Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Gay Marriage and The Supreme Oligarchs

The following quotes on the Supreme Court's gay marriage arguments are from the New York Times article which can be viewed HERE.

Yesterday the Supreme Court heard arguments for two and a half hours on two cases involving gay marriage.

Justice Kennedy said:
“This definition has been with us for millennia. And it’s very difficult for the court to say, ‘Oh, well, we know better.’ ” He added that “the social science on this” — the value and perils of same-sex marriage — is “too new.”
Indeed, it has.  And even ancient Rome, in the midst of their decline when homosexual behavior was quite common, even then, they did not recognize marriage as any other combination than that of a man and a woman.

Justice Kennedy went on:
Same-sex couples say, of course: ‘We understand the nobility and the sacredness of the marriage. We know we can’t procreate but we want the other attributes of it in order to show that we, too, have a dignity that can be fulfilled,’ ” Justice Kennedy said, strongly suggesting that the reasoning resonated with him.
And the attorney for the gay couple...
“….Mary L. Bonauto, representing more than a dozen gay and lesbian couples, urged the justices to remove “the stain of unworthiness” that marriage bans produce.”
When Justice Kennedy explains that gays want to be recognized as having "a dignity that can be fulfilled," I think he has inadvertently identified the true motivation behind the desire of gays to have their unions recognized as marriage.  I know what I am about to say could be very hurtful to homosexuals, who would no doubt deny it.  But it is important to speak the truth about matters of this grave importance.  The issue of gay marriage, I believe, is about moral legitimacy.  Gays want to be free from the awareness that many, many people believe that their intimate behavior is immoral.  I imagine there is a very oppressive shame associated with the knowledge that great religions, such as Christianity, have always taught that their unions are gravely against the good.  

Yes, I have no doubt that gays would like the "stain of unworthiness" to be removed.  But the Supreme Court, no matter how they rule, cannot do that.

Justice Scalia asked:
“Do you know of any society, prior to the Netherlands in 2001, that permitted same-sex marriage?” he asked Ms. Bonauto. She said no, at least as a legal matter.”
Justice Roberts:  
“You’re not seeking to join the institution,” he said. “You’re seeking to change what the institution is.”
Justice Breyer said, "Marriage is about as basic a right as there is."

Now I am not a judge or a Constitutional scholar.  I'm not even an attorney.  But I have read the Bill of Rights and a right for members of the same sex to marry is not in there.  Are there innate human rights that are not in the Constitution?  Well, yes, and the most basic is surely a right to life, a right that the Supreme Court threw out the window in 1973.  There is no "right to marriage," it would seem to me, Justice Breyer.  And isn't that the entire point of this case?  Is it not to determine whether or not there is such a right?

If the Supreme Court rules that there is a Constitutional "right to marriage" for gays (and who knows what other combinations down the road. There is no legitimate reason to prevent other combos if they decide there is a "right to marry.") Then the name of the Supreme Court should be changed to the Supreme Oligarchs.  

I for one have had enough of the Supreme Court usurping the democratic process.  Everyone knows full well there is no right to abortion in the Constitution and there is no right to gay marriage.  If they rule that there is, I hope there will be a powerful and deliberate effort on the part of the American people to at least require terms limits for these oligarchs!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Body of Christ-- A Network System

From the wonderful book The Gift of Faith by Tadeusz Dajczer comes the following words of wisdom.
Growth in grace through a greater faithfulness to God intensifies one's specific influence on others like invisible radiation......As Romano Guardini has said:
The prayers of others belong also to you just as their actions, spiritual growth, and purity of heart do.  Have you ever reflected on the community of the suffering, on the fact that the graces flowing from somebody's suffering are transferred to others?  If, united with the suffering of Christ you offer your painful experiences to God for others, then your experiences become a living, beneficial, redemptive, power for them.  Beyond all obstacles and distances, you bring help where nothing else can be of help. ("II senso della Chiesa in La realta della Chiesa [Breseia, Italy: Morcelliana, 1999], p.38.)
     No one is a solitary island.  As the Mystical Body of Christ, we constitute a unique network system, similar to a system of connected vessels.  Your good as well as your evil has a social dimension, because it creates a specific supernatural pressure of good or evil on others.
What a beautiful description of the interconnectedness of prayer, good works, and suffering upon the Body of Christ.  Yes, it does matter what each individual chooses to do.  Good begets good.  Evil begets evil.

Every moment matters for the good of the whole, all of us.  Every decision is significant.

May we keep this truth ever before us, that we might live always for the greater glory of God.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Diet to Avoid Alzheimer's?!

Just read a great article  by Sumathi Reddy in the Wall Street Journal entitled "A Diet Might Cut the Risk of Developing Alzheimer's."  Well, that's a pleasant thought!

