Archive for DC

Smithsonian bans selfie sticks

From a Smithsonian press release:

For the safety of our visitors and collections, the Smithsonian prohibits the use of tripods or monopods in our museums and gardens. Effective today, March 3, monopod selfie sticks are included in this policy.
This is a preventive measure to protect visitors and objects, especially during crowded conditions.
We encourage museum visitors to take selfies and share their experiences—and leave the selfie sticks in their bags.

Good move and I guess it must’ve become a problem at other museums if not the Smithsonian yet. 

Pro-Abortion Martin O’Malley to run on his “Catholic values” in 2016

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Maryland State Senator James Rosapepe penned a love note to former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley in The Hill last month in hopes of helping O’Malley’s long-shot presidential campaign.

Rosapepe on O’Malley’s ultimately successful attempts to repeal Maryland’s death penalty:

Nothing characterizes O’Malley more for me than that brief conversation. In less than sixty seconds, he showed me the kind of leader he is: principled, progressive, strategic, and skillful.

He knew his Catholic values, had no reservation about expressing them, was focused on the long game — and lobbied with an engaged and respectful touch.

Rosapepe lays more of the groundwork for his theme:

But, as one who has watched O’Malley up close during his years as governor, I find him more interesting and unusual in the modern Democratic Party. He’s a social justice Catholic—or, as some have called him, a Pope Francis Democrat—in the tradition of Mario Cuomo and Robert Kennedy.

Rosapepe also discusses O’Malley offering to house illegal immigrant minors in Maryland last year and sums it up thusly:

That’s the Martin O’Malley I know — acting on the values he learned from his family, from his Jesuit high school teachers, and from his college years at the Catholic University. And acting with the leadership skills of an Irish Catholic Democrat he learned in seven years as mayor of Baltimore and eight years as governor of Maryland.

Rosapepe closes with the following:

O’Malley didn’t do this all by himself. But, with his Catholic social justice values and Irish political skills, he’s led Maryland’s progress for the past eight years. These are the traits he brings to the national stage.

It has always been fascinating to me, even before I became Catholic, that O’Malley touts his Catholic values when it comes to his opposition to the death penalty and ignores Catholic values regarding the murder of the innocent unborn through abortion.

O’Malley also cited his Catholic values and his concern for the welfare of immigrant minors yet his concerns for the welfare of minors in his own state are suspect. He took no action to require minors to get parental consent (or even notification) for an abortion but signed a state law that requires minors to get parental consent to use a tanning bed.

While Rosapepe makes the comparison to Cuomo, who made the case Catholics could pick and choose which doctrines to follow, a more contemporary comparison might be Archbishop Cordileone in San Francisco who recently admonished Rep. Nancy Pelosi:

Responding to statements made by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi–who would not say at her press briefing last week if a 20-week-old unborn child is a “human being”–Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco said that it is a “scientific fact that human life begins at conception” and that “no Catholic can dissent in good conscience” from Church teaching on the sanctity of life.

The subject of that discussion is a proposed ban on abortion past 20 weeks into the pregnancy. Polling shows that 84% of Americans (and 69% of people who identify themselves as “pro-choice”) support significant restrictions on abortion past the first 3 months. That legislation is such a no-brainer that it was supported by O’Malley’s Republican successor Larry Hogan prior to his election, even though he generally went out of his way to avoid mentioning pro-life issues in the primary or general election campaign.

Count on O’Malley to continue toeing the Democratic Party line on this issue despite what public opinion shows. In fact, Maryland became a destination of choice for late-term abortionists like Leroy Carhart and Steven Brigham during the O’Malley administration. The results included harm and even death to pregnant women undergoing late term abortions.

I asked back before the election if it was a mortal sin for Catholics to vote for Anthony Brown for governor. I’ll echo that question again now – is it a mortal sin for Catholics to vote for Martin O’Malley in 2016?

O’Malley received a top award from Planned Parenthood in Maryland. He pushed for more spending on destructive embryonic stem cell research. These two items in conjunction with all of the details above make it hard to believe He is running in anything but Cafeteria Catholic values in 2016.

Old Bay Filet-O-Fish at McDonald’s for Lent

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Just in time for Lent, McDonald’s is serving Filet-O-Fish sandwiches starting February 16 for a limited time at limited locations.

From the Baltimore Sun:

Will you be ordering a Filet-O-Bay for lent?

McDonald’s and McCormick & Co. hope so. The two have teamed up to offer, for a limited time, a Filet-O-Fish with Old Bay tartar sauce starting Feb. 16 at more than 700 locations in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.

The idea, McDonald’s says, came from Mark Furr, a franchisee from Baltimore

What goes unmentioned is the fact that if it weren’t for Catholics and Lent, the a Filet-O-Fish might not ever have been added to the McDonald’s menu. I wrote about this last year when I wrote about the fish sandwich at Chick-Fil-A for Lent.

I will try this sandwich at McDonald’s at least once since I’m going to be skipping two days of eating meat every week for Lent this year again (I’ve tried to skip meat on Fridays year round starting fairly recently.)

However, I expect to stay with the Chick-Fil-A fish sandwich or the Arby’s one when I have to get fast food fish this Lent.

Educating Obama on The Crusades

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There are many legends about world history that are based in falsehoods. If you get your notions of what The Crusades were all about from Islamists claiming the Crusades continue today, or from voices in the mainstream media, or even from Monty Python and Mel Brooks bits, then it is not unexpected that you would get it wrong. President Barack Obama showed today that he is misinformed on the issue at best.

At the National Prayer Breakfast earlier today, President Obama made the following remarks while discussing religious extremism:

“And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” he said. “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

Within a month of the 9/11 attacks in 2001 former President Bill Clinton said something similar at his alma mater, Georgetown:

“Those of us who come from various European lineages are not blameless,” he declared. “Indeed, in the First Crusade, when the Christian soldiers took Jerusalem, they first burned a synagogue with three hundred Jews in it, and proceeded to kill every woman and child who was Muslim on the Temple Mount. The contemporaneous descriptions of the event describe soldiers walking on the Temple Mount, a holy place to Christians, with blood running up to their knees.

“I can tell you that that story is still being told today in the Middle East, and we are still paying for it,” he concluded,

Thomas F. Madden, who wrote about the Clinton remarks in a 2009 book review at First Things, had the following to say (emphasis added by me):

It is generally thought that Christians attacked Muslims without provocation to seize their lands and forcibly convert them. The Crusaders were Europe’s lacklands and ne’er-do-wells, who marched against the infidels out of blind zealotry and a desire for booty and land. As such, the Crusades betrayed Christianity itself. They transformed “turn the other cheek” into “kill them all; God will know his own.”

Every word of this is wrong. Historians of the Crusades have long known that it is wrong, but they find it extraordinarily difficult to be heard across a chasm of entrenched preconceptions. For on the other side is, as Riley-Smith puts it “nearly everyone else, from leading churchmen and scholars in other fields to the general public.”

The book reviewed by Madden was The Crusades, Christianity, and Islam by Jonathan Riley-Smith. Be sure to read the whole review for lots of good information. Madden also points out that all the Crusades met the criteria for a just war.

Steve Weidenkopf, author of a book (The Glory of the Crusades), wrote a piece in 2014 detailing why the Crusades were just wars.

Weidenkopf wrote the following summary on the justification for the Crusades:

The invasion of Christian territory, Muslim persecution of native Christians and pilgrims, plus the threat posed to the Christian Byzantine Empire, were all legitimate reasons to engage in defensive warfare and, and Bl. Pope Urban II cited them as justification for the First Crusade. And so in 1095, at the Council of Clermont, the pope preached an armed pilgrimage to recover the lost Christian territory of the East and specifically the Holy City of Jerusalem.

Urban viewed the Crusade as a pilgrimage, the aim of which was not to conquer but to visit the place of pilgrimage and then return home. Later popes maintained the understanding of the Crusades as just, defensive wars with the central goal of the recovery of ancient Christian territory. Heroic men and women of faith, rooted in love of Christ and neighbor, undertook the Crusades as acts of self-defense and recovery of stolen property. This is the proper understanding of these important events in Church history.

Weidenkopf also noted specific reasons for the justification including 12,000 Christian pilgrims from Germany killed by Seljuk Turks as they approached Jerusalem on Good Friday in 1065. Also noted – the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem in 638 that included the destruction of over 300 monasteries and churches.

This from Weidenkopf sounds a lot like ISIS today:

The Crusades were also a response to the severe persecution of indigenous Christians living in the occupied territories, whose lives were severely restricted and who suffered constant pressure to convert to Islam. As an example, in the early eleventh century, Christians living in the Fatimid caliphate were subject to persecution during the reign of al-Hakim, who ordered them to wear identifying black turbans and a large cross in public. He also ordered the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, originally built by Constantine and St. Helena in the fourth century.

