Showing posts with label Catholics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Catholics. Show all posts

Friday, December 09, 2016

Rick Santorum and his shit-eating smirk

What can you can about an allegedly "Catholic" former senator, perpetual presidential candidate and full-time self-righteous chickenshit whose advise to a "DREAMer" pondering her uncertain future under Donald Trump was this: Go back where you came from?

Trouble is,  this 27-year-old mechanical engineer was brought to the United States when she was 7. Where she "comes from" is here.

Really, what can you say about such a man as Rick Santorum?

OK, what can you say that I'd feel comfortable repeating?

WELL, that's all right. I'm pretty much at a loss, too. Everything that immediately comes to mind is unprintable . . . and note that I'm reasonably comfortable with "shit-eating smirk" and "self-righteous chickenshit."

OK, what about calling him a "vile, crypto-Nazi, cafeteria-Catholic mother. . . ." No, I'd have to confess that one to Father.

I guess we're at loggerheads on l'affaire Santorum. I'll just leave my comment at this: What we need is a name for the particular species of culture-war "cafeteria Catholic" that Rick Santorum exemplifies. I propose "Kultur Krieg Katholiken." Just call 'em KKKs for short.

Everything is better in the original German, ja?

Friday, June 07, 2013

Hooked on sticky-sweet phonics

As it turns out, the soon-to-be-former president of Everybody's Favorite University had it exactly bass-ackward.

Sorry Gordon Gee of THE Oh'o Stt Un'vrsty, it appears it's the kids at the SEC schools who can read just fine. The Big Ten? Not so much.

Caramel has three syllables, the middle of which is a short "a." Un, deux, trois . . . as in the number of weeks a certain soon-to-be-former university president has left on the job.

Anyone who can read can see this, and those who can see this inhabit all the schools the pres'dnt of THE Oh'o Stt Un'vrsty contends have an illiteracy problem. Oops.

"CAR ∙ ml"? Civilized people don't know what that is, but they suspect it has something to do with candy made from melted cars. Maybe it's popular in Michigan and Ohio, where they used to make such things.

But what do I know? I'm just a "damn Catholic."

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Rick Santorum: Slave of the Most High God

There is nothing Barack Obama can do to the Catholic Church that comes close to the kind of treachery righteously perpetrated by Catholics proclaiming the false gospel of the Most High Santorum.

The followers of Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum worry that the liberal devil they see will kill the church by diminishing freedom of conscience in the name of contraception. In their ardor for a more morally perfect union, these "orthodox" Catholics hold high the banner of the conservative devil they refuse to see.

And who might that devil be? The one whispering into the election-year ear of Rick Santorum: Good Catholic Man.

Some proclaim the Pennsylvania politician as a "traditional" Catholic, while others prefer "orthodox." I prefer other terminology.

But the editors of a right-wing website by the grandiosely presumptuous name of were "proud" to endorse the man:
Catholic voters are looking for a candidate who can successfully combine the principles of the dignity of life and the dignity of work. Senator Santorum understands better than any other candidate the profound link between the moral, cultural and economic principles foundational to the success of America. We are convinced that Rick Santorum is the candidate best equipped to win not only the political arguments, but also the hearts of American voters as he did in Iowa on Tuesday. . . .

Finally, Senator Santorum is a man of honor, integrity, and authenticity. What you see is what you get. He has faithfully served the cause of life and marriage as an elected official and as a husband and father. And while no political candidate, or human being for that matter, is perfect, Rick Santorum’s baggage contains his clothes.

“Republicans hoping to win back the White House in November must unite behind the candidate most dedicated to the foundational issues of faith, family and freedom. If the GOP hopes to defeat President Obama, it takes a Rick Santorum to get it done.
I SUPPOSE we are to compare the clothes-filled baggage of the former U.S. senator to the Obama-, contraception- and abortion-filled baggage of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, former speaker of the House and Everybody's Favorite Bad, Bad, REALLY Bad Catholic.

People like Pelosi are "cafeteria Catholics," don't you know? They give scandal to Jesus Christ and His church by keeping those of His -- and its -- teachings they like and denouncing the rest as the rantings of a bunch of out-of-touch, celibate men. Who probably are just a bunch of pedophiles, anyway.

This is true, so far as it goes. "Bad" public Catholics like Pelosi, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Vice President Joe Biden, can tolerate anything but the authoritative teaching of Catholicism on social issues like abortion.

Unlike Rick Santorum.

Another of the people, "American Papist" blogger Thomas Peters cannot say enough good things about the good things Santorum brings to the presidential election. Then again, that just might have been the "man crush" talking last year:
Catholics, we need to stick together behind good guys like Rick. This includes offering constructive criticism at times, but it also means not missing opportunities to say good things when that’s what’s needed.

As I bring up often when I talk about Catholic identity in politics and the public square, the number one attack those who hate the Church or disagree with her teachings have is the attack of disunity. Those who oppose the Church know the Church is at her weakest when she is internally divided, which means what they are most scared of is a united Church.
INDEED, it is good when Catholics can stop the incessant left-right squabbling and stick together on something. On the other hand, it would be nice if the something -- or someone -- we stuck together for represented something better than the same degree (just different) of cafeteria Catholicism exemplified by Democrat pols Pelosi, Sebelius and Biden.

Catholics of America,
ecce Santorum:

SANTORUM'S eagerness for war with Iran, absent any present or imminent Iranian attack on the United States, may be many things -- moronic, reckless, foolish and catastrophic come to mind -- but it isn't Catholic. The church embraces something called the "just war theory," which it thought enough of to make authoritative . . . and binding on Catholics. It's in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which says:
2308 All citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war.

However, "as long as the danger of war persists and there is no international authority with the necessary competence and power, governments cannot be denied the right of lawful self-defense, once all peace efforts have failed."

2309 The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:

- the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;

- all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;

- there must be serious prospects of success;

- the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.

These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the "just war" doctrine.

The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.
WHERE IS the "certain" damage addressed by a preventive war? I'll wait while Santorum's Catholic enthusiasts search in vain for a rationalization to neuter the clear teaching of their own faith.

For instance, where is the "orthodox" Catholicism oozing out of
this statement by the "traditional" Catholic for whom we're supposed to "stick together"?

SORRY, but when I think of "orthodox Catholics for unprovoked, pre-emptive missile strikes and bombing runs," my minds keeps drifting off to the faithful witness of "Catholics for Free Choice." As in the "free choice" to kill your unborn child in the holy name of Personal Autonomy.

On the other hand, you don't want to know what I think of when I hear pious drivel like "the number one attack those who hate the Church or disagree with her teachings have is the attack of disunity" while watching Mr. Real Catholic Guy here:

AND THERE'S this, of course, from a radio interview last year on The Hugh Hewitt Show:
HH: Now did the bin Laden killing cause you to hope that the enhanced interrogation debate returns center stage about whether or not, and when such techniques ought to be used?

RS: Well, not only that, but the first thing that should happen, Hugh, was that the President of the United States should have stepped forward and said we are going to stop this, well, potential prosecution of those within the intelligence community who were involved in the enhanced interrogation program. That should have been step one, going to Eric Holder and saying enough is enough, we’re not doing this anymore. We need to give these guys medals, not prosecute them.

Number two, he should have stepped forward and said look, I was wrong, the enhanced interrogation program did work, it did produce my greatest foreign policy success. And I’m going to admit when I was wrong, and we’re going to look at how we’re going to redeploy this under obviously different rules and regulations, since of course the Obama administration told the enemy what we were doing in the previous enhanced interrogation programs.
HH: Now your former colleague, John McCain, said look, there’s no record, there’s no evidence here that these methods actually led to the capture or the killing of bin Laden. Do you disagree with that? Or do you think he’s got an argument?

RS: I don’t, everything I’ve read shows that we would not have gotten this information as to who this man was if it had not been gotten information from people who were subject to enhanced interrogation. And so this idea that we didn’t ask that question while Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was being waterboarded, he doesn’t understand how enhanced interrogation works.

I mean, you break somebody, and after they’re broken, they become cooperative. And that’s when we got this information. And one thing led to another, and led to another, and that’s how we ended up with bin Laden. That seems to be clear from all the information I read. Maybe McCain has better information than I do, but from what I’ve seen, it seems pretty clear that but for these cooperative witnesses who were cooperative as a result of enhanced interrogations, we would not have gotten bin Laden.
WOW. Just wow.

John McCain doesn't understand torture? Maybe this "orthodox" Catholic man who would be leader of The World Formerly Known as Free thinks the "Hanoi Hilton" really was a Hilton. And that the now-senator from Arizona and all the other prisoners of war there really did spend all day playing volleyball, just like in the North Vietnamese propaganda films.

But I digress.

It would seem Santorum -- and those who unconditionally love his candidacy -- may be unfamiliar with the authoritative teaching of not only the catechism, but also of
Gaudium et Spes -- one of the core documents of the Second Vatican Council:
27. Coming down to practical and particularly urgent consequences, this council lays stress on reverence for man; everyone must consider his every neighbor without exception as another self, taking into account first of all His life and the means necessary to living it with dignity, so as not to imitate the rich man who had no concern for the poor man Lazarus.

In our times a special obligation binds us to make ourselves the neighbor of every person without exception and of actively helping him when he comes across our path, whether he be an old person abandoned by all, a foreign laborer unjustly looked down upon, a refugee, a child born of an unlawful union and wrongly suffering for a sin he did not commit, or a hungry person who disturbs our conscience by recalling the voice of the Lord, "As long as you did it for one of these the least of my brethren, you did it for me" (Matt. 25:40).

Furthermore, whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia or willful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where men are treated as mere tools for profit, rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed. They poison human society, but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are supreme dishonor to the Creator.
AS I SAID at the beginning of this post, President Obama can do what he likes to the Catholic Church regarding the "contraceptive mandate," but he can't really hurt it. Catholicism has survived 2,000 years of tyrants and maniacs in high places. It survived the Borgia popes. It survived the Reformation. And it will survive whatever cute, demagogic tricks Obama has in store to help shore up the Democratic base before the election.

What really can hurt the church is us. People like Santorum who tout their "orthodox Catholic" bona fides while standing in the cafeteria line, picking up this doctrine and passing on that one.

Political persecution can make us martyrs, but clowns like you, me, the former senator from Pennsylvania and the "real Catholics" who back him . . . we can make Christ's church look foolish or, worse, evil. All we have to do is put ourselves out there as proclaimers of the Truth while telling a little lie here and another there.

In other words, where is the apostle Paul when we need him? Let us turn to Acts 16:
As we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave girl with an oracular spirit, who used to bring a large profit to her owners through her fortune-telling.
She began to follow Paul and us, shouting, "These people are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation."
She did this for many days. Paul became annoyed, turned, and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." Then it came out at that moment.
When her owners saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them to the public square before the local authorities.
They brought them before the magistrates 7 and said, "These people are Jews and are disturbing our city
and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us Romans to adopt or practice."
The crowd joined in the attack on them, and the magistrates had them stripped and ordered them to be beaten with rods.
After inflicting many blows on them, they threw them into prison and instructed the jailer to guard them securely.
When he received these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and secured their feet to a stake.
About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened,
there was suddenly such a severe earthquake that the foundations of the jail shook; all the doors flew open, and the chains of all were pulled loose.
When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew (his) sword and was about to kill himself, thinking that the prisoners had escaped.
But Paul shouted out in a loud voice, "Do no harm to yourself; we are all here."
He asked for a light and rushed in and, trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas.
Then he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved."
So they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house.
AS THEY SAY, the devil is in the details.

Just as the demon-possessed oracle told everyone that Paul and his company were
slaves (not children) of the Most High God and proclaimed a way (not the way) of salvation, Santorum conflates his ham-handed -- yet basically correct -- pronouncements on abortion, birth control and sexuality with Satan's social teaching on torture and war. The effect -- once we Catholics and the secular media have finished making Santorum into the exemplar of the true church -- is to make the true church look like a damned lie.

Good job --

Now at the risk of being horribly presumptuous (but tired of waiting for someone more qualified to do it), I feel it somehow necessary to trade my inner Jeremiah for my inner Paul in the case of Rick Santorum and His True Catholics for Chaos.

So, with apologies in advance to St. Paul . . .
"I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of them."


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

They like us! They really like us!

I was just looking at The New York Times. Wow, that Afghanistan thing is just going really swimmingly for us, isn't it?


Now, where were we?

OH, YES, this little thing. Nothing to see here, really. Don't worry your little head about it.
Armed with rocks, bricks, pistols and wooden sticks, protesters angry over the burning of Korans at the largest American base in Afghanistan this week took to the streets in demonstrations in a half-dozen provinces on Wednesday that left at least seven dead and many more injured.

The fury does not appear likely to abate soon. Members of Parliament called on Afghans to take up arms against the American military, and Western officials said they feared that conservative mullahs might incite more violence at the weekly Friday Prayer, when a large number of people worship at mosques.

“Americans are invaders, and jihad against Americans is an obligation,” said Abdul Sattar Khawasi, a member of Parliament from the Ghorband district in Parwan Province, where at least four demonstrators were killed in confrontations with the police on Wednesday.

Standing with about 20 other members of Parliament, Mr. Khawasi called on mullahs and religious leaders “to urge the people from the pulpit to wage jihad against Americans.”

President Hamid Karzai is scheduled to address both houses of Parliament on Thursday morning.
REALLY, there's nothing to see here. Move along.

Go now . . . in the name of Eros, go vanquish the Real Enemy.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Can a Catholic swill that kind of tea?

Think Jesus Christ was a tea-party patriot?

Think again. And think about how much of Jesus' teaching you have to toss in the circular file in order to become a smaller-government, individual liberty above all and f*** the poor kind of political activist.

Unfortunately, lots of Catholics aren't thinking much at all. Many probably are even buying into Glenn Beck's raging phobia about social justice, this while claiming membership in a church centered on our oneness in the Body of Christ and a command -- not a suggestion -- that we exhibit a "preferential option for the poor."

To be succinct, polls indicate that bunches of Catholics are buying into the notion that everything they are obligated to believe -- and to put into practice -- is the kind of "socialism" that's bringing our country to ruin. Ironically, many of these conservative Catholics are just the sort of folk quick to condemn their liberal coreligionists as "cafeteria Catholics."

WELL, who's in the serving line now? Our Sunday Visitor shines some light on this:
Stephen Schneck, director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at The Catholic University of America, said that Catholic voters have been known for their propensity to switch party allegiance, but their strong show of support for the tea party comes as a surprise.

“What strikes me is that even though Catholics are attracted to this movement, there really is a pretty sharp tension between some of the basic teachings of the Church in regards to politics, the role of government and what we owe to the poor, and what these tea party advocates are promoting,” Schneck told Our Sunday Visitor.

Church teaching, he explained, has an inseparable link between rights and responsibilities for both the citizen and the government, with both having an eye toward promoting the common good. The tea parties, however, have argued for rights based on liberty, not responsibility.

“From that perspective it’s all about getting the government out of our lives and about citizens being free from the demands and needs of the country as a whole,” Schneck said. “Much as we might like otherwise, the Catholic argument is that government and citizen are equally expected to be our brother’s keeper.”

While the U.S. bishops have supported the idea of universal health care, tea party activists have commonly called for the repeal of Congress’ health care legislation. And positions argued by tea party activists on issues such as immigration, Social Security and the government’s regulation of racial discrimination by businesses don’t fit within the principles of Catholic social teaching, Schneck said.

“That kind of thinking is at odds with Catholic thinking about solidarity, about the common good and about the role that the political order should be playing in regards to the dignity of the human person,” he said. “So there’s actually quite a distance between what the tea party is advocating and the Church’s general understanding of how politics and governance should work.”
OF COURSE, there is dissent on the right.
According to Father Robert Sirico, president of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, the radical extremists in the tea party represent only a small percentage on the fringes of the movement. At its heart, Father Sirico said, the tea party and its view of government are very close to the Church’s social teaching on the principle of subsidiarity, which favors doing things on a simplified level rather than leaving them to a more complex, centralized organization.

“I think the majority of the people who are involved in the tea party movement prefer things to be done at the most local level possible,” Father Sirico told OSV. “They are not against government in principle, they are against the excessiveness of government that we see, and that’s expressed in the principle of subsidiarity.”
AND WHILE Sirico allows that the tea party movement could learn something from Catholic teaching, he starts to sound like what Catholics on the right are so quick to condemn when it comes from the left. You've heard it before, as have I -- "How can a Catholic be a Democrat?"

It's a big cafeteria, people. Funny how tea-party "Catholics" could miss being right in the middle of it.

Please make sure you put away your tray when you're finished.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

P.O.-ing all the right people

When you hear various professional pro-lifers . . . or perpetually outraged Catholics . . . or scheming Republican operatives (and sometimes all these reside in the same person) lamenting how the new health-care reform act "is the biggest blow to the pro-life movement since Roe v. Wade," ask yourself one question.

Would any legislation that fundamentally awful from a pro-life perspective piss off Bill Moyers this badly?

HERE'S the television host's commentary from the March 5 edition of Bill Moyers Journal:
If any health care reform emerges from the bonfire of partisanship and dissembling in Washington, one thing seems certain -- it will be incorrigibly biased against a woman's freedom of conscience when it comes to abortion.

She will be ever more subject to the state's control and ever more at the mercy of religious doctrine to which she may or may not subscribe. In this respect, both reform bills in the House and Senate differ only slightly. Each is tough on women.

As you've been reading, Catholic bishops in particular have led the lobbying charge to prohibit any woman who receives insurance subsidies under the legislation from using that money to buy policies that cover abortion. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, for one, says any compromise on this would be, quote, "morally unacceptable." This, from an all-male hierarchy of clergy morally compromised themselves by the church's failure to protect the children in its care from abuse by its own priests, and by ongoing efforts to cover up the full extent of the scandal.

Nor have their own sins prevented protestant politicians and preachers from casting stones at those who would to any degree support a woman's freedom of choice being covered by the current reform bills. I would include among that pious flock many who champion family values, abstinence and homophobic bigotry while indulging in or turning a blind eye to sexual harassment, sam
pling the pleasures of brothels or heading to Argentina for more than language lessons.
IS THE public-television icon really this upset over a pro-abortion legislative riptide destined to sweep unborn babies -- and the movement dedicated to saving them -- out into the deep blue sea?

I don't think so.

And Dr. Favog thinks those whose blood pressure still is dangerously elevated should take a couple of doughnuts, wash them down with a few cans of Duff Beer, then call Homer Simpson in the morning. "Doughnuts: Is there anything they can't do?"

One more thing. For the record, I like Bill Moyers and enjoy his program greatly. I also
profoundly disagree with him on abortion rights.

I'm just saying. For whatever that is worth . . . which probably is damned little in today's divided and outraged America.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Christ Channel

If Clear Channel and all its radio-consolidating, automating and homogenizing brethren are the death of American radio, what does it say about us when the Christians are worse?

Love it or (more likely) hate it, at least Clear Channel has tiny local staffs of local people at some of its allegedly local radio stations. But what of K-Love, which seems to be K-swallowing the K-dial K-whole?

Radio veterans like Jerry Del Colliano refer to Clear Channel and its corporate wannabes as "repeater radio." And that's true, as far as it goes.

BUT IF Clear Channel, Citadel, Cumulus, Entercom and the other megaliths that control the radio dial fairly can be called "repeater radio," that must make the non-profit, non-commercial K-Love (and a heavenly host of national operators just like it) something akin to a North Korean radio set -- it can tune in but a single station programmed from a central location by the central committee.

No local voices.

No local programming.

No local people.

No local focus.

RIGHT NOW, the Educational Media Foundation runs K-Love on 412 stations and translators in 44 states. It runs the younger-skewing Air 1 service on 200 stations and translators in 40 states. All told, that's 612 stations and translators for EMF.

In the world of secular, commercial radio, Clear Channel still is the Big-Though-Shrunken Kahuna, with 900 stations from coast to coast. Cumulus has 310, by way of comparison, while Citadel has 223, Entercom 110 and Cox 86.

The difference between these big commercial players and the non-commercial, religious "Christ Channel" is that -- though most of their stations have been comparatively gutted over the last decade or so -- the commercial operators still have some local on-air staff. EMF stations don't.

As a matter of fact, because EMF is non-profit and, based on that, the Federal Communications Commission granted it a waiver, not one of the K-Love or Air 1 stations is required to have actual studios in the community it serves.

Not that anyone would be there if they did, however. All programming originates from the EMF studios in Rocklin, Calif. -- a Sacramento suburb.

Of course, you could level the same charge at any number of radio ministry-operated Christian stations around the country, which consist mainly of a computer, an audio interface, a satellite dish and receiver . . . and a transmitter and antenna.

APPARENTLY, when these Christian radio folk asked themselves "What Would Jesus Do?" the came up with the answer "Hold the people at arm's length." Or continent's length . . . whatever.

Right about now, you may be wondering "So what?" After all, the local has been disappearing from "local radio" ever since deregulation came in 1996. Not surprisingly, listeners have been disappearing since 1996 as well.

But some remain, and what Christ Channel has to do with anything is Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh?

Pittsburgh. From the Post-Gazette earlier this month:
There's satellite radio and commercial radio. There's secular radio and religious radio. The latter may not be a ratings giant, but Christian radio is growing -- at least in terms of sheer volume.

Yesterday, a successful syndicated contemporary Christian music format called K-Love launched here at 98.3 FM. And when St. Joseph Mission, the new owner of Sheridan Broadcasting's three Pittsburgh stations takes over, it plans to debut Catholic religious programming in the market.

That would give Pittsburgh nine religious stations in a mid-size market of about 40 stations. It also brings in an infusion of new Catholic programming, mirroring growth in other cities.

"I've never seen a time in any market where the Christian format has become so highly sought after, and where the competition has been so fierce. I think it's going to heighten," said the Rev. Loran Mann, president and general manager of gospel station WGBN (1150).

