Thursday, March 31, 2011

Alternative To Overpriced Union Food

Right in front of the Raynor Library today was a food cart.

And this is the operation that had it there.

Whether they come out depends on the weather, but usually their Facebook page will say.

Pretty good Gyro, and the price for it and a soft drink and chips was $5.00.

Marquette Statement on SNAP Protest/Wild Sex Abuse Scandal

We broke the story locally (it was first published in the New York Times), and it has taken some time for it to get some traction.

But the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests had a press conference yesterday, and called for an apology from Fr. Wild.

Here is their press release:
Marquette University President Fr. Robert Wild left nation’s most prominent priest pedophile in ministry

As Jesuit provincial between 1985 to 1991, Wild concealed Fr. Donald McGuire’s criminal history, left him unsupervised

McGuire, prosecuted in Wisconsin and now in Federal prison, went on to molest children for another decade

Group again urging Jesuits officials to “come clean” about their child molesting clerics

WHAT

At a sidewalk news conference survivors of childhood sexual abuse by clergy will release and discuss new secret church documents that show that Fr. Robert Wild, President of Marquette University, concealed the crimes of Fr. Donald McGuire during his tenure as Provincial of the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). After remarks survivors will attempt to hand deliver a letter to Fr. Robert Wild urging him to:
--publically apologize to victims of pedophile priest Fr. Donald McGuire and their families for his failure to remove McGuire from the priesthood, report McGuire to the police, and alert the public of McGuire’s criminal history against children,

--provide to the Marquette community, to Catholics and the public, a detailed account of his involvement, and those of his colleagues in the Chicago Province, in the decades long cover up of Fr. Donald McGuire’s sexually abusive history and the withholding of key documents to law enforcement officials during McGuire’s 2006 Wisconsin prosecution,

--Join victim/survivors and insist that Jesuit officials immediately create a public registry of all Jesuits in the Wisconsin, Chicago and other provinces who have substantiated reports of sexual abuse of children.
WHO

3-4 members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims, including the group’s longtime Midwest Director.

WHERE

Outside the entrance of Zilber Hall, Marquette University, 1250 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee

WHEN

Wednesday, March 30, 11:30 a.m.

DOCUMENTS

The complete Jesuit and court documents, along with victim testimony, will be posted on the Boston based online research archive, BishopAccoutability.org at this link: Jesuits and Donald McGuire SJ A Management History

WHY

A new child sex abuse lawsuit filed in Chicago yesterday containing hundreds of never before seen church documents and depositions of top Jesuit officials, including current Marquette University President Fr. Robert Wild, show a pattern and practice of four decades of cover up by the Jesuit order concerning one of the nation’s most infamous pedophile priests.

The Jesuits are the largest Catholic religious order in the world, their high schools and universities some of the most elite educational institutions in the United States.

The priest whose child sex crimes Wild is shown to have concealed in the new documents is Fr. Donald McGuire, one of the most infamous priest sex offenders in US history. According to the documents, McGuire, now age 80, was known by Jesuit officials to have sexually assaulted children or been engaged in sexual misconduct for almost four decades. During this time, McGuire skyrocketed to fame as a spiritual advisor to Mother Theresa and the nuns of her international religious order.

In 2006, McGuire was found guilty of multiple counts of child sex assault in Walworth County, Wisconsin. In 2009 he was convicted on federal charges in Illinois for taking children across state and international boundaries to sexually assault them. Today McGuire is serving a 25 year sentence.

Wild, currently the President of Marquette University, served as the head of the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits from 1985 to 1991, during which time he assumed responsibility for McGuire and other Jesuit sex offenders.

When Wild assumed responsibility for McGuire in 1985, the Jesuits had already documented numerous reports of sexually assaulting children and sexual misconduct by McGuire spanning nearly 20 years. Not only had McGuire been secretly fired from two posts, including Loyola Preparatory Academy in Chicago, when Wild became his direct supervisor, McGuire had just been banned permanently from working or living in the archdiocese of Los Angeles and returned to Chicago.

While under Wild’s supervision, McGuire continued his prolific criminal assaults of children, unabated, recruiting victims from devout Catholic families from Illinois and around the United States. McGuire, a leading Jesuit retreat master, frequently used the Catholic confessional practice to commit his crimes, and his connection with Mother Theresa to gain the trust and confidence of scores of devout and unsuspecting parents and youngsters.

Wild assigned McGuire to Canisius House, a Jesuit community in Evanston Illinois in 1987, despite his sexual abuse history, where McGuire launched his worldwide retreat ministry, traveling the world unsupervised, often accompanied by children.

