Friday, June 26, 2015

The Supreme Court Decides....That They Get To Decide.

The enormity of today's Supreme Court decision is such that I can barely think, but I'm going to give it a try.

The Supreme Court has invented yet another Constitutional right just as they did in Roe v. Wade and many other cases since. These inventions make a mockery of the Constitution and the separation of powers it requires. Only Congress has the authority to make laws and yet the Supreme Court has repeatedly taken that authority unto themselves.

As Justice Scalia said in his dissent:
Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. The opinion in these cases is the furthest extension in fact— and the furthest extension one can even imagine—of the Court’s claimed power to create “liberties” that the Constitution and its Amendments neglect to mention. This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.
There is no "right" in the Constitution for people of the same sex to marry. It isn't there. The justices have made it up. Americans should be outraged that 5 justices would take it upon themselves to redefine an institution that has been the basis of human society for millennia. But, hey, they know better. This ruling is an insult to freedom.
Scalia goes on:
But the Court ends this debate, in an opinion lacking even a thin veneer of law. Buried beneath the mummeries and straining-to-be-memorable passages of the opinion is a candid and startling assertion: No matter what it was the People ratified, the Fourteenth Amendment protects those rights that the Judiciary, in its “reasoned judgment,” thinks the Fourteenth Amendment ought to protect.13
In other words, this decision actually asserts that the Supreme Court gets to decide laws.

Again from Justice Scalia, (the voice of reason):
This is a naked judicial claim to legislative—indeed, super-legislative—power; a claim fundamentally at odds with our system of government. Except as limited by a constitutional prohibition agreed to by the People, the States are free to adopt whatever laws they like, even those that offend the esteemed Justices’ “reasoned judgment.” A system of government that makes the People subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy......
SCALIA, J., dissenting every State violated the Constitution for all of the 135 years between the Fourteenth Amendment’s ratification and Massachusetts’ permitting of same-sex marriages in 2003.20 They have discovered in the Fourteenth Amendment a “fundamental right” overlooked by every person alive at the time of ratification, and almost everyone else in the time since. They see what lesser legal minds— minds like Thomas Cooley, John Marshall Harlan, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Learned Hand, Louis Brandeis, William Howard Taft, Benjamin Cardozo, Hugo Black, Felix Frankfurter, Robert Jackson, and Henry Friendly— could not. They are certain that the People ratified the Fourteenth Amendment to bestow on them the power to remove questions from the democratic process when that is called for by their “reasoned judgment.” These Justices know that limiting marriage to one man and one woman is contrary to reason; they know that an institution as old as government itself, and accepted by every nation in history until 15 years ago,21 cannot possibly be supported by anything other than ignorance or bigotry. And they are willing to say that any citizen who does not agree with that, who adheres to what was, until 15 years ago, the unanimous judgment of all generations and all societies, stands against the Constitution.

I hope you didn't skip over Justice Scalia's words because they are right on the money.

Today's ruling was an incredible judicial overreach. I'm hoping it will finally lead to a Constitutional amendment limiting the terms of justices, or even better, making the offices elected.

The utter arrogance and judicial overreach of the opinion aside, may I say that I am finding the simplistic platitudes that so characterize the proponents of gay marriage quite tiresome.

Example: "I know gays who love each other. Therefore their relationship and the intimate expression of it should be equated with marriage." (This is not a quote from a particular person. Just how the "logic" goes.) Say, what? They love each other. Heterosexual couples love each other. Therefore they are the same. How on Earth is this conclusion drawn? Love is not the defining element of marriage. I love my dog. I love my children. Marriage is a very specific institution that for millennia has been the bedrock of civilized society. If you want to argue in favor of same-sex marriage convincingly you've got to give me more than this.

I'm sorry. The whole thing is making me sick. May the Lord have mercy on our country for rejecting His authority as the Creator and specifically on the Supreme Court justices who decided the issue was theirs to decide.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Mother's Day 2015

I had a lovely Mother's Day this year. In fact, I believe it was probably the best Mother's Day ever!!  Yes, that good.  I'm only sharing this now because before this I was not at liberty to talk about it.

We had dinner at Zingerman's Roadhouse, one of my very favorite restaurants in Ann Arbor because of the delicious food, the clearly identifiable gluten free dishes, and the capable wait staff who understand that those who cannot eat gluten really CANNOT eat any gluten. I really appreciate how thoughtful and well-informed they are.

My oldest daughter and son-in-law had dinner with us, as well as my two youngest daughters and my son John.
Here I am with Liz..

And here I am with Mary....

And now with John, who we are happy to have back on American soil!

It was starting to be a pretty typical Mother's Day. Great dinner and time with my family.

Then, as I opened gifts, Anne dropped the bombshell. Once someone shows me how to transfer photos from my phone to my computer I will show you my reaction. I completely fell apart.

My last gift was a tiny bag with something made of white cotton all rolled up. I unrolled it to read the words Anne had written on the onesie, "Grandma's Favorite. December 2015"

I'm going to be a grandma!!!!!!!!!!!  I was so filled with joy, so completely overwhelmed that I could barely stop crying.

Here we are. The parents and the grandparents of the tiny baby who will make his/her appearance this December.

We could not be happier. As I said, best Mother's Day ever!!!


Monday, June 22, 2015

Passages of Laudato si' You May Not Hear Mentioned in the Media

There are passages in the Holy Father's most recent encyclical that are not likely to get much media attention. Here are a few that really struck me...

46. The social dimensions of global change include the effects of technological innovations on employment, social exclusion, an inequitable distribution and consumption of energy and other services, social breakdown, increased violence and a rise in new forms of social aggression, drug trafficking, growing drug use by young people, and the loss of identity. These are signs that the growth of the past two centuries has not always led to an integral development and an improvement in the quality of life. Some of these signs are also symptomatic of real social decline, the silent rupture of the bonds of integration and social cohesion.

From Paragraph 47...

 ....Real relationships with others, with all the challenges they entail, now tend to be replaced by a type of internet communication which enables us to choose or eliminate relationships at whim, thus giving rise to a new type of contrived emotion which has more to do with devices and displays than with other people and with nature. Today’s media do enable us to communicate and to share our knowledge and affections. Yet at times they also shield us from direct contact with the pain, the fears and the joys of others and the complexity of their personal experiences. For this reason, we should be concerned that, alongside the exciting possibilities offered by these media, a deep and melancholic dissatisfaction with interpersonal relations, or a harmful sense of isolation, can also arise.

  From Paragraph 49....This is due partly to the fact that many professionals, opinion makers, communications media and centres of power, being located in affluent urban areas, are far removed from the poor, with little direct contact with their problems. They live and reason from the comfortable position of a high level of development and a quality of life well beyond the reach of the majority of the world’s population. This lack of physical contact and encounter, encouraged at times by the disintegration of our cities, can lead to a numbing of conscience and to tendentious analyses which neglect parts of reality. At times this attitude exists side by side with a “green” rhetoric. Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.

From Paragraph 50.... Instead of resolving the problems of the poor and thinking of how the world can be different, some can only propose a reduction in the birth rate. At times, developing countries face forms of international pressure which make economic assistance contingent on certain policies of “reproductive health”....To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues.

75. A spirituality which forgets God as all-powerful and Creator is not acceptable. That is how we end up worshipping earthly powers, or ourselves usurping the place of God, even to the point of claiming an unlimited right to trample his creation underfoot. The best way to restore men and women to their rightful place, putting an end to their claim to absolute dominion over the earth, is to speak once more of the figure of a Father who creates and who alone owns the world. Otherwise, human beings will always try to impose their own laws and interests on reality.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner--What Are We To Make of All This?

I have to say that the entire transgender issue has been quite a mystery to me for a long time.  I've done a lot of reading about it lately. My heart does go out to those people who are suffering in this way. It seems to me that this issue is most likely a psychological issue, rather than biological, but in either case, these are people who are hurting and very distressed. I pray that they can find relief.

What could motivate a person to want to have sex reassignment surgery--something that could quite accurately be described as mutilation of the human body.

It seems to me that the evidence is not really there that gender identity (as something different from biological identity) is in the brain and determined for a person from birth. It is curious, however, the number of people, even children, who are seriously distressed by the gender that their biology says is theirs.

How is gender dysphoria diagnosed? A child needs to have six of the following true to have a gender dysphoria diagnosis. This list is from PsychCentral.

  • repeatedly stated desire to be, or insistence that he or she is, the other sex
  • in boys, preference for cross-dressing or simulating female attire; in girls, insistence on wearing only stereotypical masculine clothing
  • strong and persistent preferences for cross-sex roles in make-believe play or persistent fantasies of being the other sex
  • a strong rejection of typical toys/games typically played by one’s sex.
  • intense desire to participate in the stereotypical games and pastimes of the other sex
  • strong preference for playmates of the other sex
  • a strong dislike of one’s sexual anatomy
  • a strong desire for the primary (e.g., penis, vagina) or secondary (e.g., menstruation) sex characteristics of the other gender
I was shocked to read that six of these items would result in a diagnosis. That's it. There is no blood work that indicates it, no other tests. No brain scan. A girl who wants to wear boy's clothing? Haven't tomboys been around forever? A strong rejection of toys/games typically played by one's sex? These situations are really not that uncommon! And it is estimated that 70-80% of children with gender dysphoria outgrow it.

For adults, Psych Central says "In adolescents and adults, the disturbance is manifested by symptoms such as a stated desire to be the other sex, frequent passing as the other sex, desire to live or be treated as the other sex, or the conviction that he or she has the typical feelings and reactions of the other sex."

It sounds to me that these diagnoses are all about feelings. Feelings are not facts. 

Flooding a body with hormones of the opposite sex is a very drastic measure! Would it not be safer to treat the individual's feelings and help them to accept the gender that they are biologically? Estrogen therapy is carcinogenic, for heaven's sake!

And sex reassignment surgery? Does this surgery really help the problem? Why do transgenders who have had this surgery have a suicide rate that is 20 times higher than others? Twenty times! That's a 2,000 percent increase! Are these people truly being helped?

Regardless of the source of distress for the trangender individual, how could it help to dress as the other sex, take hormones to make you look like the other sex, and have surgery to change your body into some semblance of the other sex? The suicide rate alone seems to indicate that these actions do not help.

Are the trangender's relationships helped by these actions? Are they really given any relief?

Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner said that he used to wear pantyhose under his clothes when having interviews as an Olympic athlete. My thought was what the heck does that prove? Is being a woman about wearing pantyhose?? I hope not! And how would wearing them help him at all? 

I don't want to be insensitive to the pain that Jenner clearly has experienced but wearing women's clothes under yours sounds more like a fetish than any kind of expression of identity.

I think I have to agree with Peter Kreeft when he said, "No empirical psychologist can be a dualist; the evidence for psychosomatic unity is overwhelming. No pervasive feature of either body or soul is insulated from the other; every sound in the soul echoes in the body, and every sound in the body echoes in the soul."

We are who we are. Some men are more typically masculine than others. Some may have characteristics that are more typical of women. Some have preferences that are not typical for their sex. But they are all men. There are all kinds of men. The same is true for women. There are all kinds. Some are typically feminine in every way. Others are not. They are all women.

It seems to me that transgenders are hurting themselves and the people who love them. I pray that they will come to embrace who they truly are and that they will find comfort from what seems like a disordered and inordinate desire to be something they are not. May they be embraced by the love of God!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

This was the view from my kitchen window today.

Later I read the following quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

A little consideration of what takes place around us every day, would show us that a higher law than that of our will, regulates events; that our painful experiences are not necessary. A believing love will relieve us of a vast load of care. Oh, my brothers, God exists!

Yes, God exists! Could such beauty actually occur by accident?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Introducing Foundation Chiropractic

I have long been a believer in chiropractic care.  My father had had serious back problems that even caused him to require bed rest for weeks at a time on one occasion.  He had tried everything and finally saw a chiropractor as a last resort. Well, to make a long story short, the chiropractor cured his back problems.  He never had back pain like that again.   If he had a little pain, he would head for the chiropractor and get if fixed.  He LOVED chiropractic after that and often told his the story of how only a chiropractor had been able to help him.

So when I developed back pain I followed his example and my back is not a problem for me either. When it hurts, I see my chiropractor which brings me to the subject of this post!

My new chiropractor is Dr. Zach Simkins who also happens to be my son-in-law.  Those of you who live in southeastern Michigan should know that he is very skilled, very compassionate, and very knowledgable. My husband does every morning the exercises that Dr. Zach recommended to him and he no longer has back pain, despite having a herniated disk!  Yes!  That's good!!

Dr, Zach adjusted my brother's jaw for TMJ.  He gave him one adjustment and the TMJ was gone. That was two years ago and it has not come back!!

If you're scared to have your back "cracked" talk to him about it. He will listen.

And if you're in pain, well, head on over to his Plymouth Rd. office in Ann Arbor.  Back pain is awful. Don't put up with it.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Think about THESE things....

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things....  Philippians 4:8

The Lord has reminded me of this passage so many times that I realize it must still be something I need to work on.  I have worked on it to be sure, even committing the passage to memory that I might recite it when I find myself doing just the opposite.  The opposite such as chewing on thoughts of how wrong such and such is, or recalling things best forgotten.

Note the use of the imperative.  We are told to think about these things. Yes, we are instructed to think about the good. I don't think this means that we should go about our lives wearing rose colored glasses. No, the Lord would never have us pretend that reality somehow does not include the negative, the tragic, and incidents of injustice or unkindness. We must live with our eyes wide open, always ready to evaluate life from the perspective of the Gospel.

But we can choose what we will dwell on in our thoughts. Do we spend more time decrying the action of evil in the world or more time rejoicing in the love of God?

Is it necessary to recall that past offense? Does recalling it serve any purpose or does it just fuel a self-indulgent enjoyment of resentment or indignation?

Does it help us, after recognizing that it exists, to wring our hands over the darkness in our world? Does it bring us any closer to the Lord or increase our faith? Not usually.

What about divulging mistakes that loved ones have made, or even those made by not-so-loved ones?  Even under the guise of a prayer request, this sharing is often not done in love.  (Excluded, of course, are those situations where one needs advice or empathy and, for that purpose, shares with a trusted friend or spouse.)

Hand wringing doesn't help anything. Nor does self-pity.

What about the situation or person who seems utterly hopeless. Note the word any in the passage above. Is there any excellence, is there anything worthy of praise? Sometimes there is not, but often there is some excellence, something worthy of praise.  Does that person who is driving you nuts have some redeeming quality? Is that situation truly completely without hope?

I love Philippians 4:8.  When I find myself drifting toward negativity I purposefully remember this passage and try to obey its instruction. Think about these things.

Yes, think about these things. Because such thoughts will take you to a place that is more loving, more fair, more kind, and so much more peaceful.

May we see and think as God does, embracing his mercy, his compassion, and his all-encompassing love.