Various & Sundry, 9/4/13

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The Priest’s Side of the Confessional

When Simcha Fisher wrote last week about reasons to go to Confession, someone protested that Priests would be feel burnt out from hearing too many Confessions.

Well scratch that excuse off the list because Priests actually get quite a lot out of administering the Sacrament.

Permits for Baptism

Elaine mentioned this in the comments of yesterday’s post.

A few weeks ago my office in Rolla received a phone call from church members who expressed concern about the Park Service requiring permits for Baptisms in the rivers of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Yes, you read that correctly, the Park Service was actually requiring churches and pastors to get a permit in order to perform Baptisms.

After learning of this ridiculous rule, I immediately contacted Bill Black, the Superintendent of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. In a letter, I expressed my serious concerns about the permit requirement and need for a 48-hour notice. I told Superintendent Black that the permit requirement would hurt church ceremonies that have happened in our region for generations and the condition also would infringe upon the religious liberties of the families living in the Eighth District.

The Superintendent reversed this silly rule, but this is just the beginning.

Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens to Promote Obamacare in Maryland

And just when the thug Ray Lewis was no longer a member of the team, now there’s another reason to despise the franchise located 35 miles to my north.

It’s the first official partnership formed with a sports franchise to encourage participation in President Obama’s signature healthcare law.

The White House had sought national partnerships on ObamaCare with the NBA and the NFL, but both leagues backed away under pressure from congressional Republicans.

Obama’s Last Intervention Has Really Worked Out Well

Hey, remember our last efforts at helping out that Arab Spring? The results aren’t so hot.

Yet now Libya has almost entirely stopped producing oil as the government loses control of much of the country to militia fighters.

Mutinying security men have taken over oil ports on the Mediterranean and are seeking to sell crude oil on the black market. Ali Zeidan, Libya’s Prime Minister, has threatened to “bomb from the air and the sea” any oil tanker trying to pick up the illicit oil from the oil terminal guards, who are mostly former rebels who overthrew Muammar Gaddafi and have been on strike over low pay and alleged government corruption since July.

As world attention focused on the coup in Egypt and the poison gas attack in Syria over the past two months, Libya has plunged unnoticed into its worst political and economic crisis since the defeat of Gaddafi two years ago. Government authority is disintegrating in all parts of the country putting in doubt claims by American, British and French politicians that Nato’s military action in Libya in 2011 was an outstanding example of a successful foreign military intervention which should be repeated in Syria.

The Buck Stops Way, Way Over There

Every now and then I reflect on what a cowardly, petulant individual we have in the White House, and I just weep.

Enough of Woody Allen Catholicism

Pat Archbold thinks it’s time we have a bit more John Wayne and little bit less Woody Allen.

Alert Jody Bottum

Even noted non-social conservative Ace of Spades is getting sickened by the bullying of Christian businesses.

But what we see here in Oregon — as we saw earlier in New Mexico, and as we will see everywhere, unless we do not pass a law sharply delimiting people’s right to sue people for unamerican, subversive crime of nonconformity with the current temporary government’s ephemeral cultural allegiances — is the attempt of a group of people who have long contended that they merely wish to be left alone to live their lives in peace suddenly feeling a little power and deciding that now that they have a short-term burst of political muscle, they may now indulge in the bullying and coercion they once thought was kind of a bad thing.

Northern California County Votes for Secession

Not gonna happen, but still amusing.

Jack Won’t Be Back

Nicholson is done with acting. While many will no doubt remember him most for scenes from The Shining and A Few Good Men, this is my favorite Nicholson role.

More to explorer

Saint of the Day Quote: Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10: 39  

Year Zero Again

  Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no

September 22, 1776: Nathan Hale’s Only Regret

How beautiful is death, when earn’d by virtue! Who would not be that youth? What pity is it That we can die


  1. Re the “baptism permits” story: it’s not uncommon for parks or other facilities open to the public to require advance notice or permission to stage events like weddings, family reunions, etc. simply to prevent conflicts — what if two or more groups show up at exactly the same time wanting to use the same location or facility? Logically, one could apply the same system to church groups gathering for baptismal ceremonies and it would not be inherently wrong — as long as it was fairly and consistently enforced.

    That said, it does appear that the NPS was engaging in some selective enforcement of this policy, especially since these baptisms (as far as I can tell) are probably not much bigger than a typical swimming/float party on any given weekend, and don’t last nearly as long.

  2. “Not gonna happen, but still amusing.”

    Such movements are beginning to spread in the country as red rural areas sicken of being governed by blue cities. I would keep my eye on this movement, especially as blue states continue down the path of bankruptcy in more ways than one.

  3. My excuse is I don’t want to bore the priest with my sins. I have to admit that I am not that good at being that bad anymore.

