BE NOT AFRAID

This is the official theme for Respect Life Sunday1, which is always celebrated on the first Sunday in October.  In fact, October is Respect Life Month. If your church isn’t celebrating life this month…find another church.

I never thought here in the United States of America that any citizen would be afraid to take a stand for life.  It’s the first inalienable right mentioned in the Declaration of Independence and we, as Americans and Christians, have the right and the obligation to defend it. If we do not, it could be taken from us.  We are living in a time where the 1st Amendment2 is under attack along with common sense, civility, morality, basic science, and possessing a spine. Why are we so quiet when we should be up-in-arms?

Abortion is murder.  There is no way around it.  It brings about death—period.  A fetus in the womb is a little human. What would happen if someone had the audacity to destroy a field of cocoons before the mature butterflies could emerge?  We all know what would happen.  Social media would light up, celebrities would be outraged, and news outlets would interview lepidopterists to tell you how butterflies impact the planet.  Death threats on the fiends and their families would ensue, and Jimmy Kimmel would be crying on his talk show.  I just used the example of butterflies but I could have substituted any animal3.

The most vocal among us are the hundreds of thousands of mainly young people who march through the streets of Washington, DC each January, braving the cold, snowy, or rainy conditions, to participate in the March For Life, the largest pro-life event in the world.  Although huge, it’s rarely if ever covered by any mainstream media outlet in the 40+ years of its existence.  Why?  Because they don’t want you to see it, hear it, or even know about it. And thinking about what abortion is and does makes everyone uncomfortable.  Well it should.  Murdering babies for the sake of convenience is the real inconvenient truth.  These pro-life advocates are fervently trying to shine a light on the millions of murdered innocents who can’t speak for themselves.

Remember the parable of the lamp in Mark 4:21-25? “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden, except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light.  Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear! Take notice of what you are hearing. The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you.” How do you think Jesus delivered this story?  Did he sit with his head down, muttering quietly about truth, light, and a visible Church?  I doubt that.  I’m positive he stood, raised his voice, and was physically expressive.  He wanted his message to be heard, understood, and spread. There were no microphones, TV, radio, or the internet. Jesus was not timid and quiet.  Jesus was a revolutionary.  He upset the olive cart.  He rocked the boat. Get that image of the get-along, go-along, hippie Jesus out of your head. He had to be a mesmerizing and energetic speaker.

Yet, here we sit silent, except for a few, while Planned Parenthood profits off the murder of and selling of babies and their body parts.  Those self-taught investigative journalists who exposed PP are facing jail time and God bless them—they don’t care. And we should be just as fearless.  Nothing changes unless we demand and enact the change.  We’ve all heard the excuses: “I don’t want to upset so-in-so. She’ll start a war with me on Facebook.” “Nobody is going to listen to me, I’m just one person.” “You say it for me.” Stop it.  The time has come for every person to stand up and speak out. The more we remain docile lambs, the easier it is for them to keep chipping away at our rights.

It’s already happening.  Can someone give me the definition of “hate” speech?  The First Amendment protects all speech, not some, all and especially speech which makes you uncomfortable. Do you think speaking out against abortion isn’t provocative?  Go to any college campus and just walk around with pro-life literature. I won’t even suggest that you engage in debate because you’ll never get that far. There is a good chance you will be assaulted, physically and definitely verbally, and tossed off the campus. If you’re a student, you’ll be sent to the Dean of Students and be given a lecture on misogyny, and when and if you can go to a “free speech zone”, along with being publicly shamed and shunned. Ask your kids if you don’t believe me.

Think of all those Christians—men, women, and children—who have been and still are being martyred for their faith.  We, in the United States, are not subject to anything remotely like this.  However, many of our brothers and sisters are being denied a seat at the table because they practice their faith, which is in violation of the 1st Amendment. One needs look no further than Amy Coney Barrett, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame. Professor Barrett, who is a nominee to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, was drilled on her faith and how it would impede her judgement should she serve on the bench.  Senator Diane Feinstein (D) California stated, “The dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country.” Big issue=abortion. Senator Dick Durbin (D) Illinois was blunt and asked, “Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?”4  I guess the good senators never heard about the unconstitutionality of religious tests as spelled out in Article 6 Section 3.

The science against abortion is staggering. Fetuses, by 8 weeks after fertilization react to touch and by 20 weeks can feel pain5, yet the abortions continue and in some states, babies can be aborted just before delivery.  Will “abortion” after birth be next? Iceland aborts 100% of babies born with Down syndrome6.  Here in the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  report a decrease in children born with Down, even though survival rates are up from 10 years old to about 47 in 20077.  Sympathetic judges are sentencing parents who murder their disabled children to ridiculously low sentences. Where do we draw the line?

Oh, that the dogma should live loudly in us all.

 

1 For more information and resources visit: http://www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/respect-life-program/2017/respect-life-digital-resources.cfm

2 https://www.billofrightsinstitute.org/founding-documents/bill-of-rights/

3 The Lion Sleeps Tonight https://lifelinesbylucie.wordpress.com/2015/07/29/the-lion-sleeps-tonight/

4 Chicago Tribune Editorial: Durbin, Feinstein and Catholic judges September 11, 2017

5 Doctors on Fetal Pain www.doctorsonfetalpain.com/fetal-pain-the-evidence/

6 CBS News on Assignment “What kind of society to you want to live in?”: Inside the country where Down syndrome is disappearing. Julian Quinones, Arijeta Lajka August 14, 2017

7 https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/downsyndrome/data.html

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Mamma

There are numerous songs written for mothers, but it just sounds better when it’s sung in Italian.  I’m just sayin’.  The month of May goes hand-in-hand with moms.  Mother’s Day is always the second Sunday in May in the US.  If you celebrated your First Communion, chances are it was on or near Mother’s Day.  May is also the month for proms and school graduations.  When I think May, I think planting flowers and gardens.  May is also the month of Mary.  It’s just a beautiful month.

As a mom, I can say there is no greater calling than being a mother.  It is the most gratifying and frustrating job on the planet.  I’ve accomplished much in my life, but the greatest achievement is my children.  It’s the ultimate gift God gave to women.  It’s a universal fact that the pains of childbirth are instantly forgotten when you hold your child in your arms for the very first time.  Little hands can make a big mess, but who wouldn’t give to hold that hand in yours?  Our children bring boundless joy into our lives, as well as anxiety sometimes—but who remembers that?  Your love for them is unconditional.

You will only have one mother.  It’s true.  And when she’s gone it leaves a hole in your heart that never mends.  It doesn’t matter how old you are when you lose your mother.  A good friend, who is well over 65, is going through terrible loss this week.  Her dad passed away last week and her mom is not expected to live through this week.  She told me this morning that she got through her dad’s funeral just fine, but is dreading the call that her mom is gone.  It’s different when it’s your mother.

It’s not like Dad is less important.  His responsibilities and relationship to his children are just different than Mom’s. I grieved when my father died, but it was a different sense of loss when I lost my mother.  She is the one who is always there…no matter your age.  She gave birth to you, she fed you, she cared for your every want and need.  She was the one who bandaged your scraped knee, fretted over you when you had the chicken pox or flu, wiped your runny nose, held you when you cried and was there for every disappointment and achievement—large and small.  Dad may have you walked you down the aisle, but it was Mom who was there when you chose your dress and she probably planned the wedding with you.  If you’re lucky, she is your best friend.  After your husband, she was the first one you told when you were pregnant.  She was the first one at the hospital, and the first person outside of you and your husband, to hold her grandchild.

For those of you blessed to still have your mother with you, make sure you tell her how much you love her and appreciate everything she does for you.  Take her out to eat this Sunday or better yet—you cook a great meal for her.  You don’t have to buy anything that costs mega dollars.  Just get her something that makes her think of you.  Actually, the best gift you can give to her…is you.  All she wants to do is see and talk to you as frequently as possible.

It’s good to remember our heavenly mother as well.  Sometimes we forget that Mary was a human woman.  She laughed and she cried.  She celebrated and she grieved.  I’m sure she went through the same emotions every mother does when her son spoke his first word and took his first step.  I’m sure the child, Jesus, made his mother gifts and I bet she prized every one of them. We know how upset both Mary and Joseph were when they discovered that a 12-year-old Jesus was not with the rest of the family, returning from a feast in Jerusalem.  It took them three full days to find him!  Think how you or I feel when we turn our heads for just an instant and our child is not in vision.  I can’t even imagine the agony she went through when she witnessed her son tortured and crucified, or the elation when she was told of his resurrection.  Although she knew she’d be with him again in heaven, you know she longed for him when he returned to the Father.

The first miracle ever performed by Jesus was at Mary’s request.  She knew who He was and what He could do.  They were attending a friend’s wedding reception when the wine ran out. Mary told Jesus and he responded with something along the lines of, I’m not ready.  What do you want me to do?  Mary was undeterred.  She told a server to do whatever Jesus told him to do.  Because she knew he was going to do it.  And although it may not have been his hour, he turned the water into wine because his mother said so.  There is no greater bond between that of a mother and child.

This Saturday marks the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima.  This Sunday is Mother’s Day.  Like I said above, all mom really wants is to spend time with you.  Don’t forget that Mary would love a moment of your time as well.  It won’t cost you a cent to say a prayer for all mothers, or to say the Rosary, a request made by Our Lady to the children at Fatima.  In fact, she identified herself to them as Our Lady of the Rosary.

Remember, it doesn’t take much to make your mamma happy.  It’s true because every mother in the word said so!

Sugar Shack

The song by the same title was performed by Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs way back in 1963.  The lyricist simply told a tale about a coffee shop.  Not so for the “controversial” movie The Shack, based on a novel by the same name by author, William Paul Young.  I try viewing as many faith-based films as I can.  Sometimes I just can’t find a theater nearby.  I had no problem as The Shack is playing everywhere, most likely because Octavia Spencer and Tim McGraw are starring in the film.

The film opens with a troubled young boy, named Mack, who lives with his mother and abusive father.  Not many people in his small town acknowledge the abuse, except for one black neighbor, played by Octavia Spencer, who comforts him with her home cooking. When home life becomes unbearable, young Mack, who feels deserted by God, makes a horrible decision.  We quickly fast forward to the present.  Mack is now a man, living with his deeply religious wife and their three children. On a camping trip his youngest daughter is kidnapped and murdered.  The film does not dwell on this so don’t be put off thinking it will be bloody because it’s not.

Mack blames himself for his daughter’s death and cannot shake his depression.  He receives a letter from “Papa”, his wife’s name for God, inviting Mack to meet at the very shack where his daughter was killed. Mack decides to go and is shocked to find “Papa” is the same black woman who consoled him in his youth. Papa explains that Mack couldn’t accept a father figure at this time.  He meets Jesus, a Jewish carpenter, and the Holy Spirit, a beautiful Asian woman.  Towards the end of the film Papa decides Mack needs a father to take him through the rest of his journey of forgiveness and Papa becomes a mature, Native American man.  Again, the viewer knows exactly why God chose this form.

It’s this portrayal of the Holy Trinity that has several Christians upset.  I accepted God’s explanation of why He appeared in these forms.  Mack despised his father and couldn’t forgive himself for not being there for his daughter. He did not have a father figure he could rely on.  The Holy Spirit is portrayed as an attractive, soft-spoken, attentive Asian gardener.  Many Christians associate the Holy Spirit as a dove, ray of sunlight, a spiritual counselor and consoler.  Anyone who gardens knows how devoted you must be to your plants and flowers.  You protect them from predators and the elements as well as nourish them.  The same as the Holy Spirit is in her garden of souls.  All three display the wounds of crucifixion…something I’ve never seen before but makes perfect sense.

