Should we take secret ballots away from employees? 1

By Tom Quiner

My next door neighbor, Bill, is about the nicest guy you’d ever want to know. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better neighbor.

He was a lifelong union member, which colors his politics. We got into our usual pre-election dust -up last Sunday. After viewing the plethora of Republican signs in my front yard, Bill asked me why I’m voting Republican.

I talked about government spending, about passing legislation to protect the pre-born, about downsizing government. He countered that Democrats look out for the little guy (unless they’re in the womb, of course). He waxed eloquent about what unions have done for America.

I conveyed my respect for unionism, but expressed the concern that they have gone too far. He asked for an example. There’s one brewing right now: the “Card-Check Forced Unionism Bill” (H.R. 3619/S. 1925) as Republicans call it, or the “Employee Free Choice Act,” as Democrats call it.

What it does is strip away free choice from employees, despite the dishonest title used by Democrats. According to the National Institute for Labor Relations Research:

[this bill] “empowers union officials to force a business’s employees to accept a union as their “exclusive” bargaining agent solely through the acquisition of signed union authorization cards. Individual workers under the watchful eye of union organizers may be tricked or intimidated into signing themselves, and ultimately all of their nonunion fellow employees, over to union-boss control.”

In other words, it forces non-union employees to submit all labor bargaining to a union monopoly. They would not have the free choice to negotiate directly themselves, again, even if they are NOT a member of the union.

The bill also would not allow a secret-ballot election when it comes time to vote on whether to grant the union exclusive bargaining privileges.

So, you’re not a union member. You don’t want them representing you. It comes time to vote on whether the union negotiates for you, and you want to vote no. But the union is looking over your shoulder when you vote.

Is there any chance they might try to intimidate you? Watch the CNN video above. You decide.

The unions want to cram this bill through in the upcoming lame duck session of Congress. Republicans may not be able to stop it no matter how well they do in November’s midterm elections.

I’ll vote Republican and hope they can un-pass it in next year’s session.

The largest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade takes place this Friday. Maybe. 2

By Tom Quiner

Compares pro abortion advocates to Judas

Cardinal Francis Arinze spoke in Des Moines this past weekend. He said something amazing.

He talked about the sanctity of human life. He compared us pro-lifers to Saint Peter and the other disciples, but he didn’t mean it favorably. He said while the disciples were sleeping in the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas was wide-awake, at work organizing the enemies of Christ. While we were sleeping, Planned Parenthood was at work quietly organizing the enemies of the pre-born.

Cardinal Arinze  was considered “papabile” (Pope material) before the 2005 papal conclave which elected Cardinal Ratzinger to become the new Pope. Cardinal Arinze is currently the Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Disciple of the Sacraments. He also succeeded then-Cardinal Ratzinger as the Bishop of the Velletri-Segni.

For non-Catholics, this all simply means he’s a big deal.

So for a Cardinal who hangs with the Pope to equate the pro-abortion crowd and their prolific anti-life organizing efforts to the disgraced disciple, Judas, the traitor, is rather remarkable. It points out how huge this issue is.

Cardinal Arinze was particularly critical of those who say “although I am personally against abortion, I can’t impose my view on someone else.” The Cardinal has a name for people who think that way: Judas.

The pro life cause, though, is on fire. We’re organized and winning hearts and minds by the minute. However, we are faced with a watershed event this Friday. The Iowa Board of Medicine is meeting to discuss the health implications of Telemedicine abortion. Here is the letter I received from Maggie Dewitte, Executive Director for Iowans for Life:

“I write to you with a very important message for the pro life movement.  You are all aware of Iowa being the test pilot for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s new web-cam push-button abortion scheme.  It is moving forward at an alarming rate with over 1900 babies lost to this illegal abortion program.  This must be stopped right now.  The next Iowa Board of Medicine (currently where the issue resides) is having their next board meeting on October 22nd to discuss the policy on telemedicine, specifically telemedicine abortion.

The pro-life community intends to be present in full force that day, both at the public comment time of the board meeting, but also at our townhall meeting that evening.  The meeting is to help Iowans understand this telemed abortion issue, and provide action steps that you can take to stop this.

