Category Archives: Culture

Cool Hunting Friday v 3.0

Aston Martin DB5 in Skyfall
Good to know.

10. 3D-Printed Aston Martin
Though the story called for a precious 1960 Aston Martin DB5 to be decimated, producers of “Skyfall,” the latest Bond installment, saved the rare icon by combining 3D printing with creative modeling. Propshop Modelmakers Ltd. employed a Voxeljet VX4000 large-scale printer to produce a series of model DB5s, which were built on a one-third scale out of 18 components.

South Carolina clarifies disassociation from TEC

From the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, a statement written by the Rev. Canon Dr. Kendall Harmon, theologian for the diocese [boldface is mine]:

The Episcopal Church (TEC) has made an attack against our Bishop and Diocese, in the midst of efforts for a negotiated settlement, which has fundamentally changed our common life. You may have heard or read about this over the last week but it is vital today that we all understand what has occurred and what it means as clearly as possible.

For many years the diocese of South Carolina has opposed the primary theological direction of the national Episcopal Church (TEC). As TEC leadership has moved away from the claim of Jesus’ uniqueness, the authority of Holy Scripture, the meaning of marriage and the nature of what it means to be human, we have had to be more steadfast in our defense of these truths, and more vocal and strong in our opposition to TEC’s disavowal of them.

In the past few years this conflict has escalated to the point where in 2011 charges were brought against Bishop Lawrence (and later voted down in Committee), and where the 2012 General Convention placed an unbiblical doctrine of humanity into the Canons of the Church. The doctrine, discipline and worship of TEC were all fundamentally changed in a fashion most of our clergy cannot and will not comply with. Bishop Lawrence and a majority of our deputation left the Convention before it concluded as a result.

Ever mindful of protecting the Diocese and its parishes, its leadership had in place resolutions which would become effective upon any action by TEC. As a result of TEC’s attack against our Bishop, the Diocese of South Carolina is disassociated from TEC; that is, its accession to the TEC Constitution and its membership in TEC have been withdrawn.

On Monday of this past week, the Bishop and the Diocese learned that the attack had taken place. The Diocese of South Carolina is no longer part of TEC as a result of TEC’s actions. We will now have a special Diocesan Convention on November 17th to iron out the necessary changes to our Canons and Constitution, and begin to discern the best way forward into a new Anglican future. We are all now in the valley of decision, whether we have desired it or not. That reality was not within our control.

We are still the Diocese of South Carolina, holding the faith of the apostles which was handed down to us. This radical step was taken to protect our parishes and their gospel witness. We believe that though the future has much that is unknown, the God who has faithfully led us by his grace to this point will take us where he wants us to go.

We encourage you to pray for the Bishop, Standing Committee, and diocese in a focused way between now and the special Convention. Please read the diocesan website, and the documents it provides, as carefully as possible. Because the situation is so unusual, we know there will be many questions. Please take them to your parish leaders and, if you wish, to members of the diocesan staff or Standing Committee so that we all may be as clear as we can about what has transpired.

To him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we can ask or imagine, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be all glory now and forever. Amen.

Check it out.

The rise of childless Americans

The future belongs to those who show up.

Where does that leave us today? With one final, scary thought. What if our new reality—the fact that a fifth of Americans no longer bother to have children at all—exerts its own pull on our demographics? There’s some data from Europe and the Far East to suggest that once a critical mass of people choose to remain childless, their example influences young adults and alters their behaviors and expectations. To give you just one example, Germany has had a higher degree of childlessness than America, and for a longer time. In a 2006 survey of fertility aspirations, 23 percent of German men said that having no children was the ideal form of family life. Think about that for a moment. And now think about what it means for a civilization to have a quarter of its men not interested in having any children at all.

It calls to mind a deeply profound point from Christopher Caldwell’s recent profile of Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán. Confronting his country’s demographic crisis, Orbán said:

Demography is the key factor. If you are not able to maintain yourself biologically, how do you expect to maintain yourself economically, politically, and militarily?” he asks. “It’s impossible. The answer of letting people from other countries come in …that could be an economic solution, but it’s not a solution of your real sickness, that you are not able to maintain your own civilization.

The reason we care about fertility numbers and demographics is because this—our civilization—is exactly what’s at stake.

Bishop Martins of Springfield in support of Bishop Lawrence

Episcopal Diocese of Springfield
From Bishop Dan Martins of the Episcopal Diocese of Springfield, in response to actions taken against Bishop Mark Lawrence of South Carolina by the national church:

Many of you have heard the sad news that broke yesterday about the Diocese of South Carolina. Bishop Mark Lawrence was informed via telephone call from the Presiding Bishop that the Disciplinary Board for Bishops has certified his “abandonment” of the Episcopal Church by supporting actions his diocese has taken that allegedly undermine a presumed obligation to acknowledge the hierarchical authority of General Convention and the Presiding Bishop. Under the canons, the automatic result of this finding is that Bishop Lawrence is “restricted” from exercising the authority of the ministry to which he has been ordained, and a special meeting of the House of Bishops will be convened to adjudicate the matter and, if a majority agree with the Disciplinary Board, to permanently depose Bishop Lawrence from the ministry of the Episcopal Church, declaring the office of Bishop of South Carolina to be vacant.