In 1991 Wild received a report from Brother Ricardo Palacio, a retreat director in California, who was alarmed that McGuire was conducting a youth retreat at his center and concerned about inappropriate behavior with a youngster. Wild, according to the testimony under oath by Palacio, informed Palacio by phone that the Jesuits had previous reports on McGuire’s sexual misconduct with children.

Despite Palacio’s testimony, Wild said in a 2009 deposition that there were no documents concerning McGuire in his Jesuit file and that he created his own “confidential” file for McGuire in 1991. Court documents support Palacio’s and not Wild’s claim.

This is not the first time Jesuit officials may have mislead the courts about abuse documents in McGuire’s file. During McGuire’s Wisconsin prosecution in 2006, Jesuit attorneys wrote Walworth County District Attorney Phil Koss that “we have very little with respect to Father McGuire, failing to mention any of the thousands of pages of documents that the Jesuits possessed directly related to allegations reported against McGuire over a period of 40 years.

Although Wild suggested to McGuire he stop traveling with children for “his prudent protection,” a suggestion McGuire obviously ignored, at no time did Wild report McGuire to police, warn parents or families of McGuire’s history, conduct or order a Jesuit investigation into McGuire’s behavior. As a result, McGuire went on to sexually assault more children for at least another decade.

SNAP official last week in Milwaukee released documents showing that another Jesuit priest with a prior history of sexual misconduct, Fr. Perry Robinson, had only last month been secretly removed from ministry. The group, which charge the Jesuits with an “appalling lack of transparency and accountability” concerning sex offenders like Robinson and McGuire, will be calling on Wild directly to join them in urging a “new era” of openness and public safety” by immediately publishing a registry of all known Jesuit sex offenders. The Jesuits have released no information concerning the number, identities, or current and past assignment histories of clerics who have assaulted children.

Wild will be retiring as Marquette’s President later this year.
Marquette has responded with this statement:
Statement re: SNAP news conference

Today’s news conference by SNAP is the subject of ongoing litigation involving the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus. These events took place prior to Father Wild’s 15-year tenure as Marquette University’s president. Any inquiries regarding this litigation should be directed to Jeremy Langford, Communications Director for the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus, at 773-975-6363.

As a Catholic and Jesuit university, Marquette University fully supports the protection of any victims of sexual abuse. Next week, the Marquette University Law School’s Restorative Justice Institute annual conference is on the topic of “International Dialogue on the Clergy Sexual Abuse Scandal,” which will include discussions with both church officials and victims. For more information on the conference, please visit go.mu.edu/RJIconference.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Marquette Warrior Blogger Harassed by Provost John Pauly

We’ve been pretty critical of various Marquette officials on this blog, so it wouldn’t be surprising to get some pushback. We’ve particularly been critical of Provost John Pauly.

Pauly was the key figure behind the attempt to hire activist lesbian dean candidate Jodi O’Brien. But even worse is the fact that Pauly initiated a policy of putting more classes at 8:00 a.m. This was vastly unpopular with both students and faculty, but Pauly claimed that was necessary to better utilize Marquette’s physical plant, and claimed that the choice was between offering more 8:00 a.m. classes and building new buildings.

We showed that this claim was bogus. A little research turned up the fact that there were plenty of classrooms available at 9:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., and this without any pressure to move classes to 8:00 a.m.

When our blog post circulated around the campus, Pauly simply doubled down on his plan, producing a PowerPoint presentation that supposedly showed our data were wrong, and surreptitiously showed it to deans and department chairs.

We got wind of this, and did a new analysis, taking into account all the claims that Pauly had made about our initial analysis, and continued to find many available classrooms at more desirable times. Eventually, Pauly had to cave, and in what must have been a humiliating retreat, rescinded the 8:00 a.m. mandate.

Pushback From Pauly

Thus we were not entirely surprised when we got the following e-mail from Pauly.
Hi, John,

I have asked my assistant, Kim Newman, to set up a meeting between you, me, Barry McCormick, and Phil Rossi. My concern is that the recent case of Anahi Sanchez illustrates some of the ongoing potential conflicts between your role as Marquette professor and employee, and independent blogger-journalist. My hope is that our conversation might clarify some of those role expectations going forward. A half hour should do the trick.

Best wishes!
John Pauly
Provost
The Pretext

So just what was the deal with Anahi Sanchez?

Back in February, we learned that “The Vagina Monologues” is to be performed on campus. A source tipped us off that Marquette performances were listed on the vday.com website. We checked that out, and found that feminist activist Anahí Sánchez was listed as the Marquette contact.

