Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Christmas Reflection

"Jesus has given us the gift of Himself. We can give him the gift of our hearts. The fullness of our hearts is revealed by our actions: how I treat the homeless, how I treat these refugees, how I treat each individual person—-not as an impersonal one of millions, but as one in a million. Each one is Jesus, who suffers in this distressing disguise. It’s the body of Christ you are touching. How loving our hearts and our hands must be, to be able to bring our compassion to them…

"The Joyful Mysteries are not all pure joy; rather they are tinged with sorrow and suffering. For Jesus, Mary and Joseph, that was their life, and they freely accepted the will of God. On this joyous Christmas Day, we too can share in the sorrow and suffering of the refugees. Our joy transcends this transient human suffering when we embrace it with love."

--Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, address to Bengali refugees, December 25, 1971 (from the forthcoming book My Christmas with Mother Teresa by John Mathews with Justin Soutar)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Quote of the Day

"In fact, the mystery of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, which occurred historically more than 2,000 years ago, is implemented as a spiritual event in the 'today of the liturgy.' The Word, who dwelled in the virginal womb of Mary, in the celebration of Christmas, comes to call anew the heart of each Christian. He comes by and calls. Each one of us is called to respond, as Mary did, with a personal and sincere "yes," placing ourselves fully at the disposal of God and his mercy. How many times Jesus comes in our lives and how many times he sends us an angel. And how many times we don't realize it because we are very busy, submerged in our thoughts, in our activities, and in these days, in the preparation for Christmas, and we don't realize the one who is passing by and knocking at the door of our hearts asking to be welcomed, asking for a "yes" like that of Mary. A saint said, 'I fear that the Lord will pass by.' Do you know why he was afraid? It was fear of not realizing, of allowing him to pass by.

"When we feel in our hearts, 'I would like to be better. I repent of this thing I've done,' there is the Lord who calls, who makes us feel this, the desire to be better, the desire to be closer to others, to God. If you feel this, stop. The Lord is there. Go to pray, and maybe go to confession to clean up the dwelling a bit. This is good. But remember well, if you feel this desire to improve, it is He who is calling. Do not let him pass by.

"In the mystery of Christmas, beside Mary, in silence, is the presence of St. Joseph, as is represented in all the nativity scenes, also in this one that you can admire here in St. Peter's Square. The example of Mary and of Joseph is for all of us an invitation to welcome Jesus with an entirely open soul, Jesus who out of love has made himself our brother. He comes to bring to the world the gift of peace. 'Peace to those on whom his favor rests,' as the choir of angels announced to the shepherds. The precious gift of Christmas is peace and Christ is our true peace. And Christ calls to our hearts to give us peace. Peace of the soul. Let us open the gates to Christ.

"We entrust ourselves to the intercession of our Mother and of St. Joseph, to live a Christmas that is truly Christian, free of all worldliness, prepared to welcome the Savior, the God-with-us."

--Pope Francis

Monday, December 15, 2014

Quote of the Day

"The heart of man desires joy. All of us aspire to joy. Every family, every people aspires to happiness. But what is the joy to which the Christian is called to live and to give witness? It is that that comes from the closeness of God, of his presence in our lives. Since Jesus entered history, with his birth in Bethlehem, humanity has received the seed of the Kingdom of God, as the earth receives a seed, the promise of a future harvest. We don't need to look elsewhere. Jesus came to bring joy to everyone and for ever.

"It is not a joy that is merely anticipated or set in paradise -- 'here on earth we are sad but in paradise, we'll be happy.' No. It's not that. Rather, [it is] a joy that is already real and that can be felt now, because Jesus himself is our joy, is our home....

"All of us who are baptized, the children of the Church, are called to welcome ever again the presence of God in our midst and to help others to discover it, or to rediscover it if we've forgotten it. It is a beautiful mission, similar to that of John the Baptist: to point people toward Christ -- not to ourselves -- because He is the final goal toward which the human heart reaches when it seeks joy and happiness....

"The Christian is a person who has his heart full of peace, because he knows how to place his joy in the Lord, even when the difficult moments of life arise.

"To have faith does not mean to not have difficult moments, but to have the strength to face them, knowing we are not alone. And this is the Peace that God gives to his children."

--Pope Francis

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Quote of the Day

"So now, let us allow Isaiah’s invitation - “Comfort, give comfort to my people” - resound in our hearts in this time of Advent. Today there is a need for people who are witnesses of the mercy and tenderness of the Lord, which shakes up those who are resigned, revives the discouraged, ignites the fire of hope. It is He who ignites the fire of hope, not us!

"So many situations require our consoling witness. To be joyful people, consoled. I think of those who are oppressed by suffering, injustice and abuses; those who are enslaved by money, power, success, worldliness. Poor things, they have a false consolation, they do not have the true consolation of the Lord!....

"Isaiah’s a balm on our wounds and an impetus to prepare the way of the Lord diligently. The prophet, in fact, speaks today to our hearts to tell us that God forgets our sins and consoles us. If we trust in Him with humble and contrite hearts, He will break down the walls of evil, He will fill the holes of our omissions, He will pave the bumps of pride and vanity and will open a path of encounter with Him.

"It is curious, but so many times, we are afraid of consolation, of being consoled. In fact, we feel safer in sadness and desolation. Do you know why? Because in sadness, we feel almost like the protagonists. Instead, in consolation, the Holy Spirit is the protagonist! It is He who consoles us, it is He who gives us the courage to come out of ourselves. It is He who brings us to the source of every true consolation, that is, the Father. And this is conversion. Please, let yourselves be consoled by the Lord! Let yourselves be consoled by the Lord!"

--Pope Francis

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

ElectionWatch 2014: A Crowning Victory

Well, it happened again: another Republican landslide victory. Can you believe it? In the Louisiana Senate runoff election this past Saturday, December 6, Republican challenger Bill Cassidy soundly defeated Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu, receiving 57 percent of the vote to 43 percent for Landrieu. With this stunning final victory of the 2014 Congressional general elections, Republicans have picked up a total of nine new seats in the U.S. Senate, three more than they needed to gain a majority in the upper house of Congress. Just a few weeks from now, Republicans will hold 54 Senate seats to 46 for the Democrats.

And yes, the mainstream media outlets were wrong again in predicting a close election. Of course, since they are overwhelmingly controlled and influenced by the same Wall Street corporate interests that largely control and influence the Obama administration, it's little wonder that their content is so heavily biased and unreliable (which is why I try to avoid it as much as possible). Because they worship the false triune god of money, sex and power and are thus living in permanent spiritual darkness, the big media moguls are naturally more interested in serving us deception than truth, especially when the truth inconveniently pierces their flimsy little soap bubbles. I was wondering how this election was going over the weekend, but I didn't hear anything about it, so this morning I visited the Fox News website (one of those mainstream media outlets) to find out what was going on. I had to do some digging to find any news of the election at all, since they had pretty well buried the story. Once I finally unearthed what I was looking for, I was pleasantly surprised. What a great capper to the historic and game-changing elections of 2014!

It's plainly obvious that the Obama administration and the mainstream media are in denial about the sweeping Republican and Tea Party takeover of America. It's a huge defeat for them and their anti-God agenda, and they just can't seem to get over it. These pundits and politicians are the sorest losers I have ever seen. President Obama and his lackeys want their way no matter what, and even with the end of their political careers staring them in the face, they are desperate to ram the rest of their agenda down our throats by any legal or illegal means necessary before the day of reckoning arrives and they are finally compelled by law to leave office. They and their mainstream media pals wish that all of this just hadn't happened, that the new Republican majorities in Congress and state governorships would just go away. They need to wake up and face reality.

As a last-ditch attempt to minimize their losses, the big corporate interests that back the Obama adminitration and the mainstream media are now putting enormous pressure on our newly elected and re-elected Republican and Tea Party representatives in both houses of Congress to cowardly surrender to their immoral agenda for this nation. Their one remaining hope to is corrupt enough Republican senators and members of Congress to allow that agenda to continue moving forward largely unimpeded despite this historic power shift. So let's keep our newly elected and re-elected public servants in our prayers, that they stick to their guns and do what is right for our country in accord with their Judeo-Christian values, the natural law and the Constitution of the U.S. instead of giving in to bribery and blackmail as so many establishment politicians have done. It's our duty as Christians to pray for our elected officials, so let's not forget to do this. We are, or at least we should be, a Christian country, a nation that trusts in God. We cannot restore America to greatness without Him. So let's pray for our country every day.

With this post, I will now close my ElectionWatch 2014 series. Thank you for reading and following along. May God bless you, and may He watch over and bless the United States of America! Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, pray for us!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Quote of the Day

"He [Jesus] makes us know the Father, introduces us to this inner life that He has. And to whom does the Father reveal this? To whom does he give this grace? 'I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little ones'. Only those whose hearts are like the young are capable of receiving this revelation, the humble of heart, the meek, who feel the need to pray, to open up to God, who feel poor; only he who goes forward with the first Beatitude: the poor in spirit.

"Many may know the science, theology well, so many! But if they do not practice this theology on their knees, humbly, like children, they will not understand anything. It will tell them many things, but they will not understand anything. Only with this poverty is one capable of receiving the revelation that the Father gives through Jesus, through Jesus. Jesus is not like a captain, an army general, a powerful ruler, no, no. He is like a bud. Just like we heard in the First Reading: 'On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse'. He is a bud that is humble, mild, and came to the humble, and to the meek, to bring salvation to the sick, the poor, the oppressed...

"We ask the Lord, in this Advent season, to bring us nearer to his mystery and to do so the way that He wants us to do: the way of humility, the way of meekness, the way of poverty, the road where we feel sin. So that he can come to save us, to free us. May the Lord give us this grace."

--Pope Francis

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Advent Reflection

"In the season of Advent, as we recall Christ’s Incarnation at Christmas, we are reminded to be prepared for Christ’s coming. In the Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent this year, Nov. 30, Christ tells us his disciples “to be on the watch.”

“You do not know when the Lord of the house is coming,” Jesus says. “May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.” We remember that Christ is coming whenever we celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In the Holy Mass we are made present to the sacrifice at Calvary, and to the joy of Christ’s glory in heaven. But we also remember that Christ will return, and we remember to watch, to be vigilant, to wait for him, and to be prepared...

"Since ancient times, Christians have faced the east during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to remember to keep watch for Christ. Together, the priest and the people faced the east, waiting and watching for Christ. Even in Churches that did not face the east, the priest and people stood together in the Mass, gazing at Christ on the crucifix, on the altar, and in the tabernacle, to recall the importance of watching for his return. The symbolism of the priest and people facing ad orientem—-to the east—-is an ancient reminder of the coming of Christ...

"The symbolism of facing together, and awaiting Christ, is rich, time-honored and important. Especially during Advent, as we await the coming of the Lord, facing the east together—even symbolically facing Christ together at the altar and on the crucifix—is a powerful witness to Christ’s imminent return. Today, at a time when it is easy to forget that Christ is coming—and easy to be complacent in our spiritual lives and in the work of evangelization—we need reminders that Christ will come...

"“Be watchful!” says Jesus. “Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.” We do not know when the time will come for Christ’s to return. But we know that we must watch for him. May we “face the east,” together, watching for Christ in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and in our lives."

--Bishop James Conley, Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Few Thoughts about Immigration and Executive Amnesty

I just wanted to share a few of my thoughts about our nation's current immigration crisis and President Obama's unprecedented Executive Order issued last Friday granting instant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants here in the United States. First of all, I agree with Republican and Tea Party leaders and with the majority of my fellow Americans that this unilateral executive action taken by our president represented an unconstitutional abuse of his authority. The president's job is to enforce laws approved and passed by Congress, not to make up his own laws as he sees fit. (There is one exception to this: Unconstitutional laws passed by Congress, such as ObamaCare, should not be enforced but repealed, if they are not struck down by the courts.) Immigration reform and legislation is a matter for our elected representatives in Congress, who are the real lawmakers. For the umpteenth time since his administration began nearly six years ago, President Obama has exceeded his powers in order to foist his socialist agenda on our nation without our consent. He must be held accountable for violating his oath of office. I think Congress is overdue to begin talk of impeachment.

I am also rather unhappy that our good Catholic bishops have voiced approval for President Obama's unlawful course of action. They have the best of intentions, and they are concerned that those millions of people who are in our country illegally receive needed care and assistance, along with the opportunity for a better life, in line with Catholic social thought and biblical teaching about welcoming the stranger, caring for the least of our brethren, and not oppressing the alien. But I would respectfully submit that our bishops' approach to this complex issue is slightly flawed. The undocumented immigrants who pour across our southern border each day are for the most part deeply religious, hardworking, and otherwise law-abiding individuals whose chief goal is to find productive employment in order to support their families back home. Many of them do end up making a lasting positive contribution to our nation. However, such a large barrel is definitely going to contain some bad apples as well. So while grating privileges of citizenship to deserving aliens, this blanket amnesty is also making some criminals and gang members citizens of the U.S. It's a double-edged sword. By approving President Obama's illegal decree, our bishops undermine their own respect for the rule of law while accomplishing little for the immigrants themselves. There are many Catholic charitable organizations who are already fulfilling the Gospel mission by reaching out to these people at the local level regardless of their immigration status. Having the federal government confer instant citizenship on them with no questions asked is irresponsible and unecessary. In addition, making illegal immigrants instant citizens on a par with natural-born citizens and legal immigrants is unfair to the latter two groups of people.

