Monday, November 24, 2014

Stop the Madness of Un-Thanksgiving

Written by John Horvat

As we gear up for the Thanksgiving holidays, many are preparing to engage in a strange new ritual that is crowding out the traditional turkey and pumpkin pie. The ritual, of course, is the extension of Black Friday shopping into Thanksgiving Day. It is a practice so shocking that we might as well create a new holiday—un-Thanksgiving—since nothing could be more contrary to the intention of the real holiday than its present evolution.

This year, media will again report on frenzied shoppers mobbing retail stores in search of super bargains. People will camp out in front of giant box stores for hours on end to get the jump on their fellow bargain hunters. Indeed, there is the extreme case of some fanatical California shoppers camping out at Best Buy a full twenty-two days ahead of the un-Thanksgiving stampede.

To read the whole story, click below.

Stop the madness of Un-Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Can Chimps Have Human Rights?

  The New York Court of Appeals recently reviewed a mind-boggling case: a petition for the status of “legal person” for a chimpanzee. Steven Wise, president of the Nonhuman Rights Project, is trying to gain human protections, including freedom from captivity, for a chimp named Tommy in upstate New York.

The animal rights activist bases his argument on the similarities between primates and humans. Wise states, “As a matter of both liberty and equality, Tommy should be seen as a person.” Steven Wise goes further by claiming his captivity is “a morally wrong thing to do.”

Last December, a judge from Montgomery County threw out Wise’s writ of habeas corpus for the 20-year-old chimp. In addition, three other cases filed for chimps in New York were discarded.

Showing sympathy, Justice Joseph Sise said Wise made a very strong argument, but could only agree insofar as habeas corpus applied to chimps. The judge added, “Good luck with your venture. As an animal lover, I appreciate your work.”

Unwilling to take no for an answer, Steven Wise took the case to the state Appellate Division on October 8.  
Why is Steven Wise pushing for human rights for an animal? He states himself: equality.

In ultimate analysis, cases like this join in a universal process, which has as a goal, the destruction of all inequality. After the distinctions between man and animals are gone, there will logically be a push for equality of man and nature. If nothing differentiates man from the rest of creation, what would stop him from declaring himself equal to God?

Can Chimps Have Human Rights?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Why Some Parents Homeschool - Video

Watch this video and see what some parents insist upon homeschooling!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Six Reasons Why Christian Civilization Always Favored Progress -

Written by John Horvat II

There is the common myth repeated over and over again that Christianity suppresses science and progress. One would think that those who call Christianity “anti-science” would at least use some kind of scientific method to prove their accusations. However, the proofs are sadly and incredibly lacking.

In contradiction to this myth, historians Stanley Jaki and A.C. Crombie affirm that “the rise of modern science, like that of political freedom and economic progress, has been coterminous with Christian-European thought, and for like causes.”

They claim that the biblical worldview contains all the essential elements for science and culture in general to flourish. Thus, at least six good reasons can be cited to support this claim:

1. Christians believed in a harmonious objective order intelligible to man which allowed for what Rodney Stark called “the triumph of reason.”

2. Christians believed in the biblical view that men’s role was to dominate nature and not be subject to it. This allowed them to search for ways to harness nature and make life easier.

3. There was a rejection of pantheistic magic that allowed the Faith to look for the reasons behind things.

4. The Catholic religion rejected the pagan idea of submission before the deities in nature that lived lives of vice and intrigue often at the expense of man’s progress.

5. The Church condemned superstition which hindered progress by adhering to irrational beliefs and practices.

6. Christians had a clear and rational understanding of reality which they developed into a philosophy that oriented their lives. This was opposed to the hazy, Gnostic understanding of reality that gave rise to fantasy and false mysticism that enslaved ancient and primitive peoples.

For these and other reasons, modern science only developed in Christian Europe and nowhere else. The groundwork was clearly laid.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Why a Conservative Victory is not Enough

Written by John Horvat II

The latest elections proved beyond a doubt that America is a conservative nation. 

Despite everything, conservative ideas still resonate strongly with many Americans and definitely have a future. But a simple victory is not enough. This is because the present victory does not explain everything. While conservatives just won in 2014, they lost in 2012, and 2008. The nation is polarized and we experience the see-saw cycle of elections that violently oscillates between the two major parties.

The problem is that America is a conservative nation but not necessarily a traditional one. We like to “conserve” and rightly enjoy our comfortable and prosperous way of life. We desire to “conserve” frozen and immobile a vision of America where all agree to get along while each freely pursues his own happiness. The left and right both present their own version of this America. Thus the see-saw battles of the last decades represent a “conservative” phenomenon regardless of who wins. 

The country might be likened to a boat. When liberals bring everyone over to their side of the vessel in an election, it starts to list dangerously to the left. This prompts the ship’s passengers to pull to the right in the next election to stabilize and keep the ship balanced and comfortable.

As long as the ship was in calm seas and shifts small, such an arrangement appears to have worked well. Prior to the seventies, the two political parties, although different, played by the rules of not rocking the boat too much. They managed to maintain the balance that allowed for smooth navigation and good times aboard.

However, beginning in the sixties, America started to navigate in troubled water. The consensus to play by the rules was broken. We lost our moral compass and the ship was left dangerously adrift toward chaos. Violent shifts on the left destabilized our American order which led to strong and very essential reactions on the right. Polarization has set in as each side reacted to the other  with greater intensity. Every election becomes a must-win proposition; each one more important than the last. 
Thus, see-saw battles take place. When conservatives call for sacrifices, less deficits or moral restraints to remedy liberal excesses and license, electorates often pull back and embrace the liberal cause anew. 

On the surface, this seems to have happened in the 2014 elections as Obamacare and other issues represented a violent lurch to the left and the public reacted with a massive shift to the right to restabalize the country and return to normality.

However, this was not a normal election. Neither port nor starboard captured the imagination of the electorate. The electorate was sullen, stupefied, and absent. There was a profound and fundamental discontent in all sectors against all parties. Voters questioned not just the angle of the deck but the rudderless course that the nation is following as we head into a storm. 

One could sense fears in the electorate that go beyond ship deck politics. On the horizon are the storms of ISIS, Ebola and economic collapse. There is moral decay in the family, community and Church that is the cause of much affliction. Above all, there is the unsettling sense that the comfortable normalcy that we have tried so hard to “conserve” over the decades has been hollowed out – and there is nothing to replace it. 

And that is why a conservative victory now is not enough. Conservatives need to address the important issue of where we need to go—the course of the ship. We do not need the safety of value-neutral employment schemes or financial stimuli that are already being promised by opportunists capitalizing on the elections. We cannot continue sidestepping important moral issues that are essential to the survival of the nation. We must free ourselves of the illusion that victory consists of avoiding anything controversial. 

Now is the time to reflect and debate ideas as to the course we must choose. If we take this time to articulate those principles, ideas, and moral values around which we might rally, we will position ourselves to weather the storms and return to order.

If however conservatives fail to plot a course, they will condemn themselves to yet more see-saw battles where
the electorate will award the prize to the party that gives them the most advantages—whether it be tax breaks, entitlement benefits or any other modern “bread and circus” programs.

We need to have the daring to transcend the “unheroic” standards of our comfortable materialism. Americans want
direction not ambiguity. The future belongs to those with the courage to brave unpopularity, take calculated risks and reject political correctness. They must be willing to admit there is a moral right and wrong. Above all, they must not be afraid to get on their knees and ask God’s help and blessings upon America.

Spero columnist John Horvat II is a scholar, researcher, educator, international speaker, and author of the book Return to Order. He lives in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania where he is vice president for the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property.

Why a conservative victory is not enough

Monday, November 3, 2014

Conversion on Death Row

In 1943, twenty-year-old Claude Newman was awaiting execution in a Mississippi prison for shooting Sid Cook, his beloved grandmother’s abusive second husband. One day, Claude noticed a medal hanging around the neck of a fellow prisoner, and asked the young man what it was. The latter responded by casting the medal to the ground with a curse and said, “take it.”  Unbeknownst to him, the curious pendant was a Miraculous Medal. Even though he knew nothing about it or who it represented, Claude picked up the trinket and hung it around his neck. He had no idea how that simple action would change his life.

During the night, Claude was awakened by a glowing vision, which he later described as “the most beautiful woman that God ever created.” The vision calmed the frightened man and said, “If you would like me to be your mother, and you my child, send for a priest of the Catholic Church.