A link on the vday.org website led to her e-mail. So we sent her an e-mail, asking for confirmation, and especially under what auspices the play would be performed. This was an issue in 2007, when Student Affairs refused to let a student group sponsor the play (which is wildly at odds with Catholic teaching about sexuality). But academic units are free to mount whatever programs then want, and thus the Honors Program was the sponsor.

Here is our e-mail:
Sent: Friday, February 18, 2011 9:24 AM

To: Sanchez, Anahi

According to the Vagina Monologues website, there are going to be performances on campus, and you are the contact.

Can you confirm that this is the case?

Under what auspices will the performance be staged (a student organization, Honors Program, etc.)?

Any information you can give me will be appreciated. If you want to call me at 288-3425, I’d be happy to talk.

John McAdams

Department of Political Science
Marquette Warrior Blog
When we hadn’t heard from her in a few hours, we found her home phone number at Peoplefinders.com, and called it. A fellow, sounding to be middle-aged (her father, perhaps) answered and we left a message asking her to call us. We shortly got an e-mail from her:
The Vagina Monologues will be performed on campus through the women of Empowerment.

If you would like to know more feel free to ask me through email or if you feel the need to call me please do so on my cell phone (414) [redacted]. I know you called my home earlier today. I don’t recall putting that information up on the website but if I did that is not correct, so I apologize for that.

Anahí Sánchez

National M.E.Ch.A. Co-chair

Marquette University ‘11
We, of course, were happy with this response, since it clearly implied that she was willing to share information. But we had no information yet, and so put up a post with the information we had.

After learning that Social and Cultural Sciences would sponsor the event, we learned that it had been removed from the vday.com website. So we wrote her again on February 28.
Hi, Anahi,

Could you tell me what the current deal with The Vagina Monologues is? . . . The Marquette performance is not now listed on the Vday website. I’m just trying to do an update on this, and wondering what the deal is.

John McAdams
We got no response. We tried calling her cell phone three (if memory serves) times, but it rang off the hook. So we gave up.

On March 9, we finally got around to putting up another blog post on the event, with the time and date having been gotten from Special Events. But Sánchez appears to have somehow felt aggrieved, since she complained to university officials (and eventually to Pauly), not that she has been harassed, but that she did not know whether we were trying to contact her in our role as a faculty member or our role as a blogger!

Given the innocuous nature of the information we were asking for, a stray person off the street had the right to e-mail her (again her e-mail was listed on the vday.org website). This, it seems, was a sufficient pretext for Pauly to summon us, Political Science Chair Barry McCormick and Interim Arts & Sciences Dean Phil Rossi to his office. The meeting is set up for this Friday, and we will report on it here.

Pauly Is Badly Compromised in Dealing With This


We sent Pauly this e-mail on Monday (2/28) explaining the problem he has:
John,

The problem is that you are badly compromised in dealing with this issue, since I’ve been quite critical of you on my blog. So when this breaks it will look for all the world like you are seizing on some trivial issue as a form of “payback” for the tough time I’ve given you.

That, at least, is the appearance, and appearances matter.

You might also ask yourself whether this would look to anybody like any kind of substantial issue. What you have is one . . . young lady who complains that she didn’t know whether I was making an inquiry as a professor or a blogger. But that didn’t matter. I had a right to ask in either role. Indeed, since she was listed at the Marquette contact for the Vagina Monologues on the vday.com website, a stray person off the street had every right to contact her and ask innocuous questions about the forthcoming performance.

So that’s going to look like a pretext, rather than a problem of any sort.

Clearly you should recuse yourself from this “issue.” If you really think it is an issue, kick it down to Barry and Phil.

You should also call one or two of your former colleagues in journalism, and ask them whether they see any issue here.

Given that you could have simply called me, and we could have talked about this, your e-mails, involving Barry and Phil looks for all the world like harassment.

And if you insist on summoning me over to talk to you three, I can only interpret that as further harassment.

You could just let this drop, or you could just call me, and I’ll be happy to listen to any concerns you have.

Please think about this. Just trying to give some friendly advice.

John

Pauly hung tough, and insisted on a meeting with us, McCormick and Rossi. Remember, on the 8:00 a.m. class issue, Pauly hung tough on an untenable position.

But of course, we don’t know what his position is here. At one point in the e-mail exchange, he implied that our signing the initial e-mail “Department of Political Science/Marquette Warrior Blog” was the issue. Is it all this trivial?

Clearly, blogging is an academic activity, protected by the canons of academic freedom. Many academics have blogs, including those in the Marquette Law School, Mark Johnson in Theology, Matt Wion in Philosophy, and Steve Byers in Journalism. National blogs run by academics include Althouse, and The Volokh Conspiracy.

