Pastor's Page
By Fr. George Welzbacher
May 3, 2009

On tax day this year, April 15th, in rallies all across our land citizens protested, not against the payment of taxes as such, but against the reckless spending (and thus the reckless borrowing) of hundreds and hundreds and yet further hundreds of billions of dollars by our nation's new government for programs that seem to be utterly bereft of any rational control. These protest rallies or "Tea Parties" as they were called were widely underreported or alternatively were misreported as assemblies of right-wing extremists and "nut-cases"--you know the drill: little old ladies in tennis shoes and camo-clad gun-toters and lapel-seizing fanatics with bad breath--or they were represented at the very least as gatherings of disgruntled Republicans venting their displeasure at the decision of the electorate. A more temperate account of the "Tea Party" held at our own State Capitol appeared on the Op-Ed page of last Sunday's Star Tribune (April 26th). It was written by Jeff Johnson, a member of the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners and a resident of Plymouth. May I share it with you here.

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Perception of Tea Parties Was Incorrect

I've found it entertaining to watch the media and those of a liberal political bent ... paint the Tea Parties that took place recently around the country as an amalgamation of seething right-wing kooks carrying "I love my AK-47" signs.

I was at the Tea Party in St. Paul. I apparently hung out at the wrong end of the Capitol grounds, though, because I missed all of those angry, extremist, Obama- haters who I'm told were there.

Instead, at my end of the mall, I saw thousands of average, hard-working Minnesota taxpayers (many with family in tow) respectfully voicing deep concerns about the future of our country. Some were wearing suits. Most were wearing jeans or shorts. A few were in biker leathers. I missed all the folks in camo and face paint and saw no one brandishing their semiautomatic.

I talked to many people at the Tea Party. Some I knew; many I had never met. A majority of the people I spoke with had never been to a protest or political rally before. Many of them did not identify themselves with a particular political party. And almost no one was there as a "tax protester," despite most media reports identifying the event as simply an anti-tax protest.

Most of us were there based on something much bigger than just our own tax burden. This was about spending at the federal level that has gone completely berserk, about an exploding deficit that threatens the quality of life of our kids (and probably that of our kids' kids), and about a bailout mentality in Washington that turns the capitalist foundation of this country on its head.

All issues, by the way, that found their birth prior to Election Day 2008.

Which leads me to the question of hypocrisy.

One criticism I've heard of the Tea Parties is that the participants were a bunch of hypocrites, complaining about deficits now under President Obama while having ignored the deficits that President George W. Bush racked up in years prior, and complaining about bailouts now when Bush actually set the bailout train in motion before last fall's election.

Fair enough. I think, however, that most of the people I met at the St. Paul Tea Party would have no qualms laying blame for irresponsible spending and bailouts on Democrats and Republicans. Many of us have been complaining about deficits in Washington for several years. The last few months, however, have brought a level of irresponsibility never before seen in this country.

Bush, along with a Democrat Congress, brought us a deficit approaching $460 billion LAST year. The deficit in the FIRST year of Obama's presidency: $1.85 TRILLION. Obama's first deficit will amass more debt than all 43 of his predecessors -- COMBINED! His own budget director has admitted that the administration's 10-year budget plan, which includes deficits of $9.3 TRILLION, is "unsustainable. " It means the next generation will pay very dearly for our irresponsibility through massive tax increases and a lower standard of living.

Should we have taken to the streets to protest a deficit of $460 billion? Maybe, but at least there was talk at that time (from both Obama and John McCain) that a "new era" of fiscal responsibility was at hand. Unforttmately, in the past few months we've seen a $460 billion annual deficit QUADRUPLED (with no end in sight) and bank bailouts extended to life insurers, auto manufacturers and homeowners who bought houses they couldn't afford. Most of us who showed up at a Tea Party decided we couldn't sit quietly by as the leaders of our country went on an unprecedented spending binge with a plan to leave the bill for the next generation.

Were people at the Tea Parties angry? I suppose there was some anger -- particularly regarding the bailouts. But the overall mood was more that of concern (and maybe a little fear) about our kids' future and that of hope and a genuine pride in this great country. It was heartening for many of us to see that hundreds of thousands of ordinary, hard-working Americans throughout the United States were voicing the same concerns as we were.

It was a peaceful and respectful gathering. We didn't overturn any cars or break any windows. We didn't hurl any obscenities (or Molotov cocktails). We didn't incite any violence or test the police. And we didn't trash the Capitol lawn. While these facts probably made our event a failure for those who protest as part of their regular routine, most of the regular Minnesotans there thought it was a beautiful and uplifting day. And all those right-wing militants and raging antitax extremists? I couldn't find a one. [Emphasis added].
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And finally, this just in!

100 Days in Office, Coronated Messiah
World Net Daily: April 26, 2009, by Drew Zahn

On his 100th day in office [Wednesday, April 29th], President Obama will be "crowned" in messianic imagery at New York City's Union Square.

Artist Michael DAntuono's painting, "The Truth " - featuring Obama with his arms outstretched and wearing a crown of thorns upon his head - will be unveiled on April 29 at the Square's South Plaza.

According to a statement released about the portrait, "The 30 inch by 54 inch acrylic painting on canvas depicts President Obama appearing much like Jesus Christ on the Cross: atop his head, a crown of thorns; behind him, the dark veil being lifted (or lowered) on the Presidential Seal. But is he revealing or concealing, and is he being crucified or glorified.?"

Even the title of the piece, "The Truth," suggests a play on biblical themes, as Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

"More than a presidential portrait," writes D'Antuono on a website touting the painting, "'The Truth' is a politically, religiously and socially-charged statement on our nation's current political climate and deep partisan divide that is sure to create a dialogue."

Like others in the news who have depicted Obama in Christ-like imagery, D'Antuono insists he isn't claiming the man is the Messiah; he is only inviting "individual interpretations."

'The Truth,' like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder," claims the exhibit's press release.

D'Antuono even invites the public to email him with reactions to the piece, answering his posed question, "What's your truth?"

As WND has reported, DAntuono follows others who have cast Obama in messianic imagery.
   In January, artist Matthew J. Clark paraded [at the Iowa State Capitol] a SCULPTURE of Obama riding a donkey and preceded by waving palm fronds, reminiscent of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem in the 21 st chapter of Matthew as foretold by the prophet Zechariah: "Behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass."

Like D'Antuono, Clark was also unclear about whether his piece was proclaiming Obarna to be the Christ or making some social commentary. Clark's website described the sculpture in vague terms:
"This project was inspired by my thoughts about 'icons' and religious symbols and whether they represent truth or merely represent," Clark's website reads. "The sculpture poses a question that relates to social conventions, metaphysics, and the collective response of society in reaction to fearful and uncertain times, but doesn't impose an answer. For me, it has much more to do with the general public as followers than any leader granted power."

Others, such as Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, have been far clearer in their nearly religious adoration of Obama. As WND reported, Farrakhan declared last year that when Obama talks, "the Messiah is absolutely speaking. "

Addressing a large crowd behind a podium with a Nation of Islam Saviour's Day 2008 sign, Farrakhan proclaimed, "You are the instruments that God is going to use to bring about universal change, and that is why Barack has captured the youth. And he has involved young people in a political process that they didn't care anything about. That's a sign. When the  Messiah speaks, the youth will hear, and the Messiah is absolutely speaking.

Farrakhan pointed out that the man Nation of Istam followers refer to as "the Savior," Fard Muhammad, had a black father and a white mother, just as Obama did.

"A black man with a white mother became a savior to us," he said. "A black man with a white mother could turn out to be one who can lift America from her fall."

WND previously reported a website called "Is Barack Obama the Messiah?" capturing the wave of euphoria that followed the Democratic senator's remarkable rise.

The website is topped by an Obama quote strategically ripped from a Jan. 7 speech at Dartmouth College just before the New Hampshire Primary in which he told students, "... a light will shine through that window, a beam of light will come down upon you, you will experience an epiphany, and you will suddenly realize that you MUST go to the polls and vote "for Obama....

P.J. Gladnick of NewsBusters, in an article about D'Antuono's painting on the eve of the Obama administration's 100-day-mark, notes that the messianic parallels begun early in the presidential campaign don't seem to be stopping:

"The artist quite clearly portrays Obama as a latter day Christ-like figure, considering the outstretched arins and the crown of thorns. Obama worship, complete with halo images, has been noted before," writes Gladnick, "but it was nothing compared to CURRENT expressions in awe of 'The One' as we approach his hundredth day in office on Wednesday."
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And the cross and that IHS inscription (in the Greek alphabet the first three letters in the name of Jesus) that have always ennobled the pediment above the stage in the Georgetown University auditorium - why did they have to be covered up when President Obama was giving a speech there recently? Is Christ the embarrassing member of the family Whom we dare not show in company?
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