Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Logical Output of the Culture of Death

Ethicists Argue in Favor of ‘After-Birth Abortions‘ as Newborns ’Are Not Persons’

I don't know why this would surprise us.  If human life has no intrinsic value, if we are only on the same level as other animals, then there is no reason to care about individual lives.  This is the natural outcome of the worldview that ignores God and forgets that humans are made in His image and likeness.

In this worldview, babies with handicaps have no value.  In this worldview, elderly who have stopped being productive have no value.  In this worldview, the convenience of a baby can determine its future. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

First Sunday of Lent & Psalm 52

Today is the First Sunday of Lent.  Readings are here.  You can read more about Lent here.

Psalm 52
To the chief Musician, Maschil, A Psalm of David, when Doeg the Edomite came and told Saul, and said unto him, David is come to the house of Ahimelech. Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? the goodness of God endureth continually. Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah. Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue. God shall likewise destroy thee for ever, he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah. The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him: Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness. But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever. I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done it: and I will wait on thy name; for it is good before thy saints.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


I was reading the following verses with a friend the other day, as part of a Bible Study.  I've read them before, but on that day I could not get them out.  Especially the last paragraph.  I couldn't imagine the sacrifice Jesus made for us, for me, and I was overwhelmed with emotion.

Joh 19:17  And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:
Joh 19:18  Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.
Joh 19:19  And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Joh 19:20  This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.
Joh 19:21  Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews.
Joh 19:22  Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.
Joh 19:23  Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.
Joh 19:24  They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.
Joh 19:25  Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.
Joh 19:26  When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
Joh 19:27  Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
Joh 19:28  After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.
Joh 19:29  Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.
Joh 19:30  When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Rejoice! Pray! Always!

1Th 5:16  Rejoice evermore.

Strangely, this does not say when we feel like it.  It does not say when we are happy.  It does not say when we’ve had a good day at work or a nice time with the family or an entertaining time out with friends.  It says evermore, which means all the time.

How are we going to do that when life does have times, long times occasionally, that are not very happy?  When our eyes are on eternity, we can still find reason to rejoice.  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Rom 8:18)

We can be sad about what is going on here, but we can always rejoice about Heaven.

1Th 5:17  Pray without ceasing.

If we’re always rejoicing about Heaven and Jesus, then we are praying without ceasing.  If we constantly offer our work to God and try to make our work be in His will, then we are praying without ceasing. 

Eph 6:18  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Php 4:4  Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.

Php 4:6  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

And the verse after this:  1Th 5:18  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sirach 12

Sir 12:8  A friend shall not be known in prosperity, and an enemy shall not be hidden in adversity.
Sir 12:9  In the prosperity of a man, his enemies are grieved: and a friend is known in his adversity.
Sir 12:10  Never trust thy enemy for as a brass pot his wickedness rusteth:
Sir 12:11  Though he humble himself and go crouching, yet take good heed and beware of him.
Sir 12:12  Set him not by thee, neither let him sit on thy right hand, lest he turn into thy place, and seek to take thy seat and at the last thou acknowledge my words, and be pricked with my sayings.
Sir 12:13  Who will pity an enchanter struck by a serpent, or any that come near wild beasts? so is it with him that keepeth company with a wicked man, and is involved in his sins.
Sir 12:14  For an hour he will abide with thee: but if thou begin to decline, he will not endure it.
Sir 12:15  An enemy speaketh sweetly with his lips, but in his heart he lieth in wait, to throw thee into a pit.
Sir 12:16  An enemy weepeth with his eyes: but if he find an opportunity he will not be satisfied with blood:
Sir 12:17  And if evils come upon thee, thou shalt find him there first.
Sir 12:18  An enemy hath tears in his eyes, and while he pretendeth to help thee, will undermine thy feet.
Sir 12:19  He will shake his head, and clap his hands, and whisper much, and change his countenance.

I believe this is all about not being friends with bad people.  It doesn’t turn out well for you.  Of course we are called to be kind to all and especially try to lead them to Christ, but if you know someone is a thief and you let them into your house and don’t watch them, don’t be surprised if they steal.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Evil for Evil

1Th 5:15  See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
This is well in line with other verses we’ve covered talking about not giving back evil.  This is contrary to our nature and contrary to what the world tells us to do, and so it is very hard indeed.  I do want to hurt those who hurt me, my friends, or my family.  But God calls me not to do that.  I do want to lash out in anger at those who are rude or dismissive of me.  But God calls me not to do that.  It isn’t that God is trying to spoil all my fun – God knows better than me.  That attitude that I want to have in response is not from God.

We’re called to follow that which is good.  This can be hard to, as sometimes I’d rather not spend time on things that are good.  Good things can be kind of boring.  But if we surround ourselves with good, then we’ll have far fewer opportunities to find evil. 

Notice also he says to all men – not just the people in our group or other Christians or people we just happen to like.  It is a lot easier to be nice to a friend than an enemy, but we’re called to be both.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

About that Mandate...

Let's catch up on some reading material regarding the insurance mandate.

Every Single Bishop Has Condemned the Obama/HHS Mandate!

Wide range of religious leaders testify against contraception mandate And just in case you forgot who speaks for the Catholic Church...

[Bishop Lori] also responded to Catholic Health Association’s positive reaction to the new policy, which the Obama administration has been using to justify its decision. “Catholic Health Association does not speak for the Church as a whole,” Bishop Lori said. “The Catholic bishops speak for the Church as a whole.”

