By Charlie Johnston
As I write this, all tell me that Carolyn Jones, the Texas woman we’ve been writing about, is doing well. Once again, thank you for stepping up to the plate on this one. You were God’s hands and feet – and saved a life. The inside story of what was happening is uglier than we could report or, for that matter, can report now. Kassi Marks has reported a little about it in her latest post. Astonishingly, what Kassi calls the “usual suspects” are doubling down on their opposition to the bill that would extend the time frame to 45 from 10 days to get a new facility.
I know it troubled many of you – as it troubles me – that the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops (TCCB) have taken the side of involuntary euthanasia rather than that of life. Now all those “usual suspects” are furious and embarrassed that Mrs. Jones didn’t die like she was supposed to. They are trying to make sure this never happens again – not by fixing this unjust law, but by trying to make sure no one ever escapes the clutches of these death panels again. You may think this is unprecedented, but it is not. During the run-up to the Civil War, both evangelical Protestants and orthodox Catholics worked hard for abolition, including with the underground railroads that were the means of escape for many slaves. One of the most humiliating episodes was when the Catholic Bishop of Baltimore lobbied the Vatican to lay off of slavery in America, because it was somehow “different.” The Church has firmly fought slavery since the Papal Bull, Sublimis Deus, was issued by Pope Paul III in 1537, making it a matter of automatic excommunication for anyone who held another in slavery. (Some anti-Catholic bigots have tried to tarnish the Church by equating its approval of forced labor as a punishment for crimes with slavery. The refuge of bigots.)
When clerical authorities start thinking they are called to primarily be politicians or influence-peddlers rather than Apostles of the Living Christ, they lose their way. When that happens, it is the duty of all faithful Catholics to live their faith with even greater fidelity. This, too, shall pass.
If you look at the top right of this page, you will see a “Menu” button. Click on that, and a whole host of extra options pop up. Fourth from the top of the menu that pops up you will find, “Travels With Charlie.” This frequently updated Page lists the sites of upcoming visits along with local contact information to get an invitation. If you want to host a visit, check with my assistant, Mary Lapchak, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was a little tickled at the name Mary chose for the page because, in high school, I was a fan of John Steinbeck’s book, “Travels With Charley.” It chronicles a 1960 road-trip he took with his dog, Charley. Unfortunately, Charley was a French Poodle…while I prefer to think of myself as a Sherpa Shepherd (don’t know if there actually is such a breed, but if there isn’t, there should be.)
It was in late 1980, after the election, while Ronald Reagan was president-elect that I first sensed the magnitude of the man. He was about to board a helicopter when a reporter called out to him to ask if he thought the Ayatollah was afraid of him, as many people were saying. (Fifty-two Americans were still being held hostage by Iran after its revolution. They were finally released about a minute after Reagan took the oath of office.) “Well,” Reagan said with a cheery grin, “I don’t know why he should be. I’m not afraid of him.” With that he sprinted off to his helicopter. I remember thinking, “Wow, Iranian leaders must be soiling their pants right now.”
When U.S. Atty. Gen. William Barr cheerily asked Speaker Nancy Pelosi if she had brought her handcuffs at a recent event it flashed me back to that moment. The Russian Collusion Hoax has collapsed, yet Democrats are still shouting and screaming, hoping (with the sustained help of the establishment media) that they can still pull off their attempted coup. It is all “sound and fury, signifying nothing” as William Shakespeare, that old, dead white man would recognize immediately. At best, they are trying to leverage influence to bargain away punishment for having made the attempt. Barr was letting Pelosi and her caucus know that, no, there is not going to be a stand-down to the investigation of official misconduct at the highest levels of the executive branch of the previous administration. Right now, coup conspirators are dividing their time denouncing Trump and turning on each other. The evidence is already overwhelming and irrefutable. The Democrats are now reduced to attacking with squirt guns as the investigations on this coup roll inexorably forward. Barr is not the sort of cat to be diverted by getting wet.
