Third world debt relief…

catholicvoice.org photo

On Easter Sunday, in the midst of Third World countries battling the pandemic, Pope Francis called for “debt relief” for these countries. France’s Emmanuel Macron followed suit several days later. (At the turn of the millennium, Pope John Paul II called for the same thing in his Jubilee 2000 initiative.) As president, I would be wholeheartedly on board with this as well — and not just because of the pandemic. These Third World countries are barely treading water year-to-year, with the interest on the loans, and so on, keeping them there — with little left over for medical services, education, infra-structure… And as I would push for permanent debt relief for these countries, I would just as stridently push for a lot more aid into the same countries to help them become as sustainable as possible. My faith, the Catholic faith, teaches that in the Catechism actually: “Rich nations have a grave moral responsibility to ensure economic development in poorer nations.” Our administration would have this as a major priority. For more, see our position paper on Foreign Relations.

Nineveh moment 40… in summation:

Nineveh was given 40 days to “repent.” And, well, this is modern Jonah’s 40th entry. So in summation, what precedes this essay is a series of essays that are a template for what’s going spiritually awry in America. And there’s a lot going awry! We’re spending less and less time with God, for one. Then there’s: abortion; gay marriage; transgenderism; sexual promiscuity across the board; massive amounts of pollution that’s destroying God’s creation; immigrants abandoned at the borders; people being abandoned in our inner cities; self-centered materialism that is leaving those in the Third World without the basics in food, shelter and medicine; addictions to practically everything (alcohol, drugs, gambling, work, sex…), dysfunctional families everywhere… I mean, it wouldn’t even take an Old Testament prophet’s keen eye to see this. Problem is, many of us have become so desensitized to it all, that, frankly, we can’t see it. Yet God seems to be trying to wake us up to it (more and more natural disasters, a worldwide pandemic, etc., etc…) Hopefully this writing will bring the problem into better focus. But the act of “repenting” isn’t just about finally realizing it, putting on some LL Bean sack cloth, and saying: “Sorry God.” No, it means a lot more than that. It means changing this stuff. It means spending more and more time with God in prayer. It means stopping abortion; ending gay marriage; stopping transgender surgeries; curbing the sexual promiscuity in our media entertainment, our dress, our behavior in general; it means sacrificing and living simply, with way more savings going to outreach to help our inner cities, the Third World, and so on; it means become good environmental stewards; it means healing families and developing, as an example, tremendous proactive recovery communities to impact addictions across-the-board… And, believe it or not, that’s just some of the change that needs to happen. But, indeed, it would be a good start. And hopefully enough to start to avert more of God’s wrath. And for me, it’s now time to head off to sit under a lone tree. And we all know how that goes. So then I’m going to have to find something else to do, like, oh I don’t know, maybe become president (of the U.S.) so I can help lead this change that needs to come, quick! “Prophet President.” It’s got a nice ring to it, huh. Although if my wife (and Almost First Lady) Liz knew I just wrote that last part, well, let’s just say she’d be a little “ouchy” at the Inaugural Ball. –“Average Jonah, out.” P.S. For the better part of 30 years, I have traveled the country extensively, researching models I believe God has been developing to underpin the change in this country that needs to happen. For a look at these models on our campaign website, go to…

Nineveh moment 39… blighted war zones, while we kick back in comfort

Zimbio photo

In the last post, the priest notes that our societies throughout the world are saturated with sin these days, and God has sent a virus to let us know in the physical, just how sick we have become spiritually. And yeah, abortion, gay sex, transgenderism, cloning… All pretty obvious — that is if you’re reading the Bible, or Catholic Church teaching, or a combination thereof. But what else? Here’s one. Those of us in small town and suburban America, are leaving little kids abandoned, and their parents trapped in transgenerational poverty loops, in, as an example, American inner cities. These inner cities are now blighted war zones. Meanwhile all of us outside those inner cities, stay relatively comfortable, relatively safe, without virtually a second thought about these people. This is a huge sin of omission, and a huge sin of indifference! For five years, our family moved to a hardscrabble area of Cleveland to live among these abandoned people and to volunteer at an outreach to help them. And the poverty was palpable and the danger level was off the charts. (There were two homicides on our block in a four month period, as an example.) So, on the “repent” front. Is it enough to raise up a few “Alleluia, forgive me Jesuses!” And think everything’s then going to be alright? Or do we look, as just one example, at this inner city abandonment thing squarely in the eye, repent and: THEN MAKE IT RIGHT! Our campaign platform calls for nothing less than a Marshall Plan to rebuild and revitalize our inner cities. But more. It also calls for, through a series of creative urban development neighborhood designs and incentives, for some more well healed people to move back into our inner cities to live and help in solidarity, coupled with a tremendously proactive twinning of suburban and inner city churches, and so on. Luke 11:5 Jesus tells the story of a neighbor who comes to a friend’s house, says he needs some bread, and the friend smiles and says something like: “God bless ya buddy and have a good night.” But, oh yeah one thing. He doesn’t give the guy any bread. Uh… And it’s the same here. We know, really know, that these people in these inner cities need all kinds of significant help, and many of us bow our heads in suburban and small town church services during the prayer intentions, and pray: “Lord, please help the poor in our cities.” Then, well, we do nothing, or virtually nothing to really help. This is called being “spiritually sick.” Just like people, again, are getting ‘sick’ from the coronavirus. Time to wake up!

Nineveh moment 38… No, these aren’t the “Four Horsemen” of Notre Dame — worse

Fr. Antonio Fortea

A Spanish priest, author, and apparently a pretty holy guy, in a quite recent interview, says he is convinced the coronavirus pandemic is a “lesson from God.” And if we don’t learn from the lesson, Fr. Antonio Fortea said there, most likely, will be another, and another… until we do. “That is why another horseman (of the Apocalypse) will come, and then another, until we understand the root of it is sin.” (For those of you doing the ‘Revelations math’ right now, that could be up to four horsemen.) One rider, incidentally, is given authority over a quarter of the earth, “…to kill with sword, famine and plague.” Um, if you’ve read the news the past few years, the world is saturated with war (sword), famine, and now, well, this coronavirus plague. I mean, it wouldn’t take a moral theology professor at Princeton to draw the corollary. And Fr. Fortea drew another corollary. He said the world is very “spiritually sick.” So what does God do? He sends a plague to start making people physically sick — so we’ll pay attention. Ultimately, the priest continued, God intends this to spark a “spiritual restoration.” That is, if we look up from the next Netflix movie long enough to figure it out. Fr. Fortea ended by saying our global society is as evil as the Egyptian society was in the Old Testament when God sent all the plagues. Now I wasn’t back there then, but I have to wonder if they were: dismembering 42,000 babies every day in their mothers’ wombs; cutting off their boys’ private parts and giving them hormone treatments to become girls; absolutely destroying God’s creation through First World gluttony (I mean how much CO2 did the chariots give off?); experimenting with cloning people (Even back then, I think they might of at least known that God was the “Author of Life,” not them), and I could go on, and on… Which, apparently these horse guys are going to do until, well, we get it. For a closer look at what we in America need to WAKE UP to, see…

Nineveh moment 37… yet another Revelation(s) plague

During an interview on NPR, a gay man in Los Angeles, talking in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, said “…my people are used to viruses.” Yeah. In most cases, HIV is a sexually transmitted infection. It affects vital cells in the human immune system, with the body becoming progressively more susceptible to opportunistic infections leading to the development of AIDS. That’s the scientific definition. Here’s the spiritual one. In a series of messages to Fr. Stefano Gobi, an Italian Catholic priest, the Blessed Virgin Mary explained that cancer, and AIDS, were a couple of the “plagues” referenced in the Bible’s Book of Revelation. See, the way the Bible (and the Catholic Church) have it set up, it’s: one man / one woman with no sex before marriage. If both partners are true to this Biblical construct, AIDS doesn’t become part of the equation (sans things like shared drug needles, and such). However many in society, well, couldn’t leave it like this. No, gay sex with multiple partners became more and more prevalent. And AIDS first started up in that community. However soon after, it started happening more and more in the heterosexual community as well. Here again, there were multiple partners — often before marriage. Although extra-marital stuff ran a close second, as people got more promiscuous, then more promiscuous… So what do you got? Instead of a cloister of one man / one woman (both virgins prior) in marriage, you got, well, multiple partners who were doing multiple sexual things that, frankly, were eroding their souls. So what does God do? He injects a transmissible virus into all this — that ‘erodes’ the immune system. It’s, ultimately, physically deadly. As those sins outside of marriage are spiritually deadly. It was a ‘message of mercy’ from God. That is, to persist in the sexually sinful lifestyle leads to Hell, for eternity. And God was giving mankind a distinct clue about all that, and then He even sent the Blessed Virgin Mary back into the world to ‘aid’ in clarifying it even more. Note: It’s been a combination of the breakdown of the family, relaxed sexual mores, and actual “sex addiction,” that have all led to the evolution of the advanced sexual malaise we find ourselves in. To start to reverse this at the core, we have to look at systemically “healing the family.” And our campaign position paper on this goes a long way toward moving America in a direction to do just that. Note 2: The Bible is also crystal clear that gay sex/marriage, monogamous or not, is also serious sin, with potentially grave eternal consequences.

