Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Today on Kresta - Sept. 22, 2009

Talking about the "things that matter most" on Sept. 22

3:00 – Kresta Comments

3:20 – Searching for a Father Who Does Not Fail

“Chosen.” “Special.” Those are the words Margot Starbuck used to describe herself as a child adopted into a loving family. And when her adoptive parents divorced, her dad moved east, and her mom and dad each got remarried, she told herself that she was extra loved, since she had more than two parents and people in different times zones who cared about her. But the word she really believed about herself was rejected. First by her birthparents. Then by her adoptive father-when he moved away. Then by her stepfather. Then by her birthfather a second time, when she tried to invite him into her life. Most of all, Margot felt rejected by God the Father, who she also suspected could not be trusted. With a good dose of humor and a willingness not to take herself too seriously, Margot offers us an exuberant, frank and, at times, poignant romp as she searches for the Father who will not fail.

3:40 – Rehnquist: A Personal Portrait of the Distinguished Chief Justice of the US
The impact of Chief Justice William Rehnquist -- who served as a Supreme Court justice for a third of a century and headed the federal judiciary under four presidents -- cannot be overstated. His dissenting opinion in Roe v. Wade, and his strongly stated positions on issues as various as freedom of the press, school prayer, and civil rights, would guarantee his memory on their own. Despite his importance as a public figure, however, William Rehnquist scrupulously preserved his private life. And while his judicial opinions often inflamed passions and aroused both ire and praise, they were rarely personal. The underlying quirks, foibles, and eccentricities of the man were always under wraps. Now, however, journalist Herman Obermayer has broken that silence in a memoir of their nineteen-year friendship that is both factually detailed and intensely moving, his own personal tribute to his dearest friend. In these pages, we meet for the first time William Rehnquist the man, in a portrait that can only serve to enhance the legacy of a Chief Justice who will be remembered in history as being among America's most influential.

4:00 – Kresta Comments

4:20 – Exposing the Crack in ACORN
The Justice Department's inspector general has agreed to investigate whether ACORN has applied for or received any DOJ grant money, in the wake of bipartisan criticism of the community activist group's operation. And seven other inspectors general are being asked by two congressional members to take a look at their funding mechanisms. Pressure on ACORN is building in the wake of a controversy over a series of hidden-camera videotapes showing the organization's employees offering advice to undercover filmmakers posing as a pimp and prostitute. Steve Malanga of the Manhattan Institute, has been on this story since 2003. He joins us.

4:40 – Group Asks Court to Reconsider Removing Girl from Home School
A New Hampshire court's decision to order a 10-year-old home-schooled girl to attend public school is coming under attack from some social conservatives and religious freedom advocates. The Alliance Defense Fund has asked a family court judge to reconsider her July 14 decision to send the girl, identified in court documents as "Amanda," to a public school in Meredith, N.H. The ADF noted that the girl was described in court documents as "academically promising" and interactive with her peers. "The court, in its own order, recognized this girl is performing well academically. So why are we changing her school environment?" they asked. The girl's parents, Brenda Voydatch and Martin Kurowski, divorced shortly after her birth in 1999. According to court documents, Kurowski wants his daughter to attend public schools because he believes home-schooling deprives her of socialization skills. A guardian ad litem, essentially a fact finder for the court, agreed, and that recommendation was approved by Judge Lucinda Sadler. We talk to the attorney from ADF on this case, Doug Napier.

5:00 – Kresta Comments

5:20 – Abortion in the Senate Health Care Reform Bill
The "America's Healthy Future Act," proposed last week by Senator Max Baucus (D-Mt.), contains an array of pro-abortion mandates and federal subsidies for elective abortion. That according to National Right to Life who strongly opposes the legislation in its current form. The bill contains provisions that would send massive federal subsidies directly to both private insurance plans and government-chartered cooperatives that pay for elective abortion. This would be a drastic break from longstanding federal policy, under which federal funds do not pay for elective abortions or subsidize health plans that cover elective abortions. We talk with Doug Johnson of National Right to Life and Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life.

5:40 – Why the assisted-suicide movement is winning

The assisted-suicide movement has come a long way in just a couple of decades. Consider, for example, this recent item from the San Francisco Chronicle: “Charlotte Shultz [the wife of former secretary of state George Shultz] accepted the invitation to be honorary co- chair (with Dianne Feinstein) at a Nov. 5 luncheon and program for Compassion & Choices of Northern California, saying, ‘I’m glad to support the cause, but I’m in no hurry to use the services.’” Compassion & Choices used to be called the Hemlock Society. It is the nation’s premier assisted-suicide advocacy group. When members of the social and political elite — people like Senator Feinstein and Mrs. Shultz — associate themselves with assisted-suicide groups as openly as they would with charities like the United Way, we have reached a new cultural moment. Assisted-suicide advocates once mostly inhabited the kook fringe. Groups like the old Hemlock Society published how-to-commit-suicide newsletters and promoted wacko suicide paraphernalia like the “Exit Bag” (which had Velcro straps sewn in to ensure “a comfortable fit”). The movement’s public face was the ghoulish Jack Kevorkian. Promoters of assisted suicide were both short on cash and lacking in respectability. No more says Wesley Smith. He is here to analyze.


  1. Re: Homeschooled child (Amanda) forced to go to public school

    As I listened to the interview with Doug Napier (from the Alliance Defense Fund), I kept wondering how the court got involved in the matter of Amanda's homeschooling in the first place. For some reason Doug wanted to give us the impression that the court had somehow injected itself into this family's affairs all on its own, or perhaps at the behest of some secularist tyrant from Social Services who somehow got wind that Amanda was being brainwashed by her crazy Christian homeschooling mom and wanted to put a stop to it. It took a long time for Doug to get around to clearly telling us that the father is the one to blame. Why was he so reticent?

    I read the court order, which is available at the ADF website. I feel for Amanda; she's the rope in a tug of war between her divorced parents. The order states: "In their Parenting Plan, the parties agreed to joint decision-making responsibility for Amanda, including a provision requiring them to engage a mediator or parenting coordinator if they disagree about major decisions for Amanda. ... The parties disagree whether Amanda should continue to be home schooled at her mother's residence or be enrolled in the Meredith public school district for the upcoming school year."

    On balance, I take the side of the mother. Even though she might be overly zealous for my tastes, the order affirms that the mother's religious tenets do not put Amanda at risk of harm. I suppose that's a reference to children who have died because their Christian Scientist parents only prayed when the child got sick, and did not seek medical care.

    But it got me to wondering. Would the ADF have gotten involved if the situation were reversed? Suppose the mother, who homeschools the child, had become a dogmatic atheist in the style of Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens, while the father remained a devout Ave Maria Radio type Catholic. Suppose also that this atheist homeschool mother not only provides good math and English instruction, she also includes an intensive study of The God Delusion by Dawkins and God Is Not Great by Hitchens. The distraught father wants his child to go to Sunday Mass and socialize with Catholic children by attending a catechism class once a week.

    Would this still be a case of religious freedom? (Christians like to say that atheism is religion, or that atheism requires at least as much faith as Christianity does, but I don't think they really believe that. Christians say it because they think it makes a good put down. Don't they realize that they're just putting down their own religious beliefs?)

    Any lawyers in the house?

  2. mauman
    Are you trying to paint yourself as a sophist?

    Do you take issue with Catholics for believing the tenants of their faith? Do you take issue with Catholics for being the first to build hospitals, for building numerous universities, for advancing science farther than any other group of people in history. Do you, like Dawkins and Hitchens claim that religious people make advancements in spite of their religion? Catholics have the most coherent approach to the advancement of humanity because of our living out of Fides et Ratio.

    Sophists make problems bigger, they don't solve problems. Catholics on the other hand get to the root of problems and fix them, and have a right to be proud of how far above the pack they are in the advancement of mankind both intellectually, politically, and with the grace of God spiritually. 2000 years of history attest to this.
    The problem isn't Atheist vs. Christian. It is a surmountable problem of truth vs. error. Your fundamentalist atheist mentality however, can't see it as anything but a battle between religions. You want to argue the accidence of mother-father, Atheism-Christianity, state-family, switch sides, stand on your head, close your eyes, open them, jump on one foot, and pretend that you are being impartial. You are a part of the new atheism that Pope Benedict speaks about in Caritas in Veritate. The "practical atheism" that pretends that morality doesn't imbue every action a person engages in from day to day. The practical atheism that believes that Truth is subjective instead of solidly fixed, discoverable, attainable, and teachable. Morality doesn't hinder mankind or the advancement of science. What morality does do is to frustrate the desires of blind ideologues like Hitchens and Dawkins.
    Dawkins and Hitchens preach a reactionary religion, poisonous to human advancement and full of dogma mixed with pseudo history. Once you say "there is no god" you have moved into the realm of religion. Unfortunately the atheist doesn't have a grasp of "Fides et Ratio" as the Catholics so clearly do, which is why they have made the grand advancements in science that they have. It's about vocation. People like Gregor Mendel recognized their vocation from the creator to "subdue the earth". The instruction from St. Peter to "Test Everything". Amanda's mother recognizes her vocation to educate her offspring and give her daughter the tools to recognize truth and error. The father is the one with the religious agenda acting in reaction to Christianity and the myths and out right lies that atheism (Especially the atheism of Dawkins and Hitchens) teaches about Christianity.
    So take your bad sophist philosophy elsewhere. The sophists were dealt with before Christianity even appeared on the historical scene. Pick up a work of one of the Peripatetics if you get the urge to come to catholic discussions and promote what ifs. As for Catholics, we will continue teaching the scientific truth that has been discovered and tested. And not to mention, gauged by Francis Bacon (Catholic). We will require our students to read the works of "dead white men" knowing full well that we are not racists and that the Catholic Church, by promoting the advancement of the human intellect along side God's commandment to love thy neighbor, have done more than any other organization to combat racism. And we will continue to teach the coherent pedagogy that "Faith and Reason are like the 2 wings of an (Eagle)", to quote a famous Polish philosopher.

    Is my point clear or am I being too "overly zealous for your tastes"?