Religion


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Today marked the end of the papacy of a good, if not great, and humble man trying to provide moral and religious leadership on an increasingly evil planet. Pope Benedict XVI, now Pope emeritus, served his flock well through (to say the least) challenging and difficult times for the Catholic Church worldwide.

Throughout everything that happened during his papacy, including the sex abuse scandals that have dogged the clergy, he has been a rock solid proponent of rationalism and conservative Catholic doctrine. In 2005 many “cafeteria Catholics” were looking to Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, as the newly minted Pope Benedict XVI, to make wholesale changes in the Church hierarchy and to embrace what may be kindly termed “progressive” changes in Church doctrine and practice. To his credit, Benedict did not budge to the whims of the populists and the progressives…and his teachings were what might be thought of as a back-to-basics in the individual-Church-faith relationship. He espoused and frequently preached “Friendship with Jesus”, where he saw the love of God as a means and a bridge to loving others who loved God as well. He saw this as an important tool in replacing the rampant secularism and consumerism that has gripped developed societies. He also sought to bring the Catholic faith closer to other worldwide religions by reaching out to other prelates and faiths. But he also had the strength of his convictions to speak out regarding evil when he saw it, and this forthrightness created friction with Islam and many of its teachings.

So as the helicopter that carried him away to the papal retreat, Castle Gandolfo, we should offer our thanks to a man who was unselfish and worthy of his station. A man who put the needs of his God and his Church before his needs. He was a worthy successor to the beloved John Paul II, and he sets a high bar for future Popes to aspire to. We can only hope and pray that the upcoming conclave puts aside political correctness and chooses Benedict’s successor based on his loyalty to God and to the Church, and his fidelity to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

God bless you and thank you, Pope Benedict. May God always shine his grace down upon you.

A common thread that runs through the 2012 political season is the sinfulness being encouraged by the Democrat party, through the Progressive, liberal agenda. The basis, the substrate as it were, of most Democratic candidates’ platforms are sin, sin and sin. Now I’m not some wild-eyed prophet or holy man preaching God’s Word from the hinterlands. A coat of hair is just too doggone itchy for me! But having been raised and educated in a parochial school setting, I know sin when I see and hear it.

Vote for me and I’ll give you this or that. Tax the rich because they have more than you. Vote for me and I’ll give you your fair share. Vote for me and I’ll spread the wealth around. Vote for me and I’ll make sure “the rich” pay their fair share. It used to be that all it took to get elected was for a politician to promise “a chicken in every pot.” Today, these brazen purveyors of sin capitalize on man’s lesser angels at every turn. Not only do they promise a chicken, but they also promise the pot, a kitchen to cook it in, a home and all the creature comforts to enjoy the meal…and a free cell phone. Sin is everywhere! Self-sufficiency, initiative and drive to succeed are almost nowhere to be found. Sloth, avarice, greed, covetousness and envy all fuel and dominate the political debate. And unashamedly so. However, the lead dog in the pack on our national road to perdition is covetousness. Covetousness is the most utilized tool to fire up the emotions of the masses. Covetousness is the fuel that powers most liberal political campaigns and it is a powerful fuel indeed.

Monte Millionaire has more money than you, therefore he’s able to pay higher taxes than you. A vote for me will mean that everyone making $250,000 or more will pay higher taxes, and their “fair share.” But fairness is in the eye of the beholder. We all know that desperate people will do desperate things. One need not look back in history very far to see the depths to which man will sink — because it is in our nature to do so unless we tow some moral line and obey some loftier life principles. When Moses toddled down Sinai with the stone tablets, they weren’t suggestions. They were COMMANDMENTS. Because an all-knowing God who created him knew man’s flaws. He knew that left to our own devices that we would certainly devolve into the worst case scenario in terms of human behavior — displaying our lesser angels of conduct as easily as smiling. Without Divine guidance and obedience to some code of moral and social conduct, man is just another animal…with basic animal desires and drives. We are creatures of sin and turpitude.