Furthermore, our bishops do not seem to understand the real reasons for the president's action, which have nothing whatsoever to do with justice and compassion for immigrants. President Obama's unconstitutional edict was driven purely by political considerations in line with his own socialist agenda: its sole purpose was to add millions of new Democratic voters to the United States so that Hillary Clinton can be elected president to succeed him. Although cloaked that way, this illegal Executive Order was not designed to advance the welfare of the illegal immigrants themselves. President Obama has by now amply demonstrated that he doesn't care about the poor or about anyone else in this country who is struggling financially; his only concern is to protect the major corporate interests that back his presidency. And those interests, including Planned Parenthood, Monsanto, and the big pharmaceutical and insurance industries, are also backing Hillary Clinton's candidacy for president in order to retain their grip on U.S. politics and the economy.

There is no question that our immigration system has become an unwieldy bureaucracy that is in dire need of reform. Bureaucratic red tape alone has been a major factor contributing to the boom in illegal immigration. But granting millions of illegal immigrants automatic, unconditional, and permanent citizenship through executive fiat is not the proper way to begin resolving the situation. Our Catholic bishops themselves for years have been championing a comprehensive immigration reform proposal that includes addressing the root causes of mass migration to the U.S. from Mexico and Central America, as well as offering immigrants who came here illegally a legal pathway by which they can earn citizenship over a period of time. Although I may not fully agree with every aspect of this proposal, I do support it as a wise and common-sense approach to the complicated problem of illegal immigration. Our bishops should stick to their proposal and not hail with delight every move by our federal government that seems to advance their cause, much less a move that violates the Constitution and certain basic principles of justice.

I also think that more attention should be paid to the role of NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement, signed in the 1990s by President Clinton) and multinational corporations in the illegal immigration boom that has been affecting our country for the last twenty years. Big companies love cheap labor, and they can get lots of it when national borders are porous and immigration laws are weak or not enforced. If it is to be long-lasting and effective, immigration reform must be sufficiently farsighted to include structural reform of the global economy based on principles of justice and charity for all involved, as Benedict XVI spelled out in his 2009 encyclical Caritas in Veritate. Thus the U.S. must also work together in a spirit of community with other countries and international organizations to address the root causes of its illegal immigration problem.

For now, I fully support Congress doing all in its power to halt the implementation of President Obama's latest assault on our Constitution, and to hold the president accountable for abusing his authority yet again. He is a dangerous tyrant, so a real effort should be made in the near future to impeach him and remove him from office for the good of our country.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Quote of the Day

"Let us seek to live in a way that is always worthy of our Christian vocation."

--Pope Francis

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

ElectionWatch 2014: Eight Seats...Maybe Nine?

As of mid-November, the historic 2014 midterm elections are now behind us--at least for the most part. Nearly all of the close House, Senate, and gubernatorial races have now been decided. Republicans have secured 244 seats in the House of Representatives compared to 186 for the Democrats, with the outcome of five House races still pending. And just a few days ago, Republican challenger Dan Sullivan was declared the winner of the Alaska Senate race, defeating Democratic incumbent Mark Begich; thanks to this victory, Republicans have now picked up eight seats in the Senate, bringing their total to 53 compared to 46 for the Democrats. The one remaining inconclusive Senate race in Louisiana is now being hotly contested, with Democratic establishment incumbent Mary Landrieu desperately attempting to defeat Republican challenger Bill Cassidy; the two candidates will face off in a special runoff election on Saturday, December 6.

Successfully withstanding a massive and all-time record barrage of big money, big lies, and big media from corrupt Democratic incumbent politicians, Republican and Tea Party candidates for the House, Senate, and state governorships alike fared extremely well in this election, their spectacular tidal wave of victories driven mainly by public outrage over ObamaCare and the hunger for a return to traditional Judeo-Christian religious and moral values as the bedrock of sound national governance. Although some of the really close races such as the Virginia Senate election and several House races have tipped in favor of Democrats, this simply reflects the fact that Democratic candidates across the country did their utmost to keep public opinion on their side and crush their upstart Republican and Tea Party rivals. So yes, they have managed to pull a few victories from the jaws of defeat, but not to worry: The corrupt Washington establishment has already been shaken to its core by the Tea Party revolution of 2014, and its days are numbered. With the right kind of changes on the horizon, we the people of the United States can look forward with reasonable hope to better days and a brighter future for our once-great country.

Although badly shaken two weeks ago, the corrupt establishment is not quite dead yet and is still eager to snag one final victory in particular. Polls now being fed to us by the mainstream media indicate that the Louisiana Senate race between Cassidy and Landrieu is extremely close. Does that sound familiar? Polls released prior to November 4 showed numerous Senate and several gubernatorial races extremely close, and they were all wrong, probably even deliberately biased, so it's reasonable to wonder whether the latest polls of the Senate race in Louisiana can be trusted. I believe that such flawed and deceptive polls from the mainstream media can be used, and are being used, as a method of psychological warfare on behalf of Democratic establishment candidates to convince Republican and pro-life voters that their efforts are all in vain because the Democrats are probably going to hang on anyway. Given what just happened in the general elections, it's reasonable to assume that Bill Cassidy may be more popular than the big media would like to admit, and more popular than their polls show. I think that, in spite of everything, he still has a good chance of defeating Mary Landrieu. That said, predicting the future is a notoriously tricky business, so I'm not going to predict the outcome of this particular race. I'll just wait and see what happens, pray for a good result, encourage all Louisianans to give Cassidy their vote, and wish him the best.

The historic 2014 elections represented a tremendous achievement for the Tea Party movement in the United States despite a concerted effort by the Washington establishment to discredit and defeat it. Just a few weeks ago, it seemed unlikely that Republicans would pick up the six additional seats necessary to regain control of the Senate. Now they have picked up eight, and if Cassidy wins in Louisiana, they will pick up one more for a total of nine new seats. That will be a nice bonus if it happens. But if it doesn't, the Louisiana Senate race will become merely a footnote in the story of the mold-breaking elections of 2014--a hard-fought and hard-won battle by a teetering yet still desperately tenacious establishment Goliath that was losing the political and cultural war for America's future.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Quote of the Day

"The Lord never says that the Kingdom of God is a spectacle. It is a celebration! But that is different. Certainly it is a beautiful celebration. A great celebration. And Heaven will be a celebration, but not a spectacle. However, our human weakness prefers the spectacle...

“When one thinks of the perseverance of many Christians, who struggle to raise their family - men, women - who care for children, care for grandparents and arrive at the end of the month with only half a euro, but who pray, there is the Kingdom of God, hidden, in the holiness of daily life, everyday holiness. Because the Kingdom of God is not far from us, it is near! This is one of its features: it is close to us everyday...

