Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Bold Speech at the United Nations

Today the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, climbed the Podium of the United Nations to address the General Assembly. His address was a stinging indictment of the ideology of Hate preached by the likes of Iran, Libya, and elsewhere in the World. It was an address that proclaimed a love of Freedom and the Truth.

It was also an address that highlighted the moral bankruptcy of the United Nations. An organization founded on hallowed principles of Freedom and Human Rights is today, a mockery of those principles. The very nations that are indicted for the worst abuses of Human Rights are the celebrated and the virtuous and strong are mocked. The United Nations is a disgrace that has failed to live up to its lofty ideals.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, like President George W. Bush before him, displayed incredible courage in speaking the Truth to a den of vipers.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Archbishop Dolan in New York

Milwaukee lost a powerful voice for Traditional Orthodox Roman Catholicism a few months ago with Archbishop Dolan's appointment to the See of New York. However, the Archdiocese of New York and the larger American Catholic Community gained a Faithful Shepherd who will present the authentic Catholic Faith to a larger.

Archbishop Dolan understands that Faithful Catholicism is not about "No" as the Media and heterodox Catholics so often paint it, but about an affirming "Yes".

The Church is not without challenges, yet Archbishop Dolan will offer a powerful voice from the Pulpit of New York with solutions to those Challenges.

The Catholic News Agency had a recent piece in August where he took stock of the challenegs facing his archdiocese and what the Church can do to provide answers. He recognizes that vocations are key to the Life of the Church and just as he worked tirelessly in Milwaukee to improve vocations after the disaster of Archbishop Weakland, he will have the same impact in New York.

New York Magazine offered a more critical view on Archbishop Dolan, but it recognizes his charm and his pastoral attitudes which will assist him in presenting the Affirming "Yes" of Traditional Catholicism to a City and to a Country that so often runs counter to that.

Milwaukee lost a valuable Catholic Leader, but American Catholicism gained an Authentic Voice.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tim Pawlenty and the Values Voter Summit

Governor Tim Pawlenty delivered an excellent speech at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. The Media may hammer conservatives as being without direction or ideas, the reality is quite the opposite. This speech by Governor Pawlenty verbally illustrates that Conservatives are in fact the movement of ideas.

The only thing I cannot support Governor Pawlenty for in this speech is his horrible choice of NFL loyalties. He underlines his opposition to President Obama while at the same time being respectful and part of the loyal opposition. (a counterpoint to Representative Joe Wilson - there is a time and a place for his comments, it wasn't the place).

Well, thank you very much. And no, Brett Favre is not part of the cash for clunkers program so – (laughter) – it’s going to be a Super Bowl quarterback this year.

I’m delighted to be with you tonight, and I’m honored to be the governor of the great state of Minnesota. And of course, one of the privileges and perks of being governor of a state is you get to travel around your state and hear these great stories. And I heard one the other day about these two gentlemen were sitting out on a bench outside of the pearly gates waiting for their opportunity to talk to St. Peter, and one gentleman turned to the other and said, “So how did you get here?” The guy said, “Well, you wouldn’t believe it, but I came across a situation where this motorcycle gang, you know, big a brutish-looking people, they were threatening and intimidating this young woman, and so I pulled out a tire iron out of my car and I wielded it and I yelled, ‘Hey, knock it off’ and I went over to their row of motorcycles and I kicked over the whole row and knocked them all down. And then I went up to the leader, the biggest one, the most muscular one of the whole group, and I went right in his face and I grabbed his nose ring and I yanked it out.” And the other guy on the bench said, “Well, my goodness, when did that all happen?” The guy said, “Just about a minute ago.” (Laughter.)

