Happy Thanksgiving

George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation (1789)

WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANKSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;– for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;– for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;– and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;– to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

(signed) G. Washington


It’s time for me to take another break from blogging. I’m never sure how long it will be – probably at least a month this time, hopefully longer. My thanks to everyone for reading and contributing to lively discussions. I can still be reached by email. God bless you all, and please pray for our country.

Obama’s plans for your children

“Obama and Biden believe that middle and high school children should be expected to engage in community service for 50 hours annually during the school year or summer months.”
Obama’s National Service Plan Fact Sheet

“Obama and Biden will set a goal that all middle and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year.”

There’s lots of mischief brewing here.  It’s not that I have a problem with school children being encouraged to do volunteer work – quite the contrary. But the involvement and “encouragement” of the federal government means that the program is going to be coercive and sharply ideological. If Obama has his way, I have no doubt that participation will be mandatory, even for homeschoolers. When I read a section of Obama’s “national service plan” to my wife last night, she said it reminded her of her childhood days in Vietnam. Children who enrolled in the the “Uncle Ho Youth” were rewarded with armbands and neckbands, and those who did not participate were socially marginalized. She was one of the few children in her class who didn’t join. She remembers the “Uncle Ho Youth” going about planting trees while chanting communist slogans.

In a previous comment thread Danby wrote:

“In point of fact, Obama will likely be another Jimmy Carter, an empty suit disappointment who cannot for the life of him stand up to the Establishment, and whose lousy foreign policy looks good only in contrast to his failed economic policies. I’m sorry, but shrieking like a little girl at the thought of a Dem winning the White House is pathetic.”

That’s definitely looking on the bright side. Just the same, we would do well to keep an eye on this administration. Obama has plans for your children.

Imperial County: A Case Study

Imperial County, California, might give us a little clue about how elections are won these days. Imperial County is heavily Catholic and 75% Hispanic. Here’s how they voted:

Presidential Election
McCain – 37.3%
Obama – 61.1%

Prop 4 (parental notification)
Yes – 73.2%
No – 26.8%

Prop 8 (restore marriage)
Yes – 70.0%
No – 30.0%

Very high numbers for Props 4 and 8, and yet the county still went for Obama by a significant margin. Why? Why did they vote for a man who is so overtly hostile to their fundamental values? The answer is that presidential elections are not driven by issues anymore, they are driven by image – pure and simple. Barack Obama is an attractive and compelling media figure. He’s good looking, intelligent, articulate, smooth, and appears to be knowledgable and passionate. For many voters, there is also a strong symbolic attraction due to his race. Few voters look beyond image, and it is unrealistic to expect them to.

I have said before that the Obama campaign was more issues-oriented than the McCain campaign, but that’s only because Obama had the image contest totally locked up. Image is priority; issues are luxury.

Imperial County was simply duped. America may have been duped as well. In a media-controlled electorate of 300 million citizens, this is how every presidential election in the future is going to be run. There’s got to be a better way.

The election in California

By now you have heard that Proposition 8 passed in California, an answer to many prayers. The Catholic bishops really stepped up to the plate on this one, as did the Knights of Columbus. We also have the Mormons and the evangelicals to thank for their grass-roots energy and sacrifices. For our small part, we attended a rally, put a few signs on the highway, and wrote a small check for the cause.

You may also have heard that its opponents plan to appeal the vote to the California Supreme Court and, if necessary, to the U.S. Supreme Court. The legal reasoning is ridiculously convoluted and I can’t pretend to understand it. But you don’t need a sound legal case these days, just a few politically sympathetic judges.

Otherwise the election was a huge (but not unexpected) disappointment. The spending measures passed despite an $11 billion budget deficit, and a watered-down parental notification measure failed. Here’s an interactive county-by-county map showing how each county voted. To summarize:

Presidential Election

Glenn County
McCain – 60%
Obama – 38%

McCain – 37%
Obama – 61%

Proposition 4 (parental notification)

Glenn County
Yes – 57%
No – 43%

Yes – 48%
No – 52%

Proposition 8 (restore marriage)

Glenn County
Yes – 73%
No – 27%

Yes – 53%
No – 48%

Why we get the bishops we get

Here’s what is purported to be the official Vatican questionnaire for qualifying bishops:


Appearance, health, application to work. Family’s condition. Any predisposition to hereditary illnesses?


Intellectual abilities. Temperament and character. Balance and Soundness of judgment. Sense of responsibility.


Prudence, Fairness, spirit of faith and charity. Piety: daily celebration of the Eucharist and Liturgy of the Hours. Marian devotion.


Moral integrity. How does he relate to people and to public authorities in the exercise of his priestly ministry?


Is he competent and up to date in Theology and other Ecclesiastical Sciences? General cultural attainment. Foreign languages. Works published.


Doctrinal orientation. Loyalty to the Doctrine and Magisterium of the Church. In particular: the attitude of the candidate to the Documents of the Holy See on the Ministerial Priesthood, on the Priestly Ordination of Women, on marriage, on sexual Ethics and on Social Justice. Fidelity to the genuine Tradition of the Church and commitment to the authentic renewal promoted by Vatican 11, and adherence to the “Statement of Conclusions, 1998”.


Devotedness to the Holy Father, the Holy See and the Episcopal Hierarchy. Support for Priestly Celibacy and general and particular Laws of the Church. In particular: as to Liturgical and Clerical Discipline.


