Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Quote of the Day

"Nothing the Court says can change what marriage truly is, and we will continue to promote and defend it. We may have to suffer this lie about marriage in the law, but we must not participate in it or keep silent about it."

--Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone

Friday, June 26, 2015

Ben Carson for President

by Justin Soutar


As we gradually head towards the end of the immoral, corrupt and disastrous Obama administration (thank goodness) and begin to approach the 2016 presidential election, the American public is faced with a bewildering menagerie of contenders for the Republican nomination. A number of these candidates, such as Senators Rand Paul and Marco Rubio and Governors Scott Walker, John Kasich, Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Perry, are men of sound character and principle with the right positions on many critical issues, any of whom would, in my opinion, probably make a good if not excellent president. Two of the candidates, Senators Rick Santorum and Ted Cruz, while also men of sound character and principle with the right positions on domestic issues, unfortunately espouse the aggressive interventionist foreign policy of the Bush administration championed by Israel’s elite radical Zionist minority that has fueled the growth of Islamic fundamentalism and destabilized the entire Middle East, just as John Paul II predicted would happen. Several contenders, including Governors Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and Mitt Romney, are wealthy Republicans in name only who would do little to clean up the current fiscal, legal and moral mess in Washington. The rest of the field is an even more mixed bag of presidential wannabes, including exotic candidates such as billionaire celebrity Donald Trump and former HP executive Carly Fiorina, few if any of whom stand a real chance of winning their party’s nomination (much less the White House) next year.

This rather embarrassing spectacle of dozens of candidates vying for the Republican presidential nomination—among whom are eight to ten serious possibilities—evinces a major problem within the GOP that, if not acknowledged and corrected in the near future, risks negatively affecting its chances to reclaim the White House in 2016. It’s not for nothing that Democratic politicians and mainstream media pundits in the last few years have been repeating almost incessantly that Republicans are divided. What they say is true: Republicans are divided between principled Tea Party constitutionalists (Marco Rubio, Thom Tillis, Mia Love, etc.) and corrupt Republicans in name only (John Boehner, Thad Cochran, Lamar Alexander, etc)., and they are further divided on foreign policy between interventionists like Santorum and isolationists like Paul. Even worse than these divisions, however, is the fact that Republicans themselves are seemingly unaware of the seriousness of their division problem when it comes to a) nominating their best possible presidential candidate and b) winning the presidency. If they really want to do both next year, Republicans must hasten to recognize and address their own crisis of leadership. Their problem is not that they don’t have any leaders for the American public to rally behind; their problem is that they have too many such leaders. Like a plot of overcrowded and stunted garden vegetables competing for nourishment from a limited supply of soil nutrients, this unhealthily crowded field of would-be presidents is hungrily devouring supporters and voters from a limited electoral base, thus restricting the amount of support for each individual candidate and making it nearly impossible for any one of them to clearly dominate the GOP field as we head towards the all-important presidential primary elections.

If Republicans are truly serious about defeating Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden or whomever else the Democrats nominate in 2016, they must call an abrupt halt to their currently running game show, “Who wants to be the GOP nominee?” and discipline themselves to get down to business. Specifically, they must eliminate all longshots from consideration, cut the field down to their ten leading candidates, identify their strongest possible candidate from among those top ten who is realistically likely to win both the GOP nomination and the presidency, begin coalescing now around that single leader, and start working like mad to ensure that that particular candidate clinches the Republican nomination. That is the winning strategy the GOP must adopt if it intends to regain control of the White House in 2016. Unless the party achieves this kind of unity and focus within the next six months, its nominee will in all likelihood be another mediocre one who will go down to defeat in the next presidential election.

After all, only one candidate is going to win the Republican nomination for president. And only a strong candidate with a clear identity, impeccable character, traditional values, broad public appeal, and a super PAC working to mobilize the grassroots on his behalf will be able to defeat the likes of Hillary Clinton. Therefore, Republicans must be very careful whom they choose to nominate for the presidency. The worst possible choice would be to repeat the mistake of 2008 and 2012 by settling on a super-wealthy, big-government Republican establishment career politician like Jeb Bush or Chris Christie or Mitt Romney. That is a proven recipe for defeat. Such a Republican in name only bears too much similarity to his Democratic opponent both in reality and in the minds of voters and simply cannot generate sufficient enthusiasm among Republican and independent voters to decisively defeat that opponent. If the Democratic nominee were a Democrat in name only, this approach might work, but the Democrats themselves have enough sense not to nominate someone who is a Republican in Democratic garb. In next year’s open contest between two presidential candidates, their respective identities must be absolutely clear. Only a genuine Republican will soundly defeat a genuine Democrat. And these days, a genuine Republican usually means a Tea Party Republican.

So which leading presidential candidate should the Republican Party choose to rally around to ensure it wins the White House in 2016? According to a recent NBC/WSJ national poll taken June 22, 2015, the top ten contenders are, in descending order of popularity:

1) Jeb Bush,
2) Scott Walker,
3) Marco Rubio,
4) Ben Carson,
5) Mike Huckabee,
6) Rand Paul,
7) Rick Perry,
8) Ted Cruz,
9) Chris Christie, and
10) Carly Fiorina.

