"They Screamed At Us, They Spat On Us"

So back in August, a feminist group in Neuquen, Argentina decided to hold a pro-abortion protest in front of the city's cathedral. Some Catholic youth, fearing their church would be desecrated, organized to defend it by surrounding the cathedral and peacefully praying. The following video shows what happened.

Here is a news story describing the event from a Catholic youth named Pablo.

“Everything lasted more or less an hour and forty minutes. It was terrible. They wouldn’t go away. They screamed at us, they spat on us, they threw cans and rocks, they tore up an Argentinean flag and burned it. We were only praying one Hail Mary after another, without stopping, praying for each one of them, praying for each aborted child, praying for our Church and her pastors, and also in reparation for the blasphemies,” Pablo said.

Despite the tension, “we felt an extraordinary peace, and all of us who were there agreed [it was] a peace that cannot come from anyone else besides our Lord and God. We felt his consolation in our souls.”

Asked if they felt tempted to respond to the aggressions with violence, Pablo responded that all the young people came with the intention of “resisting to the last drop of our blood. Some guys up in front became very upset, because they insulted the Virgin Mary, calling her a lesbian. You feel like doing everything, but we know that our testimony needs to be different, and the virtue of fortitude is more perfect when we resist than when we attack.”

According to Pablo, after that experience in Neuquen, the young people were more committed to “living life as it truly is: a battle, a war.” “I think it is time to wake up, we must be aware that if we don’t do it, nobody will. Nobody will bear witness to hope if we Catholics do not do it. The world is waiting, the world expects that we go out to find it and conquer it.”

Notice in the video how the first line of Christian defenders, those bearing the full brunt of the crowd's hatred and abuse, are all young men - and I do mean men, not boys, whatever their chronological age. This old-fashioned chivalry must have driven the radical feminists into even more of a frenzy.

Unless you hang out in front of abortion clinics, you don't see this sort of thing in the U.S. very often. Mark my words: you will, and maybe sooner than you think. American Christians are going to make some tough choices in the next few years. How many of us will have the courage shown by Pablo and the others in Neuquen on that night?

Centuries ago another Pablo - St. Paul - took full advantage of all the rights his Roman citizenship gave him to spread the Gospel truth and defend the helpless. Eventually he paid the price in blood. Yet he was not defeated; the empire that killed Paul fell even as Christianity thrived. The same will happen again, but not before some of us face the modern-day lions.

Bank Bailout: A Simple Explanation

Since my day job involves writing about finance and economics, I usually stay away from those subjects here. However the following cartoon nails what just happened so precisely I have to share it with you. It's been making the rounds on Wall Street this week. Here is a link to the original.

Obamaphobia Takes Hold

I have several friends and relatives who send me a steady stream of e-mails containing the latest news about the grave threat Barack Obama presents to America. Every time I get one of these, I wonder: what do they think they are accomplishing? They know there is the proverbial snowball's chance I will vote for Obama, and I am glad to tell anyone who will listen why I feel this way.

In this regard I have plenty of ammunition. For instance, Obama thinks it is fine if the law allows and/or encourages women to burn, dismember, and crush the skulls of their children, either before birth or shortly after. Against that, the fact that he used to hang out with terrorists or took donations from Fannie Mae is mere frosting on the cake.

The people who send me these e-mails know, on some level, that the "facts" they are trying to spread are not likely to change anyone's mind. So why do they do it? I suspect it is out of frustration. Time is running out and the polls suggest an increasing likelihood Obama will win. (Check out Dr. Steven Taylor's electoral college maps for evidence.) People are starting to face this reality and they don't like it. The crisis in the financial markets created a heightened sense of fear in the last few weeks, making the frustration on all sides even worse.

Personally, I think Obama's past associations with William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, and others are fair game. These kind of things come out in all campaigns. It is remarkable, however, that none of it is new. All these things were brought out in the Democratic primary, thanks to Hillary Clinton, and McCain himself refused to use them - until now. Why? Because he's losing and he really has not much else to say. On the overriding issue of the moment, the economy, he and Obama are largely in agreement. Both voted to approve the Hank Paulson bank bailout plan and appear to have no problem with nationalized large chunks of American industry.

It is worth noting, too, that many of the people who are so angry at Obama right now are the same ones who stood behind George W. Bush while he abandoned all pretense of budgetary discipline and smaller government, launched a war of choice, tortured prisoners and shredded the Constitution in order to concentrate near-unlimited power in the Oval Office. In this he was aided and abetted by a Republican-controlled Congress for six years. Some of us warned that those powers would someday fall into less trustworthy hands. Now it is about to happen. Having made their bed, the Bush loyalists are now upset that they might have to lay in it.

There is also the race factor. For most of the campaign it was bottled up, but now the dogs are getting loose. Some of it is thinly-disguised and some is quite overt. McCain can try to calm the crowds, but they are having none of it. This has moved beyond his control. Not everyone who dislikes Obama has racist motives, but some do. I suspect it is a bigger number than any of us want to admit.

We are on very dangerous ground here. If some nutcase takes a shot at Obama, it's not hard to imagine mass violence in large cities - and maybe beyond. Likewise, if we get into another 2000-type Florida recount fiasco, tempers will flare no matter who comes out on top. For this reason, I hope that whoever wins does so by an electoral and popular landslide. A close election is the last thing we need right now.

Conclusion: I highly suggest everyone turn down the heat, and quickly. The United States is closer to a breakdown in civil order right now than any time since 1968. For my friends on the right who think there is still a chance for McCain to win if only enough people can be told about Obama's sordid background: You Are Wrong. In fact, the more you talk about these things the better Obama does in the polls. You are accomplishing the opposite of what you want, and you may be opening a Pandora's Box that is best kept closed. The best thing you can do right now is shut up.

Yes, I realize that Obama supporters are saying some pretty vile things too. The personal attacks on Sarah Palin have been particularly shameless, but the fact that they are doing this kind of thing does not mean you can do the same. Ever heard of turning the other cheek? Now is an excellent time to practice.

Palin on Roe

I must confess I have been unable to force myself to watch the entirety of Sarah Palin's interview with Katie Couric. The parts I did see made me wince. So it was only today, via Rod Dreher, that I learned what she had to say about Roe vs Wade.

Keep in mind that, for social conservatives, the prime justification for having Palin on the ticket is that she is demonstrably and personally pro-life. For all McCain's faults, with Palin as VP we have a foot in the door at the White House, and maybe a chance to get one of our own in the big office someday. Right? Now read this:

Couric: Why, in your view, is Roe v. Wade a bad decision?

Sarah Palin: I think it should be a states' issue not a federal government-mandated, mandating yes or no on such an important issue. I'm, in that sense, a federalist, where I believe that states should have more say in the laws of their lands and individual areas. Now, foundationally, also, though, it's no secret that I'm pro-life that I believe in a culture of life is very important for this country. Personally that's what I would like to see further embraced by America.

Couric: Do you think there's an inherent right to privacy in the Constitution?

Palin: I do. Yeah, I do.

Couric: The cornerstone of Roe v. Wade.

Palin: I do. And I believe that individual states can best handle what the people within the different constituencies in the 50 states would like to see their will ushered in an issue like that.

OK. Palin sounds like someone who has the right instincts. She does not sound like someone who has wrestled with the philosophical and legal basis of her beliefs. There are two huge problems with what she said.

First, she says abortion should be up to the states. This line of reasoning was wrong when applied to slavery in the 19th century, and it's wrong now. Government at all levels must defend certain fundamental human rights. These include - as the Declaration of Independence says - life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Life is the foundation, and states have no right to take it away from innocent people. She is taking essentially the same position that Fred Thompson did in the GOP primary campaign. Plenty of us roundly criticized Thompson for it at the time. For the most part, Palin is now getting a pass.

Second, Palin thinks the Constitution contains a "right to privacy." Roe vs Wade notwithstanding, most legal scholars find no such thing and regard Roe's logic as laughable, even when they agree with its result. Yet we are told that Palin can be counted on to influence McCain's judicial appointments more in the conservative, originalist direction? I think not, if this interview reflects her judicial philosophy.

Abortion will almost certainly come up in tonight's debate, and I hope we hear something from Palin to clarify these remarks. Otherwise, I suspect a wave of buyer's remorse will sweep over the people who have so lionized her for the last month. The more we learn about Palin, the less she lives up to the reasons McCain supposedly picked her. This momentum needs to change, and it needs to happen fast, or else Obama will win in a rout.