Thursday, August 13, 2009

Today on Kresta - August 13, 2009

Talking about the "things that matter most" on August 13

3:00 – Kresta Comments

3:20 – Hitchcock Birthday – Aug. 13, 1899

In a career that spanned six decades and more than sixty films, Alfred Hitchcock became the most widely recognized director who ever lived. His films set new standards for cinematic invention and storytelling. He is certainly one of the greatest filmmakers of all-time. He was also a devout Catholic. We examine how his faith influenced his career and found its way into many of his productions. Biographer Patrick McGilligan joins us.

4:00 – Lawsuit Against Dearborn, MI School and Muslim Principal Over Firing of Christian Wrestling Coach
The Thomas More Law Center has filed a federal lawsuit against a Dearborn, MI high school, Fordson High School, and its Muslim principal, Imad Fadlallah, over the firing of Gerald Marszalek because of Marszalek’s connection to a Christian volunteer coach. Marszalek, who had coached wrestling for 35 years, had achieved a legendary status in the wrestling community. Earning more that 450 wins, and sending numerous wrestlers to various collegiate programs, he was elected to the Michigan High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame, named “Sportsman of the Year” by the All-American Athletic Association. Marszalek’s contract was not renewed because of his association with a Christian volunteer coach, Trey Hancock, who the principal accused of converting a Muslim student to Christianity during a summer camp not connected with the school or Coach Marszalek. Attorney Brian Rooney is with us.

4:00 – Kresta Comments

4:20 – "The Soloist"

The Soloist is a story about a relationship across a socioeconomic chasm. Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) and Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx) have absolutely nothing in common. Lopez is a Los Angeles suburbanite columnist whose biggest problem is raccoons digging up his back yard turf for worms. Ayers is homeless, mentally ill, almost unreachable in a fog of confusion. But the film is based on a true story, adapted from the writings of the real-life Lopez — which, in a way, is itself the explanation for Lopez’s and Ayers’s relationship. Like any columnist, Lopez is always on the lookout for story fodder, and when he runs across Ayers in a public square playing a two-stringed violin — and catches a reference to “Julliard” in Ayers’s torrent of words — Lopez smells a story. Maybe even a series. The DVD is now out and Steven Greydanus has the review.

4:40 – EEOC Violates Religious Liberty By Forcing Catholic College to Provide Insurance for Contraceptives
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has ruled that a small Catholic college must include coverage for artificial contraceptives in its employee health insurance plan, raising new concerns about the need for conscience protections and religious exemptions in America’s health care policies. In December 2007, Belmont Abbey College removed coverage for abortion, contraception and voluntary sterilization after they were accidentally included in the college’s insurance plan. Eight faculty members filed complaints. The EEOC determined that Belmont Abbey has discriminated against women by denying coverage of contraception. We talk with Belmont Abbey President William Thierfelder about the case.

5:00 – Kresta Comments

5:20 – Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of the Civilization of Love
Today, Our Lady of Guadalupe continues to inspire the devotion of millions. From Canada to Argentina — and even beyond the Americas — one finds great devotion to her, and great appreciation for her message of love, unity and hope. Her shrine in Mexico City, where the miraculous image is housed to this day, is one of the most visited in the world. Carl Anderson is here to trace the history of Our Lady of Guadalupe from the sixteenth century to the present discuss of how her message was and continues to be an important catalyst for religious and cultural transformation. Looking at Our Lady of Guadalupe as a model of the Church and Juan Diego as a model for all Christians who seek to answer Christ's call of conversion and witness, he explores the changing face of the Catholic Church in North, Central, and South America, and shows how Our Lady of Guadalupe's message was not only historically significant, but how it speaks to contemporary issues confronting the American continents and people today.


  1. At the same time Catholic Charities issued their statement an Action Alert put out by Catholic Charities, along with the St. Vincent de Paul Society and Catholic Health Association, instructing supporters:

    "Please call and e-mail your Representative in the next 24 hours expressing your support for Congress to enact health care reform now"

    This action alert was pulled after a Catholic web site called attention to it.

  2. Re: the Belmont Abbey College insurance plan, conscience protections, and religious liberty

    If people would think about it, only a libertarian approach to government policy completely solves these types of problems.

    It should not matter that Belmont Abbey College is a religious institution. If pro-life atheist Nat Hentoff forms a publishing company, he should be allowed to provide an insurance plan that excludes abortion services. It's his company, and he's paying for it. That's it. We need not and should not give "religious freedom" a special place. Richard Dawkins puts it well in the first chapter of his book The God Delusion:

    "Here's a particular example of our society's overweening respect for religion, one that really matters. By far the easiest grounds for obtaining conscientious objector status in wartime are religious. You can be a brilliant moral philosopher with a prizewinning doctoral thesis expounding the evils of war, and still be given a hard time by a draft board evaluating your claim to be a conscientious objector. Yet if you can say that one or both of your parents is a Quaker you sail through like a breeze, no matter how inarticulate and illiterate you may be on the theory of pacifism or, indeed, Quakerism itself."

    We should not have to appeal to religious freedom; let's just have freedom. Now some might try to argue that a national health care plan would take the issue away from Belmont Abbey College and would therefore solve the problem. Nope. It only spreads the problem to each and every one of us. We all lose our freedom of conscience.

    Al wondered if the faculty members who are pursuing this effort regard it as a righteous cause. I do too. Are they Catholics? Does Belmont Abbey College know what they are teaching to the students? Furthermore, shouldn't the college be allowed to hire whomever they want? Are moral clauses allowed as a condition of employment?

    Finally, both Al and Dr. Thierfelder believe that God played a role in this particular situation. Let me try to understand this. Apparently God planted thoughts in the minds of some faculty members at the college to file a charge of discrimination so that they may obtain access to medical coverage which God has proclaimed to be intrinsically evil. God did this to highlight the need for conscience protections in American health care policy.

    Come on, guys. We already have plenty of situations showing the need for conscience protections for Catholic institutions. Are you saying that God caused this one because the other situations, all combined, were of insufficient quantity or quality to bring about the morally correct result?

    Dr. Thierfalder also said this: "I trust in Divine Providence, so therefore I have to believe that each moment is perfect and that God will bring good out of evil."

    Each moment is perfect? By definition? Because each moment is ultimately God's moment? Please! Anyway, at least Dr. Thierfelder didn't resort to the "greater good" argument. A short reflection on the calculus of that principle should reveal the absurdity of it.