The “American Civil Liberties Union” holds itself out as an organization that “For almost 100 years….. has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States.”
The First Amendment to our U.S. Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The First Amendment is First for a reason: the Founders believed that the protections granted by this Amendment were fundamental, primary, and most capable of being abridged. The fact that a majority of Americans no longer care about this right as much as “security”, “safety” or “privacy” does not mean that the First Amendment goes away. In fact, it continues to protect all Americans, and thank God for that.
But rather than do what it says it was founded to do (to wit, preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution…), the ACLU is now suing the federal government to obtain documents regarding the American Catholic Bishop’s refusal to provide contraceptive and abortion services to refugee immigrants who cross the border in to this country.
You scorekeepers will note that while religious liberty is the first specifically enumerated right that was explicitly established by the Bill of Rights, in contrast abortion and contraception are not to be found anywhere in said document. Rather, the notion of these things being “rights” is a legal fiction derived from a manufactured “privacy” right under the 14th Amendment, which prevents the state from interfering with “choice”.
The fact that the ACLU would prioritize a manufactured “right” in favor of an explicitly enumerated one is more proof that we live in the Age of Euphemism.
The title, on Wired.com, is “NSA Doesn’t Need to Spy on Your Calls to Learn Your Secrets“, and is well worth reading in full. Here’s the takeaway:
One way to think about it is that data is content, and metadata is context. Metadata can be much more revealing than data, especially when collected in the aggregate. When you have one person under surveillance, the contents of conversations, text messages, and emails can be more important than the metadata. But when you have an entire population under surveillance, the metadata is far more meaningful, important, and useful. As former NSA General Counsel Stewart Baker said: “Metadata absolutely tells you everything about somebody’s life. If you have enough metadata you don’t really need content.” In 2014, former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden remarked: “We kill people based on metadata.”
Head of Scotland Yard (channelling P.T. Barnum) suggests that homeowners — as sort of a DIY project — should install video cameras for CCTV in their homes. Why? So it can match faces inside dwellings with the 12 million images of “suspects and offenders” in Big Brother’s computer database.
Big Brother orders you to FEEL SAFE!
A group of eight California legislators, Democrats, sent this absurdity to the Archbishop this week. It’s cloaked in euphemism and makes no logical sense. In response, His Excellency sent this, and says:
…would you hire a campaign manager who advocates policies contrary to those that you stand for, and who shows disrespect toward you and the Democratic Party in general? On the other hand, if you knew a brilliant campaign manager who, although a Republican, was willing to work for you and not speak or act in public contrary to you or your party – would you hire such a person? If your answer to the first question is “no,” and to the second question is “yes,” then we are actually in agreement on the principal point in debate here.
Now let’s say that this campaign manager you hired, despite promises to the contrary, starts speaking critically of your party and favorably of your running opponent, and so you decide to fire the person. Would you have done this because you hate all Republicans outright, or because this individual, who happens to be a Republican, violated the trust given to you and acted contrary to your mission? If the latter, then we are again in agreement on this principle.
My point is: I respect your right to employ or not employ whomever you wish to advance your mission. I simply ask the same respect from you.
Exactly. Courageous bishops. We need them, and they need our prayers. And the Archbishop deserves our support and three “Huzzahs” for defending Catholic identity in the most vitriolic and pagan region of the country. He’s holding the line against powerful forces that do not fight clean. They don’t just want to win; they want to destroy. Thanks be to God, for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (who appointed the Archbishop), and for Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.
In just the past week, we’ve seen Islamic terrorists invoking the name of Allah and beheading Christians, burning hostages alive, and issuing promises to invade Rome while burning, raping and pillaging all along the way. In an Op-Ed piece for the LA Times, President Obama writes, matter-of-factly, “we know that many Muslim Americans across our country are worried and afraid.”
You know who else is worried and afraid?
