The tragedy of John Edwards and Barack Obama 1


By Tom Quiner

One of the divisive issues within the Catholic Church is social justice.

On one side are well-intentioned folks who promote expansive government involvement in providing for the lower end of society, however you define that. This group tends to be liberal politically.

On the other side are well-intentioned folks who say social justice begins in the womb. Their energies are directed toward helping the pre-born and agitating for more just legislation in the pro life arena. This group tends to be conservative politically.

Barack Obama, although not a Catholic, falls into the first category. Social justice Catholics tend to adore him.

President Obama could do so much good, but he isn’t. He has the same skewed vision of social justice as so many others. To them, it tends to be about economics. It’s about money.  It’s about redistribution of wealth.

What has he done?

He raised the minimum wage. The result? The unemployment rate for black teen age boys exploded. Over half are unemployed.

Is this social justice?

What else has he done? He fights any attempt to limit abortion. Over half of pregnancies in the African-American community end with an abortion. As a consequence, the population of this demographic segment of American is on the decline.

Is this social justice?

He and politicians like him have erected a “Great Society” over the past forty to fifty years. The result? Families have broken up as the out-of-wedlock birth rate exploded. Now, most kids in the African American community are raised in single parent households. So what, you may ask? Here’s what: these children perform worse in school; they’re more likely to get hooked on drugs; they’re more likely to hurt someone else or get hurt themselves; they’re more likely to go to jail; they’re more likely to be unemployed.

Is any of this social justice?

As Pope John Paul II demonstrated, it is culture that matters most.  It is culture that drives history. The American culture of independence, self-reliance, and personal responsibility is being replaced with one of dependence, reliance upon the state, and irresponsibility toward society’s children. Increasingly, men view children to be the responsibility of the taxpayers, not themselves.

That is the tragedy of John Edwards. Not that taxpayers will be on the hook to raise his illegitimate child. He represents another high profile example of a man shirking his marital vows.  One out of four white children are now born out of wedlock.  It’s more than two out of three in the black community.

The tragedy of President Obama is that he doesn’t see the root causes of the problem, that he is in fact a political adversary to the type of solutions that can make a difference.

A theologian, R.R. Reno, spelled it out very well writing in “Public Square:”

“A Christian who hopes to follow the teachings of Jesus needs to reckon with a singular fact about American poverty: Its deepest and most debilitating deficits are moral, not financial; the most serious deprivations are cultural, not economic. Many people living at the bottom of American society have cell phones, flat-screen TVs, and some of the other goodies of consumer culture. But their lives are a mess.”

If we want to fight poverty, let’s change the culture.

In today’s news: porn is good, God is bad Reply


By Tom Quiner

Prayer is harmful for students.

On the other hand, porn is good for inmates.

This is the strange dichotomy presented to us today by agents of the Democratic Party.

Let’s start in Texas.  There, Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery ruled that the Medina Valley Independent School District may not allow a prayer at their graduation ceremonies.  Even more, the judge, will not allow certain words and phrases to be uttered by anyone during the ceremony because they will offend a son of atheist parents who filed a law school against the district.  The parents, Christa and Danny Schultz, said this God talk will do “irreparable harm” to their son.

These are some of the words and phrases that Judge Biery will not allow to be uttered in order to prevent irreparable harm to the atheists present:

• in [a deity’s name] we pray

• join in prayer

• bow our heads

• amen

• prayer

He forced the district to remove the words “invocation” and “benediction” from the graduation program. He threatened jail time and other sanctions should any of his wishes be violated.

The good judge was appointed by President Clinton, a Democrat.

Meanwhile, over in South Carolina, another Democratic pressure group, the ACLU, are in court to protect the rights of inmates to consume porn.

For the record, the ACLU denies that is their intent. They’re upset that the Berkeley County Detention Center in Moncks Corner, S.C. allows inmates to read paperback Bibles and not much else.

The prison runs a tight ship. No publications with staples are allowed, because the staples can be used as a weapon. And they want to keep all suggestive content and photos away from inmates to keep them from getting too riled up. Many female correction officers are employed at the prison. But the ACLU’s injunction was so broadly written that prison officials claim it will open the door to porn should they prevail.

Here’s what we’re left with: agents of the Democratic Party want to limit free speech for students and expand it for inmates; they want to remove God from the public square at the same time they want to introduce more porn into the prison population.

Porn is good?

God is bad?

That’s the takeway thoughts for today, brought to us by the political left.

Have a nice weekend.

The Summer of Hope Reply


By Tom Quiner

It began on June 2nd.  The year was 1979 when the Alitalia jetliner set down in a land that time forgot for 123 years of its thousand year history.  A Man in White with kind eyes stepped onto the tarmac.  He knelt and kissed the earth.

What was he thinking?  How did it feel to be back in his motherland?

His next nine days in Poland would change the world.  For objective reporters on the scene, he would spark a revolution with 37 well-crafted speeches and sermons, delivered with the intelligence of a scholar and the heart of a poet.

To the man on the street, it was more than just the words.  It was the power behind the words.  It was the power defined by their shared religion, language, and literature.  It was the power of the Polish culture.

It was the power of hope.

What was this culture like?  A gathering of local Polish-Americans here in Des Moines shared memories of their life in Poland with me.  In every instance, their Catholic heritage was in the forefront.

