Saturday, August 7, 2010

Trifecta Wants You This Election Season! Get Involved, Let's Win This Election!

ARRA News Service - As identified at the end of this video: All Politics are personal! Do you really want to really restore this Republic? We need you make some small sacrifice to make a difference so we all can be in the winner circle! Contact your local Republican party or a candidate that you like. Get involved, make a few phone calls, visit a few people, kick in $5 or whatever to their campaign, lets get others out to vote, so we can all meet in the winners circle.
Pajamasmedia: You don't win elections by watching Glenn Beck. You've got to do the hard work - walk precincts, talk with neighbors and lick envelopes. Scott Ott, Stephen Green and Bill Whittle tell you what it will it take to deliver a Republican majority in Congress on Election Day. The midterm elections, Obama and the Tea Party Movement on this edition of Trifecta. [Video]

Tags: PVTV, video, 2010 Election, getting involved. making calls, canvassing for candidates, giving, voting, conservative, Republicans To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to SkierBrian's View. Thanks!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Your first carabiner - Gear Recommendations for new rock climbers #1

Recommendation for Your first carabiner: Petzl Attach at $12.95

My analysis criteria:
I think that your first carabiner should be locking and and it should be pear shaped or williams gate (great for munter if you ever drop your belay device). The wide opening makes it easy to clip into, and these babies are strong. After that I wanted to compare price to strength and weight.

I compared a PETZL SL william to a PETZL attach carabiner using EMS website ( comparison tool:

The PETZL attach is 0.5 oz lighter (good), a $1 cheaper (good), but holds 23kN vs. 25kN across the major access (closed). The Petzl attach also uses anionized gold, which helps you to easily inspect for wear and tear.

I recommend the Petzl attach over the PETZL SL william for your first caribiner for the following reasons:
The cheaper price and lower weight are better advantages to a beginner. It is very unlikely that this gear will ever be used near it's maximum strength. Beginning climbers are generally using this carbiner for belaying topropers. Since it is their first device ever, it will be good several years later to be able to see if/where the anionized gold is worn off, and to help with inspection.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Nation Debt Hits $13 Trillion

America’s National Debt Hits Record High As Private Income Shrinks And Government Benefits Balloon

“The U.S. National Debt Hit $13 Trillion Today, A Stratospheric Number With Looming Implications For Every Citizen.” (“National Debt Clock — Tracking the Red,” Fox News, 5/26/10)  . . .  [Read More at ARRA News Service]

Tags: Washington, D.C., US Senate, US House, US Congress, National Debt, trillions

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Big Up productions post Awesome indoor climbing video

Big up productions published:
This is a great video on indoor climbing. It is filmed exclusively at Central Rock Gym (which is my gym of choice). If you wonder if gym climbing is cool, then you have not watched this video:

AMC Worcester held first outdoor Tuesday night of 2010

AMC Worcester MA had their first outdoor Tuesday night of the year. It was a great time and we had some new faces there. Lots of good climbing and fun was had by all. On a personal note, I Redpointed led Intertwine (5.8) which was a significant accomplishment on my to do list.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Your Taxes: Their Spending - Prepare for the Largest Tax Increases in History

Tomorrow is Tax Day, Earth Day and thank goodness for those opposed to all these taxes: a self-proclaimed TEA Party Day. The Obama Administration's spending in the past year has been unprecedented and Tax Day won't come and go quietly. In just over a year, Democrats in Washington have proposed trillions of dollars in new taxes on American Families -- and passed hundreds of billions in new taxes to pay for their government takeover of our health care. These new taxes affect you and your family -- every day.

Tags: increase taxes, Democrats, Washington. D. C., increased Federal spending, Tax Day
Posted from the ARRA News Service.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Reflecting On "Good Friday": The Purpose of the Passion

A shout out to the Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council staff and thank you for the following post:

The Purpose of the Passion can be summed up as -- a second chance! The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ provides a second chance for mankind to walk in relationship with the God who created them. The Scriptures make clear that through Adam sin entered the world, but through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ there is justification for every man, woman, boy and girl--if they only place their trust in Him.

