June 22, 2018
This week we'll pause in our analysis of the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
Today our special guest will be Norm Chouinard, a community banker and ASP member from Connecticut. Some months ago, Norm led an "Open Door" panel on the banking and finance section of the ASP party platform, and he was very helpful.
This week he'll be our "go to guy" on the recent Vatican document on finance and social responsibility...right down to our next shopping trip.
We'll also discuss the annual ASP National Committee election, which starts today.
June 15, 2018
We'll first return to our discussion of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. On its 70th anniversary, the Declaration calls for understanding and action. We ran out of time last week, so this week we'll return to Article 12.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
What are the implications of this with regard to:
1) Drug use
3) Domestic violence
Later in the hour, we'll talk about the American Solidarity Party's upcoming election for its National Committee.
June 8, 2018
We'll first return to our discussion of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. On its 70th anniversary, the Declaration calls for understanding and action. This week we'll look closely at...
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
What are the implications of this with regard to:
1) Drug use
3) Domestic violence
4) Libel and slander
5) Telephone and electronic communication
Later in the hour, we'll talk about how American Solidarity Party candidates and friends fared in this week's California primary election.
June 1, 2018
Special Show: Preparing for the June Primary, Part II. The American Solidarity Party Candidates - Desmond Silveira (running for governor of California), Brian Carroll (22nd Congressional District), Ed Rushman (46th Congressional District), and Kevin Egger (San Diego City Council - District 6).
With special guest John Quirk.
May 25, 2018
Special Show: Preparing for the June Primary, Part I. The American Solidarity Party Candidates - Desmond Silveira (running for governor of California), Brian Carroll (22nd Congressional District), Ed Rushman (46th Congressional District), and Kevin Egger (San Diego City Council - District 6).
May 18, 2018
We'll first return to the UN Declaration on Human Rights, the 70th anniversary of which we celebrate this year. We'll move ahead to the next four articles.
Later in the hour, there will be an update on the American Solidarity Party with news both on the California Four and our upcoming national convention.
There's more! Would you believe that we are again offering, to all of our call-in guests, a complementary box of Powder Milk Biscuits? Remember: these biscuits give shy people the strength to do what needs to be done!
May 11, 2018
We continue with our panel discussion of the UN Declaration on Human Rights. It's the 70th anniversary of of this challenging document. This week we focus on...
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
1. What should this mean?
2. How do we treat the stateless? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statelessness
3. How do we treat non-US citizens who are citizens elsewhere?
We'll also update what's new with the American Solidarity Party of California.
May 4, 2018
Join us as we discuss the UN Declaration on Human Rights. Our focus is...
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.
What are the impacts of this article on public welfare?
What are the impacts of this article on criminal justice?
What are the impacts of this article on prisoners of war?
We'll also check in on the political efforts of the American Solidarity Party of California and its friends.
Torture is a Moral Issue: A Study Guide
April 27, 2018
This week we'll discuss the next article of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Its ongoing violation is heartbreaking.
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
1. What kinds of slavery do we still have today?
2. What is being done about it?
Toward the close of the hour, we'll review the ongoing work of the American Solidarity Part of California.
For those who are hesitant to call-in, we recommend...Powder Milk Biscuits. Remember: They give shy people the strength to do what needs to be done---which is a lot.
April 20, 2018
This week we continue our discussion of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. We will focus on Article 3. "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person."
We will ask:
April 13, 2018
This week we continue our discussion of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. We will focus on Article 2: "Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty." We will ask:
April 6, 2018
This week, with co-host Matthew Bartko, we continue our discussion of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. We will focus on Article 1.
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."
We will ask ourselves:
March 30, 2018 - GOOD FRIDAY
This week we will begin with a time of contemplation for good friday then start our new series looking at the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We will be asking:
1) Based on the preamble is there a need for this declaration?
2) Why is article 30 needed?
Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,
Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,
Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,
Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction."
"Article 30. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein."
Also, we'll have an update on ASP So Cal candidates.
March 23, 2018
First, we'll take a careful look at nature and the natural. Some weeks ago we discussed ecological concerns (Feb. 9). But we need to dig deeper. A few questions come immediately to mind.
Second, we'll have an update on the American Solidarity Party's political efforts in California!
Matthew Bartko was born and raised in Pennsylvania, grew up as a member of the Baptist Church and remains active in it. In college, he studied secondary education before switching to sociology. Since then, he has married and worked in sales and customer service. Several years ago, he became frustrated with the seeming lack of caring from Republicans and the sense of amorality from the Democrats. Finding himself politically “homeless," he researched his options and came to the American Solidarity Party. He now dedicates his time to growing the movement of pro-life for the whole life politicians who reject entrenched politics on the left and right.
March 16, 2018
The American Solidarity Party has a clear platform plank on civil rights. In fact, we discussed it several months ago. Still, we need to dig deeper. So this Friday let's first discuss:
This year is the 70th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Universal Human Rights. In working on an essay for a volume celebrating this anniversary, a pair of reflections struck me as especially important. The attachment is from Vaclav Havel. The second is from Benedict XVI.
As we know "rights advocacy" is central to our current political efforts. So, secondly, we'll have an update on Solidarity Party campaigns in Southern California.
March 9, 2018
Let's discuss leisure and the Sabbath. Let's consider, too, how Christians in politics might lead the way in building a social order alive to the good of contemplation.
