Catholic Church

Pope Francis: A Gift To The World And Supporter Of Progressive Causes Shared With Barack Obama!

Pope Francis has arrived in the United States, and will be here for six days, traveling to Washington, DC, New York City, and Philadelphia.

It is clear that Pope Francis is a gift to the world and a supporter of progressive causes that he often shares with President Barack Obama!

This Pope is, clearly, the best Pope in the sense of promoting reform, since the time of Pope John XXIII (1958-1963) and the Second Vatican Council.

Pope Francis has made enemies among conservative Catholics and evangelical right wing Christians, who do not pursue the true message of Jesus Christ, the promotion of the poor and the disabled and the sick.

Pope Francis has condemned predatory capitalism which has no concern as to its effect on the poor.

Pope Francis has spoken up on climate change and global warming, infuriating those in the conservative movement and the Republican Party who only think about profits, and reject science.

Pope Francis has attacked the growing income inequality in the world, a dangerous disease that threatens global stability.

Pope Francis has worked to resolve problems in the Catholic Church, and to have a more open mind on divorce, abortion, gay rights, and other controversial social issues, while not wholly backing all of these cultural changes.  But he has demonstrated greater tolerance of differences and opened up a sense of change, which is desperately needed in the Catholic Church, if it is to grow and prosper in the long term.

Pope Francis has engaged in bringing about the restoration of a relationship between the United States and Cuba, something long overdue.

Pope Francis has worked to help Syrian refugees, and generally to encourage immigration reform around the world, as to reject immigrants is against the American historical tradition, and worldwide would be the growth of another Holocaust, as Jews and other refugees suffered in the Second World War.

Pope Francis is a transformational Pope who, hopefully, will have a long range effect on the Catholic Church and the world.

Pope Francis has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and it is hoped that he will win it, as he richly deserves it!

September 2015–A Month Of Federal Budget Deadline, Pope Francis Visit, Iran Agreement Debate For Congress!

When Congress gets back from its summer recess after Labor Day, it faces, along with President Barack Obama, a very challenging and significant month of major events.

The budget deadline is coming on September 30, and as usual, the Republicans in Congress are threatening yet again to shut down the government, with the issue of funding of Planned Parenthood being the major stumbling block, along with fights to cut “safety net” programs and promote yet more tax cuts for the corporations and the wealthy.

Pope Francis, certainly the best Pope in his progressive vision since Pope John XXIII (1958-1963), will be visiting the United States and speaking before a joint session of Congress. He will deliver a message that progressives will love, including concern for the poor; acceptance of change in the Catholic Church on many conservative doctrines, including an open mind on gays and lesbians and divorce; condemnation of unbridled capitalism; and advocacy of the need for action on climate change and the environment in general. The Republican controlled Congress will be uncomfortable over his message, but it will boost the Obama agenda and legacy.

Also, the bitter battle over the Iran nuclear deal is extremely divisive, with American Jews divided; Democrats divided; and Republicans in unison against the deal, and advocating military force against Iran. All that Obama needs to sustain the agreement is one third plus one of the votes in one or both houses. That seems assured now in the House of Representatives with the assistance of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, but in the Senate, it will be more difficult, since future likely Majority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer of New York has come out against the agreement. But as long as at least one house cannot override the veto, the President will triumph.

So a month of “fireworks” is assured, and who knows what else will occur, particularly with the 2016 Presidential race in full swing, and already highly controversial!

“Surprise” Presidential Nominees, And Often Winners, In American History

As we are about to enter August, the year before the Presidential Election Of 2016, we find two “surprise” candidates doing very well, if one is to judge by crowds and public opinion polls.

Whether Donald Trump and or Bernie Sanders have a real chance to be the nominees of the Republican and Democratic parties is impossible to know this far ahead.

But in American history, there have been many surprise nominees, and or winners of the Presidency.

The examples of this phenomenon follow—17 Presidents and 6 Presidential nominees in 23 Presidential elections:

In 1844, James K. Polk was nominated by the Democrats on the 9th ballot, and went on to defeat the better known and more famous Henry Clay.

