Islamophobia Is Un-American

6 12 2015

 By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

Christianity has 2.2 billion followers. Islam has 1.8 billion followers. At most, Judaism has 14 million followers.  There are radical members of each religious group; and Americans cannot allow fear to generate unbridled hatred and anger.[2]  The United States and the American people are not at war with Islam or its followers. Anyone who suggests otherwise is Islamophobic.

Islamophobia does not have any place in the U.S.  Yet, this is exactly what many are preaching today, which is wrong.  Islamophobia is un-American, and inconsistent with Jesus’ teachings as set forth in the New Testament—just as racism, anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination are evil.  Fear spawns hatred, anger and retribution. Too much of it is present in America and other countries.

According to the rhetoric espoused by some people, one might think that they want to kill all followers of Islam, or attack or discriminate against them, which is absurd and evil unto itself.  A large number of Americans are afraid. But their fear is nothing when compared with the fears that were present in the U.S. after 9/11.

We live in difficult and challenging times.[3]  But the terrorist acts of a few cannot be allowed to permeate and change our great nation or the American people.  This is a lesson we learned from World War II.  An estimated 110,000 Japanese-Americans were “interned” at Manzanar in California and at other camps, because of similar fears.[4]

Terrorist attacks have occurred in the U.S. and abroad.  Tragically,  it seems that “terrorism”—in its many forms—will be present for a long time to come.  Kate Steinle was killed brutally in the “sanctuary city” of San Francisco by a known criminal and illegal immigrant.[5]  Oklahoma City was bombed by Timothy McVeigh[6].  More than 900 perished in the religious cult of Jim Jones.[7]  Mass killings occurred recently in Paris[8] and San Bernardino, California[9].  And the list goes on and on.

Large numbers of Americans tune out Barack Obama because of their frustrations, anger and disgust.  Indeed, there is enormous venom with respect to the followers of Islam and him—as well as outright racism—which appears on Web sites in the U.S. and abroad.  Often, violent statements and actions are directed at both.[10]

This is not the American way.

© 2015, Timothy D. Naegele

Islamophobia

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[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass). He and his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, specialize in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see www.naegele.com and http://www.naegele.com/documents/TimothyD.NaegeleResume.pdf). He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal. Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g., www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles), and can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com; see also Google search: Timothy D. Naegele

[2]  It has been said: “Muslims are like guns and gun owners. There is only trouble with a small percentage.”

See also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/abortions-and-autos-kill-more-in-america-than-guns/ (“Abortions And Autos Kill More In America Than Guns”)

[3]  See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/07/01/global-chaos-and-helter-skelter/ (“Global Chaos And Helter Skelter”); see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/29/the-death-of-putin-and-russia-the-final-chapter-of-the-cold-war/ (“The Death Of Putin And Russia: The Final Chapter Of The Cold War”)

[4]  A Japanese submarine attacked the oil fields at Ellwood, north of Santa Barbara, California:

Though damage was minimal, the event was key in triggering the West Coast invasion scare and influenced the decision to intern Japanese-Americans.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombardment_of_Ellwood (“Bombardment of Ellwood”); see also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manzanar (“Manzanar”)

[5]  See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Kathryn_Steinle (“Shooting of Kathryn Steinle”)

[6]  See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_McVeigh (“Timothy McVeigh”)

[7]  See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Jones (“Jim Jones”)

[8]  See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/20/we-are-all-parisians/ (“We Are All Parisians”)

[9]  See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Bernardino,_California#21st_century

[10]  The President’s religious “origins” in Islam contribute to this.  See, e.g.https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/ (“Is Barack Obama A Racist?”)





