On Scripture: ‘Put Not Your Trust in Princes’

Put not your trust in princes,
in the sons of men, in whom there is no salvation.
When his spirit departs he returns to his earth;
on that day his plans perish.

                                                — Psalm 146, 3-4

We all look for heroes in life—people we can admire, take inspiration from, look to for leadership and great accomplishments.

We elevate all manner of prominent men and women to such stature: political figures, military leaders, media personalities, entertainment stars, accomplished academics, scientists, medical doctors and researchers.

As often as not, such earthly heroes ultimately disappoint us, when their frailties and inevitable human shortcomings manifest themselves. And then we abruptly depose them from the saintly pedestals upon which we had improvidently placed them in the first place.

We go from one extreme to the other: attributing almost God-like status to certain human beings in response to the good we perceive them doing; then bitterly condemning and abandoning them when they fail to live up to our unrealistic expectations.

In fact, most such people, no matter the prominent earthly status they have achieved, are little different from us: fallible human beings, trying (and often succeeding) in doing good things, but also subject to the same temptations and failures we all experience along our earthly journey. This does not undo their good works, nor necessarily discredit their inspiring example or leadership.

It does remind us, however, of the folly of attributing divine-like qualities to even the most seemingly admirable human beings. As the Psalm tells us, salvation—the ultimate and only transcendent purpose of our life on earth—comes from God, and God alone. Even religious leaders, as we have been reminded with devastating consequences in recent decades, can fall short of their sacred calling as shepherds of souls. Indeed, as my mother used to observe—even prior to revelations of the terrible clergy sexual abuse scandal—our priests, precisely because of their special closeness to Christ, are subject to greater temptations to evil, and need our prayers and, when they succumb to temptation, our forgiveness.

Of course, as events over the 20th and early 21st centuries have demonstrated with horrifying clarity, this compulsion to entrust our world to “the sons of men” can also empower truly malevolent forces who, in the name of creating an earthly utopia, perpetrate unspeakable evils.

Shortly before encountering this Psalm verse in the July 28 daily readings, I had read a powerful apocalyptic Catholic novel, “Lord of the World,” given to me by a good friend and former colleague from my days in our diocesan Office of Family Ministry.

“I advise you to read it,” Pope Francis has said of this book—with good reason. Written and originally published in 1907 by English Catholic priest and convert Robert Hugh Benson—whose father had been the Archbishop of Canterbury, primate of the Anglican Church—it is remarkably prescient—prophetic, actually—in its vision of the world 100 years hence, at the start of the 21st century.

What Benson describes—without using the term—is a secular humanism that has taken control of the world, in which divine power is not denied, it is transferred to humanity. A transcendent God does not exist, but humankind, on our own—led by one supreme figure, human himself yet all-knowing and all powerful—achieves the earthly nirvana that is its true destiny.

This human divinity will bring about “peace” through violence, “freedom” through subjugation, and an end to human suffering through destroying the victims, rather than the causes, of that suffering.

We saw this approach tried—and failed—throughout the 20th century, as atheistic, totalitarian ideologues seized power, imprisoned, tortured, and slaughtered millions in their efforts to achieve what they envisioned as the perfection of humanity. And we see it today, in continued totalitarian threats, but more so among the cultural elites throughout the western world who relentlessly attack religion as they strive to elevate flawed humanity to the realm of the divine from which they have expunged Almighty God.

Rejecting this, however, does not mean denying our proper role—and responsibility—to help build a better world. Pope St. John Paul II showed us how: with a Christian humanism that, rather than trying to displace God, cooperates in His plan for humanity, using the individual gifts He has bestowed on us, and guided by the natural law he has imprinted on every human heart.

So that is what this Psalm verse says to me: that we are called as human beings to work together, and to support others working to improve the human condition; but that we do so placing our trust in God, and working in cooperation with His plan—not denying His divine reality while placing our trust in powerful earthly princes whose plans, absent God’s guidance, will surely perish.

As Clint Eastwood might put it, “Man has got to know his limitations.”

Mike Long, R.I.P.

Tributes poured forth, and deservedly so, following the death last week of Michael R. Long, a giant of conservative politics in New York and across the nation.

