Governor Branstad’s Proclamation for LIFE! 2

By Jenifer Bowen

Governor Terry Branstad has offered a Proclamation that, in Iowa, the first Sunday of each October will be “Respect for Life Sunday.”  The purpose of this proclamation is to educate all citizens of Iowa young and old that life is precious and should be respected.

This education will take place through the following statements:

Whereas: Life is to be respected in all stages of development beginning with fertilization to continuing to natural death.

Whereas: We shall show respect in our daily lives as we protect the unborn from the abuses of abortion.  We will raise them in the traditional values that come with a traditional family.

Whereas:  Life will be respected in the latter years of life by having in place a continued support system which will offer them the dignity earned through years of service to family, church, community, friends and country.

Whereas:  Life will be respected through the acceptance that Life is not ours to give nor is it ours to take.  These are the functions of a higher being.  That being is GOD!

Whereas:  Respect for Life Sunday is a day of recognition that we were given the gift of choice not as a weapon against Life, but so that we can call upon our God and receive eternal life.

The Proclamation Signing will occur Friday, October 7, at 11:15 am. This signing will be held in the Governor’s Formal Office at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines.

[Jenifer Bowen is Executive Director for Iowa Right to Life.]

Would you pass the malaise please? 1

By Tom Quiner

You’ve got $5000 in your pocket. Who is going to spend that money better:  you or a stranger?

Answer quickly, please.

Do you really think a stranger is going to take your five grand and spend/invest it better?

It’s an interesting question, because Warren Buffet says rich (productive) Americans need to pay more taxes. And yet he gives a lot of money away to charity. And yet he’s got a fancy foundation that gives even more money away. And yet he doesn’t give that money to the government, even though he says he and other top producers need to be taxed at a higher rate.

He acknowledges by his inaction that a stranger (aka bureaucrat or legislator) is not going to spend his money better than he is.

But that is the foundational principal of liberalism. From Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama, the cry is always that the most productive Americans are under-taxed, that government can spend their money better than they can. (For the record, I am not one of these super producers. Nonetheless, I commend their significant contribution to our nation’s economy and tax base.)

America has had two dramatic periods of stagnation in my lifetime: the Jimmy Carter years and the Barack Obama years. Both of them blamed problems on others. Mr. Obama says we’ve gotten soft. Mr. Carter lamented a national malaise, a crisis of confidence.

Mr. Carter screamed for windfall profit taxes. That was the solution to our problems.

Mr. Obama’s mantra is tax increase on the rich. That is the solution to our problems.

Each of them shared a similar vision: that problem was not them; it is us.

Laura Ingraham juxtaposes the words of these two liberal presidents. The similarity of their floundering rhetoric is scary.


We want God! Reply

By Tom Quiner

I’m intrigued.

We performed “The Pope of the People, the John Paul II Musical” last night at Living History Farms. This is a show about a Catholic Pope. I’m intrigued by what happens after each performance. Protestants come up to me and tell me how much they loved the show.

Regular readers of Quiner’s Diner know that I was raised Protestant and converted to the Catholic Church thirty years ago. I have tremendous love and affection for my Protestant brothers and sisters despite some differences in our Christian beliefs.

As a convert, I appreciate the challenges Protestants have in coming to grips with these differences between our faiths. And yet I’m intrigued at the way Protestants appreciate my musical. (For the record, so do Catholics.)

I’d like to think it is because it tells a compelling story in an entertaining way. I’d like to think it’s because they like the songs and beloved characters in The Pope of the People like JPII himself and Lech Walesa.

All of those things may be at work. I hope they are.

There’s another element at work, though, the same one that inspired me to write this musical. It’s what happened on June 2nd, 1979. If you recall from my previous post, JPII said Mass before a million people in Victory Square in the heart of Warsaw, Poland. In the middle of Mass, the gathered faithful broke into a Polish folk song, “We Want God!” They interrupted his homily for 14 minutes.

They expressed so simply, yet powerfully, what is in the heart in all of us, whether we’re Catholic, Protestant, Jew, or Muslim: our thirst for God.

We want God.

[The Pope of the People continues its Fall Tour with its next performance this Sunday, October 9th, 3PM, at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Waukee, Iowa. Order tickets online:]



Who says religion and politics don’t mix? Reply

By Tom Quiner

Readers of this blog know I am passionate about politics, religion, and music.

The three come together tonight in a musical I wrote called “The Pope of the People, the John Paul II Musical.”  It will be performed at 7PM in the Church of the Land at Living History Farms on this, the 32nd anniversary of JPII’s trip to Iowa.

Pope John Paul II has become a huge influence in my life. I was there when he came to Des Moines on a chilly Autumn day. I was a Protestant at the time with no clue that one day I would join the Church and write a musical about a Pope.

JPII had just been elected the year before on the day that my mom died. As you might guess, I was pretty distracted and didn’t pay a lot of attention to the news of this first Slavic Pope.

