Posts Tagged ‘Easter’

Rising Cost Of Obama Liberalism Spiking The Price Of Your Easter Dinner

April 7, 2012

Meat is becoming a luxury item at the food banks under Obama’s “hope and change.”  From the AP:

Ham prices high heading into Easter holiday
JOSH FUNK AP Business Writer Published: April 4, 2012 7:49PM

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Ham will be the centerpiece of many Easter dinners this weekend, but the cost of that traditional main dish may make it harder for families to live high on the hog.

Ham prices have been higher than usual for the past two years because the cost of hog feed has gone up, and some major pork producers are spending millions to convert barns as they phase out cramped cages used to confine pregnant sows.

Ham has been selling wholesale for 75 to 80 cents per pound this spring, which is in line with last year’s prices but well above the 55 cents per pound average for the previous five years.

A recent check at one Omaha-area supermarket found boneless Hormel hams selling for about $2.20 per pound, with bone-in hams slightly cheaper. With sales offered this week to attract Easter shoppers, it was possible to get a bone-in ham for as little as $1.28 per pound.

Paula Vejvoda of Omaha said she’s had her Easter ham in the freezer since Christmas, when she bought it on sale so she could economically feed her two daughters, two exchange students and husband.

“You really have to watch the ads and see who has the best price,” Vejvoda said.

That’s good advice for families, but hard to do when you’re trying to provide ham for hundreds of people at a food pantry.

Joyce Lonergan, food pantry director at St. Anthony’s Shrine in downtown Boston, said she tries to arrange to have a special meal at each holiday to help boost people’s spirits, but the prospect seemed daunting when the pantry began shopping for hams back in January. They were selling for $2.30 per pound, not the 99 cents per pound paid last year.

With added donations and some breaks from suppliers, St. Anthony’s was able to secure ham steaks and chickens for the holiday meal.

“We’ve made it work only because people have been so generous,” Lonergan said.

Livestock economist Shane Ellis said the price of ham isn’t likely to drop soon because pork producers’ costs aren’t decreasing. Feed, which is mainly corn, is running about $6 a bushel — not far from the record $7.99 per bushel set last June.

Pork producers also are switching from gestation crates to more open pens amid public pressure from consumers and animal welfare advocates who believe the smaller cages are cruel. One major producer, Smithfield Foods, recently said it expects to spend nearly $300 million by 2017 to convert its barns.

The switch also requires more labor to manage the sows because they tend to fight. Some of those costs are likely to be passed on to consumers.

Americans consume about 51 pounds of pork a year on average, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

While ham is a traditional element of many Easter meals, Ellis said prices typically peak in June, near the height of the grilling season when demand is highest. The low point is usually at the end of the calendar year because that’s when large numbers of hogs reach the market.

Many organizations, like the Food Bank for the Heartland, don’t even attempt to deliver a special holiday meal to the people they help because their goal is to offer the most nutritious food at the lowest possible price.

Donations from business and individuals have been down over the past two years, making it harder to keep up with the need in the 93 counties in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa that the food bank serves, spokesman Brian Barks said.

Most food pantries, shelters and other programs receiving food from the Omaha food bank this Easter will receive staples like pasta, peanut butter or canned chicken. The food bank recently received 4,200 3-pound hams from the USDA, but Barks said those were gone within a couple of weeks.

“Meat has almost become a luxury item at the food bank,” he said.

That 55 cent wholesale price average (under Bush) to Obama’s new 80 cent price amounts to a 45.45 percent increase.  And the food pantries that are seeing their prices spike from 99 cents last year to $2.30 this year?  That’s a  132.32 percent increase in the price of food for poor people.  Which amounts to a “Happy Easter Hope and Change” from your false messiah.

And why can you point a finger at liberals?  There were two reasons given for the price spike – and both are DIRECTLY the fault of the left.

The first was the price of feed.  Why is feed so sky-high?  Because Obama and his liberal swine (a fitting term when talking about ham being so out-of-control due to liberals) have doubled-down and then tripled-down on ethanol subsidies – which have artificially and massively increased corn prices as we are literally burning our food to replace the hated oil which is far cheaper without massive subsidies.

The second reason – and what do you know, this is also right out of the liberal playbook – is the huge costs and labor associated with keeping liberals from demonizing hog farmers for their “inhumane conditions” (reality alert: pigs aren’t considered humans except when they vote “Democrat”).  It sure aint right-wing Rush Limbaugh conservatives throwing paint at women who wear fur.

So, just to make sure I’m clearly stating my point: this is ENTIRELY DUE TO THE LEFT.

Along with fuel (which rose from $1.85 to $3.94 under Obama’s watch for a massive 114 percent increase) and out-of-control rent prices (people can’t buy homes after Obama’s failed policies and then add in gigantic food inflation, the result is huge competition for rentals), and you have a shocking regressive tax on the poor whom Obama is always falsely saying he’s helping.

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Barack Obama Loves Racist Anti-American Preachers. And That Should Tell You Who He Really Is

April 27, 2011

Let’s consider the preachers that Obama likes:

Jeremiah Wright, he of “No, no, no.  Not God bless America, God DAMN America!” fame.

Of Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s spiritual mentor for 23 years, two things can definitively be said: 1) Jeremiah Wright is an admitted racist and Marxist; and 2) Barack Obama followed in his mentor’s footsteps.

Then there was Reverend Pfleger:

“… expose white entitlement. And supremacy, wherever it raises its head. I said before, I really don’t want ot make this political, because you know I’m really very unpolitical.

When Hillary was crying, and people said that was put on, I really don’t believe it was put on. I really believe that she just always thought, ‘this is mine. I’m Bill’s wife. I’m white, and this is mine. I just gotta get up and step into the plate.’

Then out of nowhere, ‘I’m Barack Obama!’

Imitating Hillary’s response, screaming at the top of his lungs again, he continues, ‘Ah, damn! Where did you come from? I’m white! I’m entitled! There’s a black man stealing my show!’

(mocks crying)

She wasn’t the only one crying, there was a whole lot of white people crying!”

And then we had Reverend James Meeks:

Described in a 2004 Chicago Sun Times article as someone Barack Obama regularly seeks out for “spiritual counsel”, James Meeks, who will serve as an Obama delegate at the 2008 Democratic convention in Denver, is a long-time political ally to the democratic frontrunner.

When Obama ran for the U.S. Senate in 2003, he frequently campaigned at Salem Baptist Church while Rev. Meeks appeared in television ads supporting the Illinois senator’s campaign…

Since that time, not only has Meeks himself served on Obama’s exploratory committee for the presidency and been listed on the Obama’s campaign website as one of the senator’s ‘influential black supporters’, but his church choir was called on to raise their voices in praise at a rally the night Obama announced his run for the White House back in 2007.

Interestingly, the Chicago Sun Times has also reported that both Meeks and Obama share a history of substantial campaign contributions from indicted real estate magnate Tony Rezko.

[JAMES MEEKS, REVEREND] “We don’t have slave masters. We got mayors. But they still the same white people who are presiding over systems where black people are not able, or to be educated.  You got some preachers that are house niggers. You got some elected officials that are house niggers. And rather than them trying to break this up, they gonna fight you to protect this white man.”

This man appeared in Obama campaign commercials. He served on Obama campaign committees. Obama campaigned at his church. Obama sought him out for “spiritual counsel” and political support.

And we had Obama’s next replacement for racist spiritual adviser Jeremiah Wright, Jim Wallis:

The United States of America was established as a white society, founded upon the genocide of another race and then the enslavement of yet another. […]

What has not changed is the systematic and pervasive character of racism in the United States and the condition of life for the majority of African Americans. In fact, those conditions have gotten worse.

Now we’ve got Dr. Wallace Charles Smith:

James Parker at WRNO-FM in New Orleans did some digging yesterday about Shiloh Baptist’s pastor, Dr. Wallace Charles Smith. Not only did he find that Smith loves to preach on race, but he noticed Smith even infused race into yesterday’s Easter sermon:

One has to dig into the blog notes from various reporters to piece together the content from the sermon.  Aside from the First Couple being honored guests, Pastor Wallace Charles Smith also announces that his 4 week old grandson is attending church for the first time, and a pool reporter noted an interesting perspective on the infant:

“[Pastor Smith] talked about how his baby grandson’s gurgling is actually “talking” because he is saying ‘I am here … they tried to write me off as 3/5 a person in the Constitution, but I am here right now … and is saying I am not going to let anybody from stopping me from being what God wants me to be.’”

 

Parker asks the obvious questions:

The pastor hears American institutional racism in a baby’s gurgle?  Do most people with infants hear Constitutional bigotry in their baby’s gibberish?  Did any mention of the 3/5 clause or racism in general make it into the Easter service you attended?  Is this pastor’s amazing leap from a baby bark to white oppression another coincidence to add to the list, or has he established a pattern of race baiting and white bashing in the past?

And Parker posts a sermon posted on Youtube to document that this was (to paraphrase liberally biased PBS), a “seriously racist, racist preacher” that Obama should have known to avoid like a particularly contagious leper.

Let me begin with his “three-fifths” screed.  It is a lie that this was intended as a racist statement or to promote racism.  The simple fact of the matter was that this was inserted into the Constitution to prevent the United States from having slavery forever, and if men like Wallace Charles Smith are in any way glad that they are not STILL slaves today, they should thank God that our founding fathers came up with that “three-fifths” compromise.

Take a moment to do something that no pseudo-liberal intellectual will never do: learn history.  The “three-fifths” compromise was intended to LIMIT the political power of slave states.  Slave-owning states wanted their slaves FULLY counted in order to maximize their political clout and so protect themselves from ever having slavery banned.  States that did NOT want slavery at ALL wanted to not count slaves at ALL.  The “three-fifths” thing had everything to do with representation and the number of racist pro-slavery congressional representatives a pro-slavery state could get on the basis of its slave population, and nothing whatsoever to do with the ontology of black peole as “human beings.”

If you want to argue that it was about ontolological status, then you are in the rather miserable position of saying that people who wanted blacks to be slaves are the good guys, and that people who wanted to abolish slavery are the bad guys.  It turns you into a moral idiot of the worst possible stripe.

But that is precisely the point: Wallace Charles Smith, Reverend Pfleger, Jeremiah Wright, Jim Wallace, James Meeks, and most definitely Barack Obama who keeps intentionally surrounding himself with these vile people are seething racists who hate and despise America and everything this nation stands for.

It is an amazing thing to have a president who hates me personally on account of my race, and who hates the nation that he was elected to lead and to represent.  But that is precisely what we have in Barack Obama.  That much ought to be blatantly obvious by now.