The fraud perpetrated by the FBI, the Intelligence Community, the State Dept, and heaven knows who else in the Obama Administration is visibly and quickly disintegrating. All the screaming and posturing by the co-conspirators can’t hold it together any more. The walls are about to fall – and all will be revealed.
I am delighted that Alabama, the state of my family’s deepest roots, has functionally outlawed abortion. I am bemused that my adopted state, Colorado, has partially banned state-funded travel to Alabama in protest. The coastal lefties, particularly in Hollywood, are frothing at the mouth that Alabama has taken such a strong stand against killing babies. Alabama’s action has taken a lot of the heat from the left off of Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio which have passed heartbeat bills (bills which ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat begins). Louisiana and Missouri also have heartbeat bills pending. My old home state of Illinois is trying to outdo New York and Virginia in abortion extremism.
After taking the House in last year’s election, the triumphal left thought it was going to show us pro-life deplorables by functionally legalizing infanticide in New York – and trying their darnedest in Virginia. They did not expect eight states to respond by putting significant new restrictions on – and perhaps even boldly challenging the Roe v Wade decision that started this strife. That is how it works, though, when a society has been polarized – and when arrogant institutions try to impose new law on a self-governing people, as the Supreme Court did with Roe v Wade back in 1973. They imperiously thought to tell all the folksies what we must do – and have been surprised ever since that the folksies in this country don’t like imperial commands from above.
When divisions are fundamental, The most energized advocates on either side up the ante whenever they sense advantage. This actually helps clarify things. You see, most people try very hard not to think too much about the most controversial and divisive of issues. If they did, it would force them to choose, to choose which side they are on – and most folks would rather split the difference. They are not crusaders; they just don’t want any trouble. The impassioned advocacy of each side forces them to confront the issue – and ultimately to choose.
Unfortunately for the most impassioned advocates, they are rarely the most objective judges of how their passion will play out. They just want to prevail – and keep pressing the issue regardless of how weak or strong they really are. In the run-up to the American Civil War, southerners had honestly convinced themselves that one southerner could whip 10 Yankees. It was necessary to convince themselves of that, for the north had the overwhelming advantage in fighting age population and almost all of the industrial capacity. The only way the south could win is if it could spook the north into letting go or wear Yankees down into withdrawing from the fight. Any objective assessment would have shown the south could not win unless the north could be prodded to quit. However necessary it was to convince the south to fight, their passion was ultimately fatal to their cause.
When abortion advocates openly cheered at the legalization of quasi-infanticide in New York, it stunned a lot of people who had been trying very hard for a very long time not to think too hard about the issue. That very radicalism triggered enough of an “enough is enough” resolve in many that it paved the way for the heartbeat bills in the eight states I mentioned. It also proved a powerful motivator to get people soft on the issue to take a hard look at the movie, “Unplanned,” particularly when the establishment media was trying so hard to suppress news of it. That movie further fueled a growing resolve in many people who had not previously thought much about abortion. When the position you are passionate about offends the moral sensibility of ordinary people, the less you say the better; force people to start paying serious attention and you start losing. Pro-life advocates owe New York, Hollywood, and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam a debt of gratitude. It was their shrill zealotry that forced many more people to think seriously about the issue – and those people did not like what they saw.
Things are about to get a lot worse for abortion advocates. I have now confirmed with multiple credible sources (more than three) that live-infant vivisection has been going on with some babies who survived abortion attempts. It is the dissection process, itself, which kills them. Abortion advocates will scream it is not true when told this. That is how they always start. Unfortunately for them, I know that both the Justice Dept. and Congressional investigators already have the evidence. It is not an allegation that needs to be investigated; it is the evidence already unearthed by federal investigators. It will ultimately surface with the force of a full inner tube suppressed beneath concealing waters breaking free. When it does, abortion advocates will switch gears to explain that this is the “right” thing to do, that it provides the freshest organs, and that the babies aren’t really living at all. Ordinary people will be starkly horrified as they realize the truth of the industry, wondering how depraved someone must be to see a living, born baby – and calmly choose to cut it up rather than embrace it. These same ordinary people will wonder how they could have sat silent about this, turning their heads away for so long, rather than investigating. In the end, the ordinary people will soothe their consciences by telling themselves they didn’t know – and then make up for what they failed to do by zealously turning to a culture of life. Before the year is out, you will know that I have told you true on all this – and the abortion industry will be in deep, crisis. It is their own zealotry that will, ultimately, do them in.
The walls are about to fall – and all will be revealed.
When partisans start trying to rig the rules of play to determine outcomes rather than to ensure fair play for all, anarchy and nihilism soon follow. Instead of a smoothly functioning society, you get a rapidly degenerating street brawl – a war of all against all in a manic quest for power. This is why I often emphasize the need for clear, understandable rules which should only be amended to ensure fair play, not to determine outcomes. The machinery of process must not be brought to bear to determine winners and losers. Yet we are descending into an ever more rapidly swirling maelstrom of the perversion of that machinery. The left has so successfully advocated that process should be used to ensure preferred outcomes, that many otherwise honorable and decent folks on the right and in Christian communities have bought into the same thinking.
I am an admirer of Fr. Dwight Longenecker and his usually deeply insightful writing. He just published a piece in thanksgiving for the Alabama vote to deeply restrict abortion. He goes on to speak of some other things we should do to build a true culture of life. Most of it is very good. All of the goals he cites are good. But he wants government to be the instrument which forces those goals to become reality. Instead of empowering abortionists, he wants government to do the job the Churches and voluntary organizations should do. In short, he wants the government to guarantee the outcome he prefers rather than the outcome abortionists prefer, not coming to grips with the reality that if the government is rapacious and powerful enough to guarantee the outcome for anyone, it will always ultimately use that power to oppress them. The task before us is not to re-direct the coercive power of the federal government, but to de-fang the beast. That means the Churches would have to persuade people to hearken to the better angels of their nature, to put their money where their mouth is, to DO the good works the Lord commands rather than merely lobby government to force everyone to do it.
If the plan is merely to replace their thugs and bums with our thugs and bums, count me out. We must reform the system to offer a fair field of play for all – and then do the hard work of persuading all that our cause is just and true. Anything else is just a variation on dysfunction.
Most social media sites have ramped up their censorship and suppression of Christian and conservative speech, labeling such talk as “hate speech.” I have always loathed the idea of hate crimes and hate speech. I always knew it was the first few steps of Orwellian thought crimes – the tool authoritarian governments always use to control their people. Turns out that authoritarian mega-businesses are no more just or prudent than authoritarian governments.
The most basic reason for freedom of speech is for the stability it provides. Turns out that when people’s honest political and philosophical speech is suppressed, they resent it. Over time, that resentment grows until it erupts in violent revolt. Entities that suppress speech find themselves racked with instability, plagued with violence, riots, insurrections, assassinations and civil war. The truth is that suppressing speech is not a demonstration of power: it is a confession of intellectual impotence. It is also a harbinger of ultimate doom for the oppressors. There is no longer much doubt that Facebook, et al, are trying to shut down the most persuasive conservative voices in hopes of winning back power for the anti-God left at the next election. They get more obvious about it with each passing day. But the walls are falling – and all is being revealed. I am in contemplation about abandoning Facebook altogether. It has become a question of patronizing an entity that is actively subverting freedom.
Here’s the thing…the left’s playbook has lost its punch. They try to bolster it by becoming ever more shrill and violent, but each new offense reveals that modern neo-socialism is not an ideology at all, just an unvarnished quest for raw power. Now the very tactics they used to gain that power are backfiring on them, laying bare their actual motives. When all is revealed, the only hope the anti-God left has to take and retain power is violent insurrection. The question is will they stand down or resort to that in order to take power? Reading the news, I get the sense that a lot of folks on the left are busy convincing themselves that one Antifa member can whip 10 Christians. Calculations like that will guarantee a lengthy period of violent strife, even as they guarantee the ultimate destruction of the neo-socialists.
We have a lot of wood to chop before us. The Seventh Trumpet is sounding and the walls are falling before us. Let us not presume that God is on our side. Rather, let us take rigorous resolve to be on His side.