The 193-member U.N. body voted 138 to 9, with 41 abstentions, to recognize Palestine as a “non-member observer state,” a status that falls well short of independence but provides Palestinians with limited privileges as a state, including the right to join the International Criminal Court and other international treaty bodies.
“We did not come here to delegitimize a state established years ago, and that is Israel,” he said. “Rather we came to affirm the legitimacy of a state that must now achieve its independence, and that is Palestine.”
But the United States and Israel said the Palestinian bid would complicate efforts to restart stalled Middle East peace talks. Israeli Prime MinisterBenjamin Netanyahu issued a statement accusing Abbas of having “violated the agreements” between the two sides, and pledging that “Israel will act accordingly.”
Politicians lie. God knows, expecting them to do so has been an aspect of plain old American common sense since well before the Great Flood; since honest Abel went into the field to help Cain with his harvest; since Rebekah made Jacob his goatskin bracelets; since David recommended Uriah the Hittite for a posthumous Medal of Honor; since…well, you know, a very long time ago. But until now, expecting politicians to lie didn’t mean accepting the idea that it’s okay for them to do it. No; in fact the whole point of politics was to get the liars to act like honest folk most of the time. So when some of them got caught in a lie, everybody had to act as if they were shocked, outraged and moved by their hurt and anger to do them all manner of harm at ye old ballot box.
South Carolina Episcopalians are headed for a painful split now that a majority of Lowcountry Episcopalians have sided with an emboldened Bishop Mark Lawrence in his standoff with, in Lawrence’s view, an increasing liberal and theologically-wobbly national church. But questions remain about Lawrence’s authority to engineer a secession of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina from the Episcopal Church, which was approved by a majority of delegates Saturday at a special convention called by Lawrence in Charleston. At issue, too, is the status of those Lowcountry Episcopalians who don’t agree with Lawrence’s decision to disassociate. At least 12 congregations among the 75 in the Lowcountry diocese have expressed a desire to remain with the American church, which is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
On this feast of Thanksgiving (here in America) we do well to ponder how we ought to give thanks to God. Indeed, how can one adequately thank God who is the giver of every good and perfect gift? Is it really enough to simply kneel and say a prayer of thanks? Perhaps we should run to Church and light a candle, or visit some distant shrine? Perhaps even doing the “Snoopy dance” as we say over and over, Thank you thank you thank you” ?!
But none of these acts of thanksgiving would prove adequate. God has been too good, has done too much, and is, after all, God.
Indeed, a great question went up in the Old Testament regarding this very problem of adequately thanking God. It occurs in Psalm 116 wherein the psalmist plaintively asks
“What return can I ever make to the Lord for all the good he is done for me?” (Psalm 116:12)
To that point the Jewish people had been accustomed to killing thousands of animals every day and burning them up in the Temple in order to give thanks, and to atone for sin. But the blood of animals cannot atone for sin and neither can slaying even many thousands of them really give adequate thanks to God.
St Paul writes to the Philippians of the glory that our currently lowly bodies will one day enjoy:
He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified Body by the power that enables him also to bring all things into subjection to himself. (Phil 3:19)
I once spoke with an older woman who wasn’t all that pleased to hear that her body was going to rise and be joined again to her soul: “Oh, Father, you don’t mean this old decrepit body?! If this body has to rise I am hoping for an improved model!”
“The more we turn our backs on God, the bigger our problem becomes,” Graham, the son of world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham, tells Newsmax in a wide-ranging interview. “I didn’t hear any of the candidates say that we needed to call our nation to prayer. I didn’t hear any of the candidates say that we needed to ask God for help.
Watch the exclusive interview here.
“We still think that we can work our way out of this problem – and I don’t think we can,” Graham added. “I don’t have confidence in the Republican Party right now, and I don’t have confidence in the Democratic Party.
“I don’t believe there is leadership in Washington that can solve this problem. We just deal with it as issues for the day, and it kicks the can further and further down the road. We need God’s help to solve this problem – we can’t go without God.”
Last week’s election results, which sent President Barack Obama back to the White House for another four years, put the nation further along a “path of destruction,” Graham said.
President Obama’s re-election and the prospect of a second Obama administration, freed from the constraints imposed by the necessity of running for re-election, have created a crisis for the Catholic Church in the United States. In the thought-world and vocabulary of the Bible, “crisis” has two meanings: the conventional sense (a grave threat) and a deeper sense (a great moment of opportunity). Both are applicable to the Church in America these next four years.
The immediate threat, of course, is the HHS (Health and Human Services) mandate requiring Catholic institutions and Catholic employers to include coverage of contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortifacient drugs in the health insurance offered to their employees. The legal challenges mounted against this obvious violation of the first freedom, religious freedom, may well be vindicated. But with Obamacare now seemingly set in concrete, the Church will face a host of such implementing “mandates” and it will be imperative to contest those that are morally unacceptable, time and time again. Authentically Catholic health care in America is now in mortal danger, and it is going to take a concerted effort to save it for future generations.
Among those still enthralled by the GOP I guess that a majority would say they still respect America’s Revolutionary founders. And among those who do, some would even profess to adhere to the principles of the Revolution the founders made. Of course that Revolution was not completed when the the representatives of the people in their respective states moved to declare their independence on July 2, 1776. Nor was it completed once they had supported the declaration made on July 4th by successful battle. But the aim they fought for was provisionally achieved once they united to ordain and establish the Constitution of a general government that respected the Revolution’s principles.
I frequently consult the famous articles on the Constitution produced by some of the American Revolutionaries as part of the effort to persuade the people of the respective states to ratify the Constitution. In its compiled and edited form their commentary has come to be known as “The Federalist”. In Federalist 10 Madison wrote: “In the extent and proper structure of the Union, therefore, we behold a republican remedy for the diseases most incident to republican government. And according to the degree of pleasure and pride we feel in being republicans, ought to be our zeal in cherishing the spirit and supporting the character of Federalists.”
Obama’s re-election, and his immediate moves to purge and chasten the leadership of America’s armed forces, make it clear that the elitist faction is implacably determined completely to overturn (by force it necessary) the republican form of government established by America’s founders. There are signs that many people loyal to that form of government, and determined to restore and preserve the liberty it exists to secure, are firmly resolved to resist its overthrow.
Not coincidentally, in recent days some attention has been focused on what is supposedly one manifestation of this resolve- an apparently coordinated effort in which people, supposedly upset about Obama’s re-election, are asked to sign petitions demanding that he approve their State’s immediate secession from the Union.
It is rare that a respected segment of American life would become vilified and hated overnight. The usual transformation from respect to vilification goes in stages which grow in intensity. And hereby the Church, once a respected aspect of American life, along with the Protestant denominations has become increasingly marginalized and hated by many. It may help us to review these stages of persecution since it would seem that things are going to get more difficult for the Church in the years ahead. Generally there are distinguished five basic stages of persecution.
By way of giving due credit I want to say that these stages were recalled to me by Johnette Benkovic, of Women of Grace EWTN. She spoke at a recent fundraiser here in DC for WMET 1160 AM, Our Catholic Radio Station in the Guadalupe Radio Network. She gave a wonderful talk and a summons to courage. And among the things she set forth was a sober vision of how we have come to this current place where the culture is increasingly hostile to Christians and to Catholics particularly. The stages are from her talk, the commentary is my own.