Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

QOTD: Clerics and Civil Authority

Marriage is one of the places in American society where the boundaries between church and state are completely ignored. Clergy are given the power of the state to create legally recognized civil unions.

When the clergy say, "By the authority vested in me by the state of Texas, I proclaim they are now husband and wife," we claim a civil authority that should not be ours to claim. Our authority as ordained clergy comes from God through our governing religious bodies. As a pastor, I don't want any authority granted me by the state of Texas.

In most countries, people who wish to be married go to the courthouse to create their civil union. If they are Christian, they then go to the church to have that union blessed and to affirm their commitment through the language of faith in a Service of Christian Marriage.

This practice points to a proper solution regarding same-sex marriages. All people who want to live in committed relationships should have the right to legally recognized unions, regardless of their sexual orientation. Monogamy is a good thing for society and for those who live within the freedom of covenant relationships. Leave it to religious institutions to determine whether or not they want to bless such unions. But do not give religious institutions the right to determine whether or not the unions can be created.

Some suggests this threatens the sanctity of marriage. I disagree. Adultery, spousal abuse, and breaking trust emotionally or financially are far greater threats to the sanctity of marriage. To scapegoat the homosexual community for the all the problems facing modern marriage is misguided and wrong.

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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Bad Ad Alert

umm.... I don't have to say anything, just watch:

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Saturday, May 02, 2009

A Hundred Years On and Standing Strong

From America Magazine:

T he clouds roll with thunder, the House of the Lord shall be built throughout the earth, and these frogs sit in their marsh and croak—'We are the only Christians!'" So wrote St. Augustine about the Donatists, a perfectionist North African sect that attempted to keep the church free of contamination by having no truck with Roman officialdom. In the United States today, self-appointed watchdogs of orthodoxy, like Randall Terry and the Cardinal Newman Society, push mightily for a pure church quite unlike the mixed community of saints and sinners—the Catholic Church—that Augustine championed. Like the Circumcellions of old, they thrive on slash-and-burn tactics; and they refuse to allow the church to be contaminated by contact with certain politicians.

For today's sectarians, it is not adherence to the church's doctrine on the evil of abortion that counts for orthodoxy, but adherence to a particular political program and fierce opposition to any proposal short of that program. They scorn Augustine's inclusive, forgiving, big-church Catholics, who will not know which of them belongs to the City of God until God himself separates the tares from the wheat. Their tactics, and their attitudes, threaten the unity of the Catholic Church in the United States, the effectiveness of its mission and the credibility of its pro-life activities.

The sectarians' targets are frequently Catholic universities and Catholic intellectuals who defend the richer, subtly nuanced, broad-tent Catholic tradition. Their most recent target has been the University of Notre Dame and its president, John Jenkins, C.S.C., who has invited President Barack Obama to offer the commencement address and receive an honorary degree at this year's graduation. Pope Benedict XVI has modeled a different attitude toward higher education. In 2008, the pope himself was prevented from speaking at Rome's La Sapienza University by the intense opposition of some doctrinaire scientists. The Vatican later released his speech, in which he argued that "freedom from ecclesiastical and political authorities" is essential to the university's "special role" in society. He asked, "What does the pope have to do or say to a university?" And he answered, "He certainly should not try to impose in an authoritarian manner his faith on others."

The divisive effects of the new American sectarians have not escaped the notice of the Vatican. Their highly partisan political edge has become a matter of concern. That they never demonstrate the same high dudgeon at the compromises, unfulfilled promises and policy disagreements with Republican politicians as with Democratic ones is plain for all to see. It is time to call this one-sided denunciation by its proper name: political partisanship.

Pope Benedict XVI has also modeled a different stance toward independent-minded politicians. He has twice reached out to President Obama and offered to build on the common ground of shared values. Even after the partially bungled visit of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with Pope Benedict, Vatican officials worked quickly to repair communication with her. Furthermore, in participating in the international honors accorded New Mexico's Governor Bill Richardson in Rome last month for outlawing the death penalty (See Signs of the Times, 5/4), Pope Benedict did not flinch at appearing with a politician who does not agree fully with the church's policy positions. When challenged about the governor's imperfect pro-life credentials, Archbishop Michael Sheehan of Santa Fe responded on point, "We were able to help him understand our position on the death penalty.... One thing at a time." Finally, last March the pro-choice French president Nicolas Sarkozy was made an honorary canon of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the pope's own cathedral.

Four steps are necessary for the U.S. church to escape the strengthening riptide of sectarian conflict and re-establish trust between universities and the hierarchy. First, the bishops' discipline about speakers and awards at Catholic institutions should be narrowed to exclude from platforms and awards only those Catholics who explicitly oppose formal Catholic teaching. Second, in politics we must reaffirm the distinction between the authoritative teaching of moral principles and legitimate prudential differences in applying principles to public life. Third, all sides should return to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and Pope Paul VI that in politics there are usually several ways to attain the same goals. Finally, church leaders must promote the primacy of charity among Catholics who advocate different political options. For as the council declared, "The bonds which unite the faithful are mightier than anything which divides them" ("Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World," No. 92).

