By Charlie Johnston
As I promised earlier in the week, we have announced our line-up of speakers at the CORAC Conference to be held in the Black Hills from June 25-27. On the dais will be:
David Daleiden: Founder of the Center for Medical Progress – and the single most driven, successful pro-life activist of my lifetime. He is the man who did the undercover video recordings of abortion doctors and activists – revealing the illegal trafficking of fetal body parts and major abuses. For his work, he has been relentlessly persecuted by the denizens of the culture of death – but he persists joyfully in doing God’s work. The evidence is forcing even some establishment media to take notice. Many of you saw Daleiden’s appearance on Tucker Carlson last week – and now this week Newsweek has published an op-ed from him on the University of Pittsburgh’s grotesque fetal experiments and shadowy ties to Planned Parenthood. David will speak on enduring under intense hostile persecution.
Desmond Birch: Author of Trial, Tribulation and Triumph – and perhaps the foremost living eschatologist in the world. Eschatology can be simply described as the study of final things. There is a ton of misinformation out there. Yes, these are the End Times – but many confuse that eschatological term to mean the end of the world. End Times is a specific eschatological term to describe the world since the Resurrection of Christ – NOT the end of time. Birch will speak on what the Church teaches from the perspective of Augustinian eschatology. I have asked him to have a supply of his books available.
Chris Godfrey: The founder of Life Athletes, Godfrey is a passionate advocate for Christian and traditional marriage and family values. His advocacy not only promotes these values as right and true – but as the most effective way to live a joyful and fruitful life, with practical counsel on how to build and sustain healthy families in these times of strife. Godfrey was the starting right guard for the 1987 Superbowl Champion New York Giants. Rumor has it that he will have his Superbowl ring with him.
Jim Graham: President of Texas Right-to-Life, the single strongest right-to-life group in the country. TRTL advocates for life from conception until natural death. It trains and places college students as pro-life coordinators on campuses throughout the state – and is one of the most influential advocacy groups of any type during legislative sessions in Texas. It has just had a very successful session, encouraging the legislature to pass and the governor to sign the Texas Heartbeat Act, banning all elective abortions after a pre-born child’s heartbeat is detected. Graham will talk about how to fight and prevail in a pagan culture.
U.S. Grace Force Podcast: The U.S. Grace Force, founded by Fr. Richard Heilman, is the very archetype of muscular Christianity – living the prayer of doing. I love it! Its popular weekly podcast, hosted by Fr. Heilman and Doug Barry will be taped from the Conference with monitors set up so attendees can watch the taping. While Fr. Heilman will be at his Parish in Wisconsin and Barry will likely be in Texas (though he is trying to re-arrange things so he can physically be in South Dakota with us), the podcast will be focused on CORAC and our speakers.
A fabulous team of volunteers, led by Mary Lapchak, Kris Rehfeld and Sue Domen, has been hard at work for months to put this all together. I look forward to seeing you in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota at the end of June. Register now to reserve your spot!
Last night I watched the Lifetime movie, Christmas a la Mode. It’s a Hallmark-style Christmas movie and I have confessed before that those are one of my sentimental weaknesses. But I have been wanting to watch this one for months because one of our CORAC members, Kathy Harum, plays the mother in this movie. Harum has done some other Hallmark-style movies and had a role in the mainstream Mark Wahlberg vehicle, Patriots Day.
I chuckled because, early on in the movie, Harum is portrayed as someone who always wants to give plenty of leftovers for guests to take home with them. At a presentation I gave in southeast Massachusetts, she gave me a big red tote bag to carry the leftovers the hosts had for me. The bag is so handy, I have been using it since for all sorts of things – and had it sitting beside me as I watched the movie. Life imitates art.
We have a lot of artists, including some actors, who are members and supporters of CORAC and this website. Unfortunately, I hear from more and more of them how “cancel culture” is making opportunities for them increasingly sparse. Mainstream Hollywood actors who are Christian mainly keep their heads low these days. Those involved in non-traditional venues, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and various captive movie channels, are increasingly being frozen out if they make their faith obvious. Thankfully, there are rumblings from places like the Daily Wire (which has set up a film division) and crowdfunding operations such as The Chosen, which will provide some new opportunities for faithful actors. But these are just in embryonic stages – and are not enough to effectively counter the McCarthy-style blacklisting and purging of Christians in the arts and film industries. With all the things going on in the world, righting this ugly wrong is not a priority for me – but opportunistically, if I find ways to help ameliorate it or to help Christians in the professional arts to band together effectively, I will.
One of my favorite artists, the gifted young singer and songwriter, Kay Clarity, has been working hard on “Cassia and Myrhh,” a library of Catholic music designed to help “fumigate” the world, to help lay the foundations of real peace again. There is no charge for the download. She is putting it together in four ‘chapters,’ the first being the Gregorian Chapter – and is currently working on the Hymn Chapter. If you find this a worthy project to support, go here. Regardless, enjoy the music as it is made available. Never underestimate the power of the arts to transform our world. As we each give our little fish to Christ, he multiplies and prepares a banquet for those who love Him!
We have gotten off to an excellent start to our conference fundraising drive. I have only had one complaint come through on the new donation portal – and am convinced that was a browser compatibility issue. Everything else is flowing through swimmingly, and the security protocols are successfully defanging attack efforts thus far.
Thank you for standing with us for faith, family and freedom. Keep those cards and letters coming, folks!
I have been thinking a lot lately about the last lines from Bette Midler’s song, The Rose. It could really be the theme song for my attitude in these ugly times. So many see decay and collapse proceeding with vigor around us. I do, too. But what I see most clearly are the early signs of renewal and rebirth – and sometimes, I tear up with joy contemplating God’s tender mercies for us, when we have earned nothing but rebuke. I’ll just end with those lines that keep running through my head (with the edit of one word):
“Just remember, in the winter,
Far beneath the bitter snows,
Lies the seed that, with the Son’s love,
In the spring, becomes the rose.”