Now, I share that story with you because we’re here to talk about our values. We’re going to talk tonight a little bit about our values, but it is important that we not just talk about our values, we also need to be able to translate those into action and results, so it’s important that we know what we believe, why we believe it, that we’re able to communicate it to others in effective and powerful and inviting ways, but we also have to make a difference by making sure that our values get implemented, and that’s why I’m so glad that you’re part of this gathering here, the Values Voters, an organization that is committed not just to values but to action, to voting, to mobilizing, and frankly, holding public officials accountable because I know you’re tired and I’m tired of sending people to places like Washington, D.C. under the banner of, you know, the conservative or values jersey and then they don’t behave or vote like we expect them to behave and vote. So let’s hold them accountable and each other accountable as well.


Now, I know some in the audience or in the press, they always say, “Oh, isn’t this hard? I mean, my goodness, you’re facing a lot of challenges as conservatives and people who embrace traditional values.” I can tell you about hard. I grew up in a town of South St. Paul, Minnesota. I was the only Republican in my family. Back then it was the world’s largest meat packing plants and the world’s largest stockyards in South St. Paul, Minnesota. For a good chunk of their lives my one brother worked for a grocery store for 40 years as part of the United Food and Commercial Workers. My other brother worked at an oil refinery as part of the Chemical and Atomic Workers Union, and for times they were union stewards. My other sister is a one-on-one special ed aide in public schools and my other sisters worked for 40-some years for a company as a secretary or administrative assistant. And they’re all Democrats.

And my mom died when I was young, age 16, and not too long after that my dad lost his job for a while, and so we had a lot of discussions in our family about hardship and values and oftentimes politics, and they’d get pretty heated. And so I – you know, do you really want your taxes raised in a place like Minnesota? Oh, no, they’re high enough, I’m with you on that. Well, what about education, do you think we should plow more money into the schools or do you think we should them hold them accountable for results? No, darn right, let’s hold them accountable for results. Well, what about health care? Do you want the federal government taking the thing over or do you think you and your doctor should make those decisions? No, we’re with you on that. What about even some of the more controversial issues like second amendment rights? No, we love to hunt and fish, don’t mess with our guns. And on down the list. And so they’d agree with us on, you know, seven, eight, nine, ten of the top issues. You know, how come you’re not with us then as a conservative or my party, a Republican? Well, because you guys aren’t always for the working person. You’ve heard that before? So that’s a stereotype we need to overcome.

But in Minnesota, I’m here to tell you as the governor of, to put it charitably a left-leaning state (laughter), if we can do it there – now, this is the land of Eugene McCarthy. It’s the land of Hubert Humphrey. It’s the land of Walter Mondale. It’s the lane of Paul Wellstone. And it’s the land of United States Senator Al Franken. If we – if I and the Republicans in Minnesota and the conservatives can govern Minnesota and make a difference and make progress with conservative goals and values and principles in mind, as Frank Sinatra said, “If you can do it there, you can do it anywhere.” And we can do it across this great land.


Now, as you know, you’re gathered here because you share a belief in those values. Those values are under attack. These are not just conservative values. Our values our American values. (Applause.) They are not rooted in pop psychology, they’re not rooted in feelings, they’re not rooted in emotion. They are rooted in the wisdom and experience of our founding fathers and the faith and the wisdom that they brought forward in the defining moments of this nation. And so we need to remind each other – (audio break).


Our Judeo-Christian values are important, they are traditional, and they are the basis for so much of our country. Now, we have some folks who are skeptics about that. I’m reminded of the story – the true story of Tony Blair, the former prime minister, who came to our prayer breakfast here in Washington, D.C., about a year or so ago. He recalled a story that as a young schoolboy his father had suffered a terrible stroke. It was life-threatening and quite severe. And he remembers being in school and having a teacher pull alongside him and bend down on his knee and whisper to him, “Tony, I’m going to pray for your dad.” And Tony reminded the teacher and remembered the teacher and said, “But teacher, my dad doesn’t believe in God.” And the teacher said, “That’s okay, Tony. God believes in your dad. God believes in your Dad.”


