Monday, March 18, 2019

The True Scourge of Terrorism

In January of 2019 a horrific terrorist attack was carried out.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-47018747

Twenty people were killed.  It was the latest in ongoing attacks on civilians in the area.

I knew about the attack - not from NBC, CBS or ABC.  CNN did not run wall-to-wall coverage.  No one of social media changed their profile picture or anguished over the deaths.  In fact, when I did post something very recently, a woman I know who would consider herself very enlightened and progressive pointed out to me that 'this happened in January'.  Now she was careful to state that, gee, it was awful that it had happened but come on...it happened in January.

In 2018 an attack by terrorists killed 18 worshipers during a religious gathering in Nigeria.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/april/nigeria-fulani-attack-catholic-church-benue-boko-haram.html

Again, I was informed of the attack but not so by the press in the United States.

This past week a White Nationalist killed 49 people in a mosque during prayer service in New Zealand.  Children were pumped full of bullets.  Old people were murdered.  We are, right now, today, here in Modesto, California, gathering at a mosque for a show of unity against hate.  Our House of Representative member, Josh Harder, will attend. The Mayor of Modesto will attend.  People will gather in a show of strength and solidarity against the type of hatred demonstrated by this sick and evil act.

Why did this horrific attack get press when the others are ignored?

Oh come on, you know just as well as I.....no one cares when Catholics are killed.

This blog post is not about how people are hypocrites.  It is about something that people like me have always been keenly aware of - our status as 'other'.

Because people are very aware of 'pickawordandaddphobetotheend' they will drive for miles to put flowers on a sidewalk so everyone will know that we condemn whatever ugliness has happened to a specific group of people.  They will put little hats with cat ears on them and march because they want women to feel free.  They will stand on corners and hold signs demanding we honk to show you reject racism.  They will do whatever they can to support those who have been attacked.

Unless those who have been attacked are part of that unpopular religion.  If so, no worries...everyone is given a pass on hating Catholics.

Most of my far left and far right friends will never understand is that we, true and faithful Catholics, have always been aware that we are not trusted, we are not considered true Americans (or true whatever country we are in) and that everything about us is constantly questioned and suspect.  We are the first to volunteer to fight your wars.  We helped build your country.  We joined your scout troops and we donate to your red kettle stuff but we know that YOU know that we do not really belong here...and so whatever happens to us on the other side of the world doesn't warrant the press that a tragedy such as that which happened in New Zealand warranted.

Unless.....

If you find out our leaders have been horrific and sinned and caused pain? OH MAN WATCH OUT.

I have people in my life who still think the Inquisition killed MILLIONS of people in Europe.

I am held to ridicule because The Church says marriage is between one man and one woman, that a child deserves to live, that maybe we need to really restrict that death penalty thing and (worst of all!) there IS such a thing as Objective Truth.

I have had members of my 12 Step group - who spout the word 'tolerance' every chance they get - tell me that my wearing my Dominican cross makes me separate from them...and I damn well know that they would no sooner ask a Muslim woman to take off her hajib than they would drink a bottle of whiskey from the podium.

The Catholic Church suffers from a real problem with Her leadership - sinful men have destroyed our trust and made a mockery of our teachings but if anyone thinks THAT is why people hate us they do not know their American history.  They do not know we have always been considered strangers in a strange land.

If people are willing to hold tight to the complicated myth that the Catholic Church hurt indigenous people they better be willing to grant the  idea of freedom of religion to people like Kateri Tekakwitha and Black Elk.  If people are going to shame the Catholic Church for racism then they better be able to understand the spirituality of St. Martin de Porres or Father Tolton.

No one is asking anyone to love The Catholic Church.  If you have left, you have left.  If you hate us, you hate us.  If you feel, somehow, that we deserve everything that happens to us then so be it.

However, do not expect me to think you are wonderful for showing up for a day of unity and ignoring the horrors of terrorism against MY people.

And while I love this country and will sacrifice for it, do not expect me to think of myself as anything other than what I am - I am a stranger in your land, I am someone you do not really trust.