And she disappeared. “A ghost, a ghost!” screamed Claude, clamoring for a priest. The next morning, Fr. Robert O’Leary (who later recorded the story) was summoned.  After listening to the extraordinary account and speaking with him, the priest discovered Claude to be a very simple, illiterate soul who knew very little about religion.
The priest proceeded to teach the young man about Catholicism, and soon the catechism lessons grew to include four other inmates who were deeply impressed by Claude’s vision.  Several weeks later, Father introduced the Sacrament of Confession, and Claude volunteered, 
"Oh, I know about that! The Lady told me that when we go to confession we are kneeling down not before a priest, but before the Cross of Her Son. And that when we are truly sorry for our sins, and we confess our sins, the Blood He shed flows down over us and washes us free from all sins."  The others were stunned at this new revelation. Seeing their surprise, Claude apologized, “Oh, don’t be angry, don’t be angry, I didn’t mean to blurt it out!”

Assuring him that he was far from angry, Fr. O’Leary asked Claude if he had seen the lady again. Taking the priest aside, the young man said, "she told me that if you doubted me or showed hesitancy, I was to remind you that lying in a ditch in Holland in 1940, you made a vow to her which She's still waiting for you to keep.”  This revelation fully convinced him of Claude’s claims. During the war, Fr. O’Leary had promised to erect a church in honor of the Immaculate Conception if he survived. He fulfilled the promise in 1947, and the church still stands in Clarksdale, Mississippi. As Father and Claude returned to the class on Confession, Claude told his friends, “You should not be afraid of Confession. You’re really telling God your sins, not the priest. You know, the Lady said that Confession is something like a telephone. We talk through the priest to God, and God talks back to us through the priest.”

Immaculate Conception Church Clarksdale, MS
Finally, the catechumens were received into the Church. In the baptismal records of St. Mary’s parish in Vicksburg, MS, Claude’s baptism is registered on January 16, 1944, four days before his scheduled execution. As the day neared, the Sheriff asked Claude if he had a last request.
“Well, all my friends are all shook up. The jailer is all shook up. But you don’t understand. I’m not going to die; only this body is. I’m going to be with her. So, then, I would like to have a party.”  
The Sheriff was shocked, but consented, and even allowed Claude’s fellow inmates to attend.  

On the morning of execution, Claude was full of joy. As he mentally prepared himself with Fr. O’Leary, the Sheriff rushed in shouting that the Governor had granted a two-week reprieve. To his amazement, the young man broke down in sobs, inconsolable. 

But you don’t understand! If you ever saw her face, and looked into her eyes, you wouldn't want to live another day! ...What have I done wrong these past weeks that God would refuse me my going home? …Why, Father?  Why must I still remain here for two weeks?”  

Suddenly, Fr. O’Leary had an inspiration. James Hughs, a fellow prisoner on death row, harbored a particular hate for Claude and all things religious despite having been raised a Catholic. Fr. O’Leary suggested that Claude offer his disappointment for Hughs’ conversion, and the final two weeks of the young man’s life were spent praying for the salvation of his fellow inmate.

Order your free Miraculous Medal and Novena

Claude was finally executed on February 4, 1944. Fr. O’Leary testified: “ I've never seen anyone go to his death as joyfully and as happily. Even the official witnesses and the newspaper reporters were amazed. They said they couldn't understand how anyone could sit in the electric chair beaming with happiness."

Claude Newman Virgin Mary the Teacher Icon - Artist: Br. Claude Lane, OSB

To heaven, but not alone
When the time came for James Hughs to be executed, he violently refused all spiritual assistance, cursing and blaspheming even while seated on the electric chair. Suddenly, looking intently towards a corner of the room, a look of surprise came over his face, quickly followed by one of sheer horror, he shouted, “Get me a priest!”  Fr. O’Leary approached and heard the man’s full confession, and ask him to explained his change of mind. The condemned man had seen Claude Newman and the Blessed Virgin standing behind him, her hands on his shoulders. Per Claude’s request, Our Lady showed James a glimpse of Hell, and filled with horror, he immediately demanded a priest.

Once again, the simple wearing of the Miraculous Medal called down our mother’s gaze, and saved not only one, but many souls in that Mississippi Prison.