"It is up to us to to let it grow in us, without boasting about it. Let the Spirit come, change our soul and carry us forward in silence, in peace, in tranquility, in closeness to God, to others, in worship of God, without spectacle.”

--Pope Francis

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

ElectionWatch 2014: We Did It!

Defying widespread expectations of a close election contest, the Congressional and gubernatorial elections of 2014 resulted in a landslide victory for the Republican Party and were a major step forward for the Tea Party movement in its quest to take over Washington politics. As of this writing, Republicans had picked up an additional seven seats in the Senate, going from 45 to 52, regaining control of that house of Congress for the first time since 2006; moreover, Republicans had slightly expanded their majority in the House of Representatives from 232 to 244 seats. As a result of these electoral gains, Republicans now have their largest Congressional majority since the 1940s. Furthermore, Republican (and Tea Party) incumbents held on to state governorships in Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, New Mexico and several other states, while new Republican candidates scored gubernatorial victories in the traditional Democratic strongholds of Illinois, Maryland, and Massachusetts.

Personally, I was surprised and delighted by the news of this spectacular victory. Like many other observers, I was completely misled by the apparently inaccurate and biased polls conducted by the mainstream media showing all of the key Senate and gubernatorial races extremely close. As a result, my expectations were about ten percentage points to the left of the true public opinion. For two months, I predicted that Republicans would pick up only three to five seats in the Senate; that they would hold their own in the House; and that they would lose one or two state governorships. My predictions were based not just on the flawed polling data but on the tenacity of the corrupt Democratic political establishment in Washington and on all the big money, big lies, and big media they were employing so relentlessly in their bid to dupe the voters into keeping them in power. I was also aware of the potential for vast voter fraud in a close election and knew that Democrats would not hesitate to exploit this technique to their advantage wherever possible. Corrupt and dishonest Democratic politicians have used all these dirty tricks to win election or re-election in 2008 and 2012, so I didn't want to get my hopes up again for this election, only to be disappointed once again. Of course, it's true that the midterm elections of a president's second term traditionally result in major defeats for the president's party (this happened less dramatically in 2006 during the Bush administration), but given the times we are in now, I wasn't about to fall back on electoral tradition.

On the evening of November 4, as I flipped around to various AM radio stations to find out what was happening, I found the early news reports mixed and inconclusive. Republican Governor Rick Snyder had won re-election in Michigan; Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen had narrowly won re-election in New Hampshire; several key Senate races and the Wisconsin governor's race were undecided. Nothing significant seemed to be happening; apparently, we were in for a repeat of 2012 at the Congressional and gubernatorial levels. Snyder's re-election was the proverbial tip of the iceberg, but I didn't realize that at the time. One Libertarian commentator was dubbing the whole election event "a big yawn" and saying, "Democrats win, Republicans win, nothing really changes." Although I was disappointed, this was exactly the result I was anticipating. "Oh well," I thought, "I guess I was right on." I went to bed expecting no change in the status quo.

The next morning, I went to CNN's website with some apprehension to check the news. The headline was "RED AMERICA" across a map of the continental U.S. almost solid red; the subheading read, "Republicans seize Senate, gaining full control of Congress." I was stunned. "We did it!" I shouted. "We took over the Senate!" I could hardly believe what I was saying. I was never so glad to be wrong in all my life. I was even more blown away when I read the full story and learned that nearly all of the Republican and Tea Party incumbents and challengers had won handily: Joni Ernst, Thom Tillis, Tom Cotton, Cory Gardner, Shelley Moore Capito, Steve Daines, Mia Love, Scott Walker, John Kasich, Rick Scott, and so on and so forth. It was nothing short of a massive political earthquake for the Obama administration, a clear repudiation of its ongoing project to "fundamentally transform" America into a socialist paradise. The election results were all the more dramatic and rewarding given that the corrupt establishment did its absolute utmost to prevent such an astounding upset from ever occurring under President Obama. Planned Parenthood even spent a record $20 million in key races to retain its pro-abortion majority in the Senate. So much for that concerted endeavor. The establishment's worst nightmare has now become inescapable reality: the balance of power in Washington has shifted decisively into Republican and Tea Party hands.

Why did this election go the way it did? The answer can be summed up in one word: ObamaCare. Just as in the similar midterm elections of 2010, the American people were angry with President Obama and his Democratic cronies for betraying their trust, lying to them, and saddling them with an unjust, immoral, unconstitutional, and unaffordable socialized healthcare system that kills the unborn, attacks their religious liberties and moral conscience rights, restricts their healthcare options, and further burdens our struggling economy. The main difference between 2010 and 2014 is that ObamaCare is now in effect and the majority of American individuals and families are directly suffering from its negative consequences. They want this disastrous pork-barrel law repealed in its entirety and replaced with sound healthcare reform legislation that respects their God-given rights and allows decisions to be freely made at the local level.

And that's all because--despite the glib pronouncements of career politicians, celebrities, and mainstream media pundits--most Americans still hold traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and values in accord with the natural law and the wisdom of the Founders. They believe that America is (or at least ought to be) a Christian country, and they reject the godless ideology of radical secularism being shoved down our throats by President Obama and activist judges. They believe abortion is wrong and should be further restricted if not outlawed altogether. They believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman and should be legally defined that way. They believe that religious liberty is sacred, that they have a moral right in conscience to refuse to participate in objectively immoral acts, and that no government law may interfere with either. They believe in limited, effective government and fiscal responsibility, not in a bloated bureaucracy with unlimited spending and unsustainable debt. They believe in a free-market economy with limited regulation, not wholesale government takeover of the private sector. They believe in equal opportunity for everyone regardless of race, gender, or background. And they believe that our borders should be secured and our immigration system properly reformed. These are the religious and moral values of Middle America, and these are the values that decided the election of 2014. It was a victory for the American people and their much-maligned, attacked, and ridiculed traditional values whose demise (to paraphrase Mark Twain) have been greatly exaggerated.

As the old Latin saying goes, Vox populo, vox Deo: The voice of the people is the voice of God. I believe that this election was a powerful manifestation of God's Will for our country: God shouting through a megaphone, if you will. In His great mercy, I think He has a better future in store for us and doesn't want our nation to keep going down the tubes as it has been thanks to our corrupt and dishonest establishment leadership. He is giving America a chance to get back on track and become a great nation once again. And not even President Obama can prevent that from happening if it is God's Will.

It was my earlier predictions for this election that turned out to be right on target. Six months ago, in my first ElectionWatch post for this series, I opined that the 2014 election season "promises to be just as exciting and historic, if not more so, than the elections held four years ago." In my second, I wrote that the nomination of Joni Ernst was "an indication, albeit an early and a small one, of what is probably going to happen this November when we the American people go to the polls: We're going to take back the Senate!" I added that "on the whole the desperate efforts of establishment politicians to cling to power will fail to hold back the wave of national rebellion now gaining momentum... We are going to elect (and re-elect) a slew of Tea Party candidates to state governorships as well as the U.S. House and Senate--citizen statesmen and women of religious faith and moral principle who will strive to return our country to greatness by governing in accordance with the law of God and the Constitution of the United States as the Founders intended." All of this has now come true, with the Tea Party revolution of 2014 meeting or even exceeding my original expectations.