As a result of this development, the Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina has announced its intention to ask a special convention of the diocese to approve its disaffiliation from the Episcopal Church. One can plausibly assume that Bishop Lawrence and the great majority of clergy and laity in the diocese have no intention of honoring the “restricted” status of his ministry. As for how the diocese will attempt to maintain a connection to the Anglican Communion, that can only be a matter of conjecture at this point.

Of course, we know from the experience of recent years roughly how the scenario will play out: the Presiding Bishop will convene an extraordinary “convention” of “loyal Episcopalians” from within the diocese, which will announce that it is the legitimate continuing Diocese of South Carolina, and choose a Provisional Bishop. Then that bishop and diocese, along with attorneys representing the Presiding Bishop, will spend millions of dollars suing in secular courts to recover control of church buildings and financial assets. To this point, the reorganized dioceses and the Presiding Bishop have been generally successful in their legal efforts (though important cases in Texas and California remain undecided). However, there is already a history in South Carolina that heavily favors those who will continue to actually occupy those properties.

This is a very serious, and a very disturbing, turn of events. Bishop Lawrence is a longtime personal friend, and a man whose intellect, love for our Lord, and passion for the gospel is without peer. While I am not fully on board with the some of the positions taken and decisions made by the conventions of the Diocese of South Carolina, and while I could find reasons to criticize the tone of much of the rhetoric coming from their direction, I am in essential theological sympathy with the witness made by that diocese as it has attempted to remain faithful to historic Anglican–which is to say, historic Episcopalian–faith and practice in a time when the majority in our church appear to be turning away from that tradition. More to the point, it strains every notion of common sense to apply the charge of “abandonment” in this case. This is a provision that is in canons to make it expeditious to deal with a priest or bishop who has openly decamped to another ecclesial body, or none; a cleric who stops showing up for meetings, stops worshiping as an Episcopalian, and disavows any association with the Episcopal Church. By contrast, since I became a bishop in March of last year, Mark Lawrence has attended every meeting of the House of Bishops except one, which a great many bishops also missed because it was held in Ecuador. He was present at General Convention. He has continued to lead a diocese that uses the Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer in its worship. He has abandoned nothing, and to accuse him of doing so is ludicrous on its face.

There is much more that needs to be said, and many more implications of these events that deserve to be unpacked. I am in consultation with colleague bishops from the fellowship known as Communion Partners. I am not in possession of all the relevant facts, but am working to get them. The situation merits deep reflection and earnest prayer. The greatest tragedy, of course, is the discordant witness this makes to a broken world hungry for good news. We rightly shed tears of sorrow, begging for the grace of repentance and amendment of our common life. Lord, have mercy.

South Carolina fires back. . .

Episcopal Diocese of South CarolinaThe Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina responds to the allegations by the national church against Bishop Mark Lawrence:

Anglicans have been worshiping in South Carolina since its establishment as a British Colony. From the beginning, they have defended and upheld the doctrine, discipline and worship of the faithful generations who came before them. That freedom is now under direct assault.

As a founding Diocese of the Episcopal Church, we have taken steps in recent years to defend our freedom of worship and order of gathering. On Monday of this week (October 15), the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence (14th Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina) was informed by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church that a disciplinary board had certified that he was guilty of abandonment of the communion of the church – that he had, in effect, by his words and actions, left the church. We believe that these actions of the Episcopal Church are both invalid under the Constitution of the Episcopal Church of this Diocese and violations of rights and freedoms which all Americans hold dear. We emphatically reject them, as well as the attempted restriction upon the ministry of our Bishop.

An Assault on the Bishop

This action is a deplorable assault upon the Bishop of this Diocese. The attack came in the midst of negotiations whose stated intent was to find a peaceful solution to our differences with the Episcopal Church. It involved a process in which there was no prior notice of the proceedings, no notice of the charges against him nor any opportunity to face the local accusers (who remained anonymous until today).

Also deeply concerning is the fact that all of the stated reasons for “abandonment” were known nearly a year ago, when an earlier attempt to remove him failed. This second attempt is double jeopardy of the most egregious sort and is contrary to the very canons they have used. Worst of all, canons that were originally meant for the removal of clergy who had well and truly “left” the church are now being used to purge a Bishop who has diligently sought to keep his Diocese both intact and within the Episcopal Church.

