Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Denver-area pro-lifers, take note

The 2013 Denver March for Life will take place Sunday, Jan. 20 outside the capitol building.

Mass begins at the cathedral at 10:30, while speeches begin at the capitol at 12:30.

Good things are happening in Denver, whether it is the Lighthouse Women's Center helping pregnant women in need or the Regis University Students for Life conference for college and high school students, held in October.

This blog has declined in part because I've found more productive uses for my time.

Thanks to my friends in the Knights of Columbus, I've helped that Regis University group raise funds to go to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. in hopes that they'll become a strong pro-life presence at Regis. Students for Life of America is hoping to expand into Colorado, with a field agent dedicated to organizing pro-life student groups.

In July the Knights of Columbus raised funds for Mary's Maternity of Motherhood Home, a maternity home in Arvada. Just a bit of extra e-mailing and word-of-mouth advertising on Facebook helped draw 20 more attendees at $20 per ticket.

There are so many small organizations whose leadership has done pioneering work, but they just don't have the skills for a social media world or a few thousand dollars to seed their future growth. If you're good at blogging or rallying friends on Facebook, or if you have connections with a broad network of charitable organizations, consider yourself a volunteer.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

The Wise Men

by G.K. Chesterton

Step softly, under snow or rain,
    To find the place where men can pray;
The way is all so very plain
    That we may lose the way.
Oh, we have learnt to peer and pore
    On tortured puzzles from our youth,
We know all labyrinthine lore,
We are the three wise men of yore,
    And we know all things but the truth.
We have gone round and round the hill
    And lost the wood among the trees,
And learnt long names for every ill,
And served the mad gods, naming still
    The furies the Eumenides.
The gods of violence took the veil
    Of vision and philosophy,
The Serpent that brought all men bale,
He bites his own accursed tail,
    And calls himself Eternity.
Go humbly…it has hailed and snowed…
    With voices low and lanterns lit;
So very simple is the road,
    That we may stray from it.
The world grows terrible and white,
    And blinding white the breaking day;
We walk bewildered in the light,
For something is too large for sight,
    And something much too plain to say.
The Child that was ere worlds begun
    (…We need but walk a little way,
We need but see a latch undone…)
The Child that played with moon and sun
    Is playing with a little hay.
The house from which the heavens are fed,
    The old strange house that is our own,
Where trick of words are never said,
And Mercy is as plain as bread,
    And Honour is as hard as stone.
Go humbly, humble are the skies,
    And low and large and fierce the Star;
So very near the Manger lies
    That we may travel far.
Hark! Laughter like a lion wakes
    To roar to the resounding plain.
And the whole heaven shouts and shakes,
    For God Himself is born again,
And we are little children walking
    Through the snow and rain.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Michael Carr, radical Log Cabin Republican, running for Colorado state senate

Michael Carr is the Republican candidate for Colorado’s State Senate District 31 due to a vacancy committee appointment. But his past remarks are a cause for great concern to anyone not on board with the LGBT political agenda.

I saw Carr speak at a February meeting of the Coalition for a Conservative Majority as part of a panel on diversity in the conservative movement.

Carr described himself as an Irish Catholic from the south side of Chicago. He now lives in the Capitol Hill neighborhood with his partner. Carr brought up the Illinois civil unions bill and how he had supported it and lobbied for it.

There was something about the bill he didn’t mention.

The State of Illinois used the civil unions bill to shut down Catholic adoption agencies that contracted with the state government to continue their decades of service. The oversight of over 2,500 children was displaced to other agencies in an entirely unnecessary move.

In the audience question time I addressed Carr about how that bill pushed Catholic Charities out of doing adoptions. I asked him whether there is a "zero sum game" situation between gay rights advocates and religious and social conservatives.

Carr had an easy out.

The closure of Catholic Charities adoption agencies was a shock to those who believed the promises that religious freedom would be protected.

All he had to do was voice his support for religious freedom protections and lament the bill wasn’t passed in a way that respects the diversity of opinion on a controversial issue.

Instead, Carr spent a few minutes defending the need for government to be neutral and serve everybody.

“Is there a zero-sum game?” I asked again. Again he dodged.

