France has entered a new and unhappy phase–the land of liberté, égalité, fraternité is now in its terror age.
Seven days into 2015, twelve people were murdered by radical Muslims inside the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine that regularly poked fun at Muhammad, including publishing naked cartoons of him.
On Friday–known as Jumu’ah, the day of prayer, for Muslims, a series of coordinated attacks in the French capital killed over 120 people, the Islamic State caliphate immediately claimed responsibility for the barbarism.
France has always been an uncomfortable fit for its roughly five million Muslims, the first wave of which settled there after the end of its war in Algeria in 1962. Its strict secularism flies in the face one of Islam’s central beliefs–that the faith is not only a religion but a way of life, and that includes the legal code. Sure, some Muslims in France support the secularism of the Fifth Republic, but younger Muslims less so.
Of the Friday attacks, ISIS promises, “This is just the beginning.” And even if just twenty percent of French Muslims support the Islamic State, that’s one million radicals ready to tear down the nation.
Of course many French people remain in denial. While I was driving to work yesterday morning, I switched on NPR, where I listened in disbelief as a French political scientist, Nicole Bacharan, said of the Muslim immigrants living among her in Paris, “they are as French as we are.”
Has Bacharan bothered to ask Muslims–both the native born and the immigrants living in France–if they agree with her?
Like it or not, same-sex marriage is the law of the land. As a conservative with libertarian leanings, I favored civil unions for gays for years, in essence, marriage in all but name. What is now called traditional marriage reaches back into pre-history–social norms should not be thrown overboard so quickly.
As for the other side of the gay marriage debate, the media focus has been on what Friday’s US Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in favor of what some call marriage equality means for observant Christians who oppose it.
But what about Muslims? The Daily Beast managed to find a few Muslims who favor gay marriage, but it’s safe to say that followers of Islam overwhelmingly oppose it.
And I believe that Muslims considering emigrating to the United States–and for that matter, other Western nations–might want to consider staying home instead.
Other than our high standard of living, there is much in America for Muslims not to like. Arranged marriages are not only rare but are frowned upon. Dogs, beloved members of many American families, are viewed as only slightly better than pigs in Islamic society only because of their hunting and protection skills. As for those pigs, most Americans eat pork. Women in the United States wear whatever they want–or in some cases, how little they want. And the great majority of Americans drink alcohol–and advertisements for intoxicating beverages can be found almost everywhere. We can change our religion if we like–or, as has been happening more frequently, choose no faith at all. While somewhat controversial, religious satire is common in the USA. For the sake of brevity I’m stopping here.
And since Friday–two men, or two women, can marry each other in a government-sanctioned marriage from Portland, Maine to Honolulu, Hawaii.
All last week people were asking/and emailing me to comment on the Pope’s new encyclical.
While a lot of Pixels have already come out concerning it, many of them before it was released, I told everyone who asked that rather than bother with what the MSM has been saying I was going to withhold judgement until the Vatican actually released the document and see for myself.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday I wrote about the parts of the document that our friends in the media decided to neglect.
Now today I want to address the a basic fact of this encyclical itself, something that people are forgetting, “what is its purpose?”
an encyclical denotes a pastoral letter written by the Holy Father for the entire Church. This document focuses on a pastoral issue concerning a matter of doctrine, morality, devotion, or discipline.
Catholic answers has more:
They condemn some prevalent form of error, point out dangers which threaten faith or morals, exhort the faithful to constancy, or prescribe remedies for evils foreseen or already existent.
Laudato Si. is a long and detailed document. It is liberally sprinkled with footnotes quoting the Church, its saints, previous Popes and even his own previous pronouncements.
In other words it’s a sermon and like any sermon is about teaching people, particularly the faithful, about how one should act.
A fair reading of this document clearly indicated what is being taught, it preaches against lifestyle of consumerism absence of social interaction (and in fact encourages such interaction on the local level) and reliance on technology and stuff leads to an empty life.