We'll begin with Scripture. What was the first demand Moses made of Pharoah? What is its significance for us?
Two sources from which we can draw are St. John Paul II's apostolic exhortation Dies Domini and Joseph Pieper's modern classic Leisure, the Basis of Culture.
One of the most important philosophy titles published in the twentieth century, Joseph Pieper's Leisure, the Basis of Culture is more significant, even more crucial than it was when it first appeared fifty years ago. Pieper shows that Greeks understood and valued leisure, as did the medieval Europeans. He points out that religion can be born only in leisure. Leisure that allows time for the contemplation of the nature of God. Leisure has been, and always will be, the first foundation of any culture. He maintains that our bourgeois world of total labor has vanquished leisure, and issues a startling warning: Unless we regain the art of silence and insight, the ability for nonactivity, unless we substitute true leisure for our hectic amusements, we will destroy our cultureCand ourselves. These astonishing essays contradict all our pragmatic and puritanical conceptions about labor and leisure; Joseph Pieper demolishes the twentieth-century cult of Awork as he predicts its destructive consequences.
A third source: our own experience, including the experience of not having time to get very far in the above sources!
And, right, we'll be checking in with American Solidarity Party politics, especially in California.
March 2, 2018
What do young people want? Led by Ed Rushman with John Breen
A Quote from Janusz Korczak (Y-AH-n-oo-sh KÔR-chak)
“Children are not the people of tomorrow, but are people of today. They have a right to be taken seriously, and to be treated with tenderness and respect. They should be allowed to grow into whoever they were meant to be. 'The unknown person' inside of them is our hope for the future.”
― Janusz Korczak
Let's keep in mind that our young people are individuals, and not resort to labels. The Catholic faith holds both that we are individuals, each with a relationship to God and also that we are in community, whether two or three, or family, or extended family, village, or nation.
Each person is a universe of talents, desires, abilities, knowledge, traits, physical/emotional/spiritual/mental attributes, capable of immense love but also sadness, anger, joy, boredom, excitement or any other human experience. Yet we all share a desire for meaning, to give and receive love, to live fully.
The Catechism (pick one and share your thoughts if you wish)
2688 The catechesis of children, young people, and adults aims at teaching them to meditate on The Word of God in personal prayer, practicing it in liturgical prayer, and internalizing it at all times in order to bear fruit in a new life. Catechesis is also a time for the discernment and education of popular piety. The memorization of basic prayers offers an essential support to the life of prayer, but it is important to help learners savor their meaning.
2203 In creating man and woman, God instituted the human family and endowed it with its fundamental constitution. Its members are persons equal in dignity.
2206 The relationships within the family bring an affinity of feelings, affections and interests, arising above all from the members' respect for one another.
2208 The family should live in such a way that its members learn to care and take responsibility for the young, the old, the sick, the handicapped, and the poor.
The duties of parents
2221 The fecundity of conjugal love cannot be reduced solely to the procreation of children, but must extend to their moral education and their spiritual formation. "The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute."29 The right and the duty of parents to educate their children are primordial and inalienable.30
2222 Parents must regard their children as children of God and respect them as human persons. Showing themselves obedient to the will of the Father in heaven, they educate their children to fulfill God's law.
2223 Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery - the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the "material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones."31 Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them: Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.33
2224 The home is the natural environment for initiating a human being into solidarity and communal responsibilities. Parents should teach children to avoid the compromising and degrading influences which threaten human societies.
2225 Through the grace of the sacrament of marriage, parents receive the responsibility and privilege of evangelizing their children. Parents should initiate their children at an early age into the mysteries of the faith of which they are the "first heralds" for their children. They should associate them from their tenderest years with the life of the Church.34 A wholesome family life can foster interior dispositions that are a genuine preparation for a living faith and remain a support for it throughout one's life.
2226 Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child's earliest years. This already happens when family members help one another to grow in faith by the witness of a Christian life in keeping with the Gospel. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith. Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God.35 The parish is the Eucharistic community and the heart of the liturgical life of Christian families; it is a privileged place for the catechesis of children and parents.
2227 Children in turn contribute to the growth in holiness of their parents.36 Each and everyone should be generous and tireless in forgiving one another for offenses, quarrels, injustices, and neglect. Mutual affection suggests this. The charity of Christ demands it.37
2228 Parents' respect and affection are expressed by the care and attention they devote to bringing up their young children and providing for their physical and spiritual needs. As the children grow up, the same respect and devotion lead parents to educate them in the right use of their reason and freedom.
2229 As those first responsible for the education of their children, parents have the right to choose a school for them which corresponds to their own convictions. This right is fundamental. As far as possible parents have the duty of choosing schools that will best help them in their task as Christian educators.38 Public authorities have the duty of guaranteeing this parental right and of ensuring the concrete conditions for its exercise.
2230 When they become adults, children have the right and duty to choose their profession and state of life. They should assume their new responsibilities within a trusting relationship with their parents, willingly asking and receiving their advice and counsel. Parents should be careful not to exert pressure on their children either in the choice of a profession or in that of a spouse. This necessary restraint does not prevent them - quite the contrary from giving their children judicious advice, particularly when they are planning to start a family.
1 Tim 4:11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Concerns about losing our youth
Challenges for youth
What do they seek?
How can we help?
About our guest host: Ed Rushman is a technical project manager and father of six grown children. He is currently running for Congress in the 46th California Congressional District. His Web site is www.rushman.org.
About our panelist: John Breen is currently an online student at Holy Apostles College & Seminary. Prior to attending Holy Apostles, he spent three years in Canada at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy (now Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College) where he studied the Liberal Arts. John will be graduating in the spring of 2018 with a double major in Theology and English in the Humanities. He hails from Joliet, IL and resides there with his parents and five siblings.
February 23, 2018
We'll first discuss the "trajectory" of our politics and the signs of our "interesting" times.
Fr. Thomas White, OP, get's us started.
"If the Church does not offer the human being more than life in this world, she offers the human being nothing that he cannot find elsewhere. By contrast, if there truly is a spiritual dimension to the human person, then not only is the spiritual adventure of human existence invested with transcendent purpose, but that purpose is to be found in the smallest details of temporal and civic life."
Then comes Archbishop Charles Chaput.
"Everyone is urged to develop an autonomous vision of one's self, distinct from the herd. But each one is also pressed to conform to the opinions and behaviors of the herd. This leads inevitably to the culture of simultaneous egotism and group think paraded before us in our daily news feeds."
Next we'll return to the Solidarity Party theme of subsidiarity. Our friend Zeb Bacelli offers this reflection.
About our panelists:
February 16, 2018
We'll discuss community-building in light of the principle of subsidiarity. In doing so, we'll consider the Benedict Option and the themes that it introduces. Some time ago, with a different panel, The Open Door explored the Benedict Option; you'll find attached the recording from that occasion as well as a recent interview with Rod Dreher, a leading advocate of "the Ben Op." See also the relevant items from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, one very general and the other very specific. As you might expect, we'll have an update on the campaigns of Solidarity Party candidates here in So Cal!
About our new panelist: John Breen is currently an online student at Holy Apostles College & Seminary. Prior to attending Holy Apostles, he spent three years in Canada at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy (now Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College) where he studied the Liberal Arts. John will be graduating in the spring of 2018 with a double major in Theology and English in the Humanities. He hails from Joliet, IL and resides there with his parents and five siblings.
February 9, 2018
This Friday let's first discuss some main points of Catholic teaching on nature and the environment. I'm attaching below a helpful PDF from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Gabriel Meyer's recent presentation at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology.
Both documents are fairly long. I invite you to focus our discussion by calling attention to a couple of points from either document that you find of special interest.
Then, later in the hour, let's turn our attention to the work of Solidarity Party candidates here in California. (Even CNN mentioned us in a recent news piece.)
February 2, 2018
Catholic Teaching and the Death Penalty
Catholic teaching offers a unique perspective on crime and punishment. It begins with the recognition that the dignity of the human person applies to both victims and offenders. It affirms our commitment to seek justice, comfort and support victims and their families, while acknowledging the God-given dignity of every human life, even for those who do great harm. Catholic teaching on human life is rooted in the belief that all life has inherent dignity and is a gift from God that must be respected and defended from conception until natural death.
In his encyclical The Gospel of Life, Pope John Paul II challenged followers of Christ to be “unconditionally pro life.” He reminded us that “the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform” (Gospel of Life, 27).
The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that “the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor. If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means” (CCC, 2267). The test of whether the death penalty can be used is not the gravity of the offense, but whether it is absolutely necessary to protect society. The Catechism adds that today “the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity ‘are very rare, if not practically nonexistent’” (CCC, 2267).
In 2005, the Catholic bishops of the United States issued, A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death. In the document the bishops stated that the gift of life must be respected and protected; “that every life is a precious gift from God (see Gn 2:7, 21-23) and that we are all created in God’s image and redeemed by Jesus Christ, who himself was crucified. They acknowledged that sentences such as “life in prison without parole” provide non-lethal alternatives and called for an end to the use of the death penalty in the United States, stating “it is time for our nation to abandon the illusion that we can protect life by taking life.” Ending the death penalty would be one important step away from a culture of death and toward building a culture of life. (United States Catholic Bishops, 2005. A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death)
From a Victim’s Family… “No one in our family ever wanted to see the killer of our brother and his wife put to death. We felt instinctively that vengeance wouldn’t alleviate our grief. We wanted this murderer in prison so he could never hurt another person. But wishing he would suffer and die would only have diminished us and shriveled our own souls. Hatred doesn’t heal. Every time the state kills a person, human society moves in the direction of its lowest, most base urges. We don’t have to make that choice. Our lawmakers have the capacity to help us abolish the death penalty and along with it, the fantasy that it will make the pain go away.” —Mary Bosco Van Valkenburg, whose brother and sister-in-law were murdered.
What You Can Do
Join the Catholic Mobilizing Network for the Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty to receive regular updates and information on what you can do to bring an end to the use of the death penalty in the United States. Go to www.catholicsmobilizing.org for more information. Copyright © 2011, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
January 26, 2018
From a Catholic perspective, let's first discuss the question of nuclear weapons. (See below a recent statement coming from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.)
Then we'll take some time to update efforts by "solidarity minded" candidates for public office in California!
An ethics and a law based on the threat of mutual destruction – and possibly the destruction of all mankind – are contradictory to the very spirit of the United Nations. We must therefore commit ourselves to a world without nuclear weapons, by fully implementing the Non-Proliferation Treaty, both in letter and spirit. —Pope Francis to UN Conference to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, March 2017
In 1963 Saint John XXII wrote in Pacem in Terris: “Nuclear weapons must be banned. A general agreement must be reached on a suitable disarmament program, with an effective system of mutual control.”
Support for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation has been emphasized by Blessed Paul VI, Saint John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis. The U.S. Bishops have worked for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation for decades. Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is the cornerstone of global efforts to curb and reverse the spread of nuclear weapons. One-hundred-and-ninety-eight countries have ratified the treaty, including the five acknowledged nuclear powers: United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, and China. Only four nations have not: India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea. The NPT prohibits non-nuclear states from acquiring nuclear weapons (non-proliferation), requires nuclear states to reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons (disarmament), and guarantees access to peaceful nuclear technology (nuclear power).
Years ago, President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev called for abolishing all nuclear weapons. Former Secretaries of State and Defense George Shultz, William Perry and Henry Kissinger and Senator Sam Nunn have promoted a nuclear-free world. Past presidents Barack Obama and Russian Dmitry Medvedev committed “our two countries to achieving a nuclear free world.” The Trump administration’s plans for the U.S. nuclear stockpile will be articulated in a forthcoming Nuclear Posture Review. The administration will also have the opportunity to pursue an extension of New START beyond its 2021 expiration date, an extension supported by many experts and Russia as “fundamental to global security.”
New START Treaty: In 1991, the United States and Soviet Union ratified the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). This treaty limited the number of nuclear warheads and delivery vehicles (missiles and bombers) that each country could deploy. The treaty also incorporated a solid set of verification measures the two nations could use to monitor each other’s nuclear arsenals and compliance with the treaty. Today the United States and Russia still hold about 90% of all nuclear weapons, large arsenals left over from the Cold War. START expired in 2009 and with it the verification protocols, but both nations agreed to keep its provisions in effect while they negotiated a START follow-on treaty. Implementation of a New START Treaty was critical because verification ensures transparency and even modest reductions in the number of weapons can set the stage for future reductions. The U.S. and Russia signed a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) on April 8, 2010, which was ratified by the Senate on a solid bipartisan vote of 71 to 26. The Holy See has “welcome[d] and recognize[d] the ongoing successful implementation of New START.” The New START Treaty: reduces deployed strategic warheads to 1550, 30 percent below the existing ceiling; limits both nations to no more than 700 delivery vehicles; and includes new verification requirements. Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty: Despite U.S. involvement in initiating the negotiations, in 1999 the U.S. Senate failed to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) that would stop nuclear testing. Some Senators who voted “no” expressed concerns about the ability of the United States to maintain its arsenal in the absence of testing and others were concerned about verifying compliance with the treaty. Prominent scientists have argued that the U.S. can safely maintain its nuclear arsenal without testing and that the ability of the international community to verify compliance is amply demonstrated by detections of tests in North Korea. One
hundred and fifty-one other nations have ratified the CTBT, including UK, France, and Russia. The United States’ failure to ratify the CTBT prevents the treaty’s immediate entry into force. The Holy See declared, “There is no reason for procrastination.” It is not known when the CTBT may be submitted to the Senate for ratification. P5+1 Agreement with Iran: In recent years, serious questions were raised regarding Iran's nuclear program. In response, talk of military intervention increased, and crippling international sanctions were instituted to the detriment of Iran’s economy and its citizens. Following the election of Iranian President Rouhani, the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, China, Germany and France (P5+1) entered into diplomatic negotiations with Iran regarding its nuclear program and international sanctions. In July 2015, after 20 months of concerted collaboration, the P5+1 reached an agreement with Iran that aims to curb Iran's development of nuclear weapons while allowing for the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. In September, a cloture vote in the Senate that would have allowed rejection of the P5+1 deal failed, so the agreement stands. Recent Iranian launches of ballistic missiles, inconsistent with UN Security Council Resolution 2231, but not in violation of the P5+1 Agreement, have raised concerns. In October 2017, President Trump announced he would not certify to Congress that Iran was in compliance, despite U.S. and international evidence that Iran is observing the agreement. To date, Congress has not acted to undermine the agreement. Nuclear Ban Treaty: In a major and encouraging development, a majority of the world’s nations supported adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons with the goal of leading towards their total elimination in July 2017. The vote was 122 in favor (including the Holy See), 1 against, and 1 abstention. Unfortunately, 69 nations did not vote, including all nuclear weapon states and all but one NATO member.
USCCB POSITION: The United States and other nuclear powers must move away from reliance on nuclear weapons for security. USCCB urges the Administration and Congress to view arms control treaties not as ends in themselves but as steps along the way to achieving a mutual, verifiable global ban on nuclear weapons. A global ban is more than a moral ideal; it should be a policy goal. USCCB advocated for ratification of the P5+1 Agreement with Iran in 2015. The USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, reflecting the longstanding position of the Holy See, urged our nation to pursue diplomacy to ensure Iran's compliance with its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Church did not weigh-in on the technical details of the agreement, but consulted with many experts on the broad outlines required for a credible and verifiable agreement. Led by Pope Francis, the U.S. bishops and Holy See continue to support the P5+1 Agreement with Iran as a “definitive step toward greater stability and security in the region.” The Holy See notes that the agreement “requires further efforts and commitment by all the parties involved in order for it to bear fruit.” During the negotiations on the Nuclear Ban Treaty, USCCB and the Conference of European Justice and Peace Commissions issued a joint call for a strategy to eliminate nuclear weapons globally USCCB plans to support Senate ratification of the CTBT if and when it is introduced. The Church opposes the use of nuclear weapons, especially against non-nuclear threats. The U.S. should commit to never use nuclear weapons first and to reject use of nuclear weapons to deter non-nuclear threats. The Church urges that nuclear deterrence be replaced with concrete measures of disarmament based on dialogue and multilateral negotiations.
ACTION REQUESTED: 1. Urge bold and concrete commitments to accelerate verifiable nuclear disarmament, including taking weapons off “launch on warning” status to prevent a catastrophic accident and making deeper cuts in nuclear arsenals. 2. Oppose the investment of hundreds of billions of dollars in modernizing nuclear weapons systems that ultimately we must work to dismantle. 3. Support serious negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty and other prudent measures. 4. If it is introduced, urge Senators to support ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) to bring it into force. 5. Encourage Congress and the Administration not to take any actions that could undermine the agreement between the P5+1 and Iran.
For further information: visit http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/war-andpeace/nuclear-weapons/index.cfm or contact Stephen Colecchi, Director, Office of International Justice and Peace, USCCB, 202-541-3196 (phone), 202-541-3339 (fax), firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 19, 2018
Let's first explore, from a Catholic perspective, the significance of work. We can take our lead from Francis, Benedict, and St. John Paul II. Not surprisingly, our thoughts will turn to what might be involved in a politics of work!
Work should be the setting for this rich personal growth, where many aspects of life enter into play: creativity, planning for the future, developing our talents, living out our values, relating to others, giving glory to God. It follows that, in the reality of today's global society, it is essential that "we continue to prioritize the goal of access to steady employment for everyone," no matter the limited interests of business and dubious economic reasoning. We were created with a vocation to work. The goal should not be that technological progress increasingly replace human work, for this would be detrimental to humanity. Work is a necessity, part of the meaning of life on this earth, a path to growth, human development and personal fulfillment. Helping the poor financially must always be a provisional solution in the face of pressing needs. The broader objective should always be to allow them a dignified life through work. (Pope Francis, On Care for Our Common Home [Laudato Si. . . '], nos. 127-28)
In many cases, poverty results from a violation of the dignity of human work, either because work opportunities are limited (through unemployment or underemployment), or "because a low value is put on work and the rights that flow from it, especially the right to a just wage and to the personal security of the worker and his or her family." (Pope Benedict XVI, Charity in Truth [Caritas in Veritate.], no. 63)
The obligation to earn one's bread by the sweat of one's brow also presumes the right to do so. A society in which this right is systematically denied, in which economic policies do not allow workers to reach satisfactory levels of employment, cannot be justified from an ethical point of view, nor can that society attain social peace. (St. John Paul II, The Hundredth Year [Centesimus Annus], no. 43)
Work is a good thing for man-a good thing for his humanity--because through work man not only transforms nature, adapting it to his own needs, but he also achieves fulfillment as a human being and indeed, in a sense, becomes "more a human being.” (St. John Paul II, On Human Work [Laborem Exercens.], no. 9)
Let's, secondly, get our weekly update on the trials and triumphs of the American Solidarity Party!
January 12, 2018.
Let's begin by exploring, from a Catholic perspective, the links between friendship and politics.Three questions come to mind straightaway.
1. If there is a relation between friendship and the political order, what is its basis?2. Is the political order of instrumental value only?3. Does true political order depend on solidarity and subsidiarity?
Please find below a link to a helpful reflection by George Weigel.
"In the United States, it is often said that Catholic social doctrine is Catholicism's ' best-kept secret.' There is an unfortunate ... As pope, John Paul has added a fourth principle to the foundations of the Church's social doctrine: the principle of solidarity, or what we can call the principle of civic friendship. A society fit for human ...
Let's next turn to an update on Solidarity Party efforts in electoral politics. What's happening with our candidates?
January 5, 2018.
During the Fall of '17, we worked through the American Solidarity Party Platform. We also explored what's involved in bringing our platform into "on the ground" politics.
This week's agenda has two parts. First, we need to look at just what solidarity is, in the mind of the Church. Second, we need to discuss what solidarity means for our politics.
Let's begin with a few passages from Pope Francis, Pope Benedict XVI, and St. John Paul II.
In the present condition of global society, where injustices abound and growing numbers of people are deprived of basic human rights and considered expendable, the principle of the common good immediately becomes, logically and inevitably, a summons to solidarity and a preferential option for the poorest of our brothers and sisters. This option entails recognizing the implications of the universal destination of the world's goods, but, as I mentioned in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, it demands before all else an appreciation of the immense dignity of the poor in the light of our deepest convictions as believers. We need only look around us to see that, today, this option is in fact an ethical imperative essential for effectively attaining the common good. (Pope Francis, On Care for Our Common Home [Laudato Si. . . '],no. 158)
To love someone is to desire that person's good and to take effective steps to secure it. Besides the good of the individual, there is the good that is linked to living in society: the common good. It is the good of "all of us", made up of individuals, families and intermediate groups who together constitute society. … To desire the common good and strive towards it is a requirement of justice and charity. (Pope Benedict XVI, Charity in Truth [Caritas in Veritate. . . ], no. 7)
At another level, the roots of the contradiction between the solemn affirmation of human rights and their tragic denial in practice lies in a notion of freedom which exalts the isolated individual in an absolute way, and gives no place to solidarity, to openness to others and service of them. . . It is precisely in this sense that Cain's answer to the Lord's question: "Where is Abel your brother?" can be interpreted: "I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?" (Gen 4:9). Yes, every man is his "brother's keeper", because God entrusts us to one another. (St. John Paul II, The Gospel of Life [Evangelium Vitae], no. 19)
Next let's turn to the political arena. We can do so with an update on three Solidarity candidates in California. No shows were recorded or aired on December 22 or December 29, 2017.
December 15, 2017
First, we can look at a pair of principles that follow the platform preamble.
1. Family, local communities, and voluntary associations are the first guarantors of human dignity and the cultivators of mutual care.
2. We must share and protect natural resources and the environment, as held in trust for the benefit of all, present and future.
Second, we can begin a reflection of Distributism, an economic resource of the Solidarity Party. Say what? For a start consider the following.
Alasdair MacIntyre (2016) writes "What is amiss with capitalism is not only what it does to the unemployed and the poor, but also what it does to the rich and to better paid workers and managers. Human beings can achieve their common and their individual goods only though concerted actions that require cooperative relationships informed by the norms of natural law and, in order to achieve those goods, they must develop their powers as as rational agents. [But] capitalism not only recurrently imposes types of social relationship that violate these norms, it also miseducates and wrongly directs desire...so that for many of every social class the satisfaction of their desires and the development of their powers become incompatible. What they want is too often what they have no good reason to want."
For more, why not take a look at the website of the Distributist Review?
Third, we can "take the pulse" of solidarity inspired political efforts in California.
December 8, 2017
1. Revisit the platform preamble. We are a party that seeks the common good, on common ground, through common sense. We believe in the sanctity of human life, the necessity of social justice, our responsibility to care for the environment, and promotion of a more peaceful world. We cherish the individual rights and separation of government powers protected by the U.S. Constitution, and recognize the need for social supports and community cohesion as modeled by a number of European governments and movements. We seek to bridge the bitter partisan divide with principled and respectful policies and dialogue.
2. Revisit a sampler of items from the various planks. Here are two, and I encourage you to present two of your own---or add one that should be there.
1. Revisit the Platform Preamble. We are a party that seeks the common good, on common ground, through common sense. We believe in the sanctity of human life, the necessity of social justice, our responsibility to care for the environment, and promotion of a more peaceful world. We cherish the individual rights and separation of government powers protected by the U.S. Constitution, and recognize the need for social supports and community cohesion as modeled by a number of European governments and movements. We seek to bridge the bitter partisan divide with principled and respectful policies and dialogue.
2. Revisit a sampler of items from the various planks. Here are three, and I encourage you to present three of your own.
Special on-location broadcast event on Saturday, November 18, 2017, at 2:00 pm Eastern / 11:00 am Pacific live from Biola University with Dr. Jim Hanink and friends! It's back-to-back Open Door with a special Friday/Saturday combination on the Right to Life! (This show will also air on Friday, November 24, 2017, as our Thanksgiving weekend show.)
Right to Life. We believe that respect for the dignity of human life is the most basic tenet of a civilized society. This dignity is unconditional; it is never reduced by factors such as usefulness or "wantedness." From the moment of conception until natural death, every human being is entitled to protections under the law, to just treatment, and to equitable consideration.We, therefore, support:
Banking and Finance in the Public Interest. Access to capital is necessary for families and small businesses to prosper. Ensuring widespread access to credit on fair lending terms is essential to building shared prosperity and stable communities.We, therefore, support:
Civil Rights. We believe in the vigorous enforcement of civil liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights. We believe that the persistence of unjust discrimination in our society must be acknowledged and addressed. The state has a role to play in protecting marginalized groups from unjust discrimination, and should pay particular attention to the effect that policy proposals will have on vulnerable groups.We, therefore, support:
Health and Welfare. In recognizing all persons’ equal right to life, we call for the government’s assurance of a robust safety net to stop preventable deaths and reduce affronts to human dignity due to inadequate nutrition, clothing, shelter, safety or health care. We also recognize that meaningful work according to a person’s abilities is essential to human dignity, whether or not this work is remunerated by a market economy.We, therefore, support:
This week's discussion, drawing on Catholic social teaching, will explore the "Civic Engagement" plank of the American Solidarity Party. But...there will be a prelude. Years ago there was a cartoon strip, "There Oughta Be a Law." See this link:
paranoiastrikesdeep.blogspot.com/2012/06/there-oughta-be-law.html Jun 28, 2012 - “There Oughta Be a Law” was a newspaper panel strip.
But what sort of law? Let's begin, then, by discussing an example of a law that the Solidarity Party might propose on a state level and on a national level. We might also consider an example of a law that the Solidarity Party might repeal on a state level and on a national level.
Then let's take a close look the platform plank for the day...
Civic Engagement: The American Solidarity Party calls for the reform of electoral laws at every level of government in order to encourage voter participation by all citizens. We believe that the current system disenfranchises third parties and those they represent through systemic legal and procedural measures that favor and uphold a two-party system.