So as value voters, as conservatives, as Americans, I gather with folks like us in meetings and rooms and there’s a lot of concern. People are worried and they’re afraid and they see an uncertain future. They see an un-secure future with a lot of the things that are swirling about in our great nation. They know that this government centric viewpoint of this administration and the Congress and the federal takeover of so much, and more by the hour, more by the week, more by the day, is corrosive to our culture. It’s corrosive to our individual spirit and our spirit of freedom. But do not get discouraged. Keep the faith, and have heart, because remember, God is the God of all. He’s the God of the White House, of the Congress, of state capitols, of school board meetings, city council meetings, all of it. So our job as value voters and concerned citizens is to get up each day, to be faithful, to work hard, and our job is to put in our best effort, and God owns the result, so do not lose heart.


In addition to thanking and acknowledging – (unintelligible) – got another important value that we need to articulate strongly and boldly and effectively is the value of respecting and protecting life at all stages of life. (Applause.) I am proud to stand for life as a governor. I am proud to stand for life each year on the anniversary of Roe versus Wade on the steps of our Capitol to defend life as a value and as a principle. But I’m also proud that we’ve made progress on this issue, even in a state like Minnesota. And we shouldn’t be afraid of this issue. This issue is a cornerstone issue for our culture, for our society. If we can’t stand for protecting and defending life and respecting life, then all else is lost because it is foundational. Life is a blessing. It is a precious gift that’s been given to us, and it needs to be respected and protected.


In Minnesota we’ve done a number of things – I won’t go through them all – but one that I’m most particularly proud of and it’s been very impactful is I’ve proposed and signed into law the so-called women’s right to know bill, which provides women important information who are considering abortion, and it also provides a waiting period for them to consider their decision. That combined with many other measures and efforts of good-hearted people all across Minnesota has significantly decreased the number of abortions performed in my state, and it’s a very effective piece of legislation.


But as we discuss this issue, we should always remember that this is about changing hearts and about changing minds. As we change hearts and change minds, changes in laws will follow. Changes in members of Congress will follow. Changes in the courts will follow. But it starts with changing hearts and minds, so we need to be loving and effective in the way that we communicate our views because we have convinced each other, now we need to convince more to join our cause.

Another value I want to just speak to you briefly about is very important and that is the value of respecting and defending the Constitution of the United States of America. (Applause.) We stand for the principle of a limited and effective government, and a measure of the fidelity to that principle is making sure that the Constitution is remembered in its original intent and that the Constitution is the measure of the limited and effective government. There’s lots of ways to do it, but a really important way is to make sure that the people that get appointed judges are strict constructionists and don’t make up the law on the back of a napkin.


A really important example of this is defending and protecting traditional marriage. All domestic relationships are not the same, and traditional marriage needs to remain elevated in our society and in our culture. Marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman, and I sponsored that legislation when I was in the Minnesota Legislature, and we should make sure that the people are heard on this, that the Constitution is heard on this, not courts who are making up the law in the backroom.


Now, this is not some radical notion or some extreme notion. My goodness, when it’s been put to the vote of the people even in left-of center places like Oregon and – California voted twice for traditional marriage. If they can support traditional marriage in California we should do it all over this country.


I’m very concerned that the direction that President Obama’s administration is headed is in the direction of activist judges, and we need to do all that we can to slow that down and stop it and bring strict constructionists to the bench.

Another important value is the value of living within our means and being responsible with our finances as a nation. (Applause.) It is a measure of again a limited and effective in the proper scope of government. I read an article today – I read an article today that said within ten years it is likely that the debt of the United States official of America will be 70 to 80 percent of the entire gross domestic product of our nation. Not long ago our United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Communist China on rhetorical bended knee pleading with the Chinese to continue to buy our debt because if they don’t our ability to pay our bills would be jeopardized. We go around the world asking foreign sovereign wealth funds to support our debt so we can pay our bills. Is that the United States of America that you want to live in?

There are many just unbelievable examples of the reckless and irresponsible spending that’s taking place in Washington, D.C., but one that really gets my goat is the cash for clunkers program. Now, think about this. We are borrowing money we don’t have in many cases from the Chinese to pay ourselves cash to buy cars from ourselves from companies that we own so some day we might be able to pay ourselves back. Does that make economic sense to anybody in this room? I mean it’s ridiculous.

So Minnesota, we’ve taken a very different view of how we should be fiscally responsible. We celebrated or sesquicentennial last year in Minnesota, 150 years of history in my state, and guess what? In no two-year budget cycle in the history of state ever has spending gone down in real terms until I became governor. (Applause.) If we’re asking our citizens in these challenging times to live on flat or declining revenues, if their paycheck is shrinking or staying flat, or worse yet, if they’re laid off and they don’t have growing resources and they’re having to tightened their belts, government should do the same thing.


So in Minnesota in this budget, by way of example, we’re reducing spending in real terms 7.6 percent. I’ve got the most vetoes of any governor I think in Minnesota history. And we’ve reduced spending by the largest margin in the modern history of the state, and we’re turning that left-of-center state into a fiscally responsible state.


I also want to just visit about the value – the value of understanding and remembering that it is weakness, not strengths, that temps our enemies around the world. We have a circumstance of an anniversary this week. It was 70 years ago this week that Russia invaded Poland. Now, I’m half Polish so I don’t bring that up just for that reason. But everyone remembers or should remember what that means in terms of the threat to the national security of our Eastern European friends then and now. In today’s terms we have North Korea and Iran threatening not only to develop nuclear weapons but to operationalize it on missiles, in medium or long-range missiles down the road. President Obama announced today that he is abandoning plans for the radar missile defense system in the Czech Republic and the missile defense capabilities that were to go into Poland. He also is cutting the defense budget in this important area. And by the way, an overwhelming share of the discretionary budget reductions that he’s proposed or talked about are in defense. Now, this does a number of things.

One of the things it does is if you’re in Poland or you’re in the Czech Republic and you’re an ally of the United States and you stick your neck way out of the United States of America because we asked you to, and you get in big trouble for that within your country, the last thing you want to see is the United States of America pulling the rug out from underneath you. So if we’re going to stand with our friends, we need to stand with our friends, and we need to stand strong.


History is clear. Appeasement doesn’t work. Appeasement didn’t stop the Nazis. Appeasement didn’t stop the Soviets. Appeasement didn’t stop and hasn’t stopped the terrorists. And we need to stand with our allies like Israel. We need to stand like our allies with Eastern Europe (applause). And we need to be strong and confront the challenges that face our nation’s security.

We also need to remember the value of individuals and families deciding their health care decisions for themselves. (Applause). This issue is a case study for all that’s taking place in Washington, D.C. You heard it all. But I want to just highlight for you the Democrats’ plan is an absolute financial monstrosity. This is a plan that if you count it from full – full implementation ten years out, it’s not a $1 trillion plan, it’s approaching a $2 trillion or more plan. The president of the United States has said, you know, “We don’t have any more money.” He said that in a recent interview. “We’re out of money.”

Well, with all due respect, Mr. President, if we’re out of money, stop spending it.


It’s also a plan that features taxes on employers, taxes on individuals, taxes on manufacturers of life-saving medical devices and technology and down the list. It’s a bucket load of tax increases. Even with that, it doesn’t even begin to pay for itself, and the question we should be asking amongst others is, “What happens when the money runs out? What happens when the money runs out?” And it will. Two states or so have tried essentially this same thing. It doesn’t work. It is nowhere close to containing costs. It has gone the other direction. And when the money runs out they’ve got two basic choices after we’ve already given up our rights to the federal government. And by the way, they’ve run into the ground or put on the pathway to bankruptcy every entitlement program that they have. Social Security is on a pathway to bankruptcy. Medicare is on a pathway to bankruptcy. Medicaid is on a pathway to bankruptcy. They can’t run the programs they have. Why would we give them another one to run into the ground?


