Tag Archives: Madison

UPDATE: 1 person shot multiple times, 1 in custody at temporary men’s shelter in Madison

The gunman who shot a fellow resident at a homeless shelter here in Madison is responsible for his own actions (see story linked below). But this doesn’t mean others don’t have some culpability as well. City and state officials also have some responsibility for the shooting as well. Why?

By their response to this summer’s riots undermined the rule of law. Officials allowed and even seemingly support the destruction of property and the harassment of innocent people.

Violent crime is up in Madison at least in part because elected officials have failed to meet their primary moral obligation to keep the peace by defending life and property.

And as often happens when those in power fail to do their duty it is those on the margins of society who bear the cost.

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

Source: UPDATE: 1 person shot multiple times, 1 in custody at temporary men’s shelter in Madison

It’s OK to Reject Critical Race Theory – Yellow Stripes & Dead Armadillos

From former Madison mayor Dave Cieslewicz comes this:

For too long we have told ourselves a narrative of our country that was too sanitized. We have not been willing enough to confront what’s still wrong with America. There is no question that slavery and Jim Crow are national stains that can’t be just wiped away. It’s good to be honest with ourselves.But that’s my point. We need to be honest with ourselves, not overcompensate by inventing a narrative that portrays America as something that it’s not. We have done bad things, but we are not bad.Every American civil rights leader from Frederick Douglas to Martin Luther King was telling us that America made wonderful promises, but now it was time we kept those promises to everyone. Critical race theory tells us that the promises themselves were never real and that we need to replace them entirely with something else.

Source: It’s OK to Reject Critical Race Theory – Yellow Stripes & Dead Armadillos

COVID-19 & Religious Liberty in Madison, WI

While I remain hopeful that my parish’s religious liberty has not been infringed upon, retired UW law professor Ann Althouse raises suggest that I might be wrong. 
Althouse writes that “No sooner was the state-wide order invalidated than my local government reinstated it — but not without changing the way ‘religious entities’ are treated.” She quotes the city/county directive that churches are now “to use technology to avoid meeting in person, including virtual meetings, teleconference.”
We have been live streaming services for several weeks so this isn’t a concern. What does concern me is Althouse’s conclusion
So, just like that, small religious groups lost their right to meet in person and must, at this late date, switch to teleconferencing. And that’s what you get when local government takes over. Why did they adopt everything else the State Department of Health Services had in its orders, but change that one thing? They rushed it out on the same day the court acted, but they had the time and motivation to go harder on religious groups? How did that happen?
Maybe Professor Althouse is wrong. I hope she is. Her conclusion, however, is worrisome.
In Christ,
+Fr Gregory

When Helping Hurts

I generally avoid partisan issues where the Church has definitively spoken. But as the pastor of a church on the Isthmus in Madison an area with a significant homeless population, I thought this editoral was a good warning for Mad City. San Francisco,

…has been conducting a three-decade experiment in what happens when society stops enforcing bourgeois norms of behavior. It has done so in the name of compassion for the homeless. The result: Street squalor and misery have increased, while government expenditures have ballooned. Yet the principles guiding city policy remain inviolate: Homelessness is a housing problem, it is involuntary, and it persists because of inadequate public spending. These propositions are readily disproved by talking to people living on the streets.

Both in American political philosophy and Orthodox moral theology, liberty isn’t moral license and the civil authority has a positive obligation to protect the public order.

Here in Madison, the city government has largely failed in its obligations. Like San Franciso, the mayor sees homelessness as a housing problem. While this is partly true, there are also often underlying mental health issues that lead to homelessness.

While the cause or causes of homelessness matter, so to do its consequences for public safety. As crime increases on the Isthmus (basically, downtown) becomes a more dangerous place to live and work. Failure to address the resulting increase in crime is a moral failure on the part of the city government.

In both San Francisco, one underlying cause of government inaction is the widespread embrace of liberty as moral license rather than as the freedom to do as we ought to do. As we see in other areas, often members of the middle and upper-middle classes, preach values they don’t actually embrace in their own lives.

Ironically, and tragically, “helping” the homeless is, again as we see in other areas, is doing more harm than good. Worse, it is actively harming the very people government officials are seeking to help.

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory