Tag Archives: Tolerance

FYI

To anti-Trump protesters out there (and you have my sympathy):

  1. Stop talking about how everyone else is “hateful” and an “idiot” except for you and your elite “smart” friends who are apparently the only decent human beings in the universe. It was your condescension and arrogance and bullying for the last ten years that has got us into this mess in the first place.
  2. Stop throwing American flags on the ground and burning them, and making glam instagram-style pics of the event. Trust me, you are just alienating yourself further. For the rest of us Americans, that is  for us the emotional equivalent of throwing Qur’ans in the toilet — y’know,  rumors of that caused riots & stuff among Muslims a few years back, and people died. And while your fellow Americans might not riot when they see you doing that, we do feel like we want to
  3. Sometimes (trust me) telling people “I believe in you and you are better than this” might actually be the best way forward. It also helps if you mean it.
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Yes I’m bitter (part 2)

Part one is here. Now, back to politics, I was so sure Hillary would win in a landslide. Every die-hard social conservative I knew couldn’t vote for Trump, and yes, it was very painful. We are the ones who never give up on a struggle, who stand outside of abortion clinics trying to talk people out of it up to the last minute, who try to fight to the last man, who backed Bush to the bitter end, who madly campaigned for Santorum, who complained but went out and voted for McCain and Romney, and here we couldn’t. Some of us cast a purely protest vote for Gary Johnson (despite his social liberalness). Most of us wrote in random candidates–McMullin, Ted Cruz, or sadly wrote-in “Nobody” for the top of the ticket. Some of us were so demoralized that we didn’t even vote at all. No, we did not want Hillary to be president. No, we were in deep mourning for our country. But, as my 90 year old Calvinist grandmother wrote on her ballot, “I refuse to vote for anyone who has made his money in gambling and prostitution.”

We had to draw the line at kinda-pimps. We have a God in heaven, and this was a fight over the soul of the Republican Party. Because how could we save America’s soul if we could not even keep our own?

Yes, it was quite painful, I hated myself for giving America to Hillary and the progressives. We didn’t want to at all. But we thought we had no choice.

So of course I thought Hillary would win. I was bracing myself for a progressive regime and persecution without, while bitter recriminations would fly within. I was preparing for the civil war within the Republican party. I was praying the Trumpists would forgive us NeverTrumpers and calm down, and then we’d repent, regroup, and come back to fight again in 2020.

And now, Trump won. I’ve been laughing alot, in a hysterical way. Note:

1. The Republican Party, as we knew it, is dead. If Trump sticks with Bannon, then the alt-right have seized control of the party. (If you don’t know who the “alt-right” are, google “Milo Yiannopoulos”)

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2. Social Conservatives are no longer at the helm of the Republican Party, as they were under Reagan and especially George W Bush. And apparently they can win without us.

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3. Who did this? The Liberals. Here is one of their own intense liberals, pointing this out.

And look at the bitter irony of it all.

In 2012, the liberals trashed the soft-spoken Romney as a misogynist — nevermind he was a family man, a decent man, and a political moderate (in fact, more moderate than I wanted). They trashed him and spun this false narrative of “the war on women” just because he wasn’t going to force some people to buy other people abortifacient pills.

And now we have a “locker room” talking President.

In 2008, the liberals trashed Palin. They hired strippers to impersonate her, and (in the New York Times no less!) ran a photograph of a stripper dressed in an American Flag bikini, pretending to be Palin. They called her all kinds of sexual things on my Ivy League enlightened campus. Oh, and the women didn’t mind at all, because (like me) she was a conservative, and so (like me) they could call her sexual slurs.

And now they have a pornographer in the white house. Who employed desperate foreign women. Who bragged about “grabbing pussy”.

And so I laugh hysterically and bitterly. Because you liberals did this.

Who glamorized the sex-trade, removing “stigma” in the name of human rights, to minimize the enormity of sexual exploitation and make pimps  respectable men? Who trashed old-school heroism and wholesome patriotism as ‘paternalism’ and ‘fascism’, so that the only acceptable cultural constructs left are a twisted-victimhood-revelling and naked-self-interest…with nothing left in between? (And you really thought, that backed against a wall, bashed and bashed again by your high and mighty rhetoric, they wouldn’t resort to the latter?)  And most of all, who made a laughing stock out of feminism, so that the ordinary bloke on the street smells the hypocrisy and loathes it all — trashing the good with the bad?

You did this.

You did this.

You’ve won your sexual revolution. Congratulations.

Yes I’m bitter

Look, Trump won.

I was praying for an electoral vote tie, so that the House could pick the candidate and we could get Evan McMullin. Yes, I don’t know much about him (nobody does). And it was a one-in-a-million chance….

But I was so sure Hillary would win. I thought Trump was just a con-artist — a liberal plant who was aping a caricature of a conservative, in order to give Hillary the presidency on a silver platter.