Finally, although what is above ought to be proof positive enough, Barack Obama is very definitely no Christian on any legitimate understanding of Christianity.  Allow me to simply quote myself from yesterday:

 in 1995, Obama said, “my individual salvation is not going to come about without a collective salvation for the country …” and again in May of 2008, “our individual salvation depends of collective salvation.”
 
What does Jesus say?  Consider Matthew 16:24-25:
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If any one (individual) wishes to come after Me, he (individual) must deny himself (individual), and take up his (individual) cross and follow Me.  For whoever wishes to save his (individual) life will lose it; but whoever loses his (individual) life for My sake will find it.
 
Consider 2 Corinthians 5:10 for the thoughts of St. Paul:
 
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one (individual) may be recompensed for his (individual) deeds in the body, according to what he (individual) has done, whether good or bad.
 
And again, St. Paul in Romans 14:12:
 
So then each one of us (individual) will give an account of himself (individual) to God.
 
Or consider Galatians 2:20:
 
“I (individual) have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I (individual) who live, but Christ lives in me (individual); and the life which I (individual) now live in the flesh I (individual) live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me (individual), and delibered Himself up for me (individual).”
 
And, again, in the words of Jesus as recorded in Revelation 3:20:
 
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If any one (individual)  hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him (individual) and will dine with him (individual), and he (individual) with Me.”
 
Barack Obama is most certainly not a Christian to so miserably misunderstand that we are EACH INDIVIDUALLY saved by our PERSONAL faith in Jesus Christ through what He did for us on the cross.  This is not some esoteric “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” sort of question; it is a core fundamental of the Christian faith.

We are in God damn America.  And as bad as things are now, they will continue to get worse and worse until Obama is finally no longer able to hurt America with his ruinous worldview and the ruinous policies that derive from that worldview.

President Obama Deliberately Edits Jesus Out Of Easter Message

April 5, 2010

This is really something: editing Jesus out of Easter.

It’s almost as though Obama is wearing his “WWJD” bracelet.  Only his means, “What would Jeremiah Do?

Obama Removes Jesus from Easter Message
Vince Haley

President Obama literally edited Christ out of his “holiday greeting” today when he excerpted a sermon given by a military chaplain on Iwo Jima on Easter Sunday 1945.

Below is the relevant paragraph from Obama’s holiday greeting today:

The rites of Passover, and the traditions of Easter, have been marked by people in every corner of the planet for thousands of years. They have been marked in times of peace, in times of upheaval, in times of war.

One such war-time service was held on the black sands of Iwo Jima more than sixty years ago. There, in the wake of some of the fiercest fighting of World War II, a chaplain rose to deliver an Easter sermon, consecrating the memory, he said “of American dead – Catholic, Protestant, Jew. Together,” he said, “they huddled in foxholes or crouched in the bloody sands…Together they practiced virtue, patriotism, love of country, love of you and of me.” The chaplain continued, “The heritage they have left us, the vision of a new world, [was] made possible by the common bond that united them…their only hope that this unity will endure.”

Their only hope that this unity will endure.

Now read below the same paragraph again, but this time note the additional bolded language that comes from the original audio of the 1945 sermon and its context, but which President Obama decided not to include:

There, in the wake of some of the fiercest fighting of World War II, a chaplain rose to deliver an Easter sermon, consecrating the memory, he said:

He has risen. With all due reverence, we apply these words to our beloved dead.

There are too many air call wings encrusted with the stain of their owners’ life blood, too many marine trousers upon the graves, too many symbolsof American dead – Catholic, Protestant, Jew. Together,” he said, “they huddled in foxholes or crouched in the bloody sands under the fury of enemy guns here on Iwo Jima. Together they practiced virtue, patriotism, love of country, love of you and of me. Together they stand before the greatest soldier of them all – Jesus Christ, to receive the token of our triumph.  For Christ has said: “Greater love than this no man hath then that he lay down his life for his friends.”

And so our beloved dead have gone from the world of hate to the world of eternal love.

The chaplain continued, “The heritage they have left us, the vision of a new world, [was] made possible by the common bond that united them in the drudgery of recruit training or here in the chaos of bursting shouts. Their only hope: that this unity will endure.”

And so our dead have risen to glory.

The American President is president of all the people, believers and non-believers alike.  So when presidential messages are delivered to mark the special observances of major religious groups, it is understandable that a president will strive to provide some measure of explanation of how a particular religious observance honors values that all Americans can share.

But there are limits. A president cannot possibly hope to be a grand synthesizer of all religious traditions in the United States. Despite his skills, it is above President Obama’s pay grade to construct some kind of civic religion that stands above traditional religions and which should guide Americans going forward.

Instead of providing separate messages to Jews and Christians on the observance of Passover and Easter, President Obama said in this holiday greeting that “while we worship in different ways, we also remember the shared spirit of humanity that inhabits us all – Jews and Christians, Muslims and Hindus, believers and nonbelievers alike.”

Obama then went on to say that “on this Easter weekend, let us hold fast to those aspirations we hold in common as brothers and sisters, as members of the same family – the family of man.”

The problem is that when you start to water down what people actually believe in an attempt to construct a religion of the “family of man”, you start to misrepresent fundamentally the nature of the hope that is at the center of lives of believers.

In the case of Christians, Christ is our hope.  Our hope is in the risen Christ, which we celebrate on Easter Sunday.

But if a president wants to water down religious beliefs in an attempt to find a synthesized religion of the ‘family of man’, you end up removing Christ from Easter, which is, strangely, exactly what President Obama did today in his Easter message.