The passion of Christ provides a second chance for each of us to be right with God by being forgiven of everything and anything we have ever done. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ gives you and me the ability to live life to its fullest because we can be free of guilt and be guided by a purpose that eclipses all that the world has to offer.

Mel Gibson, in his movie The Passion, captures both the need and the power of the second chance available to us through Christ. Jesus is praying in Gethsemane when the guards of the high priest arrive to arrest Him. The guards approach and ask for Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus identifies Himself and Judas comes up to Him and kisses Him, saying "Hail, Rabbi." Jesus asks Judas why he is betraying "the Son of Man with a kiss?" Judas is stunned and steps back.

The guards move in to arrest Jesus. Suddenly, Peter explodes into action, attacking the guards. Ultimately, Peter pulls out a sword and cuts off the ear of one of the guards. Peter is eventually subdued, and Jesus tells him to drop his sword, saying, "Those who live by the sword die by the sword." Then Jesus reaches down, picks up the guard's severed ear, and looking into the guard's eyes, heals him.

Jesus stands up, and the remaining guards move in and arrest Him -- striking Him and handling Him roughly. They shove Him along the road and begin to leave. The healed guard is still on his knees, unmoving. His fellow guards tell him to get up and come along, but he cannot. The guard can no longer participate in anything that brings harm to the Christ.

He was left in the garden of Gethsemane to marvel at what the Savior had done for him. In the film, Peter, left behind, then comes face to face with the guard after Jesus healed his ear and touched his life. This is especially poignant, as within hours Peter would need that same forgiving touch of Jesus and a second chance.

This is the same Peter who had walked with Jesus (Matt 4:18-20). This is the same Peter who boldly declared that Jesus was the Son of God (Matt 16:13-17). This was the same Peter who committed to follow Jesus to the death (Matt 26:35). Despite all of this, Peter denied even knowing Jesus, not once, but three times (Matt 26:75). Was this the end for Peter? Was Peter beyond the forgiveness of Jesus Christ? Not at all! Following the resurrection, Jesus gave Peter a second chance (John 21:15-17).

The Purpose of the Passion is to give each of us a second chance. Whether you're like the guard who came face to face with Jesus for the first time or whether you're like Peter who had walked with Jesus in the past, declared who He is to others and even committed his life to Him, if something is separating you from the abundant life Jesus has obtained for you--a second chance awaits you. That's the Purpose of the Passion.

Tags: Good Friday, The Passion, Jesus Christ, Family Research Council, Christians
To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Under the Health Care Bill

Americans United for Life has put together a flow chart of the ways that Taxpayer Fund Abortion Under the Senate Health Care Bill which was just signed into law. Rep. Randy Neughbauer (R-TX)was correct in calling the health care bill a "baby killer." Below is a screen shot of the chart:

Tags: abortions, taxpayers, tax funded, Americans United for Life, government health care, culture of death
To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Cross-posted from the ARRA News Service.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Health Care Vote Set to Expose the Myth of the 'Pro-Life Democrat'
Phyllis Schlafly, president and founder of the conservative grassroots public policy organization Eagle Forum, made the following remarks after the public announcement that formerly pro-life Democrat Bart Stupak (D-MI) will cast a "yes" vote for the Senate health care bill today in the House.
Phyllis Schlafly: It is naive for any elected official, especially one who describes himself as 'pro-life,' to expect that a promise to issue an Executive Order that reasserts the intentions of the Hyde Amendment will be fulfilled by the most pro-abortion president to ever sit in the White House. Perhaps Mr. Stupak and his fellow pro-life Democrats forget that President Obama's first Executive Order was the repeal of the Mexico City Policy to allow for international funding of abortion.

Not only would an Executive Order be rendered meaningless in the face of Congress passing legislation which actively provides for the massive expansion and funding of abortion services, but anyone who doubts the abortion tsunami which awaits this bill becoming law lives in a fantasy world.