I wouldn’t even attempt to match the depth or eloquence of those remembrances, from loving family and friends, colleagues and allies in the political arena, leaders of his Catholic Church. I would instead commend to readers such particularly moving commentary as that in Newsmax by John Gizzi, the venerable chronicler of conservative politics, and in the New York Post by George Marlin, Mike’s longtime friend who, among his own many contributions, authored a history of the New York Conservative Party that Mike Long chaired for more than 30 years.

But as one who was also blessed to call him a friend—and whose blog posts he received in recent years, on occasion emailing back a comment or two—I would be remiss if I did not use this blog to offer a brief, humble reflection on the Mike Long I knew.

He was, in short, my kind of conservative: first and foremost a man of faith and family, fervently devoted to his Catholic Church and committed, beyond all else, to his wife Eileen and their nine children. A Marine, he was a deeply patriotic American. He was driven by a tremendous work ethic that enabled him and his brother Tom to be successful small shopkeepers—among the many ways he found to serve the Brooklyn community he loved.

It was these bedrock values—faith and family, country and community, freedom and personal responsibility—that led Mike into conservative politics. He was a doer, not an abstract thinker. When he saw these values under attack, he believed them worth promoting and defending, and he got busy doing so.

Speaking with Newsday, Gerard Kassar, for years Mike’s strong right hand and his very able successor as state Conservative Party chairman, said it best:

“He was an extraordinary man because he was such an ordinary man.”

As such, he related to so many other ordinary men and women, myself included, who shared his commitment to those bedrock values and supported his efforts to uphold them. It touched my heart to reflect that this great defender of the unborn had lived just long enough to see Roe v. Wade overturned—and greeted the news, I am told, with a radiant smile.

In one sense, it seems nothing special to say Mike Long was a friend of mine, because he was a friend to countless people, in virtually every walk of life. It seemed that for Mike, to know you was to be your friend—unless you were the kind to reject his friendship over political differences. Those who did were the poorer for it.

Yet in the truest sense, it was a very special honor to have Mike Long consider you a friend. And not because he counted among his friends presidents, senators, governors, princes of the Church; but rather, because of his character, his unimpeachable integrity, and the genuineness of his friendship no matter your stature or standing in the world. It was an honor to have Mike Long as a friend not because of who he knew, but because of who he was.

Mike’s integrity, and authenticity, are rare traits in the political world. I remember once, after I had pretty much left political activism to pursue a career in Catholic communications, I attended a local political dinner. Observing all the interactions, I remarked to a friend that I had almost forgotten how pretentious these gatherings were. Ostentatiously friendly greetings invariably had little to do with real friendship, but were instead calculated efforts to curry favor with influential people who might help advance one’s personal ambitions.

Mike Long was different. Indeed, even that night, when he came over to say hello, my friend— who as co-author of a weekly newspaper column had recently been critical of Mike and the state party leadership—felt rather awkward when I introduced them to each other. But Mike immediately defused any tension with a warm handshake, as he told my friend, “You write a nice column—most of the time.” He said it not with sarcasm or rancor, but with sincerity, and a friendly smile.

“His concern for people showed…in everything he did,” John Gizzi quoted Brooklyn Bishop Emeritus Nicholas DiMarzio.

“Not only were his nine children fortunate to have him as a father,” his son Chris told the New York Post, “there were countless other people whose lives he positively impacted.” 

The world, Jerry Kassar commented to Gizzi, is “a better place because of the life he lived.”

Even as we pray for the repose of Mike Long’s soul, we are filled with faith that he has heard those cherished words we all should aspire to hear from our heavenly Father:

“Well done, good and faithful servant.”   

Mass Shootings and the Power of Evil

A racist shooting massacre in Buffalo last May. The horrible slaughter of little schoolchildren in Uvalde, Texas in June. July opening with the mass shooting of holiday parade-goers in Highland Park, Illinois.

Each time, we grope for answers, solutions, interventions that will end this madness.

There are the immediate panaceas: tougher gun control, harsher punishments. Congress responded to Uvalde with some bi-partisan gun restrictions, though many consider them still woefully inadequate. Prosecutors in Florida are seeking the death penalty for the Parkland school shooter, while federal terrorism charges make the Buffalo shooter also potentially subject to capital punishment.

But given that many of these shooters take their own lives, and all of them risk being killed immediately by responding law enforcement, it hardly seems likely they will be deterred by the prospect of execution years later.

Gun restrictions are more complex. While I am not a gun enthusiast, I do support the right to bear arms—for hunting, target or other sport shooting, and, yes, for protection of oneself, one’s family, one’s livelihood.

