Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The First Yom Kippur


shutterstock_291906152Although Jewish customs vary around the world, the rhythm of the Jewish calendar is substantially the same. There is one notable exception, though, and you see it this time of year as we prepare for the High Holidays — Rosh Hashanah (New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).

Ashkenazi Jews (of European origin) begin to say the special selichot prayers about a week before Rosh Hashanah, continuing daily through Yom Kippur. Meanwhile, Sephardi (North African) and Mizrahi (Middle Eastern) Jews drag themselves to synagogue before sunrise for a full month before the new year — since the beginning of the month of Elul.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Francis in Cuba


From an editorial in the Washington Post:

A Cuban dissident is prevented by securiThe pope is spending four days in a country whose Communist dictatorship has remained unrelenting in its repression of free speech, political dissent and other human rights despite a warming of relations with the Vatican and the United States. Yet by the end of his third day, the pope had said or done absolutely nothing that might discomfit his official hosts.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Flyover 42 – Soto Returns!


Frank Soto joins us this week; pessimistic about the pope, optimistic about conservatives’ political future. Is Marco Rubio out of the race? We’re done talking about Trump, and — given the prescience of Flyover Country — let us simply assume that this is the start of something. Speaking of which, Rob Long points out an article in which Newsmax declares Flyover Country to be the #1 conservative podcast in the Multiverse. You’ve got to read between the lines, but that’s essentially what they’re saying.

Intro includes a song from Ronald Jenkees; closing music this week comes from Public Service Broadcasting; h/t Ricochet member Lance.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. What’s Wrong with the George Will Column Excoriating the Pope?


Begin with the title: “Pope Francis’ fact-free flamboyance.

The Pope is fact free? He knows nothing? He’s flamboyant? How so? The article doesn’t tell us. It evidently relies for its persuasiveness on anti-Catholic or anti-papal prejudices and presuppositions.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Kim Davis Is No Martyr


Kim-Davis-mugshotTed Cruz made his feelings clear about defiant county clerk Kim Davis: “Today, for the first time ever, the government arrested a Christian woman for living according to her faith.” Mike Huckabee said, “having Kim Davis in federal custody removes all doubt of the criminalization of Christianity in our country.”

Mat Staver, who is representing Davis in court, compared her to several Christian martyrs. “Kim joins a long list of people who were imprisoned for their conscience,” Staver said. “People who today we admire, like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Jan Hus, John Bunyan, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and more — each had their own cause, but they all share the same resolve not to violate their conscience.”


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. What Makes an Adult?


Convocation Remarks for the Incoming Class of 2019 at Merrimack College:

Not long ago, my youngest daughter Anne and I were crossing a street together. I stepped off the curb into the crosswalk and leaned out so I could see beyond the line of parked cars. As I did so, I reached back to keep my darling daughter from walking before I could be sure it was safe.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. ‘To Those That Were Robbed of Life…’


Pope Francis babyTO THOSE WHO WERE ROBBED OF LIFE: the unborn, the weak, the sick, the old, during the dark ages of madness, selfishness, lust and greed for which the last decades of the twentieth century are remembered….” C. Everett Koop, MD

Much has been made of the recent decision of Pope Francis to allow priests to absolve those involved in the grave sin of abortion. Catholics and non-Catholics alike who depend on the major media for what this means might misinterpret his letter. Many outlets are reporting that this decision leaves the possibility that the act of an aborting a child might no longer be a grave sin, or was not a grave sin in the first place. This is not the case.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Moderation Isn’t Compromise


Responding to a Vox article by Ezra Klein, Mark Steyn explains how the common understanding of “moderate” voters is mistaken:

Because the first position is “left” and the second position is “right,” the pollsters split the difference and label such a person a “moderate.” But he isn’t actually a moderate, so much as bipartisanly extreme. In practice, most “moderates” boil down to that: They hold some leftie and some rightie positions. The most familiar type of “moderate” in American politics are the so-called “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” red governors of blue states. […] As Trump’s detractors see it, he’s just a reality-show buffoon with a portfolio of incoherent attitudes that display no coherent worldview. But very few people go around with a philosophically consistent attitude to life: Your approach to, say, health insurance is determined less by abstract principles than by whether you can afford it. Likewise, your attitude to the DREAMers may owe more to whether your local school district is collapsing under the weight of all this heartwarming diversity.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Resolved: It Is Immoral to Pursue Extravagant Wealth


800px-3D_Judges_GavelLeah Libresco is one of the most interesting writers in the blogosphere. After graduating from Yale with a degree in mathematics, she matriculated into the real world. She started a blog on the Patheos atheist channel that shot to the top of the charts. Libresco was quickly hired by the Huffington Post. She rose to prominence because of her unique way of arguing for the atheist position.

After several years of challenging believers with tough questions, Libresco shocked the blogosphere with her conversion to Catholicism. She now runs the blog Unequally Yoked and writes at FiveThirtyEight. She runs the podcast Fights in Good Faith for Real Life Radio.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Saturday Morning Dreams


DaliDo you dream about politics? I often do.

