Liberals’ tragic leap of faith 1

By Tom Quiner

A letter writer self-identified herself as a liberal Catholic in a recent letter to the editor in The Des Moines Register.

Her rant, for that is what is was, included this line:

“Since when do we, as fellow Christians, take up the charge to bash one another?”

She was critical of a very reasoned op-ed piece by a Des Moines Deacon who clearly expressed the Catholic Church’s position on life matters.

His tone certainly was reasoned and even-handed. There was no bashing.

Let us think about the divide between the Catholic position on life and the liberal position on life (even if a person claims to be Catholic).

Catholics believe that you became a person at conception, not birth. That is a cornerstone of the Catholic faith, a fundamental belief of this religion.

Liberals tend to believe that you didn’t become a person until you were delivered from the womb and took your first breath. That apparently is their leap of faith. Otherwise, how could one tolerate the killing of the pre-born?

That would be murder, right?

The liberal writer continues:

“I consider myself a liberal Catholic and am tired of some of the church leaders who have been hijacked by the right wing conservative, holier-than-thou, unforgiving and condemning people. It is dangerous not to think for yourself. It is much easier to have others tell you how and what to think.”

In other words, she rejects the church’s position and would rather impose her own on society and Catholics with whom she disagrees.

In other words, she wants to do the very thing to conservatives (or practicing Catholics) that she claims they do to her.

If in fact she accepts the church’s position on abortion, that life begins at conception, then she countenances murder when a child is aborted.

If in fact she rejects the church’s position, then she wants to force Catholics to tolerate the killing of the pre-born. How can someone claim to be Catholic when they totally reject this foundational value of the church, this reverence for the sanctity of human life?

She has embraced a different religion, one unrecognizable to Catholicism.

Such a tragic leap of faith.

In tribute to Nathan Hale Reply

By Tom Quiner

Nathan Hale's execution

How would you like to be remembered for these last words:

“I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”

These are reputed to be the last words spoken by an American patriot, Nathan Hale, during the Revolutionary War.

Only 21 years of age at the time of his hanging at the hands of the British, Mr. Hale’s name still resonates for his unabashed courage and devotion to country in the face of death.

A British officer on the scene, Frederick MacKensie, recorded these words in his diary regarding Mr. Hale’s death:

“He behaved with great composure and resolution, saying he thought it the duty of every good Officer, to obey any orders given him by his Commander-in-Chief; and desired the Spectators to be at all times prepared to meet death in whatever shape it might appear.”

A newspaper, the Essex Journal, wrote about Mr. Hale’s death the next year on February 13th, 1777:

“However, at the gallows, he made a sensible and spirited speech; among other things, told them they were shedding the blood of the innocent, and that if he had ten thousand lives, he would lay them all down, if called to it, in defence of his injured, bleeding Country.”

Mr. Hale’s courage and love of country was very much in the tradition of President John F. Kennedy’s ringing words:

“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

Would MR EBT, about whom I wrote in yesterday’s post, have any idea what the Nathan Hale’s and John F. Kennedy’s are talking about?

In fact, how many Americans can relate to that kind of altruistic thinking anymore?

All the more reason to honor Nathan Hale on this anniversary of his death.


Should we celebrate dependency? 2

By Tom Quiner

A quarter of a million folks have watched a rap video called “My EBT” by an artist who labels himself as MR EBT. I’ve posted the video above.

If you can get through the full three minutes and fifty-one seconds of this song, you have more fortitude than I. The song is laced with a few swear words, so fifteen to twenty seconds give you enough flavor of MR EBT’s talents.

Here is a sampling of the lyrics:

“Sandwiches, chips, Snickers, Twix…I’m eating good…Potato chips…A big box of Oreos…Cereal, Kix…My EBT, My EBT…Walking down the Ave, there’s food I got a hunger for…I just want some Jam…Walking down the aisle, cuz I just want some ham…Wham!,” Mr EBT raps. “It’s the EBT, it’s not Food Stamps…Breakfast time the cheese is melted…if I don’t have my card I use someone else’s…”

For the uninitiated, an EBT is an electronic benefit transfer. Translation: it’s a state-provided credit card of sorts for folks on welfare. It replaces food stamps.

