Saturday, October 14, 2006

Politics and the Kingdom of God

It has made the news here in Tennessee over the last 24 hours that country music star Sara Evans has asked for a divorce from her husband. It seems that Sara's husband, who by the standards of Southern womanhood hit the jackpot with the beautiful Sara, stands accused of compiling and keeping a regular list of sexual liasons, women he met on the internet. According to at least one affidavit, he stands accused of arranging tawdry sexual encounters with hundreds of women.

This would be stuff for the supermarket tabloids were it not for the reality that the husband in question isn't just "that idiot that cheated on Sara Evans," but Craig Schleske, former Oregon Congressional candidate and self-styled Christian conservative leader. Well-read Nashville paleoconservative blogger A.C. Kleinheider, who I have a tremendous amount of respect for, writes:

The divide in this country isn't liberal and conservative, it is the elite and the people. These kinds of scandals the Foley debacle and this Schelske fella are the biggest argument for separating religion from politics.

Not because of some leftist and imagined constitutional motive but because politics, and entertainment for that matter corrupt religion and true faith.

I don't agree with Kleinheider's supposition that religion and politics should be completely separate, not when he also says:

Faith is important and it should define your politics...

Well you can't have it both ways, either your faith defines your politics or it is separate from them-there really is no middle ground on that matter. The problem when people like Mr. Schleske or Mark Foley comes along is that it reminds Christians of the uncomfortable reality of the fallen and imperfect nature of humanity.

Christians who choose to be involved in public life open themselves up to the shady and sometimes tawdry world of the political elite. I agree with those who say that these folks (the elite) live in a different universe than the rest of us, but for us to say "political life is off-limits to the Kingdom of God because it is too dangerous" is for Christians to say that they surrender a part of the world over to the forces of darkness, lest those fighting on our side sustain terrible injury. We must carry on even in the face of knowing that people have fallen in spiritual warfare because retreat is the same as surrender in this battle.

That's not to say politics is something that every Christian should be involved in or that our lives need to revolve around political things. On the contrary, politics is something that is entirely to be found in this present world and like Christ, we represent a kingdom that is not of this present world. Politics should be used by Christians as a tool to bring us good civil ministers of justice-nothing more and nothing less.

When things like this divorce or the Foley scandal happen, it is common to hear people on the Left call all Christians involved in public life "hypocrits." We recognize the fallen nature of humanity and we call wrongs exactly as they are. If Craig Schleske were an upstanding liberal Democrat, we might even hear a few on that side of the aisle try and defend the man-it wouldn't be the first time. The Christian reaction is to condemn these wicked acts and pray for Craig Schleske-an altogether different reaction than the secular left, unless the guilty party is a conservative Republican, then condemnation is shouted from the rooftops.


Friday, October 13, 2006

Pettigrew supporters resort to theft

Former Knox County Democratic Party Chairman Wade Till, a strong supporter of Schree Pettigrew in the 18th District State House race, has resorted to stealing Campfield signs off of the front lawns of Democrats.

Let's see, so far in this race, Pettigrew or those who support her have resorted to:

Giving her husband a plum job so she could move into the district to begin with (a buy-off)

Outright lies


An apparent debate setup

Stealing signs-and not just anyone stealing signs...promenent Democrats stealing signs!

Gee, this is a group we really want electing "their woman" to the Tennessee House...what a gang this is...and these people have the unmitigated gall to try and trash Stacey Campfield?

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I do sincerely repent-called out by Rob Huddleston

We have had a policy from the beginning here at The World of acknowledging when we are wrong about errors in fact, and when those errors in fact lead to erroneous interpretations on our part.

Rob Huddleston has done what few have been able to do...Rob has called me out.

In a comment a few moments ago he said:

First of all, he's (State Sen. Mike Williams) not up for re-election this year.

Rob is right...I double-checked to ensure that he is right. Mike Williams' seat is not among those up for election this cycle. I should have checked the cycle and the ballot in the same way that I just did-I violated my own standards. For that, I apologize profusely to my loyal readers-I am sincerely sorry.

In a related matter, Rob says:

Second of all, and with all due respect, you might as well go ahead and endorse Harold Ford, Hillary Clinton, and Ted Kennedy while you're at it, because there is no difference between the four. Well, actually there might be - Williams is possibly more treacherous.

I don't know with absolute certainty, but I am betting that Rob is referring to Williams vote for John Wilder for Senate Speaker and Lt. Governor. I agree that in terms of partisan control of the Senate it is pretty low-down (because of Williams' vote, the Republicans have a majority in the Senate but do not effectively control that body), and in terms of the line of succession, it is not good to put an 85 year-old senile man a heartbeat away from the Governor's mansion.

That said, I suppose living in Dayton and Cincinnati for several years (ask Chuck Mountel about what it was all like) where a vote for any Democrat at the State level was likely a vote for a lunatic of some degree or other, then breathing the fresh air of East Tennessee politics has had a bit of an effect on me. Here, we may have the Ragsdales and the Haslams to deal with, but for the most part, the Republicans are conservative and most Democrats are actually sane-they may be wrong politically, but they haven't lost their minds like Democrats have in other places. In Wilder's case, he's losing his, but due to age.

No way would I vote for Wilder for Lt. Governor...but those who did can't be called unconservative based on that alone...I think Burchett is a sellout for other reasons, for example.

Nonetheless, Rob called me out...and I deserved it.

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Vote to protect marriage November 7th

I write today in defense of the most undermined and maligned institution of our age-matrimony. In today's climate, it is under threat in ways that we as a society could not have fathomed 50 years ago. The national divorce rate is now over 50%-that means that more half of all marriages end in divorce. Half a century ago, the number was a fraction of that. The majority of those marriages involve children who feel stuck in the middle. Over a third of all children in our country are now born out of the bounds of wedlock-over 70 percent of minority children are born out of wedlock. Children born out of wedlock are twice as likely to end up living in poverty.

The solution of certain people on the Left to the decline of marriage is not to take steps to save the institution for the benefit of society. They would rather continue down the road of social disintigration by redefining the very nature of the institution itself. Instead of marriage existing between a man and a woman, it can now exist between two men or two women as well as a man and a woman, and in theory it may exist between numbers of men and women. If it can be redefined one way it can be redefined in any and every conceivable way. In the stuff of irony, the Left is using the divorce statistics that no-fault divorce laws have created, laws that they or their political and social anscestors in "the faith" helped to bring about. The common argument that is presently in use is that traditional marriage isn't working, so why not allow for marriage to be redefined? What they don't tell you is that liberal divorce laws have greatly increased the ability to undermine marriage, and the present situation is the end result.

Marriage is under attack from every direction-it has been for years-and the push to redefine it is simply the latest salvo in the larger war against the traditional family in America. The left has been extremely successful in redefining what a nuclear family consists of in the rest of the Western world-a decline in the influence of Christianity has accompanied the decline in the traditional family in every Western nation where it is seen to be effective-that, of course, is a dream come true for many on the Left.

The war on marriage and the family has been, in fact, largely successful. It has been the major success of the left in America and around the world and the decline of marriage and the family is the greatest hope the Left has of semi-permanent social control. It should not surprise the Left that people are drawing a line in the sand and saying "no more."

Members of the homosexual community are telling Tennesseans and people around the country that this is about bigotry and hatred toward the gay community. While I realize that most of these folks will not believe my words, I say with honesty and sincerity that nothing could be further from the truth. I do not care who-or what-you or anyone else chooses to have sex with. That is very much your business, and I do not hate you for it and it doesn't effect whether I would have you as a neighbor or a friend. When you want to use your business as a means to try and change the very bedrock of society itself, that IS MY BUSINESS. We seek to protect the last vestages of the culture and the society that it took 2,000 years to build. The social fabric of our country has already been ripped to shreds by liberalism, but the Left is not satified with that, they want to blow the bedrock of that society-marriage and the family itself-to bits, tear it asunder from top to bottom.

Genesis 2:22-24:

And the Lord God built the rib which he took from Adam into a woman: and brought her to Adam. And Adam said: This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be two in one flesh.

My pastor last Sunday pointed out that he never believed that 30 years ago he would have to stand in the pulpit at Mass and explain that the Church teaches that marriage exists only between a man and a woman. So successful has the crusade of the Left been to redefine marriage that even churches must now teach to adults what was three decades ago a first grade Sunday School lesson.

This isn't about bigotry-it is about the preservation of the social order that was ordained before anyone walking the earth was ever born or thought of-either you believe in that order or you do not. Vote to preserve what shred of the family is left on November 7th. I urge all of my Tennessee readers to vote in favor of the Amendment to the Constitution of the State of Tennessee which forever maintains the definition of marriage contained in the Holy Bible.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Oatney's List for November

With less than a month to go before the November General Elections, the time has come when many-a-blogger are issuing their official election endorsements to their readers. I am no exception, but I had debated whether now was the right time or if I should wait a week or two. I ultimately decided to issue my endorsements now because it is the debate season, and people need to know exactly where some of us stand as the campaign heats up in the final days.

This is an especially difficult election for conservatives. Many of us, myself included, feel as if our choices are very limited. Congress has failed us utterly, with spending that is out of control and no real effort to control illegal immigration or address the concerns of the people in the Heartland who elected them. Conversely, the alternative is Speaker Pelosi and the perception that the little good work that this Congress has done will be completely ruined. I feel that on a national scale this election is a Hobson's choice in many ways, and many conservatives will stay home.

The World does not advocate this mentality because if we do not cast our votes, we will have no cause to voice either approval or opposition to the policies of the next Congress and General Assembly. Failure to vote is like failing to defend the country against invasion because there is no danger to you directly and you don't want to be hurt. You might survive, it may not hurt you, but what service do you render your country?

With that in mind, here are our endorsements for the November 7th General Election:

Governor of Tennessee

Jim Bryson (R)

Many have pointed out that under the current administration of Phil Bredesen, the State is running a huge surplus and taxes have not increased Statewide. All of this is quite true, but it all bears a frightening similarity to the Sundquist administration. I simply do not trust Bredesen to win a second term and not introduce an income tax. As soon as he is re-elected, he will be a lame duck who is not subject to the judgement of the people.

Bryson has the endorsement of Tennessee Right to Life, and has pledged that under a Bryson administration there will be no income tax, period. Meanwhile, Bredesen has endorsed Bob Rochelle, architect of the income tax, in his race for the General Assembly. That's not a good sign for what might happen in his second term.

United States Senate:


The U.S. Senate race is more than a disappointment, it is a disgrace to the people of this great State. The Republicans nominated the worst possible candidate in a three candidate field (thank you Van Hilleary), a man who has demonstrated a history of advocating everything and believing in nothing. At least he now sounds like he has a mind of his own, but I dearly wish he would demonstrate passionate belief in the policies he now advocates.

On the other hand, the Democrats have presented us with a man who gets most of his donations from out of State, lies about his voting record, has a very shady past, is known to enjoy the New York and Hollywood night life entirely too much for a good Tennessee boy, and whose family has more members under indictment or with criminal histories than the Gambinos.

I will definately not be voting for the latter option, but as to who I will vote for I have yet to decide. No matter who my vote goes to, I cannot endorse either of these men for election to the United States Senate because deep in the recesses of my gut I sincerely feel that no matter which man wins, the office will go to someone who does not deserve to hold it.

United States House of Representatives-First District

David Davis (R)

Davis has demonstrated a strong commitment to conservative ideas and to the pro-life cause as a member of the General Assembly. He is beloved by other conservative members of the legislature for his steadfastness, and his honesty is a quality that has earned him some reknown. Those factors alone would merit an endorsement. I give it with caution, however, to a man that won his Primary (and thus de facto the election) by around 500 votes: Washington tends to have a changing effect on even the best of men who go there with the best of intentions. This can be especially true in the First District where the Republican Congressman is usually guaranteed the job for as long as he wants it.

United States House of Representatives-Second District

John J. "Jimmy" Duncan Jr. (R)

Not only does Duncan have a solid conservative voting record, he is also a man of great principle. He voted against the war in Iraq because he saw that it could very well end in a huge boondoggle. I endorsed him in the Primary, and I endorse him again.

Tennessee Senate-4th District

Michael R. Williams (R)

The Speaker Pro Tempore of the Senate could replace Wilder as Speaker (and thus as Lt. Governor) in the next Senate or could sit as Majority Leader under Speaker Ron Ramsey. There are a number of possibilities, so let's re-elect him and see where the ball might bounce...Speaker, Leader, Pro could be any of these.

Tennessee House of Representatives-17th District

Frank Niceley (R)

Yes, I know Rep. Niceley is unopposed. I do not believe in the notion of candidates from either party running unopposed. It is hard, however, to oppose someone who is doing their job effectively. Frank Niceley is a great servant of the people...if he can do it for his constituents and it isn't illegal, immoral, or unethical, Frank Niceley gets the job done. For that reason, if he were running with opposition (as he ought to be) I would still be giving him my endorsement and my vote.

Tennessee House of Representatives-18th District

Stacey Campfield (R)

The blogging Rep, one of the few in the world, has developed a loyal following in the blogosphere because of his willingness to bring hard news and the hard truth about what goes on in Nashville at the risk of his own political hide. I can tell you from experience that the openess, frankness, and honesty that Stacey displays on his blog are not merely some act for the sake of the internet-it is very much the real Stacey Campfield. That is exactly why he is in the political fight for his life, because of his willingness to communicate with the people of this State so directly. There are people who want to shut Stacey up, that is why they are trying so hard to beat him. Bad news for those folks: If you shut Stacey up, then I will gladly take Stacey's place.

Control of Congress- (begrudgingly) Republicans

I am not sure Republicans in Washington deserve to control Congress again, but the Democrats haven't shown that they will do any better, only worse. It is a sad situation for our country.


Welcome the Hon. Vance Cheek Jr.

I'd like to take just a moment to welcome the Hon. Vance Cheek, who was lately a candidate for the First District Congressional seat, to my blogroll. I hope to help Vance in his quest to one day serve as our United States Congressman. Welcome Vance!


Does the apple fall far from the tree?

Apparently there is a group of people in East Tennessee and around the country who are painfully unaware of why some of us think Harold Ford, Jr. has some ethical issues because of his family's known criminal history. Well, I think this clip does a pretty good job of illustrating the problem here. Obviously, we'd love to believe that Harold Jr. is stainless and pure, but my Granddaddy used to tell me that apples do not fall far from trees when it comes to families-and based on life experience, I've come to see that he was right. I'm not saying that people always end up like their parents, because we all know that isn't necessarily the case-but very often, it people are brought up, so they become.

With that in mind, I think Jr.'s family history is particularly galling. So many members have criminal histories (or in the case of Ophelia, histories of vote fraud) that it is hard to divorce Harold Jr. from the rest of his mafia-like clan. Are we really to assume that he is all that different from the rest of the people who were so formative in his life? Can Tennesseans afford to make that assumption? I am not so sure that we can. With family like this, I'd want to distance myself as far as I could from them, especially if they raised me right (like Harold Ford, Jr. says his family raised him). If my family brought me up to know right from wrong, I would publicly denounce their behavior-and if you don't believe me, try asking my family how I react when one of them does something that I know to be in the wrong. It isn't pretty, folks.

Instead, Harold Ford defends his criminal father in a public debate rather than simply say "I love my Dad, but I don't believe in running my personal and professional affairs in the way that he has done-we are different people." If he knows right from wrong, he steps back and condemns wrongs committed even by his own family, or at least has the decency to distance himself from them. Harold Ford, Jr. can't even do that-instead he tries to villainize those who point out the truth about his family.

For Junior's own sake I hope his apple falls very far from the family tree...but I can't help but have my doubts.

(Hat Tip: Kleinheider)


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Lidle was en route to Nashville

By now everyone has heard of the unfortunate airplane crash in New York this afternoon involving New York Yankees' pitcher Cory Lidle. From The Tennessean comes word that Lidle was en route to Nashville for a night at Union Station. Obviously, the thoughts and prayers of Tennesseans are with Lidle and his family.


