The Fortnight for (Religious) Freedom

Catholics, take note: The USCCB is launching a Fortnight for Freedom tomorrow night to pray for the restoration of our religious liberty. Click here to find out where and when Holy Hours and other activities will be held in your diocese, and click here for prayer cards and other resources.

I usually attend the Conservative Soiree at Bull Run Regional Park come the 4th of July, but this year, I will spend the 4th at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for the Fortnight’s closing mass. I’ll be sure to post a short report after the event!

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Dear American Catholic Bishops:

Please excommunicate Nancy Pelosi.

We can no longer excuse Pelosi on the grounds that she’s pig ignorant regarding the teachings of the Church. She is pig ignorant, granted, but that is quite clearly a deliberate choice on her part. By now, she has been given plenty of opportunities to receive correct catechesis; indeed, she was recently chastised by none other than the Holy Father himself regarding the Church’s clear and ancient position on life issues. Yet despite this instruction, Pelosi persists in her heretical support of abortion, contraception, and sterilization. This is a scandal that wounds the American Church as a whole.

Pelosi emphatically does not have a right to publicly claim a Catholic identity. Such an identity must be earned by one’s obedience to the Magisterium. Our Church is not a country club in which you can choose to enjoy the pool but not the golf course. It’s a package deal — and if Pelosi can’t handle that, she should be encouraged to do the honorable thing and leave.

Sincerely,
Stephanie S.

The Good News Just Keeps Coming

While the conservative blogosphere is appropriately giddy over Scott Walker’s win, let’s not forget that there were other local elections yesterday — and other big victories for fiscal sanity. For instance:

  •  In San Diego, a ballot measure calling for pension reform for new city hires passed 66-33.
  • In San Jose, a similar ballot measure passed 70-30.

And just in case you were curious, San Diego and San Jose are hardly reliable Republican strongholds. Both cities went to Obama in 2008.

Yes, yes, I know — as Glenn Reynolds has repeatedly reminded us, “Don’t get cocky, kid.” But I don’t think we’re wrong to interpret these election outcomes as a sign that we’re winning the argument in re: the power of public sector unions. Evidently, even moderate liberals are smart enough to notice that the growth of a city’s pension liabilities and the quality of its municipal services are inversely related. As more and more money is devoted to feeding the retirement behemoth, current city employees are laid off by the thousands, libraries close, and potholes go unrepaired — and people are understandably fed up with this nonsense.

Look — my late granddaddy was a union man (in the private sector), so I’m not 100% opposed to the concept. If the unions were truly representing their rank-and-file members in legitimate disputes with their employers, I’d stamp them with my seal of approval. Unfortunately, that’s not what today’s unions are doing — a reality revealed by all the employees who immediately stop paying their dues the moment a Right to Work measure is passed. Even the workers themselves are sick of their unions’ corruption and hard-left refusal to be reasonable. Which means we should follow Scott Walker’s example and continue to calmly but doggedly press the issue. 

A Message to Socially Conservative African Americans:

Admittedly, I experienced a bit of schadenfreude upon reading the news that some African American church-goers feel betrayed by Obama’s cynical embrace of gay marriage. Really, they should not have been surprised by the move. Despite the darker hue of his skin, Obama doesn’t represent the attitudes and interests of the average African American. No — Obama serves only the wealthy – and white – activist left. Obama’s favorite constituents are urban limousine liberals who find the morals and ambitions of the working and middle classes aesthetically unpleasing, tenured leftists in the academy, and unionistas who refuse to accept that the benefit party’s over — not the members of the African American community.

So: If you are African American and are disappointed by Obama’s “turnaround” on homosexuality, I suggest you take a good look around. Have you really been better off since Obama took office? Can the young black men in your life find jobs? Do you have good choices when it comes to your children’s education? Or is your situation pretty much the same? If your answers to the previous four questions are no, no, no, and yes, you should join us! Not only do we have cookies, but we also have a plan that will grow the economy and consequently improve job prospects for everyone. Furthermore, we are dedicated supporters of school choice policies that will allow African Americans in our central cities to pull their kids out of failing public schools and put them into schools that succeed. And lastly, many on our side are genuinely interested in arresting the breakdown of the American family and restoring social capital in neighborhoods wracked by chaos and crime. The upshot? Instead of offering you more of the Johnsonian welfare state that has failed you time and time again, we will offer you a chance to grab the brass ring that is the American Dream.

Please, friends: Come to the dark side. I promise you that – like Thomas Sowell, Starr Parker, Allen West, and many others – you will be warmly welcomed.

The State Makes a Lousy Substitute for a Parent

This particular blog will remain active while SABR Matt’s away. I can’t promise daily activity, but I do have new books to discuss and some other thinky-thoughts to share.

Speaking of which, here’s my first thinky-thought: The state makes a lousy substitute for a parent.

I bring this up because in my view, many of the moral panics of our age are driven by a cadre of activists who are asking the state to DO SOMETHING in the parent’s stead. Our kids are getting fatter? DO SOMETHING, mighty Leviathan! Smash all the vending machines! Ban all the bake sales and candy bar fundraisers! Or: Our kids are bullying each other? For God’s sake, DO SOMETHING! We need a federal anti-bullying initiative, and we need it right now!

Except in the first case, the vending machines and bake sales are sources of revenue for after-school activities. And in the second case, what can the federal government do exactly? Spend more money we don’t have on a program that will essentially be worthless?

Don’t get me wrong: I think obesity and bullying are serious issues for our children that require a serious response. But if you ask the government to step in, you will, by necessity, be saddled with an oppressive one-size-fits-all program – like a bake sale ban – that will leave no room for individual differences or individual judgment. Consider how the state has responded to school-based violent crime and sexual harassment. Thanks to “zero tolerance” programs, kids who bring butter knives in their lunch risk expulsion. And if six-year-old Timmy chases down a little girl and kisses her? Boy, will he be in trouble!

A parent, on the other hand, knows her children intimately and can tailor her approach precisely to their needs. For the record, while SABR Matt and I are heavy now, we were not fat when we were elementary-school-aged kids. That’s because we had a mom and a dad who insisted we eat our veggies before we got our one dessert and pushed us outside when the weather was decent.  And by the way, while they were at it, Mom and Dad also taught us to be nice. Consequently, SABR Matt and I both befriended kids who were not well-liked by the others. Since high school, for example, I’ve always had gay friends. While I believe gay marriage activists egregiously over-simplify the issues involved, I would never dream of expressing my disagreements through hateful mistreatment. Because I had two invested parents, I know that’s not the Christian thing to do.

Unlike the state, mommies and daddies can enforce healthy eating habits while also allowing for the occasional “special treat.” And unlike the state, mommies and daddies can teach their little ones that bullying is wrong without denigrating their religious traditions in the process. The problem is, our social policy is, at the present time, actively discouraging involved parenthood. And as people look upon the inevitable results of this insanity, they understandably cast about for “solutions.” If we rely on the government to swoop in and save the day, however, we will ultimately be handed “answers” that are dessicated and ineffective. No — the family is the best alternative. Unlike the plodding state, the family is vibrant, individual, and creative.   

   

Really, Guys? Really?

OMG, you guys! Did you hear? Mitt Romney was a meany mean pants in high school! I read all about it in the Washington Post, DC’s Totally Serious Newspaper of Record!

If I might make a suggestion: The scientific literature suggests that the human brain doesn’t mature until the middle of the third decade, so perhaps we should grant blanket forgiveness to all politicians for anything they did before the age of, oh, twenty-five. Then, after we get that out of the way, we should talk about jobs and why there aren’t any.