Must-read about the war the Left refuses to admit we’re waging *UPDATED*

That war, of course, is the United States of America (and all the freedoms for which it stands) versus Sharia.  After you’ve read this Andrew McCarthy article summarizing Newt’s speech to the American Enterprise Institute, you may want to link to it at your own blog, tweet it, email it to friends, or use whatever other social networks you have available.

UPDATE:  McCarthy took Newt’s ideas and ran with them.  Now Roger Kimball takes McCarthy’s ideas and runs with them.  You know how I feel on the subject.

Nancy’s sounding desperate

Nancy Pelosi may be mad at Robert Gibbs for admitting that the upcoming elections aren’t going to result in Democratic gains, but the fact is that she sounds pretty desperate herself in this email I got begging for funds:

Midnight tonight is your last chance to contribute to the DCCC before one of the most critical FEC deadlines of this election and the first since Republicans have experienced a surge in their fundraising.

It’s critical that House Democrats have a strong showing this month. The media and Washington pundits will view our fundraising totals as an indication of our strength to take on Republicans and their powerful special interest supporters in November.

Republicans have been claiming to have the momentum. We know that’s not true, and if you stand with me at this decisive moment in our campaign, we will make this clear to the world. We are just $35,919 away from our goal and are so committed to making this goal that all gifts today will be matched 2-to-1 by a group of generous Democratic donors.

[snip]

This election comes down to a choice between going forward or going back to Republican rule and the same exact failed policies of the Bush agenda.

My question for you: Does she really think that, 18 months into Obama’s presidency, and 6 years into a Democratic controlled Congress, “blame Bush” is still a workable tactic?

Anne Rice and neo-paganism *UPDATED*

My book club group met the other night to discuss William Manchester’s book A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance: Portrait of an Age. The title is something of a misnomer. It’s only a “portrait of an age” if you want to read a thousand years of medieval history crammed into a single chapter, and written in a style that’s a cross between the National Enquirer (in its pre-Carol Burnett, dishonest days) and Vanity Fair (in “full disdain for conservative shibboleths” mode).  The book is distinguished by being salacious, ill-informed, and anti-Catholic — and it is, for a history book, a very easy read.  I think all these factors explain why it is a regular part of high school and college curricula.

Of course, not all of Manchester’s book is a biased muddle.  One of the things he does well is to describe the way in which the Roman world, with its Christian sub-set, collided with the pagan world.  This collision, and the subsequent “conversion” of the pagans, resulted in the medieval Catholic faith.

The word conversion in the previous paragraph deserves those scare quotes because most of those conversions did not involve informed people making a genuine commitment to the new Christian faith.  Instead, the vast majority of those conversions were nominal only.  If a pagan king converted, all of his subjects “converted” too, although few, if any of them, embraced Christianity’s teachings — including monotheism and the acceptance of Christ as their savior.

The end result was that these newly baptized Christians, many of whom inevitably ended up working within the Church itself, simply grafted their still-existing pagan beliefs onto the completely unfamiliar gospels.  Sometimes this grafting was innocuous.  an good example was the way in which Christ’s birth, which didn’t have a fixed date in the Bible, ended up getting blended with the date of a pagan winter celebration.  No harm, no foul.  Sometimes this grafting was magnificent, since the doctrine of transubstantiation put a final end to the pagan obsession with both animal and human sacrifice.  I don’t know about you, but I consider that one of the greatest leaps forward in human civilization.

Sometimes, however, the intermingling of paganism and Christianity was quite damaging.  The specific damage I’m thinking of is the way the pagans co-opted Christianity as an arm of the state.  I don’t need to remind any of you that this was not Christ’s intent.  He anticipated the founding fathers by more than 1,700 years when he said “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.”  (Matthew 22:21.)  In the pagan world, however, church and state had long been inextricably intertwined, and the newly Christianized pagan rulers continued to believe that religion and the state were one and the same.

This meant that pagan political and social ideologies were woven into Christian doctrine.  Now, I’m not Christian, and I haven’t read the New Testament closely in about 30 years, but I’m pretty darn sure that Christ never talked about the Augustinian notion of forced conversions and the merits of religious war, about death for heretics, about saints and relics, or about myriad other practices and procedures that became regular fare, both inside and outside of the walls of the medieval church.  Christ’s silence notwithstanding, all of these beliefs and practices became, in the minds of the common people, core religious doctrine, inseparable from Christ’s teachings.  In other words, popular culture became one with the Gospels, never mind what the Gospels themselves actually said.

Anyway, that’s my take on the worst excesses of the medieval Catholic church, excesses that were cleared away by both the Protestant reformation and by the Catholic Church’s own counter reformation in the wake of the 16th century upheavals.  While Christianity may ostensibly have been in the ascendant by the 6th century or so, the fact is that paganism itself didn’t really vanish for another 1,000 years.

And where does Anne Rice come into all of this?  She comes in because, after her much-heralded “kiss and make up” with the church of her childhood (an announcement that allowed her to publicize a new line of books imagining Christ’s life), she’s now in the process of a much-heralded “break up” from the church of her childhood.  On facebook (what better place to discuss faith), she announces thusly (emphasis mine):

I quit being a Christian. I’m out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.

In other words, Rice is upset that the Christian churches refuse to layer over Christ’s teachings the beliefs of modern liberalism.  Just as the pagan rulers wanted (and were able to) overlay their political and religious belief systems directly onto Christ’s original message, Anne Rice wants to put the modern Democratic playbook into Christ’s mouth.

The Bible (Old Testament and New, together) was written over the course of almost about 1,500 years, with the first 1,000 years encompassing the Old Testament, followed by a few centuries’ pause, followed by the short window in time during which the New Testament came into being.  There are, therefore, thousands of ideas and edicts in the combined books of the Bible, although I’d argue that the core tenets that inform modern Judeo-Christian culture are the Ten Commandments and Christ’s Sermon on the Mount.

However, much to Rice’s manifest distress, in all those books, and all those hundreds of years, neither God, nor the Prophets, nor Christ himself remembered to say the following:

We will lead to defeat the epochal, man-made threat to the planet: climate change. Without dramatic changes, rising sea levels will flood coastal regions around the world. Warmer temperatures and declining rainfall will reduce crop yields, increasing conflict, famine, disease, and poverty. By 2050, famine could displace more than 250 million people worldwide. That means increased instability in some of the most volatile parts of the world. Never again will we sit on the sidelines, or stand in the way of collective action to tackle this global challenge. Getting our own house in order is only a first step. We will invest in efficient and clean technologies at home while using our assistance policies and export promotions to help developing countries preserve biodiversity, curb deforestation, and leapfrog the carbonenergy-intensive stage of development.

We will reach out to the leaders of the biggest carbon emitting nations and ask them to join a new Global Energy Forum that will lay the foundation for the next generation of climate protocols. China has replaced America as the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Clean energy development must be a central focus in our relationships with major countries in Europe and Asia. We need a global response to climate change that includes binding and enforceable commitments to reducing emissions, especially for those that pollute the most: the United States, China, India, the European Union, and Russia.

This challenge is massive, but rising to it will also bring new benefits to America. By 2050, global demand for low-carbon energy could create an annual market worth $500 billion. Meeting that demand would open new frontiers for American entrepreneurs and workers.

You may recognize that language as coming directly from the Democratic Party platform for 2008. When Rice castigates the Church for being “anti-Democrat”, it’s pretty obvious that she thinks that modern Christian Churches ought to make  the above words part of their official doctrinal position, tracing them right back to the Sermon on the Mount.

In other words, Rice is a neo-Pagan.  She doesn’t want to take the Bible on its own terms.  Instead, she wants to graft her own belief systems right onto the Bible.  This is quite different from our (appropriate) modern decisions to ignore some of the Bible’s more difficult passages, such as its instructions to kill witches.  Cherry-picking a little is one thing.  Doing what the pagans did, and simply grafting non-Biblical values on top the old, is something else entirely.