So, isn’t it expected that when a country, particularly one founded on Christian principles and with the highest regard for Divine Providence, abandons morals, virtues and righteousness that it will by default fall into sin and depravity? Why do you think that there is such a consistent push from liberal thinkers for a “separation of Church and State,” and that this concept of separation has replaced the authentic concept of First Amendment rights in the collective mindset of Americans? The Framers wanted this separation, but only in the sense that the people’s government would not meddle in the religious affairs of its citizens. They did not want a state religion like the one whose tyranny they fled in England, nor did they want politics driving what was spoken from the pulpit. In fact, the 1st Amendment couldn’t have been more explicit in it’s intent:

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

Seems pretty clear to me. But Progressive and liberal thinkers seem to view this legislative prohibition a little differently. They seem to feel that although the government cannot prohibit the free exercise of religion, that that does not prohibit said government from discouraging religion or religious behavior in our nation and society. After all, an amoral society is a society open to almost any idea…and a population that is desperate to improve their lot in life will do almost anything to achieve that goal, not the least of which is trading their precious vote for the promise of goodies given to them by a munificent government. And so we come full circle to the employment of covetousness, envy, sloth and greed in the American political discourse. I cannot tell you how many folks I encounter who proudly declare that they are “good, practicing or devoutly religious” folk and that they furthermore describe themselves as morally upright. And a fair number of these individuals also self-describe themselves as dyed-in-the-wool Democrats and liberals. But I also see the ‘Mother Of All Contradictions’ in the way these folks think of themselves. There is a certain amount of moral and ethical hand-waving and moral relativism that must be employed in order to resolve the inherent conflict between Progressivism and liberalism and the strictures that God has placed upon us if we are truly devout and observant. It is perhaps a most propitious place at which to remind the reader of the “forgotten” Commandment; that being the Tenth:

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.”

And this also might be a good place to further jog the reader’s memory regarding the definition of the word “covet:”

“1. To desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others: to covet another’s property; 2. To wish for, especially eagerly: He won the prize they all coveted.”

We hear a lot these days in terms of social justice and spreading the wealth around but precious little on the cancerous spread of the sin of covetousness in our nation and society. This extends all the way to the USCCB, whose continued silence on this issue is deafening. We hear a lot about religious freedom and the sanctity of life, but we do not hear much regarding sin in all its forms from our clergy. But this silence or reticence to speak upon this topic does not absolve any of us from heeding God’s words. Just because we square in our own minds that the fruits of Progressivism and liberalism are OKAY, and there is no harm and no foul, that this is so. On the contrary, we each need to make sure that we toe the moral and ethical line required by our faith, and that we identify and reject sin and sinful behavior in all its forms.

Ostensible do-gooders forget that charity begins at home, and furthermore in their own pockets and wallets. To be charitable means that they directly participate in the act of giving, and that they sacrifice in order to do so. They also forget that charity by proxy (that means through the use of taxes confiscated by the government, to those of you who can’t bring yourself to say so) is not charity at all. Forcing others to do your vision of “good deeds” is antithetical to authentic religious charity. Yet, again, we have legion Americans of the liberal persuasion who regard casting their vote for the embodiment of  Robin Hood, for a candidate who promises to soak the rich in order to give to the poor and those “in need,” as absolutely nothing wrong in doing so. But based on His guidance to us, I can assure you that God does. I truly believe that He is taking account, and that furthermore nothing good will come of this regrettable, national transgression.

So I’d like folks to think hard about what is being said and promised to them in the political arena. I’d like them to analyze the words and the motives behind those words. We’ve heard a lot in the mainstream liberal media lately regarding political code words and “dog whistles’ — mostly attached to imaginary racism on the part of conservatives when they speak on all political topics. Well, there really are dog whistle words being spoken by Democrat candidates, from President Obama all the way down the line to local municipal candidates. These words include but are certainly not limited to “social justice”, “wealth redistribution”, “fair share”, “tax breaks for millionaires,” “progressive taxation” and “tax patriotism.” Whatever the catchy political sloganeering attached to these concepts, they have one thing in common: covetousness. And those who encourage you to participate are just as culpable and sinful as those who willingly cast their vote to engage in this affront to God’s law.

Democrats and sinners…REPENT! The time is nigh to save your soul and the fate of your nation. There may be a hue and cry for a separation of church and state…however, we cannot as a nation survive a separation between society at large and morals and virtue. It might also help to fall on bended knees and repent the error of your ways, and to petition God for forgiveness.

It honestly couldn’t hurt.

Barack Obama’s recent assault on the Catholic Church and the 1st Amendment proves that the man has no consideration for the deepest held religious beliefs of American citizens and that he couldn’t care less about the US Constitution. With the exception of the outrage displayed by Catholic bishops regarding this religious and constitutional affront, it was difficult to tell if any rank-and-file Catholics, particularly Democrat Catholics, share a similar outrage and anger.

All we need to do is listen to the “explanation” put forth that self-declared Catholic Nancy Pelosi offered:

“And so this is an issue, 98 percent of Catholics, they tell us, use contraception, overwhelming numbers of people in our country support the president’s decision, including, they tell us, at least you all tell us, a majority of Catholics,” said Pelosi.  “So I support it.  If it comes to the floor we’ll use this as a welcome debate to talk about the importance of women’s health.”

“And it’s not just about the women,” Pelosi said.  “It’s about their children and the health of their families as they make serious decisions and use contraception to determine, as I said, the size and timing of their families.  That will be a debate that we welcome.”

“It’s a sad one,” she concluded.  “We shouldn’t have to be to a place where people are saying—when the overwhelming practice is going in favor of women’s health—‘we want to pull that back.’  And use the excuse of religious freedom, which, of course, this is not.”

The problem with Ms. Pelosi’s analysis is that the opinions of individual American Catholics do not constitute Church doctrine. She knows that…but she is willing to place her fealty to her ideology before her faith. From the lead up to Obamacare, when Ms. Pelosi was House Majority Leader, we understand that this woman is an unprincipled liar and propagandist. And she will indeed unhesitatingly place her party before the United States, the Constitution and the American people she purports to “care” about.

After the bishops’ outcry, we see that Obama and Pelosi are satisfied with turning the debate away from a blatant government intrusion on religious freedom to the red herring of “women’s health.” And American Catholics may be just brainwashed enough to buy this hokum wholesale. Even Obama’s recent so-called “compromise” with the Catholic bishops to force the cost of contraceptives and abortions onto insurance companies was seen as acceptable by many American Catholics ostensibly concerned over women’s health.

This raises the question about the true faith of American Catholics and, again, Democrat Catholics. These folks seem comfortable with the likes of Nancy Pelosi speaking on their behalf from a position of political power. Yet she (in what must be a conscious decision) spits in the face of the Catholic Church with her words. As such, do American Catholics think that the Church is a democracy…whose deepest held doctrines and precepts may be changed according to the vagaries of public opinion (as Ms. Pelosi apparently believes?) If this is so, the Church in America and any hope of a return to constitutionalism are doomed because of the passive acceptance of such anti-Catholic viewpoints like Ms. Pelosi’s and government programs like Obamacare.

It used to be that Catholics worried about the fate of their immortal souls once they shed their mortal coils. That concept, it seems, is passé now. Because for over a century the government has enabled a free-for-all in terms of self-indulgence and self-gratification…all at no cost to the recipient. A free-for-all provided or aided and abetted by the likes of Ms. Pelosi. The following question begs asking: If one doesn’t have to worry about their next meal, shelter, cell phone, etc. because of a beneficent, generous government, why is there the need to thank a generous God for those necessities of life? After all, what did God have to do any of this? Better still, what did the Church and an individual’s faith have to do with the government’s largess?

In a statist, non-secular society God and souls don’t matter as much as voting for the “right” candidate. The condition and fate of an eternal soul pales in comparison to the instant, worldly gratification of “benefits.” So why worry? Why not live it up and exploit the ‘quiddiest’ of quid pro quos?

I betcha a lot of “good” practicing Catholics have more than a spark of doubt in the existence of an afterlife…so why not hedge those bets and make the most out of things while one can? This probably explains why Catholics have replaced God-fearing behavior with the craven idol worship of Obama and the federal government. Unfortunately they are Burger King Catholics…they want their faith and their religion their way. They also want  their “stuff” from the government, no strings attached.

Entitlements über allis…at least until God has his say…

The present social morass that we labor within is just an extension of the wages of sin. Our culture has become so self-possessed and self-obsessed, seemingly without linkage or fear of an Almighty law giver, that it is beyond troubling. In our society, God has been shown the door without remorse.

Our American “culture” makes Sodom and Gomorrah look like Sesame Street. It’s all about *ME*, right here, right now — 24/7. Instant gratification and self-aggrandizement are the not-so-hidden agenda watchwords in our ever-decaying society.

Women have become hyper-sexualized “ho’s”…with little girls, for God’s sake, being made into proto-bimboes with the provocative clothing and adult-like behaviors that their imbecilic mommies make them don or ape. Little boys are castrated by the over-feminization of our society…them being reduced to ADHD alphabet-soup zombies by the adult pity partiers. Kids spend further zombie time on cell phones texting “friends” while wholesale ignoring those physically elbow-to-elbow with them. Instead of just being kids, they fear the world and are ignorant of it because they don’t properly experience it as curious beings. Helicopter parents have turned ostensibly normal kids into hyper-’schedulized’ mini-CEO’s. Play dates and dance classes have replaced mud pie making and puddle jumping. Kids are being forced to mature at an accelerated rate so mommy and/or daddy can live vicariously through them.

Call in the councilors!

But if we must criticize this new-age aberrant behavior, we mustn’t muss up a single feeling, except(of course)  for those of the folks who decry the debauchery and the decrepitude. The critical folks are mercilessly ostracized and (almost) subject to hate crimes prosecution for their moribund clinging to traditional values…whatever *they* are any more.

But history teaches us that we are not a good indicator of our own failings. Future generations of Earth-dwellers (I’m not so sure there will be Americans in the not-too-distant future) will look upon our contemporary generations and question our sanity and our souls. They will look at us like the fools greedily embracing the bread and circuses provided to them during another fall of a once great past empire.

These historians and scholars will clearly see what we simply cannot: That we’ve embraced covetousness, greed, sloth, avarice, hubris, sloth, lust, vainglory, gluttony and several other sins that don’t have a precise name or definition. Take a particular fiscal, social or government issue and tease it to it’s root cause and you will find an unnatural embrace of sin at it’s rotting core. But we’ve cloaked this sinful behavior in a good intentions wrapper. So, when a politician espouses soaking the rich, they’re not guilty of covetousness. Nope. They’re fighting for the poor or the middle class.

Poppycock! Let’s call a spade a spade.

This example of class warfare incitement is simply a pol using man’s lesser angels (covetousness) to feather their political nest at the expense of others. See for yourself how many other social and political issues have a similar foundation. It is truly shocking. And I am convinced that when we play along, we anger God in ways that we never dreamed.

The wholesale “separation of Church and State” and the eschewing of traditional moral values and virtues in our modern society has worked out swimmingly for us, eh?

God bless Texas! Amid the constitutional chaos in the rest of our once great nation we can count on Texas to show us the way to our original constitutional rights and liberties as intended by the Framers. In a recent decision overturning a previous ruling by a U.S. district judge, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted a ban on prayers in Texas schools. The ban had been put in place by previously by Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery because of a suit brought by the atheist parents of a graduating student in the Medina Valley Independent School District. The parents claimed that planned religious expression during the graduation ceremony at the school would cause “irreparable harm” to their son.

As a result of the initial finding, Judge Biery banned the following “religious” phrases: “join in prayer,” “bow their heads,” “amen,” and “prayer” at the graduation ceremony. He also ordered the school district to remove the terms “invocation” and “benediction” from the graduation program, in favor of “opening remarks” and “closing remarks.

Biery’s decision is just the latest in a long and insane list of assaults on our personal religious freedoms. Saying a prayer at a public event on government or municipal property does not go against the 1st Amendment prohibitions regarding religion. In order to see this for ourselves, a little review of the 1st Amendment is required:

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.