"Experts say there is a growing awareness that lifestyle factors-- not just genetics--play a prominent role in the development of Alzheimer's, and researchers hope to come up with an optimal diet that will lessen the chances of developing the disease."  Yes!!

The diet was developed at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Called the MIND diet, it is a combination of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet.  The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Hypertension) was designed to reduce high blood pressure.  Thus the acronym Mediterranean- DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. MIND Diet. Clever.

OK. So what's the diet?  Here it is.

Green, leafy vegetables-- a salad and one other vegetable every day
Other vegetables
Beans-- three times a week
Berries (especially blueberries)-- twice a week
Whole grains- three servings a day
Fish-- once a week
Poultry-- two or more servings a week
Olive oil
Wine-- one glass a day
Nuts-- five times a week   LOVE this one!!

And avoid the following!!

Red meats
Butter and stick margarine
Pastries and Sweets
Fried and fast food.

Those who followed this diet closely lowered their risk of Alzheimer's by 53%.  Those who followed it moderately lowered their risk by 35%.  So it's even worth doing it halfway!!

The only thing surprising and problematic for me is the whole grain requirement, because I can no longer eat gluten.

David Perlmutter in his book Grain Brain makes a strong case that gluten is bad for everyone and that it's especially bad for the brain.

Well, they're just getting started on this idea.  I'm just excited by the idea that diet can impact one's risk of Alzheimer's.  That's very good news!

Monday, April 20, 2015

"Whatever the Ayatollah Wants" WSJ

The Wall Street Journal as an interesting opinion piece in today's (4/20/15) edition.

Aptly titled Whatever the Ayatollah Wants, the piece opens with this.
     Give Ayatollah Ali Khamenei credit for knowing his opposition.  Two weeks ago the Supreme Leader declared that Western sanctions had to be lifted immediately as a condition of the nuclear deal.  And sure enough, on Friday President Obama said Iran would get significant sanctions relief immediately upon signing a deal.
     The Ayatollah knows that Mr. Obama wants an agreement with Iran so much that there's almost no concession the President won't make.  So why not keep asking for more?
Hopefully, you can read the rest of the editorial HERE.

The U.S. has already granted numerous concessions that contradict previous U.S. positions, concessions that have so alarmed Israel, that Prime Minister Netanyahu has said that even the so-called deal framework paves the way for Iran to obtain nuclear weapons.

We have been negotiating with a country that continues to define the U.S. as its enemy and continues to export terrorism throughout the region.  Chants of "Death to America" and a call for the destruction of Israel, our most important ally in the region, continue.

And during the negotiations Iran staged a mock attack on a U.S. air carrier.  Yes, during the negotiations.  The administration dismissed the maneuver as harmless.

Does it make any sense to trust a country like this?  Does it?  What on Earth is the president doing?  Preserving his foolish and naive belief that making nice and talking to anyone, including terrorists, is the path to peace?  Is the whole dangerous exercise about saving face for the president?

Friday, April 17, 2015

SPRING!!!!! Don't You Just Love It?

From Goodreads I bring you the following fun quotes about spring.  (There are many others on the site so if you enjoy these, you know where to go.  HERE.

"That is one good thing about this world...there are always sure to be more springs.
     L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

"Spring is the time of plans and projects."
     Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

"In the Spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt."
     Margaret Atwood, Bluebeard

"If people did not love one another, I really don't know what use there would be in having any spring."
     Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

"It's spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you've got it, you want-- oh, you don't quite know what you want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!"
     Mark Twain

I bought some pea and lettuce plants today.  Spring is the time of new life! More energy! Joy!!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Small Success Thursday--Things to Make Time For

Well... on a lighter note.....

Today is Small Success Thursday over at

What are my "small successes" this week?

I have been going to a gym.  This is not like me.  I really don't enjoy exercise.  I enjoy reading and writing and my favorite place to do these things is on my bed, where I am right now.

But I realize that I need to be strong and healthy to enjoy my life, and I do want to enjoy my life.

So I've been exercising at the gym.  Quite regularly, I must say.

This past week I even attended several of the free exercise classes.  I started with a class that didn't sound TOO challenging.  I was wrong.  It was quite challenging.  I kept looking at the other older participants, but nobody seemed to want to look at me and exchange mutual eye rolling.

We needed a stability ball, 3 sets of dumbbells, a foam roller, and an exercise mat.  What a relief it was when we finally laid down on the mats.  I had taken my hair out of a ponytail, because it's hard to lay back on a ponytail.  I forgot that my hair has gotten quite long.  As per the instructions of the teacher, my legs were stretched into a pretzel position when I realized I could not raise my head, having pinned it to the floor by lying on my hair.  I tried to roll a little to the side but the leg pretzel prevented that.  Sheesh.  I guess this is the kind of thing fitness gurus think of before they lie down.

Finally the legs were undone and we were told to put the foam roller under our necks to stretch them.  I thought, oh, this is going to feel good, leaning back onto the roller.  The little foam log slipped on my hair and rolled toward the other people on their mats, all ready to relax.  I had to jump up and chase it maybe ten feet further into the room.

A little embarrassing.  But I had the presence of mind to remind myself that I was not there to impress anyone, and I WAS getting exercise.

The small success?  I even tried another class this week!

And tonight I will be seeing a wonderful musical production of "The Music Man" with my daughter Mary.

There are some things we really must make time for.

We Must Obey God Rather Than Men

The antipathy of the current administration to all things Christian makes todays readings and commentary particularly appropriate. (See yesterday's post.)

The first reading, Acts 5:27-33, describes the questioning of the Apostles by the Sanhedrin. They say, "We gave you strict orders, did we not, to stop teaching in that name?" To which the Apostles respond, "We must obey God rather than men."

And from the Gospel, John 3:31-36, "The ONE WHO comes from above is above all." Amen.

I can't say enough good things about the series In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez. (Not to be confused with another title, Conversations with God, which I do NOT recommend.) Fernandez' series is like daily spiritual direction based on the reading of the day.  It's WONDERFUL!!!  It's orthodox, insightful, and intelligent.  I've never been disappointed with a single day's meditation.

Today's Commentary is from Volume Two: Lent and Eastertide.

Fernandez writes:
     The fortitude and conviction of the first Christians is what Our Lord is also asking from his followers today, when, in certain environments, there breathes a climate of indifference or even direct attack, more or less veiled, on true human and Christian values.
This volume was first published in 1987. Today the attacks are unveiled and even come from our own government. (See yesterday's post.)
     The effective protection of fundamental individual rights, the right to life from the very moment of conception, the protection of marriage and the family, equality of opportunities in education and in work, freedom of education and of speech, religious freedom, personal security, contribution to world peace, all form part of the common good for which Christians should be prepared to fight.
     Passivity in the face of such important affairs would really be a lamentable error and omission-- at times grave-- of the duty to contribute to the common good.
Well.... that got my attention.  He goes on...
     One cannot praise a political action or social regulation or work of art when it becomes transformed into an instrument for evil.  It is a question of strict morality and therefore of common sense.  Who would praise an insult to his own mother just because it was composed in verse which had perfect rhythm?
Indeed.  In reference to abortion and other "abominable crimes," Fernandez writes:
Whatever little each person is able to do, he should do it, especially should he be in public life....It lies in the hands of everybody, of each individual, provided he acts with supernatural outlook and with common sense, to make this world which God has given us to live in, into a more human place and a means of sanctification.  If we strive to fulfill our social duties, whether we live in a big city or in a little out-of-the-way village, with an important job in society or a lowly one, even though we may think our contribution is tiny, we shall be faithful to Our Lord.
We must speak the truth courageously, send the emails, make the phone calls, sign the petitions, and pray, pray, pray.

Come Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Is the President Anti-Christian?

As Christians we must guard against the temptation to judge others and to assign motives to people for questionable actions.  We can’t know the content of another’s heart, nor what is driving them to behave in a particular way.

That being said, public officials must be held to a high level of accountability to the citizens who elected them, the president of the Unites States perhaps more so than any other elected official. He has unmatched power, influence, and responsibility.

While we cannot know the president’s heart nor calculate his culpability, his accumulated words and actions have a decidedly anti-Christian flavor.  At this point, I don’t think his antipathy can be denied or ignored any longer.

During the government shutdown military chaplains were prohibited from saying Mass and ministering to the troops.  Why? And since that time there have been numerous limitations placed on the speech and actions of military chaplains and many infringements placed on their  freedoms of religion and of speech.  What could possibly explain such antagonistic actions?

In 2013 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under this administration sued a trucking company for failing to accommodate Muslim drivers who did not want to deliver alcohol.  And yet no such support is given to Christian bakers and photographers for their religious objections to participating in gay weddings.  In fact, they are only treated with scorn and insults.

When speaking at Georgetown University the president asked that the crucifix and IHS symbol behind his podium be removed.  Yes, the reason given was that they wanted a neutral background. My question is why was a neutral background needed?  

And then there is the Affordable Care Act.

Cardinal Dolan said the following in 2013 when the HHS mandate was first introduced:
Over the last six months or so the Catholic Church in the United States has found itself in some tension with the executive branch of the federal government over a grave issue: religious freedom…Can a government bureau, in this case the Department of Health and Human Services define for us or any faith community what is ministry and how it is exercised? Can government also coerce the church to violate its conscience? 
The president first assured Cardinal Dolan that he considered the “protection of conscience a sacred duty,” and then left the freedom violating mandates in place.