  4. Such movements are beginning to spread in the country as red rural areas sicken of being governed by blue cities. I would keep my eye on this movement, especially as blue states continue down the path of bankruptcy in more ways than one.

    The rigidities of the political order given the evolution of settlement patterns in this country have left a number of states in the following condition:

    1. They are demographic behemoths; and

    2. The are assemblages of incompatible components, and one portion of the state is functionally a tributary of the other.

    Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Arizona, Nevada, California, and Hawaii all have one or the other problem; Maryland suffers a variant of the latter problem and Minnesota, Utah, Colorado, Washington state, and Oregon may end up in that zone in the coming decades.

    A repartition of territory is very much in order, but it would require multiple constitutional amendments passed in series and a difficult deliberative process.

  5. All that would be necessary would be Congressional approval and approval of the old state and the new state as the creation of West Virginia demonstrated. Difficult but not impossible, especially under crisis conditions and with the Republicans in control of Congress and the White House. I can think of a few states in the South where Democrats might be in favor of such a division.

  6. The Priest’s side of the confessional:

    The Church forgives sins. The state prosecutes crime. This is the essence of the principle of separation of church and state. The men ordained to the Holy Priesthood still retain their citizenship as ordinary persons and members of the state. Ordinary persons who are citizens and who are not called to a vocation to serve the Catholic Church as priests remain ordinary citizens, members of the state and are called laity.
    It is a crime to allow a baby raping murderer to live and breathe his crime every moment of his despicable murderous life in prison. It is a crime to expose the warden, his family, the guards, the doctors and nurses and the contractors who serve in the prison to the murderous rages of the capital one murderer. The homicidal maniac must be taught that he is going to be put to death by the very power of attorney and the virtues, especially of JUSTICE that he rejected.
    These are the marks of a civilization and the reverse of: “Do unto others as you would be done unto.” It is not the job of the priest, or bishop or the Catholic Church to execute capital one punishment, which is the temporal punishment due to capital one homicide. It is the job of the state to prosecute and punish capital one homicide and execute the temporal punishment.
    A truly penitent murderer will have expired with grief at the thought of his crime against God and man. Therefore, the state must deny the murderer time to relive his crime. The state must enable the murderer to repent of his crime. The Catholic Church must forgive the crime and pray for the murderer’s soul.
    So, the USCCB has rightfully come out against capital one punishment. The laity and the state must do its job of prosecuting capital one homicide. Thomas More, now Saint Thomas More told his executioner to do his job well and not be afraid.

    P.S. Yesterday, I was excoriated in public for not being pro-life, perhaps because I have not done my job as well as I might, but because I know the catechism of the Catholic Church calls for the execution of capital one punishment, the death penalty, for the takers of innocent human life. For the state to allow homicidal maniacs to survive their victims is nothing less than human sacrifice. The killer has taken the life of his victim. Now, he must live it. The victim is dead.

  7. I was thinking of something more comprehensive and flexible. An alternative might be for states to reconstitute themselves as confederations. The state would remain as a data collection unit and as a unit for Congressional representation. There would be a common constitution and some portmanteau bodies to propose constitutional amendments, interpret that document, and administer elections which cross internal frontiers. Otherwise, the components of a confederated state would have separate law codes, separate governments, and lead separate lives. There might be a number of candidates for this institutional form, among them Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Illinois (!), Arizona, Nevada, California, Hawaii, &c.

    You could append to that an innovative use of the practice of interstate compacts. Two adjacent states are reconstituted as confederations and then one component of each is associated through an interstate compact which creates a municipal corporation; New York, Washington, and Philadelphia would be the obvious candidates for that. Alternatively, you might set up spare regional governments of small states in New England or the Plains, or the Mountain West. The regional governments could handle lumpy public works and the governance of the medical profession, the public universities, and some watersheds. Greater capacity at the periphery = less excuse for centralization.

  8. Art, funny you should mention Illinois as a possible candidate for “confederated” statehood. The biggest problem I see with the Chicago/Downstate divide is NOT that city and rural people “can’t get along,” or that Chicagoans despise Downstaters or vice versa.

    The biggest problem is simply trying to apply one set of laws and rules to such divergent environments. I see this not only with the “big” laws like gun control, but with all sorts of “smaller” regulations governing significant details of daily life, business, etc. A law or rule drawn up with the needs of urban or suburban residents in mind simply may not work in a rural environment.