18. The continued acceleration of changes affecting humanity and the planet is coupled today with a more intensified pace of life and work which might be called “rapidification”. Although change is part of the working of complex systems, the speed with which human activity has developed contrasts with the naturally slow pace of biological evolution. Moreover, the goals of this rapid and constant change are not necessarily geared to the common good or to integral and sustainable human development. Change is something desirable, yet it becomes a source of anxiety when it causes harm to the world and to the quality of life of much of humanity.
These are basic themes that the church has been teaching for a while. A Lesson that was important in the world 65 years ago where missionary priests were leaving Europe and America for Africa and South America and a lesson that’s important today, Missionary priests are coming to America from Africa and South America and he takes the time to quote these bishops of Africa (chapter 14)
As the bishops of Southern Africa have stated: “Everyone’s talents and involvement are needed to redress the damage caused by human abuse of God’s creation”.  All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.
Now there are people who are getting very upset about the passages concerning global warming and scientific consensus and acting on the best information that is currently known to science. Mostly because like myself I think the science is a lot more iffy than is being presented. They like the social teaching, particularly on abortion and life but they’re sure the left will try to use this as a club to move their agenda, and they will.
But those guys are missing the reality and the reality is this.
It takes a long time to move governments and move agreements but a very short time to move individuals.
If we’re right and the science is on our side then in the years that it takes for governments to meet, to negotiate and to even begin to move agreements the reality of the science will trump the left, after all the encyclical does say…
Honesty and truth are needed in scientific and political discussions; these should not be limited to the issue of whether or not a particular project is permitted by law.
But the lessons for individuals those can be applied today, now at once, and because they deal with eternal truths those lessons will be true no matter where the science on global warming goes.
Those eternal truths taught by this encyclical will change hearts and bring people closer to Christ by steering individuals to the right, this is what it’s all about, no matter what any individual hoped to do with this document, no matter if it’s a democrat pol looking to get a short-term advantage or a bureaucrat in Europe is hoping for graft or even if a cleric trying to ingratiate with others by attempting to manipulate a papal encyclical and the Holy Father who released it.
That’s the reality of Laudito si. It’s a reality divorced from politics. The church and the Pope doesn’t teach for the benefit of a particular political party in a particular country. It’s not all about republicans or democrats or Europeans or Africans.
It’s about souls it always has been and if people attempt to use it for evil they will find it. I’ll give the last word to CS Lewis again
On the other hand we do want, and want very much, to make men treat Christianity as a means; preferably, of course, as a means to their own advancement, but, failing that, as a means to anything-even to social justice. The thing to do is to get a man at first to value social justice as a thing which the Enemy demands, and then work him on to the stage at which he values Christianity because it may produce social justice. For the Enemy will not be used as a convenience. Men or nations who think they can revive the Faith in order to make a good society might just as well think they can use the stairs of Heaven as a short cut to the nearest chemist’s shop.
I’ve just finished reading the Pope’s Encyclical letter LAUDATO SI’ and I have a lot to say about it, but that will wait for later right now however I’d like to note one thing concerning this letter that in the long term will likely be the most important thing about this document.
At the start of Laudato Si’ in paragraphs 3-6 Pope Francis cites Pope St. John XXIII, Pope Paul VI, Pope St. John Paul II & Pope Benedict XVI and their various writings on the environment as an introduction for this thesis. For anyone familiar with encyclicals this is nothing odd, Popes often draw on the writings and sermons of the church over the years to show the continuity of the sermon he is giving.
What is Unusual is that what happened starting in paragraph 7
I would mention the statements made by the beloved Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, with whom we share the hope of full ecclesial communion.
And continued on from there:
8. Patriarch Bartholomew has spoken in particular of the need for each of us to repent of the ways we have harmed the planet, for “inasmuch as we all generate small ecological damage”, we are called to acknowledge “our contribution, smaller or greater, to the disfigurement and destruction of creation”. He has repeatedly stated this firmly and persuasively, challenging us to acknowledge our sins against creation: “For human beings… to destroy the biological diversity of God’s creation; for human beings to degrade the integrity of the earth by causing changes in its climate, by stripping the earth of its natural forests or destroying its wetlands; for human beings to contaminate the earth’s waters, its land, its air, and its life – these are sins”. For “to commit a crime against the natural world is a sin against ourselves and a sin against God”.