I recently had a complex dream full of remarkably creative eructations from my unconscious mind. Donald Trump, believe it or not, made a cameo, and threatened to fire me. (No, I am not kidding.) I was supposed to be selling a kind of vending machine that dispensed candy bars with labels claiming they were uniquely nutritious. I looked at the ingredients and saw that they were made of nothing more than sugar, so I didn’t think I could honestly sell these machines. Trump thundered that I knew nothing about selling anything; I was a failure and should do as I was told.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Protecting Inmates From Dangerous Ideas


shutterstock_69674647Christianity is no longer permitted in Kentucky’s juvenile detention centers.

Chaplain David Wells was told he could either sign a state-mandated document promising to never tell inmates that homosexuality is “sinful” or else the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice would revoke his credentials … The Kentucky regulation clearly states that volunteers working with juveniles “shall not refer to juveniles by using derogatory language in a manner that conveys bias towards or hatred of the LGBTQI community. DJJ staff, volunteers, interns and contractors shall not imply or tell LGBTQI juveniles that they are abnormal, deviant, sinful or that they can or should change their sexual orientation or gender identity.”


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. The Impending Darkness


Hard not to be gloomy sadkurtzthese days. Just when you think there’s a chance, a glimmer, it’s gone. Like everything else.

It turns out that not only is the universe going to die a slow cooling death, but we’re not even in an interesting time. On the other hand, the 1980s under the very real Cold War threat and a resurgent Reagan’s America was the most optimistic time I have ever had in my life. The particles were symmetrical, and the Omega point was widely presumed to be a smidge better than one. The internet of cat pictures was just an embryo.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. The Divisiveness of Church Music


shutterstock_96110261For the past few decades, churches have lamented the exodus of young people. Their answer has been uniform: Make the service more like a rock concert through praise music, and the young people will flock to church in their skinny jeans and hipster vests. Nowadays, it’s more common to find special music consisting of electric guitars, drums, and lighting effects than traditional choirs and organs. But has turning church into a dressed-up version of Bonnaroo really helped bring the coveted Millennials back to church?

I am vehemently against praise music, though I thoroughly recognize that this is a matter of personal preference. The pervasiveness of praise music has made finding a church I like very difficult. It has made it difficult to attend church with friends, because I just stand there with my hands folded in front of me while everyone around me sways their hands in the air, singing with their eyes closed. The difference in worship style preference has even made dating difficult in some instances. Still, I was interested to see how many of my fellow Ricochet Millennial contemporaries have a similar bias towards traditional music. They may not be as militantly against contemporary worship as I am — I will turn and leave if I walk into a sanctuary and see it looking more like a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert than a church service — but they still seem on the whole to enjoy the traditional worship style.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Ethical Dilemma


shutterstock_68073163The folks at Planned Parenthood and its defenders are trying to mitigate their public relations nightmare by reminding us that fetal tissue played a vital role in the development of vaccines, including polio. Their main points are:

  • We are doing vital work in saving lives.
  • If you received the vaccination and you don’t have polio you are already an accomplice, so get over it.

Where then, do you draw the line?


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Gratitude and Responsibility


I went to church yesterday.

We say that so casually in America. We met to worship God according to the dictates of conscience, to learn from His Word, and to fellowship. We did so quite publicly — there’s even a sign out front — not in a back room in hushed voices. We had no fear of armed men breaking up the meeting. We heard a sermon that was neither censored nor written to avoid the displeasure of any public official. In America, we can still worship as we believe.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Giving the Pontiff His Due


On the same flight back to Rome from Latin America on which he admitted he knows next to nothing about economics, Pope Francis also acknowledged criticism he has received here in the United States, and promised to read up on it. From an article in Crux:

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. In Which the Pontiff Admits That—Is There Any Other Way to Put This?—He Has Not the Slightest Idea What He’s Talking About


FrancisFrom an article in the New York Times about the conversation Pope Francis had with journalists as he flew back to Rome from his trip to Latin America:

[T]he pope expressed “a great allergy to economic things,” explaining that his father had been an accountant who often brought work home on weekends.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Court: Nuns Must Provide Contraception under ObamaCare


As he often does, Josh Treviño says it all:

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Perfection and Its Discontents


shutterstock_161407115Greeks promoted the notion of “perfection” – that there was such a thing as a perfect ratio, or a perfect body. And this word and concept has similarly entered our modern world: perfection has become the standard against whom everyone or everything is measured. Sadly, it is also part of our religious thinking as well: the concept that some people are “almost” perfect, for example.

The problem with the notion of perfection is that it is not only hard to achieve, but that it is, itself, a lie.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. A Primer on the Pontiff


Pope Francis

As Pope Francis continues making waves across Latin America, hailed as a socialist by the likes of Evo Morales (who recently presented to the Pope a crucifix in the form of a hammer and sickle), it is of the highest importance to understand how Pope Francis gained his world view of capitalism and socialism in his native land of Argentina.