Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Lawyers Aiding The Redemptive Function of Firearm Rights Restoration To Rehabilitated Felons

I thought this was an interesting article by a Lawyer that as a part of his practice aids past felons in having their  firearm rights restored. Very well worth a read. See The Quiet Army: Rehabilitated Felons and Firearm Rights Restoration

So what do people think about my advocacy on behalf of felons who want their firearm rights back?  At first blush, it’s not the prototypical civil liberties cause, but people on the left tend to support it because it shows compassion for marginalized populations, while people on the right tend to support it because they endorse permissive firearm rights policies.  The fact that these cases do not fit neatly inside any ideological box makes them all the more appealing to me, but at the end of the day I think they transcend ideology because most any reasonable person would recognize that the request to restore the firearm rights of an individual who committed a nonviolent crime decades earlier is reasonable.  Although not everyone shares my enthusiasm for promoting this cause, I think critics would change their tune if they spent some time around these people


This week I handled my last firearm rights restoration hearing for the foreseeable future.  At the end of the hearing, I handed my client the Order.  He was physically shaking.  A sea of emotions had overcome him.  When you see a gruff, 60-year-old shaking and on the verge of tears with appreciation for what you have done for him, it is a powerful sight.  Like many of us, I went to law school to help people.  Firearm rights restoration cases provide opportunities for attorneys to make a real difference in the lives of felons who – although by their own doing – have suffered terribly and caused immeasurable suffering to those who care for them.  These cases provided me with a glimpse down paths that most of us will never be forced to travel (thankfully), but if we were to end up in that dark place, we would hope that someone would be there for us when we returned to society so that we would not have to finish the journey alone.  I believe very sincerely that my service in these cases has helped to alleviate some of that residual pain for these individuals and their families.

Good piece. Read it all

Have The Drugs Louisiana Uses in State Executions Expired ?

Kinda of an interesting issue in these cases made even more interesting by the State not wanting to provide some information it should have. See Execution protocol requires drug be kept, but state can’t produce records

Even Catholic Publications Fell Hook Line and Sinker For McDonald's Employees Salary Story

I saw a huge problem as soon as I read the Huff Post piece yesterday Doubling McDonald's Salaries Would Cause Your Big Mac To Cost Just 68¢ More: Study [UPDATE]  

First I don't think it occurred to the person that wrote that article that McDonald's don't own most of their own restaurants ! That is the McDonalds franchisors are separate businesses which pay a fee to McDonalds Corp and are responsible for their own payroll.

Just One Minute goes into this and other problems at  McDonalds Math, Or, Latest Lib Talking Points Fail

A person at U.S. Catholic got on the bandwagon at  Hamburger bill: Will the cost of the Big Mac go up?    

Again there is an assumption it appears that most of these stores are own by the big bad ole corporate giant.

Now I am not saying there is not a case for raising the minimum wage in this country but Catholics and others should take note things might not come out as they want.

As  David Bernstein stated

Let’s say McDonald’s decided to double all its salaries, so that the entry-level wage became $16 an hour instead of $8 an hour. Why would McDonald’s continue to employ their $8 an hour workers when instead they could hire “better” workers who are worth more? (And those of you who think that the skills, linguistic abilities, experience, intelligence, etc. of fast-food workers makes no difference in service don’t eat in McDonald’s much.) .

That is a pretty hard truth but I think its apt I have had good service a the chain no doubt. But as a general rule as ob person commenting said X(Intelligence) + Y(Language Skills) + Z(Experience)= service. As X,Y and Z increase so does service.

I mean if I raise salaries up to 16 dollars an hour I might not only be able to get people that are more well spoken but heck might even speak English and Spanish ( or pick your language depending on the changing demographics of the area .!. Which might be a benefit in areas where immigration is having an impact.

In other words why would they stay with the same employees or same employees that finds themselves having to get these jobs.

I think there is important wage argument and discussion  via Social Justice to have here. But as usual the reality is much more complicated.

Cardinal Dolan of New York Writes Personal Tribute For Former Congresswoman and Envoy To Vatican Lindy Boggs

This is a really nice tribute by the Cardinal .

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Women's Expanding and Critical Role As Canon Lawyers in the Catholic Church. ( Shreveport )

Needless to say one of the most important offices a Diocese has and the one Catholics often most come in contact with is the Tribunal. These Canon Lawyers of course do more for the Diocese than that but it is one of their main duties.

