A nation of radical ideals Reply

By Tom Quiner

What a country we have.

Did you know that most Americans believe we are exceptional? The Gallup Poll asked us this question:

“Because of the United States’ history and its Constitution, do you think the U.S. has a unique character that makes it the greatest country in the world, or don’t you think so?”

Eighty percent of Americans said yes! In their eyes, America is exeptional. Here’s how the survey broke down:

• 91% or Republicans said we’re exceptional.

• 77% of Independents said we’re exceptional.

• 73% of Democrats said we’re exceptional.

One can’t help but notice the bi-partisan acknowledgement of the idea that this nation is historically better than others, although President Obama qualifies his views on the subject:

“I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.”

I’m not so sure the president is correct.

The Pew Research Center surveyed 91,000 citizens in 50 different nations a few years ago. It dramatically reveals how differently Americans think about their nation than citizens of other countries think about theirs’.

For example, 71% of Americans are very proud to live in America. But for the French, it’s only thirty-eight percent.

For the Germans, and the Japanese, its only twenty-one percent.

Only one-third of Americans think their success is determined by forces outside of their control. But for Germans and Italians, two-thirds think their success is determined by forces outside of their control.

Did you know that three out four Americans would like to see our views spread throughout the world, but only one out of three Brits feel the same about their country?

President Obama either underestimates Americans or overestimates Europe when he talks about exceptionalism.

American exceptionalism is characterized by limited government; fundamental rights that flow from God; self-sufficiency and self-sacrifice.

Newt Gingrich identifies why this concept is so important to us:

“If America is a unique nation founded upon self-evident truths about the rights of man, then that belief imposes inherent limits on the size and scope of government.

If, however, America is a normal country, no different than our European cousins, then big government socialism that takes power from citizens and gives it to bureaucrats is acceptable.”

Mr. Gingrich accurately identifies the key flashpoint in American politics. The power structure in the Democratic Party thinks that power resides in government; Republicans believe it resides in the people.

No where was this demonstrated more dramatically than in last year’s debate on Obamacare. Although Americans opposed a government takeover of the healthcare industry, Democrats believed they knew best and passed their draconian legislation anyway. In other words, in their view, that power should be vested in the State, just as Europe does it, not the individual.

According to Mr. Gingrich, America’s radical ideals set us apart from the world:

“At the time of our founding, no other nation had adopted such radical ideals. No other nation had declared, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” — rights that no king or government could take away.”

Mr. Gingrich suggests it is this notion of God-given rights, this Creed, that unleashed the potential of a nation:

“During his travels in the 1830s, French writer, Alexis de Tocqueville, observed that America was an exceptional nation with a special role to play in history.  Tocqueville wrote that, unlike Europe, where social standing defined a citizen, America was a new republic where liberty, equality, individualism, and free markets defined the “American Creed.”

To this day, Americans are more likely to believe they control their own destiny compared to Europeans who believe it is the state and the social order that controls their destiny.

God is at the heart of American exceptionalism. During World War II, President Roosevelt compared the war as a battle between our “Christian civilization and paganism.”

As America commemorates the 150th anniversary of our Civil War, it is accurate to suggest we are in the midst of a new civil war, one that pits our Judeo-Christian values against the religion of the left, secular humanism.

Secular humanism rejects a right to life.

Secular humanism is less concerned with liberty than it is equality.

Secular humanism views the idea of “pursuit of happiness” as a lifestyle issue, not a property issue as did our Founding Fathers.

And secular humanists don’t view America as being any more exceptional than anyone else.

Are we exceptional? Of course we are, as long as we stick with the radical ideals of our heritage. Newt Gingrich has produced a new movie that premiers tomorrow called “The City on a Hill:  the Spirit of American Exceptionalism.” I’ve posted the trailer for the movie above.

I’ve seen one his previous productions, “9 Days That Changed the World.” If his new movie is as good as his previous effort, it will be worth seeing and sharing with our children. After all, our radical ideals set America apart from the world.

Let us honor them.

Let us preserve them.

Would you die for a lie? Reply

By Tom Quiner

Men have been known to go to their death for something in which they believe. Those men are few and far between.

