Month: January 2015

The Christian Review — A Guide to Readers and Writers

Deal W. Hudson

Published December 20, 2014

We’ve received much positive feedback over the past few days since the launch of The Christian Review, including a number of inquiries from potential contributors. The “more the merrier” is our attitude toward both writers and readers.

Rather than publishing a style sheet or mission statement, we offer this somewhat light-hearted list of what we would like The Christian Review to be and not to be.

The Christian Review will not be:

1. A platform for airing predictable grievances with the White House, the Congress, the political parties, or politics in general.
2. A forum for the same worn out stories about the Vatican II Church, liberal bishops, the USCCB, or guitar music (well, maybe complaining about guitar music is OK.)
3. A grouchy, cranky, or screechy hangout for joyless Catholics and other depressed Christians.
4. An exhibition of Christian kitsch, whether pictorial or verbal.
5. A place where the old saws of faith and spirituality are repeated as if they had some sort of talismanic power.
6. A vantage point from where Christians can look down and declare judgment upon the unsaved, the unenlightened, the unconverted, or the unbelieving (however criticizing bad taste is always fair game!).
7. A virtual political messaging machine for the GOP, as if it is always right and the Democrats always wrong, or as if God is on the side of one and not the other.
8. A “conservative” voice harassing its readers with party-line, or Fox News, talking points.
9. A Victorian parlor where Christians avoid talking about certain “forbidden” topics, or if the “forbidden” is mentioned everyone pretends not to know anything about it.
10. A hothouse for dank, poisonous rants about the state of the world, the end of civilization, or the imminent Apocalypse.

To read the remainder at The Christian Review please click on this link.

Why a Christian Review?

Deal W. Hudson

December 17, 2014

The aim of practical criticism as embodied in the book review, the movie review, or the music review is pedagogic, and must be so without apology. When well-written, informed, and insightful, reviews instruct all of us in how to better understand what we have read, seen, or heard, or point us in the direction of what it would profit us to read, see, or hear. Sensible people welcome that instruction. The most thoughtful cannot sustain their thoughtfulness without it.

The review space is where the audience for art meets for discussion and argument. It’s the agora without Socrates but with Coleridge, so to speak, who was the father of practical criticism as we know it, which he described as, “intense brooding on a work to grasp its essential quality, and illustrating this by careful and subtle reference to details.”

There were several generations in this country, as well as in England, when many notable reviewers where either Christians or still held a respectful regard for the faith that undergirds our civilization: Among them were, T. S. Eliot, W. H. Auden, Cleanth Brooks, Allen Tate, Caroline Gordon, John Crowe Ransom, Robert Penn Warren who though a non-believer found in Christianity, “the deepest and widest metaphor for life.” Warren’s kind of appreciation was common in the literary community, even the academy, into the 1960s
Those days are long gone, and gone with a ferocity that even those who lived through the change, such as I, did not foresee.

Take almost any major source of book reviews, such as the once-reveredNYRB, and the still highly regarded New York Times Magazine, to the Times Literary Supplement and the London Review of Books, the intellectual fusion of politicization and postmodernism over the past 50 years has made them actively hostile to any conservative or Christian voice, unless of course the author is a liberal Christian who cares more about gay marriage than God or a conservative who has been mugged by the elites of his integrity.

To read the remainder at The Christian Review please click on this link.

Why Should the Church Continue to Perform Marriages for the State?

Deal W. Hudson

Published January 2015

We take for granted that priests, and other ministers, sign a couple’s marriage license after a wedding ceremony. At that moment the state, both the individual states and the United States, legally recognizes the marriage. Priests and ministers, thus, act as agents of the government and are duly recognized as “Celebrants” or “Officiants” under the laws of all 50 states.

Since over half of the United States — 35 states — now recognize same-sex marriage, a simple question is raised:

Should Catholic priests, and for that matter other clergy, continue to act as agents of the state by signing marriage licenses?

To read the remainder on The Christian Review please click on this link.

http://www.thechristianreview.com/why-should-the-church-continue-to-perform-marriages-for-the-state/

Gov. Christie — Go to Green Bay!

Deal W. Hudson

Published January 8, 2015

Following the victory of the Dallas Cowboys over the Detroit Tigers, longtime Cowboy’s fan, Gov. Chris Christie, gave Jerry Jones a hug — Jones is the owner of the Cowboys. Since Christie was sitting in the owner’s box his impetuous embrace was caught on TV and broadcast to the nation.

The pummeling soon began: Fox commentator Terry Bradshaw was “appalled,” the Daily Beast asked if Christie would “regret his Cowboy hug,” and those New Jersey politicos defeated by Tunnelgate started rumbling about another ethics investigation. The Democratic co-chairman of the joint legislative committee, Assemblyman John Wisniewski, that led an investigation into the George Washington Bridge scandal, said Christie sitting in owner Jones’s skybox looks “very suspicious.”

To read the remainder please click on this link and go to The Christian Review.