It has been noted in the past the vast increase of female Canon lawyers we have seen the past decade. The Catholic Connection of the Diocese of Shreveport has just hired a new one and she talks about how she found this vocation.

Did Fear of Racial Profiling Play A Part In 14 Year Old Criminal's Death ?

Unlike the Hayride I don't Al Shartpton and company are likely to get involved in this case. Partly because I suspect with everything that is going in this neighbor many African American residents and others will think what this guy  did was reasonable. This is all depending of course whatever facts are at play and come out..
See New Orleans Now Has Its Own Zimmerman Case… Now in this story is I guess a tragic irony in all this.

Earlier in the evening, a different neighbor said the teen in the blue tank top had been biking around the area around 8 p.m. and the neighbor believed he was looking at different houses. “I thought about calling the cops, but the last thing I want to do is racially profile a little kid who’s just biking,” said the neighbor, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The neighbor and Landry are white; the two teens are black.

The neighbor sensed something was not right it appears but came to the conclusion that in this climate  he was not going to call the police. So at about 2 a.m. this kids apparently work together to do a crime and boom one of the kids gets shot.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Mourning And Celebration of Life of First Bishop of Lake Charles Louisiana Begins Today- RIP Bishop Jude Speyrer

The mourning of the death  and celebration of the life of the First Bishop of Lake Charles Louisiana begins today.  Bishop Speyrer was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Lafayette on July 25, 1953, and became the First Bishop of the  newly established Diocese of Lake Charles on Jan. 29, 1980.

The current Bishop of Lake Charles has his thoughts on Bishop Speyer in this statement .

One South Louisiana man give his thoughts on the simple priest he knew that became Bishop .

A full obit and article   that includes a lot of his service is located here.

Is libertarian Influence Really Winning Over Supreme Court " Conservatives "

The Volokh Conspiracy looks at this assertion that was in a New Republic article. See  New Republic: “Libertarianism has won over the Supreme Court conservatives”

They throw in a few caveats though they do admit that Libertarianism  is getting some more respectability and influence in the academy.

My own contribution is it is important to recall that matters such as limited on Federal power via the Commerce clause and Federalism those are just not Libertarian concerns. I think overall as a whole conservatives from all areas have been contributing on that front.

How Enforceable are Abortion Contracts Between Couples ?

The Gospel Coalition hits the icky horrid topic of abortion contracts since they have been in the news lately. See  What You Should Know About 'Abortion Contracts'

There are couple areas where I think in all 50 States an abortion contract would be enforceable as to perhaps some specifics. For instance its hard for to imagine that a man could by contract not have to pay child support etc if a child is born .

An interesting question is what if the woman has an abortion and the guy does not " pay up " . I am not sure about all 50 states but in States that have aggressive anti abortion laws on the book I think the public policy argument would void that contractual obligation.

Pope Francis Has Press Conference After World Youth Day On Wide Range of Topics

This hit on more topics and I think went on longer than usual than those we have seen in the past. Vatican Insider has From the IOR to the gay lobby: Pope Francis tells all on flight from Rio to Rome

Friday, July 26, 2013

Need More Catholic Texas A & M Like Campus Ministry - 15 To Enter Catholic Seminary or Religious Life This Year

WOW. That is in addition to the  50 Aggies currently in seminary of some part of religious life formation

See St. Mary's Catholic Center Sets New Record!

We Now Have a Federal Court Circuit Split on Contraception Mandate - Going to Supreme Court ?

Some rather big news today. We got a split in the Federal Circuits on issues surrounding the HHS contraception mandate. Scotus blog talks about the opinion from the Third circuit which is in opposition to the opinion from the Tenth Circuit Court opinion.

They correctly note this enhances the possibility this gets the Supreme Court. The issue here is one of the bigger issues we see surrounding the HHS contraception mandate. That is do for profit corporation even have the standing to have their day in court on the issue.

New Republic Seems Reluctant To Correct Zimmerman Trial Error in Their Article - Why ? ( Updated )

During the whole Zimmerman trial I have become more and more convinced criminal trials are often not a good avenue to have " National Conversations " on important issues .

When the fact pattern of individual cases do not exactly fit the need for our " National Conversation " people compensate by accepting all sort of half myths as truths. Facts get distorted and that harms the Justice that a defendant or victim should be getting.

A good point can be seen how the New Republic seems hell bent on not really trying to correct a factual error in it's own pages over the Zimmerman trial. That is Zimmerman 911 call about a 7 year old black child. What is ironic is the actual call seems to put Zimmerman in a good light. I mean I think it is good that someone is calling the police about a young kid in the road before he gets run over.

However in an article for the New Republic this becomes an occasion to really be suspect of this Zimmerman dude.

See How Not to Correct the Record – TNR Edition .

Now no one wants to admit they are wrong but this is a pretty bad error. So why is the The New Republic So why is the New Republic fighting this it seems .

We all become invested in a narrative and when that narrative goes off the rail some we become defensive I suppose. Even major respected publications like this one.

There is a good bit of talk about a national conversation on race we need to have. I agree we should have one. However that conversation goes no where when we see the truth sacrificed for the one for the greater cause. Justice does not work that way.

UPDATE- TNR FINALLY makes the required corrections that is suitable. Instapundit comments

The Highlight of World Youth Day for Pope Francis Might Be Hearing Five Confessions ( Mercy )

John Allen has an interesting article up on this at  For Francis, confessions the most important thing he'll do all week

Is Justice Scalia Imposing Catholic Morality on The Nation ? - Response to An Atheist

Justice Scalia seems have been in the news a good bit this week. this is partly because of comments he made the Nazi Government and the Courts which were very much taken out of context. See via here and here on that .

This seemed to be a jumping off point or at least a reason to discuss Justice Scalia again for many and not in a positive way.

The Friendly Atheist had a guest post up yesterday on Scalia. See How Justice Antonin Scalia Is Imposing Catholic Morality in the Supreme Court… and Getting Away With It .

Is he ?

 I can recall a speech at a Catholic event recently where Justice Scalia said he had someone thank him for all he was doing for the pro life movement on the Court. Scalia response basically was if I was working for the Pro life community I would not be doing my job. My Job as Judge is uphold the Constitution .

The article goes off the rails pretty quick. The writer seems to think that Justice Scalia is applying some sort   " natural law " in his opinions. Which to many people is some plot for Catholic Theocracy !

Regardless this is pretty funny since Scalia thinks natural law reasoning  is pretty darn unworkable in a a Judge's role on the bench. This has been a matter of some back and forth between him and natural law legal advocates In fact Justice Scalia 's viewpoint on this was a matter of some humor by the Archbishop Foley  in his homily  at a Red Mass .

Foley told an interesting anecdote about a visit he had from Justice Scalia and his wife in Rome several years ago. Recalling his doctoral dissertation on natural law, Foley said he offered examples to Scalia of cases in which the Warren Court had "transcended mere positive law" to reach its results. In both Brown v. Board of Education and Gideon v. Wainwright, Foley said, the Court resorted to principles of equality that went beyond written law. Foley said Scalia disagreed with him until his wife Maureen interjected, "Oh admit it, Nino, the archbishop was right." As the audience laughed, Foley added that Mrs. Scalia is "a woman of exceptional taste and discernment."

As with anything Scalia it generate a ton of comments and my two comments I left on this piece are in there somewhere.

In one of those comments I made note of an concurrence written by Thomas and joined by Scalia as to the Federal Partial Birth abortion law. They voted to uphold the law but basically saying no one brought up a Commerce Clause argument and if Congress had exceeded their powers here.

So basically two of the most Devout Catholics on the Court might have entertained an argument that Congress went beyond their powers here under the Commerce Clause if someone had just brought it up. If they had indeed joined some Federalism Coalition that would have struck down the Partial Birth abortion Act on these grounds no doubt pro lifers would be very upset. But this is an example where the Justices are looking at the legal principles and not imposing some " Catholic morality ". Again we don't know how they would have ruled if that objection was brought up. I am also not saying if that claim would be valid. However the concurrence is notable and important for this discussion as an example

Curiously this same issue is coming up today as to proposed ban on late term abortions which is being led by Senator Rubio. See Republicans Dispute Federal Power to Regulate Abortion .

Getting back to the issue at hand the article does not do a very good job of making the argument that Justice Scalia is imposing some Catholic morality on the nation. It is a hard argument to make since there is little evidence he is doing that.

On Feast Day of The Virgin Mary's Parents Pope Francis Talks Importance of the Elderly At World Youth Day

I like how Pope Francis is making it a consistent point to talk about the old folks on his World Youth Day Trip. On the occasion of the feast of Jesus’ grandparents, Saints Joachim and Anne, father and mother of the Virgin Mary he just did it again at the Angelus. Vatican Radio has a report here .

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Dear Friends, 

I give thanks to Divine Providence for bringing me here to the city of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro. I offer heartfelt thanks to Archbishop Orani Tempesta and to each of you for your warm welcome, which demonstrates your affection for the Successor of Peter. I would be happy if my visit to this city were to renew, in each one of you, your love for Christ and his Church and your joy in being one with him, belonging to the Church and being committed to offering a living witness to the faith.

 The Angelus prayer is a beautiful popular expression of the faith. It is a simple prayer, recited at three specific times during the day. It thus punctuates the rhythm of our daily activities: in the morning, at midday, and at sunset. But it is an important prayer. I encourage each of you to recite it, along with the Hail Mary. It reminds us of a luminous event which transformed history: the Incarnation, the moment when the Son of God became man in Jesus of Nazareth. Today the Church celebrates the parents of the Virgin Mary, the grandparents of Jesus, Saints Joachim and Anne. In their home, Mary came into the world, accompanied by the extraordinary mystery of the Immaculate Conception. Mary grew up in the home of Joachim and Anne; she was surrounded by their love and faith: in their home she learned to listen to the Lord and to follow his will. Saints Joachim and Anne were part of a long chain of people who had transmitted their love for God, expressed in the warmth and love of family life, down to Mary, who received the Son of God in her womb and who gave him to the world, to us. 

How precious is the family as the privileged place for transmitting the faith! Speaking about family life, I would like to say one thing: today, as Brazil and the Church around the world celebrate this feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, Grandparents Day is also being celebrated. How important grandparents are for family life, for passing on the human and religious heritage which is so essential for each and every society! 

How important it is to have intergenerational exchanges and dialogue, especially within the context of the family. The Aparecida Document says, “Children and the elderly build the future of peoples: children because they lead history forward, the elderly because they transmit the experience and wisdom of their lives” (No. 447). This relationship and this dialogue between generations is a treasure to be preserved and strengthened! In this World Youth Day, young people wish to acknowledge and honour their grandparents. They salute them with great affection and they thank them for the ongoing witness of their wisdom. And now, in this Square, in all the surrounding streets, and in those homes that are experiencing this moment of prayer with us, we feel like one big family, and we turn to Mary, that she may protect our families and make them places of faith and love in which the presence of Jesus her Son is felt.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Friday, July 19, 2013

Got News - ACLU Abandoning Their Position Against Double Jeopardy In Zimmerman Case ( Updated )

This is to say the least alarming to me . I have to think the Criminal Defense bar part of the ACLU might not be happy. Perhaps a reporter should start asking questions.

This seems to be another example where emotion and indeed a mob like mentality is threatening certain core principles we have as to criminal justice this country. All strangely propelled by perhaps one of the more factually challenged cases to do so.

Major Update- Good news. Appears some calmer minds have prevailed . See from Talk Left ACLU Reverses Course on DOJ Investigation of Zimmerman

Hunters in Pennsylvania Fight Sunday Hunting Ban

The United States is truly an interesting place with all sort of unique laws in each State. These are often based in their own tradition and history that is unique to its culture.

Part of these things are of course Blue Laws. They usually in the past have been about not be able to operate a retail store on Sunday of the sell of booze. That being said I have never heard of a law against Sunday Hunting that we see in Pennsylvania. Do other states have this ?

See Suit Claims Sunday Hunting Ban Violates Religious Freedom Rights and Other Constitutional Protections

Thursday, July 18, 2013

State of California Exempts Themselves From Sex Abuse Lawsuit Bill That Affects Churches

Before I get into World Youth Day stuff this weekend some news from California. See Catholic Church Is Opposing California Bill to Create Another Limitations Window For Child Sex Abuse Suits

As you can see the bill does apply to the State of California or its numerous political subdivisions.

The first question is why ?

The second question is why when this happens there is no discussion why in the world that is proper ?

We just saw the same thing happen recently in Hawaii and that became law.

How Citzens United Could Finally Expand Religious Liberty To Business ( HHS Mandate )

In HHS contraception mandate cases in Federal Courts across the land the position of the Government of the United States in Court is clear. For Profit  Corporations have no religious rights under the First Amendment thus they have no standing even to bring a claim. In other words the Government is saying why are we hear even arguing this.

This I suspect makes little since to people since this includes the most common form of mom and pop business arrangement . That is the L.L.C. which is a Limited Liability Company. People are fairly asking how a classic partnership might have standing but a L.L.C. ( which again most small business are under ) can't even have their day in court according to the Government.

However the Citizens United case is now another huge avenue to correct this. See this article from the Washington Examiner Will Citizens United take down Obamacare’s HHS mandate?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

When Your Parish Priest does Not Look Like You Or Act Like You

Practicing Catholic had a nice post called  When the Priest Doesn’t Look Like Us . I found it interesting that some of the Priests as they note struggle to get the "  petty first-world squabbles that characterize much of parish life" .

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

7 month Pregnant New Yorker With No Air Conditioning Reads Humanae Vitae

Mary Walker has a wonderful little post at Truth and Charity called When Theology Turns Into Reality

I think its a nice little lesson to recall these bits of wisdom and teaching need to be actually reread by us when you know we find ourselves in a situation it actually addresses .

An Atheist Ask If Religion Produces More Sexual Abusers That Others

Matthew Branaugh who is director of editorial for Christianity Today’s Church Law & Tax Group has a good response to this question. See Do Religions Produce "More than Their Fair Share" of Child Abusers?

I understand why the Atheist is asking that question and I think Branaugh gives a good answer how what is news in the media might not always represent the reality.

Does The Strict Separation of Church and State / Politics Always Mean A More Vibrant Religious Life

In response to a recent George Will Column Professor Marc DeGirolami says no.

Church of Christ Facebook Post On Zimmerman Verdict Causes Some Anger

Its interesting to see how some Churches have handled this verdict. I actually think some Faith Communuties and their various high ranking staff should have waited a few days to ponder and examine the verdict myself if they wished to comment at all. As we can see here a good many people of the Church of Christ that posted here are troubled. 

Regardless perhaps Sunday ,  just hours after the verdict , was not enough time to take such an official Church stance via social media.

I spent some time reading William Saletan piece over at Slate today - You Are Not Trayvon MartinHis death wasn’t about race, guns, or your pet issue. It was about misjudgment and overreaction—exactly what we’re doing now to the verdict.

I personally think Saletan hits the right tone and the facts. I get the larger issues here and in the end I was not there. But parts of the Church are starting to look like that Good Friday mob of old that yelled Crucify Him Crucify him. As someone that plays that out in our Holy Week services I get a sense of how powerfully perhaps exhiliatrating it was to be part of that crowd . The Faith Community  needs to speak out for Justice and the oppressed but it needs to do so with some more reflection ( and at least a space of a few days ) than I have seen in some segements regarding this matter.

Why Is Jane Roe So Missing From The Texas Abortion Law Story

The big Supreme Court Cases that have shaped our legal history are known and indeed made personal by names of the parties. Plessy Vs FergursonLoving v. Virginia , and The New York Times V The United States in the famous Pentagon paper case. 

Now I think it would be newsworthy years later if Mr Plessy had decided that State Louisiana separate train accommodations based on race was later a alright idea. It would have been news if the Loving couple decided you know maybe different races should not marry. It also would have been news if years later the New York Times took the opposite position on Freedom of the Press than it it did in the Pentagon Papers case.

However what about the famous ROE V WADE case perhaps one of the best known Supreme Court cases in history. 

Well with all the #standwithwendy we saw in Texas over the abortion law it appears ROE is missing and even when she is mentioned her current role does not seem to be even talked about.

Get Religion looks at this at NPR misses the symbolism — and reality — of Jane Roe.

What makes Jane Roe so interesting is perhaps she very much is a symbol of the complexities of abortion politics and how positions have been reevaluated .

Alabama Monastery Has Largest Class of Postulants In 50 Years - Monk News !

Greg Garrison at has the story here.Some nice Vocation news.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Baton Rouge Advocate On Rural Louisiana Russian Orthodox Converts

Rod Dreher , himself part of this Church , links the article at To Be Orthodox In The South .

Thoughts On The Zimmerman Verdict

The jury got it right.

I have rarely seen a trial on TV where the State evidence was so full of holes, or that a wide variety of TV lawyer pundits kept saying the State's case had major problems. Those TV  Lawyers pundits were reflecting what I was hearing from local lawyers that took time to hear the case.

At the very very least it was evident to many that he was overcharged which should give us pause as to why that happened.

In the end the jury did what juries are instructed to do. They weighed and considered the evidence that was in front of them and nothing else. They did not presume to judge other alleged evidence that had not been admitted. They made the State prove the defendants guilt not make Zimmerman prove his innocence .

In the end the state came no where close to proving the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

I actually thought both sides argued the case well. Despite that I hear that the Prosecution " threw the trial " , " bungled the trial " or were called unprepared. I did not really see that at all. Sometimes when the State does not good facts on their side it might appears that is what is happening but in reality they having to make the best they can out of a Sow' ear.

In the end in those crucial moments none of us are going to know what happened. All we know is that Zimmerman sustained some severe injuries to his head and Martin ended up dead. The State failed to produce enough evidence that would have defeated the presumption of innocence of Zimmerman as to the events in those minutes.

The jury got it right

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Most American Hispanic Catholics Don"t Think Their Clergy Contribute Much To Society

That little tidbit is at the bottom of this post  Public esteem for journalists sinking. Why?   via Get Religion .

What is striking is they sort of stand out as an demographic among everyone else in this view. Why I wonder? Also what does that mean for Vocations :(  .

Pro Life University of Alabama Student Group Supporting Campus Pro Abortion Group's First Amendment Rights

There was a good article on this in an Alabama paper last week. SeeUniversity of Alabama doesn't respond to calls for policy revision following abortion debate .

Kudos for the pro life group on taking this stand.

What is happening at the University of Alabama has got the attention of F.I.R.E. See U of Alabama Fails to Respond to Letter on Speech Code; Students Consider New Strategies

The Huge Nationwide Problem of Dog and Pet Shootings By Police

If one pays attention to your newspaper , TV station , or just listens to what is going on around town its likely this situation is out of control in your town too. It also might point to a larger problem . One legal blog looks at a Reason article on the subject and gives some additional thoughts at Police Should Stop Shooting So Many Dogs

Economist Article Claims Rise of Southern Baptist Calvinist Will Harm Catholic Relations

I agree with Joe Carter that this article is a one heck of a mess. See What The Economist Gets Wrong About Calvinist Baptists .

As to the Catholic issue it just seems opposite of the facts we see on the ground.

Why St. Patrick’s Cathedral In New York City Has To Be Restored

A nice article here on the issue. I might try to donate. See Restoring Your Heart, the Church, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Should You Encourage Your Kids Just To Date Within Their Faith ? - Catholic Mating Rituals

It seems that interfaith marriage is a topic here and there this week. Christianity  Today had several major figures talk about this at this piece here. Is Interfaith Marriage Always Wrong, Given that the Bible Teaches Us Not to Be 'Unequally Yoked'?

Interesting enough a convert to the Catholic Faith that is now a layman in the Arkansas had some thoughts on this here. 

For Conservatives To Win Do They Need Be More Governor Mike Huckabee Like ( Storytelling )

Rod Dreher has an excellent piece up called Story Lines, Not Party Lines - Why conservatives must master the narrative art .

Basically he is saying how think tank studies are not going to get us any votes no matter how important they are. He relates to his move back to Louisiana.

On a practical level , that is  getting elected , I thought about Governor Mike Huckabee right away.

Former President Bill Clinton and Political consultant Carville both mentioned that Huckabee's  huge asset was the ability to tell a story . No matter what you think about some individual positions of Huckabee there was no doubt this was a huge success  in his political career .

First look in Arkansas. Even in the most conservative of areas its not easy for a Preacher to get elected to political office. Add to that Arkansas was a pretty darn blue dog populist state it makes Huckabee's storytelling ability even thrown in more stark relief as to the asset it was to him for 8 years.

When he ran for President , with hardly no funds , his ability to tell a story got him much farther than any pundit ( than perhaps Bill Clinton and those that knew him ) thought he could go. Also his storytelling even made him likeable to liberals in many cases.