However, this election was not just a landslide victory for the Republican Party and the Tea Party movement. It was also a victory for the weakest and most defenseless among us--the millions of innocent unborn Americans hidden in their mother's wombs. We owe it to them and to our nation's future to protect their inalienable right to life and put an end to the unspeakable tragedy of legalized (and now taxpayer-funded) abortion. Now that we have a pro-life majority in both houses of Congress, including many who have pledged to cosponsor and pass the Life at Conception Act, the time is ripe to move forward with this excellent legislation that guarantees legal protection, and thus a chance at life outside the womb, for all unborn Americans. When passed, the Life at Conception Act will do just that: by defining that human life begins at conception, it will overturn Roe v. Wade legislatively and end the horror of legalized abortion in America once and for all. Way back in 1983, President Ronald Reagan prophesied that such legislation would someday pass Congress, "and you and I must not rest until it does." So let's honor his legacy by remaining firmly committed to ensuring Congressional approval of the Life at Conception Act. This should be the first priority of the new Congress.

As the saying goes, our newly elected and re-elected senators, representatives, and governors definitely have their work cut out for them. Six years of President Obama have taken their toll on our country, and we can't expect all our problems to be resolved immediately, especially with two years of his disastrous presidency still to go. However, our Republican and Tea Party leaders now have a clear mandate from the voters, and they know what they must do: outlaw abortion, repeal ObamaCare, protect marriage and religious liberty, cut taxes, approve the Keystone XL pipeline, shrink the government, balance the budget, secure our borders, and hold President Obama accountable for his egregious abuses of power. We the people have spoken; now our elected representatives must act. As the baton is passed to the next generation of American leaders, let's keep them and our country in our prayers as the next Congress moves forward with the challenging but much-needed work of reform. And no matter what happens along the way, let us never forget that Divine Providence is watching over our country. In the words of a famous anthem, "Let this be our motto: In God is our trust."

Go Tea Party! And may God bless America!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Quote of the Day

"Twenty-five years ago, on November 9th, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, which for so long divided the city in two and was a symbol of the ideological division of Europe and of the whole world. The fall happened suddenly, but it was made possible by the long and arduous efforts of so many people who have fought, prayed and suffered for this, some even to the point of sacrificing their lives.

"Among those, the saintly Pope John Paul II had a lead role. Let us pray so that, with the help of the Lord and the collaboration of all men and women of good will, a culture of encounter may continue to spread, capable of bringing down all the walls that still divide the world, and that never again will innocent people be persecuted and even killed because of their beliefs and their religion. Where there is a wall there is a closure of the heart. We need bridges, not walls!"

--Pope Francis

Monday, November 3, 2014

Quote of the Day

"The remembrance of the dead, the care for graves and prayers of repose are a witness of the confident hope, rooted in the certainty that death is not the final word on the human fate, since man is destined to a life without limits, which has its roots and its fulfillment in God."

--Pope Francis

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Quote of the Day

"‘A good Catholic doesn’t meddle in politics.’ That’s not true. That is not a good path. A good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of himself, so that those who govern can govern. But what is the best that we can offer to those who govern? Prayer! That’s what Paul says: ‘Pray for all people, and for the king and for all in authority.’ ‘But Father, that person is wicked, he should go to hell. . . .’ Pray for him, pray for her, that they can govern well, that they can love their people, that they can serve their people, that they can be humble. A Christian who does not pray for those who govern is not a good Christian! ‘But Father, how will I pray for that person, a person who has problems. . . .’ ‘Pray that that person might convert!’”

--Pope Francis

Monday, October 27, 2014

ElectionWatch 2014: Us v. Them

We're just eight days away from Election Day. On November 4, 2014, tens of millions of American citizens will head to the polls to elect their governors, senators, and representatives--those who will govern and represent them in public office. This occasion presents a responsibility on the part of the electors to know who they are voting for and to cast an informed vote, in accord with their religious and moral values, based on the candidates' positions on important issues. It also presents a responsibility on the part of those running for public office to be clear and honest about their stances on the issues and to respect the fundamental religious and moral values on which America was built and without which a free society cannot endure. In a republic and a democratic society such as ours, we the people have both the right and the responsibility to participate freely in political life, including casting our vote in state and national elections, for the sake of the common good.

Unfortunately, this key hallmark of our democratic society--free and fair elections--is somewhat compromised by the lack of a genuine sense of civic responsibility among many voters and is now under tremendous assault from an increasingly corrupt Washington political establishment. While some of the voters fully grasp the seriousness of their responsibility and choose their candidates rationally based on fundamental issue positions, a large percentage do not really appreciate the responsibility involved and choose who to vote for based on superficial factors such as likeability or oratorical skills or TV advertisements. These swing voters, the ones who generally decide elections, are being subjected to a barrage of campaign ads by candidates from both the major parties.

Most of the Republican candidates, especially Tea Party contenders, are taking their responsibility seriously and doing a fairly good job of candidly explaining their positions on the issues while respecting our nation's traditional religious and moral foundations. The behavior of our corrupt and dishonest Democratic establishment politicians, on the other hand, is downright embarrassing and morally despicable. They are pouring millions upon millions of dollars into negative, slanderous and libelous campaign ads designed to smear and destroy their Tea Party opponents so they can retain their grip on power. These desperate career politicians can't run positive campaigns and play by the rules because they have nothing positive to stand for and know that the voters are turning against them, so their strategy of last resort is to outspend their opponents and cover them with mud. What they are doing is not only dishonest but unjust. They are taking an election that should be a landslide for our movement--the Tea Party movement--and turning it into a toss-up. Using big money, big lies, big media, and voter fraud, they are gradually transforming our national election process into a meaningless charade to keep their beloved establishment firmly in place to the fullest extent still possible.

This national election campaign has become a classic battle of "us v. them": David versus Goliath, the people against the establishment, America's traditional religious and moral values against the encroachment of a radically secularist ideology, inalienable human rights and freedom against tyranny and oppression, corruption against honesty, character and integrity against greed and lust for power, career politicians against statesmen and public servants. The mighty Washington political establishment is beholden to the large abortion, biotechnology, junk food, pharmaceutical, and insurance corporations that have kept it entrenched for many years now. By contrast, most of the little Tea Party and Republican candidates actually share our values and represent our interests. They are the ones who should be running this country. And the good news is that they are on track to do just that despite all the efforts of the establishment to keep them shut out.

