State of the Union Live Blog!
Join Catholic Advocate’s team – Deal W. Hudson, Matt Smith and others – along with very special guests as they Live-blog President Obama’s State of the Union address, Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 8:30pm EST. Simply click “Read More” to launch the Live-blog!
Monthly Archives: January 2010
State of the Union Live Blog!
By Matt Smith
In addition to Gator fans tuning into University of Florida football games over the past several seasons, the faithful have had another reason to cheer as well. Florida quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner, Tim Tebow, has provided a public witness to his faith by writing a different Bible verse each week on his eye black.
Now, another form of witness has emerged from the Tebow family. Shortly after the season ended, rumors began to surface in pro-life circles that Tebow’s mother Pam would participate in a pro-life ad during Super Bowl XLIV. The New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts take the field in Miami on February 7th.
The usual pro-abortion suspects such as the Women’s Media Center, National Organization for Women, and Feminist Majority are outraged that CBS, the network that brought you the infamous Janet Jackson / Justin Timberlake wardrobe malfunction during the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show, would even consider airing the ad.
News today out of New York identifies a CBS spokesman saying the script for the 30-second ad has been approved and did not feel that any protest would have an impact.
While the ad or even the script has yet to be released, the speculation among pro-life circles is the content focuses on Pam Tebow becoming sick while pregnant on a mission trip in the Philippines. Doctors at the time advised termination, and as many of these wonderful stories end – she is proud of her son’s accomplishments.
Focus on the Family, the sponsor of the ad, is taking an important step during times when more and more Americans are identifying themselves as pro-life. 30 seconds of air-time during the Super Bowl is costing between $2.5 – $2.8 million this year. The NFL estimates next Sunday’s game might be their highest rated ever, reaching an anticipated 50 million viewers in the United States. That would amount to the cost of just a nickle per viewer hearing a great pro-life message. However, if just one woman who might be on the fence, or one man watching the game understands the right thing to do is step up and become a father so that together they choose life – then any cost is worth it. Just like Pam Tebow knew it would be worth it.
Matt Smith is a consultant in Washington D.C. and former Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison under President George W. Bush where he was the sports liaison among other duties.
During last Friday’s March for Life, Mike Pence, (R-IN) applauded the efforts of both pro-life Republicans and Democrats in the House for inserting language restricting federal funding of abortion in the health care reform bill. He noted that their work, coupled with the election of Scott Brown, (R-MA) to the Senate seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy, has put an end to the current version of health care reform and has signaled a return of this nation to “common sense and common values.”
Washington D.C., Jan 25, 2010 / 09:26 pm (CNA).- Following Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) statement that she didn’t think it’s possible to pass the Senate version of the health care bill in the House, Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) said that the pro-abortion language in the bill played a “critical role” in its demise.
During an interview with Cybercast News at last Friday’s March for Life in Washington D.C., Rep. Pence credited “the pro-life Republicans and Democrats who took a stand in the House of Representatives on the traditional language that was encompassed first in the Hyde Amendment and then in the Stupak-Pitts Amendment,” noting that their work contributed immensely to the current situation of health care reform.
Unlike the House version of the health care bill, which included Hyde amendment restrictions on the federal funding of abortion in the Stupak-Pitts amendment, the Senate version mandated all federally funded health insurance policies to have one option that included abortion.
This recent article by Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, OR has written a thorough and thoughtful explanation of the use of excommunication and the denial of communion to those in opposition to Church teaching.
We at Catholic Advocate think it is important for the bishops consider using their power to deny communion, as well as the power of excommunication, to address the ongoing scandalous voting record of most Catholics in the Congress.
Bend, Ore., Jan 7, 2010 / 04:17 am (CNA).- A bishop’s power of excommunication in grave cases is like that of a doctor who cuts off a diabetic patient from sugar, Bishop of Bend, Oregon Robert Vasa has said. Explaining the practice, he noted that excommunication is an act of charity intended to instruct a wayward Catholic about the gravity of his or her situation.
Writing in his Jan. 7 column for the Catholic Sentinel, Bishop Vasa noted that bishops are “extremely reluctant” to take the step of excommunication.
By Deal Hudson
Hilary Clinton’s recent comments on Iran sanctions have disappointed the dozen conservative Christian leaders who signed two letters to Congress last year (on September 24 and December 14) expressing support for the House bill intended to stop the rogue nation’s nuclear program.
The bill, which passed 412 t0 12, would have authorized the White House to ban companies supplying foreign oil to Iran from doing business in the United States. Christian leaders were hopeful that Secretary Clinton would attempt to overcome White House resistance to the sanctions’ legislation, which emerged immediately after the House vote.
Clinton favors more “targeted sanctions” against elites like the Islamic Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) that would avoid hurting the larger population (as would the large-scale gas shortage envisioned by the House bill).
Ilan Berman, writing in Forbes, reports that Iran is moving quickly to build up its petroleum supplies in anticipation of possible sanctions. Yet Iran still receives 40 percent of its annual petroleum consumption from foreign sources:
By attacking this dependency, the U.S. and its allies have the ability to generate enormous pressure on Iran’s government. Even a partial gasoline embargo would force Iran’s ayatollahs to deplete hard currency reserves in the quest for new sources of refined petroleum, and bring commerce within the Islamic Republic to a virtual standstill.
Berman addresses the idea of more targeted sanctions against the IRGC as suggested by Secretary Clinton. The problem with this approach, according to Berman, is that the IRGC is now “arguably the major economic force within the Islamic Republic.” In other words, the IRGC is so deeply embedded in the Iranian economy, its leadership and projects cannot be targeted without affecting the general population.
The undisputable facts that led to the overwhelming, bipartisan support of Iran sanctions in the House are the same described by Christian leaders like Chuck Colson, Richard Land, Tom Minnery, Gary Bauer, Ralph Reed, and Bill Donohue in their second letter to Congress:
The stakes are exceedingly high. A nuclear-armed Iran is almost certain to initiate an arms race with other Middle Eastern and Arab nations who have reason to fear the religious, political and military ambitions of Iran’s extremist leaders.
As the world’s leading state sponsor of international terror, we must assume Iran will sell or give nuclear weapons to extremist groups that are declared and demonstrated enemies to America and her allies.
As chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) will be the key figure in determining whether the Senate will consider the House bill. Kerry was urged by the White House to postpone consideration of the bill after its passage, but he announced in late December that he might undertake a diplomatic mission to Iran. As the Wall Street Journal opined,
If the mullahs had any sense, they’d send him a government plane. . . . Mr. Kerry would arrive from Washington to show the Iranian people that at least someone still favors the regime. He would be the most senior American to visit Tehran in 30 years and his trip would convey legitimacy that the dictatorship is especially eager to have at the current moment.
But the mullahs decided they didn’t need Kerry’s act of homage, and Iran’s own parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee turned down his request.
Meanwhile, Iran continues to thumb its nose at the International Atomic Energy Agency in the same way it did Senator Kerry. Iran has rejected IAEA’s proposal that it ship all its uranium (up to 2,500 pounds) to Russia where it can be enriched, then to France where it can be turned into fuel rods, then back to Iran where it cannot be turned into nuclear weapons.
Representatives from the America, Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany who met last week in New York City failed to come to any agreement regarding sanctions. Since Russia and China remain opposed to sanctions, any initiative by Western nations comes with diplomatic and economic risk.
President Obama set a deadline of December 31 for negotiations with Iran. That date has long passed with nothing but administration fears that sanctions would cause economic hardship for too many Iranians. If the Congress and White House do not act quickly and decisively, the human cost could far exceed that of any temporary sanctions on petroleum flowing into Iran.
Pope Benedict XVI likes the possibilities presented by the Internet for priests to evangelize. He thinks they should take advantage of digital media to spread the Word.
The Holy Father is not asking priests to abandon more traditional means of communicating with their flocks, but rather to use the Internet to expand their outreach. Pope Benedict XVI says that having priests blog, create websites, and post videos will add a “soul” to the Internet.
Catholic Advocate, already being in the Internet business, naturally thinks this is a great idea!
Pope Asks Priests to Get Online, Spread the Gospel
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In a message embracing the evangelizing potential of digital media, Pope Benedict XVI asked priests around the world to use Web sites, videos and blogs as tools of pastoral ministry.
“The world of digital communication, with its almost limitless expressive capacity, makes us appreciate all the more St. Paul’s exclamation: ‘Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel,'” the pope said in his message for the 2010 celebration of World Communications Day.
“Priests stand at the threshold of a new era: as new technologies create deeper forms of relationship across greater distances, they are called to respond pastorally by putting the media ever more effectively at the service of the Word,” he said.
A pro-abort journalist from the Washington Post attended the March for Life last Friday expecting to see a small group of die-hards protesting Roe vs. Wade. However, Robert McCartney admits he was vastly wrong in his expectations. Many of the thousands assembled at the Mall on the 37th anniversary of Roe were young people; youth who believe ardently and passionately in the right to life for all. The fight to end abortion isn’t over; it’s not even close to being over! This next generation of pro-lifers will see to it.
Young Activists Adding Fuel to Antiabortion Side
I went to the March for Life rally Friday on the Mall expecting to write about its irrelevance. Isn’t it quaint, I thought, that these abortion protesters show up each year on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, even though the decision still stands after 37 years. What’s more, with a Democrat in the White House likely to appoint justices who support abortion rights, surely the Supreme Court isn’t going to overturn Roe in the foreseeable future.
How wrong I was. The antiabortion movement feels it’s gaining strength, even if it’s not yet ready to predict ultimate triumph, and Roe supporters (including me) are justifiably nervous.
As always, we in Washington enjoy an up-close view of the health of various causes because of the city’s role as the nation’s most important setting for political demonstrations. In this case, I was especially struck by the large number of young people among the tens of thousands at the march. It suggests that the battle over abortion will endure for a long time to come.
President Obama is almost universally considered a great orator. I am one of the few, evidently, who have never been very impressed. Obama’s speeches always have a sameness that can be easily recognized if you pay attention to his cadences, head movements, facial expressions, and word choices.
And then there is Obama’s dependence on the teleprompter.
Last Tuesday in Falls Church, VA, Obama spoke to a 6th grade class — with the help of a teleprompter he was able to get through his speech without making a mistake.
The upcoming State of the Union address will test Obama’s oratorical skills. Variants of the term “fight” seem to be Obama’s mantra for the occasion. That’s a mistake, in my opinion. The president needs to be wooing the voters back, not growling at them with the sad face of a hurt prima donna.
by Deal W. Hudson
Bernard Henri-Levy, a well-known French philosopher, has come to the defense of Benedict XVI on the issue of anti-Semitism. His defense is all the more interesting for being published at the Huffington Post, not known for its fondness towards the Holy Father.
Known for both his atheism and his narcissism, Henri-Levy comes from a family of Sephardic Jews in Algeria. One magazine famously said of him, “God is dead but my hair is perfect.” He has been targeted for assassination by Islamic extremists.
Henri-Levy notes that from the beginning of his pontificate, Benedict XVI has been maligned as an “ultraconservative,” a “pro-Nazi,” an “Adolph II,” and the pope’s travels, gestures, and texts have been consistently misrepresented and twisted by the media.
After the furor over Benedict XVI’s recent trip to the synagogue in Rome, Henri-Levy decided it was time to speak out:
And now, this is the record, I was going to say the limit, with this visit to the synagogue in Rome, following visits to other synagogues in Cologne and New York: the same chorus of disinformers scarcely waited for him to cross the Tiber before announcing, urbi et orbi, that he had failed to find adequate words, hadn’t made the appropriate gestures and, thus, hadn’t quite pulled it off.
The attacks on Benedict XVI in Europe have been way over-the-top for the past several weeks. It’s a relief that someone of Henri-Levy’s stature has come to his defense. But the philosopher will find himself in a turmoil of his own for his additional comments about Pius XII, who most European intellectuals take for granted did not do enough to protect Jews during World War II.
I shall go back over the case of Rolf Hochhuth, author of the famous work, The Deputy, the genesis of the polemic regarding the “silences of Pius XII”, in 1963.
And I shall go back over the particular fact that this burning dispenser of justice is, as a matter of fact, a negationist, often condemned as such (notably by Paul Spiegel, the now-deceased former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany), whose last provocative act consisted of defending David Irving, who denies the existence of gas chambers, in an interview with the extreme right wing weekly Die Junge Freiheit five years ago.
For the time being, I would just like to recall (as has Laurent Dispot in La Règle. du Jeu, the review I edit), that in 1937, when the terrible Pius XII was still just Cardinal Pacelli, he co-authored the. encyclical With Burning Anxiety, which today still remains one of the firmest and most eloquent of anti-Nazi manifestos.
For the time being, we owe it to historical accuracy to point out that, before engaging in clandestine action, opening — without saying so — his convents to Roman Jews hunted by the fascist bullies, the silent Pius XII made a number of speeches broadcast by radio, in particular at Christmas of 1941 and 1942.
It’s important that Henri-Levy mentioned the authorship of Pius XI’s encyclical, published in German, “With Burning Anxiety (Mit Brennenger Sorge). Critics of Pius XII, and of the Church in general, never seem to mention this encyclical or the fact it was read from every pulpit in Germany on Palm Sunday, 1937.
Watch for Bernard Henri-Levy to be targeted as a self-hating Jew for his response to the critics of Benedict XVI and Pius XII.