Barack Obama has lined every existing federal agency with the most dedicated pro-abortion ideologues, and we know that he will continue this pattern of pro-abortion appointments when it comes time for him to fill the over-100 bureaucracies created to administer his socialized health care program.

Any formerly pro-life Democrat who casts a 'Yes' vote for this Senate health care bill tonight will be forever remembered as being among the deciding votes which facilitated the largest expansion of abortion services since Roe v. Wade." "Mr. Stupak and his Democrat followers have now clarified that you cannot be pro-life and be a Democrat. If abortion was truly their biggest issue, they wouldn't willfully align themselves with the Party of Death.

This vote will expose the myth of the "pro-life Democrat." With this single vote, the Democratic Party will divide our nation into the Party of Death and the Party of Life, and future elections will never be the same.

Tags: Phyllis Schlafly, myth, pro-life, democrat, nationalized health care, abortion, Bart Stupak
To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Hat Tip  ARRA News Service.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pontiff Cleared of Reassigning Pedophile Priest

Brian Smith: I was disturbed by CNN's attempt link the pope to priest who had been convicted of abusing children. But, I found CNN's report lacking and insincere. So, I went in search of the truth, and I did not find it on CNN. You have to read between the lines in what CNN is telling you. Please consider these articles: Media Failed to Blame Pope in Sexual Abuse Cases and Pontiff Cleared of Reassigning Pedophile Priest

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Rep. Michele Bachmann Honoring the Pro-Life Movement

Rep. Michele Bachmann Honoring The Pro-Life Movement During Woman's History Month (3/11/2010)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Action: Contact the Landlords - Pending Planned Parenthood Tenant

H/T to JayG's great post: CONTACT THE LANDLORDS:
Help Stop the Abortion Feeder plant of Planned Parenthood in Fitchburg by sending a postcard to The landlords of 345-401 Main Street:

The message on the back of the post cards should say in large letters:
Say NO to Planned Parenthood!

You can optionally sign the postcards.  Addresses:
Bruce & Judi Richard
168 Harris Road
Ashburnham, MA 01430
Christopher Kacandes
10 Rock Brook Way
Boxford, MA 01920
Office phone # 781-858-7475 (Kacandes)

Nothing wrong with choosing to wait on having sex

The following is good editorial. Wish the author has listed his or her name on the editorial.
Nothing wrong with choosing to wait on having sex - Sentinel & Enterprise

Teens, adults: Sex ed needed

In response to the article in the Fitchburg Sentinel and Enterprise
Teens, adults: Sex ed needed, I submitted the following letter to the editor:
Thank you for your recent article on Sex Ed in FHS.

I support women’s health. After all, I love my wife and my daughters and I want them to be healthy. I wanted to thank you for your recent article on Sex Ed in FHS and respond to a few things in the article.

Abstinence based education is the best thing for the health of our teenagers. It is the best way to reduce teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. I believe there at it would take a miracle to get pregnant without engaging in sexual activity. Studies both here in the US ( and in Uganda ( show that abstinence based education is effective at reducing teenage pregnancy and STDs.

Sexual education that focuses on artificial means of birth control is an unhealthy message for our teenagers. It sends several messages. First, it’s okay to have sex, we expect you to, so go ahead and do it anyway. Saying that teens are going to have sex anyway so let’s teach them how to use a condom is like saying kids are going to play with guns anyway so let’s teach them how to play with them safely. In the end, someone gets hurt. Condoms are not 98% effective at preventing pregnancy like the box says. That is based on responsible adult couples under the careful scrutiny of scientists. It does not take into account the untrained teenagers in the heat of the moment. Condoms are not as effective at preventing STDs/AIDs. The pill does nothing to protect young people from STDs. How can you say that you support women’s health and then hand them the pill. Third, birth control based education sends the wrong message about fertility. It sends the message that there is something wrong with fertility and that it needs to be blocked, fixed, or medicated. In reality, fertility is a blessing, and so is the family. Healthy sex ed programs are based on the idea that sex should wait, and encourages teens to wait until they are ready for sex.