As wealthy Republicans in name only attempting to buy the nomination, Bush and Christie are liabilities to their party who must be firmly rejected. Fiorina is not sufficiently well known or supported to win the necessary delegates to clinch the nomination. Scott Walker may be a great governor, but his positions on certain issues are controversial within the party, which makes him less than an ideal nominee. Although a genuine conservative with some public appeal, Mike Huckabee is having trouble getting more than ten percent in any of the polls, while Rick Perry cannot get out of single digits. The same goes for Ted Cruz, who would be too similar to President Bush on foreign policy. That leaves Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, and Rand Paul as the three strongest contenders for the GOP nomination. There is little doubt that any one of these three men would be able to defeat Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden and win the presidency in 2016. They are all trustworthy conservatives, Christian men of good character and moral values, with reputed integrity and common sense and the right positions on the critical issues facing America today. They are all honest and proven public servants, not slick-talking career politicians, and they are all blessed with outstanding leadership qualities that the American people are looking for in a president. The only remaining question is: Which of these three leading candidates should Republicans choose to nominate? Let’s take a closer look at these top contenders.
Elected to the U.S. Senate for Kentucky as part of the Tea Party Republican landslide elections of 2010, Rand Paul has earned a solid reputation as a no-nonsense conservative in Washington who stubbornly refuses to compromise his core principles for the sake of political advantage. He is the son of respected former Congressman and former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, who was a Tea Party Republican decades ahead of his time. But while his father never gained sufficient backing to win the Republican nomination for president, the younger Paul’s public appeal is significantly broader. He is known and liked for introducing and gaining political support for the Life at Conception Act, which if passed by Congress and signed into law would protect unborn children throughout the United States from abortion. He is also known and liked for his vocal opposition to unconstitutional Obama administration policies, including the ever-unpopular Affordable Care Act, executive amnesty for illegal immigrants, and the administration’s massive phone surveillance program. A true statesman with decent looks to match his character, Paul has the force of personality and the oratorical skills necessary to challenge Hillary Clinton and put her on the defensive—and there is no doubt he would do just that. A head-to-head matchup with Clinton not long ago showed Paul leading her by double digits. The main caveat to choosing Rand Paul as the Republican presidential nominee is that he would fail to gain significant support from black and Hispanic voters, majorities of whom are actually conservative on social issues despite their tendency to vote Democratic. Because these groups of minority voters will comprise an increasing share of the U.S. electorate in the years ahead, Republicans must actively reach out to them if they want to win future elections. But if nominated, Paul would likely still manage to win the White House in 2016 despite this handicap.

Another freshman senator from the Tea Party landslide of 2010, Marco Rubio has similarly stellar conservative credentials. In addition to vigorously supporting the Life at Conception Act and opposing ObamaCare and executive amnesty, he has introduced or co-sponsored several bills to protect religious liberties and moral conscience rights. The son of impoverished Cuban Catholic immigrants to Florida, Rubio’s story of achieving the American Dream has inspired millions of people across the nation. Elected to the Senate while still in his thirties, Rubio is at forty-four the youngest presidential candidate from either major party. Rubio’s youth and optimistic personality, his Hispanic identity, his humble immigrant background, and his good looks combine to give him movie-star charisma reminiscent of what Barack Obama enjoyed in 2008. The prospect of America’s first Hispanic president is an exciting one that offers the GOP a serious opportunity to change the political landscape by drawing millions of Hispanic voters into the Republican Party. It would make good sense for the Republicans to nominate this guy because he would pull a large share of the Hispanic and black vote--and likely a majority of the Catholic vote as well--away from Hillary Clinton, resulting in a landslide GOP victory for the White House. Rubio would undoubtedly be an excellent choice as the Republican presidential nominee.
 
The third frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination differs markedly from the other two leading candidates, as well as from the rest of the GOP field, in several respects. A world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon, best-selling author, gifted speaker and noted philanthropist, Ben Carson is the only African-American in the race, the only leading Republican candidate with no previous political experience, and the only candidate running for president by popular demand. Carson’s famous speech at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast, in which he frankly compared America’s moral and economic decline to that of ancient Rome and courageously condemned ObamaCare with President Obama himself sitting nearby, propelled him onto the national stage. His meteoric rise from refusing to even consider running for president three years ago to being a leading candidate today is a tribute to the organizational skills and dedicated efforts of his super PAC, formerly the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, now The 2016 Committee. Here are nine reasons why Dr. Benjamin Solomon Carson should be chosen as the Republican presidential nominee in 2016:

1. Ben Carson is a universally admired example of the American Dream. From his inauspicious poverty-stricken single-parent childhood in a Detroit ghetto, Carson rose to become the nation’s leading pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University at the age of thirty-three. Over the following three decades, he drew worldwide acclaim for skillfully performing thousands of life-saving brain surgeries with an extremely low patient mortality rate. During the past twenty-one years, through the Carson Scholars Fund, he and his wife have been working to reform America’s education system by encouraging better academic performance and helping promising students from low-income families get the higher education they deserve. He has received thirty-eight honorary doctorates and numerous awards in recent years including the NAACP’s Spingarn Award, the Horatio Alger award given to extraordinary self-made Americans, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian award. Jesse Jackson has called him a role model for all the youth of today, and he was ranked in a December 2014 poll as the sixth most admired man in America. Because he is admired and respected by Americans of all races and backgrounds, Carson will win a large number of votes in the 2016 presidential election.