In 1848, Mexican War General Zachary Taylor, with no political experience, and no stands on political issues, was nominated by the Whig Party, and elected over Lewis Cass and Free Soil Party nominee, former President Martin Van Buren.

In 1852, little known Franklin Pierce was nominated by the Democrats on the 49th ballot, and went on to defeat famous Mexican War General Winfield Scott.

In 1860, one term Congressman Abraham Lincoln, not in public office in 12 years, was the choice of the Republican Party, and defeated Stephen Douglas, John C. Breckinridge, and John Bell.

In 1868, Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War Union Army hero, with no political experience, was nominated by the Republicans, and defeated Horatio Seymour.

In 1872, the Democrats and a fringe group known as the “Liberal Republicans” nominated well known journalist Horace Greeley, who had never served in public office, losing to President Grant.

In 1892, former President Grover Cleveland, who had lost reelection in 1888 to Benjamin Harrison, came back and defeated Harrison, becoming the only President to win, lose, and then win, and therefore, being listed as the 22nd and 24th Presidents of the United States.

In 1896, a former Nebraska Congressman, only 36 years old, William Jennings Bryan, inspired the Democratic convention and was nominated for President, but lost to William McKinley.

In 1904, an unknown (except in New York) state court judge, Alton B. Parker, was the Democratic nominee against Theodore Roosevelt, but lost.

In 1912, President of Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson, nominated on the 46th ballot by the Democrats, defeated President William Howard Taft, former President Theodore Roosevelt (running on the Progressive Party line), and Socialist Eugene Debs.

In 1920, an obscure Senator with no special accomplishments or credentials, Warren G. Harding, was nominated by the Republicans, and defeated Democratic nominee James Cox.

In 1924, the Democrats were deadlocked at their convention for 103 ballots, and finally nominated corporate attorney John W. Davis, who lost to President Calvin Coolidge and Progressive Party nominee Robert LaFollette, Sr.

In 1928, the Democrats nominated the first Catholic Presidential candidate, Alfred E. Smith, but he lost to Republican nominee Herbert Hoover.

In 1932, the Democrats nominated Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had been judged as having “no particular qualifications” for the Presidency, and he went on to defeat President Herbert Hoover.

In 1940, the Republicans nominated a businessman with no political experience, Wendell Willkie, after he inspired their convention, but he lost to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In 1948, President Harry Truman shocked the political world by winning a full term over Republican Thomas E. Dewey, States Rights nominee Strom Thurmond, and Progressive Party nominee, former Vice President Henry A. Wallace. He had been shown to be way behind Dewey in every political poll taken that year.

In 1952, a World War II general, Dwight D. Eisenhower, never having been involved in politics, was finally convinced to run for President, and defeated Democratic nominee Adlai E. Stevenson.

IN 1960, the second Catholic nominee for President, John F. Kennedy, was able to overcome the religion barrier, and be elected over Republican Richard Nixon, the well known and experienced Vice President under Eisenhower.

In 1968, former defeated Presidential candidate Richard Nixon came back eight years after having lost, and he won the Presidency over Hubert Humphrey and American Independent Party nominee George Wallace.

In 1976, a one term Governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, considered unknown to most and given little chance for the Democratic Presidential nomination, surprised everyone and was elected over President Gerald Ford.

In 1980, an aging two time candidate for President, Ronald Reagan, ended up winning the Republican nomination, and was elected over President Carter.

In 1992, despite a sex scandal, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton won the Democratic nomination, and was elected over President George H. W. Bush and Independent nominee Ross Perot, even with Bush having enjoyed a 91 percent public opinion poll rating during the Persian Gulf War 18 months earlier.

In 2008, an African American first term Senator, with an Islamic middle name of Hussein, Barack Obama, overcame former First Lady Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, and defeated Republican nominee John McCain for the Presidency.

So anything can happen in 2016, with further coverage of the upcoming election being resumed when the Iowa Caucuses take place on February 1.

Until then, this blogger will focus on the promotion of his new book on Presidential Assassinations and Threats. He will give information on the interviews that he will have on radio, tv/cable, the internet, and print media, so that my readers will have an opportunity to investigate my activities over the next six months.

When he has time, he will look at American political, diplomatic and constitutional history solely, as there is much fascinating material that can and should be discussed and analyzed. It will make a look at the future much more significant, as a result of the historical analysis of the Presidency, elections, political parties, the Congress, and the Supreme Court.

Hate Mongering Republican Presidential Candidates Who Would Disgrace The Office Of The Presidency!

There are anywhere from 15 to nearly 20 potential Republican Presidential candidates, and one can find faults and shortcomings with most of them, but there are only a few who can be labeled, by their utterances, to be hate mongers, wishing to stir up fear and incite audiences with their rhetoric. One is held accountable for what one says and what he promotes, and therefore, disqualify themselves for the honor of residing in the White House!

Those who would qualify for this dubious “honor” include:

Dr. Benjamin Carson
Texas Senator Ted Cruz
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

All of these five have been reckless in their desire to divide the American people, and have advocated lawlessness and disobedience of the federal government, including the court system and the Supreme Court in particular.

They have promoted hate and fear of gays and lesbians; immigration; women’s rights; racial justice; and have shown no concern about the poor and the sick, particularly on the issue of health care.

Interestingly, all five constantly invoke Christianity in their political pitches, and specifically, hard line Christianity of the evangelical and right wing Catholic variety, a total repudiation of the teachings of Jesus Christ, and a defiance of the principle of separation of church and state under our political system! And they all criticize Pope Francis and his liberal, open minded view of the meaning of Jesus Christ and his teachings!

Any of these five would totally disgrace the office of the Presidency!

Fortunately, it is highly unlikely that any of these five will win the nomination of the Republican Party, but if so, the odds of such an individual winning the Presidency are very low!

The CINOs: Christians In Name Only! Claim To Follow Jesus, But Do Just The Opposite!

Christianity was created out of belief in the connection of Jesus Christ to God, and the dogma that he was crucified on a cross by the Romans in the Holy Land, and rose from the dead three days after a torturous death, and took upon himself the sins of mankind. If one followed the teachings of Jesus, he or she would have the opportunity for salvation in Heaven after death.

The Catholic Church developed, with the concept of a Pope as the spokesman for Jesus Christ on Earth. But soon there were schisms in the Church, leading to the Eastern Orthodox Church in the Byzantine Empire in the fifth century AD, and then the revolt in the West, led by Martin Luther in Germany; John Calvin in Geneva, Switzerland; and King Henry VIII in England in the 16th century to begin with, and then many other Christian sects developed around the world and in America, including a home grown branch of Christianity in the Mormon Church in the early 19th century.

Persecution, warfare, and destruction developed as each sect of Christianity demonstrated a belief that their version was the correct Christianity. Antisemitism, against the religion that Jesus had been in life, also raged throughout the past two millenniums. Promoting the faith became a mission to convert at the barrel of a gun, as people used the faith to conquer Latin America, Asia, and Africa for the Caucasians of Europe, and also included the promotion of the mass extermination of Native Americans in the Americas and aborigines in Australia and elsewhere. Slavery evolved, and when it ended in America in the 19th century, racial segregation and lynching was justified due to the belief in white supremacy.

In America, not only antisemitism developed, but also anti Catholic prejudice, and the establishment of the Ku Klux Klan and similar groups, who claimed to be following Christianity’s tenets. Also, evangelical Christianity formed, claiming that it was women’s role to serve men; that race and nationality were factors in judging who was superior to others; and promotion of homophobia, nativism, racism, misogyny and belief in guns being connected to the faith’s practice. They claimed moral superiority, while condemning organized labor and advocating destruction of the environment in the name of unbridled capitalism.

These distortions of Christianity also included denouncing the poor; a hatred of national government which evolved to deal with the inequities in society that allowed a small percentage of men to control and dominate within the economy and society; and wanting to impose their social views on everyone, by claiming that they were being persecuted, a “Victims” complex.

Today in America, it is this element of Christianity which defies the generous, compassionate, and kind mission of Jesus Christ, and instead promotes a very negative and hateful vision of what Jesus intended.