I support women’s health, and I support abstinence based education.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Please help protest Planned Parenthood in Fitchburg

Planned Parenthood is in the abortion business. Abortion is the intentional taking of a human life and it must be stopped. Please help picket Planned Parenthood's proposed move to Fitchburg. The effort is worthwhile. Picketing is also enjoyable. This may seem surprising, but much good is accomplished every day we picket. People's hearts are changed and our own capacity to love is strengthened. Please give it a try. You will be happy you did.

Weekdays 3:45 pm to 5:00 pm, Saturdays 12:00 Noon to 1:00 pm, Sunday is for rest.

391 Main Street, Fitchburg, Ma., the proposed site of Planned Parenthood, occupancy may be planned for March or April.

Fitchburg, MA: City Council Meeting 2/16/10

Citizen comments (FATV video) about two proposed zoning ordinances that would if passed result in Planned Parenthood not being allowed to open an office/operation in downtown Fitchburg, MA.

Note: the City Council opted not to take up the proposed ordinances based on advise of their legal council. Therefore, the public effort to keep a Planned parenthood business out of downtown Fitchburg continues.

Friday, February 26, 2010

We The People Open Video Letter to President Barack Obama

Patriot Americans will love this We The People Open Video Letter to President Barack Obama. Obama worshipers will try to silence it.

H/T ARRA News Service

Sunday, February 7, 2010

While There Is Lfe, There Is Hope

Streiff at RedState: Back in 2005 the pro-life movement took a hit when judge after judge decided that an incapacitated woman could be killed by dehydration. At the time, we on the pro-life side were lambasted as some kind of mindless Neoliths who were incapable of understanding even the simplest biological concepts while those in favor of this abomination patted themselves on their all too often white- and black-clothed backs and congratulated themselves on successfully squaring the circle of a previously unsolved ethical conundrum. In short, it was a replay of the arguments over abortion except this involved a helpless woman who was inconvenient to her husband, not a baby who was inconvenient to its mother. We were right then to fight for the right of the defenseless to not be killed and today the science vindicated our position and especially the position of Terri Schiavo’s parents who claimed they detected lucidity beneath the paralysis.

Today’s Washington Post reports “In ‘vegetative state’ patients, brain scanners show some alert minds”
Many of the patients were labeled with the same grim diagnosis: “vegetative state.” Their head injuries, teams of specialists had concluded, condemned them to a netherworld — alive yet utterly devoid of any awareness of the world around them.

But an international team of scientists decided to try a bold experiment using the latest technology to peek inside the minds of 54 patients to see whether, in fact, they were conscious.One by one, the men and women were placed inside advanced brain scanners as technicians gave them careful instructions: Imagine you are playing tennis. Imagine you are exploring your home, room by room. For most, the scanner showed nothing.

But, shockingly, for one, then another, and another, and yet two more, the scans flashed exactly like any healthy conscious person’s would. These patients, the images clearly indicated, were living silently in their bodies, their minds apparently active. One man could even flawlessly answer detailed yes-or-no questions about his life before his trauma by activating different parts of his brain.

“It was incredible,” said Adrian M. Owen, a neuroscientist at the Medical Research Council who led the groundbreaking research described in a paper published online Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine. “These are patients who are totally unable to perform functions with their bodies — even blink an eye or move an eyebrow — but yet are entirely conscious. It’s quite distressing, really, to realize this.”

Although Owen and other experts stressed that much more research is needed to confirm findings and refine the technology, they said the results could provide profound insight into human consciousness — one of the most daunting scientific mysteries — and lead to ways to better diagnose brain injuries and treat tens of thousands of patients. The technology also offers the tantalizing possibility of being able to finally communicate with some patients and ask, at the very least, whether they are in pain and need relief.
Imagine, indeed. While I can understand the selfishness of the husband and the addlepated behavior of judges in this case I’ve always been at a loss to understand the callous, if not gleefully anticipatory, behavior of the a substantial number of the medical profession when given the chance to off the helpless. When the Hippocratic Oath’s first rule is “do no harm,” great swaths of the medical profession lined up to sentence Terri Schiavo to a slow death. Yet another parallel this case has with the fight against abortion.

