Florida Pol: OK to Joke About Bombing Abortion Clinic Amongst Catholics

<a href=”http://www.patheos.com/community/deaconsbench/2011/02/23/florida-pro-life-candidate-jokes-about-abortion-bombing/”>Deacon Greg pointed me to this piece today on a Republican candidate running for mayor of Jacksonville, Florida joked about bombing an abortion clinic.

Mike Hogan, a Republican and member of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, made the statement Monday after attending a candidates forum at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Mandarin.

He was asked by the audience how his views on the sanctity of life would affect his leadership of Jacksonville. Hogan said he looks forward to the day when Roe v. Wade is overturned, and that the only thing he wouldn’t do is bomb an abortion clinic.

He then added with a laugh: “but it may cross my mind.”

Hogan told a reporter afterward the joke was appropriate because “this is a Catholic church. I guarantee you they are 110 percent pro-life.”

Which is exactly why the joke was inappropriate! Being pro-life means that the violence that someone would perform that would take the lives of another are just as important as the child in its mother’s womb.

But people who want to score a political point don’t really care about consistency–they just want a cheap laugh.

Once again, it’s Catholics that end up looking bad alongside this guy. Why? Because most people outside the church would believe that this IS the position of the church. Many believe that Catholics would encourage this type of behavior.

And yet, the majority of people I know in the Pro-life movement have said nothing.

So here’s a newsflash, Mr. Wanna Be Mayor: You’re not a pro-lifer. You’re a republican politician who’s trying to score Catholic votes and you couldn’t care less about the consistency of the pro-life movement.

Nice try, but I’m not buying.

Should Security Guards Use Tazers?

Shannon Shark over at the Mets Police finds this offensive and I agree.

While the fan as Shannon states is a knucklehead, do we ever talk about tazers as being an inappropriate means of restraint? If we were really pro-life, gun control and the immoral torture practices that exist in the world should also be on the agenda.

What thinkest you?

Today’s Inspiration: The Zimmers: Oldest Band Ever

Anybody feeling old today? You won’t after seeing these videos

From Wikipedia:

The Zimmers are a British band, thought to have the oldest members in the world:[1] the lead singer, Alf, is 90, and the oldest member, Buster, is 102. They take their name from the Zimmer frame (the British name for a walking frame).
The band was created as a feature in a BBC Television documentary, which was first broadcast on 28 May 2007.[2] The feature of forming the band and recording a single was intended to give a voice to the feelings of isolation and imprisonment suffered by the elderly.
The Zimmers’ logo is a parody of The Beatles’ logo, as is the image of them walking across Abbey Road. In September 2008, the band released its first full-length album ‘Lust for Life’, featuring cover versions of songs by Eric Clapton, The Beatles and Frank Sinatra.

Here are just two of their videos:

Pope Presses Obama on Pro-Life Issues


From John Allen at NCR and in my opinion the right way to engage the debate with the President. Thanks to the Pope for taking the lead here.

When President Barack Obama came calling on Pope Benedict XVI today, the two men enjoyed a “truly cordial” encounter, according to a Vatican spokesperson, but at the same time there was no diplomatic silence from the pontiff about their differences over abortion and other “life issues.”

Not only did Benedict press his pro-life case with his words to the president, but he even found a way to make the point with his gift, offering the president a copy of a recent Vatican document on bioethics. According to a Vatican spokesperson, the pope drew a repetition from Obama of his vow to bring down the actual abortion rate.

Beyond the life issues, the Vatican’s statement indicated that Benedict and Obama also found “general agreement” on the Middle East peace process and other regional situations. The two leaders also touched food security, development aid especially for Africa and Latin America, immigration and drug trafficking, according to the statement.
Coming away from the meeting, however, it was hard to escape the impression that Benedict wanted to use it to deliver a clear pro-life message.

Read the rest and then think about the Pope’s actions today. Did he embarrass the President? No. Did he yell at the President and call him a baby killer? No. Did he not show up for the meeting? No.

What did he do? HE ENGAGED THE DEBATE IN A HEALTHY AND CORDIAL MANNER.

My guess is that President Obama will read the book he gave him and start noting it in his plans to reduce abortions bringing us closer together on this issue.

Sotomayor: Pro lifers have something to like about her


President Obama nominated Federal Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court pending congressional approval. Judge Sotomayor would be the first person of hispanic ancestry to rise to the Court. The question of her pro-life record is sketchy as she’s never really decided a case which directly involved abortion rights. But here’s an interesting case:

From Christianity Today

Shortly after President George W. Bush reinstituted the Mexico City Policy (which bars government funds to groups that support or perform abortion), the Center for Reproductive Law & Policy sued.

The pro-choice group’s argument was that the Mexico City Policy unconstitutionally violated rights of speech (since it couldn’t “actively promote” abortion) and association (it couldn’t work with abortion rights advocacy groups overseas) as well as the constitution’s Equal Protection Clause (it wasn’t on “equal footing” with prolife groups in competing for funds).

When the case came before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Sonia Sotomayor (whom President Obama this morning nominated to the Supreme Court) ruled against the Center for Reproductive Law & Policy.

“The Supreme Court has made clear that the government is free to favor the anti-abortion position over the pro-choice position, and can do so with public funds,” Sotomayor wrote.

Sotomayor also has strong bi-partisan support. She was first appointed by President George H.W. Bush (the older, not the moron) to the federal bench and then later was nominated by President Clinton to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. She was involved directly and most famously in upholding the players grievances during the 1994 players strike that led to the cancellation of the World Series.

She’s got an interesting background. From NPR:

Sotomayor grew up in a Bronx housing project after her parents moved to New York from Puerto Rico. She suffered from juvenile diabetes that forced her to start insulin injections at age 8. Her father, a tool-and-die worker, died when she was 9, and Sotomayor was raised by her mother, a nurse.

As a girl, she was inspired by the Perry Mason television show and knew she wanted to be a judge. “I realized that the judge was the most important player in that room,” she said in a 1998 interview.

Sotomayor graduated summa cum laude from Princeton and went to Yale Law School, where she served on the law journal.

I love rooting for people who had to work hard to get where they are. So I hope for an easy confirmation.

More on President Obama and Abortion


So I’ve heard tons of comments online and in person with the new buzzword: President Obama is the biggest pro-abortion President in the history of our country.

Well, that wouldn’t be hard since there’s only 8 to choose from… let’s also remember that in 1973 the President was a Republican.

But let’s also think about something else. President Obama may indeed uphold the right of women to seek abortions, but what he also said yesterday is that nobody makes those decisions lightly. And that’s where we as Catholics come in.

At some point, a woman makes a choice to abort, it’s that window where we have an opportunity to present other options despite the fact that the law tells her that she can just kill her baby growing in the womb. Are those options presented to her in ways that don’t place undo pressure on her? Do they seem overly coercive or do they seem like sincere care and love? I fear that most often alternatives are presented as the former and not the latter.

President Obama, however short-sighted his view on the law may be, did have one very valuable point that we need to listen to:

“Let’s work together to reduce the number of abortions.”

Think about what that statement says:

Women have other choices than abortion, better choices. They just think that they can’t choose them for whatever reason. The main one is that they feel they have no support. The issue here is that Republicans most often think that these women should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, from their family or from the church rather than get help from the government. They think women will abuse the system and get pregnant to get more welfare money.

Fair enough. Some will most certainly abuse the system, but does that mean we make overarching rules for the exceptions?
Are we really motivated by love when we think that way?

But no matter, welfare is not and can not be the only solution–perhaps not even the main one. What are we doing as Catholics to lobby for the care of women seeking abortion? If President Obama is serious about helping us reduce the number of abortions, then at least we’re on the same page in SOME way. It also means that if we present a plan to put bigger and better pregnancy crisis centers in cities all over the country, we should be able to gain some support from the Obama administration.

The sisters of life are one group I know who does lots. Malta House in Connecticut is another good model. But there aren’t enough of these models out there. Why is every parish in the United States not saying, we’ll go an live in a tent so that these women can bring their children to term? Why is the outreach so minimal when it comes to offering to help these women?

President Obama seems to be saying some magic words to us and instead we are spitting venom back at him with our mantra of “most pro-abortion president”. The magic words are “Let’s work together to help these women not choose abortion to begin with.” If we help them not make the choice to abort at least we’ll save somebody, perhaps more than a majority begin to choose life–then we will be very successful at reducing abortions.

Women who abort despite these efforts are probably going to do it anyway. And if the law was not present they’d still find a way to do it illegally. I think that’s the big fear from the majority of the pro-choice camp. They think that women who can’t be convinced of the moral conviction that we hold dearly, are going to be placed in harm’s way. While we value life in the womb, we also value life outside of the womb and sometimes we will lose one of those battles here. It’s sad but even if the law were repealed, we’d still lose babies and we’d lose a few women along the way as well. Some people remain lost.

But the pro-life camp, of which I consider myself part of, also has its shortsightedness. They have an all or nothing approach. Now obviously our work isn’t done until we eliminate abortion entirely, but shouldn’t we also at least take small victories where we can get them. We seemed to do this with President Bush when he outlawed partial-birth abortion. We didn’t have an all or nothing approach there did we?

So the larger question is: Are President Obama’s efforts not welcome, even though he is much more vocal than previous Presidents about limiting abortion–where other Presidents would merely state that they would not limit a woman’s right to choose. While we may not agree with him that these issues are complex (for us murder is murder in our view), we need to at least acknowledge that he sees some room in working alongside us.

Or we can just parrot back mantras.

The Vitae Monologues

Deacon Greg pointed me to this play:

Has anyone seen it? Offer a review. I think we need to do more things like this and most times unfortunately, these things are simply not well produced or professional but this one looks pretty good to me in the video.

Any thoughts from the crowd?

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Notre Dame responds to Glendon rejection


With a big hat tip to American Papist

Statement by Father John Jenkins on the Laetare Medal

The following statement from Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of the University of Notre Dame, is in response to the decision by Mary Ann Glendon to decline acceptance of the University’s Laetare Medal:

“We are, of course, disappointed that Professor Glendon has made this decision. It is our intention to award the Laetare Medal to another deserving recipient, and we will make that announcement as soon as possible.” (University of Notre Dame Office of News & Information)

Pssst…Archbishop Sheehan and Bill Richardson…show the world that Catholics can indeed work with Pro-choice politicians.

As the Papist rightly mentions, I would like to see the Preisdent engage Ms. Glendon in some kind of dialogue.

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Obama and Notre Dame Insanity Continues


The lack of journalistic integrity in headlines at the Cardinal Newman Society is astounding. Their headline reads:

Notre Dame President refuses dialogue with students on Obama invitation.

But a quick perusal of their own stupid press release shows that this is hardly true.

The leaders of ND Response, a broad coalition of Notre Dame student groups founded to express the “deepest opposition” to the invitation to President Obama to speak at commencement, informed The Cardinal Newman Society that they wrote a letter to Father Jenkins confirming their interest in discussing concerns with him. The students expressed hesitancy at accepting the limited closed-door meeting which was at first suggested by Father Jenkins. They instead proposed to allow all student members of ND Response to attend.

Perhaps the headline should be:

Pro-lifers blow chance to influence University President because of their own arrogance. Although admittedly that’s a bit long–albeit more accurate.

It’s a simple algorithm. When people have disagreements they argue (in the best sense of that word) together about it. They do so with charity and civility.

The unborn are not being served by the arrogance of people who would rather host a side-show in which they can gang up on a University President, than to have an actual civil discussion of the issues.

Here’s the main story: If these people can’t even get a meeting with Notre Dame’s President because he views them as either extremists, or at minimum uncharitable and unable to have a half-way decent discussion, then what shot do they have in gaining the ear of the President of the United States or for that matter, with anyone who disagrees with them?

My second point on this:
Would they be making similar objections to a pro-choice republican? Patrick Reilly the proported head of the Cardinal Newman Society sheepishly admitted that George W. Bush also shouldn’t be invited to Notre Dame not that long ago–and then clammed up when he was invited to a lesser known Catholic institution as Joe Feuerhard pointed out in NCR:

In 2005 I pointed out to Reilly that should Bush be invited to speak at a Catholic campus, the Society would be compelled to outrage. “Bush, you see, supports embryonic stem cell research, though his policies limit it to existing stem cell lines,” I wrote. “That’s a position directly counter to church teaching.

“Similarly, despite his anti-abortion record, the president supports exceptions for abortion in cases of rape, incest or where the life of the mother is threatened. That alone should be enough to draw the wrath of the Virginia-based group … ’”

Responded Reilly: “Certainly if his position is opposed to the church on those issues (stem cell research and abortion exceptions),” he would be treated “just like anyone else.”

That, I concluded, was “more than a little hard to believe.”

Two years later, Bush was invited by his old friend and former adviser Jim Towey, president of St. Vincent College in Pennsylvania, to give the commencement address at the small Catholic school.

Not a peep from Reilly – a silence that says more about Reilly and company than all the “outrages” and “scandals” he manufactures and exploits.

Bottom line: Mudslinging is not a gospel value. Learn how to come to the table with love and charity and maybe then you have a chance to influence decisions.

Until then…you’re just another guy at the end of the bar.

The Anchoress on Obama and Fire Breathing Pro-lifers


A hat tip to Deacon Greg and Pajamas Media

For many pro-life Catholics, myself included, the thought of President Obama addressing the upcoming commencement exercises at Notre Dame just scalds.

It scalds, but as my email fills up with angry press releases from various pro-life groups and with appeals to sign anti-Obama petitions, I find all the fire-breathing just a bit scalding, as well.

I understand and support the duty of Catholic bishops to register strong disapproval of the president’s anti-life positions, and I further believe that teaching the truth is always imperative, but Catholic universities have never been intellectual ghettos, offering only narrow exposure to ideas. On the contrary, Catholic universities have been bastions of rigorous debate with the application of reason triumphant over trends, sentiments, or policies. Because I believe that, and because I believe in the rightness of the Catholic position on life and the ability of the Holy Spirit to use surprising people and circumstances to do God’s will, I keep thinking, “Why are the Catholics approaching all of this with outrage and apparent fear, instead of confidence in battle?”

The current administration has famously quipped “never let a good crisis go to waste.” Well, Catholics might take a page from the president’s book and see this situation as less a “crisis” than an opportunity.

Amen, Anchoress! That’s exactly what I’ve been saying–which you’ve said much more eloquently.

Read some more comments from her here

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