So, now that these words are fresh in our minds, where are the now trite and oft cited words “separation of Church and State” in that paragraph? if you answered “nowhere, ” then ding, ding, ding…you win today’s prize of a pat on the back and the title “good citizen.” Biery’s ruling in Texas was made possible because we’ve allowed doctrinaire Progressive jurists the latitude to interpret our Constitution in such a wrongheaded and perverse manner. See, Congress has NEVER passed a law regarding a national religion — a religion of state as it were. Although we were founded under Judeo-Christian moral precepts, we are still a secular nation. But this does not mean that we must be a faithless nation when it comes to government events. Right there in the first amendment the Framers made sure that Congress (or any other part of our government could not prohibit our God-given right to freely exercise our religion. This doesn’t mean just a church or in the privacy of our own home. It means everywhere.

Bierly and his ilk ignore the prohibition of free exercise clause, giving it little weight in comparison to their skewed interpretations of the establishment clause, which is assigned maximum legal weight. Why? Because they are using the establishment clause as a social bludgeon to insure that the anti-religious, atheists and agnostics are not “offended” at public ceremonies. Because a few are not religious, then all must not be religious. In effect, these justices are employing a tyranny of the minority in order to insure that no offense is put upon the small minority of those who object to a prayer, blessing or religious language used at a public ceremony.

But these rulings abolishing religion or religious expression in relationship to schools, which do show ultimate respect for the feelings and wishes of the minority, offend and curtail the precious constitutional rights of the majority. See, the rights of the non-religious haven’t been trampled if someone says a prayer at a graduation ceremony or other public event. The Congress hasn’t made a law that establishes a state religion. Simply praying or saying God’s name at a public event doesn’t establish any religion as the religion of state. It is simply the free expression of freeborn citizens according to their constitutional rights. If someone is offended, well that is unfortunate but a fact of life in our Republic. The ability to be offended or affronted isn’t a right. It is a personal choice.

The courts in our land have no place adjudicating on feelings. Feelings are important, but they cannot be accounted for in our grand social compact also known as the U.S. Constitution. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals realized this simple fact, and reversed a great wrong that had been done to the Medina Valley Independent School District by Judge Biery’s initial ruling.

What we need is for judges to stay out of our personal affairs, leave feelings out of the equation and deal strictly in the law. It was obvious to even laymen and women that Judge Biery had grossly overstepped his judicial authority with his ruling and prohibition. Luckily, the U.S. 5th isn’t swayed by specious, patently unconstitutional rulings and findings.

We either have a Constitution that is immutable and that maintains the spirit and the letter of the Framer’s intent, or we have a “living” document that judges like Fred Biery can contort to their liking and to the sensibilities of the time. If we, the citizens and owners of the Constitution, let this happen, then we will find it nearly impossible to capture back the rights and liberties that have been voided by such judicial activism. It has happened to us time and time again, in a death by a thousand cuts manner. But if we are to remain free, with the liberties assured to us in the Constitution, we must remain ever-vigilant and willing to shout out when such egregious offenses are forced upon us.

God bless the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and God bless Texas!

There was a truly shocking multiple murder in Itamar in West Bbank of Israel [www.ynetnews.com] this week. The US mainstream media gave this crime little play, so most folks may have missed this sad news all together. Most of the Fogel family, a family of Jewish settlers in the West bank, were slaughtered in their sleep by as-yet unidentified assailants. The victims Udi and Ruth Fogel, and three of their six children — aged 11, 4 and three months — were all stabbed to death as they slept in what has been described as a grisly crime scene in their home. Three of the children, aged 12, 8 and 2 survived and are in the custody of their grandparents.

Although no one has been identified as the attacker or attackers, there are rumblings of responsibility from the usual Palestinian circles. This act was yet another “reprisal” against Israel and her citizens for their courage to erect settlements on their own sovereign territory.

But underneath this veneer of legitimate protestation is the tacit barbarism of Islam. These murders are just another manifestation of the “Religion of Peace” as emboldened by the concept of democracy. Democracy is not the substitute for a for a humanistic, Judeo-Christian Constitution where all men and women are created equal with certain inalienable rights and liberties. No siree. Because the cloak of democracy allows the dirty little (once) secrets of the Maghreb to exist and flourish. The mobs of a democracy can become the murderers of a thugocracy if they use the precepts and biases of the like of Sharia Law. This is what happens in Muslim countries where fealty to theology is prized over fealty to human rights and liberties. In any modern, enlightened and humanistic society, these two concepts — Sharia and democracy are akin to a match and gasoline. One is the enabler of the other, and they live in a hateful symbiosis. Just ask the Jews in any Arab/Sharia country.

