January 25, 2019

This week, with Christy Yao in the lead, we’ll discuss the 2019 March for Life in Washington, D.C. and the OneLife LA March in Los Angeles.Here are the questions we’ll explore.

  1. What are some of the memorable experiences of the events that participants are reporting?
  2. Was media coverage of these pro-life events satisfactory?
  3. How can major pro-life events be catalysts for the ongoing pro-life struggle?
  4. President Trump has supported pro-life efforts, and his message to D.C. marchers is an example of his support. Will there be a backlash against the pro-life movement after the Trump leaves office? If so, how might we prepare for it?
January 18, 2019
This week our panel will discuss learning lessons and building bridges in the context of a new politics of solidarity. Our special guest will be Chase Padusniak, of Patheos and Princeton.
Here are some of the questions we’ll explore.
1. What lessons can the American Solidarity Party learn from Dorothy
2. Does the American Solidarity Party have anything to learn from Karl Marx?
3. To what extent are the terms “Left,” “Right,” and “Center” important in building a new politics of solidarity?
4. How can the American Solidarity Party, drawing on Christian Democracy and Catholic Social Teaching, appeal to non-Catholics and non-Christians?
January 11, 2019

This week we’ll turn to the promise and perils of progress! Our perspective is, of course, inspired by the American Solidarity Party. Here’s the agenda.

  1. What is progress? Toward what, where? What makes progress, “progressive”?
  2. Life is a journey! Do we make the journey as pilgrims or as wanderers?
  3. The philosopher Jacques Maritain claims that, at certain points of history, what prevails is a movement of degradation. At other times, it is a movement of progress. Do we find such a flux today? Let’s examine, in this light, a recent “year in review” op-ed, Nicholas Kristof, in the New York Times.
  4. Is our search for “good politics” or “good economics” the search for something external to Christianity or does that search begin from within the Christian tradition?

January 4, 2019

For our first panel of the New Year, we’ll revisit three of Peter Maurin’s “easy essays” (below). While they are disconcertingly simple, they masterfully succeed in promoting “the clarification of thought.” They also call to mind the American Solidarity Party’s commitment to a new politics.

Please join us!

Not a Liberal

They say that I am a radical.
If I am a radical
then I am not a liberal.
The future will be different
if we make the present different.
But to make the present different
one must give up old tricks
and start to play new tricks.
But to give up old tricks
and start to play new tricks
one must be a fanatic.
Liberals are so liberal about everything
that they refuse to be fanatical
about anything.
And not being able to be fanatical
about anything,
liberals cannot be liberators.
They can only be liberals.
Liberals refuse to be
religious, philosophical or economic fanatics
and consent to be
the worst kind of fanatics,
liberal fanatics.

Not a Conservative

If I am a radical,
then I am not a conservative.
Conservatives try to believe
that things are good enough
to be let alone.
But things are not good enough
to be let alone.
Conservatives try to believe
that the world is getting better
every day in every way.
But the world is not getting better
every day in every way.
The world is getting worse
every day in every way
and the world is getting worse
every day in every way
because the world is upside down.
And conservatives do not know
how to take the upside down
and to put it right side up.
When conservatives and radicals
will come to an understanding
they will take the upside down
and they will put it right side up.

A Radical Change

The order of the day
is to talk about the social order.
Conservatives would like
to keep it from changing
but they don’t know how.
Liberals try to patch it
and call it a New Deal.
Socialists want a change,
but a gradual change.

I want a change,
and a radical change.
I want a change
from an acquisitive society
to a functional society,
from a society of go-getters
to a society of go-givers.

December 14, 2018

This week we’ll discuss a promising new organization, reLOVE, and its service to teenage mothers. Led by panelist Christy Yao, we’ll ask its director, Purity Thomas, the following questions–for a start.

  1. Can you give us a basic overview of reLOVE? How did the idea for reLOVE start?
  2. How is reLOVE different from other crisis pregnancy organizations?
  3. How do teenage mothers find you?
  4. Tell us about your impact and success stories!
  5. What are your future ideas for reLOVE’S growth and development?
Join us!
December 7, 2018
This week we’ll discuss democracy! Our investigation will be both general and particular. We’ll be asking the following questions, and doubtless more.
  1. What is democracy?
  2. Why should we strive for democracy?
  3. Is our system democratic?
  4. How can a democracy be built? How can the ASP help renew democracy?
  5. Pius XII spoke about the Christian “version” of democracy: is that idea still feasible?

Join us!