Virtually all academics have a legitimate interest in public affairs, including the internal politics of the institutions where they work. And blogging is a form of publication, although admittedly more like a newspaper op-ed that an article in a scholarly journal. But academics have a right to academic freedom in writing op-eds and articles for the popular press, as Marquette’s heretical theologian Dan Maguire demonstrates with great frequency.

But university bureaucrats don’t like being criticized, and especially don’t like being criticized by those supposedly “below” them in the hierarchy. We’ll find out, soon enough, what Pauly’s position is.

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Marquette’s Fr. Robert Wild in Scandal

A story we broke in the local market Monday night is getting some traction.

First on WISN-TV, and then in the Journal-Sentinel.

Here is the Wild deposition in the child abuse case involving a Jesuit priest whom Wild supervised in Chicago in 1991.

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What the School Answering Machine Should Say

Another one of those e-mails that is going around.

video

Unfortunately, this didn’t really happen.

But it should have.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Marquette President Fr. Robert Wild Dealt Ineffectively With Chicago Sex Abuse Scandal

From today’s New York Times . . . .
Suit Says Jesuits Ignored Warnings About Priest

By ERIK ECKHOLM

Jesuit leaders in Chicago largely ignored or kept secret numerous reports, spanning four decades, that a prominent priest was sexually abusing teenage boys, lawyers for victims charged on Monday in a motion for punitive damages in a Chicago court. Included in the motion were more than 65 recently obtained church documents and depositions that, the lawyers said, demonstrated “a reckless disregard for the safety of others in the face of repeated reports of sexual misconduct” on the part of Chicago Jesuit leaders. The former priest, Donald J. McGuire, now 80, was convicted on several counts of sex abuse in state and federal courts in 2006 and 2008, and is serving a 25-year federal sentence.
Skipping down in the article:
On his return from Europe in the 1960s, Father McGuire was assigned to live and teach at Loyola Academy, a high school in Wilmette, Ill. Two boys stayed with him in his room for about two years each, where he constantly abused them, according to the 2006 trial. In 1969 the second of those boys, then 15, ran away and described the abuse to his parish priest, who contacted the Jesuit president of the academy. The school responded by removing Father McGuire, but, according to a letter released on Monday, publicly described his departure as a “sabbatical.” In 1991, in another of the many warnings revealed on Monday, the director of a retreat house in California reported to the Chicago Province’s leader that Father McGuire was traveling with a teenage boy from Alaska and sharing a bed with him, and that the boy’s mother had called to express her concern that “her son has in some way changed.” That year, the Chicago Province’s leader, the Rev. Robert A. Wild, imposed the first set of “guidelines” on Father McGuire. In written instructions he said: “I ask that you not travel on any overnight trip with any boy or girl under the age of 18 and preferably even under the age of 21.” But Father McGuire was left to police himself, and Father Wild said in a 2009 deposition that he had regarded the case as “a serious matter” but also “ambiguous.”
Note that Fr. Wild left the post of provincial superior in 1991, so what follows concerns other province officials.
The province sent Father McGuire in 1993 for a psychiatric examination and six months at a treatment center in Maryland — but in the week before he was to report to there, he was allowed to conduct a retreat in Phoenix, where he molested another boy, the documents indicate. As late as 1998, the new documents show, the Chicago provincial wrote a letter of “good standing” for Father McGuire to allow him to minister in a diocese, stating that “there is nothing to our knowledge in his background which would restrict any ministry with minors.” As the reports of abuse accumulated, the Chicago leaders issued one set of restrictions after another on Father McGuire, finally, in 2002, saying he could minister only to nuns in the Chicago region. But none of these directives were enforced, the court motion asserts. Father McGuire was formally removed from the priesthood in February 2008 after a conviction in Wisconsin and after a federal indictment had been issued in Illinois.
Wild’s biography on the Marquette website confirms that he was indeed the Jesuit Provincial discussed in the article. The motion filed with the court contains additional information.

It seems that Wild, when McGuire’s behavior was reported to him, merely questioned McGuire, and failed to consult his personnel file -- which would have shown previous instances of questionable behavior (p. 15).

Further, in the 2009 deposition, Wild denied having heard other reports of sexual misconduct regarding McGuire, but the testimony of other witnesses seems to indicate that he had (p. 16).

The motion asserts that “It is simply impossible to reconcile Fr. Wild’s denial of any knowledge regarding McGuire’s history of abuse with the testimony of Brother [Ricardo] Palacio.”

Nothing in the record suggests that Wild had any evil intent. Rather, he comes across as bumbling and ineffective. But of course, that’s the way he has been at Marquette.

Where this scandal is concerned, he looks no worse than many other Catholic clerics. But neither does he look any better, and if he had acted more responsibly many young boys would have avoided being molested.

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Film on Pope John Paul II to Be Shown on Campus

[Update: as of right now, tickets are still available. The venue has been changed to the Varsity Theater.]

From Marquette University’s News Briefs:
Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and his wife Callista will visit Marquette on Tuesday, March 29.
The Gingriches will present Nine Days that Changed the World, a documentary they produced about Pope John Paul II’s historic visit to Poland in 1979. The 7 p.m. screening of the film in the Tony and Lucille Weasler Auditorium will include a presentation by the Gingriches, followed by a book and DVD signing. Tickets are required and will be available to the Marquette community beginning tomorrow, March 1, with tickets for the general public available after March 15. Tickets can be picked up in the AMU Brooks Lounge. For more information or special needs, contact University Special Events at 8-7431. Limit one ticket per Marquette ID or two tickets per person for the general public. Pope John Paul II’s historic nine-day pilgrimage to Poland in June 1979 created a revolution of conscience that transformed Poland and fundamentally reshaped the spiritual and political landscape of the 20th Century. In Nine Days that Changed the World, Newt and Callista Gingrich, along with a Polish, American and Italian cast, explore what transpired during these nine days that moved the Polish people to renew their hearts, reclaim their courage and free themselves from the shackles of communism. Produced in partnership with Citizens United Productions. The event is sponsored by the College Republicans, International Affairs Society, Knights of Columbus, Les Aspin Center for Government Alumni Council, Phi Alpha Theta, Pi Sigma Alpha and St. Robert Bellarmine Society.

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Don’t Park Illegally in Russia



Just keep watching, he’s going to get the second car.

Hat Tip: Dad29

Friday, March 25, 2011

Marquette to Provide Domestic Partner Benefits to Gay Couples

From the Journal-Sentinel:
Marquette University plans to start offering domestic partner benefits to its employees in 2012, a move that comes about a year after the university’s decision to rescind a job offer to a lesbian candidate caused the campus to erupt in debate.

In a statement sent to the campus Thursday afternoon, Marquette President Robert A. Wild said he’s been wrestling with an idea of offering the benefits that would provide services for gay and lesbian employees for years.

University officials said the timing of the announcement was influenced by votes in recent weeks by the University Academic Senate and the Marquette University Student Government that have urged the university to offer benefits for domestic partners.

“If we are truly pastoral in our application of the Jesuit principle of cura personalis, I asked myself if I could reconcile that with denying health benefits to a couple who have legally registered their commitment to each other,” Wild said. In Latin, cura personalis means “care for the entire person.”

Wild noted that the State of Wisconsin gives legal recognition both to marriage for heterosexual couples and to a registered domestic partnership for same-sex couples.
This comes as rather a surprise to us, since we assumed that any action on the plan to support gay unions would come after Wild leaves at the end of this year. We have, of course, reported on the movement by the campus gay lobby to get such benefits.

What’s interesting is the very lame statements made in defense of this policy change. The University Academic Senate and the Marquette University Student Government are invoked as legitimating the move, but in fact both bodies consist of self-selected political activists who are representative neither of the faculty nor of the student body.

Indeed, several members of the Academic Senate expressed, in private conversations, severe reservations about the policy, but nobody had the courage to vote against it, thus it passed with: 26 in favor, 0 opposed, 3 abstained.

Even more bogus is the claim that since the State of Wisconsin recognizes same-sex civil unions, Marquette is somehow obligated to.

In the first place, Wisconsin’s recognition of civil unions is probably unconstitutional, and is now being appealed to the state Supreme Court. In 2006, voters passed the following amendment to the state constitution:
Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state.
While a Democratic legislature and a Democratic governor (Doyle) established a domestic partnership registry, nothing in the legislation they passed imposes any obligation on the private sector to recognize gay unions.

So invoking Wisconsin’s domestic partner registry is merely a smoke screen.

More serious is the claim that not subsidizing gay domestic partnerships would be “denying health benefits to a couple.” In the first place, the gay Marquette employee would get benefits. His or her partner would have to get benefits elsewhere. Homosexual couples are much less likely to have children than straight couples, and the “partner” would likely be working, and quite likely at a place that provides health care.

If not, Marquette faculty are not poor, and the gay couple (likely in a two-income household) might have to buy health insurance. If perchance the gay “partner” of a Marquette faculty member had a very low income, that person would be eligible for Medicaid since, after all, not recognizing the “partnership” means that the gay person with the substantial income is under no obligation to buy insurance for a poor “partner.”