Harold Ford, Jr. declares that he is pro-life-in other news, Hell freezes over, while pigs were seen flying over Chattanooga

In last night's debate televised in Knoxville on WBIR between Bob Corker and Harold Ford, Jr. the most shocking development was that Ford made a public declaration that he is pro-life. I sincerely hope that this declaration is truthful and not just a Road to November conversion. Did anyone else happen to notice that the abortion question that the good lady asked was very quickly deflected (by Corker, no less) into a continuation of the discussion about Iraq after Corker mentioned that National Right to Life had endorsed him?

In his response to the abortion question, Ford continued the Iraq diatribe, then responded by saying "I AM PRO-LIFE" and then went on to explain how he favored various kinds of early intervention to prevent further abortions. (Note: I was pleased that Corker came out against embryonic stem-cell "research"-I also hope that position is sincere, and I have an equally hard time believing it.)

If there is good news in this debate for Republicans, it is that Corker actually sounded like he knew what he was talking about and did not sound like a robot for a change. This is a welcome development, since every time I had heard Bob Corker before last night he has sounded overly scripted-symbolic, but not substantive. The problem is that he still sounded dispassionate-as if he did not believe much of what he was actually saying.

I believe Harold Ford, Jr. is pro-life like a believe in the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny, but I'll just be straight about it: From a raw debate point of view, there was a winner in this debate and it was not Bob Corker. In the post-debate polling, expect Ford to open up a 3 to 5 point lead on Corker. That doesn't mean Ford is going to win, I think the voting will be too close to make that prediction. I do think Ford looked better last night, and this race is all about jockeying for position


Mike Ragsdale makes me laugh

I think Gene Patterson got it right about the Harber investigation a few days back when he stated the obvious:

Van DeVate points out that the resolution calls for a probe of the activities of Tyler Harber, not County Mayor Mike Ragsdale. Of course, anyone following this story knows that Harber is tied to Ragsdale and any investigation of Harber would include ( I would assume) a review of Ragsdale’s role (if any) in Harber’s activities.

Just who do the Mayor's office in Knox County think they are kidding here? You can't investigate Tyler Harber without investigating Mike Ragsdale, since Harber is tied to Ragsdale whether the Ragsdale people want to admit that or not. Mike Ragsdale and his allies know that he is in hot water and they are merely trying to deflect attention from the reality of the situation.

If Ragsdale hasn't done anything wrong (as he, Arms, and Van de Vate all claim) then what does he have to gain by playing this game with the press-of which we can safely say at this point that bloggers are a part-that he is not under investigation?

That line would be a real clincher on the old game show Make Me Laugh.

Since Mike Ragsdale won't state the obvious, I will do it for him. If Tyler Harber were the only person being investigated, this would be a non-story. It is a story because Mike Ragsdale, the Mayor of Knox County, is alleged to have used Mr. Harber to do his bidding and find out information about his political foes, many of which were and are fellow Republicans. Much of that information is alleged to have been obtained in illegal fashion via e-mail and computer hacking, and in one case the violation of a person's medical confidentiality. At the very least Mike Ragsdale is accused of turning a blind eye to this disgraceful activity, and at most he stands accused of complicity in it.

Yes, Mr. Mayor, you are under investigation.

(Hat tip: Terry Frank)


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Taming of the Schree

As we chronicled here some days back, Democrats up on the Hill in Nashville are so desperate to be rid of State Representative Stacey Campfield that they got a relatively young paralegal to move into the 18th District in order to oust him from office. Those of us who are part of the Tennessee blogging community know that the real reason that Boss Hogg and his henchmen want rid of Stacey is because they do not like his weblog.

Representative Campfield has gone out of his way to keep us, the people of Tennessee, informed about what is actually going on at the Capitol. Of course, the majority can't have people knowing how they actually behave because it might lead to their removal from power. The powers that be are aware of this, and since they are more interested in maintaining power than protecting the interests of the people they serve, they don't want anyone in office that might actually be honest with their constituents about what is happening in Nashville.

Now this same group of malcontents is telling the people of the 18th District, as well as all of us who have an interest in ethical and constitutional government, that they want Schree Pettigrew elected as a team. They want her elected so badly that they arranged for her to run and set her husband up with employment. What kind of "team" will Mrs. Pettigrew be a part of?

Well, its a team that has done little or nothing about the crisis of illegal immigration that is hampering Tennessee's social service system. They've killed Republican proposals to deal with the issue-then blamed Republicans for doing nothing. Go team!

Its a team whose idea of ethics reform is more of the status quo, while accusing those who champion real ethics reform and openess in government as racists-while all the while practicing the politics of exclusion. What a copout-go team!

Its a team whose idea of managing health care costs is to cater to the trial lawyers whose frivolous lawsuits drive up the cost of health care for ordinary Tennesseans and helped nearly bankrupt Tennessee under the TennCare regime. Mrs. Pettigrew should know something about catering to trial lawyers, that is where she has gotten most of her campaign money. If she is elected she'll owe her election to trial lawyers-whose team do you think Schree Pettigrew will be on? Go team!

While Mrs. Pettigrew is busy having fundraisers with Jimmy Naifeh and getting ever deeper into the pockets of ambulance chasers, I've been to a Stacey Campfield fundraiser. I can speak of the kind of people who were there, and they weren't trial lawyers (okay, there was one-ONE trial lawyer) or top-of-the-Hill fatcats, they were everyday working Tennesseans and retirees. They came and gave of their time and dollars because while others are working for trial lawyers and Jimmy Naifeh, Stacey Campfield is working for them. While Schree Pettigrew is on Jimmy Naifeh's team, Stacey Campfield is on the people's team.

That's exactly why Stacey Campfield needs the vote of every concerned citizen of the 18th District on November 7th.


Monday, October 09, 2006

Duck and Cover

I had planned to write on another matter entirely this morning, but your regularly scheduled weblog entry has been interrupted by a drunken, sex-craven lunatic with a nuclear weapon. The President has said that the U.S. will "honor the full range" of U.S. security commitments in Asia. I certainly agree that we should honor these commitments, especially since North Korea is a continually evolving threat to America and to the nations in the region.

The great problem with this situation is the fact that the U.S. has significantly diminished its capability to respond to this crisis in the way that it needs to be responded to because our military forces are quite busy dealing daily with the war in Iraq and cannot be readily deployed to the Korean Peninsula to act as an appropriate deterant to the Stalinist threat. Unlike some people who were mere pacifists without rhyme or reason, my problem with the war in Iraq has been that it diverts our military from far more immediate threats. Here is the problem we are facing: Old alliances and nuclear power.

Red China does not want a nuclear war, and they desperately want even more expanded trade relations with the West. However, they do have an old alliance with North Korea. If the North launches a nuclear attack (or any attack) against South Korea or Japan, the United States is compelled by agreement to respond as if the U.S. had been attacked on its own soil. China has traditionally had a similar arrangement with North Korea-so what happens if the U.S. is forced to respond to a North Korean attack on the South or Japan-does China respond to the inevitable American attack by joining in the fight? China may have a technologically inferior military force, but they'll throw every man they have into any conventional fighting that may result-it would be a population reducer.

In the meantime, Iran is promising that sanctions will not deter it from developing nuclear abilities, and you can be sure that North Korea is itching to share its information with Tehran.

If the U.S. needs to fight North Korea and China conventionally, we may not have the manpower to do it-that manpower is in Iraq.


Sunday, October 08, 2006

College football Top 25 the week of October 8th

Here are the votes that I submitted as my top 25 in college football in this week's IRACF college football internet blogger and media poll:

1 Ohio State
2 Michigan
3 Florida
4 Southern Cal
5 West Virginia
6 Texas
7 Louisville
8 Tennessee
9 Notre Dame
10 California
11 Auburn
12 Clemson
13 Georgia Tech
14 LSU
15 Iowa
16 Georgia
17 Arkansas
18 Oregon
19 Missouri
20 Boise St.
21 Nebraska
22 Virginia Tech
23 Oklahoma
24 Rutgers
25 Wisconsin

Tennessee makes it into my top ten by virtue of a miraculous comeback victory over Georgia Saturday night. It was by far Tennessee's most important and most convincing victory of the season.

Ohio State remains the number one team in the nation, defeating a Bowling Green team that no one grounded in reality expected that they would lose to.

The shocker of the week was Arkansas' defeat of #2 Auburn. I voted Michigan as the new #2, but much of the national press will be compelled to put Florida or USC in that position.


What God has joined together...

Today's gospel reading at Masses around the world is one of the most controversial in the entire Bible. It isn't controversial because it teaches hatred, but it is so because it teaches the truth (unpleasant as it is) in love.

Mark 10:2-16:

And the Pharisees coming to him asked him: Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. But he answering, saith to them: What did Moses command you? Who said: Moses permitted to write a bill of divorce, and to put her away. To whom Jesus answering, said: Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you that precept.

But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother; and shall cleave to his wife. And they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. And in the house again his disciples asked him concerning the same thing.

And he saith to them: Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if the wife shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery. And they brought to him young children, that he might touch them. And the disciples rebuked them that brought them. Whom when Jesus saw, he was much displeased, and saith to them: Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God. Amen I say to you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, shall not enter into it. And embracing them, and laying his hands upon them, he blessed them.

It is quite uncomfortable for many Christians to hear this passage of Scripture in this day and age. Divorce and remarriage to another is so common in the time in which we are living in that it is rare indeed to find a minister who will follow the biblical precept and refuse to preside at the marriage of a previously divorced person or persons. I have known a few to follow Our Lord's teaching, but they are rare as chicken teeth.

Often, Christians who are not in full communion with the Catholic faith will ask me why I insist (when pressed on the matter) of the absolute truth of the Catholic Church and the not-quite-all-the-way true status of other Christian ecclesial communities. The refusal of many Protestant sects to accept the notion of an interpretive teaching authority (an attitude which ultimately leads to greater division since individuals are prone to take the "my interpretation of the Bible is right and yours is wrong because the Holy Spirit told me this" approach-even though the Holy Spirit has apparently given 30,000 different messages-the rough number of Protestant denominations) is one reason. The refusal of nearly all Protestant communions to embrace and enforce Christ's teaching on the indissoluble nature of Holy Matrimony is the other big reason. The Catholic Church not only accepts that teaching, it embraces it and enforces it fully.

The Church recognizes that there may be a valid reason to obtain a civil divorce-but that doesn't necessarily give the civilly divorced person the right to remarry, because in God's eyes you remain married. I once knew a man who was a very observant Catholic whose wife had walked out on him many years prior. In order to protect his legal interests, he asked for and was granted a civil divorce, but he not only didn't remarry, he continued to wear his wedding ring. He also did not date, court, or otherwise pursue other women. It is also probably no coincidence that he received Holy Communion every day for as long as I knew him.

While many may see this kind of life as unrealistic, we need to remember that nothing is impossible with God. The Lord calls those of us who are married to a life of sacrificial love. The problem is that we oversexualize marriage like we oversexualize everything else in today's world. Men want the "hot" wife and women want Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome for a husband. The reality is that when you are married, you must learn to tolerate things that you otherwise wouldn't with any other person, and you must learn to love in a way that can be so deep that it can often hurt. Marriage is not easy, and I can now speak from experience-it is the most difficult thing I have ever done, yet I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Some may ask: "But David, aren't there people who have divorced and remarried in the Catholic Church?" These are people who the Church has determined never had a valid marriage to begin with-literally, the Church has declared that they were not married in the first place by Christian standards and hence are free to marry validly-a "shotgun wedding" or a "courthouse wedding" is usually declared invalid, for example, because of the lack appropriate clergy or the possibility of the parties acting under duress. However, it is nearly impossible for two people who are married in a Christian fashion in the eyes of God and in the presence of appropriate witnesses to have that marriage declared invalid-there have to be some extenuating circumstances.

The Church has upheld the truth about the indissoluability of marriage for 2,000 years. Indeed, people have died for the sake of upholding that truth. Should not all Christians be so bold as to uphold the teachings of Christ, who we claim to serve?

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