Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rev. Scott Pilarz, S.J., named as next Marquette University president

From a University press release.

Like everybody else, we are trying to figure out what sort of President he will be. The standard PR fluff shows him to be a good fund raiser who built a lot of buildings at Scranton.

We do note that he signed a statement emphatically rejecting a call by some leftist academics to boycott the State of Israel and Israeli scholars. Father Wild and Marquette are conspicuously missing from that statement.

Is Pilarz committed to the Catholic mission of universities like Marquette? The record shows he sometimes clashed with Scranton Bishop Martino, but Martino himself appears to have been rather abrasive and aggressive.

The University of Scranton did assure Bishop Martino that “Condoms are not available on our campuses and our student health services and centers do not provide oral and other forms of contraception.” That, of course, could be a bit of an evasion.

A search of the web site of the Cardinal Newman Society doesn’t show the University of Scranton to be one of the universities that that conservative Catholic organization finds flouting Catholic teaching.

However the University of Scranton ran afoul of the new Bishop (Joseph Bambera) for an “inclusion initiative” that invited a pro-abortion speaker (one Sara Bendoraitis) to campus. It seems that at Scranton, as at Marquette, “inclusion” applies only to suitably politically-correct views. Pilarz released a mealy-mouthed statement defending the “inclusion initiative” but also claiming “I want to make clear that the University does not endorse views or positions of speakers when such views are contrary to our mission and to the teaching of the Catholic Church.”

The truth, of course, is that the liberal bureaucrats who arrange these programs do endorse the views of pro-abortion and pro-homosexuality speakers. Much as Fr. Wild has done at Marquette, Pilarz has given them a free rein to promote their agenda at Scranton. Indeed, he has largely bought into their agenda. Under the guise of providing a “safe place” for GLBTQ students, and combating “homophobia,” Scranton, like Marquette, has pretty much said “forget Catholic teaching about homosexuality.”

If pushed to the wall, as Fr. Wild was in the case of Jodi O’Brien, would he stand up for the University’s Catholic mission, or cave? The truth is that we don’t know. But we will learn, hopefully not the hard way.

Labels: ,

Friday, August 27, 2010

Atheist George Soros Funds Faux “Evangelicals”

From the Weekly Standard:
For nearly 30 years Richard Cizik represented the National Association of Evangelicals in Washington, D.C. During the George W. Bush administration, he tilted increasingly left and embraced global warming as his iconic issue. A Vanity Fair magazine spread admiringly portrayed him walking on water, just like Jesus. But in December 2008 Cizik stepped too far by endorsing same-sex unions during an interview with Terry Gross NPR. He was forced to resign from NAE.

This summer, Cizik was back with Gross on NPR. He has created a left-leaning New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good. Initially after his NAE departure Cizik was affiliated with Ted Turner’s United Nations Foundation. Then he became a fellow at George Soros’s Open Society Institute, concurrent to his creating the new liberal evangelical group. With Gross, Cizik was unrepentant about his evolving views on same-sex unions, and possibly marriage. And he was very grateful to the left-wing billionaire philanthropist who made his fall from NAE a soft bump.
Of course, Cizik is a rather open leftist who has made no secret of his Soros funding.

More interesting, and a much more important figure on the religious left is Jim Wallis.
Sojourners activist Jim Wallis, who, if his boasts are accurate, has been the chief Evangelical Left chaplain to the Obama administration, has reluctantly admitted that he too has benefitted from Soros’s largesse. In recent years his Sojourners group has received at least $325,000 from Soros’s Open Society Institute. While Cizik lacks a popular following, Wallis writes best selling books like “God’s Politics,” is a sought after campus speaker, and was arguably the chief point man in 2008 for biting a slice out of typically overwhelmingly evangelical support for Republicans.

Unlike Cizik, Wallis was grudging in his admission of a Soros connection. Cizik over the years has shifted from right to left, so his affiliation with Ted Turner, and then Soros, seem natural. Wallis began as a campus radical with the Students for a Democratic Society, touted the Sandinistas during the 1980s, and denounced Clinton for signing Welfare Reform in 1996. But over the last decade Wallis has reinvented a new, cuddlier image as the graying, post-ideological prophet who shuns temporal political labels. When evangelicals became an especially key constituency during the George W. Bush years, Wallis rediscovered and advertised his evangelical roots, though he generally avoids theological self-revelation and describes his evangelical beliefs in political terms. Appealing to evangelical colleges and suburban mega-church yuppies, Wallis probably prefers not to become known as George Soros’s favorite evangelical activist.

Until recently, the Open Society Institute’s website openly listed its grants to Wallis: $200,000 grant in 2004, $25,000 in 2006, and $100,000 in 2007. World magazine editor Marvin Olasky was the first publish to Wallis’s Soros funding in July, while asking the self-professed “non-partisan” Wallis to be more transparent about his work and ideology. Olasky also quoted Wallis from 2005: “I know of no connections to those liberal funds and groups that are as direct as the Religious Right’s ties to right-wing funders.” And Olasky noted that Wallis’s Sojourners group, during Wallis’s transformation into the purported voice of centrist evangelicals tired of Republicans, had climbed from receipts of $1,601,171 in 2001-2002 to $5,283,650 in 2008-2009, as, in Olasky’s words, “secular leftists have learned to use the religious left to elect Obama and others.”

Wallis responded angrily to Olasky’s revelations of Soros funding. “It’s not hyperbole or overstatement to say that Glenn Beck lies for a living,” Wallis fumed about another recent nemesis in early August to Patheos, a Christian website. “I’m sad to see Marvin Olasky doing the same thing. No, we don’t receive money from Soros. . . . Wallis insisted: “So, no, we don’t receive money from George Soros. Our books are totally open, always have been. Our money comes from Christians who support us and who read Sojourners.” He urged his interviewer: “So tell Marvin he should check his facts, and not imitate Glenn Beck.”
But what about the online listing that showed money from Soros going to Wallis
Evidently after proof of the Soros grants appeared online (despite the Open Society Institute’s having removed the original links), Wallis had his public relations staffer follow up with Patheos with a confession: “I should have declined to comment until I was able to review the blog post in question and consulted with our staff on the details of our funding over the past several years,” Wallis explained. “Instead, I answered in the spirit of the accusation and did not recall the details of our funding over the decade in question.” Wallis denied that Sojourners is “beholden to funders on the political left” and instead promotes “biblical social justice.”
Of course, as is obvious to anybody who has been paying attention, “social justice” is simply a euphemism for a leftist political agenda.

Somehow “social justice” does not include letting people keep most of the money they work for and earn. It doesn’t include school choice. It doesn’t include protecting the unborn. It doesn’t include protecting the religious freedom of Christians (although it’s gung ho about the religious freedom of Muslims and atheists).

It includes only stuff that’s part of the standard liberal agenda, and indeed includes virtually all of the standard liberal agenda.

Nobody has a trademark on the label “evangelical.” Thus anybody can use the term to try to bamboozle people who want to vote for candidates who share the values of Christians, and support issues that embody those values.

But it’s a fundamentally dishonest exercise. And if it ever worked, it’s not going to work much longer.

What Soros has done would be quickly recognized as a dirty trick in any political campaign. Imagine a Republican candidate recruiting people to pretend to be liberal Democrats and then start attacking his opponent from a “liberal Democratic” perspective. This, in fact, is no different from what atheist Soros has done.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

On the “Ground Zero Mosque”

We left a comment on Rick Esenberg’s blog that we think deserves posting here about the “Ground Zero Mosque” (actually a Muslim community center that includes a mosque).

We are all for property rights, so we think you can do anything you want with property you own unless you cause palpable harm to somebody -- reducing their property values, for example.

But we can’t help noting that if it was a Wal-Mart that somebody wanted to establish, liberals would be fighting it tooth and nail.

If somebody proposed a project that was claimed to be offensive to blacks, or gays, or “women” (meaning feminists) or indeed Muslims, nobody on the left would be lecturing anybody about “tolerance.”

Or maybe they would be saying that “tolerance” requires you defer to the sensibilities of some politically correct group.

But the 9/11 victims don’t seem to be a politically correct group.

So liberals, quit lecturing people on tolerance. You feel no obligation whatsoever to tolerate anything that you happen to dislike, and everybody knows you feel no such obligation.

And while you are at it, quit talking about “freedom of religion.” Somehow, that’s not a concept you are big on when the issue is Christians. So we are not impressed when you all of a sudden start touting it when the issue is Muslims.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

And Of Course We Know Who Pays

Friday, August 20, 2010

Our Yuppie President

From Victor Davis Hanson, a discussion of stereotypes of various presidents, and of one that is most certainly fair.
For Obama, the stereotype is one of a distant, cool, rather narcissistic yuppie.

Yuppism, remember, is not definable entirely by income or class. Rather, it is a late-twentieth-century cultural phenomenon of self-absorbed young professionals, earning good pay, enjoying the cultural attractions of sophisticated urban life and thought, and generally out of touch with, indeed antithetical to, most of the challenges and concerns of a far less well-off and more parochial Middle America.

For the yuppie male, a well-paying job in law, finance, academia, or consulting in a cultural hub, hip fashion, cool appearance, studied poise, elite education, proper recreation and fitness, and general proximity to liberal-thinking elites, especially of the more rarefied sort in the arts, are the mark of a real man.

For Obama, all the self-referencing about his black heritage and his tough community organizing, the publicly shared confessions about his absent father, the Chicago “bring a gun to a knife fight” tough talk, and the “cool” manner of shooting hoops cannot quite erase the image of an aloof, whiny urban professional of the sort who likes having nice things and kicking back, has not a clue about the lives of the middle and working classes, and heretofore has worried mostly about his own upward mobility.

In that context, for the Obamas, if there were not a Martha’s Vineyard or Costa del Sol, such places would probably have to be invented. Barack Obama — the son of a Ph.D. and a Harvard-educated economist, graduate of a Hawaii prep school, replete with Ivy League education, stylish digs in a good Chicago neighborhood, properly tamed and presentable radical social circles, and the requisite power-couple marriage — appreciates the ambiance of a vacation spot: Who goes there and why, and what others will say and think, alone matter. Otherwise, the sun and surf at Pismo Beach would do just as well.

During the campaign, numerous critics highlighted what we can legitimately call Obama’s yuppie problem — especially after the good times ended with the September 2008 meltdown, and a frazzled public wanted a president who would symbolically appreciate their ordeal. Instead, Obama wondered out loud about the price of arugula. He could not bowl a lick (but foolishly tried), and he scoffed at the gun-owning, white churchgoers of rural Pennsylvania as hopeless clingers, just the sort you would not want to meet at a Bill Ayers book-signing party in Hyde Park.

The media were of no help. So desperate were most reporters and commentators for an Obama presidency (and so insular themselves, as yuppies par excellence) that they naïvely assumed that being half black ipso facto gave one street cred — race alone in some warped sense providing working-class authenticity. After all, how could anyone who mimicked the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s hood cadences be tagged as a yuppie?

The media labored mightily to ignore Obama’s inability to incite passion and to “connect” with the American people. Golfing, complete with polo shirt and shades, was no longer an aristocratic distraction, but now something analogous to the fellas shooting baskets. Celebrity nights at the White House were really the cultured return of a dignified Camelot. Vacations at the in-spots were authentic antidotes to presidential stress, unlike the staged “down on the ranch” chainsawing of Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush. (The media were wise enough not to expect Barack Obama to try a photo-op chainsawing some limbs.)

All in vain. It has been 19 months now, and a NASCAR-savvy public knows a yuppie when it sees and hears one. Obama has never lived in the path of unchecked illegal immigration, with all its attendant social and cultural ripples; instead, he has lived where even murmuring “Close the borders” is considered Neanderthal. So he foolishly sues Arizona when 70 percent of America wants to emulate the state.

Typical of the yuppie elite, Obama judges administrative talent by Ivy League certification, not business or entrepreneurial experience in the school of hard knocks. A Harvard Ph.D. is always worth far more than an autodidact, jack-of-all trades entrepreneur who created a successful company from scratch. And that shows.

“Green” — as in the now-worn trope “millions of green jobs” — becomes almost a religious mantra, divorced from practical worries during a recession. For a jet-setting Obama, the idea, even the symbolism, of cap-and-trade, not its messy details amid a recession and national insolvency, is what counts.

Hypocrisy is an important attribute of yuppies, safe in the “right” urban and suburban enclaves, and thus free to pontificate in the abstract about the sort of life they studiously avoid in the concrete. Yuppies like teachers’ unions for our children; but they send their own children to charter, private, or prep schools where teaching excellence and results (defined by getting kids into the top private universities) matter.

Yuppies preach racial and class ecumenicalism, but they usually associate with their own kind. Yuppies compensate for their lack of physicality through hyper-expressions of gym- and sport-induced fitness. Put Obama in a pickup truck scrounging for voters, and in comparison Dukakis’s tank ride would seem like George Patton in a Sherman. Reagan knew how to use a Weed Eater; Obama would worry about machine-induced allergies and cite studies on hearing damage.

The earthier David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel are in a dilemma. They know now that the public has caught on, and that they must manufacture an empathetic First Couple, who in times of severe recession understand what the middle and working classes are going through. But they also know that nothing in Obama’s own prep-school, Occidental, Columbia, Harvard, Chicago Law School, Annenberg Foundation past would have imparted such a feel for blue-collar folks. (He is no Bill Clinton, whose studied yuppism was an escape from, and a conscious veneer over, a real trailer-park genesis.)
Our last post was entitled “Our Anti-American President.” And of course, one key characteristic of yuppiedom is belief that one is worldly and cosmopolitan, above narrow patriotism.

But of course, priding oneself on one’s cosmopolitanism is in fact a form of parochialism. True sophistication is not arrogant, not intent on asserting distance from ordinary Americans, and willing to be patriotic.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Our Anti-American President

From Peter Kirsanow on National Review’s “The Corner:”
President Obama’s statements regarding the proposed Ground Zero mosque are the latest in a series of indicators that we are at a very peculiar pass: We have a president who doesn’t get America. For the first time in history we have a president whose default setting is in opposition to the general sensibilities of the American people. His behavior too frequently suggests that he’s playing a cosmic joke on Americans’ essential decency, considered patriotism, and belief in American exceptionalism.

You don’t need to have been a lecturer in constitutional law like Obama to know that the mosque’s backers have a right to build at Ground Zero. Polls show that Americans overwhelmingly acknowledge that right. But unlike the president, when his fellow Americans think of the construction of a mosque on Ground Zero, their view doesn’t begin and end with the First Amendment and local zoning ordinances. Rather, their view is of images that the mainstream media has done their best to airbrush out of our collective consciousness: Americans leaping out of windows and plunging — seemingly interminably — to their deaths to avoid incineration; first responders pulling charred remains from the smoking rubble of the collapsed towers; New Yorkers searching frantically for evidence that loved ones escaped the horror. That Obama, as the leader of the nation, fails to recognize that the situation calls for more than a sophomoric analysis that could be rendered by any first-year law student is disquieting.

As Dorothy Rabinowitz has noted, Obama’s alienation from the citizenry is just beginning to be more broadly revealed, but has been on display since the 2008 campaign.The media either failed to report it or chastised anyone who dared notice. When some remarked about Obama’s refusal to do something as simple as wear a flag lapel pin, they were pronounced unsophisticated and jingoistic. Obama’s casual stance during the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner” was declared a triviality. When Reverend Wright was caught shouting ” G–damn America!” those who wondered whether Obama’s 20 years in Wright’s pews might suggest ideological concurrence were dismissed as alarmist. When some expressed concern that Obama might agree with his wife that America is a “downright mean country” and that perhaps he, too, for the first time in his adult life, was proud of his country, they were told to grow up.

Then Obama’s association with Bill Ayers emerged and the mainstream media closed ranks and refused, as long as they could, to even report it. And when Obama expressed unalloyed contempt for Midwesterners who “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment,” a phalanx formed to assure the public of his pure intentions.

There were other instances throughout the campaign and first months in office suggesting that for Obama, multiculturalism trumps national unity and moral relativism supersedes cultural confidence. His serial apologies for America, embrace of America-hating Hugo Chávez, and supplication to foreign thugs are consistent with a “blame America first” mentality that may be unremarkable for a political science professor but is toxic for the leader of the greatest nation in history.
And that is the point.

The fundamental problem of Obama is simple: he thinks like a college professor. He is the same sort of elitist, and has the same sense that he and his friends ought to be free to rule the country.
But perhaps most emblematic of Obama’s self-identification was his proud declaration, before a vast crowd in Berlin, that he is a “citizen of the world.” Most Americans believe that that world would be a much darker place without the United States of America. And they would be pleased if their president could express that belief without being patronizing, self-referential, or defensive.

But to do so, it’s helpful to get America and Americans.
Obama, to put it simply, is part of a culture that is alien, and alienated from America and Americans.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Gay Fascism: Disrupting Pro-Traditional Marriage Rally

From the Daily Caller, a story that clarifies who are the real bigots in the debate over gay marriage.
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is traveling around the country on a month-long tour promoting traditional marriage. The “Summer for Marriage Tour 2010: One Man One Woman” is targeting some of the key battleground areas in the ongoing debate over gay marriage.

While tour participants have been peaceful, gay rights activists at a couple stops have responded with venom, according to Brian Brown, president of the NOM.

Last Saturday, the tour stopped in Albany, New York and last Sunday in Providence, Rhode Island. In both places, Brown said, marriage advocates were besieged by gay rights protesters.

In Albany, activists surrounded the NOM crowd — carrying rainbow umbrellas and wearing red shirts that said “see my love” — and pushed their way onto the stage, as seen in a YouTube video provided by the NOM. There were also reports of individual incidents of intimidation, including harassment of a nursing mother, a verbal threat to kidnap a participant’s child, and garden variety name calling.

“Their goal was intimidating my family, me, and my three small children,” a nursing mother said on the YouTube video of the event provided by the NOM. “I think they did the job.”

In Providence, the protesters got much more out of hand, Brown told TheDC. “I’d never seen anything like it in my life,” he said, “and I’ve been involved in the same-sex marriage issue for years…Ive been in the heart of these debates and at a lot of rallies and have never experienced something like this.”

During the Providence rally at the state’s Capitol building, an estimated 150 protesters surrounded the rally of nearly 250, shaking rocks in bottles to make loud noises, according to Brown. Brown said the protesters then entered the crowd shouting in the faces of the marriage supporters. Several even rushed the stage during Brown’s speech.

“As I was speaking, three protesters jumped in front of the podium and started screaming in my face as I was trying to speak,” Brown said. “This is the face of tolerance, they say they want tolerance, but look at how they act when they are confronted with ideas they do not agree with.”

The gay rights activists did not just harass the adult participants. According to Brown, children at the rally were also targets of the verbal vitriol as gay rights activists reportedly called the children names and taunted them, using such language as: “Are mommy and daddy raising you to be a little bigot” or “is mommy a bigot?”

“I’ve never seen this kind of hate and border-line violence, I mean going after children? Making them cry? I’ve never seen it before,” Brown said.

“We need to confront this hate with love and respect,” Brown continued. “People were scared and I was really worried something dangerous would occur. These people were just so mad and screaming so loudly I was concerned it could get physical.”

The Capitol police eventually called in the State Highway Patrol to help restore order. No arrests were made.
The interesting thing is that that this happened, but that you almost certainly have not seen it in the media. It just doesn’t fit the liberal template.

Of course, the fascists who disrupted the rallies did not represent all gays and lesbians. But then Fred Phelps and his little band of bigots are much less representative of Christians than the disrupters are of gays.

There is indeed an ugly fascist wing of the “gay righhts” movement, and it not some tiny fringe. Indeed, it has been visible here on the Marquette campus when the President of the Gay/Straight Alliance claimed that Jesuits would not allow an anti-gay marriage speaker on campus, since opposition to gay marriage is “hate speech.” The person in question (Jess Cushion) made it clear that she though such speakers should be banned from campus.

So the sort of gay activists who would shout down and shut up speech they dislike are not just a little fringe. But you will never see them in the Mainstream Media.

Labels: , , , , ,