I was so sure that was what was going on, and that the Republicans were just so panicked and despairing and angry, that they were getting majorly conned. That due to their own panicked self-preservation and bitterness against liberals, they were playing right into their hands. It was painful to watch.

So yeah, I was a NeverTrumper. And no, I did not want Hillary to be president.

But I didn’t want Trump either.

And yes, I was terrified of President Hillary Clinton — because she is a progressive who truly believes in radical progressivism, and not only that, but she is incredibly intelligent and quite charming in her own way — an immensely capable ideologue.

It is the progressive ideologues who’ve been destroying traditional faith and traditional family in this world. They do it with the best of intentions — but neither they or I want to see (when they finally win) the world they will leave behind. And it will certainly not be the egalitarian paradise that they think. Unlike us traditional Christians, they do not know the darkness that our faith keeps at bay.

They think that if they take our faith from us, by neutering and spaying it into some pliant postmodern mold, we will be happier and the world will be better. It won’t. At all. They mistake traditional religion as a cancer that must be operated on within us, when our faith is really the only thing holding back the darkness within. Our faith is the only thing holding us near the light, the only thing that keeps us from slipping into the abyss. If they don’t know what I am talking about, then fine. But leave us alone. You don’t want to know.

I hope that is not what is happening here, now.

Part Two here.

 

The boy who cried

The liberals are the little boy who called wolf. For years, leftists have been calling any conservative patriotic person a fascist bully. They called George W. Bush that all the time. He wasn’t, but that didn’t help him any. The shriller the rhetoric, the more it won. And for the most part, conservative leaders rolled belly up. The regular folks get frustrated. Then Trump shows up, and he is a bully with fascist tendencies. And now—there really is a wolf—but who will listen now?

In some ways the whole thing is like a Greek Tragedy. Utopian Leftism, with its vigilant mental censorship and intellectual condescension to the lower working classes, ends up creating the very fascist reactionaries it decries. You can only silence and mock people for so long.

And if you automatically call people fascist haters 100 times, the 101st time they might believe you. I think it is the same reason Chinese businessmen are poisoning babies to make a quick buck on fake baby formula. These are three generations of Chinese kids who were raised on communist propaganda that told them that all businessmen were soul-less capitalists with categorically no morals. So then, when they finally become a businessman…guess what?

The same goes for the warrior ethos. If you say there is no morality in war, no honor in combat, that any man with a gun is as good as a baby killer….then guess what happens?

If you say all patriotism is the equivalent of Nazism and brutality and that our fathers and forebearers were all brutal jingoists, and that we have no name to be proud of and no honor to maintain…then guess what happens?

Yes, you have convinced them, and look at them now.  Waging your war on religion and on patriotism and on chivalry  was the biggest mistake you ever made.

Welcome to your new world of fascist reaction, void of religious scruples and starry-eyed patriotic idealism that wanted to save the world. Those things were the safeguards. And now its all falling like a house of cards and a world on fire.

Yup

Even the NYTimes itself is saying it too, so yes, everyone knows it now. I’ve spent 9 of my past 10 adult years in Academia, and it’s been like swimming upstream the whole way.

On one hand, it’s kind of nice that it’s finally out in the open and I don’t have to struggle swimming upstream and also hear smug people mocking my kind for “being paranoid”. On the other hand, it shows we’ve really really lost when they can openly talk about it. When the card game is over, the hands are shown. Only when your enemy is finally powerless is it safe to show your pity. Yes, they are king of the (Academia) mountain, and we are lying flat on our back somewhere far below the hill, wind knocked out of us.

Its not that we ever wanted to be king of the mountain for the heck of it–but we all know that who is king of the mountain in Academia does get the first pass at influencing (e.g. indoctrinating) the minds of the best and brightest, and hence shaping the next generation. I know the progressives meant well–we all think we know what is best for the young. You have your progressive paradise and now I’m just bracing myself for it to come tumbling down like a flaming house of cards. It is not going to be pretty–and no, there is no pleasure in saying “I told you so” when it will be accompanied by so much costly human suffering. (I see reactionary fascism, totalitarianism, and world wars).  I’m not sad and I’m not mad.  I’m just so damn tired.

 

Here is the link and article in case it goes away:  http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/05/08/opinion/sunday/a-confession-of-liberal-intolerance.html

Nicholas Kristof
Nicholas Kristof

WE progressives believe in diversity, and we want women, blacks, Latinos, gays and Muslims at the table — er, so long as they aren’t conservatives.

Universities are the bedrock of progressive values, but the one kind of diversity that universities disregard is ideological and religious. We’re fine with people who don’t look like us, as long as they think like us.

O.K., that’s a little harsh. But consider George Yancey, a sociologist who is black and evangelical.

“Outside of academia I faced more problems as a black,” he told me. “But inside academia I face more problems as a Christian, and it is not even close.”

