Churches are dying across South Carolina — but the Catholic Church is thriving
A better title for John A. Ralph’s op-ed “Why should I continue to support the Catholic Church?” is, “Why support Archbishop Lori?”
Ralph seems to imply that being a Catholic is a voluntary association he establishes with “the Catholic Church” and, like other associations, is conditional on the satisfactory provision services by the church.
I became a Catholic with the reception of baptism, which included vows and entering a covenant with one God in Three Persons. Accordingly, although not a good person, I am a member of the Body of Christ. And the Catholic Church, the Bride of Christ, became my mother. I have received from this church an intimate encounter with the living God, and an outpouring of love and grace through the sacraments and liturgies.
There are sinners, like me, in the church. Some of them are laity, some are clerics. How should I react to scandals in the church? Pray. Fast. Give alms. Ask for and expect to hear the truth about what happened. I have an obligation to be prudent in contributing to charities, including at the parish, diocese, and universal level. My duty to be charitable, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc., is not negotiable. Jesus promises as much.
If clerics abuse their office, they face a more severe judgment than my checkbook could ever exact. I believe Jesus’s promises about the church and I am thankful that the graces poured out upon the world and me do not depend on the sanctity of clerics.
Consider the source on global temp data
The contributor of the letter “Check data on global temps” relies on studies conducted by Anthony Watts, a meteorologist. Before buying into Watts’ theories or conclusions, consider the source.
Watts rejects the scientific consensus on climate change. He attended meteorology courses at Purdue University, but did not graduate or receive a degree.
Watts is a signatory to the Leipzig Declaration and the Manhattan Declaration, which calls for the immediate halt to any tax-funded attempts to counteract climate change or reduce CO2 emissions, and suggests the consensus among climate scientists is “false.”
In 2007, Watts launched the Surface Stations project, encouraging volunteers to take photographs of weather stations in the U.S. Historical Climatology Network to record their condition. In March 2009 the Heartland Institute published an illustrated report authored by Watts, in which he argued that the surface temperature record in the United States was inaccurate and that the actual temperature was lower than reported.
In the 1990s, the Heartland Institute worked with the tobacco company Philip Morris to attempt to discredit the health risks of secondhand smoke and to lobby against smoking bans. In the decade after 2000, the Heartland Institute became a leading promoter of climate change denial.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration investigated the matter. While acknowledging the suboptimal conditions of many stations, NOAA concluded in 2010 that any bias had been nearly eliminated by their models, which compared stations over regions and time. To the very limited extent that there was any measurement bias, it was in the opposite direction of what Watts expected: stations that were considered poorly situated reported slightly cooler temperatures.
Like I said, consider the source.
C. Lee Anderson
Hilton Head Island
Calling people ‘anti-American’ a sign of weak argument
I realized that the letter to the editor titled “Energy vital to America” was written by a supporter of President Donald Trump and so expected it would reflect the president’s views on energy. Therefore, when the letter argued that economic prosperity and energy use go together, I was not surprised that the author would then strongly support the heavy use of fossil fuels by the United States. I do not agree with the latter, but I respect his right as a citizen of this incredible country to hold and support that view.
However, I was stunned when it stated that, “The extremist politicians promoting the ‘Green New Deal’ are anti-American.” Such a statement shows an unfortunate lack of understanding of the roots of our democracy, its Constitution and what it means to be an American.
The United States is relatively unique in that we celebrate the rights of our fellow citizens to hold views that we as individuals may disagree with and even oppose. So long as an individual’s views do not violate our laws or the rights of others, they are free to espouse them.
Thus, when making an argument for a particular viewpoint, if one stoops to attack the patriotism of those in opposition, it only shows that his or her argument is woefully weak. A resort to name-calling is the refuge of someone short of facts and logic to support his or her viewpoint.
Hilton Head Island
Social Security Trust Fund is a fraud
You recently published a long, detailed, and at times excruciating account of how the Social Security Trust Fund will go broke in 15 years if certain “reforms,” i.e., cutting benefits, are not instituted before then.
Well, let me tell you, people, there is no Social Security Trust Fund, if “trust fund” implies a stash of cash that can be used to continue paying benefits at the current level as payment outflows gradually overtake receipts.
Fact of retirement financial life: there is no such stash of cash.
For many years, the U.S. Treasury, with the permission and connivance of Congress, has “borrowed” the baby boomer generation’s excess Social Security withholdings and issued non-negotiable Treasury bonds in their place. Those bonds are nothing more than IOU’s held in a Treasury debt management office drawer in Martinsburg, West Virginia.
As more baby boomers retire, those bonds must be redeemed. The money needed to redeem them will come from general revenues, thereby exacerbating an already huge and growing federal budget deficit.
So what’s to be done? Rather than raise additional revenues by uncapping the existing Social Security withholding limit, our faux fiscally-responsible Congress will turn to recommending benefit cuts, while at the same time appealing to the baby boomer generation’s better angels of our nature to gracefully accept benefit cuts as the right thing to do for future generations.
Well, that’s not going to happen as long as this baby boomer is alive and continues to expose the Social Security Trust as the fraud that it is.
To Joe Biden: ‘Hang ’em up’
In a recent op-ed, “Biden: A heretic among Dems?,” Marc Thiessen points out that Joe Biden, who has been on and around Capitol Hill for more than 40 years, is at odds with the uncompromising neo-socialist left who are now driving the agenda in the Democratic primary campaign. Biden commands a hefty lead in the opinion polls but Thiessen believes that as the campaign heats up he will be challenged on his middle ground/consensus approach to politics.
The former vice president has lots of political baggage that can be used against him, including his support of the 1994 Crime Act and the North American Free Trade Act, the Anita Hill fiasco and his middle-ground stance on climate change. The debate season will be ablaze with fireworks.
If Biden does win the nomination, he will then have to face the wrath of President Donald Trump. Stories printed in The New York Times regarding Biden’s son Hunter’s involvement with a Ukrainian natural gas company that was under investigation for corruption while the former vice president was conducting diplomatic policy with the Ukraine will be front and center in the mind of Trump. I am sure the word “collusion” will be tossed around.
I think Biden missed his shot at the presidency in 2016. He was the sitting vice president and was generally liked by the electorate. He would have been a legitimate threat to then-candidate Trump.
My humble advice for Joe: “Hang ’em up old man ... it’s over.”
J. Dexter Pickard
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