Is this the first American president to dechristianize Easter?

The answer to that final question is almost certainly, “Yes.”

Christians seek to find Christian meaning in everything.  A gifted pastor can literally see something that illustrates the Christian life from just about anywhere or anything.

Obama would seem to be the reverse-Christian who reverse engineers Jesus out of specifically Christian messages.

If I want to hear a Jesus-denuded Easter message, I’ll turn to my Karl Marx Devotional Manuel, thank you.  I managed to misplace my ACLU Book of Easter Homilies.

Sorry, but on Easter of ALL days, I don’t celebrate my belonging to “the family of man”; rather, I celebrate that Christ rising from the dead allows me to belong to the family of God.

Family of God
Words and Music by William J. Gaither

Chorus
I’m so glad I’m a part of the Family of God,
I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His Blood!
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod,
For I’m part of the family,
The Family of God

You will notice we say “brother and sister” ’round here,
It’s because we’re a family and these are so near;
When one has a heartache, we all share the tears,
And rejoice in each victory in this family so dear.

Chorus
I’m so glad I’m a part of the Family of God,
I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His Blood!
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod,
For I’m part of the family,
The Family of God

From the door of an orphanage to the house of the King,
No longer an outcast, a new song I sing;
From rags unto riches, from the weak to the strong,
I’m not worthy to be here, but PRAISE GOD! I belong!

Chorus
I’m so glad I’m a part of the Family of God,
I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His Blood!
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod,
For I’m part of the family,
The Family of God

It frankly surprises me that Barack Obama still surprises me.

What would REALLY surprise me is if he finally surprised me in a good way.

If Obama wanted a Jesus-denuded Easter message (as bizarre and warped as that idea even IS), then he should have at least had the integrity to FIND a Jesus-denuded Easter message.

Hey, kids.  Here’s a game you can play at home: start downloading Obama speeches, and then edit out the parts you don’t like so you can twist it to say the exact opposite message that Obama intended.

In Easter We Can Know That God Loves Us With His Life

April 4, 2010

What is the message of Easter?  It is that Jesus of Nazareth conquered death.  It is that “He is risen, just as He said” (Matthew 28:6).  And in rising bodily from the grave, it is that Jesus was vindicated in everything He said about Himself.  The One who said, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25) put to the lie the Pharisee’s mockery that “He saved others, but He can’t save Himself” (Matthew 27:42).  In rising from the dead, Jesus demonstrated that He is indeed “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).

Over the centuries, Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike have provided many arguments for the existence of God.  But the Bible never makes any such attempt.  God’s existence is as much assumed as is our existence; and to question one’s existence would be as silly as to question one’s own existence.  Thus, the first words of the Bible are, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).  We are told, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God'” (Psalm 14:1).  Paul says in Romans:

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:18-20).

And James tells us, “You believe that there is one God.  Good!  Even the demons believe that – and shudder” (James 2:19).

There is clearly a great deal more to the Christian faith than merely believing in the existence of God.

On my view, in agreement with St. Paul above, I believe that the existence of God has been made plain.  It is no amazing thing to believe in God; and as Alvin Plantinga has pointed out, such belief is properly basic.

Believing in God is not the “hard part” about being a Christian.  You want to know what is?  Believing that God – the creator of space and time, energy and matter – loves me and cares about meTHAT’S the hard part.

And that’s exactly the part that Easter morning speaks to.

Take a look at Eli Weisel’s Night, written from the vantage point of a Holocaust death camp survivor:

The first night in camp turned Elie’s life completely. It was the first time he learned how people could be so cruel to the others, it was the night that turned his dream to dust, and it was the night he lost the faith in God. From that day on, although many people believed the concentration camp is where the God tests them, judges their characters, and proves that God loved them, Elie doubted the God’s absolute justice. As time went by, Elie became accustomed to all the horrors he had experienced. Unlike the beginning of the book, which he take care the neighbors with all he can do for them, now he cared only the food but no one else. He was numb to the burning body, to the beating and to the hard works. But one day, the last hope was torn away from Elie when he had to witness the hanging of a small boy. “For more than half an hour he stayed there, struggling between life and death, dying in slow agony under our eyes.” (62) A man behind Elie asked, “Where is God? Where is He?….Where is God now?”  A voice inside Elie answered, “Where is He? Here He is-He is hanging here on this gallows…” (62) At this moment, Elie’s world was collapsed, and the God was murdered.

In this account, God hanging on the gallows represents the death of God, in the sense of extinction.  But there is another side to this story.  Because God Himself – in the form of the Son of God who had assumed a human nature so that He could live a perfect human life and die a substitutionary death for the sins of mankind – actually DID hang on a cross.

Our suffering certainly doesn’t prove the death of God when God Himself has entered into our suffering.  Rather, God suffered so that He could ultimately put an end to suffering.

God is not dead.  He did die for us.  But death could not keep Him down.  He rose from the grave.  He conquered death.  And He is now gloriously alive forevermore as the first fruits of resurrection life that one day every believer will experience.

Easter assures us that God did not create planet earth to serve as His fishbowl.  He is not looking dispassionately down at earth.  In the Incarnation of the Son of God, God demonstrated that He not only cared about His creation, but was willing to go to the farthest possible lengths to save His wayward creation and win it back to Himself.

The Incarnation of God is the greatest love story ever told.  The Son of God – God Himself in every way – chose to temporarily set aside key attributes of deity and assume a human nature.  God created man in His own image (Genesis 1:26-27) so that one day He could become a man.