I’ve been thinking about this because on Facebook recently I wondered aloud whether universities stigmatize conservatives and undermine intellectual diversity. The scornful reaction from my fellow liberals proved the point.

“Much of the ‘conservative’ worldview consists of ideas that are known empirically to be false,” said Carmi.

“The truth has a liberal slant,” wrote Michelle.

“Why stop there?” asked Steven. “How about we make faculties more diverse by hiring idiots?”

To me, the conversation illuminated primarily liberal arrogance — the implication that conservatives don’t have anything significant to add to the discussion. My Facebook followers have incredible compassion for war victims in South Sudan, for kids who have been trafficked, even for abused chickens, but no obvious empathy for conservative scholars facing discrimination.

The stakes involve not just fairness to conservatives or evangelical Christians, not just whether progressives will be true to their own values, not just the benefits that come from diversity (and diversity of thought is arguably among the most important kinds), but also the quality of education itself. When perspectives are unrepresented in discussions, when some kinds of thinkers aren’t at the table, classrooms become echo chambers rather than sounding boards — and we all lose.

Four studies found that the proportion of professors in the humanities who are Republicans ranges between 6 and 11 percent, and in the social sciences between 7 and 9 percent.

Conservatives can be spotted in the sciences and in economics, but they are virtually an endangered species in fields like anthropology, sociology, history and literature. One study found that only 2 percent of English professors are Republicans (although a large share are independents).

In contrast, some 18 percent of social scientists say they are Marxist. So it’s easier to find a Marxist in some disciplines than a Republican.

The scarcity of conservatives seems driven in part by discrimination. One peer-reviewed study found that one-third of social psychologists admitted that if choosing between two equally qualified job candidates, they would be inclined to discriminate against the more conservative candidate.

Yancey, the black sociologist, who now teaches at the University of North Texas, conducted a survey in which up to 30 percent of academics said that they would be less likely to support a job seeker if they knew that the person was a Republican.

The discrimination becomes worse if the applicant is an evangelical Christian. According to Yancey’s study, 59 percent of anthropologists and 53 percent of English professors would be less likely to hire someone they found out was an evangelical.

“Of course there are biases against evangelicals on campuses,” notes Jonathan L. Walton, the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard. Walton, a black evangelical, adds that the condescension toward evangelicals echoes the patronizing attitude toward racial minorities: “The same arguments I hear people make about evangelicals sound so familiar to the ways people often describe folk of color, i.e. politically unsophisticated, lacking education, angry, bitter, emotional, poor.”

A study published in The American Journal of Political Science underscored how powerful political bias can be. In an experiment, Democrats and Republicans were asked to choose a scholarship winner from among (fictitious) finalists, with the experiment tweaked so that applicants sometimes included the president of the Democratic or Republican club, while varying the credentials and race of each. Four-fifths of Democrats and Republicans alike chose a student of their own party to win a scholarship, and discrimination against people of the other party was much greater than discrimination based on race.

“I am the equivalent of someone who was gay in Mississippi in 1950,” a conservative professor is quoted as saying in “Passing on the Right,” a new book about right-wing faculty members by Jon A. Shields and Joshua M. Dunn Sr. That’s a metaphor that conservative scholars often use, with talk of remaining in the closet early in one’s career and then “coming out” after receiving tenure.

This bias on campuses creates liberal privilege. A friend is studying for the Law School Admission Test, and the test preparation company she is using offers test-takers a tip: Reading comprehension questions will typically have a liberal slant and a liberal answer.

Some liberals think that right-wingers self-select away from academic paths in part because they are money-grubbers who prefer more lucrative professions. But that doesn’t explain why there are conservative math professors but not many right-wing anthropologists.

It’s also liberal poppycock that there aren’t smart conservatives or evangelicals. Richard Posner is a more-or-less conservative who is the most cited legal scholar of all time. With her experience and intellect, Condoleezza Rice would enhance any political science department. Francis Collins is an evangelical Christian and famed geneticist who has led the Human Genome Project and the National Institutes of Health. And if you’re saying that conservatives may be tolerable, but evangelical Christians aren’t — well, are you really saying you would have discriminated against the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.?

Jonathan Haidt, a centrist social psychologist at New York University, cites data suggesting that the share of conservatives in academia has plunged, and he has started a website, Heterodox Academy, to champion ideological diversity on campuses.

“Universities are unlike other institutions in that they absolutely require that people challenge each other so that the truth can emerge from limited, biased, flawed individuals,” he says. “If they lose intellectual diversity, or if they develop norms of ‘safety’ that trump challenge, they die. And this is what has been happening since the 1990s.”

Should universities offer affirmative action for conservatives and evangelicals? I don’t think so, partly because surveys find that conservative scholars themselves oppose the idea. But it’s important to have a frank discussion on campuses about ideological diversity. To me, this seems a liberal blind spot.