    Here’s just one example: A couple of years ago the state proposed new regulations for nursing homes that would require at least 20 percent of each resident’s hands-on care to come from licensed RNs. Hiring RNs is not a problem for Chicago area or suburban nursing homes; most of the “better” ones already meet or exceed that standard. Downstate, however, it’s a big problem because there just aren’t enough RNs to go around and most of them will choose to work in hospitals for better pay and benefits rather than in nursing homes. I talked to several nursing home administrators who said it was well nigh impossible to hire RNs for any position below administrator once you got south of Springfield or Champaign. The rule was proposed with good intentions, but it just would not have “worked” outside of the Chicago metro area, and was eventually dropped. And as I said, that’s just one of many examples. It got me to wondering if it wouldn’t just be easier to have separate statutes and administrative codes for each region… which is basically what you are suggesting here.

  9. John Wayne at least in the movies, believed in Victory. We did not pray for peace at Lepanto but Victory. We celebrated Victory at the end of WWII. Appeasement is a measly peace.
    Constantine did not hear or see “In This Sign coexist ” It was in this sign Conquer- a word that is anathema to today’s thinking.
    Yes evil is happening but nor to us, not to us.
    If we think not “getting involved in the middle east will keep the peace we haven’t learned much.
    We can cry peace peace but there is no peace.
    St Francis went into the sultan’s tent for purposes of evangelization. He survived. The Franciscan protomartyrs however died at the hands of the religion of peace. That war continues today.
    I don’t think of bombings or air strikes but an action much more personal and directed (Special forces?) against the strong men, perhaps a deterrent to other strong men. Are we considering that?
    At one time President said out loud that we would get the perpetrators-find out who they are and get them– I think that should be our public aim- not threatening bombings over the heads of the populace, but let it be known that we aim to find the perpetrators and get them in as surgical an operation as we can.
    hand wringing and mumbling doesn’t deter anyone.–and first of all we have to get over the stateside partisanship and realize that we have enemies that want to put an end to our partisan ways permanently

  10. I think Elaine has it right. Requiring a permit to make private use of public property is not a violation of religious freedom. If the permit was denied, it would be a different story.

    Even noted non-social conservative Ace of Spades is getting sickened by the bullying of Christian businesses.

    A business refused to serve gays but when gays and their allies boycott the same business it is objectionable. Mayeb the compromise is that businesses that don’t want to serve the general public need put up signs in their window saying who they do not serve.

  11. Mayeb the compromise is that businesses that don’t want to serve the general public need put up signs in their window saying who they do not serve.

    Most already do.

    They say “we reserve the right to refuse service.”

    Incidentally, it’s not that they “refused to serve gays.” It’s that they refused to take actions which could be interpreted as endorsement of homosexual activity.

  12. Such signs would have no legal significance to help the owners of the business and would be taken as an admission of an intent to discriminate.
    In another victory for the glorious cause of forcing people to knuckle under to gay activists, a cake store is going out of business:

    “A follow-up to the story of the New Mexico photographer who lost her court battle after refusing to take a job at a gay wedding. Different state and a different trade this time but a similar result potentially: The business owners in this case said no when a lesbian couple came into the shop looking for a wedding cake. The latter filed a complaint with the state under the relevant antidiscrimination law and an investigation, which could have taken up to a year, was launched. The bakers, having already been targeted for a boycott by opponents and likely fearing the expense and aggravation of a long court battle themselves, decided to close the shop and move operations into their home, which presumably renders the business “distinctly private” and therefore beyond the reach of the state’s public accommodations law. (Does it?)

    Watch the extended interview with them about what they’ve gone through, paying special attention to the bit in the middle about “mafia tactics” by some gay-rights supporters. Two interesting wrinkles to this case vis-a-vis the New Mexico one. First, remember that Dale Carpenter and Eugene Volokh argued on the photographer’s behalf that, because photography is an art and inherently expressive, forcing her to cover an event to which she’s morally opposed necessarily violates her right of free expression. The same isn’t true, wrote Carpenter, of “more mundane and generic services (like cake-baking).” Presumably he’d agree with the gay couple, then, that the bakers have no right to refuse service. I’m not sure I grasp the distinction, though: In both cases, the business owners are being asked to celebrate an act to which they conscientiously object by producing a beautiful product in its honor. What’s more expressive, framing a shot of a married couple posing or crafting an elaborate cake to glorify the occasion? I’m not sure that there’s more artistry in photography in this case.

    Second, note what the guy says in the clip about how they’ve made cakes for this couple before. They don’t refuse to serve gay customers, they refuse to serve gay weddings specifically. The same is true, I assume, of the New Mexico photographer. That’s a potential line of attack for social-conservative pols as they start to push back against cases like this — this isn’t a categorical refusal to serve a minority group, it’s a religious objection to serving at one particular type of event in which that group participates. That may not help them legally but it’ll help in the court of public opinion, where the majority in support of religious exemptions in situations like this is already overwhelming. I’d be surprised if we don’t start seeing legislative hearings about it, whether in Congress or at the state level, sometime next year.”

    The only right, beyond abortion, that most liberals hold sacred is their right to compel you to agree with them.

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