We, therefore, support:
Justice in the Workplace. We believe in affirming the dignity of both work and the worker. Workplaces should advance full and fair participation in the economy. We seek to maintain a level playing field between ownership, labor, management, and consumers.We, therefore, support:
Free and Fair Trade. The American Solidarity Party recognizes that international trade has the potential to raise the standard of living for all nations. If it is not regulated in accord with the common good, however, it can lead to the exploitation of labor and the environment, as well as economic insecurity. We, therefore, support:
Marriage and Family. We recognize that the family is the fundamental unit of every human society. This natural social arrangement both precedes the state and has rights and responsibilities independent of it. We respect the central role of marriage in fostering lasting family ties and strong communities, and believe that the effectiveness of marriage in ensuring the well-being of the next generation depends on the norms of monogamy, sexual exclusivity, and permanence. We, therefore, support:
Religion in the Public Square. As a Christian Democratic party, we affirm that religious values have played an important role in the history and culture of the United States of America. We also recognize that many of the earliest American settlers were persecuted religious minorities, and respect the long history of religious liberty that has been an essential component of our national identity.
We, therefore, support:
National Security. We believe that a safer, more just, and peaceful world is achievable through principled use of force and diplomacy. We believe we can secure our nation without sacrificing personal liberties or overextending our global military presence and commitments.
We, therefore, support:
Border Security and Immigration. The American Solidarity Party recognizes and affirms the essential contributions of immigrants to our culture, economy, and national identity. We call for a complete reform of our immigration laws, including creating pathways to citizenship for eligible immigrants currently residing, unauthorized, within our borders. While recognizing the threat posed by organized crime along our southern border, we are opposed to its excessive militarization and fortification. We recognize that the causes of immigration are complex and multifaceted, and will work towards international and domestic policies that will make immigration a choice, rather than a necessity.We, therefore, support:
Stewardship of the Environment. We believe in the responsibility of every generation to serve as stewards of the Earth. We recognize the intrinsic value of nature. We must work to fix the deficits of the past, act as responsible managers in the present, and ensure for future generations a planet that is healthy and thriving . We reject discredited warnings of an overpopulation crisis and believe that human beings are fully capable of building a society that is populous, developed, and permanently sustainable.
We, therefore, support:
Economic Participation. We believe that the U.S. economy should be built around the needs of the human person, rather than focused primarily on consumption and the accumulation of wealth. It should create opportunities for self-sufficiency, while encouraging ownership of our responsibility to look out for one another. Government has a role in fulfilling this responsibility in partnership with the private sector. We urge solidarity among people from every strata of society: rich, poor, and middle class, We are committed to building an economy that is fair and transparent, using models of production and distribution that are local, responsible, and sustainable.
We, therefore, support:
Public Services. We believe that if our society is to flourish, it requires skilled and educated workers and a solid physical infrastructure. The common good is cultivated by a vigorous and responsible public sector in transportation, education, the arts, and entertainment.
We, therefore, support:
Personal Security and Criminal Justice. We believe that preventing and punishing crime is an essential public service. As public servants, law enforcement officers should be supported and held to the highest standards of professionalism. We are alarmed by increasing rates of arrest and incarceration and conflicts between police and communities. We recognize a pattern of disproportionate incarceration among minority communities reflects a culture of personal and institutional racism. In enforcing laws against non-violent offenses, we must ensure vulnerable groups are not re-victimized by the criminal justice system. Airing on July 28, 2017.
We, therefore, support:
Education. A well-educated citizenry is integral to the flourishing of our Republic. We call for a system of public and private education for all students. We promote a culture of lifelong learning. Airing on Friday, July 21, 2017.
We, therefore, support:
On what basis might a reasonable person subscribe to the following? Why especially might a Christian do so? How pragmatic is the following "in the here and now"?
We seek the common good. We believe in the sanctity of human life, the necessity of social justice, our responsibility to care for the environment, and the promotion of a peaceful world. We cherish individual rights and separation of government powers, and we recognize the need for social support and community cohesion. We seek to bridge the partisan political divide with honest dialogue.
Public policies should advance these imperatives:
7 July Pragmatism: Is it good in theory, as a wag has said, but not in practice? Why or why not? What difference does it make?
30 June Who are the poor, and how do we help them? (with special guest, Lydia Kemi Ingram of Murrieta, CA)
23 June Aging and its effect on humility
16 June What is the natural law? Examples?
09 June How may I be sure the host really is the body and blood of Christ?
02 June Just War Theory
26 May "I must always follow my own conscience." Why? What is conscience?
19 May What is the Benedict Option? Who should and who does embrace it?
May 12, 2017 - In what way now are we "Strangers in a strange land" - no show was taped on May 5, 2017.
St. Anselm's Paradox - Why is this true? Airing April 28, 2017. ("Nor do I seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe that I may understand. For this, too, I believe, that unless I first believe, I shall not understand."
Authentic Humility - defined. The core virtue - why? Airing April 21, 2017.
Metaphysics - what, why and How. Led by Richard Geraghty. Recorded and Aired on April 7, 2017.
In what way does someone "obey" the unseen God? Why?" (Recorded and Aired on March 31, 2017.)