More importantly, The Shack is a story of forgiveness and how God loves ALL his children—the good and the bad.  It also emphasizes our free will to make our own choices.  Mack thought God had deserted him when he was a boy, but he comes to learn God was with him every step of the way, even when he made the wrong choice.  God never forgot about him and never stopped loving him.

I would definitely recommend this film not only for its message of forgiveness but also for showcasing the relationship individuals have with God.

 

Words

Remember this song from the Bee Gees about a man who relies on his words to win his sweetheart over?  Well this article has nothing to do about a sweetheart.  It deals instead with wording and spin.

We’re all familiar with advertising.  A winning ad campaign can send a company or a cause soaring into the stratosphere.  One would hope a solid strategy deals with facts, but that’s not always the case.  Let’s look at the adage; breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  How did that get started?  Some argue it was Dr. John Kellogg who wanted to sell his cereal product.  Others say it was the “father of public relations” Edward Bernays who was hired by a company to sell more bacon.  They as well as others convinced our parents that eating a hearty meal was essential to good health.  Is it fact or fiction?  That is still being debated today.

One of the best campaigns in recent times is the anti-smoking movement.  Everyone remembers the hundreds of people lying in the street, representing those who died from lung cancer.  To me, those were far more effective than the new campaign designed to shock you with cancer victims.

Where is this all leading?  If you read this blog on a regular basis you know where I stand on abortion. I watch the Walk for Life in Washington, DC every year and every year it grows in size—even last’s year’s blizzard couldn’t keep the people away.  This year, because I was off work, I watched the event more closely.  I read the banners held by the diverse groups who attended, naming their church, school, or organization.  Every one of them had the words Pro-Life on their signs and even their clothing.

There were, of course, some people protesting the Pro-Life March.  They made themselves heard and seen, as is their right.  It also gave me the opportunity to see what their signs read.  All had Pro-Choice, along with My Body—My choice.  It’s a women’s right to choose, etc.

Interesting.  Against abortion: Pro-Life.  For abortion: Pro-Choice.  Everyone is pro something.  This got me thinking about word association.  We’ve all played the game.  Someone shouts out a word and you have to say the first word that pops into your head.  Let’s play using the breakfast theme.  Bacon—eggs, morning—evening, hearty—light, toast—jam.  You get the idea.

Now let’s play using abortion as the theme.  Life—death, abortion—death, woman—person, baby—little person, choice—uh, um, property…cut?  OK.  If I say I’m against abortion I identify as pro-life but those who advocate for abortion should then be called pro-death or anti-life, but they’re not.  When I watched coverage of the March on local channels, at least those who covered it, people who are against abortion were labeled anti-abortion (negative) while those who advocate for abortion were identified as pro-choice (positive).  This is how wording can be manipulated to influence you.

There is no escaping it.  The opposite of life is death.  If a woman decides to have an abortion she is choosing the death of her unborn baby.  What “choice” does the baby have?  Couple all of this with the exposé on Planned Parenthood’s selling of baby organs to the highest bidder, and the latest outrage—rewarding their employees who perform the most abortions with pizza parties, along with suppressing stories of women and men who suffer psychologically throughout their lives, and tell me again where the choice is.  Why can’t mothers-to-be, be given the “choice” to undergo an ultrasound as opposed to them hearing the claim their child is nothing but a bunch of cells?  Isn’t that a choice?  If the baby could talk I’m betting he or she would be pro-life.