9. At the same time, Bartholomew has drawn attention to the ethical and spiritual roots of environmental problems, which require that we look for solutions not only in technology but in a change of humanity; otherwise we would be dealing merely with symptoms. He asks us to replace consumption with sacrifice, greed with generosity, wastefulness with a spirit of sharing, an asceticism which “entails learning to give, and not simply to give up. It is a way of loving, of moving gradually away from what I want to what God’s world needs. It is liberation from fear, greed and compulsion”. As Christians, we are also called “to accept the world as a sacrament of communion, as a way of sharing with God and our neighbours on a global scale. It is our humble conviction that the divine and the human meet in the slightest detail in the seamless garment of God’s creation, in the last speck of dust of our planet”.
I am a lay Catholic and do not claim any knowledge beyond what I have read or taught but to my knowledge I’ve never known of a post schism Encyclical that gives three paragraphs to an eastern orthodox patriarch.
Furthermore this is not a one way street. At 7:26 this morning Time Magazine put out a piece written by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: An excerpt:
Invoking the inspiring words of Scripture and the classics of Christian spirituality of East and West (particularly such saints as Basil the Great and Francis of Assisi), while at the same time evoking the precious works of Roman Catholic conferences of bishops throughout the world (especially in regions where the plunder of the earth is identified with the plight of the poor), Pope Francis proposes new paradigms and new policies in contrast to those of “determinism,” “disregard” and “domination.”
In the third year of our brother Pope Francis’s blessed ministry, we count it as a true blessing that we are able to share a common concern and a common vision for God’s creation.
This is REALLY Big I think people don’t understand just how big this is.
While the MSM is busy quoting the Pope and mentioned the Patriarch in their stories I don’t think they understand that the big story that is going to have a profound effect on the history of the world is not any statement on the environment.
It’s that a Catholic Pope is quoting an Eastern Orthodox Patriarch in an encyclical and said patriarch is complimenting him back.
200 years from now that’s what people will be talking and writing about.
We are bombarded daily with news that even a few short years ago would have been unimaginable.
A recent article in Salon written by an abortion worker refers to an aborted baby as an “unwanted growth” and by removing it they “preserved the woman’s chosen course.” Seeing tiny arms and legs floating in a bowl made her even more pro-choice pro-abortion.
Planned Parenthood, the leading abortion provider in the country, tweeted that they thought telling girls to protect their character on prom night was “despicable.”
And the latest Gallup poll states:
Americans are more likely now than in the early 2000’s to find a variety of behaviors morally acceptable, including gay and lesbian relations, having a baby outside of marriage, and sex between an unmarried man and woman. Moral acceptability of many of these issues is now at a record-high level. source
One glaring observation of this poll is that while support for abortion has gone up by three points, support for the death penalty has gone down by the same three points.
To see these findings in action, I need go no further than my own very conservative area where the illegitimate birth rate among teenagers has skyrocketed. Marriage is no longer important, and multiple children by different fathers is common.
Marriage and family, the bedrock of a civilized nation, is all but destroyed. I have no doubt that when the Supreme Court issues it’s ruling on same-sex “marriage”, it will come down on the side of the homosexuals, thereby completely changing the definition of marriage.
Benjamin Franklin emphasized that without virtue, free societies could not properly function. He said, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”
When was the last time you even heard the word “virtue”? If people conformed to accepted virtues, none of what is going on would be possible.
There is much talk on many sites, usually the ones focused on the economy, about some big event coming along to collapse our country. Trust me on this, it won’t happen like that. In fact, it’s already happening and has been for decades. The slow drip of immorality and depravity has already transformed our country into something most of us don’t recognize anymore.
The elites don’t want a collapse, they want slaves who will be willing to do their bidding.
John Adams, in a letter dated October 11, 1798, to the Officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts said:
[…]we have no government, armed with power, capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
I have no intention of being anyone’s slave, and I hope you don’t either.
That came to mind when I Noticed this piece at Glenn’s site talking about women not having children. It hit me that the premise is not entirely true, women are having children just not the women the media cares about
Women between the ages of 15 and 44 who attend religious services at least weekly have 1.42 children on average, compared with the 1.11 children of similar-age women who rarely or never attend services. More religious women said they also intend to have more kids (2.62 per woman) than nonreligious women (2.10 per woman), the survey found.