Obama chief of staff: No more compromise, contraceptive rule is done deal
So, to summarize, the bishops are stating they won't comply and Obama is stating he won't back down. That's not good.  We must pray for our Bishops!

But, it isn't just the Bishops.  Not all (and in fact only a few) Catholic organizations are for the mandate.  Sisters of Mary issue statement on the President’s “compromise.” Those are the nuns who are were on Oprah. The conservative teacher ones.

Twelve attorneys general threaten to sue over contraception mandate
In a Feb. 10 letter, the attorneys general voiced their “strong opposition” to the mandate, which they called “an impermissible violation of the Constitution's First Amendment virtually unparalleled in American history.”

Birth-Control Mandate: Unconstitutional and Illegal: It violates the First Amendment and the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The birth-control coverage mandate violates the First Amendment's bar against the "free exercise" of religion. But it also violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. That statute, passed unanimously by the House of Representatives and by a 97-3 vote in the Senate, was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. It was enacted in response to a 1990 Supreme Court opinion, Employment Division v. Smith.

The HHS Mandate: One Battle in a Two-Front War 
"We the people won’t give up the first freedom guaranteed in our Bill of Rights. And the administration shouldn’t ask us to. Instead, following the example of the Supreme Court in its unanimous ruling on religious liberty last month, the administration should put ideology aside and work to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Six More Things Everyone Should Know About the HHS Mandate 

The Father of Lies. "Whenever language is being manipulated, suspect the Father of Lies."

How the White House’s 98% Contraception Figure for Catholics is Wrong
"White House: Retract this statement and correct the record. Stop misinforming the public about my religion for your purposes."

If Pres. Obama can tell the Church what to cover, he can tell the Press what to cover

"Our Constitution was written precisely to reject and to avoid the dreadful English model whereby the king and the government are the granter of all rights, including religious rights--as well as the single power to withdraw, limit, or negate those rights."

Sirach 12

Sir 12:1  If thou do good, know to whom thou dost it, and there shall be much thanks for thy good deeds.
Sir 12:2  Do good to the just, and thou shalt find great recompense: and if not of him, assuredly of the Lord.
Sir 12:3  For there is no good for him that is always occupied in evil, and that giveth no alms: for the Highest hateth sinners, and hath mercy on the penitent.
Sir 12:4  Give to the merciful and uphold not the sinner: God will repay vengeance to the ungodly and to sinners, and keep them against the day of vengeance.
Sir 12:5  Give to the good, and receive not a sinner.
Sir 12:6  Do good to the humble, and give not to the ungodly: hold back thy bread, and give it not to him, lest thereby he overmaster thee.
Sir 12:7  For thou shalt receive twice as much evil for all the good thou shalt have done to him: for the Highest also hateth sinners, and will repay vengeance to the ungodly.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


1Th 5:14  Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

I’ve been working on my Bible in a Year reading plan (I’m doing well and am ahead), and found a few verses in First Thessalonians I’d like to share.  Here is the first one.  I was going to comment on this but the commentaries I have in my eSword software do a great job with this one.  Clarke’s Commentary says of this verse:
Warn them that are unruly - The whole phraseology of this verse is military; I shall consider the import of each term. Ατακτους· Those who are out of their ranks, and are neither in a disposition nor situation to perform the work and duty of a soldier; those who will not do the work prescribed, and who will meddle with what is not commanded. There are many such in every Church that is of considerable magnitude.
Comfort the feeble-minded - Τους ολιγοψυχους· Those of little souls; the faint-hearted; those who, on the eve of a battle, are dispirited, because of the number of the enemy, and their own feeble and unprovided state. Let them know that the battle is not theirs, but the Lord’s; and that those who trust in him shall conquer.

Support the weak - Αντεχεσθε των ασθενων· Shore up, prop them that are weak; strengthen those wings and companies that are likely to be most exposed, that they be not overpowered and broken in the day of battle.
Be patient toward all - Μακροθυμειτε προς παντας· The disorderly, the feeble-minded, and the weak, will exercise your patience, and try your temper. If the troops be irregular, and cannot in every respect be reduced to proper order and discipline, let not the officers lose their temper nor courage; let them do the best they can; God will be with them, and a victory will give confidence to their troops. We have often seen that the Christian life is compared to a warfare, and that the directions given to soldiers are, mutatis mutandis; allowing for the different systems, suitable to Christians. This subject has been largely treated on, Ephesians 6. The ministers of Christ, being considered as officers, should acquaint themselves with the officers’ duty. He who has the direction and management of a Church of God will need all the skill and prudence he can acquire.

FCTS on Facebook!

