Thursday 24th July 2014

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

The Left And The Right Flip

April 25, 2014 Frontpage No Comments

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK

We do not want to promote an unhealthy cynicism among our children. But neither do we want them to be gullible. We have been given an example in recent weeks of how — often enough to matter — when people argue “on principle,” they are doing no such thing; that they want what they want and will choose the principle that helps them achieve that end.
We take it for granted that some people argue a case that way: lawyers, for example. We expect their primary objective to be winning the case for their client. If that takes using a literal reading of the law to exclude some evidence as inadmissible we expect them to do that, even if they were arguing for giving the police greater leeway during an arrest just the week before in a previous case. Lawyers do not pretend that they will be willing to sacrifice their client’s interests to satisfy an abstract legal principle. Their clients expect them to seek out the legal principle that will help them in the trial: period.
Politicians, pundits, and academics do not argue in that way. They make their case as if principle is their primary concern, as if they are not seeking their self-interest as much as “the right thing,” whether it be in pursuit of individual rights, states rights, judicial restraint, or a “loose” interpretation of the Constitution to provide for the needs of a changing society. The problem is that they change their tune when it suits their needs. For example, opponents of an “imperial presidency” begin arguing the case for executive power as an expression of the national will once their side wins a presidential election; and vice-versa.
We were given an example of how this flip-flop occurs in recent weeks, one that can serve well as a classroom example of the phenomenon. It revolved around the Obamacare HHS mandate and how it affected the retail chain Hobby Lobby. The two sides in the dispute have been well documented. The owners of Hobby Lobby protest that it is a violation of their religious freedom to require them to purchase a health-care package for their employees that covers contraceptives that the owners consider abortifacients. The Obama administration disagrees, contending that the owners of the company have no right to restrict the rights of their employees who disagree on the morality of the contraceptives in question.
Where’s the flip-flop? W. James Antle III documented it on March 29 on the web site National Interest (nationalinterest.org). He points out that it was liberals back in 1993 who pushed for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The purpose of the law was to defend the right of Native Americans to use peyote in their religious rituals. The Supreme Court had taken away that right when it upheld an Oregon law forbidding the use of the illegal drug in Native Americans’ religious ceremonies. Conservative Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the majority opinion in the case; liberal justice Harry Blackmun the dissent.
The liberal position, writes Antle, was to “endorse the principle that the government must have a compelling interest in making a person act contrary to his or her religious conscience. Whatever the First Amendment implications of the Hobby Lobby case, it is impossible to argue the contraception mandate meets that test. Large swaths of the American public are already exempt from the mandate, so how compelling could the government interest be?”
What has changed since the 1990s? Antle contends the “specific freedom in question and the plaintiff in the case” regarding peyote use by Native Americans “were likely to arouse liberal sympathies. Not so traditionalist Catholics who don’t want to subsidize contraception or evangelicals who don’t want to photograph a same-sex wedding.” Seeking to be fair, Antle observes, “One could argue these different circumstances play a role in conservatives taking a different position too.”
“White liberals,” Antle continues, react differently to the owners of Hobby Lobby than to the Native Americans in the 1990s because they “have become more secular in the last two decades. In 2012, Barack Obama carried 62 percent of voters who never attend church while Mitt Romney took 34 percent.” This has resulted in “an almost comical inability to comprehend what religious practice really entails beyond attendance at worship services or prayer. Others simply view religious people as conservative political opponents with misguided, perhaps even evil and bigoted, views.”
Hence, the religious freedom of Native Americans deserves protection under the law, but the religious freedom of the owners of Hobby Lobby needs to be restrained for the greater good of society as a whole. The principle of religious freedom is sacrosanct in one instance, a threat to the commonweal in the other. Flip-flop.
On another topic: the ongoing debate over Common Core. The supporters of these federal mandates over local education are using a tactic that they are also using in regard to Obamacare. They are arguing that it is “settled law” and that it is too late to do anything as “radical” as seeking to reverse this legislation. The goal seems to be to wear down opponents of Common Core, to make them think it futile to continue to oppose this inevitable change for our schools.
Much of the country seems not yet ready to admit to defeat. The online edition of National Review on April 2 reports that Oklahoma and Indiana are illustrating that there are ways for the states to assert their rights in the face of the federal government’s attempt to impose Common Core’s standards upon them. Alec Torres of National Review reports, “The Oklahoma State Senate passed a bill on Tuesday to withdraw the state from the Common Core standards. If the bill is signed by Gov. Mary Fallin, Oklahoma will become the second state to withdraw from Common Core. Indiana withdrew last week with Gov. Mike Pence’s signature.”
Fallin seems likely to sign the bill. In 2013, Fallin issued an executive order directing the secretary of education in Oklahoma to make sure the federal government “does not intrude in Oklahoma’s development of academic curricula and teaching strategies.” Indiana Gov. Pence expressed the same concerns when he withdrew his state from Common Core’s standards. He praised Fallin in a statement to the press criticizing Common Core.
The bottom line: Common Core is not a fait accompli. Opponents of Common Core around the country can point to what happened in Indiana and Oklahoma to underscore the point. The sky didn’t fall after the governors in those states took their stand against the federal government in the name of local control over education.