I’m afraid, because in addition to the near-daily stories of violence — perpetrated upon innocents by the likes of ISIS, Boko Haram, Mossad, al Qaeda, et al. — involving acts of cruelty and inhuman torture that sound more like the scenes from an Eli Roth film than real life, the President has manufactured his own reality, in which he can apparently (in earnest) stand behind a podium and say things like this:
I’ll accept that the first Islamic center was opened in New York City in the 1890s. But that’s well over a century since the founding of our nation. I’ll accept that the first mosque was erected in South Dakota in the 1920’s. However, now we’re 150 years since the founding of our nation.
I’m afraid because I do not understand why it is necessary to say these things. Why is it important to perpetuate a fiction about Islam’s place in American history? We don’t pretend that anyone Chinese was a delegate at Independence Hall. We don’t make up stuff about regiments of Hindus at the Battles of Concord or Lexington. No one sane has ever plunked an Essene in the Lewis and Clark expedition.
That sound — those words — it’s all Newspeak. More than anything else, more than any terrorist attack, my fear, the thing that keeps me awake at night, is that the truth has become fungible, and is now entirely at the service of ideology.
The reality distortion field is on, because while there were Catholics, Protestants, Universalists, Pantheists, Jews, and possibly even a few atheists or agnostics, at the founding of the United States, it entirely stretches beyond credulity to suggest that Islam has been part of the American fabric since its founding.
Unless President Obama means this, in which case, I agree with him.
This weekend, while there was much talk of the mainstreaming of pornography with the Valentine’s Day release of Fifty Shades of Grey, and making comparisons to the box office opening of the Passion of the Christ (“Hey, here’s an idea: let’s have some fun with the numbers of crazy Christian evangelicals versus numbers of BDSM wannabes!”), there were also stark, troubling things going on the world.
We are distracted. 50 Shades, the Super Bowl, the Grammys, basically everything found in People Magazine, these are all things devised to divert our attention and blur our focus. While the ‘mainstream’ is enticed by normalizing sexual fetish, while we see another national broadcast with another interchangeable pop star gyrating amidst demon horns and hellfire (just like the year before) — and call it entertainment — we are being desensitized.
This is satanic stratagem. As we lose ourselves to these things, as our awareness of our innate human dignity erodes, we are not terribly surprised by the other horrors taking place elsewhere in the world. But we — through our comforts and fallen pleasures — become more avaricious to the sufferings of the poor and oppressed. It’s part of the Devil’s plan, and it is working masterfully.
In Copenhagen, there were more jihadist shootings. A man was killed at a panel discussion about free speech and Islam. Later, a Jewish man was attacked and killed outside a synagogue. The Prime Minister of Israel is suggesting that Jews who reside in Europe should emigrate to Israel, because anti-semitism is on the rise in the west.
In Libya, a group connected to ISIS beheaded 21 Coptic Christians from Egypt who were previously kidnapped. Libya is geographically close to Europe. This ISIS group announced its action by releasing a 5-minute video showing the brutal killings, which they titled “A Message Signed With Blood To The Nation Of The Cross.”
A jihadist in the video proclaims, “Today, we are on the south of Rome, on the land of Islam, Libya, sending another message…..” As the beheadings begin on the video, the narrator continued, “…..we will conquer Rome, by Allah’s permission, the promise of our Prophet, peace be upon him…..” Pope Francis said of the Christian martyrs that “Their blood confesses Christ.”
Our President would have us think that these things are comparable to the actions of Christians during the Crusades, or Inquisition.
In the Netherlands, where euthanasia has gained acceptance, as many as 1 in 33 people have died this way over the past decade, including 650 babies who are being killed each year, “so that their parents don’t have to witness them struggle with disability or disease.”
Belgium is possibly the most secularized of European states. It also has the highest number of Islamic terrorists per capita who have gone to fight in Syria and Iraq. There are also 6 suicides every day there. That’s 20 per 100,000 people, a third higher than the world average, and the leading cause of mortality for persons aged 25-44.