You can now find Flow Chart to Surrender on Facebook.  Click here!  I will be sharing links there as I find them.  You’ll still get them here, but it will be every few days instead of all the time.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sirach 11

Sir 11:25  Say not: What need I, and what good shall I have by this?
Sir 11:26  Say not: I am sufficient for myself: and what shall I be made worse by this?
Sir 11:27  In the day of good things be not unmindful of evils: and in the day of evils be not unmindful of good things:
Sir 11:28  For it is easy before God in the day of death to reward every one according to his ways.
Sir 11:29  The affliction of an hour maketh one forget great delights, and in the end of a man is the disclosing of his works.
Sir 11:30  Praise not any man before death, for a man is known by his children.
Sir 11:31  Bring not every man into thy house: for many are the snares of the deceitful.
Sir 11:32  For as corrupted bowels send forth stinking breath, and as the partridge is brought into the cage, and as the roe into the snare: so also is the heart of the proud, and as a spy that looketh on the fall of his neighbour.
Sir 11:33  For he lieth in wait and turneth good into evil, and on the elect he will lay a blot.
Sir 11:34  Of one spark cometh a great fire, and of one deceitful man much blood: and a sinful man lieth in wait for blood.
Sir 11:35  Take heed to thyself of a mischievous man, for he worketh evils: lest he bring upon thee reproach for ever.
Sir 11:36  Receive a stranger in, and he shall overthrow thee with a whirlwind, and shall turn thee out of thy own.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Lie Repeated Often Enough... again

Following the Obama Administration's accommodation or compromise or whatever you want to call it on Friday, I received an email from the White House in response to my earlier signature on a petition to recall the mandate.  They thanked me for my input, and wanted to assure me that all was well now.  Everybody could be happy with their new plan.  Why, they even quoted Catholic institutions with the other interested parties who were pleased!
Catholics United:
President Obama has shown us that he is willing to rise above the partisan fray to deliver an actual policy solution that both meets the health care needs of all employees and respects the religious liberty of Catholic institutions.

Catholic Health Association:
We are pleased and grateful that the religious liberty and conscience protection needs of so many ministries that serve our country were appreciated enough that an early resolution of this issue was accomplished.

Planned Parenthood:
The Obama administration has reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring all women will have access to birth control coverage, with no costly co-pays, no additional hurdles, and no matter where they work.
Oh, that's good news.  Catholics must be okay with this right?  I mean they are quoting Catholic groups!  Note the third quote.  Do you really think any Catholic group that has a quote in print agreeing with Planned Parenthood is the one you want to follow?  Why no quotes from the bishops?

Because there aren't any in support of the revised mandate.  Obama is trying to run a game where he can convince the public that this isn't a big deal or that everybody wins or that only the crazy white guys in the Catholic Church dislike it, and that's because they want you making lots of babies.  It is a lie, and it is a lie that is going to take place on your televisions and in your newspapers and on the internet sites you read.

This is a big deal.  This is the government telling a private company what they have to provide (bad).  This is the government telling people of faith that they must support something that they find immoral (bad).  This is the government lying to you about this to appease you and send you back to your mindless state so they can do what they want (bad).  Do not be deceived.

It isn't just me saying this.  Some of the articles below have quotes from actual Catholic bishops, and they don't seem deceived.  Some have quotes from other Christian leaders, and they don't seem deceived.

Don't Be Deceived! Evil Obama Policy Now Even MORE Evil! So the policy is actually worse than before. It’s expanding evil services under the guise of accommodating religious freedom.

Archbishop Chaput: HHS mandate insulting and dangerous.   In reality, no similarly aggressive attack on religious freedom in our country has occurred in recent memory.  It is interesting to note Archbishop Chaput has a book entitled Render Unto Caesar.  He encourages the faithful to be good citizens and he is no dummy on civic duty.

Huckabee:  "We are all Catholics Now"  Huckabee facetiously thanked Obama for stirring the issue. "You have done more than any person in the entire GOP field, any candidate, has done to bring this party to unity and energize this party as a result of your attack on religious liberty," he said Friday morning. 

Catholic Bishops:  Don't Revise, Rescind.   Later in the day, on the PBS News Hour, Ray Suarez confronted Secretary Sebelius with the obvious: Someone was going to pay for the contraceptives provided, and who, if not those who purchased the insurance that had to include these “preventive services?” The secretary then took the absurdity to a new level by claiming that none of this would cost anyone anything, as there was empirical evidence showing that readily available contraception lowered the overall costs to the health-care system by reducing the rate of pregnancy. 

Find your representative here, and contact them to express your opposition to this mandate and government intrusion and failure to follow the Constitution:  http://www.mocatholic.org/find-your-legislator/u-s-representatives/

Senator Roy Blunt is the sponsor of the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, which would reverse this mandate. Contact him and thank him for his sponsorship of this bill here:  http://blunt.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-roy

Contact Senator McCaskill and ask her to support Senator Blunt in his efforts:  http://mccaskill.senate.gov/?p=contact

Contact President Obama and let him know of your disappointment with this mandate (with charity) here:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments 

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time & Psalm 51

Readings are here.  We continue with the stories of Jesus as a healer.  Jesus is the great healer, and nothing is beyond His power.  While we may suffer some here, eternity is forever without that pain.

Psalm 50
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

More Links

Yesterday, Obama announced a "compromise" regarding the insurance mandate to cover contraception, sterilization, and abortion inducing drugs.  What do we need to know about the compromise?  Well, first, it makes Planned Parenthood happy.  That should be a sign, in and of itself.  The White House thoughtfully sent me an email in response to me signing the petition last week.  They quoted a few liberal Catholic institutions and Planned Parenthood.  Boy, do I feel better now.

The "compromise" will mean those with moral issues against the mandate will not have to cover those items.  Their insurance will.  What?  In the case of the university, the university will not have to cover those items or talk about them.  My understanding is that the insurance company will have to contact the consumer directly to offer it.  This of course, will cost nothing to the university.  Where is that money coming from?  Perhaps they will print more.

This is a lot like saying "We are sorry you feel you cannot kill your husband.  To compromise, we will no longer mandate that.  You will have to pay for the hit man though."

Here are some excellent links regarding this "compromise."

What Compromise? This Policy Leaves Religious Liberty in Peril and Planned Parenthood Smiling.  A friend sent me this link, and it has an outstanding point by point analysis on the problems with the "compromise."  One of the points is that Obama continues to paint this as a Catholic issue, when it affects all Christians.  It also notes it does nothing to protect religious insurers. 
What does this resolve? Well, to state the matter bluntly, nothing. At the end of the day, this “compromise” will resolve the issue only for those whose conscience can be resolved by an accounting maneuver.

Critics denounce Obama's 'false' compromise on contraception mandate.  
“This is a false 'compromise' designed to protect the President's re-election chances, not to protect the right of conscience,” said Hannah Smith, senior legal counsel for The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

Bishops Renew Call to Legislative Action on Religious Liberty.  Public statement from the US Council of Catholic Bishops about the "compromise."

"Our Task Is Far From Over": The Bishops Take On the "Accommodation" An internal letter from the top Bishops.

Find your representative here, and contact them to express your opposition to this mandate and government intrusion and failure to follow the Constitution:  http://www.mocatholic.org/find-your-legislator/u-s-representatives/

Senator Roy Blunt is the sponsor of the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, which would reverse this mandate. Contact him and thank him for his sponsorship of this bill here:  http://blunt.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-roy

Contact Senator McCaskill and ask her to support Senator Blunt in his efforts:  http://mccaskill.senate.gov/?p=contact

Contact President Obama and let him know of your disappointment with this mandate (with charity) here:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sirach 11

Sir 11:14  Good things and evil, life and death, poverty and riches, are from God.
Sir 11:15  Wisdom and discipline, and the knowledge of the law are with God. Love and the ways of good things are with him.
Sir 11:16  Error and darkness are created with sinners: and they that glory in evil things, grow old in evil.
Sir 11:17  The gift of God abideth with the just, and his advancement shall have success for ever.
Sir 11:18  There is one that is enriched by living sparingly, and this is the portion of his reward.
Sir 11:19  In that he saith: I have found me rest, and now I will eat of my goods alone:
Sir 11:20  And he knoweth not what time shall pass, and that death approacheth, and that he must leave all to others, and shall die.
Sir 11:21  Be steadfast in thy covenant, and be conversant therein, and grow old in the work of thy commandments.
Sir 11:22  Abide not in the works of sinners. But trust in God, and stay in thy place,
Sir 11:23  For it is easy in the eyes of God on a sudden to make the poor man rich.
Sir 11:24  The blessing of God maketh haste to reward the just, and in a swift hour his blessing beareth fruit.

I love the book of Sirach.  It isn't a reason to be Catholic, but it is a bonus.  A bunch of extra Proverbs!

Catholics and Contraception

Time to Admit It:  The Church Has Always Been Right On Birth Control

I found this secular article to be a fascinating review of the Church's stance on this controversial issue.  Though Catholic support of birth control is completely irrelevant in the fight to preserve liberties, many Catholics do not understand the Church's teaching and it is important to understand that when discussing the topic. 
Here's the thing, though: the Catholic Church is the world's biggest and oldest organization. It has buried all of the greatest empires known to man, from the Romans to the Soviets. It has establishments literally all over the world, touching every area of human endeavor. It's given us some of the world's greatest thinkers, from Saint Augustine on down to René Girard. When it does things, it usually has a good reason. Everyone has a right to disagree, but it's not that they're a bunch of crazy old white dudes who are stuck in the Middle Ages.
Indeed.  It is not an out of touch group of old white men that predicted the following consequences of contraception use in the 1960s:

  1. General lowering of moral standards
  2. A rise in infidelity, and illegitimacy
  3. The reduction of women to objects used to satisfy men. 
  4. Government coercion in reproductive matters. 
The article goes on to list evidence for all four outcomes, but I think we can see that the Pope at that time was not out of touch with reality.  Whatever one thinks about the authority and origin of the Catholic Church, it would be ignorant of history to dismiss them as easily as some might.
And again, it is very important to remember  that what individual Catholics think about contraception is totally irrelevant to the question of religious freedom and if the Church should fight this mandate.  This isn't about the Pill.
The argument that many Catholic women ignore this particular church commandment is a non sequitur. The church has consistently stood by this teaching. Catholics commit adultery and lie, too, but they don't want or expect the church to condone those actions.
 Find your representative here, and contact them to express your opposition to this mandate and government intrusion and failure to follow the Constitution:  http://www.mocatholic.org/find-your-legislator/u-s-representatives/

Senator Roy Blunt is the sponsor of the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, which would reverse this mandate. Contact him and thank him for his sponsorship of this bill here:  http://blunt.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-roy

Contact Senator McCaskill and ask her to support Senator Blunt in his efforts:  http://mccaskill.senate.gov/?p=contact

Contact President Obama and let him know of your disappointment with this mandate (with charity) here:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Further Reading

If you'd like to know more regarding the fight against the immoral and unconstitutional mandate, try some of the following links.

Bishops Vow to Fight Coercive HHS MandateCardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, president of the USCCB, sharply criticized the decision by the Obama administration in which it "ordered almost every employer and insurer in the country to provide sterilization and contraceptives, including some abortion-inducing drugs, in their health plans....Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience. This shouldn't happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights."

171 Bishops Speak Out Against Mandate.  

My Bishop Speaks out Against Mandate.  (PDF)   We cannot—and we will not—comply with this unjust law. 

The St Louis Bishop.   Our parents and grandparents did not come to these shores to help build America’s cities and towns, its infrastructure and institutions, its enterprise and culture, only to have their posterity stripped of their God-given rights.

The KCMO Bishop. (PDF)  We cannot comply with this unjust law.

Six Things Everyone Should Know About the HHS Mandate. The mandate does not exempt Catholic charities, schools, universities, or hospitals. These institutions are vital to the mission of the Church, but HHS does not deem them "religious employers" worthy of conscience protection, because they do not "serve primarily persons who share the[ir] religious tenets."HHS denies these organizations religious freedom precisely because their purpose is to serve the common good of society—a purpose that government should encourage, not punish. 

Southern Baptist leader: If Obama mandate isn’t changed, Christians will go to jail.  It isn't just the Catholics that are concerned about this.  "We want the law changed, or else we’re going to write our letters from the Nashville jail, just like Dr. King wrote his from the Birmingham jail," Dr. Land said.

This isn't about The PillTo repeat: The debate is about freedom of conscience. It ain't about The Pill.

The Time is Now.  Another non-Catholic site raising the alarm. But Catholic institutions aren’t the only ones affected by this mandate. Prison Fellowship, for example, which employs 180 people, could not morally purchase insurance for its employees that covers abortifacients. Nor could we afford the fines we would incur.

First, they came for the CatholicsThis weekend, Catholic bishops informed parishioners of the recent White House edict forcing religious hospitals, schools, charities and other health and social service providers to provide "free" abortifacient pills, sterilizations and contraception on demand in their insurance plans -- even if it violates their moral consciences and the teachings of their churches.

 EWTN sues US government over contraception mandate. “The government is forcing EWTN, first, to inform its employees about how to get contraception, sterilization and abortifacient drugs, a concept known as forced speech. To make the matter worse, the government then will force EWTN to use its donors’ funds to pay for these same morally objectionable procedures or to pay for the huge fines it will levy against us if we fail to provide health care insurance.”

A Lie Repeated Often Enough

Last Sunday, I posted about the recent attack on morals, the Constitution, religious liberty, the Catholic Church and Christians in general.  I'm not shutting up now.  It is time we wake up and take a stand.

We've been lulled into complacency and led to believe that this type of thing is okay.  Even my college educated sister said this week, "The laws of the country must supercede any religious requirements or the country itself will fall apart."  How does that happen?  How do we stray so far away from our history?  A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth.

We have a duty, not only as Christians, but as Americans, to reclaim that truth.  Even if one doesn't care about this particular mandate, one should care the government sees it fit to tell a private industry what services must be offered.  That is crazy for any business owner, not just the churches.  One should care the government is no longer interested in the long-standing moral objections of businesses, universities, hospitals, and individuals.  One should care the government no longer sees it fit to follow its Constitution.  And as Christians, one should care that our own churches are being told to pay for services we believe are immoral in some cases and murder in others.

Find your representative here, and contact them to express your opposition to this mandate and government intrusion and failure to follow the Constitution:  http://www.mocatholic.org/find-your-legislator/u-s-representatives/

Senator Roy Blunt is the sponsor of the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, which would reverse this mandate. Contact him and thank him for his sponsorship of this bill here:  http://blunt.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-roy

Contact Senator McCaskill and ask her to support Senator Blunt in his efforts:  http://mccaskill.senate.gov/?p=contact

Contact President Obama and let him know of your disappointment with this mandate (with charity) here:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments 

Why I'm Catholic

Like my post on Tuesday, this is just a general overview.  There are a multitude of other reasons, but these are the three I would put forth to someone who asked me this question but didn't have several hours to discuss.  And like the other post, these are not arguments that are universal for all Catholics.  They have other reasons. 

1.  I believe it is the church Christ intended to leave.  This includes two thoughts - one is that Jesus intended for their to be an organized church, and also the Catholic church is in fact this same church.  On the first point, I think we can find several places in the New Testament that point to an organized church that isn't just local.  There are people in charge and a plan.  When they have questions, they go to a higher authority on the chain of command, such as when they went to Jerusalem to get the opinion of the apostles on circumcision. 

I think Jesus makes it pretty clear Himself in Matthew.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Mat 16:17-19)

Peter means rock, and a literal reading would indicate Jesus is naming Peter rock and stating His church will be built on Peter.  It doesn't say Peter's faith, it doesn't say the faith of all the apostles.  Just Peter.  Keys are an idea also in Isaiah 22, in reference to a prime minister post.  He's delegating authority here to His prime minister.  There's a lot more going on here, but I want to be brief.

There are only a few churches claiming to be this same church Jesus established.  I'm only familiar with the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.  If one believes Christ intended an organized church like the one I'm describing, then that really only leaves two options.

2.  I believe in the Eucharist.  In John 6, Jesus talks about His flesh being literal bread.  He doesn't stop those who take this time to leave Him by noting it is spiritually intended; not literal.  He uses words that indicate literally chewing.  Throw in the letters that indicate how important Communion is, and I don't believe it is a symbol at all.  We have very early writings from Christians discussing the literal presence of Christ in the Eucharist - this isn't some sort of developed idea.

This isn't surprising or problematic for me in the least.  The God who created the universe can surely turn bread and wine into body and blood.  How?  I don't need to know.

Again, if one believes this, there are only a few churches to choose from.  Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican (I think), and Lutherans (at least some). 