UPDATE:  The Anchoress, who has a deep and rich knowledge of Catholicism, and an abiding love for the faith, takes Rice to task for her silly outburst.  Bruce Kesler weighs in too, quite beautifully, in both poetry and prose.

UPDATE II:  Since I opened this post by saying that William Manchester’s anti-Catholic diatribe is required reading at many schools, this seems like an appropriate place to link to a take-down of Howard Zinn, who dominates America’s U.S. History studies.

Palestinian corruption — on your dime *UPDATED*

I’m sorry I didn’t blog today.  I have a half finished post on my screen, but can’t seem to get it entirely finished.  Sometimes, when that happens, I just abandon the idea and move on to other things, but sometimes I just get mentally blocked up.  I seem to need to work this one out before I can move on.

Anyway, so that today isn’t a total blank slate, I’d like you to check out a video at Brutally Honest.  Lots of people should see it.

Also, if you’re in the mood for upsetting videos, get the inside look at a protest against the Arizona law.  (It took a lot of courage to shoot this footage, by the way.)

UPDATE:  While I’m still organizing my thoughts, you can depress yourself by reading how the Obama Justice Department is hard at work to get the vote to felons (reliable Democratic voters), while it shows a malevolent apathy towards the voting rights of those who fight and are willing to die for this country (who tend to vote more conservative).

What I’m reading from the Watcher’s Council

Wonderful stuff:

Council Submissions

Non-Council Submissions

While I’m getting up to speed…. *UPDATED*

All this family and socializing stuff has left me way behind on my news reading.  However, I do have some stuff that you might find interesting while I regroup (and my thanks to all who sent these links):

The NEA urges its members to read Alinksy.  Are we really surprised?

Several years ago, I spent some nightmarish time working on a law suit involving a family that was actually trying to comply with California’s union written laws governing home care for the elderly and disabled.  (And no, I don’t know if they were really union written, but I say that because they certainly could have been.)  The laws basically give families two options:  bankrupt grandma to pay for ostensibly reputable home care or fly entirely under the radar, getting off the street care and the risk, in any event, of a lawsuit.  Not only individuals are at risk.  Whole useful corporations can be taken down, a story that Michael Fumento describes in chilling detail.

I hope that, in my enthusiasm for the military mission, I never, ever forget the sacrifices our troops make on our behalf — and I’m not just talking about the fact that they are willing to make what the Victorians used to call, euphemistically “the ultimate sacrifice.”

I’m always amused when, on the Left, the Gospels so conveniently intersect with Marx, Alinsky and the Democratic platform.

(More to follow, unless I discover within me a bigger, stand-alone post.  Also, please feel to treat this as an open thread and to add your own links in the comments.)

UPDATES (ongoing):

Can we clone Chris Christie?

There is a totally awesome raffle out there

I love thrift shops.  I’m in a Goodwill three to four times a month looking for “dispose-a-books” — cheap novels that I can read like mental candy, and then turn around and donate right back to Goodwill again.  When my kids need Halloween costumes, I’m also at Goodwill, buying interesting used clothes that can be shaped into cheap, imaginative and fun costumes.  The cool thing about this is that, even as I’m getting what I want at prices that can’t be beat, I’m also contributing to the Goodwill mission of aiding those less fortunate than I am.  It’s a beautiful symbiotic relationship.

I come by my love of thrift shops honestly.  When I was a child, my Dad used to take my sister and me regularly to the St. Vincent De Paul store in San Francisco.  He and I would happily root through the piles of stuff there.  In those days, before everyone got savvy about antiques, I could still find antique photos and prints (my childhood hobby), and it was my father who looked for books (although his tastes were much more erudite than mine).  We spent many happy hours in St. Vincent De Paul, coming home tired, dusty, only slightly poorer than when we left, and lugging armloads of goodies.

St. Vincent De Paul’s is on my mind today because it is running a magnificent raffle.  As John Hawkins says, you know it’s an amazing raffle when the third prize is Superbowl Tickets.  Here are the prizes being offered:

GRAND PRIZE

The Winner Wins for Two!