The administration went on to inform Cardinal Dolan that, in Cardinal Dolan’s words, “the broader concerns of religious freedom—that is, revisiting the straight-jacketing mandates, or broadening the maligned exemption—are all off the table.”

Why is this happening?  At a minimum it would appear that the president has no respect for the Catholic Church or for religious freedom.  How could anyone be so committed to offering free contraception, abortifacients and sterilization to the American people as to be willing to alienate the U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops, the Catholic population, as well as many, many evangelicals?  Why would those things be so important? Clearly, this is the most anti-life president we have ever had—by far.  And he holds more than a little antipathy toward Catholics in particular.

At the National Prayer Breakfast he minimized the atrocities of ISIS by comparing them to the “terrible deeds” committed during the Crusades and the Inquisition “in the name of Christ.” He went on to blame Jim Crow laws on Christians.  (Never mind, Mr. President, that the Crusades were fought against Muslim aggression and that Jim Crow laws could never be justified by Christian teaching.) Christians all over the Middle East are being martyred for their faith and our president chose to criticize Christianity at the National Prayer Breakfast. Virginia governor Jim Gilmore said of the president’s words, “The president’s remarks at the prayer breakfast are the most offensive I’ve heard a president make in my lifetime.”  Indeed, in anyone’s lifetime.

And at the Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House the president said, “On Easter I do reflect on the fact that as a Christian, I am supposed to love.  And I have to say that sometimes when I listen to less than loving expressions by Christians, I get concerned.  But that’s a topic for another day.”  This statement was greeted with laughter.

Keep in mind that the above statement was made on the highest holy day of the year for Christians and just days after a terrorist attack in Kenya by Islamist terrorists where 147 Christians were killed specifically for their faith.  These martyrs were not even mentioned in the Easter Prayer Breakfast remarks. And on the day of the Kenyan attack, the president did not even say that these people were specifically killed because they were Christians.

President Obama claims that he is a Christian.  Frankly, I don’t know how that could be. He seems to use every opportunity he has to belittle Christians, and his policies have consistently shown hostility to the Christian faith.

We have whispered and thought this for years now.  It’s time to hold the president accountable by naming this antipathy for what it is—anti-Christian hostility. Sign the petitions, write the letters to the editor, ask the prospective presidential candidates what they think of the president’s words and actions and how they stand on religious freedom. Ask how their policies differ from the president’s.  Take every opportunity you are given to defend the faith and to point out that the president is failing in his solemn obligation to defend the Constitution of the United States—that Constitution that very specifically guarantees religious freedom.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Daniel Henninger tells it like is in "The Incredible Obama Doctrine."

Daniel Henninger has written a great opinion piece in today's Wall Street Journal, "The Incredible Obama Doctrine."

Here is a snippet:
     Mr. Obama then offered an example of how this would work-- U.S. support for Israel: "What we will be doing even as we enter into this deal is sending a very clear message to the Iranians and to the entire region that if anybody messes with Israel, America will be there."
     This statement, and indeed the Obama Doctrine is a hoax.
     Set aside that "messes with Israel" and "America will be there" are phrases with no real operational meaning.
     "American will be there" could mean that if someone set off a nuclear backpack bomb in Tel Aviv, where the Obama administration would be the next day is on New York's east side, condemning the attack in a U.N. Security Council resolution.
     Any American foreign policy doctrine needs interpretive wiggle room for the commander in chief. But anyone would assume that the phrase "America will be there" refers to the deployment of what Mr. Obama invokes as "our military superiority."
     Unless it doesn't.
     In the case of the Obama presidency, it doesn't.  There is next to no chance that this president under any circumstance-- and that would include China's invasion of Taiwan-- will use the U.S. military on the scale he implies here......
He goes on to say:
Put it this way: Any conceivable Democratic presidential candidate would associate with Teddy Roosevelt's foundational dictum-- Speak softly and carry a big stick.  That sounds like the Obama doctrine, or what Hilary Clinton and progressive foreign-policy pundits call "smart" power.  But the reality of modern democratic foreign policy is-- Speak softly and claim to carry a big stick, which you have no intention of ever using.
Hopefully, you can read the entire article HERE.

For those who would argue that of course he would use the full force of the American military if necessary, I would ask where is the evidence?  He has drawn red lines and then ignored them. Deadlines are not even deadlines for this president. In my humble opinion, he is weak, indecisive, passive to a fault, and an extremely dangerous president for America to have in these chaotic and violent times.