At the same time, I believe we can have sensible restrictions of gun ownership, related to things like mental illness or instability, criminal records or threatening behavior, age requirements. And I am increasingly sympathetic to more limits on possession of rapid-fire assault weapons, useless for hunting and sport shooting, unnecessary for self-protection, and tailor-made for these kinds of atrocities.

But what about the much deeper questions? What has gone so wrong in the lives of men and boys so young, that brings them to such depraved acts of evil?

Some factors seem to recur over and over again—chief among them, a deep and terrible isolation that leaves some youth prey to the power of incomprehensible evil that we Catholics know as Satan.

But what causes such isolation?

Mental illness is of course a factor. It can be internal in nature, related to brain injuries, chemical imbalances, etc. But it can also be caused, or exacerbated, by external forces: family dysfunction; horrific, sustained abuse by peers; substance dependencies; or, increasingly in these times, descent into the cyberworld, with all its depraved rantings heightening a disturbed person’s isolation, paranoia, hatreds, and inclinations to violence. That certainly seems to have fed into, or quite possibly created, the racist motivations of the Buffalo shooter.

Reports indicate that the Uvalde shooter’s mother suffered from a long history of drug abuse; that he may have been sexually abused as a young boy by the mother’s boyfriend; that he had a speech impediment that caused him to be cruelly bullied in school.

That doesn’t justify, of course, and doesn’t even rationally explain his massacre of innocent little schoolchildren who had nothing to do with his mistreatment. But it does illustrate how a vulnerable child, abused and tormented both at home and in school, can gradually turn into a deeply isolated, angry and violent young man; the kind who, as columnist Stanley Crouch wrote more than 20 years ago, “lose all sense of moral regard for the humanity of others because they seem to have been shown none themselves.”

Details keep emerging about the apparently dysfunctional family the Highland Park shooter grew up in. This can itself cause mental instability, and certainly militates against the family support a young person coping with such instability needs. Back in 1998, writing about a rash of school shootings, I noted that in Arkansas, one of the shooters had been devastated by his parents’ recent divorce, and his resulting separation from his father. The pain experienced by children from family break-up is constantly minimized by a society rationalizing easy divorce. But it is very real, and can be very dangerous to a child’s mental and emotional health.

What of the effect of mind-altering drugs? New York Post columnist Miranda Devine reports that the Highland Park shooter “habitually smoked cannabis, a habit he appeared to share with other young shooters, including in Uvalde, Dayton, Parkland and Aurora.” She cites a New York Times report on the heightened potency of cannabis products, and “scientific literature,” including from Lancet medical journal and the American Medical Association, “which increasingly shows that cannabis triggers psychosis.”  

No, marijuana use alone does not cause mass murder. But it can apparently be a contributing factor in further debilitating troubled young minds, helping push those so afflicted into ever deeper isolation and rage. Yet, while we rightly strive to find ways to deny such troubled young men access to guns, we are rushing headlong to legalize highly potent “recreational” marijuana, with little apparent concern for its dangerous effect on still-developing young brains.

Ultimately, we all have free will, and the shooters are responsible for the death, pain, and suffering they cause; for terrorizing and murdering even little children; for taking family members from one another, and leaving survivors to deal with a lifetime of trauma.

But evil is a very powerful force. When it can utilize serious medical, psychological, social and cultural pathologies to totally isolate a weak, tormented individual, it can induce human acts of incalculable evil.

If we are to prevent them, we are going to have to confront those pathologies.

Meanwhile, as we grieve and pray for all the victims and their loved ones, as Catholic Christians we should try–as difficult as this is–to also offer a prayer for the terribly tormented young souls driven to commit these atrocities.

On Scripture: ‘In the Womb I Knew You’

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I dedicated you.”

“For you are my hope, O Lord;
my trust, O God, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
from my mother’s womb you are my strength.”

“Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

As I read these words, and put them together from each of Wednesday’s Scripture passages, I thought of some comments from Archbishop Joseph Naumann, former chairman of pro-life activities for the U.S. Bishops.

Archbishop Naumann was lamenting how, in the pro-abortion media’s hysteria against the overturning of Roe v. Wade, there is virtually no mention of the child in the womb. It is as though this human entity does not exist—when in fact, of course, it is precisely the existence of this living child that makes abortion such a seething controversy.