The slaughter of the Fogel family should not be seen as a random and heinous religious crime. It is the persistent reminder that in the eyes of Muslims, the Jews are the lowest of the low infidels. As such, a crime like this in Itamar represents the barbarism of the ‘democrats’ in (albeit disputed) Muslim territory. God help us all if we don’t learn from the sacrifice of the Fogel’s and open our eyes wide to the theocratic barbarity among us. Regardless of what exists in other regions around the world, we must be ever vigilant and quick to stamp out any foothold of this on our soil. We are America. We are not a democracy. We stand for something — the US Constitution. And it is tragic that we need the murder of innocents elsewhere to drive this point home.

Today the Associated Press (AP) published a “news” story by AP writer Alan Fram declaring:

Poll: Growing number incorrectly call Obama Muslim

Incorrectly call Muslim?? This poll reflects the opinions of those individuals polled. Their opinions on President Obama’s perceived religion may run contrary to the actual one that he declares, but they are not “wrong” until it is proven beyond a shadow of doubt that Mr. Obama is indeed Christian. He was rasied Muslim…attended Muslim schools in Indonesia…and then attended Jeremiah Wright’s, to put it kindly, unconventional church. Does his mere attendance constitute a public display of his Christianity? The president doesn’t seem to be a church-going man, or at least church attendance and overt spirituality don’t seem to be particularly high on his list of personal priorities. So it wouldn’t be surprising that average Americans might associated him with the religion of his youth.

Could it be that the president uses his apparent Christianity as a tool of political advantage — his trying to fit in with what the public sees as mainstream? Mr. Fram needs to bolster his factual evidence that Obama is indeed a baptized, practicing Christian before he can make claims regarding the correctness of the results of a public opinion poll.

The poll results might indicate that the poll takers have a misapprehension or a misconception regarding his religion. But does that make them wrong? If the results of the poll indicated that a large proportion polled thought that Obama was born on Neptune, then Mr. Fram would rightly be able to happily declare that the poll takers were wrong. Or silly. Fram misses the point of the poll results entirely. He skims over the fact that the president is such an aloof person that even his averred religious affiliation is challenged by the masses. The story that Fram misses is that a growing majority can’t connect with this president.

But the use of the word “wrong” is yet another display of intellectual and moral superiority by the AP, which has become a trusted source of propaganda and positive reportage for the present administration.

It may be beyond their liberal comprehension, but the AP does more to further the old adage that “today’s news is tomorrow’s fish wrap” than any other news organization.

The answer is when they are women being ordained as priests, like the three women who were “ordained” in Boston this past weekend. The local print and TV media were all in a tizzy about this event, which they promoted as ‘women being ordained in the Roman Catholic Church.’ There were numerous interviews with the women during the past week regarding their upcoming rites. However, the media were less than forthright or clear about the simple fact that this was NOT a Catholic ordination ceremony.

There was no Catholic bishop officiating the ordinations for these women (2 were ordained priest and one a deacon). The event wasn’t even held in a Catholic church — rather the event was held in a multi-denominational Protestant church, with the holy orders being conferred by an outlaw member of the ersatz Catholic clergy. And the icing on the cake was the fact that once they had been “ordained”, these women were subject to instant excommunication from the Church.

Some ordination, huh?

Listen, I wish I were many things that I’m not nor that I could ever be due to circumstances beyond my control. In fact, realistically, I can’t be more things than I can be! However, for those associations, professions and convictions which are controlled by another entity, I would not presume that I can elbow my way into the fold by simply stating that “I am a…” or by participating in a faux rite of initiation. I’m fine with that fact, and there are plenty of other things that I can do with my life from which I can derive joy and meaning.

This is what those three women did on a recent hot, humid Sunday in Boston. They said “I am…a Catholic priest”…yet they defied almost 2,000 years of rules, traditions and service by having taken matters into their own hands. it was less an attempt at joining the genuine clergy than it was a very public swipe at a Church rule with which they disagree.

