Thursday, June 30, 2016

Patheos Ho!

Yep, I'm moving to Patheos!  I know, some might question my decision.  Here's the thing.  I am picked up by several great websites and blogs.  That helped boost my page visits exponentially.  Over the last couple months, my page views literally compounded day by day.  They are, however, mostly within the confines of the Catholic blogosphere.

Not that this is a bad thing.  I'm thrilled that people who seem to have infinitely more to say, and who say it better than me, seem to think my posts have some value.  I hope they continue to visit and comment.  It's just that old Baptist gene in me that wants to look at the fields that are ripe for harvest.  I want to get out to some who aren't Catholic - who aren't Christian - and possibly stir up a conversation or two.  Which is usually what my blog is about.  Not so much declaring the infallible Truth of God from on high, but simply throwing an observation out here or there and seeing if anyone has a better idea.  I've also visited Patheos quite a few times over the years, and there are some fine blogs and contributors there - Catholic, Christian in general and otherwise, even if they might be overshadowed be a few louder voices.

The idea was floated to me some time ago.  I've kicked it around for a few months.  With the increase in visits and readers over the last year, I now have what it takes to make the leap.  I need to maintain my current level of visits, or hopefully increase them.  With the current sites, plus a new audience who might not otherwise visit me, I think I can do that. I think links to my site should still work, though checking them might be worth while.  Things like my blog name and Google search shouldn't change.

I appreciate all who have stuck with me all these years.  A special shout out to Nate Winchester who has endured my amateur economic observations and stuck by, even when life caused me to drop off the blogging for a while.  And a special thanks to Donald McClarey, whose posting and links to my blog seemed to open up my little corner of the Net to a whole new level of awesome websites and bloggers.

Again, it should be the same name, blog, content and hopefully the same basic way of finding me.  It's a little more official, so I'll have to behave myself and tighten up my content a little.  Don't expect the pictures and cartoonish (and often inside humor) images.  Heck, I might actually edit my posts now before I hit submit (usually my editing consists of typing off of my head and hitting spell check)!  There is some paperwork to do (yeah, paperwork, imagine that).  It should be up and running soon, if not now.  I'm rather novice at these things.  Again, thanks so much for the prayers, the patience, the encouragement, the feedback and insights, and prayerfully we'll keep going and take things to the next level.

Don't worry about me being swayed or changed, BTW.  I'm not so easy to influence.  :)

UPDATE:  It's up and running.  This is the link to the new site.  Hopefully it will work for all who have linked to me.

UPDATE II: You might have to update your links, I don't know.  I'll keep an eye on things.  I have my schedule, but the ones who help with tech stuff have theirs.


There is the post-Christian secular Left.  There is the traditional Christian faith.  And then there are those desperately trying to join those two incompatible movements together.  The result is almost a forehead slapping series of acceptable teachings that have absolutely noting to do with the historical faith, yet are embraced by an ever growing number of people.

The one about Doctrine hits home, since that has been quite the issue lately, as some suggest that Pope Francis has basically set advocating Doctrine against being loving and merciful.  Whether that's a fair appraisal of Pope Francis or not, many  of his supporters have made it clear that's what they think and they believe it's what Pope Francis means.

I'm sure there's nothing to see here

Turns out that the Attorney General of the United States was meeting with Bill Clinton privately for a half hour chat.  No problem, except Mr. Clinton's wife is currently the source of an ongoing investigation.  Other than that, no problem.  I'm sure most others won't care either.  The media reports I've seen and read already make it clear there is nothing to see.  So, let's move on. 

Another unperson sighting

This time in the form of a man with a concealed gun who, according to the accounts, prevented a shooting at a night club.  I'm sure there will be a few news stories, but I'd be shocked if it makes its way up to the front of the news hour.  After all, the power of the modern narrative is to deny the existence of that which does not promote the modern narrative.  Hence unpeople.  Like those unpeople who die, but not from guns.  Or those other unpeople who use guns to stop crime or save innocent civilians.  Or those unpeople who die of AIDS in greater numbers than those people murdered by guns in a year.  It's basic Propaganda 101.  And Americans are falling for it like no tomorrow.

Words cannot describe how much I hate this

Note the meme.  It's already assumed that gender is an abstract.  That there's really no such thing as man and woman.  That my reality is what I say it is, and there is no greater reality than me and what affirms me and my reality.  And if you don't immediately convert to my reality and moral superiority, then buster brown, you're the baddie.

I once explained to my boys the difference between a conservative and a liberal.  A conservative is someone who thinks he is right and everyone else is wrong.  A liberal is someone who knows she is right, and everyone else is stupid and evil and it's high damn time we get the government in here to put an end to their wicked thoughts.

I know, a bit of an exaggeration.  But only a bit.  Not all conservatives think they are right about everything.  Not all liberals believe it's time for the government to eradicate non-conformers.  Though the number of liberals thinking that appears to be swelling.  And one way they are doing it in a free society is this wonderful sleight of hand.  Just get enough scientists to confirm that the latest liberal social trends are scientifically true, and you can now simply declare it case closed, and move on to shame those who refuse to comply.

Notice, by the way, the heavy reliance on science to establish morality.  As if nothing other than science can determine moral truth.  As if science has always been right in the past.  After all, science only recently considered transgender to be a disorder.  Then again, it considered homosexuality to be the same decades ago.  Within my lifetime.  Why was science wrong then but right now?  How do we know every time science changes its conclusions it happens to be right?  Are we that enamored by the infallibility of progress?  If we are, have we bothered to do more than take a single semester of history?  We do know that progress isn't always neat and orderly like that, don't we?  Like mutations in nature, a great many bold changes turn out to be disasters. We do understand that, ultimately, every idea and belief had its origins somewhere, and at one time everything was new, progress we might say?

Beyond that is the problem with redefining human nature and turning to science and technology to help us circumvent the natural order.  When people ask me if I believe in Climate Change, I say of course I do.  Whenever I look out my window and don't see glaciers and woolly mammoths, I'm reminded that climate changes.  Do I believe that our approach to industrialization and technological advancement might have had a detrimental impact on nature?  Sure.  I have no doubt the reworking of nature as subordinate to the human person, and using technology, rather than our natural abilities, to put down nature while shoving a growing list of artificial synthetics into our bodies was probably not the best idea.

So, for me, the lesson is don't give technology and science a blank check, especially when the promise is 'we'll change nature and you'll have everything awesome as a result and don't worry, nothing could ever go wrong!'  Fool me once after all.  Yet all who yell global warming, Global Warming, GLOBAL WARMING seem quite able to draw a thick line between the science that is sounding the alarm and the same science that science says got us here in the first place.

For me, lesson learned.  And it doesn't just apply to the promise of reworking mother nature for our ultimate benefit, it also applies to reworking human nature for our ultimate benefit.  If things ended up going so badly centuries later because of our first round of applying science to give us everything awesome, why are we so sure that things won't end up just as bad this time around?

Anyway, had to blow off some steam.  That we live in an age willing to take such a work of bilge and use it to force conversion and compliance to a set of values that appear to have warning signs dangling all over them, shows how far away from wisdom and common  sense we've come.  The worst part?  The meme was on a Facebook page of a friend from my high school days that happens to be a dean in a secular university.  A dean.  And this is what he posted, and was met with so much applause and thumbs up from his followers and students.  Calgon take me away.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Prayers for the victims and families of the those killed in the train collision in Texas

As the son of a former railroad engineer, this hits hard.  By the era of diesel engines, even in the olden days, things were safer for railroad workers than the era of steam.  Nonetheless, it was still a job with risks.  You were working around massive industrial products, settings, and equipment.  Those engines were big!  I don't know if you've ever been near one, but they make standing in front of a semi truck feel like standing in front of a Hot Wheels car.  I tried to stand right in front of one once but didn't have the nerve.

So things did happen, and even in the later years of my youth, sometimes people died.  Again, it was overall safer, but the problem was certain things were simply outside your control as a crew member.  The biggest problem is that you can't just stop a train on a dime. The main things we worried about were collisions with other trains, and the dreaded gasoline truck stalled on the tracks.  More than a few train crews met their end that way.

One was a friend of my Dad's in one of those bizarre events that makes you realize sometimes it is just your time to go, and sometimes it isn't.  Back before I was born, my Dad worked the road.  That means he went to the local train yard, ran the train to another train yard often in another state, and then waited until it was his turn to get another train back.  It worked in rotation.  First one in was first one out.

