As Trump revives ‘America First’, John McCain Denounces Blood and Soil Nationalism

In his remarks at the 2017 Liberty Medal ceremony, Senator John McCain defended a values-based foreign policy and commitment to American ideals at home, contrasting them with blood and soil nationalism:

To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain “the last best hope of earth” for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.

We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil.


Catholic Leaders Denounce Dismantling of the Clean Power Plan

Frank Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development:

The USCCB, in unity with Pope Francis, strongly supports environmental stewardship, and has for several years called on our nation to help curb carbon emissions through a national carbon standard.  Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Pruitt announced that the EPA will now take steps to revoke the Clean Power Plan (CPP), the national program designed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants by 32% in relation to 2015 levels by the year 2030.

The CPP may not have been the only possible mechanism for addressing carbon emissions, but, unfortunately, the Administration does not propose an adequate alternative as it seeks to dismantle the CPP. Having already withdrawn from the Paris climate agreement, this change in course by the EPA solidifies the already troubling approach of our nation in addressing climate change, and places at risk many people, including the poor who can least bear the consequences of inaction.

Many states have already made great progress toward carbon mitigation goals under the CPP, making this decision even more difficult. Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato si’, calls us to action in caring for our common home. A national carbon standard is a critical step for the U.S. at this time. Facing this shift from the Trump Administration, our leaders should heed the Holy Father’s moral call and seek new legislative solutions that will help the nation and world ‘hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor’ once more.

Catholic Climate Covenant:

Catholic Climate Covenant expresses profound disappointment with the decision by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to issue a proposed rule to repeal the Clean Power Plan (CPP). Without a replacement that meets or exceeds the goals and targets of the current regulation, this repeal will threaten human life and dignity – especially of the poor – and all God’s creation.

Catholic Climate Covenant executive director, Dan Misleh, said, “Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and bishops’ conferences around the world have all accepted the reality of human-forced climate change. And we know that our burning of fossil fuels is among the biggest contributors to this moral dilemma.  The solution is not to burn more fossil fuels, but less. The beauty of the Clean Power Plan was its flexibility to allow states to meet carbon reduction targets in meaningful ways. This repeal now throws all of these potential gains into question.”…

The Clean Power Plan sought to reduce carbon pollution from America’s largest source, the power sector, by 32 percent by 2030.[1] By some estimates, a fully implemented Clean Power Plan could have prevented: 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths; 140,000 to 150,000 asthma attacks in children; and 2,700 to 2,800 hospital admissions….

Dan Misleh said, “Administrator Pruitt’s decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan will likely increase premature deaths and put public health—particularly in poorer neighbourhoods near power plants—at risk across the United States. The decision will also exacerbate human-forced climate change that disproportionately harms the poor and marginalized at home and around the world. As people of faith committed to protect human life and promote human dignity, especially of the poor and vulnerable, we are deeply disappointed by this action and call on the Trump administration to re-evaluate this decision and keep the air clean and healthy for all.”

Scott Wright Director, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach:

The Columban Center opposes the EPA’s decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan. Columban missionaries working across the globe have witnessed the horrible devastation carbon pollution wreaks on the earth and the vulnerable. This administration continues to demonstrate that they do not appreciate the extent to which the insatiable energy demands of our economy are tearing apart the web of life, with disastrous consequences for future generations.

We encourage the administration to think creatively about how we can replace fossil fuels with renewable energies. We can take care of our workers, our vulnerable, and our environment all at once. What we can no longer afford to do is ignore the realities before us and place profits over people, the interest of a small few over the good of everyone.

Sr. Patricia McDermott, President, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas:

Our sisters in Latin America, the Caribbean and the Philippines who are experiencing melting glaciers, rising sea levels and devastating storms have been calling on us in the United States to urge our government to take strong measures to address climate change. The decision by the Trump Administration to override the Clean Power Plan is totally immoral and death dealing. It blatantly denies climate science and the public health impact data. Most of all, it ignores the cry of the Earth, our common home, and the cry of the most impacted peoples, including here in the United States, where low-income communities of color are disproportionately located near polluting industries that contribute to climate change. We now urge members of Congress to claim leadership on this critical life issue and urgently work together to implement bold climate solutions that future generations will point to with gratitude.


Bishop Robert McElroy: Respect and Defend Life

Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego writes:

The month of October is “Respect Life Month” and, while our respect for life as disciples of Jesus Christ ranges from euthanasia to the death penalty to global poverty, the issue of abortion must always demand pivotal attention in American society today. This profound obligation to sustain our attention to abortion flows from the gravity of the taking of innocent human life, which is at the core of every direct abortion and from the continuing refusal of the United States to enact the most elementary legal protections for unborn children.

You can read his full article here.


Trump’s Latest Attempt to Destroy Obamacare

via NY Times:

President Trump will scrap subsidies to health insurance companies that help pay out-of-pocket costs of low-income people, the White House said late Thursday. His plans were disclosed hours after the president ordered potentially sweeping changes in the nation’s insurance system, including sales of cheaper policies with fewer benefits and fewer protections for consumers.

The twin hits to the Affordable Care Act could unravel President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement, sending insurance premiums soaring and insurance companies fleeing from the health law’s online marketplaces. After Republicans failed to repeal the health law in Congress, Mr. Trump appears determined to dismantle it on his own.

Without the subsidies, insurance markets could quickly unravel. Insurers have said they will need much higher premiums and may pull out of the insurance exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act if the subsidies were cut off. Known as cost-sharing reduction payments, the subsidies were expected to total $9 billion in the coming year and nearly $100 billion in the coming decade.


Pope Francis: Be Defenders of Life, Guardians of Creation

Via Zenit:

We should all feel the great responsibility to properly guard creation and to care for it, protecting it from various forms of degradation. We have the task of preserving and delivering to the future generations the planet which we received as a free gift from the goodness of God. In the face of the ecological crisis we are experiencing, the prospect of the gift received and delivered to those who will come after us is a reason for commitment and hope….

Be men and women, boys and girls, who are defenders of life, guardians of creation, witnesses of the love given that generates good fruits for the community.


Pope Francis Calls for Total Opposition to the Death Penalty

via CNS:

The death penalty, no matter how it is carried out, “is, in itself, contrary to the Gospel,” Pope Francis said.

Marking the 25th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church at the Vatican Oct. 11, Pope Francis said the catechism’s discussion of the death penalty, already formally amended by St. John Paul II, needs to be even more explicitly against capital punishment.

Capital punishment, he said, “heavily wounds human dignity” and is an “inhuman measure.”

“It is, in itself, contrary to the Gospel, because a decision is voluntarily made to suppress a human life, which is always sacred in the eyes of the Creator and of whom, in the last analysis, only God can be the true judge and guarantor,” the pope said.

The death penalty, he said, not only extinguishes a human life, it extinguishes the possibility that the person, recognizing his or her errors, will request forgiveness and begin a new life.

The church’s position on the death penalty, he said, is one example of how church teaching is not static, but grows and deepens along with a growth in faith and in response to modern questions and concerns.

In the past, when people did not see any other way for society to defend itself against serious crime and when “social maturity” was lacking, he said, people accepted the death penalty as “a logical consequence of the application of justice.”


Why Pro-Life Progressives Are Pro-Life

via Kristen Day:

Pro-life Democrats oppose abortion because we believe that it constitutes the direct taking of innocent human life. We see it as a violation of human rights, as something that is incompatible with social justice, and as an unjust alternative to delivering social justice to poor and working-class women, men, and families.

These are social concerns. Abortion is not simply a matter of individual morality. It is not comparable to Catholics abstaining from meat during Lent or Muslims fasting during Ramadan. For many opponents of abortion, particularly for those pro-life millennials who are not members of any organized religion, abortion is not a religious issue at all.

And for those who are religious, it is a social issue in the same way that various social causes were for religious abolitionists, suffragists, reformers, and Civil Rights Movement leaders and activists.

For someone who is pro-life, it makes no sense to value one’s own child but not one’s neighbor’s child or the child of a poor single mother across town. It makes no sense to abhor violence against some unborn children but to look the other way when the lives of other children are extinguished.

Is someone a good neighbor if she keeps her own kids safe from cars but says nothing as a neighbor’s child recklessly darts in and out of a busy street? Is someone really a progressive if he keeps his own kids safe from abusing drugs but is wholly indifferent to an opioid crisis that destroys more and more lives? Is someone a good person if she or he would never own a slave, but refuses to impose that moral conviction on others who exploit people through the trafficking of human beings?

The purpose of law is to enforce our understanding of what is good for society — what helps people to flourish, what keeps them safe, what keeps them from being able to freely harm others. This is why we support everything from progressive taxation to a social safety net to laws against drunk driving.