An Assault on the Diocese

These actions, however, are not just an attack upon Bishop Lawrence. They also represent an assault on this Diocese and its congregations. Two of the three actions that the Episcopal Church claims prove his abandonment are in fact actions of the Diocesan Convention. These were actions of the entire Diocese, all its parishes and missions, expressing together in duly elected convention what they needed to remain in the communion of this denomination. In effect, the Episcopal Church has said it does not care what the parishioners of this Diocese, who are its sole supporters, have to say about their own future. The final action for which the Episcopal Church claims Bishop Lawrence was found guilty was for confirming, by the release of quit claim deeds, that our congregations own their own property.

Abandoned

Bishop Lawrence’s actions have been taken to protect the integrity of the Diocese and its parishes. In the exercise of his freedom of speech, he has stated his personal good faith beliefs concerning the theology and polity of this Diocese. The parishes of this Diocese have repeatedly joined him in expressing those same beliefs. The actions taken by the Episcopal Church make it clear that such freedom of expression is intolerable to them. It is this Diocese and its Bishop who have been abandoned; left behind by a denomination that has chosen a radically different path from that of its founders. For that reason, we have disassociated ourselves from the Episcopal Church and will meet again in Convention on November 17th to consider further responses to these actions by the denomination we helped found. By God’s grace, we look forward to many more generations freely exercising the faith first brought to these shores so many generations before us.

South Carolina’s special convention will be held Saturday, November 17, to respond to TEC’s action against +Lawrence and to include any “relevant constitutional and/or canonical changes”  at St. Philip’s Church with registration from 8:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. The Call to Convention will be at 10:00 a.m.

Also, check out AnglicanTV and Anglican Ink for past interviews with Bishop Lawrence (as well as lots of other good stuff).

TEC: When the day of evil comes

Way back in the day (2006 to 2008, to be exact), I had the blog innocent as doves. My purpose there was to cover “traditional Anglican worship in San Diego, Southern California, and around the world, as well as any other subjects that happen to catch my interest.” It was great fun to write and included numerous interviews I did for Anglican TV with various Anglican and Episcopal clergy.

But the end result of my taking my Christian faith seriously was that my family ended up leaving the Episcopal Church. I outlined our journey in six posts:

I mention this as part of a eulogy for The Episcopal Church in the United States. TEC, having now “slipped the surly bonds” of any recognizable biblical comprehension with the actions of its just completed 77th General Convention, is now adrift in cultural relativism and unmoored from biblical understanding. I can see no way in which it can remain part of the “one holy catholic and apostolic” Church after these actions.

Pseudo-theology and political entanglements result in there being no there there. So the number of church members will continue to decline, the empty churches will continue to soak up financial resources, the litigation against those trying to escape the skewed theology will continue to offer a picture of unchristian behavior by church leaders. Only a few dioceses (the Diocese of South Carolina, I hope, being one) will continue to preach and praise the traditional Christian faith, and those dioceses are only safe until they need to call a new bishop–when that happens, all bets are off.

(Yes, I did change the picture here from earlier–this image seems much more appropriate.)

For all of those staying in the Episcopal Church as a witness against the heresy and unbelief found there, St. Paul offers his wisdom on relying on the Lord:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
(Ephesians 6:10-17)

N.C. catholic bishops on the Marriage Protection vote

Marriage Protection vote in North CarolinaAll but seven of N.C. counties voted overwhelmingly in favor of the marriage amendment May 8. (Source: N.C. State Board of Elections)

A quick look at those in light blue (counties that voted against the Marriage Protection amendment) and I see (starting from the far west):

  • Buncombe County: home to Asheville, the largest city in western North Carolina who delights in holding herself up as the enlightened beacon in the midst of backwoods bumpkins
  • Watagua County (northeast of Buncombe): I have no idea what’s going on here
  • Mecklenburg County (way south of Watagua): home to Charlotte, a major metropolitan area
  • Orange, Durham, Chatham, and Wake counties: well, that’s Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill–what did you expect?

From the Catholic News Herald:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — With a heavy turnout at the polls, North Carolina voters approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman by a 3-to-2 margin.
From the Catholic News Herald:

In unofficial results calculated late May 8 by the North Carolina State Board of Elections, 1,303,952 people — 61.05 percent — voted for the amendment while 831,788 people — 38.95 percent — voted against it.

The amendment read, “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.” It enshrines the definition of traditional marriage in the state constitution, elevating it from what has been state law since 1996.

Bishop Peter J. Jugis of Charlotte and Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh, who were at the Vatican May 8 for their “ad limina” visits, had both championed the amendment, which they said would prevent any arbitrary redefinition of marriage.

Marriage, they reminded Catholics, is based in natural law by God and instituted as a sacrament by Jesus Christ. It binds together a family, the fundamental building block of all societies, and provides the most stable and nurturing environment to raise children….

