All articles from July 24, 2020


News

‘Assault’: Asian cardinal denounces Muslim resumed takeover of Catholic cathedral Hagia Sophia

Cardinal Charles Bo said that ‘turning what was once the world’s largest cathedral into a mosque’ will ‘sow tensions, divide people and inflict pain.’
Fri Jul 24, 2020 - 8:42 pm EST
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Cdl. Charles Bo. Salt and Light Media / Shutterstock.com
Martin Bürger Martin Bürger Follow Martin
By Martin Bürger

YANGON, Myanmar, July 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A Catholic cardinal who is the leader of the Asian bishops has strongly condemned the move of the Turkish government to allow the former Catholic cathedral Hagia Sophia, once the most important church in Eastern Christianity, to be turned back into a mosque.

Cardinal Charles Bo said that not only does the move “grieve” him, but he sees it as an “assault on freedom of religion or belief.”

“How does turning what was once the world’s largest cathedral into a mosque do anything except sow tensions, divide people and inflict pain?” asked Cardinal Bo, president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences and archbishop of Yangon in the nation of Myanmar, nestled between India and China. Bo was created a cardinal by Pope Francis in 2015.

Bo’s statement was released on Friday, July 24 — the day Hagia Sophia was used for the first time as a Muslim place of worship in almost a century (read full statement below). Just a few weeks earlier, the Turkish government had decided to turn the building back into a mosque.

Originally built in the 6th century, Hagia Sophia was the largest church of the Byzantine Empire. In 1453, when Muslim invaders attacked and took over the city of Constantinople, it was converted into a mosque. Kemal Atatürk, as the first president of the Republic of Turkey, turned the mosque into a museum in 1934.

“How does placing Hagia Sophia into the hands of people who have no sense of its history and heritage and who will destroy its Christian identity help bring people together?” continued Cardinal Bo. “How does seizing Hagia Sophia uphold Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? It doesn’t. It merely reopens wounds and exacerbates divides at a time when we should be healing humanity.”

Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was signed by Turkey, states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

Cardinal Bo recounted several instances of religious freedom being violated in Asia. He said “mosques have been razed to the ground and I have spoken out — frequently and at some risk. In China, the Uyghur Muslims are facing what amounts to some of the contemporary world’s worst mass atrocities and I urge the international community to investigate. In India and Sri Lanka Muslims have faced appalling violence and I have condemned such inhumanity.”

“In Indonesia, Ahmadiyya Muslim mosques have been destroyed by other Muslims, and churches have been forcibly closed,” he added.

“In Iran the Baha’is face an intense assault on their freedoms, and in Syria and Iraq sacred places have been wantonly destroyed while, sadly, closer to home, we have seen the same phenomenon in China with shrines destroyed, the Cross removed from places of worship, and even churches, like Xiangbaishu Church in Yixing, demolished.”

PETITION: Urge U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference to defend Catholic heritage and statues! Sign the petition here.

In his statement, Bo repeatedly stressed the importance of religious freedom.

“I work with my brothers and sisters from every major faith tradition every day of my life,” he explained. “And I will go to the ends of the earth to defend their rights. I will defend every mosque, every synagogue, every temple possible. And I know my fellow religious leaders working for peace would do the same for me.”

“That’s the spirit we need — to respect and defend each other’s freedoms to worship as we wish, to express our faith in accordance with our traditions, to convert freely according to our conscience, but never to be coerced, never to impose and never to seize or grab.”

Bo warned against repeating the mistakes of the past, stating, “In previous epochs of history we know that the seizure of one another’s sacred and holy buildings and sites has caused untold distress and bitterness and in our generation we should not be so foolish as to repeat the mistakes of history.”

He said “the decision in Turkey to turn what was for 1000 years the world’s largest Cathedral — Hagia Sophia — into a mosque grieves me. And as President of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, it is incumbent on me to say so.”

Turkey is indeed mostly located in Asia, with a small part that can be counted as belonging to the European continent.

Bo added he did not want to “deny my Muslim brothers and sisters places of worship. On the contrary, I defend their right to do so as much as I defend everyone’s. Nothing I say here should be taken by those who persecute Muslims — in Myanmar or beyond — as justification for their actions: it never can be.”

“Persecution of any kind should be countered by people of faith, hope and love and by humanity,” he said. “But nor can the decision to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque be seen as anything other than an unnecessary assault on freedom of religion or belief.”

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, supported by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, had designated Friday, July 24 as a “day of mourning and of manifest grief.”

“We ask that every Church toll its bells in lamentation on this day. We call for every flag of every kind that is raised on the Church property be lowered to half-mast on this day. And we enjoin every Church in our Holy Archdiocese to chant the Akathist Hymn in the evening of this day, just as we chant it on the Fifth Friday of the Great and Holy Fast,” wrote the Greek Orthodox bishops in the United States.

Turkish presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın had told CNN that Christian mosaics and imagery within Hagia Sophia would be preserved. “They’re part of our cultural heritage, these beautiful mosaics describing Jesus Christ, Virgin Mary, and other Christian personalities,” he emphasized.

“They will be preserved untouched. We’re making some arrangements that during Muslim prayer times, they will be covered, but not touched, so that they will not be eroded or affected by light or by anything else,” Kalın said, pointing out that Hagia Sophia will remain accessible to tourists and visitors.

* * *

STATEMENT BY HIS EMINENCE CHARLES CARDINAL BO

Hagia/Sofia

Freedom of religion or belief is a foundational human right for everyone, of every faith and none. The right to choose, practice, express and change one’s faith – or have no faith at all – is the most basic freedom for any soul. And it is a freedom I have consistently and passionately defended for Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews and Christians of all traditions, in my own country of Myanmar and throughout Asia.

Indeed often I have spoken in defence of the persecuted Muslim peoples in Myanmar, and I will go on doing so without hesitation and unequivocally. For true freedom of religion requires respect for others’ freedom to practice, as well as the exercise and defence of one’s own liberty.

For that reason, the decision in Turkey to turn what was for 1000 years the world’s largest Cathedral – Hagia Sophia – into a mosque grieves me. And as President of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, it is incumbent on me to say so.

It grieves me not because I want to deny my Muslim brothers and sisters places of worship. On the contrary, I defend their right to do so as much as I defend everyone’s. Nothing I say here should be taken by those who persecute Muslims – in Myanmar or beyond – as justification for their actions: it never can be. Persecution of any kind should be countered by people of faith, hope and love and by humanity. But nor can the decision to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque be seen as anything other than an unnecessary assault on freedom of religion or belief.

Faith is an affair of the soul, heart, mind and spirit. The temples of faith are within people, not buildings. Nevertheless, sacred buildings represent and embody history, heritage, art, iconography and the life-story of faiths throughout the millenia. When subverted, however, they can be used as symbols of power and subjugation.

In my country, Myanmar, mosques have been razed to the ground and I have spoken out – frequently and at some risk. In China, the Uyghur Muslims are facing what amounts to some of the contemporary world’s worst mass atrocities and I urge the international community to investigate. In India and Sri Lanka Muslims have faced appalling violence and I have condemned such inhumanity.

Similarly, In Indonesia, Ahmadiyya Muslim mosques have been destroyed by other Muslims, and churches have been forcibly closed. In Iran the Baha’is face an intense assault on their freedoms, and in Syria and Iraq sacred places have been wantonly destroyed while, sadly, closer to home, we have seen the same phenomenon in China with shrines destroyed, the Cross removed from places of worship, and even churches, like Xiangbaishu Church in Yixing, demolished.”

 Turning Hagia Sophia into a mosque represents a similar undermining of freedom of religion or belief, love for each other, respect for the dignity of difference.

At a time when humanity is enduring intense strains due to the global pandemic, we need to come together, not drive communities apart. We need to put aside identity politics, abandon power plays, prevent ethnic and religious conflicts and value the dignity of difference among every human being. And we must cherish diversity and the unity we find within it.

How does turning what was once the world’s largest cathedral into a mosque do anything except sow tensions, divide people and inflict pain? How does placing Hagia Sophia into the hands of people who have no sense of its history and heritage and who will destroy its Christian identity help bring people together? How does seizing Hagia Sophia uphold Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? It doesn’t. It merely reopens wounds and exacerbates divides at a time when we should be healing humanity.

I work with my brothers and sisters from every major faith tradition every day of my life. And I will go to the ends of the earth to defend their rights. I will defend every mosque, every synagogue, every temple possible. And I know my fellow religious leaders working for peace would do the same for me. That’s the spirit we need – to respect and defend each other’s freedoms to worship as we wish, to express our faith in accordance with our traditions, to convert freely according to our conscience, but never to be coerced, never to impose and never to seize or grab.

In previous epochs of history we know that the seizure of one another’s sacred and holy buildings and sites has caused untold distress and bitterness and in our generation we should not be so foolish as to repeat the mistakes of history.

Reciprocity is a human and natural virtue.

Let Hagia Sophia be.

Charles Bo

President of Federation of Asia Bishops’ Conferences

Archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar


  burma, catholic, charles bo, ecumenism, hagia sophia, indifferentism, islam, jihad, myanmar, recep tayyip erdogan, religious freedom, turkey

News

Canadian health dept OKs strangers having sex if they wear masks, don’t look at each other

The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control insists that the only advisable restriction on sexual behavior during the COVID pandemic is that people shouldn't face each other.
Fri Jul 24, 2020 - 7:32 pm EST
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YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV / Shutterstock.com
Calvin Freiburger
By Calvin Freiburger

WARNING: The following article contains graphic descriptions of lascivious sexual practices. Reader discretion is advised.

BRITISH COLUMBIA, July 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BC-CDC) has published a list of suggestions on how to increase the “safety” of sexual intimacy during the COVID-19 pandemic, although many of the items tacitly endorse casual sex with strangers.

The BC-CDC’s “COVID-19 and Sex” page sets the tone for the advice to come with a declaration that “messages that discourage or shame people from sexual contact can be harmful and may discourage people from seeking essential sexual health services.” The page then explains that while it’s unclear whether semen can transmit the coronavirus, any sexual contact can spread it via touching and transfer of saliva through kissing.

After stating the obvious, that the virus cannot spread through self-masturbation or via the internet, the agency acknowledges that the risk of catching COVID-19 increases alongside a person’s number of sex partners, yet it does not declare any firm boundaries on the subject.

The BC-CDC then offers a list of measures one can take to “protect” oneself during sexual activity, including washing before and after, asking partners about their health, keeping their contact information on hand to notify them of any change in diagnosis, and the use of condoms.

Most controversially, the page lists a variety of measures to reduce or eliminate every aspect of sex other than genital contact — wearing masks; avoiding kissing; choosing positions in which partners don’t face one another; and the use of “barriers, like walls (e.g., glory holes), that allow for sexual contact but prevent close face-to-face contact.”

Notably, most of the potential dangers identified by the BC-CDC are non-issues for married couples, who tend to contract the same ailments with or without sex because they live together, and spouses tend to be regularly appraised of each other’s health status.

The double-standard between uncompromising restrictions on religious assembly and economic activity on the one hand and the high prioritization of sexual gratification on the other has been a recurring element of the COVID-19 response.

In the United States, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci — who had previously declared, “I don’t think we should ever shake hands again” — said it was “tough” to say people should stop sexual hookups via dating apps, because “everybody has their own tolerance for risks” and it’s “your choice.”

Also in the U.S., the New York City Health Department released a list of sex guidelines similar to the BC-CDC’s, which contained several of the same recommendations along with the suggestion to “make it a little kinky.” 


  anthony fauci, british columbia, british columbia centre for disease control, casual sex, coronavirus, covid-19, promiscuity, public health, sex

News

Top US pro-life priests: ‘No Catholic can vote for Joe Biden’

Fr. Frank Pavone, Fr. Michael Orsi, and Fr. Stephen Imbarrato agree that even though Biden claims to be Catholic, his abortion and LGBT activism make him unsupportable.
Fri Jul 24, 2020 - 7:29 pm EST
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By Doug Mainwaring

PETITION: Urge Catholic bishops to refuse Holy Communion to pro-abortion Biden! Sign the petition here.

July 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – As the November presidential election swiftly approaches, Democrat Joe Biden is looking for ways to exploit his association with Catholicism to, in the words of an Associated Press report, “claim the moral high ground” in order to “chip away at Trump’s base by appealing to pockets of conservative faithful.”

“Joe Biden is a different kind of foe than Trump has faced before: one who makes faith a central part of his persona — often literally wearing it on his sleeve,” asserted an Associated Press (AP) report published by mainstream media outlets across the country.   

Yet Biden’s faith — which allows him to declare that abortion is an ‘essential healthcare service;” to assert that if elected he will resurrect Obama-era policies that would force the Little Sisters of the Poor to violate their religious beliefs and provide contraceptives and abortifacients to their employees; to personally conduct gay weddings; and to support the overtly marxist Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement that seeks to disrupt the nuclear family — is completely foreign to vast swaths of Catholics. 

As the election draws nearer, Biden is racing further and further leftward, creating an evermore distinct contrast with President Trump's strong pro-life, pro-family record.  

‘Biden should not even try to receive Communion’

Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, said Biden’s “failure to protect the unborn puts him not only in conflict with the Catholic faith but with the Christian Gospel, the Founding principles of America, the very meaning of public service, and basic human decency. You can’t kill babies, and you can’t authorize anyone else to do so.”  

“This leads to the conclusion that a person like this should not even try to receive Communion,” Fr. Pavone told LifeSiteNews. “In fact, he doesn’t want to, because to exclude the unborn is to exclude Christ; so you may want ‘Communion,’ but you don’t want actual union with Jesus.” 

“Moreover, if one claims to believe the Church in saying the host is the Body of Christ, how can one not believe that same Church when she says the unborn is a person worthy of protection? The latter is easier to understand than the former,” Pavone declared. 

Biden: ‘Anti-Catholic’

“Joe Biden has already, rightfully so, been refused communion,” said Father Stephen Imbarrato, an activist pro-life Catholic priest, a regular on EWTN, and a member of Red Rose Rescues.  

Fr. Imbarrato recounted a litany of Biden’s scandalous positions on issues that defy his Catholic faith: 

  • Joe Biden supports murdering babies up till the day of birth. 

  • He supports the murder of the elderly, disabled, and medically vulnerable through euthanasia and assisted suicide. 

  • He supports any number of sexual disorders and immoral experimentations that attack Catholic marriage and family. He himself has even presided over a same-sex marriage in direct opposition to Church mandate. 

  • His environmental policies are built on the population control principles of abortion and contraception in direct oposition to the teaching of Pope Francis on the environment. 

  • His crime bills in the 1990s, which he still brags about today, included the death penalty and were by many accounts racist.

  • He even made racist statements during the Senate hearing. Again, he still brags about these even today.  

  • He even admitted that as President he would force (bully) Catholic nuns to pay for contraception and abortion in spite of the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the conscience and religious freedom of the nuns, 7-2.  This is an outright attack on our Catholic faith.  

“He is a walking and talking scandal to his Catholic faith and has rightly been refused the Eucharist because he persists in ongoing mortal sin thus separating himself from communion with the Church. He scandalizes the Catholic faith in so many ways that objectively he actually seems “anti Catholic” in his beliefs.” 

