Priest has vivid memories of ministering at Ground Zero on 9/11

Of all the memories Msgr. John Delendick has from September 11, 2001, perhaps none stands out as vividly as being handed the helmet of a fellow priest who was killed at the World Trade Center.
That priest, like Msgr. Delendick, was a New York Fire Department chaplain, Fr. Mychal Judge. The Franciscan friar was the first official casualty on 9/11, which occurred 18 years ago today.

“That day, I don’t even know the order of what all happened,” Msgr. Delendick told the Tablet, the newspaper of the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York. “Someone just handed me the helmet and told me he was killed, and they had him laid out in a wake at St. Peter’s Church on Barclay Street,” which is just blocks away from where the North Tower once stood.

Read more on Aleteia.

Nigerian archbishop builds house for physically challenged girl

Archbishop Valerian Okeke of Onitsha on Tuesday blessed and handed over a house he helped build and furnish for Adaoma Aniwetalu, a physically challenged girl in his local Church.

Speaking during Sept. 8 ceremony, Archbishop Okeke said the house was part of the Church’s “commitment towards charity and the need to uplift the burden faced by people especially in this pandemic.”

Aniwetalu’s situation was brought to his attention by a religious sister, he said. He then reached out to some well-wishers for financial support.

In a Facebook post the bishop said: “I pray to God to come and take possession of this new house of our daughter. May this be a house of blessing, a house of grace and a house of peace. May she live here till when God will do for her more miraculous things in the future, through Christ our Lord.”

Read more at the Catholic News Agency.

Catholic Health Care System Fires Physician Assistant Because She’s Pro-Life

A young, Catholic physician assistant who is dedicated to healing and saving lives was fired from her job recently after she refused to help facilitate abortions.

Megan Kreft, of Oregon, shared her story in an extensive interview with the Catholic News Agency. Like a growing number of others in the medical field, she faced workplace discrimination because of her pro-life Catholic beliefs.

Worse, Kreft said her employer was a Catholic health system that she agreed to work for because she believed it would respect and follow the same beliefs that she has about the sanctity of human life.

Read more at LifeNews.com.

How do I make a spiritual communion?

The COVID-19 virus has rocked the world and the Church in ways we never thought were possible. Schools, restaurants, office, and Churches have had to change their policies. In the Diocese of Raleigh, where EPIC Radio is based, Sunday Masses have been canceled and our bishop has dispensed the obligation for attending Mass on Sundays. In addition, if you are sick, please do not attend Mass even if your diocese still has Sunday Masses. If you are sick, your obligation is automatically dispensed.

Naturally, human beings have a natural desire for God and we celebrate Mass as a way to fulfill that desire, particularly by consuming our Lord in the Eucharist. With Masses being cancelled we may find it harder to fulfill that desire and may be looking for other ways to fill the gaping hole created by the lack of consuming the Eucharist.

Spiritual Communion during Mass

EPIC Radio, dioceses across the world, and other Catholic media organizations have been working hard to help out in this situation. One of the best ways to still witness the consecration of the Eucharist and hear the Word of the Lord is by watching Mass online or listening to Mass on the radio. You can hear Mass on the radio on these days and times:
– Sundays: 10am, 1pm, and 8:30pm
– Mondays – Saturdays: 1pm and 8:30pm

You can listen to Mass and all EPIC Radio programming by clicking here!

While communion is being distributed, you can pray the following prayer to partake in a Spiritual Communion.
My Jesus,
I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You.
Amen.

Then you can reflect on the importance of the Eucharist, the Scripture readings, and the Homily.

You can also watch Mass online! EPIC Radio will be sharing live Masses on our Facebook page. You can also watch Mass by clicking here multiple times per day.

Rosary Novena

On EPIC Radio we are providing a Rosary Novena for this country and world because of the COVID-19 virus. Every night at 8pm, EPIC Radio is airing Relevant Radio’s ® Family Rosary Across America ® as they do a Rosary Novena for this cause! The Rosary is powerful and is easy. You can learn more about this daily broadcast of the Rosary by clicking here.

Virtual Adoration

Eucharistic adoration is one of the most powerful forms of prayer. During Eucharistic adoration, we gaze upon our Lord and God present in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. The Tyburn Convent, London, England offers a live stream of their adoration Chapel. You can watch it below (just click the play button). “What do you pray about during adoration?” Anything or nothing! Some people pray a Rosary, sometimes people journal about their current relationship with God, and others just sit there silently and gaze upon our Lord.


This situation is new to all of us and all of us have to adapt. We urge you to stay safe by not gathering in large groups and washing your hands frequently. Obey the instructions of your Bishop and pray for the Church and the world!

Let’s Cancel Culture

The term “cancel culture” has become a new title for progressives in our country. It is starting plauge every aspect of our society and in more ways than I thought I could imagine. In politics, a progressive Christian group, Faithful America, is trying to make US Attorney General William Barr apologize for a speech at Notre Dame University Law School. What was the crime comitted? He said that country was founded on Judeo-Christian values. Faithful America argues that he was spreading “toxic Christian nationalism.”

You might say that this is to be expected in politics. Fine, let’s turn to the entertainment industry. Michael Che, a Saturday Night Live writer and host of the re-occuring sketch “Weekend News Update,” was blasted on Twitter by leftists for reffereing to Caitlyn Jenner as his former name, Bruce Jenner, and using masculine pronouns to describe him. The criticism grew worse last week when he made what the Twitter universe called a misogynistic joke about the pains of childbirth.

It wasn’t always this way. I’m sure some can remember a time when somone said something stupid and the response was “Wow, that was dumb.” But it later evolved into “call out culture,” with the idea that we need to call out every slip of the tounge or crass joke against the things we hold dear. Call-out culture quickly became “outrage culture” which saw giant tempertantrums over jokes or sayings we didn’t like. And now it has turned into cancel culture. This evolving beast has seeped into every aspect of our society.

I would love to be able to say that this is only an American problem. Unfortunately, protests over Chick-fil-a’s Christian values managed to make the fast food chain leave the United Kingdom. Ok, so maybe it is a “western” problem. Well, when the French magazine Charlie Hebdo published a satirical article about the prophet Muhammad, the world saw a major outburst from a few Muslim extremists.

If anything, I think this is an opportunity for the world to cancel culture. Let me define my terms first. Culture is the world around us, how our fellow humans behave towards others, what is acceptable, what is unacctable, etc. To a certain extent, it plays into the creation of culture itself, that is music, films, and art. When the entertainment industry creates something it seems to usually become acceptable. The films and music drips down into every day life from the radio or the television and things become acceptable in peoples minds.

Keep in mind, I’m not blaming the consumer here. When I say that we should cancel culture, I’m aruging for cancelling the culture, which is a “cancel culture.” “Matthew aren’t you arguing for what you say your arguing against?” No, in fact, I’m not. The cancel culture we are seeing now is attacking the rights of people on a number of different fronts. The easiest to point out is the attack on free speech. Faithful America is upset that the Attorney General William Barr was allowed to say what he said at Notre Dame. They hate it so much, they want the speech removed from the Department of Justice website and for Barr to make new speeches about how the alt-right has attacked Muslims, American Indians, and everyone else that meets the intersectionality requirement, as Fox News reported. This is an attack on Barr’s free speech rights.

You may not like what someone has to say. They may be factually wrong in their statement. But nonetheless, they have the right to say what they want (with the exception of explicitly calling for violence). If you’re offened by what someone has to say, who cares? I’m offened by what some Catholics say here at Aquinas College. But I don’t turn myself into a victim all the time and demand that they aren’t allowed to speak.

Myself and other pro-lifers could make the argument that abortion is an off shoot of our cancel culture. A man and a woman had sex and don’t want to accept the consequence of that. They don’t want to accept the responsiblity for their actions, so they’ll just get rid of the “problem.”

I mentioned Charlie Hebdo above. I know some of you are thinking, “Matthew, you wouldn’t like it someone made jokes about Christianity like that.” Well, first, I love articles from the Babylon Bee, a satiricle news website. I particulaly like the ones about God fretting about the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. I think they are funny and I think we should be able to laugh at ourselves from time to time. I should note though, that the Babylon Bee is produced and run by Christians and it is all in good fun. Secondly, God and Christianity are mocked from every side in our culture (and not in a humorous way like the Babylon Bee) and I see and understand that just as much as the next person. But, I’m not planning on or thinking about walking into newspaper rooms and killing people there because I don’t like what they say.

So, let’s stand together and cancel cancel culture; in a sense let’s cancel culture. Let’s stand against this idea that we can shut other people down or take away their rights because they disagree with us. It goes against who we are as Americans, and more importantly it goes against who we are as Christians. After all, if politics is downstream from culture, what could it mean for us and our rights in the future when the government doesn’t agree with our beliefs?

EPIC Radio 103.5FM and the EPIC Radio Network are about to start running some PSA’s for the 2020 election cycle that are based around the new USCCB’s CivilizeIt! campaign. This ecumenical, non-partison campaign is a call to engage others with civilized discussion and to make room in our hearts for those with whom we disagree. We here at EPIC Radio firmly believe that we should pray for those who persecute us and engage with each other so that we can understand rather than to try and constantly be undertood.

Matthew Handley is the executive director of EPIC Radio and is the host of Last Week with Matthew Handley on the EPIC Radio Network.

We Need Radio

It’s not all the time I write on this blog about secular topics but this one is near and dear to my heart. And it still does have to do with our faith and Church. I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked “Why would you want to go into radio? No one listens to radio anymore” or “Theres no money in LPFMs (ie many Catholic radio stations). Whats the point?” These questions, while asked genuinely, are based off of the false premise that radio is dying or that at the very least isn’t needed.

First, the easiest to argue against is that radio is dying or is dead. The facts simply do not back this up. Studies show that 93% of people listen to AM/FM radio. That figure is higher than television viewership (88%), personal computer use (50%), smartphone use (83%) and tablet use (37%.) This data is based off of Nielsen, who compiles TV and radio rankings, and Pew State of the News Media studies. Radio is not dead. It is thriving.

Secondly, and this will take longer to answer, radio is needed, now more than ever. Radio was one of the first communication tools in our country. Stations such as WGN Chicago and WSN Nashville reached long distances and brought things like news and music to so many households. You can still pick up WGN on 720AM at night as far south as Wiston-Salem, NC. WSN was the station that made country music famous with the Grand Ole Opry, a radio program that still goes on today.

The United States was one of the first countries to open up radio to the market place and keep it that way. Most radio in the US is privately owned by both large and small corporations. For example, EPIC Radio 103.5FM is a low-power FM station that is owned and operated by EPIC Radio Inc. We have three employees so I would classify us as a small (non-profit) corporation. Whereas iHeartRadio owns more than eight hundred radio stations reaching an estimated one hundred and ten million people each week. They would be a large corporation.


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During the Soviet Union (and even now in China), the government controlled the airwaves. That way they could spread their message and propaganda without the fear of competition. Side note, this is how Voice of America and Radio Free Europe got started. They were controlled by the western powers and set up along the borders of the Soviet Union so that Russians could hear what was going on in the outside world. Both organizations are still around today.

In the United Kingdom and other European countries, government controlled media is still plays a big role. The BBC, arguably the most recognizable broadcasting brand in the world, is funded mostly by HM Government. The UK does have competitors in radio and in television. The largest TV competitor is ITV (Independent Television), but many in the UK originally thought that non-govermnent TV would problamatic for brits. James May, a British broadcaster (who used to be on the BBC’s Top Gear and is now on Amazon’s The Grand Tour) said in an interview that he was never allowed to watch ITV as a kid because his parents thought it was a bad influence.

Here in the US we have a slightly different view of government funded media and much of that view comes from the First Ammendment, the right for the freedom of the press. This means the press can publish stories that can be derogatory towards the government without fear of punishment by the government. We do, in the US, have some government funded (though not entirely) media, namely PBS and NPR. Some believe that because government television is not for profit, they are less biased in their reporting and are more educational to watch.

Now, like everything else, there are many critiques from both sides. First, PBS and NPR are largely independent from the government. Yes, they both get some grants and funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting which recieves its funding from taxes, but the vast majority of PBS and NPR’s money comes from individual and corporate donors. Some are quick to jump in and say that all are left leaning donors, however I know of a very conservative businessman who funds programming on UNC-TV in North Carolina. In addition, many PBS and NPR stations are affiliated with a public university and get a significant amount of funding from them as well.

But overwhelmingly, the vast majority of Americans do not get their news from public television. Instead they opt for local TV, cable news, or talk radio. Local TV can be a bit of a misnomer because most local TV stations are owned by large coporations. One exception is WRAL in Raleigh, North Carolina which is owned by Capitol Broadcasting Company which only owns a few stations in the state. But in the same market, Walt Disney owns WTVD (aka ABC11). Walt Disney is the parent company for ABC.

So all of this is great but how does this establish a need for radio? Well as I mentioned before, and the research backs this up, most people listen to the radio. They might watch CNN or WRAL but they also listen to the radio. Now I’m not arguing that we need only talk radio stations or only Catholic radio stations, but we need good radio that is informative and entertaining. And I believe that they only way to do this is to keep it local.

We have managed to do this with EPIC Radio 103.5FM in Wake Forest. We air weather every hour, the news most hours, and a community calendar twice a day. All of these ideas came as a response to a comment filed with the FCC when we were applying for a transfer of ownership for this station. The commentor said that it wasn’t local enough.

That is the problem with most radio today; it isn’t local enough. Stations might provide local news and weather but where does that weather come from? For a few stations in Raleigh it comes from the local TV station. For others it comes from the Weather Channel in Atlanta or AccuWeather in New York.

But most people’s frustration with “non-local” radio doesn’t come from the weather, it comes from the on air announcers and DJs. This is where I’ll shamelessly plug my former employer WIZS in Henderson, North Carolina. Whenever we did stuff on air, we were doing it live. Only on holidays did we voice track our shows. Every day when somone would tune into 1450AM (and now 100.1FM) the person they heard speaking on the radio was in studio physically punching the button to play the advertisments and starting the next song.

Now, I’m not advocating necessarily for physical button pushing; I believe computers have made radio stations a lot easier to run and operate and automate, which at times can be good. Our station EPIC Radio 103.5FM is fully automated 24/7. But we are also in our starting stages and the nature of our station isn’t music, it’s talk and the people that are talking are (usually) live but from Relevant Radio, who we here at EPIC Radio believe gives its listeners a good, honest, Catholic view of the world.

In today’s world this is necessary. Major networks and newspapers have had major errors and overall bad reporting in the last few years. In an effort to obtain higher ratings and more subscribers, these media companies have moved further and further to the right or left in a fruitless effort to find their niche audiance. What they don’t seem to understand is that their niche they can’t seem to find is decent reporting without blatant mud slinging (or divinization) on one side or the other.

Radio is uniquely suited to step up and fill this gap. Radio is powerful. People listen to the radio, as I’ve demonstrated before. The most heard people in America are Rush Limbaugh and David King and Rachel Martin (from National Public Radio’s Morning Edition). Now these are syndicated programs (sorta for NPR but I’m not going to get into that now) and stations can choose to air or not air these programs; most stations do not. Most stations also do not air news at the top or bottom of the hour unless they are talk radio stations, which generally air programs like Rush Limbaugh or are NPR stations.

This is what makes stations like our unique. We air programming for our audience, that is, Catholic apologetics and commentary (that is our niche), but we also have the news at the top of most hours, weather following it, and a community calendar with events hyper local to Wake Forest twice a day. We can harness the power of radio to be truly informative and entertaining at the same time.

This model doesn’t just work for talk stations but music stations as well. I was very impressed with a small country station in Joshua Tree, California that aired a one minute news breif at the top of every hour and country music for the rest! Radio is desperately needed and has the power to move the masses and be informative.

Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that radio isn’t important. How can it not be imporant when ninety-three percent of people listen to the radio? How can that not be a powerful tool? Those of us running radio have to keep that in mind; with great power comes great responsibility as the old saying goes, so we have to keep in touch with our mission. At EPIC Radio that is to seek the truth and have the passion to live it out. We help you seek the truth too by keeping you informed. I hope other stations in the country can step up and follow suit.

Matthew Handley is the host of Last Week with Matthew Handley on the EPIC Radio Network and is the executive director of EPIC Radio Inc. You can hear Last Week with Matthew Handley on Saturdays at 12pm on EPIC Radio 103.5FM or anytime on-demand here.

Pride and the “Reductio ad Hitlerum” Argument

Today’s blog post is a follow up from the most recent episode of Last Week with Matthew Handley. Click to here to lisen.

Yesterday on Last Week, I discussed the story of a straight pride parade that took place in Modesto, California a week ago.  During this parade, which was more of a protest than a parade, gay pride protestors arrived to show their disgust and dismay at those participating in the straight pride parade.  Fortunately, the protests remained peaceful and no one was injured or arrested, but it is worth noting that this is a trend we are starting to see in other areas of the country.  The organizer of the straight pride parade, Don Grundmann, said he hopes that chapters of the organization, the National Straight Pride Coalition, open across the country.

The mission of the National Straight Pride Coalition, according to their website, is to prevent “the current and future generations of all races and colors from being destroyed by the inherent malevolence of the Homosexual Movement.”  The LGBT community protestors were not affiliated with an organization, according to news reports.

There are a few points I would like to discuss here.  First, I would like to pick apart a terrible argument (but since it is not really an argument, we could call it a strategy) that is constantly made by the left.  Whenever someone disagrees with a leftist, the leftist combats with a fallacious “tu quoque” argument an “ad hominem” attack, or the new incredibly fallacious strategy which I am calling “reductio ad Hitlerum.” And second, I’ll talk about what these have to do with this straight pride parade and include some thoughts on pride in general.

First, I’ll discuss the fallacy of “tu quoque.”  The phrase “tu quoque” is from Latin and it means “and you too” or “you also.”  A textbook example of this is “It ok that Republicans gerrymander states, Democrats do it too” or, for a more recent example, “Joshua Harris, who wrote books on love is getting divorced.  Therefore, it is acceptable to get divorced.”  As you can see, this argument does not hold up because what one man does, does not determine the morality of everyone. 

Usually this type of fallacy will come up when an argument has gotten very heated and emotions are high.  As you can expect, this is typical for most leftists (at least those who protest) because the truth is what we feel and you cannot tell someone else otherwise, and if you do, you’re a white supremacist.

This brings me to my next fallacy, the “ad hominem.”  This is frequently thrown around by people on both the right and the left.  In an “ad hominem” fallacy, one person attacks the character of another person rather than the argument.  An example would be this: Socialist Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said on Twitter last Friday (in part), “1. I have 5.2 million followers. Less than 20 accounts are blocked for ongoing harassment. 0 are my constituents.”  Fox News host Laura Ingram responded, ““Fewer” than 20 accounts….”  To which Rep. Ocasio-Cortez responded “See? You’re a neo-Nazi fan favorite and I don’t block you for defending white supremacist viewpoints and mocking gun violence survivors.” 

There are a few problems with this interaction.  First, Ingram wasn’t even arguing with Rep. Ocasio-Cortez; she was simply repeating something that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez already said.  But even still, that invoked a comparison to Nazis.  Now, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez could make an argument about the second accusations flung at Ingram, but she has yet to post these on Twitter.  You may have noticed the habit among the left to fling the “Nazi” or “Hitler” accusation at some people and this brings me to my third point.

There is a (sorta) new trend among the left to reduce opponents to Hitler.  Hitler, agreeably, is one of the most evil and hated men in human history, so to compare your opponent to Hitler is espeically demeaning. I have called this fallacy “reductio ad Hitlerum” or the “Hitler had a dog” argument.  In this fallacy, one person claims that because someone who did something evil previously also did something else, and you do the same second thing, you are therefore just like the first person.  That’s a little too wordy.  Here’s an example: Hitler had a dog.  You have a dog.  You are therefore the same as Hitler.  Ben Shaprio said it best on his radio show (defending himself from this fallacy!) on Friday.  Two op-eds in the Washington Post were written about him and the “respectable right,” one of which claimed that because Shapiro appeals to logic and facts, and because former slave holders in the antebellum south also appealed to logic and facts, it is there for wrong to appeal to logic and facts and Shapiro is the same as a former slaver holder. Another example is the now tired comparison between President Trump and Hitler. People lob this accusation at President Trump all the time. “You know who else said things sort of similar to this? Hitler,” implying that President Trump is the new Hitler.    This “reductio ad Hitlerum” argument is both a false equation and an “ad hominem.”  It equates two things that aren’t related and then also attacks the character of the other person. 

So why did I mention the straight pride protest in Modesto, California?  I mentioned it because articles were written about with headlines such as, “White supremacists are planning another ‘Straight Pride Parade’ in California” (from LGBTQNation).  The white supremacist accusation comes from a report about the organization “Super Happy Fun America” (yes that’s actually their name) hosting a straight pride parade in Boston, Massachusetts, with former Breitbart contributor Milo Yiannopoulos acting as the grand marshall.  Some have accused Yiannopoulos of white supremacist views because of statements he made in the past. 

Super Happy Fun America and the National Straight Pride Coalition are not affiliated with each other.  They have never worked with each other.  However, one hosted a parade and another a protest in favor of the same thing.  According to LGBTQNation, because the National Straight Pride Coalition is in favor of the same things as Super Happy Fun America, and Super Happy Fun America was affiliated with someone who is accused of white supremacist views, the National Straight Pride Coalition must also be white supremacist. 

As you can see, this doesn’t make any sense when you use logic. 

Now, I would like to point out that, while I agree that there is a biased against Christians and a movement (I would go as far as to say an agenda) to suppress heterosexual culture and Christian morality, I do not condone the use of the word “pride” in the message of describing heterosexuality. 

Every group now is “proud” of whatever they’re advocating for.  You have gay pride, straight pride, shout your abortion, everything under the sun people are proud for.  But is it Christian to be proud?  St. Thomas Aquinas argues against that when he says, “it is evident that man’s first sin was pride” (Secunda Secundæ Partis, Question 63, Article 1) when discussing the fall of man in Genesis.  Even took the fruit because she wanted to make her own decisions and “be as Gods” (Genesis 3:5). 

In addition to this, it says in the Letter of St. James, “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (James 4:6).  Proverbs 11:2 says, “Where pride is, there also shall be reproach: but where humility is, there also is wisdom.”  Jesus Christ, God himself, humbled himself to take on our human form (Philippians 2:7-8). The list from Scripture goes on and on.  We are called to be humble.  It is ok and right to be impressed with our accomplishments, but we must remember to order ourselves to the greater glory of God. 

While I am grateful I don’t have to struggle with homosexual tendencies, I wouldn’t say I’m proud to be straight.  Rather, I would say I am glad I can better order myself to God’s plan with the blessings he gave me. 

We must be able to defend our beliefs and values, just in a way that can change hearts and minds. (Here’s a hint: shouting in peoples faces that “they’re not welcome here” doesn’t do that) But at the same time, we must also be able to combat against fallacious and absurd arguments and accusations that will inevitably be thrown in our direction. Be bold, stand up to them!

Don’t worry I’ll still advocate for Christian morality, sexual ethics, and culture, but we don’t need to be screaming about how proud we are.  We’re called to be humble.

Be bold.  Be Catholic.

Matthew

The Religious Left

Today’s post coincides with a story on the most recent episode of the Last Week Podcast. You can hear the original story from the show by clicking here.

Rev. William Barber spoke at the 2016 Democrat National Convention about how Hillary Clinton and the Democrat party had the morals and values that our country holds and that they were going to restore the true democracy of this country. At that time he was the head of the North Carolina chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People or NAACP.  You can see his ten minute speech below.

A little over a week ago, Rev. Barber was convicted on trespassing charges by a court in Raleigh.  Back in 2017, Rev. Barber and a number of other protesters were arrested at the North Carolina General Assembly for blocking the hallways and not following law enforcement officer’s instructions to leave.   I was having problems embedding these videos on our website, but you can see them on N&O.com.

They were asking to speak with lawmakers about keeping the Affordable Care Act here in North Carolina and after none would meet with them, either by choice or because they weren’t present (it isn’t entirely clear), they began to block the hallways. In the video linked above you can hear the shouting and the dialogue between the people who work in the Legislative building and the Capitol Police and Rev. Barber and the demonstrators.

During his testimony, Rev. Barber refereed to the loudness of his voice as his “preaching voice” and that he would never classify what he was doing as shouting or yelling. You can see Rev. Barber testifying in his defense last week on N&O.com.

After four days of testimony and twenty two minutes of jury deliberation, Rev. Barber was found guilty of criminal trespassing.  The judge sentenced him to a one-day sentence which was suspended, 12 months of unsupervised probation, a $200 fine, and 24 hours of community service. Rev. Barber said immediately after that he would appeal.

Rev. Barber is basically the south’s version of Al Sharpton.  To be fair, I think Al Sharpton is much more antagonistic than Rev. Barber, based off of some of Sharpton’s previous statements. Back in 1991, Sharpton referred to orthodox Jews as “diamond merchants” who were oppressing black diamond miners in South Africa and some credit that to be the trigger for the Crown Heights Riots which was a series of violent race riots in which black Jews and orthodox Jews turned against each other. 

I say all of this to give a good introduction about the recent activity of someone who I believe is at the start of a new movement I’m calling the Religious Left. The Religious Right rose with the Tea Party and the election of Donald Trump to use, primarily, evangelical values to protest abortion, homosexual marriage, and to change the immigration laws to be more strict.

The Religious Left takes it in the opposite direction. Rev. Barber is a black evangelical Pentecostal preacher who is fighting for open borders, abortion, and medicare for all and using Scripture to justify his beliefs. I really do encourage you to go watch his testimony (the second link from N&O.com and his DNC speech above).

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This is interesting to see because, for many years, and even still today, us conservatives have been told that we shouldn’t be justifying our political beliefs based off of our religion.  But now that we are in the beginnings of the 2020 presidential election, we are starting to see more and more an appeal to God from the candidates.  Mayor Pete Buttigiege (D) of South Bend, Indiana has attacked Vice President Mike Pence, unprovoked, for his position on homosexual marriage and that, and I quote, “That if you have a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”  Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who mind you are polling just above zero, are openly talking about their religious beliefs and using them to justify their policy proposals.   So why are conservatives not allowed to do this?  Well, simply because we’re not for the same values that they are.  

Rev. Barber, I think, was and is the beginning of this new movement.  He was the one who started the “Moral Monday” protests here in North Carolina, which later turned into a national movement.  I also believe this because of his speech at the Democrat National Convention in 2016.  He was coming out in full force saying that Hillary and the Democrat party have the true morals and values in this country and that they are here to “restore democracy,” implying that the other side is there to destroy democracy.  I won’t deny Rev. Barber is a good speaker, but I disagree with him on a number of issues.  

I don’t believe that anyone disagrees that healthcare is a right and there probably should be some universality aspect of how we make our policy. Most of us can agree that the Affordable Care Act, while having good intentions I suppose, was a disaster. Healthcare costs have gone up and some areas are left with only one insurer. But some of these bills that are currently in Congress are much worse. I’m talking about Sen. Sanders’ Medicare for All, Sen. Kaine’s Medicare X, or this other Medicare for America bill. If you read these bills you’ll find that they are a disaster for religious liberty. All three of these would force religious institutions to perform procedures even if they violate their beliefs. Immediately it would force Catholic hospitals to perform abortions and possibly participate in in vitro fertilization. And if physician assisted suicide ever comes down the pipe, it would force Catholic hospitals and doctors to participate in that too. Under any Medicare for all plan, the Little Sisters of the Poor would have to continue to purchase contraceptive coverage. These healthcare bills alone restrict freedom and religious liberty.

And, whether Rev. Barber likes it or not the NRA donates less money to Congressional campaigns and spends less money on elections in general than Planned Parenthood or George Soros.  The left traditionally said we need to let everyone into our arms and embrace them as they are: homosexuals, transgenders, criminals. It is interesting to see progressives move from accepting everyone, to only accepting everyone who agrees with them.  

I do want to take the time to point out, however, that overwhelmingly, progressives are not affiliated with religion.  Obviously there are a few outliers, Mayor Pete or the white Protestant uber progressive parents who decide not to tell their kids what their gender is. But most do not identify with a religion that has any foundation or hard set belief system like Catholics or Jews. Bishop Barron likes to refer to these unaffiliated, but “accepting” people as “nones,” and overwhelmingly, many young people are nones.  They are those that choose not to believe in anything but accept everything as valid for fear of offending people. EPIC Radio was founded to help combat and convert some of these young people from being nones. We are here to let everyone know that they are welcome in Jesus’ church. That’s what EPIC means, every person in Christ.  

That being said, I wouldn’t count on a huge rise in the religious left simply because I don’t think the numbers are there; the largest religious voting bloc on the left is Black protestants.  But it is interesting to see such a large appeal to faith when we have been told for a long time that our politics and our faith should be separate. But I would urge you to be cautious when hearing some of these candidates speak about their faith and how it justifies their beliefs.  Especially when it comes to the abortion debate, traditional marriage, and when someone identifies as Catholic.  Progressives find it offensive. “How dare a man have a say in an abortion debate” or “how dare a straight couple have a say in gay marriage.” They find it offensive and want us to stop talking.

On the most recent episode of Matthew Pope’s In the Apostles’ Doctrine, Matthew mentioned that because our Catholic faith is so strict, in a lot of areas, in its teaching it’s going to offend people.  It’s going to offend people that we think that there are two genders and that marriage is between a man and a woman.  Its going to offend people that we dont think women have a right to an abortion.  Keep in mind that offensive doesn’t mean insultuing and it doesn’t mean abusive. I think the best synonym now is, possibly, triggering.  For those that haven’t heard of this new phenomenon, trigger is basically saying something, usually true, but it offends people so much that they shut down or being to sling a series of ad hominem attacks at the person who said it. Usually, someone is triggered because they have held a belief for so long and it has never been challenge. But if we have to trigger someone to get them to actually think about a topic, shouldn’t we do it?  

Don’t forget that the Apostles were not well received in Rome when they began to preach the Gospel.  St. Peter, our first pope was martyred in Rome. I speak from experience when I say that the south has not always been the most friendly to Catholics.  But we cannot be afraid of persecution, rather we should embrace it.  Rev. Barber used his first amendment right of free speech to defend his beliefs.  We have to be willing to use ours to share the true message of Jesus and the Church and at the same time, we cannot be worried about offending some in the process.  

Today’s post coincides with a story on the Last Week Podcast. You can listen to this full episode here:

02 Will Medicare for All Restrict Religious Liberty? (16 June 2019)

The Strike

On Monday, actress Alyssa Milano called for women to go on a sex strike in protest of Georgia’s new “heartbeat” abortion law. This is after she called for Hollywood to leave the state if the law was passed, to which the Governor responded something along the lines of go right ahead. My post today is going to discuss what it is she’s calling for, why it is literally the plot of a comedic play, and the major flaws in the logic of her strike.

Most of my irritation from things like this making the news comes from this new idea that we are listening to actors and actresses, Hollywood People as I call them, as our sense of moral authority. My question I pose to people who actually listen to these people is in our relativist world, why would we need a moral authority? But I suppose because politics and policy is downstream of culture and the culture is dominated by Hollywood People they have some say, because it is their right, in public discourse no matter how ill-informed it is.

I’ll be honest, I had to look up who Alyssa Milano is. The only thing I remember her from was seeing her sitting the background of the Justice Brett Kavanaugh hearings, but apparently she was also in Who’s the Boss? and My Name is Earl. And, like many other Hollywood People she has decided to speak to her fan base and promote her leftist agenda.

