In previous IRS scandals it was the powerful abusing the powerful—a White House moving against prominent financial or journalistic figures who, because of their own particular status or the machineries at their disposal, could pretty much take care of themselves. A scandal erupts, there are headlines, and then people go on their way. The dreadful thing about this scandal, what makes it ominous, is that this is the elites versus regular citizens. It’s the mighty versus normal people. It’s the all-powerful directors of the administrative state training their eyes and moving on uppity and relatively undefended Americans.
That’s what makes this scandal different, and why if it’s not stopped now it will never stop. Because every four years you can get yourself a new president and a new White House, but you won’t easily get yourself a whole new administrative state. It’s there, it’s not going away, not anytime soon. If it isn’t forced back into its cage now, and definitively, it will prowl the land hungrily forever.
IRS intimidation – Are You Next ? Video Here
…”if you’re the kind of person who thinks Tea Party people are low and extreme, that they’re the kind of people who’d hurt our country, take a few minutes to look at this. It’s a website that will take you to videos of a town hall meeting of the SouthWest Cincinnati Tea Party. It was held Wednesday night. Its subject was “IRS Intimidation—Are You Next?”
Do those people really strike you as weird and radical? Do they seem destructive? They are normal citizens. And they feel besieged.”
A million miracles ride the deep,
And play beneath the surface
Of Your fury,
In fall of water,
Rounding o’er the rocks,
In rush and billows,
Froth and foam.
Swift river carry me
And write on my memory.
Though seated on the bank,
I sail in heart,
In your wake
Finding joy as a petal,
Skirting the obscured,
Dancing o’er temptation,
In an act of will,
To follow in Your stride,
O Master of the deep.
The glint of sun
In steady flash
To gild rocky edges
As You do my soul.
The wash of swift current,
Pouring joy as palpable
As bird song,
Swimming the swollen crowns,
Like ribbons of life,
Skimming hidden cliffs,
Caring and carrying me along.
Their path and destiny one,
In faith’s repose.
Let not the world
Still or interfere
To make me tarry,
When You bid me come,
Contemplate my end,
And sweet beginning.
One with Providence’s
I fear not Thy wild ride.
A million miracles cry out to me
From the beauty
Of depth and mystery.
I am lost in Your Presence.
There You are
Smiling back at me.
I simply smile and gaze.
I am nothing and no one,
Yet You whisper,
In You and Yours,
I am more.
You sing to my soul,
And tell me beauty tales.
Of gaining all I leave behind
In Love’s pursuit.
Grace creates a place for me.
After the mind of God.
I surpass the wonders I behold.
Hold me in this instant,
To capture Paradise
For the journey onward,
Singularly one with everything,
And bound to all,
©2013 Joann Nelander
It’s time once again for Sunday Snippets. We are Catholic bloggers sharing weekly our best posts with one another. Join us to read and/or contribute. To participate, go to your blog and create a post titled Sunday Snippets–A Catholic Carnival. Make sure that the post links back to here, and leave a link to your snippets post on our host, RAnn’s, site, This, That and the Other Thing.
Snippets from the past week:
How many Christians live in the Middle East?
Between 10 million and 12 million. The Middle East is the birthplace of Christianity and home to some of its oldest communities, but the Christian population has dropped dramatically over time, especially over the last decade. When Christianity was founded 2,000 years ago, it spread rapidly across the Roman Empire, into Egypt and westward. Mohammed began the Arab Muslim conquests in the 7th century, spreading Islam across the region, but he allowed Christians to continue practicing their religion. Christians remained a majority in parts of Iraq until the 14th century, when raids by Central Asian warlord Tamerlane decimated the community. The 20th century saw another precipitous drop, because of low birthrates and emigration among Christians. In 1900 Christians made up 25 percent of the population of the Middle East; by 2000 they were less than 5 percent. And then came the Iraq War.
What effect did that war have?
