why else would the funeral of Pope John Paul the Great draw over four million mourners, many of them not Catholic, and draw the world’s largest gathering of statesmen from over 200 countries to Rome?

What about this archaic word “adoration?”

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Perpetual Adoration Chapel in Madison, WI

 Adore:
to regard with utmost esteem, love and respect; honor.
-to pay divine honor to; worship;
-to adore God.
-to like or admire very much: I simply adore the way your hair is done!
-to worship
Origin: Latin ad + orare to speak; to speak to

So to adore God is to esteem, love and respect God.
To adore God is also to speak to God, i.e. pray.
Those who believe in God, in the Creator of the Universe and source of all that is good, adore God and pray to God.
That would be 90% of Americans (who believe) and 82% of Americans (who pray).

Catholics have a special opportunity to adore/pray to God in person, or face-to-face, since they have the Real Presence of God available to them in the Eucharist, or in Holy Communion.  They have access to God personally and physically just as much as the apostles did 2,000 years ago. They have the Mass, they have Holy Communion, and they have Adoration, sometimes called Exposition, of the Blessed Sacrament.
Why settle for virtual conversation with God (without the physical Presence), when you can have a face-to-face conversation?

Finally, regarding the pomp and ceremony with which Catholics treat the Blessed Sacrament-
If you were to meet face-to-face with God (not the Queen, not the President, not your future spouse at the wedding altar, but GOD), how much dressing up, bowing, kneeling, and reverence do you think would be warranted?

 So How Did This Call to Global Adoration Look in Madison?

1 Global Adoration Madison Cathedral Parish

Bishop Morlino leads Adoration at Madison’s Cathedral Parish

In Madison, Bishop Robert Morlino responded to Pope Francis’ call for global Adoration by leading his Sunday congregation in Adoration for one hour before Sunday Mass, before the exposed Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance (the big gold thing holding the small white Communion host).  The hour included scripture readings, a homily, and silent prayer.  The Bishop’s (June 2) remarks will soon be available at Madison’s Cathedral Parish’s media archive.

Following the Holy Hour of Adoration, Mass was celebrated, and then the Blessed Sacrament was carried in procession through the streets of Madison, to the Capitol Building, where Catholics have been gathering to pray frequently throughout the last year (Last Year’s Corpus Christi Sunday procession, Freedom of Religion Rallies, Rosary at the Capitol). Benediction (a blessing with the Holy Host in the monstrance) at the State Street steps of the Wisconsin State Capitol in downtown Madison concluded the ceremonies.

Thanks to Tom Reitz of Reitz Internet for these great photos, which are taken from Tom’s Facebook page:

2 Procession to Capitol

Corpus Christi (Body of Christ) procession begins after the Holy Hour and Mass

3 Christ in the Streets of Madison

Christ, truly present in the Communion Host inside the gold monstrance, is carried through the streets of Madison

4 Knights of Columbus lead procession

Knights of Columbus lead the procession

5 Moving toward the Capitol

Christ approaching the Wisconsin State Capitol, alongside Ride the Drive bicyclists on June 2, 2013

6 on Capitol Square

On Capitol Square in downtown Madison

7  of Incense

Lots of Incense

8 Christ on the Streets of Madison

Christ on the streets of Madison, WI

9 On Capitol Square2

Processing on Capitol Square

10 Up the State Street Steps

Climbing up the State Street Steps

11 Processing up the Capitol Steps

Corpus Christi at the Wisconsin State Capitol Building

12 View down State Street

Looking down towards State Street

13 At the Capitol

At the Wisconsin State Capitol

15 Incensing the Monstrance

Bishop Morlino incensing the Monstrance

16 Benediction

Benediction
(Blessing Madison and it’s people)

See also an article about this event by Sofia Guerra at  AlwaysCatholic.com.

 

Prayer Can Work Miracles

ny-times-building-660-APNow, almost a week after the Global Adoration event, followed by worldwide Corpus Christi processions, a minor miracle occurred in the New York Times:  the New York Times took President Obama to task for his abuse of power, stating that the Obama administration has “lost all credibility.”  (NYT Article here.)