There was a day when a friend of my Dad's was behind him in the rotation.  He and his wife were planning a social event, and he asked if he could trade with Dad so he could get home first.  Dad said sure, why not.  The train came in, and just as my Dad's friend was getting ready to board, his wife called and said the social had been canceled.  Being a good guy, he went back and offered my Dad his place back at the head of the line.  So Dad got on the train and ran it back home.  He came in and promptly took his obligatory two hour nap for the day.

While he was sleeping, the phone rang.  My Mom answered and it was the railroad yard.  They asked if Dad was home.  She told them he was in sleeping.  They said they were just checking, as there had been a train accident and apparently some mix up as to who was on the train.

Mom woke Dad up and told him him what happened.  Dad called in to find out the details.  It turns out that his friend was on the train behind him.  On the way near Marion, Ohio, a switch had been thrown.  This caused another train to run headfirst into his friend's engine.  All but one of the crew in the two engines were killed instantly.  The survivor was found wandering around a couple miles away later in the day.

Another of my Dad's friends, named Fred, was in the caboose of his friend's train.  He said that, oddly enough, the train came to a smooth stop.  Being a freight train, it could have been a mile or more long.  He did say that when he looked out the window of the cupola, he saw a massive mushroom cloud rising up from where the engines were, but didn't know anything else.  Only when they got out did they see the wreckage.

So had the fellow been selfish, he would have come home and lived on in life.  As it was, he was thoughtful enough to trade back with Dad.  I've often wondered if his wife was sorry about calling him and telling him the social was cancelled.  Then again, I've often wondered what other options I have.  If those events hadn't happened, I wouldn't be here today typing this story.

It's what I thought about when I read about the train collision.  In such passing headlines, don't ever forget that there are lives involved, families and friends, and sometimes those not yet born.  It's enough to more than just pray to God, but to trust God.  And pray for peace for the loved ones, the victims, and all who were touched by this and all of the other tragedies that happen in a day


Donald McClarey at The American Catholic unpacks Trump's response to the Supreme Court ruling about Texas' abortion law.  The punchline: Trump hasn't responded.  I realize that the thing we call the "Left" is a massive movement against liberty and freedom.  I realize it is against the historic Christian Faith.  I know it is already fashioning our society to accept censorship, oppression, thought control, and a gradual erosion of protected rights.  I realize that many see another four years of the party most in bed with this movement as all but solidifying the gains it has made in the last 8 to 10 years.

Nonetheless, it should not have been Trump.  The man stands for almost nothing that traditional American Conservative believers stood for.  In many ways, he exemplified almost everything they stood against.  When he does appear conservative, he embodies what are often seen as the worst elements of conservatism: racism, sexism, lust for money.  Not that he necessarily is these things.  And not that every accusation is correct.  But taken as a whole, you have to bend over backwards to the breaking point to think he will be any better than Hillary, at least for traditional, American believers.

The best excuse for supporting him I have heard is that he will accomplish nothing, because he has no clue how to govern.  For four years, nothing more will happen.  He won't do something dumb and cause a war or some horrible international crisis.  He'll just stroll about, rant occasionally, and time will pass. Unfortunately, if that is the case, then he almost assures a victory by that naughty side of the aisle in 2020, especially if things don't get better in our nation.  Perhaps the convention will yield a viable option.  I don't know.  But those who see abortion as a major plank against Hillary and the Democrats, and look to Trump for political salvation, have to be stunned by the sounds of silence coming from Trump's tweets in the wake of a major loss for pro-life causes.

The Benghazi report

Has been released.  Over at The American Catholic, Donald McClarey has started unpacking it all, but admits he hasn't gone through the entire report.  I'm sure once he does, he'll see and understand far more than I could hope to by next year at this time.  Nonetheless, here are a few things he has heard that match some of what I've heard:
  1.  The State Department under Hillary Clinton continually ignored requests for beefed up security for our diplomats in Libya.
  1.  There was no attempt, no attempt, to send any military assets to our men fighting in Benghazi.  They were left on their own.  This, at best, was criminal negligence.
  1. In the four years since the attack, only one of the hundreds of terrorists involved has been brought to justice.  Obama’s pledge that he would seek out and punish the terrorists was empty hot air.
  1. Subsequent to the attack the administration engaged in a conspiracy to mislead the American public by portraying this carefully coordinated terrorist attack as a riot over some anti-Islamic film by an obscure filmmaker.
  1. The Administration has stonewalled the investigation since it commenced.
Naturally that means the official propaganda narrative is that Hillary Clinton has been exonerated, the investigation was a big, partisan waste of time, and Elizabeth Warren is a rock star!  Well, that last part doesn't have much to do with the report, but I lost track of how many times CNN moderators used that term to describe Ms. Warren, so I assume they have to slip it into the coverage somehow. The good news is that we have the beginnings of a mighty swell college drinking game.  Every time someone in the media calls Elizabeth Warren a rock star, take a swig.  You'll be on the floor by 10 AM.

As for the report, the basic lesson seems to be no real big deal.  Four guys died and that's a damn shame, but live and learn as they say.  Hillary was just in charge, so it's not her fault.  And Obama?  Why, his daughter graduated this year. That much I do know.  Certainly nothing to concern ourselves about.  Not like that week long coverage of Marco Rubio's statements about Trump's hands.  Now that was important.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Why Catholics should apologize to gays

A different perspective.  At the end of the day, if you embrace a more progressive narrative, then you won't have a problem with  what Pope Francis said.  Catholics can do bad things.  Gays, as defined by their attractions, haven't always been treated the best.  Catholics can be sinners.  Many Catholics still cling to old notions of the issue, which apparently is wrong to do.  Therefore, like Pope John Paul II before him when he apologized for the cruelty and barbarism of the past, Pope Francis is apologizing for the hate, intolerance, and bigotry of the present.  With a similar apology thrown out to those poor that the Church apparently cares little about and women who have been oppressed just as much.

If you embrace a more traditional view, one that even goes so far as suggesting that many of the narratives, ideals, assumptions, conclusions, theories, strategies, morals, philosophies, theologies and doctrines of the last century or more are actually flawed, and no amount of changing, whittling away, shimmying along the edges, or bending the rules will help, then you're probably not too happy with what Pope Francis said.

The article itself is interesting, if for no other reason, because it's written by one of our modern unpeople that I wrote of here.  In this case, a self-identifying individual with same sex attraction, yet who rejects much of the modern narrative and Church attempts at accommodating that narrative.  It's worth the read, since it's a perspective you won't hear anywhere else, even on many Catholic sites that pride themselves on their full support and celebration of all things Francis.

Pray for the victims of the Turkish bombing

Apparently terrorists unleashed a series of bombings at an airport in Istanbul.  So far it looks as if 30 people have been killed, and perhaps more.  Many others are wounded.  Pray for the families and loved ones of the victims, for the victims themselves, for the authorities and the first responders and doctors and medical professionals who will work to rescue and heal the victims.  And pray that God's peace enter into that area of wickedness that has expanded over so much of the world before other innocent people must die.

The Dallas Morning News

Steps in and reminds us what liberal tolerance is all about.  In an editorial by Mac McCann, who was raised Catholic, we're reminded that with liberalism, there is conformity.  And that's it.  Conform.  99.9% conformity will not suffice.  You must conform 100%.  Until the Church is dismantled and rebuilt in the image of the heresy of theological liberalism, and Catholics apostatize and convert to the religion of liberalism, there is simply no tolerance.   Sure, there is some appreciation for Pope Francis and other Catholics who are calling out the Church and its members on the issue of homosexuality and the Church's wickedness toward those with same sex attraction.  But again, there is no tolerance where there is no obedience.

And for reasons I'm not quite sure about, our modern society seems to accept that as a valid definition of tolerance and diversity.  Go figure.  

As if on cue

Catholic gay rights groups have come out and told Pope Francis than an apology is not enough.  Of course those close to Pope Francis are saying he isn't a liberal, he simply wants the Church open to all people.  Though it's worth noting that he must have high regard for the emotional fortitude of Capitalists, global warming skeptics, and citizens concerned about unrestricted immigration.  He doesn't pull any punches there.  I can only assume he has faith in those groups' abilities to hang tough and hang around.

Anyway, the article interviews gay rights activists who do what they always do: Insist that it won't be fine until the Church changes its teachings regarding  homosexuality.  Again, with liberalism there is no compromise.  These movements don't see what they believe as just their opinion.  No Plymouth Puritan or Spanish Inquisitor was ever more sure of a righteous cause that most progressive movements today.  Anything less than total submission to the new morality and it's still bigotry.  It's still hate.  It's still evil.