The rapper above celebrates his dependency on the tax payers. He exhibits no shame for living on the dole. Even more, he suggests that he is comfortable borrowing (or stealing) someone else’s EBT card if he doesn’t have his (“if I don’t have my card I use someone else’s…” ).

He laments his inability to buy weed with his EBT.

The Obama administration pays homage to EBTs. Former Iowa Governor and current Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack sings the praises of EBTs:

“Every dollar of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits generates $1.84 in the economy in terms of economic activity. If people are able to buy a little more in the grocery store, someone has to stock it, package it, shelve it, process it, ship it. All of those are jobs. It’s the most direct stimulus you can get in the economy during these tough times.”

Conservatives and liberals agree on the idea of a government-provided safety net. The tension between the two ideologies has always been where to draw the line.

The folks picking up the bill, the taxpayers, feel pretty good about providing this safety net when they see hard-up folks working their tails off to find a job and exhibiting good values like thrift and integrity.

It’s a bitter pill to follow, though, when the folks carrying an EBT card exhibit a sense of entitlement and celebrate their dependency.

That’s called leeching off of society.

I wonder what the Secretary of Agriculture and our president think about the MR EBT’s of the world?


Tell-all celebrities 4

By Tom Quiner

Florence Henderson of Brady Bunch fame has published her memoirs.

She reveals that she had a one-night stand with a New York politician who gave her a sexually-transmitted disease.

Do we really need to know this?

Ms. Henderson defends her decision to “tell-all” this way:

“I love to read memoirs but I know when they’re not being really honest and I thought if I’m going to write this I’m going to write about  myself as a human being who has had to overcome an awful lot in my life and had to face a lot of challenges, make a lot of mistakes, make some bad choices but I’ve managed to keep growing and evolving to live a very full life filled with friends, four children that I adore, five grandchildren and a career that I dearly love. So I just want people to know that they can make mistakes, have a hard childhood, but you don’t have to be a victim of all of it.”

Who is she trying to kid? She’s not being honest, she’s being undignified. She’s showing no class, and I suspect that Ms. Henderson is indeed a classy lady.

To me, the lesson from celebrities is that a little discretion can go a long ways.

Uncivil celebrities 2

By Tom Quiner

I used to be a boxing fan until Mike Tyson came along.

I attended a closed circuit fight with a buddy of mine to watch Mr. Tyson take on Evander Holyfield. Mr. Tyson was clearly getting bested by Holyfield.  You could see Tyson’s frustration growing, because he was having trouble laying a glove on the pugilist who had defeated him in an earlier encounter.

What happened in the third round is history. Tyson bit a chunk out of Holyfield’s ear. When the round continued, he bit the other ear. The chaos that ensued can be viewed above.

This was bad enough. But it was the reaction of the crowd that bothered me the most. The Tyson fans cheered their man on with the cry: “go champ.” And this was a crowd here in civilized Des Moines, Iowa, watching the event on the big screen.

Like so many, I had enjoyed the fights of Mohammed Ali, Joe Frazier, and Sugar Ray Leonard. Tyson ruined it for me by transforming an already primal sport into pure barbarism.

Less offensive examples abound in sports these days of uncivil behavior by our star athletes. Tiger Woods is famous for dropping the “f” bomb within earshot of kids when he hits a bad shot.

And then there’s Serena Williams who screamed at an official that she “hated her” for a call she deemed to be wrong, and in a previous tournament, that she would shove a tennis ball down the poor official’s throat for another bad call.

And who could forget John McEnroe’s relentless tirades against officials back in the 80s?

I heard a wonderful speaker tonight at an event for Christian men. He said kids don’t remember what you say, they remember what you do.

This speaker works with youth and speaks to youth groups. When he asks them whom they admire, no one ever raises their hand and says Charlie Sheen … or Kobie Bryant … or Tiger Woods.

It might be their Mom or Dad. Or a neighbor. Or someone else’s parent.

The point is, it’s not the famous celebrities who act like teenagers in public with their uncivil behavior. They admire people who act admirably.

This shouldn’t be so profound, should it? But it is when you look at how so many celebrities act (out) in public for our kids to see.

Do you know who people are really attracted to? People who live holy lives.

That’s our challenge. That’s our goal. To live in a way to that really lives up to our kids’ expectations.