America

A Precious Time To Reflect: Happy Thanksgiving From The Family Foundation, A Proclamation For The Commonwealth

Thanksgiving is a special time of year. More than a prelude to a crass commercial time, it celebrates a recognition of God not only in the creation of our nation, but in its exceptionalism and all the freedoms and responsibilities entailed in maintaining such graces. It calls on us to pause and give thanks to all present and past who have sacrificed for our nation, our states and our families. It is a time to give thanks to the Almighty for the many and great blessings of America, just as our Founders did, the colonists who preceded them and every generation since, no matter how bountiful or bleak the times. It may be coincidence, but the peaceful late fall couldn't be a better time for such a weekend. The quiet of the streets, the briskness of the air, the tint of the sky and the remaining foilage all are perfect accents by which to reflect. Having dear friends and families with which to reunion makes it a more precious time still.

On behalf of the board, staff, volunteers and grassroots activists across the commonwealth, The Family Foundation of Virginia wishes all Virginians a safe, happy and bountiful Thanksgiving weekend. In recognition of this uniquely American holiday, and Virginia's role in it, we commend to you Governor Bob McDonnell's proclamation recognizing November 25 as Thanksgiving Day in Virginia.

WHEREAS, the first permanent English speaking settlement in the New World was established in Virginia at Jamestown in 1607, as Captain John Smith led a group of settlers across the Atlantic on a voyage that would entail much hardship over the coming years, including disease and starvation; and

WHEREAS, to show their appreciation for the colony’s success and to take stock and give thanks for their own gifts and blessings, and in spite of tremendous adversity, the settlers in Virginia found time to celebrate the first Thanksgiving in America at Berkeley Plantation on December 4, 1619; and

WHEREAS, while reflecting upon the actions taken by the colonists at the first Thanksgiving, we also honor the Indian peoples, for without their presence, the survival of the colonists would have been ever more difficult; and

WHEREAS, American leaders and citizens have recognized a day of Thanksgiving since our first president, George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789, stating “it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly implore His protection and favor”; and

WHEREAS, it is a Virginia tradition for our citizens to come together in unity on Thanksgiving Day and give thanks for the great level of serenity, harmony and abundance with which we, as citizens of a free nation, have been blessed; the rule of law by which we peaceably govern ourselves and by which our civil and religious liberties are guaranteed; and the brave servicemen and women of our armed forces who risk their lives to defend the freedoms and blessings we cherish;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Robert F. McDonnell, do hereby recognize November 25, 2010 as THANKSGIVING DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens; and

FURTHERMORE, I encourage all Virginians to give thanks to our Creator for our plentiful blessings, including the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as well as the unwavering strength of our families and communities.

Obama Advisor Donald Berwick Freely Admits Socialist Agenda: "We Must, MUST Redistribute Wealth!"

The video below is making the rounds, primarily because the man speaking in it, Donald Berwick, President Barack Obama's choice to head the agency that runs Medicare and Medicaid, said to a crowd of true believers in Britain that socialized medicine is the way to go. People speak from the heart when with fellow ideologues, so there is no misunderstanding here, and when one is so infamously outspoken, it's near impossible for the president not to know this man's philosophy. So, what does that tell you? Exactly! (See David Limbaugh.) But his adamant insistence that health care "by definition" means, "we must, must redistribute wealth!" has obfuscated his three other extraordinarily extremist statements — no easy feat in a sound bite a little more than two minutes long:

1. "tough choices and planning supply" (a government planning supply = rationing); 

2. "darkness of private enterprise" (a definitive condemnation of free markets and choice, and an embrace of government control over commerce); and

3. "single route of finance" (an unapologetic plea for "single payer" or government-run health care).

Combined with the president's own words ("spread the wealth around" and "I do think at some point you've made enough money," among an inexhaustibly list), it no longer is a question of the president's philosophy, and not even of whether what to expect of him (he told us he wanted to "fundamentally transform America," while giving lip service to centrism).

Rather, it's a matter of himself and his government, admitting it clearly and plainly, and why he thinks government control of industry is preferable to the system of free commerce that created the highest standard of living and largest economy known to man. (Nancy Pelosi's lame rationalization is a symptom, not a cause, so to speak, and doesn't come close.) After all, the Soviet Union would be thriving still today if the government-run system was equal or superior to the "darkness of private enterprise" (a shameful remark that slaps at the core of American ingenuity that has given so much to the world).

Not that the president is alone in this. Even Republicans, with the rare exception of some such as Newt Gingrich, won't call it what it is (see Bobby Eberle). But, in the meantime, here is Mr. Berwick, praising socialist Britain and slamming America for the evil that it is.

Donald Berwick at home in England while hammering America the awful.

Another Example From The Mother Country

It never ceases to amaze me that the political left, with its politically intolerant "correctness" and "diversity" — mechanisms meant to pry America from its Anglo-Saxon political and cultural foundations and traditions — looks to the quickly crumbling British culture for "improving" our country (such as nationalized health care). Such has the former empire degenerated under socialism that two working moms — neighbors, friends and work colleagues (both are police detectives) — can no longer look after each other's children! The two women job share and would drop off their toddler to the other's home on the way to work, saving precious money. However, just like a George Orwell character, a neighbor snitched on the two women. The "authorities" investigated and ordered the women to cease at once since neither was a "licensed" day care practitioner. Now, the women must pay for expensive private day care.

Jackie Kemp of The Guardian has the details and further comment. But it doesn't take much to understand sorry is the day when babysitting is no longer allowed among friends. Yet, with government control blowing west across the Atlantic, one wonders how long it will be before America surrenders to British-style statism.

From Tony Perkins, Family Research Council

A Open Letter From Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, On The Meaning Of Independence Day

In a letter to his wife Abigail, John Adams told her of the actions of the Continental Congress on July 2, 1776. "The second day of July, 1776 [the actual day the Declaration was adopted], will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward forever."

As we celebrate Independence Day, as John Adams so aptly predicted, we must not forget nor overlook the intense struggle our Founding Fathers faced. Their Christian faith played a critical role in an era that altered the history of the world.

There is not a better example of this seamless devotion to God and country than Samuel Adams. In his time, Sam was far more famous than his cousin, John. Sam was known as the last of the great Puritans and the father of the Revolution. It was Sam Adams who organized the Sons of Liberty and the Committees of Correspondence. (By the way, if you're going out to a Tea Party on Saturday, historians believe that the first tea party, the one in Boston, was organized by Samuel Adams. It was that Boston Tea Party that lit the fuse of the American Revolution).

When Sam Adams was elected to that First Continental Congress and traveled to the gathering of leaders in Philadelphia, he thought the Continental Congress needed to begin its work on its knees — in prayer. But when the motion was made to call in a local clergyman to lead the worship, John Jay of New York and Edward Rutledge of South Carolina objected. We are too diverse, they said. We could never agree on whose prayers to say.

Rising to his feet, Sam Adams spoke: "I am no bigot," he said, "I can hear the prayer of any man of piety and virtue who is a friend to his country." Deeply moved, the delegates voted to approve Sam Adams' idea. The next morning, amid reports of the British moving against the people of his hometown of Boston, Sam knelt in prayer with his fellow delegates, as the Rev. Jacob Duch? prayed. "Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me, and fight against them that fight against me."

That inspired move by Sam Adams did much to overcome suspicions among the delegates. Joseph Reed of Philadelphia called that prayer "a masterly stroke." Those Founding Fathers could now work together for liberty.

Soon, Sam Adams would sign the Declaration of Independence. Alongside Sam Adams' name you can find that of Charles Carroll, a delegate from Maryland. Carroll was the richest man in Congress and the only Roman Catholic. Nowhere else on earth in 1776 could you find an Evangelical like Sam Adams pledge "his life, his fortune, and his sacred honor" alongside a Catholic like Charles Carroll. They both risked death by hanging for signing that great Declaration. But they served the King of Kings and had no fear of King George III.

In our efforts to maintain the freedoms won by our forefathers we must be like them — people of action and prayer. We must never sever our personal faith from our public stand for faith, family and freedom.

After we celebrate our independence as a nation on Saturday, I invite you to join thousands of Christians from across the nation on Sunday as they fall on their knees in prayer as a part of FRC's Call2Fall, declaring their dependence upon God, just like our Founding Fathers.

Tea Anyone?

Boston may have had its Tea Party in 1773 (a fact I know well as a stammering, stage-frightened, scene-blowing actor in my 7th grade play, The Boston Tea Party), but Virginia's rebellious nature against authoritarian rule is no less historic, given Patrick Henry's famous 1765 "Caesar had his Brutus" "Treason" speech in the House of Burgesses. As with Thanksgiving, them Yankees try to steal all our firsts. But it seems the Tea Party movement has revived more than 235 years later. Thousands of Americans are fed up with the large government debt, the printing of money, stimulus packages, government bailouts, and the inevitable higher taxes to pay for it all and resulting inflation that would completely wreak our country.

So, on Tax Day, April 15, as of now, at least five Virginia localities are joining hundreds more across America to have their own tea parties to demonstrate their displeasure with the government's increasing involvement in the private sector.

The tea parties will be in Richmond, Charlottesville, Virginia Beach and Lynchburg (locations, times, etc., here at TaxDayTeaParty.com); as well as Newport News (more info here via Tertium Quids). Richmond and Newport News have wsonderfully appropriate locations: at Kanawa Plaza, in front of the Federal Reserve Building in the Holy City; and in front of the office of 3rd District U.S. Representative Bobby Scott (D-Newport News).

It won't be July 4th. But there should be some (rhetorical) fireworks nonethesame.

Interview With U.S. Senator Sam Brownback, Part 1

Welcome to part one of our exclusive interview with United States Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS). In this first part, we get the senator's thoughts on how to win "red" states, the financial crisis, the Supreme Court and his thoughts on Republican presidential candidate John McCain. We hope you enjoy reading through this and leave us your comments. Part two will appear tomorrow. familyfoundation.org: Senator Brownback, thank you for taking our questions today. It is a real honor to have you appear on www.familyfoundation.org, as it were. We're not quite a year old, but already are one of the most read Virginia public policy and politics blogs, and we know thousands of voters are looking forward to reading this interview. You are the first federal office holder to do an interview with us and the first non-Virginia politician. Congratulations . . . a couple of career firsts you probably never expected. ; - )

Hope that doesn't add any pressure . . . are you ready for some questions?

Senator Brownback: I am ready for some questions, and I thank you for talking with me today. 

familyfoundation.org: What is at stake for pro-life, pro-family, pro-traditional values voters in this election?

Senator Brownback: Much is at stake for values voters in this election. For example, let's consider the courts. People need to look at each candidate and assess the type of judges he will appoint to the Supreme Court. John McCain will nominate conservative judges who will not legislate from the bench. I think values voters understand how important it is that the next president might nominate as many as 3-4 new justices to the Supreme Court. Who sits in the Oval Office may determine whether Roe v. Wade is finally overturned.    

familyfoundation.org: Are the stakes higher than normal given other significant issues, including the economy and the Wall Street financial crisis? Can you give us an outline as to how you think the final legislation will look when eventually passed? (Note: This was asked before the final votes in the House and Senate.

Senator Brownback: Negotiations over legislation to help ease the credit crunch are still on-going so I won't speculate on what the final package may look like. I will say that the stakes are always high when electing a new president. Each voter must be informed about the issues and truly understand the power of his or her vote. Our nation is facing financial hard times, and John McCain has proven over the years that he has the leadership experience to lead America through such difficult times. 

familyfoundation.org: Why do you think states such as Virginia, which normally are safe "red" states, are up for grabs this campaign?

