Monday, August 28, 2006

of Mice and Martyrs

By now, many have chewed over the gunpoint conversion to Islam, made by hostages in Gaza. It's hard to really criticize apostasy under duress unless you've been there, and like many sage commenters out there, I'll just pray that when the time comes, I'll have the courage to proclaim Jesus as Christ and Lord. As for the timid believers out there, Peter had denied Christ three times from the same fear, and Jesus forgave him. Good luck y'all.

The Maoist Chinese gov't has released a catholic bishop they've had in prison for a decade. Now some may say" Well, Jimbob, now that the Maoists have released a bishop, are you going to continue your trade embargo with China?" Well, I'm not one to fall for feints and other gestures, as the Maoists have exhibited an insincere and contradictory policy of public releases and secret arrests and re-arrests. Where are these guys?:

Bishop Su Zhimin of the Baoding diocese, where Bishop An served, was arrested in 1997 and his current condition and location are unknown.

Bishop Han Dingsiang of Yong Nian, also in the Hebei province, was arrested in 1999 and his current condition and location are unknown.

Bshop Jian Zhiguo of Zhengding, Hebei, was arrested in June of this year; he has been arrested 9 other times in the past three years. His current status is unknown.

Bishop Shi Enxiang of Yixian, Hebei, was arrested in 2001; his current condition and location are unknown.

Bishop Yao Liang, an auxiliary of the Xiwanzi diocese in Hebei, was arrested in July of this year, and is being held in Zhangjiakou.

Bishop Zhao Zhendong of Xuanhua as arrested in December 2004; his current condition and location are unknown.

And these are just the bishops! Where are all the priests that the Chinese gov't has sent for "re-education"/ coerced apostasy? The courage of Chinese Catholics must be great, and they truly love our Lord despite the cost. Maybe the recently released Fox News crew may do well to study these Chinese Martyrs as an example.

And lastly, the courage of Lina Joy, a christian convert in Malaysia, a Muslim country. The qualities of the Religion of Peace really shines through in situations like this:
But she is now in hiding after death threats from Islamic extremists, who accuse her of being an apostate.

Now, to be fair, those were just the extremist adherants of the Religion of Peace. How about the more moderate:
In rulings in her case, civil courts said Malays could not renounce Islam because the Constitution defined Malays to be Muslims.

They also ruled that a request to change her identity card from Muslim to Christian had to be decided by the Shariah courts. There she would be considered an apostate, and if she did not repent she surely would be sentenced to several years in an Islamic center for rehabilitation.

I imagine that the muslim concept of rehabilitation is very different than what christians would come up with. Long story short, another prisoner for Christ. Pray for her, and others like her throughout the world, and pray for the strength to be as courageous when the time comes for us.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Plank: Crime and Punishment

Criminal offenders are citizens, and human beings with inherent dignity, regardless of their poor choices and pernicious habits. The corrections system should be corrective, to educate the offender on socially expected behaviors, and mitigate factors that contribute to the inclination to offend. Yes, it's more expensive than throwing them in a prison for a few years, as the current corrections environment is not conducive to reformation. A concerted effort to implement restorative justice should be made.

- The Death Penalty should be a punishment of absolute last resort, not a violent reaction to a violent offense. Efforts to rehabilitate a violent offender should be proportional to the crime itself.

- Many, if not most, offenders will need treatment for mental illness, as well as substance abuse, and will aid in their rehabilitation.

- Offenders at all levels should be rehabilitated to the point where they are an asset to the community versus an ongoing liability.

anyone else want to chine in?

Plank: Poverty

While we treasure our freedom to succeed, we must not allow those that fail to live lives in the margins, devoid of hope.

- The homeless are fellow citizens, and should be treated as treasured members of our communities. Mental health treatment should be available to those who need it, as well as substance abuse treatment, and continuing education in job and life skills.

- The poor and chronically unemployed should receive similar treatment, before a crisis pushes them into homelessness.

- The working poor should not destined to stay that way. Continuing education should be made available to enhance marketable skills, leading to better incomes and standards of living.

Preventative and proactive handling of poverty, and the usually attendant substance abuse, will impact crime.

Plank: Pro-Life Issues

From conception to natural death, the rights of all citizens of our nation should be vouchsafed by the government. Those whom cannot speak for themselves should have an advocate until such a time as they can speak for themselves.

- Abortion should be outlawed in all circumstances (save for a couple DIRE need cases?)
- Our elders are NOT a burden to society, and should be encouraged to continue living, regardless of their condition.
- Human life is not a disposable commodity, and so ethical considerations are to be the highest standards in medical research AND medical practice. (let's not be so quick to destroy embryos, and let's not approve drugs with grievous side effects in the fine print)

Anything else?

New Political Party

This post is a collecting point for Ideas for a new political party, one which will promote governance in accord with catholic principles. The first thing I'd like to throw out is a suggestion for a name: The Steward Party. In absence of the King, the steward is to care for the keep and all its members. A good slogan would be "Yes, I am my brother's keeper". Let the kvetching begin..

This discussion was started over at The Cafeteria is Closed.

The core issues as gravitating towards Pro-Life and Social Justice, which would involve many on both the Left and the Right in the political spectrum.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Hope for the Worst

h/t Sparki, fellow Lincolnite.

A story of a priest and Timothy McVeigh's redemption:

"When I first came in (to see him) I thought 'God is the owner of my life,' and I went to him and he threw his feces on me and called me all types of names and said, 'You can't be a priest because I've never seen a you-know-what as a priest,'" Father Smith said Aug. 5. "The devil was messin' with me."

But Father Smith persevered in his ministry to McVeigh and the convicted murderer, who was a baptized Catholic, began to repent. "He did a lot of things, but in the end we had confession, reconciliation. In the end he asked me a question a lot of people ask me. He asked, 'Father Charles, can I still get to heaven?'"

Wow, I hadn't heard the end of that story. Maybe there's hope for murderers, with time and patient ministry of the Gospel. It maybe a good enough reason for the period of time between conviction and execution, time for the hardened to seek God and His mercy. Though an evil of claimed necessity, the death penalty may be a mercy in itself, if one has been reconciled with God before death, slain by the State in a state of Grace.

I certainly hope that Timothy's repentance was genuine, and that he's washed his robe in the Blood of the Lamb.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Loose lips?

Headline: Report: X-ray machines don't detect explosives in shoes

Oh ok, so we'll just let every Abdul, Osama, and Mohammed know that, so they can plot their next move. Real good. One wonders who the threat to security is some times.

The government's new order that all airline passengers put their shoes through X-ray machines won't help screeners find a liquid or gel that can be used as a bomb.

The machines are unable to detect explosives, according to a Homeland Security report on aviation screening recently obtained by The Associated Press.

Right, and so the AP thinks, "oh great, this will sell newspapers!" Yes, it will, to every radical bomb maker on the planet. Playing poker with the AP must be an easy and rewarding game.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


h/t Jimmy Akin

Why vote for the Democratic Party, when you can find a candidate who will really make the federal government a truly omnipotent and omnipresent entity. Why Vote for the Grand Old Party, when you can elect the Great Old Party that is Cthulu! Why settle for the minor evils of either party, when you can get the greatest evils, and all in one package?

Of Kids and Volume Control

Ahhh, small children, they say the sweetest things, right? I was at a Target store, yesterday, with my three year-old girls and six year-old boy, and we were shopping for some necessities. I had bought the kids a lemonade to share (and keep them quiet, so thought I), and Peeper piped up with her appreciation. "I love you, daddy" she crowed, after a long sip of the lemonade. As we reached the end of the aisle we were in, I saw a woman with her infant at the end to the aisle, examining diapers. She looked at me, and said "How cute" and nodding her head at Peeper.

In another part of the store, we were approaching the toilet paper, and I was telling the kids how we needed to get some. Peeper, sensing an opportunity to make her great intellect known, shouts "so I can wipe my bum!" Of course there are about a dozen people around us, who all look in our direction, and laughingly shake their heads. At one smirking couple, I say, "Hey, if you can't say it loudly, it's not worth saying, right?" Right?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Book meme

Got tagged by da Digital Hairshirt, so here's my predilections in bindery:

1. One book that changed your life: Ironically, as Digi also picked, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I read it in 10th grade, as a young republican, and it was like throwing napalm on a fire. Of course, I ended up a white supremacist as well, go figure. It colored my thinking for a decade before I snapped out of it. Looking back on it, it's so much an outgrowth of the 'Will to Power' philosophy, and definitely not something to be enbraced by a brother of Christ. Though, I still think of socialists as slimy deviants.

2. One book that you have read more than once: I like reruns, but I like to read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, once a year, around the holidays.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island: Like most anyone else, I'd want a Bible, preferrably the RSV, with laminated pages (for preservation, the elements can really eat guilded leaf pages).

4. One book that made you laugh: An Idiot for All Seasons, by David Feherty. Golf commentator extrordinaire, Feherty is just too dang funny.

5. One book that made you cry: Mother Teresa: In My Own Words, a compilation of Bl. Teresa of Calcutta's remarks on various topics. That woman's words should be a scourge to the conscience of Western Christianity.

6. One book you wish would have been written: "Really, I mean it." by Yeshua Ben Elohim

7. One book you wish had never been written: The Q'uran, enough said, lest the book's adherants find me and kill me.

8. One book you are currently reading: The Wisdom of the Desert Fathers, a compilation of shorter writings about the desert fathers .

9. One book you have been meaning to read: Summa Theologica, by St. Thomas Aquinas. Like I'll EVER have time to do that..

10. Tag some others: DAD29, Name Hidden, unless you've already done it.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Marxist love

And They'll know we are marxists by our love, by our love
Yes, They'll know we are marxists by our love.
-Parody of 'One in the Spirit', P. Shotles 1966

From CWNews
Authorities in China's Hebei province have arrested more than 90 members of the "underground" Catholic Church, including Bishop Yao Liang, the Cardinal Kung Foundation reports.

Bishop Yao, the head of the Xiwanzi diocese, who had previously been taken into custody last March, was arrested on July 30. A priest of the same diocese, Father Li Huisheng, was arrested on August 1.

When some Catholic faithful protested the arrests, and asked for information about the whereabouts of the jailed clerics, policy mobilized a force of 500 to jail 90 members of the underground Church on August 2. The arrests followed a previous crackdown by Protestant "house churches" in the area, in which thousands of military police participated on July 29.

Those of you who've been reading my blog a while know my sympathies for the chinese faithful, oppressed by both the government and the manufacturing companies that make this oppression possible. My boycott of chinese-made goods just doesn't seem enough, and there are few who are willing to make the same sacrifices. Maybe it's time to start going for the companies that manufacture goods over there, and persuade them that while China may be cheapest, they're materially assisting the Maoist government in persecuting their people. If enough large companies start pulling out, or threatening to, the government may stop this kind of oppression. Any other suggestions?
Past posts:
Render unto Mao
Can we buy their freedom?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Out of Curiousity

Hezbollah was using ALL of these apartments and homes to launch rockets from?

Forgive me if I seem a bit skeptical.