Artur Golebeiwski owns the Best Western Inn & Suites in West Des Moines.  He told me how Catholic masses were scheduled all day long on Sundays in Poland.  And they were standing-room only.  He said you wouldn’t even think of getting married in the month of May.  The churches just weren’t available because of all of the first communion masses taking place throughout that month.

Ewa Domagala Pratt, a professor at DMACC, talked about how everyone walked to Sunday mass.  Few owned cars and mass transit didn’t run on Sundays.  The scene on Sunday mornings was pedestrian-packed streets with the same destination:  the Catholic church.

This is the culture that animated Poland when the Man in White, the son of a soldier,  arrived at Victory Square in the heart of Warsaw on that fateful day in 1979.  Victory Square is the site for the Tomb of the Unknown soldier.  It is revered in Poland.

All in attendance for the Mass about to be said had most likely walked to get there, all one million of them!  Needless to say, the Communist government was concerned.  In anticipation of large public gatherings, they put in place 67,000 security forces.  Interestingly, 20,000 of them were undercover.

George Czerwinksi was in the Polish Air Force then, living in Krakow.  (Today he’s a corporate pilot for Meredith Corporation here in Des Moines.)  He related to me that he saw a military truck drive past him.  Leaning out the window was an undercover security agent dressed as a priest!

All that security wasn’t to protect the Man in White, but to protect the communists from the people.  They feared an uprising.

If you were a Pole standing in the crowd of one million that day at Victory Square, your heart was in your throat.  Your beloved friend was home, and his words astounded.

In the heart of Godless communism, he said:  “To Poland the Church brought Christ, the key to understanding that great and fundamental reality that is man.  For man cannot be fully understood without Christ.”

Even more, he said that “Poland has become nowadays the land of a particularly responsible witness.”  And with his kind eyes ablaze, he said, “Christ cannot be kept out of the history of man in any part of the globe.  The exclusion of Christ from the history of man is an act against man.”

Days of endless applause followed.  Despite the Communists best efforts to suppress his schedule, the crowds swelled to three million by the time he reached Krakow a week later.  There, he invoked Poland’s rich thousand year history and culture.

The summer of hope continued.  Ten years later, almost to the day, Lech Walesa, a member of the Solidarity Labor Union, was elected President of Poland as communism began to crumble.

The summer of hope continues today.  While America celebrated its Independence on July 4th, Poland elected a new President, Bronislaw Komorowski.  Poland today is a stable democracy.

Ask any Pole.  They’ll tell you World War II ended and communism fell on the same day, June 2nd, 1979, the summer of hope.  That was the day Karol Wojtya, also known as Pope John Paul II, came home.

[I’m re-running this Quiner’s Diner post in commemoration of Pope John Paul II’s trip to Poland on June 2nd, 1979. His trip truly was the 9 days that changed the world.]

Democrats push law that compels Catholic agencies to adopt to gay couples 1


by Tom Quiner

It’s called the “Every child deserves a family” Act.

It mandates that every adoption agency in the U.S. adopt to same-sex couples.

If you’re a Catholic adoption agency, tough. Religious freedom be damned. Discrimination is acceptable against Catholic and other Christian agencies who are conscientious objectors in the new moral order being promoted by the Democratic Party.

Democrats are increasingly emboldened to promote anti-Catholic legislation these days.

The bill is sponsored by 33 Democrats.

This party has become almost militantly anti-Catholic in the laws they push as well as the ones they refuse to enforce.

They refused to exclude abortion from Obamacare.

They refused to stop funding Planned Parenthood.

They now refuse to defend the Defense of Marriage Act which established marriage as an institution between a man and woman of legal age.

Now they want to mandate that Catholic adoption agencies perform adoptions to same sex couples in direct violation of their religious tenets, or else cease operations.

Although Republicans will prevent immediate passage, that will only last until Democrats retake Congress.

Until then, the Democratic Party will continue their war on the values of the Catholic Church.

What doesn’t Wikipedia want you to know about Benazir Bhutto? 2


By Tom Quiner

Benazir BhuttoI am acutely sensitive to what is considered news and what isn’t.

Although conservatives rightly get riled up when news coverage is distorted, I think the bigger issue is what is (and isn’t) covered, and how in-depth that coverage is.

The same goes with history. There is plenty of historical revisionism that takes place by liberal historians. We are witnessing exactly that with what is becoming the American culture’s go-to resource for historical fact, Wikipedia.

I urge you to tread cautiously with this resource.

Information is often selectively presented with a liberal bias. Take the late President of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto.

Wikipedia gives her expansive coverage. And she deserves it. She came from a powerful Pakistani political family and became the youngest and first woman elected President of a predominantly Muslim country.

All of that is impressive.

Wikipedia left out a critical piece of information in their 8000 word treatment of the Bhutto historical record: she was ardently pro-life. Even more, she opposed Hilary Clinton’s efforts to establish an international right to abortion. Ms. Bhutto lead a delegation to a high-stakes United Nations conference in Cairo back in 1994 that garnered tremendous international press. She was one of only two women allowed to address the conference. What she said astounded:

“I dream … of a world where we can commit our social resources to the development of human life and not to its destruction.”

Ms. Bhutto represents a form of feminism very much reviled by liberal journalists and historians: one that embraces a culture of life.

Isn’t that newsworthy?

Shouldn’t that be part of the historical record?

Not at Wikipedia.