Universities should be a hubbub of the full range of political perspectives from A to Z, not just from V to Z. So maybe we progressives could take a brief break from attacking the other side and more broadly incorporate values that we supposedly cherish — like diversity — in our own dominions.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/05/08/opinion/sunday/a-confession-of-liberal-intolerance.html

 

Right and Wrong in Heterodoxy, Orthodoxy, and Culture Wars

This morning, I just sat through a social activism meeting in the basement of a Catholic church, between two different proponents of the culture wars. They were all doing their best to be conciliatory. But no surprise, it wasn’t exactly successful.

It was painful.

I cried later that day about it. Both sides probably felt so dismissed and silenced, or dismissed and judged. I could feel it both ways. I admit I’m not exactly an impartial outsider of the culture wars, but I think I’ve seen enough of both sides to feel both their pain.

Also, I had the awkward advantage of being the only protestant outsider in their tense discussion of their current pope’s views. My faith doesn’t depend on Pope Francis’s theology. It’s a terribly vulnerable thing, having a leader to follow and love and fear for. Communal, shared identities inevitably become battlegrounds, and that is rough on everyone.

I’m not sure if it is worth the fight. Probably it is, I don’t know. But there is something far more important. There comes a point when each one of us must cry out to the Holy Spirit, and then follow our own conscience. In the end, we each will stand before God alone.

For it is written:

As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

And:

And I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will have to give account of it in the day of judgment.

And again:

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life.

And the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to what he had done.

We will each stand before God alone. So cry out to God, and then follow your conscience. I’m not saying whatever you do is fine. Of course your choices matter, and matter so incredibly much at that. I am saying, hash it out with Him personally. Talk to Him, fight with Him, talk to Him, cry out to Him, talk to Him. Rage at Him if you must, but don’t stop talking to Him. Then, with fear and yearning, do what you think is right. Because God is righteousness. So do what you think is right, what He wants you to do. Some day you will stand with Him, face to face.

And then you will know, it was always just between the two of you.

Indissoluble Marriage and all that

Girls are far, far too easy on a guy when dating. They put up with so much. And then they are too hard on him when they are married, so that is over, and everyone goes looking for another one, and….. girls just end up having to take a lot of disrespect/abuse/junk.

Dissoluble marriage is the problem.

Indissoluble marriage. It sounds too rough–doesn’t it? Indissoluble. Yeah, if he hits you or cheats on you, then you might have to separate, maybe even permanently, if he’s dangerous. But you still have to…be true to him, be true to the love that you once had together, and not just pretend to forget and start over with another. Because…because…well, keep reading, I’ll try to explain.

Oh, and another thing. A man owes his wife love–unconditional love. Yes. It doesn’t matter if she gains 100 pounds or develops into an insufferable nagger or keeps the house an absolute mess or becomes intellectually boring or goes crazy from post-partum or turns out to be less than completely sexually pure or faithful. She deserves your unconditional love regardless. You owe it to her. No one else owes her that, but you do. It’s you and Christ, the two of you are in this together, to love her unconditionally. You gave your oath to, no one forced you. That is what all those lines mean in the oath, “for richer or poorer,” “in sickness and in health,” “for better or for worse.” Unconditional love is love that demands no conditions–love that chooses to remain steadfast, no matter what happens, to the death.

You chose this terrible burden, to love another human being as only God can.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church, and gave himself up for her…

(and for those unfamiliar with the biblical background: the allegory of Christ married to his church-bride is from the book of Hosea where she is a CHEATING wife, with hundreds of lovers, and he still takes her back and loves her anyway.)

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And a wife owes her husband unconditional respect. Yes, unconditional. It doesn’t matter if his IQ is lower than you, or he keeps making embarrassing social faux-pas, or he made the most retarded investment decision with the family savings, or he fails and his career goes up in smoke, or runs afoul of social norms and is despised by everyone else, and the two of you have to live in a trailer home in a backwater.

Unconditional respect. You choose to respect his judgement, even if it means poverty or embarrassment.

Life has plenty of hardship, and it has moments of crisis, that are like the landing beaches on D-Day. The confusion and the smoke, and risky decisions must be made, at moments of uncertainty and crisis. The two of you are in this together: you are a platoon. You talk, you strategize, you make plans, and then you run through crossfire following the plan.  But like a platoon, there will be times of disagreement, and in the end, like a platoon trapped in a battlezone, someone has to ‘make the call’, and decide the plan of action. A vote isn’t going to do it–it’s a 50%/50%–so you must respect his judgement, not because it’s better than yours (it probably isn’t…), but just because he is your husband. Unconditional respect. And you must accept that in times where you cannot agree and he just won’t listen, you must ‘submit’ to him by deferring to his judgement. (Of course, as his first adviser, you are there to give your urgent or fierce council when he is tempted or swayed by evil. And you are also there to tackle him if he is doing something evil, you must not let yourself be morally degraded, and you must protect the innocent, even if that means turning him over to the law.) But short of those emergency measures, you must respect his judgement. This isn’t about being his chattel. It is about the two of you–and only the two of you–a small platoon against all dangers and hardships, taking on the world together.