Senator Brownback: I think we do ourselves a disservice when we think that any states are ‘safe.' Each election cycle, both parties need to actively demonstrate to the voters what they stand for and how they will help the county. I hope Virginians take a good look at the two candidates and recognize that John McCain really would best represent them, both in social policy and fiscal policy.    

familyfoundation.org: You are recognized as a prominent national leader in the pro-life movement. When you ended your own presidential campaign earlier this year, you soon endorsed John McCain. What is it about Senator McCain that makes you think he is the best man to be our 44th president?

Senator Brownback: John McCain has proven time and again that he is a great leader who always puts country first. He is a brave war hero, who even as a young man demonstrated a very strong sense of patriotism. And during his tenure in the United States Senate, John McCain has shown that he is a man willing to reach across the aisle and work with is colleagues on the other side. I've seen first hand John McCain's willingness to lead and stand up for what he thinks is right. All of these are very important qualities for the next president.     

familyfoundation.org: You are national co-chairman of Catholics For McCain. At one time, Senator McCain and some pro-life Christian leaders in Virginia didn't see eye-to-eye. Are pro-life Christians comfortable with Senator McCain now? Why should Catholics and other pro-traditional values voters vote for Senator McCain?

Senator Brownback: Pro-life voters should vote for John McCain because John McCain is pro-life. Unlike some who talk about promoting a culture of life, Senator McCain has the record to prove it. He has voted to confirm strong conservative judicial nominees like Justices Roberts and Alito.    

Video: You Won't Believe You're In America

When Mo Rocca thinks liberalism is over the top, then even our skeptics have to give us some credence when we point it out. Of late, we've pounded the insidious politically correct indoctrination that passes for education these days, and not just on college campuses, either, but also in elementary schools — which leads to intolerance and the stamping out of opposing opinion, much less any semblance of critical thinking, and cultivates judgement based on emotion, not thought. We pointed out one especially heinous act of it yesterday, when a Brandeis University professor of 48 years, with a spotless record, may be fired simply for stating a widely known historical fact. Now there is a widely distributed Internet video of a teacher who has indoctrinated her very young students into a chorus singing a song, not of praise, but of worship to our next great leader. View it here, and read Rocca's commentary ("Let Us Pray . . . To Obama?")on how extreme the left has become when it goes this far. There's also an onslaught of video commentary to show how outraged people are by this. (Click here to see a list of versions of this video and on this topic.)

Your first thought is that you are not in America. It's a common thought, as this YouTube commentator shares (view here). This "messiah" worship is no joke any more, if it ever was. It's incredibly ironic that those on the left who excoriate Christians for our beliefs have found a hero they place in the Biblical pantheon. Unless we change the culture, we may be in for a long, dark period of mind-numbed idol worship.

"Pope" Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi leads a hard life. Look at all she has to do day-in, day-out: She's the first woman Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. That's tough enough. But she's just published a book (that's sold a whopping 4,000 copies); she's trying to "save the world" — her actual quote; and reassure jittery convention delegates that her choice for president, Senator Barack Obama, really doesn't have lousy poll numbers (a negative Biden bounce per today's Gallup Poll, an unprecedented decline after naming a running mate and after the first night of a convention). After all, she believes Obama was chosen by God Himself to rescue the world — from America. Adding to that slug of theology, Speaker Pelosi has added the responsibilities of Pope to her gig. On Sunday's "Meet The Press" on NBC, she responded to a Tom Brokow question about when life begins by declaring 2,000 years of Church teaching wrong. Seriously. (See it here, on YouTube.) 

Okay, I'm not being straight up. The fact is, to be completely honest . . . she out-and-out lied!

Ms. Pelosi, who was raised Catholic, had the Everest-sized chutzpah to say the Catholic Church is not clear on its teaching of when life begins and that it has lacked clarity since its beginning. She implied that it even accepts cases of elective abortion. Then she said she had "researched" the issue for years and certain Church doctors (i.e., philosophers) had declared life begins three months after conception. Ms. Pelosi (contact here) considers herself a practicing Catholic. She needs to practice harder. As in Michael Phelps hard.

Rebukes were swift, sure and sharp. Chief among them, His Eminence, Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York. Today he said, in part (click here to read in full):

Anyone who dares to defend that they (the unborn) may be legitimately killed because another human being "chooses" to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name. (Emphasis added.)

Yesterday, His Eminence, Justin Cardinal Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, and Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., who head the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committees on Pro-Life Activities and Doctrines, respectively, issued a joint statement. It said, in part (click here to read in full):

In the course of a "Meet the Press" interview on abortion and other public issues on August 24, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi misrepresented the history and nature of the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church against abortion. 

In fact, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, "Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law." (No. 2271) (Emphasis added.)

The Archbishop of Washington, D.C., Donald Wurhl, issued a statement which reads in part (read it in full, here):

We respect the right of elected officials such as Speaker Pelosi to address matters of public policy that are before them, but the interpretation of Catholic faith has rightfully been entrusted to the Catholic bishops. Given this responsibility to teach, it is important to make this correction for the record.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is clear: the current teaching of the Catholic Church on human life and abortion is the same teaching as it was 2,000 years ago. The Catechism reads: "Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception . . . Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law." (Catechism, 2270-2271)

The Catechism goes on to quote the Didache, a treatise that dates to the first century: "'You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.'"

Never before has any Catholic politician, much less one in such high authority, been so heavily rebuked by so many Church authorities so quickly and universally, for such a blatant, purposeful misrepresentation of Church teaching. In the past, several bishops have said they would withhold Holy Communion from Catholic lawmakers who supported abortion on demand. However, those politicians never disputed Church teaching. Rather, they subjugated their proclaimed agreement with the Church to the perceived law of the land (i.e., "our hands are tied"). Pelosi has grossly surpassed this already grievous miscalculation by proclaiming her views equal to Church teaching.

In addition, the Archbishop of San Francisco, George Niederauer, of Pelosi's home diocese, published the USCCB statement on the archdiocese's Web site and will publish his personal response this Friday in the archdiocese's weekly, Catholic San Francisco. (Excellent reporting on all this is at American Papist.) So, Pelosi clearly has it coming from all corners, and justifiably so. Her comments, intended to minimize the authority of the Church and — worse — relegate it to nothing more than a subjective think tank with no more understanding of Church teaching than a hack who's done "some research" is appalling and ranks near blasphemy and sacrilege. 

Cardinal Egan said it best: She is not deserving of her position of leadership. Neither, we add, are any of those who agree with — or apologize for — her. If Speaker Pelosi firmly believes her secularized version of Catholicism is correct, she needs to start her own denomination. No one is stopping her. Then, she can wear a papal hat of her own and make any proclamation based on her "research" she wants. 

What Does Rush Know?

Yesterday, I heard Rush Limbaugh complain that PBS will broadcast a documentary made under the premise that the 20th century was one of constant war with a few periods of relative calm — an admission that U.N. diplomacy doesn't exactly work? —contrary to the historical record that we fought two great wars at the interuption of a remarkable century of progress, peace and prosperity, what is commonly called The American Century. The film will record America as the bad guy, dropping the big ones on Japan — not admitting that action saved millions of lives by foregoing an invasion — but especially for allying ourselves with the Soviet Union's Stalin who, the film will say, was as bad or worse than Hitler. Rush got indginant, saying The Greatest Generation did not sacrafice what they did for taxpayer funded leftist propaganda directed at them.

I say Rush should be happy. All this means is that the left has finally acknowledged Stalin was as bad as Hitler. By any measure, that's progress.