Men don’t give up their lives easily.

Do men go to their death for a lie? No they don’t, because our lives are too precious to us. The ultimate sacrifice, the ultimate expression of courage by giving up one’s own life, is only witnessed in men and women who firmly believe in a just cause or transcendent principle.

On this Easter vigil, it is relevant to consider the question: would you die for a lie?

The events put in place by the crucifixion of a man named Jesus two-thousand years ago force us to address that question.

Jesus had twelve disciples. Judas betrayed him and ultimately committed suicide for his betrayal. The remaining eleven disciples claim to have witnessed the resurrected Jesus. They spent the rest of their lives not only sticking to that story, but spreading it.

They spread the story that Jesus was the Son of God who came back to life three days after his execution. They spread this story even though it was dangerous to do so. The Jewish authorities had executed Jesus for His claims. His surviving disciples risked the same fate by sticking to the story.

So, were the disciples lying? Were they spreading the lie that Jesus had been resurrected even though the lie they told might get them killed?

Or were they risking their lives because they had witnessed a miracle? Were they simply doing what the Son of God told them to do because the Truth was more important than their personal safety?

It seems as if we’re left with three choices as we ponder this dilemma:

1. The disciples were liars, spreading a lie about a false new religion that might get them killed.

2. The disciples were telling the truth, even though it might get them killed.

3. The entire historical account has been manufactured.

And yet, historical evidence from the Bible itself is compelling. Coupled with non-Biblical sources, it is impossible to discount the existence of Jesus and his crucifixion.

Here’s a reference of the early Christians as reported by Roman historian, Tacitus, in about 116 A.D. as he explained how Nero tried to blame Christians for a fire that engulfed Rome:

Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite punishments on a class hated for their disgraceful acts, called Chrestians by the populace. Christ, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty (i.e., Crucifixion) during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.

Another Roman, Pliny the Younger, a Magistrate, wrote about the early Christians in his letter to Trajan:

Meanwhile, in the case of those who were denounced to me as Christians, I have observed the following procedure: I interrogated these as to whether they were Christians; those who confessed I interrogated a second and a third time, threatening them with punishment; those who persisted I ordered executed. For I had no doubt that, whatever the nature of their creed, stubbornness and inflexible obstinacy surely deserve to be punished. There were others possessed of the same folly; but because they were Roman citizens, I signed an order for them to be transferred to Rome.

These early Christians witnessed the resurrected Christ or knew people who had. They were willing to die for the Truth.

What happened to the original disciples of Christ? Peter himself was crucified some 33 years after Christ.

James was put to death by Herod Agrippa.

Andrew was crucified.

Matthew was believed to have been martyred in Ethiopia.

Thomas was martyred at the tip of a lance.

James of Alpheus was stoned.

Thaddeus was martyred in what is now Iran.

All of these men either died for a lie or for the truth. Which do you think it is?

Would you die for a lie?

Is atheism the new opiate of the masses? 3

By Tom Quiner

A stranger washed my feet last night.

This unusual experience took place at the Holy Thursday service at my church last night. Just as Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, we washed each others’ feet in remembrance of the relevance of His actions today.

In a short while, I’ll be back at church for the celebration of the Lord’s passion, better know as Good Friday. And then comes the most glorious event in the history of heaven and earth: Easter.

History turned on these three days, regardless of what one thinks of them.

American atheists evangelize with billboards

As I write these words, the American Atheists are holding a convention here in Des Moines, Iowa. I received a letter in the mail from them inviting me to attend, the price of attendance being $159 for non-members. They also ask for donations to purchase billboard space to evangelize their brand of faithless religion. The message displayed on their billboards read: “You KNOW there is NO GOD! We know you’re right!”

Such a leap of faith.

I can understand the agnostic who isn’t certain God exists. And I can understand those who make a leap of faith in their belief in God.

But in light of evidence in nature, in light of evidence in the cosmos, in light of the historical record, in light of revelation to man down through the ages, in light of philosophical logic, it takes a far bigger leap of faith to state with certainty that “we KNOW God doesn’t exist.” So, in a way, it really isn’t a faithless religion.