His comments were in line with his April 12, 2011 remarks at the Illinois Log Cabin Republicans blog opposing a bill to secure the right of religious organizations to continue their adoption services. Carr said supporters of that bill “should be ashamed of themselves.”

There is nothing shameful in recognizing that a married man and a woman are better for raising children than any other family structure. There is nothing shameful at wanting a child to be brought up morally right.

There is nothing shameful about Catholics and others running adoption agencies in partnership with the state in a way that reflects their moral principles.

Carr’s position allows LGBT activists to bar Catholics and others who rightly object to homosexual relations from their place in public service. As the fate of adoption agencies in Illinois shows, the pretty talk of tolerance and diversity is empty.

Carr’s Democratic rival, the openly gay State Sen. Pat Steadman, is the sponsor of Colorado’s proposed civil unions bill. But even Steadman adopted language protecting religious adoption agencies into his bill.

The sorry state of the Republican Party means that religious believers and others who reject gay political causes have few friends.

Carr himself helped put on the GOP state assembly ballot a pro-civil unions resolution that won a majority vote, but failed to reach a 2/3 supermajority necessary for adoption.

There are some bright lights in our state. Colorado’s Republican House Speaker Frank McNulty threw the legislature into a special session rather than adopt civil unions. But the Republican House majority rests on a one-vote margin and is being vigorously contested in the 2012 election.

For years, pundits and party activists have been telling social conservatives to keep quiet. The present situation is what social conservatives get for taking their advice.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Colorado caucus resolution against conscience-violating contraception mandates

The federal contraception and sterilization insurance coverage mandate is in the news. Many Catholic parishes have heard from the pulpit about the dangers this poses to religious liberty and public morality. The mandate’s narrow religious exemption does not apply to Catholic health care systems, charities, and educational institutions.

Religious colleges may even be forced to provide free contraceptives to their unmarried students in their insurance plans. Religious hypocrisy is disgusting. But in this case it is being made mandatory!

Coloradans who are registered members of a political party can take a concrete step in upcoming weeks to push the political process towards reform of the federal regulation and of a 2010 state law (H.B. 1021) which does much the same thing.

Go to your party’s local caucus and stick around for the entire meeting. Vote delegates you trust on this issue to go to the county, congressional and state assemblies, or stand as a delegate yourself.

And at the appropriate point of the caucus, introduce this resolution to make your party’s leaders pay attention:

Resolution to Restore Religious Freedom and Moral Conscience in Health Insurance Mandates

Whereas religious liberty is a foundational principle of the United States and the great state of Colorado;

Whereas federal and state governments are violating this noble freedom by mandating that conscientious objectors provide no-co-pay insurance coverage for sterilization procedures and contraceptives, including abortion-causing contraceptives;

Whereas these mandates pose great difficulties for local educational institutions like Colorado Christian University and Regis University, which are involved in the moral formation of young people;

Whereas these mandates pose great difficulties for religious health care systems and charities whose religiously-motivated endeavors have contributed to the general welfare;

Whereas the religious and moral objections of all employers are worthy of protection and reasonable accommodation;

Be it resolved that:

The Democratic / Republican Party shall secure effective legal exemptions for institutions and businesses with religious and / or moral objections to providing insurance coverage for sterilization procedures and contraceptives.

(Be sure to edit the final passage so the party of your caucus is the one mentioned.)

The GOP Caucuses are on Feb. 7, while the Democratic Caucuses are on March 6.

See www.cocaucus.org for more information.

Monday, October 31, 2011

American culture-blindness in Iraq

The Telegraph obituary of career British diplomat Sir Hilary Synnott discusses his observation in Iraq of the revolutionary American mentality:

The CPA [Coalition Provisional Authority] itself, he found, was mainly staffed by American policy wonks — “young, naive, pushy people” fired with a messianic zeal rapidly to replace centuries of tribal and religious rivalries and state control with democracy and free markets, and displaying a dogmatism that, as Synnott drily noted, “cut no ice” with the Iraqis.

Perhaps the two greatest forces in American life today are egalitarianism and capitalism. Both opinionmakers and politicians shun other cultural questions, either because they believe they are unimportant or because they believe they are losing issues.

This muteness has crippled our response to cultural decay at home, so it is no surprise it has crippled our international actions as well.

Without cultural ballast, a democratic society cannot make the distinctions necessary for rational thought, let alone wise governance.

How does a country recover from this desolation?

(Link via Rod Dreher)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Remembering Denver's Italian community

Before Columbus Day became a time for Ward Churchill's followers to flaunt their self-righteous indignation, it was a time for Italian-Americans to remember their heritage and the faith which inspired their countryman on his world-changing voyage.

The Denver Catholic Register's archives remind us of this rich history, using the words of many local Italians themselves.

The Register's 1988 Columbus Day issue interviews Gerald Natale, pharmacist of the North Denver Tejon Drug Co. Also featured are Fr. Thomas M. Lo Cascio, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel organist Nettie Borelli, former restauranteur and Democratic district captain Ernie Capillupo, and future Congressman Tom Tancredo. Rosie C. DeLorenzo Churchill recalls life in North Denver, while Vicki Villegas, daughter of Louisville's Blue Parrot owner Joe Colacci, talks about rebuilding the restauruant after a fire.

In the 1990 issue, Genevive N. D'Amoto Fiore recounts her life, including run-ins with anti-Italian discrimination. Carmine Lonardo's Italian Sausage and Meal Deli in Lakewood also gets an article, as does the priest who baptized me: Father Dorino DeLazzer, who now lives in Greeley. The Register also profiles Amato of Denver concrete statuary business owner Carlo Amato, along with Dante Alighieri Society then-president Pamela Adducci.

Not surprisingly, the issue also covers Mother Cabrini and her famous work in Denver.

Despite our official praise for diversity, America's white ethnics have become largely invisible. Many have have left their old neighborhoods. Sometimes they left because of the lure of a better life elsewhere. Sometimes they left because political actors refused to defend their homes from crime, poor schools, or massive "urban renewal" projects.

Thanks to the assimilatory forces of modern culture (a mixed blessing, for sure), many have forgotten both the great and the humble achievements of their ancestors.

But there are always family members who will remember great-grandfather and tell his story to the next generation.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fox 31 spikes $2 million quote about Tim Gill’s 2012 election spending

The death of a proposed civil unions bill in the Colorado House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee deeply angered Tim Gill, the multi-millionaire gay activist whose smartly targeted campaign spending has helped re-shape Colorado politics.

Gill’s lawyer Ted Trimpa said Gill will now be spending millions more to defeat Republicans across the state, starting with GOP members of the statehouse, Fox 31 News reports.

“It might be a difference of, before, spending $200,000 [on 2012 House races], and now spending $2 million,” Trimpa said.

Or at least, that’s what he said before Fox 31 edited the story to remove the quote.

The National Organization for Marriage blog caught the edit.

Fox 31 reporter Eli Stokols’ story now closes with Trimpa saying “It's very likely there will be consequences for not allowing full debate and consideration by the full House.”

The story no longer mentions dollar amounts.

An inquiry about the edit sent to Fox 31 and Mr. Stokols received no reply.

Regular news writers know there can be many reasons for modifying a quote. Perhaps Trimpa was talking off-the-cuff and the dollar amounts were inexact and inflated.

Or perhaps the writer or editor of the story felt forced to keep a key source happy and spiked revealing inside information about the 2012 election.

Colorado’s Republicans have a bare 33-32 majority in the House and a big money man could have disproportionate impact on the future of our state.

Of all issues to swing elections, the civil unions issue is one of the least important. While support for such unions has increased in the U.S. since they were first created in Vermont in 2000, their possible ramifications are under-debated.

We have heard little about the burdens to over-regulated business owners and objecting religious organizations, the potential for abuse, and even the basic financial costs of implementation to cash-strapped state, county and municipal governments.

The debate’s focus was entirely on gay rights even though the bill also allows unrelated heterosexual couples to contract unions – which in France has resulted in more civil unions than civil marriages!

In hard times, we should look not to create new facsimiles of the family. Rather, we should look to the tried and tested family policy of the New Deal. Scholars like Allan Carlson have praised that era’s focus on shaping economic policy specifically to help a working man support a wife and kids.

But that’s not an option Tim Gill and friends would like to be on the agenda.

When an obsessed multi-millionaire aims to change the political landscape and rewrite the social constitution of our state, his activities deserve more media scrutiny, not less. Fox 31’s edit suggests the news media is telling us less than we deserve to know.