SO I agree with Rod Dreher the ability to tell a story is needed. It's amazing we lost this ability so easy. One other side note about Huckabee. Notice he was and still is a great advocate for art and music education in the schools.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Mark Silk Misses The Story On the Catholic / Mainline Protestant Divide on Religious Liberty

Mark Silk is professor of religion in public life at Trinity College and writes over the Religion News Service . The day before the Fourth of July he through a bombshell at the Catholic Bishops Fortnight for Freedom which is dedicated to religious liberty. See his post Bishop Lori’s Odd Company .

I think the bombshell sort of fizzles into a firecracker but that is partly because I think he is missing the larger point.

Now there are several items about this article I wonder about. I am not sure why Mark Silk thinks Catholic Bishops hanging out with American Evangelicals is odd or " odd company" .

If you read the document he is quoting the coalition is a tad more diverse than he lets on. Could there have been more signers ? Well I guess so but it does represents varied different faith traditions. Including certain Holiness Pentecostal aligned congregations that by the way are some of the ones that are growing the fastest.

He ends by saying :

 If you compare, say, the coalition that got the Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed 20 years ago to Archbishop Lori’s “standing together” crowd, what you’ll see is the difference between a united front and right-wing flapping. The USCCB ought to be embarrassed .

He also notes that no one from the Mainline Protestant Churches have signed.

First , and I would assume Mr Silk is aware of this discussion , there is much talk that if the Religious Freedom Restoration Act could even pass in today's climate and if such a coalition could even be had today.  It does seem as a practical matter as to the HHS Mandate we are trying to ignore some of the plain language of the act.

However why is the Mainline so absent on the HHS Contraception mandate . Well the answer is they are not. There are good reasons the representatives of the Mainline did not sign the document. Not only are they for the HHS Contraception mandate their main Reproductive Rights  lobby did not think it went far enough. That is it was a sad state of affairs it did not go into the four walls of the Church itself . See On Your Knees, Pro-Lifers (UPDATED) which looks at the comments of the  Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice . Let us review who according to their own web site who is part of this Org. They are

 Conservative Judaism
Rabbinical Assembly
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
Women’s League for Conservative Judaism

Episcopal Church

Ethical Culture
American Ethical Union National Service Conference

Humanist Judaism

Society for Humanistic Judaism

Presbyterian Church (USA)
Reconstructionist Judaism
Jewish Reconstructionist Federation
Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association

Reform Judaism
Central Conference of American Rabbis
North American Federation of Temple Youth
Union for Reform Judaism
Women of Reform Judaism, The Federation of Temple Sisterhoods
Women’s Rabbinic Network of Central Conference of American Rabbis

United Church of Christ

United Methodist Church
General Board of Church and Society, United Methodist Church
General Board of Global Ministries, Women’s Division, United Methodist Church

Unitarian Universalist
Unitarian Universalist Association
Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation
Young Religious Unitarian Universalists
Continental Unitarian Universalist Young Adult Network

American Jewish Committee
American Jewish Congress
Anti-Defamation League
Catholics for Choice
Christian Lesbians Out (CLOUT)
Church of the Brethren Womaen’s Caucus
Disciples for Choice
Episcopal Urban Caucus
Episcopal Women’s Caucus
Hadassah, WZOA
Jewish Women International
Lutheran Women’s Caucus
Methodist Federation for Social Action
National Council of Jewish Women
Presbyterians Affirming Reproductive Options (PARO)
Women’s American ORT
YWCA of the USA

Of course the always interesting question is the tail wagging the dog here. How many folks in these Faith Communities even know their Church is aligned with this a group. A group that finds any restriction on abortion as a sin again " Reproductive Social Justice " . That might be a interesting question to explore  since Silk is talking about  " right wing  flapping "

So needless to say there are big reasons why so many Protestant Churches did not sign up for it. They see it as a matter of SOCIAL JUSTICE that women get this birth control. That trumps a person's religious liberty or the employers own conscious. On the other hand " this odd company " that the Catholic Bishops are in sees a threat though they have no problem with birth control at all.

This shows a major divide that is crucial in understanding this religious liberty debate.

We are also seeing this in the gay marriage debate. With heads of several Mainline Protestant Churches opposing any exemptions for a business to for example having to serve a gay wedding ceremony. This includes caterers , florists,  wedding photo people , etc. The view is even in this one specific area the  opposition to the  Social Justice  sin of discrimination again same sex couples in ANY FORM trumps a business owners own conscious and religious liberty. How successful they will be on this front remains to be seen. Even one veteran CBS Journalist seemed shocked this was going on .

Now of course this might change. The United Methodist are numbers wise one of the largest members of the  Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. The UMC came within a hair of withdrawing from this group at that last convention. Something that would have happened if the supporters of the Coalition had not pulled every trick in the book to make sure that resolution went down to defeat. At the next Convention trends indicate they might be so lucky.

However Silk is on to something. Something has changed in attitudes since the Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed 20 years ago . What exactly is that  and what does that bode for religious liberty protections. Especially since it appears one conscious rights are increasingly being trumped by a ever expanding list of social justice concerns promoted by some Churches.

Time will only tell if it will be the Catholic Bishops or perhaps others that will be embarrassed.

Bob Schieffer at CBS News Shocked People Could Go Out of Business Over Gay Marriage

I hit on the need the for these common sense exceptions all the time as well as do others . It appears we have a lot of work to do on this religious liberty front. See Painful silences in CBS chat on same-sex marriage rulings .

Pope Francis's First Encyclical The Light of Faith & The Role of Faith In Society and The Public Square

I have read through Pope Francis's first encyclical, The Light of Faith, a few times. Mirrors of Justice which is dedicated to Catholic Legal Theory hit on a certain part.  .

Here is a passage from paragraph 55: 

If we remove faith in God from our cities, mutual trust would be weakened, we would remain united only by fear and our stability would be threatened. In the Letter to the Hebrews we read that “God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them” (Heb 11:16). Here the expression “is not ashamed” is associated with public acknowledgment. The intention is to say that God, by his concrete actions, makes a public avowal that he is present in our midst and that he desires to solidify every human relationship. Could it be the case, instead, that we are the ones who are ashamed to call God our God? That we are the ones who fail to confess him as such in our public life, who fail to propose the grandeur of the life in common which he makes possible? Faith illumines life and society. If it possesses a creative light for each new moment of history, it is because it sets every event in relationship to the origin and destiny of all things in the Father

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

How Former New Orleans Secular & Religious Journalist Came Back After Losing It All

The newspaper for the Archdiocese of New Orleans is always an interesting read. Which is one reason why it editor just received America 's highest award for Catholic journalism.

I really loved this story . See Mary Lou McCall: Saved by faith in Jesus Christ. 

It's about a former secular and then religious journalist that despite had a conversion still had demons and pressures we all faced. She talks about after she got to her lowest point turning to Christ in relationship , the Sacraments, Adoration, Confession, and the Rosary brought her back after appearing to having lost it all.

African American Order of Priests Ordains All Nigerian Priesthood Class - Josephites

First praise God for these mens vocation.

Second praise God they are going to being in the United States .

Third praise God Africa period is helping out with the American Catholic Churches Vocation problem.

Fourth  praise God two of these new priests are coming to LOUISIANA .

See Josephites ordain seven priests, two for St. Aug .

 It does seem that a good number of black Catholic Priests I see mentioned have African names . Now no doubt some of this is the African immigrant community bearing fruit.

But all these Priests are from NIGERIA and this is an order that was founded for African American blacks after the Civil War. Think about that for a second. Is this a sign we really really need to push vocations more in the black community. Do young black males face added pressures not to consider a Priestly vocation ? Should we be talking about that

Delaying Affordable Health Care Act Employer Mandate Has Serious Ramifications On Birth Control Mandate Court Cases

So says Howard Friedman here at Religion Clause.

This in my opinion is concerning because I think now is the time to get these religious liberty questions in front of the court and eventually the High Court. Not two years down the road.

ABC News Asks Texas State Senator Wendy Long Zero Questions On Abortion

ABC News Reporter ask six questions to Texas State Senator Wendy Long. You can guess how that went. See via Get Religion Zeleny’s questions: 3 on shoes, 3 on catheters, 0 on abortion

Monday, July 1, 2013

Gettysburg Hero General John F. Reynolds And His Secret Catholic Fiance

The Battles of Vicksburg and Gettysburg are being recalled this year in a special way. I thought this was a cool post at First Things .See Gettysburg Hero John F. Reynolds’ Secret Engagement