Friday, October 31, 2008

A black american makes his case for "Why I Can't Vote for Obama"

It's said that the African American community will be voting overwhelmingly for Barack Obama partly because of his race. I came across an interesting email message from a black gentleman and pianist, Huntley Brown, who said he won't be voting for Barack Obama and he gives his reasons. They are quite powerfully stated.

Why I Can't Vote For Obama
By Huntley Brown

Dear Friends,

A few months ago I was asked for my perspective on Obama, I sent out an email with a few points. With the election just around the corner I decided to complete my perspective.

First, I must say whomever wins the election will have my prayer support.

Obama needs to be commended for his accomplishments, but I need to explain why I will not be voting for him.

Many of my friends process their identity through their blackness.

I process my identity through Christ. Being a Christian (a Christ follower) means He leads, I follow. I can't dictate the terms He does because He is the leader .

I can't vote black because I am black, I have to vote Christian because that's who I am. Christian first, black second. Neither should anyone from the other ethnic groups vote because of ethnicity. 200 years from now I
won't be asked if I was black or white. I will be asked if I knew Jesus and accepted Him as Lord and Savior.

In an election there are many issues to consider but when a society gets abortion, same-sex marriage, embryonic stem-cell research, and human cloning wrong, economic concerns will soon not matter.

We need to follow Martin Luther King's words, don't judge someone by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I don't know Obama so all I can go off is his voting record.

His voting record earned him the title of the most liberal senator in the US Senate in 2007.

NATIONAL JOURNAL: Obama: Most Liberal Senator in 2007 (1/31/2008).

To beat Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton as the most liberal senator takes some doing. Obama accomplished this feat in two short years. I wonder what would happen to America if he had four years to work with.

There is a reason Planned Parenthood gives him a 100 % rating.
There is a reason the homosexual community supports him.
There is a reason Ahmadinejad, Chavez, Castro, Hamas, etc., love him.
There is a reason he said he would nominate liberal judges to the Supreme Court.
There is a reason he voted against the infanticide bill.
There is a reason he voted No on the constitutional ban of same-sex marriage.
There is a reason he voted No on banning partial birth abortion.
There is a reason he voted No on confirming Justices Roberts and Alito.
These two judges are conservatives and they have since overturned partial birth abortion--the same practice Obama wanted to continue.

Let's take a look at the practice he wanted to continue.

The 5 Step Partial Birth Abortion procedure

A. Guided by ultrasound, the abortionist grabs the baby's leg with forceps. (Remember, this is a live baby.)
B. The baby's leg is pulled out into the birth canal.
C. The abortionist delivers the baby's entire body, except for the head.
D. The abortionist jams scissors into the baby's skull. The scissors are then opened to enlarge the hole.
E. The scissors are removed and a suction catheter is inserted. The child's brains are sucked out, causing the skull to collapse. The dead baby is then removed.

God help him.

There is a reason Obama opposed the parental notification law.

Think about this: you can't give a kid an aspirin without parental notification, but that same kid can have an abortion without parental notification. This is insane.

There is a reason he went to Jeremiah Wright's church for 20 years. Obama tells us he has good judgment, but he sat under Jeremiah Wright teaching for 20 years. Now he is condemning Wright's sermons. I wonder why now?

Obama said Jeremiah Wright led him to the Lord and discipled him. A disciple is one in training. Jesus told us in Matthew 28:19 - 20 'Go and make disciples of all nations.' This means reproduce yourself. Teach people to think like you, walk like you, talk like you believe what you believe, etc. The question I have is, what did Jeremiah Wright teach him?

Would you support a white President who went to a church which has tenets that said they have a:

1. Commitment to the white community.
2. Commitment to the white family.
3. Adherence to the white work ethic.
4. Pledge to make the fruits of all developing and acquired skills available to the white community .
5. Pledge to allocate regularly, a portion of personal resources for strengthening and supporting white institutions.
6. Pledge allegiance to all white leadership who espouse and embrace the white value system.
7. Personal commitment to embracement of the white value system.

Would you support a President who went to a church like that?

Just change the word from white to black and you have the tenets of Obama's former church. If President Bush was a member of a church like this, he would be called a racist. Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton would have been marching outside.

This kind of church is a racist church. Obama did not wake up after 20 years and just discover he went to a racist church.

The church can't be about race. Jesus did not come for any particular race. He came for the whole world.

A church can't have a value system based on race. The church's value system has to be based on biblical mandate. It does not matter if its a white church or a black church--it's still wrong. Anyone from either race who attends a church like this would never get my vote.

Obama's former Pastor Jeremiah Wright is a disciple of liberal theologian James Cone, author of the 1970 book, 'A Black Theology of Liberation.' Cone wrote: 'Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him.'

Cone is the man Obama's mentor looks up to. Does Obama believe this?

So what does all this mean for the nation?

In the past when the Lord brought someone with the beliefs of Obama to lead a nation it meant one thing -- judgment.

Read 1 Samuel 8:6 when Israel asked for a king.

First God says in 1 Samuel 8:9 'Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.'

Then God says, 1 Samuel 8:18 ' When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day.'

19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. 'No!' they said. 'We want a king over us.

20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.'

21 When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the LORD.

22 The LORD answered, 'Listen to them and give them a king.'

Here is what we know for sure.

God is not schizophrenic.

He would not tell one person to vote for Obama and one to vote for McCain. As the scripture says, a city divided against itself cannot stand, so obviously many people are not hearing from God.

Maybe I am the one not hearing, but I know God does not change and Obama contradicts many things I read in scripture so I doubt it.

For all my friends who are voting for Obama, can you really look God in the face and say; 'Father, based on Your word, I am voting for Obama even though I know he will continue the genocidal practice of partial birth abortion. He might have to nominate three or four supreme court justices, and I am sure he will be nominating liberal judges who will be making laws that are against You. I also know he will continue to push for homosexual rights, even though You destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for this. I know I can look the other way because of the economy.'

I could not see Jesus agreeing with many of Obama's positions. Finally I have two questions for all my liberal friends.

Since we know someone's value system has to be placed on the nation,

1. Whose value system should be placed on the nation?

2. Who should determine that this is the right value system for the nation?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Greed, financial crisis, declining dollar and anger at the US for getting the world into this mess.

Understanding what's happening with the banking crisis, drop in the stock market, and so forth is beyond the "pay grade" of most of us. Yet, it seems to me that most of it is tied to greed and irresponsible behavior by people on Wall Street, poor judgment by people in Congress and lending institutions, and Americans living beyond their means. The result will be a rude return to reality for all of us in the United States. Whether it causes a return to a Depression Era-type experience or a mild imitation is anyone's guess.

One aspect of the problem will be the impact on the US dollar. It's declining value will force Americans to live within their means, because goods purchased abroad will be more expensive. This article by Paul Craig Roberts lays out the case for a devalued dollar and the frustration and anger other nations are feeling towards the US for getting the world into this mess.
The U.S. government's budget deficit is large and growing, adding hundreds of billions of dollars more to an already large national debt. As investors flee equities into U.S. government bills, the market for U.S. Treasuries will temporarily depend less on foreign governments. Nevertheless, the burden on foreigners and on world savings of having to finance American consumption, the U.S. government's wars and military budget, and the U.S. financial bailout is increasingly resented.

This resentment, combined with the harm done to America's reputation by the financial crisis, has led to numerous calls for a new financial order in which the United States plays a substantially lesser role. "Overcoming the financial crisis" are code words for the rest of the world's intent to overthrow U.S. financial hegemony.

Brazil, Russia, India and China have formed a new group (BRIC) to coordinate their interests at the November financial summit in Washington, D.C.

On Oct. 28, RIA Novosti reported that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin suggested to China that the two countries use their own currencies in their bilateral trade, thus avoiding the use of the dollar. Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao replied that strengthening bilateral relations is strategic.

Europe has also served notice that it intends to exert a new leadership role. Four members of the Group of Seven industrial nations, France, Britain, Germany and Italy, used the financial crisis to call for sweeping reforms of the world financial system. Jose Manual Barroso, president of the European Commission, said that a new world financial system is possible only "if Europe has a leadership role."

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that the "economic egoism" of America's "unipolar vision of the world" is a "dead-end policy."

China's massive foreign exchange reserves and its strong position in manufacturing have given China the leadership role in Asia. The deputy prime minister of Thailand recently designated the Chinese yuan as "the rightful and anointed convertible currency of the world."

Normally, the Chinese are very circumspect in what they say, but on Oct. 24 Reuters reported that the People's Daily, the official government newspaper, in a front-page commentary accused the United States of plundering "global wealth by exploiting the dollar's dominance." To correct this unacceptable situation, the commentary called for Asian and European countries to "banish the U.S. dollar from their direct trade relations, relying only on their own currencies." And this step, said the commentary, is merely a start in overthrowing dollar dominance.

The Chinese are expressing other thoughts that would get the attention of a less deluded and arrogant American government. Zhou Jiangong, editor of the online publication, recently asked, "Why should China help the U.S. to issue debt without end in the belief that the national credit of the U.S. can expand without limit?"

It strikes me though the countries most angry bear some culpability by abetting our dysfunction or efforts to live beyond our means.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The most Leftist presidential candidate in our nation's history?

Though he's attempted, generally successfully, to portray himself publicly as a messenger of hope and moderation, Barack Obama is in all likelihood the most Leftist presidential candidate in our nation's history.

His association and involvement with William Ayers' social engineering education initiatives and his own statements on the use of the courts to redistribute wealth show the coming of age of the political Left in American politics. What has percolated in our universities and elites circles is now coming to full bloom in mainstream politics.

Obama's success, despite his radical political views, can be attributed to his rhetoric and reticence to aggressively advocate for some of the positions he's voiced in the past. His recent rhetoric on guns, death penalty, offshore oil drilling and even abortion suggests he realizes the American people aren't where the Left is at. He is by nature not an aggressive risk taker, much more calculating and deliberate. Yet a Democrat controlled Congress, led by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, will no doubt force his hand on many issues he may agree with but realizes they maybe going too far too fast.

He will ultimately, as Pat Buchanan has noted, do battle with his own party or the American people.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Though Obama is in lead, young people are leaning towards McCain and there are a lot of undecided voters.

One of the more interesting developments in the presidential race is data suggesting McCain is doing better among young people than Obama.

The poll by Investor's Business Daily and TechnoMetrica Institute of Policy and Politics (IBD/TMIPP) is described as the most accurate poll in predicting the outcome of the 2004 election. It's been showing Obama with a consistent lead over McCain over the past couple of weeks. The most recent poll released Sunday shows Obama with a 46.5% to 43.3% lead.

A couple of things to note. First is the large number of undecideds, 10.1%. This suggests a lot of people haven't made up their minds. It they break significantly for Obama that would suggest, an overwhelming victory for Obama or for McCain, a narrow victory.

The other interesting number is the support for McCain over Obama among 18 to 24 year old's. The latest poll shows them favoring McCain by 53% to 42% with the caveat that there's much fluctuation because of a small sample. Polls a couple of days showed them favoring Obama but the majority of days show them tilting towards McCain. If that holds up, it might well be suggesting young people are becoming more conservative. This would counter the traditional view that young people are invariably more liberal than their parents. I know polls show young people are generally more pro-life than their elders. But that could be just the tip of the iceberg.

Young people have watched the baby boomers divorce, embrace abortion and spend way beyond their means. Young people have no doubt witnessed the devastation from such behaviors. I wonder if in reaction they are becoming more conservative than their parents and grandparents. Only time will tell.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Switzerland's bizarre animal rights law

The Swiss Parliament implemented a new law earlier this year regarding the treatment of "social animals." I just came across it recently. It's bizarre to say the least.

According to a news story in UK's Times Online:

The creator of this animal Utopia is the Swiss federal parliament, the Bundesrat, which adopted a law this week extending to four legs the kind of rights usually reserved for two. The law, which comes into force from September 1, is particularly strict over dogs: prospective owners will have to pay for and complete a two-part course — a theory section on the needs and wishes of the animal, and a practice section, where students will be instructed in how to walk their dog and react to various situations that might arise during the process. The details of the courses are yet to be fixed, but they are likely to comprise about five theory lessons and at least five sessions “in the field”.

The law extends to unlikely regions of the animal kingdom.

Anglers will also be required to complete a course on catching fish humanely, with the Government citing studies indicating that fish can suffer too.

The regulations will affect farmers, who will no longer be allowed to tether horses, sheep and goats, nor keep pigs and cows in areas with hard floors.

The legislation even mentions the appropriate keeping of rhinoceroses, although it was not clear immediately how many, if any, were being kept as pets in Switzerland.

Animal protection groups have greeted the news enthusiastically, but critics say that it means an extra financial burden on taxpayers and animal owners, and that it will be impossible to monitor the implementation of the rules. Farmers’ associations have protested, arguing that the law will have a negative effect on the economy and decrease their competitiveness on the international market.

I'm curious what protections are afforded unborn children in Switzerland.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

California marriage amendment gains support

A new Survey USA poll on the California constitutional marriage amendment finds supporters of the marriage amendment leading. 48% say they support it while 45% say they oppose it. That's within the margin of error but the trend is in the direction of those who support the marriage amendment. A September poll showed opponents leading 55% to 38%.

Support for the amendment is strongest among African Americans. Also, polls usually fail to reflect the actual support for marriage amendments. In other states, the final tally was usually significantly higher for proponents of the amendments. I suspect, because it's not politically correct to be for traditional marriage, some people won't tell pollsters their true feelings.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Franken mockery of all things Christian. And he wants to be our US Senator?

You would think that all the outrageous comments Al Franken has made in the past would already have been aired. It appears not. Star Tribune columnist Katherine Kersten in her Wednesday column discusses Franken's past mockery of Christianity in her column, "Vulgar mockery of Christians: Is this what we want in a U.S. Senator."

Kersten points out Franken's outrageous description of Christ's crucifixion:

Franken finds Christ's crucifixion to be a barrel of laughs. For example, in his 1999 book, "Why Not Me?" he wrote about his discovery -- as a fictional former president -- of "the complete skeleton of Jesus Christ still nailed to the cross" during an archeological dig. At the Franken Presidential Library gift shop, visitors can buy "small pieces of Jesus' skeleton."

"We would like to display Jesus' skeleton at some future point," Franken went on. "It's merely a matter of designing and building an exhibition space ... . Until then he's very comfortable in a box down in our basement near the geothermal power station."

Very funny. Anybody want to try a joke like that about Mohammed?

Then he trashes the Christian belief that Jesus is both God and man:
Franken also wrote a Saturday Night Live monologue for Jesus Christ that appeared in a magazine. After poking fun at Christians' belief that Jesus was both God and man, he had Christ speculate on having the hots for Mary Magdalene:

"If Mary Magdalene looked like Barbara Hershey, I might have thought twice about this celibacy thing. I mean, the real Mary Magdalene was about four foot two, 135 pounds. And with bad teeth yet."

Then he mocks God.

In Franken's world, God has a mouth as foul as Franken's. In one book, he has God refer to books about liberal media bias as "total bullshit." Later, he describes God as having his head "up his ass."

Then she points to his mockery of Catholics.

But Franken saves his sharpest barbs for those weirdos, Catholics.

In 2006, he and a guest on his Air America radio show joked about Eucharistic communion wafers -- sacred to Catholics as the body of Christ -- and compared them to chips and guacamole. In "Dog Confessional," a proposed sketch for Saturday Night Live, Franken depicted "a series of dogs, played by cast members, confessing to a priest," according to the Washington Post. NBC refused to air it.

In another book, Franken described greeting a New York audience with the words, "Isn't Cardinal O'Connor an asshole?"

Kersten called his campaign for comments. They didn't return her phone calls. I hope other members of the media will call Franken's campaign as well and get an explanation for his outrageous comments. The people of Minnesota need to remember that Franken is now auditioning to be Minnesota's US Senator.

Doug Kmiec on Obama: moral confusion or worse?

I mentioned earlier this week a LA Times column by law professor Douglas Kmiec who's Catholic and active supporter of Barack Obama. His endorsement has generated attention because he's a Catholic and been viewed as a conservative.

It was bad enough he would support the strongly pro-abortion Obama, but since then he's attempted to justify his support for Obama by attempting to reconcile his pro-life beliefs with Obama extremist views on abortion. His attempts at self justification have only resulted in him digging himself a bigger hole which only further diminishes his credibility.

His effort to justify supporting a stridently pro-abortion political candidate in the context of his Catholic beliefs puts him in the same company as VP candidate Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who attempted to justify their pro-abortion views with their Catholic faith. Archbishop Chaput's recent comments on such efforts by Biden and Pelosi also apply to Kmiec. Chaput said, "To suggest--as some Catholics do--that Senator Obama is this year's 'real' pro-life candidate candidate requires a peculiar kind of self-hypnosis, or moral confusion, or worse."

Kmiec does seem hypnotized by Obama rhetoric. He points to Obama's comment in the last Presidential debate when he writes, quoting Obama, "Abortion is 'always a tragic situation,' he said, and we should 'try to prevent unintended pregnancies by providing appropriate education to our youth, communicating that sexuality is sacred ... and providing options for adoption and helping single mothers if they want to choose to keep the baby. ... Nobody is pro-abortion. ... We should try to reduce these circumstances.'"

Obama's comments are merely the rephrasing of Bill Clinton's "safe, legal and rare" mantra which merely served as a smoke screen for abortion on demand policies.

While paying lip service to the "tragic situation" of abortion, Obama remains radically pro-abortion. He opposes outlawing the partial birth abortion procedure unless it includes a "health exception" which everyone knows is a blank check for abortion for any reason any time.

And while an Illinois state senator he opposed the Illinois Infant's Born Alive Act which would have banned infanticide. I blogged on that early this summer.

And he certainly will appoint judges who will continue to uphold the current, judicially imposed "abortion on demand" regime.

Yet Kmiec is mesmerized by
Obama. He asks the question: "So can Catholics vote for a pro-choice candidate? The answer is yes..."

What's the basis for this view? Obama's desire to provide "appropriate education as well as adoption and assistance for mothers who choose to keep their baby."

In essence what Kmiec's saying is it's OK to support a person who actively supports policies which permit and encourage the unfettered killing of the unborn as long as the person also supports condom education ("Appropriate education" is a euphemism for condom and contraceptive education at the expense of abstinence education.) along with funding for adoption and government welfare programs.

The American Catholic bishops pointed out the inconsistency of this view in their 1998 "Living the Gospel of Life" statement which says,
Catholic public officials are obliged to address each of these issues as they seek to build consistent policies which promote respect for the human person at all stages of life. But being 'right' in such matters can never excuse a wrong choice regarding direct attacks on innocent human life. Indeed, the failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the 'rightness' of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community. If we understand the human person as the "temple of the Holy Spirit" -- the living house of God -- then these latter issues fall logically into place as the crossbeams and walls of that house. All direct attacks on innocent human life, such as abortion and euthanasia, strike at the house's foundation. These directly and immediately violate the human person's most fundamental right -- the right to life. Neglect of these issues is the equivalent of building our house on sand. Such attacks cannot help but lull the social conscience in ways ultimately destructive of other human rights.
Just because a politician may be right on other issues doesn't excuse their continued support for abortion. Kmiec totally ignores this reality.

Kmiec further seeks to justify his view by saying, the repeal of the judicial protection of abortion found in Roe v. Wade really isn't that important; it won't make any difference. Kmiec says, "Even if Roe were reversed -- unlikely, in my judgment -- it merely transfers the question to the states, most of which are not expected to ban abortion." That defies logic. The striking down of abortion laws by Roe v. Wade led to a dramatic increase in the number of abortions. It's repeal will no doubt change the public's understanding of the rightness of abortion and result in increased legal restrictions which will mean fewer abortions.

Of course, if
Obama is elected president his commitment to appoint pro-abortion judges will only insure continuation of the current abortion on demand regime.

Kmiec then curiously suggests that pursuing a pro-life position will only cause division in our nation and will impose a religious view on the nation. "Pursuit of that goal, too, has shaped Obama's campaign, which has sought to lessen the division between red and blue states in order to restore the nation. Compelled support for one religious view over another, or compelled support for the Supreme Court's view, would inevitably leave us divided for years. The way out is to remember that when there are differences among religious creeds, none is entitled to be given preference in law or policy."

Give me a break. He knows better than to suggest that protecting innocent human life is somehow the imposition of narrow religious tenet. If that's the case then our laws against murder are at risk because they're imposition of the one of the Ten Commandments found in Exodus. And do we back away from issues simply because they will cause division? If that's the standard then slavery and racial segregation would never have been challenged.

I think this statement shows Kmiec's true colors. It's an argument, tactic of the Left used to marginalize religious conservative voices. It raises questions as to the sincerity of his espoused support for the pro-life position.

Then Kmiec injects a postmodernist argument that we need to let indivdiuals decide what's true.
Sometimes the law must simply leave space for the exercise of individual judgment, because our religious or scientific differences of opinion are for the moment too profound to be bridged collectively. When these differences are great and persistent, as they unfortunately have been on abortion, the common political ideal may consist only of that space. This does not, of course, leave the right to life undecided or unprotected. Nor for that matter does the reservation of space for individual determination usurp for Caesar the things that are God's, or vice versa. Rather, it allows this sensitive moral decision to depend on religious freedom and the voice of God as articulated in each individual's voluntary embrace of one of many faiths.
Here Kmiec makes the pro-abortion argument that "this sensitive moral decision" depends on "religious freedom and the voice of God as articulated in each individual's voluntary embrace of one of many faiths." So does that mean if you believe the voice of God is telling you to kill your unborn baby go ahead and do it? He certainly seems to be saying just that.

Kmiec needs to engage in some truth in advertising by no longer calling himself a pro-life Catholic. He's embraced the Joe Biden view of "I'm personally opposed to abortion but I wouldn't want to impose that view on anybody else." That's moral relativism and fundamentally opposed to moral truth and the inalienable right to life.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Archbishop says Obama is the most pro-abortion major party candidate since Roe v. Wade

Archbishop Chaput of Denver called Barack Obama the most pro-abortion candidate from a major party since Roe v. Wade was decided 35 years. He also criticised Catholic law professor Doug Kmiec for arguing it's not a problem for prolifers to vote for Obama.

The Archbishop got is right on both counts. Obama is extremely liberal on abortion if not the most liberal since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. Regarding Kmiec's comment, Chaput said:
"To suggest—as some Catholics do—that Senator Obama is this year's 'real' pro-life candidate requires a peculiar kind of self-hypnosis, or moral confusion, or worse," Chaput said according to his prepared remarks, titled "Little Murders."

While applauding Kmiec's past record, Chaput said: "I think his activism for Senator Barack Obama, and the work of Democratic-friendly groups like Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, have done a disservice to the church, confused the natural priorities of Catholic social teaching, undermined the progress pro-lifers have made, and provided an excuse for some Catholics to abandon the abortion issue instead of fighting within their parties and at the ballot box to protect the unborn."

It's great the Archbishop is speaking with moral clarity to not only Senator Obama's position on abortion, but also prominent Catholics like Kmiec who as the archbishop says is deceived, confused or worse.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

There's therapy for everything, including "money disorders"

I was struck by a headline in the Pioneer Press this morning regarding the "money disorders" people are dealing with in light of the turbulence on Wall Street.

In our therapy driven culture, psychologists reign supreme in helping people deal with emotional problems in their lives. It's not surprising then that there would be talk about "money disorders" individuals are dealing with, resulting from bad behaviors or things beyond their control.

Certainly we all have struggles and difficulties in our lives. The problem with exclusively looking at things from a "disorder" standpoint is it tends to remove personal responsibility for one's actions. The moral dimension of right and wrong, good and bad actions are often ignored and along with it, the personal responsibility to change. If something is a disorder, it suggests being beyond one's control and hence responsibility.

Yet this is the dominant mindset in our modern/postmodern world. Morality, ethics, God and so forth are all passe.

Here's an excerpt from the article:

In six days of group therapy, they dug deep into the roots of what psychologists call "money disorders," the slew of unhealthy and self-destructive behaviors that are not as extreme as pathological gambling, kleptomania or compulsive shopping, but nevertheless afflict large numbers of people.

While it is difficult to pinpoint the number of patients or practitioners, experts in psychology and financial planning say the number of professionals offering to treat money disorders has multiplied in the past few years.


Although there are many self-help books on how to become rich, the fields of psychology and financial planning have been slow to link money and emotion. And money is still a great cultural taboo that is rarely discussed openly in this country, experts say.

