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Palin pulls a Santorum with new TV channel

by Lisa Graas on July 28, 2014


Sarah Palin seems to be taking a page out of Rick Santorum’s playbook in launching a new TV channel. (See her video plug here.) Santorum, the new CEO of Dallas-based Echolight Studios, has been spreading the message for many months that conservatives need to work around the mainstream media and Hollywood by getting involved in media.

Washington Times:

“This is the right place and right time, and I’ve jumped in with both feet,” [Santorum] said. “I often say that culture is upstream from politics, and I know entertainment also can be strength and light for people who want to be uplifted and reinforced in their values. Dallas can become the Hollywood of the faith-and-family movie market. And the keys are great content and economic success … using money from all over to build out the industry and distribute an authentic product truthful to the faith in people’s lives.”

Santorum’s Echolight Studios has produced several high-quality films with more to come, including One Generation Away. Here’s the trailer.

Hats off to Sarah Palin. The more, the merrier.

The so-called ‘Spirit of Vatican II’ as seen by a convert

by Lisa Graas on July 27, 2014


It was with much interest that I listened in on this Twitter conversation about the so-called “Spirit of Vatican II.” I’m not sure why this causes so much consternation, but this tweet below sums up what a lot of “Traddies” (traditional Catholics) would like you to know about them.


As a convert to Catholicism who converted “to” something and “away” from something else, this issue of objective truth was always key to me. The only reason to truly believe in something on the level of religious belief is if it is objectively true. Why is that concept of objective truth so hard for some to grasp? Maybe they don’t want the truth. Maybe they want to be accepted as they are, in their sins, and forget about “conversion” to the truth. I don’t know what the problem is, but it seems all too simple to me that if something is to be believed as a religious belief, it had better be objectively true, else it’s not necessarily from God, hence not a religion at all.

In my case, I struggled at first with Catholic teaching on the death penalty and on the role of our Blessed Mother in the Church. The reason is that I was an idiot in the sense that I was ignorant about all of the reasoning for such things. Because I accepted within myself that the Catholic Church has the protection of the Holy Spirit from error (and that I do not have such protection from error), I got on my knees and prayed for the Holy Spirit to help me to understand what the Church was saying to me on those matters. I opened the door to the light, and eventually, the light did pour in. That’s how this religion thing works, see? Alone, I can’t understand objective truth, but God has given me a way out of my stupidity in establishing the Church and sending the Holy Spirit to lead us into “all truth.”

As far as I can tell, the people who talk about the “Spirit of Vatican II” are those who are troubled by the objective truth that was taught as objective truth for many centuries from the time of the First Apostles until the Second Vatican Council. If everything taught during that time period is not necessarily objective truth, then it seems to me that Catholicism could be compared to a hoax. Certainly, all of it must be taken into context, and it seems to me that this is not that difficult given that the Church is very clear on the differences between dogma, doctrine and discipline.

Much of the confusion over Vatican II seems to me to be due to a failure to understand those differences. “Communion in the Hand” is an example of disagreement. This is a matter of discipline, not of doctrine, hence all the fighting over it is rather troubling. While I certainly respect those who insist that Communion in the Hand is illicit, I have trouble understanding why they show as much righteous anger over this as they do over, say, murder of the unborn. The two issues are not comparable as one (how to receive Communion) pertains to discipline and the other (abortion) to doctrine. The passionate defense of Communion on the Tongue seems equivalent, to some, to defense of the unborn. This causes confusion among non-Catholics who don’t have a clue what the Real Presence is but do understand what abortion is. Granted, an argument can be made that people are not aware of the Real Presence precisely because of “Communion in the Hand,” but I don’t personally see it.

I converted to Catholicism when I attended my first Holy Mass with a friend and recognized Jesus on the altar in the Eucharist. Everyone at that Mass received in the hand, to my recollection.

There is some consternation over Pope Francis’ manner of speaking that many traditionalists find to be confusing. Indeed, there was a tweet in this regard, and I agree with it.  

Amen to that, but again, let’s not get confused about what we are bound to believe and what is optional. I don’t recommend advertising the Holy Father as if he is some “unapproved apparition” who may be leading people away from God, though I may be personally guilty of having said things like that about him from time to time. We are all broken. We all need God. Cling to Him and what we know, with certainty, to be true, and these other things won’t seem so big…because they’re not, in the whole of it.