On issue after issue we, as a people, are being inveigled with the idea that we should submit the very important decisions in our lives to the experts. We are supposed to trust Michael Mann and his ilk to reorder our economy to prevent global warming. And we are supposed to rely upon the medical profession as authorities in just about every thing else.

What this study demonstrates is that science is not fixed but rather changes with time. We don’t know if Terri Schiavo was vegetative or conscious and we never will but what we know today is that no one at the time she was killed knew either. Instead selected members of the medical profession decided to support the idea of euthanasia when they had a moral and ethical obligation to oppose the idea. They were abetted in this killing by judges who decided that 5,000 or so years of Judeo-Christian tradition and Western jurisprudence was subordinated to convenience and quackery.

While science may inform our decisions, it is a pathetic society that allows science to order it. That is a society devoid of humanity. For the same reason we should oppose an expert commission to make tax and spending decisions we must demand that life decisions are properly within the purview of the people, not a clique of philosopher kings. In these discussions we must be guided by morality to choose the difficult right of preserving inconvenient life rather than the easy wrong of killing the weak, the defenseless, and eventually the unfortunate and unpopular. Back to the story.
Finding a way to communicate with brain-damaged patients has long been a goal of neuroscientists. It has also been the subject of literature and films, including the 2007 film “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” which told the story of French editor Jean-Dominique Bauby. Bauby, paralyzed in a “locked-in syndrome” by a stroke, could communicate only by blinking his left eye.

But some urged caution, saying that the new technique raised a host of thorny questions. “If a patient wanted to die, if they were asked, ‘Do you want to die?,’ could they explain themselves adequately?” said Joseph J. Fins, chief of the division of medical ethics at Weill Cornell Medical College. “If they say yes, what does that mean? If this person said yes but meant maybe, or it was ’sort of yes,’ we may not be able to understand that sort of nuance. You have to be very careful.”
Sure you have to be careful when you ask an ambiguous question. But why doesn’t Dr. Fins recommend the simple solution. Ask “do you want to die of thirst?” or “do you want me to kill you?”, which is what he’s really asking with his nebulous “do you want to die?” question? The reason is obvious. He knows that in most cases a person who is alive clings to life. And while some number of terminally ill people decide to end their lives the overwhelming majority fight tenaciously for every moment of life. Because so long as you are alive there is hope.
H/T ARRA News Service

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Man Who Attacks Pope as “Hurting People in the Name of Jesus” Gets Appointed to Oversee Faith-Based Initiatives

by Erick Erickson, RedState: This is really disturbing. Barack Obama has appointed Harry Knox to the White House’s Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. In March, Knox began an attack on the Catholic Church during a speech before the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign. Knox, attacking Pope Benedict XVI directly, said the Pope and, through him the Catholic Church, is “hurting people in the name of Jesus.”

After his appointment, Knox was confronted with his comment and reaffirmed that he hates the Pope. The Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships’ charter states that it “will work on behalf of Americans committed to improving their communities, no matter their religious or political beliefs.” Really? A man who is willing, even with such an appointment, to attack the head of a church with millions of active congregants , cannot be trusted to fairly work with Catholics. The Pope is called the Holy Father for a reason and attacking the Holy Father does little to prove a commitment to improving communities no matter their religious or political beliefs.