“Biden is not living as a Catholic,” Fr. Pavone said in a recent video

U.S. bishops’ scandalous failure to sanction Biden

“Joe Biden has stubbornly and contumaciously ignored Church teaching on abortion and Religious Freedom,” observed Fr. Michael Orsi, a priest of the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey, who currently serves as parochial vicar for St. Agnes Parish in Naples, Florida, and a former chaplain of Ave Maria School of Law in Naples.

“Accordingly, a 2004 Memorandum from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, signed by Cardinal Ratzinger, states, ‘a politician consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion laws’ the politician’s pastor is to inform him that he should not receive Communion,’” noted Fr. Orsi. 

“The failure on the part of most bishops to enforce the sanction is, in fact, more scandalous than Biden’s positions,” Fr. Orsi told LifeSiteNews.  

Fr. Imbarrato agrees. “A more concerning potential scandal may be that the U.S. bishops have not forthrightly proclaimed (Biden’s defiance of his Catholic faith) – what every Catholic knows yet half choose to ignore because the bishops have ignored it and remain silent about it. 

“The silence of the U.S. bishops about Joe Biden may even a greater scandal than Biden’s idolatry (by which he places his intrinsically evil political agenda before his Catholicism) because a case can be made that he indulges in such scandal and idolatry because of the tacit approval from our shepherds,” Imbarrato told LifeSiteNews. 

Fr. Orsi offered three possible reasons for the bishops’ silence.

“First, perhaps the bishops are still reeling from the priest abuse scandals, and are fearful of stirring the anger of politicians who could inflict more damage if elected,” Orsi suggested.  

“Secondly, and perhaps even more pernicious than the first, is that many bishops no longer see abortion as the ‘preeminent’ social justice issue,” Orsi said. “They prefer ‘a seamless garment’ approach which places e.g. ‘climate change,’ racism, and capital punishment to be equally important.”  

“Lastly, about 40 percent of Catholic Charities’ funding comes from federal and state coffers,” Orsi explained. “The fear of losing this would not only put a further dent into diocesean social outreach but limit the influence of liberal Democrats that inhabit many Church offices.”

Catholics cannot in good conscience vote for Biden 

“As for voting, not only can Catholics not vote for Biden in good conscience, but they can’t vote for Democrats, period. And neither can anyone else,” Fr. Pavone told LifeSiteNews.  

“The devil has made his home among the leadership of the Democratic Party for some time now, and found it a most hospitable environment,” Fr. Orsi wrote in a widely read analysis earlier this year. 

“It’s time to stop pretending we can be neutral. The Democrat Party has set itself up against the Church, against the unborn, and against America,” said Pavone. “They do not deserve one ounce of power in this country, and anyone who gives it to them shares the guilt of all the evil they do. And that starts with our religious leaders.”

Fr. Imbarrato declared simply, unequivocally, “No Catholic can vote for Joe Biden.” 

Do not risk grave sin by voting for Biden

“I encourage every Catholic to read Nos. 2284-2287 on scandal in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and to contact their bishops,” Fr. Imbarrato said.  

“Denounce Biden’s scandalizing of our Catholic faith and demand the bishops’ end their current scandal of silence,” he urged. “I am also begging Catholics to not risk the grave sin of scandal by supporting this man with their vote. Thus we would be heaping more scandal upon more scandal upon scandal.”

“Many people respond to my comments with, ‘what about Trump?’ This is not about Trump. Trump isn't even Catholic. This is a Catholic issue. A Catholic can't vote for Biden whether they feel in good conscience they can or can't vote for Trump,” he added. 

“Between 45 percent and 48 percent of Catholics voted for Hillary Clinton,” Fr. Imbarrato said. “Four years later, the situation with Biden as a Catholic is much worse and the choice is much clearer insofar as not who any Catholic can vote for, but who every Catholic can't vote for. No Catholic can vote for Joe Biden.”

Catholics are not the only ones scandalized by Biden   

At a recent “Evangelicals for Trump” event in Atlanta, high profile attendees such as Dr. Alveda King, Bishop Harry Jackson, and Ralph Reed “condemned Democrat politicians like Joe Biden who have abandoned religious Americans to satisfy the woke mob.” 

“President Trump has been a staunch defender of people of faith, and the Evangelical community is fired up and ready to rally behind him in November,” said Pastor Paula White, spiritual adviser to President Trump. “While Joe Biden radically shifts further away from the American values that Christians hold dear, President Trump continues to fight for our religious freedoms and the principles of faith that make our country great.”

The Biden campaign is “using a watered-down, progressive version of Christianity that politely declines to share the Gospel and uses broad, generally spiritual terminology,” explained Elizabeth Johnston, better known as “Activist Mommy,” in a blog posting.  

“Biden may be able to woo some nominally Christian voters over to his side, but he certainly has no intention of governing according to the Word of the Lord,” she added.  

LifeSiteNews has sought comment from Bishop W. Francis Malooly of the Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware, where Biden resides, but received no response. 


  2020 presidential election, abortion, assisted suicide, catholic, communion, democrat party, donald trump, euthanasia, frank pavone, joe biden, michael orsi, priests for life, same-sex weddings, scandal, stephen imbarrato, u.s. bishops

News

Everyone but far-left feels intimidated into silence, new survey finds

Even moderate liberals and Democrats are wary of expressing their opinions, according to respondents.
Fri Jul 24, 2020 - 4:33 pm EST
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By Calvin Freiburger

PETITION: Investigate George Soros' role in funding domestic terrorism! Sign the petition here.

July 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Conservatives, centrists, and moderate liberals all feel afraid of speaking their minds for fear of reprisals, according to a disturbing new survey released this week by YouGov and the Cato Institute.

Sixty-two percent of respondents find that the current “political climate these days prevents them from saying things they believe because others might find them offensive,” with almost a third fearful that expressing disfavored opinions could get them fired, according to the survey. 

Conservatives and Republicans felt self-censorship most intensely at 77 percent, though majorities of Democrats, Independents, centrist liberals, and moderates also answered that they felt the same way. “Strong liberals” were the only category in which a majority (58 percent) said they felt safe openly expressing themselves.

Every group feels less safe in speaking out than they did when the question was asked in 2017, with the most pronounced shifts occurring left-of-center. Only “strong conservatives” remained relatively constant, shifting just one percentage point.

The survey also found differences in how the two ends of the ideological spectrum would pressure others for contrary politics. Half of “strong liberals” endorsed the prospect of firing business executives for personally contributing to President Donald Trump’s re-election, whereas 36 percent of “strong conservatives” would do the same to executives who donated to former Vice President Joe Biden.

The results follow another survey finding the vast majority of Americans think social media has too much power and influence over U.S. politics, and come as little surprise given the country’s ongoing debate over “cancel culture” and left-wing activists’ aggressive efforts to stigmatize dissenting viewpoints – from the alleged firing of a Michigan high-school coach for supporting Trump, to the rise of “safe spaces” on college campuses, to America’s leading corporations in a variety of fields buckling under pressure to endorse and donate money to Black Lives Matter (BLM).

Perhaps the most telling example is that of Harry Potter author JK Rowling, who is a doctrinaire liberal on most issues yet has been deemed a bigot by pro-LGBT activists for refusing to go along with the notion that gender is a social construct which may be changed by merely declaring one’s self to be a woman.

“But this needed reckoning (from BLM) has also intensified a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that tend to weaken our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity. As we applaud the first development, we also raise our voices against the second,” reads an open letter signed by Rowling and 149 other left-of-center figures, published this month in Harper’s Bazaar.

“As writers, we need a culture that leaves us room for experimentation, risk taking, and even mistakes,” the letter continued. “We need to preserve the possibility of good-faith disagreement without dire professional consequences. If we won’t defend the very thing on which our work depends, we shouldn’t expect the public or the state to defend it for us.”