Consider that most of the Democratic incumbents are outspending their Republican rivals two to one, three to one, four to one, in some cases even five to one, yet their challengers are still very close to them in the polls, dead even with them, or even slightly ahead of them! This is very telling. If both sides were spending the same amount on their campaigns, the Democrats would already be soundly defeated in this election. Good candidates can run strong campaigns on their own merits and don't need barrels of money to prop them up--and they're proving it. Considering the unfair disadvantages they're facing, our Tea Party candidates are doing splendidly well, and American public opinion is clearly on their side.

Obviously, because of the Washington establishment's dirty tricks, not all of the Republican and Tea Party candidates are going to win in this particular election, but at least some of them will--and that will be good progress for our movement. By all accounts, this is going to be a very close election, with many races undecided for at least a day or two after Election Day, and probably several runoff elections and a couple dozen recounts. At least two or three Senate races will be nearly tied, and control of that house of Congress may well come down to just one very close and bitterly contested race, with the most probable final result being a 50-50 split.

Pray for our country and make sure you go to vote on November 4 if you're physically able to do so. Continued prayer and action before, during, and after this election are essential if our movement is to keep advancing. We can't stop now--we are winning! Any losses in this election must not discourage us. We should count our victories, not our losses. The Tea Party revolution has only just begun. We must keep the big picture in mind, and keep looking toward the future. If God is with us, who can be against us? Together, with the help of Divine Providence and the assistance of Mary Immaculate, our national Patroness, we the people will reclaim our country and restore its greatness for the benefit of future generations.

In God we trust!

P.S. Stay tuned for coverage of the actual election results, coming next month.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Quote of the Day

"When we look to this great Pope, this courageous Christian, this tireless apostle, we cannot but say in the sight of God a word as simple as it is heartfelt and important: thanks! Thank you, our dear and beloved Pope Paul VI! Thank you for your humble and prophetic witness of love for Christ and his Church!"

--Pope Francis

Friday, October 17, 2014

Quote of the Day

"There is one Physician, who is both flesh and spirit, born and not born, who is God in man, true life in death, both from Mary and from God, first able to suffer and then unable to suffer, Jesus Christ our Lord."

--St. Ignatius of Antioch

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Will the Tea Party Lose Again?

With growing disapproval of the Obama administration’s leadership and the increasing popularity of the Tea Party movement within Republican ranks, many observers—myself included—are hopeful and even quite confident that the underdog GOP may make a strong comeback in the upcoming November elections, regaining control of the Senate, further expanding its strength in the House, and picking up a few more state governorships. This may yet happen, and we won’t be surprised if it does. However, we may not be as accurate and objective predictors of the upcoming election results as we like to think we are. We may be allowing excessive optimism and wishful thinking to obscure the full reality of the electoral situation America is currently facing. Specifically, we may be deliberately ignoring and failing to take into account (or at least underestimating) the two most influential and decisive factors in the upcoming elections, particularly in the Senate: 1) the relentless determination of the corrupt and well-funded Washington political establishment to retain its grip on power by any and all means necessary, and 2) the regrettable failure of Tea Party Republican candidates to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy for winning elections that is at least as reliable and effective as that of their establishment counterparts.

The plain fact is that the integrity of our national election system is now seriously compromised by the increasingly widespread and pervasive corruption of the Washington political establishment, which includes not only President Barack Obama and his Democratic cronies in the Senate and House, but also fat-cat Republican politicians in Congress who are content to tolerate his radical agenda for the sake of prolonging their careers. This immoral and unscrupulous establishment has been, is, and will continue to use big money, big lies, big media, and voter fraud to maximize its advantage over upstart Tea Party challengers, thus dishonestly and illegally manipulating America’s election system in order to retain control of our national politics.

Meanwhile, Tea Party Republicans, who have emerged as the prime alternative to the corrupt establishment in D.C., have the right principles and sound issue positions but lack a well thought out and coherent strategy for winning elections. Part of the problem is that, instead of clearly and consistently distinguishing themselves from the establishment, they frequently compromise with and surrender to it for the sake of short-term political gain. By employing such “go-along-to-get-along” tactics, they turn off the very voters that they set out to attract in the first place. For example, in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, the Tea Party settled for an establishment Republican presidential nominee, hoping that its own more conservative vice-presidential nominee would convince Republican and independent voters to go for both of them. This tactic failed miserably in 2008 and contributed to the Tea Party failure of 2012.

Another part of the problem is that most Tea Party candidates are still using the old Republican campaign formula of focusing mainly on their middle-aged and older white voter base, whose overall percentage of the U.S. electorate is gradually shrinking. The Tea Party as a whole has not yet adapted to the changing demographic realities of the twenty-first century American electorate, nor is it adequately tapping the vast and steadily growing reserve of conservative black, Hispanic, and Asian voters in the nation’s larger cities who will play an increasing role in deciding national elections over the next few decades. Instead of aggressively campaigning to win minority votes as the Democrats constantly do, the Tea Party is simply writing off most urban black and Hispanic voters as committed Democrats. This is a big mistake, because despite their voting habits, most of them are in reality potential Tea Party Republican voters because of their solidly traditional values. According to recent Gallup polling, a majority of all minority voters identify themselves as pro-life, and a Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute poll revealed that 83 percent of Hispanics are pro-life. Furthermore, 70 percent of blacks and 53 percent of Hispanics supported California’s Proposition 8 which defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The main reason why so many African, Hispanic, and Asian Americans routinely vote Democratic despite their values is because Democratic politicians have them convinced that Republicans are racist. Unfortunately, many Tea Party leaders reinforce this notion by neglecting to nominate minority candidates or reach out to minority voters.

But the biggest flaw of all in the Tea Party campaign strategy is its inversion of the proper hierarchy of values. The critically fundamental and non-negotiable moral and cultural issues such as the right to life, traditional marriage, religious liberty, freedom of conscience, and America’s Christian identity are of the greatest importance and should be given top priority; our other constitutional rights (such as the right to keep and bear arms and privacy rights) should come next in line; and all the important negotiable issues such as the economy and jobs, our national debt, education, energy, food safety, health care, poverty, prison reform, taxes, immigration, national defense, and foreign policy should follow. Yet most Tea Party candidates have the whole thing backwards: they place the most emphasis on jobs and economic growth, followed by selected negotiable issues and constitutional rights, and then at the end, almost as an afterthought, they mention that they are pro-life and will defend marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Many Tea Party candidates believe that focusing mainly on jobs and the economy is the best strategy to win votes in a prolonged recession. But the fact is that, even in troubled economic times, focusing primarily on the absolute moral values that form the very basis of our society and nation is what resonates most with voters across party lines and enables conservative candidates to win elections. It was an unswerving focus on these key moral issues that helped propel that Tea Party to victory in 2010 and powered Rick Santorum’s remarkable insurgency against Mitt Romney in the 2012 Republican presidential primaries. When candidates speak of abortion as a grave moral evil that must be outlawed, when they pledge to protect our First Amendment rights from unjust federal encroachment, and when they defend marriage as it has been understood by all cultures throughout human history, these truths of the natural law resonate deeply within the core of potential voters in a way that job growth and securing our borders simply cannot. Furthermore, by courageously speaking the truth and sticking to their guns on these fundamental moral issues, candidates win the respect and support of many more voters than they otherwise would.