Of course, skeptics will correctly point out that cause and effect are hard to prove when it comes to prayer, but in one humble Catholic’s opinion, we ain’t seen nothin’ yet, when it comes to the fruits of Global Adoration.
What worked for Reagan and for Pope John Paul II in 1991 (turning to God) will work for Pope Francis in 2013.
I’m bracing for the ride.
It should be a good one!

thorpestealth460

 

 

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Hey, They’re Shooting at ME Now!

Background: The West Wing

West-Wing-allison-janney-3474904-1400-900The West Wing was a TV serial drama which aired from 1999 to 2006, during much of George W. Bush’s presidency, depicting a liberal White House administration.  Some speculate that the show’s popularity reflected the wishful  fantasies of liberals, who were frustrated with the somewhat conservative real administration occupying  the White House, and retreated into TV fantasies of a successful liberal White House for entertainment.

“If They’re Shooting at You…”

Charlie Young

Charlie Young (played by Dule Hill)

In one episode of West Wing, the fictional character Charlie Young (Presidential aide), played by Dulé Hill, quotes his father as saying “If They’re Shooting at You, You Know You’re Doing Something Right!”

Charlie’s observation might in fact reflect the projection of a somewhat widespread radical progressive attitude today, an attitude in which passionate progressives feel entitled to use any methods, including morally and legally questionable ones, in combating their political opponents.  When analyzing their own opponents, radicals then project their own attitudes and methods onto them. If radicals might consider shooting their opposition when the opposition becomes too successful, radicals assume that conservatives would do the same.

A Fictional Shooting

The plot of West Wing actually included the shooting of the liberal President by right-wing extremists, who objected to the President’s young black aide (Charlie Young) dating the President’s white daughter.  The shooting was actually targeted at Charlie Young, the young black aide who dares to date the President’s daughter, with the President catching an unintended bullet during the attack.

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Democrat shooting Ron Paul?

This slanderous plot reflected unscrupulous progressive attitudes on two levels.  Progressive producers of the show were clearly prepared to smear conservatives with damaging fictional plots implying that conservatives oppose interracial dating, and in fact oppose it so strongly that they shoot people over this issue.  In addition, by inventing such unthinkable plots, the progressives also betrayed their own level of comfort with underhanded and unscrupulous methods.

Imagine the converse.  What Tea Party conservative would have created an imaginary TV show about the Presidency, in which a conservative President like Rand Paul is shot by crazy Democrats who insist that all women work, and who are incensed at the fact that the President’s aide has a wife who does not work outside the home?  This plot would have been equally far-fetched, and slanderous to Democrats.

The use of such unscrupulous methods, like smearing conservatives with fictional TV programs, or shooting your political opposition when they are too successful,  is called Alinsky tactics.   Radical progressives seem to be using Alinsky tactics with a rapidly accelerating frequency today.

Alinsky Tactics Today

Global

U.S. Secretary of State Clinton addresses the high level segment of the 16th session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva

Hillary Rodham Clinton lying to the United Nations

Few liberals are aware that Hillary Clinton’s undergraduate senior thesis at Wellesley College focused on an analysis of Alinsky tactics, or that Hillary refrained in that thesis from addressing the morality or legality of such tactics.  Hillary Clinton also seemed to employ some Alinsky’s methods in her recent position as United States Secretary of State.  This included lying to the United Nations to misrepresent Catholic Church teaching, in order to to expand global abortion, and more recently, lying to cover up the Benghazi fiasco.

National

Slide1Even the “mainstream media” has acknowledged in recent weeks the increasingly underhanded methods used by the Obama administration to combat their political opponents.  The triple Obama administration scandals which are now surfacing involve the abuse of power by the IRS to undermine conservative organizations, the  abuse of power by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to keep tabs on Associated Press reporters, and lies and manipulations at many levels in the State Department to cover up the Terrorist attack that took place at Benghazi.

As of today, 76% of Americans, and 63% of Democrats, want the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the targeting of conservative groups by the IRS.

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Obama teaching Alinsky tactics

It is not surprising to note, in the light of these shocking abuses of power by the Obama administration, that Barack Obama taught Alinksy tactics in Chicago.

The Obama administration, if guilty of governing through the abuse of power and use of intimidation, will be guilty of a scandal that dwarfs President Nixon’s Watergate scandal, which occurred almost exactly 40 years ago .

 State and City Level

A previous summary of the underhanded tactics used by Democrats and by Unions in Wisconsin in 2011-2012 can be found in the article entitled Circus Madison Goes On.., written two years ago in August 2011 to document the unscrupulous goings on in my home town, yet still one of my most popular articles today.

Shooting at the OppositionSlide1

Apparently, despite all their anti-gun rhetoric, many “progressives” today, including the present leadership of the Democrat party, advocate “taking out” their opposition by any means available, ethical or unethical, legal or illegal.  Whenever their opponents do something right, progressive radicals get out their big guns!

Whenever conservatives begin to gain the edge, the Obama administration sends out the State Department, Department of Justice and the IRS, Hollywood gets out it’s progressive programming, the Freedom From Religion Foundation gets out their frivolous lawsuits, and intimidation begins, even at small potatoes like me.

Hey, Now They’re Shooting at Me!

If Charlie’s observation is correct, that “If They’re Shooting at You, You Know You’re Doing Something Right!,”then I should be glowing with pride.  I must be doing something right.

My SyteReitz.com website weathered a Denial of Service Attack (DoS) attack just before Memorial Day, a somewhat sophisticated and highly illegal form of cyber attack usually reserved for high-profile organizations such as banking, commerce, and media companies, or government and trade organizations. DoS attacks constitute a serious federal crime in the US, the United Kingdom, and in many other countries.  Violators can be sentenced to prison for up to 10 years.  Somebody must want to shut me down pretty badly, if they are risking 10 years in prison!

TomReitz

Not to worry, my web-guru/guardian angel/son who is also my hosting company, detected, defused and dispatched the offending miscreants, who were hijacking computers as far away as Germany to aim their futile dirty work at my site.The Saint

BTW, anybody in need of some outstanding web development and services would do well to check out ReitzInternet.com.

So Who’s Shooting at Me?

So who could be trying to shut down my website’s message?

Investigation has just started, but a search for suspects would logically start with opponents of the most popular blog posts.

This month’s web stats show surprisingly heavy traffic to some older articles, still very apropos today.
At the top of the list:SyteReitz

Not Worried Here

So the radicals are shooting at us; we must be doing something right.
We don’t shoot; we pray.

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They prepared a snare for my feet; and they bowed down my soul. They dug a pit before my face, and they are fallen into it.            – Psalm 56:7
-David, when he fled from Saul into a cave.
Riches shall not profit in the day of revenge: but justice shall deliver from death.
The justice of the upright shall make his way prosperous: and the wicked man shall fall by his own wickedness.
The justice of the righteous shall deliver them: and the unjust shall be caught in their own snares.  -Proverbs 11:4-6

 

Defying God on Stage and in Real Life- and Falling into TrapsSlide1

Ironically, West Wing featured an episode in which liberal President Bartlet cursed God out in Latin in the cathedral, purposely lighting a cigarette and stomping it out on the cathedral floor in derision.
This reflects a disrespectful attitude toward God that is prevalent among progressives today, and which is very apparent in today’s Obama administration’s disregard for life, for truth, and for religious liberty.

In West Wing, President Bartlet was played by actor Martin Sheen, father of Charlie Sheen. In real life, actor Martin Sheen considers himself a Catholic, despite his continuous support of Democratic pro-choice politicians and his support of same-sex marriage.  His son Charlie Sheen is best known for his role in the morally shocking TV serial Two and a Half Men, and for his substance abuse, felony menacing, third-degree assault and criminal mischief charges that have put him in the news.  Two and a Half Men portrays a hedonistic and dysfunctional household which includes an adolescent boy challenged by his parents’ divorce and witnessing the promiscuous lifestyle of his uncle daily. Aside from the potential influence of such a program on our entire culture, one has to wonder at the involvement of a child actor in such a plot.
The Sheen family, sadly, is living the agony of those who fall for the traps.

Back to Reality – The Obama Administration

Slide1We now watch the drama unfold, as the Obama administration, having set so many traps for so many, is starting to step into it’s own traps.

Ironically, ABC news just referred to Obama’s recent scandals as the “Scandal Trident,” writing that “There were developments today on each spear of the scandal trident currently bearing down on the West Wing.”  Wonder what inspired Byron Wolf of ABC to use the trident analogy?  The trident is known as a symbol of Satan. And Satan has no love for humans beings, not even for those who have fallen for his bait. So the mental image presented by secular (non-religious) ABC, of a trident bearing down on the West Wing of the White House, is a very interesting one, indeed.

My guess is that President Obama may soon be squirming and suffering.  We take no pleasure in that, other than the hope that America will see the error of “progressive ways” (Alinsky’s book was dedicated to Lucifer, or Satan), and will return to conservative and ethical government as codified in the Constitution of the United States, which is based on Judeo-Christian values and on the Ten Commandments.

Atheists Who Do Good Are Redeemed

 

The News is Abuzz

Pope-Francis-GETTYThe news is abuzz with articles quoting Pope Francis’ Wednesday homily, in which he said that everyone was redeemed through Jesus, including atheists:

Old News is Good News

This news is not really new, and is only news to those who have been mis-informed about the Catholic faith:

Old News: Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1260:

Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.

Old News: Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, November 30, 2005:

 

Pope Benedict XVI.

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Pope Benedict quoted St. Augustine, saying that those who, prompted by love, strive for peace are predestined by God to be citizens of Jerusalem (to be saved).

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Old News: Pope John Paul the Great, General Audience, September 9, 1998:JP2 Scan 1

 Normally, “it will be in the sincere practice of what is good in their own religious traditions and by following the dictates of their own consciences that the members of other religions respond positively to God’s invitation and receive salvation in Jesus Christ, even while they do not recognize of acknowledge him at their Saviour.

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The Real News

The real news here is that most of the world misunderstands Catholicism, and we Catholics need to get the REAL message out, with love.
That was Pope Francis’ point.

Slide1So What’s the Point of Being Catholic?

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If there is salvation outside the Catholic Church, and the Catholic Church has so many “difficult” rules some people don’t want to follow, what’s the point of becoming Catholic? After all, you can do whatever you want, and still be saved!
No, not really.  You have to do good to be saved, and to find peace. And defining and doing good on your own is like reinventing the wheel.  Possible, but not easy.
Despite the possibility of salvation outside the Catholic Church, salvation inside the Catholic Church is much easier.  That was Christ’s point in coming to live among us, to teach us the ground rules and to leave us some help.

.When faced with a difficult and monumental task like getting through life, you can “wing it,” or you can check the instruction manual.
Your choice.

Some accurate information on Catholicism:

Some  Catholic perspective articles
on this website:

 

The Catholic Church is the repository of grace and wisdom left to us by Jesus Christ.
The Catholic Church makes our job of attaining salvation (and of experiencing peace in this life) a LOT easier.
A billion people today have this figured out; Catholics.
They want to share the Good News: the New Evangelization

Good Reminder

This is a good reminder of the fact that all groups of people include good people.
And that Christian-hating atheists, like the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), are a minority, who represent only 0.1 %, or only 1 out of 1,000 atheists.
The vast majority of atheists are nice people who not only tolerate us Christians, but who even appreciate the more secular elements of our holidays, like Easter and Christmas.

FreedomFromReligionFoundation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update on Catholic Child Abuse Scandals

Slide1One of the most highly trafficked older articles on this blog, still visited by thousands of people, is an article written in April of 2010, entitled If You’re Looking for Child Abuse, the Catholic Church is the Last Place to Look.
I must admit some surprise, seeing so much traffic going to an article that is three years old.

So I re-read the article, to do a bit of updating.  As a courtesy to those who read it, it should be current.

Not much updating was needed, since the main points of the article remain as true today as they were in 2010:

  • Catholic priests are the least offenders of all groups in society.
  • Children are more safe with Catholic priests than they are in public schools and in their own homes.
  • The media seems to report selectively on Catholic priests, misleading people into thinking that Catholic priests are prone to child abuse, when this is simply untrue.
  • The few articles which exonerate the Catholic Church are often removed from the web, as in the case of the NewsMax article I originally quoted in 2010.  Whether threats of litigation similar to those used by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) are responsible for removal of these articles is not clear.
  • The fact remains that children are actually in more danger of abuse in their own homes than they are with a Catholic priest.  Live-in boyfriends of divorced mothers are the highest offending group of child abusers in our society. Teachers, doctors and farmers are also high up on the list.
  • Media sensationalizes the the fact that dozens of priest offenders are “loose” in the United States, when it fails to acknowledge that every town in America has hundreds of “loose” sex offenders, and that there are close to a million registered sex offenders in the United States.
  • Media fails to acknowledge that sex offenders cannot be vaporized magically, either by the government or by the Church, and they do exist and live among us after their sentences have been completed.photo_billboard
  • Media exercizes a terrible double standard, reporting primarily on Catholic priests who have abused children, and failing to report on the other groups.  They also assume guilt, failing to acknowledge that any organization believed to have deep pockets will be subject to numerous false accusations.
  • For more information, see the original article at If You’re Looking for Child Abuse, the Catholic Church is the Last Place to Look.