Well, my 12 years of Catholic schooling and lifetime of Catholic belief makes me beg to differ with these women. They are NOT priests; at least under the definition of genuine, established Catholicism. They might be perfectly fine and suited as Protestant clergy, but they just aren’t nor can they ever be Roman Catholic priests. The rules don’t let them — plain and simple. perhaps some day in the future the Church will reconsider this policy and allow women priests to be ordained. Who knows? Unfortunately for these three women, such a rule doesn’t exist today. As a result, they are outlaws and outcasts of the Church they so badly wish to serve.

It is time for a reality check for these women: A time for them to face up to the facts. It is also a time when they stop insulting and denigrating the beliefs of the faithful in and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

And, oh yeah, it’s time that the news media got their story straight. It might have been a controversial, hot button topic with which to tease the potential news viewers. But it was not true, and served to reveal the local Boston media as viewer-grubbing whores who care less about veracity than they do about “pseudo-accurate” sensationalism. I got the definite impression that the media was trying to shame the Church hierarchy to reconsider the tradition of male-only ordination by publicizing this story in the manner which they chose. The news stories were heavy on sympathy for the women and enthusiasm for their coming ordinations. But the stories were light on the facts about what constitutes a valid ordination in the Church or some on-camera or quoted commentary from someone in the hierarchy of the Diocese of Boston.

The media didn’t distinguish itself with its reporting of this story. Their reportage reeked of feelings and political correctness rather than facts and reality, and put MY Church in a bad light as a result.

And to their eternal discredit, shame on them…

Earth to Sen. Obama: You can’t jettison 20+ years of baggage connected with the attendance of your crazy, racist church simply by quitting your membership! But that’s what happened today as he quit his membership in the United Trinity Church of Christ on Chicago. Although Obama cited saving the church and its membership scrutiny and harassment as his rational for quitting, I think we all know the REAL reason is to try and put some distance between him and the church (and it’s crazy clergy).

How can this strategy work? How can Obama be forgive his miscalculation in judgment, particularly since this took place over such a protracted period of time? How can we take the candidacy of Sen. Obama seriously given that at the first whiff of adversity he so cavalierly jettisoned his long-term and close association with his church?Simply put — we can’t!

If Obama can sever his relationship with an institution that he claimed in the past to be so personal and spiritually nourishing for him, what can expect from his presidency once similar adversity struck? Does he think that it will be similarly easy to escape a presidential crisis or imbroglio by taking his bat and his ball and going home?

This severance of relationship between Obama and his church challenges his credibility. I think that there are certain situations where you need to show loyalty over personal gain. Obama’s relationship with his church is such a situation. He should have taken his lumps for his poor judgment and moved on. But he obviously wants to capitalize on his favored candidate status in the media and do what amounts to a “do over”. Unfortunately for the Senator, there are no do overs. Although we all would like a chance to reverse some event or issue that dogs our personal life, it’s simply not possible. The past is history, and no matter how hard we try, it is impossible to re-write history to our own satisfaction.

I think that this politically-motivated stunt may very well backfire on Obama’s face. It certainly raises more questions about his past relationship with his church, and why he would take this extraordinary measure of severing his relationship with it. This action also calls into question Obama’s judgment and character. Because a person who can divorce themselves from their church for political reasons cannot have ethics or morals rooted very deeply.

Let’s hope that instead of putting the whole Obama-United Trinity Church-Rev. Jeremiah Wright controversy to rest, the media finally realizes that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. I hope they dig deeper and apply greqater scrutiny, as I for one feel that there is perhaps a well-hidden skeleton (or two)  in Obama’s closet. We need to know if there is more to this story, as it would be unwise to further consider a potentially seriously flawed candidate for president.

Other candidates with such issues have been jettisoned and forced to withdraw from presidential candidacies in the past (remember Gary Hart, for one example?), so what makes Obama any different?

The answer to that is nothing! Except for his kid gloves treatment by the mainstream media.

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina has raised the bar in what services and entitlements can be expected in the face of difficult times or disasters. It appears that the new expectation is free money! A recent AP story headline by John Moreno Gonzales warns that Katrina Victims May Have to Repay Money. My God, just think of the concept of repaying money that a person was loaned by the government or private organization. Have we advanced so far that we now absolve individuals from their financial obligations and responsibilities?

In his story, Mr. Gonzales portrays Katrina “victims” in a sympathetic and favorable light. The opening paragraphs pretty much set the tone for the remainder of the article:

Imagine that your home was reduced to mold-covered wood framing by Hurricane Katrina.Desperate for money to rebuild, you engage in a frustrating bureaucratic process, and after months of living in a government-provided trailer that gives off formaldehyde fumes you finally win a federal grant.

Then a collector announces that you have to pay back thousands of dollars.

Thousands of Katrina victims may be in that situation.

John Moreno Gonzales/AP Writer

Now if you borrow money, don’t you feel obliged to repay what you’ve borrowed? Or, if there’s been an overpayment in your favor (tax refund, change from a purchase, etc.) aren’t you remotely responsible for paying back the excess to the payee? This responsibility might seem a little outdated (a very early 20th century concept for sure!), but I think that it reveals a lot about the person for whom the windfall occurred. Apparently a lot of Americans (including John Moreno Gonzales) see nothing wrong with receiving money under the auspices of a loan and yet if they receive too much, for whatever reason, they simply are not responsible for repayment.

But reading further into the article:

A private contractor under investigation for the compensation it received to run the Road Home grant program for Katrina victims says that in the rush to deliver aid to homeowners in need some people got too much. Now it wants to hire a separate company to collect millions in grant overpayments.

The contractor, ICF International of Fairfax, Va., revealed the extent of the overpayments when it issued a March 11 request for bids from companies willing to handle “approximately 1,000 to 5,000 cases that will necessitate collection effort.”

The biggest grant amount allowed by the Road Home program is $150,000, so ICF believes it paid some recipients the maximum when they should not have received a penny. If ICF’s highest estimate of 5,000 collection cases – overpaid by an average of $35,000 – proves to be true, that means applicants will have to pay back a total of $175 million.

(ICF spokeswoman Gentry) Brann pointed out that 5,000 collections cases would represent a 4-percent error rate for the Road Home that is “quite good for large federal programs.”

Frank Silvestri, co-chair of the Citizen’s Road Home Action Team, a group that formed out of frustrations with ICF, sees it far differently.

“They want people to pay for their incompetence and their mistakes. What they need to be is aggressive about finding the underpayments,” he said. “People relied, to their detriment, on their (ICFs) expertise and rebuilt their houses and now they want to squeeze this money back out of them.”

“The state must walk a fine line of treating homeowners who have been overpaid with fairness and compassion and ensuring that all federal funds are used for their intended purpose,” said (Paul) Rainwater, an appointee of new Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Upon receiving money from Road Home, grantees sign forms that say they must refund any overpayments.

John Moreno Gonzales/AP Writer

Let me say that the folks affected by Hurricane Katrina have my sympathy…up to a point. After all, these folks chose to roll the dice when it came to their personal safety. I don’t think there was a single individual in New Orleans that didn’t know they were living in a large, earthen soup bowl whose bottom was many feet below sea level. The city and its residents have had previous brushes with disaster and near-disaster, so they have a history of what to expect when the laws of probability finally caught up with them. But being the “victim” of a natural disaster or other personal crisis doesn’t exempt a person from their responsibilities — like paying back an overpayment of funds. Just imagine what would happen to the US Treasury if the IRS gave up collecting tax underpayments or if they consistently issued refund overpayments.

The situation with the Road Home grants in New Orleans may be more rightly termed a gift: And gift giving is not a duty of the Federal or state governments. Gift giving is the handiwork of charity, regardless of the objections of folks like Mr. Moreno and Mr. Silvestri. They obviously think that because Road Home grant recipients are “victims” that they also deserve to be beneficiaries of mistakes.

This is wrongheaded thinking, much like that associated with the recently-passed economic stimulus package that was approved by the Congress. Some of the more generous members of Congress insisted that folks who never payed a penny in income taxes be eligible for the economic stimulus payment. In my view, this is a gift because these folks receive a benefit even though they never paid anything towards it. It is thinking like this that will eventually lead to the ultimate economic downfall of our government as it struggles and eventually fails to provide ever-increasing entitlements and payments to individuals who simply do not deserve them.

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