Her most recent call is for women to go on a sex strike in protest of the “Heartbeat” law in Georgia. The bill, which you can read in it’s entirety here, is called the Living Infants Fairness and Equality 29 Act or LIFE act. I find one if it’s first premises interesting. It says that modern medical science, which has proven that unborn children are living persons, was not available during the Supreme Court decisions Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) and Roe v. Wade (1973). It also establishes that “the term ‘child’ means child or children, including any unborn child with a detectable human heartbeat” (line 181). And Section 8 makes it illegal to obtain an abortion after six weeks, since this is the earliest week at which a heartbeat can be detected.

Of course those of us on our side of the argument praise the law because it has yet again put more restrictions on the largest genocide in history. But Milano does not feel the same way. In an op-ed on CNN.com, she calls this and other similar laws in sixteen other states an “alarming trend” and that it is an “attack on women.”

So, logically, what is the best way to protest this? Denying men sex. As you might imagine this was met with mixed feelings and she admits this. But least, as she says, it got the country talking about the “GOP’s undeniable war on women.” She says, and I’m quoting to show how ridiculous this is, “A #SexStrike is another way for people who have the potential to get pregnant to call attention to this systematic onslaught and assert the power to change our own destinies.” Her form of protest is for women to deny men sex because it will show that women can decide what to do with their bodies. I am assuming this is harking back to the “my body, my choice” argument which many pro-life advocates have broken apart.

She then quotes a few different instances in history where women have supposedly gone on sex strikes to change the outcome of decisions from male dominated societies. I, nor EPIC Radio, have the time or resources to verify the articles that are linked there. The one about Colombia seems legitimate because it is from a popular newspaper in the United Kingdom.

She ends her op-ed with “A #SexStrike is a way to target straight, cisgender men so they may feel the physical consequences of our reproductive rights being systematically eliminated. … Join us by not having sex until we achieve full bodily autonomy for all.”

So let’s look at a few problems with this protest. First of all, and this should go without saying, this isn’t going to affect pro-life, conservative, Christian men or women. The only “straight, cisgender men” that would be affected by this are the effeminate men that run around screaming “I’m the problem in women’s lives! Have pity, have pity!” They also wear hats with female body parts on them and go to the Women’s March in Washington. I’ll leave that at that.

Secondly, her protest is straight out of an ancient Greek satire by Aristophanes called Lysistrata. I will not link it here nor quote from it because I have determined that it is not appropriate for it to be on this website, but the plot is something like this. Lysistrata is a woman in Athens and she and the other women are tired of the men being off at war all the time. So they decide that they will deny men sex until the war ends. At the end of the play the war does end and the women return to their husbands. Keep in mind that Aristophanes is a satirist.

Thirdly, Milano is making this protest because she is claiming that women are being told what to do with their bodies and that if abortion becomes outlawed that it is an attack on women and on women’s rights. How does she choose to protest this? She tells women what to do with their bodies. The irony here is so incredible. “We’re not going to let them tell us what to do with our bodies, so do this with your bodies in protest!” It just goes to show this idea that the Hollywood People think and truly believe that they are the moral authority.

Some go as far as to say that Milano’s protest is the same as calling for chastity, but I have yet to be really convinced by that argument. She’s not advocating for waiting to have sex until marriage or when it is the proper time to have children, but simply until the LIFE act is stripped away and then, presumably, they can return to their hedonistic ways. Fr. Harrions Ayre said on Twitter, “1) she’s showing that abstinence is the best insure you don’t get pregnant; 2) she‘s showing that sex is not just for fun but has an end: procreation; 3) she’s showing contraception actually doesn’t work as well as we are told.” I just don’t see where she is saying that. I don’t deny that it does come across that way and I do think it is laughable, but I think the protest, as she said in the op-ed, is more of a way to get back at men.

But since she’s decided that she does not want to get pregnant, let’s look at the outcomes of this by taking it to its logical extreme. If her and other pro-abortion activists continue to not have sex until every pro-life law is overturned, which could presumably be a while, it could turn into the point where these women are aged enough that they cannot have children anymore causing only the pro-life, Christian, conservative families to be having children which would greatly reduce the number of abortions.

Now, obviously, I don’t believe that they are going to die off, but I hope you’re beginning to see the picture for why this is so absurd. A sex strike is not going to hurt the men and women that put this law in place. Perhaps it is time we stopped paying attention to what the Hollywood People think and their satirical ideas. As a Catholic, I’m going to point to Holy Mother Church as our moral authority. Don’t forget to pray for these people. Despite some of their idiotic ideas and the renunciation of all that is good, they are still God’s children.

May the dogma of the Church always live loudly from within you,
Matthew

Update (15 May 2019) – The bill has passed and been signed into law in Georgia. It is the strictest law against abortion in the country today as it bans abortions in almost every case.