2. Ben Carson is a man of devout Christian faith, good moral character and traditional values. A large majority of the American people are still Christian, and they are tired of radically secularist politicians like President Obama who relentlessly attack their traditional values of faith, family, and freedom; furthermore, they are similarly weary of middle-of-the-road politicians who profess traditional values but refuse to vigorously defend them when they are attacked. By contrast, Carson is a devout, Bible-believing Christian and a man of prayer, humility and compassion; he lives according to the Ten Commandments and believes in the sanctity of every human life, religious freedom, traditional marriage, and the importance of the nuclear family to a healthy society. Carson is also a firm believer in the realities of the natural law, unalienable rights, and ordered liberty upon which the Founders built this nation. Carson not only shares these values with Middle Americans, he will consistently articulate, uphold and defend them as president, just as he has done his whole life.

3. Ben Carson is a man of wisdom, common sense, courage, and calm decisive action in critical situations. At this time of national crisis, we desperately need a great and wise leader who can discern what should be done in a given situation, who can make the right decision, and who has the courage to follow through on that decision regardless of political considerations and negative criticism. As someone who has been reading the Bible’s Book of Proverbs daily for years, Carson is accustomed to allowing God’s own wisdom to guide his daily life. Additionally, as a brain surgeon for nearly thirty years, Carson gained abundant experience making critical life or death decisions under tremendous pressure. God has blessed him with the ability to remain calm, think things through carefully, and make the right decision amid difficult circumstances. As president, Carson will do this for America, offering the wise leadership that is necessary to return our nation to greatness regardless of the challenges that we may face.

4. Ben Carson is a strict constitutionalist. Unlike President Obama, who has exceeded his authority in violation of the Constitution on numerous occasions throughout his presidency, Ben Carson will govern America in strict accordance with the Constitution. This is because he prizes the Constitution as a safeguard of the rights and freedom of American citizens against the general tendency of the federal government to assume more and more power. As he wrote in One Nation (p. 172): “The Constitution was written primarily to protect the rights of the people and not the right of the government to rule the people. It restrains the natural tendencies of government to expand while disregarding the rights of its constituents. Our freedoms are safe as long as we abide by its principles.” Carson understands that his primary role as president will be to enforce all laws passed by Congress that do not conflict with the Constitution. He will also appoint justices to the Supreme Court who will interpret the Constitution objectively as the Founders meant it to be interpreted, not subjectively as they think it should be interpreted.

5. Ben Carson is an honest citizen statesman, not a corrupt career politician. Poll after poll reveals that Americans have had enough of corrupt establishment politicians in both the major parties. In the 2014 Congressional and gubernatorial elections, they overwhelmingly rejected establishment politicians in favor of honest statesmen and women whom they could trust to represent the best interests of their state and nation. As a citizen statesman, President Carson will focus on doing what is best for America rather than on advancing his political career. After all, Ben Carson never intended to run for public office, and he is only running for president now because millions of Americans have urged him to do so. 

6. God will reunite and heal our divided and broken land through Ben Carson. Our nation is currently more divided than at any time since the Civil War. For example, the gap between rich and poor has never been wider than it is today. President Obama and other unscrupulous politicians have exploited and exacerbated these divisions to their own advantage, stirring up hatred between whites and blacks, rich and poor, men and women, young and old. These social divisions threaten to tear our nation apart. Because he is so widely admired and respected across social boundaries, nominating and electing Ben Carson for president will bring Americans back together and restore American unity. Thus will begin the process of healing the hurts and brokenness these divisions have caused. Carson’s official campaign slogan, “One nation under God, with liberty and justice for all,” encapsulates this theme of unity based on America’s founding principles.

7. Ben Carson is a great communicator. Ever since that historic address at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast, Ben Carson has enjoyed a growing reputation as the most articulate conservative since Ronald Reagan. Although many of the ten currently leading Republican candidates would make a good president, none can match Carson’s unique ability to take complicated issues and break them down into clear, simple terms that anyone can understand. This ability to communicate effectively with potential voters gives Carson a crucial advantage over all the other Republican presidential contenders. The GOP needs a presidential candidate who can connect not just with its own base, but with the American people in general. Here again Carson fits the bill.

8. Ben Carson has a super PAC in his corner. If you’re a presidential candidate these days, you stand little real chance of winning either major party’s nomination unless you have a super PAC separate from your official presidential committee working full time on your behalf to organize and mobilize primary voters in key states at least two years prior to the presidential election. It was a super PAC that enabled freshman senator Barack Obama to snatch the Democratic nomination away from Hillary Clinton in 2008, and it was a super PAC that enabled Mitt Romney to defeat his rivals for the Republican nomination in 2012. Without the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee and its successor, The 2016 Committee, Ben Carson would not have risen to his current position as a leading presidential candidate. Thanks to his super PAC, Carson has a realistic chance of winning enough state primary elections, and thus enough delegates, to actually clinch the GOP nomination for president. The same just can’t be said for Rick Santorum or Carly Fiorina.

