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Does Neighbor’s Anonymous Note Criticizing Kid Cross the Line?

by Jennifer O’Neill via Yahoo.com
Does Neighbor’s Anonymous Note Criticizing Kid Cross the Line?

After a neighbor threatened to call the police over one man’s “giggling” son in his backyard, the note went viral online, with commenters rallying in support of the frustrated family. (Photo: Twin Cities News Talk/Facebook).

An Arizona dad was recently blasted by his neighbor for being “inconsiderate.” The behavior so offensive that a person living near his family threatened to call the police? Letting his son run around in the backyard and — wait for it — laugh a lot.

“Every day this week, when weather has been nice and windows are open, you proceed to let your small child run free in your backyard and laugh and giggle and carry on without end,” gripes the anonymous neighbor in a note that he or she reportedly dropped off last week. “This is very disruptive for my two dogs and my bird who sits next to the window. … Perhaps you could ask him to tone it down a bit, or at least limit his outside time to 15-20 minutes a day…”

Redditor MisterNeilHamburger posted the photo of the letter, captioned, “My friend found this stuffed into his mailbox this morning. Apparently kids having fun is a crime in Arizona,” on imagur Saturday, where it’s been viewed more than 480,000 times.

Since Minnesota radio station Twin Cities News Talk KTLK put it up on its Facebook page on April 16, it’s got nearly 21,000 shares and hundreds of comments — with most people expressing outrage over the author’s audacity.

“I’d respond by recording the sounds of my child & then looping it 24 hours a day,” wrote one commenter, raking in 900 likes for the remark. Another commenter scored more than 8,500 likes for his retort: “Daily birthday parties with a bounce house and 15-20 kids. That’s how I would respond.”

Etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore, founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach, calls the whole situation “ludicrous.” As long as the child is not “destructive or taunting or teasing the animals, I don’t understand the issue,” Whitmore tells Yahoo Parenting. “This note crosses the line.”

Any grievance should have been addressed in person, she adds. “I’m sure the child’s father can figure out who wrote the note based on the clues about the dogs and the bird. But he should not stoop to the neighbor’s level in his reaction. He should take the high road and try to be as polite as possible.”

A reply back in his or her mailbox is perfectly appropriate, she advises. “I might respond, ‘Dear Neighbor: Life is hard, and there will be a time when my child will grow up and become an adult, and his laughter will eventually become less and less,’” she says. “‘Please allow him to live, laugh, and enjoy life to the fullest while he can. Thank you for understanding.’”

Communication and general courtesy between neighbors is important, Rachel Isgar of Please Pass the Manners tells Yahoo Parenting. “But the idea that parents will limit their children’s time in the backyard is not realistic. If the neighbor is over 55, the only successful way to avoid kids is to move to a 55-plus community.”

Moving forward, the parents shouldn’t feel obligated to do anything different, according to Amy Morin, psychotherapist and author of the bestselling 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, no matter how shamed they may (perhaps secretly) feel. “The sound and sight of children playing in their own yard isn’t something that normally offends people,” she says. “The father doesn’t need to please his neighbor. He needs to do what’s best for his child.”

“Dad Sends Misguided Message With Daughter’s Shirt”

By Bethany Ramos via Yahoo.com

Every few months, we see a viral Facebook post like this: A picture of an overprotective dad with rules or warnings for dating his daughter. Everyone pats this dad on the back. The picture is shared thousands of times.

The latest edition was shared by Kit Dale, two-time World Pro Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu champion, to his more than 90,000 followers via #thefatjewish. The photo depicts a very physically fit dad and a very disgruntled teen daughter. On the front of the young girl’s shirt is a picture of her dad, ripped and flexing. The homemade shirt reads: “Stay Clear Boys, this is my dad!”Dad Sends Misguided Message With Daughter's Shirt

Photo: Kit Dale/Facebook.com

Dale apparently liked the photo because he posted, “Hahahha smart dad,” along with the pic. The photo got more than 40,000 shares in just a few days. So what appears to be the problem? What is wrong with a dad who cares enough about his daughter to protect her?

The dad is close, but no cigar. He’s missing the point.

I can see why people are applauding, liking and sharing this post at first glance. When you consider that many dads aren’t there at all, this dad is actually showing up and putting in the effort to care about his daughter. I have no doubt this dad loves his daughter very, very much, so much that he took the time to print a kitschy shirt to prove how special she is to him.

But the whole point of being a parent in a new generation is that I think we can do better. This isn’t the 1950s where a girl waits quietly upstairs for a date to arrive, and Dad sits on the front porch cleaning his shotgun. Today’s parents have the opportunity not to scare their kids into obedience but to teach them self-respect and how to navigate dangerous situations on their own.

This is empowering your kids, not controlling them.

I don’t think that this dad means to be controlling. His goal was to be loving and funny, but it was misguided. I can only speak from my personal experience, but I was raised in a home with an authoritarian parent who enforced the rules but never taught me to value myself. As a result, here I am, almost 15 years since I’ve left my parents’ house, and I’m still trying to figure it out. I’m parenting my kids, and I’m parenting myself.

This dad means well, but I think we can do better. As one wise commenter pointed out, a better shirt to empower this young girl and teach her her worth would have read: “Attention boys, this is my body, and I do what I want with it. Neither you nor my dad makes any of the rules. And P.S. I may not even be into boys.”

Why the ‘safe space’ movement is a liberal assault on freedom

by Michael Brendan Dougherty via TheWeek.com


One of the more contentious ideas to recently emerge from the culture war is that of “safe spaces.” We are said to be at risk of social dangers. Sometimes these dangers are labeled denialism (in which someone’s identity isn’t recognized) or triggering speech (speech that sets off traumatic responses in unwitting listeners). The way some students at elite colleges combat these social dangers is to create, or demand the creation of, safe spaces. And just as often, students demand that their entire campus become a safe space.

Hence the wrong kind of speech is re-labeled as violence. The space only becomes safe when certain ideas (and the people expositing them) are banished. We’re trying to build a supportive community, don’t you know?

Why worry about the exotic (and sometimes silly) life of a college campus? Well, it matters because future elites — who will set the norms and tone of our institutions of power — are coming of age in this intellectual stew. At top colleges we already see the nepotistic acceptance of incurious mediocrity, the shirking of citizenship’s duties, and a liberation from old constraints, all of which tell us about the future of our nation’s social and political life.

Here’s my prediction: Safe spaces will continue to spread across campuses. And from there, the colonization project will really begin in earnest. Public institutions, schools, and even the home. And colonization is the right word, because the logic of a “safe space” is entirely alien to traditional notions of liberty.

How can you even object? Are you pro-trauma? Pro-denialism? You think kids should have their identities denied and be traumatized in the home?

The fear of terrorism — a statistically infinitesimal risk in everyday American life — has caused us to expand the American surveillance state, launch misbegotten wars, consent to the search of everything from library records to our bodily cavities, and generally surrender our liberty. So, too, will a pervasive fear of social danger raise the demand for social control.

It’s hard not to see the mechanism of privilege at work. These students are taking on decades worth of debt, or spending 15 times the median income on their college education — why shouldn’t they demand that adjunct professors and guest speakers not offend them? And as they graduate into the upper echelons of American life, paying the lion’s share of taxes, they’ll demand the same of fellow citizens, too. I pay for these cops, why shouldn’t they tell you what to think? I’m creating a supportive community.

I’m not unsympathetic to the most limited aims of safe-spacers. Some of their moral impulses are perfectly laudable. People who have experienced real trauma — violent crimes, rape, the loss of loved ones in violence — do need special consideration. That a victim of rape would want to avoid a heated discussion on rape statistics is perfectly understandable. Someone who lost a loved one in a war overseas may find themselves distressed by a frank talk about whether that war was justified.

Long-term healing may mean strengthening oneself to face these subjects in the future. We intuitively understand the effects of physical, emotional, or even spiritual trauma.

But it takes the intellectual gymnastics of a collegian to see that thoughts and ideas amount to violence and trauma.

Perhaps the safe-space movement cannot be sustained for long. The political left used to praise fearlessness, non-conformism, and dangerous ideas. It used to embrace the figures of history who were once branded heretics. Maybe that romantic rhetoric is too deeply embedded in our political tradition and culture to let this hysterical, stultifying conformism colonize our institutions and social life.

Then again, if safety-obsessed neighbors now believeagainst all evidence — that children who are not actively surveilled are suffering from neglect, then heaven knows how dangerous the home can be, with all those proles thinking their thoughts in the presence of children. Surely the practice of “reparative therapy,” which could soon be illegal, will be expanded to include any non-medical therapeutic practices that have “denialism” embedded within them.

The safe-space movement offers hysterics real power over their institutions and neighbors. And this is a power that denies itself as power, that grasps by wailing. If America is rapidly becoming more economically and politically unequal, it seems natural enough that the graduates of our elite credentialing institutions should feel the need to control the thought and speech of their inferiors.

Nothing so endangers privilege as the freedom of the masses. I learned that from the left.

How Christianity Invented Children


by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry via TheWeek.com


We have forgotten just how deep a cultural revolution Christianity wrought. In fact, we forget about it precisely because of how deep it was: There are many ideas that we simply take for granted as natural and obvious, when in fact they didn’t exist until the arrival of Christianity changed things completely. Take, for instance, the idea of children.

Today, it is simply taken for granted that the innocence and vulnerability of children makes them beings of particular value, and entitled to particular care. We also romanticize children — their beauty, their joy, their liveliness. Our culture encourages us to let ourselves fall prey to our gooey feelings whenever we look at baby pictures. What could be more natural?

In fact, this view of children is a historical oddity. If you disagree, just go back to the view of children that prevailed in Europe’s ancient pagan world.

As the historian O.M. Bakke points out in his invaluable book When Children Became People, in ancient Greece and Rome, children were considered nonpersons.

Back then, the entire social worldview was undergirded by a universally-held, if implicit, view: Society was organized in concentric circles, with the circle at the center containing the highest value people, and the people in the outside circles having little-to-no value. At the center was the freeborn, adult male, and other persons were valued depending on how similar they were to the freeborn, adult male. Such was the lot of foreigners, slaves, women…and children.

High infant mortality rates created a cultural pressure to not develop emotional attachments to children. This cultural pressure was exacerbated by the fact that women were more likely to develop emotional attachments to children — which, according to the worldview of the day, meant it had to be a sign of weakness and vulgarity.

Various pagan authors describe children as being more like plants than human beings. And this had concrete consequences.

Well-to-do parents typically did not interact with their children, leaving them up to the care of slaves. Children were rudely brought up, and very strong beatings were a normal part of education. In Rome, a child’s father had the right to kill him for whatever reason until he came of age.

One of the most notorious ancient practices that Christianity rebelled against was the frequent practice of expositio, basically the abandonment of unwanted infants. (Of course, girls were abandoned much more often than boys, which meant, as the historical sociologist Rodney Stark has pointed out, that Roman society had an extremely lopsided gender ratio, contributing to its violence and permanent tension.)

Another notorious practice in the ancient world was the sexual exploitation of children. It is sometimes pointed to paganism’s greater tolerance (though by no means full acceptance) of homosexuality than Christianity as evidence for its higher moral virtue. But this is to look at a very different world through distorting lenses. The key thing to understand about sexuality in the pagan world is the ever-present notion of concentric circles of worth. The ancient world did not have fewer taboos, it had different ones. Namely, most sexual acts were permissible, as long as they involved a person of higher status being active against or dominating a person of lower status. This meant that, according to all the evidence we have, the sexual abuse of children (particularly boys) was rife.

Think back on expositio. According to our sources, most abandoned children died — but some were “rescued,” almost inevitably into slavery. And the most profitable way for a small child slave to earn money was as a sex slave. Brothels specializing in child sex slaves, particularly boys, were established, legal, and thriving businesses in ancient Rome. One source reports that sex with castrated boys was regarded as a particular delicacy, and that foundlings were castrated as infants for that purpose.

Of course, the rich didn’t have to bother with brothels — they had all the rights to abuse their slaves (and even their children) as they pleased. And, again, this was perfectly licit. When Suetonius condemns Tiberius because he “taught children of the most tender years, whom he called his little fishes, to play between his legs while he was in his bath” and “those who had not yet been weaned, but were strong and hearty, he set at fellatio,” he is not writing with shock and horror; instead, he is essentially mocking the emperor for his lack of self-restraint and enjoying too much of a good thing.

This is the world into which Christianity came, condemning abortion and infanticide as loudly and as early as it could.

This is the world into which Christianity came, calling attention to children and ascribing special worth to them. Church leaders meditated on Jesus’ instruction to imitate children and proposed ways that Christians should look up to and become more like them.

Like everything else about Christianity’s revolution, it was incomplete. For example, Christians endorsed corporal punishment for far too long. (Though even in the fourth century, the great teacher St John Chrysostom preached against it, on the grounds of the victim’s innocence and dignity, using language that would have been incomprehensible to, say, Cicero.)

But really, Christianity’s invention of children — that is, its invention of the cultural idea of children as treasured human beings — was really an outgrowth of its most stupendous and revolutionary idea: the radical equality, and the infinite value, of every single human being as a beloved child of God. If the God who made heaven and Earth chose to reveal himself, not as an emperor, but as a slave punished on the cross, then no one could claim higher dignity than anyone else on the basis of earthly status.

That was indeed a revolutionary idea, and it changed our culture so much that we no longer even recognize it.

Kresta in the Afternoon – April 23, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on April 23, 2015


4:00-6:00 Direct to My Desk: It’s Your Call 

We’re opening the phone lines again but this time we want you to decide the topic. Some ideas to consider are where to draw the line between attentive parent and overprotective worrier, the new Ten Commandments of Secularism and what “trigger words” we are expected to avoid lest we offend or upset someone. We aren’t limited to those; if you want to say something, give us a call! Our number is 877-573-7825. Join us!

Real Science vs. Bill Nye’s Undeniable

If you grew up among Generation Xers and Millennials like I did, then you probably loved watching Bill Nye the Science Guy. His quirky, off-beat, after school PBS show achieved no small feat: it sparked laughs and got kids appreciating science — and they didn’t even realize they were learning.

While most Nye-fans enjoyed his wacky experiments and corny jokes, few of us kids realized he had another side: Nye advocates a hardline materialistic worldview view that is hostile to the views held by most Americans.

Bad Philosophy

In 2010 he was named “Humanist of the Year” by the American Humanist Association, and during his acceptance speech, he claimed that humanity is “insignificant” because we’re just “a speck on a speck orbiting a speck among other specks among still other specks in the middle of specklessness.” According to Nye, we “suck.”

Nye again made headlines in 2012, after declaring that parents who “deny” evolution should not instill in their children their own beliefs about origins. When it comes to doubting Darwin, Nye demands, “Don’t make your kids do it because we need them.”

In 2014, and Nye achieved more notoriety by debating a famous young earth creationist, Ken Ham. While Nye deftly argued that the universe is billions of years old, he paraded his materialistic view that life is the result of blind causes. He then set to capitalize on that publicity by releasing a book, Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation.

Undeniable promotes the standard dumbed-down atheistic narrative about science, society, and evolution — except now his book is influencing younger thinkers who mistakenly think Nye is an objective source for scientific information.

On page one, we learn that for Nye, “evolution” answered his biggest questions about life, the universe and the meaning of everything: “As I learned about evolution and descent by natural selection, the answers fell into place.” He later explains, “After all, evolution made us who we are.”

Nye goes on to explain that his view that humans “suck” comes directly from his study of evolution: “As I learned more about evolution, I realized that from nature’s point of view, you and I ain’t such a big deal.” According to evolution, Nye says, “humankind may not be that special.”

And why aren’t we special? Because “evolution is not guided by a mind or a plan,” and nature shows a “lack of evidence of a plan.” For Nye, “Every other aspect of life that was once attributed to divine intent is now elegantly and completely explained in the context of evolutionary science.” In his view, even human altruism “is not a moral or religious ideal, no matter what some people might tell you.”

Bad Science

If you think Nye’s ideology is bad, wait until you see the “science” he uses to justify these claims.

On the origin of life, Nye maintains that the famous Miller-Urey experiments “simulate[d] the conditions on earth in primordial times,” and “produced the natural amino acids.” Yet the Miller-Urey experiments did not accurately simulate the earth’s early atmosphere. An article in Science explains why the experiments are irrelevant: “the early atmosphere looked nothing like the Miller-Urey situation.”

Nye also invokes the unsophisticated argument that humans and apes must share a common ancestor because our gene-coding DNA is only about 1% different. “This is striking evidence for chimps and chumps to have a common ancestor,” he writes.

This argument is not just simplistic, it’s also false.

An article in the journal Science challenged “the myth of 1%,” suggesting the statistic is a “truism [that] should be retired,” since “studies are showing that [humans and chimps] are not as similar as many tend to believe.” Geneticist Richard Buggs maintains that “the total similarity of the genomes could be below 70%.”

Even if we do share DNA with chimps, why should that demonstrate common ancestry? Intelligent agents regularly re-use parts that work in different systems (e.g., wheels for cars and wheels for airplanes). Nye’s crude argument ignores the possibility of common design.

Undeniable also botches arguments that the fossil record shows “transitional forms.”

Nye cites Tiktaalik as a “‘fishapod’ (transition between fish and tetrapod, or land animal with four legs)” that is a fulfilled “prediction” of evolution because of when it was found in the fossil record. Nye is apparently unaware that this so-called evolutionary “prediction” went belly-up after scientists found tracks of true tetrapods with digits some 18 million years before Tiktaalik in the fossil record. As Nature put it, Tiktaalik cannot be a “direct transitional form.”

In another instance, Nye claims we’ve “found a whole range of human ancestors, including Sahelanthropus tchadensis,” apparently not realizing that an article in Nature reported there are “many … features that link the specimen with chimpanzees, gorillas or both,” since “Sahelanthropus was an ape.”

There are other scientific errors in Nye’s book, but one more will suffice. Throughout Undeniable, Nye demeans humanity by claiming our bodies are poorly designed, promoting the old canard that the human eye is wired backwards, and “not an optimal optical arrangement.” Nye apparently never saw a 2010 paper in Physical Review Letters which found that our eyes have special glial cells which sit over the retina, acting like fiber-optic cables to channel light through tissue directly onto our photoreceptor cells, showing the human retina is “an optimal structure designed for improving the sharpness of images.”

Undeniable  is one long attempt at wedding materialist philosophy with science. “The natural world is a package deal,” Nye insists at one point, “you don’t get to select which facts you like and which you don’t.” Yet he consistently ignores facts that contradict his arguments for Darwinian orthodoxy.

Mostly, however, Nye simply dismisses Darwin-critics as “creationists” and “science deniers” who have “stubborn ignorance,” lack “honesty,” and “want to suppress” evolution by teaching “fictitious alternatives” in schools. He adopts the customary scare-tactics of censors, arguing that allowing kids to question Darwinism amounts to an “assault on science,” and threatens to throw society back to the Dark Ages. Under Nye’s vision, humanity’s salvation comes from “celebrating evolution” so “we can open more minds and unlock more of our vast human potential.”

Yet it is Nye who is doing the disservice to society. By caricaturing the debate over Darwinian evolution as enlightened science vs. ignorant religion, he uses his position as a spokesperson for science to mislead readers about legitimate scientific challenges to evolutionary biology.

While mainstream scientists are raising serious scientific challenges to neo-Darwinian evolution, popularizers like Nye claim that giving any truck to to Darwin to send us back to the days before electricity. His divisive rhetoric discourages bright young Darwin-doubting students from pursuing careers in science.

Unfortunately, Bill Nye’s intolerance seems to be rubbing off on many of my Gen-X and Millennial friends. But if they want their views to correspond to reality, they need to appreciate how 21st century science is entering a post-Darwinian world  and leaving Bill Nye behind.

After vision of Christ, Nigerian bishop says rosary will bring down Boko Haram

by Alan Holdren via EWTNNews.com


A Nigerian bishop says that he has seen Christ in a vision and now knows that the rosary is the key to ridding the country of the Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram.

Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme says he is being driven by a God-given mandate to lead others in praying the rosary until the extremist group disappears.

“Towards the end of last year I was in my chapel before the Blessed Sacrament… praying the rosary, and then suddenly the Lord appeared,” Bishop Dashe told EWTN News April 18.

In the vision, the prelate said, Jesus didn’t say anything at first, but extended a sword toward him, and he in turn reached out for it.

“As soon as I received the sword, it turned into a rosary,” the bishop said, adding that Jesus then told him three times: “Boko Haram is gone.”

“I didn’t need any prophet to give me the explanation,” he said. “It was clear that with the rosary we would be able to expel Boko Haram.”

The bishop said he didn’t want to tell anyone, but “felt that the Holy Spirit was pushing him to do so.”

He started with the priests of his diocese, and then told participants in the April 17-19 #WeAreN2015 congress in Madrid, Spain. The event is being sponsored by the Spanish Catholic sister groups hazteoir.org and CitizenGo to gather ideas on how to preserve the Christian presence in nations where they are most persecuted.

Bishop Dashe leads the Diocese of Maiduguri, in northeastern Nigeria’s Borno State. In 2009, there were around 125,000 Catholics under his guidance. After a surge in violence from the Islamist extremist group called Boko Haram, today “there are only 50 to 60 thousand left,” he said.

Most of those who fled sought safer areas in other parts of Nigeria, he said. Some of the same families are now returning home as armed forces from Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon liberate their homes.

In 2014, Boko Haram became known worldwide when members kidnapped nearly 300 girls from a school in Borno State. On March 7, 2015, five suicide bombers killed 54 and wounded nearly three times as many in the capital city of Maidaguri, where the bishop lives and works.

The group has killed 1,000 people across Nigeria in the first three months of 2015, according to Human Rights Watch, which reports that more than 6,000 have died in Boko Haram-led violence since 2009.

Just last month, the group pledged its allegiance to ISIS – also known as the Islamic State – which launched a bloody campaign in Iraq and Syria last summer.

Meanwhile, Bishop Dashe has just completed a “consolation tour” to communities in his diocese, promoting forgiveness and continued faith. He believes he was asked by Jesus to spread devotion to the rosary in order to aid them as they do so.

“Maybe that’s why he did it,” said the bishop, referring to Jesus in his vision.

JPII_Rosary_Credit_Jess_Pac_via_Flickr_CC_BY_20_EWTN_4_20_15Bishop Dashe said he has a strong devotion to Christ’s mother, and that “I never joke with ‘Mamma Mary.’ I know she is here with us.”

And he is not the only Nigerian bishop putting the future of the country in the hands of Mary. The nation’s bishops’ conference has consecrated the country to her twice in recent years.

Bishop Dashe believes that one day his diocese will completely recover and grow thanks to her intercession.

“These terrorists… think that by burning our churches, burning our structures, they will destroy Christanity. Never,” Bishop Dashe told several hundred people from the dais of the #WeAreN2015 congress.

“It may take a few months or a few years … but ‘Boko Haram is gone.’”

He later told EWTN News that “prayer, particularly the prayer of the rosary, is (what) will deliver us from the claws of this demon, the demon of terrorism. And of course, it is working.”

Attacks Against Archbishop Cordileone Fall Flat

by Anne Hendershott via CrisisMagazine.com

Salvatore Cordileone


Despite a ruthless public relations war against San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone for attempting to ensure that Catholic schools remain faithful to the Church, the majority of respondents to a San Francisco Chronicle poll remain supportive of their episcopal leader.  On Sunday, the Chronicle provided a weeklong poll for readers entitled “Time for Archbishop Cordileone to Go?” The results (as of April 21 at 3pm) revealed that those who have been lobbying Pope Francis to remove the archbishop remain a small minority. When asked: “Should Pope Francis Remove Archbishop Cordileone from the San Francisco Archdiocese?” 78 percent of all respondents said “No, the archbishop is upholding the values of the Catholic Church;” and 10 percent said the archbishop is right to oppose same sex marriage. In contrast, only 11 percent indicated that the archbishop is fostering a climate of intolerance; and a tiny fraction (1 percent) said that “Yes, his morality clause for teachers in parochial schools defies the law.”



This has to be disappointing for those who hired Sam Singer, the infamous public relations guru, who has created a cynical marketing campaign to convince Catholics that the archbishop does not understand or appreciate the unique cultural needs of the San Francisco community. From candlelight vigils at the cathedral—replete with protestors dressed in black to vilify the archbishop at Church services on Ash Wednesday—to an extensive campaign to try to convince Catholics that the archbishop hates the homeless and is using sprinklers to remove them from sleeping on Church property, Singer has tried several unsuccessful strategies to convince Catholics to remove their leader.

Most recently, Singer helped to stage an elaborate press conference to announce a “grassroots” group of 100 so-called “committed Catholics inspired by Vatican II” who purchased a full page ad in the San Francisco Chronicle asking Pope Francis to remove the archbishop—and provide a new leader for them who is “committed to our values and your teachings.”

Leading the charge against the archbishop was Brian Cahill, retired executive director of Catholic Charities/Catholic Youth Organization in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Angry about Catholic teachings on homosexuality, Cahill has been protesting these teachings for more than a decade—long before Archbishop Cordileone ever arrived in San Francisco. A long-time advocate of same-sex “marriage” and adoption of children by gay parents—even during the time he headed San Francisco’s Catholic Charities, Cahill publicly denounced Catholic teachings on homosexuality. On March 13, 2011, Cahill published an op-ed in The San Francisco Chronicle entitled: “My Gay Son: The Face of Church’s Lack of Respect,” which began with: “I am a Catholic who voted against Proposition 8 in 2008 and contributed $1,000 to the No on 8 Campaign.” Archbishop Cordileone was a leader of the Proposition 8 campaign that sought to ensure that marriage remain a union between a man and a woman.

Cahill was joined by several Bay Area leaders—many of them big donors to Democratic political causes. First Things writer Matthew Schmitz pointed out that among the 100 signers included several business leaders like Charles Geschke, the co-chairman of Adobe System, who has given more than $200,000 to the Democratic National Committee; and Clint Reilly who worked on political campaigns for Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and later, headed the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities under Cahill.

Joining Cahill in his campaign against the Church in San Francisco, Jim McGarry and his wife, Kathy Curran appear to have made a commitment to changing Catholic teachings on marriage and homosexuality. And, like Cahill, Curran and McGarry made that commitment more than a decade ago—long before Archbishop Cordileone arrived in the Bay area. In December, 2008, the couple coordinated a demonstration along with Dignity USA, New Ways Ministry and Call to Action in a candlelight vigil to protest Vatican opposition to a United Nations resolution on homosexuality.

Curran coordinated a March 17, 2015 forum held at the University of San Francisco which was described in National Catholic Reporter as an opportunity to “galvanize opposition to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s changes to a handbook for teachers at four high schools.” In his opening speech at the March 17 forum, Cahill helped set the tone for the evening when he charged that “Cordileone, who with his imported crew of orthodox, smugly ideological and intentionally provocative zealots, is trying to shove his sex-obsessed version of Catholic identity down the throats of Catholic high school students and teachers.”

Jim McGarry appears to share his wife’s zeal for changing Catholic teachings on marriage and homosexuality—and has chosen to join her in the attack on the archbishop. But, McGarry goes even further by criticizing the Church’s teachings on reproductive rights including in vitro fertilization. In an open letter to San Francisco Catholic students McGarry suggested that the archbishop is “not in compliance with Catholic teaching.” Claiming that the archbishop is “very selectively choosing a small number of doctrines and putting them forward in a selective way,” McGarry concludes that the archbishop is “distorting the tradition in a way that first of all endangers the health and well being of our children.”

As the campaign against the Church in San Francisco has begun to lose ground, Singer’s rhetoric has escalated—and he has personally extended his attacks on those who have publicly supported Archbishop Cordileone. Following the publication of a National Review article  last week, Singer sent three tweets to his followers on April 18 and 19 advising them to denounce the author for her hateful speech. Calling the article “mean-spirited and hateful,” Singer called on the archbishop (of all people) to “reject” the author. Making sure that the author saw his angry tweets—and would be fearful of retribution by Singer-supporters—Singer forwarded them to her personally so she would receive them in her email inbox. Unfortunately for Singer, the strategy seems to have failed as only a handful of his followers even bothered to re-tweet any of his offensive tweets.

Realizing that he is losing the public opinion battles, it is likely that Singer will escalate his attacks on those of us who support the courageous work Archbishop Cordileone is doing. On April 18, Singer tweeted that he “won’t give up until Cordileone is gone.” Maybe. But, it is more likely that as Singer continues to lose ground in his ongoing war on the Church, and his supporters begin to retreat, his sponsors may start to consider whether they are engaged in a losing campaign.

Kresta in the Afternoon – April 22, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on April 22, 2015

4:00 – Kresta Comments: A Turning Point in San Francisco?

Progressives set their crosshairs on San Francisco recently when Archbishop Cordileone announced that Catholic school teachers in his diocese were required to stay faithful to Church teaching while they were in the classroom. The archbishop was accused of fostering a culture of intolerance and hatred. Sam Singer was hired to start a smear campaign against him. 100 so-called “prominent Catholics” published a letter in the San Francisco Chronicle calling on Pope Francis to replace the archbishop with someone who is “committed to our values and teachings.” Despite these efforts, it seems locals still support the archbishop. A poll by the Chronicle showed that 78% of respondents feel Cordileone is upholding the values of the Church and should not be replaced. Al has thoughts on the latest developments.

4:20 – Overcoming Sinful Anger

It only takes a few seconds of anger to undo years spent fostering peace and mercy. St. Francis de Sales knew that anger never leads to happiness and can cause tremendous harm to our relationship with God. Fr. TG Morrow is here to with tools you can use to cultivate habits that lead to virtuous action.

5:00 – Kresta Comments: A Turning Point in San Francisco?

5:20 – TBA

5:40 – Who Really Won? The Sisters or the Vatican?

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious has agreed to terms with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to help refocus its role to be “centered on Jesus Christ and faithful to the teachings of the Church.” The mainstream media has depicted this as a “victory” for the sisters against an overbearing and interfering Vatican institution. Was there really a ‘winner’ or ‘loser’ in these meetings? What do the results actually mean? Ann Carey joins us.


There’s never been a safer time to be a kid in America

By Christopher Ingraham via WashingtonPost.com



Imagine being 10 years old and being led, along with your 6-year-old sibling, into the backseat of a police cruiser. The police promise to take you home to your parents. It’s only three blocks away, and you know they are searching for you frantically.

But instead of taking you home, the police detain you there, in the car, for three hours, without a meal or access to a restroom. The sun sets, night falls. Eventually the cops take you to a facility maintained by Child Protective Services where you’re kept for another several hours. You still haven’t had any dinner. You aren’t reunited with your parents until 10:30 p.m., nearly six hours after your ordeal began.

Your “crime”? Playing without parental supervision in a park less than a mile from home.

That all actually happened to the Meitiv children of Silver Spring, Md., on Sunday, according to the children’s parents. After a long family road trip, the children went to the neighborhood park with their parents’ permission, with strict instructions to be home by 6 p.m. They never made it, because the cops picked them up along the way after receiving a call from someone who saw the siblings walking down the street together.

The children were detained ostensibly to protect them from the dangers of walking home in a wealthy suburb of D.C. recently rated the “Most Caring Suburb in America” by real estate blog Movoto. But you have to wonder which is worse for a child’s well-being: walking down the street without an adult, or being detained by the cops and family services for nearly six hours?

Fortunately, we have some data to answer that question. The first thing to note is that the overall child mortality rate in the United States has literally never been lower. In 1935, for instance, there were nearly 450 deaths for every 100,000 children aged 1 to 4. Today, there are fewer than 30 deaths for every 100,000 kids in that age group — more than a tenfold decrease.

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Much of that decline can be attributed to the rise of childhood vaccines (related point: vaccinate your kids!). But mortality rates have continued to drop in recent decades, too, as the chart above shows. Across all three age categories, mortality rates have fallen by nearly half since 1990, according to CDC data tabulated by Child Trends.

Part of that decline is a drop in child homicides. As of 2008, the homicide rate for kids under the age of 14 stood at a near-record low 1.5 cases per 100,000, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. And the homicide rate for teens ages 14 to 17 plummeted from 12 homicides per 100,000 in 1993 to just 5.1 in 2008, another near-record low.

Long story short: for a kid between the ages of 5 and 14 today, the chances of premature death by any means are roughly 1 in 10,000, or 0.01 percent.

But parents typically aren’t thinking about disease or general morality when they fret over unattended kids — we’re worried about all the terrible things that could theoretically happen to a child out on his own. Chief among them is the threat of abduction, or of the child simply disappearing without a trace.

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The FBI has several decades of data on missing persons now, and those numbers show that the number of missing person reports involving minors has been at record low levels in recent years. Overall, the number of these reports have fallen by 40 percent since 1997. This is more impressive when you consider that the overall U.S. population has risen by 30 percent over that same time period, meaning that the actual rate of missing person reports for children has fallen faster than 40 percent.

But even these numbers include an awful lot of scenarios that you wouldn’t typically worry about when letting your kid walk to the park. For instance, among all missing persons cases (adults and children) in 2014, roughly 96 percent were runaways — kids or adults deliberately trying to escape a situation at home. In fact, only 0.1 percent of missing persons cases were what we’d think of as a “stereotypical kidnapping” — where a complete stranger tries to abduct somebody and carry them off by force. These figures comport with a more detailed analysis of child-only abductions carried out by the Justice Department in 2002.

Another thing parents worry about when it comes to their kids — traffic. If they’re left to wander on their own outside, won’t they run out in front of a car or get hit by an irresponsible driver? In short: almost certainly not.

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Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that between 1993 and 2013, the number of child pedestrians struck and killed by cars fell by more than two-thirds, from more than 800 deaths to fewer than 250. The number of traffic-related pedestrian injuries in this age group fell by a similar percentage over the same period. Again these are raw numbers, and as the population has grown over that period, the actual rate has fallen even faster.

So where does that leave us in the debate over “free-range” children? Kids are dying less. They’re being killed less. They’re getting hit by cars less. And they’re going missing less frequently, too. The likelihood of any of these scenarios is both historically low and infinitesimally small.
But couldn’t it be the case that kids are less prone to terrible tragedies these days because concerned parents are keeping them locked up at home, and calling the cops whenever they see someone else’s kid walking alone down the street? Probably not.

“It’s hard to say that much of the decline [in mortality and abduction rates] comes from stricter parenting,” said Bryan Caplan, an economist at George Mason University who’s written about child safety statistics.

When it comes to child mortality, “crime and accidents were never that big of a deal to begin with,” he said. And there are a lot of factors driving those trends downward — better safety standards for cars and better pedestrian infrastructure, for instance. Declining rates of violent crime overall also likely play a role.

Asked about the Meitiv’s case, Caplan said, “it’s crazy, people are being persecuted for doing things that are extremely statistically safe just because other people disagree.”

Bottom line: If it was safe enough for you to play unsupervised outside when you were a kid, it’s even safer for your own children to do so today.

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