Nineveh moment 36… “I was just middle class.”

wordpress.com photo

Almost half the world’s people live on less than $2 a day. And I just heard an economist today, who is a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, say that with the economy virtually shutting down worldwide around the coronavirus crisis, this will push a half a billion more people, if not more, into abject poverty as well. Meanwhile in the First World, once the “lockdown” abates, we’ll head back, incrementally, to the vacation travel, the nice restaurants, the retail shops… In the clothing stores, for example, many of us will go back to buying the trendy, name brand stuff because, I mean, that’s what you do, right? And yeah, okay, if there’s a little left over, just a little, we might send this to an outreach organization so we don’t feel too guilty pampering ourselves the way we do. But, of course, it won’t be enough, and this kid will starve to death, along with 24,000 others each day. And the billions of people living in deplorable slum conditions will continue to live in deplorable slum conditions. And… At Judgement, Jesus will remind us First World folks about his ‘Lazarus the Beggar and the Rich Guy’ parable. And we will say: “Bill Gates was rich, I was just middle class.” And God will say: “In comparison to half the world living on 2 bucks, or less, a day, you were just ‘middle-class?’ And we will say: “Okay, good point.” Only at that ‘point,’ it will be too late. For a presidential campaign Foreign Affairs platform that will give the American electorate a much better answer for God in the end, see…

Nineveh moment 35… “…avoid this like the plague” America

I just heard someone use the metaphoric vernacular that people should “…avoid this like the plague.” If you’re, say, Christian, what would some of these things you should avoid be? They would be: abortion; homosexuality; transgenderism; straight sexual immorality; false gods; gluttony; selfishness… So, let’s take America. We’re at 65 million abortions. Homosexuality and transgenderism are now considered acceptable, mainstream lifestyles. Promiscuity among singles, and marital infidelity, are off the charts. (There’s a 65% divorce rate now in America.) Professional athletes, materialism, media/entertainment… have all become false gods in a major way here. Our gluttonous First World lifestyles are tremendously fueling climate change that’s destroying the planet and killing people, now. And 66% of us are overweight, with 33% being downright obese. We continue to build better homes, drive nicer and nicer vehicles, get wider and wider TV screens… Meanwhile millions of desperate refugees are amassed at borders worldwide, two billion people live in deplorable slum conditions, and another billion people don’t have access to clean drinking water… America is “the best country on earth,” we’ll say. If it is, the (spiritual) bar is awful low. Note: Mother Theresa, after a trip to America, called it the most “spiritually poor” nation she’d ever visited. We can’t keep getting pumped up with blind, patriotic pride here. It’s spiritual suicide. We need a leader, a spiritual one and/or a political one, who will tell the American public the truth: A lot of what we’re doing these days should “…be avoided like the plague.” In fact, maybe that’s why the real plague is here. Hmm. Note 2: For the kind of leader I allude to, go to www.voteforjoe.com

Nineveh moment 34… a crown?

God is frequently depicted in heaven as wearing a crown. He’s King, of everything. However, we’ve started to play ‘King/God’ as a world wide society. The coronavirus is named such because of its spikey, somewhat symmetrical, extrusions that look like a: crown. (“Corona” in Latin.) Did God send us a reminder of who is really the King? Could be. And so, how are we playing God? Here’s just one (of many) examples: There are some 42,000 abortions a day in the world, and in practically every country now abortion is legal. (The coronavirus, as I type this, is in practically every country now.) Obama once said that determining when life began was above his “pay grade.” The Bible (Jeremiah 1:5) God: “I knew you before I knit you in your mother’s womb.” When does life start? In the mind of God, even before you’re in the womb. This would be a good argument, not just for no abortion, but for no artificial contraception either. I mean, if God is even thinking about someone, its probably not good to ‘stop that thought process.’ You know what I mean. The Catholic Church teaches artificial contraception is a “grave sin.” So is abortion. In fact, the Catholic Catechism refers to abortion as “murder.” Worldwide we are living in a modern day Holocaust unparalleled in the history of mankind. Think about it: 42,000 murders a day globally — not to mention all the other life God intends, that is blunted every day by artificial contraception. Note: What’s the bet the chastisement(s) don’t end until we figure this kind of stuff out? And perhaps we need a leader, unlike Obama, who has a handle on stuff like when life really begins. I mean, he’s Christian. He went to Harvard. And he couldn’t figure out Jeremiah 1:5? I mean, any average Joe who reads the Bible could figure that out. Note 2: God: “Have you read my bestseller? There will be a test.”