“It’s no surprise,” the archbishop said recently in response to a question from Christine Persichette, anchor for the nightly Currents News program produced by DeSales Media for the Brooklyn Diocese. “It has been that way for 50 years,” with media, politicians, and the abortion lobby framing this as solely a “women’s rights” issue, with complete disregard for the other life involved.

Of course, thanks to modern technology’s development of ultrasound imaging, unborn children today bear powerful witness to their own existence, seeming to cry out, “Here I am! Do not deny me.”

But for people of faith, it is Wednesday’s Scripture readings that cry out.

Through Jeremiah, God proclaims that He has a purpose for every human life from the first moment He wills us into existence: 

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I dedicated you.”

Then Psalm 71 gives voice to the child in utero, affirming that he or she is immersed in God’s infinite love, and surrounded by His divine protection:  

“On you I depend from birth;
from my mother’s womb you are my strength.”

And finally, in the last words of Wednesday’s Gospel from Matthew, Jesus instructs us not to turn away from those who give voice to the Word of God, be they His prophets or His beloved  children:

“Whoever has ears,” Jesus tells us, “ought to hear.”

And today, regarding the beautiful reality of God’s precious, pre-born children, whoever has eyes, ought to see.

Please, share YOUR thoughts on these powerful Scripture readings.

The Parable of the Good Samaritan  

I’ve wanted for some time to start a Scripture discussion series on this site, hopefully each week choosing one reading that we can exchange reflections about. Yesterday’s Gospel, with Jesus’ parable about the Good Samaritan, seems an excellent one to start with, as it is familiar to all of us and speaks very powerfully to me personally.

As I’ve written before, many of us tend to get caught up in the “macro” world, focusing on major national or international “causes” about which it seems we as individuals can do little. Of course, as the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade, after almost 50 years, attests, individuals, when we band together to work, pray, and persevere, can have an impact on major issues affecting millions of lives.

But sometimes, in our ambition to “change the world,” we lose sight of the day-to-day opportunities—and obligations—we have to give loving care and service to individuals right in our own midst. Do we respond to the lonely neighbor who needs companionship, the family member with a disability who needs our accompaniment on their difficult life journey, the local family who have fallen on hard economic times, the parishioner who needs support as caregiver to a terminally ill loved one—or, as the Good Samaritan did, the suffering victim of a violent crime whom we encounter on the street?

In these and myriad other situations that we all encounter in our daily lives, we are presented with opportunities to make an immediate difference in the lives of individual people who need our help, and our love.

The late Catholic columnist Bill Reel, whom I was blessed to know as a friend, once wrote about social and political activists who “love humanity, they’re just not too crazy about human beings.” As one whose career has focused a lot on public policy issues from a Catholic perspective, this has always been a particular challenge for me.

Fortunately, I have been surrounded by so many people in my life whose loving outreach to others constantly reminds me that love for humanity must begin with loving care and concern for individual people in difficult circumstances whom God brings into our lives. I see this every day in my wife Eileen and those of her siblings who live near us. It seems second nature for them to reach out in kindness to suffering people they encounter in our community. I see it in my own now-adult children, all three of whom have shown that same loving kindness to hurting people they encounter.

And this is what the parable of the Good Samaritan says to me: that if we really want to “change the world,” we must start by helping to change and improve the lives of the people right around us—in our families, communities, churches, workplaces—who want and need our loving care and kindness.

How about some feedback? What does this parable say to you?

Post-Roe, Pro-Life Work Goes On

The decision came Friday morning.

Shortly after, my daughter Clare texted that she and some Young America’s Foundation colleagues were heading to the Supreme Court to counter the pro-abortion protesters already there.

My son Joe texted from Wisconsin, hailing the decision and noting that it was issued on the feast of the Sacred Heart.

Meanwhile, I was on a golf course outside Richmond with an old college buddy, blissfully unaware that the event I had been praying, working, and advocating for over the course of almost 50 years had finally come to pass.

Only when I finally checked my phone messages late that afternoon did I learn the Supreme Court had overturned Roe v. Wade, striking down the unfounded “constitutional right” to abortion that ruling had created out of whole cloth in 1973. It was my children, now adults active themselves in defending life, who alerted me to the momentous news.

And that is fitting. For as another old friend, from our own pro-life youth days more than 40 years ago, texted, “the bigger battle”—actually securing full legal protection for the lives of unborn children—will probably “go on long after we have left this earth.”

