By Charlie Johnston
I will be home later this week and expect to get back to a more regular publishing schedule. When I got on the road last November, Donald Trump was president, gas was a dollar a gallon cheaper, and Americans were not being arrested or declared “domestic terrorists” for having the ‘wrong’ opinion. Good times, those were.
When I was a sophomore in high school, my class counselor, Mr. Erdmann, was a wonderfully wise and funny man who provided me a lot of good counsel during that formative time. We talked two or three times a week, as friends. It is great to have a wise mentor at that age.
One day, enraged by a teacher who wrongly targeted a kid he had a grudge against for something the kid clearly did not do, I burst into Mr. Erdmann’s office loaded for bear. I wanted to take the teacher down and was ready to create a huge demonstration and protest. Though Mr. Erdmann kept trying to calm me so we could have a more thoughtful conversation, I wasn’t having any of it. Finally, out of nowhere, he reared back and punched my elbow off his desk. Immediately and instinctively I cocked back my other arm and made a fist. “See Charlie,” he said, “I know you think the world of me, but when you are hit, your first reaction is to hit back – even against someone you think the world of. Sometimes you have no choice but to fight, and I know you are always willing to do so on a matter of right and wrong. But it should always be the last resort, not the first. And you are smart enough to figure out how to resolve most disputes without a fight. I expect you to do it.”
That caught my attention. We did handle it differently and effectively, eventually obtaining an apology from the teacher and learning, in the process, that his son had been killed recently and he was still working through the waves of grief and anger in the process. I was profoundly grateful that my counselor helped me to devise an approach that resolved the situation, cleared my friend, and did not further hurt a man who was already hurting quite badly. It was a formative episode that sticks with me, even now, and that I will never forget.
Last week, over at Church Militant, Michael Voris wrote a piece on the hypocrisy permeating the Diocese of Dallas where a pregnant mother, suffering morning sickness, had the police called on her by an unhinged Priest at her own Parish because she would not put on a mask – even though she had already moved away from other people in the pews while trying to catch her breath. While refusing to publicly comment or to correct the errant Priest, Dallas Bishop Edward Burns attended a fundraising cocktail party at which all attendees, including him, were maskless. Prominently named in the article were the well-to-do hosts. Someone in their circle was disturbed by the hypocrisy and captured several photographs. It did not make anyone involved look good.
Now I am informed that an organizer of the cocktail party has sent out a nasty, if somewhat incoherent, email rant targeting Deirdre Hairston, the young mother who the police were called on. I have not seen the email, but have had it read to me. Two parts jumped out at me. First, it called Hairston an “entitled heiress.” It is a nasty attack, though Hairston is the daughter of an influential and well-to-do family. I know her and her siblings, all of whom are completely down-to-earth with a solid work ethic who passionately champion those things they believe in. Her parents have done a magnificent job of raising an entire family that, despite many advantages, have no hint of entitlement. Then, bizarrely, the email pharisaically boasts that the folks at the cocktail party have a “seat at the table” while Hairston has her place on the sidewalk. Hairston often prays and demonstrates outside abortion clinics, so that is the sidewalk the author is presumably referring to, though it is a particularly vicious slur – and rather severely undercuts the “entitled heiress” line earlier in the missive.
St. Thomas More is, perhaps, the most prominent example of a saint coming from the table of power – though he didn’t reach saintly heights until he refused to participate with power in committing injustice. The fact remains, though, that saints are more easily formed on the sidewalks than in the boardroom. The complaints voiced in this email are eerily similar to the complaints the Pharisees had against that itinerant Preacher in the desert and His band of nobody Apostles some 2,000 years ago.
I am getting reports from some credible sources that the Bishop is encouraging smears against Hairston as a trouble-maker and rabble-rouser. I pray these reports are not true. I am going to assume, for the time being, that these are people who are just instinctively hitting back wildly after being hit with some most unfavorable publicity. It is the Bishop who is best positioned to de-escalate this. Unless he is prepared to diminish himself as a part of a faction in the Diocese rather than head of the whole Diocese, I am confident that Bishop Burns is formulating an approach to put this behind everyone.
If I were advising the Bishop I would suggest two things to wrap this up.
First, re-assign Fr. Milton Ryan, who escalated the whole situation in the first place. He has since been adamant that he will have Hairston arrested for trespassing if she dares set foot in her home Parish again for any reason, and reportedly is still sliming her to everyone he encounters. Send him to a spot where he has no routine contact with the public. That will send the message that you will not accept your Priests preying on the flock rather than ministering to them – and petty displays of bullying pregnant Moms are, indeed, a form of preying on the flock.
Second, have a luncheon at that Parish honoring notable volunteers in the area who have done good work for the Church and the Diocese. Make sure that Hairston is among those honored for her tireless work on behalf of pro-life causes AND that the hosts of the cocktail party are honored for their notable financial support of the Diocese. If the Bishop is seen publicly honoring these folks from different camps, among others who have performed notable service, he can begin to reunite the Diocese in a way that reminds all that we are all different parts of the same body, united in Christ.
As a bonus, since Texas has lifted all mask mandates, perhaps the Bishop could instruct his Priests to reserve one side of each Church for those who choose masks and another side for those who don’t…or have a Mass that is masked only and others that are mask optional. That would both de-escalate the divide AND respect the actual science and the law.
Colombia has degenerated into civil war. Whether or not it will slip back into quiescence under heavy government violence or not remains to be seen. But it has passed from protest to war. A few days ago, the entire city of Santa Marta was in flames. I know this from some very sparse media reports, but more importantly, from sources who are in Colombia.