My update to If You’re Looking for Child Abuse, the Catholic Church is the Last Place to Look included listing some of the recent supporting material which exonerates priests and exposes the liberal media bias.
One of the biggest contributors to defusing the false narrative is David F. Pierre Jr.:

Slide1Dave Pierre is one of the country’s leading observers of the media’s coverage of the Catholic Church abuse narrative. Dave is the author of two critically acclaimed books, ‘Double Standard: Abuse Scandals and the Attack on the Catholic Church’ and ‘Catholic Priests Falsely Accused: The Facts, The Fraud, The Stories.’

Readers have cited Dave’s work as “essential reading,” “a must-read,” and “a great service to the Church.”

Dave is the creator and author of TheMediaReport.com and is a longtime contributing writer to NewsBusters.org, the popular media-bias blog of the Media Research Center.

Dave has been interviewed on National Public Radio (NPR) as well as by other radio outlets and newspapers for his work. He has also contributed to print publications.

Dave is a graduate of Boston College and lives with his wife and family in Massachusetts.

We Love Our Priests -Slide1

 

 

 

Freedom From Religion Contracting Leprosy and Dissolving in Shame?

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A Double Standard

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Truth about Wisconsin’s Freedom From Religions Foundation (FFRF) published at FindLaw.com!

FindLaw.com has alerted us to an amusing but true perspective on FFRF and it’s agenda.
Click image above to go to FindLaw.com, see original article at American Clarion, or continue below:

A Double Standard in Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Actions

March 3, 2013

Rapid City Council and Mayor (From rcgov.org)

By Stewart Longfellow

By now it has become obvious that when a country’s values are under attack constantly, there’s something rotten…and it’s not in Denmark…it emanates from Wisconsin, with a group that seems hell-bent on attacking Christians.

The group, Freedom From Religion Foundation has put its’ crosshairs directly on the city of Rapid City, in an effort to silence a simple prayer before the meeting starts. (Rapid City Council and Mayor pictured at right.) Nothing severe, nothing offensive, but apparently, praying causes these peoples’ ears to bleed, contract leprosy and dissolve in shame.

Ok, embellishing a little there, but in all seriousness, just what is it that causes this group to have a classic hissy-fit over religion’s simple act of talking to God? For one, what is so offensive about the act of praying, when these people are supposed to not believe in prayer and want to deny its use in the world?

More importantly, why does this group practice a double-standard, in not attacking all religions equally?

Take for example Dearborn MI, where the Muslims control things lock, stock and barrel. Do you see these folks walking along the street, telling people who pray publicly five times a day, to not pray in public places? How about the act of wearing religious clothing? How about around the country where Native Americans have religious items like medicine wheels, tobacco usage or imagery, do they harass these people as well, or is it simply an attack on the church and it’s action of speaking with the Creator?

For what it’s worth, it also seems time to take a David vs Goliath approach to these people, who seem to enjoy being the bully of the block…and take the fight back to them.

For one, even a person uneducated in the government, can read basic English. In the First Amendment, it mentions “prohibiting the free exercise thereof” in terms of religion. Nowhere, in the Constitution does it mention the Separation of Church and state, nor does it mention silencing people praying as a right…but it does mention the freedom of speech. Since obviously that means this group is looking to deprive people of their rights, perhaps it’s time to bring legal action, and hit them where it would hurt the most…that’s right, the pocketbooks.

The freedom to practice whatever religion you wish, is a right the founding fathers put in our hands…don’t let a bunch of bullies push us around.

USConstitutionPreambleBanner_737x80

Thanks to American Clarion, thanks to FindLaw.com!

If everyone spoke up like this, radical bullies would get nowhere.
They are right, we need more Davids to step up to Goliath.  Especially when “Goliath” is as tiny as FFRF.

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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.

