Monday, September 22, 2014

ElectionWatch 2014: Turning Up the Heat

As we approach the general elections here in the United States, corrupt Democratic establishment politicians are going all out to retain their grip on power and prevent the Republican Party from regaining control of the Senate. They're spending millions of dollars on negative and dishonest TV advertisements filled with outright lies and stupid allegations in a full-on attempt to discredit and defeat totally respectable, honest, principled, hardworking, and competent up-and-coming Tea Party leaders who truly represent the American people and hold the future of this great nation in their hands. And sad to say, the mudslinging is working: the big money, big lies, and big media are having some effect on the American psyche, gradually swaying public opinion in their favor and away from the truly deserving candidates.

Several key Senate races are now too close to call. In Iowa, for example, Tea Party Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst is nearly tied with the Democratic candidate Bruce Braley due to the vigorous onslaught of negative campaigning. It's the same story in Colorado, where Tea Party Senate challenger Cory Gardner is neck in neck with Democratic Senator Mark Udall as a result of negative campaigning. Here in Virginia, home to another key Senate race, Tea Party challenger Ed Gillespie has been steadily closing in on Democratic Senator Mark Warner in the polls, but it's not at all certain he will successfully withstand the hurricane of negative ads now swirling around him. If Democrats win any of these three races thanks to their despicable dirty tricks, Republicans probably will fail to take over the Senate.

Nor is the corrupt establishment content with keeping the Senate under its control: Incumbent Republican (and mostly Tea Party) governors, senators, and representatives are fair game as well, and the same dirty tricks are being employed in an attempt to oust the good leaders we already have and replace them with more establishment stooges. In Wisconsin, for example, Governor Scott Walker, a popular leader who has served the state well these last four years, is facing the challenge of a lifetime just to win a second term. His Democratic opponent has unleashed a veritable assault of negative campaign advertisements filled with slander and falsehood, designed to destroy his good name and prevent his re-election.

In such a hostile climate, it's doubtful whether Republican candidates will manage to pick up the six seats necessary to regain control of the U.S. Senate. The corrupt Washington political establishment is bound and determined to steal as many of these elections as is necessary to retain and even expand its illegitimate control of national politics, thereby holding back the Tea Party landslide that should wash it away in a few months. However, faced with this frustrating situation, we the people must not become discouraged in our quest to take back our nation. Despite all attempts at suppression, our movement continues to grow in strength and numbers. Failure to win six seats in the Senate will not signal the end of the Tea Party movement or the total demise of America. Each of us must keep doing what we can--pray for our country and vote for good leaders--while remaining faithful to our core values of Christian faith and morality, human rights and liberty, and Constitutional government. It is united and unflagging adherence to these timeless values that will rescue our country from deadly peril and set it on a path of reconstruction and renewal, offering hope for a brighter future for the United States of America.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Quote of the Day

"Closeness and compassion: this is how the Lord visits His people. And when we want to proclaim the Gospel, to bring forth the word of Jesus, this is the path. The other path is that of the teachers, the preachers of the time: the doctors of the law, the scribes, the Pharisees [who] distanced themselves from the people, with their words ... well: they spoke well. They taught the law, well. But they were distant. And this was not a visit of the Lord: It was something else. The people did not feel this to be a grace, because it lacked that closeness, it lacked compassion, it lacked that essence of suffering with the people....

"You can preach the Word of God brilliantly. There have been many excellent preachers throughout history. But if these preachers have failed to sow hope, that sermon is useless. It is mere vanity....

"And so we ask for the grace that our Christian witness be a witness that brings the closeness of God to His people, that closeness that sows hope."

--Pope Francis

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Two Main Threats to Our National Security

Thirteen years ago on this day, America suffered a coordinated and devastating terrorist assault by wicked agents of a Middle Eastern foreign power. Today America is again under attack—not by violent religious fanatics from without, but by the forces of immorality and radical secularism from within.

“Immorality is un-American and a threat to national security!” Such were the words addressed by Father John Corapi to millions of Catholics across this nation in the years immediately following the tragic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Those words were true then, and they ring just as true today.

We live in a nation where immoral acts such as abortion, artificial contraception, the destruction of human embryos, extramarital sex, and homosexual acts are legally permitted, culturally tolerated, widely encouraged, frequently committed, and, in some cases, publicly funded and legally mandated—all in violation of the natural law written by God in the human heart.

Radical secularists want to kick God out of our national culture. They claim we’d all be better off without Him. They are blind guides leading the blind (cf. Matt. 15:14). Their totalitarian ideology is a recipe for national suicide.

Internal immorality and radical secularism pose a greater threat to our national security than all the external terrorists put together. Therefore, if we truly love God and love our country, if we consider ourselves religious and patriotic, we must courageously do battle with these twin enemies of our nation, both in our own lives and in the public square.

Sadly, two of America’s foremost Catholic cultural warriors—Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Bill Donohue—recently handed an olive branch to our country’s worst enemies: They publicly announced their approval of homosexual demonstrators joining the Saint Patrick’s Day parade in New York next year, for the first time ever in the history of this event.

Bill Donohue stated clearly in a press release that he had no problem with homosexual activists marching as a group with their own banner in the parade, so long as pro-life demonstrators were permitted to do the same. Apparently he felt that accepting homosexual activists’ participation in the event was a useful bargaining chip for getting pro-life activists into the march. But the end does not justify the means. You cannot compromise with evil in order to obtain a good.

Perhaps Donohue also believed that, in the name of freedom of speech and tolerance, these two very different activist groups were equally entitled to participation in this annual public event. But the Saint Patrick’s Day parade is an undeniably Catholic event, albeit open to the general public, so the rules for participation in it should reflect Catholic teaching. On this basis, it would certainly be appropriate to admit pro-life demonstrators to this event, but it would never be appropriate to admit homosexual demonstrators.

According to Catholic teaching, freedom and tolerance do not apply to immoral behavior; they apply only to what is true, good, and beautiful. The homosexual activists will be promoting a grave moral evil that violates God’s law and wreaks social havoc, while the pro-life activists would be defending the most fundamental God-given human right to life of the innocent unborn, which currently is not protected by law in the United States. There can be no moral comparison or equivalence between two such radically different groups.

Cardinal Dolan has also declared that he has no problem with homosexual demonstrators marching behind him in the Saint Patrick’s Day parade. It’s bad enough when a prominent lay Catholic tolerates the public promotion of immorality in a traditional religious and cultural event designed to honor a great Catholic saint; it’s far worse when the cardinal-archbishop gives such immorality his blessing in an official and highly visible public way. That’s exactly what Cardinal Dolan is doing by agreeing to serve as Grand Marshal of the parade next year. By doing so, he is betraying Christ and the Church and surrendering to America’s twin enemies of immorality and radical secularism—in exchange for what? A good time? A little notoriety or popularity?

Previous cardinal-archbishops of New York acted differently when their religious beliefs and moral convictions were on the line. Cardinal Terence Cooke, for example, declined to appear at the scheduled time in front of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral to give the customary blessing to the marchers of the Saint Patrick’s Day parade in 1981 because the Grand Marshal that year, Michael Flannery, was associated with a terrorist group in Northern Ireland. By deliberately appearing late, Cardinal Cooke took a stand and sent a clear, unmistakable message: The Catholic Church does not approve of violent attacks on innocent civilians.

Cardinal Dolan’s jolly participation in next year’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade as Grand Marshal, with thousands of homosexual activists proudly marching behind him with their signs and banner, will be a sacrilege and a scandal. It will shout to New Yorkers and to the whole world through a megaphone that the Catholic Church approves of homosexual acts and activism. That is certainly how the major media will interpret this charade. It is a false and dangerous message to send. It is contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who calls all men and women, including persons with homosexual inclinations, to the challenge and true freedom of living chaste lives. And it is contrary to the example set by his fearless predecessors in the faith, who demonstrated the courage of their convictions by consistently preaching and defending the truth regardless of the winds of fashion and public opinion.

To his credit, Bill Donohue has announced that the Catholic League will not participate in the 2015 Saint Patrick’s Day parade. Unfortunately, however, through his flawed approach to the issue, including his conditional approval of homosexual demonstrators participating in the event, he has taken one step back from the culture war, allowing a cherished symbol of our Catholic heritage to be tainted by immorality and radical secularism. Had he and Cardinal Dolan rallied millions of fellow Catholics to demand that homosexual activists be kept out of the march as they always have been until now, this whole debacle could have been avoided and the Catholic identity of the event preserved intact. Instead, thanks to their misplaced tolerance, the parade is now on a slippery slope toward increasing secularization and the promotion of every kind of immorality in the years ahead.

Vocal homosexual activists should have no place in a Catholic religious and cultural event such as the Saint Patrick’s Day parade. They have every right to participate incognito just like hundreds of thousands of other marchers, but this particular event is not an appropriate venue for them to push an immoral and radically secularist agenda that conflicts with Catholic teaching and natural law. After all, their main reason for marching as homosexual activists is to demand that their immoral relationships be given legal recognition equal to that of heterosexual marriage, the Creator’s own design and the foundation of human society. Such immorality should not be legally recognized by any government of a civilized nation; still less should the attempt to gain this recognition be implicitly condoned by a high-ranking Catholic prelate such as the cardinal-archbishop of New York.

“Immorality is un-American and a threat to national security!” By approving the admission of homosexual activists into the historic Saint Patrick’s Day parade, Cardinal Dolan and Bill Donohue have done a regrettable disservice to God and country, compromising with America’s twin enemies of immorality and radical secularism for the sake of some temporary advantage. Let us pray for these two well-known Catholic leaders, that they recognize their error and work to repair the damage they have done. At the very least, Cardinal Dolan should follow Donohue’s lead in withdrawing from the parade. Through the intercession of Saint Patrick, our heavenly friend, may they both continue to fight the good fight as faithful witnesses to Christ and as loyal American citizens, remembering that religion and morality are the two principal guardians of our national security, prosperity, and well-being.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

ElectionWatch 2014: Virginia Is Back in the Game!

Good news! Another U.S. Senate seat held by an incumbent Democrat is now up for grabs. For the past several months, Virginia's Democratic Senator Mark Warner was expected to easily defeat Republican challenger Ed Gillespie and win re-election handily this coming November. But now, thanks largely to increasing public disapproval of Warner's loyal support for ObamaCare in violation of his own explicit campaign promises in 2008, Warner's lead in the polls over Gillespie has shrunk from 30 points earlier this year to just ten points at the end of August. Bottom line: Virginia now features one of the nation's battleground Senate races, and political experts agree that a Republican victory in Virginia will be critical to shifting control of the Senate back to Republicans.

Does Ed Gillespie have the credentials to replace Mark Warner? Absolutely. A devout Catholic grandson of Irish immigrants and a coal miner's son, Ed represents the humble working class that made America an economic powerhouse. Ed is a true "conservative," which means pro-life, pro-religious liberty, anti-ObamaCare, constitutionally limited government, lower taxes, a balanced budget, and economic opportunity for everyone. He has quite a bit of experience in politics, having served as a White House counselor to President Bush, chairman of the Republican National Committee, chairman of the Virginia Republican Party, and as a successful campaign strategist for President Bush (2000 and 2004) and Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (2009). Ed has what it takes to serve our state and nation as a U.S. Senator, and as such he would be a vast improvement over Senator Warner. We in Virginia and the United States stand in great need of the principled leadership offered by Tea Party and other Republican candidates like Gillespie.

The only remaining question is: Will Ed Gillespie unseat Mark Warner on November 4? This is shaping up to be yet another close race, so it's very difficult to predict two months in advance what will actually happen on Election Day. After unfortunately narrow defeats for the Tea Party in the 2012 elections and in Virginia's 2013 election for governor, I don't want to get my hopes up too much that we will win this time. Although he is losing ground, Warner is still leading in the polls and has millions of dollars to spend on negative attack ads against Gillespie, which may enable him to just barely hold that lead just long enough to pull victory from the yawning jaws of defeat. On the other hand, however, Gillespie's campaign has now reached a critical mass to threaten Warner's re-election, as Warner's own campaign strategists now admit, and if public opinion continues to shift away from Warner and toward Gillespie, he may end up winning the election and joining the U.S. Senate.

Either way, Virginia is now definitely a battleground state for control of the Senate, and thus of the federal government. The stakes are high, and we really need to win this time. So let's get busy! Pray for victory, get the word out about Ed, donate to his campaign, volunteer if you can, and if you live in Virginia, vote for him and urge your relatives and friends to do the same. Together, we the people can take our country back from the corrupt and irresponsible establishment politicians who are destroying it for their own financial benefit--one prayer, one donation, and one vote at a time.

Go Tea Party!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Quote of the Day

"God is the author of the existence of our nature and, therefore, He must be our Teacher if we are ever to be wise, and He must be the Source of our inmost consolation if we are ever to be happy."

--Saint Augustine, City of God, Book XI, Ch. 25

Friday, August 22, 2014

Quote of the Day

"Mary is the Queen of heaven and earth and our Queen because she is the Mother of our Lord and because she cooperated in Christ's redemptive work of salvation. Since she was uniquely associated with Christ's suffering on the Cross, she was uniquely associated with His triumph and royal reign in the kingdom. Assumed into heaven, Mary entered the royal court of heaven and sits at the right hand of her Son, Christ the King. As our Queen, Mary directs us, protects us and intercedes for us."

--Edward Sri, Queen Mother: A Biblical Theology of Mary's Queenship (Steubenville, OH: Emmaus Road, 2005)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Quote of the Day

"The quest for peace also represents a challenge for each of us, and in a particular way for those of you dedicated to the pursuit of the common good of the human family through the patient work of diplomacy. It is the perennial challenge of breaking down the walls of distrust and hatred by promoting a culture of reconciliation and solidarity. For diplomacy, as the art of the possible, is based on the firm and persevering conviction that peace can be won through quiet listening and dialogue, rather than by mutual recriminations, fruitless criticisms and displays of force.

"Peace is not simply the absence of war, but "the work of justice" (cf. Is 32:17). And justice, as a virtue, calls for the discipline of forbearance; it demands that we not forget past injustices but overcome them through forgiveness, tolerance and cooperation. It demands the willingness to discern and attain mutually beneficial goals, building foundations of mutual respect, understanding and reconciliation. May all of us dedicate these days to peace, to praying for it and deepening our resolve to achieve it."

--Pope Francis, Address to Diplomats in South Korea, August 14, 2014

Friday, August 15, 2014

On the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

"Tota pulchra es, Maria! 'You are all beautiful, O Mary!' And there is in you no stain of original sin. Nor, by the special assistance and grace of God, did you ever commit the least actual sin...

"'Thou shalt not suffer thy holy one to see corruption' (Acts 13:35), says the Bible regarding our Lord Jesus Christ. These beautiful words also express God's will regarding His holy Mother...

"Ave Maria! Hail Mary! Mother of God, Virgin Most Powerful, Queen assumed into Heaven, Gate of Heaven, Ora pro nobis!"

--Fr. Albert J. Hebert, S.J., Raised from the Dead: True Stories of 400 Resurrection Miracles (Rockford, IL: TAN Books and Publishers, 1986), pp. 23, 24, 27-28

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

ElectionWatch 2014: Setback in Tennessee

On Thursday, August 7, longtime Tennessee Senator and establishment Republican-in-Name-Only Lamar Alexander cruised to victory over Tea Party challenger Joe Carr in the state's primary election. This is undeniably a setback for the Tea Party movement at the national level, although not such an utter failure for our side as the mainstream media would like us to believe. As Paul Harvey used to say, "You know what the news is. In a minute, you're going to hear the rrrrest of the story!"

So here's "the rest of the story." Yes, Lamar did win his party's nomination for another Senate term, but he did so with only 49 percent of the popular vote--the lowest winning percentage for any Republican Senatorial candidate in Tennessee history. Furthermore, his challenger, Joe Carr, received a very respectable 40 percent of the vote--the largest percentage for any Republican challenger to an incumbent Senator of his own party in the history of Tennessee. If Tennessee's primary election laws were the same as those in Mississippi, requiring a candidate to receive at least 50 percent of the popular vote to secure the nomination, Lamar would currently be in the same position as Tea Party rising star Chris McDaniel was after June 3, and he and Carr would now be headed to a runoff election. Additionally, if you look at the polls for Lamar and Carr taken over the past year and a half leading up to this primary election, you'll find that Lamar's popularity has been steadily declining over time while Carr's popularity has been just as steadily growing. In fact, just a year and a half ago, Carr was barely even considered a serious candidate for the Senate primary. If current trends continue, and Carr runs again in 2020, he'll probably win easily. And then there was the wild card factor of four lesser-known candidates who also ran in this election, taking 11 percent of the votes away from the two leading candidates, which particularly hurt Carr. Hypothetically speaking, if all those who voted for one of these lesser-known candidates had voted for Carr instead, he would have won the election with 51 percent of the vote.

All of this goes to show that the Tea Party movement (symbolized by Carr) continues to grow steadily in strength and numbers, while the popularity of the corrupt Washington establishment (symbolized by Lamar) just as steadily continues to wane. It's important to keep the reality of these trends in mind as we move closer to the upcoming general elections this November, especially when we face a setback or two in the primaries. We're not going to win every single contest with our establishment opponents, certainly not even in the general elections, and we're not going to take down the establishment overnight. But the momentum is on our side, and the establishment is slowly but surely losing control of national politics and public opinion. The future of our country belongs to the Tea Party movement and to all Americans who share its ideals of Christian faith and morals, traditional family values, human rights and liberty, and Constitutionally limited government in accord with the intentions of the Founders.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Quote of the Day

"The news coming from Iraq leaves us in disbelief and dismay: thousands of people, including many Christians, brutally driven from their homes; children dead from thirst and hunger during the escape; women who are abducted; people slaughtered; violence of every kind; destruction everywhere, destruction of homes, destruction of religious, historical and cultural patrimonies. All this greatly offends God and greatly offends humanity. You cannot bring hatred in the name of God. You cannot make war in the name of God!....

"I thank those that, with courage, are bringing relief to these brothers and sisters, and I hope that an effective political solution on an international and local level can stop these crimes and restore the law...

"Let us pray to the God of peace, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary: Give peace, Lord, to our days and make us builders of justice and peace. Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us."

--Pope Francis

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Reflection for Today

"The solemn proclamation of Sonship, however, is now followed by the command "Listen to him." At this point, we are reminded of the link with Moses' ascent of Mount Sinai, which we saw at the beginning to be the background of the Transfiguration story. On the mountain, Moses received the Torah, God's teaching word. Now we are told in reference to Jesus: 'Listen to him.' H. Gese has provided a perceptive commentary on this scene: 'Jesus himself has become the divine Word of revelation. The Gospels could not illustrate it any more clearly or powerfully: Jesus himself is the Torah' (Zur biblischen Theologie, p. 81). This one command brings the theophany to its conclusion and sums up its deepest meaning. The disciples must accompany Jesus back down the mountain and learn ever anew to 'listen to him.'"

--Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth: Part One: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration (New York: Doubleday, 2007), p. 316

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

ElectionWatch 2014: Ed Gillespie for Senate

I have decided to endorse Republican challenger Ed Gillespie for the U.S. Senate seat in Virginia currently held by Democratic Senator Mark Warner. A communications consultant and former White House aide, Gillespie is pro-life, will defend our Second Amendment rights, and will work to repeal ObamaCare, lower taxes, and reduce the size of the federal government, all of which will help our struggling economy to make a real recovery.

Over his past six years in office, Senator Warner has consistently failed to protect the rights of millions of innocent unborn children; has sided in favor of President Obama's sweeping gun control legislation (which thankfully never made it to his desk due to a storm of protest from liberty-minded Americans); voted for ObamaCare, an unjust and unconstitutional law, despite massive public opposition; and has consistently supported raising taxes and increasing the size of the federal government, both of which are negatively impacting our economy. For all these reasons, Senator Warner must be replaced.

I respectfully urge all my fellow Virginians to vote Ed Gillespie for Senate on Tuesday, November 4, 2014.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Quote of the Day

"This son, so cruelly executed, was our loving Redeemer Jesus; and this mother was the Blessed Virgin Mary; who, for the love she bore us, was willing to see him sacrificed to divine justice by the barbarity of men. This great torment, then, which Mary endured for us--a torment that was more than a thousand deaths--deserves both our compassion and our gratitude."

--Saint Alphonsus de Liguori

Monday, July 28, 2014

Quote of the Day

"The precious pearl of the kingdom should precede every other earthly good; we must put God first in our lives, prefer Him to everything. Giving primacy to God means having the courage to say no to evil, violence, oppression, living a life of service to others and in favor of the law and the common good...It requires you to have the courage to say no to any form of corruption and lawlessness, it requires everyone to be servants of the truth and to assume every situation in the style of the living Gospel, which is manifested in the gift of self and attention to the poor and the excluded."

--Pope Francis

Friday, July 25, 2014

Quote of the Day

"Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance."

--James 1:2--3