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Yesterday was the 850th anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, who was killed by followers of King Henry II of England in Canterbury Cathedral for opposing the king and asserting the rights and privileges of the church.

Specifically, Becket was murdered because he refused to go along with the king’s efforts to reduce clerical independence and render the church in England subservient to the crown. He was canonized soon after his death by Pope Alexander III and is still honored today by both Catholics and Anglicans as a great saint and martyr.

In America the feast days of saints and martyrs—even those as notable as Becket—usually pass without much notice. But this year, the White House issued a proclamation on the occasion, noting that “Becket’s death serves as a powerful and timeless reminder to every American that our freedom from religious persecution is not a mere luxury or accident of history, but rather an essential element of our liberty. It is our priceless treasure and inheritance. And it was bought with the blood of martyrs.”

This proclamation from Trump’s White House is remarkable as much for its candid support for religious liberty as for its unapologetic embrace of religion itself. It’s hard to imagine a modern American president, of either party, issuing passages like this, calling not only for an end to religious persecution worldwide (and specifically in China) but for a revival of religion in the United States:

We pray for religious believers everywhere who suffer persecution for their faith. We especially pray for their brave and inspiring shepherds—like Cardinal Joseph Zen of Hong Kong and Pastor Wang Yi of Chengdu—who are tireless witnesses to hope.

To honor Thomas Becket’s memory, the crimes against people of faith must stop, prisoners of conscience must be released, laws restricting freedom of religion and belief must be repealed, and the vulnerable, the defenseless, and the oppressed must be protected. The tyranny and murder that shocked the conscience of the Middle Ages must never be allowed to happen again. As long as America stands, we will always defend religious liberty.

A society without religion cannot prosper. A nation without faith cannot endure—because justice, goodness, and peace cannot prevail without the grace of God.

At the same time, it’s unnerving to think how diametrically opposed to this view the incoming Biden administration will be. Although he professes to be Catholic, Biden has already indicated he will once again target religious groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor, as the Obama administration did, in an attempt to force such religious orders to participate in state-funded abortion.

And Biden’s soon-to-be vice president, Kamala Harris, is an open anti-Catholic bigot, infamously imposed an unconstitutional religious test to a nominee for the federal bench in 2018. When Brian Buescher was nominated as a District Court judge, Harris inveighed against him for being a member of the Knights of Columbus, asking, “Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman’s right to choose when you joined the organization?”

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Of course, the Knights of Columbus (of which, full disclosure, I’m a member) has no special position on abortion. The charitable organization simply adheres to the Catholic Church’s teaching on abortion, marriage, and everything else. Harris’s obvious implication is that adhering to orthodox Catholic moral teaching somehow renders a person unfit for positions of public trust, such as the federal judiciary.

Aside from this appalling incident, Harris has a long record of going after organizations whose positions are in line with Catholic moral teaching, especially on abortion. As California attorney general, she authorized a raid on the home of David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress, which had exposed the illegal trafficking of organs from aborted children by Planned Parenthood.

She supported a California law, since struck down by the Supreme Court, that would have required pro-life pregnancy centers to advise clients on where they could get an abortion. Harris is also a co-sponsor of the Orwellian-named “Equality Act,” which would force Catholic hospitals to perform gender transition surgeries and Catholic schools to embrace transgender ideology in their sports programs, among other violations of religious liberty. Biden, too, has expressed his support for the act.

Under a Biden-Harris administration, it’s not hard to imagine the president and vice president saying, as King Henry II did of Becket, “Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?”

American Catholics, and indeed all Christians, should acknowledge how rare it has been to have, in President Trump, a chief executive who seems to care about religious liberty and the rights of conscience. Likewise, we should acknowledge that what’s coming under Biden-Harris will be much different.

It’s not too much to say we should expect persecution of the church. And when it comes we should be ready, like Becket, to say, “God is the supreme ruler, above Kings… we ought to obey God rather than men.”



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Convicted fundraiser who tried to work his way into Biden’s inner circle sentenced to prison

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Amajor Democratic bundler, who raised large sums for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and consorted with Joe Biden, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for what prosecutors said was a “mercenary” political influence scheme.

Imaad Zuberi, a Californian businessman was sentenced Thursday for schemes to funnel foreign money into U.S. political campaigns, then take millions of dollars for himself.

The Los Angeles Times reported that U.S. Assistant Attorney Daniel J. O’Brien said Zuberi was “purely a mercenary, funneling money to whomever he believed would do his bidding.”

Among the many unsealed court records, Zuberi was seen photographed with Joe Biden and Barack Obama when they were Vice President and President. He was also pictured with former President Bill Clinton and former presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. He took pictures with former Republican Rep. Paul Ryan when he was speaker of the House as well as the late Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

Also included in the Times report was a hacked email chain released on WikiLeaks. Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook messaged colleagues saying, “I’m OK taking the money and dealing with any attacks.” Jennifer Palmieri responded saying, “Take the money!”

He also attended Hillary Clinton’s election night party in New York City in 2016 as well as serving as a co-chair of The Trump Presidential Inauguration Committee.

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Zuberi made more than $950,000 in unlawful donations to the political committees of Obama, Clinton, McCain and others. Zuberi’s activities extended as far as a recent attempt to work his way into the Biden circle, according to Politico.  

In addition to the money he made, Zuberi also raised $270,000 for Hillary Clinton and $1.3 million for President Obama.

Zuberi, 50, pleaded guilty to a “three-count information charging with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)” for making false statements on a FARA filing as well as tax evasion and illegal contributions to political campaigns. He also pleaded guilty in a separate case earlier in June 2020 to a count of obstruction of justice.

“Zuberi turned acting as an unregistered foreign agent into a business enterprise,” Assistant Attorney General for National Secretary John C. Demers said in a Department of Justice news release.

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Cruz responds to pictures of him on Mexico flight, with Texas struggling from deadly winter storm

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Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz confirmed Thursday that he flew earlier this week to Mexico with family members, following the emergence of pictures appearing to show him in an airplane cabin and at a check-in counter, as fellow residents to recover from a deadly winter storm.

Cruz said in a statement that he accompanied his daughters on a flight Wednesday night to Mexico because they had the week off with school canceled.

“Wanting to be a good dad,” said Cruz, who also stated he is returning to Texas on Thursday afternoon.

The storms has been connected to at least seven deaths in Texas and knocked out power to as many as 2.5 million residents. The number of residents without electricity as of Thursday morning was down to less than 1 million, officials said.  

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“My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas,” Cruz also said. “We want our power back, our water on, and our homes warm.”

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South Carolina House passes bill that would prohibit most abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected

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The South Carolina House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 79-35 to pass legislation that would prohibit most abortions. 

The bill must pass through a procedural vote in the House on Thursday prior to heading to GOP Gov. Henry McMaster who has indicated that he will sign it, according to the Associated Press. Two Republicans voted against the legislation while two Democrats voted for it. The state Senate passed the measure last month. 

The bill requires doctors to carry out an ultrasound to check for a fetal heartbeat and if a heartbeat is identified an abortion can only be performed in certain circumstances.

The legislation would not penalize a woman for obtaining an unlawful abortion, though the individual responsible for performing the abortion could face consequences.

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The outlet reported that other states have approved similar or even more stringent abortion prohibitions which could be implemented if the Supreme Court throws out the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. All of the other states’ abortion bans are currently entangled by court challenges and if the South Carolina bill is approved it will likely face litigation that prevents it from going into effect, according to the AP.

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