The winner of Meet Me in Manhattan will bring the companion of his/her choice to share the entire prize package.

Air Travel:

The Meet Me in Manhattan winner will receive roundtrip airfare for two to New York.  Airline to be determined after city or town of residence of winner is identified.

Meet Bill O’Reilly

The Meet Me in Manhattan winner will visit Fox News Channel’s studios in Manhattan and meet Bill O’Reilly.  Mr. O’Reilly is the undisputed king of cable television news.  For the past ten years, “The O’Reilly Factor” has reigned as the world’s top-ranked cable TV news program, breaking records for “most viewers” in almost every measurable category.  A wildly successful author, Mr. O’Reilly’s 9th book will be released in the fall of 2010.  Four of his books zoomed to #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.  Mr. O’Reilly has made countless appearances as a guest on such national programs as Late Night with David Letterman, The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, The Today Show, The View and Oprah. He has traveled to all 50 states and 72 foreign countries, and has earned Master’s degrees from both Boston University and Harvard.  The Meet Me in Manhattan winner will enjoy the experience of watching Bill O’Reilly host an edition of “The O’Reilly Factor.”

Four days/three nights of accommodations at the world renowned Essex House

The Meet Me in Manhattan winner will enjoy never-to-be forgotten, three-night accommodations in a luxury two-bedroom apartment, a spectacular property from the famous Lauren Berger Collection, overlooking Central Park at the world renowned Essex House.

Dinner at BoBo Restaurant hosted by celebrity chef Patrick Connolly

Winner will enjoy dinner at the acclaimed upscale restaurant, BoBo, where one of America’s top chefs, Patrick Connolly, rules the kitchen. Patrick’s brother, Dan, is a 318-pound lineman for the NFL’s New England Patriots.  Dan knows how to eat, and Patrick knows how to cook! A native of St. Louis, Patrick achieved smashing success at Radius in Boston.  After winning the James Beard award as the top chef in the northeastern United States, Patrick moved to BoBo in New York where his inventive cuisine has wowed patrons and critics alike.  In recent months, Patrick has exhibited his culinary creations on ABC-TVs Nightline, NBC-TV’s Today Show, and CBS-TV’s Early Show. An unforgettable dining experience will be enjoyed by the Meet Me in Manhattan winner at BoBo.

Two Tickets to a Major League Baseball Game at Yankee Stadium

In 2009, the House That Ruth Built, Yankee Stadium, was replaced by the new Yankee Stadium.  Debuting in the most expensive and elaborate baseball stadium ever built, the legendary Yankees won the World Series in their first season in their new home.  America’s Great Raffle winner will see the Yankees take on the Tampa Rays, who stunned the baseball world with their first ever trip to the World Series in 2008.  With the Rays getting off to the best start in the Major Leagues in 2010, their rivalry with the Yanks is heating up in the American League Eastern Division.  There’s nothing like September baseball at Yankee Stadium in New York during the heat of a pennant race!

Two Tickets to a Broadway Show

Imagine walking on Broadway in the autumn air to one of many legendary theaters to see some of the world’s greatest stars perform.  In the last year, more than 12 million people paid more than $1 billion to see the stars on Broadway. Pending ticket availability, the Meet Me in Manhattan winner will have excellent seats at the Broadway show of their choice!

A $3,000 Shopping Spree

In the world of shopping, there’s nothing like strolling down 5th Avenue to shop at some of the finest stores in the world.  Try on the Manolo Blahnik shoes at Niemen Marcus, or shop Saks 5th Avenue (the original!), Bloomingdale’s, Tiffany’s, Louis Vuitton, Salvatore Ferragamo, Cartier, FAO Schwarz and countless others.  Stuffed with $3,000 of  Meet Me in Manhattan prize money, the winner will engage in a shopping spree to remember forever!

SECOND PRIZE

Round-trip airfare for two anywhere in the continental U.S.

THIRD PRIZE

Two tickets to the 2011 Super Bowl .

FOURTH PRIZE

Two tickets to the 2011 MLB All-Star game.

FIFTH PRIZE

$1000 furniture shopping spree at Weekends Only.

My mind is boggling. That’s an incredible grand prize — so good, in fact, that I think my uber-liberal husband would even tolerate meeting Bill O’Reilly for the pleasure of everything else that comes with it.

The cool thing is that, just as with my book-buying junkets, there is a very cool symbiotic relationship going on here.  A raffle ticket costs only $100.  For that price, even if you don’t win (and the possibility of winning is a pretty darn good inducement for buying the ticket), look what your money does:

* Utility assistance, medications, medical transportation, car repairs, cars to the working poor, home repairs, free legal assistance, free budget assistance, hospital visits, prison visits

* Housing for homeless veterans and people with mental disabilities

* Aid for those who have been downsized, lost their jobs, suffered through a divorce, a foreclosure

* Food for the needy through 83 food pantries

* Furniture, clothing, household goods for those in need through our Thrift Stores

* Home visits to comfort and aid those who are suffering

St. Vincent De Paul is now, and always has been, a true service organization. Now’s your chance to help it advance its goals, even as you get in line for the possibility of a fantasy vacation.  So, if you’re interested, go here, and take a chance for charity.

(Post script:  If you’re a blogger and help publicize this raffle, be sure to link to this Right Wing News post as part of that publicity, email to John Hawkins that you’ve done so, and you’ll find yourself in a little contest of your own.  John has promised to give away two tickets to a blogger who helps publicize the raffle.  That’s really cool.)

What’s the opposite of schadenfreude?

You can always trust the Germans to have a word for complex, and negative, emotional feelings.  Today’s word is schadenfreude: “satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else’s misfortune.”  I can’t say that I’m immune to it, of course.  If the person suffering misfortune is an evil person, I certainly won’t weep for him.  However, I can flatter myself that I am not one of those who wishes friends and acquaintances ill, simply so that I can feel some sense of superiority about myself and my life when compared to them.

I make this little philosophical and self-serving rumination because I’ve become aware this past year that many of the people I grew up and went to school with have gone on to have very distinguished careers.  As someone who is remarkably undistinguished (suburban Mom is a good life, but doesn’t have much resume value), I think it’s awesome that people I know have done more interesting things.  At a selfish level, I love the name dropping.  “My friend the Colonel.”  “My friend the U.S. Attorney.”  “My friend the Admiral.”  You know, if you can’t be important, you may as well have important friends, right?

But at a somewhat more mature level, I’m enormously pleased that people I always liked have found fulfilling and rewarding careers.  I think it’s awesome that the young boys I knew, with skinny legs and squeaky voices, or the bewildered young law students I met, proved to be, not just nice people, but dedicated, committed, and self-disciplined people.  It’s like seeing a little sapling grow into a magnificent tree.  Although I have absolutely nothing to do with the tree’s development, I feel a sort of vicarious pride that I was in on its growth.

Our childhood friends’ distinctions are also one of the benefits of aging.  If you hang around enough people for enough years, the good ones are going to rise to the top.  Just for having stuck it out through life, you end up with friends who give you boasting rights.

These friends, incidentally, are part of why I haven’t been blogging, because I’ve been spending time with some of them.  And since it is a rare pleasure to visit with people I’ve known for decades but see infrequently, that trumps blogging.  And after all, I just didn’t feel today like writing about Obama and The View.  I’m not even that surprised.  Our last Democratic president, as you may recall, advertised to the world the kind of underwear he wore.  We don’t expect dignity from that crowd.

Renee Ellmers explains where the money is and, sadly, where it isn’t

My blog friend Lorie Byrd is working for Renee Ellmers, who is opposing Bob “Who are you?” Etheridge.  Ellmers has put out a plea for campaign money, which you can give voluntarily.  This is an important point, because her video is a reminder of the way in which Washington abuses the money it forces out of you through brute government power:

Etheridge may be sleazy, but he’s raking in the money (which kind of confuses me because I’m sure Obama and Pelosi, et al keep telling us Republicans are the party of the rich), so any help you can give would be great.