9. Ben Carson is sure to win the White House. As a respected leader in the African-American community, GOP presidential nominee Ben Carson will automatically pull more than enough black votes away from Hillary Clinton to ensure her defeat on Election Day 2016. If Carson were to receive just 17 percent of the black vote nationwide, Clinton would lose all the critical swing states and Carson would win the election. Polling data indicate that Carson will actually win at least double that minimum percentage of the African-American vote. Furthermore, polling research also indicates that Carson will win a large minority, if not a majority, of the Hispanic vote. The result will be a landslide Carson victory. If Republicans want to be sure of winning the White House, their logical choice will be to nominate Ben Carson for president.

Photo by Gage Skidmore
To summarize: The Republican Party now has an exciting and historic opportunity to nominate a presidential candidate who is universally admired and respected, who is a great communicator, who shares the religious and moral values of Middle America, who will who will govern wisely in accordance with the Constitution, who will help to reunite and heal America, who can win the nomination, and who can decisively win the presidency. At this critical juncture in our nation’s history, to abandon this golden opportunity by settling for yet another Republican in name only loser such as Jeb Bush would be the epitome of foolishness. The GOP will deserve to lose again if it attempts to send another mediocre candidate to the White House. Now is the time for the Republican Party to unite around its single best candidate for president of the United States--Ben Carson--and work tirelessly to ensure he wins the nomination. It would help further Carson’s cause if some of the other Republican presidential candidates, especially those stuck in the longshot arena, were to voluntarily withdraw from the race and declare their support for Ben Carson. These other candidates should try to put the good of their party, and especially the good of their country as a whole, ahead of their individual interests and political careers. As the old saying goes, in union there is strength. Excessive individualism is hurting the GOP more than anything else. What is needed now is a spirit of generous self-sacrifice on behalf of the common good. America stands in dire need of Ben Carson’s leadership. It’s time for the Republican Party to acknowledge that fact and act accordingly.

Copyright © 2015 Justin D. Soutar. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Quote of the Day

"The grandeur of love is revealed in taking care of one in need, with fidelity and patience; therefore, great is the love that is able to make itself little for others, like Jesus, who made himself a servant. To love is to come close, to touch the flesh of Christ in the poor and the least, to open to God’s grace the needs, the appeals, the solitude of persons that surround us."

--Pope Francis

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Announcing Summer Blowout Sale on St. Michael CDs

 
Thanks to all those who have purchased a copy of my instrumental piano album "Selections from The St. Michael Hymnal" since its release in February 2013. This little two-disc set represented my initial foray as a solo piano artist into the world of music recording, production and distribution. For me as a Catholic pianist, the highest purpose of music is to give glory to God in service to His Church, and that's what I tried to accomplish with this album.

The initial idea for this project was suggested by a zealous lay Catholic friend of mine who holds weekly prayer meetings at the houses of other friends in his area. Back in late 2011, he had discovered The St. Michael Hymnal and decided to have everybody sing a hymn from it at each gathering. He approached me and asked if I could record some of his favorite hymns from the Hymnal onto a CD so they could have some accompaniment to sing to. I agreed to do this on my restored 1966 Wurlitzer spinet piano using The St. Michael Hymnal Organ and Choir book and actually decided to record all fifty of the hymns on his list of favorites. The recorded hymns wouldn't all fit onto a single 80 minute CD, so I had to spread them onto two discs. My friend also suggested that I could make copies of the CDs and market and sell them on the Internet. I decided to do this as well, which necessitated obtaining the required permissions from copyright holders of the four hymns on this album that are copyright protected. I also had to contact the staff of the Hymnal and get permission to use their cover on the CD inserts, which they gladly granted. Then I had to figure out how to burn, test, label, and encase hundreds of CDs and make the final product look attractive enough to sell. It was a bit of a learning curve for me and quite an investment in time and raw materials, but I think the final result was worth all the effort. Given that this was a small independent project, I was pleasantly surprised by the overwhelmingly positive feedback from buyers, and I am grateful to God for the success He has given me.


Now the time has come to clear out my remaining inventory of St. Michael CDs in order to make room for future music projects I have planned. So I am announcing a Summer Blowout Sale that begins today and will run until August 12. Volumes I and II are now available for just $10.00 each (original price was $14.99), and you can now get the two-volume set for only $18.00 (original price was $24.99), and the shipping is on me. Please email all order requests to justin_86 "at" ntelos "dot" net. If you know anyone who is a fan of The St. Michael Hymnal and would like this album, tell them about it or buy them a copy and send it to them. But don't wait--after August 12, 2015, this album will no longer be available for purchase, and quantities are limited. So hurry and get your copy today!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Reflection for Today's Feast

 
"God’s faithful love for His people  was manifested and realized fully in Jesus Christ, who, to honor God’s bond with His people, made Himself our slave, stripped Himself of His glory and assumed the form of a servant. In His love He did not bow before our ingratitude and not even before our rejection. Saint Paul reminds us of this: 'If we are faithless, He – Jesus –  remains faithful , for He cannot deny Himself' (2 Timothy 2:13). Jesus remains faithful, He never betrays, even when we have made a mistake, He always awaits us to forgive us: He is the face of the merciful Father.

