Category Archives: Religious Freedom

Infiltrating the Church – Democrats Steal a Page – or 80 – From the Communists

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In the sepope-hillaryemingly endless dump of Wikileaks documents – many that should give any voter great pause about what kind of person they are supporting in Hillary Clinton even in the absence of continued additional revelations – is the nugget that we heard about for a short time and got a few Catholics riled up until the next e-mail dump distracted us.

It is indicative of our AD&D age that we can’t seem to focus on a horrid thing that has been uncovered for more than a day.   I mean, seriously, if Watergate happened today it wouldn’t even be a lead story in today’s news cycle.   There would be somebody who brings it up, the partisans would argue that this is just politics, a few people would yell at each other on TV, and within two days we’d be on to the next thing.    The numbers of scandals that have occurred since the Bill Clinton years and have continued to this day make the Watergate scandal look like a bouncy house on the White House lawn.    That analogy probably makes no sense.   This makes it perfectly apt in today’s political environment, because that makes no sense either.

Let me provide a link for your memory.

“There needs to be a Catholic Spring, in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a middle ages dictatorship and the beginning of a little democracy and respect for gender equality in the Catholic Church,” Sandy Newman, president and founder of the progressive nonprofit Voices for Progress, writes to Podesta in an email titled “opening for a Catholic Spring? just musing.”

In response, Podesta assures Newman to rest easy for he and his progressive pals have already created organizations explicitly designed to infiltrate the Catholic Church with progressive ideology, though he cautions that the time may not be right for full revolution — just yet.

“We created Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good to organize for a moment like this. But I think it lacks the leadership to do so now. Likewise Catholics United. Like most Spring movements, I think this one will have to be bottom up,” Podesta writes.

A scholar at the Left-wing Center for American Progress emailed Podesta in 2011 bashing then-Fox News CEO Roger Ailes for his Catholic Faith.

“It’s an amazing bastardization of the faith,” John Halpin wrote to Podesta, and Jennifer Palmieri, now the communications director of the Clinton campaign. “They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy.”

Palmieri, agreed.

“I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion,” she wrote. “Their rich friends wouldn’t understand if they became evangelicals.”

 

To the non-religious among us, this may not seem like a major issue.   But this is a huge issue.   It’s actually quite unbelievable, while unfortunately being entirely believable.

Everyone wants to focus on the bigotry and insults – that people are Catholic or not based not on beliefs, but to impress their friends, be socially acceptable, and for political reasons.   That’s insulting, sure.   And to call the devout Catholics backwards and in the same sentence berate evangelicals is head-shaking as well.

But the most incredible admission here is that two faux Catholic groups have actually been started for the explicit purpose of influencing the moral teachings of the Church for entirely secular and political reasons.   I cannot overstate how diabolical this is.   This should be utterly disqualifying to any person of any religion.   We cannot reward leaders who view our Nation, founded upon Judeo-Christian values, with this kind of disdain.

I know this was in the news, but I want to challenge all the Christians to not forget this.   Over the next three weeks we will see continued mudslinging and Wikileaks drops and debates.   But this is not and should not be a dead issue in our minds even if the news cycle treats us like we have the attention spans of gnats.

Any political system or Party that actively works to undermine the Church is by definition an antichrist.  (Not THE Antichrist – but an antichrist).   Sounds harsh, I know, but we need to call a spade a spade.   It is well known that Communists actually sent men to be seminarians for the express intent of infiltrating the Church.   (e.g. See this book and this wiki page).

We have long accepted that this is self-evident evil.    If we do not come to grips with the fact that today’s progressive Democrats are in the same bed as the Communists, then we simply don’t want to see what is self-evident evil in our own American political class.   The tactics may differ (or who knows – maybe not.   It wouldn’t surprise me at all if we someday find that some seminarians have been encouraged to enter the Priesthood in order to further political liberalism) but the intent is the same.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph – Pray for us.

 

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Where are the Lawsuits Against the Muslim Bakeries?

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First, a caveat.   I really don’t know the guy in the video I posted above, I don’t know what religion he is, and yada yada yada.

But I had personally been musing about the context of the gay marriage decision as it relates to the Christian community, while realizing the near-silence on any acknowledgment that other religions also have an issue with this.

In finding this video, I forced myself to read an accompanying article lamenting this guy and what he did, and they dismissed it as “Yeah, yeah…  all you did was show that there are bigots in all religions.   Big surprise.   Nothing to see here.”

Talk about missing the point.

it’s worth viewing this, and I think it’s pretty clear what point he is making.    While he does throw in some off-the-cuff stereotypical comments on Islam (I guess in today’s world it’s called Islamaphobia) that I probably wouldn’t choose to make, he is NOT saying that the refusal of the Muslim bakeries to bake a same-sex wedding cake is bad.   In fact, he fully supports their position, and is using this video to make the point that it’s a perfectly reasonable thing for them to do.

If not obvious by now, the entire point is that what is a reasonable consideration/accommodation for one religion should be reasonable for another.

Yes, some Muslim-owned bakeries would have baked this cake.  Likewise, many Christian-owned bakeries would do the same.   Yet, one couple decides that’s not the business they want to participate in and they lose their business, are fined $135,000, and are told they can’t even talk about it.   They are Christians.   And I thought this was America.   They were targeted, and the couple could have easily found another place to make the cake.   But they didn’t and they sued, all for the purpose of making an example of these folks.

So, the question is, why no lawsuits against the Muslim bakeries?   Again, I am not desiring or supporting such an action.   It’s just a reasonable question – why is one group being targeted but not another?

Let’s see…   when one group is targeted and another isn’t, we have a name for that.   What is it again?    Hmmm…   if only there were laws against targeting people unfairly because of their religion.