And so God came into the world, born of a humble virgin into a carpenter’s family.  Perfect God became a perfect man; Jesus obeyed His Father perfectly, and never sinned even once, so that He could be “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).  Jesus said of His own purpose, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

Jesus said, “No one can take my life from me.  I sacrifice it voluntarily.  For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded” (John 10:18, NLT).  And Jesus allowed His life to become a sacrifice in such a terrible, humiliating, painful manner that no decent human being could have been able to even look upon His death, let alone endured it.  He allowed men who were literally filled with demons to unleash their rabid hatred upon Him.  And He demonstrated His compassion, love, and mercy even for those who were torturing Him when He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

Before He was crucified, Jesus was flogged in a manner that literally stripped Him to the bone, and ripped out chunks of flesh and muscle.  His body was very likely already dying.  A jagged crown of thorns was shoved onto His head as a form of further mockery.  And then He was forced to carry His own instrument of execution as He stumbled agonizingly along the Via Dolorosa (Latin for “the way of grief”) while jeering crowds mocked Him.

“And they crucified Him” (Mark 15:24).

Death by crucifixion was the most extreme Roman penalty.  Crucifixion is without question the most painful and humiliating form of official death penalty ever devised.  The word “excruciating” was Latin, and means, “out of the cross.”  The victim was displayed naked, and his slow death by suffering available for all to see as a warning to any who would dare to threaten the supremacy of Rome.

Here is a medical account of the suffering inflicted by crucifixion:

Jesus is quickly thrown backward with His shoulders against the wood.  The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist.  He drives a heavy, square, wrought-iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood.  Quickly, he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flexibility and movement.  The patibulum is then lifted in place at the top of the stipes and the titulus reading “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” is nailed in place.

The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees moderately flexed.  The victim is now crucified.  As He slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating, fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain – the nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the median nerves.  As He pushes Himself upward to avoid this wrenching torment, He places His full weight on the nail through His feet.  Again there is the searing agony of the the tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of the feet.

At this point, another phenomenon occurs.  As the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain.  With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward.  Hanging by His arms, the pectoral muscles are paralyzed and the intercostal muscles are unable to act.  Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled.  Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath.  Finally carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream and the cramps partially subside.  Spasmodically, He is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen.

Jesus’ suffering was not merely physical.  His emotional and spiritual suffering were as unparalleled in human history as was his bodily suffering.  The Son of God had known eternal loving relationship with the Father.  But on the cross, Christ became a sin offering – And in His agony His Father was forced to turn away from Him.  Galatians 3:13 tells us, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”

Jesus suffered as no human being has ever suffered.  And yet Jesus wasn’t a helpless victim.  We have heard Jesus say prior to His crucifixion that He would sacrifice His life voluntarily (John 10:18).  As the soldiers, priests, and mob came to arrest Him at Gethsemane, Jesus said to His disciples who tried to protect Him, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:52).  A legion was 6,000, meaning 72,000 angels would have come to save the Son of God at His bidding.

For the record, ONE angel put one hundred and eighty-five thousand Assyrian warriors to death in one night (2 Kings 19:35).

So why on earth would Jesus have allowed Himself to be so horribly tortured and killed when He could have stopped it?

Because of His love for me.  And for you.

We talk about love all the time.  But we can’t even begin to fathom the depths of Christ’s love for us.

The last recorded word from Jesus on the cross was “Tetelestai.”  It is usually translated, “It is finished.”  But there is so much that we can learn from how that word was used in Roman culture at the time of Christ.  “Tetelestai” was used to stamp “paid” upon a receipt, and it was also the stamp put on a criminal’s charges once he had completed his sentence.  Paid in full.

In His substitutionary death, Christ paid the price for our sins.  All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).  But Christ paid the price for us in full.

As I said earlier, “the hard part” of Christianity is believing the incredible concept that the Creator of the entire universe actually loves and cares about me.  There’s your real miracle.  It’s believing that no matter what my temporary situation might look like, I’m NOT alone and unloved; rather, I am loved by a God who literally loves Me with His life!  But there is more.  There is more than we could ever imagine.

What is the meaning of Easter?

It is summed up in Philippians 2:5-11:

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

And because Christ was raised from the dead to glory, so also will those who love Him.

1 Corinthians 15: 50-57:

I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

What is the meaning of Easter?  On Easter morning, after loving humanity with His life, Christ was raised from the dead.  The Resurrection and the Life conquered death once and for all.  And He paid for our sins so that we could share eternal life in heaven with God. That’s good news indeed to anyone who wants to go to heaven rather than hell, but who isn’t as righteous and sinless and perfect as God.

Before He was taken away to be beaten, flogged and crucified, Christ assured His first followers:

“In my Father’s house are many rooms;
if it were not so, I would have told you.
I am going there to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back and take you to be with me
that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2-3).

And Jesus’ bodily resurrection from the dead is all I need to know to believe that a beautiful room in the very house of the Father awaits me.  What incomprehensible joy awaits those who love Christ!

Christ loved us with His life (past tense); He now loves us with eternal life in Him and with Him.

And so every Easter, Christians from all over the world joyfully greet one another and say, “He is risen!”  “He is risen indeed!”