Religious mothers also have a larger share of the total births in the United States. Women who attend religious services represent only 51 percent of U.S. women ages 15-44, but account for 56 percent of births.
And the media’s favorite Pope is leading the charge to keep it up:
Pope Francis on Wednesday (Feb. 11) once again praised big families, telling a gathering in St. Peter’s Square that having more children is not “an irresponsible choice.”
He also said that opting not to have children at all is “a selfish choice.”
A society that “views children above all as a worry, a burden, a risk, is a depressed society,” Francis said.
Depressed? Gee that sounds an awful lot like the feminists that Stacy McCain has been writing about:
“Yes, she’s a ridiculous self-parody of feminist absurdity,” says the reader, “but how did she get that way? Why is Jess Zimmerman the particular kind of fool she is?”
It’s no coincidence that each year the pro-life marches contain more and more young people, particularly woman and their children brought up in religious homes, many educated in religious schools while not immune to the influences of the MSM culture are much more likely to hold the values that their parents hold dear.
The irony of all this? The cultural “leaders” noting the lack of children haven’t figured out that they are rapidly becoming a niche market and as we become a more streaming society and the gateways to culture and entertainment are less controlled by them their influence will drop even more.
The only question is, will I live long enough (mid 70’s or 80’s) to see it happen?
They MSM & their cultural allies are all Pauline Kael, they just don’t know it yet
Twenty years ago if you were unhappy with a business, let’s say a check out clerk was rude to you or you were served a rotten meal, you had some effective ways of getting back. Of course these methods still exist. You can never patronize that business again and tell your friends not to do so as well.
Last week a South Bend, Indiana television reporter ventured outside of her city and traveled to tiny Walkerton, a place she probably never heard of before, where she interviewed one of the owners of Memories Pizza, a family business, who told the reporter that because of their Christian beliefs they would not cater a gay wedding–if they were was asked. The reporter found the “gotcha” story in the sticks that she was seeking in regards to Indiana’s new Religious Restoration Freedom Act.
And then the online attacks poured in Actually they’re still coming. Memories’ Yelp page has been inundated with “reviews” from people who lives almost everywhere but northern Indiana. On the other hand, a high school coach from nearby Goshen took to Twitter to suggest that Memories be burned down. She has since been suspended. As I mentioned in my post here last week, Yelp’s CEO condemned Indiana’s RFRA, although just last month his firm opened an office in Illinois–which has a similar law.
Years ago I was at a concert where Elvis Costello answered a heckler who was shouting that he should play “Clubland,” by replying with something blues singer Little Willie John once said. “I remember the good old days,” Costello quipped, “they’re gone now. ”
True, very true.
But there is some good news. Supporters of Memories Pizza and religious freedom started a GoFundMe.com drive for the owners of the restaurant–and it has received $800,000.
Here is a headline from earlier this month that caught my eye and it comes from, surprise, the Washington Post: At last, a Western country stands up to Saudi Arabia on human rights. Sweden’s foreign minister, Margot Wallstrom, had planned to speak at an Arab League event in Cairo and her office’s website published her speech beforehand. Wallstrom’s remarks included a call for expanding women’s rights and more democracy in the Islamic world. Even though Saudi Arabia wasn’t specifically mentioned, the Islamo-supremacist kingdom blocked Wallstrom from giving that address.
Meanwhile on the floor of the Swedish parliament, Wallstrom condemned the 1,000 lashes and ten-year prison sentence of Raif Badawi, a Saudi critic of Islam. He was received only 50 of those whippings–poor health has so far so far saved him from the other 950. The Saudis are merciful–who knew? Wallstrom calls this sentence, correctly, “medieval.”
The foreign minister, who promised a “feminist foreign policy” when she acceded to her post, has since made some make-nice comments about Islam. But that has not stopped the Saudis from recalling its ambassador from Stockholm and from pulling visas from Swedes.
Sweden has responded by cancelling a ten-year old arms agreement with the kingdom.
