Month: March 2017

Mo Brooks was correct to oppose phony repeal-and-replace bill

The few conservatives we have in Congress have suddenly found themselves caught in a traditional V-shaped ambush, with bands of intersecting fire coming from both Republicans and Democrats. From the establishment's left, their efforts to repeal Obamacare were called unconscionable, cruel and even corrupt. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said it represented "a merciless assault on working families." But conservatives were only trying to save the healthcare market from an inevitable financial death spiral that'd leave those families with the type of substandard care seen in most European nations. From the establishment's right, their pledge to vote against its poorly written replacement - the American Health Care Act - was also described as too demanding, puritanical, and even disloyal. President Donald Trump, reeling after the bill's defeat, sent this tweet: "Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Ocare!" But conservatives were only trying to keep the promise they (and Trump) made to repeal - in its entirety - Obamacare, and not simply tweak the program here and there. Regardless of what the establishment may think, Americans owe a debt of gratitude to most of the members of the Freedom Caucus, and especially to U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks of Hunstville. Brooks, along with every Republican member of our state's Congressional delegation, promised that he'd vote to repeal Obamacare when given the chance. But when push came to shove, only Brooks kept that promise, and…

Former protestant pastors could strengthen the Catholic Church

As a devout Roman Catholic born and raised among the evangelicals of the Bible Belt, it's clear to me that our two communities have tied the issue of celibacy and marriage for our pastors into a Gordian knot of traditions, contradictions, and exclusions. On one end of that knot, Catholic priests are officially required to be celibate. I wonder what Saint Peter would say about this, especially since he was married (Matthew 8:14-15). There may be a few dozen married priests, but they entered the church through an extremely narrow exception for former Episcopal pastors or those from denominations with Anglican roots. On the knot's other end, protestant ministers are effectively required, or at least strongly expected, to marry. I don't have to wonder what Saint Paul would say about this because he not only practiced celibacy, he advocated for it (1 Corinthians 7:27-34). Sure, there isn't any such rule requiring protestant pastors to marry, but I ask you, if scripture says it's preferred, or at least acceptable, then where are all of the celibate protestant ministers? Even if one or two prominent examples come to mind, their scarcity is the exception that proves the rule. This knot has doubtlessly prevented many men from answering the call, either those Catholics who, like Saint Peter, are also called to marriage, or those protestants who, like Saint Paul, are also called to celibacy (a celibate protestant pastor would also lack the support structure that communities of priests like the Franciscans or Jesuits…

Conservatism rejects the central planning behind Obamacare reform

Conservatives, don’t be deceived. Any attempt by Republicans in Congress to ensure that all Americans have affordable health care coverage will simply extend and further complicate the mess left by Obamacare. But that’s exactly what’s happening, at least according to House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers. “Let me be clear,” she said earlier this year when top Republicans were drafting the reform bill behind closed doors. “No one who has coverage because of Obamacare today will lose that coverage. We’re providing relief. We aren’t going to pull the rug out from anyone.” Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price echoed that undeliverable promise last weekend. “I firmly believe that nobody will be worse off financially in the process that we’re going through,” Price said when asked about the bill on Sunday. He added, “We’ll have more individuals covered.” Conservatives know these statements cannot be true for many reasons, but chiefly because they run headlong against one of our movement’s guiding beliefs: our principle of imperfectability. The late Russell Kirk observed that when a society seeks to make things perfect – everybody having excellent health care, for instance – things usually end very badly. The only equality such schemes achieve is by dragging everyone into the gutter together. “To seek for utopia is to end in disaster, the conservative says: we are not made for perfect things,” Kirk wrote. “All that we reasonably can expect is a tolerably ordered, just, and free society, in which some evils, maladjustments, and suffering…