On the Fourth of July, President Trump called cancel culture “the very definition of totalitarianism, and it is completely alien to our culture and our values, and it has absolutely no place in the United States of America.” Speaking at Mount Rushmore, he vowed that his administration would “expose this dangerous movement, protect our nation’s children, end this radical assault, and preserve our beloved American way of life.”


  black lives matter, cancel culture, free speech, jk rowling, left-wing hate, lgbt, political correctness, polls, self-censorship, survey

News

Rand Paul: ‘Cuomo should be impeached’ for ‘disastrous’ COVID-19 response

'New York had the worst death rate of any place in the world amidst a lockdown,' Sen. Paul said.
Fri Jul 24, 2020 - 3:21 pm EST
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U.S. Sen. Rand Paul
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By Calvin Freiburger

Correction, July 27, 2020: This piece has been updated to include the correct percentage of COVID-19 deaths nationwide.

July 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – New York’s Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo should be impeached from office for his decision to force nursing homes in the state to take in coronavirus patients regardless of the danger to their elderly residents, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said Wednesday.

“New York had a lockdown and had 30,000 people die. New York had the worst death rate of any place in the world amidst a lockdown,” Paul told Fox News, the Daily Caller reports. “I think Governor Cuomo should be impeached, you know for what he did, for the disastrous decision he made to send patients with coronavirus patients back to nursing homes.”

“Terrible public health policy decisions were made and, I think, in the end, none of these polices have probably been good for our economy or actually good in containing the virus,” the senator, who is a doctor and had the coronavirus in late March, lamented.

As of July 24, the United States is estimated to have seen more than 4.2 million COVID-19 cases, with more than 147,000 deaths (3.5%) and 1.9 million recoveries. An estimated 40% of those deaths have come from nursing homes. New York has been the hardest-hit state, with more than 32,000 deaths, thanks in large part to the virus spreading within the state’s nursing homes.

For months, the pro-abortion Cuomo has been under fire for ordering that nursing homes cannot turn away patients diagnosed with COVID-19, despite the fact the virus is most dangerous to the elderly. Cuomo initially blamed nursing home deaths on the Trump administration, by claiming that a federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance forced him to put the infected back in nursing homes.

But Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) explained that the CDC actually called for elderly housing decisions to be made on a case-by-case basis, factoring in the “ability of the accepting facility to meet the recommended infection control practices,” such as the “ability to place residents in a designated COVID-19 care unit that is equipped with the resources and [personal protective equipment] to safely prevent the spread of infections.”

Cuomo’s placement of individuals known to be infectious among the state’s most vulnerable contrasts sharply with the extreme measures New York leaders have taken to prevent spreading the virus in less risky situations, such as restricting in-person religious services. 

On Thursday, Cuomo announced that police officers would be stationed at New York airports to quarantine any travelers from states with high infection rates, and that bars will be forbidden from serving alcohol unless they serve “substantial” food along with it.


  andrew cuomo, coronavirus, covid-19, democrats, freedom, lockdowns, new york, nursing homes, public health, rand paul

News

Kennedy Jr. warns parents about danger of using largely untested COVID vaccines on kids

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. warned against mandatory COVID-19 vaccination in a debate with Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, pointing out that ‘key parts of testing’ were ‘being skipped’
Fri Jul 24, 2020 - 3:08 pm EST
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Robert Kennedy Jr. January 25, 2019 in Park City, Utah. Rich Fury/Getty Images
Martin Bürger Martin Bürger Follow Martin
By Martin Bürger

PETITION: No to mandatory vaccination for the coronavirus! Sign the petition here.

July 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. warned Americans on Thursday to be cautious about any new coronavirus vaccine, pointing out that key parts of testing are being skipped. 

“The Moderna vaccine, which is the lead candidate, skipped the animal testing altogether,” Kennedy said during an online debate on mandatory vaccinations with renowned Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz. The debate was aired by Valuetainment and moderated by Patrick Bet-David. 

Kennedy is part of a political family, being the son of Senator Robert F. Kennedy and the nephew of President John F. Kennedy. Both were murdered in the 1960s.

Another aspect of testing was equally unsatisfying, Kennedy said. The Moderna vaccine was tested “on 45 people. They had a high-dose group of 15 people, a medium-dose group of 15 people, and a low growth group of 15 people.”

“In the low-dose group, one of the people was so sick from the vaccine they had to be hospitalized,” he explained. “That’s six percent. In the high-dose group, three people got so sick they had to be hospitalized. That’s twenty percent.”

In spite of these significant problems, “they’re going ahead, and making two billion doses of that vaccine.”

Another problem with the testing of the coronavirus vaccine is that it’s tested not on “typical Americans,” but a carefully selected group of people who don’t suffer from certain conditions.

“They use what they call exclusionary criteria,” Kennedy said. “They are only giving these vaccines in these tests that they’re doing to the healthiest people.”

“If you look at their exclusionary idea criteria: You cannot be pregnant, you cannot be overweight, you must have never smoked a cigarette, you must have never vaped, you must have no respiratory problems in your family, you can’t suffer asthma, you can’t have diabetes, you can’t have rheumatoid arthritis or any autoimmune disease. There has to be no history of seizure in the family. These are the people they’re testing the vaccine on.”

He asked, “What happens when they give them to the typical American? You know, Sally Six-Pack and Joe Bag of Donuts who’s 50 pounds overweight and has diabetes.”

Kennedy stressed several times that “any other medicine … that had that kind of profile in its original phase-one study would be [dead on arrival].”

“No medical product in the world would be able to go forward with the profile that Moderna has,” he reiterated.

During the course of the debate, Kennedy also talked about the regular vaccines most people take, from Hepatitis B to the flu shot, emphasizing that no proper testing had ever been done, which is mandatory for any other medication. Vaccines “are the only medical product that does not have to be safety-tested against a placebo,” he explained.

In a study involving placebos, one group of people would be injected with the actual vaccine, while another group would be injected with saline solution, which would not have any effect in preventing a particular disease. The people who are part of the study would then be observed to see if there are any differences between the two groups, both regarding the disease vaccinated against, and side effects.

As these tests are never done on vaccines, “nobody knows the risk profile of any vaccine that is currently on the schedule. And that means nobody can say with any scientific certainty that that vaccine is averting more injuries and deaths than it’s causing.

In fact, it should be the opposite, Kennedy said, with vaccines being tested even more thoroughly than any other medication.

“It’s a medical intervention that is being given to perfectly healthy people to prevent somebody else from getting sick,” he pointed out. “And it’s the only medicine that’s given to healthy people … and particularly to children who have a whole lifetime in front of them. So you would expect that we would want that particular intervention to have particularly rigorous guarantees that it’s safe.”

Kennedy said “it’s not hypothetical that vaccines cause injury, and that injuries are not rare. The vaccine courts have paid out four billion dollars” over the past three decades, “and the threshold for getting back into a vaccine court and getting a judgment – [the Department of Health and Human Services] admits that fewer than one percent of people who are injured ever even get to court.”

He mentioned another reason not to trust blindly any company currently producing vaccines in the United States. Each one of the four vaccine producers “is a convicted serial felon: Glaxo, Sanofi, Pfizer, Merck.”

“In the past 10 years, just in the last decade, those companies have paid 35 billion dollars in criminal penalties, damages, fines, for lying to doctors, for defrauding science, for falsifying science, for killing hundreds of thousands of Americans knowingly.”

“It requires a cognitive dissonance,” Kennedy commented, “for people who understand the criminal corporate cultures of these four companies to believe that they’re doing this in every other product that they have, but they’re not doing it with vaccines.”

While Kennedy is often described as being against vaccines altogether, he stressed that he does not oppose vaccines, as such. He accused his critics of “marginalizing me and silencing me” by misrepresenting his actual position.

In May, Kennedy signed an appeal created by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò aimed at raising public awareness among people, governments, scientists, and the media about the serious dangers to individual freedom caused during the spread of Covid-19.

The appeal raised concern at one point about a COVID-19 vaccination in relation to human freedom.

“We also ask government leaders to ensure that forms of control over people, whether through tracking systems or any other form of location-finding, are rigorously avoided. The fight against Covid-19, however serious, must not be the pretext for supporting the hidden intentions of supranational bodies that have very strong commercial and political interests in this plan. In particular, citizens must be given the opportunity to refuse these restrictions on personal freedom, without any penalty whatsoever being imposed on those who do not wish to use vaccines, contact tracking or any other similar tool.”

The appeal made it clear that for Catholics it is “morally unacceptable to develop or use vaccines derived from material from aborted fetuses.”

Comments on the YouTube video of the debate between Kennedy and Dershowitz indicated, almost unanimously, that Kennedy had won the debate. Dershowitz conceded many points, arguing, however, that from the point of view of constitutional law, the coronavirus vaccine could be made mandatory.

Dershowitz, who has provided legal counsel to and defended people like Donald Trump, Jeffrey Epstein, and Julian Assange, cited a 1905 Supreme Court ruling as precedent. Jacobson v. Massachusetts upheld the authority of states to enforce compulsory vaccination laws.

Kennedy clarified that the state government at the time had offered people to either be vaccinated or pay a five dollar fine. Dershowitz’s argument, however, was that based on constitutional law, including this precedent, “the state has the power to literally take you to a doctor’s office and plunge a needle into your arm.”

Kennedy said, “I think there’s a big constitutional chasm between, you know, that remedy, which is paying a fine, and actually going in and holding somebody down and forcibly injecting them.”

President Trump has already said that the new coronavirus vaccine would not be mandatory, but available for those “who want to get it. Not everyone is going to want to get it.” A LifeSiteNews petition saying no to mandatory vaccinations has garnered more than 650,000 signatures and can still be signed here.

The ethical issue of many vaccines being derived from cell lines of aborted babies was not discussed during the debate.


  alan dershowitz, coronavirus, coronavirus vaccine, forced vaccination, moderna vaccine, robert francis kennedy jr, vaccinations, vaccines

News

Abby Johnson: Communion in hand has led to lack of belief in Real Presence

'I think it's because so many have received on their hand and that reverence has been taken away. It's because we have…lost that we're kneeling when we're receiving the Eucharist,' Johnson said.
Fri Jul 24, 2020 - 1:55 pm EST
Featured Image
abbyjohnson.org and shutterstock.com
LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

July 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Well-known pro-life activist Abby Johnson told LifeSite’s John-Henry Westen on his weekly podcast this past Tuesday that she believes there is a “lack of reverence toward the Eucharist” happening in the Catholic Church. That irreverence is causing people to not believe in the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist, she argued.

Johnson, who converted to Catholicism in 2013, made the comments just days after appearing in a video with other pro-life leaders from around the world declaring that out of reverence and love for Our Lord they would only receive Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue.

The Planned Parenthood director-turned-pro-life advocate informed Westen that even prior to her and her husband’s conversion to Catholicism seven years ago, she was taught about the Real Presence and decided that she would never receive Communion in the hand.

“I remember thinking to myself, ‘why would anybody receive the Lord on their hand?…If you truly believe that is the real presence of Lord, why would you ever have that in your hand? Why would you ever take the chance that that part of the Eucharist could be left behind on your hand to be discarded or, you know, thrown away or wiped away?’ And so I remember in that moment saying I will never receive on the hand. I mean, no, absolutely not,” she said.

A 2019 Pew Research study found that less than one-third of U.S. Catholics believe the Church teaching that during Mass the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Nearly 70 percent say the bread and wine are mere “symbols.”

Many conservative Catholic commentators attribute this loss of belief to extraordinary lay Eucharistic “ministers” and liturgical abuses. Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, renowned scholar and author, made that point in an appearance on Westen’s podcast yesterday.

Johnson said that she believes a casual, sort of indifferent attitude towards the Blessed Sacrament has crept into Catholic liturgy.

“It’s really a sort of a Protestant way of thinking that has seeped into the Mass,” she said.

“I think it's because so many have received on their hand and that reverence has been taken away. It's because we have…lost that we're kneeling when we're receiving the Eucharist.”

Johnson also told Westen that since her conversion to the Catholic faith in 2013 she has experienced many “frustrations” in the Church ranging from remarks by Pope Francis to what she sees as a general church-wide embrace of liberalism.

“As of the past couple years, it's been tough...there have been times that I’ve been troubled by things I'm seeing.”

Three weeks ago on Twitter, Johnson revealed to her followers that she attended the Traditional Latin Mass for the first time. She discussed, in length, her reasons for doing so and what she thought about it on Westen’s podcast. Listen to their full conversation by clicking below. 

The John-Henry Westen Show is available by video on the show’s YouTube channel and right here on my LifeSite blog.

It is also available in audio format on platforms such as SpotifySoundcloud, and ACast. We are awaiting approval for iTunes and Google Play as well. To subscribe to the audio version on various channels, visit the ACast webpage here.

We’ve created a special email list for the show so that we can notify you every week when we post a new episode. Please sign up now by clicking here. You can also subscribe to the YouTube channel, and you’ll be notified by YouTube when there is new content.

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  abby johnson, eucharist, holy communion, liturgical abuse, reverence, the john-henry westen show

News

California city removes statue of saint under cover of darkness

Ventura city officials began removing the statue of St. Junipero Serra at 3 AM 
Fri Jul 24, 2020 - 12:17 pm EST
Featured Image
City officials remove the statue of St. Serra, July 23, 2020, Ventura, California. Mary Rose
Mary Rose
By

PETITION: Urge U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference to defend Catholic heritage and statues! Sign the petition here.

VENTURA, California, July 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Under the cover of darkness, the city of Ventura, California removed the statue of St. Junipero Serra from in front of city hall and deposited it in a storage facility. This took place on July 23 before dawn. The city first erected the monument to Father Serra, Ventura’s founder, in 1936. 

Last week, the city council voted unanimously to remove both the bronze statue from in front of city hall and the identical wooden statue from inside the building, ceding to clamor that Father Serra was “Father genocide” who was a racist, and hence has no place in today’s Ventura.

This week, citizens filed a lawsuit challenging the validity of the city council’s vote. They also asked for a restraining order to prevent the city from removing the bronze statue, arguing that the city ran roughshod over the rules regulating the disposal of historic resources. The court denied the request for a restraining order, accepting the city’s argument that the statue had to be removed for its own safety. The city made no mention of the fact that it was also rushing to remove the wooden statue from its place indoors, where it was in no danger.

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The city’s public works director, Phil Nelson, signed a declaration under penalty of perjury that the city believed the statue was in imminent danger of vandalism, which was why it had to be removed immediately. He said he personally was in charge of the statue’s removal. Phil Nelson is a Catholic deacon who serves at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Ojai, California.

Due to the times posted on temporary “no parking” signs, supporters of the statue suspected the city would remove it in the dead of night. When the first supporters arrived at 3 AM on Thursday, the city workers had just begun erecting barricades and closing the street in front of City Hall. A half dozen supporters gathered next to the statue until police officers asked them to move outside the barricade while the city removed the protective fencing from around the statue.

When Skyline Crane Rentals arrived, the Serra supporters returned to the statue to ask the crane operators to have nothing to do with the dismantling. One Serra supporter told Skyline’s CEO, Bob Cullen, that his company’s participation in taking down statues would be bad for business. Cullen said that he was glad to be a part of it and that those who oppose the statue removals are in the minority and are not in charge anymore. He dismantled the statue himself. Deacon Phil Nelson was on site, supervising. 

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St. Serra statue in Ventura, CA, strapped to be lifted by a crane, July 23, 2020. SOURCE: Mary Rose

In the two hours it took to tear off the marble sides of the pedestal, unbolt the statue, lift it, wrap it in blankets, and belt it onto a flatbed truck, the pro-Serra group grew to about a dozen. A handful of anti-Serra activists also gathered, video-taping and burning incense. 

The attacks on St. Junipero Serra began in early June, when agitators began asking the city for the statue’s removal and scheduled a “Tear Down Junipero Serra” event. In an apparent effort to protect the statue from destruction, Ventura Mayor Matt LaVere, San Buenaventura Mission pastor Fr. Tom Elewaut, and a Chumash representative published a letter saying they all agreed that “the time has come” to remove the statue from its prominent location.

Speakers at the “Tear Down Junipero Serra” event on June 20th tried to incite the crowd to physically attack the statue, but a small group of Catholics surrounding the statue thwarted the attempt. 

The city then scheduled multiple “community discussions” to decide the future of the statue. Due to the pandemic lockdown, the discussions were virtual. At each meeting, despite the evidence documenting the historic status of the bronze statue, the committees voted that the statue was not historic. They based their decision on the fact that the original cement statue was recast in bronze in 1989, although at that time the city council called the new statue a “landmark renewed.” The city first formally recognized the statue as a historic landmark in 1974 and had repeatedly reaffirmed that designation up until the meetings to discuss its removal. Even the original letter from Mayor LaVere, Fr. Elewaut, and the Chumash representative refers to the statue as a “designated landmark.”

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The city council used funds donated for the erection and preservation of the monument to pay for its removal.

Although the restraining order was denied, the lawsuit is ongoing and could result in a finding that the city council’s vote to remove the statue was illegal. 

Separately, Ventura County is considering removing the image of Junipero Serra from its seal, but is awaiting a recommendation from the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.

Serra supporters are organizing a rally to defend Serra and his part in California's history on August 15 at 2 PM in front of Ventura’s City Hall.

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They are also encouraging emails to the county board of supervisors in defense of Serra. You may contact Supervisor Steve Bennett at [email protected].

Those who wish to register their disappointment with Skyline Crane Rental for accepting the contract to remove the statue may reach Bob Cullen, CEO, at (818) 400-2783 and David Thiel, COO, at (818) 922-5813.


  california, catholic, junipero serra, statues

News

Washington Post settles lawsuit from pro-life teen Nick Sandmann

The victory comes on Sandmann's 18th birthday.
Fri Jul 24, 2020 - 11:30 am EST
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Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

July 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The left-wing Washington Post has settled a defamation suit against the paper over its misleading and inflammatory coverage of a group of pro-life Catholic teenagers who attended the 2019 March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Immediately after last year’s March, the press erupted with claims that a video showed boys from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky harassing Native American activist Nathan Phillips outside the Lincoln Memorial. But additional extended video and firsthand accounts soon revealed that Phillips was the one who waded into the group waiting for its bus and decided to beat a drum inches from Sandmann’s face, while the boys had merely performed school cheers in hopes of drowning out racist taunts from members of the Black Hebrew Israelites fringe group.

As additional video came to light, many journalists and public figures quickly deleted their snap condemnations of the students. Some, however, either tried to keep the original narrative alive or refused to unequivocally retract or apologize for their initial claims, leading to various lawsuits on behalf of the boys, including a $250 million suit against the Post on behalf of Sandmann, who turned 18 today.

Sandmann and his attorney Lin Wood announced Friday morning that the Post has settled for an as-yet-undisclosed sum:

In January, Sandmann’s attorneys settled a similar lawsuit against CNN. Litigation remains pending against Gannett, ABC, CBS, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and NBCUniversal.

An unrelated series of suits by a different legal team, on behalf of eight other, unnamed Covington students, targets Democrat Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Deb Haaland, CNN’s Ana Navarro, the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman, ABC News’s Matthew Dowd, ex-CNN personalities Kathy Griffin and Reza Aslan, Kentucky entrepreneur Adam Edelen, Princeton University’s Kevin Kruse, left-wing activist Shaun King, Mother Jones editor-in-chief Clara Jeffery, and former Rewire editor-in-chief Jodi Jacobson.

Sandmann’s victory over the Washington Post follows a successful appeal last year of U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman’s decision to toss the suit on the grounds that the paper corrected its initial reporting with an editor’s note. Sandmann’s attorneys responded that the note was little more than damage control, and ultimately insufficient. 

“If [the press] can get away with this against a 16-year-old boy, then we’re all at risk. There has to be change,” Wood argued.


  covington boys, covington catholic high school, defamation, fake news, lawsuiits, lin wood, mainstream media, march for life 2019, nathan phillips, nick sandmann, settlement, washington post

News

Leading pro-life professor, critic of North Carolina gov. found dead at home

Conservative Professor Mike Adams took the University of North Carolina at Wilmington to court multiple times for discriminating against him.
Fri Jul 24, 2020 - 11:12 am EST
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Professor Mike Adams Young America's Foundation / YouTube screenshot
Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

WILMINGTON, North Carolina, July 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― A well-known pro-life professor, columnist, and critic of the governor of North Carolina was found dead at home yesterday. 

Police are investigating the death of Mike S. Adams, the tenured University of North Carolina-Wilmington professor who became a lightning rod for left-wing hate after posting a series of tweets his critics claimed were sexist and racist. 

Described by pro-life author Dave Sterrett as “a bold voice for the unborn,” Adams’ most recent tweets included “Abortion intentionally kills an innocent human being” and “It is wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being.” Adams publicly debated abortionist Willie Parker in 2019.

According to CBS, deputies from the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office found Adams’ body after coming to his Wilmington home to do a “wellness check.” Adams, 55, was to take early retirement from UNCW on August 1, having been forced out by an administration under siege by left-wing protests demanding his firing. The professor of sociology and criminology had reached a settlement of $504,702 from the university for lost wages and benefits. 

Critical of Governor Roy Cooper’s lockdown orders, one of Adams’ most controversial tweets stated that the universities should stay open but that non-essential majors, like Women’s Studies, should go. A May 30 tweet addressed the governor as “Massa Cooper,” a reference to the slave-“owner” relationship in the antebellum South, and described North Carolina under lockdown as a “slave state.” 

“This evening I ate pizza and drank beer with six guys at a six seat table top. I almost felt like a free man who was not living in the slave state of North Carolina,” he wrote. “Massa Cooper, let my people go!”

The remarks supporting or condemning the tweet have now been joined by tweets celebrating Adams’ death. 

Conservative activists with Young America’s Foundation (YAF), as well as commentator and author Michelle Malkin, mourned his death.

“Mike wasn’t just a free speech warrior; he was a free speech general,” wrote the students of UNCW’s YAF chapter. “Every conservative student at UNCW owes Mike Adams a debt which we can only hope one day to repay.” 

Prof. Adams was fierce critic of police brutality, ‘evil and despicable’ North Carolina governor

One of Adams’ last essays for Town Hall revealed that he had a long history of criticizing Governor Cooper. In his May 4, 2020 essay, entitled “Why I Can’t Get Arrested in Raleigh,” Adams referred to a personal legal battle with Cooper. Explaining why Raleigh police wouldn’t arrest him after he shouted at them about the wrongful arrest of an anti-lockdown protester, he wrote: 

RPD [Raleigh PD] officers know who I am (as many of my former criminology students are on their police force). They know I teach a course on the First Amendment. They know I have tangled with Roy Cooper before and that I beat him in a seven-year lawsuit. And they know I would beat him again. 