After the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, sectarian tensions long kept in check by Saddam Hussein erupted into civil war between Sunnis and Shiites. Christians — Aramaic-speaking Assyrians with an ancient lineage — were caught in the cross fire. In the decade since the invasion, more than half of Iraq’s Christians have fled to refugee camps in Syria or Jordan, reducing a prewar population of more than a million to some 400,000, mostly in the relatively tolerant enclave of Iraqi Kurdistan. In October 2010, just a few months after U.S. combat troops left, militants of al Qaida in Iraq laid bloody siege to Our Lady of Deliverance Church in Baghdad during Sunday evening mass, killing 58 people and wounding 78 more. “This tragic event sent a powerful message to Christians in Iraq — they are in grave danger and should leave the country,” said Tiffany Barrans of the American Center for Law and Justice. Christians in Arab Spring countries would soon feel the same way.
Why did the Arab Spring alarm Christians?
Many Arab countries were ruled by secular dictatorships that ruthlessly repressed Islamic extremists and democrats alike. The revolts that began in Tunisia in late 2010 spread to Egypt, Libya, and then Syria. Many Christians declined to support the democratic uprisings, at least at first, because they feared that the fall of a dictator would mean the rise of an Islamist state. Once the dictators fell, Christians were branded anti-revolutionary and suffered a backlash. Islamists won large majorities in most of the post-revolutionary elections, and in some places, notably Egypt, they rewrote the constitution to give Islam a more central role in government and law.
How are Egypt’s Christians treated?
Egypt is home to the Copts, the Middle East’s largest Christian community, with some 8 million adherents. They consider themselves direct descendents of the ancient Egyptians, and still use the Coptic language, a derivative of ancient Egyptian, for religious services. Dictator Hosni Mubarak allied himself with the Coptic pope and protected the community in exchange for its support. Now Copts say the Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohammed Mursi is refusing to let them build churches and failing to crack down on a wave of violence against them. Islamic extremists bombed the Two Saints Coptic Church in Alexandria during the 2011 New Year’s mass, killing 23 people and strewing body parts around the church. Later that year, a huge mob of some 3,000 Muslims burned the St. George Church in Edfu and torched nearby Christian homes. When Christians protested outside the Maspero state TV center in Cairo in October 2011, soldiers brutally attacked protesters, killing 27. “Maspero completely traumatized the Coptic community,” said Heba Morayef, the director of Human Rights Watch in Egypt. “Feeling they were not protected by the law has created a climate of fear.” Fear has also taken hold in the war zones of Mali (see below) and Syria.
What is happening in Syria?
The Homily in Question
On Wednesday, Pope Francis gave a homily based on the Gospel reading of the day (Mark 9:38-40), in which the disciples have told a man to stop casting out demons in Jesus’ name because he doesn’t follow along with them.
Then, according to Vatican Radio’s maddeningly incomplete and poorly edited transcript of the homily:
The disciples, Pope Francis explains, “were a little intolerant,” closed off by the idea of possessing the truth, convinced that “those who do not have the truth, cannot do good.”
“This was wrong . . . Jesus broadens the horizon.” Pope Francis said, “The root of this possibility of doing good – that we all have – is in creation.”
Pope Francis first applies this principle to non-Catholics in general, engaging in dialogue with an imaginary interlocutor:
“‘But, Father, this [person] is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can. He must. Not can: must! Because he has this commandment within him. . . .
“Instead,” the Pope continued, “the Lord has created us in His image and likeness, and has given us this commandment in the depths of our heart: do good and do not do evil”:
“The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone!
So far so good: Christ redeemed all of us, making it possible for every human to be saved.
What About Atheists?
Now we get to the subject of atheists, as the imaginary interlocutor asks:
“‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good.”
Here is where “the usual process” might be helpful in clarifying the pope’s thought. Everyone, when speaking off-the-cuff, encounters occasions where things could be further clarified, and this may be one of them.
We can be called children of God in several senses. One of them is merely be being created as rational beings made in God’s image. Another is by becoming Christian. Another sense (used in the Old Testament) is connected with righteous behavior. And there can be other senses as well.
Here Pope Francis may be envisioning a sense in which we can be called children of God because Christ redeemed us, even apart from embracing that redemption by becoming Christian.
This, however, was not what caught the press’s eye.
Pope Francis continued:
“And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good.”