Senator Mazie Hirono and the Menace of Progressive Thought

New Aggression against Catholics and Christians

The recent attack by Senator Mazie Hirono against key teachings of the Catholic Church marks a new threshold of antipathy by progressives toward the Catholic faith. As progressives become ever more strident in their efforts to exact their vision upon society, the constant teaching of the Catholic Church increasingly stands as a moral bulwark opposing their advance. And now we must recognize that actual danger to faithful Catholics, as well as conservative Christians, is becoming more of a reality, as we experience the erosion of key protections incorporated in the Bill of Rights.

In the course of the confirmation process for U.S. District Court nominee Brian Buescher in December of 2018, Senator Hirono cited positions taken by the Knights of Columbus against abortion and same-sex “marriage,” and asked whether Buescher would end his membership in the Knights to avoid the appearance of bias. [1] As has already been pointed out by others, this amounts to nothing less than a judgment that faithful Roman Catholics are not fit to be federal judges. [2] In a similar assault, Senator Feinstein infamously stated that “the dogma lives loudly within you,” during the 2017 Senate confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Such statements are just the latest in a long history of anti-Catholic political bias. [3]

Although anti-Catholic bias in the Congress is obviously of concern, there is another more worrisome issue reflected in the statements from Senator Hirono about the Knights of Columbus:

“You reported that you have been a member of the Knights of Columbus since 1993. The Knights of Columbus has taken a number of extreme positions. For example, it was reportedly one of the top contributors to California’s Proposition 8 campaign to ban same-sex marriage.” [4]

“In May of this year, the Knight of Columbus issued a statement in support of the Trump administration’s efforts to bar clinics that provide abortion services or referrals from receiving federal family-planning funds under Title X funds.” [5]

Here the Knights of Columbus’ fidelity to Catholic morality asserting that a same-sex union cannot be a marriage is declared extreme by Senator Hirono. No doubt the Knights’ abortion stand referenced in that same series of questions is also thought to be extreme. However, these Catholic teachings are not extreme: they are accepted as truth by large segments of the U. S. population, and reflect core elements of the religious faiths of those populations. Although there has been a considerable shift in the attitude of the U.S population toward acceptance of homosexual “marriage,” a significant portion of the U. S. population, around 30%, still supports traditional morality regarding marriage. [6] Disapproval of abortion is even stronger: “The recent Gallup survey found the percentages of Americans who identify as “pro-life” and “pro-choice” tied at 48 percent each.” [7]

Support of traditional marriage by major religious institutions is also substantial:

“Many of the largest U.S. religious institutions have remained firmly against allowing same-sex marriage, including the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Jewish movement and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as the Southern Baptist Convention and other evangelical Protestant denominations. The nation’s largest historically black church, the National Baptist Convention, and its biggest Pentecostal denomination, the Assemblies of God, also prohibit their clergy from marrying same-sex couples.” [8]

Opposition to abortion rights is advocated by the Roman Catholic Church, the Assemblies of God, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, and the African Methodist Episcopal Church. [9] These religions of the Judeo-Christian tradition provide wisdom developed over thousands of years, which represents the philosophical and moral bedrock of Western civilization. Now such wisdom has become “extreme” in the view of such as Senator Hirono, because it does not fall in line with the progressive agenda.

A look at progressive views on abortion reveals thinking which is truly extreme. A new law passed in New York on January 22nd, 2019 allows abortion up until the moment of birth. [10] Consider the extreme level of denial required to rationalize such a thing. How can any reasonable person logically conclude that a baby, guaranteed all the rights and protections of U.S. law upon birth, is subject to a death sentence just a moment before birth? It is the very same baby, both before and after birth. It is the very same person, both before and after birth. Yet progressives have managed to convince themselves that a person can be destroyed if he or she has the misfortune to be “caught” before birth.

Progressive thought like that described above has breached the cultural thresholds which would otherwise inhibit violence against innocent victims. The startling comments made by Virginia Governor Northam on January 30th revealed an even more harshly callous thought process, as he calmly and dispassionately described a scenario involving the birth of a live baby after an attempted abortion. Such a birth would be followed by a discussion about whether or not that baby should be killed. [11] Suddenly, a U.S. governor is describing infanticide as if it is a routine, everyday experience. That very grim approach to the treatment of newborns was ignored by progressives, who just a couple of days later were outraged over a far less sinister misdeed by that same governor involving racial insensitivity. [12] If progressives can manage to condone violence perpetrated upon a baby just moments before or after it is born, then they are capable of engaging in violence against anyone.

But how much of a step is it from calling Catholics extremists, to treating them like extremists, and engaging in actual persecution of Catholics? I am sure that most people would contend that religious persecution can not happen here in the U.S. today, especially since we have the constitutional protections of the Bill of Rights, which should protect us from such abuses.

However, Catholics, and like-minded Christians, can no longer ignore the encroachment of progressive “rights” upon established Christian moral principles. Those who speak out and publicly defend their religious views opposing the normalization of homosexuality have already been described as “offensive,” and as guilty of uttering “hate speech.” A good example of this is the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) designation of the conservative Christian Family Research Council as a hate group, primarily for its confrontation of the homosexual agenda. [13] Although some might consider the SPLC itself an extreme group, which is not considered relevant by the mainstream of society, several of the major social media platforms and tech giants utilize the SPLC’s hate designations:

“Facebook, Amazon, Google and Twitter all work with or consult the Southern Poverty Law Center in policing their platforms for “hate speech” or “hate groups,” a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation found.” [14]

The SPLC and the organizations employing its judgments about speech are not only disagreeing with Christians: they are acting to damage Christian organizations by barring them from use of important commercial and social media platforms. It is critical that we recognize that this is a case in which progressives have successfully moved beyond mere argument, and are now accomplishing direct action to negatively impact the lives of Christians with whom they disagree. What would happen if these same progressives managed to grasp the reins of government, and were able to codify their pagan philosophy into statutes and then use law enforcement to oppress Christians?

The Breakdown in the Judicial System as a Catalyst for Persecution

The rapid pace of the progressive advance in itself is cause for very serious concern, and it has the potential to be vastly magnified when coupled with another societal trend which is now becoming apparent. That trend is the corruption of the justice system, and in particular the increasing power of government prosecutors, and the misuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) by the FBI. [15]

We now know that preceding the 2016 election, fallacious opposition research funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democrat National Committee was used by the FBI to obtain authorization from the the FISC to spy on the Trump presidential campaign. [16] I find it difficult to imagine anything more fundamentally threatening to the integrity of the U. S. election system. The exploitation of the FISC is particularly insidious, because that court does not operate with the safeguards normally found in a criminal court. For example, probable cause of a crime is not required to obtain a warrant from the FISC. And even though the court is not supposed to be used to target U. S. citizens, there are exceptions allowed. [17] Further, the secrecy surrounding this court prevents routinely effective checks and balances on this process, as has been only too evident with the Russia investigation. The FISC, which was supposed to have conducted oversight of the DOJ foreign intelligence investigations, has proven to be readily susceptible to abuse: the only restraint that exists is the personal integrity of the individuals using the process. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) created a disaster waiting to happen, and that disaster actually did happen with the trumped-up Russia investigation.

In March 2018 the DOJ Inspector General announced an investigation into the propriety of FBI and DOJ actions in the Trump investigation. [18] And now that the Mueller report is complete, we hear that Senator Graham will convene hearings on FISA abuse in the Senate Judiciary Committee. [19] Despite these positive indications, U.S. voters have no reason at present to believe that Democrats will be prevented from once again feeding false information to the FBI and the Justice Department, which will then result in long term, damaging investigations of the most viable Republican political candidates. Although no less than 25 DOJ and FBI officials have resigned or have been removed from office in connection with the Clinton email and Trump Russia investigations, none of them have been prosecuted. [20] And there is no evidence at all that the whole extent of the rot in the FBI and DOJ has been completely expunged. Yet the Director of the FBI thinks everything is fine, choosing to defend the reputation of the FBI, and ignoring the obvious reality that something went terribly wrong in the FBI during and after the 2016 presidential election. [21]

That same DOJ and FBI demonstrated an astonishing degree of inaction in the face of the massive security violations incurred when a private email server was set up for all of Secretary of State Clinton’s government business, thereby circumventing government email security and record requirements: [22]

  • No one has investigated how the Secretary was able to get away with this.
  • No one has asked how the government officials responsible for security and especially Information Technology security within the Executive Department of the U.S. failed to prevent violation of the very highest levels of classification security.
  • No one has wanted to find out why not even a single one of the many government officials who received classified emails from Secretary Clinton on their unclassified email systems reported these violations.

The Justice Department IG report assessed Justice Department and FBI investigative activities as to their propriety, [23] but did not address the major issue here: how could such a gravely damaging breach of security have happened, and what must be done to prevent it from happening in the future? As far as we the public can tell, nothing has been done to prevent a future cabinet secretary or any other powerful official in the government from hiding their official communications.

These simple facts cannot be ignored:

  • If the justice system can be exploited such that a political party can instigate an FBI investigation of a political candidate or a duly elected U.S. president, then none of us are safe from investigations initiated for political reasons.
  • If the justice system cannot be counted on enforce accountability in the case of such egregious security violations as those resulting from Secretary Clinton’s private server, then we have to assume that any powerful person in government can operate outside of the law, as long as they have sufficient political support.

Now let’s assume that one of the far left progressives currently in the Democrat presidential candidate field is elected President in 2020. It is certainly conceivable that the new administration will vigorously prosecute anyone thought to be guilty of extreme Christian beliefs or “hate” speech, and that this new administration will be virtually unchecked in its prosecutorial efforts.

Religious persecution justified as protection of homosexual and other progressive “rights” is already upon us. In the case of the Masterpiece Cakeshop, homosexual partners attempted to force a Christian bakeshop owner to renounce his religious beliefs, by insisting that he make and sell a wedding cake for their “marriage.” It is important to note here that although the Supreme Court decided in the bakeshop’s favor, the Court failed to support a Christian business owner’s right to decline to support gay “marriages.” [24] In another case, a Catholic religious order of nuns, the Little Sisters of the Poor, is still fighting the Obamacare birth control mandate, an edict which would require the Sisters to support activities directly opposed to their Catholic beliefs. [25] In Michigan, the Attorney General is currently investigating a Catholic news service, based purely upon its designation as a hate group by the SPLC for being anti-LGBT. [26] And in far left California, legislators are attempting to break the seal of Confession, a core component of Catholic practice and doctrine. [27] Ben Shapiro warns of forthcoming attacks on religious education and institutions:

“Shapiro predicted that state governments in the U. S will assail religious schools on the basis of LGBTQ laws, revoke their accreditation and ultimately eliminate the non-profit status of religious institutions. ‘It will come into the home too,’ said Shapiro, ‘and kids will be removed from homes because if it is repressive to teach kids about traditional values in schools, certainly it is more repressive to teach traditional values at home.’ ” [28]

Viewed from the long perspective of history, broad societal acceptance of abortion and homosexuality has spread very rapidly. Throughout all of recorded history, until now, no civilization has ever had the temerity to tinker with the natural law, by pretending that the sad and sterile mockery of true marriage known as same-sex “marriage” deserves the sanction of law and society. As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote in a Vatican document reviewing the Catholic teaching on homosexual unions in 2003:

“The Church’s teaching on marriage and on the complementarity of the sexes reiterates a truth that is evident to right reason and recognized as such by all the major cultures of the world. Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose. No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman, who by mutual personal gift, proper and exclusive to themselves, tend toward the communion of their persons. In this way, they mutually perfect each other, in order to cooperate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new human lives.” [29]

Societal acceptance of large-scale abortion is also a modern anomaly. At present, there is no reason to believe that these historically deviant phenomena will diminish, or that the pace of the progressive advance will slow. Some might view the totally unexpected and seemingly miraculous election of Donald Trump as a hopeful sign for the U.S., but it is probably more realistic to regard that election as a single small conservative rock temporarily and barely impeding the flow of a rapidly moving progressive river. And there is not much solace to be taken in the President’s conservative Court appointments. Every one of those judges has earnestly endorsed the validity of the precedents set by Roe v. Wade and subsequent abortion cases, and the Obergefell decision on homosexual “marriage.” For some unfathomable reason, conservatives’ hands are tied when it comes to correcting faulty judicial opinions by progressive courts, while at the same time liberal judges are unrestrained in their ability to legislate from the bench and ferret out new rights, as demonstrated by Justice Kennedy in the Obergefell decision:

“In Obergefell, Justice Kennedy did far more than merely discover a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. He wrote that judges have an ongoing “duty” to identify and protect new “fundamental rights.” He maintained that judges should institute new rights whenever their “reasoned judgment” suggests that it is appropriate to do so.” [30]