Why It’s Absurd to Deny Obama’s Healthcare Bill Contains Abortion Funding

Deal W. Hudson

October 18, 2010

With the decision of the Ohio Elections Commission to allow a hearing to decide whether the Susan B. Anthony List has falsely represented the voting record of Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-OH), the question is again raised: Was abortion funding authorized by the health care legislation signed into law by President Barack Obama?

The complaint arose from the SBA List’s use of billboards declaring that Representative Driehaus of Ohio’s 1st Congressional District had voted for taxpayer-funded abortions by voting for the health care bill. If Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA, is found guilty, she could go to jail. Supporting Driehaus’s effort to imprison Dannenfelser are James Salt, policy director of Catholics United, and Kristen Day, president of Democrats for Life of America.

Driehaus, by the way, had made essentially the same characterization of the health care legislation as made by Dannenfelser. On March 19, Driehaus was an original co-sponsor of H. Con. Res. 254, an “enrollment correction,” introduced by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI). That resolution would have removed abortion funding from the Senate version of the health care bill.

The language of the final health care bill – “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (PPACA) – had not changed when both Stupak and Driehaus voted for it and Obama signed it into law. Now, Driehaus is trying to send Marjorie Dannenfelser to jail for precisely the same view of the health care bill as expressed in his support for H. Con. Res 254 – that it authorizes federal tax dollars to be spent on abortion.

Three members of the Ohio Elections Commission voted 2-1 to find “probable cause” to send the Driehaus complaint to a full hearing of the seven commissioners. The date has not yet been set.

The evidence supporting the SBA List is undeniable. In addition to the witness of Driehaus himself (and Stupak), there are the multiple provisions of the legislation itself that authorize the funding of abortions. The best summary is found in the affidavit submitted for last week’s meeting of the Ohio Elections Commission by Douglas Johnson, legislative director of National Right to Life.

As Johnson points out in his affidavit, the provisions of the Senate version of the bill, ultimately signed into law, contained many of the same abortion funding mechanisms that the Stupak-Pitts amendment of the House bill removed. (There were new, additional problems in the Senate bill.) Stupak, Driehaus, and all those who supported the Stupak-Pitts amendment in the House had full knowledge that those provisions had not been removed. Driehaus and Stupak also knew of a similar amendment, offered by Sens. Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), which was defeated soundly in the Senate. Interestingly enough, when the Senate bill passed (without removing the abortion authorizations), Stupak and Driehaus, along with Kristen Day, fought hard against its passage in the House. They worked diligently from the time Congress returned in January until March 19th when their objections suddenly, and inexplicably, vanished.

Here, Johnson provides an overview of the abortion funding in the 906 pages of PPACA:

It contained multiple provisions that authorize new programs or expand authorizations for existing programs that are authorized to cover abortion, either explicitly or implicitly. Some of these provisions are entirely untouched by any limitation on abortion in existing law or in the PPACA itself, and others are subject only to limitations that are temporary or contingent.
Those who deny this characterization must have been surprised when three states – Pennsylvania, New Mexico, and Maryland – began the implementation of Section 1101 (42 U.S.C. § 18001) creating the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), also known as the “high-risk pool” program. Abortion coverage was explicitly included by these three states in this $5 billion program that provides coverage for up to 400,000 people.

After National Right to Life publicized the abortion coverage, it was determined that the coverage was not excluded either by the president’s executive order or the Hyde Amendment. On July 14, the Department of Health and Human Services released a statement:

Abortions will not be covered in the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) except in the cases of rape or incest, or where the life of the woman would be endangered.
Nothing in the HHS statement suggested that abortion funding contradicted anything in the executive order, the PPACA, or any pre-existing law, including the Hyde Amendment. In other words, the implementation of PCIP by these three states to include abortion funding had been authorized.

Johnson’s affidavit provides three other examples of abortion authorization in the PPACA, and even these are not exhaustive. In addition to the program of pre-existing conditions, there are federal subsidies for private health plans that cover elective abortions, authorization for abortion funding through Community Health Centers, and authorization for inclusion of abortion coverage in health plans administered by the federal Office of Personnel Management.

Defenders of the bill say that under the premium subsidy program only private money will be utilized to pay for abortions. This is merely an accounting trick that still violates the Hyde Amendment. But there is a much bigger problem: The bill states that on the same day the Hyde Amendment is no longer attached to HHS appropriations, federal dollars may be used to fund abortions. This is an explicit authorization of abortion funding, which creates a huge incentive for Congress to put an end to the Hyde Amendment.

Johnson argues that any one of these four examples is sufficient to prove the SBA List was not falsely representing Driehaus’s voting record.

The biggest issue with the legislation, according to Johnson, is not the individual provisions authorizing taxpayer funded abortions, but “the absence of any bill-wide restriction on federal funding of abortion.” In other words, what’s missing is the very amendment offered to the House bill by Stupak, and co-sponsored by Driehaus – the amendment that never became a part of the final legislation.