3.  Open the Bible to the Table of Contents, where it lists all the books of the Bible.  That text is not divinely inspired. Nobody has ever claimed that God specially designated them personally to be the writer of the Table of Contents; to pick which books would end up in the Bible. 

Let's skip the Old Testament here as we don't agree on which books go there, but every Christian has the same books in the New Testament.  Some of them are obvious choices, but some were contentious choices.  Some books that existed and were popular at the time were left out.  On whose authority were the books selected?  How do we know that the Bible we have in our hands is full of books that are actually divinely inspired?

There would have to be some guarantee on the people that picked the books.  That can only come from one place.  Either the Church had the authority to determine the books in the New Testament, or the book you currently hold in your hands could have the wrong books in it.  I'm not talking about the particular translation or anything - I mean the individual books could be wrong.  James could be entirely uninspired.  Paul could have been a heretic who simply wrote enough letters they were bound to be included.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sirach 11

Sir 11:1  The wisdom of the humble shall exalt his head, and shall make him sit in the midst of great men.
Sir 11:2  Praise not a man for his beauty, neither despise a man for his look.
Sir 11:3  The bee is small among flying things but her fruit hath the chiefest sweetness.
Sir 11:4  Glory not in apparel at any time, and be not exalted in the day of thy honour: for the works of the Highest only are wonderful, and his works are glorious, and secret, and hidden.
Sir 11:5  Many tyrants have sat on the throne, and he whom no man would think on, hath worn the crown.
Sir 11:6  Many mighty men have been greatly brought down, and the glorious have been delivered into the hand of others.
Sir 11:7  Before thou inquire, blame no man: and when thou hast inquired, reprove justly.
Sir 11:8  Before thou hear, answer not a word: and interrupt not others in the midst of their discourse.
Sir 11:9  Strive not in a matter which doth not concern thee, and sit not in judgment with sinners.
Sir 11:10  My son, meddle not with many matters: and if thou be rich, thou shalt not be free from sin: for if thou pursue after thou shalt not overtake; and if thou run before thou shalt not escape.
Sir 11:11  There is an ungodly man that laboureth, and maketh haste, and is in sorrow, and is so much the more in want.
Sir 11:12  Again, there is an inactive man that wanteth help, is very weak in ability, and full of poverty:
Sir 11:13  Yet the eye of God hath looked upon him for good, and hath lifted him up from his low estate, and hath exalted his head: and many have wondered at him, and have glorified God. 

Don't be hasty.  I try to remember 7-9 to mind my own business and not be hasty in judging someone else.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Why I'm a Christian

Sometimes I think it is good to go back to basics and reflect on why we think the way we think and believe what we do.  Today I'm going to provide a brief overview as to why I'm a Christian.  This does not encompass all the reasons I might have, and does not come close to the variety of reasons others may have.  It may not explain everyone's thought process; and in fact, probably explains very few.  I think different and that's okay.  =)

1.  I believe in God, and I always have.  Regardless of what one might think about the steps between the creation of the universe and me, how long it took, if there were steps, etc., I don't believe that could happen without God.  The probability of everything that would need to occur to produce this outcome completely by accident gets into the absolutely ridiculous area of math.  If we believe it is possible for life to spring from nothing without any aid, then we're taking a big risk that new life will exist every time we open up a jar of peanut butter.  Even outside of the revealed truth God has given us, this much is obvious from His creation.

2.  A God who can create the entire universe from absolutely nothing doesn't need me to exist.  He must have had a purpose in creating me.  He doesn't need me to do anything for Him - again, He can create the universe.  For some strange reason, He created me to be me with all of my free will and capacities and intelligence and personality.  He created other people too, and they're all a little or a lot different than me.  He doesn't need us to be unique.  He doesn't need anything about us.  He must just want us.  The God of the Bible is different from other gods in that He wants us and loves us and wants us to love Him. 

3.  God is our authority.  Whatever whiny teenage-like rebellious crap that is always popular with some, there is an authority.  If God created the universe, then anything and everything in it is His.  That's just the way it goes.  When I play Sim City, it is my city.  It is on my computer.  It is subject to my will.  I'm in charge.  God is in charge of the universe.  And it doesn't matter if you like Him or not, that's just the way it is.  A two year old's annoyance with the rules of the house does not make the rules disappear.  There is no escaping God's authority over His creation.

4.  Everyone has an inherent law on their hearts, so to speak.  In no culture has it ever been deemed good to flee from your comrades on the battlefield, for instance, as Lewis notes.  Even the most brutal of societies frown upon murder at random, and even the most promiscuous groups exercise some rules regarding who they will bed.  God has given us rules.  God has further given us rules via His communication with humans.  We are subject to His authority in His rules.  And we fail to follow them.

5.  If God created us to love Him and serve Him and we fail to follow His rules, then we are undeserving of God.  We already didn't deserve God because we're just creatures and can't create the universe, but we can't even play by the rules He sets for us in our own little lives.  And just like the authority thing, it doesn't really matter if we think this is unfair or His standards are too high.  He is the absolute authority and that is His decision to make.

6.  God has always provided a means by which people can find their way back to Him even with sin. Most recently, and finally, this was accomplished through His Son, Jesus Christ.  The God who created the universe loves us so much He made it so we can still be with Him, even in our failures and weaknesses.  If God wanted to send His Son down for no reason whatsoever, I'd believe because that's what the God of the universe wanted.  Instead, there is a glorious reason and even more call to love Him.

God doesn't have to love us, but He does.  That's pretty amazing, in and of itself.  Add to that the rest of it, and I don't know how we can do anything but worship God!

Some people get hung up on the idea that if God is love, He couldn't send people to Hell.  I think people can't understand the level of love God really does have for us.  None of us would create something from nothing just simply out of love.  God, however, is pure love.  He also gives us the freedom to reject His love, so that our love for Him will be true.  And if we choose to reject His love and Him, then that's on us.

Some of my favorite books on this subject:
Mere Christianity
The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus
A Father Who Keeps His Promises: God's Covenant Love in Scripture

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sirach 10

Sir 10:22  Pride was not made for men: nor wrath for the race of women.
Sir 10:23  That seed of men shall be honoured, which feareth God: but that seed shall be dishonoured, which transgresseth the commandments of the Lord.
Sir 10:24  In the midst of brethren their chief is honourable: so shall they that fear the Lord, be in his eyes.
Sir 10:25  The fear of God is the glory of the rich, and of the honourable, and of the poor.
Sir 10:26  Despise not a just man that is poor, and do not magnify a sinful man that is rich.
Sir 10:27  The great man, and the judge, and the mighty is in honour: and there is none greater than he that feareth God.
Sir 10:28  They that are free shall serve a servant that is wise: and a man that is prudent and well instructed will not murmur when he is reproved; and he that is ignorant, shall not be honoured.
Sir 10:29  Extol not thyself in doing thy work, and linger not in the time of distress;
Sir 10:30  Better is he that laboureth, and aboundeth in all things, than he that boasteth himself and wanteth bread.
Sir 10:31  My son, keep thy soul in meekness, and give it honour according to its desert.
Sir 10:32  Who will justify him that sinneth against his own soul? and who will honour him that dishonoureth his own soul?
Sir 10:33  The poor man is glorified by his discipline and fear, and there is a man that is honoured for his wealth.
Sir 10:34  But he that is glorified in poverty, how much more in wealth? and he that is glorified in wealth, let him fear poverty. 

Parts of this section remind me of the Beatitudes. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Still Fired Up

Last week, I posted about a hot issue with regard to our religious freedoms in the United States.  I found an article on this issue, as well as the Komen/Planned Parenthood drama from this week, here.

If you don't think this rule matters, or somehow won't affect anything, check out this statistic from Parker:  "Essentially, the new law forces them either to forfeit their most fundamental beliefs or to face prohibitive penalties — or to close hospitals, schools and other charities, with catastrophic consequences for millions who depend them. For perspective, one in six patients in the United States is cared for in a Catholic hospital."  (Emphasis mine).  The whole piece is a good one to read; I recommend it.

Just think for a moment about all the reasons we know America was created, why the founding fathers deemed it appropriate to incite civil war and declare themselves to be independent of the authority over them.  It wasn't a particularly fun or easy thing to do.  Nor was forming the Constitution.  How do you think they'd feel about the fact the Federal government (remembering the 10th amendment puts all authority on the states if the Constitution doesn't specifically put it on the Federal side) is making policies affecting private business (the insurance companies and employers involved) regarding what many consider to be moral issues?  I think they'd probably have quite the fit.

I found another article yesterday citing that the US Army told their Catholic priests not to read a letter from their Bishop regarding the mandate.  They've now admitted this was a mistake, but on what planet would you not think that was a mistake to begin with?  Our culture has changed a great deal for anyone to think that a pastor should not tell his flock about morals.  I guess it is okay for us to have our faith, as long as we don't share it.

America is not neutral on religion.  The government is not attempting to create a situation where all voices can be heard.  They've created a system where only liberal voices can be heard.  That's why California mandates children hear all about sexual orientation.  That's why the government can tell private, Christian institutions they have to pay for things they feel are immoral.  That isn't neutral.  The government doesn't just want God out of the public light; they want something anti-God to replace Him.

This direct assault on the religious freedom of all Americans should not be allowed to stand.  It isn't just about Catholics.  If the government thinks they have the authority and ability to take out an institution that has been around 10 times as long as America has been, what do you think they'll do to the little church on the corner?   Do you really think they're going to protect the rights of Jewish or Muslim people to worship?

I encourage you to contact your government representatives immediately and ask they oppose this threat to liberty.

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time and Psalm 50

Today is the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time.  Readings are here.  The Lord heals many sick and frees many from possession in today's Gospel.  I think we can easily become used to hearing these readings and make it an "in one ear, out the other" situation.  But I'd like to think more on this today. 

This reading comes right after last week's, when Jesus expels a demon from a man during what we'd call a church service.  Imagine you're at church, trying to pay attention instead of thinking about what you have going on with the kids or the house or whatever (I can't imagine they were all that different then us).  Then this guy starts screaming at another man, and the second man acts in the person of God and expels a demon.  Can you imagine what that would be like?  It'd be crazy!  Then everybody makes their way home, only to have this man start healing people and driving out demons.  Even without catching all the implications and connections to the Old Testament, that would have been quite the thing!  How fortunate we are to see both the immediate effects of the story and the connectivity witht he big picture!

In other news, we are just a few short weeks away from Lent.  This season is designed to give us some special time to prepare for Easter.  Naturally we should always be preparing for and celebrating the coming of the Lord, but Advent and Lent provide us fixed dates to remind us since so few of us discipline ourselves well.  I missed out on much of Advent due to my surgery, so I am praying Lent is much more productive spiritually.