A related flaw in the Tea Party campaign strategy to unseat the Washington establishment is its failure to take full advantage of all the issues, and neglecting to make certain important topics campaign issues when they would certainly qualify as such. For example, most Tea Party candidates have little or nothing to say about the gradual loss of America’s traditional identity as a Christian nation due to the increasing influence of radical secularism on our national culture, nor do they discuss how to address this monumental problem. Furthermore, they prefer to avoid the thorny questions of whether “In God We Trust” should remain on our currency, whether prayer should be allowed in public schools, and whether the Ten Commandments should be displayed on public property. Their silence on these matters implies consent to the negative answers already being imposed on America by radically secularist lobby groups through the courts, the major media, and corrupt establishment politicians. In other words, by neglecting to make America’s traditional Christian identity one of their foremost campaign issues, which it certainly should be, most Tea Party candidates are allowing their opponents—America’s radically secularist enemies within—to control, dominate, and dictate the terms of the debate on this subject. They are surrendering when they should be on the offensive. They are victims when they should be leaders.

If the Tea Party is to present itself credibly as the future of America, it must develop and implement a comprehensive, aggressive, and forward-looking strategy for winning elections adapted to the realities of the twenty-first-century electorate. This strategy must include a proper order of emphasis on the issues and reaching out to the silent majority of black, Hispanic, and Asian voters who share its values. Only if it develops and implements such a strategy for victory at the polls will the Tea Party have a fighting chance on an electoral playing field artificially skewed in favor of the corrupt, and predominantly Democratic, Washington establishment by big money, big lies, big media, and voter fraud. These four dirty tricks often go together now in elections, and their combined results are most effective when used by establishment Democrats against establishment Republicans, or against Tea Party candidates who look and act like establishment Republicans. The close presidential election of 2012 offers a painful lesson in this regard.

In 2013, the American Civil Rights Union, an independent legal organization, uncovered evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2012 presidential election. In Ohio, for example (that key swing state in nearly all U.S. presidential elections), the ACRU found that Barack Obama received more than 99 percent of the vote in more than 100 precincts in Cuyahoga County alone. In Ohio and Pennsylvania, the organization discovered a large number of precincts in which Mitt Romney received no votes at all. (Both results are statistically impossible.) In Pennsylvania, a poll watcher found that electronic voting machines were switching about five to ten percent of the votes from Romney to Obama. In one of Virginia’s largest cities, another poll watcher reported that thousands of voters for Obama who could not speak English were apparently being bussed in, and many were voting more than once at the same polling location throughout the day. And in more than 200 counties across two dozen mostly eastern and central states, the number of registered voters exceeded the number of eligible voters. The total number of fraudulent votes cast in the 2012 presidential election was around four million. As a result of all this, Barack Obama was declared the victor by one and a half million votes, becoming the first president in American history to successfully pull off re-election through massive organized voter fraud—while keeping his dirty trick well concealed from most of the voters. Mitt Romney should have won the election by two and a half million votes.

And that was just one presidential election. Who knows how many other fraudulent elections we have unknowingly witnessed in recent years? There’s good reason to believe that voter fraud may have resulted in the narrow Colorado Senate race of 2010 being stolen from Tea Party challenger Ken Buck by Democratic establishment incumbent Michael Bennett. Probably several Senate races were stolen from Tea Party and Republican candidates by establishment Democrats in 2012. And just a few months ago in the Mississippi Republican primary, establishment Republican Thad Cochran claimed victory over Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel thanks to outright voter fraud. (McDaniel has been challenging this result ever since, and his case is currently being reviewed by the Mississippi Supreme Court.)

In addition to declining public approval of the reigning Washington political establishment, accurate and objective predictions for the return of the GOP in the rapidly approaching 2014 midterm elections will take into account the tenacity of that establishment as well as the strategy problem of the Tea Party that aspires to take its place. Putting all these most influential factors together, I predict that Republicans will pick up three to five seats in the Senate, not enough to retake control of that house of Congress. They will hold their own in the House of Representatives and maybe lose a state governorship or two. This will happen as a result of some of the upcoming elections again being stolen by establishment Democrats. Some may consider this forecast a bit pessimistic, but it is better to be realistic than to indulge in wishful thinking. On the whole, the 2014 elections will be another blow to the Tea Party movement, but hopefully this defeat will serve as a clear wake-up call to the realities of its own shortcomings and the staying power of the corrupt D.C. establishment. As a populist movement committed to returning America to her founding principles, the Tea Party has grown remarkably in national power and influence in recent years. It is here to stay, and there is no question that it carries within itself the potential to take command of our national future for decades to come. The question is whether it will make full use of that potential—and thus become strong enough to actually take over Washington and put its own agenda fully into practice.

Copyright © 2014 Justin D. Soutar. All rights reserved.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Quote of the Day

"Freedom is not only a gift, but also a summons to personal responsibility....The preservation of freedom calls for the cultivation of virtue, self-discipline, sacrifice for the common good and a sense of responsibility toward the less fortunate. It also demands the courage to engage in civic life and to bring one's deepest beliefs and values to reasoned public debate. In a word, freedom is ever new."

--Benedict XVI, Address to the American People, April 16, 2008

Thursday, October 9, 2014

ElectionWatch 2014: What's Going On?

With the Congressional general elections just a few weeks away, the battle for control of the U.S. Senate has become a real horse race. Although establishment Democratic senators are outspending their Republican Tea Party challengers by millions of dollars to try to win re-election in multiple key races, those challengers are staying very close to them in the polls--either neck-and-neck, slightly behind, or slightly ahead. This reflects the fact that the corrupt Washington establishment is slowly losing control of the federal government despite all its efforts to hang on to power. This trend is a hopeful sign for our country's future, even if Republicans fail to win a majority of seats in the Senate this time around, and even if Tea Party control of Washington politics is still some years away.