You must give him your unconditional respect. You must choose to believe in his integrity, through hell and high water, and financial/social/career failure.

I passionately hate the current, ‘christian’, conservative standard of marriage, which runs as thus: the woman has to pretend to be dumb and pretty, and the man has to…bring home the bacon.

It is just dressed-up prostitution. She’s snagged her man, her social status, the ring on the fourth finger. And for the man….he must achieve, he must provide, and if his career banks or he is out of a job, somehow…his wife is justified to…leave him. Because (as some Christian elders explained) it is “financial abandonment.”

That is not marriage. That is concubinage–when the woman can take her services elsewhere because her longtime client isn’t paying up anymore.

Look at the ancient oaths.

Your oath didn’t say, “To financially provide, to give status and respectability, till this contract is violated”

It said “to love and to CHERISH.”

Cherish. To treasure, when everything, everything, else is lost.

That is why you shouldn’t put up with a guy who doesn’t treat you right.

Don’t coax him into swearing an oath he can’t keep.

If he isn’t steadfastly cherishing you now…do you really think he is capable of keeping an oath to you of cherishing you his whole life? If you love him–don’t do that to him. Do not burden him with an oath he is incapable of keeping. It is like giving an eager child a heavy glass jar of sauce to carry during the grocery shopping. It will end in a tearful child and annoyed store janitor sweeping up the glass: failure and self-recrimination. For his sake, just don’t.

If he is glancing longingly after other women now–do you really think he will be capable of sticking to his oath “forsaking all others, cleave only to thee as long as we both shall live”? Through the passion of his love for you, he can stay faithful, for…five years, ten years, fifteen? Like youth, passion-love dies through the course of time. Does he have the character to plod through the hard times, to choose to steadfastly cherish? If he doesn’t…then for his sake, just don’t.

Don’t promise something you can’t keep.

If you don’t trust his judgement now, do not swear an oath that promises to respect it.

If he makes you feel bad for speaking your mind now, or if he doesn’t take your counsel seriously…do you really want to sign up as his Chief Council? It is your job to advise, but if he doesn’t listen, to obey.

I know, impulsive love will promise all things, will jump off the Niagara for someone. Of course–but even the love that is willing to leap in front of the bullet for the beloved–even the passion that would give up everything–is not enough. That is not as hard as sticking by, through dullness, humiliation, and bitterness in those long-drawn out years when things go wrong–when his aged mother is going through debilitating strokes and all the unresolved issues of his childhood are putting him through so much pain that he starts acting like a jerk, or when he is in a mid-life crisis, or when when your adolescent acts up and you wish your husband had been a better father to your wild son, or when you are tired of being confronted with your own shabbiness with how you’ve acted over the years and you just want to run away from it all and forget your own failures and shames, and you are tempted to run off and start over fresh with an adoring lover, where you can be the hero again.

Amid the joys, there will be times when life is just hard. Grinding, waterless, aching muscles kind of hard. Are you willing?

It is possible. Monks have obeyed their cantankerous superiors, and Marines and military platoons have proved that it is, indeed, possible to give unconditional respect, to the end. But it is going to be hard. Are you willing?

It isn’t a question of, ‘do you love him enough?’. With marriage, it is a question of, do you respect him enough? Respect him enough to be his counsel through the decades ahead, to be his counsel, but defer to his judgement? Do you respect him enough to trust his judgement–for decades? Do you respect his integrity enough to give up your freedom to him, and trust he will not abuse it?

Do you? Because a marriage oath is a terribly dreadful thing to swear, and you’ve got only one chance at it. If it goes wrong, you’ve promised to endure the suffering for decades–be it emotional strain in an unfulfilling relationship, or years of separated celibacy.

So if he doesn’t cherish you enough now, or if you don’t respect him enough now…get out. Leave.

If you really love him, don’t try to be his saviour. You don’t have it in you. Leave him to God. God will save.

So stand up for yourself, woman, and walk out. Don’t take sh*t from a guy. Just don’t.

Because you have only one chance to give yourself with a lifelong oath. And then you have to love and respect no matter the personal cost.

That is the problem right now. Girls get abused so much by guys, because they let him. With a 50% divorce rate and even the old Roman Catholic Church dispensing annulments rather freely, the enlightened twentieth century has destroyed the indissolubility of marriage.

It was supposed to save women from being trapped in indissoluble marriages, having to endure mistreatment from their husbands. Every few years another historical movie/novel comes out and all the divorcees at the local book club duly express their gratitude at being born female in the twentieth century.