Not surprisingly, with the exception of the Washington Post, there has been little coverage of the Sweden-Saudi dispute by the American media, which surely causes great cognitive dissonance among the self-appointed gatekeepers of information who regularly promote feminist issues. But it seems with the Wallstrom story, moral relativism wins the day again.
I have a solution to this quandary. Stick to the facts and let the consumers of news decide what to think.
As for the Wallstrom, I have this to say: Keep up the good work.
Well if Danes wanted to try to unite Muslims and Jews after the horrible attacks last month this is bound to do it:
Denmark’s government has brought in a ban on the religious slaughter of animals for the production of halal and kosher meat, after years of campaigning from welfare activists.
It drew swift condemnations in Jewish media:
Commenting on the change, Israel’s deputy minister of religious services Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan told the Jewish Daily Forward: “European anti-Semitism is showing its true colours across Europe, and is even intensifying in the government institutions.”
And Islamic media:
Al Jazeera quoted the monitoring group Danish Halal, which launched a petition against the ban, as saying it was “a clear interference in religious freedom limiting the rights of Muslims and Jews to practice their religion in Denmark”.
Supposedly this will protect animals from “inhumane” practices. What the law will actually accomplish is to:
1. Make activists feel good about themselves
2. Cripple or put local farmers and producers out of business
3. Increase prices as shops are forced to import Halal & Kosher food from outside Denmark.
4. Further isolate Muslims who are not connected to Islamists by giving them common cause
5. Give the Jewish Community of Denmark one more reason to leave
In fact don’t be surprised if radicals paint this as an attack against “all muslims” making a bad situation in the country even worse.
In the long run however I don’t expect this law to have a long life, the future belongs to those who show up and I suspect like a lot of the rest of Europe those who seek election in Denmark in a generation or so will likely find themselves more depending on the vote of an increasing muslim population than of animal rights activists.
doesn’t always work the way you want it to. No siree.
I wanted to post something inspiring about Lent and our Lenten journey. I’ve been pondering this for over a week unable to think of one inspiring thing to write about. It finally occurred to me that I didn’t have anything inspiring to say.
We’re living in a world gone bonkers, and are not equipped with a sense of exactly how to fix anything (if it’s even possible at this point). I don’t know how this makes you feel, but it leaves me feeling helpless and despairing of any real solutions.
I can conquer the despairing part, since it’s a sin against the Virtue of Hope to not trust in the Lord. The other sin against Hope is presumption, the attitude that states; “I can do this by myself without the help of God.”
The forty days of Lent coincide with the forty days Jesus spent in the desert fasting and praying before beginning his public ministry. The devil did his best to tempt Him:
The temptation of Jesus in the desert shows us the tactics of the “Dark Lord.” Bread, a symbol for all that sustains our physical life, is a great blessing. But Satan tries to make material things the ultimate, distracting us from a deeper hunger and a more satisfying food. Political power and all leadership is intended by God for the sake of serving the common good; Satan twists things to make leaders self-seeking, oppressive tyrants like himself. The lust for power and fame ironically leads not to dominion but to slavery to the Dark Lord (remember what happened to the Nazgûl in the Lord of the Rings!). Then there’s religious temptation, the trickiest of them all– Manipulating God for our own glory, using his gifts to make people look at us rather than at Him. Sounds a lot like the Pharisees. source
It seems like we’ve been living in a perpetual Lent since our current administration came into power. In some respects we have.
My solution is to spend this Lent telling myself that there is a whole bunch of stuff I can’t fix. All I can do is let God sort it out and place my trust in the One who loves us most, and follow His example through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
A Word About Comments:
I’ve long had an uneasy relationship with WordPress. Okay – time for truth. WordPress hates me with a hate that burns so hot it could well melt the earth. It goes on periodic tantrums and refuses to allow me to log on or leave comments at WordPress sites. Then, for no apparent reason, it once again leaves me alone. Talk about feeling helpless!
I’m a big believer in answering comments left on my posts. I figure if someone is nice enough to leave a comment, I should honor them with a response. I was unable to do that with my last few posts. In time I will get this straightened out.
In the meantime, please know that I read your comments and appreciate them.