A Party’s (Dis)Unity, a Party’s Priorities

Adapted from a post at Leaven for the Loaf.

The New Hampshire House has voted to kill a “right-to-work” bill. My Facebook and Twitter feeds are noisy with the cries of RTW advocates who are upset that SB 11 failed on the Republicans’ watch. Right-to-work is in the state GOP platform. Republican leadership in legislative and executive branches promoted the bill.  It failed anyway, by 23 votes.

*Yawn.*

No one who has seen pro-life bills fail in the New Hampshire House under Republican majorities can be shocked when “party unity” fails.

Many of this year’s House members were in office last year when the House voted 167-116 to kill a bill (HB 1627) to protect children born alive after attempted abortion. There was a Republican majority in place then, too, under the same Speaker who holds the position today.

One difference between this year and last: protecting children born alive after attempted abortion was not a leadership priority in 2016. Unlike with right-to-work, there was no press conference with the state Republican Party chairwoman calling on reps to pass HB 1627. Unlike with right-to-work, the Speaker didn’t hand over the gavel to another rep so he could go on record supporting HB 1627.

I happen to think right-to-work legislation is a good idea, and I’m sorry it lost in my home state this year. But surprised? Shocked?

Please. Without party unity on the fundamental right to life, party unity on anything else seems irrelevant.

I’m hanging on to what the state of New Hampshire insists on calling my “undeclared” voter registration. Any candidate who wants my vote knows how to earn it.

Pro-life women have been disinvited from a “Women’s March”

First published at Leaven for the Loaf.

 Telling pro-life women to shut up and go away is a waste of time. Some people who don’t get that are about to be enlightened.

The “Women’s March” on Washington has rejected participation by New Wave Feminists, who are pro-life. First, the organizers ignored NWF, then just a couple of days ago agreed to list them as a participating group in the Women’s March, then yanked the invitation today after press coverage ensued and Twitter hit the fan.

You have probably heard of this planned “Women’s March,” which will take place next Saturday, January 21 in Washington. I refuse to drop the quotation marks, or link to any official site for it, since now I know for sure what I’ve suspected all along: the organizers are under the thumb of leading abortion advocates who don’t think pro-life women count as women. The “Women’s March” is supposedly a way to declare resistance to President-elect Trump (hey, I’ve been on that train for awhile, girls; catch up).

Now we know that while Trump might be the excuse for the march, he’s not the reason.

There will be a local march in Concord the same day, by the way. Pro-lifers will be present with or without an invitation. More about that at the end of this post.

NWF sought admission to the “Women’s March” as – wait for it – pro-life women. There was no concealment of the group’s reason for being, which is to be pro-life. The “Women’s March” is supposed to be about unity and action, after all, according to its promo material. The short-lived decision to welcome NWF prompted some press coverage, particularly by The Atlantic. Rage ensued, and NWF was disinvited, presumably relegating pro-life women back to their ghetto.

“Women’s March,” you are messing with people who have long memories and vibrant associations with very active social media accounts.

Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa of NWF made a 28-second announcement on Facebook. Language alert (and I don’t blame her).

 

Destiny and NWF will be there anyway, “whether we are official partners or not.” Good.

The Life Matters Journal team feels the same way. That’s Aimee Murphy on the left in this Facebook video. “We will still be there with a great group of young feminists that stand for the rights of all human beings regardless of their circumstances….The reason that we are pro-life really hinges on an understanding of the equal dignity of human beings.”

Remember all this when you see what is bound to be massive coverage of the “Women’s March” on the 21st. Pro-life women were excluded by the organizers and are going to show up anyway.

I’m going to seek these women out at the March for Life in Washington on the 27th so I can thank them and encourage them in person.  They will be there.

Closer to home, the “Women’s March”-ette in Concord on the 21st has inspired a pro-life contingent that has been granted a permit to demonstrate on the sidewalk in front of the State House while the “Women’s March”-ette takes place on State House plaza. I have it on good authority that there was resistance on the part of the City of Concord to issuing the permit to the pro-lifers, but one was finally issued (I believe the word “attorney” entered the conversation at one point, but that’s secondhand information).

The permit, by the way, requires that the pro-lifers not impede pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk.  Abortion advocates demonstrated in Concord this weekend how that’s done.

On Martin Luther King Day, of all days, pro-life women have been told they’re unwelcome at a “Women’s March.” Let that sink in.

Fortunately, pro-life women don’t need anyone’s permission to do their thing.

Open Book, January 2017

The first week of each month brings #OpenBook, a blog linkup co-hosted by My Scribbler’s Heart and CatholicMom.com with a roundup of what participating bloggers have been reading lately.

Not long ago, I was in Boston for a program on Catholic education. Among the speakers was Paul Elie of Georgetown University, of whom I hadn’t heard until that day. As authors are wont to do, he brought a pile of his books for sale and signing, and I’m glad I took the time to visit his table. I picked up a gem, in the form of his book The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage.

The Life You Save is a work of spiritual biography, weaving together the lives and vocations of Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, Walker Percy, and Flannery O’Connor. All were Catholic writers, although “writer” was not necessarily the principal earthly vocation. No two of them became and remained Catholic via the same path. As Elie writes in the Prologue,

It is in their lives and their work together that their influence is found, and that this telling of their story is meant to explore. Today, as when they were alive, they are representative figures, whose struggles with belief and unbelief are vivid and recognizable. At the same time, as they venture forth together, their story suggests a series of different ways of pilgrimage, with the episodes highlighting patterns that the yearning for religious experience can take, in their time and in ours.

I’m taking my time with The Life You Save. I find myself re-reading passages two or three times, and then reflecting for awhile before reading on.

