Thursday, January 29, 2009

Catholic Pro-Life Video Rejected by Super Bowl

From the National Catholic Register:

NBC has refused to air’s new pro-life ad during its broadcast of this Sunday’s Super Bowl game.

According to a Jan. 29 press release from, “After several days of negotiations, an NBC representative in Chicago told late yesterday that NBC and the NFL are not interested in advertisements involving ‘political candidates or issues.’”

Brian Burch, president of, said in the press release, “There is nothing objectionable in this positive, life-affirming advertisement. We show a beautiful ultrasound, something NBC’s parent company GE has done for years. We congratulate Barack Obama on becoming the first African-American President. And we simply ask people to imagine the potential of each human life.”

Read the entire article on NCR here.

Social workers hand brother and sister to gay men for adoption

The UK may be only a few years ahead of us in their permissive social attitudes and this story from the UK newspaper, Daily Mail, is disturbing because the courts determined it was better for a young brother and sister to be placed for adoption in a homosexual home, rather than be adopted by their maternal grandparents because the grandparents are too old (46 and 59) and have health problems (he has angina, she has diabetes).

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What's so Great about God?

Monday night I went to a debate at the University of Colorado in Boulder. It was sponsored by the Aquinas Institute for Catholic Thought, which is part of the Catholic campus ministry. The debate was titled, “What’s so Great About God?” and it was a debate between renowned atheist, Christopher Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything; and Dinesh D'Souza, author of What's So Great About Christianity.

The moderator was Dan Caplis, a local attorney, radio personality and conservative Catholic.

Overall, I found the debate fascinating, and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing Hitchens speak, though I thought he dodged answering several questions, either by design, or because he really didn’t understand the question. Hitchens' reputation exceeds the reality of himself, I'm sorry to say. He has evidently made quite a career out of being an atheist, though he derided the term, saying, "I don't believe in the tooth fairy either, but I don't use a special word for it." The real-life Hitchens would pose for the audience, say a pithy line or two, wait for applause, then get a smug look on his face which seemed to indicate, "Everyone agrees with me because I'm brilliant." I had the distinct impression he must spend many hours standing in front of the mirror practicing his one-liners, trying to imitate Richard Burton.

Hitchens' opening arguments against the existence of God, and specifically, God incarnate by the name of Jesus the Nazarene, consisted of these propositions:

1. Biblical characters such as Jesus and Moses and others are merely myths and are not historical figures and they have absolutely no bearing on the way we act today.

As "proof," he cited an obscure WWI-era best seller by Guy Thorne, called When it was Dark, which tells the story of what happened when the world was told that Jesus's resurrection was a hoax. Lawlessness was the rule of the day and there were suddenly mass murders and marauding bands of men raping women. When it was revealed that the resurrection hoax was itself a hoax, the world returned to normalcy. Hitchens reasoned that it was highly improbable we would turn into barbarians overnight, should the world find out the resurrection never happened. Therefore, the resurrection story must be a hoax.

2. Vicarious expiation of sins is in itself an "immoral" act which no self-respecting God would condone. Not only is the taking on of another's sin immoral, but allowing humanity to simply hand over their sins to another was shockingly immoral. Hitchens argued that it disavowed all personal responsibility and was therefore obviously invented by men who wanted to shirk the responsibility for their own actions. For these reasons, Hitchens believes Jesus's crucifixion and especially, his taking on the sins of the world, must be a hoax.

3. Most historians agree that mankind has walked the earth for at least 100,000 years. If God's intervention in human history has only been for the past 2,000 years, then he must be a very sloppy, lazy and ignorant God indeed.

D’Souza answered these propositions thus:

1. He asked Hitchens if he believed that Aristotle and Socrates were historic figures. Hitchens said, "yes," he believed Aristotle existed, but wasn't sure if Socrates was a mythical creation or historic. He therefore admitted, despite overwhelming historical evidence, that he did not accept as historical evidence ancient documents that have been accepted by historians as authentic since the dawn of history. D'Souza pointed out that there are many sources outside scripture that point to the existence of many Biblical figures.

2. To explain the second point, D'Souza pointed out that all people see there are basically two standards for living. One is the way in which we live, or the way in which the world is. The second standard is the way we ought to live, or the way we ought to be. D'Souza called these two ways of living the earthly way and the spiritual way. The spiritual way is the way we ought to live. All religions try to bridge this gap through the way they practice their religion. With Islam, there are rules regarding times to pray, dietary rules and ways to dress. Judaism also has strict dietary rules. Although Christianity also has rules of behavior, the main difference between Christianity and Islam and Judaism is that the gap between God and man is bridged by God, rather than by man. No other religion has a God condescending to bridge the gap between God and man to unite the two. Christians believe there is no way that mankind could ever bridge the gap, therefore we rely on God to do this. This is the crux of the Christian faith.

3. As to the intervention of God on humanity, D'Souza suggested that perhaps the 98,000 years of humanity doing absolutely nothing had something to do with humanity not yet receiving the breath of life, or the immortal soul infused from God, but that once that soul was breathed into mankind, that's when things started happening.

D'Souza then went on to make some compelling arguments for why reason alone requires the existence of God. He proposed that modern science is rooted in Christianity and that modern science is based on three faith-based propositions:

1. We live in a rational universe.

2. We live in a lawful universe, that is, our universe follows the physical laws of nature.

3. The rationality of the world around us is mirrored in the rationality of the human mind.

These three propositions flow naturally from Christian (and religious) thought. Likewise, these propositions developed in western, Christian cultures. To a Christian, these propositions are not a challenge to believe, because we believe in a rational, omnipotent, omniscient God, who created us in His own image, thus, we mirror the rationality of Him who created us.

The atheist must take these propositions on faith alone, as there is no logical explanation why random chance of colliding molecules should result in so reasonable a universe. In fact, although D'Souza didn't mention it, the second law of thermodynamics states that a closed system will increase in entropy, or disorder, over time, which argues against randomly occuring order. Therefore, it is quite a leap of faith for the atheist to say that order in the universe is there simply by chance.

D'Souza also pointed out that the God who made us, programmed us to be moral beings. The problem of morality for the atheist is a great hurdle to overcome. Where did this idea of morality come from?

To Hitchens, it evolved naturally as mankind evolved. He said it comes from the idea of the strong conquering the weak, and the natural instincts of survival. Hitchens makes the claim in his book that religion “poisons everything,” and described that it was religion (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) that first proposed enslaving other humans because of some greater humanity possessed by the enslavers than that which was possessed by the enslaved. He believes this is poison, but the sheer act of conquering and enslaving another human was “natural” and therefore, not poison.

Many of Hitchens’ examples of “poison” of religion were the worst of religion, compared with the best of secular humanity. He compared the radical Islamic suicide bomber with the rational, compassionate atheist he presents himself to be, and he challenged the audience that if they believed it would be better to be born atheist like him, than to a radical Islamic terrorist family, then they must cast off all religion as being false, since there are some “bad apples” in the bunch.
D'Souza countered this argument, noting that he could ask the same question, comparing an atheist of the likes of the murderous Stalin and a Christian like himself.

D’Souza had the difficult task of arguing for all religions, as he made the case for God, whereas, Hitchens would simply point out any falsehoods in any religious person or institution throughout history as proof that God must not be real. And this he did frequently and with a great deal of self-satisfaction.

There were several other interesting points the two debated, such as the evolutionary idea that Christians were more prone to survive than non-Christians. Hitchens said it was due to "wishful thinking," but D'Souza pointed out that the survival of one who is willing to die for faith runs counter to the idea of "survival of the fittest."

One surprising note of the evening was the revelation that Christopher Hitchens is actually pro-life! He reasons that an unborn child possesses "individuality" from the mother, and is neither an appendage of the mother nor a "blob of tissue," nor even "potential life," as some pro-abortion types would tell us. He stated that the unborn child should be recognized as human life and given equal rights.