The next year, Pope John Paul II made it clear that he was a Pope the likes of which the world hadn’t seen before. He said he wanted to return to his homeland, Poland, on a spiritual pilgrimage. Poland had a communist government, a puppet of the Soviet Union.

The commies faced a dilemma. If they didn’t let the Pope come, they’d look like they were intimidated by him. If they let him come, there was concern that he would stir up the restless citizenry who were so unhappy with the sorry state of their economy and lack of liberty.

They said he could come.

On June 2nd, 1979, Pope John Paul II said mass in Victory Square in the heart of Warsaw, Poland. A million people showed up! To put this amazing number into perspective, we “only” had 350,000 show up at Living History Farms later that year to see him.

As their communist overlords looked on, JPII told the gathered faithful that Poland belongs to Christ, that Poland had belonged to Christ for one thousand years. Even more, he said that the Blessed Mother, Mary, was the Queen of Poland!

In the middle of Mass, the crowd broke out spontaneously singing a Polish folk tune:  “We Want God!”

We want God! Can you imagine such a response in a country that imposed atheism on its people!

This primal truth erupted from the souls of a Polish nation that had been hammered by twentieth century politics. Millions had been killed by Nazism and Communism in this nation alone.

That moment unleashed the Force that would change the geo-political structure of the world.

That moment is the critical scene in The Pope of the People. It is performed and sung masterfully by KIOA radio personality, Maxwell Schaeffer, who plays the part of the Pope. You can hear a brief excerpt in the YouTube movie above.

The rest is history. The newly elected Reagan administration joined forces with The Vatican to provide each other intelligence on communist activity behind the Iron Curtain. They both lent support to the emerging Solidarity Labor Union that agitated for more freedoms for Poles.

The forces of Evil tried to kill the Pope and Ronald Reagan. Both miraculously survived. These two men felt that the forces of Good had a plan for them, and that their mission was to fight the godless scourge of communism.

They asked God for direction, support, and courage in taking on this seemingly impossible battle.

He listened.

He acted.

They won.

This strange mix of politics and religion led to the fall of communism. Ten years after the Pope said Mass in Victory Square, Poland held free elections.

The winner? Some would say it was Lech Walesa, the newly-elected president and leader of Solidarity.

The faithful simply smile. The winner was God.

When people cry out “we want God,” they have a captive audience of the One who created them, the One who loves them, the One who responds to their needs with Godly Wisdom.

The Pope of the People has it all. Politics, religion, music.

I hope you can come tonight. You can order your will-call tickets online at Or call us at 515-276-9266. If you miss tonight’s show, we have four more coming up, including this Sunday in Waukee, Iowa, at St. Boniface Church.

Scenes from the Life Chain 3

By Tom Quiner

Pro-life candidate, Rick Santorum

When thousands of people gather for a cause, isn’t that news?

You wouldn’t know it with the lack of coverage of the Life Chain in the Des Moines Register. Don’t worry, Quiner’s Diner was there.

This was an ecumenical movement. I was standing in front of First Assembly of God Church on Merle Hay. We had several hundred folks in our little section of the street (which stretched several miles every direction). Walnut Creek Community Church had 127 folks from their church alone, prayerfully and respectfully standing along the road, most of whom were teens or young adults.

I talked to people from the Cathedral, First Assembly, All Saints, and of course, my parish, Holy Trinity.

Up near St. Theresa’s at Merle Hay and University, presidential contender, Rick Santorum, the most pro-life candidate this year, joined the Life Chain. Mr. Santorum is the real deal when it comes to Life issues.

I talked to an interesting woman from Walnut Creek Community Church. She is interesting because her mother attempted to abort her three times in 1961 when abortion was still illegal in every state.

Her mother lived in California. She was pregnant out of wedlock. She was getting major pressure from family members concerned about the stigma associated with these situations then.

Her sister found her an abortionist, who on three separate occasions tried using the “hook” to abort the woman to whom I was talking. She was situated too high in the womb for the abortionist to accomplish the deed.

So she lived.

Her mother raised her and treated her very well. At the age of thirteen, she tearfully told her daughter that she had tried to abort her three times. She apologized. She begged for forgiveness.

And the daughter forgave.

As I talked to this woman who is now fifty, I said that I sensed no bitterness or anger in her. In fact, her eyes twinkled with happiness. She said, “heck no, I’m not bitter. Jesus told us to forgive. That’s what He’s all about, isn’t it!”

She loves her mother, who is now sixty-nine.

She said something important: “I am so glad I was born. If I hadn’t been, we wouldn’t even be talking right now.”

It hit me. When we talk about choice, we’ve got it turned around. The people we should be talking to are the ones in the womb. This stranger on the life chain yesterday speaks on behalf of all the pre-born with her resounding endorsement of life:  “I am glad I was born.”

That’s news you won’t see in the newspaper.