Noonan: “Don’t Let This Woman Die”
Friday, March 18, 2005, 2:13 PM

I hope for their sakes Republican politicians are reading and heading this no-nonsense plea from Peggy Noonan in today’s editions of the Wall Street Journal.

Sanity in Maine
Friday, March 18, 2005, 11:18 AM

Michael Harmon writing for the Portland (Maine) Herald wonders if our nation would stand by as we starved to death an animal shelter full of dogs and cats in, or a prisoner of war at Quantanamo, or a death row inmate at San Quentin. We know the answer.

The New Pantagruel on Terry Schiavo
Friday, March 18, 2005, 12:27 AM

The editors of the intelligent, unafraid, kaleidoscopic, and ever-fascinating web-only magazine, The New Pantagruel, have issued a brief, to-the-point statement on the pending murder of Terry Schiavo that can be read here. Many of our readers will be sympathetic with its moral posture.

The Principles of John Lukacs
Thursday, March 17, 2005, 4:05 PM

The Boston Globe recently published this profile of the historian and Catholic intellectual, John Lukacs, tying the article to the release of his Democracy and Populism: Fear and Hatred (Yale).

Lukacs is a leading traditionalist opponent of “laws approving abortions, mercy killing, cloning, sexual ‘freedoms,’ permissiveness, [and] pornography,” trained by history to be skeptical of ”progress” whether of the right or left, and a vocal opponent since the ‘50s of what he sees as harmful populist and nationalist trends in American politics, often espoused and directed by “conservatives.”

It is easy to dismiss some conservative critics of the present administration, but it seems unwise not to pay careful attention to a man of Lukacs’ stature. His criticisms of specific policies might be overwrought or, as Richard Brookhiser of National Review suggests, tainted by his Eastern European experiences with a variety of mid-twentieth-century populisms and nationalisms, yet his principles—“[h]e favors conservation rather than conservatism; he defends the ancient blessing of the land and is dubious about the results of technology; be believes in history, not in Evolution”—are a good foundation from which contemporary conservatives can take the measure of their words (”freedom” for instance) and actions, and the national movements they inspire.

The Senate’s Pending Vote on Terri Schiavo
Thursday, March 17, 2005, 1:18 PM

From our friends at the Culture of Life Foundation:

Dear Colleague,

You must act today to save Terri Schiavo’s life. As you know, she is scheduled to be taken off food and water tomorrow at 1 p.m. (Eastern). There is action in the US Senate to stop her deliberate starvation.

I am writing you to contact your U.S. Senators and urge them TO PASS ‘TERRI’S LAW’ IMMEDIATELY!!!!

Last evening the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Protection of Incapacitated Persons Act of 2005, also known as ‘Terri’s Law’ by voice vote. The bill would provide the Schindler family access to a federal court to argue for the life of their daughter, Terri Schindler-Schiavo.

Now, your help is needed TODAY to urge your senators to support the bill in the U.S. Senate. A vote may occur today (March 17) or on Friday, March 18, which is the last day before a two-week congressional recess.

PLEASE ACT NOW! Under court order, Terri’s feeding tube is scheduled to be removed at 1:00 pm EST Friday, March 18.

To contact your senators go to the National Right to Life website:

Simply type your zip code in the “Take Action Now” box.


You must act now. We must flood the Senate with your messages that Terri must be saved NOW!

Yours sincerely,

Austin Ruse


Culture of Life Foundation

Ancient Bones and Pagan Vicars
Thursday, March 17, 2005, 10:35 AM

Joel Tom Tate, who has written about Christian colleges for us, sent along this strange story:

In Wales recently a man discovered a wardrobe full of bones in the home of his deceased Aunt. The police were notified and after an investigation it was determined that the bones were prehistoric bones that had been removed from a series of caves during WWII to make room for the British army. Then a decision had to be made about what to do with the bones:

It was felt that the Rev Alun Brookfield, vicar at nearby Abercrave for the past two years, should be asked to provide a simple ceremony appropriate to the pre-Christian spirituality of the cave dwellers as they are interred.

“I will offer an invitation to commend those who died to whatever gods they worshipped,” said Mr Brookfield yesterday.

“And all people present will be able to contemplate this with whatever gods they worship.”