Yes, it is troubling at times, but in the end, we are all just seed planters. Even the Pope is a seed planter. He is not God. Only God is God. I trust that anyone who sincerely seeks God will eventually find Him. If you have not found Him yet, I’ll give you a hint. He is in the Catholic Church, on the altar at every valid Catholic Mass.

Unfortunately, there is also some dispute among Catholics about what constitutes a valid Catholic Mass. Oh, well. You’re not on your own, though. God will lead you, if you ask Him to. He led me, though it took many years, so don’t be in too much of a rush, okay?

Voter turnout lowest ever in many states and why Santorum can change that

by Lisa Graas on July 27, 2014

Rick Santorum photo: Associated Press

Rick Santorum photo: Associated Press

Dan Balz writes at the Washington Post:

In 15 of the 25 states with statewide primaries, turnout was the lowest ever, and only three of the 25 saw an increase over the last mid-term election in 2010. One of those that produced increased turnout was Mississippi, but that happened during the extraordinarily contested run-off election between Sen. Thad Cochran (R) and his tea party challenger state Sen. Chris McDaniel.

Taken together, just 15 percent of the voting-age population cast ballots — or 18.2 million people out of 122.8 million eligible. Turnout was 17 percentage points lower than the most recent high-water mark of 32 percent in 1966. Democrats were down 14.5 points from their 1970 high, or 20.9 percent of eligible citizens, and Republicans were down five points from their 1966 high of 13 percent.

He blames Republicans for this because Republicans generally support Voter ID, wherein you show your ID at the polls so that poll workers know that you are who you claim to be. Democrats claim Voter ID suppresses the vote, but this defies reason given that the weighted average of licensed drivers in U.S. states is 89% of the adult population. States issue photo IDs for people who cannot drive, so the vast majority of people have a state-issued photo ID, but most of them still do not vote.

Because so many people can vote, and do not vote, it is safe to assume that most people don’t vote and that they do not vote simply because they choose not to. The question, then, is why do people choose not to vote? In a 2008 Census survey of registered non-voters, we find the answers.

[T]opping the list of reasons for not voting is a lack of interest (13%) or a dislike of the candidates or issues (13%). More than a quarter of registered nonvoters in 2008 didn’t vote because they weren’t interested or didn’t like their choices.

Many reported illness or disability (15%), especially among older registered nonvoters. Others were too busy, or had conflicting schedules (17%). That’s about a third of the registered nonvoters.

Of the remainder, many had some logistical problem with the process: 6% had problems with their voter registration, 3% did not have convenient polling places, and another 3% had some sort of transportation problem. And 0.2% reported that bad weather conditions kept them from the polls on election day.

What does this tell us about why not all of those who are registered actually cast a ballot in the 2008 presidential election? According to the Census Bureau data, 131 million people participated in that election, of 146 million registered voters, and of 206 million citizens who are of voting age. Those who are registered and otherwise eligible to vote, but who don’t, are tuned out or turned off; they are sick or too busy; or they have something procedural that prevents them from voting.

Several of these things can be attributed to a sense of futility: lack of interest (13%), dislike of the candidates or issues (13%), too busy or conflicting schedules (17%). A total of 43% of registered non-voters did not vote because they see voting as a futile act.

The idea of futility can stem from a sense of contentment, a sense of hopelessness, or a sense of complacency. Democrats know this, hence Barack Obama campaigned on “hope and change,” a clear nod to the real reasons for low voter turn-out. The message worked for the Obama campaign, but the increase in voter turnout in 2008 compared to 2004 was still less than 2%.

Democrats have much reason to want their base to be able to vote multiple times per person (which can happen a lot more easily without Voter ID) given that it is projected that Republicans will take control of the Senate. Republicans already have control of the House. In the end, however, both parties are more concerned about winning elections than about whether you, as an individual, are inspired to vote in them. This is why both parties tend to avoid a lot of really important issues and will hammer away at just a few. Democrats have focused for some time on the so-called “war on women” whereas Republicans are talking about “jobs, jobs, jobs” and also “jobs.”

Back in the 2012 Republican primary, the political class was shocked that Rick Santorum won in Iowa and, despite a massive campaign to characterize him as a “one-issue” (socially conservative) candidate, he won not only in the South, but also in Colorado and the Midwest. Why? Because he told the truth (as he sees it) and he was willing to answer any question on any issue. That is what voters want, and that is why I believe that if he runs again and if he is not shut out of public discourse by the vast wealth among both Republicans and Democrats, he will both get the nomination and win the 2016 presidential election. Voters want someone who honestly and truthfully talks about the things they care about, and that means all the issues, not just one or two. If they see that in a candidate, they will come to the polls as they did for Santorum in 2012, despite his being massively outspent and continually demonized in the media.