Hitchens noted that it was because of an article he had written for Nation magazine that he and D'Souza first met. D'Souza read his article and called him and the two of them met for lunch. They have since debated the issue of God on numerous occasions, but on the issue of life they evidently agree.

D'Souza commended Hitchens for his "courageous statement, especially in a place such as [the University of Colorado at Boulder]."

Keep an eye on the Thomas Center website. They plan to release a full video of the debate.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Paul!

Happy ninth birthday, Paul!
Happy Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Today is the Feast of St. Francis de Sales

Today is a special day. Not only did my #4 daughter receive a full tuition scholarship offer from one of her top choice colleges today, it is also the 21st anniversary of my being received into the Catholic Church.

Coincidentally, (or perhaps Providentially), it is also the feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of writers.

The college that made the scholarship offer is De Sales University.

St. Francis de Sales was named bishop of Geneva in 1602, and worked tirelessly for the conversion of souls, particularly those who had become Calvinists. He is credited with converting many of the population to the Catholic faith.

The first church I ever attended (that I have memory of), was a Presbyterian church. I still have the Bible I received from them when I was 9 years old and for many years I read it and prayed to God to show me the way.

On January 24, 1988, my first child was baptized and I was also received into the Catholic Church. I can't help but think St. Francis de Sales must've been praying for me.


Lizzy came home from work today and opened her mail and found a sweet surprise from DeSales University: a full tuition scholarship offer!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Check it out!

My darling, devoted, demure and dedicated son who writes such magnificent prose was spotted at the March for Life in Washington, DC, by his ever-watchful, ever-prudent godmother and aunt.

Educational Tourism of Epic Proportions

My dear daughter, Lizzy, and I are going on a little trip. It's what my husband calls "educational tourism."

The only college he visited when he was in high school was the University of San Francisco, because he could walk there.

The only college I visited when I was in high school was the University of Colorado, because my parents drove me there and because that's where they went to school.

Both of us chose a college that was on the opposite side of the country from where we grew up, simply because we had the overwhelming desire to serve our country as naval officers. (We went to the US Naval Academy...but that's not the point of this story).

These days, good students have so many schools vying for their money that they start mailing students information towards the end of their sophomore or beginning of their junior year in high school. Lots of these schools have "open house" day, or "meet our faculty" day or "come and win a t-shirt" day.

I know, I've been to many of these already with my older three kids who are now safely ensconced in colleges across the country.

But Lizzy seems to know what God is calling her to do more than her older sibs did. She feels called to be a "healer," and she is a good student, so she has already been offered scholarships at several of her top college choices.

She has been invited to compete for larger scholarships at three schools which are located in three different states on three different weekends. We did manage to persuade one of the schools to let us come in the middle of the week, between the other two weekends. But this means we'll be going on an educational tourism trip of epic proportions.

We will be spending three days at Benedictine College, in Atchison, Kansas; followed by three days at DeSales University in Center Valley, Pennsylvania; followed by three days at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio.

We're excited, but planning (and paying) for a trip like this is no small matter.

My husband will be minding the manor whilst we're away and he has requested that I not only plan menus for the 9 days we'll be gone, but also freeze some of those meals and include a detailed schedule of events as to what must take place while we're gone including, but not limited to, exactly how to pay the bills should I meet my heavenly reward while on the trip.

Stay tuned for updates.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Update on recent events regarding my darling son

While my nagging, haranguing, and public humiliation apparently had no effect on my son, the "care package" which I lovingly hand-crafted and filled with special items like 2-for-1 after-Christmas-special broken candy canes and discarded McDonald toys that I stole from my little ones, and a couple pairs of hiking socks that my daughter no longer wanted, apparently had the desired effect. He called me while I was sitting in the dentist's chair getting my teeth cleaned. (Now, isn't that a thoughtful son?) Obviously, I had turned my phone to vibrate, so while the technician was scraping away at my teeth, I had the sensation of a whoopy cushion going off in my pocket. He left me a sweet voice mail (which I have yet to erase, due to it's eloquent and loving tone). It goes something like this:

(heavy sigh) "Oh, hi, Mom. It's me. I got the care package you sent and I wanted you to know that I felt so guilty that I started writing that essay you wanted me to write. I only got half-way though because I'm going to Mass now. Bye."