Those who point to the protections of the Hyde Amendment or the president’s executive order, as does Driehaus, ignore the fact that they were already found inapplicable to abortion coverage in the PCIP. Hyde protections, which must be renewed annually by Congress, are limited to funds appropriated to HHS by the annual appropriations bill, and the health-care legislation contains many new authorizations and direct appropriations entirely unrelated to the restrictions of the Hyde Amendment.

Let’s be clear: Those who look at the evidence of abortion funding in the healthcare bill and still demur need to ask themselves if they want to remain guilty of the same political partisanship they so often attribute to others.

Mike Huckabee’s Anti-Catholic Problem

Deal W. Hudson

Published January 2, 2008

Author’s note: I no longer consider Pastor John Hagee as anti-Catholic. What happened, however, with Rev. Tim Rude and Tim LaHaye remains relevant to Huckabee as a political candidate.

Gov. Mike Huckabee will be a major player in the run for the GOP presidential nomination regardless of whether he finishes first or second in the Iowa Caucus. As in Iowa, Evangelical voters will undergird his efforts in Michigan (Jan 18), South Carolina (Jan 26), and Florida (Jan 29).

Huckabee, however, will need Catholic voters to win in states like Michigan and Florida, not to mention the many Catholic-heavy states on February 5 and 9. Prospects for Huckabee attracting Catholic voters are not good, and they are getting worse.

That’s because Mike Huckabee is developing an anti-Catholic problem.

When the former Southern Baptist minister spoke at Cornerstone Church in San Antonio on December 23, he evidently did not know that the pastor, Rev. John Hagee, has a long record of statements about the Catholic Church that the Catholic League has labeled as anti-Catholic.

Hagee, for example, accuses the early Catholic Church of inventing anti-Semitism; the medieval Catholic Church of creating the Crusades and the Inquisition to “punish the Jews”; of infusing Adolph Hitler with his anti-Semitism; and of not standing up to the Third Reich:

In all of his [Hitler’s] years of absolute brutality, he was never denounced or even scolded by Pope Pius XII or any Catholic leader in the world.

After the controversy hit the headlines, Huckabee distanced himself from Hagee’s opinion about Catholics:

“I would certainly never characterize the Catholic Church as being pro-Nazi, never. Catholic voters surely appreciate that, but it’s not the first time Huckabee has been associated with anti-Catholic rhetoric.”

But back in June, in the build-up to the Ames Straw Poll, a Huckabee supporter, Rev. Tim Rude, sent out a blast e-mail containing the following:

“Huckabee is an Evangelical. He has not learned how to speak to Evangelicals; i.e. Bush 41 & 43. He is one of us. I know Senator Brownback converted to Roman Catholicism in 2002. Frankly, as a recovering Catholic myself, that is all I need to know about his discernment when compared to the Governor’s. I don’t know if this fact is widely known among Evangelicals who are supporting Brownback.” (Emphasis added)

In the days that followed, the Brownback campaign asked Huckabee to join them in condemning Rude’s email.

He never did.

It should have been apparent then, as it is now, that Huckabee does not understand the reality of lingering anti-Catholic attitudes among some Evangelicals and other religious groups. If he did, he would never have accepted the invitation to speak at Hagee’s church.

But the problem does not stop with Hagee and Rude. Campaigning with Huckabee in Iowa has been one of the most prominent leaders of the Religious Right, Dr. Tim LaHaye, author of the popular Left Behind novels.

Carl Olson has documented the anti-Catholic comments throughout LaHaye’s writing, including the Left Behind series. The following quote should suffice to represent LaHaye’s point of view:

“The Church of Rome denies the finished work of Christ but believes in a continuing sacrifice that produces such things as sacraments and praying for the dead, burning candles, and so forth. All of these were borrowed from mystery Babylon, the mother of all pagan customs and idolatry, none of which is taught in the New Testament” (Revelation Unveiled, 1999, 66-67).

Someone needs to ask Huckabee if, along with the “pro-Nazi” label, he would refuse to describe the Catholic Church as “Babylonian.”

Catholics have long formed part of the ground troops of the Religious Right. Leaders like Robertson, Falwell, Reed, and Dobson have made sure that the anti-Catholic element among Evangelicals would not deter Catholics from joining the coalition.

There is nothing that will drive a Catholic voter away from a candidate quicker than a whiff of the prejudice that hounded their ancestors since the days of the Thirteen Colonies. So why is Huckabee tone deaf to this important issue for Catholic voters? Is it because, as one commentator points out, he comes from a state with the third-lowest percentage of Catholics?

Huckabee claims to be very comfortable with Catholics, says that he has worked with Catholics, and has Catholics in his campaign, including his campaign manager.

That is fine and good, but what happens when Catholic voters start to hear that some of his biggest supporters think the Catholic Church “denies the finished work of Christ,” is the product of Babylonian mysteries, and is the source of anti-Semitism, including that of Hitler?

Catholic voters will want more than the stale “Catholics are some of my best friends” explanation.