This group of people, very close minded and intolerant, could rightfully be called CINOs–Christians In Name Only—and must be resisted at every turn as the only way to promote progress and democratic values which Jesus believed in during his lifetime. They claim moral superiority, which could not be further from the truth. He would be shocked at the distortion of his message by those who claim to follow him, but most certainly do NOT!

Barack Obama And Religious Extremism: Totally Accurate Statement, So Why The Outcry?

President Barack Obama spoke up on Thursday at the Annual Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC on the dangers of religious extremism, promotion of one’s own faith as the only true faith, and legitimizing bloodshed and violence in the name of one’s God.

This was in reaction to the horrors that have been perpetrated by ISIL (ISIS) in the Middle East, including beheadings of Americans, British, and Japanese hostages; and the even more horrific act of taking a Jordanian pilot, captured while attacking ISIL targets, and setting him on fire, causing him to be burned to death.

What Obama said was that any religion that endorses or promotes such bloodshed and violence should be condemned, and he reminded our nation, much of it totally unaware of our history, that we had seen the lynching, butchering, and setting on fire of a few thousand African American men and boys in the American South and Midwest over a period of more than a hundred years of Jim Crow segregation in the 19th and 20th century and Ku Klux Klan influence; had also experienced nearly 250 years of slavery, which included similar mistreatment; and that world wide, there had been the Christian war on Islam during the Crusades; and the Catholic Church Inquisition of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance period.

Obama did not specifically mention the horrible persecution of Jews by Christians over two millenniums, and not just the Catholic Church, but also Protestant groups, including Martin Luther and the Lutheran Church; or the mass murder of Catholics vs Protestants in Northern Ireland, as recently as the period of the Irish Republican Army between 1969 and 1998.

And of course, in the Middle East, today, as shown by the setting on fire of a Jordanian who was Muslim, the old holy war of Shiite and Sunni Muslims continues unabated, as it has for 13 centuries; and there is also bloodshed between Muslims and Hindus in India; and turmoil in the Balkans, that led to mass murder by Christians against Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s.

From what Obama reminded us of, plus the additional information provided here by the author, and well known to scholars, it is clear how devastating organized religion has been in its promotion of narrow mindedness and hate, and commitment to torture and extermination in the name of God, no matter which religion.

So Obama was offering a moral lesson, but yet the outcry by right wingers, who do not wish to be reminded of the sins of Christianity fanatics, and only wish to look at the Muslim fanatics today, and imagine that this is the whole story of religion in history, is very troubling. They fail to realize that many more Muslims have been killed by the barbarism of ISIL (ISIS), and their refusal to accept and recognize the history of Christianity as being just as full, historically, of violence and bloodshed, bodes ill for the future ability to understand and accept religious differences and promote religious tolerance!

Obama Supported By Chambers Of Commerce, Catholic Church, Public Opinion Polls, And Many Others, On Cuban Policy

President Obama has taken a gigantic step in changing Cuban policy, and his initiative will overcome the opposition of Cuban American Senators Marco Rubio of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Robert Menendez of New Jersey, along with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and many other Republicans and some Democrats, other than Menendez.

This Cuban initiative was promoted by Canada’s Conservative government; Pope Francis; Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona; and many other rational people who knew that the policy against Fidel and Raul Castro, beginning under Dwight D. Eisenhower, and lasting through what is now eleven Presidencies, was having no real effect on the Cuban government, and harming its citizens. The Chambers of Commerce and the Catholic Church in America have also endorsed the change in policy. And, interestingly, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has also backed the Obama policy as rational and reasonable, which it most certainly is! And public opinion polls show about 60 percent support a change in Cuban policy.

Yes, the Castros have been horrific on human rights, but we have have relations with many oppressive governments, which are more than half the nations in the world. These have included Communist governments, as in China and Vietnam, for instance; but also numerous right wing dictatorships in Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East over the decades.

If we can deal with Vietnam, where 58,000 Americans died, then we can deal with Cuba a half century after the Cuban Missile Crisis!

Either we accept that fact, that it is time to change a Cuban policy which has never worked, or we need to cut off relations with most of the nations in the world, and live in isolation, and our own “dream world” of reality!