See? If you can't humiliate them to make them do what you want them to do then just BRIBE them!

Parenting Advice from Mother of 8

I'm Not Your Friend, I'm Your Parent: Helping Your Children Set the Boundaries They Need...and Really Want I'm Not Your Friend, I'm Your Parent: Helping Your Children Set the Boundaries They Need...and Really Want by E. D. Hill

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I heard Bill O'Reilly talking to the author on his radio show and I was intrigued because she has 8 kids. Turns out she didn't actually give birth to 8 kids and she evidently doesn't always have custody of 8 kids, but she does give some down-to-earth common-sense parenting advice.

I don't think I learned much from this book, except that I could write a book just as good...'ceptin' I'm not an attractive TV anchorwoman who regularly appears on Bill O' who would read my book?

View all my reviews.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"The Widow's Might" Wins Big at San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival

The Widow's Might beat out Fireproof at last weekend's film festival. Read all about it here.

Christian Screenwriting course coming to Colorado

A fantastic group is coming to Colorado Springs this month to offer a weekend workshop on screenwriting for Hollywood. The group is called Act One. Here's the link:

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Well aren't you SPECIAL?

Whilst cleaning up my darling 20 year-old college junior's post-Christmas visit mess after driving him to the airport at 3:30 a.m., I discovered amongst the refuse, an envelope bearing the seal of his illustrious institution of higher learning. The envelope's sacred seal was opened, so I took a little peak inside, wheretowhich I found the following inscription:

"Hail and greetings, to all ye noble lads and lasses who are so-called college juniors!

Ye have the noble opportunity to excel yourselves at a writing exercise of the noblest proportions, towhichwherefore ye must write a most noble exhortation consisting of NO MORE THAN ONE STINKIN' PAGE (!!!) typed, single-spaced, nay even double-spaced, extolling the virtues of your most pure, most chaste, most lovely MOTHER(!!!)

Hark, all ye who read these enscriptions: The most noblest scholarship committe will chewz the one exhortation that extolls the sacred virtures of motherhood, nay, that merely mentions how your mother is "SPECIAL" (!!!) and will present the author with a monetary amount in the princely sum of $2500. (That's TWENTY-FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS FOR ONE STINKIN' ONE PAGE MAXIMUM DOUBLE-SPACED TYPED STINKIN' ESSAY ABOUT HOW SPECIAL I AM TO MY FIRST BORN SON!!! BUT DOES HE DO IT? NO! HE LEAVES THE APPLICATION FORM AND DIRECTIONS IN A PILE OF DISCARDED MAIL IN HIS ROOM ALONG WITH HIS DIRTY SOCKS IN THE CORNER LEFT BEHIND FOR HIS MOST UN-SPECIAL MOM TO WASH AND DRY AND HAVE READY FOR HIM SHOULD HE EVEN HAVE A ROOM TO SLEEP IN WHEN HE COMES HOME AGAIN.)"

But I digress...

As I was saying, I was cleaning my son's mess and I found the above mentioned scholarship application. I immediately phoned him and we had the following conversation:

Me: "Do you think I'm special?"

Son: "Oh...uh...(heavy sigh)...yes, Mom."

Me: "Are you planning on writing this essay?"

Son: "Uh...oh, yeah! I was planning on doing it."

Me: "When? The due date is January 30th."

Son: (heavy sigh) " know...I'm really busy right now with organizing the paper clips on my desk and figuring out which chairs in the library offer the best napping spots and beating my personal best on Halo 3, so I'll get to it later."

Me: "When?"

Son: (heavy sigh) "Uh, well, I gotta go now..."

Me: "Would you like me to mail you the application?"

Son: "Uh, sure, yeah, okay I guess."

Now, I'm no master of judging vocal clues, but I'm thinking it was never very high on his priority list of things to do.

Now aren't I SPECIAL?