Democrats’ Bizarro World: Doctor Reimbursements NOT Part Of Health Care, But Takeover Of Student Loans IS

March 13, 2010

Isn’t it amazing that, as far as Democrats are concerned in their way-too-finite wisdom, doctor’s Medicare reimbursements have absolutely nothing to do with health care, but a government student loan takeover suddenly has everything to do with health care?

The $300 billion “doctor fix” has nothing to do with health care because it would explode the totally bogus myth that the Democrats’ health plan is somehow “deficit neutral.”  But now the Democrats are throwing in their student loan takeover to try to sweeten the pot for hesitant Democrats in the House.

Mitch McConnell put what is going on into proper perspective:

“It’s a very bad idea.  We now have the government running banks, insurance companies, car companies, and now [the Democrats] want to take over the student loan business.  I’m not sure the public thinks the current debate is about that issue, and it would show again the lengths they are willing to go to have the government expand its tentacles into absolutely everything.”

So why don’t we go ahead and rename the Democrats “health care” boondoggle for what it really is: the Government Tentacle Expansion Act.

Bill Kristol had this to say when asked about this latest new wrinkle in ObamaCare:

BRETT BAIER: Bill, now Speaker Pelosi has talked about putting in student loans, a change to the student loan program in the vote for health care reform.

What about that? This is the student loan legislation that would end private lender’s involvement in the original student loans and the Department of Education would essentially take over?

BILL KRISTOL: Yes, the government would be the direct loaner to the students. Well that passed the House by a larger margin last year. So they are adding something that they think is more attractive to try to bring home few extra members to the bill.

It shows how unpopular this bill is. It is jaw dropping to step back from the day-to-day thing. A year into president’s top agenda health care is the Democrats favorite issue. They have had 30 point margins on it in polls over the Republicans for the last 15 years basically.

And as this debate has gone along this bill has become so unpopular and toxic that they now can’t pass it through a normal conference committee. They can’t have a normal situation where each house passes its own bill and get together and have a compromise. They have to pass the Senate bill or nothing because they’re terrified to go to conference.

They are now terrified to let the members go home for Easter recess before a vote, so they are going to — the president is delaying his trip so they can jam the vote in at the end of next week, they hope by one or two vote margin. It’s really stunning.

Bottom line: the people – who are now opposed to ObamaCare by a 3-1 margin – don’t want the government to take over our health care system.  And the Democrat leadership is literally afraid to let the Congress go home for Easter recess and hear what their constituents have to say before a vote, lest they respect the will of the people and vote against this monstrosity.  And so, as Obama postpones his foreign trip, the leadership is trying to overcome opposition to ObamaCare by offering as an inducement yet ANOTHER Democrat big government takeover, this time of the student loan system.

President Obama’s approval has sank to an all time low of 46% in the Gallup poll as he has determined to impose his health care boondoggle on the American people who do not want itThe Hill points out that this “demonstrates that the healthcare debate has taken a toll on Obama’s approval numbers.”

A new poll released by the Associated Press finds that the American people overwhelmingly want the Republicans involved with any health care overhaul, rather than having an ideological Democrat boondoggle rammed down their throats:

More than four in five Americans say it’s important that any health care plan have support from both parties. And 68 percent say the president and congressional Democrats should keep trying to cut a deal with Republicans rather than pass a bill with no GOP support.

And only 27 percent of voters want to see ObamaCare rammed down the nation’s collective throat.

And as for what the Democrats are trying to impose:

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of voters say the health care reform plan now working its way through Congress will hurt the U.S. economy.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 25% think the plan will help the economy. But only seven percent (7%) say it will have no impact. Twelve percent (12%) aren’t sure.

Two-out-of-three voters (66%) also believe the health care plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats is likely to increase the federal deficit. That’s up six points from late November and comparable to findings just after the contentious August congressional recess. Ten percent (10%) say the plan is more likely to reduce the deficit and 14% say it will have no impact on the deficit.

Underlying this concern is a lack of trust in the government numbers. Eighty-one percent (81%) believe it is at least somewhat likely that the health care reform plan will cost more than official estimates. That number includes 66% who say it is very likely that the official projections understate the true cost of the plan.

Just 10% have confidence in the official estimates and say the actual costs are unlikely to be higher.

Seventy-eight percent (78%) also believe it is at least somewhat likely that taxes will have to be raised on the middle class to cover the cost of health care reform. This includes 65% who say middle-class tax hikes are very likely, a six-point increase from late November.

And yes, ObamaCare will raise taxes.  In fact, for every one family who gets a subsidy to pay for the Democrats’ health care plan – which will cost $2.5 trillion – three middle class families will be taxed more to provide that subsidy.

Meanwhile, Barry Hussein has just broken his own record for the worst deficit in human history.

A few quotations from Ronald Reagan are in order here:

  • “Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem.”
  • “The federal government has taken too much tax money from the people, too much authority from the states, and too much liberty with the Constitution.”
  • “Nations crumble from within when the citizenry asks of government those things which the citizenry might better provide for itself.”
  • “As government expands, liberty contracts.”
  • “Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.”
  • “No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size.”
  • “Are you entitled to the fruits of your labor or does government have some presumptive right to spend and spend and spend?”
  • “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

The American people have overwhelmingly shouted – and there have been three big statewide elections in states that voted big for Obama to prove that the polls are correct – that they don’t want a government takeover.  And how do Democrats respond?  By offering another government takeover (of the student loan system) as an inducement for Democrats to vote for the government takeover of health care.

Pope Benedict: The anti-Maher, anti-Wright Christian leader

April 20, 2008

I was so pleased that Fox News gave the Pope’s celebration at St. Joseph’s Seminary full coverage. I am not Catholic, but I would have gladly kissed that ring today.

I think about Bill Maher’s recent comments against Pope Benedict (see my article, “Bill Maher vs. Pope Benedict: and the winner is…). I think about the remarks of Trinity United Church of Christ’s (and Barack Obama’s) paster, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. In contrast to such bitter men, it was so inspiring to see a wise, gracious Christian giant demonstrate the true virtues of the Christian faith.

My home page is set to MSNBC. It really shouldn’t be, but I’m too lazy to change it. I am glad that their forecast (something like, “Pope Benedict is visiting America, but nobody cares”) was so completely dead-wrong.

The Pope, addressing an audience of mainly young people, was able to draw on his own experiences as a youth in Germany under the “monsters” of Nazi fascism. He said, “My own years as a teenager were marred by a sinister regime that thought it had all the answers; its influence grew — infiltrating schools and civic bodies, as well as politics and even religion — before it was fully recognized for the monster it was. It banished God and thus became impervious to anything true and good. Many of your grandparents and great-grandparents will have recounted the horror of the destruction that ensued. Indeed, some of them came to America precisely to escape such terror.”

The Pope praised God for the strength of Democratic governments who finally stood up and removed the evil that marred his youth even as it marred the world, and called upon continued resolve to stand up for freedom. “Let us thank God for all those who strive to ensure that you can grow up in an environment that nurtures what is beautiful, good, and true: your parents and grandparents, your teachers and priests, those civic leaders who seek what is right and just,” he said. He urged the young people and the future priests in the seminary to faithfully carry on their Christian works while enjoying the liberties that they were blessed to have.

“The power to destroy does, however, remain. To pretend otherwise would be to fool ourselves. Yet, it never triumphs; it is defeated. This is the essence of the hope that defines us as Christians; and the Church recalls this most dramatically during the Easter Triduum and celebrates it with great joy in the season of Easter! The One who shows us the way beyond death is the One who shows us how to overcome destruction and fear: thus it is Jesus who is the true teacher of life (cf. Spe Salvi, 6). His death and resurrection mean that we can say to the Father “you have restored us to life!” (Prayer after Communion, Good Friday). And so, just a few weeks ago, during the beautiful Easter Vigil liturgy, it was not from despair or fear that we cried out to God for our world, but with hope-filled confidence: dispel the darkness of our heart! dispel the darkness of our minds!”

“The German-born pope lamented that what he called “the joy of faith” was often choked by cynicism, greed and violence. Yet he drew an analogy to show how faith can overcome distractions and trials. ‘The spires of St. Patrick’s Cathedral are dwarfed by the skyscrapers of the Manhattan skyline, yet in the heart of this busy metropolis they are a vivid reminder of the constant yearning of the human spirit to rise to God.'”

These words were as beautiful as they were inspiring:

“The Incarnation, the birth of Jesus, tells us that God does indeed find a place among us. Though the inn is full, he enters through the stable, and there are people who see his light. They recognize Herod’s dark closed world for what it is, and instead follow the bright guiding star of the night sky. And what shines forth? Here you might recall the prayer uttered on the most holy night of Easter: “Father we share in the light of your glory through your Son the light of the world … inflame us with your hope!” (Blessing of the Fire). And so, in solemn procession with our lighted candles we pass the light of Christ among us. It is “the light which dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy, casts out hatred, brings us peace, and humbles earthly pride” (Exsultet). This is Christ’s light at work. This is the way of the saints. It is a magnificent vision of hope — Christ’s light beckons you to be guiding stars for others, walking Christ’s way of forgiveness, reconciliation, humility, joy and peace.”

Pope Benedict did not turn a blind eye to the darkness that constantly threatens to eclipse the world. Rather he defines it, and describes the path to attaining victory over it:

What might that darkness be? What happens when people, especially the most vulnerable, encounter a clenched fist of repression or manipulation rather than a hand of hope? A first group of examples pertains to the heart. Here, the dreams and longings that young people pursue can so easily be shattered or destroyed. I am thinking of those affected by drug and substance abuse, homelessness and poverty, racism, violence, and degradation — especially of girls and women. While the causes of these problems are complex, all have in common a poisoned attitude of mind which results in people being treated as mere objects ? a callousness of heart takes hold which first ignores, then ridicules, the God-given dignity of every human being. Such tragedies also point to what might have been and what could be, were there other hands — your hands — reaching out. I encourage you to invite others, especially the vulnerable and the innocent, to join you along the way of goodness and hope.

The second area of darkness — that which affects the mind — often goes unnoticed, and for this reason is particularly sinister. The manipulation of truth distorts our perception of reality, and tarnishes our imagination and aspirations. I have already mentioned the many liberties which you are fortunate enough to enjoy. The fundamental importance of freedom must be rigorously safeguarded. It is no surprise then that numerous individuals and groups vociferously claim their freedom in the public forum. Yet freedom is a delicate value. It can be misunderstood or misused so as to lead not to the happiness which we all expect it to yield, but to a dark arena of manipulation in which our understanding of self and the world becomes confused, or even distorted by those who have an ulterior agenda.

Have you noticed how often the call for freedom is made without ever referring to the truth of the human person? Some today argue that respect for freedom of the individual makes it wrong to seek truth, including the truth about what is good. In some circles to speak of truth is seen as controversial or divisive, and consequently best kept in the private sphere. And in truth’s place — or better said its absence — an idea has spread which, in giving value to everything indiscriminately, claims to assure freedom and to liberate conscience. This we call relativism. But what purpose has a “freedom” which, in disregarding truth, pursues what is false or wrong? How many young people have been offered a hand which in the name of freedom or experience has led them to addiction, to moral or intellectual confusion, to hurt, to a loss of self-respect, even to despair and so tragically and sadly to the taking of their own life? Dear friends, truth is not an imposition. Nor is it simply a set of rules. It is a discovery of the One who never fails us; the One whom we can always trust. In seeking truth we come to live by belief because ultimately truth is a person: Jesus Christ. That is why authentic freedom is not an opting out. It is an opting in; nothing less than letting go of self and allowing oneself to be drawn into Christ’s very being for others (cf. Spe Salvi, 28).

How then can we as believers help others to walk the path of freedom which brings fulfillment and lasting happiness? Let us again turn to the saints. How did their witness truly free others from the darkness of heart and mind? The answer is found in the kernel of their faith; the kernel of our faith. The Incarnation, the birth of Jesus, tells us that God does indeed find a place among us. Though the inn is full, he enters through the stable, and there are people who see his light. They recognize Herod’s dark closed world for what it is, and instead follow the bright guiding star of the night sky. And what shines forth? Here you might recall the prayer uttered on the most holy night of Easter: “Father we share in the light of your glory through your Son the light of the world … inflame us with your hope!” (Blessing of the Fire). And so, in solemn procession with our lighted candles we pass the light of Christ among us. It is “the light which dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy, casts out hatred, brings us peace, and humbles earthly pride” (Exsultet). This is Christ’s light at work. This is the way of the saints. It is a magnificent vision of hope — Christ’s light beckons you to be guiding stars for others, walking Christ’s way of forgiveness, reconciliation, humility, joy and peace.

At times, however, we are tempted to close in on ourselves, to doubt the strength of Christ’s radiance, to limit the horizon of hope. Take courage! Fix your gaze on our saints. The diversity of their experience of God’s presence prompts us to discover anew the breadth and depth of Christianity. Let your imaginations soar freely along the limitless expanse of the horizons of Christian discipleship. Sometimes we are looked upon as people who speak only of prohibitions. Nothing could be further from the truth! Authentic Christian discipleship is marked by a sense of wonder. We stand before the God we know and love as a friend, the vastness of his creation, and the beauty of our Christian faith.

Some more marvelous words that reveal the genuine transformational power of the Christian faith, as well as an incredible source of power to do good in the world:

“In the liturgy we find the whole Church at prayer. The word liturgy means the participation of God’s people in “the work of Christ the Priest and of His Body which is the Church” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 7). What is that work? First of all it refers to Christ’s Passion, his Death and Resurrection, and his Ascension — what we call the Paschal Mystery. It also refers to the celebration of the liturgy itself. The two meanings are in fact inseparably linked because this “work of Jesus” is the real content of the liturgy. Through the liturgy, the “work of Jesus” is continually brought into contact with history; with our lives in order to shape them. Here we catch another glimpse of the grandeur of our Christian faith. Whenever you gather for Mass, when you go to Confession, whenever you celebrate any of the sacraments, Jesus is at work. Through the Holy Spirit, he draws you to himself, into his sacrificial love of the Father which becomes love for all. We see then that the Church’s liturgy is a ministry of hope for humanity. Your faithful participation, is an active hope which helps to keep the world — saints and sinners alike — open to God; this is the truly human hope we offer everyone (cf. Spe Salvi, 34).

Your personal prayer, your times of silent contemplation, and your participation in the Church’s liturgy, bring you closer to God and also prepare you to serve others. The saints accompanying us this evening show us that the life of faith and hope is also a life of charity. Contemplating Jesus on the Cross we see love in its most radical form. We can begin to imagine the path of love along which we must move (cf. Deus Caritas Est, 12). The opportunities to make this journey are abundant. Look about you with Christ’s eyes, listen with his ears, feel and think with his heart and mind. Are you ready to give all as he did for truth and justice? Many of the examples of the suffering which our saints responded to with compassion are still found here in this city and beyond. And new injustices have arisen: some are complex and stem from the exploitation of the heart and manipulation of the mind; even our common habitat, the earth itself, groans under the weight of consumerist greed and irresponsible exploitation. We must listen deeply. We must respond with a renewed social action that stems from the universal love that knows no bounds. In this way, we ensure that our works of mercy and justice become hope in action for others.”

I hear and read these great, wise, potent words, and then I compare them to the cynicism of Bill Maher and the bitterness and divisive racism of Jeremiah Wright. The gulf is astronomical. Such a beautiful description of such a beautiful worldview. Contrary to the sickness that has come out of the mouths of Maher and Wright, the first German Pope is the anti-Hitler, the anti-Wright. The light he offered to the young people at Yonkers contrasts dramatically with the darkness we have heard from others.

Daniela Rizzo brought her husband and their infant son from Connecticut. “You can feel the energy,” Rizzo said. “You can feel the faith.”

I felt it too.

Welcome to America, Pope Benedict. May your visit be as happy as the joy you are bringing to millions.

A full transcript of the Pope’s remarks at St. Joseph’s is available at

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/19/nyregion/19popeyouth.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ei=5088&en=2a1a37f9f94e066d&ex=1366344000&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss