leadership

Enough Said

From the Heritage Foundation comes this little tidbit:

Ramesh Ponnuru had the best applause line of the Thursday night roundtable when he observed that the passage of Obamacare demonstrates that liberals are willing to risk losing in order to enact something they believe in, and he asked: When was the last time a conservative politician took any risks for something he believed in?

An excellent point. True leadership requires risk, and there are too few true conservative leaders in America.

That said, great leaders do something that is lacking among all the political camps in America — they persuade. There is a lot of yelling among the political class, but when was the last time you heard a politician of any kind try to persuade someone of something they truly believe in? Of course, persuasion requires that politicians have intellects that can handle more than sound bites, and it requires an audience that has an attention span something beyond a cantaloupe, neither of which seem in vogue today.

But a guy can dream . . . .

Despicable New Liberal Low

All 100 seats in the House of Delegates are up for election this year and more of them than in recent cycles have major two party competition. This is because Democrats — fresh after the 2007 capture of the Virginia Senate and gains in the House, and the 2008 Virginia victory by Barack Obama — thought they had a realistic chance of taking the House. Competitive campaigns are welcome. They bring out the best in candidates, good ideas, and illustrate the differences between the two primary strains of political thought. But there is a sure difference between tough competition and despicable conduct. That's the case in the 73rd House of Delegates campaign between Democrat challenger Tom Shields and Republican incumbent, Dr. John O'Bannon

With 100 campaigns, it's difficult to keep up with them all, but this one sticks out because it was an early Democrat target. Shields, who teaches "leadership" at the University of Richmond, went low and dishonest from the start, claiming Delegate O'Bannon never held constituent meetings or mailed newsletters. He continued the falsehoods even after confronted with physical evidence.

He's only gone lower since and his mailer yesterday defies description: It claims that Delegate O’Bannon, the only physician in the House — and a neurologist, at that — has not only worked against Alzheimer’s patients, but also is to blame for the lack of a cure for the disease! Not entirely shocking coming from a hard-core campus leftist ideologue who only cares to help secure control of the House for his party, but still difficult to contemplate how he and the state Democrat party hacks advising him manage to think up such low and despicable rhetoric — and how they find ways to top their previous dishonesties.

The fact is, Delegate O'Bannon has been a leader in funding research for this disease and, for it, the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Richmond presented him with its Advocate Award. I guess Shields knows more than the Alzheimer’s Association. Either that, or he's calling the Alzheimer’s Association a stooge front group. Competition is good. Unfortunately, Shields isn't interested in that. Instead, the fervor of taking power for his party leads him to the gutter.

A Big Thank You!

A big thank you to each and every one of the 600-plus who attended our Annual Gala last night: attendees, sponsors, volunteers, speakers, perfomers . . . everyone. You all have our sincerest, most heartfelt gratitude for all that you did to make last night a great success! We made it known that Phill Kline was not to be missed and he did not disappoint. There wasn't one person in the Greater Richmond Convention Center last night who wasn't genuinely inspired with his message of putting principle over politics, of what true leadership is, of allowing ourselves to be intolerant of injustice, especially injustice to the innocent-unborn; and the real characteristics of the in-fashion word "hope" (hint: you can't have hope without faith because hope is an expectation of something good yet to come, which is . . . faith).

For those not able to attend as well as who did and want to re-live the event, please return here next week and beyond: We hope to post pictures from the Gala and video of Mr. Kline's speech. We also hope to have more on yesterday's news conference at which Mr. Kline also attended.

Despite what many consider down times in Virginia (and America) for conservatism and traditional, Christian values in the public realm, last night's overwhelming outpouring of support, enthusiam and dedication to cause proves that our philosophy of limited government, liberty and protection of the family still resonates and thrives.

We sincerely cannot thank adequately enough all of you great Virginians who continue to support The Family Foundation of Virginia throughout the year with your time, financial contributions, counsel, steadfast encouragement in good times and bad, and for all manners of support you provide. Most of all, we deeply appreciate your constant prayers for us and our mission. Please know we reciprocate those prayers to all of you.

"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.