By Fr. George Welzbacher
May 6, 2012
In the words of an age-old proverb: "It depends on WHOSE ox gets gored!" To be politically correct today requires a boundless sensitivity towards all of those whose life-style stands in flagrant contradiction to the teachings of Christ, whereas for Christian sensitivities no concern needs to be shown at all. In illustration whereof, without further comment, may I cite two recent news reports, one from The Weekly Standard for April 23rd, the other from The Washington Times (national edition) for March 26th. First off, the report from The Weekly Standard.
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The Weekly Standard, April 23, 2012
Every now and then The Scrapbook is pleased to report on an outbreak of common sense in our increasingly diversified and multicultural society, and that is what we are doing here. We must warn readers, however, that the intervention of common sense (as often happens) occurs only in the wake of an appalling sequence of events.
The scene is Warwick, Rhode Island, and the place is Pilgrim High School, where 17-year-old Liz Bierendy had been commissioned to paint a mural in one of the school's corridors. It was suggested to her that she depict the various stages in a boy's life, from early childhood to early adulthood, and she did. Her final scene depicted the boy as a young married man with intertwined wedding bands hanging in the air above the couple.
The Scrapbook, at this juncture, is constrained to point out that the married couple depicted in Miss Bierendy's mural comprises a man and a woman-and therein lies the problem. According to the Providence Journal, Pilgrim High School officials had the marriage portion of the mural "painted over because there was some concern that the traditional ending might offend some people with alternative lifestyles."
Allow The Scrapbook to repeat the details: A student's mural depicting a married man and woman was destroyed at the behest of school officials because "some people with alternative lifestyles" might walk by and take offense.
Of course, apart from the fact that school officials here seemed to be searching for a problem that didn't exist - and were swift to take action to meet a nonexistent standard - this does raise some intriguing questions. Are fully clothed museum visitors in Florence apt to take offense at the sight of Michelangelo's David? Do non-farm families feel excluded when they see Grant Wood's American Gothic on display at the Art Institute of Chicago? How about the feelings of Nixon voters when they landed at Kennedy Airport? The idea that someone - anyone - might be offended by a high school student's innocent depiction of a married man and woman is so preposterous, so outrageous, so inconceivably stupid, that it could only have been conceived by veteran school administrators.
Which leads to our happy ending. Once word got around on local talk radio, Warwick school superintendent Peter Horoschak swiftly overruled the Pilgrim officials. He declared that Miss Bierendy's idea had been approved in advance, that the depiction of a married man and woman did not violate any school policies, and "we should respect the artist's vision ... If somebody has a different idea, then they have the right to express it." All of which seems self-evident to The Scrapbook; but these days, such commonsensical reactions are the exception, not the norm. Full marks to Mr. Horoschak.
We are pleased to report that Liz Bierendy is finishing her mural as she intended to finish it. And the one or two people who reportedly complained to school officials about her married couple are, in Horoschak's words, free to express their "different idea." Any suggestions?
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By way of contrast, in the Chicago suburb of Stone Park, Illinois, the village fathers found no cause whatsoever to stay their hand in granting a permit to open a strip-club standing right next door to a cloistered residence for retired nuns (real nuns, these, who live in community, pray daily in common, and, wearing religious habits, practice communal poverty). These nuns dedicated their lives to teaching school children, both by word and example, how to become responsible and productive citizens of this world, while maintaining a robust allegiance to Christ. And for their contribution to society this is the "Thank you" they have received.
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God, Gomorrah and the New America
The Washington Times (national edition)
March 26, 2012
On one side of the fence are women in habits and wimples who have taken vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
On the other side of that fence, if a developer gets his way, will be women in G-strings in the business of nudity, dollars, and prurience.
The scene for the clash between these two competing visions of femininity is a retirement home for nuns in Chicago's western suburbs, which is scheduled to have soon as a neighbor a giant $3 million strip club.
Get It Gentlemen's Club is on track to open this spring in the 5,000-resident village of Stone Park, Ill., just feet from the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo's retirement home.
"When you come out of the back chapel, you can see the facility," said Peter Breen, executive director of the Thomas More Society. "When they have given their entire lives to teach the children of Stone Park, after a lifetime of service to their faith, these sisters' reward in their retirement years is to be in constant view of a large pornographic palace."
Opponents of the club have a public vigil scheduled, and the Thomas More Society hopes to use a STATE "buffer zone" law to prevent the club from opening after, they claim, the village rolled over to the big developer on LOCAL zoning laws that COULD have prevented licensing the club.