What this represents is nothing less than a wholesale repudiation of the Catholic mission of the university. Marquette is explicitly recognizing and subsidizing sexual unions that Church teaching says are illicit.

The problem, and this afflicts all religious institutions, is that the secular culture of academia generally assimilates colleges that were founded on Christian principles.

Faculty are hired who are . . . well, just average college faculty who are liberal, secular and politically correct.

Administrators are hired who have the same secular values, and feel most comfortable aping the policies of secular institutions.

And there are the bureaucratic imperatives: it’s always easier to cave to interest group demands. And each and every “initiative” to placate some interest group increases the power and the budget of some bureaucratic empire. Thus the Marquette bureaucracy is overwhelmingly liberal and politically correct, and this includes the Provost’s office, Student Affairs, the Campus Ministry, Mission and Identity, the Honors Program, Women’s and Gender Studies and most humanities and social science departments.

Strong leadership at the top might might counterbalance this, but unfortunately Father Wild doesn’t provide that. He has a history of being manipulated by various interest groups, whether it be the Indian tribal leaders on the issue of whether Marquette should use the Warriors nickname, or by Student Affairs on the issue of whether Marquette should recognize the Gay/Straight Alliance.

And this time, he has allowed himself to be manipulated by the campus gay lobby, who raised a fierce hue and cry when Marquette refused to hire Jodi O’Brien. He caved to pressure in refusing to hire O’Brien, and now he feels the need to make amends to the gay lobby, so he caves to their pressure on this.

It takes considerable vision and fortitude to maintain any religious identify at a college or university, and both are missing at Marquette.

[Update]

We have rejected a couple of comments that call people opposed to domestic partner benefits “bigots” and “homophobes.”

It’s terribly revealing that people on the gay side of this issue so quickly resort to such language.

Please, if you are going to leave a comment, make it a civil argument.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

How Much Do You Know About the Geography of the Near East?

A very interesting learning tool about what countries are where.

You probably aren’t very well informed if (for example) you don’t know where Egypt is.

But a lot of pretty well-educated people are going to have trouble with Uzbekistan, Muritania, and places like that.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fascism Comes to Wauwatosa

This from a Town Hall Meeting where Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner appeared with State Senator Leah Vukmir. The audience was irate about Scott Walker’s bill requiring larger teacher contributions to health care and pension plans, and limits on union collective bargaining prerogatives.

Weren’t the teachers such wonderful role models for students?



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Union Thuggery in Outstate Wisconsin

It’s not just Madison and Milwaukee. From the paper in bucolic Rhinelander, accounts of union thuggery.
In the latest attempt to put pressure on those who don’t agree with them, a pro union protester threatened Friday to put a local restaurant “out of business” because the business owner refused to put a pro-union sign in the business’s window.

Friday members of a group called Americans for Prosperity held a rally Friday at Wolff’s Log Cabin Restaurant in Rhinelander. We learned that someone representing one of the unions was also there to protest against Gov. Walker and the pro-Walker group. We were told, and the owners, Dave and Barb Wolff confirmed this, that when the group went into the building the anti-Walker protesters followed and blocked the parking lot. The owner, Dave, went out and asked them to leave room for customers and that’s when someone came up to he and his wife, Barb, and presented them with a union sign and told them to display it in their window. Dave refused and then they were threatened.

Barb asked if they were being blackmailed and the guy told them, “you can call it what you want, but we’re putting you out of business.”

We had this incident confirmed by four other people who were in attendance at the rally and personally witnessed this incident.

Some of these witnesses also told us that after the anti-Walker protesters left, one of those protesters apologized to Dave and Barb for the comments of the other anti-Walker protester.

We’ve heard and seen the signs that pro-union forces want businesses to display in their window “or else.” The “or else” being as the one protester said Friday “or we’re putting you out of business.” They are attempting this all over the state. Part of that effort is also, what can only be taken as a threat, is for union members to shop only at the businesses that have the pro-union signs and leave those who do not have the signs a little card that says something to the effect that union money was being spent there.

This is just another example, as I have said in an earlier column, where the bullies in this area are used to getting their way and they will use whatever force they can to do so even if it means putting a local couple out of business who were merely using their freedom of speech and who even allowed the anti-Walker protesters to be on the business’s property.
Of course, we want to be clear that there is nothing inherently wrong with using boycotts as a political weapon. Liberals have done it, and conservatives have done it.

But one is allowed to believe that one sort of boycott (say, by the civil rights movement against businesses that discriminated against blacks) was justified, and another (against businesses that have a difference of opinion about Scott Walker’s policies) isn’t.