The St. Michael Society has a petition calling for this man to resign. I’m Presbyterian, but I signed it too. This man is an insult to the Christian faith when the basis for his attack on the Catholic Church is its position on homosexuality — a position shared across denominations of Christians.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Photo: Jesuit No Parking Sign

H/T to Thomas Peters at for copying the following photo from a friend's facebook page – a great reminder that Jesuits can have a healthy sense of Catholic humor:

Leave the Doritos Home When Climbing

Funny - that is not me! Doritos - yes, Climbing - yes, Together - no!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Take A Stand! Support Tebow Family Super Bowl Ad

Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families: Last week we applauded our friends at Focus on the Family and the Tebow family for having the courage to speak up for the sanctity of life in a 30-second Super Bowl ad. CBS is coming under a barrage of attacks from radical pro-abortion groups and the usual suspects on the Left for agreeing to air the ad.

Sarah Palin defended the ad last week, writing on her Facebook page, “Women should be reminded that they are strong enough and smart enough to make decisions that allow for career and educational opportunities while still giving their babies a chance at life.” Appearing on Fox News Thursday, Palin took on the National Organization for Women, saying, “For NOW to have chosen come across sounding quite offended by hearing that a pro-life commercial will air on the Super Bowl day, it’s baffling.”

Palin is being polite. This is just one more example of the gross intolerance of the Left, attempting to silence speech it disagrees with. Even the New York Times chastised the Left for its “puzzling and dismaying” reaction.

Don’t let the Left dominate this debate. Please take action in defense of our values. Click here to send a message of encouragement to the executives at CBS through its website’s feedback form.
Also Read: NFL Football Players Support Tim Tebow, Pro-Life Super Bowl Ad With Mom

Pro-Life Unity February Action Call!

If you consider yourself Pro-Life, pro-life activism is not an option. It is our DUTY to get involved. Below are some suggested some potential activities beyond the situation we are facing in the Fitchburg at the moment:

Friday, February 5th is Call for Life Day. Contact all your elected officials (federal, state and local) using telephone, email and written letters to let them know how you feel about their abdication of duty in regards to defending innocent human life.

Saturday, February 6th is Adopt the Mills Day. Get out to an abortion mill or an abortion referral office and demonstrate your opposition to the massive human rights violations being committed behind their walls. Counsel the poor women going inside and make a difference in two lives.

40 Days for Life begins February 17th. Sign up at to pray and counsel at a local mill. This is not a big sacrifice to make and it has a great impact. Many abortion minded women will not go in if we are present, and abortion mills have been known to close after 40 Days campaigns!

Monday, February 1, 2010

What can I do to stop Planned Parenthood from coming to Town

You may be wondering, what can I do to stop planned parenthood. Well I was too, until I found STOPP on their site they give a plan for stopping planned parenthood from coming to your town! The site offers concise advise on how to stopp Planned Parenthood.

I love how the site starts with "Those who rely on God and follow Matthew 10 will see positive results-if they will persevere."
Some thoughts on this relevant to Fitchburg!

The site recommends working through an existing group or starting your own. Do not go it alone. MA Citizens for Life (Fitchburg/Leominster chapter) is one such organization that you can support. Contact me if you need help getting in touch with them.

Fitchburg Town Hall Meeting Feb 2nd to Discuss Planned Parenthood

by Brian Smith: You probably have heard by now that Planned Parenthood is trying to set up shop on main street in DOWNTOWN Fitchburg. This is something I am absolutely opposed to. There is a Town Hall meeting on Tuesday night Feb 2nd at 6:30 P.M. I will be attending the town hall meeting and probably speaking.

No matter whether you live in Fitchburg or the surrounding towns this affects you. Planned Parenthood expects to get business from Fitchburg, Leominster, and Lunenburg. PLEASE come out tomorrow night if this is an issue that you care about.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Fitchburg does not need Planned Parenthood

By JayG:
Planned Parenthood has been given a $387,000 federal grant to provide Health Awareness Services in an office at 391 Main St., Fitchburg, MA. Six members of the Fitchburg City council have “slammed” these plans according to a Fitchburg Sentinel report, specifically voting “to draft a resolution urging Planned Parenthood to abandon plans to open a Fitchburg chapter.”

We agree with this resolution, and with Councilor-at-large Dean Tran, who said "there already exist many social services providing help to women and we do not need another one in Fitchburg." Tran wants to combat the “reputation of Fitchburg as the epicenter of social services.”

