It’s no secret that liberals adore Pope Francis. The more secular the “progressive,” the greater the reverence for the new man in the Vatican. Liberals—which includes liberal Catholics and Protestants as well as secularists—see the pontiff as the long-awaited liberator of the reactionary Roman Catholic Church.
Sadly, someone I care deeply about was recently diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer — one that is difficult to survive. The problem with this cancer is that it is rarely found until it reaches what oncologists call Stage III or Stage IV, meaning that treatment options are limited and the prognosis is guarded at best — with even “guarded” representing sometimes unjustifiable optimism.
What was so shocking about the diagnosis is that there was no prior indication of illness, certainly none that a person would attribute to a serious ailment rather than to an insignificant virus or just getting a poor night’s sleep. As the unknowing victim moves through life thinking all is well, he is being killed from the inside out. The same is now happening to our national body politic.
The rise of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States suggested a slightly sick country: A completely unaccomplished man elected to the highest political office on the planet on promises of “hope and change” based on radical and ignorant ideas.
Anxieties within the GOP over a possible government shutdown in the wake of Obama’s promise to push amnesty by unconstitutional executive order continue to grow. Those anxieties don’t show much confidence in the American voter.
The fear appears to be that voters will punish the GOP in two years for opposing Obama’s open tyranny. In other words, GOP leaders think the American people prefer unconstitutional government to a limited government shutdown aimed at stopping it. If that is true, American democracy is as degraded as Jonathan Gruber’s infamous remarks suggest.
In a healthy democracy, politicians wouldn’t even debate whether or not to fund an unconstitutional order. They would automatically defund it. That GOP leaders turn to pollsters and image consultants before deliberating on such a fundamental issue is already a bad sign. By saying in effect that they will lose their power if they defend the Constitution, they reveal the emptiness of that power.
Pope Francis has offered counsel over the last week that culturally adrift Protestants and Evangelicals especially should heed the timeless truths regarding human life intrinsic to Christian faith and organic to nature itself, not based on Christian scripture exclusively but available to all creation.
Yesterday November 17, the Pope, at an interfaith convo at the Vatican on the family called “Humanum,” robustly affirmed the divinely created “complementarity” of male and female, the unchanging definition of natural marriage, the family as an “anthropological fact,” and the “right” of children to “grow up in a family with a father and mother.”
In June, the IRS announced that a critical two-year segment of Lois Lerner’s emails were lost in a hard drive crash. Conveniently, these emails perfectly corresponded with the time when Tea Party groups were being targeted for extra scrutiny and possible criminal prosecution.
Since the IRS is a government agency, many reasonable people were convinced there had to be other places to look for records. Especially since the IRS expects us to live like hoarders, meticulously keeping every receipt to avoid running afoul of their agency. Now, five months later, the IRS admits that it still hasn’t searched any of its backup systems.
Judicial Watch published last week an update of its pending Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the agency:
Andrew Romano, a California-based writer for Yahoo News, spilled a lot of ink in recent weeks explaining why Latinos were not ditching the Democrats in this election (they moved toward the GOP by six percent overall, and more in some tight key races), why Mark Udall might “still have a shot in Colorado” (he didn’t), and why Republican governors were “flailing” in their quests for re-election (four of the five he named won, and the one who lost, the extremely unpopular Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania, had long been a fifteen to twenty point underdog).
So he’s not exactly a credible pundit when he pens his newest morsel of Democratic hope-over-reality naïveté: that the big winner of the 2014 midterms was Hillary Clinton.
Famous Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll’s recent resignation from his Mars Hill megachurch and empire of church satellites is maybe vindicating to some of his many critics, who denounced his brash, hyper-masculine Calvinism. He was accused of plagiarism and inflating his book sales, but his downfall seems more related to a brusque, often obnoxious demeanor that ultimately turned many associates against him.
Driscoll, age 44, has been a successful pastor and religious celebrity for 18 years, and perhaps he rose too far too fast, without sufficient time to mature into his fame and responsibility. He is a dynamic preacher with an artful stage presence. And his creation of a robustly conservative and once thriving evangelical church network in the secular northwest, especially appealing to much vaunted hipster, often tattooed Millennials, showcased both his own skill and the Gospel’s capacity to appeal even in difficult terrain.
A few weeks ago, I dropped in on a fellow named Russ Post, an 89-year-old veteran of World War II and Korea, who just happens to live on my street. Another guy on our street, Deven, closer to my age, had been suggested I meet with Russ. We finally did. What followed was one of the more interesting and entertaining Saturday afternoons I’ve experienced in quite a while.
Russ took my teenage son and me on a roller-coaster ride from his youth in Western Pennsylvania to the Pacific theater to the Korea War, and rarely in a perfectly straight line. His vivid diversionary descriptions of some of his, shall we say, extra-curricular activities in the military and throughout his upbringing were rather raw, particularly his candidly expressed encounters with the opposite sex. That wasn’t what my son (who blushed) and I had come to hear, but it certainly made for a spirited conversation that easily kept our attention for two-plus hours. Not all the reminiscences seemed relevant or appropriate, but, hey, anyone who got shot up like Russ has earned the right to speak (and boast) as he pleases. It was his house and his life.
In case anyone missed it, the sick man of the global economy is getting much sicker. And it’s not just “peripheral” economies like Greece asunder in a sea of stagnation. Some of the European Union’s biggest players are in serious economic trouble. What’s especially striking, however, is so many European governments’ continued inability, and often unwillingness, to respond appropriately.
President Reagan gauged the success of a welfare program by how quickly people were able to move off government assistance and into remunerative work. Yet President Obama, the White House, and their allies are measuring the success of Obamacare by how many people can be enrolled in their new government entitlement programs.
The president celebrated the law’s “success” in getting seven million people enrolled in Medicaid and eight million (or so) people enrolled in exchange coverage, 87 percent of whom are receiving government subsidies for their insurance. And he hopes to lure another five million people onto Obamacare programs starting with the November 15 enrollment period. There is no expectation that participation in these government programs will be a temporary boost but rather that they will become a permanent fixture in people’s lives.