Exactly what Pope Francis will do remains to be seen.  Despite it all, I don't see him trying to change the Church's teachings on the subject.  As I said some time ago, I think there are those who are hoping that if he doesn't change the teachings, he nonetheless will fashion the Church in such a way that he doesn't have to, and not conforming to the Church's teachings on homosexuality will be as important as not conforming to its teachings on crossbows.

Others, I can't help but guess, see Pope Francis as the great Pope Moses, leading the Church to the promised land.  He won't ever go there himself, but he will lead the Church to such a point that, in the not too distant future, others will rise and take the Church across the Jordan and finally into that liberal paradise that so many have desired for so long.  I don't know.  We can only wait and see.

We don't need no stinking freedom

Political Correctness is censorship for the stupid.  It's how you convince a nation that was only recently told morality was relative and we should be able to say and do anything and be respected by all, that there is, in fact, a thousand mile long list of taboos that immediately result in punishment and retribution if violated.

So the Red Cross is apologizing for a racist pool safety poster.  The problem?  The poster showed a cartoon of kids in a pool.  Some kids doing 'cool' things.  Some kids doing 'not cool' things.  Given the headline, I knew something was amiss.  So it didn't take me any time to see what the fuss was about.  It looks like some of the 'not cool' kids were portrayed as minorities, while the 'cool' kids were white.

On further inspection, it looks like some white kids are 'not cool', too.  But most importantly, all of the minority kids are involved in something 'not cool.'  I know.  I feel stupid writing this.  And there is only one tweet connected to the protest.  I don't know if there was a campaign, or if this one tweet was enough to elicit an apology.

That's not the point.  The point is that we live in a society quickly giving away its freedoms to the squeakiest wheels.  I understand that we want to protect minority voices against the fickle whims of the majority.  On the other hand, we don't want to subject the majority to the fickle whims of the minority voices.  Remember, the opposite of majority rule is dictatorship.  And right now, it appears so many minority voices that spend their time protesting endless songs played backwards to find the hidden racism, sexism, bigotry, homophobia, Islamaphobia, this phobia or that phobia, aren't thinking about the long range implications of their indignation.

Pretty soon, the only thing left in our society that won't be punishable will be drugs, sex, and vulgarity.  Everything else, no matter how sincere and helpful, will be scrutinized and, if found harmful or hateful, punished.  Yeah.  We live in that type of society.  A country that mocked the pilgrims and puritans for their intolerant ways when I was growing up.  Somehow, I can't help but think we owe those old timers an apology.

As a side note, I am surprised that the poster passed inspection.  Having worked for an educational publisher some years ago, I found out just how stringent the concern over such 'insensitivity' was.  For instance, we could not allow a text book that said 'Founding Fathers.'  It had to be 'Founders', to eliminate the gender specific language.  My personal favorite was on a list of suggestion.  The suggestions weren't mandated, they were just suggestion.  It said that Jack-O-Lanterns should be renamed 'Halloween Lanterns.'  Any idea why?  If you guessed that 'Jack' is a gender specific name that could cause potential distress and confusion for children who might read the text, you'd be correct.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Prayers for the people of West Virginia

It is a state with enough problems.  It sounds like many have died, and others could add to the numbers.  Pray that the immoderate weather that has buffeted the region finally subside.  Pray for the safety of all who live there, as well as those who risk their lives to safe and protect them.  Pray that their leaders do all in their power to help and rebuild.  And pray that God give peace and strength to those who have already lost so much.

Pope Francis has met the enemy

And it is us.  Not that there is anything wrong with the occasional sermon that looks out on the congregation and proclaims 'thou art the man!'  You can't spend your life pointing out the window and condemning all those sinners out there.  The problem is, again, you have Pope Francis echoing that modern Catholic tendency of wanting to embrace almost everything to do with the modern, post-Christian secular progressive world view ... but with Jesus.

The idea that Christians are the mischief when it comes to homosexuals is well known, and almost universally embraced, by the modern Left.  Just look at Orlando and who our popular culture ended up blaming.  And once again, Pope Francis steps in and echoes that same narrative, despite the fact that ten years after becoming Catholic, I have yet to hear a homily that even mentioned homosexuality.  He doesn't seem to differentiate.  He simply says we Catholics must apologize.

True, he doesn't condone homosexuality.  He already has made it clear that technically the Church still teaches that homosexuality is at least not compatible with God's vision for marriage.  But apart from that, his take on the subject and the take I hear from Dr. Drew are about the same.  It's certainly nothing I won't hear on MSNBC, CNN, or the Huffington Post; several of which were cheering and celebrating the Pope's words this morning.  I also understand that he included other groups in there as well.  But let's face it, what will the modern world focus on, thanks to his choice of words? 

I realize that Jesus reached out to prostitutes and sinners.  I realize that he went after the Pharisees and Scribes.  I get that.  I understand that Christians are never perfect and can do with the occasional kick in the pants.  But Pope Francis is not Jesus.  The Catholic Church is not the Sanhedrin and Catholics are not just a bunch of Scribes and Pharisees.  And the forces arrayed against the Church today, using all powers and abilities to assault the Church, lead astray its followers, and assail the fundamental truths of the Gospel, are not the woman caught in adultery.  

If Jesus praised the Roman Centurion's faith, at no point did he stand alongside the Roman legions, look out among his imperfect disciples, and say to the Romans, "Let's get'em!"  Perhaps the reason was that to do so might have given the Romans a flawed understanding of the Kingdom.  It might have presented an idea that, as long as I'm not like those sinful Jew disciples over there, I must be pretty awesome where I stand, in the pagan empire, venerating Caesar, indulging in the Roman lust for conquest.  I don't know.  Just speculation on my part.  I simply know there's something off kilter about Pope Francis' continued railing against the Church in a manner almost in lockstep with perhaps the greatest heresy to challenge the Faith since Arianism, even if technically there's nothing wrong with what he's saying.

As an aside.  My boys asked, when they heard this, if Pope Francis was calling on Gays to forgive Catholics.  I don't know.  I've not heard.  Perhaps he has.  If so, the press hasn't reported it.  If not, then I wonder why.  

Why is Trump's support plummeting?

Easy.  Because the media is doing to him what it did to Romney and McCain in the last two election cycles.  During the primaries, no matter how outraged journalists were at what Trump said, the presentation was always the same: Trump the unstoppable.  Even when they asked if his latest escapade would finally derail him, the conversation was inevitably wrapped up in a narrative of Trump, who the others simply cannot stop.

Fast forward to now.  For the last three weeks, the coverage has changed.  Oh, they're still covering Trump.  But now it's Trump the defeated, Trump the loser, Trump falling behind, Trump unable to keep up, Trump losing his own party.  The 'feel' of the stories is different.  Now it's almost the inevitability of Trump's loss to Hillary.  Almost as if to say, "Can't we just concede the inevitable?"

Meanwhile Hillary has, as far as I know, done nothing wrong.  If there are still scandals or hearings or news suggesting she's in trouble, I've not heard of it.  Perhaps it's been mentioned in passing, or tucked in behind the Want Ads and the Grocery Ads.  But on the whole, it's been a triumph after triumph for Hillary.  A far cry from those hazy days last year when it looked like Joe Biden might run, and you had the press surprisingly jumping on one Hillary scandal after another.

The same thing happened with McCain, and more flagrantly, with Romney.  And, to a point, it happened with Bernie Sanders.  It's not hard to see the role that the media played in ensuring that no matter how many victories Bernie had, he was still the loser.  In 2012, during the primaries, if Romney did anything wrong, we never heard it.  Even if he was at the head of the polls, we only heard about the next Republican in line who was put under the microscope.  It wasn't until Romney clinched the nomination that we suddenly heard story after story, unpacking every minute detail of Romney, his past, his Mormonism, his wealth, his gaffes.

Don't think, for a minute, propaganda doesn't work.  It always has to a point.  With mass media, a new level of effectiveness was achieved.  We have the two candidates the national media wanted us to have, when the dust settled and certain things - like Biden's refusal to run - were factored in.  Now guess which one the media wants to win.  And watch and see the different approach the media will take.  Assuming Trump really wants to win and isn't some plant or just doing it as a publicity stunt, I'm afraid that he's in for the biggest uphill battle of his life.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

In which Catholics and Christians judge the heart and soul of fellow Christians

Including vulgar insults and judging the spiritual integrity of Christians who they disagree with politically or socially.  And all on the Facebook page of a man who used to obliterate Traditionalist Catholics because of that group's supposed tendency of insulting fellow Catholics and judging the spiritual integrity of other Christians.