I know we are all very busy in our lives, but I am prayerfully asking that if you do nothing else this year on behalf of the pro live movement, this be your one act.  We need everyone there.  To put this more clearly, if this program is allowed to go nationwide (which is PP’s plan) this will be the largest expansion of abortion since Roe vs. Wade. We have to stop it, right here, right now.  The rest of the country is looking to us to end this.  By showing up in the hundred’s to this meeting, we will make a powerful statement to the legislators, Iowa Board of Medicine, doctors, Planned Parenthood, and the media that we mean business and we will continue to fight until this is stopped.”

Here are the details for this Friday’s Pro-LIfe Townhall Meeting:

Date:  Friday, October 22, 2010

Time:  5:30 PM

Place:  The Downtown Church, 323 East Locust Street, Des Moines, IA

Questions?  Contact Maggie Dewitte at 515-201-8281 or Jenifer Bowen with Iowa Right to Life at 515-419-7246. Invited guests include Kim Reynolds, Steve King, Brenna Findley, and Brad Zaun.

Cardinal Arinze doesn’t give us any fudge room. We are called to be disciples for life.


Vote NO on Iowa Supreme Court Justices 4

By Tom Quiner

The Des Moines Register came out with a forceful defense of retaining Supreme Court Justices who support gay marriage. The Register called it the most important vote we’ll make this election.

They may be right in one way, this is the most item on the ballot for Iowa voters. All of the others are huge, too. But judges fundamentally changed a timeless, critical social institution, marriage.

The Register equated the marriage ruling with civil rights. They suggest that the Court’s decision was reasonable and inevitable, that the right to restructure marriage is found in the Iowa Constitution where it says:

“All men and women are, by nature, free and equal” … and that “the general assembly shall not grant to any citizen, or class of citizens, privileges or immunities, which upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens.”

The suggestion that the 19th century writers of the Iowa Constitution would have ever imagined that this text was intended to legitimize same-sex marriage is, shall we say, unlikely.

Besides, this was never a civil rights issue, to which the Register equates the gay marriage issue. It was a definition issue. Iowa marriage laws don’t allow someone to marry two people. They don’t allow one to marry a brother or sister. The law defined marriage in a commonsensical way with the intent of perpetuating society. It defined it to protect children. It was not based on “the relationship.”

Before Barnum, gay people, in fact, could and did get married. But they could only marry someone of the opposite gender. By the same token, heterosexuals were prevented by law from marrying someone of the same gender. The law was consistent, unambiguous, and non-discriminatory.

Iowans amplified their belief in a traditional definition of marriage with additional legislation passed in 1998.

Regular folks don’t trust lawyers and judges who make convoluted rulings lacking in an iota of common sense. The judges’ decision in the eyes of regular folks was a political act. Some view it as a legislative act. A whole bunch of people view it as in irresponsible act.

Vote no on retaining these judges.

Vote no to Democratic legislators who now block efforts to redress the issue.

And vote no to Attorney General Tom Miller, whose office was assigned the task of defending 1998’s traditional marriage legislation, and blew it by not taking the case seriously.



The Pope of the People Reply

By Tom Quiner

Regular readers of this blog may have detected my affection for the late Pope John Paul II. I have posted seven different commentaries on JPII over the past several months.

What is there about John Paul II that so inspires the young and the old?

For me, his trips to Poland and Iowa in 1979 were profoundly moving, so much so, that I composed a new musical called “The Pope of the People.”  It is based on those two trips.  It will be performed in 2011 as part of the Des Moines Diocesan Centennial Celebration.

Click on the link on the upper right corner of this page to learn more.

I characterize this art form as “evangelization through entertainment.”

Through dramatically presented song and narrative, the late Pope’s beautiful homilies in Warsaw, Jasna Gora, Auschwitz, Krakow, St. Patrick’s, and Living History Farms will evangelize the next generation of Christians.

Critical events, including the emergence of the Solidarity Union in Poland, and later, the assassination attempt, will be woven into this musical drama.  John Paul’s remarkable forgiveness of his would-be assassin, too, is a part of the story.

Ultimately, the central theme of “The Pope of the People” is Christ.  As the Pope proclaimed at Victory Square in Warsaw on June 2nd, 1979, “what is a man without our savior Jesus Christ?  Where is our dignity?  Where is our humanity?”  The tension this message creates with the Communist government is a significant, dramatic twist in “The Pope of the People.”