Jimmy Carter Writes On Discrimination Against Women By Organized Religion Worldwide And In America

Former President jimmy Carter has written yet another book, and this one is on the widespread discrimination against women, world wide, as well as in the United States.

Carter makes a strong case about the unfairness of the treatment of women in the work place and in society, but his strongest indictment is against traditional organized religions, and not just one religion.

It is clear that Orthodox Jews, Right Wing Evangelical Christians, the Catholic Church, The Mormon Church, Muslims, and Hindus all have mistreatment and second class citizenship of women as part of their basic dogma, although there is nothing in the Old or New Testament that allows Orthodox Jews, Right Wing Evangelical Christians, Mormons, and Catholics to be able to justify their backward attitudes on the role of women in their faiths. Sadly, Muslims and Hindus are even worse in their disregard for the rights of women.

It is encouraging that Conservative and Reform Judaism, many mainline Protestant Churches, and progressive elements of the Catholic faith work to improve the rights and roles of women in their faith.

But it is disturbing to recognize that many Christian churches have, historically, backed slavery and racial segregation (particularly in the Southern states); and that many not only discriminate against women and their reproductive lives, but also, in too many cases, demonstrate anti gay hatred as well.

None of the prophets, particularly in the Western world, including Jesus and Moses, ever spoke out against women, or dealt with the issue of homosexuality or race, so these are the work of evil forces that have politicized religious teachings, in the name of power and wealth!

It is what has made many intelligent people, and young people, to turn against the trappings of organized religion!

Federal District Court Judges And Same Sex Marriage Bans Collapsing!

The move toward same sex marriage churns on, with federal judges having utilized the 14th Amendment in four “Red” states in the past two months now to end the discrimination against gays marrying.

So on Valentine’s Day, it now looks more evident than ever that a national Supreme Court decision is in the offing, with Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority decision in Lawrence V. Texas in 2003 igniting the gay civil rights movement, likely to be the fifth and decisive vote in any case that goes to the high Court!

Who would ever have thought that Utah, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and now, newly turned “Blue” Virginia (the state of the Loving V. Virginia interracial marriage case in 1967), would see such rapid action to defy the bigots and the haters?

The federal courts have been the herald of the future in so much of modern history, as with Brown V. Board of Education on racial integration, and Roe V. Wade on abortion rights, and Lawrence V. Texas on gay rights, and the courage of federal district judges across the nation to push the Supreme Court toward a final determination of same sex marriage is an indication that often we have to leave it to appointed judges to lead us to our better side of human nature, the ending of discrimination and injustice!

Sadly, we see right wing evangelicals, Catholics, and Mormons fighting a rear guard action, which only makes one realize the evils of these organized groups that have in the past been on the wrong side of many moral and ethical issues, overlooking slavery, segregation, women’s rights, and now gay rights. This is a losing battle long term, and these groups fighting against progress and human rights will pay the price in loss of membership by their willingness to fight a battle that is already lost!

We Can Look Forward To The Obama-Pope Francis Meeting In Late March!

The announcement by the White House that President Obama will meet Pope Francis in Vatican City in late March, after attending meetings and visiting several nations in Europe earlier, is a great development!

It will allow our path breaking President, who has shown great courage in many areas of domestic and foreign policy, to meet a Pope who has shook up the Catholic Church, and affected attitudes on a multitude of issues in less than one year in the Papacy!

The two men share a concern about income inequality, the greatest concentration of wealth in the hands of a few in America and world wide, and the horrible poverty and deprivation that exists in much of the world, including one out of six Americans, many of them children, in America.

Both are concerned for human rights worldwide as well, and both understand the discrimination that has been visited against women, and gays and lesbians, and the Pope is also aware of the sexual abuse of women and children by evil elements in the Catholic Church, along with the corruption in the Vatican Bank.

Both Obama and Pope Francis have been called Marxists, and Socialists by the right wing, but they wear such appellations with pride, while laughing at the lunatics who profess such ridiculous statements about two brave men, who will be well remembered in history for their principles and values!