Category Archives: Politics

Mirrors

File:Mirror MET ES5394.jpg

18th Century German Mirror, Metropolitan Museum of Art (Accession No. 1990.329), Author/Source https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/207941 (CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication)

In this political season, there is a great deal of emphasis on image. Candidates craft their images with care, choosing just the right setting, just the right music, just the right wording for political ads, campaign photos, and sound bites.

These carefully crafted images are not necessarily a true reflection of the candidate’s character – more like a carnival house of mirrors, with everything distorted.

What about the images abuse victims have of themselves? How accurate are those?

One crucial distinction between the images politicians design for themselves, and those abuse victims carry over from childhood, is that victims do not get to choose their images. In large part, those are crafted by the adults around them.

However, when the mirror is cracked, twisted, and deformed, so is the image reflected in it. Continue reading

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Fierce

Amazon.com: Canvas Art Print Poster- angry grizzly bear 16x24 inches unframed: Posters & Prints

Angry Mama Bear (Image courtesy of Big_Grin Brand Posters)

“How and why are we being looked at as bigots because we want our children to learn how to read and write and do math so that they can function in society and make a living for themselves, and that we be the bastions of their emotional and social welfare and well-being?  We’re their parents.  That’s our job.  It’s not the school’s job, and it’s not no politician’s job neither [1A].”

-Gabrielle Clark

Gabrielle Clark is determined to safeguard her son and daughter against what she views as the woke indoctrination of young children with critical race theory (CRT) and gender ideology [1B].

Legal Challenge to Critical Race Theory

Clark (who describes herself as an “atheist, bisexual, bi-racial, homeless person”) brought suit in Nevada in what is believed to be the first case in the United States challenging critical race theory [1C][2].  Clark urges parents who agree with her to do likewise, across the country. Continue reading

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Evil Never Rests

Evil eyes Royalty Free Vector Image - VectorStock

The past two years have been eventful for the world.  First, Covid dominated the news. Now, the tragic war in Ukraine (with 115 children killed, 140 injured, an untold number orphaned, and 1.5 million made refugees) is a major focus [1][2].

The following events have, also, taken place. They demonstrate that evil never rests:

  • Incest — Gucci heiress, Alexandra Zarini, has alleged that her stepfather, Joseph Ruffalo, sexually abused her between the ages of six and twenty-two. Her lawsuit has fractured the family, and confirmed that wealth is no safeguard against child abuse [3].
  • Catholic Church Sex Scandal — Retired Pope Benedict XVI (former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) has asked forgiveness from victims for his mishandling of four Catholic Church sex abuse cases [4]. Ratzinger did not in so many words apologize or accept blame. He continues to deny personal responsibility for the rapes and sodomy perpetuated by his failure to curtail the ministries of pedophile priests when complaints first surfaced [5].

Continue reading

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Time and the Value of Women

Models walk the runway during Miami Fashion Week 2019, Author Fashion photographer James Santiago (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

‘Vanity of vanities,’ says the Preacher; ‘Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.’ ” (Eccl. 1: 2).

Clearly, women in Western culture are valued for their youth.  We see this all around us.

Ads for every conceivable product from liquor to cable television feature young women (with two ton steel vehicles actually termed “sexy” to increase sales).

Then there are the countless products marketed to women for the ever present “problem” of aging (creams which claim rejuvenating power, hair dyes, Botox injections, and breast implants, to name just a few).  As if living were insufficient.

Starlets in flimsy clothing populate our magazines.  Girls as young as 14 model for us, in the place of adult women.  Meanwhile, women in their 60s seek plastic surgery – even in vitro fertilization – to prolong their saleability.

Each moment lived, a woman’s value decreases or so it can seem.

A Flight from Death

Perhaps the urge to remain young, or at least appear young, is a flight from death.  If anything, however, it highlights the inexorability of time.  The race is rigged.  Everyone loses in the end.

Christians know that this jaded view is incorrect, incomplete since it fails to take God into account.  Some 3000 years ago, when King Solomon composed the Book of Ecclesiastes (from which the quote above is taken), he deliberately wrote from that skewed perspective to drive home his point about the need for God in our lives.

Human nature has not improved much, in the intervening centuries.  We remain susceptible to the adversary’s lies.

True Value

But if youth is valuable, maturity is no less so.  Our value in God’s eyes does not diminish with age.  It was never linked to time, in the first place.  Our true value derives from the fact that we have all, male and female, been created by God and that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for our Salvation. Continue reading

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Shelter

“Unaccompanied minors” at south Texas border, Author US Customs and Border Protection (PD as work product of US Dept. of Homeland Security)

Levian Pacheco of Casa Kokopelli – one of eight federally funded private shelters Southwest Key operates in Arizona – has been accused of sexually molesting at least 8 migrant boys between the ages of 15 and 17 at that facility [1].

Fernando Negrete, also employed by Southwest Key, has meanwhile been charged with groping a 14 year old migrant girl [2].

The Arizona Dept. of Health has cited Casa Kokopelli for failure to complete background checks on employees.  Yet, Southwest Key has received over $1 billion in funds for its shelters.

Police nationwide have responded to hundreds of calls reporting sex crimes against immigrant children held by the government at shelters.

Tragically, this is not the only situation in which illegal immigrants are vulnerable to exploitation.  Fleeing poverty and violence, an estimated 17,000 to 19,000 immigrants are trafficked into the United States each year [3]. Continue reading

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Raising Sons

Portrait by Joshua Reynolds of Elizabeth Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, with her son (c. 1765), Source https://hoocher.com (PD-Art, Age-100)

Raising children is an enormously challenging endeavor, under the best of circumstances.  Human beings are complicated creatures.  Abuse adds dark forces to the mix.  It shapes us as children and impacts the parents we become.

Modeling Behavior

Parents attempt to model the behavior they want their children to adopt; strive to give their children the things they, themselves, never had.

If we are to raise sons who do not abuse the women in their lives, we must – first and foremost – protect them against exposure to abusive men [1].  By this I mean not only men who might molest them, but men who treat us (and them) badly.

Consciously and unconsciously, boys take their cues from the men in the lives.  This is only natural.  It is not to say, however, that we as their mothers have no influence.  We have tremendous influence, not only through what we say but what we do.

Children are observant.  They watch us closely.  They see how we react under pressure, see the choices we make in our own lives.  And they seek to imitate us.

Teaching Abuse

The example we set is important.  When we submit to abuse, we teach our sons – however inadvertently – that abuse is acceptable.  When we tolerate abuse by men in the public eye, we teach our sons that women are not worthy of respect.

Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory and stretch themselves out on their couches…who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp…who drink wine in bowls and anoint themselves with the finest oils, but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!” (Amos 6: 4-6).

The politicians involved in tawdry sex scandals; the men in power who harass and assault women as a matter of course; the athletes who treat women as playthings; the men who commit date rape, who view quaaludes and rohypnol as expedient means to an end; the college students who consider themselves entitled to sex with blindly intoxicated coeds; the men who cheat regularly on their wives (not to mention those who batter the women in their lives to death) were all once boys.

All sons. Continue reading

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The “P” Word

Donald Trump (2016), Author Michael Vadon (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

Donald Trump (2016), Author Michael Vadon (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

A gracious woman attains honor, And ruthless men attain riches” (Prov. 11: 16).

Sexual assault has in recent weeks become part of the political dialog.  News media are politely tiptoeing around the crude language Donald Trump employed on the topic, without actually repeating it.

That a candidate should have engaged in this criminal behavior (and still have felt compelled to crow about it, at the tender age of 59) is simultaneously ludicrous and despicable.

However, that some men touch women, without their consent, comes as no surprise to women.  Countless women have been subjected to identical behavior, without consequence to the men responsible.

I am an incest survivor.  The stranger who grabbed my crotch at the beach when I was 12 y.o. could not have known that.  But he calculated – quite accurately – that I would be too stunned to speak of the violation.  In that, I was not alone.

Thousands of vulnerable women and girls experience groping, and either have no recourse or know of none.  The inappropriate touching may not last long; it may not rise to the level of rape.  But the sense of powerlessness leaves a permanent scar.

Whether the assailant is a family member, friend, or stranger, the behavior clearly establishes his dominance.  When do fathers, brothers, and sons learn that this is allowed, even encouraged? Continue reading

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Dirty Little Secret

WARNING:  Graphic Images

The Armed Forces have for years now instructed our soldiers to ignore the sexual abuse of boys by Afghan leaders viewed as allies of the United States [1].  Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley, Jr. told his father, “At night we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it.”

In an effort to keep this dirty little secret, the Navy (which oversees the Marine Corps.) has decided to discharge Major Jason Brezler for sharing his concerns with fellow Marines, using an unclassified server [2].

A similar case arose in 2011, when Army Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland struck an Afghan police official for the rape of a teenage boy.  In that instance, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)intervened, and the Army allowed the Green Beret to stay in the service.

