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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Religion, Sex Scandal, Redemption and Justice

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Man, this is a tough one.  A Pennsylvania grand jury has released a report on the extent of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in that state for the last 70 years or so.  It has created all sorts of sensationalist headlines.  The hundreds of stories recounted in the report are each heartbreaking and in some cases sickening.  One comes away feeling soiled in the reading, which when it is God’s redemptive institution doing the soiling, feels like it cannot be washed off.

But then I read this (seven paragraphs in, after and ad break) in the NYTimes account:

The report is unlikely to lead to new criminal charges or civil lawsuits under the current law because the statute of limitations has expired.

In other words, this is a historical account not a current reality.  Yet virtually all the news stories I have seen have treated this as if it represents the current state of affairs in the Roman Catholic Church – the stories include calls to eliminate the statute of limitations.

Apparently there is no redemption for God’s redemptive institution.

And thus, while I am saddened and sickened and horrified at the stories told in the report I am equally outraged that things that happened decades, and in some instances lifetimes, ago are being used to pillory an institution that seems generally to be doing its level best to address and rectify a hideous circumstance.

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The New York Times’ David D. Kirkpatrick On His Remarkable New Book: “Into The Hands Of The Generals”

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The New York Times’ David D. Kirkpatrick joined me this morning to discuss his new book on the Egyptian convulsions of the past decade: Into The Hands of the Soldiers:

Into the Hands of the Soldiers: Freedom and Chaos in Egypt and the Middle East by [Kirkpatrick, David D.]




HH: Long time listeners know every once in a while, a book comes along, whether it’s Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower or Seth Siegel’s Let There Be Water, Suicide of the West by Jonah Goldberg, or an author like Joby Warrick or Robert Kaplan, Dexter Filkins, Rajiv Chandrasekaran. I just sell hard, because a book does what journalism can’t do on a daily basis, which is give you some context and understanding of what’s going on in a region. Last week, I had David D. Kirkpatrick of the New York Times on, but I had not yet read Into The Hands Of The Soldiers, his brand new book on freedom and chaos in Egypt and the Middle East, and now I have. And it’s one of those books. Into The Hands Of The Soldiers is a must read. It is riveting, and David is back to join me this segment and next, and then for an extended conversation which we will post at David, good morning, thanks for coming back.

DK: Well, thank you very much for that, Hugh. That is incredibly gratifying.

HH: Well, what I did not know last week, I want to begin with this, the book is dedicated to Laura Bradford who, “Never signed up for any of this,” and your sons, Thomas and Emmett are in the Afterward. But she is actually quite a thread in the tapestry of this book. What a spine of steel your wife has.

DK: Yeah, she’s a rock. She’s a rock. It’s funny, she’ll complain if I’m a little late for dinner, but when there’s a revolution and she has to flee the country, she’s completely cool as a cucumber.

HH: Well, on behalf of every spouse of soldier, diplomat, intelligence community, journalist, businessperson who has had to put up with chaos, I mean, it was scary. There are some scary scenes in here where her stroller did not protect her, and where the women of Egypt are well-represented Into the Hands of Soldiers. But she does a lot of representing for the spouses out there.

DK: Yeah, yeah. Everybody loves the scene where she’s trying to make her way home after the initial uprising with our little, our one year old in a bugaboo stroller, and the Egyptians lift him up to carry him over the barricades.

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Steve Scalise, House GOP Whip, On Upcoming Judiciary Committee Hearing Featuring Bruce Ohr

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Representative Steve Scalise, House GOP Whip, joined me this morning:




HH: Joined now by Congressman Steve Scalise, House GOP Whip. Congressman, welcome back, good to talk to you.

SS: Hugh, it’s always great to be back with you. How are you doing?

HH: I am terrific, and my audience always wants to know how is your recovery doing?

SS: Oh, appreciate that. It’s going really good. We, it’s doing a lot of rehab, still, but able to walk with crutches, but trying to get to walk without crutches, and that’s, you know, that’s getting closer to being a real goal.

HH: Now you know, Congressman, when someone like you who’s been the victim of violence, and I mean deadly violence that could have resulted in a massacre of you and all of your colleagues, you watch yesterday’s coverage of 40 weirdos, and ten times that many lefty weirdos, what goes through your head? Is TV making it worse?

SS: Well, I think it’s the latter and the time. And you know, you can have, you know, express your views in your passionate way that you should, but when people try to incite violence, when people talk in a way where you know, gee whiz, if Republicans repeal and replace Obamacare, how many times did they say you’re going to die and people were, you know, this is just crazy stuff. And you know, it’s one thing to try to make your point. It’s another thing to go so far over that you’re inciting violence from people that might already be a little bit loose on the edge.

HH: Do you think the cable networks, television generally, are participating in that incitement by providing the platform?

SS: Well, I don’t really think, you know, in terms of what platform it is. I do think there is a level of accountability that the media ought to hold people to when they’re inciting this kind of violence. And you don’t see that enough. You really don’t see, especially when you’ve had true violence already taking place. I mean, clearly in my case, you know what the intention of the shooter was. It wasn’t just me. He was targeting Republicans. And there needs to be more, I think, more accountability on the side of the media when people go out and say things that truly incite violence against others.

HH: Left and right.

SS: Left and right.

HH: Now Congressman, let’s go to something that’s near and dear to me. On Saturday, Representative Jim Jordan tweeted that Bruce Ohr, former associate deputy AG, that’s not number four in the department, it’s an aide to number two, but will be in front of Congress on August 28th. His wife worked for fusion GPS, the oppo research firm for Clinton, from Jim Jordan. Do you know which committee Mr. Ohr will be appearing in front of?

SS: I think it’s Judiciary, but I’m not positive about that. And in the end, I think it’s good that we continue to bring in more and more people within the Department of Justice to really get to the bottom of some of the problems they have internally. And look, I want a fully functioning FBI and Department of Justice, and a department that you have confidence that if they’re investigating a case, there’s no political bias. They’re actually just trying to get the facts. They’re not trying to get an outcome. And unfortunately, I think we’ve covered enough to show that hasn’t been the case especially as it relates to different parts of the Trump investigation where you did have people that had a political bias and were trying, in essence, take down Donald Trump before he was even elected president. And that’s a problem that the FBI ought to be wanting to aggressively work with us to work out, and I don’t see enough of that, yet.

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Said Jesus:

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

I have been thinking about the nature of persecution – especially when I read stories about what is going on in some parts of the world:

The 62-year-old Chinese shopkeeper had waited nearly his entire adult life to see his dream of building a church come true — a brick house with a sunny courtyard and spacious hall with room for 200 believers.

But in March, about a dozen police officers and local officials suddenly showed up at the church on his property and made the frightened congregants disperse. They ordered that the cross, a painting of the Last Supper and Bible verse calligraphy be taken down. And they demanded that all services stop until each person, along with the church itself, was registered with the government, said the shopkeeper, Guo.

But that is mild compared to some other places:

Dozens of people have been killed after the gangs ransacked towns and villages to clear them of all aspects of the Christian faith.

Houses belonging to believers have also been razed with authorities doing little to help, an anti-persecution watchdog claimed.

I read things like that and I get a kind of upset when I hear someone in America say we are persecuted because of things like being forced to limit our speech or insure for abortions.  Not that those things are good – they are in fact very wrong, but they are NOT persecution.  Those things are insulting, demeaning, discriminatory, and they most certainly abrogate our rights as Americans, but they are not persecution.  What is happening in the United States is very different than what is happening elsewhere in the world.  Europe is generally as exceptional as the US, but with large neighborhoods now firmly in Islamic control, some genuine Christian persecution is beginning to rear its head in a few isolated places.  Let’s be clear about what is happening in the United States.

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