"It's a very interesting time for Pittsburgh radio and for the gospel market in particular."


In the current economic climate, selling smaller stations with lower frequencies and less market coverage has been a challenge. This has also proven to be a boon for religious broadcasters.

"Right now it's difficult to find a buyer for any radio station, really," said George Reed, managing director of Media Services Group in Jacksonville, Fla. Still, he says, "Christian operators are actively buying stations. Part of the reason is they can get them at a bargain."

"It's a buyer's market" for these kinds of stations, said Robert Unmacht, a consultant with IN3 Partners, a media and business consulting firm in Nashville, Tenn. "And they're buying."

And while they may not be ratings grabbers, Christian stations can still manage to succeed. "You can have a significant audience, and if it's a commercial station, do a fair amount of commercial business," Mr. Reed says. "Or if it's noncommercial, you can generate donations without being a major player in the ratings book."

Smaller operators can opt for syndicated religious programming and avoid competing directly against a secular music or talk format programmed by a Clear Channel or CBS station.

The popularity of contemporary Christian music is also driving the radio format, Mr. Reed says.

K-Love is a rapidly expanding contemporary Christian music format in radio markets in 44 states. It fills a void here in terms of giving Pittsburgh a full-time contemporary Christian music station.
Part of its appeal is that it follows the model of the traditional adult contemporary format -- a format aimed primarily at young women. "It doesn't get preachy. The music's good and it appeals to that group of women," Mr. Unmacht said.
IN THE CASE of Pittsburgh, K-Love only got one of three stations broadcasting "Froggy" country to the area. The Catholics, however, took out 61 years of Three Rivers history to broadcast, in all likelihood, satellite programming from EWTN. And the "local" studios won't even be in Pittsburgh, but 40 miles away in Latrobe.

St. Joseph Missions bought heritage black stations WAMO-AM and FM, as well as a third black gospel-formatted AM station, from Sheridan Broadcasting for $8.9 million.

WAMO-AM went on the air in 1948 and had served the city's African-American community since 1956, adding an FM signal on New Year's Day 1961. With the takeover by St. Joseph Missions -- which follows the failure of a previous Catholic format on another area AM station -- 35 employees lost their jobs.

Ironically, Joseph is the patron saint of workers.

I USED TO WORK in Catholic radio, so I can tell you how things likely will go. The vast majority of the stations' programming will come from EWTN Radio in Ironwood, Ala. -- near Birmingham -- via satellite. There may be some local programming, but probably not much.

The vast majority of Catholic radio puts the low in "low budget." And with St. Joseph Missions already shelling out $9 million, I can't see significant money going into facilities or programming -- the focus will be on fund raising, which will be directed toward keeping the stations on the air, covering administrative expenses and staging religious conferences.

It is not a good sign that the little-known ministry is located outside the Diocese of Pittsburgh. It is a worse sign that St. Joseph Missions also blindsided local diocesan officials with the purchase, which brought serious African-American heat upon clueless local clerics.

But the worst thing about all this is that three stations will be Catholic -- but not catholic -- and without any sense of real solidarity or engagement with its potential audience. It's really quite simple: Rich Catholics in Latrobe will be beaming traditionalist Catholics in Birmingham into the ether over Pittsburgh in an expensive exercise of preaching to the choir.

To which none of the "broadcasters" belong. Because they're in Latrobe and Alabama -- or, in K-Love's case, northern California.

AND THAT'S the story in Pittsburgh. It also is the story in communities all across the United States. It may well become the story on Long Island in New York, where the only public station is up for sale and no one knows whether you can outbid K-Love's (or some other religious broadcaster's) fat wallet.

Let me emphasize that I'm not against religious broadcasters -- I used to be one. I'm just saying religious broadcasters suffer from many of the same pathologies that afflict commercial, secular ones. And in some respects, those pathologies are even more pronounced.

As I said earlier, you haven't seen "repeater radio" until you've seen what passes for much of Christian radio nowadays. And I don't know how Christ Channel serves the public interest -- or that of the Almighty -- any better than Clear Channel.

The God we serve sent His only Son -- Who not only was from God but was God -- to live, teach, laugh and weep with His creation . . . and then ultimately to die for His creation.

Jesus never phoned it in when it came to the salvation biz. In this age of "economies of scale," He wouldn't have lasted a second at Christ Channel.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

I hate Iowa Nazis

What the hell do you do when the Nazis are on your "side"?

I don't know. But here's what I do know: If you're a Catholic bishop, and the subject is same-sex marriage and all other manner of hot-button social issues, you don't run around saying things like "We are at war."

"We are at war" + the Catholic Church + Nazis co-opting your natural-law arguments = We are so screwed.

In Pottawattamie County, 31 same-sex couples applied for marriage licenses earlier in the week, but only seven couples had picked them up as of 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

About a dozen black-shirted protesters, who described themselves as members of the National Socialist movement, stood outside the courthouse. The demonstrators chanted slogans and carried a flag with a swastika.

Police monitored the demonstrators, who late in the morning exchanged remarks with some passersby.
ONE NAZI-ETTE, crudely but somewhat correctly, told Omaha's KETV television that "Gay marriage does not secure the existence for any people. You can't procreate with homosexuality. It's genocide to the entire human race."

Well, it would be if more than 5-or-so percent of the human race were homosexuals. But what I wish the reporter had asked the Nazi chick after hearing her scientific musings, however, was whether she was sexually active and using contraceptives.

As Forrest Gump said, "I'm not a smart man." But some things are just "winning hearts and minds" no-brainers. I think the first item on that PR "to-don't list" is Catholics like Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., rolling out the martial rhetoric when blind Nazis may have just found themselves an acorn and muddied it up with hate.