Evangelization and Catechesis: preaching and teaching. Aptitude for public speaking. Readiness to administer the Sacraments. Promotion of Vocations. Interest in the Missions and Ecumenical activities. Formation of lay people in the Family and Social fields of apostolate: of young people, of workers, defenders of human rights?


Does he have a capacity for leadership: for dialogue, for evoking and accepting collaboration, for analysis and programming, for making decisions and ensuring that they are carried through? Does he appreciate the role and collaboration of religious and lay people ( men and women )? Is he able to delegate and share responsibility? Has be shown an interest in the problems of the Universal as well as the local Church?


Does he exercise due care of the Church’s property? Ability in administration. Sense of justice. Readiness to enlist the help of those experienced in such affairs?

Has he gained the respect of his fellow clergy? Of the people and of the public authorities?

Give a comprehensive judgment on the personality of the candidate and of his suitability for the episcopate. Indicate, if affirmative, whether he is particularly suited for appointment to a residential See, or as an Auxiliary Bishop. Or for work in an urban, rural, industrial or in other social context.

Please suggest the names of persons (ecclesiastic, religious, or lay) who can provide pertinent and useful information about the candidate. Please give names and addresses.

Alan Keyes for President

Tomorrow, Californians will have the opportunity to vote for a 100% pro-life Catholic: Dr. Alan Keyes, who appears on our ballot as a candidate of the America’s Independent Party. He’s a flawed man like all the others, but I can mark the ballot for Keyes with an absolutely clear conscience. The AIP makes the following case against the McCain candidacy:

“America’s Independent Party is being built by Reagan pro-life, pro-family, ‘Peace through Strength’ conservatives who believe that the Republican Party, with the pending nomination of John McCain, has abandoned the principles of Ronald Reagan – particularly the Reagan pro-life platform plank that recognizes the personhood of the unborn and their protection by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

The party also opposes John McCain on many other important points, including his opposition to a federal amendment protecting traditional marriage and the natural family; his sponsorship of the McCain/Feingold legislation, which they view as a direct attack on their First Amendment rights to political free speech and grassroots citizen activism; his long-time support for so-called ‘comprehensive immigration reform,’ which they consider to be amnesty; and his support for the global warming agenda, which they believe will destroy our economy and strip us of our national sovereignty if pursued as public policy.”

I encourage every Californian to vote for Keyes, both in support of a growing conservative third-party movement, and as a protest against the appalling “choice” that has been imposed upon us by the two major parties.

Is a vote for Keyes a vote for Obama? Not at all. A vote for Keyes is a vote for Keyes. Elections are not supposed to be complicated: no one should ever feel compelled to vote for corruption and immorality in order to prevent greater corruption and immorality. Steve Skojec explains the false dilemma:

“To show the logical discrepancy here, let’s imagine a situation where a man and his four children are being held at gunpoint. The sadistic gunman offers the father a chilling choice: ‘Pick one child who will die so that the rest may live, or I will shoot them all.’ What is a father to do? Does he sentence one child to death to save the others? Does he do nothing and let them all die? Can he even trust the word of a man who promises to kill only one of his children but spare the remainder?

I’ve got news for you: if you’re a traditional conservative voter, you are that father. You have a choice between killing all the unborn this nation wants to kill and killing only some to save the others. But you will be making that choice – and you will do so without certitude that you can trust either gunman to live up to their word. You know only that some will be killed regardless of what you do. It’s up to you how you want to hedge your bet.”

There is only one reason the GOP takes the pro-life vote seriously: the threat of non-support. We have leverage only because there are other things we can do – and will do if pushed – with our votes, our grass-roots energy, and our money. This time the GOP thinks it has called our bluff. If we go along with the McCain ticket, we prove that we have indeed been bluffing all along, that in the end we are always Republicans first.

I remember good, solid, traditional pro-life Catholics campaiging for “pro-choice” Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2003 and telling me that a vote for Tom McClintock, a pro-life conservative, was really a vote for an even more radical abortion supporter, liberal Democrat Cruz Bustamonte. Thousands of pro-life Californians were frightened into voting for Schwarzenneger rather than McClintock. Schwarzenneger was subsequently elected and has been a disaster all the way around. As a result, the state GOP has been further corrupted and the once-vibrant conservative movement in California barely exists anymore.

Schwarzenneger, like many other prominent pro-aborts, is out of state these days campaigning for John McCain.

If we’re going to save what’s left of our political system, there are only two options as I see it: 1) insist that the GOP run conservative, pro-life candidates for national office or lose our support; 2) begin creating a viable third party. I’d prefer option #1, but I suspect that the GOP is too far gone to save. The third party option seems to hold the most promise at this point.

An Obama administration will be hell, but it will be a hell that we have brought upon ourselves by previous compromises. Just as it’s generally a bad idea to pay off existing debt with more and greater debt, it’s also inadvisable to delay the consequences of compromise with still more and greater compromise. We’ll just be digging ourselves into a deeper and deeper hole. There is an urgency to this election, but it isn’t the urgency of stopping Obama: it’s the urgency of saving and rebuilding a political movement that is an effective voice for the unborn and a force for traditional values that cannot be ignored. Toward that end I refer you to Steve Skojec’s latest column at Inside Catholic: