Jeremiah 6:16

Thus saith the Lord: Stand ye on the ways, and see and ask for the old paths which is the good way, and walk ye in it: and you shall find refreshment for your souls.


An Open Letter to President-Elect Barack Obama

Originally Posted at Vox Nova:

An Open Letter to President-Elect Barack Obama

November 14, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama,

As American Catholics, we, the undersigned, would like to reiterate the congratulations given to you by Pope Benedict XVI. We will be praying for you as you undertake the office of President of the United States.

Wishing you much good will, we hope we will be able to work with you, your administration, and our fellow citizens to move beyond the gridlock which has often harmed our great nation in recent years. Too often, partisan politics has hampered our response to disaster and misfortune. As a result of this, many Americans have become resentful, blaming others for what happens instead of realizing our own responsibilities. We face serious problems as a people, and if we hope to overcome the crises we face in today’s world, we should make a serious effort to set aside the bitterness in our hearts, to listen to one another, and to work with one another

One of the praiseworthy elements of your campaign has been the call to end such partisanship. You have stated a desire to engage others in dialogue. With you, we believe that real achievement comes not through the defamation of one’s opponents, nor by amassing power and using it merely as a tool for one’s own individual will. We also believe dialogue is essential. We too wish to appeal to the better nature of the nation. We want to encourage people to work together for the common good. Such action can and will engender trust. It may change the hearts of many, and it might alter the path of our nation, shifting to a road leading to a better America. We hope this theme of your campaign is realized in the years ahead.

One of the critical issues which currently divides our nation is abortion. As you have said, no one is for abortion, and you would agree to limit late-term abortions as long as any bill which comes your way allows for exceptions to those limits, such as when the health of the mother is in jeopardy. You have also said you would like to work on those social issues which cause women to feel as if they have a need for an abortion, so as to reduce the actual number of abortions being performed in the United States.

Indeed, you said in your third presidential debate, “But there surely is some common ground when both those who believe in choice and those who are opposed to abortion can come together and say, ‘We should try to prevent unintended pregnancies by providing appropriate education to our youth, communicating that sexuality is sacred and that they should not be engaged in cavalier activity, and providing options for adoption, and helping single mothers if they want to choose to keep the baby.’”

As men and women who oppose abortion and embrace a pro-life ethic, we want to commend your willingness to engage us in dialogue, and we ask that you live up to your promise, and engage us on this issue.

There is much we can do together. There is much that we can do to help women who find themselves in difficult situations so they will not see abortion as their only option. There is much which we can do to help eliminate those unwanted pregnancies which lead to abortion.

One of your campaign promises is of grave concern to many pro-life citizens. On January 22, 2008, the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, when speaking of the current right of women in America to have abortions, you said, “And I will continue to defend this right by passing the Freedom of Choice Act as president.”

The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) might well undermine your engagement of pro-life Americans on the question of abortion. It might hamper any effort on your part to work with us to limit late-term abortions. We believe FOCA does more than allow for choice. It may force the choice of a woman upon others, and make them morally complicit in such choice. One concern is that it would force doctors and hospitals which would otherwise choose not to perform abortions to do so, even if it went against their sacred beliefs. Such a law would undermine choice, and might begin the process by which abortion is enforced as a preferred option, instead of being one possible choice for a doctor to practice.

It is because of such concern we write. We urge you to engage us, and to dialogue with us, and to do so before you consider signing this legislation. Let us reason together and search out the implications of FOCA. Let us carefully review it and search for contradictions of those positions which we hold in common.
If FOCA can be postponed for the present, and serious dialogue begun with us, as well as with those who disagree with us, you will demonstrate that your administration will indeed be one that rises above partisanship, and will be one of change. This might well be the first step toward resolving an issue which tears at the fabric of our churches, our political process, our families, our very society, and that causes so much hardship and heartache in pregnant women.

Likewise, you have also recently stated you might over-ride some of President G.W. Bush’s executive orders. This is also a concern to us. We believe doing so without having a dialogue with the American people would undermine the political environment you would like to establish. Among those issues which concern us are those which would use taxpayer money to support actions we find to be morally questionable, such as embryonic stem cell research, or to fund international organizations that would counsel women to have an abortion (this would make abortion to be more than a mere choice, but an encouraged activity).

Consider, sir, your general promise to the American people and set aside particular promises to a part of your constituency. This would indicate that you plan to reject politics as usual. This would indeed be a change we need.

To which I add my name with the others:

Brandon Charles Markey


And now for something completely different:

This is an atricle in the WSJ by a Mr. Jim Towey, director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives from 2002-2006. He is now president of Saint Vincent College in Latrobe:

President Bush will soon be heading home and for many that day cannot come soon enough. Count me among those who will miss him and his bedrock decency.

He had a rough road from day one. His first inauguration struck me as a portent. I was there, shivering in the grandstands on Pennsylvania Avenue. At the exact moment the president heard"Hail to the Chief" for the first time and was announced to the audience, a sleet storm descended from the skies.

It has never let up.

Through it all Mr. Bush kept his head up and soldiered on. He took the criticism in stride. I remember riding with him in his presidential limousine to the Washington Hilton for a speech. A woman standing at an intersection directed an obscene gesture at him that I had hoped he missed. The president waved to her and with a bemused look said to me, "Did you see what she did?"

Many other Americans, particularly the "values voters" who helped elect him twice, will miss him because of what he achieved: Samuel Alito and John Roberts on the Supreme Court, children in schools that now are better because they are accountable, African women who now have medicines for their HIV-infected babies, and religious charities that are finally being treated by government as partners instead of rivals.

I remember coming to the West Wing one morning before the daily 7:30 senior staff meeting and seeing Mr. Bush at his desk in the Oval Office, reading a daily devotional. I remember the look of sorrow on his face as he signed letters to the families of the fallen. When he met with recovering addicts whose lives were transformed by a faith-based program, he spoke plainly of his own humiliating journey years ago with alcohol. When a Liberian refugee broke into tears after recounting her escape to freedom in America, the president went over and held and comforted her.

Little acts behind the curtain like these inspired intense loyalty by staff members. They spoke of someone never too busy or burdened to care -- like when he took time on Air Force One to call my wife when she was sick. The president's true character rendered his media image pure caricature.

Mother Teresa was asked at the end of her life whether she was discouraged because after decades of caring for the dying and destitute in Calcutta little seemed to have changed. She replied, "No. God doesn't call me to be successful. God calls me to be faithful."

History will decide whether George W. Bush was a successful President. But he was faithful. He had a charge to keep and he kept it.


Sackcloth and Ashes.

... O Canada...............................................