Saturday, March 29, 2008

Watch it and make up your own mind

A politician in the Netherlands named Geert Wilders has made a film entitled Fitna. It's basically a polemic against Islamization, playing the words of the Koran off against images of terrorist attacks and clips of radical imams ranting. Regardless of what you think about Islam, you should watch it so you can make up your own mind. Is Mr. Wilders nothing more than a xenophobic stooge? Or does he have a point?


The film is 15 minutes long. Warning, it's graphic in sections. No matter which side of the argument you're on, it will make you angry.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Stopping Vote Fraud

Want to have an impact on elections far beyond your one vote? Take an active role in stamping out vote fraud. Here's an excellent primer on common forms of voter fraud and what to do about them. Please read it and pass it on!

Vote Fraud and How to Combat It

Monday, March 24, 2008

One of the bravest public acts

Western politicians, Church leaders, and all of us could learn a thing or two from Magdi Allam, a high-profile Italian Muslim. Mr. Allam did one of the most courageous things I have ever seen on the Easter Vigil at St. Peter's Basilica. He was baptized into the Catholic Church--publicly--by the Pope. Then, he offered a mild criticism of the Church, saying that up to now, the Church has been "too prudent" when it comes to converting Muslims.


In an article from the Catholic News Agency, Allam clearly recognizes the dangers inherent in what he has done. Writing to the editor-in-chief of an Italian newspaper, Allam said: "You have asked me if I fear for my life. You are right. I realize what I am going up against, but I will confront my fate with my head high, with my back straight and the interior strength of one who is certain about his faith."

Wow again.

Allam also indicates that there are thousands of Muslims who have secretly converted to Catholicism who live in hiding and fear, for in Islam, the punishment for apostasy is death. May God bless and protect all these brave souls whose sheer courage can be a great example to us comfortable Catholics in the West

Hope, Belief, and God's Existence

Here's a really good letter to the editor that I read in the Philadelphia Inquirer by a fellow I know fairly well, in response to an article by John Allen Paulos--another evangelical atheist trying to hook onto the Richard Dawkins gravy train:
Religion is founded in an observable fact that John Allen Paulos can't logically explain away - existence.

The most basic form of religion is not dogmatic but rational and doesn't involve God at all. We are faced with two possibilities of existence, that the universe stretches back endlessly in time or that it appeared out of nothing before time existed. These offer little problem to a mathematical model of reality, but to the human mind, these are not possibilities but impossibilities.

Once we see our very existence as impossible, supernatural, a kind of miracle, we have religion. And once we accept this one miracle, we concede the possibility of other miracles.

But why God? Because the unanswerable questions of when, where and how of our impossible existence lead naturally to why and then who. In their zeal to reject God, most atheists also reject any possibility of the supernatural. The universe refutes them.
Short. Concise. To the point. Hits the nail on the head.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Jerusalem rises again. A review of Victory on the Walls

Historical fiction retellings of Bible stories can be tricky propositions. It's no easy task for an author to create a new tale which weaves personages from salvation history in with fictional characters. Sometimes the results are highly unsatisfactory to the point where the original Scriptural passages are warped or wrongly interpreted. When done well, the new story can help elucidate the Scriptural passages and generate interest in them.

Victory on the Walls: A Story of Nehemiah by Frieda Clark Hyman is one of the latter variety. Mainly following the adventures of Bani, a fictional nephew of Nehemiah, the tale tells the story of how the Jewish people re-established themselves in Jerusalem after the Babylonian Captivity. It is based on the Biblical books 1 and 2 Ezra (Nehemiah) and the major events which occur in the story are drawn directly from Scripture.

On the whole, the story moves quickly and is well told. Nehemiah is presented as strong and focused, but at the same time compassionate and forgiving. The character of Bani is predominantly well drawn, although there are a few scenes where he appears too much like a petulant modern teen for my tastes. I found the writing a bit more simplistic than some of the other books in the genre. It can be easily read by a 10 year old, as the book is billed.

Victory on the Walls was interesting enough for me that a re-reading of the relevant Scriptural passages was warranted after I finished it. Hopefully the book will inspire others to do likewise.

