Thursday, July 30, 2009

Catholic Adoption Agencies at Risk in Britain

The health care vote has been pushed back to October. That fact alone suffices as a celebratory post.

Fortunately, I will not attempt to elaborate on the chaos tearing apart Congress. Rather, I'd like to comment on the recent closing of the Catholic adoption agency of the Archdiocese of Westminster in Britain. According to an article in the National Catholic Register, Britain's Sexual Orientation Regulations require adoption agencies to service any couple who applies. Rather than dissociate from the Church in order to continue functioning, as many Catholic adoption agencies in Britain have done, the Catholic Children's Society of Westminster has ceased its services to new couples. It will, however, continue to assist those children and families it previously brought together.

In an admirable statement, the agency declared, "[If] we were to continue,...we would be forced to assess same-sex couples...This would not meet our existing criterion that couples coming forward must be married as man and wife. The trustees are convinced that what is best for children is that they be brought up by married couples. This is shown by research, but it is also consonant with the teaching of the Church. In the unanimous view of the trustees, it would be totally unacceptable for our Catholic agency to act in a way that is at odds with the teaching of the Church."

Ann Widdecome, a Catholic and a member of the Conservative Party of Parliament, said of the effects of the Sexual Orientation Regulations, "We knew right from the start that the adoption agencies would close down...They cannot go against the teachings of the Church. For the sake of political intolerance, they can now longer operate."

I'd like to draw attention to that last sentence. "For the sake of political intolerance, they can no longer operate." The statement brings to mind the state of affairs in countries faced with an ever-growing protest among gay rights activists against those institutions which promote marriage as the union of man and woman. The closing of the Catholic Children's Society provides a perfect example of relativism's double standard. While the Sexual Orientation Regulations give same-sex couples the freedom to seek any adoption agency of their choice, Catholic adoption agencies are no longer at liberty to act according to conscience in servicing families. Same-sex couples are allowed to live according to their own moral code at the expense of adoption agencies seeking to practice in accord with their own beliefs.

Times like these call for continued witness to the Catholic faith. As St. Thomas More once said, "The times are never so bad that a good man cannot live in them."

Reference: CNS. "Adoption Agency Shut Down." National Catholic Register, pg. 4. July 12, 2009.


As Rep. Eric Cantor points out in today's Washington Post, the promises of Barack Obama and the Democratic majority, like so many others, on making the federal government more transparent appear to be falling by the wayside as our government, economy, and society are restructured along more 'enlightened' liberal ideas.

I remember intense outrage over former-President Bush's 'shadow government' as seen in noted-liberal and President Bush-critic Jon Stewart's own book America in a handy pull-out or in the word's of a Democratic senator:

"The biggest problems that we're facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that's what I intend to reverse when I'm president of the United States." -- Sen. Barack Obama, March 31, 2008

Oh wait that man is now President. Where's the accountability and transparency?

According to Michelle Malkin and the, there are currently 38 non-Senate approved, non-accountable officers tasked with everything from WMDs and Mideast Peace to the Great Lakes and safe schools.

The most troubling aspect of the czar formula is its overall lack of oversight. Scrolling the list of announced appointments it appears that a shadow government of un-regulated officials now exists with many czars matching cabinet positions:

Education to Education (which is a state controlled aspect to begin with)
War/Afghanistan/Weapons/WMD to Defense
Economy/Pay/TARP/Stimulus Accountability to Treasury
Latin America/Middle East/etc. to State

What we see is a replication of the traditional posts of a cabinet with a set of officials accountable to only the President, appointed at his whim, paid well, and operating outside the normal bureaucracy to an extent unseen by any former President.

I have no problem with our nation's biggest issues - the Middle East, health care, and the current economic crisis - being dealt with directly. I am worried about accountability, transparency, the growth of bureaucracy, and the the hypocrisy shown by President Obama and his liberal followers.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cancerous Beauty

What do tanning beds, mustard gas, and arsenic have in common? According to recent reports, all three rank similarly in terms of their lethal effects on humans.

After completing a meta-analysis study looking at the carcinogenic effects of exposure to ultraviolet radiation (namely through tanning beds and other such sources), international cancer experts have determined that all types of ultraviolet radiation are carcinogenics. This finding places UV radiation in the same cancer-causing-category as tobacco and the Hepatitis B virus. Such a factoid probably is not too comforting to frequenters of tanning salons, especially considering that the risk for skin cancer "jumps by 75 percent when people start using tanning beds before age 30."

In a country (and world) that is becoming increasingly environmentally conscious and more concerned about the cost of health care (not to mention we are in the midst of an economic recession), one might think that lines at the tanning industry would take a hit following announcements such as these. But, the faker-bakers are not yet convinced seeing that the number of under-30 patrons have increased in recent years, thus making the axiom, "Beauty hurts," ring true.

Because who doesn't like making fun of Harvard?

In light of Obama's recent faux pas of butting into a domestic police incident with which he has zero relevance and has made a complete fool of himself concerning, I came across this little commentary. (Warning inappropriate language, still funny).

Monday, July 27, 2009

Do the lyrics matter?

I am musicophile. I love it and am particularly a sucker for a strong chorus and intense solo instrumentation. My tastes run from Classical to Rap. Of course, I'm becoming a larger fan of the older 'classical' bands - The Beatles and The Who are definitely favorites, how can one not love Frank Sinatra's voice?, and there's a pleasure to be had from listening to the big band sound of Glenn Miller.

This background brings me to a question which many people of conscience struggle with, including myself. Do the lyrics in songs matter?

The music industry (as well as media as a whole) is rife with immoral behavior - sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll go together like Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr, just for a longer time. Since Elvis' moves grabbed national attention in the 1950s, the adoration fans has come face to face with this immorality. This is especially true over the evolution of media and music in the last 20 years.

Music is increasingly accessible and heard - I can hold 15000 songs (750 CDs, 1300 Records) in my hand - and in fact am listening to my iPod at this moment (Pink Floyd). This constantness has also seen the rise in increasingly more risque performances and lyrics.

For example, everyone should know the antic of Britney Spears, but it is not limited to the personal lives of stars. Whether its Top 10 hits like 50 Cent's 'Candy Shop' or Lady Gaga's 'LoveGame', both of which contain thinly veiled references to sex and whose accompanying music videos are, without question, softcore pornography ('LoveGame' being banned on Network 10 in Australia), songs and material are increasingly sexualized.

This trend should concern any mature person - especially one of a Catholic moral background. In an era where we walk around with white ear-buds, music is everywhere. But is it good (morally so, 'LoveGame' has maybe the catchiest hook of the year, though 'Boom Boom Pow' by the Black Eyed Peas a song with zero lyrical sense is similarly mind-grabbing)? Should the fact that a former stripper is monopolizing our airwaves singing about wanting a ride on a 'discostick'?