A homily worth the read

Courtesy of Archbishop Thomas Wenski.  This is a nice little rebuttal of the disgraceful attempt to avoid the obvious about the Orlando shooter in order to cling to the preconstructed narratives of the modern Left.  He is right about painting all of Islam with broad strokes.  Catholics were none to happy about those who tried to use the priest abuse scandal in order to besmirch the entire Church.  Though attempts to suggest Islam is just Catholicism without the Virgin Mary aren't helpful either.  And I don't think Archbishop Wenski is doing that.  He's simply calling a spade a spade.  We live in an age where anti-Christian persecution is on the rise around the world.  In some places, it takes the form of physical persecution.  In others, such as the Dying West, it is more subtle, but no less threatening.  Read it, you'll be glad to hear the voice of someone not trying to fit the square peg of historic Christianity into the round hole of post-modern heresy and tyranny.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Getting to know the modern unpeople

Who are these modern unpeople?  Increasingly they are those people whose lives and testimonies do not validate the Leftist narrative.  So, for example, they are the other 24,000 Americans who are murdered or commit suicide each year, but not by gunfire.  Thus you never hear about them.  Some people are actually shocked to hear that statistic.  They have heard the 33,000 figure so often they just assume that those are the only fatalities through violence we have in a year.  These are some of the unpeople.  They are the three people murdered by knife that nobody talked about while we heard about nothing other than the other three people murdered by the same man, but with a gun.

But it's more than that.  The modern unperson is anyone and everyone whose life, existence, experiences, viewpoints, demographics, values, beliefs or suffering doesn't help that precious narrative.

So the woman who is pro-life, or worse, thinks it might not have been a good idea for women to rush into the workplace and leave their children to be raised by the state.  How often do you hear about her?  It's the families of 9/11 victims who thought Bush was right.  It's the African American who votes Republican, or who acknowledges that segregation was terrible, but it's over now and time to move on.  It's the same African American who thinks not all Southerners are racist or that not everyone in the Confederacy needs to be lumped together.  Again, how often is he a guest commentator on liberal news outlets?

It can be the person with same sex attraction who speaks of being cured, or at least bears witness to a life joined with a member of the opposite sex in marriage and living a fulfilled life.  It can be the Native American who doesn't care about the Washington Redskins, or the Muslim who is not a terrorist but who nonetheless believes all the world must submit to the rule of Allah.

In short, it is anyone who can't be used to advance liberalism.  It is everyone who can do anything in the world short of end death and taxes, and they will simply be ignored unless they bear witness to the Left.  So, for purposes of this post, we are looking at those unpeople who have used firearms to thwart violent, potentially horrific, crimes.  Of course it happens all the time.  The more I speak to people, the more stories I hear about someone who foiled a crime or rescued a victim because the individual was armed.  Or, sometimes, I hear from the potential victims who were rescued by an armed civilian.  I've mentioned two instances I know of before.

Sure, it can be dangerous.  And I'm all for training or other measures to ensure that people so armed know what they are doing.  But I'm stunned by how many people, people who should know better, people I fear do know better, act as if there is no such thing as a person who stopped a crime with a gun.  I've seen people say it's a lie.  Really?  In the history of our nation, among the 300 million people alive today, you don't think there's a single case where someone might have used a gun to save the innocent?

Apparently not.  Apparently they are so deep into the tank of their same-think they really believe there is nothing in the world that could exist to suggest they're wrong.  Or, dare I say, suggest the narrative of the Left might be less than perfect.  Instead of admitting it, and then stepping forward with this or that tweak to make things better, they act as if there is no such thing.  Exploiting the fact that crimes prevented are often crimes never reported, they have stats on their side.  And rather than admit their own narratives could be wrong by virtue of witnesses and testimonies, they once again invoke their inner Orwell and decide to take another step toward living up to his dystopian vision.  They simply act as if such people, such examples, such heroics and bravery don't exist.

For a good take down, read this article.  John R. Lott, Jr. at the National Review unpacks the facts, lists some examples, and brings out of the closet an entire swath of our population that the Left would desperately like  to keep in the closet until the end of time.

Friday, June 24, 2016

A free predication about the Brexit vote

Courtesy of my sons:  The media, anxious to keep one of Obama's political subordinates in the White House, will blame any negative news about terrorism, the economy, or anything else on the Brexit vote.  The economy begins to slow going into the election?  Why, that's because of the Brexit vote (that Trump supported).  Uptick in terrorist attacks or breakdowns in security?  Why, that's because of the Brexit vote (that Trump supported).  And general destabilization across Europe or floundering stability here at home?  It can only be because of the Brexit vote (that Trump supported).  All of this assumes, of course, that they can't blame Conservatives, Christians, Americans in general, or Republicans.

I have no clue if they're right.  I cautioned them about trying to inject our own political partisanship and wrangling into the mix.  Believe it or not, the sun does't rise and set on the media's prefabricated template of Red State/Blue State politics.  Nonetheless, I had to chuckle.  I'll laugh even louder if it turns out to be true.

Some takes on the Brexit Vote

I'm not British, more's the pity.   Though I am a bit of an anglophile, that tends to stop where my celebration of the United States begins.  Plus, I've always been a bit more Roman than Saxon if you take my meaning, so there.

Nonetheless, I can't ignore the impact of this vote.  Nor can I speak intelligently to the results or the causes.  I'm not British.  It's like listening to Brits try to explain the complexities of the American Electoral College.  It wouldn't be pretty.   Which is why I haven't commented on it up until now.  I figure anyone who has said nothing about the topic until after the vote shouldn't be listened to, unless it's a call for all of us to start listening and paying attention.  

It's enough that those forces who seem to dream of a single world order governed by the principles of pseudo-Marxist inspired socialist secular liberalism are disappointed.  That doesn't mean they're wrong and the other side is right.  But when financial chaos, upticks in terrorist attacks, dropping the ball on immigration, and only seeming to come together to advance the culture of death and the end of religious liberty is the track record, I'm at least willing to consider the idea that another approach might have been worthwhile.

Here are a few takes sent to me by a friend and reader who has lived in different places in Europe, including old GB.  Take them for what they're worth:

The Week
PJ Media
PJ Media Link#2
The Telegraph

I adore stories like this

It reminds you that we treat bad news the way we treat place crashes and mass shootings.  That is, we focus on it way out of proportion of the day to day good that happens.  Not that we shouldn't focus on bad things mind you.  But we should never forget the good that happens when people are left to do what people are capable of doing.  A little reminder that deep down inside of everyone is still that divine spark of eternal goodness.  I won't say what happened, read it for yourself.  It should bring a smile to say the least.

In other news, US Bishops are shocked the Obama administration upholds limits on Religious Liberty

That's right, the Bishops have said that it's shocking the Obama administration refused to go after California for mandating abortion coverage.  For reasons not quite clear to your humble host, the Bishops continue to embrace almost every policy ideal, strategy, and narrative of the liberal Democratic party, and yet are gobsmacked when the Left turns against them.

And furthermore, they seem to trust Obama and his administration in so many areas like immigration, health care, gun control, economic regulations, civil rights, and just about everything that doesn't include issues below the waste line.  Meanwhile, the Obama administration can keep on shooting fish in a barrel when it comes to advancing its agendas with the Catholic Seal of Approval.  Even now, while the Obama administration makes it clear it's all about imposing liberalism on the rights of religion, the Church in other areas falls behind and cheers on the administration in areas like immigration and gun control, believing that Obama can only be honest and straightforward in those areas.

Exactly at what point is face palm a valid reaction?  Either the Bishops are incredibly naive (polite word there), or they subscribe the the post-modern Golden Rule of 'Screw unto others as long as you don't screw unto us.'  The problem with that, of course, is that by giving the government the right to shaft all those other not-us type of people, we empower the same government to eventually turn the screws on us.

The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union

Not really anything to do with religion or much to comment on.  Quite frankly, it's impossible to know what impact it will have down the road.  I'm sure it will be something.  It's just interesting that those rascally Brits are at it again.  Throughout the history of Europe, England has always been just one step off and to the side.  Even the history of the Church in the West can be divided between the Church and the West, and the Church in England.  So worth the watch, but for long term effects, we'll have to see.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Donald Trump's speech

The one he gave yesterday that has been eviscerated by the media as, armed with tweezers and a microscope, journalists set out to find anything and everything that is wrong with what he said.*  Nonetheless, he laid out a strong case against Hillary Clinton, which isn't hard to do.  The fact that you have Donald Trump, one of the most disastrously unelectable candidates in political history, barely outside the margin of error shows that you have serious problems if you're Clinton.  Donald McClarey unpacks the speech and some good observations to go along with it.  

*It's worth noting that the three articles on fact checking Trump were the top three results I got when I Google Searched "Fact Checking Hillary".  Again, it's not like the media is biased or anything.

Sanity in the midst of insanity

Michael Flynn steps in and brings calm and reasonable observations to the intellectually dishonest mess of the post-Orlando shootings.  There is so much there it's worth a couple reads.  Really, go read it now.

Attention gun control Democrats

When you admit that the Orlando shooting was an Islamic terror attack, then we'll talk.  When you continue to have Muslims kill innocent Americans in the name of their faith and fealty to Islamic terrorist organizations, and yet insist there is no way to know their motives or no reason to look at Islamic terrorism, then my ears are shut.

That's because it is clear that you have not a whit of desire to actually solve the problems, protect Americans, or even reduce violence.  At worst, you are so deluded by your own feeling of intellectual and moral superiority that you believe your solutions alone bring salvation and once we follow your path all will be right with the world.  Which, in honesty, is not true and therefore a waste of everyone's time.  Especially since all of your effort to enact gun control will at best eliminate something that accounts to a minimal percentage of those killed by homicide and terrorist attack in a given year.

And that's the best we can say. The worst is that you are so drunk on your desire for power and dominion, that you posses a veritable libido dominandi, a desire to conquer and oppress all who stand before your vision of America, you therefore see these tragic massacres as convenient tools to exploit.  Humans for you are no longer beings made in God's imagine, but commodities to be used and discarded according to how they advance your political agendas.

So, from the top.  Admit that the Orlando Islamic terrorist attack was just that, and we can sit down and talk. I'm fine with considering sensible regulations or qualifications for gun rights. Otherwise, I can only conclude that I'll need to look elsewhere for people who really want to reduce violence and protect our citizens. After all, I'll have to assume that any concessions to your agendas will go far in future compromises to my liberties and freedoms, and accomplish practically nothing when it comes to protecting the innocent or reducing crime and violence.

Greeting cards for all your same sex needs

It's funny, but you have to admit that most commercials still cater to the idea of Mom and Dad and 2.5 kids.  Some, particularly those promoting more tech and digital based companies and products, are squeaking in the odd same sex couple.  In the two instances I can think of, this consisted of two extraordinarily gorgeous young women in bed together or vacationing together with strong indicators that they are more than friends.  Otherwise, it's Mom and Dad most of the time.

Nonetheless, in certain areas we shouldn't be surprised that products and commercial offerings will begin to add special categories to the inventory just for that portion of the population that is well beneath 10%.  The always delightful Two Catholic Men and a Blog unpacks some logical implications of this development

The most obvious is that nations do not exist in a moral vacuum.  There is no real desire anyone has to live in a 'live and let live' society where we have to accept everyone and anything anyone says is right to them.  Nations survive based on absolute morality, absolute values, absolute ethics, and a society, if not a government, that exists to mandate conformity and punish rebellion.  The move to eventually make non-heterosexual, non-procreative sexuality the norm will not happen over night, but it will happen.  And it will be as universal as buying war bonds in the 1940s or preaching better dead than red in the 1950s.  More probably.  Because now the agencies that once challenged the war effort or the Red Scare are fully behind the post-gender sexual movement of the day.  

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Brave Democrats maintain the narrative

By staging a sit in at Capital Hill.  Surrounded by security and air conditioning, they insisted that we must do everything in our power to avoid the stinking obvious about the Orlando attacks, and exploit this issue to ram through gun legislation we've been chomping at for decades.  Note, again, that I'm not saying there is no room for debate about gun regulations and requirements for gun ownership. After all, you can't yell fire in a crowded theater or sacrifice virgins on pagan alters, though we have protected speech and religious freedom.

Of course the big problem here is that those very facts, about the qualifications of our First Amendment rights, are being exploited by a growing segment of the Left essentially arguing against those very rights.  Since we already limit religious freedom or speech, so the argument goes, why not do it more when it comes to things like mandated contraceptive coverage or speech deemed offensive to the right people?  Since no small number of people who are approaching the First Amendment that way seem also to want to approach the Second Amendment that way, it makes sense that gun rights advocates, who also include a healthy dose of traditionalists who value traditional rights under the Constitution, are somewhat leery.

Especially since all of this is in the wake of an Islamic terrorist attack that happened, like several others in the last few years, in a place where the attacker was known, if not liked.  That should, of course, be the main focus.  As should the rise of Islamic terror strikes in the US.  But no.  That violates the liberal narrative.  The important thing is to preserve the narrative, and the second most important thing is to continue down that path of permanently rewriting our concepts of liberty and freedom.

What awaits the compromise with the Secular Left

Is best seen in that nation up north.  Canada is, for many Americans, a veritable paradise.  Especially because it is cutting edge radical left and moving to enforce those liberal values with the strong arm of the law.  So we have a religion teacher in a Catholic school being relieved because, according to this story, he told his class that homosexuals can't sexually reproduce and, besides, homosexual marriage is against Catholic teaching.

Since this is Canada, and not the United States (at this point), he was dismissed.  Not that he wouldn't be dismissed in some parochial schools in the US.  And not that a growing number of liberals and post-Christian activists haven't attempted to force religious institutions to conform to the liberal dogmas.  But right now, it happens in Canada with growing ease.  Americans who still value freedom and liberty be warned.  Compromise will not do.  It will take more than compromise.

The end of marriage and the end of liberty

An interesting article over at Religion and Ethics, tracing the collapse of the historic understanding of marriage and the collapse of our rather recent (historically speaking) understanding of liberty and freedom.  It's worth the read. 

Loretta Lynch embraces the fog

Staring at a pile of evidence that suggests the Orlando attack was either a vengeance killing from within depths of the gay community or a killing motivated by devotion to Islam and ISIS, Loretta Lynch invokes the spirit of liberalism.  That is, who's to say what the word 'is' really means?  Can we know for a fact that 2+2=4?  How can we ever really know that the universe isn't a marble in some giant space alien's bag?  Maybe dog should be spelled c-a-t.  Let's just focus on guns and bigotry in America.  Yeah, that's the ticket.

It's the liberal way.  Can you really argue against it?  I mean, they're staring at the exact same evidence you are.  It's obvious.  But they reject it.  They argue against it.  And with the help of the media and much of our societal establishments, that should be no problem at all.  We are a nation that has long grown tired of things like truth, facts, freedom or common sense.  Ms. Lynch is simply preaching to a more than willing choir.

Orlando Shooter update

Countering the transcripts of the Orlando shooter's rants and ravings in which he insists it's all about his devotion to ISIS, Allah, and anger at America's Middle Eastern policies, an individual who claims to have been his gay lover has come out and said not so fast.  According to him, who may or may not be Muslim himself, the shooter was really just outraged at gay Puerto Ricans because a former gay lover of the shooter, who was Puerto Rican, had HIV.  So for revenge, he went in and shot up the place.

OK, so from the top.  A sexually active gay Muslim of Afghani descent with possibly multiple gay lovers shoots up a gay nightclub filled mostly with Hispanic Americans while claiming he is doing it in the name of his Islamic faith and devotion to ISIS, but the real reason could have been revenge on the Puerto Rican gay community because his former Puerto Rican gay lover had HIV.

Whatever the case, we continue to tell ourselves it's all about guns and American homophobic bigotry and our culture of violence.  That's like trying to blame African Americans because the Mongol Fleet was destroyed on its way to invade Japan. Only the most wacked out racist would try to do such a thing.  And yet, it's the dominant narrative of our political and societal elites, at least insofar as blaming American Christians for the Orlando shooting goes.  Oy vey.  What can you do with a nation that not only proclaims squares to be round, but is quickly moving to punish and ostracize any who dare suggest otherwise?

Speaking of hate and bigotry

The Non-Black Lives Don't Matter movement has issued a statement blaming the Orlando shooting on - wait for it - White Supremacy.  Yeah, that's right.  I'll leave you to stop chuckling before we continue.

You see, the problem is that we're not done.  The Cold Civil War isn't over.  The Left still hasn't won and come to dominate here in the States.  It has ended in Europe, that's why there aren't many titanic clashes.  Oh sure, post-Christian liberalism is eating European civilization away as it literally aborts itself out of existence.  But it's not doing so with the same level of divisiveness we see here.

I get that there are divisions in Europe.  But as a whole, the verdict is in, and the result is secular liberalism.  That's a place most Europeans more than happily see themselves.  It took two world wars and one of history's worst genocides and a half century of living next to a Communist terror state, but Europe emerged from it all more or less accepting the premises of secular liberalism.

Here in the States, that's not the case.  Even though liberalism is making strides by leaps and bounds, it is still not universally embraced.  It isn't even a massive majority.  Younger generations are embracing it, but not all the way.  Young people accept post-rational gender abstraction, but are leery about the whole unfettered abortion culture.  Because there is no clear victor, the sides are in a bitter war, a Cold war, but bitter nonetheless.  Deny the culture war all you want, but it's there.  And it's raging.

