Tom O'Toole
Renew America is now Renew America Together? I smell a "RAT"
By Tom O'Toole
January 16, 2009

About a week ago when I was surfing the Net about the upcoming "Big Event" (the Inauguration of the Obama-nation), I stumbled across the news that President-elect Obama, with the help of ex-Secretary of State, fair-weather Republican, and now (another) Barack black friend, Colin Powell, announced Obama's next new thing, a shining nationwide volunteer initiative — eerily called Renew America Together. After my initial shudder from discovering the Obama "team" had chosen (or stolen as the case may be) a name so close to that of our beloved Web site's for a project that in the end remained at cross-purposes from our own, I chuckled a bit at how apropos yet hilarious the acronym for their hapless organization was.

"At least our acronym means 'hooray!'" wrote Renew America's editor, Stephen Stone, commenting on the birth of our new rival RAT. And, while we know what R-A-T (and you're telling me none of the brilliant liberal brains in the Obama camp caught this one?) spells, what exactly does the Obama/Powell RAT project stand for? Looking up its Web site, USA, and searching out the Chicago get-togethers from the literally thousands of listings nationwide, I found the usual suspects of pitch-in proposals, with a few questionable gatherings thrown in. Besides the typical "feed-the-less-fortunate," "clean-up-the-community," and "put-a-senior-to-sleep" choices (okay, I made the last one up!), there were a few perhaps too liberal even for Obama events as well. While the "Inauguration Celebration at Fitz's" ($5 cover includes an inaugural glass of champagne!) and the "Barack N' Roll" (which advertised "good music and mainly important topics covered") seemed dubious contributors to the great campaign of change Obama proclaimed, my favorite was the "Marijuana Policy Project" taking place at good ol' Ben Powell's house. However, I am sad to report that shortly before this article was published, the MPP, despite the fact Ben and friends promised it would only explore the use of medical marijuana, was pulled from the RAT Web site. Whether they were "weeded out" since the pot they were smoking wasn't, in the strictest sense, medically prescribed, or were busted merely because Ben wasn't exactly related to Colin, we probably won't know until the less famous (if now more infamous) Powell is out on parole.

The RAT credo, which Powell (Colin, not Ben) says "calls all Americans to serve their community and their country," did display events hosted by groups as racially and/or religiously diverse as the "Association of Physicians of Pakistani-descent of North America," the "National Korean American Service and Education Consortium," "Family Mitzvah Day at the JUF Cafe" (which sports "Chicago's first kosher anti-hunger program for the needy") — but nothing with a title either "Evangelical" or "Catholic." True, there was a listing for a "Prayer and Intercession" session, which purports to "Thank God for his goodness and mercy," and "will ask God for wisdom, strength and guidance ... for our president." That's all well and good, but it strikes me as more of the same of Obama's unique brand of Unitarianism, heavy on Jesus' mercy but with none of His judgment. Absent from the list is anything to do with the causes of pro-life, traditional marriage, or freedom of Christian speech in the press or public square — in other words, nothing that Renew America holds sacred. Thus, Renew America Together reveals itself as nothing but a secular, if not Satanic, mimic of the organization whose name they borrowed and then botched.

Just as I am far from a neutral observer of the upcoming Obama administration, I am also not a casual commentator when someone plays the "steal the name" game. Shortly after publishing Champions of Faith, my inspirational book about Catholic athletes and coaches, another group, without so much as an e-mail or phone call, came out with a DVD also entitled Champions of Faith, which depicted the lives of Catholic baseball players. Yes, my title was not copyrighted, so maybe what they did was legal. In any event, I did not then have the "lawyers, guns and money" (as Warren Zevon would say) to challenge them. But legal does not always equal moral, as Obama and company — whether it be the abortion question, the gay rights/marriage issue, or the Democrats' chastising, then championing the old insider Burris when they realized a special election would cost their party a Senate seat — has proved better than anybody in the history of our country. And so, while it is up to Stephen Stone if he feels he has enough to sue Renew America Together over the name, at the very least I say we should ridicule the RAT moniker until they relinquish the name freely. In the meantime, I've been thinking about a title that more accurately reflects their mission. Perhaps we could change "RAT" to "REACT," which, as you may have guessed, stands for "Removing Every American of the Christian Tradition." At least maybe then every hoodwinked U.S. citizen who professes to follow Christ would finally realize what they're up against.

© Tom O'Toole


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Tom O'Toole

Thomas Augustine O'Toole was born in Chicago and grew up in a devout Catholic family with five brothers and two sisters. He was the sports editor of Notre Dame's Scholastic magazine, where his story "Reflections on the Game" won the award for Best Sports Feature for the Indiana Collegiate Press Association... (more)


Receive future articles by Tom O'Toole: Click here

More by this author

October 14, 2016
The fight for pro-life: Two election-time poems

April 20, 2015
A simple schism: Hesburgh's death "A New Beginning" for Notre Dame?

March 18, 2015
"I can't breathe" revisited: my hoop hope for the Lady (and Mike Brey) Irish

March 4, 2015
Rudy, the Gipper, and the Hesburgh Heresy: reflections on the (immortal) soul

February 28, 2015
Fr. Theodore M. Hesburgh (1917-2015) dies, pray for his soul

February 27, 2015
Charles E. Rice 1931-2015: a real Notre Dame man

February 22, 2015
Voris, Vox Cantoris, and the Vatican: a prayer for the elephant in the room

April 17, 2014
Campus Crossroads Project to transform Notre Dame into neo-Nazi nuthouse

March 24, 2014
The saints on sodomy: why the Church Fathers were harsh on homosexual sex

March 22, 2014
Fr. Miscamble, friendship, and the future of Notre Dame

More articles


Stephen Stone
HAPPY EASTER: A message to all who love our country and want to help save it

Stephen Stone
The most egregious lies Evan McMullin and the media have told about Sen. Mike Lee

Siena Hoefling
Protect the Children: Update with VIDEO

Stephen Stone
FLASHBACK to 2020: Dems' fake claim that Trump and Utah congressional hopeful Burgess Owens want 'renewed nuclear testing' blows up when examined

Curtis Dahlgren
Hammer & Tickle: A cultural history of Communism by Ben Lewis, 2009

Jerry Newcombe
The Bible and public policy

Frank Louis
Frank’s fair trade theory: Replacement theory for everyone

Pete Riehm
When the government is lawless, the people turn to an outlaw

Victor Sharpe
The left's lies: A warning for America's very survival

Michael Gaynor
Who Will Make the Finals and Win the Upcoming Presidential Race?

Stephen Stone
‘Teach Your Own’

James Lambert
Illegal alien entry through California border has dramatically increased of late

Rev. Mark H. Creech
‘No other gods before me’: The first commandment’s national significance

Linda Goudsmit
CHAPTER 23: Legalizing pedophilia—The Sorensen Report

Randy Engel
A Documentary: Opus Dei and the Knights of Columbus – The anatomy of a takeover bid, Part IX

Jerry Newcombe
A politically-incorrect prayer
  More columns


Click for full cartoon
More cartoons


Matt C. Abbott
Chris Adamo
Russ J. Alan
Bonnie Alba
Chuck Baldwin
Kevin J. Banet
J. Matt Barber
Fr. Tom Bartolomeo
. . .
[See more]

Sister sites