Another Weidenkopf piece on the “glorious” Crusades last year discussed where the misperceptions came from:

The negative “spin” on the Crusades began in the sixteenth century with the Protestant revolutionary Martin Luther, who saw them as an outgrowth of papal authority and power. Later Enlightenment authors such as Voltaire and Edward Gibbon shaped modernity’s negative view of the Crusades by portraying them as barbaric projects undertaken by greedy and savage warriors at the behest of a corrupt papacy. Modern-day Crusade historians, thankfully, eschew the anti-religious prejudices behind this view, and are bringing to light an authentic understanding of these Catholic events from the perspective of those who participated in them. But such scholarship has not eradicated the popular myths.

Add in the Islamist views discussed by Madden and an anti-Catholic media and the mistaken views on the Crusades can be explained, whether it is rooted in ignorance or antipathy.

Weidenkopf on the nature of the Crusades:

The Crusading movement was a Catholic movement. Popes called for Crusades, clerics (and saints) preached them, ecumenical councils planned and discussed them, and Catholic warriors fought them for spiritual benefits. The Crusades cannot be properly understood apart from this Catholic reality. The modern world’s historical amnesia on this point is curable, and the cure begins with Catholics learning the authentic history of their Church and the culture it created. Like the Benedictine monks of old, we modern Catholics can maintain the inheritance of Western Civilization, and correct the errors and biases of our age, through a commitment to learn our history and take pride (where appropriate) for the actions of the men and women who came before us in the Faith.

Madden made similar points:

But the Crusades were not just wars. They were holy wars, and that is what made them different from what came before. They were made holy not by their target but by the Crusaders’ sacrifice. The Crusade was a pilgrimage and thereby an act of penance. When Urban II called the First Crusade in 1095, he created a model that would be followed for centuries. Crusaders who undertook that burden with right intention and after confessing their sins would receive a plenary indulgence. The indulgence was a recognition that they undertook these sacrifices for Christ, who was crucified again in the tribulations of his people.

Madden discusses the sacrifices at length, whether it was death or financial ruin for the Crusaders.

As for the other historical references made by Obama along with the Crusades, I’ll leave those for another day. However, Steve Wiedenkopf has something to say about the Inquisition. More on the Inquisition here.

Since this post relies heavily on Weidenkopf’s writings at the website of Catholic Answers, I’d be remiss in not mentioning a blog post there on the subject of the president’s speech today. The post, “Terrible Deeds and Odious Comparisons“, is by Todd Agliolaro.

Rep. Andy Harris on Pro-Life Legislation

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I received the following email from Andy Harris today in response to a message I sent to him about HR 36. It’s a good reminder of he pro-life legislation he has co-sponsored while in Congress.

The letter:

February 5, 2015

Dear Mr. Quinton,

Thank you for contacting me regarding your support for H.R. 36, Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. I am happy to let you know that I am a cosponsor of this bill, and as such will fight for its passage in any way I can.

As you may know, this bill would prohibit late-term abortions past 20 weeks after conception. Recent medical research has shown that unborn children at this stage in development have pain receptors throughout the body linked to the thalamus and subcortical plate, react to painful stimuli by recoiling, and exhibit the stress response through sharp increases in stress hormones. An abortion at this point, therefore, would cause extreme pain to the child.

While the House had expected to pass H.R. 36 in mid-January 2015, there was last-minute controversy over the rape reporting requirements contained in the bill that have momentarily stalled its progress through the House. I am confident that these issues can be resolved, and I remain committed passing H.R. 36 and enacting the 20 week ban on abortions. The U.S. is one of only seven countries including North Korea and China that allow elective abortions after 20 weeks. H.R. 36 would change this unsettling fact and help restore dignity to all human beings—including the unborn.

You may also be interested to know that, since being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, I have cosponsored a number of other pro-life bills, including;

H.R. 374, the Life at Conception Act – declares that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being at the moment of conception.

H.R. 217, the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition – ensures tax dollars are not used to fund abortion providers like Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

H.R. 358, the Protect Life Act – ensures money from the President’s health care law doesn’t fund abortions or health insurance covering abortions.

H.R. 361, the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act – ensures no health care facility could be denied funding based on their refusal to participate in abortion-related activities.

H.R. 1179, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act – amends the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, seeking to permit a health plan to decline coverage of specific items and services that are contrary to the religious beliefs of the sponsor, issues, or other entity offering the plan or the purchaser or beneficiary without penalty.