According to its owner, Get It will be more than a beer-shots-and-pole establishment, instead offering professional-level topless dancing in a high-tech environment comparable to the famous burlesques of Paris.
"We are Lido for the 21st century," club owner Robert ltzkow said in an interview with the "Roe & Roeper" radio show on WLS-890 AM. "A strip club we are not."
He said his club will be a GOOD NEIGHBOR, both to the nuns and the rest of the townsfolk explaining his building has been soundproofed and its lighting set up so as not to offend the nuns next door.
Dancers will be partially clothed and perform burlesque in a venue that features a Cirque de Soleil-style trapeze, Mr. Itzkow said, adding that he also plans to landscape the rear of the building which is nearest the nuns' home, with 20-foot-high trees that will shield the two establishments from each other's view.
But in a public statement, Mr. ltzkow called the sisters of the convent his "non-taxpaying neighbors" and accused THEM of religious intolerance."
As a legal, taxpaying citizen of this community, we ask only to be judged fairly by what we have done and NOT through the recent RELIGIOUS fervor," Mr. ltzkow said. "You treat us as we have treated you, by not trying to unduly disturb us by imposing YOUR religious beliefs on others [so that I can impose MY ANTIRELIGIOUS beliefs on the nuns?] All throughout our plans for this project, we have followed the letter and spirit of the law."
Several of the nuns have spoken out against the club in stories that have received front-page attention in Chicago.
They have said that when they asked about the construction project, they were told it was a restaurant, not a temple to nudity and lust.
"We are religious. We espouse certain beliefs. As Catholic religious, we take vows and we have something like this, totally opposite, going on. It's not safe," Sister Marissonia Daltoe told Chicago Fox-TV affiliate AFLD.
There are legal issues, too, said attorneys with the Thomas More Society, a Catholic group.
Mr. Breen told the Stone Park Village Board that his public-interest law firm has identified a STATE law that calls for a 1 mile "buffer zone" between adult entertainment facilities and "places of worship."
He argued that the location of the Get It club next to the nuns' home is therefore not legal and that construction on the business must be stopped.
His organization has offered the village free legal help in opposing Mr. Itzkow, but thus far the village has NOT taken the offer.
"We contend that STATE law is pretty clear," he said. "That the 1,000 feet [buffer zone] applies. We've asked the village for an interim step to put a hold on the permit process and take some time to examine the state law. The village doesn't want to do it. We really want to see very concrete actions."
The town will allow Mr. Breen's attorneys through Freedom of Information Act requests (FOIA) to keep daily track of the permit process in advance of the club's opening, which is on track for some time this spring.
Mr. Breen said town residents also are "very much upset," noting that "even apart from the religious aspect, there are RESIDENTIAL homes that back up to that facility. There is a swing set right next to it."
The club has been in dispute with the city for more than two years. Twice the village's board voted against it, but Mr. Itzkow filed a lawsuit, arguing that zoning laws allowed him to build there.
He also accused town officials of a shakedown, demanding money and a cut of the profits in exchange for the right to build his club.
The lawsuit was later settled in 2010, with town leaders granting permission to build and saying the legal expense to fight the club was financially prohibitive.
Within the agreement, the town's OWN buffer-zone-ordinance restrictions, between adult entertainment establishments and schools, parks, churches, and residential areas, were VOIDED, actions that Mr. Breen calls the village "giving away the store."
Others in this blue-collar community, struggling to shake off its seedy past, which has included prostitution, gambling and alleged mob activity, are outraged by Mr. Itzkow's venture.
Stone Park Mayor Ben Mazzula did not return a call for comment on the dispute.
Mr. Breen said his group does not plan to give up its defense of the sisters' professed right to live without exposure to such a business.
"If the facility is not legal under STATE law, they have to ENFORCE state law," he said of the village. "We argue convincingly that the contract is voidable because it makes no sense that one would waive and repeal numerous local ordinances, the constitutionality of which had not been challenged" in the lawsuit.
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The Tea Party Economist, May 1, 2012
On the day that the L.A. coroner released his report on Breitbart's death, he got sick and died.
He may have been poisoned.
It's just one of those things - just one of those crazy things.
Veteran Los Angeles coroner forensic technician Michael Cormier had died, apparently due to arsenic poisoning. The 61 year old Cormier was discovered dead on April 20th - the same day the city officials had released their preliminary autopsy report on the death of conservative media powerhouse Andrew Breitbart.
