243 Years after our Founding – The State of the States

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You may have heard about the openly homosexual Pennsylvania lawmaker who posted a video of himself trying to shame a woman saying the rosary outside of a Planned Parenthood clinic.  One can’t help but wonder how such individuals get elected to public office.

The lawmaker, Brian Sims, “has represented the 182nd district of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives since 2013.”  He’s one of those individuals who likes to tell others to be tolerant but is himself intolerant.

Which one of the 50 states do you call home?  Are you happy with your state’s lawmakers, the way your state is being run, and the direction in which your state is headed?

Belief in God

The state constitutions of 39* of the 50 states make it clear that we should be grateful to God for our freedom and liberties.  It says so right in the preambles of the constitutions.

In four other states (New Hampshire, Vermont, Virginia, and Oregon) a belief in God is not called out in the constitution preambles, (three of these state constitutions do not have preambles), but these four states do profess a belief in God in their constitutions.  The Vermont and Virginia constitutions even mention Christians and Christianity.

So 43 out of the 50 states proclaim a belief in God.  ‘A rose by any other name’ may apply in 6 of the remaining 7 states.  The preambles of 6** of these states acknowledge gratitude to the Supreme Ruler, Divine Providence, or as the Massachusetts Constitution says, “the great Legislator of the universe.”

Only Oklahoma does not mention God in its state constitution.  Oklahoma’s constitution does, however, make it clear that freedom of religion is a right.  The Oklahoma constitution says in Section I-2 that “Perfect toleration of religious sentiment shall be secured, and no inhabitant of the State shall ever be molested in person or property on account of his or her mode of religious worship; and no religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.”

Do God’s Truths still matter? 

God, religion, and God’s truths mattered to the framers of the various state constitutions, just as it did to our nation’s Founding Fathers.  But over the last 100 or so years, that seems to have changed.  Socialistic, modernistic, relativistic, atheistic, progressive’ thinking took hold and began to spread.  Advances in science and technology fed into mankind’s collective hubris.  It’s a modern day version of the lesson from the Tower of Babel story in Genesis Chapter 11, but the lesson is being ignored.

Thanks to a progressive U.S. Supreme Court same-sex ‘marriage’ is now legal in all states, and polygamy could be just around the corner.  But it’s not just such august bodies as SCOTUS that are redefining truth and our culture.  Our problems today are local as well as national, with liberal states leading the charge.   In just the last few months California has attempted to enact legislation making the sanctity of the Confessional illegal, and restricting how pastors may talk about or counsel people on LGBT matters.

Even the state’s department of education and local school boards are getting in on the act.

California recently adopted a new K-12 sex education curriculum that has many parents up in arms.  Dr. Michael Brown opined that the new curriculum is so bad that “It’s Time for California Parents to Defy the Law.”

California’s Rocklin Unified School District went a step further, approving an LGBTQ-infused curriculum for K through 5 kids.  The geniuses on the school board, despite protests from hundreds of parents, decided that little kids need to know that some current prominent figures live an immoral lifestyle and that some historical figures chose to do so as well.  In other words, the school board is helping the LGBTQ activists in their quest to ‘make gay ok.’

A spiritual war is upon us

As CS staffer Peter Darcy wrote recently, “By now, only a comatose person is unaware of the cultural and political divisions in our country.

“While there are many contributing factors to this problem, the main reason, I believe, is that we are in a spiritual war. And it is one that we cannot afford to sit out.”

While our true “citizenship is in heaven” (Phil 3:20), we as Catholics, as the Catechism tells us, do have a duty and an obligation to take part in The Human Community: “1915 As far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life.”

State legislatures

Do you live in one of the 10 states in the country that have a full time legislature?  Forty out of the 50 states in this country are getting by without full time legislatures, including the huge state of Texas.  This should be pretty conclusive proof that states do not need a full time legislature.  Maybe voters in the ten states with full time legislatures should be petitioning for ballot proposals to change their state legislatures to part time legislatures.

Five of the states with full time legislatures are blue (Democratic) states – California, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York.  One of the states, Alaska, is traditionally a red (Republican) state.

Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin are the other states with full time legislatures.  These states are swing states in presidential elections – sometimes they are red, sometimes blue.  Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Virginia are also swing states.  The results of presidential elections often hinge on how voters in the swing states vote.  If you live in a swing state you should really pay attention to what the candidates you intend to vote for stand for.

Fifteen states also have term limits:  Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.

In theory term limits are a good thing.  They keep less than trustworthy politicians from becoming too entrenched.  But they can also keep those who truly have a desire to do good from effecting needed changes.   In reality, term limits may just make it a little bit harder for politicians to become “career” politicians.

Pay attention – Michigan as an example

I live in Michigan so I try to pay close attention to what is happening politically in the state, and I try my best to research the beliefs of each candidate I vote for.

The latest talk in Michigan is about a hefty increase to the tax on gasoline.  The money is needed, our new Democratic governor says, to fix Michigan’s crumbling roads.  One of the reasons our new governor, Gretchen Whitmer, got elected was that she ‘promised’ to fix the state’s crumbling roads.