Friday, March 21, 2008

McCain fundraising still lagging badly

Well, the February numbers are out for the Presidential sweepstakes. And the numbers for McCain are downright depressing compared to either of his potential Democrat rivals. (Source)

February 2008
McCain: $11 million
Clinton: $34.5 million
Obama: $55.4 million

And here are the totals through the end of February:

McCain: $66.4 million
Clinton: $155.6 million
Obama: $197.3 million

And finally:

Cash-on-hand minus Campaign Debt
McCain: $3.7 million
Clinton: $24.5 million
Obama: $38.2 million

So both Democrats continue to easily outpace McCain in fundraising and cash-on-hand even though McCain is now free to focus on raising money while the Democrats are still fighting a bruising campaign battle. It seems that McCain/Feingold has succeeded in getting the money out of at least one presidential campaign. The campaigns of the Democrats, to this point, appear unaffected.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The next Chuck Jones?

My mother-in-law put together this animated short that I thought was pretty amusing. It's her first attempt at this, so don't expect Snow White.

Food Fight

Not bad for a young lady pushing 70!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Archbishop Burke excommunicates "priestesses"

Well, those wacky dames running around pretending to be priests have finally messed with the wrong prelate. His Excellency, Archbishop Burke of St. Louis, MO has handed down a formal sentence of excommunication against three of them. The formal declaration was made on March 12. Here's the meat of it:
Wherefore, in the most sincere hope and with the prayer that the application of the due canonical penalties will lead the guilty parties to seek the cure of their most grievous sins and canonical crimes, I declare and pronounce the following:

1.) Patricia Fresen, Rose Hudson, and Elsie McGrath have incurred latae sententiae the censure of excommunication by reason of the crime of schism, as established by the Code of Canon Law (cf. cann. 1331; and 1364, s. 1);

2) Upon Patricia Fresen, Rose Hudson, and Elsie McGrath is imposed the ferendae sententiae censure of interdict for the crime of pertinacious rejection of a truth of the faith after admonition by the Ordinary (cf. can. 1371, para. 1);

3) Upon Patricia Fresen is imposed the ferendae sententiae censure of excommunication for the crime of simulation of the sacrament of Holy Orders (cf. can. 1379).
What does this mean, effectively? It means, simply put, that these charlatans are not to set foot on any Church property in the Archdiocese of St. Louis until they make a public act of repentence. They are under interdict, which means they may not receive the sacraments--not even confession--until they have "formally and publicly withdrawn from their contumacy." They may not even receive a Christian burial.

This is a very strong statement from Archbishop Burke and I commend him for it as something that's long, long overdue. God be praised that some fearless and steadfast bishops are finally beginning to stand up here in America. Our prayers are being answered!

I also pray for these poor benighted women who have been led astray. Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, may they return to their senses and make a public confession for their sins so that this act of excommunication may be wiped away.

Babies are now "pathological waste"...

A truly sickening article appeared on CNS News--Human Remains Found in Dumpster of Abortion Clinic. Here are some quotes:
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Lathrup Village (Mich.) Police Department are investigating the contents of a dumpster behind the WomanCare abortion clinic where body parts of aborted babies, bio-hazardous materials and patients' medical records were found earlier this month.
Did you catch the "new speak" here? A facility where mothers have their healthy, pre-natal children killed, ripped out, and thrown in a dumpster is called "WomanCare".
"I was aware of the reality of abortion, but it was unnerving," Police Sgt. Vincent Lynch said of viewing the evidence, adding that "intact fetuses" were among the debris.
More evidence that the "abortion is legal and therefore acceptable to a civilized society" brainwashing can be neutralized so easily by just being forced to see what abortion actually is.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will decide if the improper disposal of "pathological waste" at the Lathrup Village clinic violates civil or administrative statues, according to Robert McCann, press secretary for the state agency.
This "doctor" sliced and diced healthy babies and threw them in the trash, and all the government can ring him up for is "improper disposal of "pathological waste." Truly pathetic.
Miller and other activists transported contents from dumpsters to her home where they sorted and videotaped the contents of black plastic bags, which included syringes, bloody suction canulas, condoms, plastic gloves and human arms, spinal columns and fully-formed hands the size of a ballpoint pen tip.
The debris of the Culture of Death laid out for all to see.
Since the late 1980s, Miller has helped bury thousands of aborted babies. She said she marks the tombstones of the common graves with the words, "Holy Innocents of God," includes the date the remains of the unborn were recovered, and includes a verse from the Bible from the book of Jeremiah, The Lord says, 'A sound is heard in Ramah, a sound of crying in bitter grief. It is the sound of Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are gone.'"
That about says it all. We live in a country where innocent babies are killed and stuffed in dumpsters--and it's legal.

"I tremble for my nation when I reflect that God is just: that His justice can not sleep forever." --Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Republicans in better mental health than Democrats?

I saw a recent article on World Net Daily that stated: Only 38% of Democrats Claim Excellent Mental Health. This is compared to 58% of Republicans. I must say, this stat doesn't surprise me in the least. In fact, I'd be willing to bet if someone did a study which further broke down the Republican segment into "moderates" versus "conservatives" the difference would be even more stark. Indeed, the article states that only 43% of self-described Independents consider themselves in excellent mental health, according to a Gallup poll.

On a related note, I've heard this quote on the relative mental health of practicing Catholics attributed to Carl Gustav Jung before, but I finally found a citation for it and wanted to record it here for future reference.
In his fifth and last lecture, the audience asked Jung to depart from his theory of dream analysis and explain instead how to put the transference to "practical use" within the process. Jung's explanation led to a discussion of the role religion served within the various psychotherapeutic systems, particularly his own. He told the audience that throughout thirty-plus years of analytic practice, he had made an informal statistical count of his patients' religious affiliations: most were either Jewish or Protestant; practicing Catholics numbered "about six." It proved to him that the Catholic Church's "rigorous system of confession" was indeed a "therapeutic institituion....
Taken from Jung: A Biography by Deirdre Bair

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ford caves. AFA boycott is a success!

So much for the know-it-alls who said that the American Family Association boycott of Ford was ineffective. Here's the official press release:
Ford meets conditions; AFA suspends boycott

I have some good news for you! AFA is suspending its two year boycott of Ford Motor Company. The conditions of the original agreement presented in fall 2005 have been met. We reached the conclusion that Ford had met the conditions of the agreement based on monitoring for several months. Individuals are free to purchase Ford vehicles again.

Your support of the boycott played a key role in convincing Ford to cease its significant support of the homosexual agenda. During the 24 months the boycott was in effect, Ford sales dropped an average of 8% per month. The boycott was not entirely responsible for the drop in sales, but it played a very significant role.

A total of 780,365 individuals signed AFA's Boycott Ford petition.

The original agreement contained four items:

1. Ford would not renew current promotions or create future incentives that give cash donations to homosexual organizations based on the purchase of a vehicle.

2. Ford would not make corporate donations to homosexual organizations that, as part of their activities, engage in political or social campaigns to promote civil unions or same-sex marriage.

3. Ford would stop giving cash and vehicle donations or endorsements to homosexual social activities such as Gay Pride parades.

4. Ford would cease all advertising on homosexual Web sites and through homosexual media outlets (magazines, television, radio) in the U.S. with the exception of $100,000 to be used by Volvo. The Volvo ads would be the same ads used in the general media and not aimed at the homosexual community specifically.

A few minor issues remain, and we will continue to bring these to the attention of Ford. But basically Ford has met the terms of the agreement. We are therefore suspending the boycott.

Thank you for caring enough to get involved. If you feel our efforts are worthy of support, would you consider making a small tax-deductible contribution? Click here to make a donation.


Donald E. Wildmon,
Founder and Chairman American Family Association
Great job, AFA!

Of course, Ford will need to be watched to make sure they're living up to their end of the bargain. But if they do, it means I can go out and look at Fords when I shop for a new car this fall!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Outlaws of Ravenhurst -- When simply being a Catholic was enough to get you killed

Since the days of Henry VIII, Great Britain has been generally hostile to Catholics. Over the past 100 years, this hostility has mainly been manifested as sneering conceit in mass market and academic publications and lampooning on comedy shows. Closer to Henry's time, it was white-hot hatred. Though practically everyone knows about the Spanish Inquisition (at least, a sensational notion of it), few people know that Catholic practice and belief was effectively outlawed in Britain and that priests could and did suffer capital punishment just for the crime of being a priest.

This ignorance of history is what makes a book like Outlaws of Ravenhurst so valuable. The title conjures up images of highland bandits—the scourge of the countryside—preying on all those unlucky enough to cross their paths. Who would think that the outlaws were, in fact, practicing Catholics and a "renegade" priest?

Outlaws of Ravenhurst is the story of a young boy and the Catholic Faith. At a tender age, "George" (as he his called at the beginning of the book) is spirited away by a mysterious stranger to colonial America—Maryland to be specific. There he is raised by the Abells, a pioneer family of the best Catholic tradition, with a dozen children. When he turns age 10, his Uncle Roger arrives from Scotland to take charge of the boy. It turns out that "George" is actually Gordon, the scion of a noble Scottish family. Roger, and his scheming cohort Godfrey, intend to make the boy into a "proper" heir, and that means teaching him to renounce the Catholic faith of his mother and father, as well as his foster parents.

But before Roger and Godfrey can put their plan in motion, Gordon meets his true mother and his Uncle Steven, a renegade Catholic priest. He also learns the true history of his family—a story of persecution, greed, bravery, cowardice, and perseverence. The ending is somewhat predictible, but getting there is certainly enjoyable and gives a good window into the hardships that British Catholics had to endure for the sake of their Faith.

This book is meant for older kids (perhaps 10 and up) but adults will enjoy it as well. The author did a nice job capturing the Scots accent of some of the more colorful characters and her prose flows easily throughout the book. Outlaws of Ravenhurst is an easy read which thrills and teaches a lesson at the same time. The edition published by Lepanto Press includes some amusing illustrations and I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

New McCain Banner

For the record, I made this up myself. The McCain campaign had nothing to do with it.

I'm not a huge fan of Senator McCain, but given the alternatives...

Fundraising -- An ill omen for the GOP

Now that John McCain is the nominee for the GOP, I hope someone at RNC has figured out that they're going to need to appeal to conservatives if this guy wants to have any chance at winning. A look at the fundrasing totals for the Democrats versus McCain is sobering. (Source)

January 2008
McCain: $12,614,907
Clinton: $18,884,127
Obama: $36,060,927

The numbers look even worse when you compare the totals through the end of January:

McCain: $53,717,085
Clinton: $134,536,488
Obama: $138,231,595

And even worse when you compare the cash on hand and the amount of debt:

Cash-on-hand minus Campaign Debt
McCain: -$337,031
Clinton: $21,609,641
Obama: $23,835,466

The only good news for McCain is that the Clinton/Obama race goes on and they'll continue to have to spend big money. As a fellow who has decried the influence of money in politics for much of his career, it looks like McCain is going to find out the hard way what it's like to run a shoestring campaign against opponents with seemingly limitless sources of funding.

Exodus from the public schools long overdue

A crisis is brewing in California. First, the state made it law that all public school children would be given a "homo-positive" education. Now, they are trying to forbid you from getting around this insane mandate by making homeschooling illegal. The recent case in California is just another attempt by our run-away court system to force people to put their kids into the government run indoctrination-centers.

This fascist-like effort can and must be resisted. As Cal Thomas pointed out in a recent article, there is a group called Exodus which is working in California to convince people to pull their kids out of the public school system immediately. I fully support this effort and think that only good can come of it. My only worry is that in some places in southern California, the Catholic Church has been run into the ground to such an extent that the Catholic school system doesn't really provide a good alternative to the public schools for parents who are concerned about what their kids are learning on a moral level. For such parents, your choices are stark: either homeschool or move. If you care about your kids, you simply can't allow the State of California to pervert them.

The government schools have become dens of filth and ignorance and sinks where billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars are wasted every year. If enough people pulled their kids out of these corrupt institutions and put them in private schools (or homeschooled if they are able), not only would we have better-educated children, but we'd have a real grass-roots base for a full-fledged taxpayer revolt. And such a revolt is long overdue. As it is, we're paying billions of dollars for the state to educate the next generation of amoral secular activists who will further undermine the Christian ethics at the core of our once-great nation. This can not stand or we face a very grim future.