According to early reports, Michael Cormier was "seemingly healthy," yet "suddenly stricken" with a fatal condition - just like Andrew Breitbart.
This adds fuel to the fire. Breitbart had threatened to release a game-changing video on Obama. That fizzled. No such video.
The sluggish release of the Breitbart autopsy follows the unorthodox, RUSHED ANNOUNCEMENT by city authorities at the time of Breitbart's death that he had died of 'NATURAL causes' on March 1, 2012 at the age of 43....
The LA County Coroner's office announced in their preliminary report that Breitbart had died of heart failure, and that a negligible amount of alcohol was found in his system. No prescription or illicit drugs were discovered at any point during the autopsy. The FINAL, DEFINITIVE medical explanation on Breitbart's death has YET TO BE MADE PUBLIC.
Coroner Michael Cormier's mysterious death was first reported by KTLA TV reporter Elizabeth Espinosa explaining how city detectives were investigating a possible 'arsenic poisoning' in the case. This report was later picked up and reported in an LA Times Local blog:
"The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that finding the presence of poison does not necessarily mean the death was a homicide, because the substance could have accidentally entered his system.
"At this point WE HAVEN'T RULED OUT FOUL PLAY," said Lt. Alan Hamilton of the Los Angeles Police Department. "It is one of the things being considered. We are waiting for the coroner's results."
A toxicology report is expected to be released sometime between May 25th and June 1st.
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PORTLAND, OREGON, April 26, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A homosexual activist group calling itself “Angry Queers” claimed responsibility for smashing nine windows in a church known for teaching traditional sexual morality early Tuesday morning.
“Upon arriving at the church, we discovered nine separate windows had been smashed in with rocks, including two beautiful 100-year-old stained glass windows,” wrote Tim Smith, pastor of the Portland campus of Mars Hill Church. “We estimate the damage to be several thousand dollars.”
The vandals sent an e-mail to local television station KOIN-TV stating they took the action, because “Mars Hill is notoriously anti-gay and anti-woman.”
Church members say they hold to “traditional Bible-based views on homosexuality.”
Eyewitnesses told police they saw six young men wearing “dark, mask-like partial face coverings” flee the scene around 2:30 a.m.
“This certainly saddens us greatly as our pastors in Portland have made many efforts to build relationships with the homosexual community in Portland,” Smith said. “Even though they chose to destroy our property and scare away people trying to worship Jesus, we wish them no harm.”
The Oregonian reported “black-clad demonstrators…some of whom wore kerchiefs to cover their faces, shouted profanities at adults and children” last October, when the new campus of the Seattle-based church opened. About 20 protesters blocked the entrance and screamed, “Shame on you homophobes. You’re not welcome here. You’re going to burn in Hell.”
The Portland location of Mars Hill Church opened last September, one of 14 nationwide satellites under nationally known pastor Mark Driscoll of Seattle. The church postponed its opening last September after learning LGBT activists planned a “kiss-in” at their first ceremony.
Police believe the same activists who smashed the windows also struck a nearby U.S. Bank branch Tuesday morning. The bank had been vandalized in February just before the Occupy Portland protest.
The latest series of attacks comes just days after the Obama administration’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled that historic Civil Rights provisions allow transgender employees to sue over alleged discrimination, a new interpretation of the law. The shift follows months of transsexual advocacy by this administration, including hosting the first-ever White House transgender summit.
President Obama had a transsexual nanny as a boy in Indonesia.
Liberal Christians have generally condemned the church desecration – and the church. Christian Piatt at the Sojourners website wrote the Angry Queers had “righteous anger,” but “such a response actually serves an opposite purpose from what I believe was intended.”
Chuck Currie, a local minister in the liberal United Church of Christ (UCC), wrote, “If Mars Hills Church represents the worst of Christianity, and I believe it sadly does, those responsible for this attack represent the worst of Portland.”
Lavinia Marks, who lives next door to the church, said, “Part of being liberal is being tolerant of everybody.”
But not everyone opposes the vandalism. “We support the action and stand in total solidarity!” said members of local LGBT activist groups Blow Pony and Homocult. “Mars Hill has not been trying to build relations with our community. Comparing homosexuality to cancer is not building relations!”
The church has refused to respond in kind or allow the violence to dampen their enthusiasm.
“A few piles of broken glass doesn’t change anything for us,” Pastor Smith wrote on his congregation’s FaceBook page. “Be encouraged, stay on the message, keep on the mission and I’ll see you this Sunday.”
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