And once again, we are experiencing a recurring and infuriating nightmare, wherein a supposedly conservative justice begins to veer left in his Supreme Court decisions, as has been apparently happening for some time now with Chief Justice Roberts. [31] I still grind my teeth over his approval of the Obamacare individual mandate as a Constitutionally valid tax, instead of what it really is, flagrant coercion by the federal government forcing citizens to purchase something they do not want. The dissenting opinion in that case states it well:

“Here, however, Congress has impressed into service third parties, healthy individuals who could be but are not customers of the relevant industry, to offset the undesirable consequences of the regulation. Congress’ desire to force these individuals to purchase insurance is motivated by the fact that they are further removed from the market than unhealthy individuals with pre-existing conditions, because they are less likely to need extensive care in the near future. If Congress can reach out and command even those furthest removed from an interstate market to participate in the market, then the Commerce Clause becomes a font of unlimited power, or in Hamilton’s words, “the hideous monster whose devouring jaws . . . spare neither sex nor age, nor high nor low, nor sacred nor profane.” The Federalist No. 33, p. 202 (C. Rossiter ed. 1961).” [32]

This sort of meandering away from a stable judicial philosophy seems to never, ever, happen with the liberals; it must be some sort of perverse law of nature afflicting only conservatives. Consequently, conservatives must realize that so-called conservative jurists cannot be relied upon to protect our liberties.

The Progressive Advance Must be Fought

The tendency of conservatives and traditional religious groups to be weak and complacent and assume that there is no danger must be put aside. The statements made by Senator Hirono labeling certain teachings of the Catholic Church as extreme are very aggressive, and people have to understand the danger inherent in such statements. Senator Hirono is not just anybody: she represents a substantial constituency, and holds an office which is among the most powerful elected positions in the United States. When a U. S. Senator speaks in such a devastating way, the threat is real. By calling Christians extreme, progressives are setting the stage for further action against Christianity.

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1. U. S. Cong, Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, Nomination of Brian Buescher to the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska, Questions for the Record, December 5, 2018, 115th Cong., 2nd sess., 2018, 25. https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Buescher Responses to QFRs.pdf

2. Adams, Becket. “Kamala Harris and Mazie Hirono are trying to bar observant Catholics from public office.” Washington Examiner. December 28, 2018. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/kamala-harris-and-mazie-hirono-are-trying-to-bar-observant-catholics-from-public-office

3. Feldman, Noah. “Feinstein’s Anti-Catholic Questions Are an Outrage.” Bloomberg Opinion. September 11, 2017. https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2017-09-11/feinstein-s-anti-catholic-questions-are-an-outrage

4. U. S. Cong, Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, Nomination of Brian Buescher to the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska, Questions for the Record, December 5, 2018, 115th Cong., 2nd sess., 2018, 25. https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Buescher Responses to QFRs.pdf

5. U. S. Cong, Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, Nomination of Brian Buescher to the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska, Questions for the Record, December 5, 2018, 115th Cong., 2nd sess., 2018, 25. https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Buescher Responses to QFRs.pdf

6. Cimmino, Jeff. “For Evangelicals, the Marriage Debate Is Just Beginning.” National Review. July 20, 2017. https://www.nationalreview.com/2017/07/evangelicals-gay-marriage-support-opposition-millennials-church-attendance-polls/

7. New, Michael J. “Recent Gallup Survey on Abortion Offers Hope to Pro-Lifers.” June 25, 2018. https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/gallup-poll-number-of-pro-choice-and-pro-life-americans-equal/

8. Masci, David and Lipka, Michael. “Where Christian churches, other religions stand on gay marriage.” Pew Research Center. December 21, 2015. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/12/21/where-christian-churches-stand-on-gay-marriage/

9. Masci, David. “Where major religious groups stand on abortion.” Pew Research Center. June 21, 2016. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/06/21/where-major-religious-groups-stand-on-abortion/

10. Boquet, Fr. Shenan J. “The Scandal of Cuomo and New York’s Horrific Abortion Law.” Human Life International. January 28, 2019. https://www.hli.org/2019/01/the-scandal-of-cuomo-and-new-yorks-horrific-abortion-law/

11. Berry, Dr. Susan. “VA Gov. Northam: No ‘Regrets’ on Childbirth Abortion Comments.” Breitbart. January 31, 2019. https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/01/31/va-gov-northam-no-regrets-childbirth-abortion-comments/

12. Hurt, Charles. “Outrage over blackface, silence over killing babies.” Washington Times. February 3, 2019. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/feb/3/ralph-northam-blackface-sparks-outrage-silence-ove/

13. “Family Research Council. “Southern Poverty Law Center. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/family-research-council

14. Hasson, Peter. “SPLC Tells Facebook, Google, Twitter, Amazon, Which Organizations are ‘Hate Groups’.” The Western Journal. June 7, 2018. https://www.westernjournal.com/splc-tells-facebook-google-twitter-amazon-which-organizations-are-hate-groups/

15. Brodow, Ed. “The Corrupt DoJ vs. the People.” American Thinker. February 1, 2019. https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2019/02/the_corrupt_doj_vs_the_people.html

16. Hutchison, Harry G. “FISA Memo Released, Fraud Revealed.” ACLJ. https://aclj.org/government-corruption/fisa-memo-released-and-fraud-on-the-fisa-court-revealed

17. Wallace, Lacey. “3 questions about the FISA court answered.” The Conversation. February 5, 2018. https://theconversation.com/3-questions-about-the -fisa-court-answered-91208

18. Dunleavy, Jerry. “DOJ inspector general confirms yearlong investigation into FISA abuse is still active.” Washington Examiner. March 21, 2019. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/doj-inspector-general-confirms-year-long-investigation-into-fisa-abuse-is-still-active

19. Ross, Chuck. “Lindsey Graham Pledges FISA Abuse Hearings.” The Daily Caller. March 14, 2019. https://dailycaller.com/2019/03/14/lindsey-graham-fisa-abuse-hearings/

20. Bruner, Seamus. “Strzok Joins List of 25 Top FBI, DOJ Officials Who Have Been Recently Fired, Demoted, or Resigned.” The Epoch Times. August 16, 2018. https://www.theepochtimes.com/strzok-joins-list-of-25-top-fbi-doj-officials-who-have-been-recently-fired-demoted-or-resigned_2624607.html

21. Goldman, Adam and Savage, Charlie. “Director Defends F.B.I. After Trump Says Bureau Is in ‘Tatters’.” The New York Times. December 4, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/04/us/politics/christopher-wray-fbi-agents.html

22. Jarrett, Gregg, The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme To Clear Hillary Clinton And Frame Donald Trump. (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2018), Chapter 1.

23. U. S. Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General. A Review of Various Actions by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice in Advance of the 2016 Election. (Washington, D.C., 2018) https://www.justice.gov/file/1071991/download

24. Steinmetz, Katy. “What the Supreme Court’s Masterpiece Cakeshop Decision Didn’t Change.” Time. June 7, 2018. http://time.com/5304205/scotus-masterpiece-cakeshop-decision/

25. Brown, Lauretta. “Setback for Little Sisters of the Poor: Judge Halts Trump’s Rollback of Contraception Mandate in 13 States.” Townhall. 14 January, 2019 https://townhall.com/tipsheet/laurettabrown/2019/01/14/federal-judge-halts-trumps-rollback-of-contraception-mandate-in-13-states-n2539009

26. Barillas, Martin M. “Michigan’s lesbian AG investigating Catholic media org as part of ‘hate group’ crackdown.” Lifesite News. March 15, 2019. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/michigans-lesbian-ag-investigating-catholic-media-org-as-part-of-hate-group-crackdown

27. Barillas, Martin M. “California wants to force priests to violate the seal of confession.” Lifesite News. February 22, 2019. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/california-wants-to-force-priests-to-violate-the-seal-of-confession

28. Barillas, Martin M. “Ben Shapiro: This time, leftist radicals are coming for Catholics first, then us Jews.” Lifesite News. February 19, 2019. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/ben-shapiro-this-time-leftist-radicals-are-coming-for-catholics-first

29. “Considerations Regarding Proposals To Give Legal Recognition To Unions Between Homosexual Persons (June 3, 2003).” Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20030731_homosexual-unions_en.html

30. Slugh, Howard. “Obergefell’s Toxic Judicial Legacy.” National Review. April 10, 2017. https://www.nationalreview.com/2017/04/obergefell-judges-invent-rights/

31. Roeder, Oliver. “Is Chief Justice Roberts A Secret Liberal?” FiveThirtyEight. November 27, 2017. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/is-chief-justice-roberts-a-secret-liberal/

32. National Federation Of Independent Business v. Sebelius, 567 U.S. 519, 8 (2012) (Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito, JJ., dissenting) https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-393c3a2.pdf