Nineveh moment 33… Like going next door and looking in the window at…

uroblog.net photo

As I mentioned in an earlier ‘Nineveh post,’ the airwaves these days are saturated with sexual imagery. (And here comes an invisible deadly virus into our air waves now. Hmm.) But many of us have become so desensitized to this sexual imagery that we simply accept it as normal now (unless it’s tremendously X-rated stuff). But here’s the spiritual rub… Jesus said anyone “who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery in their heart.” [Mathew 5:28] While giving a talk at a moral theology class at Bluffton College a number of years ago, I said, for instance, husbands and wives spend hours sitting on a couch together watching scantily clad actors in all kinds of sexual poses, and much more — on prime time TV without thinking anything of it. During the Q & A period after the talk, the professor said that when you think about this objectively, it would be like saying, to your wife, for example: “Honey, I’m going next door to look in the window at Marge for a couple hours.” What’s more, the more we watch TV fashions getting more suggestive, and more suggestive… well, life imitates art, if you will. And all of a sudden, just as one example, we have a majority of women, teenage girls, and even young children wearing tights — and thinking nothing about it! Does any of us think, for even a second, that God condones this? In fact, He might be, oh, a bit angry about it — given what his Son said. Just sayin’. So, as president, how would I impact this? As just one example, I would vocally, and regularly, support “1 Million Moms Fight for Decency” on television. What’s more, I wouldn’t have a super-model wife modeling suggestive stuff at political events. Think loose, but fashionably fitting of course, LL Bean clothes or something. Note: The Bible’s 1 Timothy 2: 8-9… “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety…” Uh, short shorts, tight jeans with rips all over, tights in general… I mean, c’mon. Note 2: In 1917 at Fatima (a Catholic Church approved apparition), the Blessed Virgin Mary said souls were falling into hell like “snowflakes.” And the number one reason, she said: “Sins of the flesh.” That, incidentally, is the kinds of ‘sins’ I’m writing about in this post.

Nineveh moment 32… As spiritually nuts in life, as in death

Habitat for Humanity replica slum village in Americus, GA

In a news piece this morning, it was noted that with the coronavirus crisis there’s, well, more funerals in the U.S. these days. Now to pick up with the American ‘spoiled’ theme from the previous post… The average cost for a funeral in America these days (coffin, burial plot, wake and other funeral home charges…): $10,000. You read that right! On a campaign stop at Habitat for Humanity Headquarters in Americus, Georgia, we toured a replica Third World slum village (see above), then we learned that to provide an adequate Habitat house for a family of five, or more (modest ranch style home) in the Third World costs, on average: $2,000. So doing the math on this: We bury one dead American for what it would cost to build five Habitat homes in the Third World, sheltering around 25 to 35 people. Uh… The slum conditions many in the Third World live in is off-the-charts deplorable. Meanwhile, most of us in, say, lower middle class America are living like kings by comparison, both in life, and in the (cherry wood coffin) death. The late Pope John Paul II at one point said that the First World and Third World were playing out the “Lazarus the beggar and the rich guy” parable in the Bible. And in that story, it doesn’t bode well for the ‘rich guy’ in eternity. Incidentally, Pope John Paul II was buried in a simple, inexpensive, pine box — with the savings, I’m sure, going to some outreach project for the poor. It is time to realign America, both in life, and in death. Note: First Mennonite Church in Bluffton has a “Casket Ministry,” with church member “carpenter hobbyists” building caskets for $350. Often instead of funeral home wakes, First Mennonite will have a memorial service and potluck afterward with photos of the deceased, and so on, displayed all over (no wake funeral hall fees, no embalming costs…). First Lutheran Church here has a Column Burial, with drawers for cremated ashes. Cost for a drawer: $200. Average cost for cremation: $700… When you add all this up, you got, maybe,$1,250 (plus coleslaw for the potluck) — leaving $8,750 for the Habitat homes for the Lazarus’s and their families.