It’s that time again — time to vote for TIME’s Person of the Year. As I write, the Islamist leader of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, is in the lead. Kim Jong Un, Communist dictator of North Korea, is in second place. Malala Yousafzai, who has my vote, is in third. Read about Malala Yousafzai at TIME. I preferred to vote for someone who represents the cause of freedom. Please spread the word about this poll.
The AP Stylebook is a guide updated each year by Associated Press editors that is used by journalists across the media spectrum as a standard for grammar, punctuation and terminology. Politico reports that the newest edition of the guide will not include the term “homophobia,” among others. The reasoning given is a Godsend for us all.
The online Style Book now says that “-phobia,” “an irrational, uncontrollable fear, often a form of mental illness” should not be used “in political or social contexts,” including “homophobia” and “Islamophobia.”
This is a victory for reason in the arena of public discourse. It is not okay for journalists to characterize all disagreement with the homosexual lifestyle or with Islam as being due to “fear” or a “mental illness.” The term “phobia” strongly suggests just that. Both Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Dolan have used the term “Christophobia” in response to those who have used the term “homophobia.” While I understand use of the term “Christophobia” as an appropriate response to those who are thinking on that level, the use of the word “Christophobia” should come into disuse if “homophobia” and “Islamophobia” are no longer used. I would expect both the Vatican and Cardinal Dolan to adjust their discourse accordingly since the AP Stylebook is used by journalists and editors throughout the Western world.
Unfortunately, this does not mean the end of the Left’s ad hominem, either in journalism or elsewhere. Advocate’s article on the change in the AP Stylebook gives us a clue about the preferred ad hominem attack when “homophobia” is not used against Christians: “Bigot.”
In mainstream newspapers in the coming year, you’re a lot less likely to see bigotry against gay people described as “homophobia.”
The Advocate, however, promises that they and their sister sites will stick to the ad hominem attack “homophobia” despite the change in the AP Stylebook.
Most magazines and book publishers use a different stylebook, such as the Chicago Manual of Style, or have their own, as is the case with The Advocate and its sister publications. The Advocate expects to continue using the term “homophobia.”
The biggest victory of all will come when the journalistic community rejects all forms of ad hominem. Let’s pray that will happen some day soon. Reason should prevail, after all.
After two failed tries at winning the presidency, the GOP “moderates” are scrambling to make the case that conservatism is “extreme” and that the “moderates” in the party are still the only Republicans who can win elections. John McCain did this yesterday as he called for Republicans to abandon the abortion issue. He did this on the Solemnity of Christ the King wherein we Catholics celebrate the sovereignty of Christ over all others who may seek to supplant His authority in our hearts. Democrats are picking up on the “conservatism is extreme” message and running with it as we see in a column by Jack Torry at the Columbus Dispatch: People want reasonable, moderate. The big lie that is being told is that to be “moderate” is to be “reasonable” whereas to be a conservative is to be “extreme.” It is actually the “moderates” who are extreme in their insistence that absolute truths must be rejected for the sake of winning elections. If our country has embraced the Republican establishment’s definition of “moderate” then our country has become extreme. Our hope as conservatives is that this is not the case, or if it is the case that we can make the argument for America to reject her extremism and turn back to her founding principles.
The GOP “moderates” are extreme because they reject the view that our rights come from God and, as such, are transcendent and absolute. It is extremist and unreasonable to deny an absolute, particularly in the area of civil law and where that absolute is basic to the core values that America was founded on. Once you embrace the idea, for example, that abortion is okay in some circumstances, you have abandoned the absolute that all innocent persons have the right to life. This rejection has implications across the spectrum of humanity. When Roe v. Wade was being argued before the Supreme Court, pro-lifers insisted that legal abortion would lead to the expansion of euthanasia, “designer babies” and the use of abortion as contraception. They were called kooks for speaking about the “slippery slope” of legal abortion, but today we see the bad fruit of the slippery slope. The pro-lifers were right.
It is extreme to murder children. If that is not extreme, nothing is extreme. As Mother Teresa said, “Any country that accepts abortion, is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what it wants.” When you deny an absolute that is so basic to human dignity as the right to life of an innocent human person, you have become an extremist. If America has embraced abortion so much that it is now “extreme” to defend the right to life of all innocent persons, then America itself is extreme. It would then become all the more important for the reasonable among us to convince America to turn away from her extremism before all is lost. Defending the innocent from murder is not “extreme.” It is the most reasonable thing any person could ever do.
Barry Goldwater said, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice” and “…moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” He was wrong. The reasonable, I would argue, always reject extremism, and so it is that those of us who reject extremism, who reject the idea that absolutes are not actually absolute, are suffering the impact of extremism on our country with patience, humility, and the hope that our prayers will be answered, and that our words alone may convince our countrymen that extremism must be rejected. Extremism is an affront against liberty, which makes Goldwater’s quote a self-refuting argument. The Founding Fathers were the true moderates who understood that because people disagree on so many things, the only way to have both peace and freedom is to have a government that will refuse to ever use force except in defense of our most basic God-given rights, but will defend those rights to the death. The true moderate is the man who will compromise on everything but the defense of basic rights. The extremist is the man who will compromise on everything, provided that it will help him remain in power.
Starting this fall, all students at John Jay High School and Anson Jones Middle School are required to carry identification cards embedded with a microchip. They are tracked by the dozens of electronic readers installed in the schools’ ceiling panels.
One student has apparently retaliated by hacking into the school’s website and shutting it down. That is not an acceptable response to such policies. Lashing out is not the way to handle this problem. Rather, parents should take charge and mention to school administrators that parents have the right to home school their children. You do not have to put up with this.
To my friends in Arizona, you need to reject John McCain now. Today, on the Solemnity of Christ the King, John McCain has called for Republicans to abandon the abortion issue.
From The Hill:
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Sunday that Republicans should steer clear of discussions of abortion that could alienate young and female voters, after the two groups helped power President Obama’s reelection.
“As far as young women are concerned, absolutely, I don’t think anybody like me — I can state my position on abortion, but, other than that, leave the issue alone, when we are in the kind of economic situation and, frankly, national security situation we’re in,” McCain told “Fox News Sunday.”
Catholics in Arizona especially, you need to withdraw any and all support from John McCain immediately.
Today is the Solemnity of Christ the King, and I thought I would share with you the gist of the message given today in an awesome homily from our priest, Father Brian Johnson, at St. Benedict parish in Clarkson (Wax), Kentucky.
At the founding of our country, Americans joined together to throw off the bonds of oppression by a king; namely, King George III of Great Britain. In doing this, they rejected the idea of the “blue bloods” ruling over the masses. Even though this ethic of the rejection of “kings” continues to be strong in our country, it is a reality of human nature that we will seek out kings. Some call Elvis “the King” of music. Richard Petty, the NASCAR driver, is called “King Richard.” Budweiser is known as “King of Beers” and the Clydesdale breed used to promote that brand is known as “King of Horses.” This is a reflection of our natural desire that there be people and things that will set a “standard” by which others are measured. This is all well and good, as a reflection of our nature, but in the end, we must acknowledge Jesus as the True King of our Hearts. He is the ultimate standard by which we must judge our own lives. If we set other “kings” ahead of him, no matter what they may be, we are missing out on the glory of the true Kingdom of God.
When Jesus was asked by Pilate if He was King of the Jews, Jesus responded that His Kingdom is not of this world. When we say the “Our Father,” we say “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.” The Kingdom of God is not of this world, but the Kingdom does come in this world when we who are in the world have Christ as our King in the manner that we live in the world. We seek a heavenly kingdom, the Kingdom of God, and so do all others, whether they realize it consciously or not. All are seeking a king, and when we let Christ reign as King of our hearts, we give them a glimpse of the True King, and the Kingdom of God which their hearts are longing for.
UPDATE: Father Z has a “PODCAzT” that includes commentary on Christ the King. He notes that this day should prompt us to think anew about the Lord’s coming, as Advent is upon us.
The state of the Church in Ireland is certainly a cause for concern, but Mark Lambert has written an article that made me feel a bit better about the situation. For example, I did not know that people are still attending Mass in large numbers.
Yet Ireland IS Catholic. I went to Mass last Sunday and there were literally thousands of people in St. Mary’s Church, Westport. Thousands! It’s awesome! Irish people ARE Catholic—it’s in their nature, their bones, it oozes out of their pores, it is their way. It is manifest in the importance of community, of caring for others, their friendliness, it is part of the make up of this place.
This next part, I did know,but of course, the bishops in communion with the Vatican are the only ones who can remedy this.
But it is under threat. People still go to Mass, but what do they get there? Last Sunday’s (really quite good, by and large) homily contained a sad admission from a priest who found, at the grave of two little boys who had been killed last week, that he had no answer to the question “where is God in this?” He actually announced to the congregation that he had no answer. Frankly I was shocked by this admission.
There is no catechesis, no solid spiritual food. No answers to difficult questions. They put statues and rosary beads on their gravestones, they go to Mass, but I worry that this is becoming merely habitual, a superstition rather than the Catholic faith.
Read the whole thing. Lots of great insight there. My thoughts are that with God’s help Ireland will be as strong as ever in her Catholicism. And certainly, God will help.