"I'm still working on my money issues, and I will be for a long time," said Champeau, 57, who went to night school and eventually became a psychotherapist herself, allowing her to earn a living. But her fear of debt is still an issue: she buys much of her wardrobe at Goodwill. "I have always felt alone and a lot of shame around money," she said.

Among the problem financial behaviors identified by psychologists in recent years are overspending, underspending (aka "Depression mentality"), serial borrowing, financial infidelity ("cheating" on a spouse by spending and lying about it), workaholism, financial incest (lording money over relatives to control them), financial enabling (throwing large sums at, say, adult children who then are not motivated to support themselves), hoarding and plenty of guilt and shame around poverty and wealth.

The financial storm thundering from Wall Street is likely to force many people to examine their relationships with money well beyond their portfolios and bank accounts, some psychologists say. Even before this month's dire news, an online survey by the American Psychological Association in June found 75 percent of the more than 2,500 adults surveyed said money was the No. 1 source of stress in their lives.

"This is a dangerous time," said Brad Klontz, a financial psychologist who is one of the authors of a study published last month in the journal Psychological Services that examines the state and treatment of money disorders. "And when people come for help around money, it goes so much deeper than what is in their bank accounts. It's a portal into unresolved family histories and generational history patterns."

Klontz's study looked at various money disorders and at a treatment center, Onsite, in Nashville, which was owned until recently by his father, Ted Klontz, a psychologist and life coach who still leads the "healing money issues" program there, along with a financial planner.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What are the most important issues when deciding who to vote for? Life and marriage.

There's been a debate among some evangelicals and others about what are the most important issues. Single issue voting is viewed as an unsophisticated and parochial approach to the issues confronting voters. That is true if the issue of no overarching important, say a candidate supports an obscure tax break or one which will advance one's narrow financial interest.

But the single issue charge is usually leveled against those who will vote for a candidate solely because he or she is pro-life. I believe there are some issues which are so fundamental and underlie a deeper moral and philosophical worldview that they should be viewed as nonnegotiables. That's the case with the life issue.

In 1998 the American Catholic bishops came out with a statement, Living the Gospel of Life, which articulates why abortion is so fundamental.
Adopting a consistent ethic of life, the Catholic Church promotes a broad spectrum of issues "seeking to protect human life and promote human dignity from the inception of life to its final moment."9 Opposition to abortion and euthanasia does not excuse indifference to those who suffer from poverty, violence and injustice. Any politics of human life must work to resist the violence of war and the scandal of capital punishment. Any politics of human dignity must seriously address issues of racism, poverty, hunger, employment, education, housing, and health care. Therefore, Catholics should eagerly involve themselves as advocates for the weak and marginalized in all these areas. Catholic public officials are obliged to address each of these issues as they seek to build consistent policies which promote respect for the human person at all stages of life. But being 'right' in such matters can never excuse a wrong choice regarding direct attacks on innocent human life. Indeed, the failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the 'rightness' of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community. If we understand the human person as the "temple of the Holy Spirit" -- the living house of God -- then these latter issues fall logically into place as the crossbeams and walls of that house. All direct attacks on innocent human life, such as abortion and euthanasia, strike at the house's foundation. These directly and immediately violate the human person's most fundamental right -- the right to life. Neglect of these issues is the equivalent of building our house on sand. Such attacks cannot help but lull the social conscience in ways ultimately destructive of other human rights.
As they say, "All direct attacks on innocent human life, such as abortion and euthanasia, strike at the house's foundation."

Frankly, a candidate's view of life usually reflects on other positions they hold on a wide variety of issues from other moral issues, parental rights, education, family to the role of the state.

So knowing where a candidate is on abortion is good starting point for understanding where the candidate will be on other issues.

An issue closely related to abortion is marriage. It too is a "life" issue because from the institution of marriage issues life, the next generation. It too in my mind is a nonnegotiable.

It's encouraging to see Catholic bishops speaking out more forcefully on the importance of abortion in the public square.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The result of Obama and significant liberal gains in Congress? Major shift towards welfare, nanny state and loss of freedom and prosperity.

Gary Bauer's "End of the Day" report reveals the reality of the Obama tax cut proposal. Bauer quotes from WSJ and Washington Times articles pointing out the massive redistribution of wealth consequences of Obama's supposed middle class tax cut.
The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Times today published articles about Barack Obama’s plan to offer “tax cuts to 95% of working families.” Both articles concluded that the Obama plan is a massive shell-game, redistributing income from one group to another group, similar to welfare. Here’s why: According to various independent analyses, the Obama “tax cuts” would send government checks to millions of households that pay no federal income tax. By any rational definition, that’s not a tax cut – it’s welfare!

According to the Tax Foundation, under current law, there will be “47 million tax returns with zero-income tax liability in 2009… That's one-third of all tax returns and those 47 million tax returns represent 96 million individuals." The Heritage Foundation estimates that “by 2011, under the Obama plan, an additional 10 million filers would pay zero taxes while cashing checks from the IRS.” And the Tax Policy Center found that the government payments for such “refundable tax credits” will balloon to more than $1 trillion in ten years.

In addition, the Wall Street Journal reports that because many of Obama’s “tax credits” are phased out as you earn more, they become a “disincentive to working harder” for many middleclass workers who take on extra overtime or a second job. According to the Journal’s analysis, “Some families with an income of $40,000 could lose up to 40 cents in vanishing credits for every additional dollar earned.”

How does Obama pay for this plan to give “tax cuts” to people who do not currently pay income taxes? He raids Social Security. The Washington Times report notes, “The Obama campaign dismisses such criticism, arguing that even if many working taxpayers owe no income taxes, they pay Social Security payroll taxes out of their earnings.” So to afford government payments to folks who do not pay incomes taxes, the Obama plan will further erode the solvency of Social Security.

Campaigning in Ohio yesterday, Obama was asked about his tax plan by a plumber, who said, “Do you believe in the American dream? I’m being taxed more and more for fulfilling the American dream.” Obama’s answer was very revealing. He told this plumber, “It’s not that I want to punish your success. I just want to make sure that everybody that is behind you, that they have a chance for success too. I think that when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

“Spreading the wealth” and mandating equality of results is socialism, my friends. Government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers. What government should do is create an environment where there is equal opportunity for everyone to succeed on their own merits and ability.
If Obama is successful on the tax front as well as on the health care and other social fronts, we'll see a decidedly leftward shift in our economic and political culture. Such a shift would accelerate our move towards the European welfare state model and mean a loss of freedoms and prosperity.