Ever since the amendment was put on the ballot by the Republican-led Legislature last fall, the bishops had urged Catholics to vote for it. They communicated with parishioners in print and online diocesan news media, TV and radio ads, parish bulletins and postcards, billboards and yard signs, and letters read from the pulpit during Masses the weekend before the vote.

The bishops had said the vote presented an opportunity to explain the importance and sanctity of traditional marriage in the Church and in society.

In a joint letter read at all Masses May 5-6, the bishops wrote, “We are for marriage, as we believe it is a vocation in which God calls couples to faithfully and permanently embrace a fruitful union in a mutual self-giving bond of love, according to his purposes. It is not only the union itself that is essential to these purposes, but also the life to which spouses are called to be open, the gift of children.”

Their efforts ran parallel to the campaign by Vote For Marriage NC, a nonpartisan coalition of churches, groups and individuals that organized public support for the amendment, which even at the start of the campaign last fall was considered widely popular among North Carolina voters. Each diocese also donated $50,000 to the Vote for Marriage NC campaign for its advertising blitz and voter education efforts….

Read it all.

George Zimmerman vs Elizabeth Warren

Too good not to steal (apparently this is somewhere on Facebook).

Marriage Protection Amendment controversy leads to vandalism

FOR Marriage signs defaced in Henderson County (NC)

Unfortunately, I saw this in California as well during the Prop 8 vote in 2008–today, as then, most of the signs defaced are those supporting traditional marriage. In California, when the people voted to uphold traditional marriage, there was additional vandalism and violence from those who supported same-sex marriage, even reports of people who donated to the Prop 8 campaign being fired because of that support.

From the Hendersonville Times-News:

Board of Elections Director Beverly Cunningham said vandalized signs have never been a problem since during her time at the helm of her office. Until this year, however, when a heated controversy over the definition of marriage has led to reports of slashed and stolen signs across the county.

Several Times-News callers and letter writers have reported signs being vandalized or stolen, both those supporting and opposing North Carolina Senate Bill 512, or Amendment One.

The bill, if passed by voters May 8 in the primary election, would amend the state Constitution to say that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union valid or recognized in the state.

While she has not received any official written complaints, Cunningham said she has heard people talking about the vandalism….

The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office has received several calls concerning the destruction, vandalism and larceny of political signs, said Capt. Frank Stout.

“Most of these calls have been in reference to the vote for marriage amendment signs,” he said….

Read it all.

N.C.: Campbell University School of Law professors submit a white paper on the Marriage Amendment

On April 18, 2012, Lynn R. Buzzard, William A. Woodruff, and E. Gregory Wallace, professors at Campbell University School of Law, submitted a white paper to the North Carolina public. In “The Meaning and Potential Legal Effects of North Carolina’s Proposed Marriage Amendment,” the professors bring to light several factual inaccuracies that have been spread by those opposed to the Marriage Amendment (on the ballot this May 8).

Vote FOR Marriage NC presents a short outline summary of the facts presented by the white paper:

30-State Precedent:

  • Thirty states have passed similar amendments.
  • The intent of these amendments are clear: (1) to protect the definition of marriage as the union between one man and one woman, and (2) prohibits the legal validity of marriage-like imitations or substitutes.
  • There is no evidence that NC’s proposed Amendment is intended to go further than the marriage amendments in every other state.

UNC’s Maxine Eichner’s Doublespeak:

  • UNC professor Maxine Eichner’s flawed analysis does not give the term “union” its proper effect in limiting the Amendment’s reach.
  • In her 27-page report, she only devotes a single sentence to the meaning of the term “union.” She also fails to footnote this single sentence.
  • Idaho’s marriage amendment, which has the exact wording as the proposed North Carolina amendment—to date—has not reported a single appellate court decision clarifying the amendment’s meaning. “Professor Eichner concedes as much when she observes that ‘Idaho courts have yet to interpret that statute.’”

The Ohio Factor and Domestic Violence:

  • “There is a significant difference between Ohio and North Carolina, and it is a difference that favors domestic violence protections in North Carolina.”
  • Unlike Ohio, North Carolina domestic violence law outlines six possible identifiers of people who are in a “personal relationship,” only one of the six possibilities includes the presence of a “current or former spouse.”
  • “The Ohio Supreme Court overruled these decisions and held that the domestic violence protections do not violate Ohio’s marriage amendment.”

Partner Benefits:

  • The Marriage Protection Amendment is very clear that it would not affect private contracts.
  • “[I]f the proposed Amendment passes, same-sex partners still may be able to receive health insurance benefits.”
  • “The proposed Amendment also does not prevent private employers from extending health insurance benefits to domestic partners, no matter how those relationships are defined.”
  • “The amendment specifically provides that it ‘does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.”