But nooooooooooo. . . .
“Harsh as this may sound, it is true — but it is not new. This war to which I refer did not begin in just the last several months, although new battles are underway — and they bring an intensity and urgency to our efforts that may rival any time in the past.”

“[It]is correct to acknowledge that you and I are warriors — members of the Church on earth — often called the Church Militant. Those who have gone ahead of us have already completed their earthly battles. Some make up the Church Triumphant — Saints in heaven who surround and support us still — tremendous allies in the battle for our eternal salvation; and the Church Suffering (souls in purgatory who depend on our prayers and meritorious works and suffrages).

“But we are the Church on Earth — The Church Militant. We are engaged in a constant warfare with Satan, with the glamour of evil, and the lure of false truths and empty promises. If we fail to realize how constantly these forces work against us, we are more likely to fall, and even chance forfeiting God’s gift of eternal life.”

YES, THE CHURCH on Earth is the Church Militant. Being that militant, in this sense, means something closer to "struggling" and, modern ears being what they are, by the end of the Second Vatican Council the preferred term had become "the Pilgrim Church."

We are not Taliban . . . though one could understand how some unchurched eyes might widen when they see what some folks have done with loose episcopal rhetoric in the never-ending quest for cash in the world of Catholic non-profits.

It should be a no-brainer for every public Catholic -- for every Catholic who professes evangelism as his business -- that the language of traditional Catholicism . . . traditional Christianity is utterly alien not only to the expanding universe of secularism, but also to many within the church. Especially the young.

And we're losing the young. Fast.

We've been fighting the "culture war" for a long time now. We've been fighting the culture war so long and so hard that we've come to justify all manner of "enhanced" methods in its prosecution. Well, except for going out and preaching the gospel of Christ crucified, buried and risen on its own terms.

Then again, it's so much easier to pretend that "gay marriage" is the enemy -- that gays are the enemy -- instead of Satan.

Listen, as even Bishop Finn himself noted above, "We are engaged in a constant warfare with Satan, with the glamour of evil, and the lure of false truths and empty promises.” That is the war we fight, and no other.

For that matter, most of that war rages in our own wicked little hearts. We shouldn't pretend otherwise.

SO WHEN WE TALK about being "at war" with gay marriage (among a host of postmodern social maladies), it just might pay to be trite and ask oneself "What Would Jesus Do?" One thing He didn't do was baptize a thrice-married ex-officeholder and send him out to kvetch about how the Roman Empire "has been the active instrument of breaking down traditional marriage."

Another thing He didn't do was hang out with the most prominent culture warriors of His day. That might be one of the reasons they had Him crucified.

So . . . am I saying we ought to be OK with same-sex marriage? No. While it's really none of my business what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes, it is my business when activists try to remake a millennia-old cultural and sacred institution into something it isn't.

History and my faith tradition tell me that is not going to end well. And all of us, gay and straight, have a vested interest in things "ending well."

CATHOLICS and other Christians have powerful arguments to make concerning same-sex marriage. But those arguments are worthless if we keep incinerating what we have to say in the fiery furnace of our "culture war" rhetoric.

When the most notable difference between Christians and Iowa Nazis on an issue is protesters with crosses vs. protesters with swastikas . . . Rome, we have a problem. As in, "What will the teen-agers say when they realize the Nazis on TV just said what mom, dad and Father say all the time?"

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Trashing the boss is an Idiot's Delight

I'm so happy I didn't make that pledge to one of my favorite radio stations.

Saturday evening, I'm out in the yard, slingblade and shovel in hand, turning a weedy plot into a big vegetable garden. Sitting a few feet away, on an old railroad tie, is a radio, tuned to my little AM transmitter that's pumping the Internet feed of WFUV -- the voice of Fordham University, "The Jesuit University of New York" -- into this weedy little expanse of Flyover Country.

I LIKE WFUV. It, over the years, has become the resting place of some of New York's most legendary FM jocks from the days when FM mattered to a music-loving world. Jocks who dictated how a nation listened to music at legendary stations like WNEW. Jocks like Dennis Elsas and Pete Fornatale, who were later cast off as Corporate America set about killing radio.

Even today, Elsas and Fornatale do some of the smartest music programming on the airwaves . . . or what's left of the airwaves, alas. Saturday, it was Fornatale's wonderful Mixed Bag Radio that kept me company as I turned the earth, by hand, like Nebraskans of old.

And as my back got in touch with every one of my 47 years.

Soon enough, 7 o'clock rolled around -- time for "New York's last freeform DJ," Vin Scelsa, with Idiot's Delight. Little did I know.

The following is verbatim from the archived program:

So we're in Studio V [Scelsa's home studio -- R21], and here at the beginning of the show tonight, I want to acknowledge and celebrate an important judicial decision that was handed down by the state supreme court in California this week -- it's about time. We've got another state now joining Massachusetts, having its highest court say that gay people just have -- have just as much right to marry as anybody else.

Gay people have equal rights in this country! Or at least in the state of California, and the state of Massachusetts. Yes!

We celebrate this -- it's the last bastion of . . . of old thinking that exists still in this country. You know, you read about like, uh, the history of interracial marriage in this country. There was a woman who died recently who, back in the 1950s, was forced to leave her home -- she and her husband. It was a black woman and a white man who grew up in a very interracial, mixed community in the state of Virginia, I believe it was.

And this was back in the 1950s. They got married and were forced to leave their state and told they couldn't come back, and we look at that and we go, "Man, that's absurd,' you know? It seems like the Dark Ages, not the 1950s, but in that sense, the '50s were the Dark Ages. And we still are in the Dark Ages when it comes to gay people and gay rights, and . . . and civil unions don't cut it.