There are differences of opinion about this, and we are stating ours, in the same way we might say there is a right to free speech, and then condemn some particularly noxious things that some bigot might say.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Primer On Public Sector Unions

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Skewed Audience of Wisconsin Public Radio

Those online polls associated with this or that public affairs show are never a good indicator of public opinion, but they are a dandy survey of the opinions of the audience of any particular outlet.

Thus the Joy Cardin show on Wisconsin Public Radio did two such polls, one asking whether Governor Walker or the Senate Democrats should compromise in the current budget impasse, and another about whether the Democrats should continue to boycott the legislature.

The results are just what anybody would expect. Of course, if Fox can be the network for conservatives, why can’t NPR, its state affiliates and PBS be the voice of liberalism? No reason, except that Fox News doesn’t get taxpayer money.

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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Are Those Rich Fat Cats Who Finance Elections Conservative?

From Dad29, and the The Center for Responsive Politics, the real scoop.

In the following chart, the little donkeys and elephants indicate the partisan slant of the contributions of the group. The little fence icon means the group was nearly evenly split between the parties.

These are the top donors, with the figures aggregated for 1989-2010.

(Clicking on the graphic will bring up a larger easy-to-read copy.)

You can follow the Open Secrets link to see the entire list.

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Friday, March 04, 2011

Persecution of Christians in Europe

From the Brussels Journal:
I think it would be useful to begin this article with a brief statement of the facts. Eunice and Owen Johns are an elderly couple from Derby, who fostered a number of children in the 1990s, and who recently offered their services again to Derby City Council. Their offer was rejected on the grounds that, as fundamentalist Christians, they might teach any children in their keeping that homosexual acts were sinful. They took legal action against the Council, arguing that their beliefs should not be held against them. On the 28th February 2011, judgment was given against them in the High Court. The Judges ruled that, where the laws against discrimination are concerned, sexual minorities take precedence over religious believers. Because Mr and Mrs Johns might not remain silent about sexual ethics, there was a danger to the “welfare” of children taken from their homes by the Council.

The Judges insisted that this did not represent a “blanket ban” on the fostering of children by religious believers. There was no issue involved of religious liberty – no precedent being set for wider discrimination by the authorities. It was simply a matter of child welfare. You can read all this for yourself on the BBC website.

I think we can take it as read that the Judges were talking hot air about the nature of the precedent they were setting. There is already a modest but settled ruling class bias in this country against Christianity. This does not extend, so far as I can tell, to Jews and Moslems. But the bias does certainly apply to fundamentalist Christians, especially when it is a matter of what they believe and might say about homosexuality. Yesterday, they were barred from fostering, and perhaps also from adoption. It is only a matter of time before they are barred from teaching. It is conceivable that they will eventually be classed – on account of their beliefs – as unfit parents and will have their children taken away from them. Before that happens, of course, there will be laws against home education, and an inquisition in the schools of what they have been telling their children.
According to the BBC:
Lord Justice Munby and Mr Justice Beatson ruled that laws protecting people from discrimination because of their sexual orientation “should take precedence” over the right not to be discriminated against on religious grounds.
So having a preference for homosexual sex is protected, but believing Christian teachings about sexuality is not.

This is the truth about all anti-discrimination laws. Certain people are “really” protected, and others . . . not so much.

American academia, of course, is Europe.

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Germany: Liberal Theologians = Dying Church

From InsideCatholic.com:
In The Joys of Yiddish, Leo Rosten defined chutzpa as “presumption-plus-arrogance such as no other word, and no other language, can do justice to” and then offered classic examples of chutzpa in action: “Chutzpa is that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan. A chutzpanik may be defined as the man who shouts ‘Help! Help!’ while beating you up.”

Leo Rosten should have lived to experience German Catholic theologians of the early 21st century.

In anticipation of Pope Benedict XVI’s forthcoming visit to his homeland, more than 200 German theologians -- men and women who have earned doctoral degrees in theology and teach in German universities -- have issued a manifesto, “The Church in 2011: A Necessary Departure.” The manifesto itself does not identify the destination for which the Church is to depart, but the terminus ad quem seems reasonably clear from a careful reading of the document: Catholicism is to transform itself into another liberal Protestant sect by conceding virtually every point at issue between classic Christianity and the ambient culture of the postmodern West.

It is, perhaps, no surprise to find German Catholic theologians publicly supporting the ordination of married men and women to the ministerial priesthood (overtly), same-sex “marriage” (slyly), and full communion within the Church for those in irregular marriages (subtly but unmistakably). These causes have been espoused for years. German theologians dissented en masse from the 1993 teaching of Veritatis Splendor on the nature of moral acts and from the 1994 teaching of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis on the Church’s inability to admit women to Holy Orders. What was particularly striking about this new manifesto was its attempt to address serious problems with tried-and-failed solutions. That bespeaks a remarkable lack of intellectual creativity and historical sense.

Thus we are told that the German sexual abuse cases that came to light in 2010 have “plunged the Catholic Church in Germany into an unequaled crisis.” Really? I understand, and in many respects sympathize with, German complaints about the ubiquity of references to the National Socialist period whenever anything German is discussed. But was 2010 really a crisis greater than that in which German Catholicism found itself between Hitler’s 1933 accession to power and Nazi Germany’s defeat in 1945? (Do today’s Catholics face crises of conscience greater than those faced by Count Claus von Stauffenberg or Sophie Scholl?) Moreover, what about the crisis of faith that emptied German churches over the past two generations, such that weekly Mass attendance in urban areas hovers around 5-10 percent?

The manifesto is also notable for its failure to examine academic consciences, an exercise that might have led to more measured assessments of responsibility for the current situation. Do these theologians imagine that they and their teachers bear no responsibility for the “paralysis and resignation” they deplore in German Catholicism? Does German theology’s tendency to treat the Bible as a specimen to be dissected rather than a gift to be studied with a full array of interpretive tools (including the eyes of faith) have nothing to do with today’s crisis of faith in a land whose very language was formed by Luther’s biblical translation? Has the theologians’ bizarre notion that “freedom of conscience” means abject surrender to the sexual revolution in all its demands had nothing to do with the Church’s failures to convert a hedonistic culture?

Few of these academics have any serious or sustained connection to the liturgical or pastoral life of the Church; yet they assume they occupy a privileged position from which to understand what has happened to German Catholicism and how its genuine problems can best be addressed. Why?

Seeking a rousing conclusion to their call to the ecclesiastical barricades, the German theologians advise their fellow Catholics that they should “look to the future with courage and walk on water, like Peter as Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you have fear? Is your faith so weak?’” A question to the professors: Would each of you who believes that Peter walked on water please raise your hand?
There is nothing particularly Catholic about any of this. Rather, it’s what we call the“established church syndrome,” and it most certainly applies to “Mainstream Protestantism” in the United States (which is no longer mainstream).

Relgious organizations that take for granted that a fair number of people will come through the doors (either out of habit, or because they have no choice) lose missionary zeal. They become places where people wanting a cozy sinecure go for a career.

They crave “mainstream” acceptance, which means they shy away from (and soon enough, actively oppose) ideas of which the secular media and secular academia disapprove, such as belief in miracles or Christian views on sexual morality.

Catholicism, of course, is heterogeneous, and parts of the Church have avoided this curse — the campus ministries at Texas A & M and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, for example.

And some parts of the world are producing large numbers of men and women going into religious vocations, a phenomenon that seems to have coincided with the tenure of John Paul II as Pope.

Marquette, unfortunately, resembles Germany more than places where Catholicism thrives. It’s not the fault of the Theology Department, which is reasonably faithful. It’s more the fault of a politically correct Campus Ministry, campus bureaucrats and a heavily secular faculty.

And the fact that students come here socialized more by the mass media than by the Church (and indeed, only a minority of freshmen will now call themselves Catholic) doesn’t help either.

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Thursday, March 03, 2011

Fascism in Madison: GOP Senator Glenn Grothman Chased, Trapped by Hecklers


Kudos to Democratic Representative Brett Hulsey, who saved Grothman from a very threatening situation.

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Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Liberals and Trains: The Real Reason

From George Will, who rehearses the fact that trains are massive financial sink holes, and goes on to explain the cultural and ideological dimension:
Forever seeking Archimedean levers for prying the world in directions they prefer, progressives say they embrace high-speed rail for many reasons—to improve the climate, increase competitiveness, enhance national security, reduce congestion, and rationalize land use. The length of the list of reasons, and the flimsiness of each, points to this conclusion: the real reason for progressives’ passion for trains is their goal of diminishing Americans’ individualism in order to make them more amenable to collectivism.

To progressives, the best thing about railroads is that people riding them are not in automobiles, which are subversive of the deference on which progressivism depends. Automobiles go hither and yon, wherever and whenever the driver desires, without timetables. Automobiles encourage people to think they—unsupervised, untutored, and unscripted—are masters of their fates. The automobile encourages people in delusions of adequacy, which make them resistant to government by experts who know what choices people should make.

Time was, the progressive cry was “Workers of the world unite!” or “Power to the people!” Now it is less resonant: “All aboard!”

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