The Nitty-Gritty:

  • “The proposed Amendment does not change the ‘best interests of the child’ standard that North Carolina courts use for determining custody and visitation.”
  • “The Amendment’s plain language…does not disapprove of cohabitation or make illegal non-marital relationships; rather it bars the state from creating or recognizing a legal status for unmarried couples that resembles marriage.”
  • The second sentence of the actual ballot language clearly states: “This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.”
  • This Amendment does not impact other couples or the benefits they receive.
  • It also does NOT impact domestic violence laws, interfere with existing child custody and visitation rights or invalidate trusts, wills, and end-of-life directives.
  • “Marriage provides women with protection against domestic violence and abandonment far better than any other human relationship or institution.”

Bishop Burbidge of Raleigh on the N.C. marriage protection amendment

From Catholic Voice NC, Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Raleigh on the North Carolina Marriage Protection amendment:

Vote FOR Marriage #4 from Diocese of Charlotte on Vimeo.

Also check out the earlier videos from Bishop Burbidge and Bishop Peter Jugis of the Diocese of Charlotte.

VDH: It was the power, stupid!

Because Victor Davis Hanson is always a good read:

In my dumber days, between 2001-2008, I used to wonder why the Left relentlessly hammered the war on terror (e.g., renditions, tribunals, predators, preventative detention, Patriot Act, intercepts, wiretaps, Guantanamo Bay) when these measures had not only proven quite useful in preventing another 9/11-like attack, but had been sanctioned by both the Congress and the courts. In those ancient times, I was not as cynical as I am now. So I assumed that Harold Koh and MoveOn.org, though mistaken, were worried about civil liberties, or measures that they felt were both illegal and without utility.

But, of course, the Obama (who attacked each and every element of the war on terror as a legislator and senator) Left never had any principled objection at all. Instead, whatever Bush was for, they were in Pavlovian fashion against. I can say that without a charge of cynicism, because after January 2009, Obama embraced or expanded every Bush-Cheney protocol that he inherited. In response, the anti-war Left simply kept silent, or indeed vanished, or went to work extending the anti-terrorism agenda. Guantanamo Bay, in other words, was a national sin until the mid-morning of January 20, 2009….

What is going on? Two things, really. One, the media believes that the noble ends justify the tawdry means. So if it is a choice between emphasizing the latest Obama embarrassment by digging into the scary Fast and Furious, the “millions of green jobs” Solyndra insider giveaways, the Secret Service decadence, the GSA buffoonery, and the work while getting food stamps con in Washington OR endangering Obamacare and by extension “the children,” or the war to eliminate autism, or the right to breath clean air–well, why would one ever wish to derail all that by weakening a landmark progressive and his enlightened agenda?

Or for you more cynical readers, why would you wish to enervate the present comfortable culture in Washington in which the press and politics are at last one? Or why undermine the first African-American president, who is a constant reminder of our progressive advancement? Or why weaken our only chance some day to have open borders or gay marriage?

Two, the Left has always operated on the theory of medieval penance. We surely must assume that Warren Buffett has never had problems with the ethics of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. or had a company he controls sued by the IRS for back taxes. Why? Because he has confessed his sins, and accepted the faith and paid his tithe to the Church. Ditto a Bill Gates or a rich celebrity like Sean Penn or Oprah. In the relativism of the left, if the one-percenters will simply confess that their class is greedy and needs to pay their fair share—even if they are entirely cynical in the manner of GE’s Jeffrey Immelt and penance is written off as the cost of doing business—then they become exempt from the wages of them/us warfare and the “you want to kill the children” rhetoric.

There is no difference in the way the Koch brothers or Exxon run their empires and the way that  GM, GE, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and Google do. But the former are enemies of the people, while the latter are protectors who have have confessed to their bishops and agreed to mouth doctrine and thereby obtained penance to make as much money as they want and to spend it as they damn well please. Suddenly in America after 2009 there are good and bad cable networks, good and bad celebrities, good and bad CEOs, good and bad sports teams (ask Lovie Smith), good and bad states, good and bad everything—not adjudicated on the actual basis of behavior, but rather on whether some are willing to go to reeducation camp, admit their errors, and join the effort to clean the air and feed the kids….

I have a confession to make that may upset readers. I was neutral in the Republican primaries, but especially interested in one fact: who would take off the gloves and run a “war room” campaign in the fashion of Bill Clinton in 1992 (as opposed to the McCain model of emulating Mike Dukakis in 1988)? Romney did it first and most effectively.

The result is that when we hear that Rush Limbaugh should be taken off the air for his profane misogyny, almost immediately now there are accounts of Bill Maher’s $1 million gift to Obama and his far greater and unapologetic slurs against women. When we hear all those creepy “concerns” about Romney’s great-grandfather as a polygamist in Mexico, suddenly we are reminded that Obama’s father in Kenya was, too. Putting a dog on the car roof is now not quite the same as eating a dog and then matter-of-fact reading one’s account of it on an audiotape. Trivial? Yes. Distractions from the current economic mess, and beneath us all? Perhaps. All Romney’s doing? Of course not.

But at least 2012 won’t be a default campaign. In other words, to quote Obama, Romney will get in “their faces” and “bring a gun to a knife fight.” McCain more graciously and nobly lost by putting all sorts of concerns off the table. I would expect that should Obama keep harping about Romney’s tax returns, Romney will demand Obama’s transcripts and medical records at last to be released. If Obama’s surrogates keep writing about Mormonism, we will learn of new disclosures about Trinity Church….

Read it all.

Cardinal Burke explains: Catholic employers cannot provide contraceptive coverage because they would be materially and formally cooperating with sin

From Renew America, on Thomas McKenna’s interview with Cardinal Raymond Burke on EWTN’s Catholic Action Insight:

Thomas McKenna: “It is beautiful to see how the faithful have rallied behind the Hierarchy….How does your Eminence comment on the union of solidarity of our bishops?”

Cardinal Burke: “Yes, I have received emails and other communications from lay faithful who say that they are supporting their bishops 100% and they have communicated to their bishops their gratitude and assured them that they want them to continue to be courageous and not to be deceived by any kind of false accommodations which in fact continue this same kind of agenda which sadly we have witnessed for too long in our country which is totally secular and therefore is anti-life and anti-family. I admire very much the courage of the bishops. At the same time I believe they would say it along with me that they are doing no more than their duty. A bishop has to protect his flock and when any individual or government attempts to force the flock to act against conscience in one of its most fundamental precepts then the bishops have to come to defend those who are entrusted to their pastoral care. So I am deeply grateful to all of the bishops who have spoken about this and who are encouraging the members of their flock to also speak up because our government needs to understand that what is being done with this mandate is contrary first of all to the fundamental human right, the right to the free exercise of one’s conscience and at the same time contrary to the very foundation of our nation.”

Thomas McKenna: “So a Catholic employer, really getting down to it, he does not, or she does not provide this because that way they would be, in a sense, cooperating with the sin…the sin of contraception or the sin of providing a contraceptive that would abort a child, is this correct?”

Cardinal Burke: “This is correct. It is not only a matter of what we call “material cooperation” in the sense that the employer by giving this insurance benefit is materially providing for the contraception but it is also “formal cooperation” because he is knowingly and deliberately doing this, making this available to people. There is no way to justify it. It is simply wrong.”…

Read it all, and check out the entire interview here.

N.C.: Marriage matters

From Vote FOR Marriage NC:

…What is at stake with the outcome of the vote on the Marriage Protection Amendment this May?

First, of course, is which of the two irreconcilable and conflicting definitions of marriage will be the only form of marriage legally recognized in North Carolina:

  • The amendment preserves North Carolina’s historic and traditional definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman – the same definition adopted by voters in every state to consider the question (30 of 30 states have voted to amend their state constitutions to define marriage in this way), adopted by a bi-partisan majority in Congress and signed into law by President Clinton, and adopted by virtually every society in every nation to ever live, from the ancients to current times.

Additionally, passage of the marriage amendment ensures that the people of North Carolina themselves, and not activist judges or politicians, decide how our state will define marriage in the future.

  • Without a marriage amendment in our constitution, activist judges can substitute their values for those of the people of North Carolina. This is exactly what happened in Iowa, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and California. Similarly, legislators can redefine marriage without the permission of the people, as was done in New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire. The marriage amendment ensures that if activists want to redefine marriage in the future, they must receive the approval of voters to do so.

Marriage as the union of one man and one woman is in the public good. It serves the interests of men and women, of children, and of society itself. The marriage amendment on the May 2012 ballot gives voters the opportunity to preserve this special and timeless institution.

Read it all. And note that John Burton, chairman of the California Democratic Party, has offered help for those opposed to this constitutional amendment, so there will be a push from those outside of the state to defeat this.

On socialism

On socialism, overheard elsewhere:

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class.

Why? That class had insisted that Obama’s socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer. The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama’s plan.” He decided to average all grades… everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A…. (substituting grades for dollars – something closer to home and more readily understood by all).

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little. The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

When the third test rolled around, the average was an F. As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

It could not be any simpler than that.

These are possibly the five best sentences you’ll ever read and all are applicable to this experiment:

  1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
  2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
  3.  The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
  4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.
  5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

N.C.: More on why marriage matters

Part of the reason we’re dealing with the issue of same-sex marriage is because we as a society have not valued the institution of marriage as much as we should have, especially in the past 50 years. When more and more children are being born out of wedlock, with all of the problems that causes, it’s easy to see how others may feel they can demand their own part of the marriage pie.