Read Rick Santorum’s book: Blue Collar Conservatives: Recommitting to an America That Works



My kids need school supplies and Darth Vader is strapped

by Lisa Graas on July 26, 2014

Darth Vader: The father of my children.

Darth Vader: The father of my children.

Darth Vader, the father of my children, has informed me that he will not be donating any money toward the purchase of school books and supplies this year as he is working on remodeling a wing on the Death Star. As a result, I need to raise $450. (This is not the full cost but their older brother chipped in $100 and I can pay for some.) If you can help, please donate through PayPal through the donate button in the sidebar. Thanks ever so much.


House votes to direct President to order U.S. forces to flee Iraq

by Lisa Graas on July 26, 2014

Nun: The sign of genocide in Iraq

Nun: The sign of genocide in Iraq

There is a genocide occurring in Iraq. Read the latest on that from Dignitatis Humanae Institute posted this morning on my blog here. See also “Nun: The Sign of Genocide.”

Barack Obama announced his plans in regard to military support versus ISIS in Iraq. Video below. (UPDATE: Video source at CNN.)

Meanwhile, the House has voted to direct President Obama to order our troops to flee Iraq. See the vote results here.

House resolution text: “Directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, to remove United States Armed Forces, other than Armed Forces required to protect United States diplomatic facilities and personnel, from Iraq.”

According to the Associated Press:

More than 800 U.S. forces are in Iraq. More than half are providing security for the embassy and U.S. personnel. American service members also are involved in improving U.S. intelligence, providing security cooperation and conducting assessments of Iraqi capabilities.

U.S. officials say the Sunni extremists who call themselves the Islamic State pose a significant threat to the American homeland. The group has expanded from its base in Syria and seized a series of towns and cities in Iraq in recent months.

A big “THANK YOU” to those who voted against the resolution, including Republican Congressman Tom Cotton who is running for Senate and was endorsed by Rick Santorum.

A big “WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU THINKING?” to my own Congressman Brett Guthrie who voted for the House Resolution.

On Twitter, watch for the “Nun” symbol above as many are using it as their new profile pics to raise awareness about the genocide. A few of the many examples are linked below:

@RorateCaeli@kennethperrin / @roddreher@neuchrist@nahirbisso@QereKetiv /


Violence in Nigeria has ‘no boundaries’ now, archbishop says

by Lisa Graas on July 26, 2014


Archbishop Kaigama, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria

Rome, Italy, Jul 25, 2014 / 12:33 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In wake of two bombings this week in Nigeria, targeting both an Islamic scholar and a senior politician, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama has called for greater proactive efforts to identify all violent groups.

“The two separate bombings in Kaduna is a further indication that there is progression rather than retrogression of violence in the northern part of Nigeria,” Archbishop Kaigama said in comments made to CNA July 23.

“That the attacks were allegedly aimed at a prominent Islamic scholar and preacher, and a senior politician shows that the violence has no boundaries now.”

Archbishop Kaigama, head of Nigeria’s Jos archdiocese and spokesman for the country’s Catholic Bishops Conference, gave his comments following two June 23 bomb blasts in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna.

BBC News reports that the initial blast killed at least 25 people, and was reportedly aimed for moderate Islamic cleric Dahiru Bauchi, who escaped unscathed. Shortly afterward a second blast in the city could be heard not far away.

Bauchi had just concluded preaching in the nearby Murtala Muhammed square, and was driving through the area with his convoy when the bomb went off.

The blasts mark the latest in a wave of bombings shaking the country that are attributed to Islamic militant group Boko Haram, launched in 2009 with the hope of imposing sharia law on Nigeria.

Boko Haram has killed thousands in their attacks, which have targeted security forces, politicians, Christian minorities, and moderate Muslims in Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north.

Another June 23 explosion attributed to Boko Haram at a public health college in Kano killed eight and wounded at least 20. In addition, the militant group continues to hold more than 200 young schoolgirls captive after kidnapping them from Chibok in April.

“Boko Haram is an unfortunate and sad development in Nigeria and it is the fruit of years of social and moral decay, negligence of the poor, corruption, bad governance, dirty politics, frustration of the youths,” Archbishop Kaigama stated.

However, he cautioned that there are also many other proactively violent groups that continue perpetuate the cycle by “hiding under the umbrella of Boko Haram.”

The archbishop made an appeal for authorities to proactively increase efforts to identify other groups who work alongside Boko Haram or use their activities as a shield in order to remain unseen.

Despite falling through on previous promises of action, the federal government’s resolve “to bring an end to the violence and the menacing activities of terrorists in the country” is appreciated, he said.

“President Goodluck Jonathan is genuinely very depressed about the recurrence of violence and the continued detention of the kidnapped Chibok girls,” he noted. “We are united with him in prayers as he explores all the possible options to bring an end to this regime of violence and the reckless taking of human lives.”

Archbishop Kaigama also voiced his hope that the current attacks do not signify an increase in violence ahead of the country’s 2015 political election.

“When you add political violence to religious violence, the result will be anarchy and doom,” he said, “which can only worsen the suffering of most Nigerians.”

Source: Catholic News Agency, published with permission.

The Islamic State Tightens Grip – Christians Flee

by Lisa Graas on July 26, 2014


Rome, 26 July 2014 (Dignitatis Humanae Institute) – The world has watched with increasing dismay and horror as the remaining Iraqi Christian minorities have been forced out of their homes, most recently in Mosul and the surrounding area, in the latest wave of persecution and destruction rained down by the Islamic State formerly known as “ISIS”. Houses have been looted and robbed. Graves and shrines have been demolished. Crosses smashed and removed from churches.

Elie Essa Kas Hanna, DHI analyst on Human Dignity and Religious Freedom, said: “Iraqi Christians are the original residents of Mesopotamia – descendants of the ancient Babylonians, Chaldeans, Assyrians and a large number of Arabs tribes: Mudar, Rabia and Tay etc. Christianity has been present in Iraq since the First Century AD, when most of the population of Mesopotamia converted to Christianity, though leaving others to continue in their traditional beliefs in Judaism, Manichaeism and Parsee. Today, 2,000 years later, the descendants of these original Christians are being driven out as though guests in a home whose welcome they have overstayed – ironically by a religion that didn’t even appear on the scene for another five centuries.”

DHI Chairman Luca Volontè added: “The whole situation is clearly out of all control. There is tension between the government and the opposition forces, as well as the tension that still exists between the central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government. It is in this space of uncertainty and mistrust that the Islamic State has moved deftly to occupy a large part of Iraqi territory that is now almost two-thirds the size of the Great Britain.”

Lord Alton of Liverpool, who launched the DHI-affiliated Cross-Party Working Group on Human Dignity in the Palace of Westminster, and one of the British Parliament’s most respected authorities on religious persecution around the world, said: “In 2003, the Christian presence in Iraq was 1.5 million. After the end of the Second Gulf War, the Christian presence was reduced to 400,000 people – and most of these lived in the north. Now a staggering 90% of those Christians who remained have now fled from Mosul to surrounding areas, especially onto the plains of the Biblical city of Nineveh, on the border of the Kurdistan region.”

Lord Alton illustrated the current situation with a recent example: “The DHI notes with alarm the destruction of the Biblical Tomb of Jonah – which dates from the 8th Century BC – smashed by sledgehammer blows which have echoed around the world. We can only hope that last week’s rumour of the similar destruction of the tomb of the Prophet Daniel turns out to be false.”

Indicating the difficulty regarding the authentication of reports that are emerging from the Islamic State, Lord Alton added: “Also unverified, the UN and the BBC have reported that ISIS forces in Mosul have ordered all girls and women to undergo female genital mutilation. This is an outrage. More than 130 million girls and women have already been subjected to this barbaric practice worldwide – and it has to stop. In the Islamic State today we see a historically recurring meme sadly replaying itself: an orgy of destruction of culture and heritage sooner or later leads to attacks on human beings, their freedom and dignity.”

Volontè concluded: “The DHI believes that Iraqi Christians are a vital part of Iraqi society, and that they have an irreplaceable role to play in rebuilding together – with other citizens of goodwill – a future for their country. The DHI appeals to the international community to do everything possible to come to the aid of the few Christians left in Iraq. We add our prayers to those of His Holiness Pope Francis, who follows the suffering of Christians in Iraq with great closeness.”

population before 2003 32.200.000
population after 2013 29.000.000
Shia 26.000.000
Sunni 2.000.000
Others 1.000.000
Christians before 2003 1,500,000
Christians after 2003 400,000
Christians after Isis 2014 100,000 – 200,000

Source: Central Statistical Organisation, Ministry of Planning, Republic of Iraq

Article Source: Dignitatis Humanae Institute, published with permission.