I was surprised to see that the book was published in 2003. How did I not come across it until now?


During the recent holiday break I treated myself to a much more casual read-it-in-two-sittings novel: Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham. Pure fun.

Graham was one of the Gilmore Girls, a series my daughter and I know line-by-line (including last November’s Netflix sequel). Her name caught my eye in a recent book review of her new memoir. The reviewer mentioned Graham’s earlier novel. Novel? What novel? I went straight for the library shelves and found Someday, Someday, Maybe.

It’s the story of an actress-in-training, or rather in-hoping, trying to break into the business in New York City. She sets herself a six-month deadline to Make It, after which she’s resigned to returning to her home town. The journey as mapped by Graham is hilarious and touching and hopeful.

Civics in 2017

Originally published on Da Tech Guy Blog.

Evan McMullin’s independent never-Trump-never-Hillary presidential campaign earned him 700,000 votes along with footnote status in future accounts of the 2016 presidential election. One bewildered supporter tweeted to him afterward, basically asking “what now?” McMullin responded on December 4 with a series of tweets that add up to two things: he’s still not a Trump fan, and he is a great believer in the power of civics.

The president-elect and McMullin seem to have no use for each other. A few of McMullin’s tweeted recommendations, though, apply to every voter vis-a-vis every elected official. They’re about civics and about being a citizen instead of a client. I doubt President-elect Trump would take issue with these three, for example.

  • “Read and learn the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Know that our basic rights are inalienable.”
  • “Identify and follow many credible sources of news. Be very well informed and learn to discern truth from untruth.”
  • “Support journalists, artists, academics, clergy and others who speak truth and who inform.”

McMullin also advised “Hold members of Congress accountable…” I’m partial to that one, coming as I do from a state that just sent a pro-abortion all-Dem delegation to Washington (while electing GOP majorities in our State House; go figure).

Even where McMullin’s December 4 tweets took Trump to task by name, they were grounded in civics: watch every word, decision and action of this Administration….Write, speak, and act when we observe violations of our rights and democracy. 

Call me old-fashioned, but as far as I’m concerned, that’s all essential no matter who’s in the White House or the State House or even the town hall. Maybe the prospect of Donald Trump’s presidency is prompting people to take a fresh look at the things they ought to be doing anyway.

Open Book, December 2016

The first Wednesday of each month brings #OpenBook, a blog linkup co-hosted by My Scribbler’s Heart and CatholicMom.com with a roundup of what participating bloggers have been reading lately. 

The recent feast of St. Edmund Campion prompted me to pick up Evelyn Waugh’s Campion biography for the first time in many years. I raved about the book in a post a few days ago. 

I’m wrapping up Edmund Morris’s Theodore Roosevelt trilogy with Colonel RooseveltI’ve enjoyed the entire biography. Given Roosevelt’s broad interests, a book about him must cover history and geography as well as politics. Morris wove all the threads together beautifully.

Purchased for my Kindle but unopened as yet: Eric Metaxas’s  Women. I’ve read only a few pieces from Flannery O’Connor’s Mystery and Manners, and I look forward to reading more. I’ve just purchased an e-book version of an old favorite, Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men, and I’ll be glad to immerse myself in that story once again soon.

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Waugh on Campion

Today is the feast of St. Edmund Campion, Jesuit priest and English Elizabethan martyr. His story was told in 1935 by Evelyn Waugh, better known for his fiction, chief of which in my estimation is Brideshead Revisited.  Waugh wrote in the Preface to Saint Edmund Campion that he was not attempting a scholar’s approach to his subject.

All I have sought to do is to select incidents which strike a novelist as important and to put them into a narrative which I hope may prove readable. The facts are not in dispute so I have left the text unencumbered by notes or bibliography. It should  be read as a simple, perfectly true story of heroism and holiness.

I’m marking the saint’s feast by re-reading Waugh’s book about him. When we think of English Catholic martyrs nowadays, I think most thoughts turn to St. Thomas More – a man worth remembering, to be sure. Campion more than holds in own in such company. His apologia to the Queen’s Privy Council as he was undergoing persecution is provided by Waugh as a final chapter, too important to be designated an appendix. These are Campion’s own words, written as he knew his execution by the anti-Catholic government was a foregone conclusion:

And touching our Societie, be it known to you that we have made a league – all the Jesuits in the world, whose succession and multitude must overreach all the practices of England – cheerfully to carry the cross you shall lay, and never to despair your recovery, while we have a man left to enjoy your Tyburn, or to be racked with your torments, or consumed with your prisons. The expense is reckoned, the enterprise is begun; it is of God, it cannot be withstood. So the Faith was planted; so it must be restored.

…I have no more to say but to recommend your case and mine to Almightie God, the Searcher of Hearts, who send us His grace, and set us at accord before the day of payment, to the end we may at last be friends in Heaven, when all injuries shall be forgotten.

My edition of Saint Edmund Campion is a reprint from Sophia Institute Press from about twenty years ago; I’m sorry that the book is no longer listed in the publisher’s online catalog. Amazon.com steps into the breach with at least two editions.

Writing in the mid-1930s, Waugh in his Preface to Campion wrote presciently about how the sixteenth-century martyr would speak to us in our own day.

We have seen the Church driven underground in one country after another. The martyrdom of Father [now Blessed] Pro in Mexico re-enacted Campion’s. In fragments and whispers we get news of other saints in the prison camps of eastern and southeastern Europe, of cruelty and degradation more frightful than anything in Tudor England and of the same pure light shining in the darkness, uncomprehended. The hunted, trapped, murdered priest is amongst us again, and the voice of Campion comes to us across the centuries as though he were walking at our side.

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