In the words of my brother, Black Elk (whose cause for canonization is currently being considered):

There can never be peace between nations until there is first known that true peace which is within the souls of men.


Please pray for all those who are the victims of hatred.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Gavin, the Death Penalty and Abortion

Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, made the following statement:

"We are considering executing more people than any other state in modern history — to line up human beings, every day, for executions for two-plus years. Premeditated, state-sponsored executions ... I cannot sign off on executing hundreds and hundreds of human beings, knowing among them are people who are innocent." 

In light of the consistent Democratic Party's support of Abortion on Demand, up to and including minutes before a child is to be born, these words are a puzzlement.

I believe that because a child is formed in the womb, people are still convinced that the right to end that child's life is all wrapped up in what a woman gets to do with her own body.

Science disputes this, of course, as we now know the body that is being dismembered is not her body.  However, the proponents of the ability to end a pregnancy being a cornerstone of female freedom firmly believe that because that child is inside a woman's body they have no rights separate from the woman.

Rather than just state that outright, proponents of Abortion on Demand try to use code words - one phrase is that the child cannot survive outside the womb before a certain time and so the right to end its life should be entirely up to the person with the womb.  If one suggests that a newborn cannot survive for long outside a mother's womb, that used to give them pause.  No longer.  Now, in order to be a good Democrat they HAVE to sign on to the idea that it is not a person with any rights up to the moment it is born.  The next debate?  If the child survives the attempt to kill it, it is up to the mother to determine whether or not that child should receive medical attention.  In other words, doctors and nurses - once people who took an oath to do no harm - will get to stand around and watch a child scream itself to death.  Great.  We have come so far.

I am a pro life, post abortive woman.  For many people - usually the very far left and the very far right - I am an anathema.  I have the audacity to advocate for the unborn child despite my killing my children and I have the audacity to speak about those choices and why I made them without covering myself with sackcloth and ashes and sitting in the last pew of the Church, apart from the rest of you because I am forever unclean.

I am also one of those people who is cursed with a pragmatic heart.  I doubt we will ever close the barn door - the horse that is named abortion has been let lose in the United States and I know people who call themselves 'Super Catholics' who support the agenda of the Democratic Party.

Does that mean we should NOT attempt to shut the door on abortion?

No...not in my opinion.

Being Pro Life for a Catholic means being supportive of life from conception to natural death.  It means looking at more than just being born.  Being pro life means looking at the issues of health care, education, housing, protection from abuse (sexual and otherwise) as well as being good solid stewards of the environment.  It means examining the issue of immigration - legal or otherwise - drug and alcohol addiction and crime.  It means making an effort to form a society that allows for the flourishing of families with as little government interference as possible and just the right amount of protection.

Like Governor Newsom, I am against the Death Penalty.  I am not against it because I am specifically pro life; rather, I am against it because there have been too many problems with its implementation.  Innocent people have died.   That is wrong.  If we could remove the possibility that innocent men or women are executed for crimes?  You might have me back on board with the concept, though I still believe it is possible to protect society without killing its erring members.

Unlike Governor Newsom, I absolutely believe it is possible to distinguish between the execution of someone who has been convicted of a crime and the execution of someone whose only crime is inconvenience, or disability or because they are the child of a criminal.  These are the reasons given by those who argue for Abortion - it may adversely impact the mother (inconvenience), the child is damaged (disability) or the product of incest and/or rape (the child of a criminal).

Let's hold the Governor to his own standard.  Let's demand of him that he extend the same compassion to children that he has extended to those on death row.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

There has Never been a Third Party President - so Why Bother?

My readers know I am a member of the American Solidarity Party.  In fact, this past year I took the position of Vice Chair of the California branch of the party.  I did so despite my lack of political expertise and my being vastly under-educated when compared to other members of our various committees.  I did so for much of the same reason I have taken service commitments in my 12 step program - no one else was available to do it.

Recently a very vocal supporter of the current Administration posed a question to me when I stated, once again, that I will no longer support either of the two main political parties in the United States.  Essentially, she wanted to know why I would bother since there has never been an ASP President (very true) and since more Catholics support President Trump than ever before (I don't know if that is true or not as she did not provide any proof ), thereby implying that by NOT supporting the current administration I was somehow not being a good Catholic.

She did not say that - I want to be perfectly clear that those words did not leave her mouth.  However, the implication was pretty solid.  The ASP has no chance of winning and (according to her) more members of my Faith tradition support Mr. Trump than support anyone else currently in the political arena.

I think she made a good point.  Why would anyone give their time, talent and treasure to a losing cause?  Why not jump on the 'one issue' bandwagon so many Catholics and other Christians have climbed aboard when it comes to this particular President?  Oh my gosh, Leslie, why would you want to waste your vote?

None of these questions are bad questions; however, I do think they are indicative of a culture that puts an emphasis on winning, expediency and convenience rather than on solid principles.  Americans once valued the dreamers - those who looked at a situation and said, "This sucks.  There has to be a better way" and then put their minds and bodies to work to create that better way.  Nowadays?  Not so much - unless that 'better way' is tied directly into pleasure and leisure.  If it involves a robot that will wash the dishes, fold the laundry, feed and walk the dog and (in some really sad scenarios) act the role of husband or wife then it is worth investing time and talent.  If, however, the investment is done solely to try and resurrect a connection between the practical and the spiritual?  Forget it.

In 1912, the Progressive Party ran Theodore Roosevelt as their candidate and surpassed the Republicans in the election.  In 2016 a Gallup Poll found that 57% of the American Voting Population was deeply dissatisfied with both the Democrats and the Republicans.  An analysis done in 2018 declared that third party candidates aided Donald Trump's win over Hilary Clinton.    I would suggest the same thing will happen again in 2020, especially in light of the horrific abortion laws recently passed in New York and Vermont.   People who might be turned off by the brash and ungentlemanly behavior of Donald Trump will find it difficult to vote for a party (Democrats) who push infanticide as part of Women's Reproductive Rights or Health.  The backlash against them is starting already and I suspect many Democrats, while not being able to say out loud how disgusted they are by their party's platform for fear of being hooted down by their far left brethren, are going to find themselves unable to vote for a party candidate that thinks it is reasonable to kill a child two minutes before it leaves its mother's womb.

Those are the people I hope will consider the American Solidarity Party.

Our national platform can be found here:  https://solidarity-party.org/about-us/platform/

We are not a perfect party.  We have, however, tried to find a balance between the two parties that seem to not care that much about the average American.  We believe in trying to work in a bi-partisan manner towards solutions and we believe it is possible to do so without calling someone derogatory names or claiming to be a member of a protected class of people in order to get ahead.  We know that we have work to do in terms of educating the voters, but we declare to the general the public "We believe in the basic decency of all Human Beings...let's now start finding common ground" is what makes every member of the party tick.

Unlike my friend, my main focus is not on winning.  My focus is on the principles that define my life and trying my best not to compromise those principles while still engaging in the American Political System.  This may be due to my age - I am a lot closer to standing in front of Jesus and having to explain myself than she is, though none of us know the date and time, right? - but the why is not nearly as important as the what.  WHAT I do and HOW I do it is very important right now.  The 'why' of my life, at this point, is a given.  I do all that I do so that I can please Him who created me, saved me and sustains me.

Whether or not the world says I am successful is immaterial.  Unlike my friend who is convinced voting Republican is the only way to save the United States from evil, I have a lot more trust in God.  I have seen evil come and go.  I have seen it 'triumph' but only on a small scale (in terms of human history) and only for a short time.  What I have also seen is God's amazing power to pull good from any evil He allows.  I trust in Him.

My job, I believe, it to walk the path set out for my by Jesus Christ to the best of my ability.  He is The Way.  Right now, when I look at the Republicans and the Democrats, I do not see how I can vote for either of them and claim to be a solid Catholic.

That being said, I do not think I am a BETTER Catholic than my fellows who have chosen a different path.  We all must make a decision that fits with a well formed conscience.  We have to be willing to stand up and accept the consequences of that decision.  I am willing to do so.

In 2016, I was called names by Democrats supporting Mrs. Clinton because I voted third party.  I was told I was stupid and I was insuring her a win.  After the election, these same people told me it was my fault that Donald Trump won.

I would suggest, rather than playing a blame game, that members of the two main parties start cleaning up their own stables.  Perhaps that is the message they need to hear - because they have lost me, and people like me.

If that makes me a bad Catholic, then I am a bad Catholic.


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Lord, Open My Lips

The rancor on social media has exploded since the possibility that Jussie Smollet, a young actor, has lied about being the victim of a hate crime.

I waited before I spoke about his assertion because I have learned from past mistakes.  Yes, something about the whole episode as he described it did not seem to make sense but I did not know anything about this young man.  I don't watch the show he is on, because it is a tv soap opera with good actors and I knew I would get sucked into the story line.  Frankly, I don't have the time.  I watch two shows faithfully for my own enjoyment and cannot afford to add another to my list.  I need to read more, not watch more television.

Also, quite frankly, I have no idea what type of lifestyle the young man in question leads.  I don't know if he is, in the parlance of MY day, a 'partier'.  If he is, then deciding to go get a sandwich at Subway at 3am makes a whole lot of sense.  Disregarding the possible safety issues of being on a dark street in Chicago at 3am all alone seems reasonable.  I remember those days.  I remember thinking, "Is Jack In The Box Open?" and driving to Oakland all alone, a young beautiful blonde piloting a Gremlin X through a drive through lane to get a burger because, well, I had the munchies...and I was drunk.

I now no longer believe Mr. Smollet was attacked and I am no longer angry at him.

Yes, I was angry.  I was angry because people I love identify with the LBGTQ+ community and their well being - both physical and spiritual - matters to me.  I know what dangers have always lurked out there.  Just as there are men who believe all a woman needs is a good smack in the face to 'keep her in line' there are people - men AND women - who think weekends should be spent stalking homosexual men and women to hurt them.

There is still a serial killer - The Doodler - out there who is responsible for the murder of 14 men during the 1970's whose only crime was being sexually attracted to other men and acting on that attraction.  Despite what anyone thinks, the death penalty is not appropriate for acting on that attraction.

People who pretend to be a victim or who perpetrate a hoax regarding a crime do far more damage than is initially believed.  Law Enforcement hours are spent unravelling the lies but far more important, LE then braces for an onslaught of crimes against the class of people already marginalized....why?  Because when some idiot pretends to be a victim and the public is outraged, those who get a thrill and validation out of raping a homosexual woman or beating a homosexual man are emboldened.  They are pretty sure it will be awhile before their criminal activity is discovered, reported and then believed.

And the victims?  They get quiet.  They recognize that someone, usually one of their own, has screwed things up again and so they doubt it will do any good to report a crime, even if that crime is domestic violence by their same-sex partner.  Why bother?  No one is going to care anyway.

I am no longer angry at Mr. Smollet because I do not know what his real motivation was and, quite frankly, he is still maintaining he was the victim and the Grand Jury testimony has been suspended because of some information given to the Prosecutor by his Defense Team.  I do not know what drove him, what type of mental illness he deals with and what has to be addressed in order for him to regain his footing in life.  I am saddened, I am wishing this had not happened and I am tired of it already because there are more important issues in the world we need to address right now than whether or not an actor lied and caused himself legal problems.

My prayer is that we do not forget those who need our love and our protection simply because one man behaved like an ass.

Let's pray for him...and for all our brothers and sisters that walk in fear for whatever reason.

May the healing Light of Jesus surround them and make them understand that, no matter what, they are loved.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

My Truth

Recent developments in the Abortion Movement have left many people, including me, confused.  Trying to do a fact check on exactly what the State of New York now has on their books is difficult.   I found at https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/new-york-abortions-birth/ a reasonable explanation of what has happened in New York.

It does not calm my heart.  In fact, it made me cry.

Recently I was in a discussion with a woman who identified as 'pro choice' but was concerned about women being told the truth about fetal development in the womb.  My problem with her concern is that it sends a message: women are not strong enough to hear the truth about what goes on inside the womb during a pregnancy.  I suspect that the real fear is that women who are given all the information about their pregnancy will opt out of an abortion, choose to carry the human inside of them to term and then either give it up for adoption or raise it themselves.  In other words, the choice they might make is not the choice that certain organizations want them to make.  Thus, it is not a good idea for them to have an ultrasound, hear the fetal heartbeat, be given information about the capacity of the human they are carrying to feel pain during the procedure and the possible need for them to receive mental health support after having an abortion.

This worry, this willingness to protect women from their fragile emotional selves, flies in the face of the entire "Woman Warrior" scenario popularized by the media, FB Memes and the Lean In Movement.  We are either strong enough to hear the truth or we are not.  We either need to be protected from our own fragility or we are not.  Pick one, but don't tell me how women can do anything from govern a country to play in the NFL as long as you don't show them pictures of what the child looks like at 22 weeks of life.

The Women's Movement has gone off the beam and lost its way in the weeds of contradiction.  I rarely pay attention to 'Leading Feminists' today because their faulty logic and their inability to speak to nuance of the human condition hurts my ears.  Once again, at the ripe old age of 63, I am on the outside looking in when it comes to women in the world.  I see our difference from men and I applaud it.  I understand that some women do not want to be mothers but want to have sex.  I get it that some women are physically attracted to both men and women or to women alone.  What I fail to understand is why the majority of the left seems to think we are dumb bunnies that need to be protected from the harsh realities of the world on the one hand, and given the keys to the White House on the other hand.

I wish there was no abortion.  I also understand that the legality of abortion has been codified in such a way that I doubt it will ever be criminalized.  I am not sure I WANT it to be criminalized.  What I am hoping for is a return to common sense, to a balance that makes the ending of a human life the last possible choice a woman has to make.  I am hoping for an advancement in science that would allow a woman to terminate a pregnancy without killing a child, thereby guaranteeing an adoptive mother and father the chance to add to their family in a beautiful way.    I doubt that will happen in my lifetime and I am not even sure of the ethics around that idea but at this point I would welcome any solution that did not end in the death of a child so that a woman can continue her life in the way she wishes.

Ultimately I would hope that all humans, men and women, would move away from a subjective philosophy that puts themselves first rather than seeing themselves as a wonderfully small part of a glorious whole.  I would love to see a movement begin that put God, family, society first on the list with the Almighty ME and MY Fulfillment fourth or fifth on the list.  I would love to be in a neighborhood filled with children and the elderly and the generation in between all interacting and living, not necessarily in peace and harmony but in reality.

When I was little, there were wonderful older couples around me.  Mrs. Chappelle taught me to bake cookies after my first independent attempt tasted like rubber butterscotch. Mrs. Rhodes always bought my Campfire Girl Mints.  My first babysitting job (50 cents an hour, people.  Yes I am old) was in my neighborhood for Mrs. Hardly's 8 month old.  The Ward's down the street had 12 kids, the Grey's had seven,  the place was hopping with kids and adults.  Mr. Tompkins was 91 and lived with his daughter and son-in-law, and would take a walk every day in a suit and a hat.  Sometimes, I would walk next to him and he would tell me stories about being a cowboy in Montana.  I found out, after he passed away, that he had never been to Montana and you know what?  I did not care.  The stories were great and he let me tell him that I had a dragon living under my house.

Today, because of a variety of causes, I have to INVITE kids to come trick or treat at Halloween.

Today, I have been told that a Catholic ministry dealing with the Domestic Church is for husbands, wives and children which (of course) completely ignores their obligation to people like me that is expressly spelled out in the Catechism.

We have lost of sense of humor, we have lost our sense of taste, we have lost our sense of true self realization and replaced it with the idea that the only thing that truly matters is whether or not WE are HAPPY.

I feel sad.

Pray for me.