All this leads me back to the power of messaging.  The very successful advertising of the cigarette industry can work just as well for the Pro-Life movement, yet they don’t take advantage of it—and the media won’t help.  The same way young people dropped in Times Square representing people who died from lung cancer, young people can do the same, representing the millions who died at the hands of legal abortion.  Or how about those animal commercials that sneak up on you when you’re watching your favorite television show?  Just think if the sad talking lady was speaking about the millions and millions of innocent babies tortured and murdered every day at the hands of ruthless, money-making abortion mills.  They could show their torn, little bodies refrigerated until the evil biologics company purchases them for experiments; or worse, show them tossed into the garbage.  For just “insert the amount” a day you could save a child’s life… Yeah, you’ll never see that ad.

Being Pro-Life is not “just a religious thing”.  I saw several Atheists for Life signs in that March.  Where are the science and technology communities?   They should be front and center.  We’ve come a long way from “quickening” when doctors believed life began only when the mother could feel the baby kicking.  The ultrasound should have shut down the abortion industry—but it didn’t—probably because of the money it generates.  Just a couple of weeks ago, it was reported in an Atlantic Magazine article titled, “How Ultrasound Became Political” by Moira Weigel, stating there was “no heart to speak of” in a 6 week fetus.  They later removed it because it’s a lie.  It also states how couples view ultrasounds as their baby’s first picture.  Well isn’t it?  Most outrageous was the claim that “Ultrasound made it possible for the male doctor to evaluate the fetus without female interference.” Wow.  Pretty desperate.  Now do you see how words matter?

Late term abortion is flat out murder.  How can you say this is a blob of cells when babies the same age are alive and well?  There are nurses on record who say the child is born alive and they are forced to leave it alone in a closet to die.  Where will people draw the line?  Is infanticide the next step?  Will you be able to “abort” your child up to the age of 12?  If your teenager is getting to be a handful can you abort them too?  How about grandma?  Eugenics is making a comeback with some of the same people who call themselves Pro-Choice.

Technology makes stunning advances at lightning paced speed every day.  There is no doubt in my mind that someone will come up with an app to connect you with your growing baby in utero in real time.  I’m convinced that soon abortion will be exposed as one of the worst human atrocities of our time.  When that happens, no amount of words will ever be able to heal the wounds it afflicted, the losses suffered, or the violence and money it generated.

 

New Year

The group, This Beautiful Republic, recorded a song by the same name.  The song is about someone going through a lack of trust with a loved one.  The lyricist tells the person to put his or her trust in Jesus and begin a new life in the New Year.  Good advice!

The New Year exemplifies new beginnings and along with it comes the infamous New Year’s resolutions.  You can’t turn on your television without seeing countless commercials for weight loss systems or products to help you stop smoking.  Sale flyers are offering great deals on work out wear and exercise equipment.  Fitness centers and gyms across the US are signing up new customers by the droves.

Ads run non-stop to help you organize everything from your closet, your home, and your life. Last night I saw a commercial that floored me.  A client wrote a professional home organizer that she didn’t didn’t know what to do now that her whole house was organized. The home organizer told her they could remain friends.  The client’s solution, however, was to buy a new and larger home so the organizer could organize it. Wow!  Even the organizer was stunned.

Exercising, losing weight, stop smoking, removing clutter, among others are all wonderful resolutions and will definitely help with lowering stress levels and improving your physical health, but have you ever thought about your spiritual health?  I guarantee you’ll never see a celebrity pitching a spiritual diet of prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and good works.  No special plans by Jenny or a pitch from Marie or Oprah on how a daily dose of talking to God will improve your overall wellbeing or how a daily act of simple human kindness can improve another’s life as well as your own.

There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people suffering from poor spiritual health, and I’m not talking about atheists.  There are many believers who know something is missing in their lives and they don’t know what it is or how to find it.  For many the cure is to keep buying and spending their way to happiness, yet that doesn’t seem to fill the void so they keep searching for the newest widget or trend (much like the woman who bought the bigger home so the professional organizer could keep coming).  For others it’s much worse.