November 30, 2018
‘Tis the Season! But for what?
Hospitality is at the top of our list. It’s part of what animates the American Solidarity Party.
Peter Maurin, who with Dorothy Day, began the Catholic Worker Movement, has two “Easy Essays” that we’ll explore today. The first is “The Duty of Hospitality,” and the second is “Feeding the Poor at a Sacrifice.” See also Dorothy Day’s “Room for Christ“.
         1. People who are in need 
	    and are not afraid to beg 
	    give to people not in need 
	    the occasion to do good 
	    for goodness'sake.
	2. Modern society calls the beggar 
	    bum and panhandler 
	    and gives him the bum's rush. 
	    But the Greeks used to say 
	    that people in need
	    are the ambassadors of the gods.
	3. Although you may be called 
	    bums and panhandlers 
	    you are in fact
	    the Ambassadors of God.
	4. As God's Ambassadors 
	    you should be given food, 
	    clothing and shelter 
	    by those who are able to give it.
	5. Mahometan teachers tell us 
	    that God commands hospitality, 
	    and hospitality is still practiced 
	    in Mahometan countries.
	6. But the duty of hospitality 
	    is neither taught nor practiced 
	    in Christian countries.
	1. In the first centuries
	    of Christianity
	    the hungry were fed
	    at a personal sacrifice,
	    the naked were clothed
	    at a personal sacrifice,
	    the homeless were sheltered
	    at personal sacrifice.
	2. And because the poor
	    were fed, clothed and sheltered
	    at a personal sacrifice,
	    the pagans used to say
	    about the Christians
	    "See how they love each other."
	3. In our own day
	    the poor are no longer
	    fed, clothed, sheltered
	    at a personal sacrifice,
	    but at the expense
	    of the taxpayers.
	4. And because the poor
	    are no longer
	    fed, clothed and sheltered
	    the pagans say about the Christians
	    "See how they pass the buck."
November 23, 2018
No show due to Thanksgiving Holiday
November 16, 2018

The Open Door continues its discussion of how to become involved with politics, especially local politics. Our special guest is Monica Sohler. She is a member of the National Committee of the America Solidarity Party, and she has been a candidate both for local office and for New Jersey state representative.

Monica explores, frankly and with the voice of experience, the “how” questions we need to be considering:

  • How much time and money does it take to run for local office?
  • How can one build a support team?
  • How can one best handle the frustrations that are a part of running for political office?
  • How can one pursue local issues in the context of the larger vision of the American Solidarity Party?

November 9, 2018

This week we return to our discussion of pro-life feminism with our  special guests Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa of New Wave Feminists and C.J. Williams of Rehumanize International.
Our questions will include, but definitely not be limited to:
  1. How do politics and culture come together, or come apart, in our advocating a “pro-life for the whole of life” vision?
  2. How can we help longtime pro-life veterans and the new leaders of what some call the pro-life generation join forces and work together?
  3. What’s most important in current “pro-life for the whole life” organizing efforts?
  4. What might we do to show the interaction of theory and practice?
  5. It’s been said that unless the revolution is one of the spirit there will be no revolution. Can we unpack this claim? If so, how?
Join us!

November 2, 2018

This week, as we come into the midterm elections, we’ll discuss politics. Our focus will be local, and we’ll especially consider how to run for office at the local level.
Our welcome guests will be Joseph Soto, a mayoral candidate in Inglewood, California and his strategist Ilya Klinger.
No surprise: we’ll be learning lessons for American Solidarity Party candidates.

October 26, 2018

This week we turn to the topic of pro-life feminism.

Christy Yao will lead us. She will interview our special guests, Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa and CJ Williams.

The questions we’ll consider include:

  1. Why should feminists be pro-life?
  2. Why should pro-lifers be feminists?
  3. How can people get involved in pro-life feminism? and
  4. What can we learn from St. John Paul II’s Letter to Women?

Later in the hour we will turn to the recent plans and projects of the American Solidarity Party, including the upcoming California State Convention.

October 19, 2018

This week we discuss the next to last article in the UN Declaration of Rights on the 70th anniversary of this document. It continues to call for understanding and action.

Article 29

(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.

(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.

(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Later in the hour we will turn to the recent plans and projects of the American Solidarity Party, including the upcoming California State Convention.

October 12, 2018

We return to our discussion of the UN Declaration of Human Rights during the 70th anniversary year of this critical document. Our focus will be…

Article 27.

(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts, and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28.

Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Later in the hour, we’ll review the plans and projects of the American Solidarity Party.

October 5, 2018

​This week we will continue our discussion of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Our focus will be on education.

Article 26

  1. Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
  2. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
  3. Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Later in the hour, we’ll talk about the American Solidarity Party’s plans and projects.

September 28, 2018

We will be discussing social security further, as well as whether universal basic income could be a solution to the mandates in Articles 24-25.

Article 24. Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Later in the hour, we’ll talk about the American Solidarity Party’s plans and projects.

September 21, 2018

We will be discussing the American Solidarity Party’s Month of Labor by way of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On its 70th anniversary, the Declaration calls for deeper understanding and committed action. Join us as we look at Article 23.
Article 23.
Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
Everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
Later in the hour, we’ll talk about the American Solidarity Party’s plans and projects.

September 14, 2018

We will be returning to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On its 70th anniversary, the Declaration calls for deeper understanding and committed action. This week we’ll ask what social security is and what does it look like around the world. We’ll do so by taking a close look at Article 22.​

Article 22
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
Later in the hour, we’ll talk about the American Solidarity Party’s plans and projects.
Let us know if you have questions or suggestions!

September 7, 2018

We will be returning to the UN Declaration of Human Rights. On its 70th anniversary, the Declaration calls for deeper understanding and committed action. This week we’ll continue our discussion of Article 21.

Article 21.
(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
Later in the hour, we’ll talk about the American Solidarity Party’s plans and projects.

August 31, 2018

This week we have special guests: Desmond Silveira, former National Committee member and California gubernatorial candidate for the American Solidarity Party; Aaron Hamlin, executive director of The Center for Election Science; and Drew Penrose, legal and policy director of FairVote.

We will discuss the problems with our existing plurality voting system and examine two alternatives: approval voting, favored by The Center of Election Science, and ranked choice voting, favored by FairVote. Both organizations strive to make our democracy more efficient, effective, and representative.

As is customary, we’ll also have an update on the work of the American Solidarity Party.

Next week, we anticipate returning to our analysis of the UN Declaration on Human Rights.

August 24, 2018

This week we’ll discuss Pope Francis’s recent Letter to the People of God on the crimes and grave disorders of clerical sex abuse. Our guests will include Fr. David Poecking of Pittsburgh and Boz Tchividjian, the Executive Director of GRACE NET.

We will begin with the Holy Father’s reflection:

“The extent and the gravity of all that has happened requires coming to grips with this reality in a comprehensive and communal way. While it is important and necessary on every journey of conversion to acknowledge the truth of what has happened, in itself this is not enough. Today we are challenged as the People of God to take on the pain of our brothers and sisters wounded in their flesh and in their spirit. If, in the past, the response was one of omission, today we want solidarity, in the deepest and most challenging sense, to become our way of forging present and future history.”
As is customary, we’ll also have an update on the work of the American Solidarity Party.

Next week, we anticipate returning to our analysis of the UN Declaration on Human Rights.

August 17, 2018 (no show was recorded or aired on August 10, 2018)

This week we’ll discuss the “Letter to the Bishops,” from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, revising the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the death penalty (attachment below).

Just what does the Letter say?
How does moral reflection deepen over time?
What is the role of the political leader who affirms the inadmissibilty of judicial execution?
As always, we’ll offer an update on the plans and projects of the American Solidarity Party.

Next week we’ll return to our ongoing analysis of the UN Declaration on Human Rights.

August 3, 2018

Let’s return to the UN Declaration of Human Rights. On its 70th anniversary, the Declaration calls for deeper understanding and committed action. This week we’ll continue our discussion of Articles 18-20.
Article 18
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Article 19
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Article 20
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
Later in the hour, we’ll talk about the American Solidarity Party’s plans and projects.

July 27, 2018

Let’s return to the UN Declaration of Human Rights. On its 70th anniversary, the Declaration continues to call for understanding and action. This week we’ll discuss ​Article 18-20​.​
Article 18

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Article 19
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Article 20
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
Later, we’ll talk about the American Solidarity Party​”s​ plans for the future​.

July 20, 2018

We’ll begin with our friend, Skylar Covich, the new Chair of the American Solidarity Party’s National Committee. Picking up from last week, Skylar will outline his thinking on where the party is and where it’s going.

Next we’ll chat with our second guest. Ron Austin has long shared many of the interests and commitments that make for solidarity. He’s been an actor and a producer, an activist and social worker. He’s a respected author and a Fellow of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology. Recently, Ron has been exploring in the journal First Things the travails of popular culture, the generation gaps, and what’s it’s like to be…the last living member of the Hollywood Blacklist. His heroes include Rene Girard and Romano Guardini.

We haven’t, of course, forgotten the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights. We’ll return to our analysis of what it says and how we respond to it on July 27.

July 13, 2018

Let’s return to the UN Declaration of Human Rights. On its 70th anniversary, the Declaration calls for understanding and action. This week we’ll discuss ​Article 17​.​
Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
​In light of our discussion of property, we’ll explore “distributism,” starting with
​Chesterton’s quip, “Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists.”
Later in the hour, we’ll talk about the American Solidarity Party’s​ plans for the future. We’ve invited Skylar Covich, Chair of the National Committee, to join us!​

July 6, 2018

Let’s 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 ​begin discussing ​Article 16, ​and we’ll be inviting special panelists.

Article 16.
(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage, and at its dissolution.
(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Later in the hour, we’ll talk about the new National Committee officers in the American Solidarity Party and their plans for the future, which, as always, begins…now. (Here one thinks of Peter Maurin’s adage “The future will be different if we make the present different.”)

June 29, 2018

Let’s 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 ​begin discussing ​Articles 13-15​, ​especially in light of the ongoing crisis on our southern border.

Article 13.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14.
(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15.
(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

​**​Later in the hour, we’ll talk about the results of the American Solidarity Party’s recent convention.

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

W​e​’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
2) Abortion
3) Domestic violence
Later in the hour, we’ll talk about the A​m​erican 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…

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
2) Abortion
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.

Article 8. Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
Article 9. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Article 10. Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
Article 11. (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence. (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

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…

Article 6
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…

Article 5
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.

Article 4.
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:
What are the threats to this?
What can we do to help?
As usual, we’ll check-in with Solidarity Party political efforts, especially in California.

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:
Does the inclusion of “or other status” supersede the the limitation to born human beings from article 1?
What are the obstacles to this inclusivity?
As usual, we’ll check-in with Solidarity Party political efforts, especially in California

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:
What are human beings?
Is the historical focus on born people an oversight due to not understanding the biological reality of unique human lives starting at conception?
What is equality in freedom? “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free,” said Fannie Lou Hamer, an American voting and women’s rights activist, community organizer, and a leader in the Civil Rights Movement.
What is equality in dignity? “When it comes to human dignity, we cannot make compromises,” said Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany.
What is a spirit of brotherhood?
As usual, we’ll check-in with Solidarity Party political efforts, especially in California.

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.
What, in general, is the nature of a thing?
What is it for something to be natural?
Why should nature and the natural have moral significance?
What is natural law?
Such questions have everything to do with justice. See, for example, Martin Luther King’s famous Letter from Birmingham Jail (widely available; google for a free download). For Steven Long’s recent lecture on natural law and St. Thomas, you can visit the Open Door Facebook page (WCAT Radio Group – The Open Door).

Second, we’ll have an update on the American Solidarity Party’s political efforts in California!

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:
just what a right is,
what it is to have a right,
and what sort of foundation(s) rights have.

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
competing with world, on its terms
the educator who kept magazines to show he was hip
loss of parents, the first educators
rising costs, more work, too busy for the children
have not found themselves, children must raise parents
parent fears, anxiety, helicopter moms, dads afraid to interact

Challenges for youth
lack of meaning
pressure to conform (including pressure to appear not to be conforming)
bullies, narcissists, sociopaths (and sometimes overcoming being these)

What do they seek?
They seek what is true, what is beautiful, just as the rest of us
But how do they seek it? What lesser thing do they stop at?
They are the same as we. There is no ‘they’ there is only ‘us’.

​How can we help?
assuming they are like our worst old self
assuming cynicism
assuming they have the same particular faults
assuming all the same
nemo dat quod non habet–one cannot give that which one does not have
be real – see Catechism #2223
Remember equal dignity #2203, #2222 which must underlie everything
Demonstrate their dignity and worth by how we respect them
Model humility
Provide opportunities to find themselves, experiences, stories, books, discussions

​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:
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.
Zeb Baccelli is a father of five in rural western Pennsylvania. He runs a business selling organic produce grown by a local community of Amish farmers. The Baccellis home school their children as part of a cooperative of homeschooling Catholic and Orthodox families. The Baccellis look forward to purchasing their own farm this year and beginning a life of agrarian community.

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!

Benedict Option FAQ


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
Pray for victims of crime and their families, those who have been wrongly convicted, and those awaiting execution. Taking life whether done by a perpetrator or by the state, diminishes and undermines the sanctity and dignity of human life. “We cannot teach that killing is wrong by killing. We cannot defend life by taking life.”
Learn about Catholic social teaching, U.S. criminal justice policies, and the policies in your state. Go to the Web site listed below for more information about the death penalty.
Educate people in your parish or community about Catholic social teaching and the criminal justice system. Visit the Web site listed below for Vatican and U.S. bishops’ statements on the death penalty, as well as statements from individual bishops and state Catholic Conferences.
Advocate by contacting your elected officials. Discuss Catholic teaching on the death penalty and what steps could be taken at the state and national level to curtail or end its use. This is especially important as most advocacy and activity related to the death penalty occurs at the state level.
To receive information regarding the Catholic Church’s work on the death penalty at the national level, or to link with a particular state’s efforts, visit the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Web site at http://www.usccb.org/deathpenalty.

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 http://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), scolecchi@usccb.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.
    From Religion in the Public Square… We, therefore, support the free exercise of religion as the right to fully live out the dictates on one’s faith. We believe that there is more to the First Amendment’s guarantee of the the free exercise of religion than the mere “freedom to worship.”
    From Health and Welfare… We, therefore, support diverse efforts to secure universal health care access, affordability, and outcomes, including single-pay health initiatives, healthcare cooperatives, and hybrid systems at the state and national level.
  3. Consider the promise and peril of building a national Solidarity Party

November 18, 2017

Special on-location broadcast event 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.)

November 17, 2017

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:
A constitutional amendment that affirms that personhood begins at conception and declares that there is no right to abortion under the U.S. Constitution, thus reversing Roe v. Wade and its progeny.
Federal and state laws that protect the rights of both mothers and their unborn children.
Use of government funds to meet the special needs of women, mothers and children, without ever contributing to organizations that provide, promote or facilitate abortions.
Policies that help prevent the tragedy of suicide, including universal access to affordable mental health care.
Creation of a strong and inclusive social safety net to provide for the needs of the most vulnerable members of society.
And we oppose:
Compounding the tragedy of abortion through criminal penalties against the women who obtain them.
Intentional destruction of human embryos, in any context.
Human cloning.
Euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Capital punishment.

November 10, 2017

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:
The operation of credit and similar financial institutions in the interests of borrowers and lenders, not stock market speculators, and the advancement of credit unions, mutual insurance companies, and other cooperative forms of ownership for financial enterprises.
The application of antitrust regulations and other regulatory authority in order to prevent the expansion of out-sized credit institutions, stop institutions “too big to fail” from forming, and end taxpayer bailouts for the shareholders of publicly-traded banks and financial institutions.
Restoration of the historic separation of banks and investment houses.
Careful oversight and regulation of financial services companies and professionals to ensure guidance is in the best interest of the consumer.
Addressing the student loan crisis by subsidizing extended low interest rate and partial forgiveness, and restoring the ability to discharge student loans in bankruptcy.
Increasing regulation and controls on alternative forms of credit and finance such as payday loan and title loan stores, money transfer businesses, and Bitcoin.
Regulation of the credit card industry and prohibition of usurious interest rates and unfair business practices.
Greater transparency and legal responsibility on the part of creditors and vendors for vigilance against fraudulent activity, such as identity theft.

November 3, 2017

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:
The principle that all persons have equal dignity and are entitled to nondiscriminatory treatment regardless of race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.
Laws favoring full and fair access to the polls, courts, housing, education, employment, and credit regardless of race, religion, sex, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.
Efforts, consistent with public safety, to rehabilitate and fully integrate convicted criminal offenders back into society, including measures to restore voting access and limit the use of criminal history in employment decisions where practicable.
The constitutionally guaranteed rights of free public assembly, speech, and a free and independent press.
Legal recognition that our First Amendment rights to free speech, assembly, association and petition extend to new electronic media.
Ending foreign and domestic censorship of print and electronic media.

October 27, 2017

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:
Diverse efforts across this country to secure universal health care access, affordability and outcomes, including single-payer health initiatives, healthcare cooperatives, and hybrid systems at the state and national level.
Maintenance of crucial federal programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (welfare), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or “food stamps”), housing initiatives, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Regular reform of these programs is essential, provided that they are not reduced without another adequate safety net being in place.
Allowing states to experiment with alternative income support approaches, such as Universal Basic Income, as a replacement for the myriad means-tested programs currently in place.
A health and welfare system that includes conscience protections for employers and charities that do not wish to participate in activities that contradict their sincerely held moral convictions.
Assurance of a living minimum wage, calculated by the cost of raising a family on a single income in each given municipality, for all full-time workers.
Retirement security for seniors through adequately-funded Social Security and other public pension systems.

October 20, 2017

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:
Alternative methods of voting in primaries and elections in order to make governing bodies more accurately reflect broad candidate choice.These include, but are not limited to: approval voting, range voting, ranked choice voting, and instant run-offs.
Reform of the redistricting process through independent and impartial agencies.
State exploration of automatic voter registration for all citizens upon naturalization or coming of age, with conscience protections for those who choose to opt out.
Elimination of restrictive voter-registration and voter identification laws that suppress voter turnout, particularly among the poor and minority groups.
Easy access to impartial and fact-based information on candidates and ballot measures in print, online and through broadcast media.
Measures to reduce the influence of money in politics, including waiting periods before public servants are permitted to accept employment in private lobbying firms, requirements for offering equal time to all candidates as a condition of broadcast licenses, and other constitutional means of amplifying views that do not tend to attract support from wealthy donors.

October 13, 2017

Let’s begin, first, with Scripture—and a special focus on the gifts of the young and the old.
Peter Preaches to the Crowd (Acts 19: 14-21)
14 But Peter standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and spoke to them: Ye men of Judea, and all you that dwell in Jerusalem, be this known to you, and with your ears receive my words. 15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day: 16 But this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel:
17 And it shall come to pass, in the last days, (saith the Lord,) I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.
18 And upon my servants indeed, and upon my handmaids will I pour out in those days of my spirit, and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will shew wonders in the heaven above, and signs on the earth beneath: blood and fire, and vapour of smoke.
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and manifest day of the Lord come.
21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved.

Second, let’s look at what St. John Paul II said about capitalism and what it might mean, together with the need to begin where we are.

And, third, let’s return to the Solidarity Party platform. This time, let’s explore the plank…
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:
The right of workers to form associations in pursuit of their collective economic interests.
Legal protection for occupational safety and compensation, equal access to employment, good faith in hiring and retention, and paid leave for illness and family care.
Extra resources and attention towards the needs of disabled workers, including a redoubling of efforts to break down all barriers that prevent disabled persons from achieving their full potential contributions to society and the economy.
Rigorous enforcement of workplace discrimination laws.
More aggressive steps to eliminate discrimination against older workers.
Exploration of alternative employee benefit arrangements, especially to address challenges to fairness in the workplace arising from the emerging digitized, “gig” economy, and to level the competitive playing field among employers, including universal, portable benefits that better protect all workers.
Expanded jobs programs, education, and training to provide dislocated and other marginalized workers a foothold in the economy.
Blocking union-busting laws that interfere with the relationship between employers and labor organizations.

October 6, 2017

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:
Public policies and investments that allow businesses to successfully compete and workers to maintain family sustaining wages.
International trade agreements structured to guarantee the freedom of all participants and establish strict labor and environmental standards in order to prevent a “race to the bottom” whereby nations compete for industry by loosening protections.
Reform of international trade and finance institutions (such as the World Trade Organization, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund) in order to assure transparency, accountability, and fairness to all nations.
An end to loopholes that protect special interests at the expense of consumers.
Disfavoring trade with countries in which workers and the environment are exploited.
Trade agreements that favor local producers over international corporations.
An end to the use of international financial pressure to restructure the economies of debtor nations in ways that favor large corporate interests over protections for the poor and middle class families

September 29, 2017

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:
Measures that promote stable and healthy marriages and aid families in the raising of children.
Strong measures to prevent and prosecute domestic violence, one of the most serious threats to marriage.
Laws that protect religious institutions, small businesses, and private individuals from civil or criminal liability for refusing to participate in activities contrary to their belief in marriage as a secure union of one man and one woman.
Workplace accommodations for parents, including paid parental leave, flexible scheduling, and affordable childcare.
Tax reform measures that incentivize marriage and raising children.
Removal of any marriage penalties in the tax code and public welfare programs.

September 22, 2017

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:
Laws that allow people of all faiths to practice their religion without intimidation in either their private and public lives. We oppose strains of aggressive secularism that seek to remove all traces of religious identity from the public sphere.
The free exercise of religion as the right to fully live out the dictates of one’s faith. We believe that there is more to the First Amendment’s guarantee of the free exercise of religion than the mere “freedom to worship.”
Special note: No Show was Recorded or Aired on September 15, 2017.

September 8, 2017

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:
Military force being used only when consistent with Just War principles.
Ending the use of nuclear weapons, pre-emptive strikes, disproportionate retaliation, the killing of civilians, and the mistreatment of prisoners of war.
Condemning the use of torture – by whatever method, for whatever purpose, and by whatever euphemism it may be called.
Prosecution and punishment to the fullest extent of the law of those who participate in or authorize torture.
A review of the effectiveness of security agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security.
Recognition that prudence in securing our borders can be reconciled with compassion for families fleeing violence and persecution.

September 1, 2017

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:
A generous policy of asylum for migrants fleeing persecution and violent conflict within their countries of origin, including a call for the United States to fulfill its obligations under international law in regards to the treatment of refugees and those fleeing inhumane conditions.
Repealing unnecessary and excessive barriers to residency, including punitive provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act, that make it nearly impossible for unauthorized immigrants to become legal permanent residents.
Providing safety and opportunity for all immigrants who currently reside within our states, including equal access to driving privileges and higher education.
A pathway to citizenship for parents of United States citizens.
An end of the use of private for-profit immigrant detention centers as well as the detention of immigrants who do not pose a threat to national security or public safety, especially children and families.
Special note: Catholic Herald, “Pope Francis: Put Migrant Safety Before National Security”

August 25, 2017

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:
The scientific consensus that human beings are causing instability in the global climate. We regard this as a humanitarian crisis that must be addressed without delay by the world’s wealthiest nations, including the United States.
The necessary levels of government funding for research into safe and renewable sources of energy, such as solar and wind power.
The incremental roll-back of government support of the use of fossil fuels.
A robust regulatory apparatus which conserves our nation’s great natural resources and protects our land, air and water from man-made pollution and degradation.
Civil recourse for victims of environmental destruction by individuals and organizations.
The institution of pollution taxes to fund research into cleaner methods of production and waste management, and to compensate citizens for abuse of the natural commons.
Economic redevelopment initiatives, such as job retraining and direct family aid, in those regions adversely affected by the transition to planet-friendly fuels and modes of production.
Policies that encourage recycling, deter consumption, and decrease disposal.
Improved access to affordable, convenient public transportation, and the promotion of healthy alternatives to the individual use of motor vehicles, such as cycling, and walking.
The input of indigenous populations in land-use deliberations.

August 18, 2017

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:
Economic policies that expand opportunities for the poor, and rebuilding and supporting a vibrant middle class, the erosion of which is a fundamental threat to our democracy.
The right of workers to be compensated for the wealth they create and to participate in economic decision-making.
A fair and progressive tax system that ends subsidies and exemptions which disproportionately benefit the wealthy and favor speculation over work.
Labor and consumer protection laws to offset disproportionate market power.
The widest range of opportunities to own productive property, including family-owned businesses and worker-owned cooperatives.
The free market approach over the command market approach, recognizing the benefits of free and fair markets for the voluntary exchange of goods and services.
A review of existing regulations and taxes, to assess their impact on small businesses.
Strong antitrust enforcement to preserve a free market and the elimination of regulations designed to unfairly inhibit competition by smaller firms.
The repeal of subsidies that encourage urban sprawl and discourage local farming and production.
Laws that discourage corporate farm ownership and help sustain family farms and rural communities.
Exploring state and local land value taxes as an alternative to traditional property taxes.
Reform of intellectual property laws that allow corporations to control seed life, and thus control a disproportionate amount of our food sources.
Investigating possible alternatives to stigmatized welfare programs and regressive entitlements such as the use of Universal Basic Income to supplement wages and share the benefits of nature and technology.

August 11, 2017

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:
Public investment in adult education, training, and professional development.
Creating and maintaining affordable, effective public transportation systems that cut down on carbon emissions and make travel cost-effective and convenient.
Investments in scientific research and technology that advance the common good, and do not just increase the profits of private corporations.
Intellectual property laws that advance the public good.
Increased public funding for basic research and development.
Anti-trust legislation and enforcement to resist the formation of media conglomerates, and, if necessary, to break up those that exist.
Public ownership of the airwaves.
Leasing through auction the electromagnetic spectrum for commercial use to recover its full market value.
Net neutrality so that users may access legal content without restrictions imposed by their internet service providers (ISPs).
The creation of local, public internet service providers (ISPs) and universal Wi-Fi access to the internet.
The public ownership of natural monopolies, such as toll roads and bridges, community policing, parking enforcement, public transportation, prisons, and energy and water utilities.

July 28, 2017

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. .

We, therefore, support:
Measures to increase transparency and trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve, including the use of body cameras and civilian review boards, models of community policing, and the diversification of local police forces.
Strict accountability for the use of lethal force by law enforcement officers.
Ending the privatization of law enforcement and penal institutions.
Ending arbitrary legal requirements in sentencing for nonviolent offenses that result in long-term imprisonment, such as mandatory minimum sentences and three-strikes laws.
Prosecution and punishment of drug-related crimes that focuses on distribution, impaired performance, or endangerment, rather than possession and use.
Redirecting funds allotted for the arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment of illicit drug users towards prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation.
Mandatory rehabilitation programs in lieu of imprisonment, to the extent that local jurisdictions determine that arresting illicit substance users for possession is practicable and a wise use of crime prevention resources.
More vigorous and holistic measures to end human trafficking, including stricter and more uniform penalties for those who purchase or arrange for the purchase of sex.
Protection for people forced into the sex trade, and the provision of rehabilitation and employment training to those who are exploited by it.
Treating the proliferation and ease of access to pornography, and the exploitation and commodification it entails, as a public health crisis.
Strict measures to better protect minors from pornography and the use of state resources to educate the public about the dangers of pornography
Ending government involvement in the promotion of legal vices such as gambling, and strict regulation of gambling when permitted.
Taxation of casinos to support gambling recovery and rehabilitation programs.
Ending the exploitation and commodification of women’s bodies that is inherent in for-profit gestational surrogacy contracts, and a ban on such arrangements.

July 21, 2017

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.

We, therefore, support:

  • The right of families to choose the best methods for educating their children, be they public, charter, private, parochial or home-based education.
  • Concrete steps to address educational inequalities in our current public education system, including the needs of economically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities.
  • Increased funding for public education and measures to address the imbalance of finances and resources between districts.
  • Tax credit programs that give families the practical means to choose the form of education they prefer.
  • Tax credits for individual and corporate donations to fund scholarships for lower-income students at private primary and secondary educational institutions.
  • Public funds for private education options, by means determined at the state or local level, provided equitable funding of public education is safeguarded.
  • Measurable educational standards that preserve the freedom of teachers to design curricula appropriate to the needs of their students within general guidelines set by local authorities.
  • Greater control of tuition rates at public institutions, and stricter regulation of for-profit educational enterprises.
  • Expansion of student loan-forgiveness and loan-reduction programs.
  • A public educational system that provides the rigorous formation of literate, well-rounded, virtuous citizens. As well as providing a foundation in core subjects, such as reading, writing, mathematics and science, we call for classes in civics, the arts, technical fields, vocational training, and financial literacy.

July 14, 2017

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:​
We must build a culture and enact laws that uphold the equal and inviolable dignity and rights of every human being from conception to natural death.
We have an obligation to care for our neighbor, and especially to defend those who are most vulnerable. Ensuring that every person has access to food, shelter, education, and healthcare is an achievable goal.
We believe that family, local communities, and voluntary associations are the first guarantors of human dignity. National institutions and policies should support, not supplant, them.
We must share and protect natural resources and the environment, as held in trust for the benefit of all.
We believe that force should only be used as a last resort for addressing conflict at home and throughout the world.

​July 7, 2017

Pragmatism: Is it good in theory, as a wag has said, but not in practice? Why or why not? What difference does it make?

June 30, 2017

Who are the poor, and how do we help them? (with special guest, Lydia Kemi Ingram of Murrieta, CA)

​​June 23, 2017

Aging and its effect on humility

​June 16, 2017

What is the natural law? Examples?

June 9, 2017

How may I be sure the host really is the body and blood of Christ?

​June 2, 2017

Just War Theory

May 26, 2017

“I must always follow my own conscience.” Why? What is conscience?

May 19. 2017

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.

April 28, 2017

St. Anselm’s Paradox – Why is this true?  (“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.”

April 21, 2017

Authentic Humility – defined. The core virtue – why?

April 7, 2017

Metaphysics – what, why and How. Led by Richard Geraghty.

March 31, 2017

In what way does someone “obey” the unseen God? Why?”

March 24, 2017

What do Christians mean by the word “love?”

March 17, 2017

Panel members’ most memorable spiritual or religious moment(s)

March 10, 2017

Models of the Church according to Avery Cardinal Dulles

March 3, 2017

What is Ash Wed and lent all about? Why?

February 24, 2017

The virtue of detachment and acceptance of God’s will. Follow on to the topic of rejection led by Ronda and Paradise Commander.

February 17, 2017

The socio-psychological problem of personal rejection. Ronda will lead this discussion based on her recent book on rejection.

February 10, 2017

The Panel’s experience of dreams as messages from God; May include comment on Jungian dream analysis and scripture examples.

February 3, 2017

The Panel’s experience with travel to sacred sites.

January 27, 2017

The Panel’s experience with sacred music.

January 20, 2017

The American Solidarity Party with the discussion led by James Hanink.

January 13, 2017

Spirit Filled Hearts Ministry: A Work of the California Vineyard, with guest Catherine Hughes.

This is a link to the prisoners after healing service in you tube and link to our blog in the trip with missionaries’ testimonials
Cebu City Jail Healing Service – https://youtu.be/Y0LXlLehf_U

January 6, 2017

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.

December 23, 2016

“Methods for personal evangelization.”Panel members will discuss their method(s) used to evangelize individuals or small groups. Personal evangelization, not classroom lecturing or writing books, etc)

December 16, 2016

“Joy for the elderly found in the pursuit of art, literature and science.”

December 9, 2016

“Joy for the elderly found in avocational work, service and social outreach.”

November 18, 2016

“Is Christendom really in decline?” What can the Church do about the decline of Christendom? i.e., Christian faith.

November 11, 2016

“Is Christendom really in decline?” 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?

November 4, 2016

​”Newton, Comte and the decline of Christendom.” 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.

October 28, 2016

“Dear God: Is you is, or is you ain’t?” 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.

October 21, 2016

“Grace.” 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 on October 7, 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.

WCAT Radio: Love lifts up where knowledge takes flight!

You have Successfully Subscribed!