Psalm 50
A Psalm of Asaph. The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah.
Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify against thee: I am God, even thy God. I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings, to have been continually before me. I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. 
But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee. When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers. Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son. These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes. Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver. Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sirach 10

Sir 10:10  There is not a more wicked thing than to love money: for such a one setteth even his own soul to sale: because while he liveth he hath cast away his bowels.
Sir 10:11  All power is of short life. A long sickness is troublesome to the physician.
Sir 10:12  The physician cutteth off a short sickness: so also a king is to day, and to morrow he shall die.
Sir 10:13  For when a man shall die, he shall inherit serpents, and beasts, and worms.
Sir 10:14  The beginning of the pride of man, is to fall off from God:
Sir 10:15  Because his heart is departed from him that made him: for pride is the beginning of all sin: he that holdeth it, shall be filled with maledictions, and it shall ruin him in the end.
Sir 10:16  Therefore hath the Lord disgraced the assemblies of the wicked, and hath utterly destroyed them.
Sir 10:17  God hath overturned the thrones of proud princes, and hath set up the meek in their stead.
Sir 10:18  God hath made the roots of proud nations to wither, and hath planted the humble of these nations.
Sir 10:19  The Lord hath overthrown the lands of the Gentiles, and hath destroyed them even to the foundation.
Sir 10:20  He hath made some of them to wither away, and hath destroyed them, and hath made the memory of them to cease from the earth.
Sir 10:21  God hath abolished the memory of the proud, and hath preserved the memory of them that are humble in mind.

Verse 15 identifies pride as the source of sin.  Pride can feed and cause so many other sins and it is the beginning of our departure from God.  Believing we don't need Him is the first step in ridding Him from our minds and our lives.

This isn't the only place this is stated, but notice in verse 20 God can make the wicked disappear entirely so even the memory of them is no longer present.  It is well within God's power to make such a city disappear entirely.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

"That Than Which Nothing Greater Can be Thought"

The third lesson/chapter of the Catholicism DVD /book is about "the ineffable mystery of God."  Ineffable is defined as "Too great or extreme to be expressed or described in words."  God is way too large for us to describe Him in words, though of course we expend lots of words trying.  Fr. Barron quotes St Anselm in this chapter:
[He] described God as "that than which nothing greater can be thought."  At first blush this seems straightfoward enough: God is the highest conceivable thing.  But the longer one meditates on Anselm's description, the stranger it becomes.  If God were simply the supreme being - the biggest reality among many - then god plus the world would be greater than God alone.  But in that case he would not be that than which nothing greater can be thought.  Zeus, for example, was, in ancient mythology, the supreme deity, but clearly Zeus plus the other gods, or Zeus plus the world of nature, would be greater than Zeus alone.  Thus the God whom Anselm is describing is not like this at all.  Though it is a very high paradox, the God whom Anselm describes added to the world as we know it is not greater than God alone.
God is larger than our vocabulary or anything we know of. God added to anything is not greater than God.  God doesn't become better or bigger or greater with us or our help.  God did not need to create the world or the universe or any of us in it to make Himself bigger.  It adds nothing to God whatsoever.  This is important to realize for many reasons, such as we're nothing without God.  He doesn't need us.  Pride is useless in that case.  It also helps us to realize that He must love us to create us and care for us.  If He doesn't get anything out of the deal, what other reason is there to create us and then keep us around?  We are made for this love and this relationship.  No matter how proud we get of our achievements, our function on this planet is to love God.  St Augustine said, "Lord, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they rest in Thee."

I think this makes thinking on the Revelation of God to His people and then the Incarnation even more awe-inspiring.  The God that is beyond our imagination, who does not need us or the Universe, who creates with a word out of nothingness, sees it fit to communicate with us.  This same God loves us so much He Himself came from Heaven to provide a path, the path, to join Him in eternity.  For no reason aside from this perfect, merciful, wonderful love, God has created us and provided us with everything we need and more, including a ticket to Heaven.

That's just mind-blowing.

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (Joh 3:14-21)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sirach 10

Sir 10:1  A wise judge shall judge his people, and the government of a prudent man shall be steady.
Sir 10:2  As the judge of the people is himself, so also are his ministers: and what manner of man the ruler of a city is, such also are they that dwell therein.
Sir 10:3  An unwise king shall be the ruin of his people: and cities shall be inhabited through the prudence of the rulers.
Sir 10:4  The power of the earth is in the hand of God, and in his time he will raise up a profitable ruler over it.
Sir 10:5  The prosperity of man is in the hand of God, and upon the person of the scribe he shall lay his honour.
Sir 10:6  Remember not any injury done thee by thy neighbour, and do thou nothing by deeds of injury.
Sir 10:7  Pride is hateful before God and men: and all iniquity of nations is execrable.
Sir 10:8  A kingdom is translated from one people to another, because of injustices, and wrongs, and injuries, and divers deceits.
Sir 10:9  But nothing is more wicked than the covetous man. Why is earth, and ashes proud?

The first three verses go to why it is important we spend time thinking about who we'll vote for, at all levels of government.  Leadership is really important, and leadership by example is the best type of leadership if the leadership is sound.  It is the most effective, even if it isn't good.  People will follow the leader.

Verse 6 tells us not to hold grudges, essentially, and not to retaliate.