"This love, this fidelity of the Lord manifests the humility of His heart. Jesus did not come to conquer men as the kings and powerful of this world, but He came to offer love with meekness and humility. This is how He described Himself: 'learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart' (Matthew 11:29). And the meaning of the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which we celebrate today, is that of discovering increasingly and of letting ourselves be enveloped by the humble fidelity and meekness of the love of Christ, revelation of the Father’s mercy."

--Pope Francis, Homily at Gemelli Hospital, June 27, 2014

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

America's Mental Illness

by Justin Soutar

(This article originally appeared on the website Intellectual Conservative June 2, 2015 at http://intellectualconservative.com/americas-mental-illness/ )

As we the people of the United States anxiously await yet another historic, momentous, far-reaching, and quite possibly unprecedented Supreme Court decision--this time regarding whether or not homosexual couples possess an inherent constitutional “right” to see their sinful relationships legally recognized as “marriages” throughout the country--it’s a good time to pause and reflect on what is really happening to our nation as it continues to drift away from its traditional Judeo-Christian cultural and social moorings, and, ultimately, away from God and reality.

Under the poisonous influence of a radically secularist ideology, vocal homosexual activists are insistently pressuring the High Court to redefine marriage as the union of any two (or more) consenting adults regardless of sex or biological compatibility. Not content to offend their Creator by engaging in gravely immoral behavior in the privacy of their own homes, these shrill extremists are now demanding that their deviant lifestyles be publicly recognized by the federal government of the United States—whose official national motto is still “In God We Trust”—as the equivalent of the Creator’s own sacred institution of marriage that has formed the connective tissue of every flourishing human society from the dawn of civilization throughout history and right up to this moment. In other words, these outspoken sodomites want the High Court to manufacture for them out of whole cloth a brand-new “right” to enjoy all the privileges of marriage in their own irregular relationships. Such legal recognition of morally disordered homosexual unions on a par with normal marital unions would be a slap in the Creator’s face, would contravene His natural law, and would constitute a blanket rejection of the collective wisdom of the ages, also known as tradition and precedent. Furthermore, it would evince a pathetically na├»ve misunderstanding of the nature of marriage as well as a foolish disregard for the negative social consequences of legitimizing homosexual activity on a national scale. Finally, such a radical High Court decision would insult common sense and flaunt the will of the American people, who in the last twelve years have approved laws in more than thirty states upholding the traditional definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Should the Supreme Court cave in to these radical homosexual lobbyists and venture to issue such a stupid and misguided decision, it won’t be the first time that several unelected activist justices have waved their magic wand to create a previously nonexistent human “right” out of thin air. Forty-two years ago in Roe v. Wade, seven such justices arbitrarily reinterpreted the Constitution’s due process clause to include the supposed “right” of a woman to kill her unborn child for any reason whatsoever. But no human being ever has any right to violate God’s natural moral law, whether by killing an unborn child in a so-called “health clinic” or by engaging in homosexual activity behind closed doors. Regardless of the circumstances involved, no violation of the natural law can ever properly be called a human “right.” Authentic human rights are not invented and declared by two consenting adults or an immoral lobby group or a court decision or a majority vote; on the contrary, they are given to us by our Creator and must be exercised responsibly in accordance with His laws.

Unfortunately, thanks to the increasingly pervasive influence of America’s radically secularist internal enemies, who are hell-bent on constructing a new America without God and without moral absolutes, the fundamental concepts of inalienable rights, natural law, and ordered liberty that originally formed the basis of American society and the Judeo-Christian cultural tradition within which they developed are rapidly becoming obsolete. America’s Founders believed that human beings are endowed by their Creator with certain inherent rights such as life and liberty that cannot be taken away—basic rights that government must protect. They acknowledged the existence of the Creator’s absolute and unchanging natural law, consisting of basic principles of right and wrong implicitly engraved in the human heart and explicitly encoded in the Ten Commandments. And they understood freedom as the fundamental right to act in accordance with the natural law—i.e., the right to do the right thing. As wise, brilliant, and courageous men of deep Christian faith, unshakable trust in Divine Providence, and sound reason, the Founders grasped the reality and inner logic of these three interrelated fundamental concepts and dared to build a new nation upon their firm foundation. Thus constructed on solid rock, America rose to become the greatest nation in the history of the world.

Now, almost two and a half centuries after her founding, America is in deep trouble because these fundamental philosophical concepts and the Judeo-Christian tradition that gave birth to them no longer form the basis of her society and culture, and thus of her political and legal systems. In place of inalienable rights, we have a relativized, ever-changing list of so-called “rights” based exclusively on whim and convenience, invented and declared on the spur of the moment. In place of natural law, we have moral relativism, the idea that right and wrong are determined solely by individual preference. In place of ordered liberty, we have the strange idea that freedom is the absolute right of each and every individual to do whatever he or she wants to do. And in place of the Judeo-Christian tradition, we now have the novelty of an aggressive and intolerant radically secularist ideology that is determined to completely rob modern America of her traditional Christian identity.