+    +    +

Readers are invited to submit comments and questions about this and other educational issues. The e-mail address for First Teachers is fitzpatrijames@sbcglobal.net, and the mailing address is P.O. Box 15, Wallingford CT 06492.

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Marco Rubio To Take On Abortion and Gay Marriage in Catholic U Speech

Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) plans to take on social and cultural issues in the latest installment of his policy speeches outlining a new conservative agenda. “Senator Rubio will discuss the values needed for economic success in the 21st century: values like…Continue Reading

USCCB Chairmen Respond To ‘Unprecedented and Extreme’ Executive Order

The executive order prohibits “gender identity” discrimination, a prohibition that is previously unknown at the federal level, and that is predicated on the false idea that “gender” is nothing more than a social construct or psychological reality that can be…Continue Reading

Dallas-Fort Worth Catholic leaders appeal for legal help in border crisis

Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell (center) and Fort Worth Bishop Michael Olson on Monday asked for volunteers to assist with a “humanitarian crisis.” By DIANNE SOLÍS Staff Writer dsolís@dallasnews.com Published: 21 July 2014 10:32 PM Updated: 22 July 2014 12:21 AM Dallas Catholic…Continue Reading

Iraq Catholic leader says Islamic State worse than Genghis Khan

By Dominic Evans and Raheem Salman BAGHDAD (Reuters) – The head of Iraq’s largest church said on Sunday that Islamic State militants who drove Christians out of Mosul were worse than Mongol leader Genghis Khan and his grandson Hulagu who…Continue Reading

CHRISTIAN HOLOCAUST UNDERWAY IN IRAQ, USA AND WORLD LOOK ON

When U.S. troops invaded Iraq in 2003, there were at least 1.5 million Christians in Iraq. Over the last ten years, significantly in the last few months with the emergence of ISIS, that figure has dropped to about 400,000. In a…Continue Reading

Vancouver Catholic Schools Adopt Transgender Policy

James Keller, The Canadian Press Published Wednesday, July 16, 2014 7:20PM EDT Last Updated Thursday, July 17, 2014 7:24AM EDT VANCOUVER — Catholic schools in Vancouver have adopted a policy that could allow transgender students to use the pronouns, uniforms…Continue Reading

New Catholic Bishops Say Civil Disobedience OK If For Common Good

Newly appointed auxiliary bishops, two Catholic clergymen suggest Occupy Central could be just, while third weighs in on reform report St Two auxiliary bishops newly appointed by the Vatican have spoken out about the Occupy Central campaign, saying the church supports…Continue Reading

Skeptics And The Claims Of The Catholic Church Seventeen Reasons Scoffers Ought To Rethink Catholicism, If They Really Thought About It

July 11, 2014 05:09 EST By Thomas M. Doran In today’s world, isn’t it crazy to appeal to scoffers to consider Catholicism? Why would a rational modern man or woman in the 21st century be attracted to what the world and…Continue Reading