But more importantly, we disagree with the Planned Parenthood concept of "health awareness." When we see the Planned Parenthood signs and their hot pink Toyota Scion with the tag line "Sexual Health Matters" we want to know exactly what they mean. We get that meaning from their Web site, where such topics as "Will the Gyno (gynecologist) tell your mom that you are having sex?" assure young girls not to worry, but to check first and avoid those gynecologists who might inform their parents. The “Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered and Questioning” link claims that we are either gay or bisexual from birth, yet we may take a long time to question our sexual orientation. In other words, try it, all of it.

Planned Parenthood has had a generation to work to reduce sexually transmitted disease, and we do not believe their approach has worked. We believe the promotion of promiscuity, the mocking of monogamy, and the band-aid of safe-sex has been totally ineffective. Couple this colossal ineffectiveness with the fact that the Fitchburg Planned Parenthood office will be a feeder to the Worcester Planned Parenthood abortion center and you have all the reason Fitchburg needs to keep Planned Parenthood out of town.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Becoming a Family Man

Brian Smith: I started downhill skiing because I thought I loved downhill skiing. In reality, what I really loved was fun, and the thrill of the adventure. I also loved the challenge of becoming a better skier. Eventually, I became a downhill ski instructor, and became a proficient downhill skier. I got my family into downhill skiing because I thought it would be a good sport for the family. The hours spent skiing alone, teaching, and socializing with my ski instructor buddies were not helping me to be a better family man. I said I got my family into downhill for the family, but it was really for myself.

Last week, I went cross country skiing with my two oldest children, my best friend Tom and his family. It just felt right. Even though leaving my wife with the babies would have normally made me feel a bit guilty, she was with her best friend, and that seemed less like abandoning her, and more natural.

Tom and I had a great time. My daughter soon had the hang of it, and was quickly striving to lead the pack. With her good friends around her she pushed herself. With our friends, everyone looked out for everyone. After one of Tom's kids tuckered out, we sent the kids and teens inside for Hot Cocoa, which felt much safer than sending our sends inside by themselves at a major downhill resort. Tom and I snuck of for one run and reminisced about old times. It just felt right.

This family man thing isn't so bad, if you can find the balance that works for the whole family.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

An Open Letter to U.S. Catholics regarding Faithful Citizenship

As we are two days away from the special election for the people of Massachusetts’ Senator to the U.S. Senate, and an incredibly sensational race between Martha Coakley and Scott Brown (and let’s not forget Mr. Kennedy), I have spent some time thinking not only about my ability to vote and politically support either candidate. By political support, I don’t just mean my vote, but also my time, talents and treasures going to support a candidate that I believe in as a Catholic. I consider myself to be a faithful Catholic, and I want to remain faithful to the Catholic churches teaching. In recent days I have asked myself the questions:

1. Does one political issue (e.g. legalized abortion) carry more weight than others?
2. Can I support a candidate (vote, time, talent and treasure) who supports things that are intrinsically evil?
3. What level of support can I give?

In my search for answers I have spoken with close friends, as well as sought pastoral advice from church teachers. I have found that the Faithful Citizenship website, and particularly, the U.S. bishops' statement Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship [PDF] which is a very useful guide. I would ask that all Catholics take the time to read it and let this document be a guide to political conscience and voting.

This document provides answers to the questions:
- Why does the Church teach about issues affecting public policy?
- Who in the Church should participate in political life?
- How does the Church help the Catholic faithful to speak about political and social questions?
- What does the Church say about Catholic social teaching in the public square?

I found this 42 page document to be a very easy but compelling read (as opposed to the 2000 page documents that our Senators are passing without reading). I will also take the time to share with you some quotes which I found to be useful in my search for answers (see quotes below).

I will not tell you my decisions with regards to whom to support, but I will share with you my personal conclusions with regard to the questions I posed above.