And it’s the end of Catholicism in Belgium, which is just a few steps ahead of the rest of Europe. “In Brussels today only 7.2 percent of marriages are Catholic, only 14.8 percent of children are baptized, and there only 22.6 percent of funerals were Catholic.”
What are the apparent lessons from this? Distraction is not happiness. Pleasure is not joy. Comfort is not salvation. As Catholics, we must consider whether indulging in television, dirty books, pornography, music that glorifies the demonic, gossip about others, and idolizing celebrity and mammon is possible while maintaining our spiritual identity and proximity to the foot of the Lord.
We are being set up. Most of us, even if we are drawn into certain distractions of the world, would prefer to avoid the final destination.
Do we approach worldly things with a spirit of detachment? Are we attached to GMA, Oprah, Katy Perry, Ellen, social media, or whatever? Are we approaching these things with a God-driven purpose, as proclaimers of the good news? “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33). I think that the more we indulge the things of the world, the less possible it is to know and follow Jesus, and the less we even know how to pray the way God wishes.
Lent begins on Wednesday. Let’s begin it the way God wants. Go to Mass. Don’t just drive-by for ashes on your forehead. Be joyfully obedient regarding fasting and abstinence from meat. Incorporate fasting, prayer and almsgiving into your Lenten practice. Try Stations of the Cross. Pray the rosary. Do penance. Offer up your sufferings for the sufferings of those beset with violence. Pray for peace. These things will draw anyone closer to Christ.
Uhh, Mr. President, when did George Washington make booze in the White House, exactly? Was it during the time that he served as the first President of the United States (1789-1797)?
That would have been tough for President Washington, because the White House wasn’t yet built.
Perhaps it was when George Washington visited our nation’s second President, John Adams, at the White House.
Except that would be a problem too, since Washington died in 1799, and the White House wasn’t completed or occupied until November 1800.
Maybe accuracy in presidential beer history isn’t altogether important, but I’m a bit surprised our current President doesn’t seem to know the history of the house he currently occupies. Heck, all he had to do was check his own website.
And the President also said, simply, “We make beer.” I was not aware that the President was involved in the process. He must make use of the “imperial we,” for effect. Presidents do that a lot these days, it seems.
For the record, having someone who makes beer for you is not making beer. Nor, is drinking beer that someone makes for you making beer. Rather, the taxpayer-provided staff that attend to Mr. Obama actually make the beer. C’mon, Mr. President, give credit where it’s due, please. [Naturally, I’m snarky about who makes the beer. I wonder why.] I hope that (for the sake of White House kitchen staff morale) “we” don’t also “do the cooking” for state dinners.
Compare and contrast with George Washington, who truly brewed his own beer and distilled his own spirits. The New York Public Library houses a collection of manuscripts which include one of Washington’s own hand-written recipes for beer:
To make Small Beer
Take a large Sifter full of Bran Hops to your Taste. “” Boil these 3 hours. Then strain out 30 Gallons into a Cooler, put in 3 Gallons Molasses while the Beer is scalding hot or rather drain the molasses into the Cooler & strain the Beer on it while boiling Hot. Let this stand till it is little more than Blood warm. Then put in a quart of Yeast if the weather is very cold, cover it over with a Blanket & let it work in the Cooler 24 hours. Then put it into the Cask “” leave the Bung[hole] open till it is almost done working “” Bottle it that day Week it was Brewed.
Or, as it is known in the Quartermaster’s house (since the Quartermaster is not a watching sports on television fan), the Electoral Super Bowl, the Democratic Republic Olympics, the American Political World Series.
Since the television is never on for sports, Mrs. Q doesn’t get to do the long-suffering-wife-of-a-sports-aholic-routine where she vacuums in front of the tv and displays irritated body language and mutters “stupid Sports on tv” while man and boy blissfully stare away at high-definition astroturf glory.
Instead, it’s “Politics” (said with an eyeroll). “How dumb.”