Why do I write musicals like this? According to Matthew Kelly, author of REDISCOVERING CATHOLICISM,

“There is no medium more powerful than stories to convey a message.  We have the stories, but we are not conveying them.  Our two-thousand year Catholic history is full of extraordinary stories about ordinary people who opened their hearts to God and allowed the life, teachings, and person of Jesus Christ to transform their lives.  These men and women are the heroes and heroines of our faith:  they are a rare gift of inspiration, and we have failed as a Church to tell their stories.  Shame on us. We become the stories we tell.  We become the stories we listen to.”

The Pope of the People tells the story of a modern saint-to-be.  Acting as an agent of the Holy Spirit, Pope John Paul II changed the world.  He was the man of the century.  His is a story we need to tell, and keep telling.

The Pope of the People tells our beloved Pope’s story.  It premiers next April. Please mark your calendar and come. You will be entertained, and hopefully moved, whether you are a Catholic, a Protestant, or an agnostic.


Is it wrong to deliberately kill an innocent person? 1

By Tom Quiner

I’m bothered by two conversations I’ve had.

One took place years ago at Fridays Restaurant. I can’t remember when. Perhaps the late eighties. Over a festive dinner on a Friday night, politics were the subject. The good Republican with whom I was talking said something to the effect, “we’ve got to move past abortion.” The suggestion was that abortion hurt Republican chances at the ballot box, that we shouldn’t push so hard on that issue if we wanted to win elections.

In other words, this Republican, who ostensibly believed the object in a mother’s womb is an innocent person, who believed that is is wrong to deliberately kill an innocent person, thought this was an issue that should be de-emphasized.

That leads to a conversation I had two days ago with a Democrat who heard the President speak here in Des Moines a few blocks from my house. We sparred about abortion. He asserted smugly that he would never have an abortion, as if that were some kind of position.

I asked if he thought life began at conception. He said yes.

I asked if he thought the object in a mother’s womb was a person. He hedged, but essentially said yes.

I asked if he thought the person in the womb was entitled to human rights. He changed the subject and began talking about genocide in Darfur. I said that is horrible, but that is a different subject. Is the person, whom you have acknowledged resides in the mother’s womb, entitled to human rights?

I guess his answer is no.

Let us consider both positions.

Both the Republican and the Democrat recognized the personhood of the fetus. And yet they didn’t seem to want to view the person as fully human.

If someone began to beat a toddler, either one of the persons above would have immediately sprung to the defense of the little one. But they’re not so willing to spring to the defense of the fetus (little one) in a mother’s womb. This leads us to three possibilities when considering personhood:

1. All human beings are persons and all persons are human beings. They’re the same.

2. Non-human persons exist such as Martians and angels.

3. Some persons are essentially sub-human. Classic examples abound. The Nazis considered Jews to be sub-human. The Supreme Court considered slaves to be only three-fifths human in the Dred Scott decision.

Since I don’t hear many Republicans talking about Martians or many Democrats talking about angels, I suspect the second idea of personhood above is not the issue. It comes down the third idea. To allow someone to deliberately kill an innocent person in the womb, you have to rationalize that the object being killed is somehow merely sub-human. But aren’t we really just talking about a different degree of human development when we talk about the fetus?

As the great philosopher, Peter Kreeft, says it:

“Is a fetus a person? Well, is a teenager a person? Is an adult a person? These words—fetus, teenager, embryo, adult—are nouns that come from adjectives. Embryonic human: embryo. Fetal human: fetus. Infantile human: infant. Childish human: child. Teenaged human: human. These are stages of development. Of what? Of one entity. So what is that entity? Philosophically, it seems that that’s the crucial issue, because most moralists would agree that the first premise is true. If deliberately killing an innocent person isn’t wrong, what is wrong?”

It seems apparent that the object in the womb with human DNA is fully human, fully entitled to human rights from conception. It is embryonic human, as Mr. Kreeft states, but still human.

A cornerstone of legal systems throughout history has been to protect human life, that it is morally wrong to deliberately kill an innocent person.

What I said to my Republican friend so many years ago is that if you allow the deliberate killing of an innocent person, anything is possible. Tens of millions have been killed since then.

Is America a better place today than then?

Is Darfur?