But what happens when the money runs out? They’re going to have two basic choices. They can raise taxes some more or they can begin to ration care. I don’t like either option and I know you don’t either. This proposal needs to get killed. It is a bad idea.


President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress not long ago regarding this topic, and he said he’s going to start calling people out on this debate by name. I guess I was the first one up this morning. The DNC put up a video or some sort of thing attacking me on this debate for various things I’ve said in recent weeks and months, and I accept the challenge. And I’ll just respond by calling out the president back tonight. And I would say – (applause) – and what I’d like to say to him is, DNC and he calls me out, I’ll call you out, call you back, and here’s my message: Stop spending the country into bankruptcy. Stop taxing us into oblivion. And the next time you address a group of young people maybe you should apologize for the crushing debt you’re putting on their shoulders.


And one additional challenge. If, as he and the Democratic Congress, or some of the Democratic Congress say, “Oh, no, we’re not for public funding for abortions,” then don’t duck, don’t bob, don’t weave, put the language of the Hyde amendment in the health care bill.


I want to close with one last story. It’s a true story. In January of 1981, it was a cloudy, cold day in Washington, D.C. It’s a time when the country was discouraged and worried, hostages were being held, the economy was in deep trouble. And shortly after noon on a January day, 1981, Ronald Reagan walked out of the United States Capitol and he strode to the podium to be sworn in as the president of the United States of America. As if on a director’s cue, the clouds parted and a ray of sunshine hit the podium and him, and Ronald Reagan said later it’s as if a burst of warmth or an explosion of warmth hit his face at that very moment.

As he prepared to take the oath, they opened up the Bible that he was going to be sworn in on and they opened it up to a passage where his mom, Nell, had written. It was II Chronicles 7, and the passage reads as follows: “If my people, who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land.”


Now, in the margin was Nell’s handwriting. She had made a note decades before, not knowing what her son was going to do in the future. And in her handwriting she wrote: “A great verse for healing the nations” – “A great verse for healing the nations.”

So there’re many lessons to be drawn from that, but just a few as we confront difficult times as we do now and surely we will again in the future. We need to do so with humility. We need to make sure that we are focused on wise values, not just wisecracks. We also need to what are values are. We need to know why they are important. We need to work hard and we need to humbly ask God to continue to bless the United States of America.

Thanks for being here. Thanks for listening. I appreciate it very much. Have a great conference.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Catholics and Sex

It has long been asserted by Progressive and Heterodox Catholics that Orthodox Catholics are anti-sex. Many of them have failed to notice or read John Paul II's powerful and affirming "Theology of the Body". The rest have dismissed it completely because it's conclusions and teachings do not align with their permissive and liberal beliefs.

Yet, for Catholics willing to understand and learn the teachings, one cannot help but recognize its positive attitude toward sexuality, when properly exercised.

The American Papist highlights the incredulity of the mainstream culture (which is joined by Progressive and Heterdox Catholics) when dealing with positive statements on sexuality by the Catholic Church.

The Prayer Book for Spouses includes a prayer before sex for married couples. In reality this isn't that shocking considering that the Book of Tobit features this exact practice.

"Tobiah arose from bed and said to his wife, “My love, get up. Let us pray and beg our Lord to have mercy on us and to grant us deliverance.” She got up, and they started to pray and beg that deliverance might be theirs. He began with these words:

“Blessed are you, O God of our fathers; praised be your name forever and ever. Let the heavens and all your creation praise you forever. You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve to be his help and support; and from these two the human race descended. You said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; let us make him a partner like himself.’ Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine not because of lust, but for a noble purpose. Call down your mercy on me and on her, and allow us to live together to a happy old age.” They said together, “Amen, amen,” and went to bed for the night."

Tobit 8:4b-9