There is far more to say about this than can be covered in one post. I plan to address various aspects of this ruling and its aftermath in an ongoing series of shorter articles—interspersed with commentary on other compelling matters that I’ve been putting off amid all the breaking developments around this foundational issue of life and justice.

For now, let me offer some personal reflections.

Driving back from Richmond to my daughter’s home in northeastern Virginia, I found myself thinking about all the people, across the last half-century, who have personally touched my life and inspired me through our mutual involvement in the pro-life movement. For they are representative of a broad cross-section of millions, across America and across generations, from every walk of life, who have sacrificed much while often enduring vicious vilification and overcoming setback after setback, to finally achieve this first major step on the road to justice for the unborn.

Some were and are skilled professionals—doctors and nurses, lawyers, elected officials, clergy, academics, sports and entertainment stars—many who took great personal risks to stand against the pro-abortion zeitgeist dominant in their professional circles.

But mostly they have been grass roots Americans, ordinary people doing extraordinary things—and making extraordinary sacrifices—to defend other human lives, with nothing to be gained for themselves.

And yet for me, involvement with them has gained much, giving my life a purpose and direction that I know now was God’s intent when He first called me to join this great cause. Everything that has subsequently happened in my life—my successful academic pursuits; every step in a career primarily involving service to the Church in various capacities; my family—my wife Eileen and I having first met (where else) on a picket line outside one of Bill Baird’s abortion mills—has, I am convinced, flowed from the things I learned, the experiences I gained, and the people I have encountered in the pro-life movement.

Many of those I knew from the earliest years are gone now. But it is largely because they stood up, stayed strong, and kept the faith, that each succeeding generation has been inspired to continue their work; so that today’s youthful, self-proclaimed “pro-life generation” is ready to carry this great cause forward, and in their turn inspire future generations to do so as well.

I fear we are heading into very dangerous times. Physically, we’re already there. Since the decision was leaked weeks ago, pro-life offices and pregnancy service centers are being firebombed, pro-lifers set upon by pro-abortion mobs, Catholic churches vandalized, the Supreme Court justices doxxed, their homes targeted for protests, Justice Kavanaugh for assassination.

“We expect violence could occur for weeks,” the Department of Homeland Security predicted Friday, as some building owners in Washington D.C. boarded up their windows. Lawless Portland is at it again, with “black-clad marchers…smashing windows and scrawling graffiti on downtown businesses” Saturday night.

Here in New York, former mayor Rudy Giuliani was assaulted by a man shouting profanity-laced pro-abortion rants—apparently unaware of the Catholic Giuliani’s consistent pro-abortion record.

There is also the danger that the powerful forces arrayed against us—in government, media, academia, the entertainment world—will find creative ways to block pro-life laws, harass pro-life pregnancy centers, persecute pro-life activists, and intensify their decades-long misinformation campaign to mislead people about the reality of life in the womb, the brutality of abortion, and the true natures of the pro-life movement and the abortion industry.

We must not be complacent. As Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse emphasized, “Roe’s days are over, but the pro-life movement’s work has just begun.” We must intensify our education, lobbying and political action efforts; our loving support services for women and children; our public witness; and especially, our prayers.

We must, as Martin Luther King exhorted the civil rights movement, “meet physical force with soul force,” eschewing violence even in the face of violence directed against us.

But forceful we must be—albeit peacefully so. That, with rare exceptions, has been the hallmark of the pro-life movement since its beginnings. We see now, despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles, that that approach—untiring effort and prayer joined to a steely resolve and Christ-like love for even hate-filled opponents—can achieve our pro-life goals.

Let us honor and emulate our early pro-life forebears by continuing the firm, peaceful approach through which they, and we, have finally reached this historic pro-life moment.

Lee Zeldin – Pro-Life – for Governor

As I’ve indicated previously, while the purpose of this blog is not to advance partisan politics, there will be times when the importance of a critical election, or the quality of a candidate, prompts me to make a recommendation.  

Such is the case with New York’s gubernatorial election, and its critical pro-life implications with the Supreme Court apparently poised to overturn Roe v. Wade and return the abortion issue to the jurisdiction of state governments.

New York’s gubernatorial primary is next Tuesday, June 28. Early voting has already commenced. And so I take this opportunity to share with you a letter I have co-signed, along with several other Long Island pro-life leaders, endorsing stalwart pro-life Congressman Lee Zeldin for the Republican nomination for Governor of New York.  

