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Obama’s re-election is a tragedy, for the US and the world. Now his second term will be overshadowed, as the Benghazigate cover-up unravels

The tragedy is not just that Obama has been a bad president; it’s that Romney would have been a good one

By on Wednesday, 7 November 2012

The Obamas and Bidens celebrate. Perhaps, though, not for long (Photo: PA)

The Obamas and Bidens celebrate. Perhaps, though, not for long (Photo: PA)

As I write, the counting is still not complete in the American presidential elections. Under the (to an outsider) bizarre American electoral college system, the result is now a landslide, despite the fact that each candidate has an almost identical number of votes, both having gained around 49%. The graceful concession speech has been delivered, and Obama has been re-elected. I couldn’t face watching his victory speech, so I have turned off the box; now, I sit here, grimly tapping away.

I cannot help regarding this result as a tragedy, for America and for the world. Firstly, because Obama has been a dreadful president; second, because I get the strong impression that Romney would have been a good one, despite the fact that, though his campaign had a late surge, it didn’t quite have the cutting edge it should have had. But a good campaign doesn’t necessarily produce a successful presidency, as Obama’s first four years have amply demonstrated. Obama was the better campaigner, this time too, it seems: he had a better “ground game”, the pundits seem to think, and he spent hundreds of millions on negative advertising which in key industrial states like Ohio blackened Romney’s character as a ruthless and uncaring capitalist who cared nothing for the working class, and who had, for instance, opposed state support for a managed bankruptcy of the automobile industry which would have had the same effect as what actually happened: in fact Romney called for just such a state-supported bail-out: the Obama campaign simply lied, over this and much else.

The other reason Romney lost was that he took the stragic decision, in order to mount a positive and optimistic campaign, not to make the Benghazigate cover-up an election issue; and that Obama’s steadfast refusal to respond to the growing evidence of this mounting scandal was supported by the equally scandalous failure of most of the American media to report it.

But not everyone failed to report it: enough was in the public domain for Romney, if he had kept his nerve, to have mounted an indictment powerful enough to make Obama unelectable, as unelectable as Nixon would have been if the Watergate cover-up had emerged in time (in other words actually during his re-election campaign rather than some time later). The Fox News correspondent, Catherine Herridge, brilliantly reported the whole affair: but since Fox News was clearly on Romney’s side, its reporting was largely ignored. But Reuters, CNN, CBS and others nevertheless retailed most of it: the facts were out if you knew where to look.

The general lines of the scandal are clear enough. Firstly, there was the fact that intelligence immediately indicated that the US consulate in Benghazi was destroyed in a planned terrorist attack, not as the result of a “spontaneous” protest triggered by a YouTube video. This, however, is what the Obama administration, including President Obama, repeated obsessively for weeks, knowing it to be untrue.

The greatest scandal, however, is that the murdered American ambassador Stevens, who had repeatedly asked for more security — a request which was repeatedly refused because it was “unnecessary” (after all, hadn’t the President killed Osama bin Laden with his own bare hands, thus defeating al-Qaeda and all other terrorism?) — had made it quite clear that terrorism was still a major threat in Libya, however politically inconvenient this might be, and that he was himself in danger. Knowing this, the administration did nothing to protect him.

Catherine Herridge established this beyond any doubt, in what will become recognised, in the history of this affair, as her famous “smoking gun” revelation, which established the State department’s (and therefore Obama’s) involvement in the scandal and in its cover-up beyond any doubt.

Here it is (October 31), as it was revealed on Fox News:

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Disturbing new information about Benghazi and the Obama administration. Fox News obtained a classified cable sent in August from the US mission in Benghazi to the State Department in Washington. The cable, coming just weeks before the attack, warned the Benghazi consulate could not sustain a coordinated attack.

But that is not all that was in that cable. Fox News chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge, who has read that cable, is here with the latest — Catherine.

CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, the status of the cable is that I really believe, having read it, that it is the smoking gun warning here. You’ve got this emergency meeting in Benghazi less than a month before the attack. At that briefing, the people are told that there are 10 — 10 — Islamist militias and al-Qaeda groups in Benghazi.

The consulate cannot sustain a coordinated attack and that they need extra help. And this information goes directly to the office of the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. So again, you’re got the culpability of the State Department. This is a very specific warning that they are in trouble, they need help and they see an attack on the horizon.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, what’s the date on this cable?

HERRIDGE: It’s the 16th of August.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is there any response or any indication that there’s been any direct response to that cable between the 16th of August and the 11th of September?

HERRIDGE: I don’t know what the classified traffic was between the 16th and the 11th, but I asked the State Department today specifically, given the warnings and how detailed they were and the intelligence that al-Qaeda and these militias were operating in Benghazi, was any extra security considered or put in place in light of the 9/11 anniversary? You’re three weeks out. I think that’s the critical question.

And the State Department said to me today they wouldn’t comment because it’s classified. And they are also waiting for the outcome of this investigation.

VAN SUSTEREN: Who was the signatory to the cable?

HERRIDGE: Ambassador Stevens.

VAN SUSTEREN: And you say that it was — it went to the office of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Was there any indication that it actually went to her? ….

HERRIDGE: The copy to her, and then it routes out, in this case, probably, typically to diplomatic security, their Near East Asia desk and others. But it is specifically addressed to her office.

VAN SUSTEREN: How did you get to see it?

HERRIDGE: It came to me through confidential sources… the warning that came from Benghazi was very specific. It said, We cannot withstand an attack. The militias are everywhere. Al-Qaeda is here. This was known to the US intelligence community, as well, and that they really could not see a situation where the security was going to turn around. They said it was trending negatively.

This comes three weeks, three-and-a-half weeks before the attack. I can’t think of anything that would be more specific than if these groups had emailed the State Department and said, Here’s the time, here’s the place and here’s the method of the attack, because the cable names the two groups, al-Qaeda and Ansar al Sharia, that we believe were responsible for this assault.

Knowing all this, Governor Romney made the decision not to mount an indictment of the President as part of his campaign. That may arguably have been wise, in view of the way the media would have gone for him in defence of the President. It might have been risky. On the other hand, what he did wasn’t successful either.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and no doubt there will be many now to say the same thing; personally, I had hoped all along that Romney himself would accuse the Obama administration of the scandalous cover-up and the equally scandalous refusal to provide Ambassador Stevens with more security, scandals which with congressional attention already on them will now begin to unravel too late, and which will, I suspect, come more and more to dominate Obama’s second term. We shall see what we shall see.

  • JabbaPapa

    My, what an unpleasant new addition to our discussion group …

  • Rizzo The Bear

    You have my condolences and sympathy, Patrice, that the United States of America will have to put up with that egotist President Obama for another four years. 

    I have often written here about the way the media here in the UK bow, scrape and pander to Obama and a pox on anyone who thinks and says differently.

    It makes me puke.
    Watching the pre-election debates, Obama hadn’t a bloody clue!  Why on earth didn’t Romney use that to the max and eat him for breakfast?!It’s astounding that, once again, the Americans fell for image and charm and not look at the bigger issues that are plaguing the USA and the world.One would put up with a statesperson who has all the charm of a dead chuhuahua and the looks of a gurner if said person would govern the country properly.I’m upset for Romney and Ryan. They would have cleared up the mess and focused on the priorities of making America great again.

  • Rizzo The Bear

    Hear, hear!

     Well said.  Facts well nailed.

  • Rizzo The Bear

    Please God!

  • QuakerChristian

    Do you get paid to write this rubbish Mr Oddie. I am no Liberal but I would vote for Obama anyday rather than Cameron a man and a party or is that two men and two partys not fit for purpose.

  • Rizzo The Bear

    You thickwig! 

    You know jack-squat about Christianity.

  • NewMeena

    The new reality takes yet another step away from W Oddie’s Conservative & conservative “ideal”, preferred world – this time in the US.

    Comfortably-off, conservative and Christian voters in America (as in the UK and elsewhere) are dying away as the grave takes its toll. The young, the liberal, the free-thinking, gay and secular make another advance. 

    Tonight we celebrate – may the Kingdom of sanity come ever quicker!

  • NewMeena

    Spot-on. It’s exactly the same as the places the CDF used to run.

  • Jeannine

    Obama changes his mind 10 times as much.

    Fox News is the least biased. The others practice yellow journalism & have been on the Obama train since 2007.

  • Jeannine

    Please do not feel sorry for the American Church. This is what happens when it is led by bishops, other clerics & sisters who did not properly catechize the laity for over 2 generations, grabbed governmental manna in the meantime & expected the laity to jump when told.———-Those days are gone & Church attendance is eroding even with the recent Hispanic immigration who are also leaving the Church at a fast rate.

  • Jeannine

    Keep writing the truth; you are so correct!!!!

  • Jeannine

    Guess what? Those auto companies who took the bailout are still losing  money. They are being told by Obama what products to make. Financiers are expecting Detroit will need another major bailout in 2yrs, the taxpayers money. Romney had it right.

    Why don’t you & Obama take a serious course on the free markets system?

  • KC

    He’s speaking for 49% of the country. Did you not watch last night? And as for the “rest of the World,” have you not seen the abomination that is Obama’s foreign policy? Since when is foreign policy defined only by killing? The consulate protesters in and around the Middle East this Summer were calling for Obama’s head! Does that illustrate positive foreign policy on behalf of America? NO. 

  • Michael Hill

    If you had kept watching, you would have seen a moving and inspiring speech by Obama; and you would know that the popular vote margin is about 51 to 47 percent, one of the largest for any second term president. But you clearly don’t want facts to disturb your opinions.

  • endtimer

     ‘I think hes the Anti-Christ, but thats crazy to some!’

    Hmm! Someone will get the job. Let’s see how he handles the Israeli problem.

  • endtimer

     ‘Tonight we celebrate – may the Kingdom of sanity come ever quicker!’

    It this situation we Christians echo with – ‘Come soon Lord Jesus.’ That way lies sanity:-)

  • Kevin

    In 2008 Obama’s voters, including alleged co-religionists, gave him a mandate to pursue peace instead of war (broken in Libya), to abide by the Constitution (ditto), to respect due process (broken with drone attacks in Pakistan), to bring unemployment down (broken), to fix the deficit (broken), and to ensure something like Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath would never be repeated (broken with Sandy).

    They also gave him a mandate to ensure killing children at any stage in the womb and for any reason would be legal and funded (gold-plated guarantee).

    Judging from his record, I assume the last one is the only one that mattered to them in 2012 – including the alleged co-religionists.

  • WSquared

    Indeed.

    The reason why Jesus is “inclusive” is because He draws all men to Himself, through, with, and in Communion with Himself, being both perfectly human and divine, and not because He’s some radical liberal or proto-hippie.

    In the words of G.K. Chesterton, the Cross breaks out: it is the only symbol that can extend itself in all directions while keeping its essential shape.

    And you cannot have Christianity without the Cross, and Crucifixion and Resurrection cannot be separated out from each other.

  • WSquared

    Oh, rubbish. 

    But I’ll concede that Jesus was inclusive and revolutionary, though definitely not in the political-reductionist sense you likely mean from what you write here.

  • NewMeena

    Oh yes I know!

    I see you are an “end” person, and perhaps look forward to this possibility, when Christ appears and Nature is undone.

    There are orthodox, fundamentalist people of the Muslin, Christian and Jewish religions (and others) who look forward to their gods appearing in majesty to smite the unbelieving and unfaithful, and to cast men, women and children into eternal pain and damnation.

    Some of these influence the policies of nations – including those in the Middle East.
    Some have big bombs and others will have more big bombs. Some see themselves as the instruments of God.

    And this is sanity? 

  • WSquared

    Bingo.  Anyone who wants to harp on about the Church and “social justice” as well as how abortion is somehow this “single-issue” thing would do everybody else a favor by just shutting up and reading “Rerum Novarum” and “Evangelium Vitae,” for starters. 

  • WSquared

    Kasia, I can understand your frustration and disgust at the outcome of this election, but your ill-mannered and incoherent rants (I didn’t know that Mexicans come from Spain… please stop saying stuff like that) don’t help this discussion at all.

  • WSquared

    So what are we, the laity, going to do about the problem of poor catechesis, hmm?

    There is tons of blame to go around on all sides (congratulations, we’re human, suffer from concupiscence, and are thus a Church of sinners who struggle mightily with allowing Christ to make us holy).  But just blaming the bishops, the priests and women religious for bad catechesis is also disingenuous to a very real degree.

    Especially when we live in a culture where enough Catholics (like everyone else in America) think they’re “way too smart to listen to the Pope, priests, etc.” but are somehow not smart enough not to listen to advertising, celebrities, their political parties, their sex drives, etc.  “Question authority,” eh?  Nice try.  The fact of the matter is that everyone everywhere obeys some sort of authority, and the far more interesting question is whom or what, and why.  And the reality is that enough American Catholics like blowing off authority when it suits them, because nobody can tell *them* what to do (and how dare anyone lecture us on freedom?  We’re American!), and nature sure hates a vacuum.  But when things go South, the authority in question becomes something very convenient to blame.  Let’s start with the Confiteor (you know, the part where we confess to the entire Church throughout all ages everywhere?  Or did people stop praying it because the “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault” part made them “feel bad”?), which should remind all of us that the next time we’re tempted to blame things on somebody else’s sins, everyone else in the Body of Christ views us and our sins the same way.  And as for the American republic, we might want to revisit the Founders’ grapplings with the fact that the republic will only be as good or as strong as the virtue of its citizens.

    So try again.

    Okay, so Father preached another milquetoast sermon on how to be “nice” to everyone.  I agree that that’s bad enough, because we need to know what we believe– what the Church teaches and why, and what, therefore is truly at stake as regards the human person.  But what’s stopping any Catholic lay person like you and me from sacrificing spending far too much time in front of the computer or in front of the idiot box watching crap telly to read Scripture (the daily and Sunday Mass readings are bite-sized), a papal encyclical, or the Catechism of the Catholic Church?  What’s stopping us from actually reading through the text of the Mass– which is itself meant to be catechetical– and trying to understand it better so we can actually *pray* it when we go to church on Sundays?  What’s stopping us from praying the Rosary daily, which is also catechetical (want to know how the richness of the faith was nonetheless accessible, even to poorest and uneducated, well there’s how)?

    What’s stopping us from getting interested in the first place?  All of this stuff is online.  We have an embarrassment of riches, folks.

  • Max’sKnight

    Macca, you are a chump.  You know nothing of which you speak.  

    I’m a single father of 4 and have been at the very low end of the income scale for most of my life.  During the Bush years, I started a business and did $1.2 million dollars in sales for each of first two years.  I was almost ready to buy my first home and hire two more employees.  Then in 2007 the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives.

    Sales dropped 30% each of the next two years, then 50% EACH year of the Obama disaster.  I can employ no one, can’t buy a house, and am selling items from around our tiny apartment just to keep food on the table and not have to take the government handouts.  My family needs a booming economy and religious freedom to survive.  

    God help us if Obama does actually achieve everything he set out to do.  We’ll become the USSA (United Socialist States of America) and your British butts will be the first ones left flapping in the breeze.  Don’t forget that one of his first official acts was to rid the White House of the bust of Winston Churchill, returning it to the UK.

    Stop being a chump.  Let the government concentrate on protecting our nation and its allies, the lives of all citizens, (born and yet to be born) and forget this Marxist redistribution rubbish.  Let the government support, not hinder, the efforts of the far more effective Church to “improve the lot of the poor and disadvantaged”.  

    Your brand of ignorance is all too common.  Until you people can come to your senses and understand that anyone who pushes the lie of abortion is also pushing a bunch of other lies along with it, we are all doomed.

  • Alexander VI

    Dr  Oddie, the culture wars are over. You have been defeated.

  • Patrice

    Thanks Rizzo!
    You are spot on. My fellow Americans did fall for image and charm. They like Obama because he is “cool” and because he was endorsed by celebrities. It didn’t hurt that tons of money was put into faux-Catholic pro-Obama ads by people who couldn’t care less about the church. 
    The emperor has no clothes.

  • Patrice

    you are right Katie…but watch your mouth. Good grief.

  • Rizzo The Bear

    Oh, yes, you mean those ‘Catholics for Obama’ people? I read about those

    More fool them, Patrice, more fool them… and it is tragic.We know that ‘cool’ does not pay off the trillion dollar plus deficit, fix the smashed-to-smithereens economy, get the nation back in proper employment nor whitewash over the fact that the re-elected president has his priorities skewed to billy-o.Anyone with even a quarter of a brain would not simply vote for a candidate because some self-serving, narcissistic more-money-than-sense ‘celeb’ does – which proves a point, don’t you think?One of these days, Patrice, someone in the crowd will have the you-know-whats to point out that the emperor (Obama) is indeed stark butt naked!

    The Catholic Church in the United States should come out of this result battle-scarred but more determined to stand their ground against Obama’s laughably-flawed healthcare policies.

    Your nation is in my prayers, Patrice.

  • Adiutricem

    You are right except for the part about the Catholic Church losing the election. The Catholic Church lost American Catholics, who are now more Protestant that the Protestants are. American Catholics pretty much resemble Joe Biden in word and deed. They are not intentionally hypocrites, they feel that they are acting in good faith and are being good Catholics. The problem is, the Church does not agree.

    As far as the election goes, most Americans are perfectly happy with the results. Many voted for the president, many were so eager they even voted after they died. Many Republicans are happy and relieved in the same way Boston Red Sox fans are happy when their team does poorly. In a miserable, disfunctional family, there is some comfortable consistency to be found in failure.

  • Rizzo The Bear

    The Year of Faith is for such purpose – to arm ourselves to the hilt with knowledge and understanding about our faith.

    Mass and the Holy Rosary are good places to start.

  • Guest007

    I
    have a good strategy which the Bishops could start away in America: The faith has been so poorly passed down the last 50 years and the results of unfaithful Catholic voters voting for Obama instead of standing with their church should be a serious wake up call to the Bishops that enough is enough in terms of poor Catechesis being taught to the faithful. They should start
    purifying the key organs of the church ie the liturgy, the catholic
    schools/universities/religious orders, the clergy and the pulpit.Along with strong leadership from the Bishops
    by ensuring the catholic faith is put across and taught in the most
    authentic way they can ensure the next upcoming generation of catholics
    who will be future voters will not be “catholic in name only” and
    blindly vote for those who endorse same sex marriage/abortion rights
    etcc..their souls must be prayed for definately.I find it hard believing that those who are “catholic in name
    only” can even be considered catholic christians…..protestant by
    nature more-like.

  • Jeannine

    I am a catechist & I do my bit. There are also many lay persons who have stepped up to the plate to catechize too. We are all disgusted with the petty politics that many clerics play instead of worrying also about our children’s souls. So stop your righteous preaching.

  • Yankee

    As an American conservative, I suggest that to win in the long term
    we must retake academia and media/television or else liberals will have a
    permanent springboard for their ideas for all future generations. Fox
    news is one example of counterbalancing the Left Wing media but we will
    need more center right news channels. Conservative Christian colleges
    like Liberty and Christendom are small steps but we will need more
    competition to the elite liberal Ivy League.

  • James P Bergeron

    Take a look at the map to see where the 49% of Obama’s vote came from and you will feel a “little” better about having voted for Mitt. I am proud to have supported the better man for the most important office in all of the world. ” One man standing alone with God is a majority”, not an exact quote but you get the point.

  • James P Bergeron

    Only time will tell.

  • James P Bergeron

    That is your take and not his.

  • James P Bergeron

    Well then, why don’t YOU invite them all to stay at your house ?

  • James P Bergeron

    You obviously have never watched NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, or read the NYT, HUFF/POST and on and on and on. Fox if the only source of fact and not opinion. Try being stupid in some other way.

  • Parasum

    If people think Obama is such a Bad Thing, maybe they could try praying for him ? OK – crazy idea. 

    The last I heard of the results, the margin in votes out of 540 was a fairly wide one: Obama had won 303, and a number were not yet counted. That was at 10 a.m or so. That does not suggest an unconvincing win, but quite a tidy one.  

    at KC:

    “And as for the “rest of the World,” have you not seen the abomination that is Obama’s foreign policy?”

    ## Is it really any worse than that of – say – this country ? Going to war on a false prospectus is not exactly an example of shining Christian morality. Obama may not be any better than he should be, but is he any worse than any other POTUS ? If Obama’s foreign policy is an abomination, that is nothing new in the history of US foreign policy. It’s very easy for us in the UK, who don’t have to make the decisions that a POTUS does, to throw stones – no ?  

      

  • James P Bergeron

    America is a nation of nations living under a constitution. Illegal immigrants trampel on our law and spit in the faces of my ancestors who came to America asking only for the freedom to live and work under the constitution that you don’t seem to understand. And may it be your son or daughter who is killed by savages as Obama watches  and does nothing if you believe Benghazi had “too much emphasis” placed on it.

  • Jon Brownridge

     If you want to be taken seriously you might begin by moderating your puerile language.

  • Jon Brownridge

    William Oddie – Your article is nothing more than a diatribe of sententious rhetoric.

  • Annie

    Adiutricem,

    “As far as the election goes, most Americans are perfectly happy with the results.” 

    Sorry, but that simply isn’t true.  Obama got 60,567,122 votes; Romney got 57,744,506 votes.  The difference is a mere 2,822,616 votes.   

    Breaking it down by percentage, Obama got 50% of the vote; Romney got 48% of the vote.  That’s a 2% difference. There is no way that a 2% edge translates into “most Americans”.  The truth is that the U.S. is almost equally divided between those who are “perfectly happy with the results” and those who are perfectly disgusted by the results. 

    http://www.cnn.com/election/2012/results/main?hpt=hp_t1    

  • Paul

    Totally agree with this article.  A man with the ability and determination to take on a very difficult job has been brushed aside in favour of a man who has already demonstrated that he’s not up to it. 

    America’s media have failed in their responsibility again.  I thought they might have learned their lesson after Bush’s Iraq, but they clearly haven’t.  They speak with one voice on the wrong side, and the damage is all but beyond repair. 

  • Sweetjae

    The only difference between the “illegals” today and yesterday in America is, your ancestors made it earlier than those of today but both are ILLEGALS! The indians are the true inhabitants and owners of what is now U.S.A not anybody’s ancestors who most probably were just land grabbers – that’s what real American history that you dont seem to understand.

    By the way, i did’t try to belittle the Benghazi affair, its tragic and barbaric that should be pursued, no question, what I’m saying is, the affair has little effect with the outcome of the Presidency, as yet again, demographics trumped ideology….Republicans dont have the support of minorities, single women, young Americans, Latinos, Asian christians etc, etc. Most of their supporters are over 60′s and 70′s white people and until they do realize it, their agenda will just remain an agenda.

  • Sweetjae

    I hope you are still living that time but for now, all you can do is deny. White population is dying in Europe because of abortion and others. The fastest growing population….Islam!

  • Sweetjae

    Though i agree with you but you totally missed my point. We are christians which are supposed to give charity to the strangers in our midst, that being said, its highly impractical and immoral to deport those christian people who are already in the U.S.A. and Romney sided with ultra-right.

  • Sweetjae

    Another rubbish that belongs to the bin.

  • Mary O

    Time will tell if obama’s election was a victory for America you elected him and now you live with the consequences whatever they are. Unfortunately to a certain extent the rest of the world has to live with it to. Americans are a deeply insular people not recognizing that the world is now a global village. I pray that the next four years are free of any deeply serious crises, I cannot imagine Obama having the attributes needed at such a time. In regard to Catholics voting for a man who is pro abortion pro same sex marriage, gay rights and no Christian values this is between God and them personally I’d quake in my shoes!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/Y63KHDHZ3XLY37YBZMVP7RBDGY Janet

    Amen.  I am a Coordinator of Religious Education in my parish and see the results of the past 40 years only too clearly.  If I could just say one thing to the bishops and priests it would be this – Preach our basic beliefs and do not use sanitized language.  In other words SPEAK THE TRUTH.

    I was away from the Church for 26 years before I came back in 1996.  To this day I have never heard a homily talk about going to Confession on a regular basis.  I have belonged to my parish since 2000 and in that time there was only one newly ordained priest that actually used the word ‘abortion’ and spoke about the sin of living together without marriage.  He was invited to speak with someone ‘downtown’ one day and told to tone it down.

    I have been told that priests are afraid to scare off parishioners with tough sermons.  Really?  How’s that working for us?  I feel that all that accomplishes is the demoralization of the truly faithful who sit in the pews every Sunday.  But that’s just my opinion.