What would you do if…?

Oftentimes, when people ask me about my thoughts on abortion, they phrase it as a hypothetical situation. This is from a recent email that someone wrote to me:

To use an extreme example, a woman is raped, the doctor knows the
child will have severe down syndrome.  The state, whatever state, is
unlikely to care of the child.  Should that woman not be allowed to
have an abortion?

Or a single woman of no resources is to produce a child in an african
country with no reasonable expectation of adoptability and will be
prevented from having the education that might allow her to prosper.
Should that woman not be allowed to have an abortion?

Do not think that I am making fun of these questions, as they are fair and serious and should be taken seriously. Most importantly, they were asked with goodwill.

However, I can’t help but notice the same pattern of questioning when people in the Christian Just War / Just Defense camp ask me about what they call “pacifism.” This is a tongue-and-cheek video that does a good job of showing (though not explaining) what is wrong with logic that is based on hypotheticals: It’s not really logic at all.

Get out of Yemen!

Dear CAM Friends,

Below is a copy of a message that I have sent to my U.S. Senators urging them to support S.J. Res. 54. I urge you to look into this matter and consider contacting your Senators also. In most cases you can’t email them directly but you can fill out a form on their website to send them a message. This is a remarkable bipartisan effort and has support from both left and right on the internet which is amazing in this time of a sharply divided America. Just having this debate would be beneficial in my opinion. Here are some links that provide background information.

Win Without War

Stop the War

from The American Conservative

from Breitbart.com

Thanks,

Doug Fuda

************************************

Dear Senator _________

I strongly urge you to support S.J.Res. 54, introduced by Senators Lee (R-UT) and Sanders (I-VT), along with Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT). This important legislation invokes section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution of 1973 to require a debate and vote on ending unauthorized U.S. military involvement in Yemen’s civil war. U.S. participation in the Saudi and United Arab Emirates (UAE)-led coalition’s military operations in Yemen has not been authorized by either a congressional declaration of war nor a specific statute. Further, by providing technical, logistical and other military support for the Saudi and UAE-led coalition in Yemen, the U.S. has facilitated numerous violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen and the creation of the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. It is imperative that the Senate reasserts Congress’ constitutional authority as the sole body that can declare war by passing S.J.Res. 54. I urge you to take the first step in reasserting Congress’ authority by co-sponsoring the resolution and voting for it when it comes to the Senate floor.

Sincerely,

Doug Fuda

Sacred Cows and False Gods

Military spending is the Sacred Cow of present-day America.

It makes no difference who the President is or which party has a Congressional majority. There can be heated debate about whether there is enough money for healthcare or education or infrastructure maintenance but there is to be no consideration whatsoever to the idea of reducing defense spending in order to allocate those funds to other purposes. This Sacred Cow must be fully insulated from all critical thinking and examination. Its virtues are assumed to be self-evident and are not to be questioned.

We must not question or criticize the Military-Industrial Complex or any of its supporters. Instead we must keep repeating the National Mantra of “Support the troops”. We must always remember to say “Thank you for your service” when speaking to someone who is or has been in the military. Beyond this point of social etiquette there are to be no serious discussions about the actual merits of the Multiple Wars that America is currently engaged in. Or how much this costs us. Asking veterans how they actually feel about their time in uniform and really listening to what they say is not part of our protocol.

When we thank a veteran for their service to our country we need to remember that this person has chosen to risk their life on our behalf. This willingness to make the Ultimate Sacrifice deserves the greatest respect. If we are being fully honest, however, there is more appreciation that we need to express to every veteran that we acknowledge in this way. Not only must we thank them for their willingness to die on our behalf, we must also thank them for their willingness to kill on our behalf. The truth is that every member of the armed services is making a contribution, directly or indirectly, to the death of the designated enemy. They risk being killed by strangers while they try to kill those same strangers.

Why do so many veterans struggle with their return to civilian life? Is it improper ask why so many in the military are committing suicide every day during and after their time in uniform? Can we ignore the meaning of “moral injury” sustained by the men and women who have served in our military? Should we seriously investigate the extent to which soldiers during and after their time in the service are suffering from PTSD and CTE? Posing such questions will make people too uncomfortable.

Another uncomfortable question to avoid is the matter of why the most powerful military force in human history has not been able to “win” the War on Terror after 16 years of fighting. Don’t ask that one.

We must certainly not inquire about who in our society has benefitted financially from so many years of continuous warfare. That sort of question is unwelcome in polite society. That sort of question might suggest that the “War on Terror” is not actually meant to be won but rather is meant to go on indefinitely so that certain groups of people can become exceedingly wealthy. It is not appropriate for us to think about these possibilities.

It is in poor taste to question if, as a nation, we are doing what is right as we intervene around the world. It is improper to ask whether or not spending millions of dollars per day for the past 16 years to pay for these wars has been money well spent.

We certainly should not wonder if this Sacred Cow is just a Cash Cow in disguise.

The never-ending quest for “National Security” ends up being the worshiping of a kind of false god. We go to great lengths to convince ourselves that if we have enough weapons we will finally be safe. We may imagine that our legitimate desire to feel safe can only be accomplished by making others sufficiently afraid of us. As we have come to believe that this is true, we have made a modern-day Golden Calf in the shape of a Pentagon. In various ways we have been taught to worship this false god as if it the source of our salvation.

What if real security does not flow out of the Department of Defense? What if our safety does not depend on threatening someone else with superior firepower?

What if we actually consider embracing the radical idea that real safety and security comes from God?

Imagine a group of children placed in a very large playroom. Almost immediately they discover that it’s full of Legos that they can use to build whatever they want. They quickly start building all sorts of things. We notice that some of the children seem to like each other and play well together and others do not. The children start to arrange themselves and the playroom accordingly. They form groups and try to create ways to feel safe in the playroom. They fortify their territories, develop defense strategies and build various Lego weapons because they feel unsafe with the “other children” who are part of other groups in the playroom. Every group is fearful to some degree that if they are not strong enough and careful enough the others will quickly act to take or destroy the little societies they have created.

This is the situation we find ourselves in.

Here is an experiment to attempt to answer the question about where our true security can be found.

Imagine having a private audience with Jesus. Imagine being face to face with him. You look him in the eye and tell him that his teachings are wrong. Tell him that he is wrong about teaching us to have faith in God. Wrong in how he taught us about God’s love for us. Wrong in what he taught us about who we really are as human beings.
Tell him how wrong he was for teaching us to love each other the way he loves us.

Can you imagine doing this without hesitation or is there something inside you that doesn’t want to allow such a confrontation? If there is something inside you that doesn’t want to let you go through with the experiment, what do you suppose it might be?

So we come back to the central question: How can we trust God for our security?

The problem with this question lies in our desire to answer it in accordance with the rules we have established for ourselves in the Lego World we have created in the playroom. We assume that our rules, based on our perceptions, are the correct ones. We make the assumption that the playroom is ours because we created everything in it out of the Legos. We “forget” that our playroom is just one of a great many such rooms in an incredibly expansive House.

The real Builder and Master of the House must not be confused with the sacred cows and false gods fantasized by some of the children in the playroom.

We need to be clear about what trusting our security to God actually means and what it does not mean. It does not mean that we have some sort of mystical permission to behave recklessly. We still need to look both ways before crossing busy streets. It does not mean that we wash our hands of personal responsibility. What we choose to do matters and has consequences.

It does mean that we need to remember whose House we’re living in and that we have a responsibility to be good guests in that House.

What do the “shooters” have in common?

“…the widespread connection is rarely acknowledged: A mounting number of mass shooters have ties to the military, including Nikolas Cruz, who was a member of his school’s military prep organization, JROTC (Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps).”

Nobody Wants To Talk About What Many Mass Shooters Have in Common

Interfaith Antiwar Movement: War in Vietnam

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s 2017 documentary The Vietnam War is a brilliant antiwar film that humanizes the enemy and laments the brutal slaughter of roughly three million soldiers and civilians for absolutely nothing. It is also a ringing indictment of those American presidents who waged the war, consistently lied to the American public about how they were waging it, and sent tens of thousands of young American soldiers to fight knowing it could not be won. As such, it also offers an urgent warning about the nature of the wars we continue to wage.

Yet The Vietnam War has some blind spots…

Peaceful Solidarity, Commonweal Magazine, Jan. 24, 2018

 

Great Speech by Jim Caviezel

Jim Caviezel Inspiring Testimony | new | Chicago SLS18 surprise

Jim Caviezel on suffering, freedom, and faith: “Every generation of Americans needs to know that freedom exists not to do what you like but in having the right to do what you ought. That is the freedom I wish for you: freedom from sin, freedom from your weaknesses, freedom from the slavery that sin makes out of all of us. That is the freedom that is worth dying for.”

“Paul, Apostle of Christ” opens in theaters worldwide on March 28, 2018. The sequel to “The Passion of the Christ” which will be called “The Resurrection” is in the works.

The Student Leadership Summit 2018 (SLS 18) is an annual conference that brings together thousands of college students from throughout the nation to teach and encourage students to live the Gospel message. SLS 2018 took place in Chicago, IL on January 2-6, 2018. It was presented by FOCUS, a Catholic outreach whose mission is to share the gospel with college students. FOCUS missionaries invite students into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and accompany them as they pursue lives of virtue and excellence.

Beware the “Jealous State”

Have Yourself a Very Subversive Christmas

by Mike Pakaluk

“But it might do us good to amplify the crèche scene, to include the whole Christmas reality – not (foolishly) buff naked men with washboard abs – but, in the background and among the shadows, a tall, wraith-like, and sinister figure, brandishing a sword. More than the greed of a Scrooge threatens the spirit of Christmas. He stands for the jealous State, and he threatens anyone who would dare honor this newborn child as ‘my liege and sovereign Lord.’”

Have a Merry and Blessed Christmas!

 

An Invitation to Metanoia

This is an excellent historical overview of American Catholicism and the last 100 years with respect to war, a pro-life issue.

An Invitation to Re-think 100 Years of Catholic Support for War

On April 6, 1917 the United States House of Representatives voted in favor of President Wilson’s war resolution and the U.S. entered WWI.  On April 18, while meeting as the trustees of Catholic University (CU), two Cardinals and six Archbishops signed a letter which was delivered to Wilson by James Cardinal Gibbons. In the most effusively patriotic language possible, it promised all out support of U.S. Catholics for Wilson and the war.

That promise was kept.  Three cardinals, including Gibbons, set up a general “Convention” of Catholics which took place at CU on August 11-12. “There were present official representatives, clerical and lay, from sixty-eight dioceses…twenty-seven national Catholic organizations and also of the entire Catholic press…In November, the Archbishops of the United States constituted themselves the National Catholic War Council. “  (Handbook of the NCWC, pages 8,10) The NCWC is considered the predecessor of today’s  United States Conference of Catholic Bishops  (USCCB), making 2017 its centenary year.
The Opening Mass for this year’s Fall Assembly of the USCCB took place at the Baltimore Basilica on Sunday, November 12, 2017.  Far from eschewing their origin as a war council, the liturgy booklet prepared for the centenary celebration reprinted Cardinal Gibbons’ November 21, 1917 “Letter to the U.S. Hierarchy Requesting their Assent to the National Catholic War Council.”  In the letter Gibbons wrote, “This war offers us, indeed, the grandest opportunity in all history of inspiring our men with religion.”  ….Continue Reading