If polls indicate that American voters in general are turning toward the Tea Party, they also reveal a significant level of dissatisfaction with our nation's corrupt and deeply entrenched two-party system. At the moment, incumbent Democratic politicians can claim the support of 40 to 48 percent of likely voters in most of the key races, but in those very same races, their challengers are in the same boat, unable to gain the support of a majority of likely voters. Doing the math, this indicates that anywhere from four to twenty percent of the voters are not lining up behind either candidate. Of course, some of these voters are undecided at present and will throw their support behind one of the two leading candidates closer to Election Day. Others, however, are simply rejecting the two leading candidates and siding instead with third party or independent candidates. Both of these smaller groups of voters can be considered "swing voters" because they are the ones who will determine the outcome of these close races, whoever they end up voting for. These swing voters, along with many other "mainstream" voters who are already committed to one leading candidate or another, are increasingly disenchanted with the reigning two-party system as they realize that it has come to represent large corporate interests rather than the interests of the American people.

As a grassroots populist movement, the Tea Party offers an attractive alternative to this corrupt establishment, although its mass appeal may be somewhat limited by the fact that it operates within the structure of the Republican Party. I think the Tea Party movement carries within itself the potential to lead America gradually away from the two-party system and back to the non-partisan political system favored by George Washington. This could happen once the Tea Party becomes the unchallenged majority party of America. This won't happen overnight, but it's the direction in which our country is moving. Once that happens, with a general return to smaller, more honest, and more representative constitutional government, the stage will be set for the demise of the two-party system.

Getting back to the present situation, as its own candidates are being consistently outspent by incumbent Democratic politicians, unfortunately the Tea Party leadership cannot resist the temptation to curry favor with corrupt Republican establishment heavyweights in order to give its fundraising efforts a boost. This is detrimental to the movement, both in the short term and in the long term. In my opinion, the Tea Party is shooting itself in the foot by getting cozy with super-wealthy career politicians and business moguls like Mitt Romney and Dick Cheney. Its use of such big names to raise money for a grassroots movement with very different principles and values is blatantly dishonest. It is equally dishonest for such career politicians to represent themselves as friends of the Tea Party movement when their own track records tell a completely different story. The Tea Party must maintain its integrity by clearly and consistently distinguishing itself from the corrupt Republican establishment; otherwise, it will simply melt into that establishment and fail to bring to Washington the significant change and lasting reform it promises.

The race is on for control of the U.S. Senate. Our nation's future is hanging in the balance. Let's keep praying for our country and supporting pro-life Republican and Tea Party candidates. This is the best we can do for now. Stay tuned for further updates.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Father Benedict Groeschel, R.I.P.

Praise the Lord!

Father Benedict Joseph Groeschel of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (1933--2014) went to his heavenly reward a few days ago on Friday, October 3, the eve of the feast of his holy patron Saint Francis of Assisi and the very same day on which Saint Francis himself died. I fondly recall my own personal encounter with Father Groeschel as a boy of eleven when he came to speak at Saint Joseph's High School in my hometown of Santa Maria, California, in July of 1997. My mom and sister and I had the opportunity to meet him in the outdoor bookselling area after his talk. I remember how I was impressed with what a humble, quiet, kind and gracious man he was--very Christlike in every way. He wanted to sign a copy of one of his books and give it to us but for some reason wasn't able to, so he just wrote his small signature on a copy of the Grayfriar News, his religious order newsletter, and gave us that.

Like millions of others, I watched Fr. Groeschel's television programs on EWTN for many years and benefited tremendously from his preaching, teaching and spiritual wisdom, which he also poured into dozens of books. His personal warmth and sense of humor made him an engaging speaker and author for people of all ages and backgrounds. He never boasted of his great learning as a priest-psychologist but always used it to serve the Church and human needs. His record of faithful service to the Church included working on the causes of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Servant of God Cardinal Terence Cooke; he also rigorously screened potential seminary candidates, helping to keep men with spiritual and psychological problems out of the priesthood. His decades of untiring humble service to the poor, the sick, and the outcast were truly inspirational. Furthermore, his Christian witness and ecumenical outreach drew millions of non-Catholics closer to the Church and led to many conversions to Catholicism (including Marcus Grodi, host of The Journey Home program on EWTN).

In his later life, Fr. Benedict's courage and patience in suffering were remarkably edifying to see, reminding us of the similar example of Saint John Paul II. If a "tree is known by its fruit", as Our Lord tells us (Matt. 12:33; Luke 6:43-44), then Father Groeschel was "a good tree" that produced abundant fruit in the Lord's vineyard. He was a true hero of the Catholic Church in America, undoubtedly one of the greatest priests and friars our country has ever produced. His shining example of personal holiness and radical fidelity to the Gospel of Christ will continue to inspire the Church here in America and around the world. Let us pray that his cause for sainthood will be opened in the near future. May he rest in peace.

Click here for a ZENIT news article with a detailed obituary written by Father's fellow friars.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Quote of the Day

"And this is the mystery of the Church: when the Church asks the Lord to console His people, the Lord humbly consoles, even hidden. He consoles in the depths of the heart and consoles with strength...Woe to us if we look for consolation elsewhere! Woe to the priests, the religious, the nuns, the novices, the consecrated when they look for consolation far from the Lord! I do not want to 'hit you over the head', eh? I do not want to become the executioner here, but know this well, eh? If you look for consolation somewhere else, you will not be happy! Even more so: no one will be able to console you, because your heart was not opened to the consolation of the Lord. And you will end, as the great Elijah says to the people of Israel, "limping with both legs". Praise be God the Father, God of every consolation, who consoles us in all our tribulations, so that we may also console those who find themselves in any form of affliction, with the consolation with which we ourselves have been consoled, by God."

--Pope Francis

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

ElectionWatch 2014: Chris McDaniel Has His Day

Today the Mississippi Supreme Court will begin hearing oral arguments presented by the Conservative Action Fund, a citizens' organization, on behalf of Tea Party Republican Senate candidate Chris McDaniel, officially challenging the outcome of the June 24 primary runoff election which was tainted by massive organized voter fraud.

Establishment politician and incumbent Republican Senator Thad Cochran managed to steal victory in that election by convincing thousands of registered Democratic voters to illegally cast votes for him. But, despite some setbacks--their case has been dismissed by lower courts--McDaniel and his loyal Tea Party supporters are determined not to let Senator Cochran get away with this sham "victory." They are continuing to fight back, and are determined to win this battle.

Three cheers for them! As American citizens, we should all support this worthy legal effort to overturn this fraudulent Senate primary election and give Chris McDaniel the nomination that rightfully belongs to him. Let's wish him the best and pray that justice will be done.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Quote of the Day

"But you, remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, because you know from whom you learned it, and that from infancy you have known the sacred scriptures, which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus."

--2 Timothy 3:14-15

Friday, September 26, 2014

Quote of the Day

“Religious not only a precious gift from the Lord for those who have faith: it is a gift for each person, because it is the basic guarantee of every other expression of freedom... Only faith reminds us that, if we have one Creator, we are therefore all brothers and sisters. Religious freedom is a safeguard against all forms of totalitarianism and contributes decisively to human fraternity.”

--St. John Paul II, Message to the Albanian People, April 25, 1993

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.