Civil unions is a compromise. Civil unions is appeasement, and we know how we all feel about appeasement.

Until gay men and women have equal rights in this country, there is a big, black cloud hanging over us all.

So, here at the beginning of the show today, we salute California with a little set of traveling music.

[Set of music about California, ending with Judy Garland singing "San Francisco," live at Carnegie Hall, 1961.]

I forgot about that little speech at the end. You can smoke or drink or get married, here in San Francisco or in California. No matter who you are, no matter what you are -- race, religion, gender no longer matter in San Francisco. And this opening set tonight is a celebration of that state supreme court decision that came down in California this week legalizing gay marriage.

Finally, equal rights. Let's hope it sticks.

The governor, Schwarzenegger, says that he will, umm, he will not support any move to battle this decision.

It's the writing on the wall, friends. It's the handwriting on the wall -- it's gonna happen, it's happening slowly . . . it's happening too slowly, but the same thing was true with, with umm, uhh, you know, the civil rights movement back in the '50s and '60's, it happened too slowly. The women's movement happened too slowly, but gradually changes are made, changes are made because the world is changing, people are changing.

Kids, and young generations now, just take it for granted that people love whoever they love. And, and if they want to make a commitment to the person they love, then they should be allowed to make a commitment just like anybody else. It's . . . it's taken for granted by young people. They're . . . they're much hipper and smarter and world, uhh . . . world wise than, uh, so many of their elders.

[Promos, station ID, comes back to list selections in the previous set, then in the middle of the back announce. . . .]

Do you think that most people who are against the idea of same-sex marriage, of gay marriage, have . . . just have never met a gay person? Is . . . is that it? Is that what it comes down to? That they've never met a gay person, that all they know about gay men and women is, uhh, you know the . . . the sort of stereotypes that they see on the TV and the movies?

And . . and in real life they've never . . . a lot of white people have never met a person of color. That's hard to believe here in New York, you know, 'cause we're such a . . . a multicultural city -- and in this whole area of the country. But when you go to other parts of the country, and you can, you know, go for a couple of days and never see anybody who doesn't look white. And that has a lot to do with, with fostering prejudices, you know?

If you . . . if you, if you only have your imagination and the fears that have been instilled -- you've got to be taught. South Pacific is back on the Broadway stage over at Lincoln Center, with that great song . . . 'You've got to be taught to hate and fear, it's got to be drummed in your dear little ear, you've got to be carefully taught.' And then if nothing ever comes along to, to, to shake those things that you were taught . . . to shake them up and make you think differently -- well, then you're not going to think differently.

Oh, don't get me started on this subject. I think I already am started on this subject. I feel adamant. And angry. Because I do know people who are in this situation, people who are discriminated against simply because they love somebody who a certain part of society says is unnatural, and illegal in the sense that, you know, you're not gonna get locked up or arrested or whatever, but you're not gonna have the same rights as the rest of us.

That's absurd! Absolutely absurd! (chuckles)

There's no logical reason for it except that people have been taught this, and they never learn anything different. Arrggh!

But in California this week, there was a victory! And . . . and, and every man and woman in America should celebrate it, not just . . . not just people who are gay. Not just people who are in same-sex relationships, but every man and woman. Because until . . . you know, it's the old cliche: Until we're all free, then, none of us is free. Until we all have the same rights in this country, then none of us has those rights. It's as simple as that.

[Returns to announcing songs in the previous set.]

WELL, IT'S GOOD TO KNOW exactly how big an idiot am I. Exactly what a mean oppressor am I. How narrow-minded am I, as a resident of one of those bucolic hellholes lying outside New York City, where I probably haven't seen a Negro forev . . . never mind, there goes one now.

Likewise, I guess I need to inform a gay friend of mine that he must not be after all, being that I have known him for 20 years and still oppose same-sex marriage -- an opposition that, according to Scelsa, must be rooted in my complete ignorance of homosexuals.

Yea, verily I stand before thee as a hater, for I have been carefully taught. By the Catholic Church.

Well, slap mah mouf and call me Nellie Forbush.

Of course, Vin Scelsa is entitled to his opinion, no matter how ungrounded in natural law or human anthropology. On the other hand, Mr. Scelsa last weekend took a nice little chunk of his program to trash part of the mission statement, as it were, of his employer. You know, the Jesuits. A wholly owned subsidiary of the Catholic Church -- that bigoted bunch of haters who carefully taught the likes of lil' ol' me to hate the poofters, don't you know?

WHICH, TO BE SURE, isn't even true. Nowhere does the Church say to hate anyone. Nowhere does the Church say that same-sex attraction is even sinful.

What the Church does say is that marriage -- defined as the union of a man and a woman for many millennia now -- is "a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring." Same-sex unions not only never have met the "marriage" litmus test but, according to how marriage has been defined throughout all of human history, never can meet that standard.

What the Church also says is that sex outside of marriage is sinful, not to mention societally disruptive. Therefore, while homosexuality is a condition that is neither virtuous nor sinful, it is a disordered condition in regards to how intimate relationships were biologically and sociologically designed to operate. And, therefore, homosexual acts are sinful -- there is no way for them to occur in a morally licit context.

IT WILL BE INTERESTING to see how far gone the Jesuits are -- whether they've gone from mere doctrinal squishiness to out-and-out self-hatred with anti-Church proclivities. Really, are the Jebbies so far gone that they'll tolerate letting their employee use their facilities to trash a fundamental teaching of their Church, and then insinuate they're a bunch of mind-poisoning bigots?