But instead, it means girls are just that much more likely to take disrespect/junk/abuse from a guy. Now, we will move in, we will undergo the trial period (living together), as we hope desperately for the ring, cut capers and pass tests in order to earn the guy’s much anticipated ‘commitment.’ In order to ‘earn’ his conditional love.

There was a time when the general idea was that the girl was on a glass mountain, and the guy had to ride around doing exploits, answer the ancient riddle, and risk his life to get her hand in marriage. She did nothing. Why? Because we well knew all she would do and suffer afterwards.

There was a time when courtship was about the man proving he was good enough. Courtship was the man’s ‘trial period’–when the girl gave him nothing, and he had to prove to her and her kin that he was capable of steadfast devotion, that he was worthy of her oath of unconditional respect. Then, and only then, did she deign to accept his oath and give hers, to keep through all suffering, come hell and high water. These old and quaint structures were there for a reason: it works better. They let you know what you were getting into, to discourage all those who were incapable of it (note the pile of dead suitors at the bottom of the glass mountain).

We threw unconditional respect and indissolubility out the window a long time ago (conservative Christians too). It was supposed to make things better for girls, they claimed.

But it just shifted us into the “concubinage” mode, where love is nothing but a contract with conditions, that can be terminated if the boxes aren’t checked. Where all love–even the most intimate, bonding, personal love–is still conditional.

And so now in our modern era, girls are just having to put up with a lot more junk.

On Obama, Birth Control, and the Catholic Church

These are my thoughts about the HHS mandate. I should have explained this a long time ago, but I was too tired emotionally. I suppose this is too late, but here it is now.

The HHS mandate, under the new Obamacare system, mandates all employers (including religious charities and religious schools) to pay for their employees birth control pills (which, by the way, not only stop conception, but also can stop implantation of an already-conceived zygote, causing it to lack nutrients and die– hence the term “abortifacients”).

A month’s supply of birth control pills (depending on the brand) is anywhere between $10-$50.

That is between $0.33 to $1.67 a day.

In other words, if you are a young law student at a Catholic university, don’t buy a muffin with your daily Starbucks latte and voila! you can afford it.

And if you happen to be working for a Catholic Charity or Catholic School, pack a lunch just one day per week, and there is your pill money.

It isn’t a crushing expense.

And for those of you concerned about child-bearing women working at Catholic organizations who can’t afford this $0.33 to $1.67 per day, and who would very much rather swallow a pill of artificial hormones on a daily basis than purchase a couple condoms a week for three quarters at the gas station…..for those women, you can start a charity of Birth Control for Childbearing Employees at Religious Organizations Fund. I am sure you will have more than enough money for it—there are probably only a couple thousand such women in such straits (a lot of people don’t devote their life career to a Religious Organization whose core doctrines they disagree with), and I’m sure you could get a bulk discount with the Pharmaceutical companies.

This isn’t about women in dire need.

This is about this:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=513034828722033

Americans Against the Tea Party Photos

Note in the poster above, there is nothing about what the Republicans are doing….but about what Religious Folks believe. That is our real crime (not the American Inquisition we were trying really hard to set up in 2013 to force everyone to become Catholic) but just our alleged beliefs themselves.

And…

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=513973728628143

Americans Against the Tea Party Photos

(both photos courtesy of “Americans Against the Tea Party” facebook group, I came across these in my newsfeed as a friend of mine kindly posts them for my enlightenment)

Now…think about this carefully. Republicans weren’t trying to pass a law to stop them from getting Birth Control. Nobody was trying to outlaw Birth Control in the 2012 election. We are just asking to be left alone. For those of us who choose (there is no Inquisition–you can always leave!) to join or remain in religious organizations…we are simply asking to run our religious organization (not the entire country) by our own religious principles: we just want to be left alone.

Think about those posters. What it really means is this: the government has the right to force those in (voluntary) religious organizations to violate their own principles because those religious people are jerks. So the gov’t is here to make them stop acting like jerks–for that unforgivable crime of “imposing” their beliefs by having the cheek to say that some things are wrong.

In other words….they want the Catholic Church to say “uncle”, because the people who say birth control is wrong are all nasty-hateful-intolerant-judging people. They want the Church, those judgmental medievals who say women shouldn’t be taking these pills, to fund birth control pills, and in so doing, condone it. It is a matter of principle, for both sides. It is an ideological statement for both sides. They want the Catholic Church to say to the gov’t, “OK, you call the shots about this, yes, birth control is valid medical care and not a moral issue, and hey, we are funding it now because you said so, so it is OK.”

After all, the Ancient Roman Gov’t did the same thing. They were VERY tolerant (most of the time), you could be a Christian all you wanted—just make sure you mutter a few words in front of the Official about cursing your gods, and light a pinch of incense for the genius-spirit of the Emperor. That is all. You can go home and worship your little heart out, to any gods you choose. We just want you to go through this little motion–that the Roman State (in its spiritualized form–the genius of the Emperor) gets the first little token of respect–that it matters more than your other gods, whatever they are.

Makes perfect sense after all. If we are going to build our tolerant, multi-ethnic society, we need a basis for society, and that basis is to make sure everyone acknowledges the Authority of the State first and foremost, before any of their wacky foreign gods. Just make sure they will curse their gods if the State asks them to, to show which one matters more. That’s all. And most religions, most eastern mystery cults, were fine with this.

But the Christians weren’t. Because it was a matter of principle. Because in Christianity, our words are sacred, our ‘little ritual actions’ are sacred….and we must not compromise our allegiance–first and foremost to our beautiful Christ, that incarnate god-man who knows us each by name. He isn’t an impersonal god, but a personal one: hence we value our personal integrity, because it matters to Him.

That’s why a bunch of them were eaten by lions. They had just declared their personal religion, their private god, as more important than the Authority of the State. Therefore, they are a menace to Society. Hence, the need for the lions.

I know, most Christians went along. Most did the little pinch of incense. Only some of them died, the minority who could not be intimidated into backing down (That is the story of the human race….e.g. the French Resistance under the Nazis, or the White Rose…they were always the minority).

But the ones who did go along…there is a cost in that. We feel it keenly. A compromise of our own integrity. Life is not as much worth living, when you are not free to do what your conscience requires of you. Now—to materialists and pragmatists, they think we are over-reacting over nothing.

Most human societies throughout history have thought that, from second-century Classical Rome to fifteenth-century Spain to twentieth-century Soviet Russia.

But this is America. America was different.

This was the place of Religious Freedom. Where “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech…

This was a country where the Government did NOT dictate to people what they could or could not think, where the government did not dictate the ideology of the people. Now….everybody has a “religion”, an “ideology”, a “worldview”, a sense of what is acceptable and inacceptable, etc. But unlike the aforementioned human societies, this was the place where we could live in freedom before our God, serving Him according to our own conscience. Living in peace and raising our children according to our own conscience.

And so this HHS mandate is….a huge break from that. And it is intentional. It is a matter of principle for the Obama Administration and they mean it. The rhetoric of “Freedom of Worship” has replaced “Freedom of Religion”, because “worship”, unlike “religion”, is not a way of life. We can think any warm fuzzies in our heart….but we do not have the right to live it. Period.

(After all, even second-century Rome had “freedom of worship”…and so did the USSR. You just had to hike out to the woods to do it.).

And so this ‘minor’ issue isn’t so minor after all. If the American people accept this (as they appear to be doing), then this is the end of what America stood for these past 236 years. On principle, we will be no different from all those other countries, where religious dissidents are persecuted and killed on a regular basis (not that the media covers it much, so we don’t have to think about it….)

It will be full-scale surgical abortion next. I know that sounds far-fetched…but it has already happened. Governor Eliot Spitzer of New York, in 2008, was going to force Catholic Hospitals to perform surgical abortions or shut down. Seriously–he was pressing for it the week before he suddenly resigned because of the Emperors Club VIP scandal. If it wasn’t for the call-girl ring leaking to the press…it would have gone through–in 2008. So no, the Catholic organizations have a reason to be concerned. They are the first on the radar. But they are not the last on it.

This will also be the beginning of…something else. Something progressive. Progressive countries like Sweden and Germany who still seize children and place them in foster care for no other reason that their parents audaciously pulled them out of the Government School System and wanted to teach them at home (in both cases, the parents were religious conservatives).

After all, “education is too important to be in the hands of parents.” (–a real quote from an Ivy Leaguer I knew). I suppose their ideological formation is too (we need the Young Pioneers). And so many things are “too important”…..

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Look how they frame the debate: apparently religious people are trying to run a theocracy, we are banning birth control. This facebook ad, which popped up on my wall a couple weeks ago, puts it this way:

Facebook Ad that popped up in my profile

But what is really going on here? Is this really the Church trying to run the State….or the State planning to run the Church?

I think it is pretty clear. It is this Progressive administration that does not believe in the separation of Church and State. (It shouldn’t be that surprising—progressives never have believed in it). And that is why we are seeing the end of an American ideal, and the beginning of a brave new world.

All faiths lead to God…

I’ve been listening to Son of Hamas audiobook, and got to thinking…

Hassan Yousef (one of the seven founders of Hamas) was as “Christian” as St Francis. In his heart–he knew deeply and practiced all that was holy, kind, merciful, just, good, humble. In a word: selfless love and honest integrity. He is a devout Muslim.

“Walk towards God and He will run toward you.” I read that in 2002, on an introduce-the-highschool-class display case in a Chicago suburb. It was the favorite quote of a beaming girl in a headscarf, the only one in the whole class to bravely identify herself as Muslim, in the post 9-11 tensions. Walk towards God and He will run toward you!

He does come. He doesn’t only answer his favorite clan, or those with the correct theology. He does not desert any of His children who look up, calling to Him. He comes. So the postmodernists who say all religions lead to God, are on to something. We all turn, in our various ways, to a Higher Power who is Goodness and Love. And He comes to us, for He is gracious.

But Hassan Yousef couldn’t condemn terrorism. He couldn’t stand up to  Islamic men of a different kind of religious fanaticism, one of killing (and torture and paranoid sexual fantasy– the same as sixteenth-century european witch trials). Like tolerant westerners, he too could say that personally couldn’t stomach the killing–but he couldn’t judge/condemn/rebuke those who did. He had no theological backing.

And that is why doctrine matters too. The heart can learn all from God, by just yearning towards him in a selfless life. But the mind must be given words, words of truth, to fight the violent perversions of faith and twisted men.

Because those violent perversion of faith eat humankind. They destroy the sacred (ripping and stomping upon Torah scrolls, cutting the throat of child after child, meting out ‘justice’ by rape, burning to death non-virginal teenage girls, ripping an infant limb from limb, etc.).

Nowadays we call it ‘genocide’….at a conference on genocide studies at Penn, I heard a woman describe how genociders typically attack what she termed “life-force symbols”, that is (1) the aged of the community (its history), (2) the young of the community (its future), (2) their sexuality (gang rape, or force them to act out with eachother in aberrant ways, etc), (4) their spirituality (ripping Torah scrolls, smashing gravestones, urinating on Bibles, sexualizing religious sanctuaries, etc). And yes, I had to flee in the middle of the presentation when she started citing examples.

But it struck me: it was all a desecration of the Holy, a defilement of the Sacred. Grandmothers, babies, sex, sanctuaries — reverently approached in their fitting place — those are the dearest and most beautiful things in this world. The things that give meaning to everything else in life, and are hence life itself. The Sacred.

And for every rapacious thug-horde that have defiled those things in sheer greed of conquest, there are also those who have done the same for twisted ideologies, some of them claiming to be faiths serving God. It is sickening to see how religious faith can be twisted to such perverse postures — but then, so can sexual and familial love (for example, incest). Of course it is the most beautiful things that can be twisted into the most horrible things.

So yes and no. All faiths — when reaching out to the Higher Power through goodness and love — do lead to God. But we need doctrine and truth too, to defend the sacred — specifically, the doctrine of the Incarnate Christ, who became flesh like us, deifying every human being (who thus must be treated as such), who demands perfect holiness of us and yet bled on a cross to fulfill it, who charges us to forgive every sin, who calls us all to follow him and abandon everything, and who says “whatever you do to the least of these–you do to me.” Who makes Holy what was defiled, who gives life to the world.

The Catch-22 of Compassion in the Abortion Debate

We must try to see it from eachother’s perspectives, really try. I don’t mean just emoting, I mean understanding eachother’s reasoning too. Once you understand why they come to “those” positions, perhaps you will also better understand your own position.

If one tries to argue that a fetus is a human person, the debate does not–as one might expect–center around conflicting definitions of personhood. Rather, one is rebuked as hateful and cruel, for emotionally torturing women who have had abortions by making them into murderers.

Biological definitions and ultrasound images have no place in defining personhood. No, for nothing is as it seems, “only thinking makes it so” and as long as we don’t *think* of it that way, then nobody is guilty, but if a society starts thinking differently, then suddenly many people will feel guilty and be in great pain.

In other words–reality is culturally constructed. There is no place for any kind of empirical, scientific evaluation of data in the formation of our definitions.

So let us de-humanise the fetus, so that women will feel less pain. Right?

Fully 1/3 of women who experience miscarriages have suicidal thoughts, and most of the rest struggle with serious depression. Those who have not gone through it, or intimately known someone who has (and witnessed it firsthand), have absolutely no idea of this very peculiar and horrible pain.

It is the pain of loving into a potential, something that would have been, was, and yet wasn’t. There isn’t even anything tangible to hold onto, not even a photograph–just a little plastic thing that looks like a thermometer, with two pink stripes. And all those familial jokes and eager anticipation and food cravings, the projected due date and the mended baby clothes, the discussions and the dreams, now nothing but the passage of blood. No funeral, and there is no point in telling others because their casual compassion, as they smile and shrug it off, is twisting the knife in the wound, “You already have other children,” or “don’t worry, you’ll get pregnant again”. As if this loss was something completely replaceable, a carton of eggs, an “it”.

It is Rachel, weeping for her children, for they are no more. They aren’t even allowed to be deceased in our culture, just non-existent. This is a pain whose depths you will never fully understand until you go through it.

And it is a pain that is greatly increased by our present culture, which de-humanizes the ‘fetus’. “It” isn’t even allowed to be a human person. And so this culture, which tries so hard to diminish the pain of women, torments those in grief, who are denied even the personhood of the one they have lost.