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Friday, May 01, 2009

QOTD: Let's March

It was said of Cicero that when people heard him, they turned to one another and said, "Great speech"; but when Demosthenes spoke, people turned to one another and said, "Let's march." All around the world people are marching with Barack Obama.
- Prime Minister Gordon Brown

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sometimes you should stick with your own material

h/t to harkinsa

The Oakridge Boys perform a cover of "Seven Nation Army" by the White Stripes:

Umm... methinks they should stick with Elvira.

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It made me chuckle and wince at the same time

As I was walking towards work the other morning the Anti-Abortion folks (the ones with the very graphic signs) were out by Gervais Street on the State House Grounds. I approached my usual cross walk and noticed that the grey haired lady was sitting on a stool with her sign (I couldn't see it) resting against her and the light pole. As I went to press the crosswalk button I casually told her Good Morning - as any Southerner is wont to do.
It startled her. She grabbed her glasses which were  resting in her lap and eyed me. She responded. Thank you so much, you're the first person ever to say that to me while I've been out here. I was startled and suprised -- really? I said with obvious incredulity. She told me (rather emphatically and in earnest) to have a good day and I wished her one likewise. She smiled and turned back to her vigil of watching cars go by holding the sign.
When I crossed the street and walked down a ways I looked back to see which of the signs she was holding. Her's was the SODOMY IS A SIN! sign. I winced, chuckled and thought to myself, if she only knew that the only person to show her kindness was in fact a 'sodomite' she was there protesting against.
Oh the irony of it all.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Supreme Court acts by not acting

Twitter has been all a... twitter... since the SC Supreme Court issued it's ruling not to rule on a lawsuit brought by Chapin High Senior Casey Edwards against the State.
And while Sanford supporters are probably elated by this turn of events it's always important to look at the fine print, and in this case the legal context
We find this action is not ripe and appropriate for judicial determination unless or until the General Assembly has taken, as it is authorized to do, measures to appropriate the funds at issue.  See State ex rel. Condon v. Hodges, 349 S.C. 232, 562 S.E.2d 623 (2002)(the General Assembly has the duty and authority to appropriate money as necessary for the operation of the agencies of government and has the right to specify the conditions under which the appropriated monies shall be spent); Gilstrap v. South Carolina Budget and Control Bd., 310 S.C. 210, 423 S.E.2d 101 (1992) (the appropriation of public funds is a legislative function); Clarke v. South Carolina Pub. Serv. Auth., 177 S.C. 427, 181 S.E. 481 (1935)(the General Assembly has full authority to make appropriations as it deems wise in absence of any specific constitutional prohibition against the appropriation).  Until that time, there is no real and substantial controversy, as opposed to a contingent, hypothetical or abstract dispute, upon which this Court can render a declaratory judgment.  Accordingly, the petition for original jurisdiction is denied at this time.
bold italicising is mine.
If my reading is correct then when it comes to taking money - which is what the 'appropriation of public funds' means -- that, according to established case law in South Carolina, is a legislative function. What the Supreme Court is saying is - ambiguity in the statutory language aside (in reference to the Recovery Act) in regards to the actions and powers of the South Carolina Legislature - it is their right and obligation to appropriate funds, such a right has never resided with the executive - his is only to approve  and (or if overridden) to enforce such measures.


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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Maggie Gallagher is all moist over this one...

Miss California is making Maggie Gallagher all moist. Maggie sees in Miss California the new face of the bigot brigade. She posted this little tidbit on NRO this morning:
Perez "You dumb b—tch" Hilton is typical of the new face of the gay-marriage movement in America.  (Joining Frank "you are all bigots" Rich among others). And I would like to nominate Miss California as the new face of the marriage movement. Much better than mine! "Truth and love will prevail over lies and hate."

But beauty never hurt.

And while she and her flying monkeys at NOM may beat there chests a little louder because of Perez Hilton, one thing is for sure -- he is NOT the face of the gay marriage movement in America, and no person in their right mind will take her claims that he is seriously. Keep deluding yourself Maggie, and while you're at it ignore all those polls being released in New York about how a majority of folks there now support marriage equality. Truth and love really will prevail over lies and hate!

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Monday, April 20, 2009

QOTD: Interracial Marriage

via the daily dish,

"After gay marriage, the most religiously committed Americans will be effectively marginalized as a public force—because they cannot act or support the idea that gay unions are marriages. Such people will, if we lose the marriage debate, be treated the way we treat bigots who oppose interracial marriage. Imagine: All it will take to make, say, a judicial nominee unconfirmable will be to establish that they are indeed Catholic,"

Funny I remember how most of the arguments against interracial marriage were grounded in religious dogma and psuedo science as well, and opponents said much the same thing. And while, today, we view opponents of such marriages as bigots - we still let them refuse to perform or honour such marital arrangments in their own houses of worship even unto this day.
It's the first Amendment Maggie, get over it.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Steve Schmidt gets it too

Yet another younger member of the conservative movement gets it. Marriage equality should be embraced to get back to the real core principals of the conservative movement:

"It cannot be argued that marriage between people of the same sex is un American or threatens the rights of others. On the contrary, it seems to me that denying two consenting adults of the same sex the right to form a lawful union that is protected and respected by the state denies them two of the most basic natural rights affirmed in the preamble of our Declaration of Independence — liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

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