He said he had no qualms performing such a ceremony as a Christian vicar.

“I have no problem with anything that encourages people to seek God,” added Mr Brookfield.

“It is very unusual, though. Completely unique in my experience.”

Nicolosi on Anne Lamott
Wednesday, March 16, 2005, 3:12 PM

Barbara Nicolosi, executive director of Act One, writing for her excellent blogsite, Church of the Masses, tells of going to see Anne Lamott talk about her new book at a Beverly Hills bookshop last night. Nicolosi, while realistic about the long-term prospects of Lamott’s writing—whether it will hold up in forty or fifty years—is not nearly critical enough of Lamott before telling us this:

That’s why it almost physically hurt me, when this woman—my sister in Christ—and someone whose craft I absolutely admire—started raging against “right-to-lifers” and ridiculing “rightwing Christians.” She animatedly detailed her hatred for the President at nauseating length, noting that she spent weeks after the election choked with such antipathy, that it almost drove her to a kind of madness. But she really seemed to enjoy the madness. When she gave herself over to her disdain of religious conservatives, Lamott morphed from being a compassionate and attractive disciple, to being a cliched, bitter paradox. It made me very sad, because unfairness and ridicule are awkward on her.

Lamott is great now, but she will be fabulous as soon as she gets honest about abortion. She aborted one or two of her kids in her pre-Jesus years, and she keeps obsessing over it, mainly trying to convince herself that she did the right thing—“I had to do it! Pro-lifers only care for fetuses and not for starving poor unloved children who would be born without abortion!” Her self-defense here fuels her gnashing of teeth political diatribes. If she lives long enough to confront the fact that abortion is evil, the BIG ONE, in her hit parade of personal mistakes, Lamott could be a great saint.

My objection is not a politcal one, at all. There is no sense putting anyone forward as a writer whom we ought to listen to or learn from (“The coolest thing about Lamott is how much she loves Jesus”), who takes as violent a posture toward children as does this woman, no matter how excellent her powers of description or wonderful her turns of phrase. She seems not to know the same Christ as the one speaking in Matthew 25:35-46. Some political conservatives also seem not to know the Christ of Matthew 25, but can we, God help us, name someone our “sister in Christ” who so misunderstands her purported Lord?

A Workaround for Those Half-Visible Lines?
Tuesday, March 15, 2005, 4:16 PM

A couple of readers who use Internet Explorer report that if one highlights the half-visible lines they re-appear. We think we have fixed the problem, but pass along this information for good measure.

On India’s “Untouchables”
Tuesday, March 15, 2005, 3:58 PM

For Washington, DC-area readers, this event, co-hosted by The Institute of Religion and Public Policy, The Wilberforce Forum & the Dalit Freedom Network should be worthwhile:

The “Untouchables”

Caste Based Discrimination in India

• 250,000,000 Dalits live in India today…for 5,000 years they have been told they mean nothing to God or man

• More than two thirds of all Dalits are completely illiterate

• Half of all Dalits have been slaves or bonded laborers

Thursday, March 17, 2005 3:30 pm

Room HC – 8, the Capitol

Featuring: Dr. Joseph D’Souza & Professor Kancha Ilaiah

Refreshments will be served

Please RSVP by Wednesday, March 16, 2005 to the

Dalit Freedom Network via telephone (303) 221-1333 or e-mail.

Saletan on Christians, Jews and the Great Bioethics Debate
Tuesday, March 15, 2005, 2:42 PM

Writing for Slate, William Saletan gives an account of a recent meeting of the President’s Council on Bioethics and of a trip he made last week to Rome for a conference on embryonic life and biomedical research. Many notables walk in and out of Saletan’s narration including Leon Kass, Hadley Arkes, Robert George, Mary Ann Glendon, Eric Cohen, and Peter Lawler, among others. It’s an entertaining and informative report of these lucid minds interacting, of the differences between Catholic and Jewish thinking on the questions, and revealing of the characters involved in perhaps the most important debate of our times. There’s loads of links throughout the text, and while I came away from the report feeling as though I knew a bit more about what’s at stake (whether I actually do is another thing), one could very well get a degree in bioethics if all the rabbit trails posted along the way were exhaustively followed. The title of the report, Oy Vitae, says it all.

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