Be careful what you wish for

Michigan roads have been crumbling for 30 years.  With all her experience, Whitmer should know that the only way to fix the roads in Michigan is for the legislature to pass legislation changing the formula for funding roads and road repairs.  But this won’t happen because the reps from the rural parts of the state like the current formula, and the roads aren’t crumbling in the rural areas – they’re only crumbling in the urban areas.  So it’s doubtful the formula will get changed.  And if the new governor can’t change the formula all she can do is look for ways to increase revenue.  That means more/higher taxes.

Whitmer is a perfect example of how politicians can still thrive in a state with term limits.  She served as a state representative and then as a state senator for 14 of the 30 years the state’s roads have been crumbling.  She was even the senate minority leader.  Now she’s got at least four years as governor.

The Michiganders who voted for Whitmer didn’t do their homework.  And if the still Republican Michigan legislature passes any pro-life bills, they are probably doomed.  Whitmer says she will veto them.

More consequences of not paying attention

Michigan also has a new Attorney General (AG) – a woman, also a Democrat, who is openly lesbian.  The new AG, Dana Nessel, recently halted all funding for adoption and foster care agencies that refuse services to same-sex couples based on religious conscience grounds.  This would include Catholic agencies that refuse to place children with homosexual or lesbian couples.

According to a local television news report there are 13,000 children in the foster care system in Michigan waiting to be adopted.  Does it make sense to shut down experienced, adoption agencies with high success rates that want to place kids in homes with both a mother and father?  Nessel must think it does.  Either that or her anti-Christian/anti-Catholic bias is overriding her common sense.

Nessel has already made her anti-Catholic bias pretty clear.  Her very first press conference as AG was to announce an investigation into “Clergy Abuse in the Catholic Church.”

Nessel is also forming a hate crimes unit to investigate organizations that appear on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) list of ‘haters.’  Some Catholics may not realize it but SPLC ‘haters’ include organizations such as The Family Research Council, the American College of Pediatricians, the American Family Association, Catholic Family Ministries, Inc., the Center for Family and Human Rights, Immaculate Heart of Mary Media, The Remembrance Project, The Remnant Press, the Ruth Institute, the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and Church Militant.  Investigating these organizations will certainly be taxpayer money down the drain.

City governments

Money is also being wasted locally as local municipalities promote anti-Catholic/Christian beliefs.  The city of East Lansing, MI is a case in point.

East Lansing is right next door to Lansing, the state’s capital.  The city of East Lansing banned farmer Steve Tennes from selling his produce at a local farmer’s market because of Tennes’ Catholic belief that marriage is a sacrament joining a man and woman.  Tennes refused to let a homosexual rent his farm for their ‘wedding,’ so Tennes was pronounced a homophobe – a ‘hater’ of homosexuals – and was banned by the city from the farmer’s market.  With the ban the city opened itself up to a lawsuit.

Tennes, with help from the non-profit Alliance Defending Freedom, has taken the city of East Lansing to Court.  Tennes’ religious beliefs were supposedly called “ridiculous, horrible, [and] hateful” by one member of the East Lansing city council.

Education

Michigan is also one of 38 states that have a Blaine amendment in its constitution.  Blaine amendments are nasty little pieces of anti-Catholic bigotry that found their way into many state constitutions in the late 1800s.  Introduced primarily by Republicans, these amendments were designed to prevent any tax dollars going to “sectarian schools.”  While there is still some debate over the meaning of the word “sectarian,” the general consensus was and still is that sectarian meant “Catholic.”

It’s possible that Blaine amendments will one day be declared unconstitutional by SCOTUS.  After all, same sex ‘marriage’ is now legal, so as the kid in the movie Angles in the Outfield said, “It could happen.”

As the 14 states without Blaine amendments in their constitutions show, religious schools augment public schools systems and can actually save states money.  In the small state of Rhode Island, for instance, one of the 12 states without a Blaine amendment, Catholic schools alone save the state $200 million per year.  Imagine how much money could be saved in larger, more highly populated states if the Blaine amendments were done away with.

Stay Informed

It’s too bad more Catholics (and other Christians as well) in Michigan didn’t do their homework before they voted in 2018. But they also should have done their homework when a proposed amendment to the state constitution was on the ballot in 1970.  The 1970 proposal would have changed the state’s constitution and done away with the Blaine amendment.

Parents in Michigan and in the other 38 states with Blaine Amendments in their constitutions, who want their children to get a solid religious education, pay taxes to support public schools that their children are not even attending.  Then they willingly pay whatever the tuition cost is to send their children to faith-based grade schools and high schools.

What’s really sad about all this is that the State of Michigan’s Constitution Preamble professes to be grateful to God: “We, the people of the State of Michigan, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom, and earnestly desiring to secure these blessings undiminished to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution.”  Some of Michigan’s elected office holders seem pretty determined to diminish those blessings by turning the state away from God’s truths.

Get to work

How are things going in your state?  Michigan and the states of New York, Illinois, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin, all states with Democratic governors, seem to be turning their backs on God, but states like Louisiana are  trying to honor God and His truths.

Next year we will all be going to the polls to make our voices heard.  It’s not too soon to start thinking about issues that are important and researching the candidates who want your vote at a local, state, and federal level.  Don’t waste your vote.

All too often these days we are faced with a voting conundrum.  More often than not we end up having to vote for the lesser of two evils at a local, state and federal level.  But remember that as Catholics we should always vote to do the most good and avoid the most evil.  Pro-abortion politicians say killing babies is not wrong.  But taking an innocent human life – killing a baby – is the epitome of evil.  And as anyone who watched both of the recent Democratic presidential candidate debates found out, every one of the Democratic candidates is in favor of killing babies.

The most famous baby killer of all (no, not Kermit Gosnell) was King Herod the Great.  The Bible does not give us the details of his death but the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus does in his Antiquities of the Jews, Book 17, Chapter 6, Paragraph 5.  He died a painful and horrible death, which, says Josephus was, due to “God’s judgment upon him for his sins.”

Vote Catholic

As CS writer Steffani Jacobs advised last year, When it comes to Politics Catholics should all be ‘Independents.’  Don’t vote ‘ideology.’  And don’t vote Republican or Democrat just because that’s the way you’ve always voted.  As CS writer Marty Dybicz said, we should all be Voting Catholic.  Vote for candidates who are God-fearing, virtuous, and moral.

 

* The 39 states professing a belief in God in the preambles of their state constitutions are:  Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

** These 6 states are:  Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Missouri, Washington, and West Virginia.

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7 thoughts on “243 Years after our Founding – The State of the States”

  1. It is unfortunate, but a fact, that the branch of the gay community that supports “pride” events, outlandish behavior and bizarre dress suffers a disorder known as whinneyitis. It is manifest by erratic behavior, narcissistic statements and generalized complaining about unfairness. The rest of the gay community who simply want to lead a conventional lifestyle and be accepted on the same basis as any other person, is ill served by these antics. Regrettably, some of the former are given to loud public comment that simply reinforces belief among many of the negative image that attaches to the gay world in general.

  2. Pingback: LATE FRIDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit

  3. It is hardly ‘dripping with contempt’ regarding the term ‘homosexual’ when the homosexual lobby doesn’t differentiate between the temptation of homosexuality and acting upon that temptation. They conflate the two and automatically confer the non-meaning ‘homophobe’ on anybody who doesn’t support the temptation and act as a whole.

    (Excellent stats on a worthy column)

  4. Your references to “homosexual” and “lesbian” are dripping with contempt. Homophobia is not Catholic.

    Also you didn’t point out that what Sims did was against the live-and-let-live policy of Planned Parenthood, was widely condemned by both sides, and he’s has to resign his seat.

    By contrast, if he had not just betrayed them but actually slugged them, that would have been a winning electoral strategy if he were a Republican. We see this in Montana and with our current President (who encouraged his supporters to assault protesters).

    1. You are confusing sadness that some of God’s children are openly living immoral lives with contempt. I do, however, have little respect for anyone who resorts to name calling or ad hominem attacks. I also pity those who deny God’s truths and those who try to convince others that immorality – sinfulness – is okay.

      Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortions in the country, has a “live and let live policy?” Seriously?

    2. Nothing I wrote was ad hominem or name calling.

      You are certainly familiar with Montana Rep. Gianforte, who assaulted a reporter, for which he was complimented by President Trump at a rally. And who did not lose any support in his quest for reelection. And Trump saying at his rallies that if anyone gets arrested for assaulting a protestor, he will pay the legal bills.

      The problem is you confine your newsgathering to biased sites which are practically guaranteed to either lie to you or give only part of the story. Planned Parenthood has long had a live-and-let-live policy as to protestors. PP employees, nor anyone claiming to support PP, are not to bother them, and certainly not assault them or berate them as Mr. Sims did.

      PP’s “strict non-engagement policy” is mentioned in a story I got from a more objective source,
      https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Pro-Life-Demonstrators-Planned-Parenthood-Brian-Sims-509749301.html

      See also
      https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/planned-parenthood-we-do-not-condone-state-lawmaker-approaching-anti-abortion-protesters/ar-AAB2t9A

      See also
      https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/442545-planned-parenthood-we-do-not-condone-state-lawmaker-approaching-anti

      See also
      https://apnews.com/95c79e1c560b460f881f71f202b8ed57

      See also, etc., etc.,

    3. While your statement “Homophobia is not Catholic” can certainly be called a general statement, given the context in which the statement was made the implication is clear.
      “Non-engagement” does not equal “live and let live.” PP has been trying to get peaceful protesters banned from protesting anywhere near their ‘clinics’ for years. Also, NBC, MSN and AP are not good examples of objective reporting. I’ll take the Catholic News Agency over these sources any day of the week.
      Finally, I used Sims as an example for one reason – he is typical of those who demand tolerance yet are themselves intolerant. Gianforte’s assault of the Guardian reporter and Trump’s comments regarding Gianforte are irrelevant to this example. You are making an apples to oranges comparison.

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