Does one political issue (e.g. legalized abortion) carry more weight than others? Yes, however, that does not mean that I believe in single issue voting. Just that some issues based on whether or not they are supportive of something intrinsically evil, can carry more weight. You cannot focus on only one issue with regards to the sanctity of life and then simply ignore all other issues that dealing with the value of all humans and social justice.

Yes, this was the hardest thing for me to come to grips with, especially with regards to money or holding a sign. But I had to ask myself:
Does my support directly participate in something intrinsically evil? No
Does my support indirectly support something intrinsically evil? Yes and no.
I call your attention to this quote: Sometimes morally flawed laws already exist. In this situation, the process of framing legislation to protect life is subject to prudential judgment and “the art of the possible.” At times this process may restore justice only partially or gradually. In this case, I am going for the art of the possible, and not supporting the candidate who is going to take us further down the path to what is evil.

Will my support bring scandal on the church? If the answer is yes, then I cannot support. In the case of one candidate, I believe the answer is yes, in the case of the other, I believe the answer is no. But if the answer is No, then I believe that support in addition to my vote is allowed.

I believe that supporting the phone banks, calling people, and raising their awareness of the truth on issues, is entirely acceptable. I believe that a sign or call, or money for a candidate who I can support might be worth an investment of my time. However, I also have to consider my family and if that time away from family is what God is calling me to. What about my money, or is it better to give that money to the people in Haiti. In the end, prayer and a well formed conscience should be your guide.

Your brother in Christ,

Additional thoughts from the statement Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship follow:

Some question whether it is appropriate for the Church to play a role in political life. However, the obligation to teach about moral values that should shape our lives, including our public lives, is central to the mission given to the Church by Jesus Christ. Moreover, the United States Constitution protects the right of individual believers and religious bodies to participate and speak out without government interference, favoritism, or discrimination. Civil law should fully recognize and protect the Church’s right, obligation, and opportunities to participate in society without being forced to abandon or ignore its central moral convictions. Our nation’s tradition of pluralism is enhanced, not threatened, when religious groups and people of faith bring their convictions and concerns into public life. Indeed, our Church’s teaching is in accord with the foundational values that have shaped our nation’s history: “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation.

As the Holy Father also taught in Deus Caritas Est, “The direct duty to work for a just ordering of society is proper to the lay faithful” (no. 29). This duty is more critical than ever in today’s political environment, where Catholics may feel politically disenfranchised, sensing that no party and too few candidates fully share the Church’s comprehensive commitment to the life and dignity of every human being from conception to natural death. Yet this is not a time for retreat or discouragement; rather, it is a time for renewed engagement.

Sometimes morally flawed laws already exist. In this situation, the process of framing legislation to protect life is subject to prudential judgment and “the art of the possible.” At times this process may restore justice only partially or gradually. For example, Pope John Paul II taught that when a government official who fully opposes abortion cannot succeed in completely overturning a pro-abortion law, he or she may work to improve protection for unborn human life, “limiting the harm done by such a law” and lessening its negative impact as much as possible (Evangelium Vitae, no. 73). Such incremental improvements in the law are acceptable as steps toward the full restoration of justice. However, Catholics must never abandon the moral requirement to seek full protection for all human life from the moment of conception until natural death.

When all candidates hold a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, the conscientious voter faces a dilemma. The voter may decide to take the extraordinary step of not voting for any candidate or, after careful deliberation, may decide to vote for the candidate deemed less likely to advance such a morally flawed position and more likely to pursue other authentic human goods.

In making these decisions, it is essential for Catholics to be guided by a well-formed conscience that recognizes that all issues do not carry the same moral weight and that the moral obligation to oppose intrinsically evil acts has a special claim on our consciences and our actions. These decisions should take into account a candidate’s commitments, character, integrity, and ability to influence a given issue.

Martha Coakley: Devout Catholics "Probably Shouldn't Work in the Emergency Room"

Martha Coakley was on with Ken Pittman from WBSM in Massachusetts on Thursday. She told Ken that if you object to abortion then "You probably shouldn't work in the emergency room."