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Showing posts from March 20, 2016

Does It Actually Make Sense To Sign A State-Level RFRA?

Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It was an act of Congress in 1990, in response to a Supreme Court ruling in favor of a Native American, who lost a job on account of peyote used in a religious ritual. Congress acted to conform the law with the dictates of the decision. On a more whimsical note,  it was back when liberals stuck up for people with unpopular religious convictions. In any case, the federal RFRA neither obligates, nor was understood to mean automatic deference to religious liberty claims. Of course, in response to government-backed religious bigotry, and viewpoint discrimination, many states have passed their own versions of RFRA. It seems to me that this is a wasted effort. Anything stronger than the federal RFRA would correctly be struck down as a violation of the supremacy clause of the Constitution anyway. And among activists, who have used the courts as an unaccountable legislature for decades, it is doubtful that legislative intent, history, and procedure means an

The Passion Of The Christ

I watched it yesterday with some friends. It had been a few years. This was my second time as a Catholic. Forgive the expected, but the Marian scenes were harder to watch this time. There must be some mystery to the piercing of her heart, also that I need to meditate on. We get to enter into the suffering; it's not out there, it's ours. The other thing I noticed was the Stations of the Cross. Especially in contrast to the first time I watched it as a Protestant. I saw St. Veronica wipe Our Lord's face, the holy women weeping, St. Simon helping, and all the rest. I wasn't longing for it to end; it seemed necessary and beautiful. I was watching with a friend whose vision is poor, so I had to read the subtitles aloud. Some time, you should try this. Or pick up the Scriptures, and read the same scenes. It's a movie where tears are highly possible, but I found that hearing the words of Jesus is moving, perhaps more than one would expect. It's a film you don'

As We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us

This is what we say right after we ask the Father to forgive us. And I realized that God makes it this way, for His own glory. You can't just forgive someone; even if you find it easy in one case or another, it's not you. God's grace goes before you. " forgive, divine." It's not human. We forget this, because we expect some standard of decency to be met, one that relies on grace as much as forgiveness does. The easiest way to turn a person who hurts us into a non-person is to forget how much God needs to forgive us. It's easy to call names, comfortable in the false knowledge that we are ordinary good people, who are good by our efforts. The scariest people in the world are those who can't apologize. That's as close to Hell as you can get on this side.

The Mystery Of Love

I can tell you about the love of God; I know more about it by faith than I do in the core of my soul. It seems to me that this is the secret of life. It is true that there is nothing guaranteed to us, in terms of eternal life, and perfect happiness forever. Sin and hell are both real. The enemy is real. But there is no more real reality than the love of God. Anywhere at any time. Who is Jesus Christ? It's almost too big a question. And even as we want to make the answer as simple as possible, because ordinary folks don't just walk around using words like "substitutionary atonement" and the like, the Bible is a big story that's both simple and complicated. The Old Testament tells the story of the children of Israel, another name for a man named Jacob, a descendant of Isaac, the child of the promise given to Abraham. Another man named Moses led the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt, and it was after this that God gave them the Law of how they were suppo

Obama Is Right: Radical Jihadists Can't Destroy Our Society, Unless We Let Them

I'm sure you all know of the attacks in Belgium. As of this moment, 36 people are dead. The people who took their lives are cowards. They don't deserve the dignity that a civilized society affords the accused, and even the guilty. It still remains true that if this is the worst they can do, we're not going anywhere. We don't help ourselves by turning them into this dominant force, like the Soviets. They are some trolls with bombs, hoping if they can scare most of us, we'll fold. I don't think so, Sport. Let's pray for them, and show as much love to our Muslim neighbors as we possibly can. Even if there are more radicals than we think, "Perfect love drives out fear." I expect my leaders to say things like, "These radicals don't define all Muslims, and we're not going to let fear define us," because it's obviously true, and because the enemy wants us to overreact. It's the only way they win.

The Myth Of Obama's Weak Foreign Policy

For your consideration . If you want to get critical, I suppose you could say the president showed his cards. The second most important gift we were given is that of exploding a hawkish Republican myth: that Democrats are reluctant to use military force, to the detriment of the United States. The Reagan myth is the cause of most of this. The Iranians were not scared of Reagan; they just didn't like Carter. Moreover, what if the "malaise" myth surrounding Carter is also false? The Democrats in my lifetime are no more dovish than George W. Bush; they simply have different criteria for what the "national interest" is. The big twist is that Bush is more the liberal internationalist, while Obama is much more the realist. Opting to balance power as much as possible takes some of the moral force out of humanitarian motives for the use of force. It at least opens the possibility of a damaging hypocrisy. We should be grateful each day that force is absolutely a last

Temper, Temper

Sigh. I have a temper. It's bad. Most people don't know this, because I don't get angry often. When I do, however, look out. Of course, I think I'm right. I usually do, and I usually am. You can't really accomplish anything in life without confidence, and it could border on arrogance, depending on who's observing. It seemed still right to go to Holy Communion, because I didn't wish harm on anybody or anything that crazy. But I still feel angry about it. I keep saying to nobody in particular, "If you're going to call me a liar, you'd better own it." I guess sometimes folks don't think through the implications of what they say. It happens. I'm not the clearest thinker I know. Pray for me.