The fundamental concepts on which America was built are being lost today because we the people are losing faith and trust in God the Creator, Who is Ultimate Reality and the source of all other realities (except evil). As we become increasingly estranged from our infinitely good, wise and loving Creator, we naturally become suspicious of His moral order that governs the universe He created. Falling into the original sin of pride, we dare to exalt ourselves above the Creator and His eternal law, rejecting transcendent truth and taking it upon ourselves to arbitrarily decide what is right and wrong. Instead of humbly accepting the divinely revealed objective realities of inalienable rights and natural law and ordering our lives accordingly, we prefer to construct our own subjective virtual reality and live according to our own wishes, either denying that God exists or simply ignoring His existence as irrelevant to our own.

This is the dangerous building project in which the radically secularist elites are currently engaged: they are hacking vigorously at America’s Judeo-Christian bedrock and demolishing her philosophical foundations laid upon that bedrock in order to construct a new nation on the shifting sands of moral relativism and atheism. Experience offers abundant warning of the end results of such a project: consider the French Revolution, Italian Fascism, German Nazism, Russian Communism and all the bloodshed and human misery spawned by these infamous totalitarian regimes before they were washed into the ocean of history. Attempting to build a nation without God always leads to social chaos and totalitarianism, resulting in the loss of human rights and freedom. It should also be pointed out that a nation’s loss of faith is inevitably followed by a loss of reason, because without faith in the realities of God and His natural law, the world no longer makes sense.

Under the destructive influence of radical secularism, America is losing touch with God and thus also losing touch with reality. Polls now indicate that a majority of Americans favor legally equating the moral abomination of a homosexual union with the sacred institution of marriage. This demonstrates just how far our society and culture have drifted from the religious and moral values of America’s founding generation. We don’t even understand what marriage is anymore. Marriage is the Creator’s own institution, the perfectly designed union of a man and a woman for the good of the spouses, the procreation of children, the good of the children and society, and the growth and continuation of the human race. If we had sufficient common sense, we would simply recognize this fact as self-evident as our ancestors did, respecting and protecting and promoting heterosexual marriage as the lifeblood of a healthy and flourishing society. Our laws and policies would naturally favor and strengthen marriage and nuclear family life. The facts that some people now seriously claim a “right” to have an immoral relationship endowed with the title and privileges of marriage, that we are actually discussing and debating and defining and redefining what marriage is, and that those of us who still cling tenaciously to the age-old definition of marriage must now battle strenuously to preserve and hand it on, all indicate that we as a nation are going insane because we no longer recognize and accept the objective truths of the natural law, natural rights, and ordered liberty. And we no longer recognize and accept these truths because we no longer believe in God Who is Truth itself.

The influence of radical secularism in our culture has become so pervasive that it is now affecting the thinking even of some good and well-respected Catholics. Last year, for example, based on a misguided tolerance and an inordinate desire not to offend homosexual lobbyists, Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League and Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York both wrongly approved of admitting them into the 2015 Saint Patrick’s Day parade, a Catholic religious and cultural event. Given that their radical agenda is to celebrate their sinful relationships and have them legally recognized as “marriages,” such approval was entirely inappropriate. Apparently Donohue felt that agreeing to homosexual activists’ participation in the event was a useful bargaining chip for getting pro-life activists into the march. And apparently Cardinal Dolan felt that allowing such immoral extremists into this event was an act of Christian charity that could draw them closer to the Church. But the end does not automatically justify the means. It is forbidden to compromise with evil in order to obtain a good. And there can be no moral comparison or equivalence between those who promote a grave moral evil that violates God’s law and wreaks social havoc, and those who defend the inalienable right to life of the innocent unborn, which currently is not protected by law in the United States.

In another example of how radically secularist thought can affect Catholic reasoning, attorney Kyle Duncan of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty recently remarked in an interview on The World Over with Raymond Arroyo that a certain state has the right to broaden the definition of marriage to include same-sex relationships if it so chooses. Such a remark betrays the often subtle and subconscious influence of the radically secularist ideology and the insidious moral relativism and atheism on which it is based. The truth is that the states, the courts, the federal government, and the people have no right to decide to legally alter the Creator’s timeless definition of marriage. On the contrary, it’s the business of the states, the courts, the federal government, and the people to properly understand and accept marriage for what it is and to have their laws reflect that proper understanding and acceptance. As a firm believer in democracy, I do acknowledge and treasure the ancient democratic principle vox populi vox Dei, “the voice of the people is the voice of God.” However, the will of the people is to be respected and carried out only insofar as it accords with the objective truths of the natural law and promotes the true good of society. Thus, laws that acknowledge and reflect the Creator’s definition of marriage and protect the sanctity of the nuclear family should be consistently upheld, while those that attempt to change that definition and assault the sanctity of the nuclear family should be struck down and overturned.