I can't speak for the Jesuits, but let me ask you this: Would you let it slide if you invited someone into your home (or into your employ), only to have the wretched little troll take your money, eat your food, insult your religion and your moral values after having hijacked your PA system?

Me, I think you'd probably sock the sumbitch in the schnoz and throw his ass into the street. That's what I think.

But I guess I could be wrong " . . . because the world is changing, people are changing."

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Goodnight, America. Sleep tight.

It's all over but the fulminating. Gay "marriage" is here to stay.

IT'S IN ALL the papers and on all the news wires. And it's here in the Los Angeles Times:
The California Supreme Court decided today that same-sex couples should be permitted to wed, ruling that gay unions must be given the "respect and dignity" of marriage.

In a 4-3 vote, the court became the first in the country to apply the constitutional protections reserved for race and gender to sexual orientation. The Massachusetts high court struck down bans on same-sex marriage in 2003, but under a different legal theory.

The court held that people have a fundamental right to marry the person of their choice and struck down marriage laws limiting matrimony to opposite-sex couples as a violation of the state constitution's equal protection guarantees.

"One of the core elements embodied in the state constitutional right to marry is the right of an individual and a couple to have their own official family relationship accorded respect and dignity equal to that accorded the family relationships of other couples," wrote Chief Justice Ronald M. George, joined by Justices Joyce L. Kennard, Kathryn Mickle Werdegar and Carlos Moreno.

State laws that have limited gay unions to domestic partnerships "impinge upon the fundamental interests of same-sex couples," George wrote.

Justices Marvin Baxter, Ming Chin and Carol Corrigan dissented.

The court majority "does not have the right to erase, then recast, the age-old definition of marriage, as virtually all societies have understood it, in order to satisfy its own contemporary notions of equality and justice," Baxter wrote.

One hundred people lined up outside the state courthouse in San Francisco at 10 a.m. today to purchase a copy of the decision for $10 apiece. Some people bought 10 to 15 copies, calling it a historic document. One man said he planned to give them out as Christmas presents.

Outside, couples, once denied marriage, hugged, kissed, shouted and shook their fists at the sky. Holding up a sign that says, "Life feels different when you're married," Ellen Pontac hugged her partner, Shelly Bailes.

"The best day of my life was when I met Ellen," Bailes said. "This was as good as that." (An earlier version of this story incorrectly gave Pontac's first name as Helen.)

Added Bailes: "This feels good for us. But I can't imagine what it means for all those young couples with their entire lives ahead of them."

The state high court’s ruling was unlikely to end the debate over gay matrimony in California. An initiative that would amend the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage is expected to qualify for the November ballot.
WE'RE A VILLAGE PEOPLE kind of country, now, and we're not going to hold gay marriage to Massachusetts and California. When the sole standard of what is right and wrong in a nation revolves around "do what thou wilt," any impediment to that is, naturally, discrimination of one sort or another.

Unmoored from the cultural context of the society that birthed it -- and that society's religious underpinnings -- sooner or later the United States Constitution will be used as a battering ram of persecution against religious traditionalists who see gay marriage as a funhouse-mirror image of a holy sacrament entered into by a man and a woman.

Today, we worship the great I AM. Only we're the "I" . . . and the "AM," and it's almost like the original "I AM" never was.

So much so, that I'll bet a majority of you out there have no bloody idea to what -- or to Whom -- I refer.

I know the handwriting is on the wall (a saying of lost patrimony today, no doubt), because I have seen the leaders of tomorrow. To them, the notion that gays can't marry is as offensive as the notion of anti-miscegenation laws and African-Americans sitting in the back of the bus.

AND THE PLACE I have seen those future arbiters of what goes in America is firmly inside the Catholic Church. This is from a January post on this blog:

For years, we have volunteered with our church's youth group. And for a while now, we've been going to the weddings of kids the same age as our ghosts, then watching them have their own children.

So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty
Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There'll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return, we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

I not only cannot improve upon how Joni Mitchell describes the "Circle Game" of life, I -- and my wife -- have been doomed to not fully participate in it. My better half says there's one question she wants to ask Jesus when she dies, being that we live in a country where there's so few children even to adopt because so many parents don't want to be . . . and can make that so.

I'll bet you can guess what that might be.

We live in a society that feels free to take our pain and use it as a weapon to smash the natural law to politically correct bits. In fact, during one youth-group session, we sat there dumbfounded -- and seething -- as a "Catholic" theology professor speculated upon the possible ecclesiastical permissibility of "gay marriage" someday, on grounds that -- hey -- infertile couples can't fulfill the procreative nature of matrimony, either.

A roomful of societally brainwashed Roman Catholic teen-agers nodded approvingly.

I wanted to kill the son of a bitch. Who, naturally -- being a Catholic theologian teaching at a Jesuit university -- was impervious to objections raised on catechetical and natural-law grounds.

IT SEEMS TO ME that American Christians who stubbornly persist in believing all that Biblical crap will come to be persecuted solely because of our own failure to communicate eternal truths to the culture -- and to our children -- in this era of instant gratification.

We have failed -- utterly. We have pandered to the most inane compulsions of popular culture instead of seeking to transform that culture. That's going to bite us in the ass.

Have you ever volunteered with a Catholic youth group and watched in horror as the teen-agers charged with leading prayer for the night -- many of them Catholic-school students -- managed to conduct an entire closing "prayer" without once mentioning God or Jesus? I have.

That's because we are our own gods, and a growing majority of god says "Go for it!" Those who stand astride history yelling "STOP!" are going to get the same kind of treatment most of the Old Testament prophets did.

Not to mention the New Testament Messiah.