So when 9/11 obliterated the happy liberal Multi-Cultural narrative of evil White Christians, beautiful non-White, Non-Christians, the Left had to step up to the plate and work overtime to convince us it's still about the civilization it truly hates.  The post-Iraqi conundrum we found ourselves in was easy.  It was Bush's fault.  But we can't blame ISIS on "American Policy" as easily since a liberal Democrat is president, and it happened under his watch.

As we're told to not care about Americans killed by terrorists as long as it isn't us, and we're told that things are getting better all the time in the world thanks to the omniscience of Barrack Obama and his infallible policies, each time something like this happens it creates a problem.  Because the Left knows the war is far from over, and theoretically the Left could still lose, decisive action must be taken.  So when the Orlando shooting happened, the worst terrorist attack since 9/11 on American soil, the latest under President Obama, because of a man clearly pledging allegiance to ISIS and his Islamic Faith, what did we decide to do?  Easy.  Toga!

Literally.  The response we're hearing from liberal leaders is every bit as sound and intellectually valid as Otter and Boon's solution.  A potentially gay, racist Muslim of Afghani descent who does nothing but pledge his undying devotion to Allah and ISIS and opens fire on an overwhelmingly Hispanic crowd in a gay bar, and it's White Supremacy?  It's American Conservatives?  It's Catholic homophobia?   Sorry everyone, but that's nothing else than saying Tom Robinson has to be guilty because, well, look at him.  It's bigotry.  And it shows that various groups, like Non-Black Lives Don't Matter, hate.  They hate us.  They hate an America they want to burn to the ground.  They hate historic Christianity.  They hate Christians.  They hate white people.  They hate, loath, despise.  And I'm not 100% sure that they would care if we all died tomorrow.  That last is speculation on my part, but I'd need to see some alternate behavior to convince me I'm too far from wrong.

Of course as Christians we pray for them.  Even if they declare themselves to be our enemy, we can do nothing else.  But it's worth remembering, as a former friend and college once pointed out, that though we must pray for our enemies, love our enemies, and do good for our enemies, at no point did Christ ever say that by doing so they would cease to be our enemies.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

CDC releases banned gun violence study?

What am I missing?   So I see this story pop up, about the results of a CDC study on gun violence.  It's a conservative site, so the emphasis is on how helpful guns are for deterring crime.  There are some other tidbits touched upon.  Basically not much folks who have followed the issue haven't already heard.

At the same time, I Googled 'CDC study on gun violence' to find corroborating articles, and came up with a string of sites and articles decrying a ban on CDC studies of gun violence.  The one here was just written 10 hours ago.  Am I missing something?  They're saying something that just got published was banned.  Is this a different study?  When they say CDC study, do they mean a different CDC?  Was this not complete enough?

There is so much hyper-partisanship today, so much Super-Narrative jockeying, that it's difficult to tell even something this simple.  What is this study if the CDC study has been banned?  Much less trying to make sense of it.

Orlando shooter transcripts released

The man's a mystery.  Just what could have motivated him is still sending our best and brightest to the cubicles, trying to figure out why he did what he did.   I haven't been able to find the full and complete transcript yet.  So far, I've heard two things that, if true, would be interesting.  First, I've heard that his references to Allah were still changed to 'God'.  On one level, that might not mean a thing.  But on another, it could mean quite a bit.

The second is that at no point in all of his calling did he reference gays, the gay community, homosexuality, or anything else.  What he seemed to reference was his devotion to Islam, ISIS, and shooting in retaliation for America's actions in Iraq and Syria.  If true, that would be interesting because, with what little I've been able to piece together since so much of our time is spent trying to avoid linking Islamic terrorists with Islam, there seems to be a trend.

At least a few of the more notorious attacks by individuals who were coincidentally Muslim involved areas and communities with which they were known, if not well known.  The Fort Hood shooter, the San Bernardino terrorists, the man who beheaded a coworker, and apparently this.  If the stories hold true, it seems that he frequented this bar for some years, and was known by others to be a semi-regular.  If that holds up, then it keeps with other cases, where the attackers didn't just go to some random location, but actually targeted places where they were known, and even liked.

We could look into that in more detail of course.  But right now, the Left is trying desperately to maintain the anti-Christian West narrative, so looking at little things like what could prevent future attacks has to take a back seat.

Monday, June 20, 2016

One of the modern age's beloved scientists has an announcement

Speaking of science, if I'm reading the article correctly, it seems like Dr. Michio Kaku has concluded that the universe had to have been created by an intelligent being.  Don't even wait for me to unpack the science.  I get String Theory about as much as I get women.  And let me tell you, that's not much.  I won't jump up and down or think this changes anything.  For all I know, he could run more experiments down the road and conclude something else.  This is just basic sciencing, inside science baseball stuff.  While there is room to look out on creation and conclude there is a God, it can't stop there.  We'll see what happens down the road.  At least it's a positive step for him.

As for atheists whose belief about God necessitates the absence of God, this will be a minor speed bump.  They can conclude he's just musing, or it's a theory, or just a guess, or any one of a million different objections.  If you are sure you're right, you're not going to let a little thing like evidence or testimonies from those you respect make a difference.

Hence the punchline of the parable of Lazarus and the rich man.  The point of that parable wasn't that Hell is a bad place with fire and brimstone.  It wasn't even about the wicked rich man stepping over the miserable Lazarus, though that literary canvas on which the punchline was painted should not be ignored.  No, the punchline is the rich man's cries to Abraham to rescue his living brothers from his own fate.  Do something!, he pleads, send Lazarus!  Abraham, unmoved, says they have all the testimony they need in Moses and the Prophets.  Well that hasn't done the trick!  So the rich man responds that seeing a dead man, they might be saved.  Not so fast, says Abraham.  If they don't believe Moses and the Prophets, then let's face it, they won't believe a dead man talking either.

A lesson for atheists, scientists, religious, political advocates and social activists.  If you have looked at a tremendous amount of evidence and disregarded it, then there's little to suggest any more evidence will make a difference.  And that, folks, is a place none of us should want to be.

Strawberry Moons Forever

Living is easy with eyes closed, missing the berry moons that you could see.  Yes, in addition to this being a wonderful time to harvest your mistletoe, it will also be a good time to enjoy a rare astronomical event known as the Strawberry Moon.  I live for these things, and it's nice when partisan rancor and agendas can be set aside as humans from all corners come together to gaze at this wonderful creation with which we've been blessed.

Pope Francis speaks on marriage

I'm somewhat confused.  People who hate Pope Francis, like people who all but worship the man even if they deny it, will be of no value.  Much of what he says is rooted in his own experiences in Latin America.  As such, they don't apply here in my cultural context.  Some of what he seems to be saying is that people are living  in what used to be called sin, not because they are living in sin, but because they are ignorant of the Sacrament of Marriage.  As such, he continues, people live in all ways outside of the Church's understanding of a Sacramental Marriage even if they think they aren't.  I'll leave others to hammer out the implication of most marriages being invalid.

Here's the part that caught my eye, and it could be a matter of translation, but he seems to be saying something about cohabitation and civil marriages that I can't grasp.  According to the article, he first says:
"They prefer to cohabitate, and this is a challenge, a task.  Not to ask 'why don't you marry?'  No, to accompany, to wait, and to help them to mature, help fidelity to mature."
If they weren't confused about the Sacrament of Marriage before that sentence, they could be forgiven for being confused now.  I know I am.  Is he saying that it doesn't matter if they are married as long as we foster fidelity?  I'll assume he means that we need to help them to mature, and their fidelity to mature, meaning that it finally turns into marriage of a Sacramental nature.

He then goes on:
He said that in Argentina's northeast countryside, couples have a child and live together. They have a civil wedding when the child goes to school, and when they become grandparents they "get married religiously."  
OK, this is paraphrasing what Pope Francis says.  Note the only quotes are at the end.  But again, it is a strong reference steeped heavily in his own cultural context.  It doesn't really apply to the US, or from what I know, most European Catholic countries, though I could be wrong about the latter.  But this section is important, because it sets up the most confusing part of the article:

"It's a superstition, because marriage frightens the husband.  It's a superstition we have to overcome," the Pope said.  "I've seen a lot of fidelity in these cohabitation, and I am sure that this is a real marriage, they have the grace of a real marriage because of their fidelity, but there are local superstitions, etc." 

OK.  First, note this is now a quote.  Translated to be sure, but quote nonetheless.  I have no clue what to do with the part about the it being a superstition because of the husband's fear, so we'll move on to the second part.  There are different ways to read this, if you get right down to it.  And in some ways, that is the biggest problem with Pope Francis.  While sometimes he leaves no room for debate, at other times we're left trying to scramble for an authoritative interpretation of what he is talking about.

In this, he almost seems to be saying that people who are cohabiting outside of marriage, but who have a strong bond of 'fidelity', are for all intents and purposes married sacramentally due to their strong fidelity.  Since that just seems wrong, we'll have to think of another way to read it.

Another way is that he is talking about these older grandparents who, by now, have become married 'religiously.'  Theirs is a real marriage because of their fidelity.  The problem here is that he says 'I'm sure that this is a real marriage.'  The only thing I can think of is that he is contrasting this 'real marriage' to the bulk of marriages today that he has declared invalid.  For these folks, who started out living together, jumped through a secularized civil ceremony, and only later in life got married, a true religious marriage is the result.  As opposed to the bulk of the rest of us who, I guess, waited, got married in Church, and for some reason are part of a large group of invalid marriages.

The second is better, because it doesn't sound like Pope Francis is tossing out Catholic teaching and saying marriage doesn't matter, just the feelings and emotional bonding.  The second suggests Pope Francis is saying that folks who go through life outside of the classic preference for waiting until marriage to consummate the relationship might end up in a better, more sacramental marriage than the folks who followed the numbers.  I guess.

Those are the only two ways I can read this.  Perhaps there's another.  But somehow it seems as though he is saying that the traditional understanding of wait until marriage, get married, have sex, have kids, stay married doesn't have to be the only way.  Either that or he's saying you don't even have to be married.  I'll defer to the first option.  And yet, I'm not sure that is much better.  It seems, once again, a concession to the modern, post-Christian progressive culture.  Technically the Sacrament of Marriage is the goal, but it turns out the traditional way to get there is now up for grabs, one way or another.  If there are other interpretations, I'm all ears.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Mocking those who pray

Clarified.  Mark Shea, one of the leading Catholic voices who has joined with the non-believer and the ungodly to mock this laughable notion that prayer after a horrifying tragedy has any value unless followed by the right political advocacy, clarifies his position.

Of course prayer is necessary and effective.  But only insofar as you follow your prayer by, I guess, agreeing with Mark's political positions?  Which, I guess are not really political positions but are somehow the right and proper manifestation of Gospel morality?  I dunno.  Somehow Mark knows that, based on your opinions about gun control, your prayers are either valid and perhaps led by the groans of the Holy Spirit, or they are, in fact, political prophylactics  (a new favorite buzz phrase) by people mocking God and exploiting fake prayers for their ideological loyalties.  How he knows this, I'm not sure.  How he can so infallibly judge the inner heart and soul of fellow believers who are reaching out to the Everlasting is something I'm not privy to.  But he's a respected Catholic apologist who is frequently called upon by bishops and priests, finds his work sanctioned by such credible ministries as EWTN and the National Catholic Register, and hosts Catholic radio shows, so who am I to argue?

Anyway, Mark makes it clear that he absolutely agrees with the efficacy of prayer.  Which is good.  He demonstrates this by pointing out that he routinely prays for the Wrath of God to be visited upon the Gun Cult, as Mark likes to describe it.  This Gun Cult is a demonic force, and it is right to pray at every Mass for the unwavering power of the Thrice Holy God to descend and eradicate this force of evil from the world.  So obviously, prayer is a good and effective thing. The fervent prayer of a righteous man after all.

Exactly why gun rights advocates and Constitutionalists would see this is a problem is beyond me.  Perhaps there is a Gun Cult out there after all.  If nothing else, it certainly gives us something, and someone, to pray for.

The madness of the modern Left

Is examined by John C. Wright.  We're at a stage where the idiocy, the lies, the madness is so overwhelmingly obvious, I'm not sure what to do.  That a sizable majority of Americans, political leaders, media personalities, and even religious leaders have embraced the dumb, the lie, the madness just makes you realize how such horrible things we read about in history happened.  We often shake our heads at the zealous crusaders, the fanatical witch hunters, the bloodthirsty conquistadors, the racist slavers, the Nuremberg mobs, the Red Square revolutionaries, and we wonder how?  How could rational people fall into things which, even then, looked stupid and wrong, and in hindsight seem beyond madness and the denial of all reality?  Please read Mr. Wright's piece.  Then it will make perfect sense.

An easy test

If you spend your time pounding the pulpit over the 33,000 killed by guns, but have gone an entire year and not bothered to mention the 57,000 killed overall, then I hate to say this, but you are part of the problem.  Pretty simple stuff.

The dreaded AR-15

Which everyone wants to ban ever since a Sig Sauer MCX semi-automatic rifle was used in the Orlando shooting.  Which makes perfect sense of course.  After all, a potentially gay Muslim of Afghani descent with racist tendencies murdered 49 people of predominantly Hispanic heritage at a gay bar while praising the same ISIS that had recently called upon Muslim extremists to murder during Ramadan, and we've concluded that American Christian Conservatives are the real threat. So hey!  Why not?  It's post-modernity!  Nothing is real, and truth can get hung about it.

Nonetheless, there are some things called facts which are always worth considering.  Over at The American Catholic, Donald McClarey has a video by a veteran who seems slightly more in tune with the nuances of firearms than Hillary Clinton or others who are leading the charge against military assault weapon style armaments.

For my money, I'm willing to sit down and have a discussion over what should be allowed under the Second Amendment.  I'm also very distrustful of most gun control advocates since virtually nothing they say, including their sneering condescension if not outright hatred of gun owners, convinces me they don't see this as one small step for banning certain guns, one giant step for rewriting the Bill of Rights.

Nonetheless, the veteran in question is worth listening to.  His is not Gospel truth.  It is information and an opinion you simply don't hear. So use it to balance against the other, credible sources that might disagree.  You know, the ones who have shown us that it's American Conservative Christians we should worry about after a radicalized racist Muslim killed 49 people in the name of ISIS.

Friday, June 17, 2016

It is almost like the Orlando shooting had nothing to do with current gun laws

And everything to do with bureaucracies hindered by human frailties and hamstrung by politically correct sensitivities.

I don't know.  What think you?  The more I hear, the more this goes to show that the fabricated media template of Evil Red State/Awesome Blue State is as fictional as the Wizard of Oz.  A man who appears to have been gay himself, opens fire on a gay nightclub almost exclusively filled with Hispanic Americans.  The shooter is reported to have made racist comments.  His gun was purchased legally because he had security credentials as a security guard and was not found guilty by the FBI.  He praised ISIS, and stated he was murdering because of ISIS, which  had recently sent out a generic order to all operatives to kill during Ramadan.

So a potentially gay Muslim extremist with racist tendencies carries out the orders of an Islamic terrorist organization with a gun he legally purchased because he was not guilty of anything that could have hindered a gun purchase since the FBI can't pass information around about people it has investigated but not convicted.  And the one thing that might have raised warning flags was, apparently, ignored.  Hmmm.  It's almost like our first thoughts shouldn't be to push gun control legislation because the real bad guys are Conservative American Christians.

Maybe I'm just missing a subtle clue. But I get the feeling we're entering a new phase where whatever happens will immediately be twisted to advance an agenda, no matter how far away from the agenda the event happens to be.

Turns out media bias can impact elections

According to this story, where the media 'blackout' appears to have hurt Sanders.  I'm sure Sanders fans, many of whom have mocked the idea that the media has anything to do with Trump's popularity, will be happy to know that the media had something to do with Sanders' loss.

This is a tough sell if you think about it.  After all, especially from those to the left of center, the idea that the media is biased or in any way shapes opinion is often scoffed at.  There is no media bias, unless it is for big business interests.  Besides, Americans aren't influenced by the media.  Except, apparently, when they are.

Remember what I've said about the biggest weapon in the Leftist arsenal?  Yesterday's truth?  The more I look at things through the prism of that observation, the more I realize just how common it is.

Because of gun control activists

And their ability to join with the typical modern trends of dumbing down society in order to advance their political agendas, there is nothing else left to say:

A stupid, crudely performed partisan comedy routine that isn't as ludicrous as what is really being said by our media, politicians and religious leaders.  It's beyond disturbing.  The idea that we can acknowledge that the US has an overall problem with violence and disregard for human life, discuss how we might make guns and gun ownership safer, and also admit that there is a separate but serious problem with Islamic terrorism seems to be lost on our self congratulating post modern culture.  You know, the culture filled with people with college degrees and access to Wikipedia.