Fr. Robert Barron discusses the intellectual vacuity of the modern atheist movement in the video commentary above. Karl Marx famously said that religion is the “opiate of the masses.” Fr. Barron says he got it backwards, that atheism is the opiate of the masses, that it attempts, much like a drug, to mask our deepest longing.  And what is that longing?

It is our longing for God, our desire for something beyond the abilities of this world to satisfy.

Fr. Barron puts it this way. Our hunger for food isn’t a sign that food is a projection. Our hunger proves the reality of food, just as our hunger for God proves His reality.

Like man down through the ages, these atheists desire to practice their religion together and win converts.

Many people didn’t believe in Jesus two-thousand years ago, either. Tonight, we celebrate His unjust execution. Why use the word “celebrate?” Because it was necessary to reveal God’s glory.

I encourage each of us to stop and think seriously about these events, known as the Easter Triduum in the Catholic Church. We give up everything that our heart truly longs for if we discount the Easter miracle.

Be wary of the new atheism.  As Fr. Barron says, stop taking that drug and wake up.

Planned Parenthood’s most-hated investigative journalist is coming to Des Moines Reply

 By Lisa Bourne

For those who may not be aware, Lila Rose is the founder of the organization Live Action.

Lila Rose, President of Live Action

A visit to www.liveaction.org yields the group’s description of itself as a youth-led pro-life movement for human rights.

Live Action has been responsible for numerous videos exposing Planned Parenthood for corruption and repeated illegal activity. There’s plenty to see out on the Internet.

What’s sad is that it’s taken the exposure of broken laws to finally bring attention to the business plan of the largest abortion provider in the U.S.: the taking of human life for profit.

In addition, Planned Parenthood has been working under the radar to use Iowa as its national bullpen for the dangerous and illegal practice of telemed abortion. This is where drugs are administered to mothers through a remote push-button system and a physician is not present at the time the drug is given, and certainly not later when the mother delivers the aborted child.

You’d think that its making money by taking life and putting women at risk would be enough to remove the abortion behemoth from its spot at the trough of taxpayer subsidy.

While it’s sad that Planned Parenthood gets away with all that it does, what’s really cool is that it is young people propelling Live Action, and ever increasingly, the pro-life battle in general.

And remember, it is young people who appear to have the best command of the new media.

There is a joke about Pope John Paul II raising the parents of the current crop of youth right (after the fact!). God bless the late pontiff for, among many things, being media savvy.  This younger generation can continue to harness the media for truth.

It’s Iowa, 2011. Leroy Carhart is knocking at the door. Legislation has been held up that would save lives in Iowa.

To be clear, if Carhart is allowed to come in, many lives will be lost as Iowa gets turned into the Midwest destination for his late-term abortion mill.

The states surrounding Iowa have enacted fetal-pain legislation that will save unborn children from abortion from the age of 20- weeks on, the very reason Carhart is looking to Iowa in the first place. If the state does not follow suit, in he comes and with him traffic for his abortion mill from Iowa’s neighboring states.

There is a lot of prayer going on out there to stop abortionist Carhart from furthering his grisly trade in Iowa. And even if it’s God’s plan that he not be stopped here now legislatively, I have a feeling Lila Rose and Live Action will still be fighting for life on the national stage.

Consider coming to hear Lila Rose speak at the Iowa Right to Life Committee’s Spring Fling. The annual event is the fundraiser for the organization. You can support some of the people fighting this on the ground.  At the same time you would hear from the young woman at the heart of pulling the curtain off the illusion of Planned Parenthood as the benevolent organization that supports women.

The event is Thursday, April 28 at the Holiday Inn-Des Moines Airport. Dinner is at 6:30 p.m. and the program begins at 7:15. Information is available at iowa@iowaRTL.org and 515.244.1012. They’d like to hear from you by April 25.

Be prepared for a captivating presentation!

In the meantime, I may have to inquire with Planned Parenthood to see about scheduling my next mammogram.

[Thanks to Lisa Bourne for contributing this article to Quiner’s Diner. Ms. Bourne is a Catholic journalist and pro-life wife and mother. For more information on Lila Rose and Live Action, see our post from May 13th, 2010.]