If only.

The Great Teaching Moment on Contraception – Brought to us by Barack Obama

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Well, it’s been over a year since my last post, but I got the urge to chime in on the latest hubbub surrounding the HHS and Obama Administration decision to force compliance of a mandatory requirement that health plans offer free Birth Control to employees covered by health plans.

Unless you’ve been hiking on Mars for the last couple weeks, you know what I’m talking about.

While I am in complete agreement with all those calling this unfair and unjust, and while I join in opposition to it, that is not where I’ll go in this post. It is easy enough to find the arguments against this action around the internet, and it is worth reading over the various appeals for action at the USCCB.

What I’d like to muse about here is the fact that – as often happens with God – this outrageous action that never should have happened has nevertheless done more to draw attention to the Catholic stance on contraception than anything else in recent memory. Ironically, this may be a controversy that does more to save souls than to destroy them, especially if this ultimately gets overturned either by policy, a new administration, or in court.

While it is true that some Priests willfully broach the topic of contraception in their homilies, let’s be honest: there hasn’t exactly been a forceful and consistent message on this topic.

Not to make excuses for the lack of willingness to give a good old-fashioned “this is the way it is and suck it up and deal with it” homily on the topic of contracepting Catholics, there is also a reality that Priests have to deal with and struggle with. Now, to many of us, there is a feeling that the truth should just be spoken because that’s what Christ did and if people run away then that’s their issue. Others will come because there is always a yearning for truth. But things are rarely that simple. The most benign and generic homily that discusses the evils and sinfulness of contraception will elicit negativity from those who feel they are being judged. And ramping up the intensity will expand the universe of those who feel that way. It’s a tough thing to try and get people to actually confront their sin without making them feel like they’re bad people. And it’s human nature to filter out all the caveats about how we’re all sinners and go straight to “I think he just said I’m going to hell!”

On this issue, it’s particularly sensitive, for a few reasons. First of all, as a Catholic with 8 kids, I really need to resist the urge to look around at all the families with 2 or 3 kids and make any assumptions about them. Now, I’m not stupid. As a group, I simply know that there is contracepting going on. I know this because some aren’t shy about telling others about it. I also know it because there is no other reasonable explanation for the distribution of family sizes. But what I don’t know (unless they share) is who is doing it. And I don’t really want to know. So, I can’t and shouldn’t assume anything at the personal level. But it’s an easy assumption to make at the general level. But generalizing doesn’t usually help, because it’s human nature (especially when you know you’re an offender) to think “he’s looking at me.” And this draws offense and ire. Not because the Priest is wrong, but because the person doesn’t want to hear it and is offended at the very fact that something they are doing could dare be called a sin.

Second, there’s the unfortunate money and membership issue. It shouldn’t matter, but we live in the real world where it does. Some courageous priests won’t let the threats of “I’m leaving and taking my donations with me” matter, but other Priests will try much harder to figure out what they can get away with and keep the money here.

Third, there is the real spiritual concern of losing people. We want people at Mass. It is the best opportunity to make a difference, have the graces of Mass available, and experience conversion. There is always the hope that keeping the people coming will make a difference in the long run. It’s not an unfounded idea. This causes great struggle among the faithful Priests. They must be forceful, yet pastoral. I do not envy them.

Fourth, it is an adult topic. I have young children, and I’d want my Priest to be careful how he decided to address the contraception issue. I think this can be accomplished relatively easily, but it takes some thought. Different parents will draw the lines of acceptability differently. We want to keep the young children as innocent as possible for as long as possible.

This all leads to the fact that we do not hear about this issue nearly enough. So little, in fact, that a lot of otherwise good and faithful Catholics truly don’t understand that this is taught by the Church to be a grave sin. And even if they have heard that, they’ve been given very little context in the matter to understand the Theology behind it. How many otherwise faithful Catholics have rationalized that on this particular issue, they just disagree? And how many actually have really sound theological insights into their reasons for disagreements, versus the relativistic arguments of our generally secular society?

But thanks to the HHS and Barack Obama, things have changed. Over the last two weeks we have had letters from Bishops read throughout America. The issue is lighting up discussion boards, chat rooms, TV screens, and is even present in political debate. And while the argument is about the right to religious freedom more than it is specifically about contraception, this is not a drawback at all. Since the fundamental issue is more foundational from a Constitutional and Political perspective, it is getting much more coverage than if it was a narrow issue regarding the Church’s teachings on contraception.

But the practical impact of it is that every Catholic is now confronted with the question as to why this is such a big deal? Why is the Catholic Church saying that she can not and will not comply? What makes contraception such a point of argument that Catholic institutions are saying they will actually drop coverage before complying? How many times have we heard in the past two weeks that the Church considers contraception to be a sin? And we’re hearing that from news media in order to put context to the story. We are hearing more about the Catholic teaching of contraception from all forms of media than we’ve heard from the pulpit in the last four decades. This is truly a teaching moment.

Just yesterday I had an e-mail exchange with someone whose conscience was rekindled with respect to decisions he and his wife have made with respect to this issue. He was very sincere in reflecting about it and finding out more about the Church’s teachings. How many others are asking themselves the same questions? How many people are struggling internally with the issue who had otherwise set it aside?

Let’s thank God for how He works. Yes, we need to kill this unjust ruling. But in the meantime, let’s use this ruling! Priests can bring it up in the context of religious freedom and find ways to work in some things that will get people thinking. This has turned into a great opportunity for us.

Thank you, God, for finding ways to use the devil against himself, and using his methods of attack to bring about conversion. And thank you for the Church. May she demonstrate her strength during this time.