Faced with growing attacks on marriage and religious liberty, taxpayer-funded abortions, the HHS anti-life mandate, ballooning national debt, and increasingly corrupt career politicians, many well-intentioned religious and patriotic Americans of good will are now scrambling to bolster the political and legal defenses against our radically secularist internal enemies, with efforts ranging from the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act to state versions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to court injunctions to a Balanced Budget Amendment to term limits for senators and representatives. Catholic and Christian lawyers are claiming that individual states have the right to decide for themselves what marriage is without interference from the courts. Although many of these efforts are laudable and deserving of support, the main problem with this whole approach is that it merely treats the political and legal symptoms of a much deeper cultural and social disease infecting our nation. Our current political and legal systems are simply the products of our contemporary culture and society, which has turned virulently anti-Christian in recent years. If our American culture and society are indeed so profoundly afflicted by the mental illness of radical secularism, then we cannot logically expect our federal government and courts to hold out long as bastions of sanity and justice. Not even the Constitution can guarantee protection of our inalienable rights when it is reinterpreted to mean whatever this or that radical lobby group or alliance of activist justices arbitrarily decides it should mean. Any government or court system is only as good as the people who run it. When our politicians and judges are godless, immoral, unjust, and biased, how can we expect them to issue godly, moral, just, and unbiased laws and rulings? Since they are living in a self-constructed fantasy world, how can we expect them to govern and interpret the real world in a sensible and rational manner? As the Supreme Court prepares to issue a landmark decision on whether homosexual relationships should be legally recognized as “marriages,” can we reasonably expect a simple majority of the justices, let alone all nine of them, to make the right decision based on common sense and the Creator’s natural law?

If America is to be rescued from the brink of final and ultimate disaster toward which she is now obliviously hurtling, a profound change of mentality must take place in our culture. We the people need to break out of our beloved self-constructed virtual-reality bubbles and get back in touch with reality. We need to rediscover the fundamental concepts of inalienable rights, natural law, and ordered liberty as the irreplaceable foundations of a great nation. We need to rediscover marriage and the nuclear family as indispensable elements of a healthy society. We need to rediscover and reconnect with our priceless Judeo-Christian cultural heritage. And, most importantly, we need to reaffirm our faith and trust in Almighty God, our infinitely wise and loving Creator, humbly begging His forgiveness on our waywardness and imploring His providential assistance in rebuilding our crumbling nation. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Ps. 33:12).


Copyright © 2015 Justin D. Soutar. All rights reserved.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Quote of the Day

"In order to successfully oppose the barbarity of those who would make of every difference the occasion and pretext for further unspeakable violence, we need to recognize the fundamental values of human communities, values in the name of which we can and must cooperate, build and dialogue, pardon and grow; this will allow different voices to unite in creating a melody of sublime nobility and beauty, instead of the fanatical cries of hatred."

--Pope Francis

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Two Excellent U.S. Archbishops Who Should Be Given the Red Hat

We Catholics here in the United States are currently blessed with an abundance of fine bishops and archbishops, many of whom would undoubtedly make good cardinals. However, there are two high-profile archbishops now offering exemplary service to the Church in this country who, in this layman's opinion, stand out as particularly deserving candidates for the honor and responsibility of the cardinalate. Their unwavering fidelity to the Magisterium, combined with their ability to clearly articulate and defend the Church's teachings and natural law principles both in the pulpit and the public square and their track record as successful and experienced pastors, would seem to render them fit to join the College of Cardinals, the elite inner circle of the Pope's most trusted advisors and collaborators. They are Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco.

I actually think Archbishop Chaput is a little overdue to be named a cardinal, since he has been serving the Church so well for so long. He was archbishop of Denver for a number of years before Pope Benedict moved him to Philly, where he has successfully tackled the challenge of cleaning up the aftermath of the priestly sexual abuse scandal and handling the resulting financial strain on that archdiocese. Meanwhile, he has preached the Gospel faithfully to his flock and written columns for both the archdiocesan and secular newspapers in defense of religious liberty and the right to life of the unborn. He knows how to speak the truth in a charitable way, whether he's talking to fellow Catholics or engaging the secular culture. The upcoming World Meeting of Families, which will be held in Philadelphia this September, should allow Pope Francis to observe Archbishop Chaput's leadership qualities firsthand, and hopefully this will lead to his being named a cardinal in the near future.

When compared to Archbishop Chaput, Archbishop Cordileone may seem a less obvious candidate for the cardinalate, given that he is somewhat younger and less experienced than the former. However, his credentials as a potential cardinal are no less impeccable. In a cosmopolitan West Coast city known for rampant radical secularism, his steadfast adherence to Catholic teaching and joyful witness of the Gospel shine all the brighter. He is a supporter of and participant in the annual Walk for Life, which is now the second largest pro-life demonstration in the nation; he has also participated in the March for Marriage in Washington, D.C. Unjust criticism from a handful of Catholics and radical secularists unhappy with his public defense of traditional marriage and his efforts to keep Catholic schools teaching orthodox doctrine in his archdiocese has only served to highlight the fact that this is a true leader who possesses the courage of his convictions. In my opinion, Archbishop Cordileone would make a fine cardinal.

Of course, it is up to Pope Francis to decide which, if any, American bishops or archbishops will be given the red hat and thus join the upper echelon of Church government. The broad field of the contemporary U.S. hierarchy offers dozens of excellent candidates for the honorable position of being one of the Pope's men. But if I had to name two archbishops in this country whom I sincerely and with good reason considered worthy to join the ranks of the Curia, my personal choices would be Archbishop Chaput and Archbishop Cordileone.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Quote of the Day

"The degree of progress of a civilization is measured by its ability to protect life, especially in its most fragile stages, rather than by the spread of technological means. When we speak of man, let us never forget the attacks on the sacredness of human life. The scourge of abortion is an attack on life. Leaving our brothers on the boats in the Sicilian channel is an attack on life. Death in the workplace is an attack on life because the minimal security conditions are not respected. Death by malnutrition is an attack on life. Terrorism, war, violence and also euthanasia are an attack on life. Loving life means always to take care of the other, to wish him well, to cultivate and respect his transcendent dignity."