That Christian leaders also appear befuddled, unable to pinpoint anything from the Orlando shooting other than homophobia and guns! is as much a problem as anything.  The godless I can see.  But believers?

What hope does society have when those who should know better join the godless and the pagan in mocking prayer, mocking fellow believers, mocking the idea that a lack of devotion to Christ has anything to do with the problem, and acting like we never even heard of Islam?  Again, I get it if the godless do these things. But this is coming from a growing segment of not just Christians in general, but Catholic in particular.  Sigh.

Can we avoid using the Orlando Shooting to go after America's racist past?

So the news is all abuzz now, trying desperately to salvage narratives and advance agendas with the Orlando shooting, including reminding us that the news is wrong about this being the worst mass shooting in history.  It turns out that the prize belongs to - America!  Americans killed 250 Indians at Wounded Knee, or so the memes are saying.

For what it's worth, that was not the only massacre of Indians. There were many others.  And it wasn't the only massacre in general.  Indians would massacre other Indians with help from, and in alliance with, Americans and Europeans.  And Americans were massacred by Indians.  One of the biggest body counts of European immigrants being killed by Indians numbered around 350 at Jamestown.  I'm sure you're familiar with that attack since it's no doubt repeated on a daily basis.

So there you have it.  People have been killing each other for centuries.  This isn't something new.  It's worth noting, however, that each period of killing had certain characteristics which we are always happy to study, such as racism, imperialism, Manifest Destiny, Christian zealotry, McCarthyism, and on and on.  What might make this rash of killings so different is a sudden lack of desire to study the direct causes, and try desperately to look to anything other than the obvious.

President Obama on why words like Islamic Terrorist do not matter

Can be seen here:

Oh, I'm sorry.  That was a 2008 speech in which Obama, among other things, insisted that words like 'hope' matter when it comes to leading America, because words do matter.  Here we go:

Note, by the way, the multiple false premises he uses.  Nobody is saying we can't defeat evil if we are afraid to call it what it is or use certain words.  We're saying it's a lot tougher to do without naming the evil, especially if you need to rally people around a cause or get everyone to come together to defeat the evil.  Which is why most Democrats and liberal activists are clear when they call out Conservative Christians and the NRA.  They understand the power of words and identifying the enemy.  

Obviously nobody would criticize Obama's 2016 notion that words like Islamic terrorists don't matter more than 2008 Obama, who clearly was indignant over this laughable notion that words don't matter.  Then again we are dealing with liberalism.  As I've said before, the most powerful weapon in the Leftist arsenal is the ability to declare anything to be yesterday's truth.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Three others murdered in as many days

Two officers in France were murdered by an admitted Islamic terrorist.  And today, apparently, a brilliant young woman who was a rising star in British politics was murdered by a lone, probably psychotic, male.  It is a tough, fallen world.  Evil is always around.  Pray for these victims, and those who have died that we will never hear about.  Pray for their families.  Pray that we look beyond politics and agendas to the core of the problem, a fallen world and sinful people fleeing from, not toward, the revelation of God in Christ.

Would someone please tell me what is wrong with our hospitals

When some of them refuse to help people kill themselves?  I just don't know what this world is coming to!  Praise God for the good hospitals of Santa Barbara who are fighting the good fight.  That our enlightened civilization has come to the point where this is news should give us pause when it comes to declaring ours an enlightened civilization.

Right is right

And Simcha Fisher is right.  In an effort to point out that I bear Ms. Fisher no ill will (I merely have strong disagreements with some of her actions and consistency), I give you clear thinking.

There has been an outcry since the Orlando shooting that has nothing to do with the evil NRA or evil Conservative Christians, whose names are noticeably mentioned and repeated by various groups and political leaders.  It has to do with the fact that there are certain rules pertaining to openly gay men giving blood.  The rationale for this is obvious to a person of reason.  Despite every effort to convince us otherwise, being a sexually active male homosexual is disproportionately dangerous against almost any other sexual behavior.

People die.  They die by the tens of thousands.  And they die precisely because they are engaged in a behavior that is as almost as dangerous in terms of AIDS as smocking is in terms of cancer.  And just like smoking, which can impact others, giving blood can obviously impact others.  Furthermore, there is no surefire way to ensure us that blood given wouldn't be tainted.  And because we don't want to hurt those we are trying to help, there are clear and obvious restrictions on who can give blood and why.

Sane and reasonable people understand this, just as sane and reasonable people understand most common sense issues.  We get why you will have a hard time getting life insurance if you are a professional skydiver.  We understand why we were told we can no longer smoke in small, crowded places like airplane cabins and national parks.  We also get why someone who is likely to contract an incurable, ultimately fatal, blood-borne disease by way of their lifestyle should be looked at differently when it comes to giving his blood to others.

So a good article, and some good points.  Ultimately giving blood is not a right.  At its best, it is a cup of cold water that anyone giving it should hope is as healthy and helpful as possible.

Tolkien on stage with Lewis and Chesterton - and Martin Luther!

C. S. Lewis Onstage: The Most Reluctant Convert looks absolutely delightful.  I wish we could get the boys into live theater more than we do.  Finances are the main obstacle.  I admit, I am somewhat intrigued by the whole Hamilton phenomenon, and have considered saving for that.  Anything that helps elevate our nation's past and encourages people to look back at its heroes, and not just dwell on the bad, is OK in my book.  On a theatrical level, however, I wouldn't mind scrounging pennies to see what looks to be an awesome take on some of my favorite authors, and inspiration from my ministry days.

When you focus on the bad guy

You get results.  After the Charleston church shooting, almost all of the coverage was about racism.  White, American racism.  The kind of racism that grandma used to bake.  And it wasn't just for a few days.  It was weeks.  Months later, we still had lead stories about the shooting.  And for weeks after the shooting, a veritable witch hunt ensued as everything from Confederate flags on state property to Confederate symbols in Civil War museums were pulled down and buried.  That's because the one thing we all knew about the shooter, because it was the one thing that was discussed about the shooter, was that he had a photo of himself holding a Confederate Flag.

So the emphasis was racism, race, American racism, America's racist past, white racists, current racism, Conservatives, and of course racism.  And the result?  This week during the Southern Baptist Convention's annual answer to an ecumenical council, it voted to request that member churches no longer fly the Confederate flag.

OK, I don't care.  As a history student, teacher, and amateur historian in my own right, I never paid much attention to the Civil War.  In my lifetime, the Civil War narrative has shifted.  As a youth, the North was still the good guy because we fought the slave owners.  By later elementary and through college, it turned out the North didn't give a damn about slavery.  It was about the Federal Government and State's Rights.  The important lesson being that all of America was a racist nation and didn't care about slavery one way or another, except to support it.

In the 90s, however, that began to shift again.  After all, if the key issue of the war was about State's Rights, then perhaps the Confederacy wasn't so bad after all.  Why single it out?  The South had good points too.  Read some popular Civil War books of the time or watch some 80s mini-series for some spins on that.  So in the last decade or so, the shift has swung again to the war being all about Slavery, though enough emphasis was on America's universal racism that this hasn't helped the North.  Because of that, I expect us to do a de-Stalinization on the South and probably won't see much Dixie or General Lee in my grandchildren's future.

Personally that doesn't bother me as much as the realization that it won't stop there.  You'd have to be a fool to think it will stop with banning the Confederate Flag, or destroying Civil War monuments, or eradicating Jackson from currency.  If you think it will stop there, then I have a bridge to sell you.

What gets me is the effectiveness of it.  Why is the flag gone?  Why are the nuances of history falling along the wayside, and formerly respected figures like Robert E. Lee or the positive elements of southern culture being swallowed up by our modern crusades of righteousness?  Easy.  They are the bad guys.  They are the enemies. There was no discussion or debate after Charleston.  Nobody dared say 'maybe it's not all about race', or 'maybe racism shouldn't define America', or 'maybe the South wasn't all that bad.'  The few who tried were skinned.   It was all racist, and all it did was racist and race and racism and things.  America, its racist past, and all who defend its racist past might as well have crammed into the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and opened fire in unison.  All were guilty.  And half of the population of America was more than happy to accept the blame. That's what happens when you identify an enemy, emphasize the evil of the enemy, and make it clear you will stop at nothing until you eliminate the enemy.

Now, after the Orlando shooting?  So far we have American conservative homophobes as the presumptive enemies to be defeated.  Islam and Islamic terrorism?  Eh, not so much.  So following the ages old practice of knowing your enemy in order to destroy your enemy, who do you think will be most affected by the shootings over the next year or so?  Muslims or even Islamic terrorists?  Or Conservative American Christians?  You decide.  I know I have my hunches.