Yesterday, and prompted by Ross Douthat’s column, I looked at the growing cleavage within the Republican Party on foreign policy between the libertarian isolationists and the neo-conservative hawks, and why both tendencies take a sound idea and push it too far. Today, in the interest of fairness, I shall consider the foreign policy views of the Democrats. In a word, the Dems are so hopelessly confused on foreign policy, I almost wish they were having the kind of clarifying intellectual fight the Republicans are having. The GOP, at least, is debating ideas. The Dems, and the Left generally, seem to be swimming in hash.
In his weekly blog, Boston's Cardinal Sean O'Malley, OFM Cap wrote about the Church's relations to gays and lesbians with a compassion that is too often neglected by his fellow prelates.
To be clear, O'Malley is a unrelenting in his defense of traditional marraige as any prelate in the country, but he understands first that the hierarchy must place the Church's teachings about sexual issues within the context of the Church's teachings about compassion and human solidarity. He also notes that other pernicious forces such as the increasing frequency of divorce pose as much if not more of a threat to traditional marriage than civil laws that will only affect maybe one percent of the population.
Father Corapi, a former TV-priest at EWTN, has announced he is leaving the priesthood.
His statement speaks for itself.
Hard to imagine a hymn being sung - with harmony no less - as a game of U.Sl football, but at rugby match in Wales, "Guide me Thou, o Great Jehovah," was lustily sung by the entire crowd, many of whom are brandishing cups of beer in their hands. New Evangelization anyone?
(h/t to Rocco)
Over at the New Republic, Jonathan Chait has an important comment about the debate over Medicare and the fear of government "rationing" of health care. He shows how this fear is being stoked to make Medicare look so bankrupt that dire "solutions" like Paul Ryan's privatization plan, seem more necessary.
No side in the debate over Medicare is entirely free from the charge of fear-mongering - and it does not take much mongering to get people afraid. That fear is in direct relation to the deep affection that people have for Medicare. Which is a good thing to remember next time you hear someone denounce "government-run health care."
This morning’s New York Times as an essay by Ross Douthat comparing the foreign policy visions of two Republican rising stars, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. Douthat uses their competing concerns about Libya – Rubio thinks we should be striking harder and Paul thinks we should not be involved at all – to highlight the struggle between the neo-conservative wing of the GOP with its libertarian competition.
During the George W. Bush years, there was virtually complete consensus within the ranks of the GOP. Bush used the fear and anger resulting from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 to abandon his campaign call for a “humbler” foreign policy and to embrace the neo-conservative vision of an armed and active America, re-making the world in America’s image. I had almost written “making the world safe for democracy.” Indeed, there was something of Wilsonian idealism in the neo-conservative vision.
Bad enough that now ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner embarrassed himself so publicly. But, last night on the “Ed Show” on MSNBC the indefatigable leftie host and his guests were at pains to defend Weiner. This morning in the New Republic my friend John Judis also casts aspersions on those Democrats who failed to rally around Weiner. I am all for personal loyalty, but this is ridiculous.
It is true that Weiner, so far as we know, broke no laws. And, if the scandal had not involved photos, he might have survived, as Sen. Vitter from Louisiana survived revelations that he had purchased the affections of prostitutes, which is actually against the law.
In a move that no doubt reflects the rising number of evangelical Latinos swelling their ranks, the Southern Baptist Convention, long one of the most conservative religious bodies in the country, endorsed a resolution calling for undocumented workers to be given a "path to citizenship" as a part of comprehensive immigration reform.
"I think Southern Baptists understand it’s just not politically viable to send an estimated 12 to 15 million undocumented immigrants back where they came from," Rev. Paul Jimenez, chairman of the SBC’s resolutions committee, told The Associated Press. "It’s not humane either."
Here is some political cover for any Republican presidential candidate who wants to re-frame the immigration debate along the lines long suggested by former President George W. Bush. It is political suicide to alienate the fastest growing demographic in the country over the long haul, but it may be immediate political suicide to tackle the issue in the GOP primaries. It will take courage to do so. Let's see if any such courage is forthcoming.
What happened to the debate on “Faithful Citizenship” at the USCCB meeting in Seattle? Perhaps, dealing with the Dallas Charter was enough contentiousness for one meeting. But, the debate on Faithful Citizenship will happen and it is vital that the bishops get it right.
Faithful Citizenship is the statement the bishops issue every four years before a national election. It examines the principal moral issues facing the nation. It speaks to the need for Catholics to form their consciences, not just invoke them. The document continues to articulate the Church’s on-going concern for human life, dignity, justice and peace. Taken in toto, it is a fine document and the USCCB has developed a bunch of catechetical aids for pastors, teachers and parents, all available at a very well done website.
It is always a good thing for a culture to consider how it is viewed by others. What do Europeans, or the Chinese, or the Canadians, really think of us Americans? This is true for the press too.
I have now come across a French website that looks at the press, including the American press, written by Antoine de Tarle, long-time editor of L'Ouest France and former president of French Catholic Television. Let me confess a bias. I met Antoine in the early 1990s and whenever he is in Washington, we go to Mass and break bread. He is a lovely man but, more importantly for blog readers, he is an endlessly perceptive man. Check out his site.