But as is noted here, once the definition of marriage changes, it changes irrevocably for everyone. And the persistent question, from a legal standpoint, if the sex of the participants is no longer relevant, why should the number be?

From Vote FOR Marriage NC:

…Marriage serves a vital and universal societal purpose – to channel biological drive and sexual passion that might otherwise become socially destructive into enduring family units that have the best opportunity to ensure the care and education of any children produced by that biological drive and sexual passion.  Indeed, the United States Supreme Court has said that marriage is, “fundamental to the very existence and survival of the [human] race.”  The noted British philosopher Bertrand Russell (hardly a conservative – Russell was a liberal anti-war activist and socialist) said, “But for children, there would be no need of any institution concerned with sex…It is of children alone that sexual relations become of importance of society, and worthy to be taken cognizance of by a legal institution.”

By encouraging men and women to marry, society helps ensure that children will be known by and cared for by their biological parents. Whenever a child is born, her mother will almost always be nearby. But the same cannot always be said of her father. Men, especially, are encouraged to take responsibility for their children through the institution of marriage.  Marriage is society’s mechanism of increasing the likelihood that children will be born and raised by the two people responsible for bringing them into the world – their mother and father.

While death and divorce too often prevent it, the overwhelming body of social science evidence establishes that children do best when raised by their married mother and father. Simply stated, children need both a mother and a father. No matter one’s view of homosexual “marriage,” it is undeniable that every child born into a same-sex relationship is intentionally denied the love and affection of one of her biological parents.

David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute for American Values and a self-described liberal Democrat, said of marriage, “[M]arriage is a gift that society bestows on its next generation. Marriage (and only marriage) unites the three core dimensions of parenthood – biological, social and legal – into one pro-child form: the married couple. Marriage says to a child: The man and woman whose sexual union made you will also be there to love and raise you. Marriage says to society as a whole: For every child born, there is a recognized mother and father, accountable to the child and to each other.”

Fundamentally, same-sex marriage advocates propose to shift the marriage paradigm away from what definition of marriage is best for society – especially for children – and squarely onto the desires of the individual adults who seek to marry. Under a definition of marriage that is genderless, the interests of children – and therefore society’s intrinsic interest in marriage – is eliminated entirely. Only the wishes of the two adults in question matter.

When a court or a legislature adopts a genderless definition of marriage, legal experts warn (and actual experience from other states and countries confirms) that there will be profound consequences for society. Those people who refuse to accept this redefinition of marriage will be punished by the law. Churches and religious organizations can lose their tax exemptions and be forced to abandon their core moral principles or face punishment. Individuals, small businesses and groups will be subjected to lawsuits and regulatory action if they refuse to condone the “new” understanding of marriage. Perhaps most profoundly, children at a very young age will be taught in school that marriage is between any two adults, no matter what they have been taught at home, in church or in their ethnic traditions. Under the law, those who believe otherwise will be treated as the legal and moral equivalent of bigots. [To learn more about the consequences of redefining marriage, click here.]…

Check it out.

N.C.: Why marriage matters

From Vote FOR Marriage NC:

…While many people would like to believe that proposals to allow same-sex marriage are simply about allowing a different form of marriage to coexist alongside traditional man/woman marriage, they are wrong.   The impact that same-sex marriage will have on society is much deeper and far-reaching then a modest change in the word’s definition.

What is at stake in this debate are two competing definitions of marriage. One definition – advocated by same-sex “marriage” activists – would define marriage as the union of any two people regardless of gender, with the law treating the parties’ genders as irrelevant to the meaning of marriage. The other definition, contained in the proposed constitutional amendment and reflective of North Carolina’s current law and the collective understanding of virtually every nation throughout recorded history, is that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

Under the law, one definition of marriage would not exist alongside the other. Only one of the competing definitions of marriage would legally exist. As noted in a scholarly review published in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, “…once the judiciary or legislature adopts ‘the union of any two persons’ as the legal definition of civil marriage, that conception becomes the sole definitional basis for the only law-sanctioned marriage that any couple can enter, whether same-sex or man-woman. Therefore, legally sanctioned genderless marriage, rather than peacefully coexisting with the contemporary man-woman marriage institution, actually displaces and replaces it.”

Why has virtually every society throughout history defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman?  The answer can be summarized in one word: children.

Protecting the interests of children is the primary reason that government regulates and licenses marriage in the first instance. After all, government does not license or regulate any other form of intimate relationship – not friendship or dating. People are free, under the law, to live as they choose, and engage in sexually intimate relationships with whomever they choose – all without any governmental recognition or regulation.

But marriage is a special relationship reserved exclusively for heterosexual unions, because only the intimate relationship between men and women has the ability to produce children as a result of that sexual union….

Check it out.

AIUM: Keepsake ultrasounds tied to low birth-gender ratios in California

Think sex-based abortions happen only in India, China, or other eastern countries where boy babies are more desired? Think again.

From a study by the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM):

Although a definitive cause-and-effect relationship can’t be proved, access to keepsake ultrasound centers continues to be linked with lower numbers of female births among some Asian groups in California, according to a talk at the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) annual meeting.

Continuing a trend identified for prior years, several California counties had abnormally low female-to-male birth ratios among Asians in 2010, a development that was associated with the proliferation of keepsake ultrasound centers that offer gender-determination services, according to G. Sharat Lin, PhD, of Advanced Imaging Associates in Fremont, CA….

For several years, Lin has been examining birth-gender ratios (female births per 1,000 male births) to investigate if commercial access to 4D keepsake ultrasound studies could be facilitating gender-specific abortion among Asians in California. In 2010, he presented research at the AIUM meeting that hinted at a relationship between keepsake ultrasound and birth-gender ratios in the state….

Lin found that Asian ethnic groups in the county who were known to have a traditional gender preference for boys had clearly lower female-to-male birth ratios than those Asian ethnic groups who did not have a preference.

“Mothers born in China, India, and Vietnam [have female-to-male birth ratios] that are well below normal, and those from Pakistan are much closer to normal,” Lin told AuntMinnie.com. “Breaking it down by ethnic group is showing us that this is not simply noise or some kind of a random fluctuation. These are showing up where we expect them, in the ethnic groups where there is a cultural preference for boys.”…

Statewide, Asians have had the lowest birth-gender ratio (considered to be less than 930 female births per 1,000 male births) among ethnic groups in California from 1995 to 2010….

Low birth-gender ratios among Asians in urban counties in 2010 were as follows:

  • Sacramento: 888
  • Los Angeles: 889
  • San Francisco: 919
  • Riverside: 919
  • San Joaquin: 927

“While we still don’t have a direct proof of cause and effect, we see a correlation that in counties like San Joaquin County and Sacramento County, [there’s] a downward trend in BGRs, and at the same time, continued proliferation of these keepsake ultrasound centers,” he said. “Another alarming trend is that in the metropolitan areas where there were not many keepsake ultrasound centers before, there are many new ones. It will take some time for us to see what impact that will have, particularly in more maturing immigrant populations.”…

Feminism: aborting itself out of existence. Read it all.

N.C.: The threat to marriage, part deux

From Vote FOR Marriage NC:

…Perhaps most importantly, shifting the focus of our marriage laws away from the interests of children and society as a whole, and onto the desires of the adults involved in a same-sex relationship will result in the most profound long-term consequences. Such a paradigm shift says to children that mothers and fathers don’t matter (especially fathers) – any two “parents” will do. It proclaims the false notion that a man can be a mother and a woman can be a father – that men and women are exactly the same in rearing children. And it undermines the marriage culture by making marriage a meaningless political gesture, rather than a child-affirming social construct.

When marriage ceases to have its historic meaning and understanding, over time fewer and fewer people will marry. We will have an inevitable increase in children born out of wedlock, an increase in fatherlessness, a resulting increase in female and child poverty, and a higher incidence of all the documented social ills associated with children being raised in a home without their married biological parents….

Check it out.

N.C.: The threat to marriage

Some good points from Vote FOR Marriage NC:

Contrary to what some people think, same-sex ‘marriage’ would not exist in the law alongside traditional marriage; as if it were a different expression of the same marriage institution they have always known. Marriage will be redefined for everyone. Our historic understanding of marriage as the union of one man and one woman would be replaced by a new paradigm for  marriage as the union of two adults, regardless of gender.

This new, redefined version of marriage as a genderless institution would be the only legally recognized definition of marriage in North Carolina. Such a radical change in the definition of marriage will produce a host of societal conflicts that government, exercising its broad enforcement powers, will have to resolve. Citizens, small businesses and religious organizations whose own beliefs, traditions, morals or ethnic upbringing are at odds with the new definition of marriage will find themselves subjected to legal consequences if they  do not act according to the new legal orthodoxy.

Legal experts on both sides of the marriage debate agree that the issue has profound impacts on society. Scholars from some of the nation’s most respected law schools have written that the issue implicates a host of issues, ranging from religious liberty, to individual expression of faith, to education and the professions.

For example, these legal scholars predict “a sea of change in American law,” and foretell an “immense” volume of litigation against individuals, small businesses and religious organizations.

Those who do not agree with this new definition of marriage as a genderless institution existing for the benefit of adults will be treated under the law just like racists and bigots, and will be punished for their beliefs.

This is already occurring…

Read it all.