PRO-LIFE SPECIAL PROJECTS COMMITTEE

                                                                                                          June 2022

Dear Pro-Life Friend,

With the U.S. Supreme Court apparently poised to finally overturn Roe v. Wade, New York’s powerful abortion lobby—and its radical supporters in our state government—are moving frantically to solidify New York’s standing as the abortion capital of America.

Not satisfied with disgraced Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s extreme 2018 law allowing abortion up until birth, Gov. Kathy Hochul is now promising to pour $35 million in state funds—our tax dollars—into promoting abortions and supporting the state’s already lucrative abortion industry. Moreover, she and the radical pro-abortion Democrats who control the state legislature are targeting pro-life pregnancy centers—and their loving services to mothers and children—for extinction because they do not refer for abortions. In the name of “choice,” they want to ensure that abortion is the only choice available to women in crisis.

All this makes this year’s gubernatorial election especially critical.

And fortunately, we have—for the first time—a real opportunity to elect a truly pro-life governor: Congressman Lee Zeldin.

Congressman Zeldin’s pro-life convictions are not driven by political calculation. They are deeply rooted in the profound personal experience of his twin daughters’ dangerously premature birth, their tenacious struggle to survive, and his decision, with his wife Diana, to reject advice that they “let her go,” when they were told one of the girls would be severely disabled if she survived.

Today, Lee and Diana’s daughters are both bright, beautiful, talented—and healthy—high school students; and Lee Zeldin is forthright in sharing this powerful personal testimony as the foundation of his unwavering commitment to the sanctity of human life.

  • As Governor Lee Zeldin will be a strong, principled voice for the protection of all vulnerable, innocent human lives: the unborn, the disabled, the elderly, the sick—as well as innocent victims of violent crime.
  • As Governor Lee Zeldin will fight to assure that pro-life New Yorkers are no longer forced to be complicit in abortions through our tax dollars.
  • As Governor Lee Zeldin will work with his pro-life state health commissioner to assure that pro-life pregnancy resource centers will be free from government harassment, and able to continue offering life-affirming alternatives to mothers who seek another choice besides abortion.
  • Lee Zeldin has been endorsed by the New York State Right to Life Committee.
  • Lee Zeldin has received 100% pro-life rating from the Long Island Coalition for Life.

Lee Zeldin will usher in a new era of pro-life leadership in New York State government. To do so, however, he first needs our votes to secure the Republican nomination.

Lee Zeldin has stood firmly for the pro-life cause during all his years in public life—in Albany as a state Senator, and in Washington as a member of Congress. We need Republican pro-life voters to stand with him now!!  Please vote for Lee Zeldin for Governor in the Republican primary!!!

Primary Day is Tuesday, June 28, with polls open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at your normal polling place. Early voting is underway now and will run through June 26.

For more information on the Zeldin campaign, early voting, and primary day voting, please call Bill Doyle at 631-574-0072 and/or email celtic77william9@gmail.com.

In Defense of Life

Rick Hinshaw, Former Respect Life Director, Diocese of Rockville Centre                  

Bill Doyle, Past NYS Right to Life PAC Director

Lorraine Gariboldi

Eileen Hinshaw                                                                                

Frank Gariboldi    

Speaker Pelosi’s Show Trial

Picture this: It’s early 2023, and Congressional Republicans, having regained majority control of the House of Representatives, announce the formation of a select committee to hold hearings on allegations that President Biden had some involvement in son Hunter’s shady business dealings.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, while objecting to the planned hearings, duly submits the names of Democratic House members she has appointed to serve on the committee.

But Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy vetoes several of those names—denying the right of the Democratic House leader to appoint the Democratic members of the committee!

Outraged at this violation of protocol, not to mention fair play, Pelosi pronounces the committee and hearings illegitimate, and refuses to appoint ANY Democrats to participate in them. McCarthy, the Republican leader, then takes it upon himself to appoint the Democratic representatives on the committee—two Democrats whom he knows to be critical of the Bidens’ financial maneuverings.

How do you think mainstream media would react?

I have little doubt they would see Pelosi’s outrage and raise it; echo her denunciation of the hearings as illegitimate; and give them short shrift in terms of news coverage.

And I believe all fair-minded Americans would agree with that judgement.

Yet the above scenario is exactly what has happened—in reverse—with regard to House hearings on the January 6, 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol by several hundred Trump partisans.

Speaker Pelosi, after announcing the formation of a select House committee to investigate the uprising, vetoed two of the Republicans named to the committee by Republican Minority Leader McCarthy—leading McCarthy to rightly label the committee and its hearings a partisan sham, and refuse to appoint any Republicans to participate. Democrat Pelosi countered by appointing two Republicans known to be harsh critics of Trump and his supporters: Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger.

And the mainstream media, having grown unabashedly partisan itself, barely batted an eye at Pelosi’s flagrantly partisan power-grab; fully embraced the totally one-sided hearings as legitimate; and excoriated anyone who disagreed.

This week, Pelosi and the Democrats—desperately casting about for something to slow the GOP’s perceived momentum heading into the mid-term elections—held public hearings on the Jan. 6 riot. And mainstream media were all in, with wall-to-wall coverage.

Hard to imagine such coverage of hearings into the Bidens’ financial dealings, should the Republicans retake the House and initiate such hearings. Even if those procedures are done legitimately, with both parties able to select their own participants, such hearings are virtually guaranteed to be downplayed by mainstream media outlets.

Now I write this as someone who has forcefully condemned the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol, and who would have welcomed legitimate, bi-partisan hearings designed to get to the bottom of what actually happened, who was actually responsible, and what can be done to prevent a recurrence. For some reason, Speaker Pelosi, supported by her party and mainstream media, did not want such bi-partisan hearings, and used (abused?) her powers to prevent them from happening. Why?

I also recognize that double standards are not the sole province of one political party or one point of view. Take, for example, both parties’ handling of Supreme Court nominations. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland ten months before a presidential election, then rushed to confirm President Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett just a month before a presidential election. Democratic Vice President Joe Biden supported confirmation of Garland in 2016, after he had called, as a U.S. Senator prior to the 1992 presidential election (when a Republican, George H.W. Bush, was president), for “not scheduling confirmation hearings” on any potential Supreme Court nominee “until after the political campaign season is over.”

Both parties engage in double standards, and both are fair game for criticism.

But Pelosi’s action seems a new and radical departure. For the leader of the majority party in Congress to presume to dictate to the minority party leader which of his duly elected members he may or may not appoint to a House committee seems like a stake through the heart of any hope for renewed bi-partisanship in Congressional deliberations.

Mainstream media doing their job as public watchdogs should be as one voice in denouncing this. Instead, they are in almost complete lockstep enabling it.

They have their own partisan double standards.

Roe, Alito, and Justice for the Unborn

Some thoughts on Justice Samuel Alito’s leaked Supreme Court draft regarding Roe v. Wade:

The leak itself: The prevailing belief, that it came from someone on the pro-abortion side hoping to spark a last-ditch uproar—exactly as has happened—seems likely. Reaction on both sides of the aisle—pro-life Republicans demanding an investigation, pro-abortion Democrats totally uninterested in finding out who was responsible—certainly seems to affirm that consensus.

Pro-abortion hysteria: Reaction was immediate, and unhinged, not only from abortion activists and the lucrative abortion industry, but from their ever-faithful media lapdogs and pro-abortion politicians. “An abomination—one of the worst, most damaging decisions in modern history,” wailed the habitually overwrought Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Abortion advocates doxxed Supreme Court justices and are now trying to intimidate them with demonstrations outside their homes. Catholic churches have been vandalized as pro-abortion forces resort to the anti-Catholic bigotry that has long been their trademark. In Wisconsin, a pro-life office was fire-bombed. In Boston, a pro-abortion protester was arrested for assaulting a pro-life speaker. In Los Angeles, pro-abortion demonstrators clashed with police. And if 2020’s violent Antifa-BLM rioting is prologue, we’re in for more of the same—absent, of course, any theatrical denunciations from Schumer or other pro-abortion pols and media.

President Biden: Trying to square his “devout” Catholicism with his political ambitions in a pro-abortion party, Joe Biden has been all over the map on this issue over the years. So it was no surprise that in condemning the Alito draft—but not it’s having been leaked—he uttered words that inadvertently buttressed the pro-life cause and undermined his own. He defended a woman’s right “to abort a child,” acknowledging that a child exists in the womb; and then he declared, “I have the rights that I have, not because the government gave them to me … but because I am just a child of God, I exist.” The pro-life case cannot be stated more succinctly than that.