 

 

What Happens When You Take Character Out of Politics

or

The National Disease

or

Understanding the Role of Religion in Government

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“Divorcing religious faith from public life soon leads to separating government from morality and citizens from their consciences. And that leads to politics without character, which has now become a national disease.”

-Archbishop Chaput in Render Unto Caesar, p. 169.

No– nobody’s talking about violating the separation of Church and State, or the establishment of a state religion.

What is being discussed is the inclusion of principles  in government on which most citizens, and major religions, agree.  Inclusion of these principles in the Constitution and in our system of laws helps to maintain morality and justice.  The principles are not imposed from above, but result from a religious population voting their conscience to create a Constitution and to pass laws which are fair, just, and beneficial to society.

Just as the Founding Fathers of the United States practiced these principles, so, too, the 80% Christian Americans today need to think, act on, and vote these principles to maintain the system of government that was passed down to us.  We cannot sit around idly, while radicals and “progressives” progressively work to eliminate all principles of right and wrong from our government.

Biblically speaking, Christ told disciples to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, referring at least on one level, to the payment of taxes.  Archbishop Chaput points out that in 2012, paying taxes and sitting back is not sufficient.  We must inform ourselves of where politicians are steering our government, we must consult our Christian consciences, and we must take civic action to ensure that our faith, our morality and our consciences take part in the democratic process that continues to shape this nation.

We cannot fall for false and misleading demands by radicals that we guarantee freedom FROM religion in the public sphere.  We need to support freedom OF religion, which builds the politics of character and begins to cure the national disease.

Questions?

Read the book. Amazon lets you read the first chapter free.

What Happens When You Try to Divorce Religious Faith from Public Life?

Freedom FROM Religion happens. (See The Contrast.)
Politics without character happens.
It’s not a pretty sight.

Best Summer Read: Render Unto Caesar

In his book Render Unto Caesar, Archbishop Charles Chaput gives a brilliant analysis of the role of religious belief in government, which would interest any conservative and any Christian.  It’s a compelling, can’t-put-it-down read.  Who would think that our Archbishops would start turning into popular superstars?  First Cardinal Dolan, now Archbishop Chaput.

It is With Wisdom and Good Reason that the Constitution of the United States included religion in the Bill of Rights:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
– the First Amendment, Constitution of the United Sates

Read Render Unto Caesar, and start rendering unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s (and no, you don’t render money, you render your civic action). I have the Kindle copy, which is only $10.99, and works on iPhone.  Amazon lets you read the first chapter free.

To quote another great bishop,

Government needs religion because religion is the only reliable source of voluntary self-restraint.
No government can police a whole nation without the help of voluntary self-restraint. 
-(my paraphrasing of a talk given by Bishop Robert Morlino to Madison’s Future Society in 2003).

 

 

 

 

 

The Contrast

9 comments

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.

 

 

 

 

Translation of FFRF ‘Quit the Catholic Church” NY Times Ad

or

It’s Not Easy Being Free From Religion

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) published a full-page ad in the New York Times on Friday, March 9, 2012.  The ad mocks and demonizes the leadership of the Catholic Church, while inviting “liberal” and “nominal” Catholics to join FFRF.

It begins:

FFRFs New York Times ad, March 9, 2012

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.

The logic behind spending $52,000 in an attempt to recruit from a group (the Catholic Church) whose beliefs are diametrically opposed to one’s own group’s (radical atheists) is questionable at best.  The ad comes across either as an excuse to spew bigoted hate speech and ridicule towards the Catholic Church, or as a sign of desperation and instability in FFRF.

TRANSLATION of the FFRF New York Times ad:

We at FFRF have been laboring for decades (for two generations), trying to wipe out all mention of religion in the United States.
Ours has been a difficult road fraught with obstacles, and progress has been slow.
After all these years, our membership only represents 0.003 of 1% of America’s population.

Even fellow atheists keep their distance from us; only 1 out of 1,000 U.S. atheists have joined us.
Imagine, the other 999 out of 1,000 atheists tolerate Christian America (80% of America), and even join them in the more secular aspects of celebrating their holidays!  It makes us sick to our stomachs to watch people buying Christmas trees and buying toys for their children each Christmas.