Global Chaos And Helter Skelter

1 07 2015

 By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

For many Americans, the world seems upside down or topsy-turvy, and headed for unbelievable—if not unprecedented—chaos, calamity and helter skelter.  This is true economically, militarily, socially, and in countless other ways.  Countries and regions are coming apart at the seams; accepted institutions are attacked; lives are uprooted, or ended in truly savage ways; and little seems sacred or even predictable anymore.  Many lives appear to move at light speed, while others barely move at all.[2]

An unfathomable global economic crash is predicted, unlike anything that we have witnessed in our lifetimes.[3]  The murderous Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has seized portions of Georgia and Ukraine (including Crimea), and may expand his aggression into Europe.[4]  China is flexing its muscles in the Pacific[5]; North Korea continues to be a loose cannon[6]; the Middle East is imploding, with much worse yet to come; and terrorists stalk the world, creating death and destruction.[7]  Human trafficking flourishes, while there are problems with adoptions and illegal immigration.[8]

Accepted views of marriage are being rewritten; and divorces occur too often.[9]  The inmates are running the asylum.  Organized religion is under attack.[10]  America’s history is challenged for being racist, with attempts being made to rewrite it.  Riots have been occurring in American cities, provoked by hoods, thugs and criminals.  So-called man-made “global warming” and “climate change” are being pushed worldwide, even though it is clear that our planet has gone through warming and cooling periods for millions of years.  Also, other natural disasters are occurring.[11]

Americans’ trust in business[12], Congress and our elected officials[13], the law and judiciary[14], the police, government in general—and in the future—are shaken each and every day.  The old “norms” seem to be gone.  Replacing them appears to be anarchy, certainly in the Middle East and Africa, where countries and regions are fragmenting, and order and the value of human lives are in short supply.  Those who stay abreast of the news see barbarism in action, which is all too reminiscent of what is portrayed in Hollywood films.

Yet, whether one is a Republican or a Democrat or an Independent or something else—and regardless of one’s skin color, ethnicity or religious beliefs—there is hope and plenty of it.[15]  We are Americans!

© 2015, Timothy D. Naegele

Bald Eagle and American Flag --- Image by © Ocean/Corbis


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass).  He and his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, specialize in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see www.naegele.com and http://www.naegele.com/naegele_resume.html).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g.,www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles), and can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com; see also Google search:Timothy D. Naegele

[2] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/is-google-becoming-microsoft-or-worse/ (“Is Google Becoming Microsoft Or Worse?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/are-colleges-dinosaurs/ (“Are Colleges Dinosaurs?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/poverty-in-america/ (“Poverty In America”).  But see https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/what-and-where-is-god/ (“What And Where Is God?”)

[3] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/ (“The Economic Tsunami Continues Its Relentless And Unforgiving Advance Globally”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/05/16/will-the-eus-collapse-push-the-world-deeper-into-the-great-depression-ii/ (“Will The EU’s Collapse Push The World Deeper Into The Great Depression II?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/16/the-great-depression-ii/ (“The Great Depression II?”) and http://www.realclearpolitics.com/news/tms/politics/2009/Apr/08/euphoria_or_the_obama_depression_.html (“Euphoria or the Obama Depression?”) and http://marketshadows.com/2012/05/21/greenspans-legacy-more-suffering-to-come/ (“Greenspan’s legacy: more suffering to come”) and http://www.americanbanker.com/issues/173_212/-365185-1.html (“Greenspan’s Fingerprints All Over Enduring Mess”)

[4] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/ (“Russia’s Putin Is A Killer”)

[5] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/china-is-americas-enemy-make-no-mistake-about-that/ (“China Is America’s Enemy: Make No Mistake About That”)

[6] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/the-next-major-war-korea-again/ (“The Next Major War: Korea Again?”)

[7] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/the-madness-of-benjamin-netanyahu/ (“The Madness Of Benjamin Netanyahu”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/israels-senseless-killings-and-war-with-iran/ (“Israel’s Senseless Killings And War With Iran”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/06/the-silent-voices-of-stalin’s-soviet-holocaust-and-mao’s-chinese-holocaust/ (“The Silent Voices Of Stalin’s Soviet Holocaust And Mao’s Chinese Holocaust”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/emp-attack-only-30-million-americans-survive/ (“EMP Attack: Only 30 Million Americans Survive”)

[8] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/28/human-trafficking/ (“Human Trafficking”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/04/15/problems-with-foreign-adoptions/ (“Problems With Foreign Adoptions”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/illegal-immigration-the-solution-is-simple/ (“Illegal Immigration: The Solution Is Simple”)

[9] Even the great Alexander is rumored to have been bisexual, inter alia, because those were the mores of the day.

See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/17/alexander-the-great/ (“Alexander the Great”)

See also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/07/14/divorces/ (“Divorces”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/abortions-and-autos-kill-more-in-america-than-guns/ (“Abortions And Autos Kill More In America Than Guns”)

[10] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/the-duggar-family-v-anti-christians/ (“The Duggar Family v. Anti-Christians”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/04/05/the-catholic-church-at-a-crossroads/ (“The Catholic Church At A Crossroads”)

[11] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/08/earthquakes-the-big-one-is-coming-to-at-least-los-angeles/ (“Earthquakes: The Big One Is Coming To At Least Los Angeles”)

[12] See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/04/toyota-and-lexus-vehicles-are-unsafe/ (“Toyota And Lexus Vehicles Are Unsafe”)

[13] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/are-all-tea-partiers-wackos-misfits-and-extremists/ (“Are All Tea Partiers Wackos, Misfits And Extremists?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/11/12/sarah-and-todd-palin-the-big-winners/ (“Sarah And Todd Palin: The Big Winners?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/10/04/john-f-kennedy-the-most-despicable-president-in-american-history/ (“John F. Kennedy: The Most Despicable President In American History”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/washington-is-sick-and-the-american-people-know-it/ (“Washington Is Sick And The American People Know It”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/04/23/is-financial-reform-simply-washingtons-latest-boondoggle/ (“Is Financial Reform Simply Washington’s Latest Boondoggle?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/the-rise-of-independents/ (“The Rise Of Independents”); see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/17/is-redemption-possible-for-tiger-woods/ (“Is Redemption Possible For Tiger Woods?”); and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/ (“Is Obama The New Nixon?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/barack-obama-is-a-lame-duck-president-who-will-not-be-reelected/ (“Barack Obama Is A Lame-Duck President Who Will Not Be Reelected”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/are-afghanistan-iraq-and-pakistan-hopeless-and-is-the-spread-of-radical-islam-inevitable-and-is-barack-obama-finished-as-americas-president/ (“Are Afghanistan, Iraq And Pakistan Hopeless, And Is The Spread Of Radical Islam Inevitable, And Is Barack Obama Finished As America’s President?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/the-speech—is-barack-obama-smoking-pot-again/ (“The Speech—Is Barack Obama Smoking Pot Again?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/20/the-end-of-barack-obama/ (“The End Of Barack Obama”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/01/barack-obama-america’s-second-emperor/ (“Barack Obama: America’s Second Emperor?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/26/obama-in-afghanistan-doomed-from-the-start/ (“Obama In Afghanistan: Doomed From The Start?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/ (“Is Barack Obama A Racist?”); but see https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/03/edward-w-brooke-is-dead/ (“Edward W. Brooke Is Dead”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/ariel-sharon-is-missed/ (“Ariel Sharon Is Missed”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/jefferson-lincoln-and-america/ (“Jefferson, Lincoln And America”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/ulysses-s-grant-an-american-hero/ (“Ulysses S. Grant: An American Hero”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/12/ansel-adams-has-an-heir/ (“Ansel Adams Has An Heir”)

[14] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/the-state-bar-of-california-is-lawless-and-a-travesty-and-should-be-abolished/ (“The State Bar Of California Is Lawless And A Travesty, And Should Be Abolished”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/justice-and-the-law-do-not-mix/ (“Justice And The Law Do Not Mix”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/the-united-states-department-of-injustice/ (“The United States Department of Injustice”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/the-american-legal-system-is-broken-can-it-be-fixed/ (“The American Legal System Is Broken: Can It Be Fixed?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/31/lawyers-and-internet-scams/ (“Lawyers And Internet Scams”)

[15] See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/what-and-where-is-god/ (“What And Where Is God?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/ronald-reagan-and-john-f-kennedy-a-question-of-character/ (“Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy: A Question of Character”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/america-a-rich-tapestry-of-life/ (“America: A Rich Tapestry Of Life”)





Are Afghanistan, Iraq And Pakistan Hopeless, And Is The Spread Of Radical Islam Inevitable, And Is Barack Obama Finished As America’s President?

9 09 2010

By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

Arnaud de Borchgrave—editor at large of The Washington Times and of United Press International—has written another brilliant and very sobering article entitled, “Playing with fire,” which is worth reading and reflecting on.[2] In it, he states:

Unless [Gainesville, Florida Pastor Terry Jones, who decided to mark the ninth anniversary of 9/11 by proclaiming “International Burn a Koran Day,”] canceled his Koran book burning . . . , Christians throughout the world’s 1.2 billion-strong Muslim nations and Muslim communities would suddenly feel threatened. Those who converted from Islam to Christianity would be prime targets.

I will always remember the senseless killing of film director Theo van Gogh, who was the great-grandson of Theo van Gogh, the brother of the famous painter Vincent van Gogh.[3] I vehemently disagree with a burning of the Koran or the Bible.  However, is the Western world and culture going to be intimidated by and held hostage to the radical followers of Islam?  Is this “The Clash of Civilizations” that political scientist Samuel P. Huntington and former President Richard M. Nixon were concerned about?[4] Will Westerners be forced to subjugate their beliefs on the subject of Islam and Islamic terrorists, to the will of Islamic fanatics?  I think not.

Arnaud de Borchgrave adds:

Even if a superannuated preacher canceled the public burning of the Koran, the damage had already been done.

Yes, it would appear so.  Humpty Dumpty has fallen off the wall already.

Next, de Borchgrave notes:

NATO members pledged 2,796 trainers [to Afghanistan] but only 500 showed up. The NATO bureaucracy in Brussels couldn’t make it happen, according to one U.S. officer involved in the program. Most NATO countries are steadily reducing their defense budgets.

This is ominous.  Among other things, Germany’s “vaulted” military has been a paper tiger for years, in actuality.  Also, it seems that all of Europe will be weak, which might foretell America’s military future too—certainly if Obama were to get a second term in office, which is unlikely.

Lastly, de Borchgrave compares the collapse of the South Vietnamese army with that of the Afghan army, and describes the hopelessness of America’s Afghan adventure.  While there are certainly parallels between Vietnam and Afghanistan, the stakes are even higher now with a nuclearized Pakistan next door.

If Obama cuts and runs from Afghanistan, the war’s failure will be hung around his neck politically like Vietnam was hung around Lyndon Johnson’s neck.  It prevented Johnson from running for reelection in 1968; and the same thing might be true of Obama as the presidential election of 2012 approaches.  The foremost concern, however, is America’s position in the world and that of our military, which has been so brilliant in recent years.

Enormous amounts of money are being spent on the Afghan war—while the country’s GDP is a mere fraction of that amount—which seems absurd.  Also, there is no al Qaeda presence worth mentioning in Afghanistan today.  And even if the Taliban were to return to power, it is not likely to invite al Qaeda back to its former safe havens. After all, the Taliban lost Afghanistan because of al Qaeda and 9/11.  Thus, why should anyone care whether the Afghans’ future is led by men who feel more comfortable living in prior centuries?  The answers are complex but clear.

Afghan women and their supporters around the world care deeply.  Afghan women will suffer greatly if the Taliban return to power.  Americans and our NATO allies would become parties to the process of turning back the clock once again, and subjugating Afghan women and destroying their lives and any hopes for the future.  The plight of women in Afghanistan is something that America has been addressing, with the help of former First Lady Laura Bush and others.

Also, a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan would be another step in the process of spreading Islam beyond the region, and destabilizing Pakistan, thereby potentially unleashing its nuclear arsenal on the world (e.g., for terrorists to buy and sell weapons-grade materials, at the very least).

Some Americans argue that Iraq is hardly a U.S. geopolitical success story, because it cost America enormous monetary and human treasures to get rid of Saddam Hussein, who—it is argued—was our best defense against Iran; and that Baghdad today has less electricity, among other services.  I was against our Iraqi “adventure,” primarily because I believed Saddam had WMDs, which he would not hesitate to use against our military, just as he had used them against the Iranians and the Kurds.  Also, I believed we were “fronting” for Israel, and doing its dirty work, which some people (such as former UN Ambassador John Bolton) are arguing we should be doing right now vis-à-vis Iran, which is madness.

However, the “surge” worked, which George W. Bush, General David Petraeus and Senator John McCain championed; and at least Iraqis have a real chance to build a viable and stable democracy.  I agree with the Wall Street Journal’s assessment that was contained in an editorial prior to Barack Obama’s recent speech to the American people concerning Iraq:

The U.S. kept hundreds of thousands of troops in Germany for decades after World War II, and it still has tens of thousands in South Korea and Japan. It would be a tragedy if after seven years of sacrifice, the U.S. now failed to assist Iraqis as they try to build a federal, democratic state in an often hostile neighborhood.[5]

I agree too with the assessment that Iraq and Afghanistan together will probably be Obama’s undoing unless the American economy does it first.  They are all running neck and neck, but my betting is on the economy.  It will be sinking even farther during the balance of this decade, despite occasional “green shoots” appearing—which is similar to what happened during the last Great Depression.

The economy and the wars will be Barack Obama’s undoing, if something more tragic does not define his presidency (e.g., assassination, an EMP Attack), which I hope and pray never happens.[6]

© 2010, Timothy D. Naegele


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass).  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, which specializes in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see www.naegele.com and http://www.naegele.com/naegele_resume.html).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g., http://www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles), and can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com

[2] See http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Analysis/2010/09/08/Commentary-Playing-with-fire/UPI-32611283952855/

[3] See, e.g.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theo_van_Gogh_(film_director)#Assassination

[4] See, e.g.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Clash_of_Civilizations

[5] See http://www.naegele.com/documents/ThePresidentonIraq-WSJ.com.pdf and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/the-speech—is-barack-obama-smoking-pot-again/

[6] See also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/20/the-end-of-barack-obama/ and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/emp-attack-only-30-million-americans-survive/ and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/01/barack-obama-america’s-second-emperor/ and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/26/obama-in-afghanistan-doomed-from-the-start/ and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/16/the-great-depression-ii/ and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/





The Catholic Church At A Crossroads

5 04 2010

By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

When my father’s ancestors first came to America from Rottweil, Germany in 1849, they consisted of a husband and wife who had sixteen children, and were Catholics.  Sometime early in the 20th Century, the family moved away from the Church because of tithing—or so I was told—and became Lutherans.

On my mother’s side were Scots, Irish and English, many of whom were Catholics too.  My mother was an Episcopalian and my father sang in a Lutheran choir in Minneapolis where they met in grade school, but I grew up with kind feelings toward the Catholic Church.  My first two girlfriends were Catholics, which has been true of others since.

Fast forward to April of 1983, and I met a lovely Irish woman in Dublin, and we spent many years together.  She had attended Catholic schools, but would not set foot in a Catholic church in Ireland because of what she had witnessed as a young girl, and because of what she described as the “hypocrisy” of the Church (e.g., a high ranking Church official had a “wife” and child).  Later, I met another Irish woman whose closest friend had been impregnated by the local parish priest, and she had given birth to his child.

When the reports of pedophilia and other child abuses began to surface dramatically in the US and Ireland, I was not surprised.  Obviously the victims had suffered more than any of us can fathom.  I discussed the issue with someone who was much more knowledgeable than I was; and the person emphasized that being a Gay priest was different than being a pedophile.  Also, nuns committed child abuses in large numbers, certainly in Ireland.

One of my close Catholic friends pointed out some years ago that the Church had taken steps to remove pedophiles from its ranks, which was long overdue.  Also, I believe the Church-made rule of celibacy has outlived its usefulness and should be jettisoned.  The earliest Christian leaders were largely married men; and the Church’s hierarchy today should include the married and unmarried, both men and women.

Some people argue that the latest crises might bring down a Pope.  Surely, the Church has withstood other assaults throughout history, and it will withstand this one too.  The Church’s supporters will continue, while its detractors and haters will be present too.  The larger issue is whether true reform is possible, after the latest “blood-letting” about pedophilia has passed.

In many ways, the Church is like a giant oil tanker or aircraft carrier that cannot be turned on a dime.  In a sense, this is good because it is not blown off course by the societal trends or scandals of the moment.[2] As the enormous worldwide force that it is, the Church makes changes incrementally, not dramatically or overnight.  Pedophilia and child abuses of any kind must be condemned and never happen again.  The task today is to rectify the wrongdoing and bring the wrongdoers to justice, and to institutionalize lasting reforms.

The hard-earned monies of parishioners should not be used to pay the Church’s legal fees or legal settlements with the victims.  Instead, the monies should come from the Church’s vast coffers and resources worldwide, which are invested in office buildings, other real estate and the like.  When I attend Catholic churches regularly—which I do, even though I am not a member of the Church—I see Hispanics and other devout worshippers contribute what little money they have.  To use such monies to address the Church’s wrongdoing seems morally wrong and repugnant.

Next, there are vast numbers of child prostitutes in the US and throughout the world[3], who are victims of human trafficking[4].  Just as pedophilia must be stopped in its tracks, so too must human trafficking of all types, and child prostitution and pornography[5].  The Catholic Church can take a leadership role worldwide with respect to all of these issues—which is long overdue.  Its moral obligation to do so is clear.[6]

Lastly, one’s religion is very personal, and mine certainly is.  I do not want anyone telling me how to worship or what is important; and most people feel exactly the same way.  Any thoughts I have about the Church represent an effort to move beyond the scandals of today, and to seek a brighter future.

© 2010, Timothy D. Naegele


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass), the first black senator since Reconstruction after the U.S. Civil War.  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates (www.naegele.com).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years.  See, e.g., www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles

[2] I have been drawn to the Church more and more over the years because among the American churches, at least it stands for issues in which I believe, such as the sanctity of life and family values.  We live in a society today that is guided too much by secular values, with which I do not agree.  If it feels good, do it—or so many people believe.  God has been driven out of our children’s classrooms and elsewhere in society. and I do not agree with that.

Until Ronald Reagan focused public attention of the right to life as opposed to abortions that were often a matter of convenience, I had never given much attention to the issue.  If anything, I just went along with the idea that abortions were OK, as well as a woman’s right.  Then, I saw a film about the birth of a human being, from almost the moment of conception to when it emerged from the womb.  How it was filmed, I do not know, but I will never forget it.  At about the same time, I read an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times (as I recall), written by a doctor who had performed lots of abortions, many of them late-term.  He gave up his medical practice because he was having nightmares and other reactions, and I was stunned by his words.

I defy anyone to define with precision when a human life begins, and when an abortion constitutes something other than the taking of a human being.  For me, life begins with conception; and thereafter, I believe this life is taken if an abortion occurs.  Should that act be criminalized, or does a woman have the right to have it done?  These are heady issues, with respect to which people disagree, sometimes violently.  I side with the Catholic Church, and feel that adoptions are preferable to abortions.  A cousin of mine and his wife found it almost impossible to adopt in the U.S., and were forced to adopt two children from Asia, whom they love unconditionally.  Clearly, there are many loving American couples who would welcome the chance to adopt someone else’s child.

[3] See, e.g., http://www.justice.gov/criminal/ceos/prostitution.html

[4] See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/28/human-trafficking/

[5] See, e.g., http://www.justice.gov/criminal/ceos/childporn.html

[6] Former President George W. Bush took a leadership role in dealing with the issue of human trafficking; and the Catholic Church must do the same.  See, e.g., http://www.justice.gov/criminal/ceos/trafficking.html