Precedent: Pro-abortion voices are howling that a Court ruling from almost 50 years ago, and a subsequent ruling affirming it, make Roe untouchable. “They do not have the right to change this,” claimed Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA). She needs to become a little more familiar with the Constitution. Of course the Supreme Court can revisit prior decisions, and change or overturn those they deem egregiously wrong. Justice Alito cited a case in point: Plessy v. Ferguson, the 1896 “separate but equal” ruling upholding racial discrimination. That decision was in force longer than Roe has been; yet it was, thankfully, overturned by the Court in 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education.

What Alito’s draft would actually do: In fact, Roe was even more extreme than Plessy, and Alito’s draft falls well short of what Brown did in overturning Plessy. Plessy did not mandate discrimination against African Americans, it simply allowed states to discriminate if they so chose. Roe mandated that every state allow the indiscriminate killing of unborn children. Brown rightly concluded that no state could deny any person equal protection of the law based on race. Alito’s draft, on the other hand—much like Plessy—would still allow states to deny equal protection to the unborn, if they so choose. Yes, it would finally strike down Roe’s unfounded creation of a constitutional “right” to abortion. After almost 50 years, that is a major achievement, and a great step forward. But it is not, as many conservatives now assert, the end of the national government’s responsibility on this issue. Because at bottom, this is not about “states’ rights.” It is about the right to life, the most fundamental of natural rights on which all others are necessarily based. If that constitutional right, enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and codified in the 5th and 14th amendments, is to be upheld, we must ultimately—as one nation—follow the science, recognize the legal personhood of unborn children, and afford their lives the equal protection of our laws.

The politics: Pro-abortion Democrats and their media allies, desperate to stave off a projected huge Republican wave in the mid-term elections, are seizing on this as their chance to turn the tide. It won’t—unless Republicans run scared, as some often do on this issue. Americans are closely divided on abortion, and many support the kinds of state—and national—limits the Alito draft would allow, and pro-abortion Democrats oppose: bans on late-term abortions; protection for babies born alive following failed abortions; informed consent for women seeking abortions; parental notification before a minor can get an abortion; an end to being forced to pay for other people’s abortions with our tax dollars. Pro-life Republicans should stand their ground, support these popular restrictions and use them to illustrate the extremism of their pro-abortion opponents. They should also stand firmly in support of pro-life pregnancy resource centers, vigorously opposing pro-abortion efforts to drive those centers, and their loving care for women and children, out of existence—leaving abortion as the only choice for women in crisis.

Going forward: The pro-life movement, besides supporting all these life-affirming initiatives, must re-double our education efforts, using technology, science, and personal witness to tell the beautiful story of new human life growing in the womb—so that one day, please God, all Americans will stand together, to lovingly welcome and legally protect the lives of innocent unborn children. Only then will justice have prevailed.

“Oh Gosnell” Play Survives Censorship, Will Open Thursday Night

Following on my post last week about the Kermit Gosnell-type abortion atrocity in our nation’s capital, comes word about an off-Broadway play, Oh Gosnell, opening this Thursday night, May 5, after efforts to censor it.

The author, Phelim MacAleer, explains that “Oh Gosnell is a Verbatim Play using only the transcripts of the trial and Grand Jury.” It’s May 5 opening is intended to counter the opening the same night of JJ Abram’s and Ilana Glazer’s “abortion comedy,” Oh God, A Show About Abortion.

“They laugh about it – we tell the truth about it,” MacAleer says.

Theatre Row in Manhattan, where Oh Gosnell was scheduled to open, abruptly cancelled the play just two weeks before its scheduled opening. It will instead open at the Chain Studio Theater at 312 West 36th Street in Manhattan. For scheduled showings and to purchase tickets, click here.

The Thursday night opening will also feature a Q&A after the performance with narcotics detective Jim Wood, who will recount his experience helping bring down Dr. Kermit Gosnell after an informant told him about the death of an immigrant female patient at Gosnell’s clinic.

With the abortion debate raging across the nation in anticipation of the coming Supreme Court decision, and with courageous pro-lifers facing charges for trying to expose the Gosnell-type atrocity currently unfolding in D.C., it is essential that we spread the word about the true, horrific nature of what abortion does to women and children. This play can help to do that, but only if a good opening night turnout allows it to extend and expand its run.

If you’re in the New York area, please try to attend Thursday night’s opening.