We valiantly try to spread our creed in any way we can imagine.
We have tried to appeal to people’s intellects, asking them to be “free” thinkers, to question what they are taught and to conclude that we are right; that there is no God.
We have tried to put up golden plaques in State Capitol buildings at Christmas, calling on people to reject gods and to join us in celebrating the pagan Winter Solstice.  Unfortunately, no takers. Our Christmas plaques have informed people that their hearts are hardened by religion and that their minds are enslaved by religion.  Yet people do not flock to us.  They still put up a Christmas tree in the Capitol rotunda that dwarfs our signs by orders of magnitude, and they dare to call it a CHRISTmas tree, as generations of their ancestors have done.

We are working hard to sue Christians who profess their faith publicly, but most of our lawsuits are defeated.  People claim that the Constitution guarantees them the freedom to express their religion publicly, not what we claim, the right not to see any religious beliefs expressed anywhere by anybody except us (atheists are classified on most US campuses as religious organizations).
Even the Constitution makes it hard for us; the Founding Fathers used the term freedom OF religion instead of freedom FROM religion.  You can’t imagine how hard that makes our battle.

We are a modest outfit, with only 4 employees and a $500,000 per year budget.  There is just so much a tiny group can do with that.  We are really doing our best.  Our staff and budget is smaller than the average Christian Church’s staff and budget in Madison, and we are only one group, contrasted with almost 300 Churches in Madison.

So it’s not easy.  We can’t sue everybody.  We try to single out small communities with small budgets (like Marshfield, a small WI town that hardly has any cell phone coverage),  and we sue them whenever their teenagers try to pray on a sports field or their teachers hang the ten commandments in a hallway.  We hope that they will stop expressing their beliefs out of fear of our lawsuit which they cannot afford.  That way, we do not have to go to court and risk losing the case, or use up our meager budget. But people have no sympathy for us.  They don’t understand our pain.  They accuse us of jousting at windmills.

It’s been getting harder and harder.  Now more people have noticed what we are up to.  Organizations have turned up which help small communities when we try intimidation by litigation.  Outfits like the American Center for Law and Justice help the small outfits we try to sue.

Oh, we’ve valiantly tried many things, including suing against the National Day of Prayer.  We fought for 3 years, but lost that one.  People just seem to insist on praying and praying.

In our desperation, we have turned to ridicule.  Last Christmas, we ridiculed the birth of Christ.  We put up a fake “Nativity Scene” at the

FFRF's mockery of the Nativity

Wisconsin State Capitol.  It was a modest effort, reminiscent of the shoebox dioramas we make in grammar school.  But, heck, we don’t have the budget that some of those Christian groups have.  Little attention was paid to our ridicule efforts, and nobody flocked to  join our creed, which is based on the negation and the ridicule of the beliefs of others. Quite a few Madison bloggers laughed off our efforts — life is so hard when nobody takes you seriously!

Now, we are at our wits’ end over our lack of success in recruiting more than 0.003 of 1% of America to our membership in all these years.  Golly, we can’t even expand our ranks biologically; so many of our members do not have children at all, have children who reject our beliefs, or are members who promote and practice abortion. You have no idea how hard it is for an organization to expand amongst radical abortionists!

The last straw came when the world’s most famous atheist admitted last month that he is not sure whether God exists!  What’s an atheist to do? It’s just too depressing.

S0 we had a brainstorm.
We looked for an organization that has it all.
An organization whose creed is followed by the largest number of Americans.
An organization whose membership embraces half the population of Madison.
An organization whose national membership is growing.
An organization which has the best schools in the United States.  And the best hospitals.  And the best charities.
(Unfortunately, we have no schools or hospitals ourselves. We can’t do everything!)
An organization which encourages having children and is successful in passing on beliefs.
Yes, the Catholic Church!
We will recruit from the Catholic Church!
We will steal members from the Catholic Church!

And what is the best way to do that?
With an ad in the New York Times, of course!

So here’s the ad.

Low budget, of course; remember, we don’t have a big budget.
Like the “Nativity” mocking Christ’s birth, we threw it together ourselves.
Never mind that it’s not very professional.That doesn’t matter.
Never mind that it ridicules a quarter of America.
Never mind that 80% of America is Christian and may not like our tactics.
If we lie enough and ridicule enough, maybe we can steal just 0.025 of 1 % of their membership.
That would double our membership overnight!

Heh, heh, heh, wink, wink, wink, drool, drool, drool, what a great plan!
This will really work!

Our next group to target for ridicule and recruitment will be Islam…
let’s see how that works out…

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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