It is not that war has broken out that puzzles me; that has been building for two years and seems inevitable. My conundrum is why the media and the American foreign policy establishment seem determined to pretend it is not happening at all. I would hazard that not one in a hundred people on the street in America even know there is a problem in Colombia, much less that it is going full Venezuela in real time. Perhaps it is because the peasants are revolting against cronyism, the destruction of the economy and their jobs, and the imposition of murderous new taxes to fund all the government fantasies in that country. Colombian citizens have figured out that when leftist idealists talk of equality, they mean tearing the successful down, not raising the needy up; that government spending never goes “for the people,” but always to the cronies of a small elite at the top – and it is the people who pay for it; that the rules are only for the lowly citizens, never for the elite.
I think American media and leftist Democrats want to keep this quiet because it hits too close to home – and they are not nearly as confident as they say in their screams that they can pacify and subdue Americans.
Why are Democrats and the media acting like vampires confronted with holy water in trying to shut down the audit of the votes in Arizona? They are even risking contempt of court citations by refusing to produce the routers that were used for reporting election results. It’s simple. They’re guilty and they know it – and are terrified that Arizona will set a precedent for other states. Then their fraudulent occupation of the federal government will come crashing down. If they were innocent, they would be the biggest boosters of audits to prove the integrity of the election. All their cries of “conspiracy theorist” and “domestic terrorist” have only served to inflame themselves and silence the preternaturally timid.
While calling groups such as Oathkeepers and the Proud Boys “domestic terrorists,” they are busy bailing out and dropping charges against the actual domestic terrorists of Antifa and BLM – you know, groups that have actually torched buildings and businesses, assaulted and even killed innocents, and promise to commit more mayhem all through the summer. Name me one time that either the Oathkeepers or the Proud Boys initiated violence. Their only crime is that they will not knuckle under to the media and government narrative – which is the only thing those that occupy the halls of power in Washington consider a crime anymore.
You can see the battle lines forming and the troops quietly gathering. A terrible clash is coming. At stake is whether we will become a neo-fascist oligarchy or renew ourselves as a free republic. The one thing I like is that the pagan left leaves no room for neutrality. Everyone must choose whom they will serve and publicly declare themselves. Almost all the institutions have already chosen the side of neo-fascism, many simply because they think that is the side that is winning. It will be ugly, it will probably be bloody, but God wins. I have been startled the last few weeks at how many sober, serious writers now assume the country is going to come apart. Those who say it won’t sound increasingly like they are whistling past the graveyard, expressing their hope rather than what they actually expect.
The media and the left went nuts when Tucker Carlson finally spoke of the incredible number of people who have died within a few weeks of taking the gene therapy jab called a vaccine. That number is now up to 4,100 in the United States and is taken from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (or VAERS), which has been used by doctors AND the CDC for over three decades to help assess the safety of new drugs. That number is higher than the number of such deaths from all vaccines combined for the last 15 years. It is still a small number overall, but it is clearly a problem that the CDC and other boardroom doctors did not anticipate. And it is only a short-term problem. Not a long-term problem. Those may start to become apparent during the summer. Still, the left’s cry is, “Stop asking questions. Just shut up and take the ‘vaccine’!” The pagan left just love themselves some junk science.
I insist that we on the right act with steady sobriety, analyzing the data to give good information that is grounded in actual science and fact. The media jumped on an MIT study showing that you still have risk of catching viruses at even 60 feet of distance – and that the six-foot recommendation does not stop the risk. The idiots in newsrooms said that meant your risk of infection is as great at sixty feet as at six, presumably to support full lockdowns. But that is not what the study said at all. It based much of what it said on the rule of dispersion to say that six feet, or even sixty, does not eliminate risk. Let’s translate it to mosquito infestations. Let’s say that, in a hot spot, you have 120 mosquitoes around you per square yard. Sixty feet away, you have three mosquitoes per square yard. The distancing does not end the risk – but any idiot knows that the risk of being bitten when there are only three/sq. yard is much smaller than when there are 120/sq. yard. Except, I suppose, idiots who work in newsrooms. What I am most appalled at is that some conservative commentators who clearly know better have used that same framing because they think it serves their purposes. I do not like the politicization and mangling of facts and evidence, period, whether done constantly by the left or occasionally by the right. There is going to be a reckoning for bearing false witness for political purposes. We all make enough mistakes that we should not compound them with intentional malice and, thus, forfeit our credibility.
In Canada, they sent a SWAT team out to arrest a pastor for “inciting” people to attend Christian Worship Services. The videos are just astounding and horrifying. The incredible smugness and complacency of the battalion of police involved is repulsively horrifying. O Canada! How I wish you had remained true to your stated commitment of liberty. O America! How far behind are we to this level of fascist compulsion? O Lord! How long? Must there be an explosion of violence before this ends? Don’t you leftist brutes know any history? Keep sowing the wind and you will indeed, reap the whirlwind.
In a couple of bright spots, the Texas legislature last week approved a heartbeat bill, completely banning abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected. It also passed Constitutional Carry – empowering all Texans who are not legally barred because of convictions to carry a concealed weapon as a matter of right, without a permit. In Pennsylvania, David Daleiden testified before the legislature about the hideous experiments the University of Pittsburgh has been conducting with fetal body parts and lab rodents. Make sure to check out the video at the bottom of this link. I think it may be the most powerful video Daleiden has yet produced.