So where to begin?  Believe it or not there are many people who do not know how to pray.  As with all resolutions it’s best to start simple.  Start with a daily Lord’s Prayer, add a Hail Mary or pray a daily Rosary.  They claim if you do something daily for a year you’ll keep with it.  Once you have a set routine add something new.  It doesn’t have to be a standard prayer.  Share your day with Jesus.  Tell Him your problems.  Share your dreams.  Ask for His help.  Pray for others.

Need help starting a prayer life?  Talk to your pastor.  I’m sure he has a starter plan for you.  Another recommendation, see the film The War Room.  No, it has nothing to do with traditional war but a great deal to do with spiritual warfare and the power of prayer.  Write down your prayers.  Go to your quiet place and talk to God about them.  You will be surprised how the stress of the day lifts away.

If you don’t attend Sunday service, start—this Sunday.  Excuses like I don’t have time, or I have to work, just don’t hold up anymore.  Catholics have services on Saturday afternoon or evening.  On Sunday you can attend very early morning, mid-morning, or late morning Mass and some parishes offer a late afternoon Sunday Mass for people who party hardy on Saturday nights.  You can usually find a Mass that meets your schedule.

If you feel like the parish you’re attending doesn’t suit your style, then perhaps your New Year’s resolution is to search for one that does.  Some of the best advice I received was if your priest is not teaching scripture and church doctrine, get up from the pew, walk out, and find one who does.  While the elements of the Mass are universal, every parish has its own character.   If you’re “old school” then search for a church that offers a weekly Tridentine High Mass or Latin Mass.  From huge pipe organs, pianos, and guitars to orchestral choirs to children’s choirs, music at Mass is the same yet diverse.  Traditional to modern—cathedral to tiny church on the prairie—God is present.

Another aspect to improving your spiritual health is connecting with others, and I don’t mean on Facebook.  There is nothing like interacting with real people.  Every parish is made up of parishioners.  The people in your community have much more to offer and they usually come from all walks of life.  Some may share interests with you while others do not—variety is the spice of life.  Chances are you could share a pew with a bank executive, a janitor, a school teacher, or a truck driver.  Everyone is equal in God’s eyes; and all agree that Jesus is their Lord and Savior and the parish is the heart of their community.

Along with connecting to other humans is the rewarding aspect of giving them a hand up when they’re down. This is not exclusive to folks in your church but to anyone in your community.  From buying a police officer walking the beat a cup of hot coffee to volunteering at a local food bank to shoveling snow or mowing the lawn for an elderly neighbor, or driving a cancer patient to their doctor appointment, it doesn’t cost much to do something nice for someone else.

All this takes me back to that client who felt a void after her home was completely organized.  Instead of checking her spiritual gauge to fill the gap, she bought another home just so the organizer could stay in her life.  That person is looking for something, somebody who doesn’t leave when one job is done.  That someone is Jesus.

Last Christmas, my daughter gave me a small box.  It wasn’t expensive but inscribed on the top it read, “Mom, Pray More—Worry Less”.  Inside the box was a tiny notepad and pencil.  The plan is to write down every worry I have on the notepad, leave it in the box, and pray on it.  What a great way to start a spiritual health plan.  The best thing about it is you don’t have to wait for anything to be delivered, no sweating or starving involved, and no monthly membership.  It doesn’t get any better than that!

Come Together

The Beatles released this song in 1969.  Some say John Lennon penned the song for Timothy Leary’s quest to become governor of California, while others insist he’s talking about all four of the Beatles.  Whomever he was talking about the message is clear.  Everyone has bad habits, quirks etc. but it’s time to get a grip and come together.

I thought about this as we prepare for Thanksgiving.  The first big Holiday of the year and the first time many families and friends will be getting together since summer.  It’s also the first time everyone will be around the table after this election cycle.  Holidays bring out the best and worst in us and the larger the family, the more assorted the characters.  This year could be a doozy.  With many Americans divided on several fronts you can guarantee more fireworks than Independence Day—and that’s just for Chicago White Sox and Cub fans!

I’ve been hearing from friends and acquaintances that some of their family members will not be attending Thanksgiving dinner under any circumstances because certain members of the family who will be present supported one presidential candidate and they cannot accept that.  Cannot accept is actually being kind.  The words and adjectives being used are repulsive.  If I can live through a Chicago Cubs World Series you can sit down and break bread with your family.

Here’s a newsflash.  We’ve been deciding the fate of our leader via elections in this country for over 200 years, and in each there was one winner and yes one loser.  In politics everyone doesn’t get a trophy.  If the President is doing a lousy job there are checks and balances in place to keep him or her on the straight and narrow.  For those who are educationally challenged in US government—elections happen every 4 years.  The greatest protest of all is silent and done in the privacy of the voting booth.  Well that’s true unless you live in Chicago and then all bets are off.

I brought up baseball and the World Series for a reason.  Baseball and voting in an election are not the same, although each year it seems like it is.  The fact is voting in an election is not like cheering for your favorite sports team.  In sports the winners get a trophy and lots of money.  Fans get boasting rights and in the case of the World Series, spend a fortune on team paraphernalia.  The country is at the heart of presidential elections.  It’s not my team is better than yours because whether your blue, red, green or in-between we’re all technically on the same team.  Team USA.  Or so I thought.  If Mary Matalin, a prominent Republic consultant, and James Carville, a prominent Democrat consultant, can be married for 23 years1 anyone can get along.

Whether you are a Cub fan or White Sox fan, a Democrat or Republican, this is the time to come together.  Some people will not be able to be home with their families and others are completely alone or hospitalized.  Others have lost a family member and don’t know how to “celebrate”.  I’m sure all these Americans would give anything to celebrate Thanksgiving with their missing or lost loved one.

If you are lucky enough to live in this country you have much to be thankful for.  So please leave your politics at home.  Celebrate that you can spend another Thanksgiving with your family and friends.  Thank God that you live in a country where you can change your leader every 4 years, speak freely for or against it, and it doesn’t lead to bloody revolutions as it does in other countries.

And to my friends who are White Sox fans—sit next to your relative or relatives who happen to be Cub fans and let them gloat.  We did it in 2005.  Give thanks to God for all you’ve received this year.  Everything is better with turkey, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie—even a Cubs World Series.  And remember, baseball season starts in just 4 short months!

1 Matalin and Carville were actually married on Thanksgiving Day, 1993

 

Lola

If you were of age in the early 1970’s, chances are you know this classic song by the Kinks.  The lyricist writes he couldn’t understand why Lola walked like a woman but talked like a man.  Lola was transgender.  This was extremely controversial in the 70’s and in some places the song was banned.  Not in Chicago.  I can still sing every line from memory.

In my lifetime I have only met one transgender person.  I met her at a 2009 forum sponsored by our local Congressman.  I approached her after the forum because I admired her bravery.  She was born a Muslim man in a Muslim country. She immigrated to the US because she could no longer risk the threat of death at the hands of her family or the theocratic government.  Under Islamic Sharia Law she would have been stoned to death for identifying as a woman.

I thought of her today while reading about the controversy over North Carolina House Bill 2, otherwise known as the bathroom law.  The law basically states if you are biologically a man you use the men’s bathroom or locker room and if you are biologically a woman you use the women’s bathroom or locker room in all government buildings, including public schools.  You think this would be common sense—but you would be wrong.

The governors of these states are making these laws to counter other laws stating bathrooms and locker rooms in public places should not be restricted to your biological sex as it discriminates against the LGBT community.  It’s my understanding that lesbians are women and gay men are men.  Bi-sexuals are also either a man or woman.  The small population of transgender people in the US, much like the woman I met at the forum, has been able to figure out which bathroom they feel most comfortable in for years.  This leaves the transfluid or genderfluid population. According to dictionary.com the term means, noting or relating to a person whose gender identity or gender expression is not fixed and shifts over time or depending on the situation.  Does anyone else see a potential problem here?

Celebrities have already taken sides and are canceling performances in states passing men and women only bathroom laws.  Not to be outdone, the White House is planning on cutting funds to these states while governors in states who promote non-discrimination bathrooms are banning travel to states that don’t, all in the name of equal rights.  White House press secretary Josh Earnest stated, “This is a good illustration that the fight for civil rights is not over”.  Hmmm, back in the 1960’s when African Americans were fighting for their civil rights; I don’t recall any of them being able to change their skin color over time or depending on the situation.

I thought of that brave transgender woman who I met those 7 years ago.  The last thing on her mind was which bathroom she should use.  She was just grateful to be alive and live as she pleased.  She put her life on the line to identify as a woman.  This was no game.  She dressed and conducted herself like a woman and if she used the women’s bathroom at the event that day nobody paid much notice, but that was way back in 2009.

What are we doing in April, 2016?  Why are we making laws without thinking about the consequences?  The non-discrimination ordinances give rapists, pedophiles, and voyeurs the greenlight to perpetrate crimes against women and children.  Any one of these can claim he feels like a woman, thus making him genderfluid by law, and enter a women’s bathroom or locker room with a hidden camera.  A registered sex offender can do the same, enter a women’s bathroom or locker room and rape a woman or a child.  These potential victims can be your wife, your sister, your daughter or your son.  What about their rights?  Why make it easier for criminals to prey on the innocent?

Now let’s look at a theory nobody’s talking about.  Why are these laws being enacted now?  Does the government really care about the LGBT community or are they using them?  We are a country of laws, not men, governed by a Constitution that states all people are equal and while we have freedom of religion, we are not ruled by one.  This is not the case in other parts of the world where corrupt governments, ruled by drug and organized crime, look the other way at rape and murder.  Or theocratic countries that state women and children do not have the same rights as men.  Under Islamic Sharia Law for example, for Muslim women to be found innocent of rape the rapist must either confess or there must be four male witnesses1 since women’s testimony is worth only half that of a man’s in court2.  In many rape culture countries pedophilia is also legal. The New York Times reported that U.S. Soldiers are told to ignore the rape of young boys by Afghan allies because it’s their culture3. Could this be the politically correct way to force multiculturalism on the US and pander to this section of our population for their vote?

Let’s look at Europe. Multiculturalism has made Sweden the rape capital of Europe. It’s estimated one in every four Swedish women will be sexually assaulted 4.  Swedish courts are sympathetic to the rapists and often acquit, even in the case of gang rape. We are hearing these types of atrocities throughout Europe with the influx of Middle Eastern refugees.  These criminals also prey on the LGBT community.  In Germany this January, two transgender women were allegedly stoned by a gang of migrants after they first tried to sexually assault the women and then learned they were transgender.  The migrants felt their “honor was hurt” and stoned them because “such people” should be killed5.   If we let a rape culture trump our culture we all suffer.  Is this what we want in the United States of America?

For transgender teenagers in public schools, who are bullied and threatened, other accommodations must be made for them, but not by violating the privacy rights of other children.  We cannot allow certain groups of people to have more rights over others because it’s their culture—that’s called breaking the law.  Nor can we allow criminals to hide behind a law and prey on women and children.  If “non-discrimination” ordinances are enacted, and the rights of millions of innocent people are ignored, the consequences could be devastating.

 

1  Quran (24:4)

2  Quran (2:282)

3  New York Times 9/21/2015

4 Gatestone Institute International Policy Council, Sweden: Rape Capital of the West, Ingrid Calrqvist & Lars Hedegaard, February 14, 2015

5 Adam Salandra, 1/17/2016

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