The Obama Administration’s Border-Crisis Plan B: Use the Catholic Church

The federal government reaches out to a California diocese to help shelter illegal immigrants in California. By Ryan Lovelace In order to avoid future clashes with the citizens of Murrieta, Calif., over attempts to transfer illegal immigrants there, the Obama administration has turned to…Continue Reading

A New Low For Liberals: Attacking Catholic Nuns Over Hobby Lobby

I’m a big fan of absurdity in politics. But even absurdity has its limits, and the National Organization for Women has surpassed it in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision inBurwell v. Hobby Lobby. As part of its full-throated…Continue Reading

Louisiana court’s ruling that Catholic priest testify about confession criticized by Baton Rouge Diocese:

The Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge has issued a statement decrying a decision by the Louisiana Supreme Court that could compel a local priest to testify in court about confessions he might have received. The alleged confessions, according to legal documents, were made to…Continue Reading

Out Of Nowhere A Network Emerged To Save Catholic Schools

By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer POSTED: June 24, 2014   The fledgling Independence Mission Schools network of Catholic elementary schools is used to moving fast. It sprang into action two years ago to save 14 parish schools in low-income neighborhoods…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to subscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.

 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

'From our friends at The Foundry'


Today . . .

Bishops: Obama’s Executive Order on Discrimination ‘Implements Discrimination’

Washington, D.C., July 23, 2014 (Zenit.org) The bishop-Chairmen of two USCCB Committees responded with concern to President Obama’s July 21 executive order to prohibit federal government contractors from what the Administration deems “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” discrimination and to forbid “gender identity” discrimination in the employment of federal employees. The problems the bishops identify in the order relate both…Continue Reading

Homosexuality And The Future Of Marriage

By JOHN F. KIPPLEY (Editor’s Note: John F. Kippley is the author of Sex and the Marriage Covenant: A Basis for Morality and other books and articles. With his wife Sheila, he is a coauthor of Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach. The commentary below is reprinted with permission from his blog at johnkippley.com. All…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “Profile: Girls Scouts Of America”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of this article with footnotes, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) +    +    + We’ve all had little girls in uniform appear on our porches selling Girl Scout cookies (with watchful mothers standing…Continue Reading

Chilling

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO “Chilling” is the word lawyers use to describe governmental behavior that does not directly interfere with constitutionally protected freedoms, but rather tends to deter folks from exercising them. Classic examples of “chilling” occurred in the 1970s, when FBI agents and U.S. Army soldiers, in business suits with badges displayed or in…Continue Reading

Do They Think We’re Stupid?. . . It’s Worse Than That

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK It has become routine to hear conservative talk radio hosts, such as Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh, as well as many commentators on Fox News, react to public comments by the Obama administration and its supporters with an exasperated, “Do they think we’re stupid?” I have in mind Obama supporters’ contentions…Continue Reading

Facing The Truth About Abortion

By REY FLORES “America will not reject abortion, until America sees abortion” — Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life. +    +    + One thing I have often said about abortion is that you cannot sugarcoat it no matter how hard you try. It is a monstrous and criminal act against the most defenseless of human…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Jesus Walks Through Trials With Us

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Eighteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Isaiah 55:1-3 Romans 8:35, 37-39 Matt. 14:13-21 In the second reading today St. Paul asks the question of what can separate us from the love of Christ. He then gives a few examples of what people might think will separate us from God; anguish, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness,…Continue Reading

Anglophone Conference On Sexual Abuse . . . “The Entire Church Is Called To Put Right What Has Happened”

By MOST REV. DIARMUID MARTIN ROME (ZENIT) — Below is the full text of an address given by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin on the issue of clerical sex abuse. The address was given July 7 at the Anglophone Conference, which took place at the Pontifical Irish College in Rome. The Anglophone Conference takes place annually and its purpose is to address relevant…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . Journalists, Atheists, And The Pope

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The bureaucratic apologists are now in full scramble mode once again to interpret the Pope’s words as filtered to the whole world through the atheist journalist Eugenio Scalfari and printed in the paper he co-founded, La Repubblica. Yet again, we are informed, the Pope did not say what we are told he said. The fact…Continue Reading

Is The Rosary A Prayer Of “Vain Repetitions”?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 The visit I received from two Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs, for short) gave me the opportunity to demonstrate that repetitive prayer — especially the rosary — is entirely in line with Sacred Scripture. When they walked into my living room and did not miss the sight of my rosary on the mantelpiece, I knew…Continue Reading

The Obedience Of Faith

By DON FIER For the past ten weeks of this series, we’ve been unpacking the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) on how God comes to meet man through His divine Revelation. As the Catechism, citing Dei Verbum (DV), so beautifully expresses it, “the invisible God, from the fullness of His love, addresses men as His friends,…Continue Reading

Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Alphonsus Liguori

By CAROLE BRESLIN Part 1 Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, having read the works of St. Alphonsus Liguori, took him as a mentor. It is not surprising, then, that Fr. Hardon taught his students, “If you are not encountering the cross, you are not doing God’s work.” Such were the lives of saints such as St. Teresa of Avila, St.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Benedict

By CAROLE BRESLIN Every month the Apostleship of Prayer publishes the intentions of the Holy Father: one for a universal intention and one for an evangelical intention. In June 2014, the evangelical intention was that Europe may rediscover its Christian roots through the witness of believers. The advent of Christian civilization coincided with the advent of Western civilization. The Benedictine…Continue Reading

What to Do If Your Boyfriend Wants You to Get an Abortion?

by Krisi Burton Brown | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 2/20/14 4:00 PM Washington, DC (LiveActionNews) — Note: This article is for any girl or woman who is feeling pressured into having an abortion. If you are a guy who is trying to find out how to stop an abortion, please see this article written for dads. 1.  Stand your…Continue Reading

It’s Time to Build Schools, from the Ground Up

February 13, 2014 by Anthony Esolen   It might have been worth repairing, if it had once been noble and beautiful, or at least conceived in an orderly way, for ordinary human purposes. But it wasn’t. It was constructed upon false principles. Its walls looked like those of a bad factory. It smelled like a warehouse. It could be terribly…Continue Reading

Why I am Pro-Life

February 4, 2014   Pro-Lifers   By Therese Recinella   Editor’s note. This tribute was posted on Therese Recinella’s Facebook account. She is graciously allowing us to reprint it in NRL News Today.   There are many things that I could say about my Dad, but what I want people to know is this: My parents faithfully raised 8 children…Continue Reading

Fathers . . . The Essential Role of the Father

Posted on February 10, 2014 by The Catholic Gentleman 13 Comments   Divorce rates skyrocketing; adultery rampant; non-married cohabitating couples; children abandoned by their fathers or mothers; “same-sex unions” adopting children and calling this the “modern family”; pornography invading homes, leading to powerful addictions and total alienation from other members of the family: all of this is a bird’s eye view…Continue Reading

How Much is One Billion Dollars?

This article appeared in the March 20, 1941 issue of The Wanderer. (Well, 70 years later we can add 15 trillion into the example.) Here’s a simple and homely illustration of what one billion dollars amounts to: Suppose we take an imaginary boy, aged 15 years, and assign to him the task of counting one billion dollars in one-dollar bills.…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood

This article appeared in The Wanderer, April 3, 1941.  (WOW, Look what we have 70 years later.) A group which calls itself the National Committee for Planned Parenthood has begun a nationwide campaign to have the promotion of birth control included in State and national health programs. The committee—which, according to propaganda sheets reaching our desk has a branch in…Continue Reading

Questions of Non-Catholics . . . Answered by Father Richard Felix, O.S.B.

Reprinted from The Wanderer April 10, 1941 Why Does God allow us to be tempted? God allows us to be tempted so that we may prove our attachment to him and merit a higher place in heaven. Temptations are the lot of all men; they are the battle ground upon which heaven is won or lost. “The kingdom of heaven…Continue Reading