According to former Special Forces Captain Dan Quinn, “But we were putting people into power who would do things that were worse than the Taliban did – that was something village elders voiced to me.”

Quinn was relieved of his command, and pulled from Afghanistan after beating an Afghan commander who kept a boy chained to his bed as a sex slave.  Quinn subsequently left the military.

There is yet another layer of complexity to the situation.  The Taliban is using child sex slaves to infiltrate Afghan forces, and carry out deadly assaults [3].  Lance Cpl. Buckley (above) and two other Marines were killed by a group of boys living on base with an Afghan police commander. Continue reading

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A Little Life

Baby holding toy, Author Asha Lall (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

Donald Trump is now the presumed Republican candidate for US President; and — despite Bernie Sanders’ optimism — Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic candidate.  These are major developments.  One way or another, they will ultimately impact world events.

We watched the story covered from every angle, examined in minute detail.  What we did not see much about, on the evening news, was the death of a toddler in Utah.

Eighteen month old Ethan Antes had been left in the care of his stepfather, Codey Jolley.  The child was found floating facedown in the tub, with trauma to his upper body.

Police have charged Jolley with abuse homicide [2].  Ethan had sustained injuries on two earlier occasions, after being left alone with his stepfather.

While momentous events were unfolding on the national stage, a little life was lost.  We cannot know what impact that little life might have had, given the chance.

Nor can we know what impact all the other lost lives might have had — Jahi Turner or Malachi Golden in North Carolina [3][4], Charlie Brame in Florida [7], Jeida Torres in New York [8], or two unnamed little girls in Oklahoma and Arizona [5][6].

But those lives mattered.  They mattered every bit as much as the lives of politicians and celebrities do.  No little life should be lost.

But Jesus called them to Him and said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God’ (Luke 18: 16).

[1]  Fox 13 Now, “Family remembers toddler who may be victim of child abuse homicide” by Kiersten Nunez, 5/3/16, http://fox13now.com/2016/05/03/family-remembers-toddler-who-may-be-victim-of-child-abuse-homicide.

[2]  Fox 13 Now, “Millcreek man faces child abuse charges; 18-month-old has died” by Mark Green, 4/30/16, updated 5/1/16, http://fox13now.com/2016/04/30/millcreek-man-faces-child-abuse-charges-16-month-old-not-expected-to-survive.

[3]  Fox 8, “Stepfather arrested in NC in death of 2-year-old”, 4/19/16,  http://myfox8.com/2016/04/19/stepfather-arrested-in-nc-in-death-of-2-year-old.

[4]  Fox 46, “Mother charged in death of young son, day after stepfather charged”, 11/2/15, updated 11/3/15, http://wwww.fox46charlotte.com/news/local-news/43529838-story.

[5]  News OK, “Stepfather arrested in death of 2-year-old in Norman” by Jane Cannon, 8/6/15, http://newsok.com/article/5438504.

[6]  Fox 10, “Police investigating death of young child; stepfather charged” by Brian Pryor, 6/5/15, http://www.fox10phoenix.com/news/2480066-story.

[7]  NY Daily News, “3-year-old Florida girl, raped, beaten by new stepfather before death: police” by Rachelle Blidner, 11/26/14, http://nydailynews.com/girl-3-dies-raped-beaten-stepfather-police-article-1.2025585.

[8]  NY Daily News, “Social workers gave apartment the ‘OK’ day before Brooklyn girl was beaten to death by stepdad at homeless shelter” by Caitlin Nolan, Greg Smith, Tina Moore, 10/20/14, http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/man-beat-brooklyn-girl-death-claims-escape-punishment-article-1.1980588.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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History

“This House is a sanctuary; a citadel of law, of order, and of liberty…”

–        Aaron Burr

Imperfect though it is, the US Congress stands as a testament to representative government, an august body which has given rise to great men and women.  Names like Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, Stephen Douglas, and Abraham Lincoln once rang out in these halls.

To the nation’s shame, the name Dennis Hastert is included in the roster.

Hastert served as the 51st Speaker of the House of Representatives (1999-2007).  He might have been known to history for that fact, might have left a positive legacy, except for one thing.  Hastert is, also, a serial child molester [1].

Four of his victims chose to come forward.  There are believed to be others.  Hastert admitted to molesting the boys decades ago, as a high school wrestling coach in Illinois.  He was sentenced this week for having paid $1.7 million in “hush” money to one of them.  The statute of limitations has run on the actual abuse. Continue reading

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