What do Christians mean by the word "love?" (Recorded and Aired on March 24, 2017.)
Panel members' most memorable spiritual or religious moment(s) (Recorded and Aired on March 17, 2017.)
Models of the Church according to Avery Cardinal Dulles (Recorded on March 3 and aired on March 10, 2017.)
What is Ash Wed and lent all about? Why? (Recorded on February 24. Aired on March 3, 2017.)
The virtue of detachment and acceptance of God's will. Follow on to the topic of rejection led by Ronda and Paradise Commander. (Recorded on February 17, 2017. Aired on February 24, 2017.)
The socio-psychological problem of personal rejection. Ronda will lead this discussion based on her recent book on rejection. (Recorded on February 10. Aired on February 17, 2017.)
The Panel's experience of dreams as messages from God; May include comment on Jungian dream analysis and scripture examples. (Recorded on February 3, 2017. Aired February 10, 2017.)
The Panel's experience with travel to sacred sites. (Recorded on January 27. Aired 2/3/17.)
The Panel's experience with sacred music. (To be recorded on January 20. First Airing 1/27/17.)
The American Solidarity Party with the discussion led by James Hanink (To be recorded on January 13. First Airing 1/20/17.)
Spirit Filled Hearts Ministry: A Work of the California Vineyard, with guest Catherine Hughes (To be recorded on January 6. First Airing 1/13/17.)
Advent Program Series
During the run up to the Christmas season, we will consider many avenues to joy available to most adults as we advance in senior maturity, generally the retirement years. Some sink into depression, inactivity or even a state of fearful avoidance as they enter the last phase of life. It need not be so. The great majority of seniors have multiple opportunities to achieve great happiness, even joy, in their last years. The Open Door panel will discuss numerous options by example, a verbal catalogue of options made available to seniors in three phases, three weekly hour long discussions.
"Methods for personal evangelization." (Recorded on December 16, 2017. Aired on December 23, 2016.) Panel members will discuss their method(s) used to evangelize individuals or small groups. Personal evangelization, not classroom lecturing or writing books, etc)
"Joy for the elderly found in the pursuit of art, literature and science." (Recorded on December 9. Aired on December 16, 2017.)
"Joy for the elderly found in avocational work, service and social outreach." (Recorded on December 2. First airing 12/9/16.)
"Is Christendom really in decline?" (First airing 11/18/16)
What can the Church do about the decline of Christendom? i.e., Christian faith.
"Is Christendom really in decline?" (First airing 11/11/16)
During the first weekly session of this series we discussed our understanding and experience of God's grace, followed the second week by the question of God's actual existence. In the third session, we discussed the 18th century errors of Sir Isacc Newton that led to 19th century philosophic errors of Comte and others that, in turn, finally led in the 20th century to a decline of Christendom in the western world; a decline which still seems to continue today. This raises the question, "Is there actually a decline of Christendom ongoing? That is the discussion point for today. Is Christendom actually in decline?
"Newton, Comte and the decline of Christendom." (First aired 11/4/16)
Sir Isaac Newton's 18th century cosmologic speculations led to 19th century atheistic philosophic speculations most notably by Comte, which became paradigmatic assumptions of the many a world view of reality. This has lead to an apocalypse of indifference toward Christianity in the Western world. We will discuss this chain of events and reveal the errors of both Newton and Comte.
"Dear God: Is you is, or is you ain't?" (First aired 10/28/16)
The battle between Faith and Reason is over. Faith has won, but few know it. Science had proven the necessity of a designing, creating, sustaining Transcendent intellect. We will discuss the classical proofs of God's existence and end with the latest contributions from astrophysics.
"Grace." (First aired 10/21/16)
The Grace of God is well established in revelation, religious thought and belief; but also can be experienced as a physical phenomena. We will discuss our understanding of Grace as an intellectual topic and end with two descriptions of actual physical encounters..
The Open Door was established in October, 2016, by Lt. Colonel Albert E. Hughes (USAF Retired) holds an MS in Systems Management (with distinction) from the Air Force Institute of Technology, an MM in Pastoral Ministry from Seattle University (Jesuit). He is certified in Spiritual Direction by the Monastery of the Risen Christ in San Luis Obispo, CA. He is an accomplished retreat master and Catholic evangelist. A convert at mid-life from agnostic rationalism, he has taught scripture and conducted period retreats in parishes in Seattle, WA, Santa Maria, CA, and Corpus Christi, TX, for 25 years.
With James Hanink
For articles on the American Solidarity Party, see the following:
The Kitchen Table
Join us at The Open Door! Our panel discusses solidarity, subsidiarity, and economic democracy in light of Catholic Social Teaching. We also explore non-violence, distributism, and communitarianism. The next question? How do we move from discussion to political and personal activism? It's a question that often leads us to report on the short term projects and long term promise of the American Solidarity Party.
The Open Door began as an ongoing discussion led by Commander Al Hughes, Dr. Ronda Chervin, and Dr. Richard Geraghty. Bob Olson served as moderator. Jim Hanink joined as a "late add." Early discussions ranged over several topics of Christian faith and life, including social activism. Both Richard Geraghty and Bob Olson, we pray, rest now in the peace of their Lord. Al Hughes and Ronda Chervin are pursuing, with customary zeal, other ministries. All of the discussions in which the original group participated are available in our archives.