Adams also described the PRD as “corrupt” and alleged that the Capitol police who charged protester Lisa Todd had lied about her arrest and were “Roy Cooper’s Gestapo.” 

In his April 22, 2020 essay for Town Hall, entitled “North Carolina Patriots Must Stand Up to Hypocritical Governor,” Adams revealed that he would challenge Cooper’s Executive Order 121 by holding a large religious service in his home. 

Governor Cooper had described churches as non-essential businesses and banned religious meetings in private homes if they included more than ten people, Adams explained. Prayer groups composed of fewer than ten people were to sit six feet apart.

“These requirements are unlawful – as is the entire executive order – and thus needed to be challenged,” Adams wrote.

When Adams was not, despite his best efforts, arrested for violating the lockdown orders, he noted that the governor had “been violating his own executive order by leaving the state to fundraise for his reelection campaign.” He encouraged business owners to open their businesses and affix signs to them telling Cooper to go to hell. 

Adams also found authorities’ unwillingness to enforce “social distancing” rules against Black Lives Matters and Antifa activists hypocritical. On June 2, he tweeted: “Just when you started to recover from the Governor shutting your business down it gets shut down by the looting rioters the Governor fully supports. Have you not figured out that the Governor is an evil and despicable man?” 

A few days earlier, Adams tweeted a rumor that Antifa was going to “hit Wilmington” and that he was “ready.” He was denounced by one Twitter user as a “nutcase.”

Nevertheless, the criminologist was a fierce critic of police brutality. His final essay for Town Hall, entitled “White Man Can’t Breathe,” sought to bring attention to the 2016 death of Tony Timpa in police custody in Dallas. Like George Floyd, Timpa died after police pinned his neck to the ground. The police showed a chilling disregard for Timpa’s well-being, joking about his unconscious state.   

“[It] is time to re-open this case in the court of public opinion, if not a court of law,” Adams wrote.  

“Only then will we learn whether current outrage over the death of George Floyd is based upon righteous indignation or political opportunism.”

According to his Town Hall biography, Adams was hired by UNCW in 1993 when he was “an atheist and a democrat” to teach in its criminal justice department. He later converted to Christianity and joined the Republican party. He won UNCW’s the Faculty Member of the Year award twice but had to take the university to court to protect his First Amendment rights. A court ruled in his favor in 2011. In 2014, another court sided with Adams against UNCW, deeming that it had wrongfully blocked his promotion because of his conservative views.  

LifeSiteNews has reached out to Governor Cooper’s press office for comment and is awaiting a response.


  abortion, mike adams, north carolina, roy cooper, unc wilmington

News

Parents flock to ‘pandemic pods,’ ‘microschooling’ to educate kids during coronavirus

Paradoxically, the teachers unions may be enabling this free-market, parent-driven reform of K-12 education to unfold.
Fri Jul 24, 2020 - 6:00 am EST
Featured Image
Syda Productions / Shutterstock.com
Lindsey Burke
By

July 23, 2020 (The Daily Signal) — The practice of organizing “pandemic pods,” in which parents team up with other families in their neighborhoods or social circles to hire teachers for their children, is getting more and more popular by the minute.

With many school districts around the country planning not to reopen classrooms this fall — or, at best, planning to offer some combination of virtual and in-class instruction—families are clamoring to secure education consistency for their children as the school year quickly approaches.

So what, exactly, do these pods look like?

Families work together to recruit teachers that they pay out-of-pocket to teach small groups — “pods” — of children. It’s a way for clusters of students to receive professional instruction for several hours each day.

Some parents are using their pod arrangements to hire teachers who will supplement the online classes being provided by their school districts.

As Laura Meckler and Hannah Natanson of The Washington Post observepandemic pods are “a 2020 version of the one-room schoolhouse, privately funded.”

In the case of one northern Virginia family that Meckler and Natanson profiled, the parents pay around $500 per month to get in on an arrangement with other families in their neighborhood to share a teacher they are hiring for their pod of children.

As one mother named J Li wrote in a viral Facebook post last week, thousands of parents are “scrambling” to form pods through “an absolute explosion of Facebook groups, matchups, spreadsheets, etc.”

J Li describes the pod phenomenon as “clusters of three to six families with similar aged (and sometimes same-school) children co-quarantined with each other, who hire one tutor for in-person support for their kids.” The tutor may serve as a full-time teacher for the pod of students, or may only teach on a part-time basis or outdoor classes.

“Suddenly teachers who are able to co-quarantine with a pod are in incredible demand,” J Li said.

One pod tutor interview by Meckler and Natanson, Christy Kian from Broward County, Florida, formerly a private-school teacher, said she will earn more this year teaching two families (with four total children) than she did in her prior teaching position.

She said as soon as she had set up the arrangement with those two families, she was immediately contacted by five others.

As noted by J Li:

This is maybe the fastest and most intense, purely grassroots [sic], economic hard pivot I’ve seen, including the rise of the masking industry a few months ago. Startups have nothing compared to thousands of moms on Facebook trying to arrange for their kids’ education in a crisis with zero school-district support.

I swear that in a decade they are going to study this… trends that would typically take months or years to form are developing on the literal scale of hours.

The pods approach is analogous to microschooling, which only recently, through providers like Prenda, had started to take root. Similar to homeschooling co-ops, microschools allow small groups of students to work together in flexible learning environments alongside older and younger students, sharing resources and teachers.

The pandemic pod is catapulting microschooling to the forefront of education provision during quarantine. As Meckler and Natanson write:

Alexandra Marshak, who lives in Manhattan with her husband and two young sons, is exploring a learning pod with three other families. The original idea was that parents would take turns teaching, rotating hosting duties. But then one parent suggested they rent a studio apartment for the venture. They are also now considering hiring a professional to do the teaching. Marshak, who is out of work, said she’s concerned about spiraling costs. But at this point, she said, ‘Everything is on the table.’

Podding is also similar to the “cottage school” concept. As the hosts of CottageSchoolLife.com explain,

Our cottage school is made up of four families with 16 kids between us all! We meet once a week for about 24 weeks of the school year to learn together.

One aspect that makes a cottage school different from other homeschool co-ops is its size. It’s purposefully small—cottage-like! It allows us to have encouragement and support from each other as we teach our kids.

Paradoxically, the teachers unions may be enabling this free-market, parent-driven reform of K-12 education to unfold.

The Los Angeles teachers unions, for example, released a list of demands last week that they want to see fulfilled before blessing the school reopening of the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest school district in the country. Those demands included everything from raising taxes and “Medicare for All” to eliminating charter schools and defunding the police.

While union policy demands are leading district schools to remain closed, podding is reinforcing the old adage that the market finds a way.

Understandably, equity and access concerns have arisen as quickly as podding itself.

For parents who cannot afford to pay out of pocket to contribute to a neighborhood pod, providing resources through education savings accounts will be a crucial support moving forward.

Several states across the country have provided, or are considering providing, emergency education savings accounts to families, allowing them to take a portion of their child’s public education funds to private tutoring or online options of choice. Freeing up those dollars is the policy reform needed to make access to pods, microschools, and cottage classes in reach for all families.  

It’s time for policy to catch up with families.

Published with permission from The Daily Signal.


  coronavirus, education, homeschooling, public schools, teachers unions, the daily signal

Opinion

Vatican document blames coronavirus pandemic on man’s sins against environment

The latest document from the Vatican, a reflection on the CO19 pandemic, is an embarrassment to the Catholic faithful.
Fri Jul 24, 2020 - 6:00 am EST
Featured Image
Abp. Vincenzo Paglia, head of the Pontifical Academy for Life. ROME REPORTS en Español / YouTube
Phil Lawler
By Phil Lawler

July 23, 2020 (CatholicCulture.org) — The latest document from the Vatican, a reflection on the CO19 pandemic, is an embarrassment to the Catholic faithful.

The Pontifical Academy for Life, under the leadership of the controversial Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, produced the document, and the Vatican press office introduced it on July 22 with a title as prolix as the statement itself: “Useful information on the Document of the Pontifical Academy for Life: Humana Communitas in the age of pandemic: untimely meditations on life’s rebirth.” That title is misleading; the document provides very little hard information. But I will grant this much: it is “untimely.” There is never a good time for this sort of vapid rumination.

Even in describing the unhappy social situation arising from the pandemic, the Pontifical Academy is mawkishly sentimental (and excessively wordy):

It has deprived us of the exuberance of embraces, the kindness of hand shakings, the affection of kisses, and turned relations into fearful interactions among strangers, the neutral exchange of faceless individualities shrouded in the anonymity of protective gears.

Opening with a sketch of the damage that the pandemic has done to human community, the document observes: “Surely, we are summoned to the courage of resistance.” But nowhere does the Pontifical Academy guide us toward the source of such courageous resistance. Despite stretching to well over 4,000 words, the Vatican document does not mention God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Church, the sacraments, prayer, or even charity; even the word “Christian” does not appear in the text. There is admittedly a call for “moral conversion,” but in context it is clearly a call for an ideological rather than religious conversion.

The Pontifical Academy for Life, you see, regards the pandemic as a condign punishment for mankind’s sins against the environment: “The Covid-19 epidemic has much to do with our depredation of the earth and the despoiling of its intrinsic value.” Obviously that is not a scientific statement. But it might be taken as a religious claim, if the religion in question is environmentalism.

From the Vatican, however, one expects a Christian message: a message of hope that is sadly lacking in this statement. Under different leadership, in a different era, the Pontifical Academy for Life might have urged us not to be paralyzed by fear of sickness and death, nor to regard any interaction with neighbors as a dangerous imposition. The document makes a weak gesture in that direction, saying that “the seeds of hope have been sown in the obscurity of small gestures, in acts of solidarity too many to count, too precious to broadcast.” But it does not catalogue the “small gestures” that Christians might make; instead it makes a grandiose call for worldwide solidarity and international cooperation, stipulating that the World Health Organization should have a “privileged place” in the campaign.

The pandemic has struck fear — often irrational fear — into millions of hearts. The Vatican should be offering reassurance and perspective, reminding the world that death is not the greatest tragedy, that life has meaning, that armed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit we can conquer our fears. That Christian perspective is sadly lacking from this document.

“The lessons of fragility, finitude, and vulnerability bring us to the threshold of a new vision,” the Pontifical Academy tells us. Yes, but only to the threshold, and this document fails to usher us across — fails even to invite us in to the life of Christ. The faithful, and the world at large, deserve better.

Published with permission from CatholicCulture.org.


  catholic, catholicculture.org, coronavirus, environmentalism, pontifical academy for life, vincenzo paglia

Blogs

Liturgical scholar urges post-Vatican II Catholics to reclaim their ‘Roman Catholic birthright’ in new book

Peter Kwasniewski serves a sumptuous feast in his new book for anyone wanting to know what it truly means to be Catholic.
Fri Jul 24, 2020 - 6:52 pm EST
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Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

PETITION: Urge Catholic bishops to refuse Holy Communion to pro-abortion Biden! Sign the petition here.

July 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― Peter Kwasniewski’s Reclaiming Our Roman Catholic Birthright: The Genius and Timeliness of the Traditional Latin Mass (Angelico Press, 2020) is like a delicious holiday feast. 

First, there are the classic, familiar foods, which include Kwasniewski’s descriptions of and arguments for the Traditional Latin Mass. These are the turkey, roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy of his thought, if you will, developed and improved upon since he last served them.

Then there are the spicy condiments of his battles with opponents of the TLM or proponents of the modern liturgy. In this volume, he takes on Paul VI, Fr. Dwight Longenecker (twice), and Dr. Mary Healy. Call those the cranberry, salsa, and horseradish sauces. 

Next there are the interesting new side dishes, like his essays on children at the TLM and how being pro-tradition is an integral part of being pro-life. If it doesn’t strain my metaphor overmuch, they’re the honey-roasted carrots with ginger or baked beets with salsa verde. 

Finally, there is dessert, which is Kwasniewski’s extensive scholarly apparatus, including a glossary, a select (yet extensive) bibliography, a detailed index, and a list of scriptural citations. Is it a complex English trifle or a multi-layer cake? Either way, I am pleased because the last time I reviewed a Kwasniewski book, I suggested an index was in order. I wasn’t expecting tempting book suggestions, too.  

I feel guilty employing gustatory metaphors when discussing Kwasniewski’s work, for one of his goals is to convince Catholics that their Mass is the re-presentation of the Sacrifice of Calvary upon the altar, not a communal meal around a table. However, when I had a chance to get really stuck into the book ― not just read a chapter a day before going to work ― reading it felt as absorbing and satisfying as a dinner party with friends. 

I go to the Traditional Latin Mass almost every Sunday, and I enjoy learning more about it. Kwasniewski is arguably the most prominent scholarly advocate of the TLM writing in English, and he is also a gifted writer. In writing about the “most beautiful thing under heaven,” Kwasniewski delivers beautifully structured arguments with elegant metaphors. This makes learning a pleasure. For example, the author praises websites that post photos of traditional liturgies for providing “a bit of springtime in the post-conciliar winter.” He cites “an ocean of silence” during the Roman Canon. “The Catholic universe was carpet-bombed in the 1960s,” he inarguably observes. At certain points in the book, I summoned the attention of my husband and read him whole passages out loud.  

One of Kwasniewski’s strengths is his willingness to engage in the most difficult debates. In this book’s “Part II: Objections and Replies,” he takes on such tricky issues as the relative (if greatly misunderstood) simplicity of the earliest liturgies, the problem of judging a liturgy solely by its “validity,” and the attachment most Catholics who still frequent Mass have for the new Roman rite. The author allows his opponents to make the strongest case for tolerance of the novelties, and then he fights his corner as hard as he can. 

This time he draws more upon his personal journey toward his stance than I recall him doing in either Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness (2017) or Tradition & Sanity (2018). It certainly came as a surprise to me to discover that the author had once written a liturgical guitar song. This turn to retrospection adds a kindly (to get away from the word “pastoral”) dimension to his sometimes astringent arguments. When arguing about a religious matter, the words “I used to share your views” indicates a willingness to hear both sides. 

Another development is his interest in bringing up children in the TLM. Here Kwasniewski draws upon his experience as a parent, and not only does he explain how the TLM forms (and how the new rites threaten) the faith of children, he gives practical advice for preparing children for the TLM. I look forward to reading more about this topic in future. 

Having enjoyed the book so much, it seems churlish to mention mere quibbles. However, just so you know I did read it with a critical eye, I will mention that the author’s description of the modernized Church as an elderly lady who has put on a miniskirt is similar to that first used in 1977 by the British novelist and essayist Alice Thomas Ellis. As Ellis’ great critique of the post-conciliar Church, The Serpent on the Rock (1994), is listed in neither this book’s bibliography nor that of Noble Beauty, I suspect Kwasniewski has not yet read her books. I encourage him to do so. 

Finally, I was sorry that the fictional monks of Tradition & Sanity didn’t make an appearance in this work. Kwasniewski has a turn for comic dialogue about the liturgy (no common talent), so I hope he indulges in it again soon.  


  catholic, liturgy, peter kwasniewski, traditional latin mass

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