--Pope Francis

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Quote of the Day

“Tribulations, if we bear them patiently for the love of God, appear bitter at first, but they grow sweet, when one gets accustomed to the taste.”  
--St. Philip Neri

Friday, May 15, 2015

Quote of the Day

"The Church in heaven is not triumphant because she has turned her back on the sufferings of the world and rejoices in splendid isolation. Rather, the saints already joyfully contemplate the fact that, through Jesus’ death and resurrection, they have triumphed once and for all over indifference, hardness of heart and hatred. Until this victory of love penetrates the whole world, the saints continue to accompany us on our pilgrim way....We share in the merits and joy of the saints, even as they share in our struggles and our longing for peace and reconciliation. Their joy in the victory of the Risen Christ gives us strength as we strive to overcome our indifference and hardness of heart."

--Pope Francis

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Another Earthquake in Nepal

As most of us know, the densely populated Himalayan country of Nepal was struck by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake on April 25, killing at least 8,000 people and leaving more than one million survivors homeless. Now, just this morning, only seventeen days later, Nepal has suffered another major earthquake, this one magnitude 7.3. I don't know what the odds are of two seventh-magnitude earthquakes striking the same location less than three weeks apart, but I don't think I've ever heard of this happening before. There is considerable evidence (widely touted by creationists, and largely ignored by evolutionists) that the Himalayan mountains themselves are the result of a tremendous collision between two large tectonic plates during the Great Flood of Genesis. Now the Indian plate is slowly pushing northward over time into the larger main Asian plate, and occasional bumps and rough spots in this process can trigger earthquakes in the region. I also know that India and Pakistan, the two powerful rival nations of South Asia, both have nuclear weapons and occasionally perform underground nuclear tests, especially when they are preparing for war, which can also trigger earthquakes in the Himalayas. I'm not sure what the causes of these two particular earthquakes were, but since I'm not aware of any nuclear testing activities or heightened hostility between India and Pakistan at the moment, I will for now assume natural causes were responsible for these two events.

Although I felt several tremors when I was growing up in California and experienced the magnitude 5.9 quake that shook Virginia on August 23, 2011 at my home more than 100 miles from the epicenter, I have been blessed so far to have never directly experienced a truly destructive earthquake. I can only imagine the gut-wrenching situation in which the people of Nepal now find themselves and what they must be going through at this moment, having lost homes and loved ones just weeks ago, and now with their lives and nerves having been shattered yet again while recovery and rebuilding efforts from the first quake had only just begun. Let's keep the victims of this rare double earthquake in our prayers and compassion and do what we can to help them. Thankfully, Catholic Relief Services has responded to the initial disaster with its accustomed timely, well-organized and professional approach to humanitarian relief, and the agency is now redoubling its efforts to address the latest crisis. I cannot recommend their work highly enough, and I encourage all readers who are able to do so to donate to CRS earthquake relief.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Quote of the Day

"The exodus experience is paradigmatic of the Christian life, particularly in the case of those who have embraced a vocation of special dedication to the Gospel. This calls for a constantly renewed attitude of conversion and transformation, an incessant moving forward, a passage from death to life like that celebrated in every liturgy, an experience of passover. From the call of Abraham to that of Moses, from Israel’s pilgrim journey through the desert to the conversion preached by the prophets, up to the missionary journey of Jesus which culminates in his death and resurrection, vocation is always a work of God. He leads us beyond our initial situation, frees us from every enslavement, breaks down our habits and our indifference, and brings us to the joy of communion with him and with our brothers and sisters. Responding to God’s call, then, means allowing him to help us leave ourselves and our false security behind, and to strike out on the path which leads to Jesus Christ, the origin and destiny of our life and our happiness."

--Pope Francis

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Reflection for Today

"'The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep' (John 10:11). While Jesus was saying these words, the Apostles did not realize that he was referring to himself. Not even his beloved Apostle John knew it. He understood on Calvary, at the foot of the Cross, when he saw Jesus silently giving up his life for 'his sheep.' When the time came for John and the other Apostles to assume this same mission, they then remembered his words. They realized that they would be able to fulfill their mission only because he had assured them that he himself would be working among them."

--St. John Paul II, October 16, 2003

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Quote of the Day

"The Apostles, who saw with their own eyes the Risen Christ, could not keep silent about their extraordinary experience. He had revealed himself to them so that the truth of his resurrection could reach everyone through their witness. And the Church has the duty to prolong this mission, every baptized person is called to give witness, with their words and with their lives, that Jesus is risen, that He is alive and present among us. We all are called to give witness that Jesus is alive! We can ask ourselves: who is the witness? The witness is one who has seen, who remembers and who recounts. To see, to remember and to tell are the three verbs that describes the identity and mission....

"May Mary, our Mother, sustain us through Her intercession, so that we can become, with our limitations, but with the grace of faith, witnesses of the Risen Lord, bringing to the people who we find the Easter gifts of joy and peace."

--Pope Francis