As the 114th Congress addresses the many challenges facing our nation, I hope you will continue to share your suggestions. For the fastest and most cost-effective response, please contact me via email. To keep up with my work in Congress, visit my website at harris.house.gov and sign up to receive updates at harris.house.gov/contact-me/newsletter.

Sincerely,

Andy Harris M.D.
Member of Congress

It’s a shame that, unlike Harris and other pro-life members who never wavered, others in the Republican party lacked the spine to do what they promised – especially in light of polling that shows 84% of Americans (and 69% of people who identify themselves as “pro-choice”) support significant restrictions on abortion past the first 3 months (i.e. banning abortion with exceptions that are the norm in most legislation restricting abortion it seems.)

Junipero Serra to be canonized during papal visit to US

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Catholic News Agency:

In a surprise addition to his fall 2015 trip to the U.S., Pope Francis is planning to canonize the founder of California’s first missions, Bl. Junipero Serra.

“In September, God willing, I will canonize Junipero Serra in the United States,” declared Pope Francis aboard Sri Lankan Air Flight UL4111 on the way to Manila.

Bl. Serra, a Franciscan priest, lived in what is now California in the 1700s. A Spanish-born missionary, he founded the first nine of 21 eventual missions in California. He worked tirelessly with the Native Americans, and is said to have baptized more than 6,000 people, and confirmed 5,000.

“He was the evangelizer of the west in the United States,” Pope Francis beamed.

Bl. Serra’s canonization will be the latest in a systematic action from Pope Francis to give a boost to evangelization efforts throughout the world.

Serra will be the latest “equipollent” canonization – meaning no miracle was verified and the normal process was waived so that the Pope could declare him to be a saint.

Pope Francis will be in Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families in September and may also be visiting Washington and New York. It is not known where the canonization would take place, but Serra is entombed at Mission San Carlos Borroméo del río Carmelo in Carmel-by-the-Sea in California (Clint Eastwood was the town’s mayor at one point.)

During the American Revolution, Serra had a collection taken up in mission parishes and sent those funds to General George Washington.

Allegations by some that he mistreated native Americans were dismissed as unfounded during his beatification process. in fact, the truth was reported to be be very different:

Dr. Iris Engstrand, professor and chair of the Department of History at the University of San Diego, described him as “much nicer to the Indians, really, than even to the governors. He didn’t get along too well with some of the military people, you know. His attitude was, ‘Stay away from the Indians.’ I think you really come up with a benevolent, hard-working person who was strict in a lot of his doctrinal leanings and things like that, but not a person who was enslaving Indians, or beating them, ever….He was a very caring person and forgiving. Even after the burning of the mission in San Diego, he did not want those Indians punished. He wanted to be sure that they were treated fairly…”

MD GOP responds to claims about Boehner, Bongino, NRCC funding

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Earlier this week, I noted a Breitbart Texas story on Louie Gohmert’s challenge to John Boehner that made the claim that congressional candidate Dan Bongino was denied funding from the National Republican Congressional Committee and other national Republicans because he was expected to not support John Boehner for speaker if elected. I made it clear that it was a report from another website and that “if true” it is damning.

I was contacted by MD GOP officials (and not the NRCC or RNC) who disagreed. Joe Cluster, Executive Director of the Maryland Republican Party, gave me the following statement:

First, the RNC gave money to the State Party that was spent on his campaign and second the State Party held a joint fundraiser with him to try and help raise him money. I wish the NRCC and the RNC would have invested more in this race, but they never had this race or the Governor’s race on their radar. They did not invest in Maryland until the last minute because the numbers were not there until late in the game at which time they had little resources to offer. Dan was a great candidate and ran a great campaign – unfortunately the MDGOP did not have the resources to invest heavily – but out of the $90k we got last minute from the RNC, $40k was spent in get out the vote efforts in the 6th congressional district. FYI: Alex Mooney openly talked about not supporting the speaker when he was running but that didn’t stop the NRCC, the RNC, and the speaker from investing in his campaign. Why? Because that was a seat they had on their list to invest in. Unfortunately the 6th district in MD was thought un-winnable by the DC crowd. Criticize them for that but not this.

I have left a message for Bongino in hopes of getting his comment on this matter. Earlier in the week he tweeted this linking to the original Breitbart piece by Sarah Rumpf:

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Then yesterday he retweeted a tweet by @anthropocon that linked to my story:
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