Europe is clearly on the road to economic, social and political decline. Their populations are declining which steams from a collectivist, narcissistic view of life. There is little hope for the future which is revealed most vividly the lack of children. They are driven by a desire for security, exemplified by their cradle to the grave welfare system. The only problem is this system is built on sand which can not be sustained. (There are fewer and fewer taxpayers to keep funding their system.)

An Obama victory with significant liberal majorities in Congress will mean an accelerated shift towards the European welfare model rather than the slow drift we've witnessed in recent decades. Again the cost is clear. Less freedom and less prosperity for Americans.

Friday, October 10, 2008

McDonald's backs down on promoting homosexuality -- AFA boycott ends.

Back in July, I wrote about the comments of a McDonald's spokesman who associated people who opposed their promotion of homosexuality with being advocates of hatred.

At the time McDonald's was actively supporting a homosexual corporate group, which among other things, was advocating for homosexual marriage. They also sponsored homosexual events like the 2007 San Francisco Gay Pride parade with a television ad. The American Family Association objected but was rebuffed. At the time AFA said, "Throwing out any pretense of being neutral in the cultural war, McDonald's has taken up the rhetoric of gay activists, suggesting those who oppose the same-sex marriage (SSM) are motivated by hate." AFA then called for a boycott of McDonald's nationally.

Well, it seems McDonald's looked at their bottom line and their corporate image and decided they didn't want to pick sides in the culture war. According to AFA,

Great news! Because of AFA supporters like you, McDonald’s has told AFA it will remain neutral in the culture war regarding homosexual marriage. AFA is ending the boycott of McDonald’s. As you know, AFA called for the boycott in May after McDonald’s joined the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC).

McDonald’s said it’s Vice President, Richard Ellis, has resigned his position on the board of directors of NGLCC and his seat on the board will not be replaced. McDonald’s also said that the company has no plans to renew it’s membership in NGLCC when it expires in December.

In an e-mail to McDonald’s franchised owners, the company said, “It is our policy to not be involved in political and social issues. McDonald’s remains neutral on same sex marriage or any ‘homosexual agenda’ as defined by the American Family Association.”

We appreciate the decision by McDonald’s to no longer support political activity by homosexual activist organizations. You might want to thank your local McDonald’s manager.

I appreciate McDonald's doing the right thing though I wish they would have done it for the right reasons. Not merely because they seem to be concerned about their bottom line.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Markets, Morality, Greed and Financial Crisis

I suspect for most people the bailout, declining stock market, warnings of financial crisis and deep recession leave one confused as to exactly what's happening in our economy. And as a result there are calls for government to step in and restore order. Markets aren't working; capitalism is the problem is what one hears.

I think the problem is fundamentally a moral one and ultimately has to be addressed at that level. The mentality that we can have it all immediately. Taking out housing loans one can't afford and the willingness of lenders to make such loans. The expectation that government should bail people and companies out from facing bad decisions. Incredibly low savings rates. All of these things point to bad moral decisions.

This is pointed out in a column by Dr. Samuel Gregg, Research Director of the Acton Institute.
Acton Institute explores the interface between religion and capitalism/free market system.

"Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice."

Adam Smith had it basically right when he described the essential pre-conditions for widespread economic prosperity. But if the current financial upheaval teaches us anything, it should be how much market capitalism depends upon most people developing and adhering to some rather uncontroversial moral virtues.

Smith himself always understood this. That's why his Wealth of Nations of 1776 should always be read in light of his 1759 treatise, The Theory of Moral Sentiments.

Of course, numerous economic factors underlie the financial meltdown. These include loose monetary policy, massive bank overleveraging, and the subprime-mortgage implosion, not to mention the social-engineering programs pursued by the government-sponsored, New Deal-esque behemoths Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

No matter that free markets have raised literally hundreds of millions of Indians and Chinese out of poverty in recent decades. Instead, continental Europeans such as Germany's finance minister, Peer Steinbrueck, loudly proclaim that "Anglo-Saxon capitalism" is "finished", while blithely ignoring the fact that many of the EU's dirigiste economies are presently lurching toward, or are already in, recession.

A little discussed fact, however, is that the financial crisis has also been driven by widespread moral lapses that have manifested themselves just as much on "Main Street" as on Wall Street. One example is the subprime-mortgage fiasco. We now know that thousands of Main Street borrowers lied about their income, assets, and liabilities when applying for subprime loans. Likewise, many lenders failed to do even the most rudimentary checks on borrowers' credit history.

Recklessness also features among the sins underlying our present financial turmoil. On Main Street, thousands of investors mortgaged themselves to the hilt on the highly-imprudent assumption that house-prices could only continue to soar. Meanwhile on Wall Street, investment banks overleveraged themselves, sometimes at ratios of 30-to-1.

Then there is the rampant materialism that has apparently permeated Main Street and Wall Street to equal degrees. The thrifty, even parsimonious Adam Smith would have been appalled by the "I-want-it-all-now" mentality that has helped the personal savings-rate in America to hover around 0 percent since 2005 - the lowest rate since the Depression years of 1932 and 1933.

It's arguable that the same mindset encouraged many on Wall Street, anxious to enhance their bonus prospects, to sell securities they knew were based on collapsing subprime foundations to Main Street buyers blinded by the prospects of quick profits. Such actions aren't illegal. No-one, however, seems in a rush to ethically defend them.

None of these moral failures amount in themselves to conclusive arguments for re-regulation. They are, however, fuelling populist demands for a return to failed interventionist policies of the past. So far, most free-marketers have tried to stem re-regulation pressures by reminding everyone of the powerful economic arguments against such policies. But relatively few - if any - have engaged the financial meltdown's moral dimension.

One explanation for this silence could be that some market-advocates have embraced, consciously or otherwise, the soft relativism so prevalent in Western societies but which renders coherent moral analysis impossible. It may also be that many free-marketers have long been incapable of articulating more-than-utilitarian arguments for markets in particular and liberty in general.

Make no mistake: The modern case for the market - so painstakingly developed against interventionists of all stripes since Smith's time - has been set back years by the disarray on financial markets. The very same calamity, however, should remind us that if we're going to loosen the political bonds imposed on economic liberty by assorted New Dealers and Keynesians since the 1930s, then society's moral bonds require constant renewal and strengthening.

In short, we're learning the hard way that virtues like prudence, temperance, thrift, promise-keeping, honesty, and humility - not to mention a willingness not to do to others what we wouldn't want them to do to us - can't be optional-extras in communities that value economic freedom. If markets are going to work and appropriate limits on government power maintained, then society requires substantial reserves of moral capital.

At the end of his life, Adam Smith added an entirely new section entitled, "Of the Character of Virtue", to the sixth and final edition of his Theory of Moral Sentiments. His reasons for doing so are much debated. But perhaps Smith decided that as he glimpsed a world in which the spread of free markets was already beginning to diminish poverty, he needed to re-emphasize the importance of sound moral habits for societies that aspired to be both commercial and civilized.

It's advice worth heeding today.

Gregg points out that Adam Smith, the father of modern capitalism saw an essential link between prosperity, capitalism and morality. Capitalism was the economic system which created prosperity but required moral activity by its participants. When things go wrong capitalism, the system is blamed and calls are made for intervention by the government. This usually makes the situation worse and creates long term problems like declining economic growth and prosperity for everybody.

Inappropriate government actions usually shield those from the consequences of their bad decisions, whether
individuals or companies. And gives the wrong incentives for actions. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, government created institutions, encouraged the making of bad housing loans to people who couldn't afford them.

What ultimately has to happen is for people to realize they must live within their means. Government has an important role to play in promoting justice but it needs to do so in the context of its area of competence.
I don't sense that's the tack being taken. Efforts are being made to stave off the consequences of greed and wanting it all now. This means more trouble down the road.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Significant increase in support for California marriage amendment comes from young people.

A recent poll shows a surge of support for the Proposition 8, the California marriage amendment. Prop 8 would enshrine marriage between a man and a woman in the California Constitution. It's driven by the support of young voters. This is interesting because young voters are usually more amenable to homosexual marriage than older voters are.

47% of voters now support the amendment versus 42% of voters who opposed the amendment. Eleven days earlier opposition to the amendment had a 5 percent lead.

A news story on the poll
A new CBS 5 poll finds that California's Proposition 8 has picked up support in the wake of a television ad campaign that features footage of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom proclaiming same-sex marriage is here to stay "whether you like it or not."

The poll conducted for CBS 5 by SurveyUSA indicates that support for the measure to ban gay marriage has grown among voters in the state over an eleven day period -- most especially among young voters.

According to the poll, likely California voters overall now favor passage of Proposition 8 by a five-point margin, 47 percent to 42 percent. Ironically, a CBS 5 poll eleven days prior found a five-point margin in favor of the measure's opponents.

The only demographic group to significantly change their views during this period were younger voters -- considered the hardest to poll and the most unpredictable voters -- who now support the measure after previously opposing it.
Historically, polls on marriage amendment initiatives under report the actual support for the amendments. It's not politically correct to oppose homosexual marriage so many people will not disclose their true feelings on the issue, except in the privacy of the voting booth.

While most of the media attention is focused on the presidential and congressional elections, the consequences of California embracing homosexual marriage may well be more consequential to the culture than those elected to political office this time around. As marriage goes so goes the culture and society. Marriage and family breakdown are currently at crisis levels. Legally defining marriage between a man and a woman out of existence would only accelerate the crisis. No society has ever survived which embraced homosexual relationships which is just what homosexual marriage laws would do.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Religion and Politics...Media loves it

The Sunday Star Tribune front page lead story was "When campaign and cross unite." It dealt with the MFC's efforts to promote informed voting by churchmembers, among other things. Of course, this is viewed as such a novel, almost exotic idea that it invariably garners a lot of media attention every general election cycle.

I think the ongoing media fascination with church involvement stems from the faulty notion of the separation of church and state and the postmodern mindset that faith is a purely private matter which shouldn't be promoted publicly, especially when it comes to politics. This is a historically incorrect understand of the US Constitution's Establishment Clause which was intended to keep the institutions of church and state separate in order to protect religious liberties not muzzle the expression of religious based public views and positions.

One thing which has increased interest, at least at a low level, is the effort by the Alliance Defense Fund to challenge the IRS' 1954 gag rule prohibiting churches and pastors from speaking in support or opposition to particular candidates. The rule which is seldom enforced, and when done so inconsistently, has been used to intimidate churches and pastors to remain silent on on public issues and election involvement in general. The lawsuit will either strike down the rule or force the IRS to clarify exactly what pastors and churches can and can not say and do.

I recently read about the controversy in the 1984 elections when Reagan was very outspoken on the importance of faith in our public life and Mondale argued faith was a private matter which shouldn't be brought into the public arena. This controversy is nothing new.

The mix of religious and politics are as old as the Republic. In further blog posts I'll explore some of the differing opinions among evangelicals on the proper relationship between faith and politics.

Monday, October 6, 2008

An unique church ministry -- making movies like "Fireproof"

Churches have a wide variety of initiatives for reaching out to people. One of the more unique ministries is making low budget but successful movies. Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia is doing just that. A church with 500 members has just released it's third movie, "Fireproof". It cost $500,000 to make and after two weekends in less than a 1000 theaters across the country has already grossed $12.5 million in revenues.

Apparently, the whole church is involved in making the movie. The latest effort, "Fireproof" is about a wonderful fireman who isn't such a wonderful husband. In fact, his wife is ready to get a divorce. He resolves to do all he can to save his marriage and in the process realizes he can't do it on his own. He's needs a relationship with Christ to change him so he in turn can be the husband he needs to be.

In some ways, it's a throwback to the days of black and white pictures in the 30s, 40s and early 50s. The focus on relationships and content without a lot of frills. The language is clean, no sex and a minimal amount of violence.

It certainly isn't a big budget Hollywood movie with lots of special effects. Yet it's very moving in places and definitely gets its point across about the importance of marriage and what needs to be done to keep them together when so many fall along the wayside.

It's the sort of movie a sizable segment of people in the nation are looking for. It's interesting how new technology is making this sort of movie a possibility.

I thought comments by the NY Times and LA Times were interesting. Certainly not glowing, but neither totally dismissive. The NY Times called it, "a decent attempt to combing faith and storytelling that will certainly register with its target audience." While the LA Times said it was "a mainstream relationship flick."

I like the church's mission statement for its movie initiative. "Sherwood Pictures was birthed with the purpose of engaging the culture in a format that is understood."

The purpose of "Fireproof" isn't to make money but to impact people's lives by inviting them to a relationship with God and in the case of "Fireproof" help them address problems in their marriages. I encourage you to see the movie.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Russia and the culture of death.

I was astonished to read that 64% of pregnancies in Russia end in abortion. In 2001 it was 57.5%. For a population that continues to shrink abortion is a prime reason. In 2001 there were 1.8 million abortions compared to 1.32 million births.

One of the curses resulting from abortion is the inability to have children. It's reported that each year 200,000 to 250,000 women become infertile as a result of having an abortion.

A new story reports:

The number of infertile women in Russia is growing by 200,000 to 250,000 each year, with the main cause being complications from abortions, Marina Tarasova, deputy head of the St. Petersburg Research Institute For Gynecology and Obstetrics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said on Monday.

Speaking at an international conference highlighting new methods of oral contraception, Tarasova warned that by the end of 2007 there were already more than 5.5 million infertile couples in Russia.

The low birth rate remains one of the key reasons behind Russia’s ongoing demographic crisis. According to official statistics, every fourth teenage girl in Russia has some form of gynecological ailment or reproductive health disorder.

Each year in Russia, more than 64 percent of all pregnancies end in abortion, while in Western European countries the level is below 25 percent. By comparison, there are 10 to 15 abortions per 100 pregnancies in the U.K. and 5 or 6 per 100 in the Netherlands.

All of this points to national moral and spiritual crisis in Russia. Here's a society raised up on atheism for several generations. It's moral and spiritual capital was decimated. Without hope, people focus only on themselves and their personal convenience. Children are an inconvenience who can be eliminated before they leave the womb. But it's not that easy. Whether people acknowledged it or not, they can't simply walk away from abortion with no consequences to themselves or their society. Infertility is just the tip of the iceberg. The nation itself is shrinking.

Russia isn't alone though. European and the United States are dealing with the same crisis to varying degrees.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Democrats and Catholics: Is a sea change in the works?

Traditionally, Catholics have been a inclined to vote democrat for a number of social and cultural reasons. Now with the more conservative and outspokenness of American Catholic bishops on the issues of life and marriage and a re-prioritizing of the issues of most concern to Catholics, I think the orientation towards democrats is and will be changing.

This is highlighted by the
recent statement of Archbishop Raymond Burke who said, "At this point the Democratic Party risks transforming itself definitely into a 'party of death' because of its choices on bioethical questions."

He was responding the invitation of the pro-abortion singer Sheryl Crow to sing at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. He said that didn't surprise him and went on to say the Democrat Party was "the party that helped our immigrant parents and grandparents better integrate and prosper in American society. But it is not the same anymore."

I think the shift in the stance of Catholic leadership will be very significant over the long term. Of course, lay Catholics don't vote in lock step with the views of their leaders but if Catholic leaders clearly define what the implications are of being Catholic are on voting and public engagement, people will have to decide how seriously they consider themselves Catholic. They'll either shift their views or leave the church.

The article linked above has other interesting things to say:

Burke, who was recently appointed by Pope Benedict XIV to be the head of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest internal tribunal in the Catholic Church, has not only consistently opposed the idea that a politician can be both Catholic and pro-abortion, but has done more than any other US prelate to raise the issue in the media.

He was one of the few bishops of the US Conference unequivocally to support the instruction from the former Cardinal Ratzinger that such politicians "must" be refused Holy Communion.

But Archbishop Burke told Avvenire that he was not the only one. "Mine was not an isolated position," the archbishop said. "It was shared by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver, by Bishop Peter J. Jugis of Charlotte (N.C.) and by others."...

As the head of the highest ecclesiastical court in the Church, which interprets Canon law definitively, Burke indicated there is no wiggle room for Catholic politicians on the issue. "It is not licit to give Holy Communion to one who is publicly and obstinately a sinner," he said. "And it is logical that one who publicly and obstinately acts in favor of procured abortion enters into this category."

Traditionally the US Democrats have been the party of the US Catholic Church. In a 2006 article appearing in the Summer edition of Human Life Review, George McKenna chronicled the history of the US bishops' dalliance with the Democratic party, noting that it started with the party's support for the black Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. By the time the party had moved forward into the leftist program in the 1970s and 80s, first by accepting and then zealously promoting abortion, the US Catholic Church was so entwined with the fortunes of the party it seemed next to impossible to withdraw.

In 1980, when the Democrat convention presented a "right to abortion" as part of the party platform, despite their previous strong statements on the right to life of the unborn, the US Bishops' Conference made no response.

McKenna writes, "The bishops were literally dumbstruck. There was no expression of 'outrage' from them ... Abortion was thrust right in the bishops' faces and they said nothing - not that year, not for the next three years. And when they finally did speak, abortion was no longer their main topic."

Since the 2004 presidential election, however, the scandal of pro-abortion "Catholic" politicians defying or simply ignoring the leadership of the Church has come to a head. Archbishop Burke was one of the few who stated that then presidential Democrat candidate John Kerry would not be allowed to receive Communion in his diocese of St. Louis. Leading up to the visit of Pope Benedict to the U.S. this year, the bishops were again divided and equivocated when pro-life advocates begged them to refuse Communion to pro-abortion "Catholic" figures such as Senator Ted Kennedy and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Recently, however, more forceful statements have been forthcoming from the U.S. bishops, with an official statement from the USCCB correcting the pro-abortion stands of Senator John Biden and Speaker Pelosi.

The interview with Avvenire was not the first time Archbishop Burke has stated, in his new position as head of the Apostolic Signatura, that Catholic leadership is obliged to refuse Communion in such cases. In August, he told the Italian magazine Radici Cristiane, that public officials who contravene divine and eternal law such as "if they support abortion, which entails the taking of innocent and defenseless human lives ... should be publicly admonished in such a way as to not receive Communion until he or she has reformed his life."